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Local News Headlines Archives for 2014-01

WJTN News Headlines


A Jamestown police officer came across both a shocking and troubling situation in a downtown parking lot Wednesday afternoon. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the officer spotted a Falconer man sitting in a parked car in the Big Lots Parking Lot -- shortly before 5 PM -- who was in the process of preparing and shooting up heroin.  In addition... there was a small child inside the car when the officer went to investigate the matter. In addition to seeing 27 year-old Samuel Critzer preparing to inject the suspected heroin... the officer also found a Falconer woman in the car -- identified as 34 year-old Christina Weed.  She was allegedly in possession of a pain killer she didn't have a prescription for.  Samuelson says Critzer faces three charges. Samuelson adds Weed is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Police Chief Harry Snellings called it a "frightening" situation.... not just because of the situation in the car... but, for motorists in that part of the city because Critzer was going to drive off after shooting up.  Both he and Weed were arraigned... and, released pending further court action.

 

City police officials are warning residents about an alleged telephone scam in which the caller says he's an IRS Agent... and, the resident either owes back taxes... or, has a refund coming.  However... Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the caller then asks for the person's Social Security number.  Samuelson says they've been contacted by a handful of potential victims.  However... he says they did NOT give out their personal information. Samuelson says that's what they're now advising residents to do if they receive such a call.  He says this is the first time someone has tried to use a scam involving the IRS name... which has been used elsewhere -- but, not here -- until now.  He says city police have mainly seen lottery... or real estate scams in the past.  In this case... the caller is a male posing as an IRS agent.  Samuelson says the people being targeted are mainly middle aged... working people.  However... they also want to alert Senior Citizens to the situation.  If you receive such a call... Samuelson says hang-up and call local police.

 

U-S Senator Charles Schumer says federal authorities are releasing 50.6-million dollars more to provide home heating aid to New Yorkers.  Families whose incomes are 150 percent of the federal poverty level or lower are eligible for heating aid.  Schumer says the release for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which he requested in January, should provide critical relief to needy residents and senior citizens during a stretch of especially cold weather.  The Department of Health and Human Services is releasing $454 million nationwide.

 

Minority Republicans in the state Assembly are calling for changes to the state's pension system that more closely resemble "Defined Benefit" plans in the private sector.  Local Assemblyman Andy Goodell was part of this week's announcement in Albany about their proposal... which will save state taxpayers money... and, give employees more control over how they invest their pension plans.  While New York state has some of the highest taxes in the state... Goodell says the bigger problem is spending.  When he was County Executive... Goodell says the state pension contribution was 3-percent.  He says it's now about 18-percent. Goodell says those lay-offs are a "disservice" to students.  He says the GOP proposal is not about finding "scapegoats" for increased costs.  Goodell says public employees should be paid a "fair and reasonable" salary... and, have the same for a pension plan.  Goodell says the "yardstick they should use is what's happening in the private sector.

 

Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says he 'feels good' about the latest proposal from VestraCare to buy the County Home in Dunkirk.  Horrigan has signed an asset purchase agreement to sell the Temple Road facility to two corporations formed last year by the Long Island-based company for 16-million.  Horrigan tells us he realizes the proposal is less than the one they had initially offered last September. Horrigan says the agreement also calls for the accounts receivable to go over to the purchaser, so the county won't be dealing with that debt.  Overall, Horrigan feels it's a good deal. The Legislature rejected the first proposed offer last October by one vote.  VestraCare will make a presentation... and, be questioned by the County Legislature during a special meeting next Wednesday, February 5th.  A vote is expected to be held during the Legislature's regular monthly meeting in late February.

 

WJTN News Headlines


A Jamestown police officer came across both a shocking and troubling situation in a downtown parking lot Wednesday afternoon. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the officer spotted a Falconer man sitting in a parked car in the Big Lots Parking Lot -- shortly before 5 PM -- who was in the process of preparing and shooting up heroin.  In addition... there was a small child inside the car when the officer went to investigate the matter. In addition to seeing 27 year-old Samuel Critzer preparing to inject the suspected heroin... the officer also found a Falconer woman in the car -- identified as 34 year-old Christina Weed.  She was allegedly in possession of a pain killer she didn't have a prescription for.  Samuelson says Critzer faces three charges. Samuelson adds Weed is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Police Chief Harry Snellings called it a "frightening" situation.... not just because of the situation in the car... but, for motorists in that part of the city because Critzer was going to drive off after shooting up.  Both he and Weed were arraigned... and, released pending further court action.

 

City police officials are warning residents about an alleged telephone scam in which the caller says he's an IRS Agent... and, the resident either owes back taxes... or, has a refund coming.  However... Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the caller then asks for the person's Social Security number.  Samuelson says they've been contacted by a handful of potential victims.  However... he says they did NOT give out their personal information. Samuelson says that's what they're now advising residents to do if they receive such a call.  He says this is the first time someone has tried to use a scam involving the IRS name... which has been used elsewhere -- but, not here -- until now.  He says city police have mainly seen lottery... or real estate scams in the past.  In this case... the caller is a male posing as an IRS agent.  Samuelson says the people being targeted are mainly middle aged... working people.  However... they also want to alert Senior Citizens to the situation.  If you receive such a call... Samuelson says hang-up and call local police.

 

U-S Senator Charles Schumer says federal authorities are releasing 50.6-million dollars more to provide home heating aid to New Yorkers.  Families whose incomes are 150 percent of the federal poverty level or lower are eligible for heating aid.  Schumer says the release for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which he requested in January, should provide critical relief to needy residents and senior citizens during a stretch of especially cold weather.  The Department of Health and Human Services is releasing $454 million nationwide.

 

Minority Republicans in the state Assembly are calling for changes to the state's pension system that more closely resemble "Defined Benefit" plans in the private sector.  Local Assemblyman Andy Goodell was part of this week's announcement in Albany about their proposal... which will save state taxpayers money... and, give employees more control over how they invest their pension plans.  While New York state has some of the highest taxes in the state... Goodell says the bigger problem is spending.  When he was County Executive... Goodell says the state pension contribution was 3-percent.  He says it's now about 18-percent. Goodell says those lay-offs are a "disservice" to students.  He says the GOP proposal is not about finding "scapegoats" for increased costs.  Goodell says public employees should be paid a "fair and reasonable" salary... and, have the same for a pension plan.  Goodell says the "yardstick they should use is what's happening in the private sector.

 

Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says he 'feels good' about the latest proposal from VestraCare to buy the County Home in Dunkirk.  Horrigan has signed an asset purchase agreement to sell the Temple Road facility to two corporations formed last year by the Long Island-based company for 16-million.  Horrigan tells us he realizes the proposal is less than the one they had initially offered last September. Horrigan says the agreement also calls for the accounts receivable to go over to the purchaser, so the county won't be dealing with that debt.  Overall, Horrigan feels it's a good deal. The Legislature rejected the first proposed offer last October by one vote.  VestraCare will make a presentation... and, be questioned by the County Legislature during a special meeting next Wednesday, February 5th.  A vote is expected to be held during the Legislature's regular monthly meeting in late February.

 

News Update for Thurs., Jan. 30, 2014


Falconer man arrested for allegedly shooting-up Heroin in downtown business parking lot with child in the car...

A man from Falconer was arrested late Wednesday afternoon after a Jamestown police officer spotted him preparing... and, shooting up heroin in a downtown parking lot.  In addition... Police Captain Bob Samuelson says 27 year-old Samuel Critzer was doing it in view of a small child inside his car.  Samuelson adds a Falconer woman -- 34 year-old Christina Weed -- who was also in the car... was arrested when she was found in possession of a pain killer she didn't have a prescription for.  Both face criminal possession of controlled substance... and, child endangerment charges.


City police alert residents to fake IRS telephone scam...

The Jamestown Police Department is warning residents about a telephone scam in which the caller says he's an IRS Agent... and, the resident is told they either owe taxes -- or are due a refund.  However... Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the caller then asks for the person's Social Security number.  Samuelson says they've been contacted by a handful of potential victims who say they did not give out their personal information.  Samuelson says that's what they're advising residents to do if they receive such a call.  He adds that you should never give out personal information... like you're Social Security number... even you're address.  If you have any questions... call your local police.

WJTN News Headlines


A Lakewood-area business owner has been convicted for failure to pay payroll taxes... and, has been sentenced to one-year in prison... and, to make restitution to the IRS.  U-S Attorney William Hochul, Junior says 57 year-old John Creighton of Bemus Point will have to pay the Internal Revenue Service just over 663-thousand dollars as part the sentence he received in federal court late yesterday.  Assistant U-S Attorney Trini Ross... who handled the case -- says Creighton, who has been owner and president of Classic Brass, withheld payroll taxes in 2010 and 2011... but, failed to make payments to the IRS.  She adds Creighton also failed to file payroll tax forms.  Special Agents with the IRS investigated the case.

 

Chautauqua County has reached a tentative agreement with a Long Island-based health care company to buy the County Home in Dunkirk.  County Executive Vince Horrigan late Wednesday announced the "asset purchase" agreement with VestraCare of Roslyn, New York for 16-million dollars.  That's half-a-million dollars less that VestraCare offered the county last October.  That purchase agreement -- which needed a two-thirds majority vote of the county legislature to be approved -- fell one vote short of the 17 needed last October.  VestraCare also operates the Susquehanna Nursing Rehabilitation Center in Johnson City, New York... and, the Golden Hill Health Care Center in Ulster County.  The former Ulster County Home has received national and state awards for it's treatment of congestive heart failure.  Horrigan says the new agreement includes a provision confirming that VestraCare is looking to make up to one-million dollars in capital improvements to the Dunkirk facility.  He says the firm is "not only committed to retaining the high-quality services currently offered at the County Home, but they also have expressed their interest in expanding on our facility's current services."  Horrigan adds VestraCare has also committed to operate the facility for at least 10 years with preferred admissions for County residents... and, current County Home residents will have the right to remain.  County lawmakers will hold a special meeting on the proposal next Wednesday, February 5th in Mayville... and, a final vote could be taken at the legislature's February 26th meeting.

 

The past two weeks of sub-zero temperatures... and, even lower wind chill figures... have created major headaches for many local school superintendents.  That's especially been the case the past three days... as some schools closed all three days.  However... it's also Regents Exam week... and, students who miss those tests will likely have to wait until June to be able to take them.  Interim Cassadaga Valley Superintendent Tom Schmidt says -- first off -- he can't remember having to close school for three-straight days. Schmidt says his first thought on a day like Wednesday is "safety first."  The Jamestown School District did have a regular day for High School students taking exams... but, officials opened the elementary and middle schools two-hours late.  Superintendent Tim Mains says in making their calls to parents emphasized dressing properly. Mains says they have at least one snow day left.. depending on state law regarding all grade levels.  Schmidt says he's swapping an In-Service Day in March so they didn't have to use a Snow Day yesterday.  He says the March day will be a "student attendance day" they'll have to let everyone know about.

 

New York's top education official tells a state legislative hearing he will advocate for a 1.3-billion dollar increase in education aid to help schools that lawmakers portrayed as increasingly stressed by aid cutbacks and educational mandates.  State Education Commissioner John King, Junior was peppered by questions Tuesday from lawmakers concerned about the rollout of the new Common Core learning standards... and, the ability of financially strapped school districts to adequately teach children.  The hearing came as the New York State Association of School Business Officials released a study showing school districts have lost 10 percent of their professional staff since the start of the recession.  Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed an $807-million increase in school aid in his budget.  King and the Board of Regents are recommending a $1.3 billion increase.

 

Dairy farmers say they're pleased that a long fight over federal dairy subsidies has ended with a compromise farm bill.  Farmers say the compromise legislation is fair and will be effective in keeping their farms from going under during hard times.  The bill overhauls dairy subsidies, which farmers say has been sorely needed for years. Farmers got squeezed in 2009 by low milk prices and high feed costs and many went under.  The federal government currently pays farmers if the price of milk sinks below a certain point, but it doesn't consider their costs.  The legislation would scrap that program in favor of subsidized insurance to pay farmers when the difference between milk and feed prices becomes too small to cover their other expenses.

 

U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is commending President Obama for his focus on a Middle Class economic agenda in his State of the Union address.  During an earlier White House Meeting with women Senators... Gillibrand says she asked the President to work with her on her "Opportunity Plan Agenda..." which includes a Paid Family Leave Bill, a minimum wage increase... equal pay... and, Universal Pre-K.  The New York Democrat says everywhere she travels across New York... "the issue that middle class families are still most worried about is the economy. They are finding it harder and harder to get by and they want action from Congress."  She says the President last night "presented a compelling plan of how to achieve real opportunity for all hard working Americans."  Gillibrand adds that there's "no doubt the state of our union will grow stronger when every middle class American has a fair shot to earn their way ahead in our economy."  She says President Obama has always been "a strong champion for America's women."

 

 

News Update for Wed., Jan. 29, 2014


Polar air begins retreating today; temps to rise to around freezing by weekend...

The Wind Chill Warning we were under the past day or so was replaced by a Wind Chill Advisory... which runs through this afternoon.  The National Weather Service continued the warning through early this morning after yesterday afternoon's temperatures weren't expected to get out of the mid-single-digits... and, winds were still prevailent in some areas.  This latest shot of frigid, Polar air will be around through at least late today.  Starting Thursday... Forecaster Dave Thomas says we'll see highs of about 25-degrees... and, we may see temperatures reach the freezing mark by the end of the week.


Reed finds a couple of positives, but, mostly negatives in Tuesday's State of the Union address...

While there was "more of the same out of Washington" during last night's State of the Union" speech... Southern Tier Congressman Tom Reed says there were a couple of key positives for his constituents.  Reed says one was that the President devoted a lot of time to the need to grow advanced manufacturing hubs.  The Corning Republican says the "Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation..." or RAMI Act... also includes re-training to help the long-term unemployed find work.  Reed says he was pleased to hear the President speak directly to that need.  However... Reed was not happy with the President's threat to use Executive Orders to move his agenda forward if Congress "won't act." 

WJTN News Headlines


The Wind Chill Warning we've been under since very early yesterday morning now remains in effect until 10 this morning.  The National Weather Service continued the warning after afternoon temperatures weren't expected to get out of the single-digits... and, winds were still prevailent in some areas.  This latest shot of frigid, Polar air will be around through at least Wednesday.  Forecaster Dave Thomas says... starting Thursday... we'll see highs of about 25-degrees. Thomas says... while winds have been light since late morning in the Jamestown-area... places where the winds pick up could still reach 20 to 30-below zero.  That's low enough to cause hypothermia and frostbite for anyone venturing outside... even for a short period of time without proper clothing.  Thomas says overnight temperatures were to drop to between zero and 10-below zero... with wind chills of close to 25-below zero.

 

The county's unemployment rate fell by a-tenth of a percent last month to it's lowest December rate since about the time the "Great Recession" began.  That from State Labor Department Analyst John Slenker in Buffalo... says the unemployment rate fell from 7.3-percent in November to 7.2 last month.  Slenker says the job picture is "very stable" right now... and, much better than it was when when "Great Recession" was at it's height. Still... Slenker says the county lost 200 jobs in December... but, he adds those losses were expected because they were in construction -- which typically sees fewer jobs in Winter.  Slenker says the 'bigger' losses have ended... and, things have been "more positive." Slenker says the reason the unemployment rate can go down when the number with jobs drops is due -- in large part -- to retirements.  The number of employed people was down by 400... while the job count was down by 100.

 

The jobless picture was similar in Cattaraugus County... where John Slenker says the unemployment rate fell one-tenth of a percent to 7.2-percent in December.  Slenker says the job numbers did improve at our neighbors to the east.  He says the number of jobs increased by 300 to 33-thousand-600.  Slenker says that was mainly due to one part of the Leisure and Hospitality sector. Slenker says Education and Health Services are down over the year... while Leisure and Hospital, and, Finance and Commercial Activities were up over the year.  He says Cattaraugus County's jobless rate in December of 2012 was 9.1-percent.

 

The state labor department reports that the unemployment rate for New York's 52-county upstate region fell to 6.4 percent in December, down from 8.4 percent a year earlier.  The 10-county downstate region including New York City saw the rate fall from 8.2 percent to 6.7 percent over the year, and metropolitan areas upstate saw their rate drop from 8.1 to 6.2 percent.  The statewide unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in December.  The national rate was 6.7 percent.  The labor department says Tuesday that 109,900 private sector jobs were added to New York's economy in 2013, bringing the job count to a record high of 7,503,700.  Health care, social services, retail and food service accounted for most of the job gains.  Government lost 13,200 jobs, more than any other sector. More than half were in schools.

 

There was a lot to like about Mayor Sam Teresi's State of the City Address... including the call for continuing to work in non-partisan ways to keep good momentum going... and, solve critical problems.  For the first time anyone could remember... the mayor called for stepped up efforts to deal with illegal drug activity... and, arsons in the city -- mainly to vacant structures.  On drugs -- especially the growth in Heroin trafficking... long-time Republican Councilman Tony Dolce says one resident said it seems to be "creeping" into all areas of the city. Council President Greg Rabb says the drug issue is the most "challenging and frightening" issue facing the city.  But... Rabb says while you want to get drug dealers off the street... you also need to address the demand. As far as drug dealers go... Rabb says the big problem is police make arrests... but, in some cases they get bailed out... and, go back to selling.  In other cases... dealers are arrested, and the Kingpins involved just bring new people in to replace them.

 

Tax refund season has begun in New York.  The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance said Monday it sent out its first 87 refunds for the 2013 tax year.  The average refund was 183-dollars... and, the highest was 13-hundred-56 dollars.  The refunds went to early filers who used New York's so-called Income Tax Web File... which allows returns to be prepared and electronically filed earlier than before.


 

WJTN News Headlines


An arctic front that initially brought a quick shot of heavy snow -- and white-out conditions -- across parts of Chautauqua County has now brought frigid air to the region... and, dangerously low wind chills.  That from Forecaster Dave Thomas with the National Weather Service... who says the mercury will reached the lower, single digits by last night... and we may see 5-below zero in some areas this morning.  Thomas says a Wind Chill Warning remains in effect until 11 this morning... with the "real feel" temperature about 25 to 30-below zero.  He says temperatures will struggle to get into the single digits during the day today... and, tomorrow... and, tonight's air temperature will drop to 5 to 10-below zero tonight.

 

As we get another burst of cold, Polar air over the next couple of days... the Chautauqua County Office for the Aging is reminding residents to keep an eye on the elderly.  Quite often... they are not able to get out during such prolonged cold snaps... but, may also be having trouble keeping warm.  Office for the Aging Director Mary Ann Spanos says you should make sure they have enough food, and medication if they're taking any. Spanos says... while it may not be of immediate help... seniors should look into whether they are eligible for the Home Energy Assistance Program... otherwise known as HEAP.  She says there is still money available because Congress recently appropriated more money for HEAP, and LIHEAP... which is for low-income residents.  If you're not eligible for HEAP... Spanos says there are other ways to get the money you need... including use of the Medicare Savings Program to help pay their insurance.  She says that can help save money to pay those heating bills.  For more informationi... you can call their New York-Connects number at 753-4582... or toll free in Jamestown, 661-7582.

 


2013 was a year of "tremendous achievement and progress" in the city of Jamestown... and, there's plenty more to come in the new year as long as city leaders work together.  However... there remain several challenges to be tackled -- including high taxes, and quality of life issues.  That from Mayor Sam Teresi... who delivered his 15th State of the City Address last night.  Teresi says one of the top financial achievements was the city earning it's second bond rating boost in the past three years.  For the first time in more than 30 years -- he adds -- that rating is back in the "A" catagory. Teresi adds that 2014 will likely see a joint City/County Task Force finalizing a draft Initial Management Agreement on consolidating the Jamestown Police Department and the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department.  There was also a lower profile move by city Fire officials to contain costs... and, create more efficiency. On "Quality of Life" matters... Teresi says public service officials will intensify their efforts to attack and further cut into two "scourges" in the community -- illegal drugs, and structure arsons.  He also says the city will re-launch it's "highly-effective" Quadrant Residential Inspection Program to help bolster the local housing market... and, step up removal of unoccupied and "dangerous" structures.

 

A Jamestown woman has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute a major pain killer several times while she was a nurse at the county's Veteran's Affairs Outpatient Clinic.  U-S Attorney William Hochul, Junior says 47 year-old Samilyn Olson admitted to stealing and forging prescription forms for oxycodone at least eight times nearly four years ago.  She entered the plea in federal court in Buffalo Monday... and, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison... and, a one-million dollar fine.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Lynch, who is handling the case, says the incidents occured between May and September of 2010.  Lynch says she stole prescription forms from a nurse practitioner at the clinic... forged the practitioner's name... and, wrote prescriptions for oxycodone.  He says the scripts were then filled by Olson or others at a local pharmacy in Jamestown... and, then sold.  Several agencies... including the Jamestown Police Department... investigated the case.

 

A vote could be taken as early as mid-week on a new, federal Farm Bill.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who says he's received word that a joint Senate-House Conference Committee is ready to issue a final committee report within the next day or so.  Reed calls it "exciting news... " and, says once Congress receives the bill... they should be able to vote on it.  He says the key issues have been Agriculture Policy for Dairy and Commodity Pricing.  Reed adds that the Supplimental Nutrition Assistance Program -- or SNAP -- was not the major issue the the media played it up to be. Reed says he got an update yesterday upon returning to Washington for tonight's State of the Union Address.  The Corning Republican says he received a lot of positive feedback on what's in the five-year, Farm Bill during three town hall meetings in the 23rd District last week.  One of those meetings was in Jamestown, where he said lawmakers were "very close" to having a new bill.

 

News Update for Mon., Jan. 27, 2014


Teresi addresses several accomplishments, challenges, in State of the City address...

Jamestown city officials accomplished several tasks in 2013... and, 2014 looks even more promising if they all work together for the betterment of the city.  That from Mayor Sam Teresi... who delivered his 15th State of the City Address at last night's City Council voting session.  Teresi says one of last year's top achievements was the city getting another boost in it's bond rating to the "A" catagory for the first time in 30 years.  He says it will save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in borrowing.  He adds a joint City/County Task Force working on plans to consolidate police services with the county made progress... and, should issue an initial report in 2014.  Teresi says, with the help of the Center for Governmental Research, the task force is finalizing a draft Initial Management Agreement -- or IMA -- to be presented to city and county leaders in the coming year to move to the next stage of discussion, negotiation, and possible implementation."  'Quality of Life' issues were also a key focus of Teresi's speech.  Teresi says public service officials will intensify their efforts to attack and further cut into what he called -- "two scourges" in the community.  They are the sales and usage of illegal drugs... and, structure arsons.  Teresi says the city will also re-instate it's "quadrant" residential inspections in 2014.  His entire address can be viewed on line at www.jamestownny.net.


Former nurse from Jamestown admits to stealing prescription forms to obtain and sell pain-killer Oxycodone...

A former nurse at the Veteran's Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Jamestown has admitted stealing and forging prescription forms for oxycodone several times nearly four years ago.  U-S Attorney William Hochul, Jr. says 47 year-old Samilyn Olson pleaded guilty in federal court in Buffalo Monday of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.  Hochul says the charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison... and, a one-million dollar fine.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Lynch, who is handling the case, says the incidents occured between May and September of 2010.  Lynch says she stole prescription forms from a nurse practitioner at the clinic, forged the practitioner's name and wrote prescriptions for oxycodone.  He says the scripts were then filled by Olson or others at a local pharmacy in Jamestown... and, then distributed.  The Veteran's Affairs Office... V-A Police Department... and, Jamestown Police investigated the case.

WJTN News Headlines


Police say a western New York man has died three days after he killed his estranged wife and her boyfriend and then shot himself in the head.  The Buffalo News reports that 38-year-old Daniel Podolski died Saturday after being hospitalized in critical condition since Wednesday.  Cattaraugus County Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb tells the News that Podolski shot himself after fatally shooting his estranged wife, Kimberly Podolski, and her boyfriend, Dennis Larweth.  The shootings happened in the Podolskis' former home in Limestone.  A third man who was in the home managed to flee and summon police.  Limestone is a tiny hamlet on the Pennsylvania border.

 

The Jamestown man who has severed as Chautauqua County's Public Defender the past two years will spend another two years at the appointed position.  The county legislature this past week unanimously approved Barone's appointment without discussion.  Barone -- a Democrat -- was initially voted into the position two-years ago when the legislature failed to muster enough votes to reappoint Tom Rankin to the post.  Barone says he's "humbled" by the support because it's such "an important position."  He says representation of those who cannot afford private counsel is critical... and, is an on-going challenge. Barone says they've been having to do more with less in the Public Defender's office by securing grants, which has allowed them to take advantage of current technology.  He says that technology -- such as videoconferencing -- allow him and his assistants to provide counsel to many clients immediately.  Barone says it's especially helpful because their caseloads are up.  He adds that they've also received help from the New York State Indigent Legal Services Department to help them represent people who have little or no means to pay someone privately.

 

No injuries were reported... and, no animals were killed in a weekend barn fire on Route 380 in Brocton.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's dispatchers say several north and central county fire departments were called to the scene at 82-11 Route 380 about 8:10 AM last Saturday.  Officials say, fortunately, all the animals were rescued safely from the barn... and, no residents nor firefighters were hurt.  There is no damage estimate at this point.  County Fire Investigators were at the scene by late Saturday morning.

 

More than 600 people attended the third annual Souperbowl... Sunday, at Lakewood Rod and Gun Club.  And when the votes were totalled-- Sarah Sanders, executive chef at La Scala on Fluvanna Ave, won the competition with her fire roasted red pepper soup. This year the Superbowl benefitted the robotic surgery area at WCA Hospital. The Scallion Bistro took second place in the voting.  Gametime Sports Bar and Grill was third.  Nineteen restaurants took part in this year's event.  Karl Sisson estimated the total raised at around $6,000.  Media One helped put on the event.  Maplevale Farms was the presenting sponsor.

 

Westfield Academy and Central School music teacher Kent Knappenberger already has his just-received Grammy Award before the bright lights... and, big names came out for last night's awards show.  Knappenberger... and, several others... were honored in Lost Angeles Saturday night by the Recording Academy and Grammy Foundation.  Knappenberger received the first-ever Grammy Music Educator of the Year award during the Grammy's Special Merit Awards ceremony.  Westfield School Superintendent David Davison says Knappenberger is an inspiration to his students and the school. Davison says they weren't completely surprised by the formal announcement... whichw as made about a week ago.  He says they already knew... over his 25 year-career... that Knappenberger was an "awesome teacher..." and the best choice.  The Westfield district held an assembly to honor Knappenberger when he became a top 10 finaliest for the award.  Some 30-thousand teachers were originally nominated.

 

The new president of Jamestown Community College has been on the job for six-months now... and, says he's been very impressed by the people who manage... and, attend JCC.  Dr. Cory Duckworth adds he's been a long-time advocate for junior colleges... dating back to his most recent position at Utah Valley University.  Duckworth says it was a community college that later expanded to also become a university.  However... he and others later found that unless someone stepped forward to protect and preserve it's two-year college mission... they would lose it.  He later became a negotiator for Utah when a community college and university wanted to merge. That's when the JCC job opened up after Greg DeCinque decided to retire after 19 years at the helm.  In his first half-year at the local college... he says he's been surprised by place JCC has "in the hearts" of the people it serves.  Duckworth says he was also surprised at how well JCC has been operated... especially financially.  He says that's often not the case.  Duckworth made his comments on this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program.

 

Fans of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que will have another place to dig into ribs when the Syracuse-based restaurant chain opens its eighth eatery next month in the city of Buffalo.  The company has announced that the newest restaurant will open February 12th.  John Stage, the company's founder and CEO, says he had planned to open a Dinosaur restaurant in upstate New York's largest city years earlier but plans fell through.  Stage announced in the summer of 2012 that he would open a Buffalo eatery the following summer in a former film storage facility located in the city's downtown entertainment district.  But... the refurbishing project took longer than expected, delaying the opening to early 2014.  The original Dinosaur is in downtown Syracuse.  The other restaurants are in Harlem, Brooklyn, Rochester, Troy, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.


 

News Headlines for Saturday, January 25th


Winter Storm Warning Extended

 

    Our bone-chilling cold is joining with snow and gusty winds to make for difficult driving conditions.  That from the National Weather Service, which is continuing a Winter Storm Warning through 11:00PM tonight.  The roller coaster weather-ride also continues tonight with a new Wind Chill Advisory from 12:00AM through 12:00PM Sunday. 
    Forecaster Kirk Appfel says this latest system moved in overnight and, is bringing a lot of wind, which will cause blowing and drifting snow through the first part of the day today.  Wind Chills overnight could again reach -15. 

 

 

School Bus Accident in Brocton

 

     No injuries have been reported after a car skidded out of control and, struck a Brocton Central School bus on Route 20 in the village Thursday morning.  Sheriff's Deputies say the driver of the bus, 42 year-old Laurie Travis of Brocton, was eastbound at about 8 AM when she stopped and put the vehicle's flashing red lights on.  Officers say a second eastbound vehicle, driven by 21 year-old Nicholas Liberatore of Angola, had stopped behind the bus. 
     However, officers say the operator of another car, 28 year-old Michael Manganiello of Brocton, was apparently distracted by something off the roadway and, unable to stop on the slippery road.  Deputies say Manganiello's car sideswipped Liberatore's vehicle then struck the back end of the bus, which was carrying a 9 and 10 year-old.  No one on the bus was hurt.  Manganiello was ticketed in Brocton Village Court for using speed not reasonable and prudent. 

 

 

 

 

News Update for Fri., Jan. 24, 2014


Winter Weather Warning now issued for Chautauqua Co., and most of the rest of WNY...

Our roller coaster weather continues with today's early concerns about wind chill... and, that followed by a weather system that will bring strong winds and snow to the area later tonight into Saturday.  The National Weather Service has now issued a Winter Storm Warning from now to Saturday morning.  Forecaster Kirk Appfel in Buffalo says the weather system will move through area sometime overnight tonight.  Appfel says we won't have a lot of snow... but, there will be windy conditions, producing blustery, white-out conditions.  He says most areas will get 2 to 4 inches of snow, but up to 6 inches is possible over the higher terrain.  However... combined with sustained winds of 30 to 40 miles an hour... and, gusts to 55... will make conditions difficult.


Schumer at Jamestown Airport to announce push to keep facility in federal Essential Air Service program...

It's a technicality that could cost the Greater Chautauqua-Jamestown Regional Airport $1.9-million in federal funding.  That from U-S Senator Charles Schumer... who was at the airport -- just north of Jamestown -- late Friday morning to announce that he's pushing for a one-year waiver for the airport so it can receive money from the U-S Department of Transporation's Essential Air Service.  Schumer says 9.96 passengers flew out of the airport last year... but, the DOT is holding firm on it's requirement of 10.  The New York Democrat says the standards are "too rigid..." and, pledged his support for funding the state's smaller airports.  Schumer says these communities are dependant on these airports... especially business, and the general aviation public.  This past year... Schumer says the Jamestown airport was just 38 passengers short of the minimum threshold to qualify for Essential Air funding to help sustain passenger air service.  But... he says that wasn't because of a lack of demand... it was cancelled flights.  Schumer says that happened 52 times due to mechanical and other issues.

WJTN News Headlines


It's still going to be cold... and, very Wintry over the next couple of days in the Jamestown-area.  The National Weather Service is continuing a Wind Chill Advisory until Noon today.  However... late yesterday... forecasters issued a Winter Weather Advisory beginning at 2 this afternoon... and, continuing through 7 PM Saturday.  Meteorologist John Hitchcock in Buffalo says it will be a similar situation to a few days ago... as wind chills will reach 20-below early THIS morning.  Hitchcock says the Winter Weather Advisory is for a combination of a few inches of snow... but, very windy and blustery conditions that'll make travel difficult. Hitchcock says the worst of the snow, blowing and drifting will be very late tonight into mid to late morning Saturday as a new wave of Artic air moves in.  He says we'll only see about 2 to 3 inches of snow in most spots during the overnight... but, up to six-inches along the Chautauqua Ridge.  While temperatures will rise to around the 20-degree mark Saturday afternoon... the mercury will fall below-zero again in many areas by Saturday night.

 

The frigid weather has resulted in Lake Erie becoming almost completely covered with ice.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is reporting that the lake was 95-percent ice covered as of Wednesday.  Forecaster Tom Paone with the National Weather Service says it won't be long before the entire surface is covered -- possibly this weekend. While having an ice covered lake significantly reduces the amount of lake effect snow... it doesn't completely shut it off according to Paone. Paone says this is the first time in several years that Lake Erie will become completely covered by ice.  It will also become one of the earliest times in recent memory.

 

Authorities now say a 38-year-old man fatally shot his estranged wife and her boyfriend after she showed up at the couple's former home in a small Cattaraugus County community to get some of her belongings.  Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb says 43-year-old Kimberly Podolski, 51-year-old Dennis Larweth of Olean and another man had gone to the home in the tiny hamlet of Limestone Wednesday.  Whitcomb says Podolski and Larweth were shot and killed by her estranged husband, Daniel Podolski, who then shot himself in the head.  Whitcomb said Thursday that he's in critical condition at the Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pennsylvania.  He says the other man ran away and called police.  Whitcomb says the Podolskis had two children.  Limestone is located on the Pennsylvania border.

 

A dozen state senators are urging New York's education commissioner to delay the further rollout of the new Common Core learning standards... citing frustration and complaints by parents, teachers and administrators.  They're also threatening to force changes by law if there's no relief.  At a hearing Thursday... Commissioner John King Jr. says some complaints are merging the curriculum itself adopted by 45 states with other issues like teacher evaluations and data collection security.  King says the need for the academic improvement the standards offer is still ``urgent.''  He acknowledged ``uneven'' implementation by the state's 700 school districts and promised adjustments in state guidance.  King was on hand for a public forum in Jamestown last December attended by several hundred people on the Common Core roll-out.

 

The Jamestown School Board will hold a public hearing prior to it's February 4th meeting to get input on whether to allow a partial tax exemption for local veterans.  Assistant Superintendent for Administration Dale Weatherlow explained the proposed exemption... which the state is allowing local districts to implement this year.  School Superindent Tim Mains says the hearing will begin at 6 PM on the 4th at Washington Middle School.  Mains says it's a "Catch 22" for districts... because veteran's are "very well deserving" of such an exemption. Weatherlow estimated that if ALL eligible veterans took advantage of the exemption... which is granted based on their military record... it could raise taxes on other property owners by about 1.17-percent.  Mains says the other issue is that New York school districts have been financially-stressed for the past 5 to 6 years... and -- in some ways -- can't afford the exemption. Up until now... Mains says the state had only allowed the veteran's tax exemption for local municipalities.  School districts now have that option available to them.  Again... the public hearing will be on Tuesday, February 4th, at 6 PM at Washington Middle School... prior to the board's regular 7 PM meeting.


 

WJTN News Headlines


Cattaragus County Sheriff's officers are investigating what they are calling a double-murder, and attempted suicide involving a woman and her ex-husband.  Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb says police received a call just after Noon Wednesday that a shooting had taken place at a home in the hamlet of Limestone on Nichols Run road.  WGRZ-TV in Buffalo reports that when deputies arrived... they found 43 year-old Kimberly Podolski... and, her boyfriend, 51 year-old Dennis Larweth, 51... dead inside.  They also found Podolski's ex-husband, 38 year-old Daniel Podolski with a gunshot wound to the head.  The Sheriff's Department says Daniel Podolski is in critical condition at the Hamot Medical Center in Erie.  Whitcomb tells the TV station they believe Daniel Podolski was waiting for Kimberly Podolski and Larweth, who were at the home to pick up some items.  The home used to be the residence of the Podolski's.  One eyewitness who fled the scene reportedly notified police.

 

A special meeting of the Chautauqua County Legislature has been called for February 5th to look at a new proposal to sell the County Home in Dunkirk.  That from Legislature Chairman Jay Gould... who announced the meeting early at last night's first monthly meeting of the year.  Gould says while it's a public meeting... the special session is meant to allow lawmakers to get details of the proposal... and, directly ask the buyer about their credentials... and, how they would run the home once it's purchased. Gould refused to say who the prospective buyer is because they're about a "day away" from finalizing a tentative deal with County Executive Vince Horrigan.  Assistant Minority Leader Keith Ahlstrom says he is not surprised by a pending vote so early in 2014.  The Dunkirk Democrat says there may be enough support to pass a proposal since several newcomers favor the sale. Earlier this month... County Executive Vince Horrigan said that negotiations were underway between the county and a prospective buyer.  A couple of attempts to sell the County Home last year narrowly failed.  If all goes as planned... Gould says a vote would be taken at the legislature's regular, February meeting.

 

County lawmakers have approved a measure denying the state permission to use the county's name and seal... and, the names of county officers to promote the SAFE Act.  The main sponsor of the resolution... Assistant Majority Leader John Runkle... says he's pleased the measure had solid backing by the legislature.  The Cassadaga-area Republican says the issue came up because the state was setting up a website for people to re-register on-line for pistol permits every five years. Runkle says talked with both Sheriff Joe Gerace and County Clerk Larry Barmore about the matter.  He says both opposed the state's desire to use both their names, and the county seal on the site.  He adds that it was interesting that the state apparently was going to move forward with this without the county's permission.  Runkle feels since it's a state law... they should "put their stamp on it."  The strict gun-control law was drawn up early last year by Governor Cuomo... and, quickly approved by the state legislature in response to the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings.

 

Our cold snap continues with another Wind Chill Advisory taking effect later tonight.  The National Weather Service has now issued the advisory from 10 tonight until Noon Friday for ALL of Western New York -- including Chautauqua County.  Forecasters say... after reaching a high of about 10 today... temperatures will fall to about zero... or lower.  That... combined with northwest... then westerly winds of 10 to 15 MPH... will produce wind chills of about 20-below zero.  Yesterday... schools from the Finger Lakes region to the Canadian border in northern New York closed... or delayed the start of classes because of temperatures plunged to as low as 32-below zero in some upstate areas.  However... no Chautauqua County Schools were closed... and, only Warren County, Pennsylvania schools delayed their opening due to lows of about 5-below zero in spots.  Forecasters say the deep freeze will linger through Friday, with temperatures rising into the 20s Saturday.

 

One of the issues raised at Congressman Tom Reed's townhall meeting Tuesday was TPP... the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  Negotiations to open up trade in the Pacific under TPP have been going on for several years.  One speaker told Congressman Reed he fears such an agreement would be like 'NAFTA' for the Pacific Rim.  Reed replied saying TPP could be valuable... especially regarding China. Reed also says Congress can't really have a role in openly negotiating such a agreement.  He believes trading partners would never go along with that. The citizen who brought up the subject said he feared TPP would be 'sprung on the American people... just like Obamacare was.'

 

News Update for Wed., Jan. 22, 2014


Sheriff's Deputies in Catt. Co. investigating double fatal shooting...

The Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Department confirms officers are at the scene of a double-fatal shooting in the hamlet of Limestone.  Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb told WGRZ-TV this afternoon the incident allegedly took place during the noon hour at a residence on Nichols Run Road.  The identities of the two deceased adults are not being released at this time.

 

Temperatures bottom out at about -30 in Central, Northern NY; about -5 in Jamestown-area...

Schools from the Finger Lakes region to the Canadian border in northern New York are closed -- or delayed the start of classes -- because of temperatures plunged to as low as minus-32 in some upstate areas.  Most of the closings and two-hour delays are in central New York and the North Country, where the National Weather Service says it's 32 below this morning in Watertown.  In Massena... on the St. Lawrence River, it's minus-29, while Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks is at 28 below.  With the wind, it feels like minus-40 in some northern areas.
 

Young feels Cuomo's proposals for tax relief, stimulating business in budget plan "right on target..."

Governor Cuomo's focus in his budget address on making the state a more affordable place to live and work is "right on target."  Those are the feelings of State Senator Cathy Young... who says many of the governor's proposals to make New York more competitive "mirror" the Senate's recently announced initiatives.  The Olean Republican especially liked his plans for tax relief in the just over $137-billion spending plan.  Young says it's "really great to see those kinds of proposals..." including property tax relief.  Young adds that she was "thrilled" that State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah specifically addressed the real possibility of Lake Shore Hospital in Irving closing.  She's been leading the effort to get state assistance in finding a buyer for the bankrupt facility... and, believes "great progress" is being made.  Young recently announced a one-million dollar cash infusion from the state for the TLC Network... which operates Lake Shore... to help keep the facility open.  She says a recent rally at Silver Creek High School to keep Lake Shore open got "Albany's attention."


Electrical problem blamed for Bowen Street fire...

Jamestown Firefighters spent a cold night fighting a house fire at 82 Bowen Street caused by an electrical problem.  Fire Battalion Chief Don WoodField says the crews were called out just before 10 p.m. Monday - and were at the scene in four-minutes.  Woodfield says there were two-families that lived inside the house.  He says everyone was out of the building when they arrived.  Firefighters determined the family that lived on the first-floor was not home after doing a search of the apartment.  The house was extensively damaged.  Woodfield says the cause of the fire has been determined to be electrical due to a problem with a space heater.  Four firefighters were hurt due to slips and falls in the icy conditions.  A stretch of Falconer Street from Bowen to Sturges was closed due to the fire... but, has since re-opened.  The city is doing an emergency demolition of the home.  The local Red Cross is assisting both Families who lost their homes to the fire.

 

 

WJTN News Headlines


Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed a 2014-2015 budget that increases spending by less than 2-percent... and, includes business, property and estate tax relief.  Cuomo outlined the 137.2-billion dollar spending plan for the fiscal year starting April 1st Tuesday afternoon.  The governor gave more details about a proposed 2-year property tax freeze for local governments that hold down their taxes... then propose gradual reductions over three years.  To qualify the first year... municipalities will have to keep any increase at or below the 2-percent property tax cap.
Cuomo says the municipalities would also have to implement a plan to save one-percent in spending for each of the next three years.  He would also cut the Corporate income tax rate from 7.1 to 6.5 percent.  The budget he released Tuesday projects 3.8 percent increases for Medicaid... and, state funding for schools while keeping many other spending lines flat. 

 

State Assemblyman Andy Goodell says he's "very encouraged by many aspects" of Governor Cuomo's just over 137-billion dollar budget plan.  The Bemus Point Republican says the biggest positives he came away with from the budget presentation was broad-based tax relief... including a proposed two-year property tax freeze for municipalites who hold down... and, trim spending.  Goodell adds there was other good news... including dealing with a bankrupt, north county hospital. Back to taxes... Goodell says he also pleased to see a proposed 20-percent tax credit for upstate manufacturer's on their property taxes.  However... he adds that he does have some problems with the proposal... namely that tax money should be used for public campaign financing.

 

Governor Cuomo used his annual budget address to call for a review of the way New York has rolled out the new Common Core learning standards.  In outlining his plans for education funding for 2014-15... Cuomo didn't oppose the more rigorous standards, but said their implementation has been frustrating for parents and students.

 

The head of the Jamestown School District says the governor's budget proposal was a "very big disappointment" to him.  Superintendent Tim Mains... and, Assistant Superintendent for Administration Dale Weatherlow talked about the spending plan, in general terms, at last night's board meeting.  Mains has two issues.  The first is that... while there's an increase in education aid... there's nothing to address inequities in funding for "high-needs" districts -- like Jamestown. The other issue Mains has is with the fact Cuomo's budget has not addressed the "Gap Elimination Adjustment..." which pulls state aid away from schools when New York has a fiscal deficit.  However... he says that's not the case this year.  Weatherlow says the early estimate is that Jamestown schools will get an additional 1.2-million dollar in aid this year... but, Mains says mainly due to the Gap Eliminiation issue. Foundation -- or base aid -- was added several years ago in an effort then to try and address funding inequities.  Weatherlow says... if the state followed it's own formula... Jamestown should be getting "three to four" times the proposed increase in aid.

 

A local music teacher has won the first-ever Grammy Music Educator Award.  Kent Kappenberger of Westfield Academy and Central School was named the winner live during the CBS Morning Show Tuesday morning.  Knappenberger was one of ten finalists from an initial pool of 30-thousand nominations from all 50 states.  The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education, and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools.  Knappenberger has been a music teacher and choir director at Westfield Academy and Central School for 25 years.

 

The frigid weather will continue for the next couple of days... and wind chill values could reach as low as 15 to 24-below zero.  The National Weather Service is continuing the Wind Chill Advisory from 6 pm this evening to 11 am tomorrow. Meteorologist Bill Hibbert says the current weather pattern will continue for much of the week. Hibbert says you'll need to bundle up when venturing outside, since prolonged exposure to wind chill values this low may cause frost bite and possibly hypothermia.  We may not see a warm up until Friday and Saturday temperatures may top 20 degrees.

 

A West Valley woman is jailed on 5-thousand dollars bail for allegedly breaking into a town of Ashford home... and, leaving a big mess.  Cattaraugus County Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Gooseneck Road last week after the homeowner reported that someone had broken into their home.  Deputies accuse 33 year-old Elaine Monnin of getting into the home through a window... and, brought several possessions -- including a large dog -- into the residence causing damage to two doors and creating the mess.  Monnin was identified by using numerous papers and paystubs that were found in the home.  She was later found at her home and arrested for burglary, criminal trespass, and criminal mischief.  She was arraigned... and, sent to the Cattaraugus County lock-up.

 

WJTN News Headlines


A woman visiting from Australia was killed in a three car accident in the town of Pomfret Monday afternoon.  New York State Police report that 49 year old Carolanne Boulionis of Melborne was driving a 2013 Dodge Ram north bound on Route 60 just before 1:30 when she lost control of the vehicle and crossed into the oncoming lane where she was struck by a Freightliner Stake Truck driven by Andrew Wicks of Cattaraugus. A third vehicle driven by Alexander Thurston of Silver Creek sustained damage when it hit the back of the Freighliner.  Boulionis was taken to Brooks Hospital by Alstar Ambulance where she was pronounced dead by Dr. Andrew Covey.  Wicks was taken to Brooks Hospital with a complaint of chest pain.  Thurston was not injured.  Mrs. Boulionis was in the U.S. staying on Hopkins Street in Jamestown.

 

Jamestown Firefighters are still on the scene of a house fire at 82 Bowen Street just before 10pm Monday. A stretch of Falconer Street from Bowen to Sturges has been closed due to the fire and the city is doing an emergency demolition of the home.  We'll have more details about the fire as they become available.

 

A Jamestown man was taken to the hospital after leading police on a chase through the south side of the City Monday.  Just after 9pm police attempted to pull over 24 year old Bryan Bobe on Forest Avenue for speeding and having an inadequate exhaust.  Bobe took off, running multiple red lights and stop signs leading police on a chase that led to Foote Avenue.  Bobe made a number of attempts to hit patrol vehicles during the pursuit.  The Chase ended when Bobe lost control of his vehicle on Foote avenue and collided into another that was travelling north on Foote Avenue.  Bobe was taken to WCA by Alstar Ambulance and faces a number of charges including Unlawful fleeing a police officer, and felony reckless endangerment. Town of Ellicott Police, Lakewood Busti Police, New York State Police and the Chautauqua County Accident Reconstruction team all provided assistance.

 

An arctic air mass has moved into the region for the second time in the past two weeks... but, this time we won't see temperatures quite as cold as they were back on January 7th.  The mercury in the Jamestown-area dropped to at least zero in many parts of the region overnight... and, will be below zero late tonight and into early Wednesday.  The National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a Wind Chill Advisory from 6 this evening until 11 AM Wednesday.  However... Meteorologist Jim Mitchell in Buffalo says this "clipper system" is not as fast moving as the earlier one. Mitchell adds, though, that like the last system... we won't see a lot of snow with it.  He says we got some "nuisance" snow last night... and, will get some more over the next couple of days.  However... he says there won't be much accumulation.  Mitchell says the winds will pick up a little late today... but, not like earlier in the month.  He says wind chills tonight will dip to 15 to 20-below zero.

 

An electrical problem is being blamed for a blaze early Monday morning that's destroyed a large, single family home on Route 380 in the town of Gerry.  Gerry Fire Chief James Miller says the initial alarm was called in just after 2:30 AM.  Miller himself lives near the 40-69 Route 380 address... and, he says the house was fully-ablaze -- from ground to roof -- when he left his house... and, he called for mutual aid. Miller says about a dozen mutual aid companies assisted... mainly with tanker trucks to bring water to the scene.  The owner got out okay... and, one firefighter suffered a minor injury.  The owner was the only person inside the house.  The local Red Cross is helping that individual.  Miller says they brought in an excavator to help deal with hot spots.  He says they set up a shuttle from two ponds to get water to the scene... and, because of that... a stretch of Route 380 from Kimball Stand to Towerville Road was closed for a few hours.

 

The New York State Museum has posted an online exhibit featuring a newly discovered audio recording of a 1962 speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior.  Museum officials say it's the only known recording of King's 26-minute speech commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation at the Park-Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan.  In gratitude for the speech... Governor Nelson Rockefeller donated money to help rebuild African American churches that had been burned down in Georgia.  The online exhibit posted Monday includes the audio recording, the manuscript of the speech from state archives, and photos from the event.  The recording was discovered recently by museum staff working to digitize thousands of audio and video recordings in the museum's collection of more than 15-million dollars in artifacts.
 


Governor Andrew Cuomo and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have agreed to spend the first 163-million dollars from New York's share of the national settlement with JPMorgan on mortgage relief and housing programs this year.  The first installment of the state's $613 million share will be divided... with $81.5-million going to the state's general fund and earmarked for use by New York's two housing agencies.  Officials say the other $81.5-million this year will be used by the attorney general's office for mortgage relief.  Schneiderman helped negotiate a national $13 billion settlement with JPMorgan over faulty mortgage-backed securities.  He and Cuomo have been in talks on use of the settlement funds.

 

 

News Update for Mon., Jan. 20, 2014


Pittsfield, PA man killed in house fire; wife and another person inside escape serious injury...

A Warren County, Pennsylvania man has died after getting his wife out of their burning home... and, then trying to put the blaze out.  State Police in Warren say 61 year-old Darwin Durlin of Barton Run Road in Pittsfield Township was unable to get out of the house as flames engulfed the structure.  Troopers say Durlin helped his wife from the residence when the fire broke out between 1 and 1:30 a.m. Monday.  Police say Barton's wife suffered minor injuries... and, was taken to Warren General Hospital... where she was treated and released.  Another male inside the home got out safely.  He was not hurt.  However... Garland and other fire crews were unable to rescue Barton.  The State Police Fire Marshall is still investigating the cause.


Flames destroy large house in town of Gerry...

An electrical problem is being blamed for a blaze early this morning that's destroyed a large, single family home on Route 380 in the town of Gerry.  Gerry Fire Chief James Miller says the initial alarm was called in just after 2:30 a.m.  Miller himself lives near the 4069 Route 380 address... and, he says the house was fully-ablaze -- from ground to roof -- when he left his house... and, he called for mutual aid.  Miller says he made contact with the owner to make sure everyone was out of the house safely, and he then called in mutual aid... especially tanker trucks to bring water to the scene.  Miller says about a dozen mutual aid companies assisted in battling the flames.  The owner got out okay... and, one firefighter suffered a minor injury.  The owner was the only person inside the house.  The local Red Cross is helping that individual.  Miller says they brought in an excavator to help deal with hot spots.  He says they set up a shuttle from two ponds to get water to the scene... and, because of that... a stretch of Route 380 from Kimball Stand to Towerville Road was closed for a few hours.


Cuomo to present budget proposal Tuesday that promises to balance tax breaks with surpluses...

Governor Cuomo will present an ambitious budget proposal this week that promises to turn deficits into surpluses even as he doles out tax breaks.  One trick will be doing it in a time of slow economic growth.  Cuomo has said that the state can amass its first budget surpluses in years as long as lawmakers agree to limit spending increases to 2-percent.  The governor said that would allow surpluses to grow to $2-billion in three years.  State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says that so far this year, New York's overall tax collections of $49-billion are up 5.6 percent, but still below projections.  The Cuomo administration expects revenue to grow faster than 2-percent, meaning spending growth below that level will lead to surpluses.

 

WJTN News Headlines


Three north county women are jailed on 10-thousand dollars each for allegedly running a methamphetime lab in a home on Route 60 in the town of Pomfret.  Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say they raided the home at 95-87 Route 60 shortly before Noon last Saturday.  Task Force members say they found a quantity of materials used to make meth inside the home.  They arrested 35 year-old Sara Tolbert... and, 26 year-old Laura Lewitzski -- both of the Route 60 address... and, 37 year-old Melanie Green of Silver Creek.  Agents say they also found two children under the age of 5 inside the home.  Authorities also seized several pieces of evidence that will be analyzed further... and, more charges may be placed.  All three are currently charged with criminal possession of precursors of Methamphetime... and, endangering the welfare of a child.  The county's Hazardous Materials Team and Fredonia Firefighters were also called to the scene to help with recovery and removal of evidence.  The children were turned over to Child Protective Services.

 

A Stockton man accused of conning two Chautauqua County residents out of money for painting services he never delivered on has been sentenced to state prison time.  District Attorney David Foley says 46 year-old Kerry Anderson was sentenced in county court to one-and-a-third to 4 years behind bars for fourth-degree Grand Larceny.  Foley says he also received a similar term -- to run concurrently -- for first-degree scheming to defraud.  Anderson was accused of taking 15-hundred dollars from a Westfield woman... and, 4-thousand dollars from a Lakewood resident.  He's also been ordered to pay restitution.  In addition... Foley says an Ashville man has been sentenced to 5-years in state prison for first-degree attempted assault.  34 year-old James Hall also received 5 years post-release supervision.

 

A long-time Jamestown resident... and, professor at Jamestown Community College has been named as a new, citizen member of the Board of Public Utilities.  Mayor Sam Teresi has appointed Martha Zenns to a four-year term on the BPU.  She replaces Dr. Len Faulk... who retired from the board at the end of last year.  Teresi says Zenns is a "very capable person..." who brings a strong background in finance and economics to the board. Teresi adds she's also been very involved in public service in the community... having served for many years on the city's Planning Commission.  She currently chairs the commission... and, has been a member of the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency since 2007.  Zenns was also a volunteer member of the city's Reapportionment Committee in 2012.  Teresi says Zenns also has volunteered at the Fenton History Center.  She says she's looking forward to being on the BPU.  She says it will give her a chance to connect what she teaches with the various practices and functions of a public utility. 

 

A Lakewood man has been arrested for allegedly stealing property from a number of cars in an around the center of the village.  Lakewood-Busti Police say 21 year-old Blake Truver allegedly committed the vehicle larcenies over the past week... and, he was arrested Friday afternoon.  In one case... officers say Truver allegedly stole a credit card from one of the vehicles... then used it twice in the village.  He was arraigned in Busti Town Court on one count of Felony criminal possession of stolen property... and, two Felony counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument.  He was arraigned and sent to the county jail on 20-thousand dollars cash bail.

 

Governor Cuomo will present an ambitious budget proposal this week that promises to turn deficits into surpluses even as he doles out tax breaks.  One trick will be doing it in a time of slow economic growth.  Cuomo has said that the state can amass its first budget surpluses in years as long as lawmakers agree to limit spending increases to 2 percent.  The governor said that would allow surpluses to grow to 2-billion dollars in three years.  State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says while tax collections are up 5.6-percent so far this year... they are still below projections.

 

A one-trillion dollar continuing resolution that keeps the federal government open through the rest of the fiscal year received the support of the area's congressman.  Corning Republican Tom Reed tells us the spending plan contains a lot of positives that will help local residents. Reed doubts there will be enough support for the controversial extention of unemployment benefits.  He is pushing for a proposal that would help encourage the private sector to hire those who have been without a job for a lengthy period of time.The House of Representatives has gone on break and will remain out of Washington for a week.  However... Reed will still be busy.  He has scheduled three Town Hall Meetings this coming week... and, one is in Chautauqua County.  Reed will meet with constituents at the Prendergast Library this Tuesday night at 5:30 PM.  He'll also be at the Franklinville Town Hall in Cattaraugus County on Wednesday at 5:30 PM.  So far... Reed has held more than 110 town halls in the new 23rd Congressional District.

News Headlines for Sat., Jan. 18, 2014


Lakewood man arrested for allegedly breaking into several cars in the village...

A Lakewood man is jailed on $20,000 bail for allegedly breaking into a number of cars in an around the center of the village.  Lakewood-Busti Police accuse 21 year-old Blake Truver of the larcenies... which were reported over the past few days.  In one case... officers say Truver allegedly stole a credit card from one of the vehicles.  He's also accused of using the credit card twice in the village.  Truver was arrested on one count of Felony criminal possession of stolen property... and, two Felony counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument.  He was arraigned and sent to the county lock-up.


Sponsor of latest county Welfare-to-Work program pleased to see it's being utilized more...

The number of people on Public Assistance in Chautauqua County has grown since last August... but, the number of those people taking part in the county's Welfare-to-Work program has also increased.  The latter item is good news for the sponsor of the legislation to revived the Welfare-to-Work program in early 2012.  Legislator John Runkle is responding to this week's report to the Human Services Committee by Health and Human Services Director Christine Schuyler.  Runkle says... after bottoming out at 10-percent a couple of years ago... the number has grown to 21-percent.  He adds they've also noticed a lot of cost-savings associated with that.  Runkle says the stepped up effort over the past year has saved the county about $7-million in Social Service and Medicaid costs.  Unfortunately... the Cassadaga-area Republican says the initial Welfare to Work program was "let go" for a long period of time.  He says it's important because the Social Services budget takes up about 80-percent of the county's tax levy.  Schuyler was joined by the county's director of Temporary Assistance, Marge Johnson, to report on the Welfare to Work program... and, others.


Cuomo says $33-million in Campaign War Chest not meant to "scare-off" opponents...

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the $33.3-million in his re-election fund isn't meant to scare off would-be opponents.  The 56-year-old Democrat says it's necessary in case someone with great personal wealth tries to win the office by outspending him.  In a radio interview Friday... he said he needs to be in a position to explain what his administration has done and is planning.  Asked about an analysis showing most of his campaign donations came from wealthy donors... and whether he'd be more responsive to their interests, Cuomo says a lot of that conversation is ``baloney.''  He says people want to know if he's working for them.  Cuomo says he's not among the politicians who can be bought and that he's going to do what he believes is right.

 

WJTN News Headlines


A city woman is jailed on 20-thousand dollars for allegedly trying to rob the U-S News Store in the East Second Street Plaza earlier this month.  Jamestown Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers arrested 27 year-old Jena Blocker Thursday morning on a warrant at her home.  He says they got a lot of good information on Blocker from the clerk at U-S News... who was pushed away from the counter by the would-be bandit after the employee tried to press the store alarm.  Samuelson declined to tell our Terry Frank much about a motive for the attempted robbery. Samuelson adds their detailed description also helped locate Blocker... along with several tips phoned into their anonymous tip-line.  He says the would-be bandit entered the eastside store back on January 5th... and, handed the clerk a note -- demanding money from the cash register.  After not being able to get any money... Samuelson says Blocker ran out of the store... and, police got out a description of her and what she was wearing.  She was arraigned in city court on a third-degree attempted robbery charge... and, sent to the county lock-up.

 

A Jamestown man is jailed after he was allegedly found to be driving drunk in a car that he allegedly stole from a local dealership.  State Police in Jamestown tell us that 49 year-old Rodney Thomas was pulled over Tuesday on Route 60 for driving a vehicle with no license plates.  Troopers say further investigation determined the car has been stolen.  Thomas was taken to the State Police station where a breath test showed his blood alcohol count was point-14 percent.  He was arraigned in Ellicott Town Court on charges including Felony driving while intoxicated... unlicensed operation... and, criminal possession of stolen property.  Thomas was sent to the county jail without bail.

 

The new, consolidated appropriations bill approved by the U-S House includes about 64-million dollars to continue clean-up efforts at the West Valley Nuclear Demonstration Project.  Congressman Tom Reed says that's an increase of more than 2-million dollars over last year's levels for the Cattaraugus County location.  Reed says he stood with the local community... which pushed for the increased funding... and, says those "cumulative efforts are being recognized."  The Corning Republican says -- "protecting public safety is one of the most important functions of government and one that provides long-term economic and environmental benefits to the region."  Ashford Town Supervisor Chris Gerwitz... whose also a member of the West Valley Citizen Task Force... says the bill will "allow work (at West Valley) to go forward this year as planned."  Reed also vowed Thursday to see the clean-up project through to completion.

 

Officials with Jamestown's Prendergast Library are looking to begin a 537-thousand dollar project that will create new space... and, make their restrooms completely handicapped accessible.  Library Director Tina Scott says they've received a state grant of 243-thousand dollars for the project... which will also include Americans with Disabilities Act funding through the city... and, funds the library has raised. Scott says those two items are the first-phase of the project.  She says the second phase will deal with a stairway... and, a walkway that connects the Children's area to what's now storage space upstairs. Scott says they hope to begin the project to make the library's restrooms handicapped accessible in April.  She will be our guest on this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program that'll be heard on all five Media One Group stations.

 

Chautauqua County's remaining Catholic elementary school will remain open for the next school year as part of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo's "Faith of Tomorrow" initiative.  A total of 10 Catholic elementary schools in western New York... including the one in Gowanda... will close at the end of the current school year.  Bishop Richard Malone says the St. Joseph School... which has 42 students in Kindergarten through eighth grade will be closed down.  Malone says the remaining schools... including Northern Chautauqua Catholic in Dunkirk... will remain open -- and, transition into "Community Schools" governed by lay advisory boards that will work with pastors on budgeting and other school operations.  A couple of years ago... Holy Family Catholic School in Jamestown was ordered shut-down in a first-round of closings.

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo reports he has 33.3-million dollars in campaign cash as he heads into the election year.  Cuomo's campaign committee says Wednesday that the Democratic governor raised $7 million since the last report in July and spent 1.5-million dollars.  The hefty campaign war chest underscores Cuomo's strong position to run a statewide campaign for a second term.  It's not clear who the Republican candidate will be in November.  Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino has said he'll make a decision in the next two months.  Donald Trump has said he would consider running if state Republicans join together behind him.

 

Donald Trump, who says he'd consider a run for New York governor, is scheduled to head upstate to attend a Republican fundraiser. The Erie County Republican Committee says Trump will be at its Lincoln Leadership Award event in Buffalo on Jan. 31. The New York City real estate developer is being recruited by some in the GOP to challenge incumbent Democrat Andrew Cuomo. He's said he would consider running if state Republicans join together behind him.  Trump told The Buffalo News that he would commit $30 million to $50 million of his own money against Cuomo.
 

News Update for Thurs. Jan. 16, 2013


City police arrest Jamestown woman for allegedly trying to rob U.S. News on East Second St....

A Jamestown woman has been arrested for allegedly trying to rob the U.S. News Store in the East Second St. Plaza earlier this month.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers arrested 27 year-old Jena Blocker early Thursday morning on a warrant at her home.  He says they got a lot of good information on Blocker from the clerk at U-S News... who was pushed away from the counter by the would-be bandit after the employee tried to press the store alarm.  Samuelson says their detailed description also helped locate Blocker... along with several tips phoned into their anonymous tip-line.  He says Blocker entered the eastside store back on Jan. 5, and, handed the clerk a note -- demanding money from the cash register.  He would only the motive was geeting the money.  Samuelson says she is cooperating with the investigation.  After not being able to get any money... Samuelson says Blocker ran out of the store... and, police got out a description of Blocker and what she was wearing.  She was arraigned in city court on a third-degree attempted robbery charge... and, sent to the county jail on $20,000 bail.


City man accused of driving stolen car while drunk jailed without bail...

A Jamestown man pulled over on Route 60 for allegedly having no license plates on his car has been accused of driving a stolen car -- drunk.  State Police in Jamestown say they pulled over 49 year-old Rodney Thomas yesterday morning in the town of Ellicott.  Troopers say further investigation found the vehicle was stolen from a Jamestown-area car dealer.  Police took Thomas to the State Police barracks in Jamestown where a breath test determined his blood alcohol content to be point-14-percent.  Thomas was arraigned in Ellicott Town Court on charges of Felony DWI... Felony aggravated unlicensed operation... and, Felony Criminal Possession of Stolen Property.  He also faces other traffic violations... and, was sent to the county jail without bail.


 

WJTN News Headlines


Chautauqua County's Congressman says he's been able to secure upwards of 5-million dollars for Lake Shore Hospital through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  23rd District Representative Tom Reed late yesterday said he spoke with FEMA's Regional Administrator by phone Wednesday... and, was assured the FEMA application for disaster funds has been approved earlier in the day.  The Corning Republican says "the funding we've secured is a hugely positive development for the hospital and more importantly its long-term viability."  He adds that the funding will make the hospital "more attractive" to potential investors and buyers. Reed made his comment during his weekly conference call with Southern Tier Media.  He says he spoke with the Regional FEMA administrator prior to last weekend's rally in Silver Creek to save the hospital.  Reed adds he's been keeping the pressure on FEMA to approve funds to the TLC Hospital Network in response to damage caused by severe flooding in 2009.  The money was initially to go to the TLC Network in response to the 2009 north county floods.

 

Talks are continuing 'behind the scenes', meantime, over the future of Lake Shore Health Care Center.  State Senator Cathy Young provided an update earlier in the day Wednesday on the efforts to keep the north county facility open.  Young says the TLC Health System got some help from a judge hearing the case in Buffalo on Monday. Young says another hearing will be held later this month to decide whether the hospital... which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year can use one-million dollars in emergency funding. Young remains hopeful about the hospital's future.  The Olean Republican says she will continue to work with the State Health Department, the hospital's Board of Directors and local leaders.

 

A Dunkirk man accused of shooting and killing a Fredonia man during a dispute at the victim's residence last September has pled guilty to manslaughter in the case.  Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley says 46 year-old Theodore Wickham entered the plea in County Court Wednesday afternoon after being indicted for second-degree Manslaughter -- a "C" Felony.  Foley says Wickham entered the plea in connection with the September 14th death of Frank Slate shortly before the case was to go to trial. Foley says Wickham's co-defendant... Christopher Grant... has already pled guilty to a similar Manslaughter count.  He says Wickham faces some significant jail time when he's sentenced. Foley says Grant faces 3 or 4 years in state prison when he's sentenced.  Sentencing for Wickham is scheduled for March 17th.  Foley says the case was investigated by Fredonia Village Police Department.

 

The Lakewood Village Board's Zoning Committee will begin looking at recommendations to deal with adult novelty stores, used car lots, storage sheds and electronic signs next week.  The village board held it's fourth, and final public hearing this week on the adult novelty, and entertainment issue.  Mayor David Wordelmann says no one spoke during the hearing on proposals to heavily-restrict where such businesses could be located.  Wordelmann says, under the First Amendment, local governments can't ban such businesses -- but, they can restrict where they're located. Wordelmann says such business also cannot face the road.  The amendment reportedly would limit such establishments to the area surrounding the Chautauqua Mall.  Wordelmann says... with the hearings now completed... the Zoning Committee will begin reviewing the code -- and proposed changes -- next Monday night at 6 PM.  Outside of the adult novelty stores... Wordelmann says the most discussion was over the electronic signs.  Moratoriums have been in place on all four items because none of them have been addressed in the village's current zoning law.

 

U-S Senator Charles Schumer says an end may be in sight to the increasingly lengthier waits at the Peace Bridge linking Buffalo and Canada.  Lawmakers have agreed to boost spending for Customs and Border Protection, including the hiring of more border agents.  And... Schumer says that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has promised to send some of the new hires to the Peace Bridge.  The bridge between Buffalo and Fort Erie, Ontario, is one of the busiest commercial and passenger crossings along the northern border.

 

A Buffalo-area Assemblyman accused of sexually harassing female staffers has left office.  Dennis Gabryszak (GAB-ruh-zak) has been accused by seven former and current employees of making unwanted advances and other abusive behavior.  The 62-year-old Democrat announced his retirement Sunday.  He formally stepped down this week.

 

WJTN News Headlines


New York's new restrictions on ammunition sales take effect tomorrow (Wednesday), requiring all sellers to register with state police and buyers to appear in person to get bullets.  It's part of the law pushed through a year ago by Governor Andrew Cuomo, one month after the massacre of 26 educators and children in Newtown, Connecticut.  It requires transactions to take place in person.  That includes Internet sales, which will require the face-to-face involvement of a New York-licensed seller.  Organizations like shooting ranges and hunting clubs that distribute ammunition on their premises can register to keep getting direct shipments.  State police say the law will require retailers to record sales and do background checks on buyers as required now for gun sales once a state database is operating.

 

A national restaurant chain will be locating one of it's stores in the Jamestown-area by sometime later this year.  Lakewood Mayor David Wordleman confirmed rumors of recent days that Panera Bread is buying the property owned by Shults Auto Group on the west side of Mall Boulevard... and, planning to begin construction of a new restaurant soon.  Wordleman says he's excited to see the fast-growing eatery chain coming to the area. Wordleman says he and village Building Inspector Charlie Smith met with a Panera representative last week... and, adds they're excited about the news.  He adds the building will be about the typical size of Panera's other restaurants... but, he says this restaurant will have something different. Wordlemann says the proposal may not have to go before the village Planning Board because the building is less than 5-thousand square feet.  However... he says it may anyway.  If all goes as planned... Wordleman says a site plan should be ready for the village board in about a month... and, the new restaurant should be up and running by late Summer or early Fall.

 

The artic blast of cold air and weather from last week has left the American Red Cross with a nationwide blood shortage.  Southwestern New York Chapter Director Bill Tucker says about 300 drives in 25 states were cancelled last week due to the storm and dangerous conditions.  With that... he says the effort's underway to build the blood supply back up.  Tucker says if you have the time... and, are able... you can make an appointment to donate.  He says they're asking anyone eligible to give blood to call 1-800-RED CROSS to schedule a time to stop in. Tucker says you can also make a walk-in donation.  He says there are a number of drives going on right now... but, he adds their fixed site in Jamestown will be open tomorrow (today)... and, Thursday afternoons from 12:30 PM to 5:30 PM.  The Red Cross likes to have at least a three-day supply of blood on hand.  You must be in good health, be at least 17 years of age, and weigh 110 pounds to donate.  Again... for more information... call 664-5115.

 

The American Red Cross of Southwestern New York is again seeking nominations for it's annual "Hometown Heros" awards this year.  Assistant Director Kathy Burch says they're now accepting nominations from the public for the 12th celebration at Moon Brook Country Club near Jamestown next Mday.  Burch says it's a great way to recognize people who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in the community. Burch says nomination forms will be accepted until April 1st.  There are several catagories... including Humanitarian of the Year... which is for someone who helped someone in the county in a special way.  She says others include Firefighter, Law Enforcement, Emergency and Medical personnel, Workplace, Youth, and Animal Rescue of the Year.  Nomination forms can be found on their website at Redcross-dot-ORG-backslash-swny.  You can also call 664-5115.

 

State University of New York Chancellor Nancy Zimpher has announced an expansion of the university system's on-line program.  During her State of the University address today... Zimpher announced the "Open SUNY" initiative, which launches eight new on-line degree programs at six campuses.  SUNY at Fredonia Spokesman Mike Barone, who made the trip to Albany to hear the address, says it won't likely change the local campus. Barone was pleased that the SUNY College at Fredonia was recognized in the Chancellor's speech as one of nine campuses to make Kiplinger's top values ranking. Barone says a student may be taking on-line courses... and, due to cost -- or whatever the reason -- they can't attend a residential college.  He says they could still be learning from a SUNY College at Fredonia faculty member.


 

News Update for Tues., Jan. 14, 2013


Panera Bread restaurant coming to Lakewood...

A national restaurant chain will be locating one of it's stores in the Jamestown-area by sometime later this year.  Lakewood Mayor David Wordleman confirmed rumors of recent days that Panera Bread is buying the property owned by Shults Auto Group on the west side of Mall Boulevard... and, planning to begin construction of a new restaurant soon.  Wordleman says he's excited to see the fast-growing eatery chain coming to the area... adding it's one of his favorite places to stop when he's out on the road.  Wordleman says he and village Building Inspector Charlie Smith met with a Panera representative last week... and, adds they're excited about the news.  He adds the building will be about the typical size of Panera's other restaurants... but, he says this restaurant will have something different because it's going to have a drive-thru window... which he hasn't seen before.  Wordlemann says the proposal may not have to go before the village Planning Board because the building is less than 5,000 square feet.  This store would be 4,000 square feet.  However... he says it may anyway.  If all goes as planned... Wordleman says a site plan should be ready for the village board in about a month... and, the new restaurant should be up and running by late Summer or early Fall.


New restrictions on Gun Ammunition take effect Wednesday...

New York's new restrictions on ammunition sales take effect tomorrow... requiring all sellers to register with state police and buyers to appear in person to get bullets.  It's part of the law pushed through a year ago by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, one month after the massacre of 26 educators and children in Newtown, Conn.  It requires transactions to take place in person.  That includes Internet sales, which will require the face-to-face involvement of a New York-licensed seller.  Organizations like shooting ranges and hunting clubs that distribute ammunition on their premises can register to keep getting direct shipments.  State police say the law will require retailers to record sales and do background checks on buyers as required now for gun sales once a state database is operating.


Red Cross running drives to help make up for national blood shortage...

Last week's "Polar" Winter storm has left the American Red Cross with a dwindling blood supply.  Southwestern New York Chapter Director Bill Tucker says about 300 drives in 25 states were cancelled last week due to the storm and dangerous weather conditions... so there's a need to build the blood supply back up.  Tucker says if you have the time... and, are able... you can make an appointment to give the "gift of life."  He says you can make an appointment by calling 1-800-Red Cross.  Tucker says you can also go on-line to www.redcrossblood.org to make an appointment.  You can also make a walk-in donation.  He says there are a number of drives going on right now... but, he adds their fixed site in Jamestown will be open Wednesday, and, Thursday afternoons from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.  He says if you can... make a call, and set an appointment time.  The Red Cross likes to have at least a three-day supply of blood on hand.  To donate... you must be in generally good health... be at least 17 years of age... and, weigh 110 pounds.

WJTN News Headlines


The city of Jamestown's Department of Development is looking at demolishing 25 to 30 blighted and dilapatated buildings over the next year.  That from Development Director Vince DeJoy... who told City Council members last night that his department has an "aggressive" campaign planned through 2014.  That includes hauling away the construction and demolition debris to the county landfill.  DeJoy says they're getting some help with disposal costs from the county through a shared services agreement for 4 tipping fee-credits.  He says that should save the city between 25 and 30-thousand dollars to dispose of 320-tons of debris this year. DeJoy says the move will allow the city to dispose of at least two demolished one-family homes... or one, two-family house.  He says they'll also be receiving funding from a state Attorney General's grant... the county Landbank... and, Community Development Block Grant funding.  DeJoy calls the agreement a "win-win" situation for the city and the county.

 

Working smoke detectors are being credited for alerting a Conewango family to a fire inside their Route 62 home Monday morning.  Cattaraugus County fire dispatchers say crews were called to the scene at 12-520 Route 62 shortly before 10 AM.  Conewango Fire Chief Raymond McKay says the two-story, wood-frame home was fully-engulfed in flames on arrival.  McKay says the family was outside when they and five other companies arrived at the scene.  However... he says due to the older construction of the home... it took a while to bring the flames under control. In addition... Cattaraugus fire crews were called to assist.  McKay says they had 45 to 50 firefighters at the scene.  Crews were there for about two hours.  In addition to the occupants... no firefighters were hurt.  However... two pets perished in the fire.  The cause remains under investigation.

 

No injuries have been reported after a small fire in Lily Dale.  Firefighters from Lily Dale, Cassadaga and Stockton responded to the fire on the third floor of the Maplewood Hotel on Cleveland Avenue around 11:30 this morning. County Emergency Services also assisted at the scene.  The fire was apparently sparked by an electrical problem. 


Should New York State be allowed to use Chautauqua County's name and seal in conjunction with the controversial SAFE Act?  Several County Legislators oppose the move... and, are co-sponsoring a resolution that will be taken up in committee this week.  County Legislator John Runkle says he has learned about the state's intent from two key officials... Sheriff Joe Gerace and County Clerk Larry Barmore. Runkle adds that he has the support of several other legislators. The County Legislature's Public Safety committee is expected to take up the measure during a meeting this week.  Hundreds of western New York gun owners used Saturday's one-year anniversary of the SAFE Act's enactment to protest by firing off their guns at local ranges.

 

An investigation into an alleged rape that occurred over the weekend in the city of Dunkirk has led to the arrest of a city man.  Police say 36-year-old Jermaine Batten has been charged with first-degree rape -- a class B felony... and unlawfully dealing with a child.  Officers say Batten was arraigned in Dunkirk City Court... and sent to the County Jail without bail pending a felony preliminary hearing.  Police are not releasing any details about the incident or disclosing any information about the alleged victim.

 

Chautauqua Institution could have a new Amphitheater by 2016.  During a recent interview with Media One Group... Chautauqua President Tom Becker said they've raised all the money needed for the design of the new structure... and, about half the 26-million dollars needed for construction.  That's allowed them to tentatively schedule the work. Becker says that timetable could slip, if it takes longer to raise the necessary funds.  While being more accessible, convenient and modern, the new Amphitheater will feel very much like the old one.  Becker says the historical "sense" of the amphitheater -- both it's placement on the grounds... and, how you encounter it -- is actually enhanced by the design.  He adds that those contributing to the building of the new facility are helping to define the 'Chautauqua experience' for the next century. 

 

A Buffalo-area Assemblyman accused of sexually harassing staffers is leaving a state Legislature that already has nine empty seats.  Officials add that it's not clear if special elections will be held to fill the offices that represent more than one-million New Yorkers.  The unusually high number vacant seats isn't expected to have a major effect on the day-to-day operations of the 212-member Legislature.  But... good government advocates say the empty seats mean a loss of representation in the districts, which stretch from Long Island to western New York.  Governor Andrew Cuomo can call special elections for those seats before voters head to the polls in November, but he isn't obligated to.  Cuomo has talked about the need to balance the cost of elections with the communities' rights to representation.

News Update for Mon., Jan. 13, 2014


(**Update)Flames destroy Conewango home...

Working smoke detectors are being credited for alerting a Conewango family to a fire inside their Route 62 home this morning.  Cattaraugus County fire dispatchers say crews were called to the scene at 12-520 Route 62 shortly before 10 a.m.  Conewango Fire Chief Raymond McKay says the two-story, wood-frame home was fully engulfed in flames on arrival.  McKay says the family was outside when they and five other companies arrived at the scene.  However... he says due to the older construction of the home... it took a while to bring the flames under control.  McKay says four companies from Cattaraugus County -- Randolph, East Randolph, Leon and Ellington and, Cherry Creek -- at the scene.  Cattaraugus was also called in.  He says they had 45 to 50 firefighters at the scene.  Crews were there for about two hours.  In addition to the occupants... no firefighters were hurt.  However... two pets perished in the fire.  The cause remains under investigation.


Small fire in Lily Dale damages third-floor of hotel...

No injuries have been reported after a small fire in Lily Dale.  Firefighters from Lily Dale, Cassadaga and Stockton responded to the fire on the third floor of the Maplewood Hotel on Cleveland Avenue around 11:30 this morning. County Emergency Services also assisted at the scene.  The fire was apparently sparked by an electrical problem. 

WJTN News Headlines


Three days before Lake Shore Hospital was set to run out of money, State Senator Cathy Young says she's secured $1 million to keep the hospital open. Young made the announcement at a rally for Lake Shore on Saturday afternoon at Silver Creek High School. The Irving facility filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December. Without the last-minute infusion of cash, the hospital would have completely run out of money this coming Tuesday. Senatory Young tells Channel 4 news in Buffalo "I've been working feverishly with the State Health Department, and I'm thrilled to announce that I've secured $1 million in emergency state funding,". Developer Tony Borrello is heading up a group of investors who have offered to buy Lake Shore for $15 million. Borrello says he is waiting for a decision from the bankruptcy judge on what Lake Shores worth, and access to the hospital's books. Senator Young estimated that $1 million will be enough to keep Lake Shore operating for about a month.  Some 460 people stand to lose their jobs, if Lake Shore is shuttered.

 

There was some inconvenience... but, no major problems reported from Saturday's rain and warmer temperatures while led to some flooding and high water around Chautauqua County.  NITTEC Traffic and Sheriff's Department dispatchers say Route 60 from Maple Avenue to Porter Road in Cassadaga was closed for nearly 4-hours Saturday due to flooding.  Traffic was detoured there from just before 11 AM Saturday until about 4 PM that afternoon.  There was also some flooding around Dunkirk that led to a road closing.  Sheriff's dispatchers adds that Kabob Road in the town of Charlotte... just south of Cassadaga... was closed for a while late Saturday into Sunday morning.  However... no evacuations, nor injuries, were reported.

 

A Clymer woman is accused of driving drunk... and, using a handheld electronic device while driving after her car crashed into a ditch in the town of Mina.  Sheriff's Deputies were called to the scene in the area of Mann Road and West Mina Hill Road about 8:45 last Friday night.  Officers say they found the car in the ditch... but, the operator had left the scene. Following an investigation... they determined that 31 year-old Cassandra Hoitink drove into the ditch while using facebook on her handheld phone.  She was found at a nearby home... and, arrested on charges including DWI... and, an on a electronic device violation.  She was processed... and, released pending arraignment in Mina Town Court at a later date.

 

There will be a few changes... but, not many... when the Jamestown City Council's standing committees meet tonight for the first time in 2014.  That from Council President Greg Rabb... who announced committee assignments at last week's Council Reorganizational meeting.  Rabb says the biggest change will come on the Housing Committee... which will have a new chairperson in 2014.  He selected Fourth-Ward Councilwoman Marie Carruba to head up that panel... for a number of reasons... including experience. Otherwise... leadership of the committees will remain the same... with Republican Tony Dolce staying on as chairman of the Finance Committee.  He took over chairing that panel last year after Vince DeJoy was selected to be the city's new Director of Development.  The two newest members of council also got committee assignments.  Republican Brent Sheldon will be on two committees... including Housing. The other newcomer... Third Ward Councilwoman Tamara Dickey... will serve on the Public Works Committee.  Dickey feels strongly that the city needs to keep up it's infrastructure.  Also this year... long-time at-large Republican Kim Ecklund has been added to the Finance Committee.

 

A Buffalo-area Assemblyman accused of sexually harassing female staffers says he will retire while continuing to defend himself against allegations he calls false.  Dennis Gabryszak (GAB-ruh-zak) has been accused by seven former and current employees in recent legal filings of making unwanted advances and other abusive behavior.  It's the latest in a string of legislative sex harassment cases and public corruption scandals in Albany in recent years.  The 62-year-old lawmaker announced his retirement Sunday through his lawyer without giving a retirement date.  In recent notices of claim... Gabryszak is accused of grabbing one woman and trying to kiss her and of telling another during a 2012 event that, ``You're so hot, you know what I want to do with you.''  The notices are the first step toward a lawsuit.

 

A farmworkers' rights group is calling on federal safety inspectors not to delay a program of surprise inspections of New York dairy farms.  Rebecca Fuentes of the Workers Center of Central New York tells the Syracuse Post-Standard that the inspections are necessary because dairy workers are often reluctant to report unsafe conditions for fear of losing their jobs.

 

The "Campaign that Never Fails" is underway for the 90th time in Western New York... and, a record goal has been set for this year.  Catholic Charities of Buffalo has announced it has set a goal of 10.8-million dollars for it's 2014 Appeal.  Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone said the goal is 100-thousand dollars more than last year's effort.  Diocesan Director Sister Mary McCarrick the higher goal is due to increasing costs being realized by the charity.  McCarrick says while Appeal Week is more than three months away... they've already received some contributions. McCarrick says not only does it cost more each year to provide the services... the need remains great.  Catholic Charities helps well over 150-thousand people each year in the eight county Diocese.  In fact... she adds they've helped just over 5-thousand in Chautauqua County in recent years.  This year's theme is "Heart at Work..." which recognizes the hard work of their volunteers, and employees.  This year's Appeal Week is April 6th through 13th.  For more information.. go on-line to ccwny-dot-ORG. 

News Headlines for Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014


Flood Watch Continues Over the Weekend

 

    Local and County officials are keeping an eye on area streams and creeks as the National Weather Service continues a Flood Watch from Saturday morning through Sunday afternoon for Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Southern Erie counties.  Chautauqua County Emergency Management Director Julius Leone was in Silver Creek Friday morning where crews were working to remove some of the ice.  Some other areas that are being monitored include Cattaraugus Creek near Sunset Bay and Conewango Creek in the South County.  Residents living in flood prone areas should still be on alert this weekend and following the latest alerts and warnings. 

 

 

Senator Young's Reaction to Governor Cuomo's Address

 

    Chautauqua County's representative in the state Senate says it was "great to hear" Governor Cuomo's continued focus on the upstate region during his State of the State message this week.  Olean Republican Cathy Young was in Albany for this week's address and, says what Governor Cuomo said "mirrors" a lot of what Senate Republicans like her have been touting the past few years.  Young was especially pleased to hear about tax relief efforts and, ways to boost the economy.  Young adds that she's looking forward to "get a lot of positive results this year."

 

 

Catholic Charities Appeal Announced

 

    Increased costs have led Catholic Charities of Buffalo to set a goal of 10.8-million dollars for it's 2014 Appeal.  The goal was announced at a press conference in Kenmore Friday, where Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone said the goal is $100,000 more than last year's effort.  Diocesan Director Sister Mary McCarrick says it costs more to provide all the services they offer and, the need remains great.

    Catholic Charities, serves the 8 western-most counties of New York and McCarrick says they have served exactly 5,001 people in Chautauqua County.  She adds that Catholic Charities offers some 70 human service programs in the 8 county region and, has local offices in Jamestown and Dunkirk.  This year's Appeal Week is April 6-13.  For more information visit ccwny.org.

News Update, Jan., 10, 2014


Hoyt presents regional State of State Address in Jamestown...

Governor Cuomo has laid out an "ambitious agenda" with his State of the State address... but, he's committed to following through on the proposals he's made.  That from a member of his senior staff who was in Jamestown today to present a "regional" State of the State message.  Western New York President of Empire State Development, Sam Hoyt, was at the Robert H. Jackson Center to give the address.  Hoyt's been involved in the START Up New York economic development effort to create 68 "tax free zones" in and around the state's colleges.  He says the program is just starting up now... and, the head of it is very optimistic.  Hoyt says she's received more than 5,500 inquiries from businesses that want to relocated to the zones.  Hoyt was introduced by Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi... who says he liked the "tone" and delivery of the Governor's speech -- especially regarding property tax relief.  Teresi says the goveror was "spot-on" in his remarks that the state will only be strong if it has strong local communities.  That's why Teresi supports Cuomo's proposal to use part of the state's $2-billion surplus to help commmunities reduce their property taxes to a zero-percent increase.  There are two incentives in the program.  The first is the local government's budget must be below the state's 2-percent property tax cap... and, in the second year, the community must make significant progress in cutting spending through consolidation... or sharing of services.


Young says Cuomo's State of the State included items that were "great to hear..."

Chautauqua County's representative in the state Senate says it was "great to hear" Governor Cuomo's continued focus on the upstate region during his State of the State message this week.  Olean Republican Cathy Young was in Albany for this week's address... and, says what Governor Cuomo said "mirrors" a lot of what Senate Republicans like her have been touting the past few years.  Young was especially pleased to hear about tax relief efforts... and, help create jobs.  She says she and the GOP coalition leadership are ready to "roll up their sleeves..." and, work with the governor to grow the economy and create opportunities for New York's young people so they can stay after graduating from high school and college... and, find jobs.  Young adds that she's looking forward to "get a lot of positive results this year."


Salvation Army of Jamestown exceeds 2013 Red Kettle Campaign goal...

A strong, final two days for the Salvation Army of Jamestown's Red Kettle Campaign allowed the human service agency to not only meet... but, exceed their $100,000 goal.  That from Salvation Army Captain John Merchant... who says they received about $15,000 in the final two days to wind up with just over $103,000.  Merchant says they were "abundantly blessed" with a couple of big donations.  One on the final day was for $4,000.  He says a big part of why they were able to reach... and, exceed their goal was they had "lots of volunteers" to help man the kettles.  He says some 450 people rang the bells this year at several locations in the Greater Jamestown-area.  Merchant says meeting their goal allows them to continue programs that help the needy in our community.

 

WJTN News Headlines


Governor Andrew Cuomo's fourth State of the State address is getting a generally positive review from Chautauqua County's new executive.  Bemus Point Republican Vince Horrigan is pleased to hear that Governor Cuomo is continuing his emphasis on getting the upstate region back on track.  Horrigan was among the local leaders on hand for Cuomo's speech in Albany Wednesday... and, liked the emphasis on cutting taxes... and, economic development.  He was pleased to hear the governor talk about helping to cut local property tax increases to zero the next two years.  But... Horrigan feels more needs to be done to sustain that. Horrigan was also pleased to hear Cuomo call for eliminating the manufacturer's income tax in the entire Upstate Region.  He says that should help keep and bring business to New York.  Horrigan also supports a 2-billion dollar proposal to upgrade technology in New York's public schools... but, is concerned with costs filtering down to the local level.  Horrigan was joined in Albany by the mayors of the county's two cities... Sam Teresi of Jamestown... and, A-J Dolce of Dunkirk. 

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo says it's time for New York to have classrooms that are ready for 21st Century learning.  During Wednesday's State of the State address in Albany... Cuomo proposed his 2-billion dollar "Smart Schools" bond referendum to upgrade technology in the classroom.  The proposal was among a number of new reforms Cuomo offered during the speech.  He says there are "great disparities" between districts... and, technology will be a great equalizer for public education. Cuomo says he wants to move the proposal forward so it can be voted on this November by New York voters.  He says the idea is not more bureaucracy... but, helping every child learn, and get the skills they need.  Cuomo says he also wants to establish a teacher excellence fund that would pay bonuses to teachers receiving top marks under the state's teacher evaluation system. Cuomo's agenda also includes full-day Pre-Kindergarten... and, providing the top 10 percent of high school graduates with full scholarships to any public state university if they pursue a math or science career and agree to work in New York state for five years.

 

Chautauqua County's representative in the state Assembly says he likes the idea of upgraded technology in New York's classrooms.  However... Bemus Point Republican Andy Goodell says he's not excited about the state borrowing money to achieve that goal.  Goodell says he would rather see it as part of Cuomo's budget proposal that's to be released later this month. Goodell says he supports upgrading technology... especially for poorer and more rural schools that can take advantage of distance learning.  However... as with his predecessor, Democrat Bill Parment, he opposes any additional borrowing.

 

Jamestown fire officials say arson is the official cause of a blaze at a vacant home on the city's eastside Wednesday night.  Fire Battalion Chief Don Woodfield says fire crews were called to the scene at 236 Falconer Street shortly after 7:30 PM.  Woodfield says they had reports that fire was showing from the windows on both floors of the two-story structure.  He says first arriving crews found heavy fire on the first floor.  Woodfield says an off-duty shift was then called in.  He adds crews had the flames knocked down fairly quickly. Woodfield was commander of the off-duty shift that was called in... and, says there was a lot of fire damage to the first-floor -- especially in the front of the building.  He says no one was hurt.  Crews were at the scene about two-hours.  It's not known if the building will be demolished. 

 

A snowplow driver from Ashville is accused of drunk driving after his truck crashed into a ditch in Lakewood a week ago today.  Lakewood-Busti Police say Bruce James of James Avenue was allegedly driving irratically while his truck was westbound on Route 394 just before 3 PM last Friday when the vehicle went into the ditch.  Officers say James was allegedly found to be intoxicated... and, they also say they found drug paraphrenalia in his possession.  Police say he faces several charges including DWI... speeding... reckless driving... and, possession of drug paraphrenalia.  James was released pending a future appearance in Busti Town Court.

 

The First Niagara Financial Group is closing 10 branches and eliminating 170 jobs.  The Buffalo-based bank... which has several branches in the Jamestown-area... said Wednesday the positions are being cut throughout its four-state territory.  The job reductions come as the bank moves administrative duties out of it's branches.

 

A drug addiction expert at a state-run medical school says Governor Cuomo's plan to make marijuana available in New York for medical purposes is ``ridiculous'' and will result in stoned slackers with lung disease.  Dr. Brian Johnson tells The Syracuse Post-Standard that Cuomo's plans for medical marijuana use at up to 20 hospitals throughout the state will produce ``a bunch of stupid stoners'' with lung disease.  He adds they'll believe they should go on disability ``because they don't want to get off the couch.''

News Update for Thurs., Jan. 9, 2014


Vacant house fire on Jamestown's eastside ruled arson...

Arson is the reported cause of a fire at a vacant home on Jamestown's eastside last night.  City fire officials say crews were called to the scene at 236 Falconer St. shortly after 7:30 p.m.  Reports were that fire was showing from the windows on both floors of the two-story structure.  One official says there was heavy fire damage to the first-floor.  No injuries were reported.  Crews were at the scene about two-hours.  We hope to have more details later this morning.  Board of Public Utilities officials say discolored water may still be a problem in that area during the day today after a Water Main break on Washington Street earlier in the day Wednesday.

WJTN News Headlines


Upstate New York is still lagging behind economically, and in job creation.  With that... Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for something that should be music to the ears of manufacturers... he wants to cut the corporate tax rate in the upstate region to zero.  Cuomo made the announcement during his fourth State of the State Address yesterday in Albany.  He delivered a broad, election-year agenda that also promotes cutting local property taxes.  He called for expanding the new Start Up-New York program that takes advantage of tax-free zones around local colleges.  Cuomo says businesses across the U-S are expressing interest... so, why not take it globally. Along the lines of economic development... Cuomo also called for a new, fourth-round of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. Cuomo is seeking a second term as governor this year... and, the speech Wednesday gives him a high-profile forum to promote his first three years while unveiling an agenda with elements that will please both social progressives and financial conservatives.  Among the social initiatives was a very limited use of medical marijuana at 20 hospitals across the state.  At the same time... he also promoted tougher DWI... and, texting while driving laws.

 

Chautauqua County's Assemblyman says he was pleased with a number of proposals in the governor's speech -- especially regarding tax relief.  Bemus Point Republican Andy Goodell says there were two specific plans Andrew Cuomo laid out that he liked.  The first was a plan to use the state's projected 2-billion dollar surplus to help local governments have a zero-percent property tax increase for the next two years.  Goodell says the first year involves keeping taxes under the state's 2-percent cap. Property taxes would have to remain under 2-percent in the second-year... but, the municipality would also have to take significant steps to costs through consolidation... or cut operating costs.  Goodell says he also liked Cuomo's proposal to eliminate the manufacturer's income tax in ALL of Upstate New York... including Chautauqua County.  However... he didn't like the fact Cuomo talked about the state's Energy Superhighway... but, there was no comment on hydraulic fracturing -- or "fracking..." Goodell says the devil is always in the details, though... and, he awaiting those.  The tax proposals will likely detailed in the governor's budget... which comes out later in the month.  Goodell also wanted to hear more about possible changes to the controversial SAFE Act.  The gun control legislation was enacted following the school shootings in Connecticut.

 

A 2-billion dollar investment in classroom technology and expanding pre-kindergarten to all New York districts top Governor Cuomo's education to-do list for 2014.  Cuomo outlined the proposals during his annual State of the State address in Albany Wednesday.  The governor proposed putting a 2-billion dollar ``Smart Schools'' bond referendum before voters to pay for things like tablets and Internet connectivity.  Cuomo also wants to establish a teacher excellence fund that would pay bonuses of up to $20,000 to teachers receiving top marks under the state's teacher evaluation system.  Also on the agenda... providing the top 10 percent of high school graduates with full scholarships to any public state university if they pursue a math or science career and agree to work in New York state for five years.

 

A north county woman escaped serious injury when the car she was driving missed a curve on Route 20 in the village of Silver Creek... and, struck a snowbank.  Sheriff's Deputies were called to the scene about 12:30 PM Wednesday... and, learned that 27 year-old Natalie Payne of Silver Creek apparently failed to negotiate the curve... and, the car hit the snowbank.  The vehicle then overturned into the driveway of a residence.  Payne was taken to Lake Shore Hospital in Irving for treament of neck pain.  No charges have been filed.

 

It's been a busy past few days for the local Red Cross due to the Winter Storm and blizzard conditions along the Lake Erie shoreline... and, other emergencies.  Executive Director Bill Tucker with the Southwestern New York chapter says they closed up four shelters along the state Thruway in Chautauqua County Wednesday.  Tucker says they began planning early Monday for the likely closing the state Thruway.  He says they worked with the county's Office of Emergency Services, the Thruway Authority, and others to open shelters for stranded motorists in Ripley and Silver Creek.  However... he says due to road closings in Erie County... they opened up two more.
Tucker says their long week actually began last Friday... as their Disaster Action Team members were called out to five family disasters.  Four were for fires... and, the fifth was a Carbon Monoxide situation.  But, fortunately... no one suffered any serious injuries. Tucker reminds residents that they are 100-percent funded by public contributions... and, they get some funding from the United Ways in Chautauqua County.  If you would like to make a donation to help out... contact the Red Cross at 664-5115.

 

 

News Update for Wed., Jan. 8, 2014


Wind Chill Warning expires; warmer weather on the way...

The "Polar Vortex" -- or Express... is finally expected to loosen it's grip slightly on Chautauqua County... and, all of Western New York today.  We are still experiencing potentially dangerous wind chills through mid-morning today.  However... Forecaster Tom Paone with the National Weather Service in Buffalo says it won't be quite as bad as yesterday... when wind chill reached about 41-below at the Jamestown Airport.  In fact... Paone says the actual temperatures will be back into positive double-digits by this afternoon.  Highs will be into the upper teens to near 20 this afternoon.  By Friday, Paone says we'll see the mid-30s, and by Saturday, we'll be close to 50-degrees.  With temperatures getting back towards 50 by the weekend... Paone says we may be looking at ice-jamming by then.  The Blizzard of 2014 has dropped a good two-feet of snow -- or more -- in parts of the north county into the Buffalo-area.


Local Red Cross busy before, and during Winter Storm on State Thruway...

This week's Winter Storm and blizzard conditions along the Lake Erie shoreline made for a busy past five to six days for the local Red Cross.  Executive Director Bill Tucker with the Southwestern New York chapter says they're closing up some four shelters along the state Thruway in Chautauqua County today.  Tucker says their long week began last Friday... as they're Disaster Action Team members were called out to five family disasters... mainly fires and a Carbon Monoxide event.  Fortunately... no serious injuries were reported.  However... Tucker says they began planning early Monday for the likely closing the state Thruway during the storm.  He says they worked with the county's Office of Emergency Services, the Thruway Authority, and other community partners to open shelters for stranded motorists in Ripley, and Silver Creek-Irving area... where they housed dozens of motorists due to driving bans in Erie County and Buffalo.  In fact... Tucker says the situation got to the point where they opened up two more shelters on Monday night at the Irving and Sunset Bay Fire Departments.  He says they had the most people at those locations last night.
_____

Tucker reminds residents that they are 100-percent funded by public contributions... and, they get some funding from the United Ways in Chautauqua County.  If you would like to make a donation to help out... contact the Red Cross at 664-5115.


State Thruway open again as of 5 this morning...

The state Thruway in western New York has reopened after being closed since Monday by a blizzard that's winding down after dumping nearly 20 inches of snow on the region.  The Thruway Authority says Interstate 90 from Exit 46 at Rochester to Exit 61 on the Pennsylvania border opened to all traffic around 5 a.m. Wednesday.  State officials began shutting down a 75-mile stretch of the highway from Buffalo to Ripley in Chautauqua County on Monday afternoon, when blowing snow made driving treacherous.  That stretch of the Thruway was fully closed later that night, and the shutdown was extended to Exit 46 outside Rochester late Tuesday morning. The Buffalo section of Interstate 190, the Niagara Thruway, has also reopened after being closed Tuesday.

 

WJTN News Headlines


Dangerously cold wind chills will remain in western New York -- including Chautauqua County -- through mid-morning today.  However... they won't be as bad as yesterday morning.  That from Forecaster Tom Paone with the National Weather Service... who says they're continuing a Wind Chill Warning for the region through 9 AM.  Paone late Tuesday said part of the reason is the air temperature is going to remain below zero... and, he adds the winds remain strong out of the Southwest. By later today... he says we'll begin seeing a gradual warm-up.  It may reach 17 this afternoon... but, we'll be close to 50 over the weekend.  He says we may be looking at ice-jamming by then.  The Blizzard of 2014 has dropped a good two-feet of snow -- or more -- in parts of the north county into the Buffalo-area.

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the New York State Thruway Authority and New York State Department of Transportation are projecting that all roadways currently closed due to the extreme winter weather events in western New York will re-open at approximately 6 a.m. this morning, weather and conditions permitting. "Safety remains our top priority," Governor Cuomo said. Interstate 81 will remain closed from exit 34 to exit 48 in central New York until conditions there improve. This potential re-opening will take place only if Thruway and DOT determine that weather and travel conditions are safe for motorists. Crews have worked through the night in preparation of this potential re-opening. It is important to note that in the event of this potential re-opening, all motorists should proceed with caution as slippery road conditions may remain in certain areas. Motorists should also note that in the event of the re-opening of Thruway and DOT-maintained roads, travel bans may still be in place in some places. Thruway travelers are encouraged to visit www.Thruway.ny.gov for real-time updates.

 

A Buffalo man has been arrested for allegedly breaking into a home on Washington Street in Jamestown... and, assaulting a man and woman there Monday morning.  City police say they found the suspect... 47 year-old Edward Hough... allegedly chasing the woman when they arrived at the home in the 800-block of Washington shortly after 4 AM.  Officers accuse Hough of breaking in... and, assaulting the man with several household items -- destroying many of them.  Police say Hough also allegedly assaulted and strangled the woman to the point where she lost consciousness.  He was arrested on charges including first-degree burglary... second-degree assault... and, second-degree strangulation.  Hough is being held pending arraignment.

 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to deliver an election-year State of the State address touting tax breaks and economic successes. Today's speech marks the start of the legislative season in Albany and Cuomo has used the days leading up to it to preview policy proposals. The governor this week gave an early look at a sweeping $2 billion tax relief proposal that includes property tax rebates for homeowners in municipalities that meet tax thresholds and a cut in corporate tax rates. Cuomo also is expected to reveal new details of his plan to allow 20 hospitals statewide to prescribe marijuana for patients with cancer and other severe ailments.

 

Advocates for New York's poor are calling for a minimum wage of at least $10 to address what they call a state crisis of inequality. Rallying at the Capitol Tuesday in advance of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's state-of-the-state address, they say the state's richest 1 percent now account for 35 percent of all income in a disparity they say hasn't been seen since America's Great Depression. The Legislature and Cuomo last year raised the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8 this year, $8.75 next year and $9 by 2016. Assembly and Senate Democrats have proposed accelerating the increase and adding inflation adjustments. Other proposals are for New York to let municipalities set higher levels and raise minimums for workers who also earn tips.

 

The two newest members of the Jamestown City Council say they're excited about beginning work on the panel... although one was elected after first serving two decades ago.  Republicans Brent Sheldon and Tamara (TAM-er-uh) Dickey were sworn-in with the panel's other nine members last night.  Sheldon says he was pleased with the turn-out for the annual reorganizational meeting... despite the below-zero temperatures.  The First-Ward representative served one term previously in the mid-1990s.... and, says even with a 5-to-4 split favoring Democrats... they're all there to work for the betterment of Jamestown. Sheldon is quick to add, though, that lowering taxes will be difficult because there are four employee contracts that still have to be settled with the city.  Tamara Dickey is retired after working in the corporate world... and, is now teaching finance and economics at Lutheran Social Services.  Dickey says she's excited to be representing Ward-Three. Dickey says she wants to work for change in three-areas over the next two-years.  She says they are economic development, senior issues, and opportunities for youth.  In addition to working in corporate finance... Dickey worked at one time for WCA Hospital in Jamestown.

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he wants to simplify New York's tax code.  The governor wants to rid the code of provisions he calls a nuisance, such as the boxing and wrestling exhibitions tax, a tax on agricultural cooperatives and the stock transfer tax.  The proposals are part of a larger tax effort unveiled Monday that includes corporate income tax cuts and property tax freezes.  Cuomo says he also wants to raise the threshold for the filing of a personal income tax return from $4,000 to the level of the taxpayer's standard deduction. He said that would eliminate the need for 270,000 taxpayers to file a return.


 

News Update for Tues., Jan. 7, 2014


Wind Chill Warning extended until 9 a.m. Wednesday...

Dangerously cold wind chills will remain in western New York -- including Chautauqua County -- through mid-morning tomorrow.  However... they won't be as bad as this morning.  That from Forecaster Tom Paone with the National Weather Service... who says they're continuing a Wind Chill Warning for the region through 9 a.m.  Paone late Tuesday said part of the reason is the air temperature is going to remain below zero... and, he adds the winds remain strong out of the Southwest.  He says temperatures will still go down to about 5 to 5-below with strong winds.  A Lake Effect Snow Warning remainsin effect through 6 a.m. tomorrow.  However... Paone says a shift in the winds during the overnight moved the snow back into the north county... but, Paone says after another 3 to 5 inches of snow... it should begin tapering off.  By later tomorrow... he says we'll begin seeing a gradual warm-up.  It may reach 17 by tomorrow afternoon... but, we'll be close to 50 over the weekend.  He says we may be looking at ice-jamming by then.  The Blizzard of 2014 has dropped a good two-feet of snow -- or more -- in parts of the north county into the Buffalo-area.


Buffalo man arrested for assaulting city woman and man...

A Buffalo man has been arrested for allegedly breaking into a home on Washington Street in Jamestown... and, assaulting a man and woman there Monday morning.  City police say they found the suspect... 47 year-old Edward Hough... allegedly chasing the woman when they arrived at the home in the 800-block of Washington shortly after 4 a.m.  Officers accuse Hough of breaking in... and, assaulting the man with several household items -- destroying many of them.  Police say Hough also allegedly assaulted and strangled the woman to the point where she lost consciousness.  He was arrested on charges including first-degree burglary... second-degree assault... and, second-degree strangulation.  Hough is being held pending arraignment.

WJTN News Headlines


A Wind Chill Warning remains in effect as the winds picked-up across Chautauqua County last night... especially in the north county.  A Lake Effect Snow Warning took affect late Monday morning... and, continues until 6 AM Wednesday.  The National Weather Service says... after getting a few inches of snow during the day -- mainly to the north -- another 7 to 14 inches could fall in some areas... with more today.  That is making travel difficult... if not impossible in some areas.  Forecaster Aaron Reynolds in Buffalo adds the Wind Chills have plummeted the mercury to dangerous levels. Just after 10 PM last night... the actual temperature here at the Media One Studios reached 10-below zero without the Wind Chill.  With the Wind Chill... the Jamestown Airport was at 41-below at 11 last night.  Snow picked up late yesterday afternoon... but, we still haven't seen much more than an inch of the white stuff.  Again... the National Weather Service is continuing a Lake Effect Snow Warning now to 6 AM Wednesday.... and, a Wind Chill Warning until 6 PM Tuesday.

 

We shouldn't see a lot of Lake Effect Snow in the immediate Jamestown-area... but, temperatures are expected to drop below zero in most of Western New York through this morning.   A Wind Chill Warning runs through 6 tonight.  Chautauqua County Director of Public Health and Human Services Christine Schuyler says it's important to dress properly if you must venture out. Schuyler says you should also guard against such dangers as frost-bite and hypothermia.  She reminds residents that one of the best ways to keep yourself warm is wearing a hat. The National Weather Service is still calling for temperatures of 10 to 15-below through this morning... with Wind Chills of 35 to 40-below zero.

 

The county is also taking steps to help protect residents from the effects of this frigid Winter Storm.  County Executive Vince Horrigan is urging no unnecessary travel... and, to exercise extreme caution if you must.  In addition... the county's Emergency Operations Center in Mayville will be open tonight.  For emergencies... dial 9-1-1.  For other storm-related concerns... or more information... contact the center at 753-4341.

 

A stretch of the State Thruway that goes from Buffalo to the Pennsylvania border has been shut-down because of the Winter Storm that's moved into the region.  Beginning at 8 PM last night... all westbound vehicles on the Thruway will be detoured off the highway at Exit 50... and all eastbound traffic were detoured at Exit 61 in Ripley.  In addition... motorists to Pennsylvania and points west are being asked to exit the Thruway at Exit 46 near Rochester to Interstate 390 and then to Interstate 86 westbound into Pennsylvania.  The National Weather Service has posted lake-effect snow warnings through Wednesday south and east of Lake Ontario, with total accumulations of more than 3 feet possible.  States of emergency were declared in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Monroe, Oneida, Orleans, Oswego, Wayne and Wyoming counties.  Governor Cuomo has also activated the state Emergency Operations Center.

 

The man who has led the Jamestown City Council the past few years will remain in that capacity in 2014... and, he looks forward to tackling the challenges ahead with a new panel.  At-Large Democrat Greg Rabb was re-elected as Council President by the incoming panel during last night's re-organizational meeting.  Rabb says he's again excited to be working on the challenges that face the city... the first one being the city's finances and yearly budget. Rabb made his outgoing remarks during the 2013 end-of-year meeting that was suspended until last night's session... which was held prior to the re-organizational meeting.  He says the second challenge is re-building the downtown and neighborhoods... and, third is dealing with drug-related crime and domestic violence.  Rabb will lead a council that has a slim, 5-to-4 Democrat majority.  However... he says he's found most councilmembers in the past willing to set politics aside... and, work for what's best for the city. Rabb says while each member has an "D" or an "R" next to their name... all they think about is the letter "J"... for Jamestown.  Two new council members... Republicans Brent Sheldon and Tamara Dickey... were also sworn in for the next two-years.

 

Last Sunday night's fire that heavily damaged the front part of a North Main Street building housing The Pub and Lisciandro's Restaurant was electrical in nature.  Jamestown fire officials say the blaze originated near the front entrance to The Pub.  Jamestown firefighters were called to the scene at 209 North Main Street about 7:05 PM.  Fire Battalion Chief Roger Sigular says several passers-by called in the alarm.  He says first responding units found heavy smoke coming from all three floors of the building.  Sigular says crews found the bulk of the fire on the first-floor. However... Sigular says there was heavy smoke and fire damage to the front interior front part of The Pub... where the bar-area is located.  He says Lisciandro's Restaurant has some light smoke damage.  Sigular says it took about half-an-hour before they had the blaze under control.  Sigular says neither business was open at the time of the fire... and, no one was hurt.

News Update for Mon., Jan. 6, 2014


City police looking for would-be female bandit in connection with attempted robbery at East Second St. store...

Jamestown police are asking for the public's help in finding a woman who tried to rob the U.S. News Store on East Second Street yesterday morning.  City officers were called to the scene at 1377 East Second about 9:15 a.m., and, learned the unidentified white female entered the store... and, handed an employee behind the counter a note demanding money from the register.  However... the employee tried to engage the alarm... and, was shoved away from the counter by the female bandit.  The suspect then fled the scene -- without any money -- in a westerly direction from the plaza.  The woman is described as being in her late 20s to early 30s... and, was about 5'5" to 5'7" inches tall, and weighing about 120 pounds.  The suspect was also allegedly wearing a brown Carhart-style jacket with a brown winter hat and green scarf.  Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call city police at 483-7531... or the confidential tip-line at 483-8477.


Blaze that damaged The Pub, and Lisciandro's Restaurant determined to be electrical in nature...

Sunday night's fire that heavily damaged the front part of a North Main Street building housing The Pub and Lisciandro's Restaurant was electrical in nature.  That from Jamestown fire officials... who say the blaze originated near the front entrance to The Pub Jamestown firefighters were called to The Pub at 209 North Main Street about 7:05 p.m.  Fire Battalion Chief Roger Sigular says several passers-by called in the alarm.  He says first responding units found heavy smoke coming from all three floors of the building... which also houses Lisciandro's Restaurant.  Sigular says crews found the bulk of the fire on the first-floor... and, firefighters made a good stop on the flames.  He says there was heavy smoke and fire damage to the front interior front part of The Pub... where the bar-area is located.  He says Lisciandro's Restaurant has some light smoke damage.  There was some minor fire damage on the second and third floors.  Sigular says neither business was open at the time of the fire... and, no one was hurt.
 

WJTN News Headlines


Fire has damaged a pair of well-known businesses in downtown Jamestown... but, quick work by city firefighters prevented major, structural damage to those businesses.  Jamestown firefighters were called to The Pub at 209 North Main Street about 7:05 last night.  Fire Battalion Chief Roger Sigular says several passers-by called in the alarm.  He says first responding units found heavy smoke coming from all three floors of the building... which also houses Lisciandro's Restaurant.  Sigular says crews found the bulk of the fire on the first-floor. However... Sigular says there was heavy smoke and fire damage to the front interior front part of The Pub... where the bar-area is located.  He says Lisciandro's Restaurant has some light smoke damage.  Late last night... Sigular said investigators were still trying to determine the origin of the blaze... and, what triggered the fire.  He says it took about half-an-hour before they had the blaze under control.  Sigular says neither business was open at the time of the fire... and, no one was hurt.  In addition to the 10 on-duty firefighters and shift commander... Sigular says 18 more firefighters were later called in... along with another shift commander... to assist.

 

The coldest air seen in many years will be moving into the Jamestown-area later today.  It's from a storm that's dropped a few feet of snow... and, wind chill temperatures to 50-below zero in the upper Midwest.  The National Weather Service issued a High Wind Warning in advance of this system... and, a Lake Effect Snow Warning goes into effect at 11 this morning.  Forecaster Jeff Wood in Buffalo says the source of this frigid air is around the North Pole. While there is a Lake Effect Snow Warning in effect... Wood says we won't see much over an inch or two here in Jamestown.  However... he says places north and west -- including Dunkirk -- could see up to two-feet from this storm.  The biggest concern... though... will be tonight when a Wind Chill Warning goes into effect. Wood says overnight temperatures tonight -- without the Wind Chill factored in -- could fall to 10 to 15-below zero.  He adds that highs won't be much above zero on Tuesday.  Wood says we will have some moderation with highs reaching the teens on Wednesday.

 

A Sheriff's Department K-9 helped officers track down a Jamestown man who allegedly broke into a town of Kiantone home early Sunday morning.  Sheriff's officers say 19 year-old Steven Schrecengost broke into the home on Busti-Stillwater Road about 2:30 AM.  Deputies say the homeowner was awakened by his dogs barking... and, found Schrecengost in his kitchen.  The suspect refused to leave until the man told him that police were on the way.  Officers found foot tracks leading away from the residence... and, called in the K-9 unit.  K-9 Drago found Schrecengost hiding inside a shed on Norby Road.  He resisted arrest... and, kicked at the K-9... who eventually bit him.  Schrecengost was first turned over to Jamestown police on existing warrants... and, arraigned on several charges from the Kiantone incident.  They include second and third-degree burglary... and, criminal mischief.  Schrecengost was sent to the county jail on 10-thousand dollars bail.

 

A State Regents task force later this month will begin reviewing comments from the 20 public forums held across New York with an eye toward smoothing the way forward for the ongoing shift to more demanding learning standards.  The new Common Core also includes more rigorous student testing and teacher evaluations.  Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch says the forums may have been contentious... but, produced some good points.  One of those forums was held last December 4th in Jamestown.  State Education Commissioner John King, Junior, and Regents Chancellor Emeritus Robert Bennett were on hand for the local meeting.  About 500 people attended that session... which featured local speakers, and, several protestors who came from the Buffalo-Niagara region.

 

State Senator Cathy Young is organizing a rally to save Lake Shore Hospital at Silver Creek High School next Saturday... and, the public is strongly urged to attend.  It will begin at 12:30 PM... and, Young says she's hoping to see support like there was to keep the NRG Power Plant in Dunkirk operating.   The Olean Republican says she says Assemblymen Andy Goodell and Joe Giglio are co-hosting the event.  Several other elected officials are expected to take part.  Young adds that the Seneca Nation of Indians --  whose Cattaraugus territory is adjacent to Lake Shore Hospital -- will also have a large presence.  Young adds that, turn-out is the key in having maximum impact to save the hospital.  Lake Shore Hospital, one of the county's largest employers, employed about 460 people when the intent to close was announced in mid-October by parent organization Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York.

 

Opponents of New York's new gun law plan to appeal a federal judge's ruling late last week upholding its main provisions that banned sales of some popular semi-automatic rifles and large-capacity magazines.  The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association said Friday it has filed a notice of appeal with the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in the lawsuit that includes sportsmen's groups, firearms businesses and gun owners.  Separately, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says his office will defend Judge William Skretny's ruling, while also appealing his decision to strike down parts of the law.   Skretny found the 2013 law's seven-bullet limit for loading still legal 10-round magazines was ``arbitrary.''

 

 

 

News Update!! for Sun., Jan. 5, 2014


(**Bulletin)Fire and smoke damage long-time Jamestown night spot, and restaurant...

Quick work by Jamestown firefighters prevented major structural damage to a pair of well-known businesses in the 200-block of North Main St.  City fire crews were called to The Pub at 209 North Main about 7:05 p.m. Sunday.  Fire Battalion Chief Roger Sigular says several passers-by called in the alarm.  Sigular says first responding units found heavy smoke coming from the building... which also houses Lisciandro's Restaurant on arrival.  He says all three floors were fully-charged with smoke.  Firefighters first believed there might be more fire on the second-floor... but, found the bulk of it on the first.  Sigular says they were still trying to determine the origin of the blaze... and, what triggered the flames.  He says it took about half-an-hour before they had the blaze under control.  Sigular says there was heavy smoke and fire damage to the front interior front part of The Pub... where the bar-area is located.  He says Lisciandro's Restaurant has some light smoke damage.  Late Sunday... Sigular said investigators were still trying to determine the origin of the blaze... and, what triggered the fire.  He says it took about half-an-hour before they had the blaze under control.  Sigular says neither business was open at the time of the fire... and, no one was hurt.  In addition to the 10 on-duty firefighters and shift commander... Sigular says 18 more firefighters were later called in... along with another shift commander... to assist.

News Update for Sat., Jan. 4, 2013


(**Alert)Seven residences affected by BPU Water Main break...

The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities Water Division is working on a water main break that occured early this morning on Elam Avenue between Marion and Birch Streets.  BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says the break occured about 6 a.m., and, water is off to seven homes on Elam... between Martin and Marion Streets... while repairs are made.  Once the water is restored... water customers in that area will likely experience discolored water for 12 to 24 hours.  Robbins says affected residents should not do laundry until the water is clear in your house.  She adds, hopefully, repairs will be made by early afternoon... but, the timetable in main breaks is unpredictable.


Slight Warm Up and Lake Effect Snow Coming Our Way

There are no warnings, watches or advisories until next Monday and, that's when a signifcant Lake Effect event -- with sub-zero temperatures -- moves in.  Temperatures are expected to reach into the 30s this weekend, but again it won't last long.  National Weather Service Forecaster Bill Hibbert says it may reach 20-below zero in some areas overnight Tuesday.  Hibbert adds that with the next arctic blast there will be more lake effect snow. 


David Himelein Becomes New Majority Leader

Republicans may have a "Super Majority" in the newly downsized Chautauqua County Legislature, but their leader doesn't seem to be taking it for granted.  David Himelein of the Clymer-area has become the Legislature's new Majority Leader.  He says he looks forward to working closely with the six Democratic members.  Himelein replaces Larry Barmore as Majority Leader.  Barmore left the Legislature to run for County Clerk and, won election to that post.  Himelein expects the legislature to face some challenges in the year ahead including a possible vote on selling the County Home.  There are 13 Republicans on the panel for the next two years.


Waiver Approved for NYS Test

Some New York 7th and 8th grade students will have one less math exam to take after the state received a waiver from the federal government.  New York Education Commissioner John King, Jr sought the waiver so that advanced students who take the Math Regents exam in 7th or 8th grade can skip the general 7th or 8th grade State Math Assessment.  King says the decision affects nearly 60,000 students and is part of New York's efforts to reduce the amount of time students spend on tests.  Before the waiver, advanced math students have had to take both tests.


Farm Bill Close to a Deal

A 30 day extension is ready if it's needed but, local Congressman Tom Reed is hopeful that federal lawmakers will agree to a new, 5 year Farm Bill early this year.  Reed says a joint House-Senate Conference Committee is "very, very close."  The Corning Republican says he's been in contact with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas who is very optimistic a deal will be struck soon.  Reed adds this will be a priority item when they return to session after the Holidays.


Prices at the Pump

As 2014 begins, Jamestown-area gasoline prices increased just a fraction of a penny for regular, unleaded this week.  The AAA's Fuel Gauge Report says the price is now at $3.64 a gallon.  Nationally, AAA says the average price at the pump is $3.32 a gallon, which is the highest price on record for New Year's Eve.  This is the 4th consecutive year of record-breaking prices heading into the New Year.  The current price is 6-cents more expensive than one week ago. 

 

 

News update for Fri., Dec. 3, 2014


Warm up on the way for the weekend, but, we go back into deep freeze early next week...

There are no more Wind Chill Advisories... but, more wind chill issues are expected later tonight, and next week.  Forecasters also say get ready for the next weather rollercoaster.  Temperatures are expected to reach into the 30s this weekend... but, it won't last long.  That from National Weather Service Meteorologist Bill Hibbert... who says we'll see the lower 30s by Sunday.  However... by next Tuesday, the high temperatures may not even break zero.  Hibbert also says that -- with the next arctic blast -- will be more lake effect snow.  The Weather Service has already issued a Lake Effect Snow Watch for Monday morning through late Tuesday night.


County Legislature approves re-organizational meeting agenda, leadership...

A newly-downsized Chautauqua County Legislature is ready to begin the new year.  The legislature, now six members fewer, re-elected Jay Gould as the chairman during its annual organizational meeting.  He expects county lawmakers will have to deal with many challenges and issues in 2014... including the County Home -- and it's future.  He adds "fracking" may also be part of the mix.  During his brief acceptance speech... Gould says one important issue has already been addressed, the Dunkirk Repowering Project.  Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an agreement during a quick visit to Dunkirk in December.


King's requested waiver on State Math Assessment for Seventh and Eighth-graders approved...

Some New York seventh-and eighth-grade students will have one less math exam to take after the state received a waiver from the federal government.  New York Education Commissioner John King, Junior sought the waiver so that advanced students who take the math Regents exam in seventh- or eighth grade can skip the general seventh- or eighth-grade state math assessment.  King says the decision affects nearly 60,000 students and is part of New York's efforts to reduce the amount of time students spend on tests.  The waiver granted Thursday by the U.S. Department of Education was needed because federal law requires states to use the same assessments for all students in a grade.  Before the waiver, advanced math students have had to take both tests.


Reed feels final agreement on Farm Bill close...

A 30-day extension is ready if it's needed... but, local Congressman Tom Reed is hopeful that federal lawmakers will agree to a new, five-year Farm Bill early this year.  Reed says a joint House-Senate Conference Committee is "very, very close."  The Corning Republican says he's been in contact with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas... who is very optimistic a deal will be struck soon.  Reed adds this will be a priority item when they return to session after the Holidays.  He says the differences appear to be getting smaller everyday... including reforms such as to the Supplimental Nutrition Assistance -- or SNAP Program.  Republicans say it's grown tremendously in recent years -- due mainly the increasing number of people on food stamps.  Reed agrees that there's been a lot of "stop and start" on getting a new Farm Bill in place... but, he says they're making progress.  As an example... he cites the new, two-year budget agreement which was passed in both the House and the Senate.  Reed made his comments during this week's Telephone Conference call with Southern Tier Media.


 

WJTN News Headlines


A winter storm that has a bull's eye on the Northeast has brought several inches of snow to the Jamestown-area... but, some persistant snow areas may wind up with about a foot of new snow.  That snow is being followed, though, by bitterly cold temperatures with blustery conditions that will drop the wind chill factor to minus-15 to 20-below zero at times. Forcaster Bill Hibbert in Buffalo says the winds will become stronger later in the day... and, that will cause blowing and drifting snow.  Hibbert says that will make driving difficult.  Be sure to dress warmly.  The bitterly cold wind chills will pose a risk for frost bite and hypothermia for anyone outside, even for short periods of time.

 

Jamestown city plow crews have been working hard to keep up with the snowfall since late New Year's Eve.  That from Public Works Director Jeff Lehman... who adds that the colder temperatures of the past couple of days have made roads more slippery.  Lehman says... in addition to the snow... they've also been battling vehicles that aren't parked in the right place.  Lehman says alternate parking rules... which take effect at 10 AM each morning during the Winter... aren't being adhered to the way they should be. Lehman says vehicles should be moved to the odd-numbered side of the street on odd-numbered days... and, the even side on even-numbered days.  He and city police adds that parking on downtown streets is strictly prohibited between the hours of 2 AM and 7 AM each day... unless otherwise noted... to allow for effective snow removal from public parking areas.

 

A Jamestown man has been arrested for an alleged New Year's night break-in... and, pulling a knife on a resident on Barrows Street.  City police were called to the scene at 163 Barrows about 10:30 PM... and, quickly learned that 24 year-old Mario Adams was the suspect involved.  They accuse Adams of breaking in the door... and, holding the knife to the throat of the victim with children close by.  Officers say he ran off before they arrived... and, the JPD K-9 Mitchell was called in.  The dog track Adams to a home at 174-and-a-half Barrows Street... where he was arrested without incident.  He was arraigned on several charges... including first-degree burglary... second-degree menacing... and, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.  Adams was then sent to the county jail without bail.

 

Dunkirk police have now identified a suspect in their investigation into a shooting incident early New Year's Day in the 400-block of Swan Street.  Officers say 24 year old Traiquane (Tray-quan) Nance of Dunkirk was the alleged shooter.  Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano says police were called to the scene about 4 AM... and, found a male victim with a single gunshot wound to the hip.  Police say the unidentified victim was not seriously wounded... but, the case remains on-going. Ortolano says the victim was treated at the scene... and, taken to Brooks Hospital where he was treated and released for a "non-life threatening" wound.  Police are asking for the public's help in locating Nance... who they say should be considered armed and dangerous.  Anyone who sees him or knows of his whereabouts is encouraged to call Dunkirk Police at 366-2266... or their confidential tip-line at 363-0313.

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo New Year's Day pardoned three men he says deserve a second chance without criminal records.  Seymour Hunter of Manhattan, convicted in 1994 of attempted drug sale, finished rehab and probation and for 12 years has worked at a nonprofit housing elderly, low-income professionals and people fighting HIV.  A permanent U.S. resident, the 70-year-old seeks citizenship.  Gerardo Alvarez of Lake Peekskill, convicted in 2002 of drug possession, also seeks citizenship.  The 49-year-old, married to a U.S. citizen since 1986, has two children in college, held the same job for 25 years and is active in his church.  Rocco Paciello, of Clinton, was convicted in 1988 of statutory rape for sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend. They later married, raising two children. He retired from the military in 2007.

 

Just over a year after the former AFA Foods plant in Ashville closed down... county officials were able to work out a deal to sell the facililty to a new food processor in last October of 2013.  The purchase of the Route 474 property in the town of Harmony to Empire Specialty Cheese Company was our 4th big story of the year.  County Economic Development officials... and, the owners of Empire Specialty Cheese Company... were on hand to announce Empire's purchase of the 80-thousand square foot building.  Former County Executive Greg Edwards... who had been criticized for not sealing an earlier deal for a pet food maker to move in... said he was "thrilled" to announce the news. County Economic Development... and, Industrial Development Director Bill Daly... said they received help from the Empire State Development agency.... and, Office of Community Renewal to get the deal in place.  Daly says the project to convert the building to a cheese factory will cost about 6.37-million dollars. Empire Specialty Cheese owners Jerry and Tony Matese were on hand for the announcement... and expressed their excitement over the larger location... and, being able to expand their current line of two cheeses.
 

WJTN News Headlines


Chautauqua County officially has a new executive. County Court Judge John Ward administered the Oath of Office in Mayville yesterday to Bemus Point Republican Vince Horrigan before dozens of supporters and friends.  Now that he's County Executive... Horrigan announced the theme of his administration will be "Working Together to Grow Chautauqua County."  He says he came up with that after talking with previous executives Jack Glenzer, Andy Goodell, Mark Thomas, and Greg Edwards.  Horrigan then recalled a note Edwards left for him on his desk.
Horrigan was upbeat as he addressed the people on hand at the County Courthouse... saying there a number of "neat things" underway that need to be seen through to fruition.  He says that doesn't mean there won't be challenges, though. Horrigan says his theme came out of meetings with his transition team that was formed shortly after his election last November.  In addition to Horrigan... new County Clerk Larry Barmore and incumbant District Attorney David Foley were also sworn-in during Wednesday's inauguation.

 

In addition to the three county-wide officials... 11 members of the new Chautauqua County Legislature were sworn-in yesterday by Surrogate Court Judge Stephen Cass. Former Ellicott Town Board member Lisa Vanstrom is among the newcomers to the new, 19 member county legislature.  The legislature was down-sized prior to last November's election.  Both the Republican and Democratic leadership have met... and, incumbant Jay Gould of Ashville has been voted in as chairman again this year.  State Assemblyman Andy Goodell and State Senator Cathy Young addressed lawmakers after they took their oath of office... and, Goodell gave them three words of advice from Ghandi.  Be "truthful... courageous... and, gentle."  Goodell also urged lawmakers to remember the last few words of their oath... "so help me God...." Goodell first congratulated each lawmaker on their election or re-election... and, told them they have an "awesome responsibility."  Senator Young also congratulated each... calling the ceremony a "joyous celebration."  The county legislature will hold it's annual re-organizational meeting this afternoon in Mayville beginning at 4 PM in the Legislature Chambers.

 

While in Chautauqua County yesterday... Senator Young hosted an event at her Jamestown office to honor a retired World War-Two veteran for being received into the French National Order of the Legion of Honor.  The honor went to U-S Army PFC Basil Spitale... recognizing his "outstanding" record of military service during the war... especially his contributions to the liberation of France in 1944-45.  Young presented Private Spitale with the official medal of France's National Order of the Legion of Honor.  The Olean Republican says the National Order of the Legion of Honor is the highest decoration in France.  Appointment to the Order is awarded by the President of France for excellent civil or military conduct, as confirmed after official investigation by the French government.  Spitale served with the U-S Army from January of 1943 to January 1946 with the 7th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division.  After the war... Spitale returned to Jamestown, where he and his wife of 71 years, Ann, later raised their three sons.

 

Dunkirk police have identified a suspect in their investigation into a shooting incident early New Year's Day in the 400-block of Swan Street.  Officers say 24 year old Traiquane Nance of Dunkirk has been identified as the shooter. North county city police were called to the scene about 4 AM... and found a male victim with a single gunshot wound to the hip.  Police say the unidentified victim was treated at the scene... and, taken to Brooks Hospital for treatment of a "non-life threatening" wound.  Police are asking for the public's help in locating the shooter... and, how the incident began. Officers say Nance should be considered Armed and Dangerous and anyone who sees him or knows of his whereabouts is encouraged to call Dunkirk Police at 366-2266... or their confidential tip-line at 363-0313.

 

A pair of winter storms are heading for New York state... and, Governor Andrew Cuomo is urging downstate commuters to leave their cars home in case major highways are closed for Thursday's evening rush hours.  During a Wednesday conference call... Cuomo told reporters a storm system approaching from the west could drop a foot of snow on upstate New York -- while a coastal storm may bring heavy snow to New York City and blizzard conditions to Long Island.  Cuomo said ``mass transportation is a prudent option, given that highways may be closed.''  As the snow tapers off early Friday, Cuomo said brutal cold may complicate cleanup efforts. The National Weather Service says wind-chill temperatures may dip to 30 degrees below zero in northern New York.

 

Looking back at some of the top stories of 2013: Gerry Republican Larry Barmore defeated Jamestown Democrat Lori Cornell by more than 2-thousand votes to take the open, County Clerk's post.  Barmore was the County Legislature's Majority Leader.  He took some time to thank the people that helped get him elected. Democrat Lori Cornell conceded to Barmore... adding that she tried her best, and thanked her supporters.  She also said Barmore will do a "fine job."  Barmore replaces retiring five-term County Clerk Sandy Sopak.


 

News Update for Wed., Jan. 1, 2014


Horrigan sworn in as new County Executive...

Chautauqua County officially has a new executive.  County Court Judge John Ward administered the Oath of Office in Mayville Wednesday to Bemus Point Republican Vince Horrigan before dozens of supporters and friends.  Now that he's County Executive... Horrigan announced the theme of his administration will be "Working Together to Grow Chautauqua County."  He says he came up with that after talking with previous executives Jack Glenzer, Andy Goodell, Mark Thomas, and Greg Edwards.  Horrigan then recalled a note Edwards left for him on his desk that said -- "don't focus on the problem... focus on the solution."  He says by "working together" they will find solutions.  Horrigan was upbeat as he addressed the people on hand at the County Courthouse... saying there a number of "neat things" underway that need to be seen through to fruition.  He says that doesn't mean there won't be challenges, though.  But... he also believes the county's best days lie ahead.  In addition to Horrigan... new County Clerk Larry Barmore and incumbant District Attorney David Foley were also sworn-in during Wednesday's inauguation.


Eleven members of County Legislature also sworn in Wednesday...

In addition to Vince Horrigan... Larry Barmore... and, David Foley... 11 members of the new Chautauqua County Legislature were also sworn-in by Surrogate Court Judge Stephen Cass.  Incumbant Legislature Chairman Jay Gould of Ashville was among the lawmakers sworn-in during the ceremony at the County Courthouse.  Both the Republican and Democratic leadership have met... and, Gould has been voted in as chairman again this year.  State Assemblyman Andy Goodell and State Senator Cathy Young addressed lawmakers after they took their oath of office... and, Goodell gave them three words of advice from Ghandi.  First... he said "be truthful... courageous... and, "be gentle."  He congratulated each lawmaker on their election or re-election... and, told them they have an "awesome responsibility."  Senator Young also congratulated each... and, called the day a "joyous celebration."

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