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News Update for Tues., Sept. 2, 2014


City man arrested for allegedly trafficking Heroin in Jamestown-area...

A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly trafficking Heroin in the city in recent weeks... and, being found with over 12 bundles of the illegal drug.  Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say they raided the Terrace Place apartment of 26 year-old William Rogers just before 7:30 this morning... and, found the suspect... along with heroin -- totaling about 125 doses -- and, a large amount of cash, scales and other drug paraphernalia... and, a quantity of marijuana.  Task Force members say Rogers was arrested without incident... and, arraigned on the initial charges of third-degree criminal sale... and, possession of a controlled substance.  Agents say he faces several additional counts of those charges... and, others.  Task Force members add they also obtained additional information... and, the investigation is continuing.  Anyone with information on illegal narcotics activity in their community is asked to call the Task Force Hotline at 1-800-344-8702. 

 

Reed to file legislation to renew SRO program for five-years...

There is an effort afoot to renew the School Resource Officer program in the federal Community-Oriented Police program for another five-years.  On this day before classes begin in most schools districts across the region... Local Congressman Tom Reed says he'll be filing a renewal of the COPS program that includes the SRO component.  Reed says he spoke with several school superintendents, teachers, parents and others in recent months... and, says they were pretty much unanimous that it's a program that needs to be renewed.  Reed says the overall COPS Program totals about $1-billion... while the School Resource Officer program would total about $30-million.  He believes the votes are there... on both sides of the political aisle... to fund the program.

WJTN News Headlines


The skys brightened... and, the threat of rain burned off by early afternoon... and, Jamestown's 35th annual Labor Day Festival was in full-swing. The local rock group "The Bogarts" were among the bands entertaining at the yearly event... which was delayed by a day due to heavy rains on Sunday.  Partly sunny skys and 80-degree temperatures greated festival-goers... and, others celebrating labor's contribution to the American landscape.  During the afternoon's George Ritzer Labor Award presentation... Jamestown-Area Central Labor Council President Dave Wilkinson says Labor Day remains a big part of strengthening the community. Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi also took the opportunity to thank the city's 460 member work force... including the police and fire departments... and, Board of Public Utilities.  He also put out a special thanks to the city's Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department for it's efforts to get Bergman Park ready for the festival... and, the work employees do at all the parks across the city.  Yesterday's festival was capped off by a huge fireworks display before several-thousand on-lookers.

 

The presentation of the annual George Ritzer Labor Award yesterday was an historic one.  The award is given annually to a member of local labor who goes above and beyond the call of duty for not just their union... but, the community as well.  Central Labor Council President Dave Wilkinson says Valerie Hagglund is only the second woman to receive the award... which has been presented yearly since 1984. Wilkinson says Hagglund has been a member of Association of Jamestown Paraprofessionals of NYSUT Local-04-217 for 18 years... 16 of those as president of the NYSUT Local.  She recalled the help she received early on as an officer with the organization from mentor Steve Maggio... who told her that if she was going to stick with it... she would need a "fire in her belly."  Hagglund... who is union co-president this year... was nominated by the Labor Council committee's George Spitale. She's been very involved in the schools her children attended in Jamestown as an officer in the PTA and PTO groups... raised money for the local March of Dimes, and has been very involved with her local church.

 

A new study released on Labor Day suggests the number of working-age New Yorkers who identified themselves as union members rose in the last 18 months.  The study was conducted by two professors at the City University of New York Graduate Center.  They found that nearly one in four working New Yorkers belonged to labor unions.  The New York Times says that compared to slightly more than one in five at the start of 2013.  They say the rebound was mainly caused by a surge in construction and hotel industry hiring.

 

Jamestown's 'Mr. Baseball'... Russ Diethrick... said he wasn't sure he could look back as he left the stadium yesterday.  The ballpark that bears his name saw it's last professional baseball games Monday, as the Jamestown Jammers split a doubleheader.  The team is moving to Morgantown, West Virginia next summer.  A large crowd was on hand, buying up all the Jammer's merchandise they could find.  The team's General Manager, Matt Drayer, thanked all the fans, and said he was a heartbroken as they are over the loss of the team.  Influencial members of the baseball community continue to express optimism that some kind of 'new league' would come to Russell E. Diethrick Jr. Park next year. 

 

A city man has been arrested for allegedly assaulted his girlfriend at an apartment in downtown Jamestown early last weekend.  City police were called to the scene at 607 Pine Street about 7:30 AM Saturday.  Officers spoke with the victim when they arrived... and, they later found 40 year-old Alberto Santiago on Prendergast Avenue later in the morning.  Police say Santiago was arrested without incident.  Officers say he faces several charges... including third-degree assault... and, second-degree unlawful imprisonment and strangulation.  He's being held pending arraignment. 

 


The case against two homeless men accused of killing a New York City concert violinist in the Town of Westfield nearly two weeks ago will likely go next to a federal Grand Jury.  That from U-S Attorney William Hochul, Junior following a detention hearing late last week for 43 year-old Jonathan Conklin and 30-year-old Charles Sanford.  Both men allegedly lured 61 year-old Mary Whitaker to her front door the morning of August 20th on the ruse their car had broken down.  Hochul says Whitaker was then allegedly shot and stabbed by the pair. Hochul says an Assistant U-S Prosecutor laid out some of the details about how Whitaker was killed during a robbery at her summer home on Titus Road.  He says the "ruse" began with knocks at her door early in the morning of August 20th.  An autopsy determined she died of a gun-shot wound to the chest.  Conklin and Sanford have pleaded not guilty to the federal charges... which include stealing property and taking it across state lines... and, carjacking during commission of a murder.

News Update for Mon., Sept. 1, 2014


Study says number of workers identifying themselves as members of unions are up over past year-and-a-half...

A new study suggests the number of working-age New Yorkers who identified themselves as members of labor unions rose in the last 18 months.  The study was conducted by two professors at the City University of New York Graduate Center.  They found that nearly one in four working New Yorkers belonged to labor unions.  The New York Times says that compared to slightly more than one in five at the start of 2013.  The primary cause for the rebound appeared to be a surge in construction and hotel industry hiring -- not the campaigns for better pay and benefits by fast-food workers and other low-earners.


Labor Day Festival rescheduled for today until 9 p.m....

Sunday's rains and standing water forced Jamestown city officials to call off the annual Labor Festival to today... when better weather conditions are forecast.  The only event that took place yesterday was the annual Dan Feather 5-K Run-walk... which took place at 9:30 a.m.  City Parks and Recreation Director Julia Ciesla-Hanley says the music gets underway on the Main Stage at Noon... and, the second stage at 12:30 p.m.  The first group there will be "Teachers, Preachers and Trent."  Ciesla-Hanley says a new group will perform there at 3 p.m., "The New Tenants."  They're a group involved with the Infinity program.  Cindy Love is the final performer on the second stage.  The final group to take the Main Stage will be "Two for Flinching" which will play until the fireworks show just after 8:30 p.m.  Ciesla-Hanley says they'll also have other -- "family-friendly" -- events going on... including Kids Games from 2 to 6 p.m.  She adds they'll also have Bingo, a Magic Show, and Karoke.  Ciesla-Hanley says 13 organizations and civic groups will be selling for and refreshments... including the Jamestown and Falconer High School Marching Bands.


Hagglund to get Ritzer Labor Award...

One of the high-lights during the day at the annual Labor Day Festival is presentation of the George Ritzer Labor Award.  The award is given annually to a member of local labor who goes above and beyond the call of duty for not just their union... but, the community as well.  Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi says the award has been given out since the mid-1980s by the Jamestown Central Labor Council.  This year's Ritzer Award is being presented to Valerie Hagglund of the Association of Jamestown Paraprofessionals of NYSUT Local-04-217.


Two arrested in Ellery drug bust after traffic stop...

Two men were arrested early this weekend for allegedly being in possession of Heroin... and, a large amount of money when their car was pulled over in the town of Ellery.  Sheriff's Deputies say they stopped the vehicle... driven by 27 year-old Dennis Syper of Mayville... about 10:30 p.m. last Friday night for failure to keep right.  Officers say they spotted a number of envelopes containing heroin inside the car.  Deputies brought in K-9 "Mitchell" to do a vehicle search... and, he found the drugs.  Police add Syper was allegedly found to be under the influence of drugs.  He and his passenger... 37 year-old Cesar Luis-Soto of Jamestown... were charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  The money was seized.  Syper was charged with DWI-Drugs, and failure to keep right.  Both men will appear in Ellery Town Court at a later date.

News Update!! for Fri., Aug. 29, 2014


(**Alert)State Police say remains found at Lake Erie State Park are those of a human fetus...

Authorities say the human remains found on the Lake Erie Shoreline in Lake Erie State Park Friday afternoon are those of a human fetus.  State Police are handling the investigation... and, revealed the results of an examination performed by the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office during a news conference in Dunkirk.  Lieutenant Brian Ratajezak... an investigator with State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation made the announcement... saying the fetus's gestation age was about 18 to 24 weeks.  Ratajezak says they've been working with District Attorney David Foley's office -- among others.  Ratajezak says the fetus apparently had been separated from the mother for approximately two to three weeks.  A family walking the shoreline in the town of Portland made the discovery and call 9-1-1.  Ratajezak says State Police are trying to locate the mother... and, determine the circumstances surrounding the incident.  They are looking for the public's help in learning what happened.  Anyone with information is being asked to the contact the State Police in Jamestown at 665-3114.

News Update for Fri., Aug. 29, 2014


Press conference this afternoon to deal with human remains found on shoreline of Lake Erie State Park...

A press conference is being held this afternoon in Dunkirk on the death of a person whose remains were found along the Lake Erie shoreline near Lake Erie State Park.  Investigator Robert Murray today confirms a passerby found the remains... which have not been identified... about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in the town of Portland location.  State Police initially reported they had received a 9-1-1 call about the grizzly discovery.  Murray says the remains were taken to the Erie County Medical Center for identification.


Gerace confirms both suspects in Westfield homicide gave written confessions; authorities making sure evidence and statements lining up...

The two suspects accused of killing a New York City concert violinist gave written confessions to police shortly after their arrests last week in Erie, Pennsylvania.  That from Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace... who confirms that 43 year-old Jonathon Conklin... and, 30 year-old Charles Sanford were arrested seperately -- in different locations.  Gerace says both began talking to police a week ago last night when they were taken into custody.  He says they are still making sure the statements line up with the evidence, and information collected.  Gerace says the two defendants alleged "preyed" upon the 61 year-old Whitaker's willingness to help them out... and, that's when she was shot, and stabbed.  Gerace says they have completed their investigation of Whitaker's Titus Road home in the town of Westfield.  He says they also checked a pond behind Whitaker's property... but, that turned up nothing.  Court records show Sanford had gone to Whitaker's front door... on the ruse that the two men's vehicle had broken down... and, asked if they could use her phone.

News Update for Thurs., Aug. 28, 2014


Men accused of murdering Mary Whitaker ordered held without bail; prosecutor outlines more details...

Two men accused of killing a New York concert violinist during a robbery in her home have been ordered held without bail after a prosecutor detailed how the victim was shot and stabbed after opening her door to help them.  U.S. Attorney William Hochul, Jr. says 43 year-old Jonathan Conklin... and, 30 year-old Charles Sanford said nothing during a detention hearing this morning in federal court in Buffalo, where they've pleaded not guilty to stealing property and taking it across state lines, and carjacking.  Police say the men killed 61-year-old Mary Whitaker after she agreed to lend them her phone in the Chautauqua County town of Westfield the morning of Aug. 20.  They're then accused of driving her car to Erie, PA, where they were arrested.  A grand jury will consider state murder charges.  Whitaker performed with the Chautauqua Symphony and Westchester Philharmonic.


Two Dunkirk men arrested in north county drug bust...

A traffic stop in the north county city of Dunkirk last night led to the arrest of two Dunkirk men on several illegal drug charges.   Dunkirk Police say a patrol officer stopped the van being operated by 24-year-old Nicholas Bailey after he had allegedly run a stop sign in the 600-block of Main Street.  Police Chief Dave Ortolano says a passenger in the vehicle, 24-year-old Traiquane Nance, began acting suspiciously and that was a tip off to police.  Ortolano says some "good police work" found both had a "good amount" of crack cocaine, and marijuana in their possession.  Nance also struggled with officers at Police Headquarters where he allegedly tried to prevent them from seizing additional amounts of crack cocaine and marijuana.  Orotolano says they found more narcotic drugs in his possession that had hidden in his underwear.  Both Bailey and Nance are facing several charges and they were being held in the City lock up until their arraignment.


No one hurt when car slams into front wall of McDonald's restaurant at Exit 12 Mobil north of Jamestown...

No one was hurt when a car driven by a Jamestown woman crashed through the front of the McDonald's Restaurant at the Exit 12 Mobil north of the city line.  Ellicott Town Police say 33 year-old April Crawford was pulling into the parking lot of the North Main Street business about 1 p.m. Wednesday when her foot slipped off the brake, and hit the accelerator.  Officers say the car lunged forward... and, struck several pane glass windows in the front of the building... and, a table where a man was sitting inside the restaurant.  The investigating officer says the table was near a divider post... so the table and man were just pushed backwards.  He escaped injury.  Police say Crawford was shaken-up by the accident.  The restaurant was closed the rest of the day.  No charges were filed.


County Legislature tables action on Compliance Officer position...

Chautauqua County lawmakers have delayed action on a proposal to create the position of a county compliance officer until they deal with the 2015 budget.  During a brief, 15 minute monthly meeting in Mayville last night... legislators decided to table a local law that would create the position.  Cassadaga Republican John Runkle, who chairs the Legislature's Audit and Control Committee and made the motion to table, says he doesn't support the proposal.

WJTN News Headlines


Some 10 prosecutors from around the world are "gravely concerned" about the upsurge in violence against civilians in conflicts across the globe... and, the general lack of accountability for these crimes.  That was part of the "Chautauqua Declaration" issued at yesterday afternoon's conclusion of the eighth-annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs at Chautauqua Institution.  Syracuse Law Professor and Rober H. Jackson Center Board Member David Crane was founding Chief Prosecutor at the Special Court at Sierra Leone. The prosecutors also said they were "deeply disturbed" by ongoing sexual and gender-gased violence... and, continuing lack of accountability for many of these crimes.  On hand for the first time was Deputy Prosecutor James Stewart of the International Criminal Court at The Hague in the Netherlands.  Stewart... and, Crane agree that terrorist organizations have complicated bringing those responsible for war crimes... and, crimes against Humanity to justice because they pay no attention to international law... and, use "unspeakable violence."  The dialogs were again hosted by the Jackson Center.

 

The man largestly responsible for helping to keep... and, maintain minor league baseball in Jamestown says he's "very optimistic" about the future of baseball at the park named after him.  "Mr. Baseball" Russ Diethrick says the positives outweighed the negatives when he heard the Jamestown Jammers Class-A team was being moved to Morgantown, West Virginia next season.  Speaking with our Jim Roselle and Dennis Webster Tuesday morning... Diethrick expressed gratitude for the 75-years of professional baseball here. Diethrick says he was not completely surprised by the announcement... given the trends of recent years of moving Class-A minor league teams to larger markets.  As for the future... Russ says he looks forward with anticipation.  He says there are a couple of "college brand" leagues that play in the region... and, the level of play is very good.  Diethrick says Olean and Niagara Falls have teams in one of them.  Russ believes Diethrick Park -- the former Municipal Stadium -- is a "very nice stadium" that will attract someone.

 

Federal authorities say two homeless men used a stolen gun to kill a New York City orchestra violinist after gaining entry to her western New York summer home by telling her they had run out of gas.  Local media report that court documents filed in Buffalo say 43-year-old Jonathan Conklin and 30-year-old Charles Sanford stole weapons from an apartment in the town of Sherman before fatally shooting Mary Whitaker at her home in nearby Westfield on Wednesday morning.

 

His humor has spread over several generations... and, that's why legendary comedian Bob Newhart remains a stand-out on the comedy tour.  The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Museum and Center of Comedy announced Tuesday that Newhart will be the headliner for this October's Lucy-Town Half-Marathon and 5 K Weekend in Jamestown.  Lucy-Desi Center of Comedy Director Journey Gunderson says they're excited to have Newhart performing on Saturday night, October 11th because his show remains highly-rated by Ticketmaster reviews. Gunderson says Newhart's brand of "button-down" humor will be on stage at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts at 8 PM on October 11th during a "night of comedy" at the center to top a busy second-day of the weekend.  She says Saturday will feature the 5K run... and, a first ever kids run.  Gunderson says there will also be a new world record attempt for number of people stomping grapes.  The current record is 977.  The Half-Marathon will be held Sunday morning, October 12th.  Tickets for Bob Newhart will go on sale today... August 27th... on-line at Lucyrace-dot-COM... or by calling the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts box office at 484-7070.

 

The New York Times editorial board is withholding an endorsement in the Democratic primary for New York governor while delivering a stinging reprimand to Governor Andrew Cuomo.  The paper's editorial board wrote Tuesday that it would not endorse Cuomo or his liberal challenger, Fordham University law professor Zephyr Teachout.  The board wrote that Cuomo ``walked away'' from his goal of ethics reform and hasn't addressed the influence of money in state government.  It faulted his administration for blocking the progress of an anti-corruption commission as it moved to investigate groups tied to the governor, and wrote that Cuomo shouldn't be surprised if many Democrats refuse to support him in next months' primary.  As for Teachout... the board praised her reform proposals but concluded she lacks the experience to govern.

 

A Seneca Nation Council member is running to become the first female president of the western New York tribe.  Darlene Miller announced her candidacy Monday... saying she wants to unify the divided Seneca Nation and get back to traditional ways and values.  The election is November 4th.  So far... the 66-year-old is the only publicly declared candidate for the two-year term.  Current President Barry Snyder cannot seek re-election because the presidency alternates between the Allegany and Cattaraugus territories.  Miller has held numerous positions with the Seneca Nation Health System, including acting chief executive.  The organization provides health care to the 8,000 Seneca members.  The nation operates three casinos.

 

New York state agencies racked up more than 316-million dollars in overtime in the first six months of 2014, continuing a recent trend of sharply higher overtime costs for taxpayers.  The numbers come from a report issued today by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who says the increase is troubling and should be addressed.

News Update for Tues., Aug. 26, 2014


International Humanitarian Law Dialogs at Chautauqua Institution recognizes most "dangerous world" situation since Dialogs began eight years ago...

Some 10 prosecutors from around the world are "gravely concerned" about the upsurge in violence against civilians in conflicts across the globe... and, the general lack of accountability for these crimes.  That was part of the "Chautauqua Declaration" issued at yesterday afternoon's conclusion of the eighth-annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs at Chautauqua Institution.  Syracuse Law Professor and Robert H. Jackson Center Board Member David Crane was founding Chief Prosecutor at the Special Court at Sierra Leone.  Crane says they all came to the same conclusion... that 2014 is the "most dangerous moment" in our history we have dealt with, and the world is in a "very precarious place."  The prosecutors also said they were "deeply disturbed" by ongoing sexual and gender-gased violence... and, continuing lack of accountability for many of these crimes.  On hand for the first time was Deputy Prosecutor James Stewart of the International Criminal Court at The Hague in the Netherlands.  Stewart... and, Crane agree that terrorist organizations have complicated bringing those responsible for war crimes... and, crimes against Humanity to justice because they pay no attention to international law... and, use "unspeakable violence."  The dialogs were again hosted by the Jackson Center.


(Correction)Newhart announced as headliner for October Lucy-Half Marathon Weekend...

Legendary comedian Bob Newhart will bring his "button-down" style of humor to Jamestown for a second time this coming October.  Newhart will be the headliner for the second-annual "Lucy-Town Half-Marathon and 5-K" run during Columbus Day Weekend.  Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center of Comedy Director Journey Gunderson says they're excited to have Newhart performing at 8 p.m. Sat., Oct. 11 at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts.  Gunderson says Newhart has a new generation of fans thanks to his role on "The Big Bang Theory..." for which he earned an Emmy.  She adds older folks remember "Newhart..." and, the "Bob Newhart Show."  Gunderson says Saturday, October 11th will feature the 5K run... and, a first ever kids run.  She says there will also be a new world record attempt for number of people stomping grapes.  The current record is 977.  The Half-Marathon will be held Sunday morning, Oct. 12.  Tickets for Bob Newhart will go on sale Wednesday morning, Aug. 27, online at www.lucyrace.com, or by calling the Reg Lenna box office at 484-7070.

 

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