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Local News Headlines Archives for 2014-03

WJTN News Headlines


The state Legislature is set to adopt a nearly $140 billion budget that includes some tax breaks for businesses and homeowners and a 5 percent increase in school aid. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders reached an agreement on the deal Friday night into Saturday. Voting is expected today on the spending plan for the new fiscal year that starts on Tuesday.

 

The budget plan approved early last weekend by the Cuomo administration and legislative leaders contains the governor's proposal for tax relief to homeowners in localities that meet certain conditions.  Those conditions include staying within a 2 percent tax cap and take further steps to reduce costs.  The estimated 1.5-billion dollars in homeowner tax relief is tied to counties and their towns, villages and cities putting a lid on spending the first year, then getting state approval on local plans to cut spending in the second year.

 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he's excited about the 340-million dollars for pre-kindergarten programs in the proposed state budget.  The pre-K funding in the budget agreement between Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders includes 300-million for New York City... and, 40-million dollars for the rest of the state.  De Blasio called it ``an extraordinary and historic step forward for New York City.''  Details of the budget covering the fiscal year beginning Tuesday were contained in legislation filed late Friday.

 

A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly threatening another person with a knife during a domestic incident yesterday afternoon.  City police were called to the scene at 27 Maple Street just before 5 PM... and, were told one person allegedly had the weapon in their possession.  Officers say their investigation revealed that 52 year-old James Hewitt had a knife... and, had threatened to "cut the victim up."  Hewitt was arrested without incident... and, charged with second-degree menacing.  He was being held in the city lock-up pending arraignment.

 

The recent "Community Drug Forum" on the county's opiate drug problem was "effective" in bringing the issue to the forefront... and, getting the conversation going on what needs to be done about it.  That from one of the people who took part in an afternoon panel discussion on the problem... especially regarding a spike in heroin abuse.  Director Pat Munson with the Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council says she wanted to hear how prevention programs can help... and, that people stuck with the facts about the situation.  She says both those goals were met. Munson hoped to get some of the participants to take part in a media campaign regarding the dangers of opiates, and heroin.  However... the break-out sessions planned after the panel discussion never took place due to the weather.  As for the heroin spike... Munson says increased regulation on prescription drugs -- mainly pain killers -- has worked... because they're not as available as they were a short time ago.  With that... addicts who don't get into a treatment program turn to heroin because it's relatively inexpensive... and, easier to get than a prescription.  Munson made her comments for this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the Media One Group stations.

 

Dozens of law enforcement officers from New York, Vermont and Massachusetts recently met in an upstate county that has become a crossroad in the trafficking of heroin to northern New England.  The Glens Falls Post-Star reports that about 90 local, state and federal officers met at the Washington County Sheriff's Office to discuss how to combat the growing heroin problem in the Northeast.  The county located on the Vermont border has two roads -- Routes 149 and 4 -- that carry motorists to and from Vermont.  Washington County has seen an increase in heroin arrests and overdoses as the drug's use has grown in Vermont and New York.

 

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford is offering awards that will enable students in three neighboring New York counties to attend the Pennsylvania school at in-state tuition rates.  The Bradford Era reports the deal available to students in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties is not, technically, a tuition discount... but, an award that enables qualifying students to pay $12,208 for annual tuition instead of $22,812, the rate out-of-state students pay.  The Bradford satellite campus, which is about 130 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, is just six miles from the New York border.  The new award is available to full-time freshmen and transfer students who enroll beginning this fall.  Those students must maintain at least a 2.25 grade-point average to maintain the award all four years.

 

The Buffalo Bills will honor late owner Ralph Wilson with a public celebration and remembrance at the team's fieldhouse on April 5th.  The event will feature memorabilia, exhibits and a guestbook to allow fans to pay tribute to the Hall of Fame owner, who founded the former American Football League franchise in 1959.  A private family service was held in Detroit... Wilson's hometown... last Saturday.  The Pro Football Hall of Famer had a connection to Chautauqua County.  The Bills held their annual training camp in Fredonia for nearly 19 years before it moved to the Rochester area.  Valerie Pawlak, who is known locally as the "Number-one Bills fan..." recalled how Wilson enjoyed coming to the SUNY Fredonia campus. The 95-year-old Wilson died last Tuesday at his home in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan.  The private service -- attended by several Bill's personnel -- was held last Saturday in Detroit.  The Bills will also hold a private ceremony for staff, players, coaches and NFL personnel.  The date has not been set.

 

News Update for Friday, Mar. 28, 2014


Jamestown police identify logo "Tail Gate Party" on sweatshirt worn by one of two alleged robbers also spotted at convenience store...

Jamestown police have now identified the logo on the sweatshirt one of the two alleged robbers in this week's CVS Store hold-up was wearing.  It was also worn by a man wearing a mask that bought a soft drink at the Kwik Fill station on Washington Street at Fluvanna Avenue.  Jamestown police are circulating a picture of the logo "Tail Gate Party..." which was a popular brand of sweatshirt sold by "Steve and Barry's" stores in Erie and Buffalo.  The suspect spotted at the Kwik Fill station was seen wearing the sweatshirt about 10:45 p.m. Tuesday night.  That from City Police Captain Bob Samuelson... who says "Steve and Barry's" closed it's outlet stores in 2008.  He says the female clerk working at Kwik Fill Tuesday night saw the photos released by police Wednesday... and, quickly noticed that one said "Tail Gate Party" on it... and, called police.  Samuelson says the man was wearing a darker colored mask than in the CVS robbery.  In that one... the man wearing the "Tail Gate Party" sweatshirt was wearing an orange bandana around his face.  The two men had the clothing on at CVS when one pulled a knife... and, the pair ran off with prescription drugs, cash, and cigarettes.  Anyone with information is asked to call police at 483-7531... or the JPD Tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.

 

News Update for Thurs., Mar. 27, 2014


Robbery suspect spotted on camera at Kwik Fill store on Fluvanna Ave. hours before CVS hold-up...

It appears one of the two men involved in the armed robbery at the CVS Store in Brooklyn Square was buying something to drink at a convenience store in another part of Jamestown a few hours before the hold-up.  Jamestown police are now circulating a picture of a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt about 10:45 Tuesday night at the Kwik Fill Station at the corner of Washington St. and Fluvanna Ave.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the sweatshirt has the same lettering and design as one worn during the CVS hold-up.  Samuelson says the shirt, which has "Tail Gate Party" on it has a unique design.  Samuelson says the female clerk working that night saw the photos released by police yesterday... and, quickly noticed that one said "Tail Gate Party" on it.  He says the man was wearing a different mask than in the CVS robbery, and didn't act out of the ordinary.  In the CVS robbery... the man wearing the "Tail Gate Party" sweatshirt was wearing an orange bandana around his face.  This one was a dark blue.  The two men had the clothing on at CVS when one pulled a knife... and, the pair ran off with prescription drugs... cash and cigarettes.  Anyone with information is asked to call police at 483-7531... or the JPD Tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


Seasonal home in Greenhurst gutted by fire...

Flames have gutted a two-story... seasonal home in the town of Ellery.  First Assistant Fluvanna Fire Chief Jerry Raab says crews were called to the scene at 3950 J T Avenue in Greenhurst shortly before 8 this morning.  Raab says no one was in the home at the time... and, crews found heavy fire coming from the first floor on arrival.  He says there was heavy fire on the first-floor, and the flames had just started spreading to the second-floor.  He says they pulled two hand-lines to begin attacking the fire."  Raab says the flames moved rapidly to the second-floor... and, it took a while to bring the blaze under control in about 45 minutes to an hour.  He says the problem was the home was with the older, "balloon-type" construction... it allowed the flames to travel through the walls.  Raab says crews had to do a lot of overhaul work on the structure.  He says no firefighters were hurt.  Mutual aid was provided by Bemus Point... Gerry... Ellery Center and Sinclairville Fire companies.  The county's Fire Investigation Team has determined an electrical problem in a kitchen cabinet apparently sparked the blaze.

 

 

News Update for Thurs., Mar. 27, 2014


Robbery suspect spotted on camera at Kwik Fill store on Fluvanna Ave. hours before CVS hold-up...

It appears one of the two men involved in the armed robbery at the CVS Store in Brooklyn Square was buying something to drink at a convenience store in another part of Jamestown a few hours before the hold-up.  Jamestown police are now circulating a picture of a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt about 10:45 Tuesday night at the Kwik Fill Station at the corner of Washington St. and Fluvanna Ave.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the sweatshirt has the same lettering and design as one worn during the CVS hold-up.  Samuelson says the shirt, which has "Tail Gate Party" on it has a unique design.  Samuelson says the female clerk working that night saw the photos released by police yesterday... and, quickly noticed that one said "Tail Gate Party" on it.  He says the man was wearing a different mask than in the CVS robbery, and didn't act out of the ordinary.  In the CVS robbery... the man wearing the "Tail Gate Party" sweatshirt was wearing an orange bandana around his face.  This one was a dark blue.  The two men had the clothing on at CVS when one pulled a knife... and, the pair ran off with prescription drugs... cash and cigarettes.  Anyone with information is asked to call police at 483-7531... or the JPD Tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


Seasonal home in Greenhurst gutted by fire...

Flames have gutted a two-story... seasonal home in the town of Ellery.  First Assistant Fluvanna Fire Chief Jerry Raab says crews were called to the scene at 3950 J T Avenue in Greenhurst shortly before 8 this morning.  Raab says no one was in the home at the time... and, crews found heavy fire coming from the first floor on arrival.  He says there was heavy fire on the first-floor, and the flames had just started spreading to the second-floor.  He says they pulled two hand-lines to begin attacking the fire."  Raab says the flames moved rapidly to the second-floor... and, it took a while to bring the blaze under control in about 45 minutes to an hour.  He says the problem was the home was with the older, "balloon-type" construction... it allowed the flames to travel through the walls.  Raab says crews had to do a lot of overhaul work on the structure.  He says no firefighters were hurt.  Mutual aid was provided by Bemus Point... Gerry... Ellery Center and Sinclairville Fire companies.  The county's Fire Investigation Team has determined an electrical problem in a kitchen cabinet apparently sparked the blaze.

 

 

News Update for Thurs., Mar. 27, 2014


Robbery suspect spotted on camera at Kwik Fill store on Fluvanna Ave. hours before CVS hold-up...

It appears one of the two men involved in the armed robbery at the CVS Store in Brooklyn Square was buying something to drink at a convenience store in another part of Jamestown a few hours before the hold-up.  Jamestown police are now circulating a picture of a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt about 10:45 Tuesday night at the Kwik Fill Station at the corner of Washington St. and Fluvanna Ave.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the sweatshirt has the same lettering and design as one worn during the CVS hold-up.  Samuelson says the shirt, which has "Tail Gate Party" on it has a unique design.  Samuelson says the female clerk working that night saw the photos released by police yesterday... and, quickly noticed that one said "Tail Gate Party" on it.  He says the man was wearing a different mask than in the CVS robbery, and didn't act out of the ordinary.  In the CVS robbery... the man wearing the "Tail Gate Party" sweatshirt was wearing an orange bandana around his face.  This one was a dark blue.  The two men had the clothing on at CVS when one pulled a knife... and, the pair ran off with prescription drugs... cash and cigarettes.  Anyone with information is asked to call police at 483-7531... or the JPD Tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


Seasonal home in Greenhurst gutted by fire...

Flames have gutted a two-story... seasonal home in the town of Ellery.  First Assistant Fluvanna Fire Chief Jerry Raab says crews were called to the scene at 3950 J T Avenue in Greenhurst shortly before 8 this morning.  Raab says no one was in the home at the time... and, crews found heavy fire coming from the first floor on arrival.  He says there was heavy fire on the first-floor, and the flames had just started spreading to the second-floor.  He says they pulled two hand-lines to begin attacking the fire."  Raab says the flames moved rapidly to the second-floor... and, it took a while to bring the blaze under control in about 45 minutes to an hour.  He says the problem was the home was with the older, "balloon-type" construction... it allowed the flames to travel through the walls.  Raab says crews had to do a lot of overhaul work on the structure.  He says no firefighters were hurt.  Mutual aid was provided by Bemus Point... Gerry... Ellery Center and Sinclairville Fire companies.  The county's Fire Investigation Team has determined an electrical problem in a kitchen cabinet apparently sparked the blaze.

 

 

WJTN News Headlines


Jamestown police are looking for two men who allegedly held up a drug store -- with a knife -- in Brooklyn Square early Wednesday morning.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson say the hold-up at the CVS store on North Main Street is very similar to what happened early Monday morning when a man wearing a pair of Carhart overalls, and an orange bandana, held up the 7-Eleven Store on North Main.  Samuelson says the two men entered the store about 2:15 AM... and, and took cash, prescription drugs, and cigarettes. Samuelson says both where wearing masks... and, one had an orange bandana -- similar to the one used in Monday's hold-up.  He was wearing a dark-blue sweatshirt with the words "Tail Gate Party" on it's front.  The other man also had a dark sweatshirt on... with the letters "AE" (American Eagle) on it's front.  Other than that... Samuelson says the descriptions are fairly general. Samuelson says police believe the drugs stolen were either for use... or sale by the two men.  He says the clerk and other employees inside the store were unhurt... but, shaken up by the robbery.  Both bandits fled the store and remain at large.  If you have any information... you're asked to call Jamestown Police at 483-7531... or the JPS Tip-line at 483-TIPS.. that's 483-8477.  Samuelson says all calls will be kept confidential.

 

The investigation into this past Monday morning's robbery at the 7-Eleven store on North Main Street is continuing.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says, though, the number of leads into the 'knife-point' robbery has picked up.  The robbery... which occured at 5:41 AM at the 518 North Main Street location... involved the theft of cash and cigarettes.  The lone bandit in that case was dressed very similar to the one robber in the CVS hold-up.
In addition... Samuelson says the robber hid his face with an orange-colored bandana... and, he also appears to have been wearing blue latex gloves.  One of the robbers in these photos is also wearing blue latex gloves.  Photos of that robber have also been sent out to the media.  Samuelson says they got some additional information from a witness who walked into the store at the time of the robbery.

 

State police say a stretch of Interstate 86's westbound lanes in Cattaraugus County reopened last Wednesday morning after a milk tanker crashed and rolled over as the driver was trying to remove his sweater.  Trooper Victor Morales says the driver was traveling in the Cattaraugus County town of Allegany around 6:40 Wednesday morning when he began to take off his sweater... and, drifted onto the right shoulder.  Morales says this caused the tanker to overturn, spilling up to 7-thousand gallons of milk.  The driver wasn't injured.  About a three-mile stretch of the westbound lanes just outside Olean was closed for about 90 minutes while crews removed the tanker.  The lanes reopened around Noon.  Morales says a crew from the state Department of Environmental Conservation remained at the scene cleaning up the spilled milk early Wednesday afternoon.

 

New York legislative leaders say they're discussing pre-kindergarten funding, Common Core academic standards and charter schools as they try to reach a budget deal this week.  Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver tells reporters Wednesday morning there are no final deals on anything, but they'll have a budget in place by next Monday's deadline.  Senate co-leader Jeff Klein, a Democrat, says they're moving toward a $300 million funding target for pre-kindergarten in New York City.  Republican Senate co-leader Dean Skelos says they are also trying to make sure Long Island and upstate school districts are treated fairly.  The leaders are also talking about ways to help charter schools and a delay or make other changes to the Common Core learning standards, which have had a shaky rollout in New York.

 

A new has singled out New York state as having the most segregated public schools in the nation.  The study by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California at Los Angeles suggests that New York's segregation is largely due to housing patterns but that it could be mitigated through policies intended to promote diversity.


 

News Bulletin! for Wed., Mar. 26, 2014


City police looking for two men -- one possibly from 7-Eleven robbery early Monday -- in overnight CVS robbery...

Jamestown police are looking for two men who allegedly held up a drug store -- with a knife -- in Brooklyn Square early this morning.  Officials say the hold-up is very similar to what happened early Monday morning when a man wearing a pair of Carhart overalls, and an orange bandana, held up the 7-Eleven Store on North Main Street.  Officers say the two men entered the store about 2:15 a.m., and, and took cash, medication and cigarettes.  Police say the men were both wearing Carhart style pants... and, hooded sweatshirts when they entered the CVS Pharmacy on North Main Street.  They also were wearing masks... one had an orange bandana.  He was wearing a dark-blue sweatshirt with the words "Tail Gate Party" on it's front.  The other man also had a dark sweatshirt on... with the letters "AE" (American Eagle) on it's front.  Both men are described as white males of medium height with medium builds.  Still photos have been circulated to the media.  Anyone with information on the hold-up is asked to call JPD at 483-7531... or the JPS Tip-line at 483-TIPS.. that's 483-8477.  All calls will be kept confidential.

WJTN News Headlines


Negotiations continue in Albany over a new state budget.  That from 150th District Assemblyman Andy Goodell who serves on one of several conference committees in the state legislature that are trying to work out differences.  Goodell says one of the major issues is state aid for schools. Goodell is also pushing for having more funding go toward reducing or elminating the Gap Elimination Adjustment.  He says Assembly Democrats support increasing Foundation Aid, which would benefit New York City and other big city school districts.  Goodell says he supports putting 500-million dollars more in aid be put towards eliminating the GEA.  However... the clock is ticking.  Goodell says budget bills will have to be ready by Friday in order for the Legislature to have enough time pass a final budget by the April 1st deadline.

 

The superintendent of the largest school district in Chautauqua County is pleased to hear state lawmakers from the region pushing an increase in general school aid.  However... Jamestown's Tim Mains says it's not likely going to be enough to get rid of the Gap Elimination Adjustment.  Mains told school board members at last night's meeting that he spoke with State Senator Cathy Young Tuesday... and, she said the GOP-led chamber is pushing to get as much money to at least partially bridge that gap.  Mains says the problem is there are other areas -- such as Pre-K funding -- that are part of the negotiations. Mains says... at least the Senate version includes a "time-line" to eliminate the GEA within two years.  The Assembly's measure does not.  The Gap Elimination Adjustment is the amount of state aid taken from district's since 2011 when the state was running a 10-billion dollar shortfall.  Mains says if they get what's now projected... he and Assistant Superintendent for Adminstration Dale Weatherlow will still have to work to bridge a significant shortfall... using some accounting options and other "economies" the state has made available. The school board last night approved holding the public hearing on the proposed spending plan on March 13th at Persell Middle School at 7 PM.

 

A Westfield man is accused of pouring gasoline on his aunt and set her on fire before police used a stun gun to subdue him after he barricaded himself inside a home.  Police tell local media the incident began shortly before 6 PM Monday when police and fire crews responded to a report of two vehicles on fire at a home in the Chautauqua County village.  Police say 33 year-old Thomas Pereira had torched the vehicles and set his aunt on fire after dousing her with gasoline.  Officials say she was treated for minor injuries.  Police say Pereira barricaded himself in the basement before officers used a stun gun on him.  He's being held without bail in the county jail.

 

No one was hurt... but, two animals perished in an apartment fire on Jamestown's westside Monday night.  City Fire Battalion Chief Roger Sigular says crews were called to 106 West Eighth Street about 6:15 PM... and, found heavy smoke coming from the entrance to a first-floor apartment.  He says firefighters ran one hose-line into the home. Sigular says the tenants got out safely.  He says the living room was severely damaged by the blaze... and, he says firefighters were basically able to contain the fire damage there.  Crews were at the scene until just before 8 PM.  Fire Investigators say improperly discarded smoking materials is the apparent cause of the blaze.  There were two occupied apartments in the building.  The family of four in the gutted apartment is being helped by the local Red Cross.

 

We may be done with Winter... but, we're not done with Winter Weather.  That from Forecaster David Thomas with the National Weather Service... who says even though it's been Spring for a few days now... we're still seeing some of the bitterly cold temperatures we've experienced the past three months.  Thomas says the Winter of 2013-2014 had the most number of nights with at least single-digit lows since the Winter of 1919-1920. Overall... Thomas says temperatures were well-below normal every month going back to November.  He adds snowfall totals... while lower in the immediate Jamestown-area... were also above-normal in the region.  Thomas says some spots in the north county... and, northern Cattaraugus County... have seen 200-plus inches of snow this past Winter.  He adds the outlook for spring calls for more below-normal temperatures... but, not as many below-normal days as winter.

 

The state's new health exchange reports more than one-million New Yorkers have completed applications for insurance while more than 717,000 of them have now enrolled for specific coverage.  The Department of Health says enrollment for individual and family coverage since October includes nearly 343,000 New Yorkers in the 16 commercial and nonprofit insurers in the exchange and more than 374,000 in government-funded Medicaid.  Open enrollments continue through next Monday for 2014 coverage at state-approved rates.  Applicants with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible for tax credits to help offset premium payments.  Another online exchange offers insurance for businesses with up to 50 employees.
 

 

News alert!!!


(**Bulletin)Long-time Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson dies at age 95...

Buffalo Bills President Russ Brandon has told NFL owners that Bills owner Ralph Wilson has died.  Brandon made the announcement at the league's winter meetings in Orlando on Tuesday.  Wilson was 95.  The cause of death not revealed, but Wilson had been in failing health for several years.  Wilson was the founder and sole owner of the Bills after establishing the team with the upstart American Football League in 1960.  He was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 2009.


Westfield man arrested for alleged bizarre attack on aunt, setting her, house and vehicles on fire...

A Westfield man is accused of pouring gasoline on his aunt and set her on fire before police used a stun gun to subdue him after he barricaded himself inside a home.  Police tell local media the incident began shortly before 6 last night when police and fire crews responded to a report of two vehicles on fire at a home in the Chautauqua County village.  Police say 33 year-old Thomas Pereira (Pur-air-uh) had torched the vehicles and set his aunt on fire after dousing her with gasoline.  Officials say she was treated for minor injuries.  Police say Pereira barricaded himself in the basement before officers used a stun gun on him.  He's being held without bail in the county jail.

WJTN News Headlines


City police are looking for the man who allegedly held up the 7-11 Store in downtown Jamestown at knife-point early Monday morning.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says they were called to the scene at 518 North Main Street -- at Sixth Street -- shortly after 5:30 AM.  Samuelson tells us the man was "uniquely" dressed... and, they're hoping that makes it easier to find him. In addition... Samuelson says the man hid his face with an orange-colored bandana... and, he also appears to have been wearing blue latex gloves.  He says city police have released a still photograph from the robbery of the suspect to the media.  It's in the Local News section of our website.  Samuelson says if you have seen this person... or someone wearing the overalls, and hooded sweatshirt... to call the detective bureau at 483-7531... or their anonymous tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.  No one was hurt in the robbery.  Samuelson says they also got some additional information from a witness who walked into the store at the time of the robbery.  Police are now pouring over videotape from the store.

 

Warren Area High School was under lock-down for about an hour and a half yesterday morning after a 15 year-old student allegedly left a threatening, hand written note in a boy's restroom stall.  Warren County School Superintendent William Clark says the note was found... and, reported about 10:30 AM Monday.  Dr. Clark says the high school was immediately locked-down... and, State Police were called in.  Following a brief investigation... he says they found their suspect by late morning... and, the lock-down was lifted shortly after Noon.

 

The city of Jamestown's 2013 budget wound up being a "break-even" spending plan despite some expenses being up dramatically... and, most revenues staying flat.  That from City Comptroller Joe Bellitto... who presented the final, unaudited budget figures at last night's City Council work session.  Bellitto says the final spending plan was just over 33-million dollars... and, wound up with a just over 65-thousand dollar deficit.  Mayor Sam Teresi says that's pretty much "on the numbers..." and, thanked council members for approving a "tight, realistic" budget.
Teresi says -- given the difficult Winter, and some equipment issues -- city employees did an "extremely good job" working within their budgets.  Of note... Bellitto says the Gross Receipts Tax... franchise fee... parking meters and interest income ALL came in under budget for 2013.  He also pointed out that spending on road salt to deal with the Winter road conditions was 180-thousand dollars over the original budget.  Still... Bellitto says the city was able to bring in total expenses for the year nearly 121-thousand dollars under budget.  Council Finance Committee Chairman Tony Dolce adds that overtime costs were held "well in check" overall... and, the fund balance has been brought back close to where it was five years ago.

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York's legislative leaders are negotiating over property tax relief and pre-kindergarten funding a week before a new budget is due.  Leaders emerging from closed-door talks Monday at the Capitol say they continue to make progress to get a deal by April 1st.  There have been differences over how much money to devote to pre-K, a signature issue for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.  There also has been legislative resistance to Cuomo's property tax relief plan, which would require localities to consolidate or share services for local homeowners to benefit.  Cuomo says Monday more than 225 local officials support his plan.  Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says he and the Cuomo have been discussing the Dream Act, which would open state education aid to students in the country illegally.

 

Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan will soon begin the search for a new Director and Chief Executive Officer of the county's Industrial Development Agency.  Bill Daly, who has been IDA Director for the past eight years, Monday announced that he will be retiring at the end of May.  Daly took over the helm of the County IDA in January 2006 under past County Executive Greg Edwards.  He also serves as the director of the  county's Department of Planning and Economic Development... and, will be leaving that post as well.  Horrigan praised Daly for his service... but, did not seem to be completely surprised by the decision. Daly's decision comes less than a week after the announcement concerning the closing of the two Carriage House plants in Dunkirk and Fredonia.  Asked if that was a factor... Horrigan says everyone was upset over the news, and declined to say any more publicly.  Horrigan says he will form a search committee soon... and, will most likely appoint an interim director to ensure there is solid leadership throughout the transition process.

 

Thousands of New Yorkers are likely to see flood insurance premiums rise as the government phases out subsidized insurance nationally in some of the most at-risk areas.  President Barack Obama signed a law Friday that put a halt to a 2012 overhaul of the National Flood Insurance Program.  It was supposed to end the subsidies for homes and businesses that were built in flood zones years ago.  The bill merely delays many rate increases. Data analyzed by The Associated Press shows about 49-thousand primary homeowners in New York state will face annual rate hikes of up to 18 percent each year.  About 10-thousand-700 businesses and owners of second homes will face annual increases of 25 percent until they switch over to a risk-based rate.
 

News Update for Monday, Mar. 24, 2014


Teenaged student at Warren Area High School arrested for alleged threat against WAHS...

A 15 year-old Warren Area High School student has been arrested for allegedly placing a hand-written note... threatening a violent act at the school... in a boy's restroom stall.  Warren County School Superintendent William Clark says the note was found... and, reported about 10:30 a.m. Monday.  Dr. Clark says the high school was immediately locked-down... and, State Police were notified.  He says they found their suspect following a short investigation.  Clark says no one was hurt in the incident... and, classes resumed shortly after Noon.  State Police say the 15 year-old... who was not identified... was taken into custody on two Felony charges of Terroristic Threats... and, disorderly conduct.  Troopers say the charges will be handled through the Warren County Juvenile Probation Department.  Dr. Clark and police say the incident is believed to be an "isolated" case.


County IDA Director Daly to retire at end of May...

The man who had headed up the Chautauqua County Planning and Economic Development Department and the county's Industrial Development Agency is retiring later this Spring.  County Executive Vince Horrigan says William Daly... who has held the positions since Jan. 1 of 2006... will be stepping aside this coming May 31.  Daly took over the helm under former County Executive Greg Edwards following a successful career in Business and Industry.  Horrigan says Daly has "guided these organizations through the challenging economic times of the “great recession."  The IDA is a public authority charged with attracting, retaining, and building capacity in Chautauqua County businesses.


 

News Alert!


City police looking for man who allegedly held up 7-11 on No. Main St. early this morning...

 

Jamestown police are looking for a man who allegedly held up the 7-11 Store on North Main Street at knife-point early this morninig.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers were called to the scene at 518 North Main -- at Sixth Street -- shortly after 5:30 a.m.  Samuelson says the man was "uniquely" dressed... and, they're hoping that makes it easier to find him.  He says the white male entered the store dressed in a Carhart Overall 'jumpsuit' with a light-gray hooded sweatshirt.  Samuelson adds the man hid his face with an orange-colored bandana... and, he also appears to have been wearing blue latex gloves.  He pulled a knife on the clerk... and, ran off with a undisclosed amount of cash and cigarettes.  If you have any information... you can call the detective bureau at 483-7531... or their anonymous tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.  No one was hurt in the robbery.

WJTN News Headlines


Two Jamestown men have been arrested for allegedly being found in possession of a large amount of "crack" cocaine during a drug raid on the city's northside.  City police... along with the State Police C-NET Team... executed a search warrant last Friday afternoon at 9 East 15th Street.  Officers arrested 37 year-old Clarence Smith... and, 29 year-old Darren Mushat (Mew-shat)... who both lived at the residence.  In addition to the "crack" cocaine... police say they also found drug paraphernalia, and cash during the raid.  Officers say Mushat is charged with two Felony counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance.... while Smith faces one count.  Both were arraigned on one count each of criminally using drug paraphernalia... and, sent to the county jail without bail.

 

Governor Cuomo is warning employers that they can face fines, charges and civil or even criminal punishment for failing to comply with the state's minimum wage laws.  The 8-dollar minimum went into effect on December 31st... and, will increase to 8-dollars-75 cents at the end of the year... and, 9-dollars at the end of 2015.  Cuomo said last Friday that 374 cases have been opened based on complaints from employees about minimum wage and overtime violations.  Workers looking to file a complaint or a business in need of assistance should call 1-800-469-7365.

 

A significant reduction in two expense lines have allowed Lakewood Mayor David Wordelmann to propose a budget that doesn't include a tax increase for the first time in three years.  In addition... Wordelmann says the tax rate would fall 5-cents per thousand assessed value in his proposed 2014-2015, 3.35-million dollar spending plan. The budget goes before the Village Board for the first time tonight.  He says the reasons there is no tax increase is their state pension contribution isn't skyrocketing like it has the past few years.  Wordelmann says the other reduction is because some significant debt is coming off the village books. At the same time... Wordelmann says they're still seeing upward pressures on the budget.  He says the biggest increase in the proposal is an added 24-thousand dollars in Health Insurance premiums... due to the new Affordable Care Act.  He adds they're also seeing increases in their liability insurance... and, in Workers Compensation rates.  Wordelmann says the tax levy in the spending plan is up 244-dollars.  A public hearing on the budget will be held on April 14th.  The village board must adopt a final spending plan by May 1st.

 

Lawmakers met with Governor Cuomo late last Friday in the latest push for a bill that would open state financial aid to students in the country illegally.  Supporters of the Dream Act met with Cuomo for nearly an hour on Friday and came away encouraged they have his support as budget talks continue.   Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, a Brooklyn Democrat who attended the meeting, says that the Senate and Assembly must come to agreement on how to pay for the initiative without using taxpayer money.  That condition was set by Senate Republicans. 

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo says that the new Office for New Americans assisted more than 34-thousand immigrants during its first year.  Launched last March... the office's ``Opportunity Centers'' helped with naturalization, federal immigration law and policy information as well as business development training.  There are 27 centers across New York.  They are supported by a team of lawyers specializing in immigration and naturalization.  Cuomo's announcement late last week came on the first day of last weekend's 'Somos El Futur' conference organized by Hispanic legislators in Albany.

 

The story of a crime of passion that claimed the life of Clymer School Superintendent Keith Reed, Junior was told to a national audience last Friday night.  NBC Dateline's Dennis Murphy narrated the hour-long program. NBC interviewed both Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace and District Attorney David Foley extensively for the program.  Foley talked about the door to door interviews... during which one neighbor said they heard three gunshots in September of 2012.  Gerace talked about the crime scene... and, the fact it appeared Reed was set up.
Dateline followed the timeline of the discovery of Keith Reed's cell phone on a bridge scaffolding in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania... and, Gerace receiving a call from Mary Taglianetti.  It was her phone call that implicated her estranged husband, Anthony, in Reed's murder.  County Public Defender Ned Barone, who represented Taglianetti, was also interviewed.  Taglianetti was recently sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for second-degree murder in the case.

 

A Canadian man faces drug charges after U-S border agents say he tried to smuggle five pounds of methamphetamine across the border from Niagara Falls.  Customs and Border Protection officials say 21-year-old Karone Johnson of Thorold, Ontario was taken into custody at the Rainbow Bridge late last week while leaving the American side of the falls.  Customs officials say Johnson was the subject of a random inspection at the bridge when officers noticed the screws of a speaker box in his car appeared to have been tampered with.

 

The state Department of Transportation has extended the public comment period on plans for high-speed rail service between New York City and Upstate New York. The comment period was originally supposed to end today. Officials have received about 250 comments and held six public hearings across the state that attracted more than 500 people.  Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald says comments will be accepted through April 30.
The state's draft environmental impact statement lays out five alternatives for higher speed passenger rail service along the 463-mile Empire Corridor, from New York City to Niagara Falls. Comments may be submitted through the DOT's website or emailed to empirecorridor(at)dot.ny.gov.

News Update for Sat., Mar. 22, 2014


Two Jamestown men arrested as police raid suspected "crack" cocaine distribution location...

Two city men are still being held in Jamestown after allegedly being found in possession of a large amount of "crack" cocaine during a drug raid on Jamestown's northside.  City police... along with the State Police C-NET Team... say they executed a search warrant early Friday afternoon at 9 East 15th Street.  Officers found 37 year-old Clarence Smith... and, 29 year-old Darren Mushat who both lived there... inside.  In addition to the "crack" cocaine... police say they also seized cash, and drug paraphernalia during the raid.  Officers say Mushat is charged with two Felony counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance.... while Smith faces one count.  Both face one count of criminally using drug paraphernalia... and, were sent to the city lock-up pending arraignment.


NBC Dateline profiles Keith Reed, Jr. murder case...

The story of a crime of passion that claimed the life of Clymer School Superintendent Keith Reed, Junior was told to a national audience last night.  NBC Dateline's Dennis Murphy narrated the hour-long program.  The network interviewed both Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace and District Attorney David Foley extensively for the program.  Foley talked about the door-to-door canvas of the area around Reed's home early on in the investigation, and an elderly neighbor remembers hearing three gunshots on the September of 2012 says it's believed he was shot to death.  Gerace talked about the crime scene... and, the fact it appeared Reed was set up because the light bulbs from three outdoor lights had been removed.  That way, an assailant couldn't be seen.  Dateline followed the timeline of the discovery of Keith Reed's cell phone on a bridge scaffolding in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania... and, Gerace receiving a call from Mary Taglianetti.  It was her phone call that implicated her estranged husband, Anthony, in Reed's murder.  Anthony Taglianetti was recently sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for second-degree murder in the case.


Wordelmann releases 2014-15 Lakewood Budget totaling $3.35-million...

A significant reduction in two expense lines have allowed Lakewood Mayor David Wordelmann to propose a budget that doesn't include a tax increase for the first time in three years.  In addition... Wordelmann says the tax rate would fall 5-cents per $1,000 assessed value in his proposed 2014-2015, $3.35-million spending plan.  He says the reasons there is no tax increase is their state pension contribution isn't skyrocketing like it has the past few years.  Wordelmann says the other reduction is because the final payment on borrowing for the current Lakewood Fire Hall is coming off the village books.  He says that's another $50-thousand savings.  At the same time... Wordelmann says they're still seeing upward pressures on the budget.  He says the tax levy in the spending plan is up $244.  The tentative budget was filed with the Village Clerk.  The village board must adopt a final budget by May 1.


County Legislature's Audit and Control Committee rejects CSEA Local #6323 contract proposal...

A new, 6-year contract with the union representing corrections officers at the Chautauqua County Jail has been rejected by the legislature's financial panel.  The Audit and Control Committee has voted down the pact with CSEA Local 6323 by a 3-to-2 vote.  Committee Chairman John Runkle was among those who voted against the contract... which includes an 8-percent pay increase over the life of the contract.  Runkle was among those voting against the measure because of other mandated spending hikes.  He adds there's also this week's news that the two Carriage House food processing plants in the north county will be closing next year... which will impact the tax base.  The measure now moves onto the full legislature this coming week.

WJTN News Headlines


The Town of Chautauqua has been named the best small town in America to visit in the latest issue of Smithsonian Magazine.  The article cites Chautauqua's seasonal lectures and classes as a highlight that helps draw 8000 people weekly to the Institution each summer. The article quotes President Theodore Roosevelt saying Chautauqua "Is the most American thing in America."  Healdsberg, California and Williamsburg Virginia came in second and third respectively. The complete list can be found at Smithsonian mag dot com.

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo is touting his property tax freeze as a priority in budget negotiations... but, is getting resistance from lawmakers opposing his plan.  Cuomo says lawmakers are feeling pressure to oppose the two-year property tax freeze that connects rebates for homeowners to local governments cutting expenses and sharing services.  Also late Thursday... the Senate and Assembly announced they plan to add another $500 million to the governor's budget proposal, with almost half going to education.  Cuomo says spending is ``the enemy of lowering taxes.  So my priority is to push for a tax cut.''  Leaders meetings are ongoing as the April 1 deadline for the 140-billion dollar fiscal spending plan comes closer.

 

More than 100 protesters gathered outside Governor Andrew Cuomo's offices in the state Capitol Thursday afternoon.  They called for better education funding, a permanent ban on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and an end to tax breaks for the rich.  A dozen state troopers were brought in to clear the hallway.  Several protesters were arrested.

 

Customers of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities in the Celoron-area are being warned to careful not to give bank account or credit card information to anyone over the phone.  BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says someone is apparently calling people... saying they're with the BPU... and, they're threatened with having their electricity turned off if they don't agree to provide personal financial information over the phone... or agree to meet him at a local convenience store.  Robbins says it's a scam... because they on accept payments three ways.
Customers can also mail payments in the enclosed envelop.  Robbins says the BPU received calls from customers in the Village of Celoron Thursday... reporting they had received the calls.  But, again, Robbins says the BPU does not accept telephone payments.

 

ConAgra's decision to close the two former Carriage House facilities in Dunkirk and Fredonia is "devastaing news" for Chautauqua County.  That from Executive Director Todd Tranum with the Manufacturer's Association of the Southern Tier... and, president of the county's Chamber of Commerce.  Tranum says yesterday's (Wednesday's) news that more than 400 jobs will be lost is a "huge blow" to the local economy.  He says it's "shameful..." especially given the farm subsidies ConAgra receives. Tranum says the first "blow" came last year when ConAgra bought out Ralcorp... which previously owned and operated Carriage House and the Petri Baking facility in Silver Creek.  Petri was closed... and, part of Carriage House's operation... including a salad dressing line was shut-down.  But... at the same time... Tranum says the county needs to recognize that it's still a challenge to do business in New York state. Tranum says this latest loss of a major employer should serve as a "wake up" call for Chautauqua County... and, the region.  He says we need to be working better as a region to become attractive to major companies that now tend to buy-up smaller, local operations.  As an example... Tranum says it's time to move forward on getting a North County Water District in place.

 

While gasoline prices are up nationally... the average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded locally remained virtually unchanged this week.  The Triple-A's Fuel Gauge reports the price increased just a fraction of a penny this week... staying at 3-dollars-72 cents a gallon this week.  The Fuel Gauge reports nationally... the average price today is 3-dollars-52 cent per gallon.  That's the highest price in more than six months.  The Triple-A adds this price is four cents more expensive than one week ago and 17-cents above one month ago.  Prices in nearly every state have increased over the last week.  Gas prices on the East Coast in particular have been subject to upward pressure from limited ethanol supplies due to logistical challenges.  The Triple-A is expecting the national average will peak in late March or early April between 3-dollars-55 cents... and, 3--75 per gallon.  That's due to seasonal refinery maintenance and the approaching switchover to producing summer-blend gasoline that is required by May 1st.

 

Chautauqua County's representative in the state Senate says she -- too -- is pushing for more local funding for roads in her 57th District that have been so heavily damaged by our brutal Winter.  Republican Senator Cathy Young of Olean says there's a "terrible pothole problem" across New York state... and, adds it's also become a safety issue.  Young says they're pushing for more than the 478-million dollars Governor Cuomo has allocated for Consolidated Highway Improvement Program -- or CHIPS funding. Young says Marchicelli highway funding is also included in the budget.  State Assemblyman Andy Goodell says the legislature's lower chamber has estimated the state will take in about 175-million dollars MORE in revenues next year than the governor is projecting.  Young says Senators also believe revenues will come in higher... so more money will be available.  In fact... she says the State Senate "led the charge" to boost CHIPS funding by just over 70-million dollars. 

WJTN News Headlines


The issues surrounding "horizontal fracking" are more complex than just the matters of 'jobs versus water.'  That from one of the presenters at last night's Chautauqua County work session on Hydraulic Fracturing in Mayville.  Attorney Mary Hajdu (Hy-due) of the firm Burgett and Robbins has worked with a lot of landowner's groups in Pennsylvania.  She says water is just one of the infrastructure issues in 'fracking...' with another being roads because of increased traffic where there are drilling sites. "They" are the drilling companies... which Hajdu says are now spending up to 5 to 8-million dollars per well on their various sites.  One of the other major issues is what's called "flowback."  That's the waste water produced from fracking... and, how it's desposed of.  Glen Wahl represented the group "Cattaraugus-Chautauqua for Clean Water..." and, the League of Women Voters. Wahl... who is a college Geology Professor... told lawmakers he was basically neutral towards towards the idea of fracking until he did further research on it.  However... Mike Hogan of Hogan Energy Consulting says advances in technology has allowed many companies to recycle 100-percent -- or near 100-percent -- of their "flowback" water.  He says it makes sense both economically and environmentally.

 

Incumbant Southern Tier Congressman Tom Reed was in Jamestown yesterday afternoon to officially kick-off his re-election campaign.  Reed made the second of two announcements across the 23rd Congressional District at Blackstone Advanced Technologies on the city's eastside.  Speaking to Blackstone officials and employees... the Corning Republican said he picked the location because the "jobs of today and tomorrow" are his top priority.
Reed heads up the House Manufacturing Caucus... and, says Blackstone represents what is one of the country's "biggest opportunities today..." and, that's where American manufacturers "make it here to sell it there."  He reiterated his feeling that there can be a manufacturing rebirth -- or renaissance in the sprawling, 23rd District.  However... he says there are a number of other issues he's also been working on to allow that to happen.  One is getting the country's spiraling, 17-trillion dollar debt under control.  He says it jeopardizes job growth because it necessitates raising taxes to pay it off.  Reed... who'll face Democrat Martha Robertson... made his first campaign announcement earlier in Olean. 

 

Weakening demand for for many of it's food products has led ConAgra Foods to decide to close it's Carriage House facilities in Dunkirk and Fredonia.  The move... which the Omaha, Nebraska-based company says is expected to be completed by May of 2015... will eliminate more than 400 jobs.  County Industrial Development Agency Director Bill Daly says the decision to close and consolidate facilities was just recently made at ConAgra's corporate headquarters based strictly how products were selling. Daly says demand had especially weaker for jams, jellies and juices... and, they had excess "capacity" at many of it's plants.  That led to the decision regarding Carriage House... which he says was especially well-known for it's peanut butter lines.  Daly says 38 employees were cut in early 2013 at Carriage House's Dunkirk facility when a line of salad dressing was discontinued.  About 110 were initially to be cut.  Word is the current food product lines in Dunkirk and Fredonia will be moved to other ConAgra facilities... mainly in Kentucky.

 

The move by ConAgra comes just a year after Carriage House and Petri Foods previous owner, Ralcorp, closed a salad dressing line in Dunkirk... as well at Petri's Silver Creek plant.  That left about 375 people out of work at the time... but, the Petri building now has a new operator.  IDA Director Bill Daly says the State Labor Department and county's Workforce Investment Boad will be working with employees to help them find new work.  As for the IDA... Daly says they have a couple of plants to fill in a year. Daly admits there had been a few rumors about what might happen at Carriage House... especially given what happened to the smaller line in Dunkirk.  He says, though, "food-grade facilities" are highly-sought after... so he's optimistic someone will be found to take over the buildings. No possible moratoriums or bans are being looked at by lawmakers.  However... Legislature Chairman Jay Gould says... with the possibility of the state ending it's 6-year moratorium on horizontal drilling later this year... he wanted legislators to be informed on both sides of the issue.  A large, interested crowd was on hand for the session.

 

A Kennedy man has been arrested for allegedly pushing and choking another person during an altercation at a Mayville home early Tuesday night.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Elm Street shortly before 6 PM... and, learned on arrival that 40 year-old Kristopher Russ had harassed and choked another individual.  Deputies say Russ had left the scene... and, a warrant was obtained for his arrest.  Russ was located by officers later and arrested for second-degree harassment and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation.  He was arraigned in Chautauqua Town Court, and sent to the county jail where he posted bail.

News Update for Wed., Mar. 19, 2014


ConAgra confirms two Carriage House plants in Dunkirk and Fredonia will be closing in mid to late 2015...

Lesser demand for most of it's food products made in the north county has led ConAgra Foods to decide to close it's Carriage House facilities in Dunkirk and Fredonia.  The move... which is expected to be completed by May of 2015... will eliminate 420 to 440 employees in the two facilities.  That from Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency Executive Director Bill Daly.  Daly says the decision to close and consolidate facilities was just recently made at ConAgra's Omaha, Nebraska headquarters based on how certain lines were doing.  Daly says there was apparently a significantly weaker demand for jams, jellies, and juices.  Daly says Carriage House was especially well-known for it's peanut butter lines... along with the others.  He says the move is "capitalism at it's sharpest..." because the local management and employees were "exceptionally good."


Carriage House's learns of closings officially this morning, but, Union chief says he was not surprised...

Employees of the two Carriage House plants in the north county officially heard the decision from ConAgra Foods this morning.  However... President Tom Dickerson with SEIU Chapter 266, which represents Carriage House workers, first heard about the decision in an unexpected manner.  Dickerson says it came from a letter from ConAgra to the employee's pension fund.  However... he says he was not surprised by ConAgra's decision to shut down the plants after seeing "jobs being videotaped" and "machines being measured up."  He believes that area representatives were never called to investigate due to what he thinks is inaction by elected officials.


Two arrested in Jamestown for alleged child endangerment...

Two Jamestown residents have been arrested for allegedly failing to supervise a small child... who was found wandering outside yesterday afternoon.  City police were called to the scene at 52 McDaniel Ave. to check on the well-being of a child seen outside unsupervised.  Officers found the child unharmed.  They then made contact with Christine Redding... and, Aimee Fitzpatrick... who were watching the child... but, were unaware the youngster had had left the house.  Both Redding and Fitzpatrick were arrested on one count each of endangering the welfare of a child... and, sent to the city jail pending arraignement.

 

WJTN News Headlines


Two familiar names won seats on the Mayville Village Board in Tuesday's village elections in Chautauqua County.  Republican Tim Jacobson won one seat...getting the most votes with 115... while the other seat was won by Rick Syper with 111 votes.  Syper had both the GOP and Democrat endorsements.  Democrat James Mayer was third.  Also in Mayville... residents decided to move their elections to the Fall by an overwhelming margin of 135-to-27.  Mayor Marty Bova was unopposed.

 

Also Tuesday... a long-time Cherry Creek village official, Republican Betty Milspaw won election to the board with 40 votes.  She gets one seat.  The other seat was a close contest between Democrat Michael Seivert, who had 33 votes... while Republican George Hodges, Junior received 32 votes.

 

In Westfield... Mike Catalano and Dave Brooker won the two seats in the contested trustees race... with Rick Raynor third.

 

In Forestville... voters decided to move their village elections to the Fall's General Election, 58-to-27.

 

Chautauqua County's representative in the state Senate says she voted against the proposed Dream Act because that's what her constituents wanted her to do.  Olean Republican Cathy Young was among the 29 members of the panel who voted against the measure... killing the bill for now.  Only 30 voted for the bill... which would have opened up the state's Tuition Assistant Program to students in the country illegally.  Thirty-two "yes" votes were needed for passage.  Young says many constituents were "outraged" that their tax dollars could be used for that when so many can't afford a college education right now.  She adds most aren't even qualified for TAP. Young says two Democrats joined the GOP in rejecting the bill.  The Assembly passed the Dream Act last month... and, included it in it's budget resolutions last week.  Governor Cuomo had also voiced his support for the measure.  The proposal would use more money to open up TAP for students at both public and private colleges.

 

The brutal Winter cold is at least being partially blamed for a 1.1-percent increase in Chautauqua County's jobless rate in January.  State Labor Department Analyst John Slenker says the unemployment rate jumped from 7.2-percent in December... to 8.3-percent in January.  However... Slenker says there were "normal" seasonal factors involved.  He says both the number of people working... and, the number who were employed... were down.  Slenker says some sectors were up... and, some others were down. Slenker says the frigid temperatures... especially in early January... were the major reason construction ended up being down 300 jobs for the month.  He adds it also kept people indoors... and, not out shopping.  At the same time... he says a lot of what happened in January -- normally happens. Slenker says the good news is the January 2014 jobless rate was one-and-half percent lower than that in January of last year... when it was 9.8-percent.  He says... hopefully... this is an indication of better economic news later in the year.

 

Chautauqua County's top prosecutor says he's satisfied with the sentence given to a Dunkirk man who admitted to pulling the trigger in the fatal shooting of a Fredonia man.  District Attorney David Foley says 46 year-old Theodore Wickham pled to second-degree manslaughter last month in connection with the death of 73 year-old Frank Slate in September of 2012.  Foley had asked for a 3 to 9 year sentence... but, ultimately agreed to a 1 to 9 year term handed up Monday in County Court. Foley says Wickham and his co-defendant, 28 year-old Christopher Grant, were at Slate's apartment when an argument broke out... and, Wickham shot Slate with the victim's 16-gauge shotgun.  However... Wickham said he only intended to shot toward Slate to scare him.  Foley says that will be considered when it comes to how long Wickham actually spends behind bars.  Grant received 20 to 60 months as a sentence for his role in the crime because he did not shoot Slate... and, he cooperated with the prosecution in the case.

 

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman  and attorneys general from 27 other states and U.S. territories have written to the chief executives of major U.S. pharmacy chains urging them to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products.   Following the decision by CVS Caremark to stop selling tobacco in its stores... the chains Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Safeway and Kroger are being asked to follow suit.

 

The Jamestown School Board will hold a special session tonight in the superintendent's Conference Room at Jefferson Middle School on Martin Road this afternoon.  School Spokeswoman Cathy Panebianco says the session begins at 5 PM.  She says it's being held to act on a few items board members couldn't vote on last week due to lack of a quorum.  Among the items to be acted on are monthly financial items... two field trip approvals... and, the first draft of a 2014-15 calendar.  Again... the special Jamestown School Board meeting begins at 5 PM.  

 

 

News Update for Tues., Mar. 18, 2014


North County man sentenced for manslaughter in shooting death of Fredonia man in 2012...

Chautauqua County's top prosecutor says he's satisfied with the sentence given to a Dunkirk man who admitted to pulling the trigger in the fatal shooting of a Fredonia man.  District Attorney David Foley says 46 year-old Theodore Wickham pled to second-degree manslaughter last month in connection with the death of 73 year-old Frank Slate in September of 2012.  Foley had asked for a 3 to 9 year sentence... but, ultimately agreed to a 1 to 9 year indeterminate term handed up Monday in County Court.  He says he wanted Wickham to plea to the charge in the indictment, and he did.  Foley says Wickham and his co-defendant, 28 year-old Christopher Grant, were at Slate's apartment when an argument broke out... and, Wickham shot Slate with the victim's 16-gauge shotgun.  However... Wickham testified he only intended to shot toward Slate to scare him.  Foley says that will be considered when it comes to how long Wickham actually spends behind bars.  Grant received 20 to 60 months as a sentence for his role in the crime... although he did not shoot Slate.  He cooperated with the prosecution in the case.  Wickham apologized to the court and Slate's family.


County's jobless rate up in January, but, well down from Jan. of 2013...

The brutal Winter cold is at least being partially blamed for a 1.1-percent increase in Chautauqua County's jobless rate in January.  State Labor Department Analyst John Slenker says the unemployment rate jumped from 7.2-percent in December... to 8.3-percent in January.  However... Slenker says there were "normal" seasonal factors involved.  He says both the number of people working... and, the number who were employed... were down.  Slenker says some sectors were up... like professional business.  But... some others -- including manufacturing -- were down.  He says the frigid temperatures... especially in early January... were the major reason construction ended up being down 300 jobs for the month.  He adds it also kept people indoors... and, not out shopping.  At the same time... he says a lot of what happened in January -- normally happens.  Slenker says the holiday season is over... and, the construction season has wound down.  He says the good news is the January 2014 jobless rate was 1.5-percent lower than that in January of last year... when it was 9.8-percent.


Cattaraugus County jobless rate also up... but, down compared to January of 2013...

While it was brutally cold... our Winter provided a "nice bump" to local ski resorts, and other Winter related businesses.  That was especially seen in neighoring Cattaraugus County... where Labor Analyst John Slenker says they saw a 200-job jump in leisure and hospitality due mainly to a much better ski season than in 2013-2014.  Slenker says it helped keep hold Cattaraugus' jobless rate at 8.1-percent in January... which was up one-percent from December's rate.  Overall... he says jobs were down 400.  He says part of that was due to construction... trade... and, financial sectors being down.

WJTN News Headlines


There are four villages that have contested races among the nine that will hold their annual March elections today across Chautauqua County.  That from County Elections Commissioner Brian Abram... who says voting begins at 12 Noon.  Abram says among the most competitive races will be in Mayville... where two village board seats are up for grabs.  However... he adds that there won't be a vote on that village's top-elected official. Abram says Rick Syper is running for village trustee on both the Republican and Democrat lines... while Tim Jacobson is on the just the Republican line... and, James Mayer is on the Democrat line only.  Other contested races are in Cherry Creek... where four people are running for two seats on the village board.  Three people are running for two seats in Westfield... and, two are running for one seat in Brocton.  Abram says two villages are also considering moving their election to the Fall. Several villages have voted in the past few years... most recently Lakewood... to move their vote to November.  Lakewood residents will start voting in November of 2015.  Others that have moved are Celoron... Falconer... Fredonia and Silver Creek.  Today's village elections run from Noon to 9 PM.  You can view results for all but Sinclairville's election on-line at VoteChautauqua-dot-COM.

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo is promoting his property tax rebate plan with local officials as state lawmakers begin a series of public discussions of the budget due April 1st.  The moves kick off an intense two-week stretch as Cuomo and lawmakers try to agree on a budget deal by the deadline.  Cuomo's budget proposal includes giving tax rebates to homeowners in jurisdictions that meet the spending limit and then consolidate services to save money.  Democrats in charge of the Assembly have rejected Cuomo's plan.  Cuomo promoted his plan at a Capitol news conference Monday with the county executives of Albany, Ulster, and Nassau counties.  Also Monday... the Senate and Assembly have begun a series of joint conference committee meetings to consider differences in the budget.

 

The New York Senate has rejected a bill to open state financial aid to students in the country illegally.  Monday night's 30-to-29 vote was short of the 32 votes needed to pass.  The Senate is controlled by a coalition of Republicans and breakaway Democrats.  The Assembly passed the Dream Act last month... and, included it in its budget resolutions last week.  Governor Andrew Cuomo had indicated his support for the measure.  The proposal included a budget appropriation of 25-million dollars to open up Tuition Assistance Program money for students at both public and private colleges.  Opponents of the bill say it takes opportunity away from students in the country legally.

 

They are still celebrating a first-ever New York State high school team championship at Chautauqua Lake Central School in Mayville.  The Lady Thunderbirds basketball team defeated Hoosick Falls of Section 2 in Sunday's Class-C Final, 47-to-36.  Chautauqua Lake High School Principal and Athletic Director Josh Lydell says the girls came to school -- still sporting their gold medals -- yesterday morning.  Lydell says they returned home about 11 Sunday night with a police and fire escort. Lydell says the team became a rallying point for the Mayville and Chautauqua communities which make up the Chautauqua Lake District... and, he says they were all still on "Cloud 9" Monday.  Since Ripley tuitioned out high school students to Chautauqua Lake... he adds one girl from Ripley also got to enjoy the experience. Lydell says he was most impressed during the Semi-Final Game against Haldane... which isn't far from Albany... and, Chautauqua Lake fans at least doubled the number of fans Haldane had.  While the Chautauqua Lake Girls Team is the first team to win a state title from the school... they are not the first students to win a state championship.  Craig Howard won the state pole vault championship a few years ago.

 

Congress has approved two measures to deal with what Chautauqua County's representative in the House calls presidential "overreach" and selective enforcment of some laws.  Corning Republican Tom Reed says his support of the "Enforce the Law Act..." and, the "Faithful Execution of the Law Act" is based on concerns raised by constituents during his town hall meetings in the district. Reed says this is "not about poltics..." because there will be a different president not far down the road.  He adds there is even some Democrat support for the measures.  He says the "Enforce the Law" measure clarifies Congress's role when an issue is raised about whether the president can act unilaterally on an issue. Reed says the "Faithful Execution of the Law Act" deals with such matters as the Justice Department saying it won't prosecute drug offenders under minimum sentencing guidelines.  Reed says that law would also deal with such matters as delaying parts of the Affordable Care Act -- also known as Obamacare.  The Senate has not yet taken up the bills.

News Update for Mon., Mar. 17, 2014


Village Elections to be held in nine county municipalities tomorrow...

There are four villages that have contested races among the nine that will hold their annual March elections tomorrow across Chautauqua County.  That from County GOP Elections Commissioner Brian Abram... who says voting begins at 12 Noon.  Abram says the most competitive races will be in Mayville... where two village board seats are up for grabs.  However... he adds that there won't be a vote on for mayor.  Abram says three people will be running for the two seats.  Rick Syper is running for village trustee on both the Republican and Democrat lines... while Tim Jacobson is on the Republican line... and, James Mayer is on the Democrat line only.  Another contested Cherry Creek... where four people are running for two seats on the village board.  Three people are running for two seats in Westfield... and, two are running for one seat in Brocton.  Abram says two villages -- Mayville and Forestville -- are also considering moving their election to the Fall.  Several villages have voted in the past few years... most recently Lakewood... to move their vote to November.  Lakewood residents will start voting in November of 2015.  Others that have moved are Celoron... Falconer... Fredonia and Silver Creek.  Tomorrow's village elections run from Noon to 9 p.m.  You can view results for all but Sinclairville's election on-line at www.votechautauqua.com.


Chautauqua Lake students, officials, celebrating first team title in school history...

They are still celebrating a first-ever New York State high school team championship at Chautauqua Lake Central School in Mayville today.  The Lady Thunderbirds basketball team defeated Hoosick Falls of Section 2 in yesterday's Class-C Final, 47-to-36.  Chautauqua Lake High School Principal and Athletic Director Josh Lydell says the girls came to school -- still sporting their gold medals -- this morning.  Lydell says they returned home about 11 p.m. Sunday to a police and fire escort... and, virtually the entire parking lot was full of people to welcome the girls home.  Lydell says the team became a rallying point for the Mayville and Chautauqua communities which make up the Chautauqua Lake District... and, he says they're all still on "Cloud 9" today.  Since Ripley tuitioned out students to Chautauqua Lake... he adds at least one girl from Ripley also got to enjoy the experience.  While the Chautauqua Lake Girls Team is the first team to win a state title from the school... they are not the first students to win a state championship.  Craig Howard won the state pole vault championship a few years ago.


More than 12 hour Police Standoff comes to end in Boston in Erie Co....

Authorities say a man who opened fire on police responding to his rural western New York home has surrendered after a standoff that lasted more than 12 hours.  No one was seriously injured in the incident that ended at about 9:30 a.m. today in the southern Erie County town of Boston.  The Erie County Sheriff's Office says the 48-year-old man fired about 60 shots Sunday night when deputies arrived at a house.  Officials say no one was hit but a sheriff's deputy sustained an eye injury from flying glass when the windshield of his cruiser was struck by the gunfire.  In all... three police cars were struck.  Police maintained a perimeter around the house and closed off nearby roads.  The man, whose name hasn't been released, surrendered after hours of negotiations.

 

WJTN News Headlines


The Chautauqua Lake Lady Thunderbirds are State Champions in Class C girls Basketball after they beat Hoosic Valley 47-36 at Hudson Valley Community College. Jenna Einink had a double double for Chautauqua Lake with 11 points and 15 rebounds.

 

The Red Raiders came up just short in their effort to win a first-ever Class-AA State Championship at Glens Falls.  Jamestown lost to Green Tech of Section 2, 54-to-49 in a game heard on WJTN.  Zach Panebianco led all scorers with 20 points. Jamestown finishes their season 18-and-5.

 

A Westfield man has been arrested for allegedly snowmobiling while intoxicated after his sled almost struck one vehicle... then hit a Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department patrol car.  Sheriff's Deputies say an officer and K-9 Drage were on patrol shortly before 1 AM last Saturday when the incident occured.  The officer involved says he spotted the snowmobile... operated by 28 year-old Michael Trippy of East Main Street... fail to stop at the side of Route 430 at Bloomer Road.  He says the sled nearly struck a westbound vehicle... and, continued on along the road.  The deputy turned on his emergency lights to stop the snowmobile... but, the operator allegedly kept going... and, struck the officer's car.  No one was hurt in the accident.  Upon investigation... the officer found Trippy to allegeldy be drunk.  Trippy was arrested and arraigned on charges including Snowmobiling while intoxicated, reckless operation... and, Failure to stop before crossing a highway.  Trippy was sent to the County Jail where he posted bail.

 

A Frewsburg man is jailed without bail for allegedly being found in possession of a set of metal knuckles during a traffic stop on Jamestown's southside last weekend.  City police say they stopped the vehicle in the area of South Main and Kidder Streets just after 5:30 PM Saturday for an alleged traffic infraction.  Officers say 22 year-old Justin Shafer allegedly gave them a false name... and, birthdate.  When they found out his real identity... police say they found he was sought on three city court warrants.  They also found the metal knuckles in Shafter's possession.  He was arrested without incident... and, arraigned on a Felony count of criminal possession of a weapon... and, false personation.  Shafter was then sent to the county lock-up.

 

Despite our brutally cold Winter... the maple syrup season in Chautauqua County is underway.  The Maple Producers of the Chautauqua Region held their annual Chautauqua Maple Promotion Day last Friday to promote the state's upcoming Maple Weekends... which start next weekend.  This year... it was held at the Dye Syrup Company in South Dayton.  Maple Producers President Linda Fairbanks of Fairbanks Maple in Forestville says... given the weather... they've had an unusual start. Fairbanks says they're off to a decent start... having produced 250 to 300 gallons of Syrup so far.  One of the owners of the Dye Syrup Company -- Jenny Dye -- says they started tapping trees in mid-February.  But... she adds they haven't had the success the Fairbanks have so far. The producers say they need a few days of about 40 degrees during the day-time hours... and, about 32 at night for a good run.  The syrup so far is dark to medium in color.  The annual Maple Weekends are March 22nd and 23rd... and, March 29th and 30th.   

 

U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is asking the Department of Agriculture to keep open 250 offices nationwide that help farmers.  Ten of those offices are in New York state.  Gillibrand said farmers depend on the County Farm Service Agency offices to navigate the USDA's system and sign up for programs.  She said this is especially true now because of changes to dairy and specialty crop programs under the 2014 Farm Bill.  Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said it's not right for farmers to drive four hour round trips to their local USDA office.

 

Six percent of New York state school districts are planning to ask voters to approve budgets that exceed the 2-percent property tax cap.  The New York State Association of School Business Officials says about 32 districts will seek to raise taxes beyond the state-established limit... meaning the budgets will need a supermajority of at least 60 percent to pass.  In Jamestown... the first draft of the 2014-15 budget includes a 16-percent increase.  Last year... 28 school districts tried to override the tax cap and 10 of them succeeded.  Budget votes for the 2014-15 school year take place May 20th.  This is the third year of district budgeting to be guided by the 2011 tax cap.  It generally limits increases in the tax levy to 2-percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less, but is customized for each district based on certain exemptions.

 

Billionaire developer Donald Trump says he is not running for governor of New York.   Trump said on Twitter last Friday that he will not run for governor but has ``much bigger plans in mind.''  Michael Cohen, Trump's special counsel, confirmed that Trump will not run.  Trump has been flirting with challenging Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo for some months.  But... he has said he would run only if he faced no rival for the Republican nomination.  Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino announced this month that he will seek the Republican nomination for governor.  On Twitter... Trump said that the New York Republican Party leadership is ``dysfunctional.''  New York Republican State Committee spokesman David Laska says party officials are sorry that Trump ``won't be bringing his talents to the gubernatorial race.''

 

Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly's cancer has returned.  The Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo said in a statement Friday that the cancer was found when the former NFL star came in for follow-up testing after having oral surgery to remove cancerous cells last year.  The statement says the hospital's head and neck cancer specialists are determining a course of treatment.  Kelly spent 11 seasons with the Bills before retiring following the 1996 season.

 

News Update for Friday, Mar. 14, 2014


City of Jamestown to get second, City Court Judge Apr. 1...

Jamestown is one of 12 cities across New York state to be getting a second, full-time City Court Judge beginning April 1st.  The announcement was made during a press conference Friday afternoon in City Council Chambers... which is where the second court will be convened.  That from City Court Judge John LaMancuso... who says the second judge was approved by Governor Cuomo in December.  Judge LaMancuso says the move to eliminate the current, part-time judge was based on need... and, available resources.  LaMancuso says it will allow them to expand it's drug and mental health treatment courts... and, the relatively new Veteran's Court.  He thanked Eighth Judicial District Administrative Law Judge Paula Feroletto... and, Mayor Sam Teresi for their support of the move.  Feroletto cited LaMancuso's work in opening the Veteran's Court... and, expanding services in the city.  However... while the district will pay for the new judge... that's all.  Feroletto says there will be no additional staff... but, she expressed full confidence in LaMancuso's staff in handling two court calendars.  Current Associate City court Judge George Panebianco... who is part-time, is in line for the position... but, has not yet indicated whether he will accept it or not.


Senate approves one-house budget bill, negotiations with Assembly and Gov. Cuomo begin next Monday...

The budget proposal advanced by the state Senate sets the stage for a complex two-week negotiation with the governor and Assembly on tax cuts, campaign finance reform, legalizing medical marijuana and other issues.  The state's new fiscal year starts Apr. 1.  Talks starting Monday are intended to resolve enough differences in their respective budgets to pass one plan for spending more than $142-billion... while amending many state programs and policies.  Governor Andrew Cuomo in a radio interview Friday says the Senate, unlike the Assembly and him, has no renters' tax cut for low-income city residents.  He calls that ``a non-starter.''  The Senate also would modify Cuomo's proposed property tax freeze for school districts and municipalities that stay within a 2-percent tax cap.


Ben Weitzman officials, Council president react to neighborhood concerns in W. Eighth Street...

The new owner of a scrap metal recycling company says it's "wholeheartedly committed" to the Jamestown community... and, it's proposed renovation project will be "second to none."  City lawmakers say the Ben Weitzman Company on West Eighth Street has been "very cooperative" with the city's planning process.  One neighbor earlier this week expressed concerns over dust... noise... and, run-off possibly getting into the nearby Chadakoin River.  Council President Greg Rabb says he realized there were dust issues... but, the other two are new.  However... Rabb says the weather has delayed the many improvements Weitzman has planned for the location.  Ben Weitzman Spokesman Stephen Donnelly says they "enjoy being in Jamestown..." and, that they intend to make the site not only "environmentally safe... but, also aesthetically appealing."

WJTN News Headlines


A Dunkirk woman is jailed without bail for allegedly being found in possession of cocaine...and, marijuana... after her car was pulled over in Jamestown for allegedly passing through a stop sign.  City police say a patrol spotted 31 year-old Labrittany Eaddy go through the stop sign at North Main Street and Marvin Parkway.  As officers approached the vehicle... they say they saw a quantity of marijuana in plain view... and, further investigation uncovered about 3 ounces of cocaine... a scale... and, 800-dollars cash.  Police say the cocaine had a street value of about 15-thousand dollars.  Eaddy was arraigned on charges of Felony criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, unlawful possession of marijuana... and, sent to the county lock-up.

 

Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says he came away "very impressed and encouraged" by yesterday's (Wednesday's) "Community Drug Forum" in Mayville.  Horrigan says more than 200 people were on hand for the day-long session.  Horrigan says he was most encouraged by the wide spectrum of people that were there... and, offered their insight and expertise.  He says that ranged from recovering drug addicts to those who provide treatment... and, law enforcement. Horrigan says there was general agreement that there needed to be a "more coordinated effort" between prevention and education... and, treatment and other services.  He says each particular area does good work. At the same time... Horrigan says he's confident they'll find a way to "reverse the trend" of opiate drug abuse in the county... and, it's cities.  He says he'll have follow-up sessions with County Mental Hygiene Director Patricia Brinkman... and, adds he'll have more specific actions in his State of the County Address... which will be delivered at the County Legislature's March 26th meeting.

 

WCA Hospital in Jamestown is uniquely positioned to be able to help deal with the recent increase in Heroin overdose in the area.  That from WCA Pathologist Dr. William Geary... who was one of the 13 panelists involved in Wednesday afternoon's panel discussion at Wednesday's drug forum in Mayville.  Geary... who is also president of the county's Board of Health... is an expert on opiate drugs... along with what many call the "Heroin antidote." He says WCA is in the final stages of testing use of the nasal spray form of "Narcan..."  which has helped save the lives of many who have suffered overdoses.  Geary says first responders are most comfortable using the spray as opposed to the form that's injected by a needle... and, they're both just as effective. Geary says they're fortunate to have what's needed in place to use the drug there.  As for the number of overdose cases brought to WCA... he says that's hard to pinpoint.  Geary says that question is best left to law enforcement, first-responders, and social service agencies.

 

A Warren County, Pennsylvania man was killed Wednesday when the oil tank he was working on in Brokenstraw Township exploded.  State Police in Warren say troopers were called to the scene on Irvine Run Road about 10 AM.  Investigators say they believe the accident occured while 26 year-old Nickolai Briggs of Clarendon was doing some welding work on top of the 10 to 12-foot tall tank.  Officials say they believe fumes from the tank ignited... and, it exploded sometime between 8:30 and 10 AM.  Briggs was pronounced dead at the scene.  They say his body was found about 60-feet away from the tank.

 

It's been a sunny, clear day yesterday... but, cold.  However... we're going to see a brief warm-up again today before we return to more "Winter-like" weather.  Our situation is getting back to normal after the first blizzard to hit the Chautauqua County region in several years.  The major winter storm left anywhere from 8 to 16 inches of snow across western New York.  However... we only saw about 3 to 4 inches in the Greater Jamestown-area.  We reached 18 yesterday... and, Forecaster Tony EnSweeney with the National Weather Service in Buffalo says Friday will feel more like normal for this time of year. EnSweeney says we'll start off with cloudy skys early TODAY before rain enters into the forecast during the afternoon.  He says the two records for Buffalo set by Wednesday's blizzard is it's the first time that part of the region has had a blizzard twice in the same Winter Season.  EnSweeney adds the was also a record set for snowfall on March 12th at the Weather Service's Buffalo office.  That snow total was 13.4-inches.

 

There's a lottery winner in Chautauqua County from Wednesday's Take-5 drawing.  The New York Lottery has announced that the winning ticket was sold at the Tops Market at 39-55 Vineyard Drive in Dunkirk.  Officials say the ticket is worth 64-thousand-764 dollars... so the person who may have been stocking up their pantry for the latest Winter Storm may soon be buying a plane ticket for a warm weather vacation.  The winning numbers for the Take-5 yesterday were 4-17-28-36-38.

 

News Update for Thurs., Mar. 13, 2014


Warren County man killed when work torch triggers oil tank explosion...

A Clarendon, PA man was killed Wednesday when the oil tank he was working on in Brokenstraw Township exploded.  State Police in Warren say troopers were called to the scene on Irvine Run Road about 10 a.m.  Investigators say the accident occured when 26 year-old Nickolai Briggs was doing some welding work on top of the 10 to 12-foot tall tank.  Officials say they believe fumes from the tank exploded sometime between 8:30 and 10 a.m.  Troopers say Briggs was pronounced dead at the scene.  They say the force of the explosion threw him about 60 feet from the tank.


Blizzard produces little snow in Jamestown-area, but is record setter for WNY...

Our weather situation is returning to normal... a day after the first blizzard to hit the Chautauqua County area in several years.  The major winter storm left anywhere from 8 to 16 inches of snow across western New York.  Higher amounts were in northern Erie and Niagara Counties.  While it was the first blizzard to hit Chautauqua County this season... Forecaster Tony Innsuini says it was the second one for the National Weather Service Office in Buffalo.  The first storm earlier this year included the Buffalo-metro area.  The Weather Service also recorded a record high snowfall amount for Mar. 12 with 13.4-inches.  As for Chautauqua County... it's the first blizzard in more than decade.


Take-5 Lottery winning ticket sold in Dunkirk...

There's a lottery winner in Chautauqua County from Wednesday's Take-5 drawing.  The New York Lottery has announced that the winning ticket was sold at the Tops Market at 3955 Vineyard Drive in Dunkirk.  Officials say the ticket is worth $64,764... so the person who may have been stocking up their pantry for the latest Winter Storm may soon be buying a plane ticket for a warm weather vacation.  The winning numbers for the Take-5 yesterday were 4-17-28-36-38.  In addition to the just over $64,000 top prize... the lottery says 190 players each purchased $511 winning tickets by matching four out of five numbers for the March 12 drawing.

 

WJTN News Headlines


WIVB TV in Buffalo is reporting that West Wind Custom Archery in Pomfret burned to the ground  Wednesday. Fire crews were called to the store on Rt. 20 during the blizzard. We will have more details as they become available.

 

 

Strong winds made for difficult travel... and, wind chills well-below zero overnight after near blizzard conditions made for a difficult drive home across the Jamestown-area yesterday afternoon.  While winds are expect to diminish during the morning... the National Weather Service is continuing a Wind Child Advisory through 11 AM as temperatures drop below-zero in some parts of the area.  Forecaster Jim Mitchell says the strongest winds... about 35 miles an hour... were expected late last night. The Weather Service dropped our Blizzard Warning about mid-evening last night... but, continued the Wind Chill Advisory as there was some blowing and drifting snow overnight.  Only a couple of more inches of snow fell between late afternoon and early this morning.  Temperatures were in the low to mid-teens late last night before falling overnight.  The colder air was part of the back-side of the storm system that brought blizzard conditions to parts of Western New York.  Some parts of the region got nearly a foot of snow.  However... in the immediate Jamestown-area... we received about 3 to 4 inches of blowing and drifting snow.

 

 

A special meeting of the Chautauqua County Legislature on the issue of "fracking" fell victim to yesterday's forecasted Blizzard conditions.  The legislature was slated to hold a forum on hydraulic fracturing at the session... which had been set for 6:30 PM.  Four presenters were to be on hand with two taking the "pro" side of fracking... with two others taking the "con" side.  Legislature Clerk Kathy Tampio now says that forum has been rescheduled for next Wednsday, March 19th, at 6:30 PM.

 

 

Two city women are jailed without bail for allegedly being found in possession of illegal narcotics following a raid on their downtown apartment.  Jamestown Police say their drug enforcement unit... along with the State Police C-NET Team... and, the members of the U-S Department of Homeland Security raided the dwelling at 705 Lafayette Street about 9:30 Wednesday morning.  Officers say a search warrant was obtained following a several week-long investigation into alleged drug dealing from the residence.  Police arrested Ashley Kendall... and, Kylie Reeves -- both 21 -- during the raid.  Officers say they found 16 grams of cocaine... along with Hydrocodone... marijuana... and drug paraphernalia through-out the apartment.  Both faces several charges... including third and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Kendall and Reeves were arraigned and sent to the county lock-up.

 

 

Two women -- one from Jamestown -- are being held in the city jail for allegedly stealing a purse from an elderly woman in a South Main Street parking lot Tuesday night.  City police were called to the scene about 7 PM... and, got a description of the suspect... and, the vehicle she rode off in from the victim and a female employee at Big Lots who witnessed the crime.  Officers say the subject got into a mini-van before it sped from the scene.  Police say the victim and the witness tried to stop the suspect... but, were unable to.  However... police later found the van on South Main -- near Newland -- and, arrested the two women.  Officers say 38 year-old Jenell Long of Mayville... and, 27 year-old Nicole Johnson of Jamestown... are both charged with second-degree robbery.  They add that one of the women still had some of the stolen property in their possession.  However... most of the victim's belongings were recovered.  Long and Johnson are being held pending arraignment.
 

 

Labor unions and advocacy groups are lobbying the state Senate leadership to include the Dream Act and public campaign financing in its budget resolutions.   The New York Dream Act would allow undocumented students access to state tuition assistance programs.  Spokesmen for the Senate leadership on Wednesday would only say negotiations are continuing on the resolution.  The lobbying came as Senate Republicans and breakaway Democrats tried to agree on a fiscal plan that will outline that house's positions in budget negotiations.

 

 

 


 

News Update for Wed., Mar. 12, 2014


Blizzard Warning continued until 2 a.m. Thursday...

A Major Winter Storm is impacting much of Western New York today... but, not all of Chautauqua County has been getting the very strong winds and snow.  It rained for much of the morning in the Jamestown area, but Meteorologist Dan Kelly with the National Weather Services says that has been changing as we move through the afternoon. Kelly says there was some warmer air in the Jamestown-area this morning... which delayed the change-over to snow.  In the North County... the storm has brought a couple of inches of snow along with some blowing snow.  Kelly expects the intensity of the snow and the winds to pick up this afternoon.  He says snowfall rates in some areas will be about 2-inches per hour.  The National Weather Service has expanded the Blizzard Warning to include Cattaraugus County.  There is also a Wind Chill Advisory for both counties from 2 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday. 


County Emergency Services Dir. says don't underestimate Blizzard conditions...

With conditions expected to worsen this afternoon, local and county officials are urging people to avoid travel if possible.  County Emergency Services Director Julius Leone says there's a big difference between a blizzard and a winter storm... mainly because winds become dangerous, and driving conditions can deteriorate very quickly.  Leone says local and county emergency management officials have been in close contact with a number of agencies in the days leading up the winter storm including the National Weather Service, the Red Cross and the State Emergency Management Office. 


County's "Community Drug Forum" goes on despite Blizzard conditions; about 200 on hand for event...

Getting drug abusers to come forward... or admit they have a problem... is still an issue for people that treat addicts.  But, breaking that cycle of addiction can be very difficult.  That from Associate Medical Director Dr. David Withers with the Marworth Treatment Center.  Withers was one of the speakers at this morning's "Community Drug Forum" in Mayville to address the county's opiate-drug addiction problem.  Inspite of the Blizzard forecast... some 200 people were on hand for the program.  Withers says there a "no good drugs" yet... but, adds a couple have provided some help.  He says Methodone "works" for opiates and heroin, but, he says abstenance is the better way to go.  Withers says he'll ask addicts why they've wound up at the center... and, they'll say anything but "I'm an addict who needs help."  Lt. David Bentley of the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Officer heads up the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force.  Bentley says he'd like to see a "cohesive idea" come out of the forum on treating, and taking care of the addict.  As for dealers... he says the public remains a major part of getting them off the street.

 

WJTN News Headlines


Chautauqua County is now under a Blizzard Warning through 2 AM Thursday with hazardous travel conditions... and, the possibility of power outages due to heavy snow and wind.  The National Weather Service issued the warning late last night after the path of a major storm moving our way took it's path to our south.  Forecaster Jeff Wood says that means this will be an "all snow" event.  Wood says we'll see some snow early on this morning... but, he says the snow and wind will intensify later this morning. Wood says travel along major roadways -- especially the State Thruway between the state line and Buffalo -- will become treacherous by late morning through the early evening hours.  He says wind gusts may reach 45 to 50 miles an hour at times... and, with snow falling at up to two inches an hour at time... will produce zero visability at times.  By the time the storm starts winding down by mid to late evening tonight... Wood says the region will see 10 to 17 inches of snow. There is also a wind chill advisory in effect from 2am to 11am Thursday.

 

If you don't have to drive today...the regional head of the DOT is urging you not to.  Susan Surdej (Sir-Day) said late yesterday that they are anticipating heavy Winter weather by mid-morning today... with driving conditions "worsening as the day progresses."  If you most drive... Surdej is urging motorists to use "extreme caution."  She says the forecast is calling for steady snow accumulations... wind causing low visability... and, cold temperatures causing slippery conditions.  Motorists are advised to plan ahead... and, call 5-1-1 for more information.

 

The Jamestown School District is holding the line on spending... but, if they want to keep the amount to be raised by taxes at the current year's level... they will have to exceed the state's 2-percent property tax cap.  That's why Superintendent Tim Mains is "very frustrated" with the state... which he says won't eliminate what's called the "Gap Elimination Adjustment."  The GEA has been used by the state since 2009 to take money away from school districts if the state is running a deficit.  However... Mains says the state is not supposed to be running a deficit during the 2014-2015 budget year. Mains made his comments after Assistant Superintendent for Administration Dale Weatherlow presented the first draft of the district's 2014-15 budget at last night's meeting at Bush Elementary School.  Weatherlow says the 76.6-million dollar spending plan increases appropriations by 1.7-percent... which is lower than the spending cap.  However... he says revenues... especially the lack of state aid... leaves them with an overall, 2.55-million dollar budget gap.  Mains says that's because Jamestown is getting less state aid than it did 6 years ago.  He says they're first going to get families, staff and others to lobby for more funding.

 

The leader of the Democrat-led state Assembly says their budget proposal will include a property tax ``circuit breaker'' instead of the rebate program sought by Governor Andrew Cuomo.  Speaker Sheldon Silver made the comment to reporters Tuesday as the Assembly and the state Senate prepared separate budget resolutions staking out their positions on the fiscal plan due April 1st.  Leaders of the two houses are negotiating with Cuomo on a final plan this month.  Cuomo's budget plan to freeze property taxes through rebates to homeowners in jurisdictions that meet spending and shared services goals is unpopular with many state lawmakers and the local officials they represent.  The Assembly is expected to instead propose expanding a ``circuit breaker'' that takes into account property tax burdens relative to homeowner income.

 

The long-time owner of a gas and service station on Jamestown's eastside is reportedly retiring... and, selling the business to a local company that's planning a gas-convenience store with a "retro" look to it.  That from City Development Director Vince DeJoy... who says the Jamestown Local Development Corporation has approved a loan to help Neil Patel purchase the station... which is located across from city hall.  DeJoy says the fact Ray Nelson is retiring and selling the business is bittersweet. DeJoy says Patel want's to make the station look like it did about the time it opened... yet offer all the modern conveniences of today's stores.  He says the JLDC approved a 95-thousand dollar, 7 year-loan for the new business... which will be doing business as the "Downtown Convenience Store."  DeJoy says Patel still has a few more hurdles to clear.  They include environmental testing of the site... and, obtaining a liquor license to sell beer.  There is no timetable for transfering the business at this point.

 

A Westfield man has been arrested for his alleged involvement in a number of day-time burglaries in both the town and village of Westfield.  Sheriff's officers and Westfield Police investigated the recent cases... and, arrested 38 year-old Todd Reardon at his 55 Union Street home Monday.  Police say they had obtained a warrant for Reardon's arrest in Westfield Town Court.  Reardon was arraigned on two counts of second-degree burglary... and, sent to the County Jail on 50-thousand dollars cash bail... 100-thousand dollars property bond.


 

News Update for Tues., Mar. 11, 2014


Winter Storm Warning now in effect for Jamestown-area beginning at 8 a.m. tomorrow...

A major winter storm that could bring some very treacherous travel conditions to the area, and, bitterly cold temperatures is expected to move into the region early tomorrow.  The National Weather Service in Buffalo adds that will especially be the case later in the day.  That from Forecaster John Hitchcock.. who says a Winter Storm Warning is continued for Chautauqua County from 8 a.m. Wednesday through 2 a.m. Thursday.  Hitchcock says in addition to a half-foot to a foot of snow... we'll see temperatures plummet from about 35 degrees to about 20 during the day.  We'll be into the teens by early evening.  As for snow totals during the storm... Hitchcock says predicting those totals will be "tricky."  Right now... he says we'll see about 8 to 12 inches in the Dunkirk-Fredonia area... and 4 to 6 inches along the Pennsylvania state border.  The storm will initially bring a wintry mix to the area Wednesday morning... before changing to mostly snow later in the day. 


Westfield man arrested for alleged rash of burglaries in town and village...

A Westfield man has been arrested for his alleged involvement in a number of day-time burglaries in both the town and village of Westfield.  Sheriff's officers and Westfield Police investigated the recent cases... and, arrested 38 year-old Todd Reardon at his 55 Union St. home Monday.  Police say they had obtained a warrant for Reardon's arrest in Westfield Town Court.  Reardon was arraigned on two counts of second-degree burglary... and, sent to the County Jail on $50,000 cash bail... $100,000 property bond.


Silver says Assembly will propose property tax "circuit breaker" instead of rebate...

The leader of the Democrat-led state Assembly says their budget proposal will include a property tax ``circuit breaker'' instead of the rebate program sought by Governor Andrew Cuomo.  Speaker Sheldon Silver made the comment to reporters today as the Assembly and the state Senate prepared separate budget resolutions staking out their positions on the fiscal plan due April 1st.  Leaders of the two houses are negotiating with Cuomo on a final plan this month.  Cuomo's budget plan to freeze property taxes through rebates to homeowners in jurisdictions that meet spending and shared services goals is unpopular with many state lawmakers and the local officials they represent.

WJTN News Headlines


Improvements that are part of an expansion project at a West Eighth Street scrap metal yards aren't coming fast enough for many residents in that area of the city.  At least one questioned whether the Ben Weitzman Company should have been allowed to locate at the old Weinstein Scrap Yard site at all.  However... city lawmakers say the property is zoned for such use.  However... they also said they would look into making sure a project to reduce dust and noise from the site are undertaken.  Outlet Avenue resident Rhonda Swanson outlined six issues they have with Ben Weitzman... including increased truck traffic to and from the site, and the previously mentioned dust. Swanson also told lawmakers that there's been a "dramatic increase" in noise from equipment... and other parts of the operation.  She also says the dust and other materials have contaminated the nearby Chadakoin River due to run-off from the site.  The city's Planning Commission approved Weitzman's expansion plans late last fall with what Development Director Vince DeJoy called a "rigorous" review.  In all fairness... DeJoy and council members say Weitzman has been behind on the project because of the harsh Winter.  Jamestown Renaissance Corporation Executive Director Peter Lombardi said he shared the residents concerns... and, urged city lawmakers to strictly monitor the Weitzman site during... and, after the expansion project.

 

Temperatures are near 50-degrees with sunshine yesterday afternoon... but, the warm-up's not going to last much longer.  Another Winter storm is on the way... and, will begin moving into the area tonight.  That from Forecaster John Hitchcock with the National Weather Service in Buffalo... who says low pressure will develop over the plains early tomorrow... then move into the Ohio Valley.  Hitchcock says... from there... the system -- which will include a general snowfall -- will move into our region. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch from late tonight through Wednesday night.  However... Hitchcock says... how much snow western New York is affected will depend on the storm's track.  He says the heaviest snows will be on the northern side of the system... and, we're expected to be in that area right now.  Hitchcock says snowfall totals will be 7 to 12 inches from late Tuesday night through Wednesday evening.  The moderate to heavy snow may produce very difficult travel conditions.

 

A panel created by Governor Andrew Cuomo to look into New York's rollout of the controversial Common Core curriculum is recommending capping the amount of instructional time that can be used for standardized tests and test prep.  The panel Monday also recommended that the state Legislature ban standardized ``bubble tests'' through second grade.  Cuomo assembled the panel last month amid widespread complaints by parents and teachers that New York rushed the rollout.  Teachers argue they will be unfairly punished if students do poorly under the new assessments and others question whether the standards will really elevate student achievement.  The state's Board of Regents approved changes to implementing Common Core educational last month but backed off on a plan to delay a teacher evaluation measure.

 

The north county man accused of selling an illegal assault weapon to an undercover state trooper has been found guilty.  Time-Warner Cable News in Buffalo reports jurors in the Benjamin Wassell trial delivered a verdict early Monday afternoon.  The jury began deliberations last Friday.  The Silver Creek man was indicted last year on five counts of possessing and selling illegal weapons... stemming from the alleged weapon sale in January of 2013.  The judge dismissed two of those five counts before the jury got the case.  Wassell was found guilty of all three remaining counts, and will be sentenced in May.  He was initially charged with violating the state's SAFE Act.  However... that charge was dropped prior to his indictment.

 

A group of prominent, local businessmen and community leaders has announced that junior hockey will be returning to Jamestown for the 2014-2015 season... and, beyond.  During a press conference at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena Monday afternoon... the new Jamestown Area Hockey Associates announced the new team would be part of the North American '3' Hockey League.  JAHA President Dr. James Cirbus says it's a "top level" Tier 3 league in the North American Hockey League association.  The JAHA is buying a franchise from Michigan that will be part of the NA3HL.  Cirbus says it's "a great geographical fit for the new Jamestown team, whose immediate rivals will be teams in Cleveland and Pittsburgh."  Cirbus adds that -- "today's announcement represents the culmination of many hours of hard work with a dedicated group of local guys sharing a common vision of promoting hockey."  New arena General Manager Brian Cersosimo says they're "very pleased" that hockey will be returning to the arena.  The local group also announced a "Name the Team" contest that runs through March 24th.  For more information... contact the arena at 484-2624.

 

The state's NY-Sun initiative has awarded $28.6 million to 37 projects across the state... including 29 photovoltaic projects that will add 33.6 megawatts of solar power generation capacity.  Governor Andrew Cuomo says that under the NY-Sun initiative, a total of 299 megawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity has been installed or is under development in the past two years.  Awards are available for a growing number of projects because of the steady decline in solar costs in the past two years, which allows project incentive amounts to be reduced.  Earlier this month... The Solar Foundation, an independent, nonprofit research organization, ranked New York fifth in the nation in the number of solar jobs per capita, with more than 5,000 jobs in 2013.

 

 

News Update for Mon., Mar. 10, 2014


Wassell found guilty on weapons charges...

The north county man accused of selling an illegal assault weapon to an undercover state trooper has been found guilty.  Time-Warner Cable News in Buffalo reports jurors in the Benjamin Wassell trial delivered a verdict early this afternoon.  The jury began deliberations last Friday.  Wassell was indicted last year on five counts of possessing and selling illegal weapons... stemming from the alleged weapon sale in January of 2013.  The judge dismissed two of those five counts before the jury got the case.  He was found guilty of all three remaining counts, and will be sentenced in May.  Wassell was initially charged with violating the state's SAFE Act.  However... that charge was dropped prior to his indictment.


Local group announces acquisition of Junior Hockey franchise in Michigan, will begin play in North American Hockey League next season...

A group of prominent, local businessmen and community leaders has announced that junior hockey will be returning to Jamestown for the 2014-2015 season... and, beyond.  During a press conference at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena this afternoon... the new Jamestown Area Hockey Associates announced the new team would be part of the North American '3' Hockey League.  JAHA President Dr. James Cirbus says it's a "top level" Tier 3 league in the North American Hockey League association.  The JAHA is buying a franchise from Michigan that will be part of the NA3HL.  Cirbus says it's "a great geographical fit for the new Jamestown team, whose immediate rivals will be teams in Cleveland and Pittsburgh."  Cirbus adds that -- "today's announcement represents the culmination of many hours of hard work with a dedicated group of local guys sharing a common vision of promoting hockey at all levels in the Southern Tier."  New arena General Manager Brian Cersosimo says they're "very pleased" that hockey will be returning to the arena.  The local group also announced a "Name the Team" contest that runs through Mar. 24.  For more information... contact the arena at 484-2624.


 

WJTN News Headlines


A problem with a hot water tank is the apparent cause of a blaze that's destroyed a car repair shop... and, several vehicles inside... in the town of Mina.  Sheriff's Department dispatchers say Findley Lake fire crews were called to Jack's Repair Shop at 99-94 Bailey Hill Road just after 4 PM last Saturday... and, found heavy smoke and fire coming from the structure on arrival.  Several mutual aid fire companies were called in to assist.  County Fire Investigators say the fire started accidently inside the water tank... and, spread from there.  No injuries were reported. 

 

An Erie County, New York man suffered serious... but, non-life threatening injuries in a single-car crash on Routes 5 and 20 in the town of Hanover late Saturday night.  Sheriff's officers say 44 year-old George Murray of Angola was eastbound about 10:45 PM when his car left the road for no apparent reason... and, struck a snowbank.  Deputies say the car then struck a utility pole -- shearing it in half.  Murray was flown by Mercyflight to the Erie County Medical Center for treatment.  Charges are pending.

 

Chautauqua County's representative in the State Assembly is working with local highway superintendents to get more funding to deal with local roads and highways which have taken a beating this Winter.  The highway superintendents traveled to Albany late this past week to meet with Bemus Point Republican Andy Goodell.  Goodell says they're trying to get more Consolidated Highway Improvement Program... or CHIPS funding.  He adds they're also looking at some of the state's gasoline tax. Goodell says it will be probably difficult to get an increase in funding in the upcoming state budget... but he is also pushing for a dedicated fund for roads and bridges.
The group says that local governments are responsibile for maintaining 87 percent of the roads in New York and half of the state's 18-thousand bridges.  Goodell says he will be backing legislation that would create the 200-million dollar fund.

 

Police are still searching for the two men who may have tried to abduct a Frewsburg Central School student after school last Thursday afternoon.  Sheriff's officers say they were called to the scene on Falconer Street about 3:20 PM to investigate a "suspicious" situation.  Deputies say they learned the unidentified student was walking north -- near Howard Street -- when a northbound car pulled alongside them.  Officers say the front seat passenger grabbed the student's arm... but, the student quickly pulled away... and, was able to flee safely from the scene.  Deputies say both men were described as white males... and, the passenger was wearing a red, long-sleeved shirt and may have a darker complexion.  However... the victim says both men were wearing ski masks.  The car is described as a "fairly late model" car that was bluish-gray in color with tinted windows.  The vehicle left the scene in a northerly direction.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at 664-3100... or 753-2131.

 

Two smaller "Family Drug Forums" have been scheduled around the main "Community Drug Forum" in Mayville this Wednesday.  County Executive Vince Horrigan says the first of the family sessions will be held in Dunkirk Tuesday night from 6 to 8 PM at Jamestown Community College's North County Center.  The second will be held at the same time Wednesday in the Carnahan Theater at JCC's city campus.  Horrigan says the smaller forums are mainly for people who aren't able to be at Wednesday's day-long session at Chautauqua Suites. Horrigan says the Jamestown and Dunkirk forum's will serve to address the issues facing family's who may have someone abusing drugs.  The forums have taken on added onus following confirmation last week that Fentanyl is in the Jamestown-area.  The powerful narcotic was found during a raid on a residence at 520 Newland Avenue... but, city police say it had been packaged "as heroin."  For more information on the the three forums... call the county's Office of Mental Hygiene at 753-4507.

 

The trial for the main suspect in last Spring's double-murder in the town of Carroll has been postponed until next September after having his trial separated from three other defendants.  The Buffalo News reports the postponement in 34 year-old David Coggins' case was granted late last week in County Court.  District Attorney David Foley says the separation of the cases was agreed to last week between he, and Public Defender Ned Barone... who is representing Coggins.  Coggins and the other three are accused of murdering 66 year-old Gordon and 59 year-old Joyce Skinner last April.  The couple was found dead in their Wheeler Hill Road home... where they were reportedly tortured and killed.  Authorities have not released a motive in the case.  The four were later found in Elmira after police received a description of the get-away vehicle from neighbors.  In addition to Coggins... the other defendants include 21 year-old Joshua McCormick... and 18 year-olds Ricky Knickerbocker and Steve Todd.  The four are also accused of setting the Skinner's home on fire to try and cover up the crime.

 

Some state senators are circulating a letter asking the body's leaders for 20-million dollars in funding for bicycle and pedestrian safety efforts.  Park, trail and transportation advocate groups have been pressing for more funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in the budget bill due next week.  A similar letter is also making the rounds with Assembly leaders.

News Headlines for March 8th 2014


Attempted Abduction in Frewsburg

 

   Two men are being sought by police after one of them allegedly tryed to abduct a Frewsburg Central School student after school Thursday afternoon.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's Deputies say they were called to the scene on Falconer Street at about 3:20 PM to investigate a "suspicious" situation.  Officers say the unidentified student was walking north, near Howard Street, when a northbound car stopped alongside them.  Deputies say the front seat passenger grabbed the student's arm but, the student quickly pulled away and, was able to flee to safety.  Both men are described as white males and, the passenger was wearing a red, long-sleeved shirt and may have a darker complexion.  However, the victim tells police both men were wearing ski masks.  The car is described as a "fairly late model" car that was bluish-gray in color with tinted windows.  The car continued north on Falconer Street following the incident.  Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at 664-3100 or 753-2131.

News Update for Fri., Mar. 7, 2014


Goodell says on-time state budget within reach for fouth straight year...

New York state appears on track for having an on-time budget in place for the fourth-year in a row... which would be the first time in about half-a-century.  That from State Assemblyman Andy Goodell... who says committee work on the $137.2-billion spending plan has concluded.  Goodell says discussion then moved towards revenue projections.  In the not-to-distant past... that was a bone of contention... and, slowed the process.  However... Goodell says both Majority Democrats and Minority Republicans agreed fairly quickly on a final figure of $175-million.  He says that number was developed by the GOP's Technical Staff.  Goodell says at least some of the added revenues will be used to support added programming... or plug more money into other parts of the spending plan.  With agreement on revenue projections... Goodell says the Assembly should begin passing one-house bills next week... and, once the Senate approves it's bills... both chambers will move to budget reconcilliation.  Goodell says he's been asked to serve on the joint committee dealing with Social Services.


Goodell votes in favor of Common Core changes approved by Assembly...

After considerable debate... the state Assembly has approved a two part bill  that would delay portions of the Common Core education standards.  Local Assemblyman Andy Goodell was among the overwhelming majority that voted in favor of the bill.  Goodell says the bill includes two key parts.  The Bemus Point Republican says first... the bill would prevent schools from using Common Core-based test scores in staff and teacher evaluations for two years.  Goodell says the second item would prevent schools from using scores to decide whether a student will advance to the next grade... and, would also prevent districts from sharing a student's personal information... including test scores... from being shared with third-party vendors.  He says he also supported an amendment that would established a panel to decide on whether to use the testing standards at all... but, that was defeated.  Several lawmakers said it could jeopardize the state's federal "Race to the Top" grants.

 

News Update for Thurs., Mar. 6, 2014


Warren, PA man arrested in Jamestown for alleged heroin, hypodermic needle possession...

 

A Warren, Pennsylvania man has been arrested after allegedly being found in possession of heroin and several hypodermic needles during a routine traffic stop in Jamestown.  City Police say a patrol pulled over 22 year-old Dillion Gray about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday on Foote Avenue at the corner with Bush Street for a traffic violation.  Officers say they saw .9 grams of the heroin, and the hypodermic needles in plain view... and, near two children inside the vehicle.  They say Grey was arrested on one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance... criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument... and, two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

 

 

Agenda for Community Drug Forum set in Mayvillle...

 

Confirmation that Fentanyl is in the Jamestown-area is putting even more onus on the upcoming Community Drug Forum that's set for next Wednesday in Mayville.  County Executive Vince Horrigan says the agenda has now been set... with expert presenters in the morning... and, a large panel discussion later in the day.  Horrigan says the forum runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Chautauqua Suites.  He says the presenters will include a well-known parent and advocate Avi Israel... who lost his son to addiction several years ago.  Horrigan says the panel will be large in number... but, adds it's because "we've got a large problem."  He says it's disturbing to hear that there were three reported overdoses reported one day last weekend in the city of Jamestown.  He says recovering addicts... and, victims of drug abuse have also been invited to take part in the forum.  Horrigan says he wants it to be an "open up the conversation" because that's how to get to the root problem, and can find solutions.  He says the panel will include law enforcement officials... Family Court officials and others.  For more information on the forum... call 753-4507.

 

 

 

 

WJTN News Headlines


A powerful drug that's been substituted for -- or mixed with heroin in drug-dealing -- has been found for the first time in Jamestown.  City Police Chief Harry Snellings says testing has shown that a powdery substance found packaged for individual use during a drug bust at 520 Newland Avenue was Fentanyl.  Snellings says three people were arrested during the raid... including 33 year-old Jamie Condella of Frewsburg.  He says the JPD Narcotics Investigations Unit, and State Police C-NET Team found Condella in possession of a quantity of the powdery substance... which intially tested negative for heroin. Snellings says the discovery of Fentanyl is a concern because it confirms information that investigators have been receiving in recent days.  The drug is apparently being sold to people as Heroin.  Snellings says Fentanyl is abused because of it's "intense Euphoric effects" as a substitute for opiote-dependent persons.  But... he says it's reportedly 30-times more potent than Heroin.  About two-dozen people died earlier this year in the Pittsburgh-area from heroin-laced with Fentanyl.  Condella... and, two people living at the Newland Avenue address... were arraigned on charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance charges... and, endangering the welfare of a child.  Condella is still being held pending arraignment. 
Social Media was buzzing earlier this week after three cases of drug overdoses were reported in the city one day last weekend.  However... Snellings declined to comment when asked if these reported overdoses were triggered by the use of Fentanyl.

 

A Lakewood woman has been arrested for allegedly growing and distributing marijuana in the south county area for the past several months.  Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say they arrested 47 year-old Tiffany Boardman of Southland Avenue Tuesday night on a warrant charging her with one count each of unlawfully growing of marijuana... and, second-degree criminal possession of marijuana.  Task Force members were assisted by Lakewood-Busti Police in the bust... which is part of a 10-month long investigation into pot production in the area.  It was also in conjunction with other warrants that were issued last February 21st.  Boardman was arraigned and sent to the County Jail on 10-thousand dollars cash bail.  Drug agents say their investigation is ongoing and more arrests are possible.  If you have any information on illegal drug activity regarding this case... or others... contact the Task Force at 1-800-344-8702.

 

Four Clymer Central School students were hurt... but, not seriously... when their school bus went into a roadside ditch -- and, became airborne -- before crashing into an embankment.  Sheriff's Deputies were called to the scene about 8:20 AM Tuesday on Route 474 near Panama.  Officers say the bus was westbound... transporting eight students to the Ashville BOCES... when the bus went off the northside of the road for no apparent reason.  Deputies say the vehicle traveled about 500 feet through the ditch before hitting a driveway culvert... causing the bus to go airborne.  The bus landed nose down in a earth embankment.  Officers say four of the Clymer students were taken to WCA Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  The driver... Betty Bayle... was not hurt.  Bayle was ticketed in Harmony Town Court on one count of failure to maintain lane... and, more charges are pending.

 

It was just a "pre-caution..." but, the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office says they advised the Sherman Central Schools to lock-down Tuesday after they were informed of a person having a medical emergency.  Officers say the person may have had access to weapons... and, may have been considering doing personal harm.  Deputies responded to the undisclosed location in the village about 11:30 AM... and, found the individual.  Once the situation had taken care of... officers contacted the school... and, the lock-down ended about an hour later.  Pre-K through 12th grade Principal Michael Ginestry (Gin-ess-tree) says police advised them of a potentially "dangerous situation" in the village about 11:45 AM... but, adds the school was "never threatened."

 

Chautauqua County lawmakers will get a "crash course" on the issue of Hydraulic Fracturing... or "horizontal fracking" during a special meeting next Wednesday in Mayville.  Legislature Chairman Jay Gould has scheduled the meeting for 6:30 PM in Legislature Chambers.  Gould says four presentations have been scheduled with two being from the "pro" side of the issue... while the other two will present opposing viewpoints.  The Ashville Republican adds they'll then have a question and answer session for lawmakers. Gould says his main objectives are to present both sides of the issue so lawmakers can look at the controversial issue objectively. Gould says he's keeping an "open mind" towards the issue... which the state has yet to rule on.  A few towns in New York state have already made the move to ban the practice.  He says it would likely be good for the economy... but, adds there are some environmental issues that have to be looked at. Proponents of horizontal drilling for natural gas say New York has lost opportunities to take advantage of the "boom" other states... like nearby Pennsylvania... have seen.  But, opponents want the state to look at all the possible risks before making a final decision.

 

News ALERT!! for Wed., Feb. 5, 2014


(**New alert)Fentanyl found in Jamestown; police warn it may be being sustituted for heroin...

A powerful narcotic that's been substituted for heroin in drug-dealing... and, led to nearly two-dozen deaths recently in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area... had now been found in Jamestown.  City Police Chief Harry Snellings says they've just received results back on a powdery substance found during a drug bust at 520 Newland Avenue Tuesday morning.  Snellings says three people were arrested during the raid... including 33 year-old Jamie Condella of Frewsburg.  He says the City Police Nacotics Investigations Unit, and State Police C-NET Team found Condella in possession of a quantity of a powdery substance, packaged for individual sales.  Snellings says it failed tests for heroin... but, was further tested... and, came back today as Fentanyl.  He says the discovery of Fentanyl is a concern because it confirms what investigators have been hearing in recent days.  He says the drug is apparently being sold to people as Heroin.  Snellings says Fentanyl is abused because of it's "intense Euphoric effects" as a substitute for opiote-dependent persons.  But... he says it's much more powerful than Heroin... but, if used as heroin... can result in an overdose.

News Update for Wed., Mar. 5, 2014


Four hurt in Clymer School Bus crash Tuesday...

Four students were hurt... but, not seriously... when their Clymer Central School bus went into a roadside ditch -- became airborne -- and crashed into an embankment.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene about 8:20 a.m. Tuesday near Panama.  Deputies say the bus was westbound on Route 474 near Panama... taking eight students to the Ashville BOCES... when the bus went off the northside of the road for no apparent reason.  Officers say the vehicle traveled about 500-feet through ditch before hitting a driveway culvert... which caused the bus to go airborne.  The bus landed nose down in a earth embankment... tearing the front hood off.  Officers say four of the Clymer students were taken to WCA Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  The driver... Betty Bayle... was not hurt.  Bayle was ticketed in Harmony Town Court on one count of failure to maintain lane... and, more charges are pending.


Lakewood woman arrested for allegedly growing and distributing marijuana in south county...

A Lakewood woman has been arrested for allegedly growing and distributing marijuana in the south county area for the past several months.  Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say they arrested 47 year-old Tiffany Boardman of Southland Avenue Tuesday night on a warrant charging her with one count each of unlawful growing of marijuana... and, second-degree criminal possession of marijuana.  Task Force members were assisted by Lakewood-Busti Police in the bust... which is part of a 10-month long investigation into pot production in the area.  It was also in conjunction with other warrants that were issued last Feb. 21.  Boardman was arraigned and sent to the County Jail on $10,000 cash bail.  Drug agents say their investigation is ongoing and more arrests are possible.


Astorino announces he's running for NYS Governor...

The executive from a county in New York City's northern suburbs has officially announced he is running to unseat New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.  Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino says today in a video that the idea that things are great in New York is a ``fairy tale.''  State Republicans hold their nominating convention in May.  Celebrity businessman Donald Trump has said he would consider a run if the party unifies behind him.  Cuomo, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, is far ahead in polls, name recognition and fundraising.  But... Astorino argues New York is moving in the wrong direction and Cuomo is beatable.  The 46-year-old Astorino was easily elected in November to his second term as the head of government in suburban Westchester.  Twice as many Democrats live in New York than Republicans.
 

WJTN News Headlines


A potentially "dangerous situation" about mid-day Tuesday in the village of Sherman led to a one-hour lock-down at Sherman Central School.  However... Pre-K through 12th grade Principal Michael Ginestry says the school was "never threatened, or in danger."  Ginestry says State Police first contacted the school about 11:45 Tuesday morning... and, the school was locked-down as a pre-caution.  He says school officials were never given any specific information on what had taken place.  However... Ginestry says they were given the all-clear about 12:45 PM... and, the school was taken out of lock-down.  State Police have released no further information on what took place... or whether any arrests were made.

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo told a massive state Capitol rally for charter schools late yesterday that he's committed to making sure they have money and physical space to thrive.  More than 3-thousand parents and students turned out at an event organized after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decided to reverse a decision to give three charter schools rent-free space in public school buildings.

 

Ellicott Town officials say their annual Deer Management Project didn't produce the results they were hoping for... but, add this is an on-going program to deal with deer population issues.  Town Supervisor Cecil Miller says they received the final results of the most recent harvest at last night's town board meeting.  Miller says the program is being carried out with the village of Celoron... and, the state Department of Environmental Conservation.  The deer are lured into an area outside the village where they are taken by DEC-Certified shooters. Miller says our bitterly cold weather may have played a role in the lower than expected harvest because the deer aren't moving as much when conditions are very cold.  He says they'll talk with the DEC about that.  Otherwise... he says they'll plan for next year's project because it has to be "on-going" to be successful.  Miller says the town and village have been holding the harvest in the Winter months... after the regular Deer Hunting season is completed.

 

The region's long and brutally cold Winter has caused a major bird die-off on Lake Erie near Dunkirk.  That from Connie Adams, a marine biologist with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.  Adams says over the past month-and-a half... people going to the City Pier have noticed hundreds of dead waterfowl on the ice in the harbor.  She recently began collecting the dead birds, and says testing in Albany determined they were starved.
Adams says the reason so many ducks are dying on Lake Erie is due to the extensive ice cover on the lake for a prolonged period of time.  She says it's been below 10 degrees each night for 50-straight days... making it a "very, very cold winter."  Adams says most of the birds that have died are fish-eating birds such as mergansers, scaup, mallards, and Canada geese.

 

The latest round of polar air caused temperatures to plummet well-below the zero mark again overnight.  Wind Chills weren't as bad as first thought... but, air temperatures were bitterly cold.  Forecaster Dave Zaff with the National Weather Service says it got cold enough in Buffalo to tie a record dating back to World-War Two.
We had reports of 11 and 9-below zero in the immediate Jamestown-area... and, 7-below zero at the Dunkirk Airport during the overnight and early morning hours.  Temperatures will start to warm up later this week, but, Zaff says there won't be a major change in the current pattern.  He says we'll still be at or below average for the near future.  But... he says with more sunlight coming daily... we'll be seeing more and more heat getting during the daytime hours.  Zaff says temperatures are reaching about 22 to 23 today... and, about 25 tomorrow. 

 

A four-car, chain-reaction accident on Harrison Street Monday afternoon sent one person to the hospital for treatment of a head injury.  Jamestown Police were called to the scene about 3:30 PM... and, learned that the driver of a westbound car on Harrison -- not involved in the accident -- had stopped at the corner of Institute Street to allow another vehicle to cross Harrison.  However... a car behind the first one stopped suddenly... and, was struck from behind.  Two other vehicles then struck the vehicles in front of them.  A passenger in the second car involved was taken to WCA Hospital with possible internal head injuries.  However... the injury was described as non-life threatening.  The drivers and other passengers involved were checked out by City fire rescue crews... and, signed off on medical treatment.  No chargees have been filed.

 

The rate of Multiple-Sclerosis diagnosis in western New York is double the national average... and, local leaders are trying to raise awareness of the issue this week.  Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi kicked off M-S Awareness Week in Jamestown by issuing a proclamation at a celebration at the Lillian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center.  Officials with the M-S Society's Upstate New York Chapter were on hand at the West Third Street location to urge people to register for Walk MS to take place on May 4th in Jamestown.  Chapter Spokeswoman Ashley Greenman says Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system that affects more than 12-thousand-800 people in the 50 counties served by the upstate chapter... and, more than 300 people in Chautauqua County.

 

News Update for Tues., Mar. 4, 2014


Sherman schools locked-down for "potentially dangerous" situation...

A potentially "dangerous situation" about mid-day Tuesday in the village of Sherman led to a one-hour lock-down at Sherman Central School.  However... Pre-K through 12th grade Principal Michael Ginestry says the school was "never threatened, or in danger."  Ginestry says State Police first contacted the school about 11:45 a.m., and, the school was locked-down as a pre-caution.  He says school officials were never given any specific information on what had taken place.  However... Ginestry says they were given the all-clear about 12:45 p.m., and, the school was taken out of lock-down.  State Police have released no further information on what took place... or whether any arrests took place.


Record low temperature for March 4 tied in Buffalo as most of WNY below-zero Tuesday morning...

The latest round of polar air caused temperatures to plummet well-below the zero mark again overnight.  Wind Chills weren't as bad as first thought... but, air temperatures were bitterly cold.  Forecaster Dave Zaff with the National Weather Service says it got cold enough in Buffalo to tie a record dating back to World-War Two.  Zaff says they fell to -3 at the airport overnight.  The lowest temperature they heard of was 18-below in Franklinville.  We had reports of 11-below and 9-below zero in the immediate Jamestown-area... and, 7-below zero at the Dunkirk Airport during the overnight and early morning hours.  Temperatures will start to warm up later this week, but, Zaff says there won't be a major change in the current pattern.  He says we'll still be at or below average for the near future.


Tanglewood Group takes full ownership of Frewsburg Rest Home...

The Tanglewood Group in West Ellicott has now taken full ownership of The Frewsburg Rest Home.  The assisted living, adult day-care, and respite organization took over operations at the Frewsburg adult care facility early last weekend... and, Group Owner Nick Ferreri says they've "very excited" to add it to their list of offerings in the Jamestown-area.  Ferreri's group purchased Frewsburg from the Sischo Family... which had owned the home since 1974... and, he says they plan to expand services within the next six-months... including putting in services now offered at Tanglewood Manor... the flagship operation of the Tanglewood Group on Fairmount Avenue.  Ferreri says the Frewsburg Rest Home has 80 beds... and, will wind up with about 71 once they complete their upgrades... and, renovations for assisted living and other services.  He says they plan to continue the kind of care that was offered by the Sischo family.  He made his comments on WJTN's "Senior Living Moment."

 

WJTN News Headlines


A city teen has been charged after the Sports Utility Vehicle he was driving struck an injured a Jamestown woman yesterday afternoon as she was walking across North Main Street at East Third.  City police say 18 year-old Steven Nowell's 1991 Blazer was turning left from East Third onto North Main just after 2:30 PM yesterday.  But... officers say Nowell allegedly failed to yield to the 49 year-old woman.  Police say she was walking in a marked crosswalk -- with the red light -- at the time of the accident.  Officers say she treated at WCA Hospital for left arm... leg... and hip injuries.  However... the injuries were not life-threatening... and, she was later released.  Nowell was charged with failure to hield the right-of-way to a pedestrian.

 

Temperatures as low as 9-below zero were being reported in the Jamestown-area late last night as bitterly cold wind chills were forecast to be as low as 20-below zero in some spots.  However... winds were relatively light early on in the evening.  Forecasters with the National Weather Service were predicting low air temperatures of 10 to 15-below overnight... with light south winds.  Temperatures along the Lake Erie Shoreline were expected to drop to 5 to 10 below.  There is a Wind Chill Advisory in effect until 8 this morning. 

 

The first of two men accused of killing an elderly Fredonia man in September 2012 has been sentenced in Chautauqua County Court.  District Attorney David Foley says 28-year-old Christopher Grant of Dunkirk appeared before County Judge John Ward Monday morning.  Foley says they had reached a plea deal with Grant. That was less than the maximum sentence of 5 to 15 years.  Foley says there were a couple of factors involved. Grant and 46-year-old Theodore Wickham were involved in the shooting that lead to the death 73-year-old Frank Slate, Junior.  Wickham is scheduled to be sentenced later this month.

 

A former head of the Chautauqua County Airports and Parks System is back at the helm following the resignation of current manager Sam Arcadipane.  That from County Executive Vince Horrigan... who says Arcadipane tendered his resignation last Friday after serving in both positions for the past two years.  Horrigan declined to say why Arcadipane resigned... but, did express his appreciation for his hard work, and service.  Horrigan says he's responded by bringing back Dave Sanctuary to head up the airports and parks on an interim basis. Sanctuary served for some time under former County Executive Greg Edwards through part of 2011... when he retired.  Horrigan says he's asked him to continue current initiatives... including finding a new carrier to replace Silver Airlines.  Silver's parent airline... United... recently announced it was terminating regional service from both Jamestown and Bradford to Cleveland in May.  Horrigan specifically cited Arcadipane's ability to negotiate special, low-cost airfares through the end of February with current air-carrier Silver Airlines to Cleveland.

 

Advocates for increased school funding in New York are set to announce the findings from a tour of 16 school districts across the state.  The Alliance for Quality Education and the Campaign for Fiscal Equity have been gathering evidence that the state is underfunding school districts, to support a lawsuit claiming the state has failed to provide ``sound basic education.''  During the fact-finding tour... the organizations visited school districts in the Capital region, Yonkers, the Mohawk, Hudson and Genesee valleys, the Southern Tier, Long Island and the New York City area.  Assembly Education Committee chairwoman Catherine Nolan, a Democrat, is expected to join the organizations Monday in Albany to discuss the issue.

 

Local Congressman Tom Reed says he's excited that a 'work group' of the House Ways and Means Committee he's been part of is finishing up work on major revisions to the nation's tax code.  Reed says the panel... headed up by Committee Chairman Dave Camp... has been working for three years on revising and simplifying the 70-thousand page tax code.  The Corning Republican adds that residents of the 23rd Congressional District would save -- on average -- 600-dollars each on their tax returns with the changes. Reed says they've not yet reached the point where they have a "final" product... but, he says the process will be transparent.  He then took a swipe at the Obama administration... and, Congressional Democrats... saying "we will know what's in it... unlike with Obamacare...." Reed says Camp... and, other leaders of the Ways and Means Committee... have begun talking with leaders of the Senate Finance Committee on a bill both chambers can agree on.  Reed says there is a new Senate Committee leader with former Chair Max Baucus having taken a position with the Obama Administration.

 


 

News update for Mon., Mar. 3, 2014


Horrigan names Sanctuary as interim Airport and Parks Manager following resignation by Arcadipane...

A former head of the Chautauqua County Airports and Parks System is back at the helm following the most recent manager's resignation.  That from County Executive Vince Horrigan... who says Sam Arcadipane tendered his resignation last Friday after serving in both positions for the past two years.  Horrigan declined to say why Arcadipane resigned... but, did express his appreciation for his hard work, and service.  Horrigan says he's responded by bringing back Dave Sanctuary... who is no stranger to county government... to head up the airports and parks on an interim basis.   Sanctuary is a former career airline pilot and manager served a term of service under former County Executive Greg Edwards through part of 2011... when he retired.  Horrigan says Sanctuary's appointment is interim at this point... but, adds he's asked him to continue current initiatives... including finding a new carrier to replace Silver Airlines.


Grant sentenced to up to 5 years in state prison in connection with shooting and killed of Fredonia man in 2012...

The first of two men accused of killing an elderly Fredonia man in September 2012 has been sentenced to 20 months to 5 years in state prison.  District Attorney David Foley says 28-year-old Christopher Grant of Dunkirk appeared before County Judge John Ward this morning.  Foley says they had reached a plea deal with Grant... who is cooperating with the prosecution in the other case involving 46 year-old Theodore Wickham.  Wickham was found guilty of shooting the 73 year-old victim.


Reed pleased with progress on Tax Code reform work...

Local congressman Tom Reed says he's excited that a work group of the House Ways and Means Committee he's been part of is finishing up work on major revisions to the nation's tax code.  Reed says the panel... headed up by Committee Chairman Dave Camp... has been working for three years on revising and simplifying the 70,000 page tax code.  The Corning republican adds that residents of the 23rd Congressional District would save -- on average -- $600 each on their tax returns with the changes.  He calls that "real money" that people would hold onto and not have to pay for the aggravation of getting their taxes done. 

WJTN News Headlines


Two city men have been arrested for allegedly attacking a third man during a reported fight on Jamestown's eastside last Saturday afternoon.  City police were called to a "fight in progress" shortly before 2 PM... and, found a large group of people in front of the residence at 812 Jefferson Street... and, a smaller group nearby on Isabella Street.  Officers say further investigation led to the arrest of Isaiah Pearson... who was with the group on Jefferson Street... and, Joshua Hinson... who was found on Isabella.  Both are accused of attacking the unidentified victim.  Both men were arrested for third-degree assault... and, were jailed pending arraignment in city court.

 

Five Buffalo-area men are in the custody of U-S Marshall's after what authorities are calling a "dismantling" of a major western New York heroin trafficking organization.  Agents with the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say the ring was distributing the drug in the Southern Tier... mainly in Olean and Salamanca.  Task Force members arrested Steven Martinez... Jeffrey Coleman... Tomas Figueroa... Julio Sanchez... and, Elias Figueroa during a raid yesterday in Buffalo.  Task Force and DEA Agents seized 591 grams of heroin during the operation... with a reported street value of more than 50-thousand dollars.  They also seized more than 70-thousand dollars in cash.  Drug agents accuse the five of distributing more than one-thousand grams or more of the drug.  All five were arraigned in U-S District Court on federal charges... and, turned over to the U-S Marshall's Office without bail.

 

It wasn't a big surprise... but, it signals the start of the campaign in Chautauqua County for the 23rd Congressional seat.  County Democrats unanimously threw their backing behind Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson... who annouced last year that she was going to run against incumbant Republican Tom Reed this year.  Robertson was in Mayville to accept the endorsement.  Chautauqua County Democrat Committee Chairman Norm Green says a recent national news article stated the 23rd District race will be one of the two-20 to watch... mainly due to what he calls "missteps" by Reed. Robertson's campaign has recently hammered Reed on the fact he was late on his taxes in Corning 39 times in recent years... and, that his name remained on his former law firm AFTER he had been elected.  However... the Republican National Committee wants Robertson investigated for allegedly lying in an e-mail to supporters that Republican "operatives" hacked into her campaign website last September 30th.  The Buffalo News reported yesterday that Robertson has yet to prove that actually happened.  Green also says county Democrats also endorsed Sheriff Joe Gerace for a sixth-term in office.  Jamestown-area Meals on Wheels Director Barrie Yochim has been endorsed to run for State Assembly.

 

In an effort to protect consumers from big surprise medical bills... the Cuomo administration has proposed extending out-of-network coverage requirements for emergencies and specialists to all health insurers in New York.  According to the state Department of Financial Services... the requirements currently apply to health maintenance organizations and 16 insurance plans in New York's new health exchange.  Legislation that Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed for the fiscal year starting April 1st would apply those consumer protections to non-HMOs, which provide most health coverage in New York.  It would also help protect patients from big surprise medical bills from out-of-network doctors by requiring clear advance disclosures about who's actually in their insurance networks.  Disputes would go to arbitration between doctors and insurance companies, leaving the patients out.

 

U-S Senator Charles Schumer says voluntary standards agreed to by federal regulators, and the rail industry for oil shipping, should be amended to phase out unsafe tanker cars and reduce train speed in populated areas.  The New York Democrat says Wednesday that the agreement announced by the federal Department of Transportation and Association of American Railroads doesn't go far enough to protect upstate communities.  Trains pull hundreds of tankers of highly volatile crude oil from North Dakota cross New York daily in a virtual moving pipeline to East Coast refineries.  The agreement announced last week proposes numerous voluntary safety measures but doesn't bar companies from continuing to use cars known as DOT-111s that are at risk of rupture in a crash.

 

The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities is hoping to start a 3-million dollar project to replace two aging electric substations by early next month.  That from BPU General Manager Dave Leathers... who calls the new Chadakoin Substation a "priority project" for the board's Transmission and Distribution group in 2014.  Leathers says the group -- led by Chris Rogers -- will locate the substation on Isabella Avenue -- near Clinton Street.  Leathers says the T-and-D group's Kris Sellstrom outlined the project for the board this past week. Leathers says the new equipment should "enhance reliabililty" for the utility.  The BPU approved the new substation project just over a year ago.  He says they're hoping the Winter weather will break within the next month so work can begin on the substation building. Leathers says the actual building should be completed fairly soon... and, adds they're hoping to have the substation commissioned and operating by next November or December.  The property had previously been used as a place for the city's Public Works Department to dump snow.

 

U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is telling federal officials that the Empire State needs its bees to pollinate crops.  Gillibrand wrote Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to ask him to expand the department's efforts to revive bee populations in New York and the Northeast.  Vilsack has already directed $3 million to study bee losses in the Midwest.  Gillibrand... a New York Democrat... noted that beekeepers in the state last year lost an average of 30 percent of their hives to Colony Collapse Disorder, in which honeybees suddenly disappear or die.  The losses could affect apple and other crops in New York.  The state has about 52,000 beehives.

 

A federal judge has approved settlement of a class-action lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase for its force-placed insurance practices, an agreement that could pay more than $300 million to about 750-thousand mortgage borrowers.  The national settlement prohibits the bank for six years from commissions, kickbacks or reinsurance from the hazard insurance it obtains when a homeowner's policy lapses.  Under Judge Federico Moreno's order Friday in Miami, class members will have to file claim forms to recover 12.5 percent of the net premiums they were charged between January 1st of 2008 and October 4th of 2013.  Moreno also barred JPMorgan Chase and Assurant and its insurance subsidiaries ``from inflating premiums'' for six years.  Assurant says it hasn't acknowledged wrongdoing but it's in the company's best interests to settle.  New York-based JPMorgan Chase didn't initially reply to requests for comment.

 

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