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Approximately 600 doses of Heroin seized during Friday morning raid in Jamestown...
A major drug bust in the city of Jamestown has taken about 600 doses of heroin off the street... but, police say that's still just the tip of the iceberg. Jamestown Police Chief Harry Snellings says city officers and members of the State Police C-NET Team raided a home at 113 Willard St. about 9 a.m. Friday... where police also found most of the 29 grams of uncut heroin. Snellings adds one person found in one of two vehicles parked on Willard Street also had some heroin in it. He says the person in the car... 20 year-old Carmen Lopez... was arrested for third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, criminally using drug paraphernalia. JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says she faces other charges... and, more arrests are expected. Both Snellings and Samuelson say the amount of heroin found... about 60 bundles of the narcotic... is "significant." But... Samuelson adds there's still a lot of operations out there for users to get their fix. Samuelson adds the heroin had an estimated street value of $7,200. Lopez is jailed pending arraignment. Snellings adds this raid was unique because the heroin had not yet been processed. He says anyone with information on illegal drug activity in Jamestown can call their anonymous tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
Former Frewsburg Postmaster sentenced to 2 years probation...
The former Frewsburg Postmaster has been sentenced to 2-years probation for stealing just over $14,000 from the local post office. U-S Attorney William Hochul, Jr. says 51 year-old Donna Spencer of Falconer had been convicted of misappropriation of postal funds by a postal service employee. Spencer did face up to 10-years in prison. Chief Federal Judge William Skretny handed down the sentence late Thursday. Assistant U-S Attorney Russell Ippolito, Jr... who handled the case... says that Spencer was employed by the U-S Postal Service since 1986. Between February 13, 1999, and July 19, 2013 -- while in Frewsburg -- Ippolitto says Spencer took the cash from customers for buying postage stamps... but, kept the cash for herself instead of depositing it.
City fire department puts new pumper truck, ambulance in service...
The Jamestown Fire Department has put two new, significant vehicles in service to help them better respond to fires... and, other emergency situations. Members of Fire Station-#5 backed a new, $400,000 pumper truck into Station-One during a traditional fire department ceremony. However... the truck will be housed at Station-#5. Deputy Fire Chief Chet Harvey called it a "proud day" for the fire department... and, says they got a lot of federal help in buying the equipment. Harvey says that helped them buy the $515,000 worth of equipment. Mayor Sam Teresi recalled talking to Harvey... and, Police Chief and Public Safety Director Harry Snellings about the purchases... and, said they convinced him that they could get a federal grant to help defray most of the costs. Teresi praised both them... and, the department for their efforts to upgrade the equipment they need to do their jobs. The Public Safety Team applied for -- and, got -- a $464,000 federal Assistance to Firefighter's grant was used to pay most of the cost of the truck... and, a $114,000 ambulance. The city's share of the purchases was just under $52,000.
A pair of sisters from southern Chautauqua County have pleaded guilty in federal court stealing proceeds from postage stamp sales while working a two different, local Post Offices. U-S Attorney William Hochul (HOE-Kul), Junior announced late yesterday that 35 year-old Amanda Elliott of Ellington... and, 30 year-old Tamara Elliott of Falconer... pleaded guilty to misappropriation of postal service funds by a postal service employee. Hochul says the two cases were separate and unrelated. However... Assistant U-S Attorney Russell Ippolitto, Junior... says both committed the thefts between December of 2012... and, September 5th of 2013. Amanda Elliott is accused of stealing 55-hundred-79 dollars while employed at the Lily Dale Post Office.... while Tamara Elliott stole more than 11-thousand-300 dollars while working at the Ellington Post Office. Both face a maximum sentence 10 years in prison, a fine of 250-thousand dollars -- or both.
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly breaking into a consignment store on the city's eastside early Wednesday morning. City police say they took 20 year-old Steven Becker into custody yesterday... with the help of Ellicott Town Police... in Falconer. Officers say their investigation found that Becker broke a window to get inside the Kind Thirfter Consignment Store at 8 East Fifth Street about 3 AM. Once inside... they say he allegedly stole several items before leaving the business. Police say most of the property has been recovered. Becker is charged with third-degree burglary... and, is in the city jail awaiting arraignment.
The Jamestown Democrat whose appointment to fill a vacancy in the Chautauqua County legislature has been rejected... has apparently ruled out going through the process a second time. Chuck Cornell's appointment to fill the Legislative District 12 vacancy was rejected Wednesday night by a 10-to-7 vote. However... Cornell, who was disappointed by the outcome, doesn't want another vote. The chairman of the Chautauqua County Democratic Committee Norm Green says he would like to see Cornell run for the seat when a special election is held in November. Green says he's recommending that the Jamestown Democrat Committee stick with their choice... and, that Cornell run in a special, November election. He says he was disappointed with the two Democrats who broke ranks. Dunkirk-area Legislators Keith Ahlstrom and Shaun Heenan sided with eight Republicans in rejecting Cornell's appointment.
A Dunkirk man already serving time in the Chautauqua County Jail now faces additional charges stemming from alleged Crack Cocaine Sales. The Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force reports that 19 year old Dyquan Smith sold the cocaine to a task for agent on multilple occasions in the city of Dunkirk. Smith was then indicted by a secret Chautauqua County Grand Jury on May 28th based on the information brought before them by the task force. Smith was arrested while already in the county jail and now faces two counts each of criminal posession and criminal sale of a controlled substance. Mr. Smith will be held without bail pending arraignment before County Court Judge John Ward at a later date. The arrest wraps up a 3 month long investigation into crack cocaine sales.
Cattaraugus County Sheriffs Deputies are investigating an accident involving a Gowanda School bus that sent one student to the hospital. Shortly before 7 AM yesterday... officers say the school bus... driven by 67 year old Ronald Warrior of Brant, New York... was travelling north on Mosher Road when it colided with a large farm tractor towing a "ripper" that was traveling south on the same road. There were ten children on the bus, one was sent to Lake Shore Hospital with complaints of neck pain. Deputies were assisted by State Police and the Gowanda Fire Department. At this time no charges have been filed... and, the accident remains under investigation.
Work is now underway to repair the bell tower at St. Lukes Episcopal Church in downtown Jamestown. The bell tower is a local landmark and has been without a working clock, bells and music since it was struck by lightning last September 1st during a violent rain storm. St. Lukes is also welcoming a new rector - Reverend Luke Fodor (foe-der). Fodor describes the construction. Fodor says they are hoping the clock can be sent out to be fixed now as well. The repair will involve a significant amount of construction including two large cranes that will affect the northbound lane of North Main Street between fourth and fifth streets through the end of the week. While insurance will cover a portion of the 20 to 40 thousand dollar cost of the repair needed to fully restore the clock and Westminster Chimes. Reverend Fodor says any financial help from the community -- especially those who enjoyed the bells -- is welcome. Donations may be dropped off or mailed to the St. Luke's church office at 410 North Main Street.
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area are holding steady for another week... as the Summer driving season gets underway. The Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report says prices remained about 3-dollars-85 cents a gallon for regular, unleaded. Nationally... The Fuel Gauge says the Memorial Day holiday saw drivers paying slightly more for gasoline than the previous two years -- 3-cents more than in 2013 -- when it was 3-dollars-63 cents. The Triple-A adds that elevated global oil prices have kept a relative 'floor' under retail gas prices for motorists.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino says term limits for New York lawmakers and statewide elected officials would help clean up corruption in Albany. The Westchester County executive told reporters Wednesday that he believes eight years is enough time for elected officials... and, that any more time can lead to a culture of political insiders who place their own interests ahead of the voters'. Thirty-six states impose term limits on governors and more than a dozen have limits on lawmakers.
The village of Westfield's Boil Water Order has been lifted by the county's Department of Health and Human Services. Water Resource Specialist Bill Boria says they notified all Westfield residents that they can now use tap water for drinking, cooking, and all other normal uses. Boria says the village's Water Treatment Plant is back in normal operation... and, producing water that meets state and federal turbidity standards. Last week's heavy rain storms caused 'highly turbid' conditions in the reservoir that created treatment problems at the system's water plant.
The federal EPA has approved a 200-thousand dollar grant for the city of Jamestown to help cleanup and re-develop two large brownfield sites. Both Congressman Tom Reed and U-S Senator Chuck Schumer say the funding will help the city revitalize the Chadakoin West... and Riverfront sites... and, put them to productive use. Reed says the support is crucial to protecting public health, cleaning up the environment and supporting economic development. Schumer says both sites are adjacent to the Gateway Train Station downtown... and, will be "excellent locations for re-development." Mayor Sam Teresi says the grant will "refocus the process of returning these sites to productive use once again."
A slight tax rate decrease for the first time in three years will be seen by property owners in the village of Lakewood... but, they won't be based on new and higher Busti town assessments. That from Mayor David Wordelmann... who says the village board recently approved the 3.35-million dollar spending plan... which includes at 5-cent per thousand assessed value cut in taxes. Wordelmann says the 244-dollar tax levy increase is mainly due to one mandated area not going up as much as expected. Wordelmann adds that a major reduction is due to the village making it's final 50-thousand dollar payment on borrowing for the new Lakewood Fire Hall. He says he also rejected a proposal to add the cost for a new comprehensive plan for the village to the budget. Wordelmann says taxes on the 2014-15 budget will be based on current assessments in the town of Busti... not what the new ones may be. Many Busti residents have complained about how big an increase they're seeing. Wordelmann says those would take effect in the Fall.
State lawmakers in Albany have introduced legislation to curb the rise of heroin in New York and bolster treatment of addicts. The Senate's Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction released 25 bills yesterday they hope will address the heroin scourge in the state. Members of the GOP conference and the Independent Democratic Conference, a faction of five Democrats who control the Senate with the Republicans, introduced the measures after conducting 18 forums statewide.
There's already been some dissent voiced over Governor Andrew Cuomo's decision to make former Buffalo-area Congresswoman Kathy Hochul (HOE-Kul) his running mate. But... the head of Chautauqua County's Democrat Committee says he's "very pleased" with the selection. Chairman Norm Green says Hochul's selection for Lieutenant Governor shows Cuomo's commitment to improving upstate New York's economy. Green says that commitment began with the announcement of the "Buffalo Billion..." to help jump-start the city of Buffalo's economy. Green says Cuomo understands "you're only as strong as your weakest link..." and, for sometime... Buffalo and western New York has been that weak link. However... he says anyone who's been to Buffalo recently has seen a great increase in economic activity. With Hochul on the ticket... Green says he expects to see her campaigning in Chautauqua County quite a bit. While some more-liberal members of the party are critical of the choice... Green says Hochul gives Cuomo some upstate balance to the ticket... and, she's a woman. It's the first time in at least a couple of decades that a woman has been at the top of a major party ticket.
A Lakewood man suffered a possible head injury and a minor laceration after taking a fall while walking down a path to the beach at Point Gratiot (Grah-Chit) in Dunkirk earlier this week. City fire and police crews responded to the call shortly before 6 PM Monday for a 65-year-old male who reportedly fell. Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano says first responders were able to carry the victim on a backboard from the pathway to an Alstar ambulance. We have learned the man, whose identity has not been released, was airlifted to an area hospital.
Boil Water Order in Westfield lifted...
The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services has lifted the Boil Water Order for the village of Westfield. Water Resource Specialist Bill Boria says they notified all Westfield residents that they can now use tap water for drinking, cooking, and all other normal uses. Boria says the village's Water Treatment Plant is back in normal operation... and, producing water that meets state and federal turbidity standards. Last week's heavy rain storms caused highly turbid conditions in the reservoir that created treatment problems at the water plant. Village water staff have flushed the distribution system and collected two consecutive days of water samples that were tested for bacteria. Boria says both rounds of samples were analyzed... and, it was confirmed that no harmful bacteria were present. However... Boria says water customers should flush their plumbing systems by running faucets, tubs, and other water fixtures to make ensure safe water. He says if there is any cloudy or colored water... do not do laundry... nor drink the water until it has cleared.
A Town of Carroll man died after being pinned under his tractor Monday afternoon. Chautauqua County Sheriffs Deputies and the Frewsburg Fire Department were called out to Warren Road just after 3pm on a report that 37 year old Michael McCray was pinned under a farm tractor. McCray was pronounced dead at the scene.
A "large quantity" of heroin was found -- ready for sale -- during a drug raid at an apartment on Jamestown's eastside yesterday afternoon. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says city police and members of the State Police C-NET Team had been conducting surveillance the past several weeks on an apartment at 241 Crescent Street. However... just as they were preparing to raid the location about 1 PM Tuesday... officers spotted the main suspect, and a woman... leaving the apartment. The man... 27 year-old Jensen Vazquez... was found with the heroin. Samuelson says they also found another quantity of packaged heroin inside the apartment. The woman allegedly with Vazquez -- 22 year-old Salena Hare -- was also arrested. The third person... 25 year-old Janelle Cornelius... was located inside the apartment. All three are charged with Felony third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, were jailed pending arraignment. Samuelson says the investigation is continuing... and, more arrests are expected.
A Lakewood man has been arrested for allegedly running a Methamphetime Lab inside a town of Westfield home. Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say they had received complaints about a suspicous situation at the residence at 83-78 Schultz Road. Task Force members say neighbors were concerned about the people staying there, and a strange odor coming from the home. Drug agents Monday night investigated the situation... and, interviewed 43 year-old Christopher Swanson. He was detained until Task Force members checked out the house...where they found materials used to produce methamphetime... a quantity of 'Meth...' a quantity of marijuana... and, a shotgun. After finding the items... the Task Force called in the county's Hazardous Materials Team to collect the toxic materials... and, render them safe. Swanson faces a number of charges... including criminal possession of precursors of Methamphetime... criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, criminal possession of a weapon. A criminal background found he has Felony convictions in Alaska... so the weapon's charge will be a Felony. Swanson was arraigned and sent to the county jail on 10-thousand dollars bail.
A Dunkirk man is in the County Jail after firing a .357 Magnum at another man in the north county city Monday night. Dunkirk Police report that 24 year old Justin Matteson of 92 Ruggles Street made threats to another man and fired one shot shortly before 10pm. No one was hurt during the incident. When Police arrived at the scene Matteson had fled on foot. After a search police recovered the .357 Magnum and arrested Matteson. Matteson faces a number of charges including 2nd Degree Criminal Posession of a weapon and Reckless endangerment. He is now in the Chautauqua County Jail in lieu of 50 thousand dollars bail or 100 thousand dollars property bond.
WIVB TV in Buffalo is reporting that New York State Police and the Department of Environmental Conservation carried out a search warrant to seize 19 exotic animals from the JNK Exotic Animal sanctuary in Sinclairville. Captain Frank Lauricella with the DEC says they mainly rescued tigers along with 3 lions, 2 bears, and 2 wolves. All are being sent to other sanctuaries in the country. Officials say most of the animals are pretty thin. According to JNK’s website it had been in business for nearly 20 years, but more recently Lauricella says they were keeping the animals illegally.Officials say the owners were stripped of their permits for the animals are were operating without a license. The animals are being sent to Nevada, Colorado, and Florida.
Jamestown police are asking the public's help in finding the man who walked into a downtown Jamestown restaurant late Monday night and robbed money from two cash registers. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says a "dark skinned" Hispanic man walked into the Tim Horton's Restaurant at 21 South Main Street about 10 PM... and, walked behind the counter. Witnesses say he then demanded cash from the registers. Samuelson says the man is described as being between 20 and 30 years old... about 5-foot-9 to 5-foot-10 inches tall... and, weighing about 140 pounds. He was wearing a bulky, black jacket with a hood and red stitching on it. Samuelson says -- if you have any information -- you're asked to call city police. Samuelson adds the man was also wearing long blue jeans shorts... and, white shoes. He says the suspect fled the store on foot after grabbing the money... and, ran towards the CVS store on the other side of Harrison Street. Samuelson says they've already interviewed store employees and four customers who were in the restaurant at the time. Again... if you have any information... call the JPD Tip-Line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
Chautauqua County's Congressman says the Buffalo Veteran's Regional Benefit Office has improved it's processing of disability claims... but, the backlog is still a problem. Corning Republican Tom Reed is reacting to a U-S Department of Veteran's Affairs report that the Buffalo office... which is used by many vets in the area... is the fifth-worst in the U-S. Reed says he's talked with the director of the Buffalo Office... and, says while there have been positive steps taken... the situation is still "not acceptable...." Reed says... within the past year... Congress has boosted funding for the nation's V-A Centers to deal with disability claim backlogs... and, other issues. Ongoing issues with the V-A were brought into sharp focus recently with the deaths of 40 veterans who were still awaiting care at the V-A Hospital in Phoenix. Reed isn't calling for V-A Secretary Eric Shinsecki to resign... or be fired... but, adds he's getting close. Reed says the Buffalo V-A is primarily blaming a transition from paper to electronic records for the remaining backlog. He made his comments during his weekly Conference Call with Southern Tier Media.
"Large amount" of heroin found during police raid in Jamestown...
Three people have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a "middle-level" heroin trafficking operation on Jamestown's eastside. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says Jamestown officers and members of the State Police C-NET Team had been conducting surveillance on an apartment at 241 Crescent Street the past several weeks. However... just as they were preparing to raid the home about 1 p.m. Tuesday... officers spotted the main suspect -- 27 year-old Jensen Vazquez -- and a woman... leaving the apartment to allegedly distribute a large amount of heroin. Vazquez was found with a "large quantity" of heroin in his possession. Samuelson says he and the woman, 22 year-old Selena Hare, were both charged with Felony third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He adds investigators found the 27 year-old Vazquez with about 170 doses of heroin in his possession. He says both Vazquez and Hare were taken to the city lock-up. The JPD SWAT Team then entered the apartment... and, arrested 25 year-old Janelle Cornelius. They also found more packaged heroin inside. Samuelson says the investigation is continuing. He says anyone with information about the sale or possession of illegal narcotics can contact JPD's anonymous tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
Lakewood man arrested for alleged involvement with Meth Lab in Westfield...
A Lakewood man has been arrested for allegedly running a Methamphetime Lab inside a town of Westfield home. Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say they had received complaints about a suspicous situation at the residence at 8378 Schultz Road. Task Force members say neighbors were concerned about the people staying there, and a strange odor coming from the home. Drug agents Monday night investigated the situation... and, interviewed 43 year-old Christopher Swanson. He was detained until Task Force members checked out the house...where they found materials used to produce methamphetime... a quantity of 'Meth...' a quantity of marijuana... and, a shotgun. After finding the items... the Task Force called in the county's Hazardous Materials Team to collect the toxic materials... and, render them safe. Swanson faces a number of charges... including criminal possession of precursors of Methamphetime... criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, criminal possession of a weapon. A criminal background found he has Felony convictions in Alaska... so the weapon's charge will be a Felony. Swanson was arraigned and sent to the county jail.
Jamestown police looking for man who allegedly robbed Tim Horton's restaurant in Brooklyn Square Monday night...
Jamestown police are looking for man who walked into the Tim Horton's Restaurant in Brooklyn Square late last night... and, stole an undisclosed amount of money from the cash registers. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the man... who is described as a "dark skinned" hispanic male... walked into the store just before 10 p.m. Samuelson says the man walked behind the counter... and, demanded cash from the register. An employee says no weapon was displayed, but, the man had his hand in a pocket like he had one. Samuelson says the man is otherwise described as being between 20 and 30 years old... about 5'9" to 5'10" tall... and, weighing about 140 pounds. He was wearing a bulky, black jacket with a hood and red stitching on it. Samuelson says he was also wearing long blue jeans shorts, white shoes. Anyone with any information is asked to call city police at 483-7537... or their tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
A Sinclairville man has been arrested for allegedly stabbing a man in Jamestown several times yesterday morning with a knife. City police were called to the scene at 63 Hazzard Street about 9:30 AM on the report of a fight. Officers say when the arrived at the scene... they found a 34 year-old man had been stabbed... and, was taken to WCA Hospital. Police say their investigation allowed them to find the suspect... identified as 25 year-old Christopher Dellahoy... a short distance from the scene. Dellahoy was arrested... and, charged with Felony second-degree assault. He was jailed pending arraignment.
Across southern Chautauqua County yesterday... there was patriotic music... and, speeches to commemoriate Memorial Day 2014. The Southwestern High School Marching Band was one of several groups taking part in the first Memorial Day Parade of the day in the town of Busti. The Southwestern Middle School Band... several local fire departments and other organizations also took part. Pastor Lee O'Brien with the Busti Federated Church delivered the main address... and, reminded the gathering of why we pause to remember our war-dead on this day.
O'Brien also expressed his appreciation to the wives, husbands, and immediate family of those who have fallen for their sacrifices. He talked about how Memorial Day -- first known as Decoration Day -- began. It formally became a three-day, national holiday in 1971... and, he says -- unfortunately -- it's lost some of it's meaning. But... adds he's happy that places like Busti honor the nation's war-dead.
A Memorial Day Ceremony was held Monday at Soldier’s Circle in Lakeview Cemetery following the annual parade in Jamestown. Guest Speaker Bill Servis from the U.S. Army took a moment to reflect on what Memorial Day means to him. During Monday's service... Jim Gardner of the Lakeview Cemetery Board spoke of a new Veteran’s Area that is scheduled to be constructed in 2015 or 2016. The reason for the new area is that the current Soldier’s Circle Portion of Lakeview Cemetery will be filled in the next couple of years.
New York state has sent disaster assistance teams to help victims of recent flash flooding in Yates County in the Finger Lakes region. Governor Andrew Cuomo says that the teams are being deployed to help residents and business owners as they prepare insurance claims. Nearly 150 homes and 20 businesses in Yates County were damaged by the floods after heavy rains overwhelmed several small creeks. Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the county back on May 14th.
Memorial Day Weekend is typically the start of the Summer boating season... but, that was not the case in a few places in western New York. Two of the Finger Lakes were closed due to flooding and debris from severe thunderstorms over the past week. Locally... Chautauqua Lake is open... but, boating caution is advised because of debris floating at the top of the water... and, some just beneath the surface. Volunteer operator John Cheney with the Bemus Point-Stow Ferry says the historic vessel did NOT be operate yesterday due to the high water... and, debris. Once people get out... the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office will again be out patrolling the lake. Sheriff Joe Gerace stresses boating safety. John Cheney says Bemus Point-Stow Ferry operators were able to hold their Fireworks display last Sunday night... and, a good crowd was on hand on both sides of the lake. However... he says in taking the ferry out to the center of the narrows... they found a lot of debris... including a 55-gallon barrel that was floating just beneath the surface. On our "Community Spotlight" program... Sheriff Gerace reminded boaters that there are new regulations regarding boating certifications for 13 to 18 year-olds.
U-S Senator Chuck Schumer is asking for 100-million dollars in funding for to curb the scourge of heroin in New York and across the country. The New York Democrat Monday said he's requesting the additional federal funding be allocted to the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program. Schumer says it will give authorities in New York and New Jersey the boost they needs to better assess heroin's trafficking patterns in the region. With Mexican heroin flooding the market, Schumer hopes that the additional funding will help develop information-sharing between federal agencies and local law enforcement. The money would be included in the Senate Appropriation bill, which is being considered within the coming weeks.
Several bronze and aluminium Military Markers have been stolen from gravesites in a Warren County cemetery. With that... State Police in Warren says those men and women won't be able to be honored today on Memorial Day. Troopers say the markers were stolen from several different parts of the St. Joseph Cemetery in Pleasant Township between May 12th and 23rd. Police are asking anyone with information about this crime to call State Police in Warren... or Warren County Crimestoppers.
Several units, including SWCS Bands, take part in Busti Memorial Day Parade, and observance...
Across southern Chautauqua County yesterday... there was patriotic music... and, speeches to commemoriate Memorial Day 2014. The Southwestern High School Marching Band was one of several groups taking part in the first Memorial Day Parade of the day in the town of Busti. The Southwestern Middle School Band... several local fire departments and other organizations also took part. Pastor Lee O'Brien with the Busti Federated Church delivered the main address... and, reminded the gathering of why we pause to remember our war-dead on this day. O'Brien says the new generations to come must be "built on strength, duty, honor and country," and able to follow in the warrior's footsteps when it comes to defending our country. O'Brien also expressed his appreciation to the wives, husbands, and immediate family of those who have fallen for their sacrifices. He talked about how Memorial Day -- first known as Decoration Day -- began. It formally because a three-day, national holiday in 1971... and, he says -- unfortunately -- it's lost some of it's meaning. But... adds he's happy that places like Busti honor the nation's war-dead.
Other Memorial Day Parades and ceremonies also held across region...
There were several other local Memorial Day Parades, and observances today. Jamestown's annual Memorial Day parade stepped off under sunny skys at 10 this morning at Fourth and Lafayette Streets. The parade processed up to Lakeview Cemetary... where a ceremony was held at Soldier's Circle in the cemetery. We will have more from that tomorrow. Pictures from the parade are on our Facebook page at Radio Jamestown.
The annual Memorial Day Service in Fentonville featured speaker Randall Lewis at the Fentonville United Methodist Church. Following the service... those attending took part in the march to the Fentonville Cemetery... where a memorial service was held.
The annual Lakewood-Celoron parade began at Southwestern Central High School at 10:45 AM... and, concluded with a service at Sunset Hill Cemetery.
Finally... the town of Poland's annual parade and service began at 11:45 this morning. There will then was a march to the Riverside Cemetery for the service... where the main speaker was Robert H. Jackson Center Director James Johnson. We also have pictures from that parade on our Facebook page.
Village of Westfield put under Boil Water Order through next week...
The heavy rains and flooding from this past Tuesday night and Wednesday morning has led Chautauqua County officials to issue a boil water order for the village of Westfield. County Director of Health and Human Services, Christine Schuyler, says all water customers there are advised to bring their water to a boil... then let it boil for one minute... and, then let it cool before using. Otherwise, Schuyler says use bottled water certified by the state Department of Health. She says boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills any bacteria and other organisms in the water. Schuyler says this week's heavy rains caused turbidity levels in the village's reservoir to rise to levels that the filter plant could not adequately treat. When that happened... she says the filter plant was turned off and water in storage tanks was replied upon. Water samples collected today at the filter plant showed turbidity levels above Public Health standards. Again... there is a boil water order in effect in the village of Westfield... and, Schuyler says the order is expected to continue until sometime next week. For more information... contact the Village Hall at 326-3211 or the county's Public Health Office at 753-4481.
Memorial Day Weekend now the most dangerous "holiday" weekend in U.S.; Gerace urges driving safety during three-day weekend...
The three-day Memorial Day Holiday weekend is now considered the most dangerous holiday weekend period of the year. Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace says it has now exceeded New Year's as the most dangerous time period on the highways. That just recently came out in a National Traffic Safety Board report... and, Gerace is using it to urge people to be safe if they travel by car this weekend. He says the highway fatality rate... and, a 42-percent alcohol-related death rate in accidents Memorial Day Weekend. With a record number of travelers expected to go more than 50 miles this weekend by car... Gerace says plan ahead... and, take breaks when you need them. In addition to drunk and drowsy drivers... Gerace says the biggest problem they're seeing is the "distracted driver." He says when you're driving... don't use your cell phone to call... or text someone with. Gerace also reminds motorists that we are into road construction season... and, if you enter such a zone... slow down and follow all detours. On our "Community Spotlight" program this weekend... he added that his department will have beefed up patrols through Monday.
Bemus Point-Stow Ferry, scheduled to open this weekend, won't; However... officials say they will have fireworks display from the ferry Sunday night...
Due to high water and debris on Chautauqua Lake... the Bemus Point-Stow Ferry will not be operating this weekend. However... thanks to some help from the Chautauqua Lake Association... operators of the ferry will be able to shoot off their scheduled fireworks display this Sunday night. One of the principle volunteers with the Ferry, John Cheney, says the CLA was able to clear five truck loads of debris from the area around the ferry and it's channel. Cheney also thanked North Harmony Highway Superintendent Dan Strickland for his help. However... he says the water is still too high for it to safely go from one side to the other. With that... the ferry won't be able to handle vehicular traffic this weekend. However... Cheney says they'll be able to go from the Stow side to the center of the lake... and, shoot off the fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Afterwards... he says they'll dock on the Bemus side. Cheney says while the lake level has dropped a few inches since Wednesday... the water levels are about as high as they were after Hurricane Agnes came through the region in 1972.
Chautauqua County officials are beginning the task of assessing the damage caused by the recent flash floods that have hit both the south and north ends of the county. County Executive Vince Horrigan says county Emergency Services Director Julius Leone will be meeting with local officials to begin crunching the numbers. Horrigan says they will be looking at the damage from Wednesday's flash flooding in the Jamestown area as well as the storm damage in Gowanda and Silver Creek... and, other nearby communities in making their application. Debris damage in Chautauqua Lake and flooded basements will also be considered.
The Chautauqua Lake Association is deploying two of it's crews on the lake over the next several days to collect floating debris from the flooding that occured in the wake of this week's severe thunderstorms. CLA President Doug Conroe tells us the association's executive committee met late Wednesday... and, authorized having two harvesters... two transports and barges for this major undertaking. Conroe says one crew will be deployed in the lake’s South Basin... while the other crew will go to the North. He adds says lake users are urged to use caution over the next several days because there is "tons of debris" -- including trees, limbs and shrubs in the lake.
A Busti man has been arrested for allegedly having sexual contact with a 3-year-old child. Lakewood-Busti Police say they concluded an investigation by arresting 32 year-old Daniel Alger earlier this week. Details of the investigation were not released... but, Alger is charged with first-degree sexual abuse... second-degree Aggravated sexual abuse... and, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. He was arraigned in Busti Town Court... and, sent to the county jail where he posted 10-thousand dollars bail.
A regional search for the best candidate available to fill the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency's top position led to a man who lives and works here. County Executive Vince Horrigan says he is convinced that Kevin Sanvidge is that person. The two-month search involved a number of organizations including Empire State Development and the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council staff. Horrigan likes his management experience with the former Cliffstar Corporation and Al Tech. He says his experience in the food processing industry is a plus. County Legislature Minority Leader Keith Ahlstrom says he likes the choice of the Fredonia man... who has a wide variety of experience that also includes banking and manufacturing. Sanvidge will have to hit the ground running. He will take over the duties from Bill Daly who is retiring at the end of the month. Sanvidge is expected to begin work on Tuesday.
Carriage House workers and union officials held a community rally yesterday in Fredonia calling on the parent company to be fair about next year's closing of Carriage House. SEIU Local-#266 President Tom Dickerson says the rally was held in Barker Common. Dickerson says they wanted to send a message to ConAgra Foods. Dickerson says the idea started with the labor union at Carriage House... and, expanded out to include the Central Labor Council in Jamestown... and, others. ConAgra announced earlier this year that is planning to close both the Dunkirk and Fredonia plants by early 2015. More than 400 jobs are in jeopardy as a result of the scheduled closings.
A first-ever Chautauqua Tech Wars and Science Olympiad held a Jamestown Community College by the Manufacturer's Association of the Southern Tier was a big success. Those are the feelings of MAST Executive Director Todd Tranum... who says they were hoping to have 300 to 400 middle and high school students take part. As it was... Tranum says about 350 students from around the county took part. Tranum says the program took the "tech tours" of businesses they do with an interactive program. Tranum says the program "seeks to engage our county's youth to consider a career in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math -- or STEM -- related field." He called the inaugural event a "great kick-off" to many more. In addition to MAST and the county's Chamber of Commerce... the Tech Wars and Science Olympiad was put on by the local "Dream It -- Do It" Western New York program... the Chautauqua County Education Coalition... the local schools, and the county's Tech and Science teachers.
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area gas are holding steady as we head into the long Memorial Day Holiday weekend. The Triple-A's Fuel Gauge reports that prices stayed about the same this week at 3-dollars-84 cents a gallon. Nationally... as the nation approaches the official start of the summer driving season, drivers continue to see prices moving a little bit lower at the pump. Triple-A says this week's national average price for regular, unleaded gasoline is 3-dollars-64 cents per gallon... and, has remained relatively unchanged over the past seven days. However... the Fuel Gauge reports political tensions between Russia and the Ukraine are keeping global markets on edge.
Town of Busti man arrested for allegedly having sexual contact with 3-year-old...
A Busti man has been arrested for allegedly having sexual contact with a 3-year-old child. Lakewood-Busti Police say they concluded an investigation by arresting 32 year-old Daniel Alger earlier this week. Details of the investigation were not released... but, Alger is charged with first-degree sexual abuse... second-degree Aggravated sexual abuse... and, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. He was arraigned in Busti Town Court... and, sent to the county jail where he posted $10,000 bail.
Horrigan says county to look into seeking state and federal disaster declaration for Flood Damage...
Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says he'll be seeking state and federal assistance for the clean-up -- and rebuilding efforts in some places -- from this week's flooding in the Jamestown-area. Horrigan adds that they will likely work on gathering information from last week's storm and flooding issues in the Silver Creek and Hanover areas. While there were no homes destroyed... Horrigan says there's been plenty of public and private damage done from those storms.
CLA to begin Lake work early due to storm debris...
The Chautauqua Lake Association is deploying two of it's crews over the next several days to collect floating debris from the flooding that occured in the wake of this week's severe thunderstorms. CLA President Doug Conroe tells us the association's executive committee met late wednesday... and, authorized having two harvesters... two transports and barges for this major undertaking. Conroe says one crew will be deployed in the lake’s South Basin... while the other crew will service the North. He adds says lake users are urged to use caution over the next several days because there is "tons of debris" -- including trees, limbs and shrubs in the lake.
A stalled warm front that triggered re-occuring thunderstorms hit the Jamestown-area between early and mid-morning Wednesday. That led to some flooding... and, a lot of high water across the region. Some 4 to 5 inches of rain fell through mid-morning. The National Weather Service discontinued a Flood Warning for the Chadakoin River at Falconer... and, the river began receeding by early afternoon. That was good news to Mayor David Krieg... who says three homes were temporarily evacuated... but, everyone was back in by early afternoon. He says in all the years he's lived in Falconer... he's never seen flooding this bad. Earlier... Chautauqua County Emergency Dispatchers were asking people to avoid the intersection of Tiffany Avenue and Allen Streets in Jamestown. An eyewitness tells us that cars were stuck in 3 to 4 feet of water in that area. In addition... Krieg says the fire department pumped out a number of basements. Krieg says ALL roads had reopened in Falconer by late afternoon. But... there was still some high water on the Gerry-Levant Road.
The Goose Creek-area of Ashville... and, just west of the village of Lakewood... were also hard hit by flood waters Wednesday. In fact... the Ashville fire chief and a resident say they haven't seen flooding this bad since the Panama Dam broke in 1987. Todd Norris has lived for several years on Route 474 in the hamlet... and, says they're used to some high water and possible flooding each year. Norris says his biggest concern was the appliances in his basement. Norris says that's why he invested in a sump pump to maintain a low-water level in his basement. He says the water rose to about two-feet deep in his front yard... which is higher ground than his neighbors. Fire Chief Charlie Rugg says Norris is one of about 30 homes in that area affected. Rugg says he was called out to the scene about 10 AM after water was seen moving swiftly -- with debris in it -- under the Maple Avenue Bridge -- along Route 474. He says they closed off Maple Avenue before the water went over the span. At one point... Rugg says the water was running almost a half-a-foot over the bridge. Lakewood Fire Crews, meantime, closed off Route 394 from the 'Triangle' with 474 to the Ashville BOCES due to high water in the creek where that bridge is.
The south county has been the primary trouble spot as far flooding and high water Wednesday. The Chadakoin River runs through the city of Jamestown... but, problems weren't as been as bad there as in Falconer. Mayor Sam Teresi says one house on Hallock Street had to be evacuated due to high water... but, he says the situation isn't new to city officials. He adds the city Fire and Police Departments were on high-alert... along with the Public Works Department... and, the Board of Public Utilities. He says the typical areas where high water and flood can take place have been the problem areas... including Jones and Gifford Avenue... and Buffalo Street at Blackstone Avenue. Fire officials say they had 90 basements to pump out yesterday and last night.
A north county banker and businessman has been tapped to be Chautauqua County's new administrative director and Chief Executive Officer of the Industrial Development Agency. In announcing the appointment of Kevin Sandvidge... County Executive Vince Horrigan says he will also serve in the dual role of director of the county's Planning and Economic Development Department. Horrigan says Sandvidge will begins his new position on May 27th... and, will replace the retiring William Daly. He says Sandvidge is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Lake Shore Savings Bank. Horrigan adds he is also a member of the Board of Directors of ECR International Corporation. He is also a past board Chairman of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce. Sandvidge previously held management positions for Cliffstar Corporation... and, Al Tech Specialty Steel.
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly trafficking marijuana and illegal narcotics from a southside home. City police say investigators and members of of the State Police C-NET Team raided a home at 75 Barrett Avenue... and, took 37 year-old McKinley Barnes into custody. Police officials say officers found half-a-pound of pot... a quantity of Fentanyl patches... and, a large amount of cash inside the apartment. Officers say Barnes is charged with Felony criminal possession of a controlled substance... and fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana. He was taken to the city jail where he's awaiting arraignment. Police say anyone with information on the illegal sale of drugs can call the JPD Tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has picked former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul (HOE-kuhl) of Buffalo as his choice to be New York's next lieutenant governor. Cuomo made the announcement Wednesday with a video played at the state Democratic convention on Long Island. Hochul was elected to the U.S. House in 2010 and served one term. She is now an M&T Bank vice president. Cuomo says Hochul knows government and business and brings added perspective to the campaign as a western New York resident and this year's only female statewide candidate from a major party. Current Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy is not seeking another term. Democrats will nominate Cuomo and Hochul on Thursday. This fall they face Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive, and his running mate, Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss.
New York voters have approved 98 percent of school budgets proposed for next year, including 14 that will increase taxes beyond a state-imposed cap. The New York State School Boards Association says preliminary results show voters Tuesday passed 652 budgets and defeated 11, with 13 districts' results outstanding. On average... the budgets increase spending by 2.6 percent and raise the tax levy by 1.98 percent -- the average limit under New York's tax cap formula.
South County innundated with heavy rain -- 3 to 4 inches at least -- that triggers flash flooding. Water receding this afternoon...
A stalled warm front that triggered re-occuring thunderstorms hit the Jamestown-area early and mid-morning today. That led to some flooding... and, a lot of high water across the region. At least 3 to 4 inches of rain fell through mid-morning today. The National Weather Service has discontinued a Flood Warning for the Chadakoin River at Falconer... but, the river is not expected to crest until mid-afternoon... so flooding remains a potential issue. A Flash Flood Watch through 8 this evening.
The biggest problems so far have been in Falconer... where Mayor David Krieg says they've been busy since 5 this morning. Krieg says there were three precautionary evacuations earlier today. But... he says everyone's back in their homes. Earlier... Chautauqua County Emergency Dispatchers were asking people still to avoid the intersection of Tiffany Avenue and Allen Streets in Jamestown -- near the Falconer Village line. There was 3 to 4 feet of rain there. In addition... Krieg says the fire department has pumped out a number of basements.
In Jamestown... Battalion Fire Chief Matt Russo says they've pumped out 24 basements as of Noon... and, they still have 66 on their list.
County Emergency Services says Route 60 and 62 remains closed in Kiantone due to flooding... and, there's high water on Route 380 between Falconer and Kimball Stand. That remains closed. Riverside and donalson Road remains closed in Kiantone... and, Jones and Gifford Avenue from Celoron into Jamestown is closed. Also closed is Kabob Road in the central county.
More later, including school budget and board votes from Tuesday.
(**News alert)Two hurt, one seriously, in two-car accident in town of Chautauqua...
Two people were injured... one seriously... in a two-car crash on Route 394 in the town of Chautauqua early this afternoon. Sheriff's officers say 38 year-old Scott Boardman was northbound near Lighthouse Grocery... when the driver of the second-vehicle, 22 year-old Edward Schlabach of Mayville, pulled out of the parking lot -- in front of Boardman. Deputies say the two vehicles collided... and, came to rest in a lawn on the westside of the roadway. Officers say Scott Boardman was not hurt... but, his passenger, 37 year-old Autumn Boardman, had to be flown to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie for treatement of non-life threatening injuries. Deputies say Schlabach had to be exricated from his motor vehicle... and, then was also flown to Hamot. The investigation is continuing and charges are pending.
Westfield woman wins $1-million for second-prize in April 9 Powerball Lottery...
A Westfield woman has won $1-million in the New York state Lottery's Powerball Jackpot. Lottery officials announced this afternoon that 68 year-old Janice Cochran won the second-prize for the April 9, 2014 drawing. They say Cochrain claimed her winning ticket on April 16 at the Lottery’s Buffalo Customer Service Center. Cochran said she only plays the Lottery when she "has a couple of extra dollars." She purchased her ticket on Saturday, April 5, at the Country Fair Store at 51 Main Street in Brocton. She waited a few days after the drawing to check her ticket on the Lottery website... and, that’s when she found out she was a big winner. "I saw the name of the store first, and thought, ‘That’s where I bought my ticket.’" She then checked the numbers and was shocked when they matched her ticket. The $1-million is paid out as a one-time lump sum payment. Cochran will receive a net check totaling $661,800 after required withholdings. Cochran said she is unsure of her plans for the prize money but may take a trip to Arizona. She is the 64th New Yorker to claim a New York Lottery prize $1-million or more so far this year.
It's school budget... and, board election day in Chautauqua County... and, across New York state. The first district in the Jamestown-area to hold voting is Southwestern... which has an initial round of voting from 7 to 9 AM. School Superintendent Maureen Donahue says the board had to make some very difficult decisions to bring the 26.1-million dollar spending plan in under the state's 2-percent property tax cap. Donahue says what hurt Southwestern was they got a very low percentage of their Gap Eliminiation Adjustment restored by the state when their aid was determined. In fact... Donahue says that's less than 15-percent of the total. She adds they're still about one-million dollars short of where they should be in basic Foundation Aid. Despite that... Donahue says they were able to keep the tax levy increase below the state cap. She says they could have had an increase of 3.47-percent... but, their increase is 2.74-percent. That means a simple majority of "yes" votes will be needed to pass the 2014-2015 spending plan. After the early round of voting... residents can vote at Southwestern from 2 to 9 PM in the High School Lobby. In addition... Donahue says three people will be running for three, full-term board seats. They include incumbants David Turnbull... and Kurt Gustafson... and, newcomer Cynthia McFadden.
Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says he has made his choice... and, will be introducing a new Administrative Director and Chief Executive Officer of the county's Industrial Development Agency this week. While he will wait to announce his selection... Horrigan Monday talked about the process he used to find the new director. Current IDA Director Bill Daly... who has held the position for the past eight years... is retiring at the end of next week. Horrigan says he was prepared to make an interim appointment, but says the search did not have to be extended. He says he didn't want to rush making a choice because he needs "the right person..." and, he feels good that they have found that person. The new IDA Director will also serve as the county's director of Planning and Economic Development. Horrigan says he'll make the announcement this Wednesday at 5 PM in Mayville.
City lawmakers have unanimously approved a 1.5-million dollar project to renovate and upgrade the food service area at Jamestown Community College's Hamilton Collegiate Center. The City Council last night unanimously approved the measure. JCC Vice-President for Administration John Garfoot recently told council members that JCC is still working with an area built in 1962 to handle feeding about 400 people a week. Garfoot says their numbers have grown about eight-fold in that time. Garfoot says the project would renovate three main areas... food preparation, food delivery, and consumption. He adds that a lot of their refrigeration, freezer, and oven units are old... and, they lose a lot of food because it can't be kept or cooked at proper temperatures. He says they asked an architectural firm to draw up an estimate... which came to about 1.54-million dollars. Garfoot says Chautauqua County officials agreed last year to pay 25-percent of the project. He adds the State University of New York agreed to have the project put into the final state budget. New York will pick-up 50-percent of the cost... and, Garfoot adds they'll be approaching Cattaraugus County about the other 25-percent. While the city of Jamestown is still a sponsor... he says the city won't have to pick up any of the costs.
A 16 year-old male student at Cassadaga Valley Central School has been arrested for allegedly being found in possession of two bottles of a narcotic drug prescribed for another youth. Sheriff's officers say the 16 year-old... who's from Sinclairville... was arrested last Wednesday on one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance. The teen was arrested... and, issued appearance tickets for Gerry Town Court.
A Jamestown man found guilty of being involved in operating a Methamphetime Lab in the city last October has been sentenced to state prison time. District Attorney David Foley says 38 year-old Phillip Reichardt received 2-and-a-half years in prison during sentencing in Chautauqua County Court today. Foley says Reichardt also received 2-years post-release supervision on a charge of third-degree unlawful manufacturing of Methamphetime. In addition... a north county man was sentenced to 4 to 8 years for allegedly setting fire to a building in Dunkirk. Foley says 55 year-old James Moreland was convicted of one count of third-degree Arson in the case.
One of two bills being introduced by Chautauqua County's representative in Congress would provide funding to help the county... and, it's municipalities... deal with Chautauqua Lake's invasive weed problem. Corning Republican Tom Reed says he and Florida Democrat Patrick Murphy are co-sponsoring the Impaired Waters Improvement Act. Reed says the legislation will provide federal dollars to help localities deal with burdensome regulations laid down by the "Total Maximum Daily Load" regulations for phospherous, and other chemicals. Reed says the TMDL standards came from regulations dealing with the Chesapeake Bay watershed area. He says the mandates are being pushed down to the local level... and, he says he and Murphy want to make sure the "burden is being recognized..." and, that the U-S Environmental Protection Agency is put in position to address them with the necessary resources.
A major malfunction with a transformer at a National Grid Company substation in the town of Busti cut power to some 6-thousand customers around the Jamestown-area Sunday morning. A National Grid Spokeswoman says an animal got into the transformer at the Baker Street Extension Substation about 8:40 AM... knocking the station off line. Crews were called in... and, power was restored to most customers just before 11 AM. Everyone was reported back on by Noon. The area affected reportedly extended from Panama to Frewsburg... and, south to the Pennsylvania state line. However... the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities service area was not affected by the outage.
The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office is still asking for the public's help in finding a young Jamestown man who was reported missing in the town of Charlotte this past Thursday morning. Sheriff Joe Gerace says they were helped last Friday by several other agencies in the search for 25 year-old Tyler Chase. Gerace says Chase had driven to his parents house in the Cook Road area of Charlotte. Gerace says they're not sure if Chase had met up with someone... and, left the area... or if he went to the wooded area nearby himself. His last contact with family or friends was about 12:30 AM Thursday. He says last Friday's search was very extensive... and, includes State Police and the New York Forest Ranger service. Tyler Chase is a white male with short dark hair. If you have seen him... or know of his whereabouts... you're asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 753-2131.
More than 800 Jamestown Community College graduates were "validated" by receiving their two-year associates degrees last weekend. That from keynote speaker Joshua Harris... a member of the JCC Class of 1998. Harris is now the Policy Director at the Future of Privacy Forum -- a think-tank in Washington, D-C. However... Harris says he wasn't really the "scholarly type" when he first went to JCC. He specifically thanked Political Science Professor Greg Rabb for helping to make him "scholarly material." He expanded that to tell the graduates that their degrees 'validate' them to prospective employers, and other colleges. Harris also told the full house at the JCC Physical Education Complex that "in a world of limited knowledge... we've been able to cut the number of extremely poor people in half in the past 22 years." He says that came through opening up International Trade... a field he worked in for a while. In fact... Harris says some experts estimate that up to 40 more countries are on track to completely eliminate "extreme poverty" within the next 25 years. JCC's 64th Commencement also marked the first one for new President, Cory Duckworth. Dr. Duckworth was joined by JCC Board Vice-Chairman Dale Robbins in presenting degrees to the graduates. Duckworth says he's "enjoyed every minute" of his first year at JCC.
More than 14-hundred students received their degrees last Saturday during two graduation ceremonies at the SUNY College at Fredonia. College Spokesman Mike Barone says bachelor's and master’s degree recipients, as well as those earning advanced certificates, were honored during the two ceremonies. In all... Barone says more than 12-hundred undergraduates and nearly 200 graduate students and advanced certificate recipients were eligible to graduate. SUNY College at Fredonia President Dr. Virginia Horvath presided over both ceremonies... and, congratulated all of the graduates and families on their various achievements. Horvath said -- "from this point, it’s up to you to show what Fredonians can do. We’re counting on you to use what you have learned, to continue to learn as new questions and technologies arise, and to represent your alma mater in all you do."
U-S Senator Charles Schumer is calling on Congress to allow current workers to refinance their student loan debt to get the same interest rates now offered to current students. The Democratic is pushing legislation that would let students and former students who took out a student loan before 2013 refinance their debt to get an interest rate of 3.86 percent. That's the same rate now offered to new borrowers. The average student loan debt in New York is 30-thousand dollars.
A relative newcomer has won the distinction of having the "Best Tasting Water" in Chautauqua County. The Frewsburg water system... which was troubled by contamination issues several years ago... won this year's contest at the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood. County Water Resource Specialist Bill Boria says Frewsburg won out over last year's champion, Jamestown, in the final round. Boria says this is the first time Frewsburg has won the annual competition. Boria says Frewsburg water system officials and workers have spent a lot of time upgrading their system... which is fed by a number of underground wells. He says the water now meets and exceeds most state standards... and, is "pretty good tasting" too. Boria says six municipal systems in all took part. In addition to Frewsburg and Jamestown... the villages of Fredonia... Brocton... Mayville and Sherman took part in ths year's contest. The program is part of National Drinking Water Week... which highlights efforts to protect... and, conserve our drinking water. Frewsburg now moves onto the Western New York regional competition in Rochester in July.
Dealing with Cancer can rob a woman of her energy, appetite, and strength. It can also hurt their self-esteem and confidence. But... that doesn't have to be the case. That's why WCA Hospital and the American Cancer Society are hosting a "Look Good Feel Better" program for women undergoing Cancer treatment today at WCA's Cancer Treatment Center. WCA's Wellness Director Toni DeAngelo... and, Shoshone Dentice with the American Cancer Society are putting on the program... which runs from 4:30 to 6:30 PM. DeAngelo says they've brought in six local cosmotologists to work with eight women who have gone through treatments to provide tips on skin care, make-up... and, coping with hair loss. For more information... call 1-800-227-2345.
Organizers of Jamestown's Memorial Day events are putting out a final call for veterans, active service members and community groups to sign up for this year's parade. Anyone interested in joining the parade is invited to a meeting tonight (Monday) at 7 PM at the Vietnam Veterans of America at 41 Bigelow Ave in Jamestown. Or you can call Dan Kell, the Parade Adjutant, at 485-3647. Jamestown's Memorial Day Parade steps off at 10 AM on Monday, May 26th... and will follow the regular route along 4th Street to Prendergast to Lakeview Cemetery. A truck will be provided for veterans who are unable to walk the entire route.
Search underway for missing Jamestown man in town of Charlotte...
The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help in finding a young Jamestown man who was reported missing in the town of Charlotte this past Thursday morning. Sheriff Joe Gerace says they were helped today by several other agencies in the search for 25 year-old Tyler Chase. Gerace says Chase had driven to his parents house in the Cook Road area of Charlotte. He says they were assisted in the search by State Police, the NYS Ranger service, and several fire departments. The search is done for the day... but, they're now asking for the public's assistance. Gerace says they're not sure if Chase had met up with someone... and, left the area... or if he went to the wooded area nearby himself. His last contact with family or friends was about 12:30 AM Thursday. He says today's search was very extensive. Tyler Chase is a white male with short dark hair. If you have seen him... or know of his whereabouts... you're asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 753-2131.
Steady, but, not heavy rain prevents seriously flooding in water-logged areas of Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties...
Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties are drying out after steady overnight rains threatened to create more flooding issues. However... County Emergency Services Director Julius Leone says they had no reports of any such problems. There may have been some high water issues in places hit hard by flash flooding earlier this week... including Randolph... the Frewsburg area... Gowanda and Silver Creek. Leone says it appears the worst of the rain moved through the area quicker than expected. No evacuations were needed... but, Southwestern New York Chapter of the American Red Cross Director Bill Tucker says their volunteers were ready if needed. Tucker says the Red Cross had been distributing Flood Disaster Kits to residents in those flood prone areas. Leone says they were in touch with state officials to help deal with any problems they may have. The state also allowed some dredging work in a troublesome creek in the Gowanda area to allow water to flow unempeded there. The clean-up is also continuing in those hard-hit areas.
Cornell to replace Larson on County Legislature...
A former Chautauqua County Legislator will be returning to the County Legislature to fill a vacancy. Jamestown Democrat Chuck Cornell will replace Fred Larson who stepping down after recently being appointed as Jamestown's second, full-time city judge. County Democratic Party Chairman Norm Green says Cornell will be a good fit. Green says Democrat Committee members in Jamestown met, and decided on Cornell. Chuck Cornell is currently the director the Center of Regional Advancement at the SUNY College at Fredonia. He will fill the vacancy until a special election is held in November. He still needs to formally accept the appointment... and, the full legislature is also required to act on it, most likely during it's May 28 meeting.
A Flash Flood Watch is being continued through this afternoon for most of Western New York... including Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. A very slow moving cold front has brought widespread moderate to heavy rain... and, is expected to do so through early afternoon with one-and-a-half to two inches expected, with locally higher amounts possible. Chautauqua County Emergency Services Director Julius Leone is concerned not only about the amount of rainfall, but also the timing. Leone says everyone should have a plan should flooding strike. He urges families to take the time so they know what to do when the water starts rising rapidly. Flooding of poor drainage areas and small creeks is possible... especially in those areas where flooding took place earlier this week.
Residents in the Gowanda, Silver Creek and Randolph areas remain on edge with more rain and thunderstorms in the forecast through early today. Many in the north county who experienced the devastating floods of 2009 had a similar experience early Tuesday when water spilled over the banks of several creeks and brooks. However... one Gowanda resident was able to escape with just lawn damage this time around. Don Rogers tells our Lee John he shored up some parts of his property -- mainly his garage -- after losing most everything in 2009. However... Rogers says there were some anxious moments when the water spilled over the banks of the brook behind his house early Tuesday. However... it began receeding not long after that and he was breathing a sigh of relief. He took a ride through the village early Tuesday night, though, and saw scenes similar to five-years ago... with destroyed household items piled at the curb... and, water pumps clearing basements. There was also a lot of damage in Silver Creek... and, Randolph -- where water closed off roads... and, forced school to be cancelled.
Jamestown firefighters were able to quickly snuff out flames that engulfed a vehicle... and, had started up on the side of a nearby garage yesterday on Buffalo Street. City Fire Lieutenant Mike Garvey says crews were called to the scene at 255 Buffalo about 11:30 AM... and, found the car fully-engulfed... and, fire on a corner of the garage. Garvey says crews quickly knocked down the fire on the garage... and, the car fire was put out a short time later. He says the owner of the car was working on the fuel pump when some fuel apparently got in a hot part of the engine. No one was hurt. Firefighters were at the scene for more than an hour.
New York state Republican's have picked Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino to lead an aggressive and united campaign against Governor Andrew Cuomo... and other Democrats. Republicans wrapped up their state party convention Thursday in Westchester County after nominating Astorino and other candidates for statewide office. The party is looking to repeat the successful 1994 campaign of former Republican Governor George Pataki, who ousted Cuomo's father Mario from the governor's office.
New York Republican's have also given their nomination for lieutenant governor to an upstate sheriff who has been a vocal critic of the state's new gun control law. Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss accepted the endorsement Thursday at the state GOP convention Westchester County. First elected sheriff in 2005... Moss leads the state sheriff's association and has criticized gun control measures championed by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Six muncipal water systems will take part in Chautauqua County's annual Best Tasting Water contest at the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood tomorrow. It's been several years since a local water system took home top honors in the state finals in Syracuse... so county Water Resource Specialist Bill Boria is hoping to break the drought this year. Boria says the last state winner from the county was 18 years ago. Boria says the six water systems involved Saturday include the city of Jamestown... and villages of Fredonia... Brocton... Mayville and Sherman. The hamlet of Frewsburg will also take part this year. Boria says there'll be three rounds of water tasting before they determine a winner. He says three of the entries will square off in the first round... then the other three will compete to make the finals. Boria says the winners will then be tasted by Mall patrons to see which one is the overall winner. The competition runs from 10 AM to 2 PM. Boria adds the winner moves onto regional competition. The finals are in Syracuse around Labor Day.
What's likely to be a record number of people will be taking part in Jamestown's annual Spring Clean-up event through-out the city tomorrow. The annual "Hands-On Jamestown" takes place tomorrow morning... beginning at 8 AM... and, continues through the early afternoon. It begins with check-in at City Hall on Tracy Plaza. This is the second-year that the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation has headed up the event. JRC Event and Programming Associate Tiffani Conti says pre-registration has gone very well. In recent years... Conti says they've gotten about 500 people on average to help out... so with volunteer walk-ups likely Saturday morning... they will easily set a record for participants. With the JRC involved... the event has not only emphasized cleaning up the downtown area... but, the neighborhood's too. Conti credits the efforts of the JRC's Mary Maxwell with getting them involved in the program. A continental breakfast will be provided to begin the day. M-and-T Bank... the Jamestown Rotary Club... the Gebbie and Chautauqua Region Community Foundations and Farm Fresh Foods are key sponsors. For more information... call the JRC at 664-2477... or go on-line to jrconline-dot-ORG.
The Buffalo Bills are seeking to be removed from a lawsuit filed by five former cheerleaders complaining of unfair working conditions. The Bills argue they should not be included in the lawsuit because the team long ago relinquished the rights to employing and managing the Buffalo Jills' cheerleading squad to private companies.
U-S Senator Charles Schumer says toxic algae found in 96 upstate New York lakes could contaminate drinking water and hurt tourism. The Democrat is asking the Environmental Protection Agency for guidance to help local water treatment plants test, and treat the toxins in the drinking water as well as criteria to help identify contaminated water.
Both Chautauqua and Cattaraugus County's remain under a Flood Watch through 2 PM Friday... as more showers and thunderstorms are predicted to be on the way. Forecaster Dave Zaff with the National Weather Service in Buffalo says another round of showers and storms could be heavy enough to trigger more flash flooding. Zaff says you should be prepared to move quickly... even you live in an area where there hasn't been any recent flooding. He says even if you live along a creek bed that hasn't flooded in several years... and, the area gets 4 to 5 inches of rain in a short period of time "it's going to flood." Forecasters say that any thunderstorms that develop will be capable of producing localized downpours with rainfall rates of 1 to 1.5-inches per hour.
Severe storms that dumped up to five inches of rain have forced evacuations and closed roads in the Finger Lakes region through early Wednesday. Authorities tell local media that flash flooding forced some homes to be evacuated early Wednesday morning in the Yates County village of Penn Yan, on the northern end of Keuka Lake. The National Weather Service says thunderstorms that began hitting that region late Tuesday night dumped about five inches of rain in four hours. Heavy rains Tuesday caused severe flooding in Gowanda, Silver Creek, and Randolph.
The investigation is continuing into the discovery of a possible methamphetamine lab in a vehicle that was parked outside Dunkirk City Hall late Tuesday. The incident led to two people being treated for exposure to meth, including the person who reported the incident. Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano says the incident came as a surprise. The Southern Tier Regional Drug Task also responded to the woman's residence on Straight Road where a second person was decontaminated and sent to the hospital for treatment.
A retired Jamestown Police officer whose been involved in law enforcement most of his adult life has announced that he's running for Chautauqua County Sheriff. Frewsburg native Russ Payne says he had actually been considering a run for public office the past couple of years... after he was sought out by a couple of people... and, he talked with others. Payne says he was put in contact with the county's Republican Committee... and, they recently voted to endorse him. Payne says he's been involved with public service much of his life... and, still enjoys it. He's current doing some security work Payne says he began his career as an M-P in the U-S Air Force for four years. He then worked for the town of Carroll Police Department before taking his civil Service exam... and, became a Jamestown police officer for 20 years. He also worked for a while as a County Court Security officer. Payne says getting all the county's police agencies to work together more cooperatively would be one goal if he's elected. He will oppose incumbant Democratic Sheriff Joe Gerace... who is completing his fifth-term in office.
A top advisor to former Governor George Pataki has won the state Republican Party's nomination for attorney general. John Cahill served stints as chief of staff, general counsel and commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation with Pataki. The state GOP nominated the 55-year-old Cahill on Wednesday during its convention in Westchester County. Cahill faces Democratic Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in the November election.
Onondaga County Comptroller Robert Antonacci has won the state Republican Party's nomination to challenge New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in this fall's election. The nomination came Wednesday, the first day of the GOP's convention in Westchester County. Antonacci is a lawyer and accountant from Syracuse who was first elected county comptroller in 2007. He has vowed to participate in a pilot public campaign financing program recently rejected by DiNapoli.
A Cattaragus County couple face animal neglect charges after 14 cows and six goats were found starved to death on their property in the town of Allegeny. Sheriff's officers in Little Valley say a Chautauqua County Humane Society Investigator charged Christopher... and, Catherine Conhiser (Con-hyzer) Andera with multiple counts of Failure to Provide Sustenance -- food and water to an animal. Deputies say this followed an joint investigation with the Humane Society's Large Animal Veterinarian at the Andera's property on Wing Hollow Road. The Human Society Investigator... Rey Muniz, Jr... says the original complaint was filed late last year... and, they tried to work with the Andera's to make sure the animals were properly cared for. However... a recent follow-up health check on the animals found several had died.
A Panama man has pleaded guility to the orginal indictment for setting a neighbor's house on fire during a dispute over a barking dog just before jury selection was to begin in his re-trial. Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley was pleased that Barack Cornell pled to the original charges... which included second-degree arson, and three counts of reckless endangerment. However... Foley was not pleased the court gave Cornell a 10 year determinate sentence. Foley says the biggest problem was the incident occured in 2008... and, getting witnesses back to testify again is one of the problems involved. Cornell was originally sentenced to 25 years in state prison... but, that was overturned on appeal... and, the case was ordered to be re-tried. Foley is happy that a maximum of five-years post release supervision was included in the sentence. If he exhibits good behavior... Foley says Cornell could be released in 2-and-a-half to 3 years. The Jeff Lubi family was alerted to the fire... which was set on a deck... and, everyone got out of the home safely.
Flash Flood Watch in effect for Jamestown-area, including area's hard hit on Tuesday...
With more showers and thunderstorms on the way... the National Weather Service has posted a Flash Flood Watch now through Friday afternoon. The watch area includes Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. However... Forecaster Dave Zaff in Buffalo says another round of showers and storms could be heavy enough to trigger more flash flooding -- especially in areas heavily affected yesterday. Zaff says you should be prepared to move quickly, even you live in an area where there hasn't been any recent flooding. Forecasters say that any thunderstorms that develop will be capable of producing localized downpours with rainfall rates of 1 to 1.5 inches per hour.
Cornell pleads guilty to six-year old charges in intentionally set fire; D-A unhappy with sentencing...
A Panama man has pleaded guility to the original indictment for setting a neighbor's house on fire during a dispute over a barking dog just before jury selection was to begin in his re-trial. Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley was pleased that Barack Cornell pled to the original charges... which included second-degree arson, and three counts of reckless endangerment. However... Foley was not pleased the court gave Cornell a 10 year determinate sentence. He says he was looking for 14 to 15-years in prison. Foley says the court capped it at 10 over his objection. However... he adds the case was returned on appeal on a technicality that occured in court during the original trial. Foley says the biggest problem was the incident occured in early 2008... and, getting witnesses back to testify again is one of the problems involved. Cornell was originally sentenced to 25 years in state prison... but, that was overturned on appeal... and, the case was ordered to be re-tried. Foley is glad that a maximum of five-years post release supervision was included in the sentence. However... if he exhibits good behavior... Foley says Cornell could be released in 2-and-a-half to 3 years.
Drug Task Force, Dunkirk Police investigate meth lab found inside car...
The investigation is continuing into the discovery of a possible methamphetamine lab in a vehicle that was parked outside Dunkirk City Hall late Tuesday. The incident led to two people being treated for exposure to meth, including the person who reported the incident. Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano says the incident came as a surprise. The Southern Tier Regional Drug Task also responded to the woman's residence on Straight Road where a second person was decontaminated and sent to the hospital for treatment.
Slow moving showers and thunderstorms hit portions of Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties yesterday morning... dumping more than two inches of rain in some locations. The torrential rains caused flash flooding with some of worst occurring in Ellington... and, the village of Silver Creek in Chautauqua County. Cherry Creek also saw a lot of high water. Silver Creek Mayor Nick Piccolo says the heavy rain caused creek levels to rise very rapidly. Route 5 in the village was closed a while... and, a few buildings were evacuated temporarily. Meteorologist Dan Kelly with the National Weather Service says the heavy rain resulted from a stationary front that was draped over the area. Kelly says the storms hit a stationary front... and, just kept re-occuring. He says it produced 2.6-inches in Forestville. Piccolo says the flood waters seemed to ease as the sun came out across the area later in the day. Route 394 near Waterboro Hill Road in the Ellington-area was also closed a few hours. It reopened by late morning.
The Jamestown City School District's chief financial officer says he feels "very good" about the final, 2014-15 budget that will go before voters next Tuesday. Assistant Superintendent for Administration Dale Weatherlow presented details about the 75.7-million dollar spending plan during last night's public hearing at Persell Middle School. Weatherlow says there's a slight, 399-thousand dollar increase in spending... but, adds there's no increase in the tax levy. That's despite a 29-percent increase in state pension costs. Weatherlow says the school board talked about using the state's "pension smoothing" plan... but, he's opposed to it. Weatherlow says other factors in the half-a-percent increase in spending is more money being allocated to professional development... which he says it "sorely needed..." but, adds the increases are being offset by a "fairly large" amount of debt that's been paid off... and, is coming off the books. No one spoke during the public hearing. District voters will weigh in on the spending plan next Tuesday from Noon to 9 PM at Lincoln, Jefferson, and Washington Middle Schools.
The budget will be one of two propositions on the ballot in Jamestown next Tuesday. Another proposition to borrow 606-thousand dollars for bus purchases will be the second. Assistant Superintendent for Administration Dale Weatherlow says some vehicles in the city district's fleet are aging... and, in dire need of upgrading. Weatherlow says Proposition-Two will allow for three new "spare buses" to be brought on-line... along with a new, wheelchair bus. He says one of the current one's they have won't pass another state DOT inspection unless costly repairs are made. For more information on the proposition... and, the 2014-15 budget... you can contact the district offices... or go on-line to Jamestownpublicschool-dot-ORG.
It was a two-and-a-half year effort that produced the U-S Department of Energy's order for special glass containers from RHI Monofrax in Falconer. That from Monofrax's local president, Daryl Clendenen, who praised local Congressman Tom Reed for pushing to have Monofrax get the contract because it's the only U-S company that makes the refractories used to store nuclear waste. Clendenen says Reed championed the effort... along with U-S Senator Chuck Schumer... local unions... and, Assemblyman Andy Goodell and State Senator Cathy Young. He also thanked county officials for keeping the issue at the forefront. Reed announced the agreement with the DOE... for a minimum of 1.5-million dollars... yesterday (Monday). Clendenen says they expect a final contract to be in place by early to mid-July. He adds the best news is that 74 employees who were laid-off during a slow fourth-quarter last year... and, slow first-quarter this year...will be recalled to fill the orders. He says they should be "ramped" back up by mid-June.
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly approaching officers during a domestic dispute on the city's eastside Monday with a knife in his hand. However... city police say the accused man, 51 year-old David Baron, dropped the knife after being told several times to drop it. Officers were called to the scene at 108 Bowen Street shortly after 1 PM. Police say they also found Baron in possession of stolen property from a related incident. He was arrested for criminal possession of stolen property... and, obstruction... and, sent to the county jail without bail.
A former racer at Stateline Speedway... and, area businessman... will be reopening the town of Busti dirt track early July. Westfield native Bill Catania, Jr. announced during a press conference yesterday morning at the Peek 'n Peak Resort that he will be leasing the one-third mile oval for this year while continuing to work on a final purchase agreement. Catania announced late last month that he had made a "fair market" offer for the Kortwright Road facility. Catania says he plans to have opening night on Saturday, July 5th after some facilities upgrades are made. He adds that ALL classes that ran last year will run this year. Catania also says there will be an "open practice and Champions recognition" night on Thursday, June 26th. Last year's division champions... and, top 10 finishers will be honored.
Catania announces his management group will lease Stateline Speedway while purchase agreement is worked out; racing to begin July 5th...
A former racer at Stateline Speedway... and, area businessman... will be reopening the town of Busti dirt track early July. Westfield native Bill Catania, Jr. announced during a press conference this morning at the Peek 'n Peak Resort that he will be leasing the one-third mile oval for this year while continuing to work on a final purchase agreement. Catania announced late last month that he had made a "fair market" offer for the Kortwright Road facility to late owner Fritz Seamen's widow, Jennifer... and, Seamen's children. Catania says he plans to have opening night on Saturday, July 5th after some facilities upgrades are made. He adds that ALL classes that ran last year will run this year. Catania also says there will be an "open practice and Champions recognition" night on Thursday, June 26. Last year's division champions... and, top 10 finishers will be honored. Catania is the son of multiple-time Limited Late Model Champion Bill Catania, Sr.
They're called "Zombie properties..." or, homes that are 'underwater...' but, haven't been taken back by banks or mortgage companies. And... they've become a problem in Jamestown as well as the state. However... state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has introduced legislation to allow the current owner to stay in the home until there's a final resolution... and, to track down the financial institutions responsible for the vacant properties. That from Mayor Sam Teresi... who says Schneiderman has proposed the "Abandoned Property Neighborhood Relief Act of 2014" to stem the local problem of abandoned properties. Teresi says the legislation... which has already been introduced in the Assembly... has four parts. The first... and probably key one for municipalities like Jamestown... is creation of a state-wide registry of abandoned properties. In fact... City Development Director Vince DeJoy says it's one of several items they pushed the Attorney General's Office to have in the legislation. DeJoy says his office isn't able to generate such a list -- with who holds the property -- right now. Teresi says another key part would force mortgage companies to create an "early legal notice" that tells the delinquent homeowner they can stay there until they get a court order telling them to leave.
A local manufacturer of containers to transport nuclear waste is being awarded a contract by the U-S Department of Energy for at least 1.5-million dollars to clean-up three regional sites. The good news was announced this morning by local Congressman Tom Reed... who adds that a final contract with RHI Monofrax of Falconer is being completed. Reed anticipates that should take place by sometime in July. The Corning Republican was pleased his office was able to move the agreement along. RHI Monofrax had seen a recent downturn in business... and, reports were that 74 of the approximately 180 employees at the plant had been laid off by mid March. Reed says there is a demand for the refractories at the Savannah River... Hartford... and, West Valley sites. He says Monofrax will likely be bringing at least some workers back... but, the exact number hasn't been made known. In a press release... Monofrax President Daryl Clendenen said they're "very grateful" for Reed's help. Clendenen says -- "his presence at our facility on multiple occasions and the work he has done to make this a success clearly shows his commitment to this facility and the men and women who work (here)."
Local, county and state officials continue to work on plan for the future after Carriage House closes its operations in Fredonia. Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says he has weekly conference calls on the issue with State Empire Development officials along with other local leaders. He says today (Monday) that they are taking a dual approach to developing a plan... either with a major producer or possibly developing an agri-business park.
Congressman Tom Reed's office is also taking part in the weekly conference calls. Horrigan says it's important for all levels of government to work together. But... he says the primary driver in all this right now is ConAgra. Horrigan discussed the process of developing a plan during a recent meeting with the Chautauqua County League of Women voters.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says the pension fund for state and local government workers has reached a record high of 176.2-billion dollars with a 13-percent return on investment last year. NiNapoli says that's from "riding a bull market" for stocks. DiNapoli, who is sole trustee of the Common Retirement Fund, says it also paid $9.7 billion to beneficiaries in the fiscal year that ended March 31st.
A two-month-old child suffered no "obvious injuries" when she apparently fell out of a second-story window on Jamestown's westside Sunday night. City Fire officials say they... along with Jamestown police and Alstar Ambulance... were called to the scene at 21 West Eighth Street shortly before 9 PM. A fire lieutenant says the child was secured on a back-board... and, taken to WCA Hospital for initial treatment. City Police say the toddler was later flown to Women and Children's Hospital in Buffalo as a pre-caution. No criminal wrongdoing was found... and, no charges were filed.
Chautauqua County's Representative in Congress says he wants to see a special prosecutor appointed to investigate former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner... who was found in Contempt of Congress late last week. Corning Republican Tom Reed says he was among the 250 House members who agreed with Speaker John Boehner to NOT have Lerner arrested after she was found in contempt in a 231-to-187 vote. Reed says the former head of the IRS's division in charge of Tax Exemptions made 17 separate factual assertions before invoking her Fifth Amendment rights under the constitution. Reed says the ball is now "in the court" of Attorney General Eric Holder... and, he wants to see where it goes before the Republican majority in Congress decides it's next move. Lerner is considered the focal point of an on-going investigation into whether the IRS intentionally, and unfairly scrutinized conservative and TEA Party groups seeking tax-exempt status. Reed made his comments during his weekly conference call with Southern Tier Media.
Reed announces new DOE contract agreement with RHI Monofrax in Falconer to provide refractories for regional nuclear waste facilities, including West Valley...
A local manufacturer of containers to transport nuclear waste is being awarded a contract by the U-S Department of Energy for at least $1.5-million dollars to clean-up three regional sites. The good news was announced this morning by local Congressman Tom Reed... who adds that a final contract with RHI Monofrax of Falconer still has to be finalized. However... Reed anticipates that should take place by sometime in July. The Corning Republican was pleased his office was able to move the agreement along. He says they weighed in with both the DOE and Monofrax to cut through the "red tape" to get a deal struck. Reed adds it should be finalized this Summer. RHI Monofrax had seen a recent downturn in business... and, reports were that 74 of the approximately 180 employees at the plant had been laid off by mid March. Reed says there is a demand for the refractories at the Savannah River... Hartford... and, West Valley sites. He says Monofrax will likely be bringing at least some workers back... but, the exact number hasn't been made known. At this point... Reed says confirming the purchase order is the major part of the deal. RHI Monofrax Human Resources Director Phil Mobilia declined to say what kind of impact the new contract would have on jobs. We have a phone message into Plant Manger Daryl Clendenon.
Two-month old falls from second-story window in Jamestown, but, apparently suffers no major injuries...
A two-month-old child suffered no "obvious injuries" when she apparently fell out of a second-story window on Jamestown's westside last night. City Fire officials say they... along with Jamestown police and Alstar Ambulance... were called to the scene at 21 West 8th St. shortly before 9 p.m. A fire lieutenant says they child was secured on a back-board... and, taken by Alstar Ambulance to WCA Hospital for initial treatment of a possible minor head injury. City Police say the toddler was later flown to Women and Children's Hospital as a pre-caution. No criminal wrongdoing was found... and, no charges were found.
DiNapoli announces new record high for state Pension Fund...
New York's comptroller says the pension fund for state and local government workers has reached a record high of $176.2-billion with a 13-percent return on investment last year. Thomas NiNapoli says that's from "riding a bull market" for stocks. DiNapoli, who is sole trustee of the Common Retirement Fund, says it also paid $9.7 billion to beneficiaries in the fiscal year that ended March 31. Almost 38-percent of its holdings are in domestic stocks, which rose 22 percent. The fund for some 650-thousand government employees pays benefits to about 400-thousand retirees and beneficiaries.
A city man is jailed without bail for allegedly selling narcotics to undercover drug agents in Jamestown less than a week after he was arrested during a drug raid. Sheriff's Department Correction's officers say 37 year-old Simeon Leeper was brought to the county lock-up last weekend for allegedly selling drugs to JPD Narcotics Unit... and, State Police C-NET Team members. Leeper had initially been arrested with another man during a drug raid at 846 Lafayette Street May 2nd. He was allegedly found flushing narcotics down a toilet. He was arrested on misdemeanor charges... and, released on bail. However... the Post-Journal reports a warrant had been issued May 8th for Leeper's arrest... and, officers spotted him coming out of the Bullfrog Hotel early last Friday and getting into a vehicle. The paper says Leeper was arrested after an officer broke out a car window. He was arraigned on charges including Felony third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance... and, sent to the county lock-up.
State lawmakers are hosting a roundtable discussion to examine the rise in heroin and opioid abuse in New York. Members of the state Assembly are set to hold the event TODAY at the legislative office building in Albany. Representatives from mental health organizations, public health agencies and law enforcement are scheduled to attend, along with drug policy experts. The Senate is holding a series of similar forums around the state to study the epidemic of opiate abuse and recommend ways to combat it. A second Assembly roundtable is scheduled for June 5th in New York City.
Travelers in the western Southern Tier will have to make alternate plans for travel on part of Interstate 86 in an area of the Seneca Nation's Allegany Reservation. State Department of Transportation Regional Director Darell Kaminski says both lanes in BOTH directions between Exits 21 and 23 in Cattaraugus County will close at 3 this afternoon for the next five months. Kaminski says the closings are due to constraints of the job sites... and, extent of the work being done. He says the 21-million dollar project is part of Governor Cuomo's Driver's First Initiative. Kaminiski says detours using State Route 417 will be used during the construction period. However... he says motorists are advised to expect delays. In addition to major road resurfacing... Kaminski says the project also includes some minor bridge rehabilitation work... and, the reconstruction of on and off-ramps at Exit 20 near the Seneca Allegany Casino.
Recent polls have found a surprising number of immigrants eligible for citizenship are opting not to become naturalized U-S citizens. It's estimated that more than 8-million immigants nationwide are eligible to apply... but, many have never even taken the first step. Some cite the expense, which is about 700-dollars in fees, plus the cost of a lawyer. The Pew Hispanic Research Center's Mark Lopez says there are some key differences between having legal permanent status and being a U.S. citizen. One is you cannot be deported. In addition... Julissa Gutierrez with the National Association of Latino Elected Officials says they encourage people to take the pathway to citizenship so they have the right to vote. Lopez adds others worry that they don't speak English well enough to pass the citizenship test. A recent Pew Research Center poll found only 36-percent of Mexicans who are here legally actually go on to become naturalized U-S citizens. This percentage is much less than other groups, including Cubans, Indians and Europeans. Finally... the Pew poll also found that the vast majority of immigrants -- and the American public -- do support a pathway to citizenship.
A city man is jailed without bail for allegedly driving recklessly... and, crashing his Sports Utility Vehicle with a 15 year-old child inside the car last Friday afternoon. Jamestown police were called to the area of Camp Street shortly before 2 PM on a report of a silver-colored SUV being operated in a reckless manner. Officers say shortly after that... they got a report of a similar-colored vehicle hitting a sign near Bush School... then rolling over in front of 258 Camp Street. When police arrived... they found 20 year-old Devin Figueroa and the teenager outside the vehicle... walking around. Neither appeared hurt. Upon further investigation... officers say they found that Figueroa and the child were inhaling a can of "Duster" -- or canned air -- while Figueroa was driving. He was arraigned on charges including Felony first-degree reckless endangerment... reckless driving... and, endangering the welfare of a child... and, sent to the county lock-up.
While members of the Chautauqua County Water Agency have taken a major step in reaching a consensus on a North County Water district... there is still a lot of work ahead. That's the assessment of County Executive Vince Horrigan who was released with the decision that was made during a meeting last night. The village of Fredonia is now part of the proposal, but Horrigan says trustees will be required to pass a special resolution. Dunkirk Mayor A-J Dolce says he is glad that the group has included Fredonia, but he says some tough decisions still have to made. One is whether the city and village are on the "inside" of the district... or selling from "outside" the district... and, Dolce says those talks "will be intense." Members have spent the past month reviewing a number of options and examining cost figures.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation has a new law enforcement director. Major Timothy Duffy takes over a department that oversees more than 330 staffers. The division enforces environmental conservation law, focusing on fish and wildlife... but, it's officers can enforce all state laws. Duffy has more than 25 years of service with the DEC's Division of Law Enforcement and has been responsible for all administrative and operational activities for the lower Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island Regions of the state.
Brief stint of Summer-like Weather coming to an end...
Rain is in our forecast through overnight tonight after another day of unseasonably warm weather... with our temperatures reaching the mid-80s in the Jamestown-area Friday. We had some sun earlier in the day. Forecaster Dan Kelly with the National Weather Service in Buffalo says a warm front moved through the area early Thursday... bringing a southerly flow of air to the region. However... Kelly says we'll see some changes for the weekend beginning later tonight. He says a weak cold front is moving through, and that'll drop temperatures to about 60 overnight... and, the high will reach about 68 in Jamestown Saturday. Kelly says some overnight storms may include heavy downpours and small hail.
Letter Carriers to again take part in "Stamp Out Hunger" Day Saturday...
Postal carriers across the nation -- and, locally -- are again taking part in the annual "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive today. Members of the National Association of Letter Carriers are asking customers along their route to leave out food for local food pantries. U-S Post Office carriers in and around the Jamestown-area will be accepting non-perishable food products left at their mailboxs during the day. Tim Walters is a local member of the Letter Carriers union... and, says they'll be collecting for the Salvation Army of Jamestown... which has a great need. Walters says a Salvation Army's representative told him they normally serve about 350 families... but, with a still-struggling economy... they now are helping about 700 families. He says residents should not leave food out in glass containers because they're breakable. He says canned items are best... or boxed items like macaroni and cheese.
Several activities planned for National Train Day at Jamestown's Gateway Station...
A full-day of activities are taking place in and around the historic Gateway Train Station in downtown Jamestown for National Train Day. It's the third-year in a row that Jamestown has taken part... and, Train Station General Manager Lee Harkness says there'll be plenty for train affectionatos of all ages... including toy trains... and, video presentations on the history of the old Erie-Lackawanna Railroad. The Railroad went through Jamestown through the early 1970s. Harkness says one of the big attractions they'll have during the day is an appearance by the railroad's "Speeder Cars." They are work-cars used by the railroads to travel from worksite to worksite on the tracks. Another major part of the day will be tonight's gathering on an actual Western New York and Pennsylvania train from 5:15 to 7:30 p.m. Harkness says they'll have a cocktail party... with some entertainment from 5:15 to 7:30 p.m. For more information... call the Train Station at 483-3041.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will have to pick a new running mate now that Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy has decided not to seek another term. Duffy announced his decision in a letter to Cuomo that was first reported by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. The 59-year-old former Rochester mayor cited the job's travel demands and a desire to spend more time with family. Duffy wrote that he's proud of the administration's accomplishments... articularly its work to boost the upstate economy. The announcement comes two weeks before Democrats hold their nominating convention on Long Island. Cuomo is widely expected to tap a running mate from western New York or Long Island. Possibilities include Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown... former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul of Buffalo... and, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
A Busti man is being held in the County Jail on 25-thousand dollars cash bail for allegedly having sex with a 16 year-old girl in the Summer of 2013 in the town of Kiantone. State Police in Jamestown say they concluded a lengthy, joint investigation with Jamestown Police with the arrest of 27 year-old Michael Clark. Clark is charged with third-degree rape... and, Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Police say Clark was arraigned in Kiantone Town Court... and, sent to the County lock-up.
It only taken about three weeks for the Jay Leno headliner program at this August's Lucille Ball Comedy Festival to sell out. Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center of Comedy Executive Director Journey Gunderson announced the Saturday, August 9th sell-out late this (Thursday) morning. Earlier... Gunderson told us... shortly after the tickets went on sale April 18th... that they were going fast. However... she says the final tickets for the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena performance were officially scooped up after about three-weeks. Gunderson says they're "thrilled, pleased... and, relieved" to have been able to sell out all 22-hundred seats available for the Leno performance. Lucille Ball's daughter, Lucie Arnaz, will do the "warm-up" show before Jay Leno takes the stage. Gunderson adds that this is the fastest a Lucy-Desi Festival headliner has sold out in the history of the event. The usual venue for these event... the Reg Lenna Civic Center... holds about 12-hundred-70 people. While Leno is sold out... Gunderson reminds people that there are 50 other programs and shows taking place during the August 6th through 10th festival. For more information... call 484-0800... or go on-line to Lucy-dash-Desi-dot-COM.
Four water projects that are expected to be part of the effort to create a North County Water District have been approved for low-interest, state loans totaling 19.8-million dollars. The loans were announced late yesterday by the State Environmental Facilities Corporation... which is marking the 25th Anniversary of New York's Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund. A total of 17 projects have been approved in Western New York... including four for Chautauqua County villages. Two are for Silver Creek... with the first one worth 4.8-million dollars... while the second is for 4.6-million. In addition... Corporation Executive Director Matthew Driscoll says the village of Westfield is receiving 5.65-million dollars... and, the village of Brocton is getting 4.75-million dollars. Driscoll says the new business model they use allows the infrastructure loans to be made at as low as zero-percent interest.
Two Cassadaga Valley Central School students have been suspended... and, the school was briefly put into lock-down yesterday after shotguns were found on the back seat of two vehicles. Cassadaga Valley School Superindent Tom Schmidt says they were alerted to the situation by someone walking through the parking lot... and, saw the guns in the two separate vehicles. At that point... Schmidt says they immediately locked down the schools as part of their protocol for such incidents. The students had apparently been hunting turkey's earlier in the day... and, instead of taking them home... left them in the cars and went to school. However... while there was never any threat to the schools... Schmidt says the law is pretty clear on the matter. He adds the administration has taken some heat for their reaction... but, he says it's better to err on the side of caution. Schmidt told our Dennis Webster Thursday morning that the school was only in lock-down mode for about 20 minutes. A patrol unit from the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department was called in to assess the situation. The students were not identified.
Firefighters are getting some practice battling crude oil fires as part of stepped-up efforts by the Cuomo Administration to address safety threats from increased rail shipment of highly flammable crude from North Dakota to East Coast refineries. The state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services hosted a two-day disaster training drill at the Port of Albany through Thursday. Wednesday afternoon, fire and hazardous materials personnel will practice using fire suppressant foam to douse flames in a simulated oil-spill fire.
The state Senate has passed legislation to make all honorably discharged military veterans eligible for a high school degree based on knowledge and experience from their service time. The effort, called ``Operation Recognition,'' already allows veterans of World War II, Korea and the Vietnam wars to get diplomas. The legislation would expand eligibility to other veterans who didn't complete their formal education afterward. The Senate bill was sent on to the Assembly.
Duffy tells Cuomo he won't run for Lt. Gov. again...
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will have to pick a new running mate now that Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy has decided not to seek another term. Duffy announced his decision in a letter to Cuomo that was first reported by the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester. The 59-year-old former Rochester mayor cited the job's travel demands and a desire to spend more time with family. Duffy wrote that he's proud of the administration's accomplishments, particularly its work to boost the upstate economy. The announcement comes two weeks before Democrats hold their nominating convention on Long Island. Cuomo is widely expected to tap a running mate from western New York or Long Island. Possibilities include Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown... and, former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul of Buffalo.
Town of Busti man arrested for allegedly raping 16 year-old last Summer...
A Busti man is being held in the County Jail on $25,000 cash bail for allegedly having sex with a 16 year-old girl in the Summer of 2013 in the town of Kiantone. State Police in Jamestown say they concluded a lengthy, joint investigation with Jamestown Police with the arrest of 27 year-old Michael Clark. Clark is charged with third-degree rape... and, Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Police say Clark was arraigned in Kiantone Town Court... and, sent to the County lock-up.
Jay Leno show that's part of Lucille Ball Comedy Festival a sell-out...
Unless you have a ticker in hand... you won't be able to get into the Jay Leno headliner program at this August's Lucille Ball Comedy Festival. Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center of Comedy officials late Thursday morning announced the Saturday, August 9 show with Leno was a complete sell-out. Lucy-Desi Center Director Journey Gunderson told us... shortly after the tickets went on sale April 18... that they were going fast. She says the final tickets were officially swooped up after about three-weeks. Gunderson says this is the fastest a Lucy-Desi Festival headliner has sold out in the history of the event. This year was more of a challenge, too, because the program is being held at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena. Seating there is 2,200. The usual venue... the Reg Lenna Civic Center... holds about 1,270 people. For more information on all festival events... contact the Lucy-Desi Center of Comedy at 484-0800... or go on lind to www.lucy-desi.com.
New York State police say a fisherman discovered the remains of a woman Tuesday in Cattaraugus Creek in Perrysburg. The Jamestown Post Journal is reporting that the remains are those of 59 year old Kimberly Militello of Gowanda, who they believe passed away shortly after her dissapearance in December 2013. The remains were taken to the Erie County medical examiner's office for an autopsy. The cause of death has not yet been determined. We'll have more details when they become available.
The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department is one of 39 police agenies state-wide that are receiving funding in the first round of New York's 'Community Overdose Prevention Program.' The program... which was announced by the state Attorney General's Office Tuesday will provide money to help get Heroin Antidote... or "Naloxone Kits..." to the agencies. A-G Eric Schneiderman adds they will also help with training on their use. Sheriff Joe Gerace says his department will be receiving up to 28-hundred dollars for the effort. Schneiderman says the Community Overdose Prevention Program is being funded by seizures in crime investigations... and, will reimburse departments in 30 counties... including Chautauqua... to buy more than one-thousand kits. Gerace says they also want to have at least one in the jail. Gerace says he hopes to ALL their cars equiped... and, deputies trained... within 30 to 90 days. Nearly 100 departments applied for the funding. Schneiderman calls the drug ``stunningly effective'' in stopping an overdose in what has become ``a heroin epidemic.''
The second-annual forum on Poverty in Chautauqua County will be held tomorrow morning in Mayville with a focus on the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty." That from Chautauqua Opportunities, Incorporated Executive Director Roberta Keller... who says C-O-I is again hosting the event at Chautauqua will host the three-hour session at Chautauqua Suites. Keller says they'll look at the differences in poverty between 1965 now. She says they'll be able to show the changes have been fairly dramatic. Friday's forum in Mayville will include such speakers as County Executive Vince Horrigan and State Assemblyman Andy Goodell. It will run from 9 AM to 12 Noon at Chautauqua Suites.
The owner of an upstate fruit and vegetable farm has been confirmed by the state Senate as New York's agriculture commissioner. The Schenectady Daily Gazette reports that Richard Ball's confirmation as head of the Department of Agriculture and Markets was completed late Tuesday by the Senate. Ball had been serving as acting commissioner since January when he was nominated by Governor Cuomo. He has owned and operated the 200-acre Schoharie Valley Farms in Schoharie County for two decades.
A bill that would require labels on food products containing ingredients from genetically modified crops has passed a hurdle in the New York Assembly. The measure was endorsed late Tuesday by the Assembly's Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee. A vote of the full Assembly has not been scheduled. Supporters say labels would inform the public. Many agricultural and food companies disagree, however, noting that there's no scientific evidence that genetically engineered food is harmful. The bill would apply to genetically modified fruits, vegetables and processed foods as well as items that contain ingredients like oil or sugar that are derived from genetically engineered crops. Vermont has already adopted a labeling law. Maine and Connecticut have too, but the requirement in those states won't take effect until other states follow suit.
A delay in the start of the latest construction project to make the Prendergast Library more handicapped accessible has led officials to cancel this year's big, two-day booksale in early June. Library Director Tina Scott says the project was to begin in April... but, bids for the nearly 300-thousand dollar project came in high... and, some changes had to be made. Scott says they received a 294-thousand dollar grant... of which the library will have to provide a 25-percent match. Scott says the current ladies room is upstairs from the doorway... and, the men's room is near the front of the library. She adds the project will now begin in early to mid-June. However... she says the daily booksale -- which began in February -- has gone well... and, that will be continuing. Scott says the library will continue accepting donations for both the yearly... and, daily booksales. For more information on the booksales... call the library at 484-7135.
Gasoline prices across the nation may have reached their Spring-time peak... but, prices still climbed in the Jamestown-area by 2-cents over the past week. The Triple-A's Fuel Gauge reports the price is up to 3-dollars-84 cents a gallon. Local stations are charging anywhere between 3-dollars-82 cents to 3-85 a gallon. On the national front... the Triple-A says the average price at the pump is 3-dollars-67 cents per gallon. This is about 3-cents less expensive than one week ago... but, it's 9-cents more than one month ago. Gas prices reached 3--70 a gallon last week... through the Triple-A says it's too early to know for sure. Drivers in 32 states saw the price at the pump decline over the past 7 days, with the largest decrease in Indiana -- 13 cents. Internationally... tensions between Russia and Ukraine remain front of mind, and the latest round of sanctions is sustaining the geo-political "risk premium" that is factored into the market. The global market also continues to be influenced by disappointing economic data from China and the expectation that delays in oil supplies from Libyan ports will persist.
New York state is now coming to the aid of the financially-distressed Chautauqua County village of Forestville. State Senator Cathy Young says she's secured 50-thousand dollars in emergency funds for the village for a new roof... and, other capital improvements that are needed immediately. Young says the grant will provide some relief to village taxpayers who cannot afford the massive property tax increase resulting from the convergence of debt repayments and necessary, emergency building repairs. The Olean Republican says -- "families already are struggling to pay their bills and Forestville has many seniors living on fixed incomes. The situation is not the residents’ fault, and they need help." The county recently helped alleviate the pain of a potential 445-percent tax increase with a 150-thousand dollar loan to the village.
A Rochester woman has been arrested for allegedly getting into a fight with another woman... and, a man during a domestic dispute on Jamestown's eastside early Tuesday morning. City police say they were called to the scene at 636 East Sixth Street about 4:30 AM... and, found that 26 year-old Justina Douglas got into the fight... and, did so in front of a small child. After being arrested... officers say Douglas damaged a city Police Department patrol car. Douglas was arraigned on charges of Felony third-degree criminal mischief... and, endangering the welfare of a child... and, sent to the county jail without bail.
A Republican from the 23rd Congressional District is accused of submitting petitions for two Green Party members to run in this Fall's mid-term elections. The Ithaca Journal is reporting that the Republican... Aaron Keister ... submitted the documents -- with enough valid signatures -- to put Darin Robbins and Amber Cole on the ballot. Democrats and Green Party members are accusing incumbant Republican Tom Reed's campaign of having a hand in the political "shenanigans." They say Keister's action would take votes away from Democrat candidate Martha Robertson. Reed denies knowing about it... or having anything to do with it. However... the Ithaca Journal reports neither Robbins nor Cole will be on the ballot for either a June Primary... or the general election in November. They say Keister allegedly filed Robbins' petition late... and, Cole's address on the petition was invalid. Neither even knew the petitions were being circulated. Reed says nothing in politics surprises him anymore. The Ithaca paper reports the New York Republican Federal Campaign Committee received a 2-thousand dollar donation from Reed's Campaign on March 5th. Two week's later... it says Keitster received just over 768-dollars in pay from the Campaign Committee.
Local Congressman Tom Reed is pushing to have those responsible for keeping "secret lists" to cover lack of timely care in V-A Centers and hospital's held accountable. In the meatime... Reed says he's contacting local V-A Hospitals and Centers to make sure they are adhering to the two-week turn-around for veteran's to get care. He says the V-A Center in Bath had been following the criteria. The Corning Republican says he's "very disturbed" by the story out of Phoenix, Arizona where as many as 40 veteran's died because their cases weren't dealt with in a timely fashion. He says it's apparently not a question of lack of funding... or staffing... but, the director's compensation. Reed says one list would show the actual amount of time from when the veteran came into the center... to the time they were treated... and, another would show that they got the treatment within the 14-day requirement -- even if they hadn't.
New York's attorney general says 39 police agencies across the state are equipping officers with heroin antidotes to help save overdose victims. A-G Eric Schneiderman says initial awards in the Community Overdose Prevention Program, funded by seizures in crime investigations, will reimburse departments in 30 counties buying more than one-thousand naloxone kits. The Guilderland Police Department outside Albany is the first getting full reimbursement: $2,100 after buying kits for 35 officers. Nearly 100 departments have applied. Schneiderman calls the drug ``stunningly effective'' in stopping an overdose in what has become ``a heroin epidemic.'' The kits have two syringes and two inhalers of naloxone -- also marketed under the brand name "Narcan" -- and instructions.
A Buffalo-area man has been arrested for allegedly stealing inspection stickers from an auto repair shop in Sherman late last week. Chautauqua County Sheriff's officers say they received a call from the owner of Ohlsson's Auto Repair on Armenian Road... saying a book of state inspection stickers had been stolen from his business. At the conclusion of the investigation... deputies determined that 24 year-old Joshua Berner of North Tonawanda had taken the sticker's while he was there getting his girlfriend's car inspected. Officers say all of the inspection stickers were recovered. Berner was issued an appearance ticket for petty larceny in Sherman Town Court.
Young helps secure $50,000 state grant for financially-troubled Forestville...
New York state is now coming to the aid of the financially-distressed Chautauqua County village of Forestville. State Senator Cathy Young says she's secured $50,000 in emergency funds for the village for a new roof... and, other capital improvements that are needed immediately. Young says the grant will provide some relief to village taxpayers who cannot afford the massive property tax increase resulting from the convergence of debt repayments and necessary, emergency building repairs. The Olean Republican says "families already are struggling to pay their bills and Forestville has many seniors living on fixed incomes. The situation is not the residents’ fault, and they need help." The county recently helped alleviate the pain of a potential 445-percent tax increase with a $150,000 loan to the village. The board recently approved a budget with a 112-percent increase. In exchange, Forestville will undergo an audit by the State Comptroller examining the village’s finances over the last five years, and participate in a task force examining the village’s long-term viability. However... Young says... even with the county’s help, the financial obstacles for the village persisted and more help was needed.
Jamestown sales tax revenues for first-quarter down from same period of 2013...
One of the city of Jamestown's main revenue lines is down for the first-quarter of this year. However... the news is not totally unexpected. That from City Comptroller Joe Bellitto... who reported sales tax revenues for the first three months of 2014... at last night's council work session. Bellitto says Jamestown just received it's $1.324-million share from Chautauqua County. He says that's a nearly $20,000 decrease... or about 1.5-percent... lower than the first quarter of 2013. He says -- based on what he was reading out of Albany... this was not unexpected. He says they are at about 22.7-percent of this year's budgeted amount. Generally... it had been reported that sales tax revenues were expected to take a hit this year due to the frigid, Wintery weather in the first quarter of 2014. Bellitto reminded lawmakers that the city budgeted a slight increase... to $5.815-million... in sales tax revenues for this year. He says the city did make budget... despite the first-quarter struggles last year.
Comments still being accepted on city of Jamestown's CDGB and HOME Program Action Plans for 2014...
Jamestown residents and organizations can still comment on the Department of Development's final plan for using about $1.3-million in Community Development Block Grant... and HOME Program funding. That from city Development Director Vince DeJoy... who says his department received a lot of good input before... and, during last week's public hearing. DeJoy says some people spoke during the required hearing. At least one thanked the department for continuing efforts to make public areas handicapped accessible... and, another asked about Homeowner Rehabilitation programs. DeJoy says Councilman Brent Sheldon asked about Rental Rehabilitation... and, he says there is some money left from last year to help do that. DeJoy says they're also continuing to leave about $160,000 for the demolition of vacant, and delapitated buildings. He says that should allow the city to tear-down between 5 to 10 houses... depending on size and environmental conditions. DeJoy says people can still offer written and verbal comments on the proposed CDBG and HOME Program Action Plan through May 28. He says the plan can be viewed at several locations... including his office. City Council is to vote on the final plan at a special meeting in mid-June.
Jamestown man jailed without bail for alleged assault, and stranglation of domestic victim...
A city man is in the county jail without bail for allegedly punching and strangling another person during a domestic dispute on Jamestown's southside early Monday morning. City police were called to the scene at an apartment at 335 Foote Avenue shortly after 2 a.m. Further investigation revealed that 51 year-old Willie Lockett had gotten into a verbal... then physical altercation with the victim. Officers say they learned that Lockett struck the victim several times.... injuring the person. He then allegedly strangled that person to the point of unconsciousness. Police say Lockett was arrested... and, arraigned on charges of second-degree strangulation... and, third-degree assault. He was sent to the county lock-up.
Police Memorial Day to be commemorated in Albany today...
Police agencies from across the state will head to Albany this week to pay tribute to those who have died in the line of duty. A ceremony will be held today at the New York State Law Enforcement Officers Memorial at the Empire State Plaza. Before the afternoon ceremony... there will be a church service for police officers who have died. That will be followed by a march to the Law Enforcement Memorial at the Plaza. The memorial is inscribed with the names of more than 1,300 police officers who have died in the line of duty across the state. It's a wall of polished black granite.
Horrigan says local panel narrows down new air carrier to one...
A local committee has made it's choice of a new air carrier to provide service at the Chautauqua County Airport near Jamestown. County Executive Vince Horrigan would not identify which of the two proposed carriers the 25-member panel is recommending to the U-S Department of Transporation. However... he says they'll fly to and from Pittsburgh. Horrigan says the committee is made up of industry and, government leaders, and local residents. He says the DOT tends to "lean" towards community input... and, then make a decision soon after. Horrigan also commended the efforts of county Public Facilities Director George Spanos for further crunching the numbers... and, finding the airport did have more than 10 "implanements" per flight. That means it's eligible for federal Essential Air Service funding. U-S Senator Chuck Schumer visited Chautauqua County a few months ago... and, pledged to help get the implanement more accurate. They were about 9.9... due in large part to flight cancellations due to weather... and, other circumstances. With the EAS retained... county officials recently learned the airport would be receiving $1.9-million in EAS funding.
NYS Senate Democrats to introduce Ethics Legislation...
State Senate Democrats are introducing legislation to curb the government corruption that has tarnished New York politics. The minority conference is slated to announce the package of nine bills today (Tuesday). They include measures to strengthen regulations on the use of campaign money, strip pension benefits from corrupt state officials, ban the use of campaign money for criminal defense, require more disclosure of campaign donations as well as a bill that would also establish a public financing system for state campaigns. The announcement comes amid backlash over Governor Cuomo's decision last month to close a commission he created to investigate corruption.
A city man faces a marijuana possession charge after drug agents found several pounds of pot inside his car when it was stopped early last weekend in Jamestown. Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force members say they... and, City and State police stopped 27 year-old Matthew Zimmerman of 25 Price Street late last Friday on West 11th Street. Task Force agents say Zimmerman was charged with one count of second-degree criminal possession of marijuana. He was arraigned in city court... and, released pending a future court appearance. If you have any information on illegal narcotics activity in the region... you're asked to call the Task Force at 1-800-344-8702.
With measles cases on the rise across the nation... health officials are urging New Yorkers to make sure they are properly vaccinated. Chautauqua County's Director of Health and Human Services Christine Schuyler says while there have been 29 cases across the state, none have been reported locally. But... Schuyler says it's still important people make sure their vaccinations are up to date including children. The number of measles outbreaks for the first four months of 2014 is at the highest level since 1996 in New York State. You can get more information about measles at the state health department's website at Health-dot-ny-dot-GOV.
A federal report shows nearly three-fourths of those insured through New York's new health exchange are getting financial assistance. Applicants with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible for tax credits to help offset premium payments. The national report Thursday of demographics for nearly 8-million people in so-called Obamacare shows 370-thousand-451 New Yorkers enrolled in the 16 nonprofit and commercial insurance plans from October through March. They are almost evenly split by gender and span a wide age range. Some 31-percent are between ages 18 and 34. Another 41 percent are from 35 to 54, while 25 percent are 55 to 64. New York officials reported by mid-April 435,479 people enrolled with private insurers and 525,283 in government-funded Medicaid since the exchange started.
The three incumbants up for re-election to the Jamestown School Board will be running unopposed in the May 20th election. That from District Clerk Sue Caronia... who says only Thomas Pope, Paul Abbott, and Shelly Leathers returned petitions with the required 100 valid signatures to run on the panel. Pope and Abbott have served multi-terms on the board. Leathers was appointed several months ago to replace Tim Thomas... who moved from the area. The third-place finisher will fill-out the remainder to Thomas' term. Caronia says two other people took out petitions to run... but, never returned them.
Contract talks are continuing between Brooks Memorial Hospital and the union representing about 200 workers at the Dunkirk-based health care facility, but both sides have agreed to bring in a federal mediator to assist with the negotiations. The current three-year agreement expires on Wednesday. Kathy Ville, an organizer of SEIU #11-99, says the union is not pleased with the progress that's being made in the talks. Terry Dunford, Communications Director for Brooks Memorial Hospital, says he can't comment about any specifics concerning the talks since they are confidential in nature. However, Dunford says the hospital's main goal is to produce an equitable contract for both sides. Ville says the union is seeking a "fair" contract, but negotiators are not interested in taking any concessions. She says the workers need good paying jobs "for their survival and for the community's survival." While the current contract is set to expire on Wednesday... Ville says the union has agreed to a 30-day extension that should allow the mediator to work with both sides.
Authorities say a driver and his passenger both overdosed on heroin, causing the pickup truck they were riding in to drift to a stop 100 feet from a Syracuse fire station. Syracuse.com reports that 26-year-old James McAllister was driving when both he and 26-year-old passenger Laura Lupin overdosed and fell unconscious Friday afternoon. Sergeant Tom Connellan says both were revived by Syracuse firefighters using the heroin antidote drug Narcan, which city firefighters recently started carrying. Both were treated at Community General Hospital and released. McAllister was charged with driving while intoxicated on drugs, drug and traffic charges, while Lupin faces drug charges.
The Jamestown Babe Ruth World Series Board of Directors has officially signed the contract to host the 2015 13-Year-Old Babe Ruth World Series in Jamestown from August 22nd-through-29th. The official signing took place earlier in the week with the Board of Directors... and Babe Ruth International Vice-President and Commissioner Robert Faherty. Spokeswoman Kim Ecklund says Jamestown was the first site for the 13-Year-Old World Series back in 1980... so with this series, we will be celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the series here in Jamestown. The 2015 World Series will be the 16th World Series Jamestown has hosted since 1980. She adds "we are looking forward to organizing and creating another great series here in Jamestown. We could not make this possible without all of the support from the community and the help we have received from our sponsors and partners."
Former V-A Clinic Nurse sentenced in federal court...
A former nurse at the Veteran's Affairs Community-based Outpatient Clinic in Jamestown has been sentenced to one-year home detention in U-S District Court. U-S Attorney William Hochul, Jr. also announced Friday that 47 year-old Samilyn Olson of Jamestown also received three years of supervised release from U-S District Court Judge Richard Arcara. Hochul says Olson was convicted of conspiracy to distribute the pain-killer oxycodone. Assistant U-S Attorney Timothy Lynch, who prosecuted the case, says -- on eight occasions between May and September 2010 -- Olson stole prescription forms from a nurse practitioner at the clinic. Lynch says she then forged the nurse practitioner's name... and, wrote prescriptions for oxycodone. The prescriptions were then filled by Olson or others at a local pharmacy in Jamestown... and, then distributed. The Veteran Affairs office... Office of Inspector General, and the Jamestown Police Department were all involved in the investigation.
City police arrest two more people in 15th drug raid in past month...
Two more arrests have been made during the 15th drug raid in the city of Jamestown over the past month. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says it's part of the on-going investigation into narcotics and other drug trafficking in the area. City police... along with JPD SWAT Team members... and, the state Police C-NET Team... raided an apartment at 846 Lafayette Street Friday morning... and, arrested 45 year-old Tyrone VanHook... and, 37 year-old Simeon Leeper. Samuelson says VanHook was found with a quantity of crack cocaine... and, large amount of cash. Leeper is accused of flushing a quantity of drugs down a toilet as the raid was taking place. VanHook was arraigned on one court of Felony criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, sent to the county jail without bail. Leeper was arraigned on charges of criminal tampering and obstruction... and, posted $15,000.
Law enforcement officials say they've dismantled two major drug rings and charged 32 people -- one from Jamestown -- responsible for funneling cocaine and heroin into western New York. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico announced the results of a joint 13-month investigation on Thursday. The officials say investigators seized nearly one-million dollars worth of heroin... and, several hundred thousand dollars' worth of cocaine as they targeted the flow of drugs into Rochester and Buffalo. Those indicted include 19 people from Rochester, seven from Buffalo, two from New York City. The person from Jamestown was identified as Bryan Moore. They, along with two Massachusetts men and one from Pennsylvania, face charges of possessing and distributing drugs. The suspects were arrested during a series of overnight raids.
Two Jamestown men are jailed following a drug raid on an apartment on the city's westside late Thursday morning. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers and State Police C-NET team members executed a search warrant at 847 Lafayette Street shortly before 10:30 AM... and, found 29 year-old Laval Johnson inside. Samuelson says they found Johnson with a quantity of "crack" cocaine and cash in his possession. He says if was NOT a large amount of "crack," though. Samuelson says Johnson was arrested for Felony criminal possession of a controlled substance. The other man in the apartment... 25 year-old Antonio Sanders... was arrested on two warrants. Samuelson says both men were arraigned and sent to the county jail. Johnson was jailed without bail... while Sanders was remanded on one-thousand dollars bail.
Two Brooklyn men have been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle nearly 500 cartons of untaxed cigarettes into the area. Cattaraugus County Sheriff's officers say... following an investigation... they pulled over a vehicle on Route 219 in the town of Carrollton late Wednesday... and, found the unstamped and untaxed smokes in the back. The two men in the car... 21 year-old Muad Almontaser... and, 19 year-old Gehad Almontaser... were both arrested... and, charged with third-degree criminal taxation fraud, and, criminal taxation -- transporting more than 150 cartons. It's estimated that the cigarettes... brought from Virginia to New York by the pair... cost the state just over 21-thousand dollars in excise taxes. Muad Almonstaser is also charged with speeding and unlicensed operation. The state Taxation and Finance Criminal Investigation's Cigarette Strike Force assisted in the investigation. Both men were arraigned and sent to the county jail on 10-thousand dollars bail each.
"Start Up New York" is starting up in Chautauqua County. One of the two local colleges has had it's plan approved by the state... and, the other is almost there. County Industrial Development Agency Director and CEO Bill Daly held a meeting with representatives from the SUNY College at Fredonia and Jamestown Community College in Mayville Wednesday. Daly says JCC is ready to do business. The SUNY Collage at Fredonia is currently going through a two-step approval process that includes the State University of New York and Empire State Development. Daly while both colleges have submitted plans, there is an understanding that they will not be competiting against each other -- but, be working together. Daly also says both colleges have made it clear that businesses that are brought into the area will not be competing against existing businesses. SUNY Fredonia President Dr. Virginia Horvath, JCC President Dr. Cory Duckworth, and County Executive Vince Horrigan were among the leaders who attended the forum. The Start Up New York iniative was approved by Governor Cuomo and the state legislature last year to establish tax-free sites for new and expanding businesses.
The United Way of Southern Chautauqua County is recognizing ten "Volunteers of the Year" for 2013 as part of it's new, "12 Months of Caring" initiative. That from Executive Director Tori Irgang... who says the program involves employees of local companies and organizations seeing firsthand what the United Way is about... and, how their contributions are used by partner agencies. The United Way paid tribute to those people involved at Wednesday night's volunteer reception. One of those projects was installing new, energy efficient lighting at the Boy's and Girl's Club of Jamestown. The project was undertaken by Local-#106 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The IBEW was also recognized by the club as it's "Volunteer of the Year," as well. Irgang says the "12 Months of Caring" initiative is also geared towards the newest generation of workers in the community who tend to see the value of "shorter term" projects... and, not a campaign of giving that lasts for a lengthy period of time. The United Way's 11 other partner agencies also recognized their "Volunteer of the Year" at Wednesday's reception.
Good tickets remain for the Jamestown Skating Club's annual "Excellence on Ice" program tomorrow at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena. Director Menash Petscher says they'll have two performances featuring Skating Club members at 3 and 7 PM. Members are of a variety of ages... and, have been practicing hard for this year's show. Tickets are 10-dollars for general admission... 20-dollars for rinkside VIP Tables. For more information... call 484-2624.
Two city men arrested during drug raid on Jamestown's westside...
Two Jamestown men have been arrested during a raid on an apartment on the city's westside this morning. City police and the State Police C-NET team executed a search warrant at 847 Lafayette Street shortly before 10:30 a.m., and, found 29 year-old Laval Johnson inside. Officers say they found Johnson in possession of a quantity of packaged "crack" cocaine and cash. Police say they also found a man wanted on two warrants... 25 year-old Antonio Sanders... in the apartment. Officers say Sanders was sought for failure to appear in court on a first-degree criminal contempt charge... and, disorderly conduct. Both were arrested... Johnson for Felony criminal possession of a controlled substance. Both are being held pending arraignment. Anyone with information on illegal drug sales is asked to call the JPD Tip-Line at 483-8477.
Horrigan says Co. Home transition to private operation going "smoothly..." as VestraCare administrator officially comes on board...
The next step in what's hoped to be a smooth transition to private ownership of the County Home in Dunkirk has been taken this week. VestraCare administrator Shannon Cayea-Delker has been named as Nursing Home Administrative Supervisor of Record. County Executive Vince Horrigan says that means she'll oversee operations... though the current day-to-day administrative team remains intact. Horrigan says Cayea-Delker joined him for his seventh "town Hall" style meeting this week with the families of current residents. He says one question to her was "what's the biggest change we'll notice?" Cayea-Delker says they see more in the way of electronic records, with lap-top computers, and, some sprucing up of the living areas. Horrigan says she outlined both short... and, longer-term changes that people will see at the Dunkirk-area facility. He says they'll be doing some additional staff -- including nurses -- shortly... and, will soon be adding new services... such as adult day care... and, cardiac rehabiliation. He also says Cayea-Delker is beginning to meet more regularily with staff members. Horrigan made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program.
Jamestown Democrats have begun looking for candidates to fill the county legislature seat that's being vacated by Fred Larson... who will become the second, full-time City Court Judge. In addition... Mayor Sam Teresi will have to find a new citizen member of the Board of Public Utilities. Larson was confirmed by the city council Monday night after being appointed by Teresi. Teresi says the replacement will have big shoes to fill... and, there's already "lots of interest" in filling the legislature position on an interim basis. He adds finding the right person for the BPU will also be difficult. While he will be involved in the process of finding a person to fill out the year for Larson on the legislature... the County Charter calls for a special election to fill that spot this Fall. The temporary replacement must come from the same political party... and, from that district. The new, full-time judge's position was approved by state lawmakers late last year.
The Minority Leader on the County Legislature says he is happy for Jamestown legislator Fred Larson... who will become the city's second, full-time City Court Judge. Since Mayor Sam Teresi appointed the legislator to the judgeship... Larson will have the leave the legislature. That from Democrat leader Keith Ahlstrom of Dunkirk. Larson was just elected to the Legislature last November. There are only six Democrats who make up the Legislature's minority. The Jamestown city Democratic Committee will begin a search for a successor.
Gas prices in the Jamestown-area gas are up almost 5-cents a gallon this week. The Triple-A's Fuel Gauge reports the average price is 3-dollars-82 cens a gallon... and, adds that some locations had already reached the 3-dollar-80 cent level last week. Nationally... Triple-A reports the average price for regular, unleaded is 3-dollars-69 cents per gallon. This is about 3-cents more than last week... and, 14 cents more than one month ago. Ongoing geo-political tensions between Russia and Ukraine remain a central reason for crude oil prices remaining elevated.
The 15th annual Cents for St. Susan's campaign is underway to raise money for the Jamestown-area's largest soup kitchen. The campaign kicked-off Wednesday with major sponsors picking up more than 100 canisters at the Board of Public Utilities to distribute through-out the community. The BPU is again the main sponsor of the effort... which St. Susan's Executive Director Sue Colwell calls timely. Colwell says they're busier than ever at their Water Street headquarters... and, they've also seen a wide spectrum of people in need. Colwell adds those numbers are up significantly from last year at this time. She says they could not serve all those in need without the help of the people putting their change into the canisters... and, major sponsors backing the effort. Colwell says other major sponsors include Jamestown Savings Bank and Key Bank... Asplundh... Boyles Motor Sales... Century 21/Turner Brokers... and, Valu Hearing. The Media One Group and The Post-Journal are media sponsors. In recent years... the drive has netted more than 12-thousand dollars annually.
State troopers report issuing just over 24-thousand traffic tickets in their recent ``speed week'' crackdown and another 34-hundred-71 tickets in ``operation hang-up.'' That campaign targeted drivers using hand-held phones, texting or using other electronic devices. The April 17th through 24th focus on speeders produced 2,156 more tickets than a year earlier. It also resulted in 1,034 tickets for so-called ``distracted driving'' while texting or chatting on a hand-held cell phone.
A dozen people who stood out in volunteering their time and effort were recognized by the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County last night. The human service agency hosted it's annual Volunteer of the Year Reception at the Boys and Girls Club of Jamestown. United Way Board Vice-President Mike Roberts told the individuals and organizations that "volunteerism is at the heart of our mission to build a stronger community." Roberts adds that... while these are people who often shun the spotlight... it's important they be recognized. Roberts says a recent study showed that if a dollar-amount was put on volunteerism in the United States... it would be worth 28-dollars per hour. He says -- when you look at the number of hours per year -- and number of years many volunteer -- the numbers are astounding. Among the one dozen volunteers... or volunteer groups were Lin Baylis for the American Red Cross... IBEW Local-106 for the Boys and Girls Club... Ken Hardley for Chautauqua Adult Day Care... George Panebiano for the YMCA... and, "Jack" Kachermeyer for Chautauqua County RSVP. The United Way also used the occasion to recognize each of the employee groups and companies that took part in the agency's "12 Months of Caring" initiative as it's Volunteers of the Year. Executive Director Tori Irgang talked about that... and, we'll hear from her later today.