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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.
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.
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.
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.
(**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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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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