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Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines


Chautauqua County lawmakers have overwhelmingly approved a revised resolution that gives the financially-troubled village of Forestville a one-time, 150-thousand dollar loan.  However the municipality will not be receiving an 87-thousand dollar reimbursement on tipping fees from the county landfill for an emergency demolition in 2009.  The measure which also includes two stipulations that the village look into dissolving itself was approved 18-to-1.  Silver Creek Republican George Borrello who represents Forestville as part of his district says this will greatly help the village and, not expose the county to too much risk. Jamestown Democrat Chuck Nazzaro opposed the original resolution mainly reimbursing the tipping fees but, he also felt making it a five-year loan at 3-percent was "more realistic."  Borello was at the village board's meeting Tuesday night where it accepted the new terms and, says the people there "understood and appreciated" what the county was doing.  Frewsburg Republican Ron Lemon was among those lawmakers who changed their minds just before last night's vote.  The only lawmaker voting "no" last night was West Ellicott's Lisa Vanstrom.

 

Forestville's mayor and other village officials say they are "grateful and relieved" that county lawmakers have approved giving them some financial help.  Mayor Kevin Johnson spoke before and after last night's vote emphasizing the need for the loan to pay off a water-line project.  Johnson also said the village board accepted the county's conditions at it's Tuesday meeting.  He called last night's action "a start...." Johnson says the village has also made some other moves to begin paying off it's loans... which total 400-thousand dollars.  With the county's loan... he says the tax increase has been lowered to 100-percent... or about 10-dollars per thousand assessed value.  The village's current leadership received some kudos for what they've done so far by Lakewood Republican Paul Wendel... who equated their situation with taking "command of the Titantic after it struck the iceberg."  The village's current tax rate is about 5-dollars-13 cents per thousand assessed value.  Johnson says they'll definately look at dissolution... but, he adds it won't be a quick and easy process.

 

The Chautauqua County Sheriff's office... and, other local police agencies... will again be taking part in the Nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this weekend.  This year... Sheriff Joe Gerace says the give-back day has taken on added emphasis with the problem both locally and nationally with opiate drug addiction.  Gerace says drug abuse, misuse... and, accidential poisoning are a "critical problem..." and, this is an excellent way to rid the community of potential dangerous drugs with no adverse impact on the environment. Gerace says the service will be provided at four locations in the county... and, is free to the public.  He says you can drop off the unused and unwanted prescription drugs this Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM.  The federal Drug Enforcement Agency is partnering with local agencies to put on the program.  Drop off points are the Chautauqua Mall Parking Lot -- in front of the JC Penny store... and, the Southside Plaza in Jamestown.  The other two sites are Alstar Ambulance on Monroe Street in Dunkirk... and, Westfield Family Physicians on Main Street in Westfield. 

 

A town of Ashford man is the second, fatal motorcycle accident victim in Cattaraugus County this week.  State Police in Machias say 52 year-old Roy Beverlin, Junior of Bolton Road was riding on that road Tuesday when his bike missed a curve... and, struck a fence and trees off the west shoulder of the road.  No one saw the accident... so troopers had to reconstruct the crash scene.  A passing motorist found Beverlin unresponsive... and, called 9-1-1.  He was pronounced dead at the scene.

 

Some two-dozen fire departments across Chautauqua County will be holding open houses this weekend as part of the ongoing effort to find new recruits.  Recruit-New York is an annual effort to open up local departments to their communities to let people see their operations.  County Emergency Services Director Julius Leone says it's put on by the Firemen's Association of the State of New York.  Leone adds FASNY (Fass-Nee) has put on the program for a few years now. Leone says they're not just looking for firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians.  But... he says they also need people who work in accounting... and, other "life skills" areas that are needed to keep such operations going.  If you want to be a firefighter or EMT... Leone says free training is available.  He says local departments recruited just over 60 new members last year to become part of the fire service.  He says they want to improve on those numbers.  Most open houses begin at 10 AM Saturday.  Lakewood will hold one on both Saturday and Sunday.  For more information... call the Department of Emergency Services at 753-4341.

 

Texas Governor Rick Perry is challenging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to a debate over economic policy as he ventures onto Cuomo's turf.  Perry is visiting New York to coax employers to move to Texas.  A Cuomo spokesman has offered no comment.

WJTN News Headlines


One of four men accused in of murdering a town of Carroll couple in April of last year has accepted a plea deal in exchange for testifying against the other defendants.  Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley says 19 year-old Steven Todd of Elmira has pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree manslaughter and, will cooperate with the prosecution.  Foley says Todd was not the only defendent offered a plea deal but, he was the first to accept. Todd was initially charged along with 35 year-old Davide CogginS 22 year-old Joshua McCormick and 19 year-old Rickey Knickerbocker with two counts each of second-degree murder.  However the key defendant is Coggins who has some ties to the area.  He, along with the others, were arrested in Elmira a day after they allegedly murdered 66 year-old Gordon Skinner, and his 59 year-old wife, Joyce.  Even with the plea deal Foley says Todd still faces some major prision time.  The four men are accused of invading the house the morning of April 17th, 2013 and, killing the Skinners before setting their house on fire to cover up the crime.

 

A no-tax increase budget will go before Jamestown school district voters next May 20th.  That after the school board approved a slightly revised, 75.7-million dollar budget for the 2014-2015 school year last night.  The vote was 6-to-1 following a detailed presentation by Superintendent Tim Mains, and Assistant Superintendent for Administration Dale Weatherlow at last night's meeting.  Mains says the presentation was based on discussions at a board work session Monday night where members said they didn't want a tax increase in the budget.  He says they achieved that by making two non-instructional positions half-time another was elimination of the Advanced Learning Program. Mains says the spending plan does increase the budget for staff development by 300-thousand dollars.  He says teaching a small number of teachers about such areas as the Common Core and, hoping that filters through the ranks hasn't worked.  Mains says the teachers need to learn "more specifics."   A public hearing on the spending plan will be held on Tuesday, May 13th at Persell Middle School while the vote is May 20th.  Board member Patrick Slagle cast the lone "no" vote on the budget.

 

New York's comptroller says the state is in a favorable financial position, but relies heavily on borrowing and temporary resources.  Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a report Monday showing the fiscal year-end general fund balance of 2.2-billion dollars was 432-million dollars more than projected in February and the state put money in a ``rainy day fund'' for the first time since 2008.  DiNapoli says the new budget relies on 4.9-billion dollars in temporary state resources and, 2.7-billion dollars in federal aid related to Superstorm Sandy and the Affordable Care Act.  The nearly 140-billion dollar budget authorizes $7.6 billion in new debt through public authorities and an increase of 5.4 percent, or $1.1 billion in school aid. 

 

A required public hearing on the city of Jamestown's annual Community Development Block Grant and HOME Program funding will be held prior to next Monday night's regular council voting session.  That from city Development Director Vince DeJoy who says Mayor Sam Teresi will hold the hearing at 6:30 PM in Council Chambers.  DeJoy says his department is finalizing the 2014 Action Plan which will later be submitted to the U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development. DeJoy says the amount of money available for the city in both the CDBG and HOME Programs is again about one-million dollars after seeing drastic cuts in recent years by the federal government.  He says the allocation is only about 200-dollars lower overall.  DeJoy says while funding remains down they're going to try and continue the programming they have started mainly for low to moderate income housing rehabilitation and demolition projects.  DeJoy says HUD still requires 70-percent of the CDBG funding go towards low to moderate-income programs which in recent years have included Americans with Disabilities Act projects.

 

Five former Buffalo Bills cheerleaders are suing the team, claiming they weren't paid for their time at football games or mandatory public appearances they say left them open to groping and sexual comments.  Tuesday's lawsuit is the third filed this year against a National Football League team by its cheerleaders.  The Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals also have pending wage battles.  At a news conference with their attorney, Frank Dolce two members of the Buffalo ``Jills'' squad said they were wrongly classified as independent contractors by Stejon Productions, which failed to pay them for hundreds of hours of work.  A Bills spokesman says the team doesn't comment on pending litigation.  Stejon Productions didn't immediately respond to a request for a response.

 

A new poll of New York voters shows Governor Andrew Cuomo maintaining a double-digit lead over his Republican challenger.  The Siena College poll released yesterday shows the Democrat leading Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino 58-percent to 28-percent.  It was 61-to-26-percent in Siena's poll last month.

 


 

News Update for Tues., Apr. 22, 2014


One of four defendants in Carroll double-homicide accepts plea deal in return for testimony against the others...

One of four men accused in the Carroll double-homicide in April of last year has accepted a plea deal in exchange for testifying against the others.  Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley says 19 year-old Steven Todd of Elmira has pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree manslaughter... and, will cooperate with the prosecution.  Todd was initially charged... along with 35 year-old Davide Coggins... 22 year-old Joshua McCormick and 19 year-old Rickey Knickerbocker... with two counts of second-degree murder.  Foley says Todd was not the only one offered a plea.  He says they offered the manslaughter pleas to others... mainly to testify against the prime suspect... believed to be Coggins.  Coggins has some ties to the area.  He... along with the others... were arrested in Elmira a day after they allegedly murdered 66 year-old Gordon Skinner, and his 59 year-old wife, Joyce.  The four are accused of committing home invasion... and, killing the Skinners berfore setting fire to their Wheeler Hill Road home during the morning hours of April 17, 2013.  After killing the couple the four are accused of setting the home on fire.  Foley says Todd will still face major prison time... even with the plea deal.


Cattaraugus County man killed in motorcycle accident in East Otto...

An elderly man from southern Erie County, New York man has been killed in a motorcycle crash in the Cattaraugus County Town of East Otto.  Sheriff's officers in Little Valley say 79 year-old Paul Maddox of Colden was traveling southwest on Connoisarally Road about 5:30 p.m. Monday when the bike went off the right shoulder of the road.  Deputies say the motorcycle went into a ditch and overturned.  Officers say Maddox was found in the ditch, unresponsive and not breathing.  He was given CPR at the scene... and rushed to Bertrand-Chaffee Hospital in Springsville... where he was later pronounced dead.

WJTN News Headlines


Jamestown police are investigating a shooting incident early last evening at Chadakoin Park in which one person suffered non-life threatening wounds.  However... City Police Chief Harry Snellings says they have no suspect in custody... largely because neither the victim... nor witnesses... are cooperating with police.  Snellings says officers were called to the scene near the basketball courts about 6 PM.... but, he says the victim had already been taken to the hospital. Snellings says the victim suffered several, minor wounds, and was treated and later released.  He says the victim was a black male... which he had no age for.  Snellings says -- the suspect -- who had run off before police arrived -- was apparently hispanic.  However... there was no other description of the man.  Fortunately... no one else was hurt.  He says police don't have a motive for the shooting.  If anyone has any information on the case... they're asked to call city police at 483-7537... or their Tip-Line at 483-8477.

 

Dunkirk Police are continuing their investigation into a shooting that occurred early Easter Sunday morning on East Fourth Street.  However... there have been few new developments in the case so far.  Police Chief David Ortolano tells us that officers responded to a report of a male gunshot victim in Brook's Memorial Hospital's Emergency Room shortly after 3 AM.  Orotolano says they have conducted some interviews. The victim's identity has not been released.  Ortolano is encouraging anyone with information about the shooting to call Dunkirk Police at 366-2266... or the department's confidential tip line at 363-0313.

 

A Binghampton, New York man was seriously hurt when his large truck... which was hauling asphalt... overturned and crashed on Route 59 in Warren County, Pennsylvania.  State Police in Warren say 59 year-old Dennis Korell was eastbound just after 7:30 AM Monday when his rig went off the east shoulder in the S-curves... and, traveled on the soft shoulder until it struck a large rock and guard-rail.  Troopers say the truck then went into a ditch... and, struck an embankment.  Police say the carb then overturned on the driver's side.  The trailer was torn open... spilling it's contents into the nearby creek and Allegheny River.  Troopers say Korell was trapped inside the cab... and, had to be extracated.  He was flown to UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pennsylvania for emergency treatment.  Route 59 in that area was closed until about 6:30 last night.

 

Our bitterly cold Winter both helped... and, hurt the city of Jamestown's bottom line in the first quarter of 2014.  That from Comptroller Joe Bellitto... who presented the city's first-quarter financial report at last night's work session.  Bellitto says Jamestown is in "decent shape" on the revenue side... thanks in large part to tax equivalent payments from the Board of Public Utilities.  He says that's especially the case in the electric division where usage was up.  However... Bellitto says the state Comptroller says sales tax revenues may be iffy.
Bellitto says overtime costs are up 31-percent for the first three-months of the year... due mainly to the cold Winter.  But... he says that's down from the 43-percent OT costs were up in the first-quarter of 2013.  Bellitto adds they only have two-month figures on fuel costs from the BPU... but, adds the numbers they do have show a 25-percent increase over last year.  If that keeps up... he says "we could be in trouble."  Bellitto told city lawmakers his other area of concern is in health care costs... which he says are up about 8.5-percent due to some "considerable claims" filed over the past few months.

 

Congress remains on it's Easter Break... but, it's will still be a busy week for local Representative Tom Reed... who has a number of meeting and town hall sessions scheduled across the 23rd District.  Reed says his town hall meetings will be held this coming Saturday... with one in Chautauqua County.  The Corning Republican also says he'll be meeting with business and industry leaders to update them on his bi-partsian Revitalizing American Manufacturing Innovation... or RAMI Act.  Reed says that bill just cleared a Senate Committee. Reed says the need to boost manufacturing in the sprawling 23rd Congressional District is also important to the people he's heard from at Town Hall meetings he's hosted across the district.  He says he's also heard a lot about emphasizing agri-business in the Southern Tier District... and, adds there are a number of exciting opportunities there for dairy products... along with grapes and wine... and, microbreweries.  As for the town hall meetings on Saturday... he says the first will be held at the Chautauqua Town Municipal Building in Mayville at 10:30 AM.

 

A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly threatening another man several times with a kitchen knife at a downtown apartment house.  City police were called to the Noeplace Apartments at 207 Spring Street about 11:30 PM Sunday... and they spoke with the victim.  Officers say the man told them that 57 year-old Charles Hough threatened him with the knife.  Hough was taken into custody without incident... and, was arraigned on one count of second-degree menacing before being sent for a mental health evaluation.

News Update! for Monday, Apr. 21, 2014


(Alert)Jamestown police investigating shooting incident at Chadakoin Park...

Jamestown police are investigating a shooting incident early this evening at Chadakoin Park in which one person suffered several minor wounds.  However... City Police Chief Harry Snellings says they have no suspect in custody... largely because neither the victim... nor witnesses... are cooperating with police.  Snellings says officers were called to the scene near the basketball courts about 6 p.m., but, he says the victim had already been taken to the hospital.  He says they spoke with the man... a black male... who refused to cooperate.  Snellings says the victims that would cooperate would only say there were "3 to 4 shots" fired... and, "everybody dispersed from the scene."  Snellings says the victim treated and later released.  He says the victim was a black male... but, he had no age for him.  Snellings says -- the suspect -- who had run off before police arrived -- was reportedly hispanic.  However... there was no other description of the man.  Fortunately... no one else was hurt.  He says police don't have a motive for the shooting.  If anyone has any information on the case... they're asked to call city police at 483-7537... or their Tip-Line at 483-8477.

 

News Update for Mon., Apr. 21, 2014


Central New York man seriously hurt in large truck accident that closes Route 59 in Warren County...

A Binghampton, New York man was seriously hurt when his large truck... which was hauling asphalt... overturned and crashed on Route 59 in Warren County, PA.  State Police in Warren say 59 year-old Dennis Korell was eastbound just after 7:30 this morning when his rig went off the east shoulder in the S-curves... and, traveled on the soft shoulder until it struck a large rock and guard-rail.  Troopers say the truck then went into a ditch... and, struck an embankment.  Police say the carb then overturned on the driver's side.  The trailer was torn open... spilling it's contents into the nearby creek and Allegheny River.  Troopers say Korell was trapped inside the cab... and, had to be extracated.  He was flown to UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pennsylvania for emergency treatment.  Route 59 in that area was closed most of the day.  Several local fire departments... and, state agencies assisted at the scene.


City man arrested for allegedly threatening another with a knife at apartment house....

A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly threatening another man several times with a kitchen knife at a downtown apartment house.  City police were called to the Noeplace Apartments at 207 Spring St. about 11:30 last night... and they spoke with the victim.  Officers say the man told them that 57 year-old Charles Hough threatened him with the knife.  Hough was taken into custody without incident.  He was arraigned on one count of second-degree menacing... and, jailed pending a mental health evaluation.


One-car crash in Sheridan sends Sinclairville man to Brook's Hospital...

A one vehicle crash on Route 20 in the town of Sheridan sent a Sinclairville man to Brooks Memorial Hospital for treatment.  State Police in Fredonia say that a car... driven by 85-year-old Henry Stritzki went off the highway... striking a utility pole and rolled over.  Troopers say debris from the vehicle struck a parked vehicle in a nearby driveway, breaking a window.  Sheridan firefighters had to free Stritzki from the vehicle.  Police say he was then taken to Brook's in Dunkirk.  Stritzki was ticketed for moving from lane unsafely.

WJTN News Headlines


A Jamestown man faces a number of charges for allegedly fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run car crash on the city's westside last weekend.  City Police were called to a report of property damage accident at West Eighth and Washington Streets just before 9:30 Saturday morning.  When officers arrived... they were told one of the cars drove off on West Eighth.  Police say that vehicle was later found on Strong Street and Prendergast Avenue where several witnesses saw the driver get out and walk away.  That alleged driver... Gary Woodmansee... was later found by police on Falconer Street.  Following an investigation... Woodmansee was charged with several counts... including driving with a suspended license... driving while intoxicated... and, leaving the scene of property damage accident.  He was taken to the city jail pending arraignment.

 

A major drug bust in Cattaraugus County has taken dozens of bags of heroin off the streets... and, led to the arrest of three people.  Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say they... along with the Olean Police Street Crimes Unit... raided a home at 440 North First Street early last weekend.  Task Force members say they found 60 bags of package heroin... along with a large amount of cash... scales and drug paraphernalia.  Police and Task Force members arrested two Olean residents... 24 year-old Bryant Battle and 20 year-old Ian Mason... and, John Carter-the-third of the Bronx.  All three were charged with Felony criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, jailed pending arraignment.

 

A Brocton man has been arrested on a warrant for allegedly engaging in a criminal sex act in the town of Portland.  Sheriff's officers say 40 year-old Byron Lawton of Webster Road was tracked down by officers... with the assistance of K-9 Drago... late last Saturday night.  Deputies say Lawton was taken into custody without incident... and, arraigned on the warrant for second-degree criminal sex act.  He was sent to the County Jail without bail.

 

Local Congressman Tom Reed says a recently reported effort by several Republicans to possibly replace House Speaker John Boehner after the mid-term elections is nothing but a "bunch of talk."  Reed says he remains behind Boehner... and, his efforts to "change the culture" of Washington, D-C.  The report had a group of "40 to 50" more conservative Republican members looking to replace Boehner.  The Corning Repubican says... under Boehner's leadership... two siginficant changes have come in the way the House of Representatives operates. The report earlier this week said the disgruntled group of Republicans were looking to oust Boehner because they don't feel he's been a strong enough leader for the GOP.  Reed says he's fine with Boehner... and, emphasized that he is NOT part of that effort.  He won a special election to the old Southern Tier District a few years ago with TEA party support.  TEA Party Republicans are reportedly the one's who have been disappointed with Boehner's leadership.

 

The elderly town of Ellicott man who died of apparent smoke inhalation from a fire that destroyed his house in the town of Ellicott has been identified.  93 year-old Arthur Carlson died of smoke inhalation during the blaze... which was called in about 10:40 PM last Thursday.  Chautauqua County Fire investigators say Fluvanna Fire crews found the structure at 31-61 Moon Road fully-engulfed in flames on arrival.  Sheriff's Department dispatchers say Fluvanna was assisted at the scene by 10 departments.  Sheriff Joe Gerace says, during the firefighting operations... Carlson... was found dead inside the home.

 

It was cool... but, sunny and comfortable for the city of Jamestown's 67th annual Easter Egg Hunt at Allen Park last Saturday morning.  Jamestown Parks and Recreation Coordinator Julia Ciesla-Hanley says they couldn't have ordered better weather for the annual Spring-time ritual... and, thousands of children and their parents were on hand for the event.  Speaking with our Jim Roselle and Russ Diethrick... Ciesla-Hanley thanked the several local organizations and volunteer that allow the event to happen... including the Sertoma Club. Ciesla-Hanley also thanked Roberta Hess... the widow of Mark Hess... for continuing their business's sponsorship of the prizes for the kids who find the two Gold... and, two Silver Eggs.  There were also 30 other prize eggs... and, 13-hundred other eggs.  The city also put out 5-thousand wrapped candies for the egg hunt.   She says residents look forward to the egg hunt each year -- so much so -- that's it's become a generational kind of event.

 

Motorists who repeatedly speed through New York state toll booths without a working E-ZPass would see their vehicle registrations suspended under legislation being considered by lawmakers.  State Senator David Carlucci says that his proposal would allow toll officials to suspend the registration of anyone who racks up five toll violations within 18 months.  Under current law... toll evaders are contacted by a collection agency and only face the loss of their registration if they've committed multiple violations within the same locality.  Carlucci says he hopes lawmakers approve his proposal when they return to Albany later this month.  Governor Andrew Cuomo supports the idea.  Scofflaws ran up 35-million dollars in unpaid tolls and fines on the New York Thruway between 2007 and 2011.

 

A Mayville man has been arrested for allegedly committing an assault in the town of Chautauqua.  Sheriff's officers say they arrested 34 year-old David Douglas of Valley Street late last Thursday night on a warrant for second-degree Assault.  Deputies say Douglas was arraigned in Chautauqua Town Court... and, sent to the County Jail on 3-thousand dollars cash bail.

News Update for Fri., Apr. 18, 2014


City police release name of child beaten to death in Jamestown Wednesday night...

Jamestown police have now released the name of the 16-month old girl who was 'beaten to death' Wednesday night on the city's southside.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson... who says the death has been ruled a homicide... adds the girl's name is Nayla Hodnett.  Samuelson says the child was brought from a home at 218 1/2 Newland Avenue to WCA Hospital's Emergency Room Wednesday night by the girl's mother.  He says the child was later transferred to Women and Children's Hospital in Buffalo... where she later died.  Samuelson says an autopsy was then performed at the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office... and, they ruled the child died of "blunt force trauma."  Samuelson says the medical examiner's office then contacted police at 8 a.m. Thursday... and, they began probing into the death.  He says a warrant was obtained... but, won't say if police found anything.  He says the child's mother and her boyfriend are considered "persons of interest" at this point... and, they are continuing to investigate, and interview relatives and neighbors.  If you have any information on the case... you're asked to call JPD at 483-7537... or their confidential tip-line at 483-8477.

 

 

Fire that destroys Ellicott home north of Jamestown now a fatality...

An unidentified man has died of smoke inhalation from a fire that destroyed his house in the town of Ellicott... just north of Jamestown.  Chautauqua County Fire investigators says Fluvanna Fire crews were called to the scene at 3161 Moon Road about 10:40 p.m. last night... and found the structure fully-engulfed in flames.  Sheriff's Department dispatchers say Fluvanna was assisted at the scene by Bemus Point... Busti... Ellery Center... Ellington... Falconer... Frewsburg... Gerry... Kennedy... Kiantone... and, Sinclairville Fire Departments.  Investigators say, during the firefighting operations, a male subject was found dead inside the home. County Coroner John Sixbey was called to the scene... and, pronounced the subject dead at the scene.  The home was a total loss.  Investigation into the fire determined that an electrical wire had been compromised in a crawl space under the kitchen of the residence.  The wire shorted out, causing the floor joist to ignite, and the spread to the rest of the house.  No other injuries were reported.  The fire and death are being ruled accidental.

WJTN News Headlines


Jamestown police say a 16-month old girl was killed Wednesday night on the city's southside... and, police says the death was a homicide.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says the child was brought from a home at 218-and-a-half Newland Avenue to WCA Hospital's Emergency Room Wednesday night by the girl's mother.  Samuelson says the child was later transferred to Women and Children's Hospital in Buffalo... where she later died of her injuries.  An autopsy at the Erie County Medical Center determined the cause of death was homicide.  Samuelson says police are not releasing the infant's name... but, adds they do have several leads they're tracking down.  He says they are still conducting interviews... and, are asking anyone with information to contact JPD at 483-7537... or their confidential tip-line at 483-8477.

 

Fire Crews were busy fighting a fire overnight in the town of Ellicott. Chautauqua County Dispatch reports that crews were called out to 3161 Moon Road just after 10:30 Thursday night.  Fluvanna was assisted by Busti, Ellery Center, Sinclaireville, Gerry, Bemus Point and Dewitville.  There is no word on whether anyone was home at the time of the fire or of any injuries.  Crews are still on the scene investigating the cause of the blaze.  We'll have more details when they become available.

 

A Chautauqua County Legislature committee has agreed to a loan... and, refund to Forestville to help the village avoid a potential 445-percent property tax increase.  Audit and Control Committee Chairman John Runkle says Thursday morning's vote was a close, 3-to-2.  Runkle says the panel agreed to a 150-thousand dollar loan to the village from the county's Capital Reserve Fund.... and, would be paid back at 2.5-percent interest.  He adds the other key part is agreeing to pay back Forestville just over 87-thousand dollars in landfill tipping fees for an emergency demolition in the village in 2009. Combined... Runkle says that will help the village pay off just over 237-thousand dollars of a total of 400-thousand dollars that's due from the village government to pay off a couple of Bond Anticipation Notes.  He says there are three other parts to the resolution... including having Forestville start to obtain grant monies for a study into dissolving the village.  He says the village board will vote on that item next Tuesday.  Runkle says he's most concerned about the residents ability to keep their homes because a significant, one-time, property tax increase will still be needed to balance the village budget.  Runkle and fellow Republican George Borrello... along with Democrat Shawn Heenan voted for the measure.  Democrats Chuck Nazzaro and Pierre Chagnon (Shag-nun) voted against it.

 

The Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office is warning residents about a phone scam in which the caller says they're a member of the department... and, are calling people regarding a debt on a recent purchase.  The Sheriff's Department says a man received the call from the number 938-9191... which is the department's number.  However... they say the scammer was apparently able to disguise the actual number using a computer program.  In this case... the caller said a company called ACE claimed the money was owed for a tool purchase... and, that if the money wasn't paid... the victim would be arrested.  Officers say the man gave out his credit card information.  Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb says his office does not call people to collect unpaid bills... and, if you receive such a call, do NOT give out any personal bank or credit card information unless you know the organization is legitimate.

 

The Randolph Central School bus driver accused of having inappropriate relations with a 6 year-old boy in March of last year has agreed to a plea deal in the case.  Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley says 67 year-old John Hitchcock pled guilty in county court to endangering the welfare of a child to satisfy an indictment against him.  However... Foley says seven counts of first-degree Sexual Abuse against Hitchcock were dropped after lengthy discussions with the child's family.

 

This week's report by the Tax Foundation that recent changes in New York law would raise the state's national corporate tax climate ranking by 21 places is a -- "very positive step forward."  That from Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Tranum... who says the Washington-based organization's findings is a reflection of the hard work they, and other groups have put in on the issue.  The Tax Foundation reports that if ALL the cuts took effect this year, the state's corporate tax rank would go from 25th in the nation to fourth.  Tranum also thanked state lawmakers for moving forward reducing New York's tax burden. Tranum says the steps taken this year are important to not only bringing new business to New York... but, keeping others here and allowing them to expand.  However... he says the Tax Foundation -- a non-profit research group -- also indicated that, overall, the state would only move from 50th to 48th in the U-S... and, more needs to be done to bring down property, and other taxes.  Tranum adds the unemployment insurance tax is another area that needs to be addressed.

 

Gas prices in the Jamestown-area have gone up a little over a penny this Easter Week to 3-dollars-74 cents a gallon for regular, unleaded.  However... some prices as we close out the week have increased to 3-dollars-75 cents to 3--79 a gallon.  That from the Triple-A's Fuel Gauge... which reports the current national average price at the pump is 3-dollars-64 cents per gallon.  That's 6-cents more expensive than one week ago.  For the first-time since mid-January... the national average price registered higher than the same date the year prior last Wednesday.  The Triple-A says motorists in the majority of states are now paying a 'year-over-year' premium.  Triple-A ties the increase to refineries drawing down their supplies of gasoline at this time of year so as not to be left with winter-blend fuel that they can no longer sell after May 1st.

 


 

News Alert for Thurs., Apr. 17, 2014


City police investigating death of toddler as a homicide...

Jamestown police say a 16-month old girl was killed Wednesday night on the city's southside... and, police say the death was a homicide.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says the child was brought from a home at 218 1/2 Newland Avenue to WCA Hospital's Emergency Room Wednesday night by the girl's mother.  Samuelson says the child was later transferred to Women and Children's Hospital in Buffalo... where she later died of her injuries.  An autopsy at the Erie County Medical Center determined the cause of death was homicide.  Samuelson says police are not releasing the infant's name... but, adds they do have several leads they're tracking down.  He says they are still conducting interviews... and, are asking anyone with information to contact JPD at 483-7537... or their confidential tip-line at 483-8477.

News Update for Thurs., Apr. 17, 2014


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

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


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

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


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

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

 

 

WJTN News Headlines


A former corrections officer at the Chautauqua County Jail for more than 20 years faces criminal charges for allegedly having sexual contact with a female inmate.  Sheriff Joe Gerace tells us a grand jury indicted 56 year-old Jeffrey Swan last week.  Gerace says Swan was arrested... and, arraigned on a Felony charge of Criminal Sexual Act.  He says the accusations were brought to his attention several weeks ago... and, his office investigated along with the District Attorney’s Office. Gerace could not comment on whether or not the alleged sex was consensual... but, adds it's never legal.  New York State law says it is impossible for prisoners to voluntarily consent to sexual advances from staff members who exert complete control over their lives, and sometimes their release from prison.  Gerace says Swan is free on bail... pending further court action.

 

A Jamestown man has turned himself in for allegedly being in possession of narcotics at a residence that was recently raided by city police during a drug sweep.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says 36 year-old Cesar Soto surrendered to police this (Tuesday) morning after two warrants had been issued for his arrest.  Soto was not at the 20 Willis Street residence when the raid occured on April 2nd.  Police found a quantity of heroin... packaging material... an,d prescription drugs at the location.  Soto is jailed pending arraignment.

 

A spring warm-up didn't last long across much of New York.  A cold front that swept across the region Tuesday left behind several inches of snow and sent temperatures plummeting.  However... in the immediate Jamestown area... we saw less than an inch of snow -- mainly on grassy surfaces.  In addition, some areas along the Black and Moose rivers are under continuing flood warnings.  The Black River in Watertown is 2 1/2 feet above flood stage this morning and not expected to crest until tomorrow evening.

 

The intensely cold Winter... and, a deeper than usual ice cover on Chautauqua Lake is apparently what's triggered a major fish kill along the lake's shoreline.  Hundreds of Silver Bass and Gizzard Shad.... and, other mainly "surface fish..." had been pushed onto land by high winds last weekend.  Chautauqua County's Director of Environmental Health Services, Mark Stow, took a look at an area in Bemus Point Monday... where one-thousand fish washed up. Stow says officials with the state Department of Environmental Conservation say such fish die-off is quite natural because the thick ice... cold temperatures and decaying vegetation likely robbed oxygen from the water.  He says the situation is not a health hazard... but, adds there is no agency mechanism in place to dispose of the fish.  With that... he says you have to let nature take it's course.  Stow adds Lake Erie has had a similar die-off.  In an article today in the Jamestown Post-Journal... the DEC is telling lake side residents looking to get rid of the dead carcuses to to dispose of the fish at the county landfill.

 

Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino says Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino would make a ``great governor.''  However, in an email to the state GOP chairman, Paladino says Astorino will only win if he appeals to the party's conservative base.  Paladino also told state Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox that he's dropping his efforts to recruit celebrity businessman Donald Trump.

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo's tax return shows he made just over 188-thousand dollars last year on an advance for his book that's due out in August.  Cuomo's office allowed reporters to examine Cuomo's returns Tuesday, the deadline for filing.  In addition to the book advance... Cuomo reported $175,277 in state compensation.  The return also indicates that Cuomo gave a charitable donation of $16,000 to the HELP USA charity he founded for the homeless before he became governor.  Cuomo paid a total of $102,480 in federal income taxes... and, is due a refund of just over 61-hundred dollars.  The Democrat governor will receive additional installments on his book advance.  Publisher HarperCollins and a Cuomo spokesman declined to provide the total amount of the advance.  The book is entitled ``All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics and Life.''

 

Pre-sale ticket sales are off to a "great start" for the main headliner at this year's Lucille Ball Comedy Festival in Jamestown.  That from Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center of Comedy Executive Director Journey Gunderson... who says they're "very pleased" with pre-sales to Center members so far for the August 9th appearance by Jay Leno.  Gunderson is quick to remind people, though, that Leno will be appearing at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena... which can seat 22-hundred people for such events.  However... she says they're looking forward to having the "public pre-sale" begin this Friday. Gunderson says they were able to work out the logistics to hosting Leno at the arena with arena officials... and, the Gebbie Foundation.   She says they've been "flooded with calls and e-mails..." so, it appears interest will be high for this show.  Gunderson says getting Leno was no small task because Jamestown has to compete with larger markets... and, venues.  Gunderson says the public pre-sale will also be for other events during the August 6th through 10th festival.  For more information... go on-line to LucyComedyFest-dot-COM... or call 484-0800.

 

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