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Local News Headlines Archives for 2013-12

News Update for Tues., Dec. 31, 2013


City lawmakers agree to new, 4-year contracts with Jamestown police and firefighters unions...

The city of Jamestown has reached an agreement on four-year contracts with each of it's biggest unions... and, avoided what would have likely been costly arbitration with both.  The City Council... at it's year-end meeting last night... unanimously approved pacts with both the city police and firemen's unions.  Both agreements were presented by Finance Committee Chairman Tony Dolce... who says it's a "big weight" off the city's shoulders.  Council President Greg Rabb says he was pleased because it deals with the past two years -- in which there were no contracts... and, the next two years.  Rabb also likes the wage increases of 7.5-percent for the life of both agreements.  He says the increases are within the range of what was budgeted, and a new "wellness" component will help save money on health care costs.  Dolce says the contracts include a 2-percent increase for 2012... no increase for this year... and, 2.75-percent in both 2014 and 2015.  He was pleased with that... because under arbitration... the city would likely have had to pay more -- in addition to the cost of arbitration.  Dolce adds that the agreements increase both unions health insurance contributions from 16 to 17-percent.  Dolce says both unions approved the settlements earlier.


It's going to be a cold, and snowy start to the New Year...

Another blast of cold air has invaded the area just in time for New Year's Eve activities -- and with it -- lake effect snow.  The National Weather Service has now issued a Lake Effect Snow Warning now through 1 a.m. New Year's Day for Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties.  Forecaster John Hitchcock in Buffalo says snowfall accumulations could add up to 4 to 8 inches in the more persistant snow band.  Besides the snow, strong winds out of the west at 20 to 30 mph with gusts of 40 are expected to accompany the snow and that could make driving difficult.  Hitchcock adds it doesn't appear that the threat of lake effect snow will disappear anytime soon.  A satellite photo taken Saturday showed much of Lake Erie still wide open with very little ice. 


Sheriff Gerace urges drivers to get back to using Winter driving skills...

County residents had to brush off their Winter driving skills again Monday with freezing drizzle, sleet and snow having fallen overnight Monday.  The chill-down came following a quick weekend warm-up... and, rain on Sunday.  Again... the National Weather Service has issued a Lake Effect Snow Warning through early New Year's Day.  While residents will be traveling to gatherings to usher in the New Year... Sheriff Joe Gerace warns drivers to beware of changable driving conditions.  Gerace says it's best to plan ahead... and, reduce your speed.  In addition to ice and snow... forecasters say the quick change-over lead to black ice in some spots of the region.  Gerace says... fortunately there were no major accidents despite the "challenging" conditions.  In addition to slowing down... he says says buckle-up your seat-belts... and, don't drink and drive.  Gerace says there were only a few cars reported off the road... and, other "fender-bender"-type accidents.  However... no injuries were reported. 


Leader of Chautauqua County Snowmobile Federation urges riders to stay off trails while their closed...

The head of the federation of Chautauqua County Snowmobile clubs is urging snow-sled riders to stay off the trails because they're not open.  Federation President Ray Head of Bemus Point says our recent thaws have left little to no snow on the trails... but, he adds they've had reports of people coming into the area... and, riding -- even though there was no snow last weekend.  Head says that's not legal... and, riders will face the consequences if they're caught.  Those consequences include being charged with trespassing on private land, and or having your sled impounded.  Head says the riders were apparently from out-of-town... and, parked their trailers on trail land... and, were able to find their way onto the trails.  He says that's dangerous... and, the local clubs stand to lose the right to use the private property because the owners won't stand for it.  Head urges patience... because colder weather and snow has arrived.  He says once they're ready to open... the clubs are usually able to get the word out quickly that they're open.


"Holiday Haul for St. Susan's" a Big success...

It was put together quickly... but, the first-ever "Holiday Haul for St. Susan's" was a huge success.  In fact... St. Susan's Center Director Sue Colwell says the results of the three-day fund-raiser and food drive were a "surprise."  Colwell says the final figures from the effort... put together by Jamestown Community College Athletic Director Keith Martin... raised more than $9,000... and, brought in over 7,300 pounds of food donations for Jamestown's largest Soup Kitchen.  Colwell recalled looking inside the collection truck they had in the parking lot of the Jamestown Cycle Shop the first-day... and, thinking the drive was already a success.  But... she says people kept coming with donations the next two days.  Colwell called it "just amazing."  The Cycle Shop was one of the sponsors... along with the Jamestown Mattress Company... which provided the 26-foot-long truck the non-perishable food items were put into.  The JCC Athletic Department... Jamestown Awning... Precision Scale and Balance... and, the Media One Group were also sponsors of the "Holiday Haul."


U.S. Supreme Court Justice to help ring in New Year...

The countdown to the new year in Times Square is getting some high-profile help -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.  The organizers of the annual celebration announced Sunday that Sotomayor will lead the final 60-second countdown and push the ceremonial button to signal the descent of the Times Square New Year's Eve ball.  Sotomayor was appointed to the court in 2009.  She is a native of the Bronx.
 

 

News Headlines for Mon., Dec., 30, 2013


Winter returns to WNY with cold temperatures and icy conditions....

Winter has returned to the Jamestown-area... and, all of Western New York... after a mild weekend and some rain yesterday.  The National Weather Service says cold air pushed in from the artic overnight.  Our temperature at the Media One Studios has dropped into the upper teens now.  However... snow... and, some severe icing has become a problem in the region.  Forecaster John Hitchcock adds -- with the change-over -- there is black ice in spots across the region.  chautauqua County Sheriff's Officers say there is severe icing in the north and western parts of the county.  While several cars have gone off the road... there have been no serious incidents or injuries.  In Cattaraugus County... there is also severe icing and snow in the north and central portions of our neighbors to the east.  In fact... the icing is so bad... authorities have closed Route 219 between Ellicottville and the Erie County line.


Jackie Robinson's Daughter to speak at Chautauqua Sports HOF Induction Dinner...

The daughter of a baseball legend will be the feature speaker at next February's 33rd annual Chautauqua County Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet in Lakewood.  Hall of Fame President Randy Anderson announce late last weekend that Sharon Robinson, daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, will be on hand for the event at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club on Feb. 17.  Anderson says -- quote -- "We are excited to have Sharon as the guest speaker for our induction dinner.  The impact of Jackie Robinson on the game of baseball and race relations in America cannot be overstated."  He adds that to have Sharon Robinson on hand to reflect on her experiences growing up as Jackie's daughter will be a special opportunity for county residents.  Sharon Robinson captivated readers with her memoir "Stealing Home," her recounting of growing up in the public eye, and Jackie's Nine, a book for young readers about the nine heartfelt, hard-won values that helped her father achieve his goals.  For ticket information... call Chip Johnson at 485-6991.  The price per ticket is $50.  CSHOF members receive a $5 discount.         


Search for copper wire thieves still on-going in Jamestown...

Jamestown police are still looking for whoever stole wiring used for city Fire Department box alarms late last week... and, the bucket truck they allegedly used to do it.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the suspect or suspects are reportedly using a white-colored truck to get access to the wires on utility poles... then disconnecting the wires.  Samuelson says they were alerted by fire officials late last Friday morning... after they checked out what appeared to be a box alarm malfunction in the West 10th Street area.  He says several witnesses saw the truck... which he says had orange lettering on it.  In addition to West 10th Street... Samuelson says they had reports of the truck being in the Isabella, Clinton, and Lafayette Street areas.  He says when the wire was cut... it triggered an alarm at the fire department's Station-One.  Samuelson says one person told them they saw the truck in their area "all morning long" prior to the thefts.  He says similar incidents reported in the area of Willard, and Barrows Streets, and Benedict Avenue were also investigated.  If you have any information on the case... call JPD at 483-7537... or their anonymous tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


City man arrested for allegedly dealing Heroin in the city...

A Jamestown man is jailed for allegedly selling a quantity of heroin to undercover drug agents over the past several months.  City police say they began investigating 31 year-old Maurice Hough after getting a number of citizen complaints.  Officers say members of the JPD Drug Enforcement Unit were assisted by the State Police C-NET Team.  Hough was arrested without incident... and, arraigned on three counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance.  He was sent to the county jail without bail.  If you have any information on drug activity in the city... you're encouraged to call the JPD confidential Tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


Cherry Creek woman hurt in one-car crash in Villanova...

A Cherry Creek woman is being treated for non-life threatening injuries following a one-car, rollover crash in the town of Villanova.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on the South Dayton-Silver Creek Road shortly before 3 p.m. Friday.  Deputies found the driver... 20 year-old Jane Schimek... was southbound when she lost control of the vehicle on the snow slicked road.  Officers say the vehicle went onto the shoulder... and, struck a large tree before rolling onto it's side... and, coming to rest against a barn.  Schimek was taken to Lakeshore Hospital in Irving for treatment of her injuries.  No charges were filed.


Lack of action on Gas Drilling Ban in NYS frustrating drilling interests...

As another year closes with a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in New York... and no timetable for Governor Andrew Cuomo to decide whether to lift it... drilling interests have all but given up on the state for the near future.  Cuomo has said he wants his health and environmental commissioners to take all the time they need to decide whether fracking can be done safely.  Dozens of towns have enacted their own moratoriums in case the state does approve fracking.


 

News Update for Fri., Dec. 27, 2013


(**News Alert)City police investigating large theft of Alarm Wire...

Jamestown police are looking for the person or persons who allegedly stole about one-thousand feet of wiring for city Fire Department Box alarms from several westside locations.  Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the suspect or suspects are reportedly using a white bucket truck to get access to the wires on utility poles... then disconnecting the wires for the theft.  Samuelson says one report had the wires being taken down in the areas of Isabella, Clinton, Lafayette, and West 10th Streets.  He says when the wire was cut... it triggered a "malfunction" alarm at the Jamestown Fire Department... which discovered one of the thefts.  One source told police they saw the truck in the area "all morning long" prior to the larceny.  Samuelson adds they have also learned the truck had orange lettering.  The alarm wiring is made of copper.  Similar incidents are also being investigated in the area of Willard, Barrows and Benedict Avenues of the city.  Police are asking for the public's help in the investigation.  You can call 483-7537... or the anonymous tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477 if you have any information on the incidents.

News Headlines for Fri., Dec. 27, 2013


State's Minimum Wage to increase to $8 at end of year...

New York's minimum wage will increase to $8 an hour at the end of this year... which is 75 cents higher than the federal minimum and the old state rate.  It's the first of three incremental boosts approved by the Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo when they approved the state budget last March.  The minimum for most workers will increase to $8.75 an hour a year later and to $9 an hour a year after that.  However, the minimums for workers in the restaurant and hospitality industry who get tips may remain $5 an hour, with employers able to raise the maximum tip credits to $3 an hour the first year... $3.75 the second... and, $4 after that for service workers whose combined tips and wages meet or exceed the new higher minimums.


"Red Ribbon" campaign underway on NYS Thruway...

The New York State Thruway Authority and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are kicking off their annual ``red ribbon'' campaign against drunken driving.  Officials say 65,000 red ribbons will be handed out to Thruway drivers across New York state today.  The red ribbon campaign is MADD's longest running public awareness project.  The foot-long red ribbons are meant to be displayed on vehicles as a reminder of the danger of driving while impaired and to encourage people to drive sober, safely and buckled up.  The Thruway Authority will also be posting MADD's reminder to ``Drive Safely, Stay Sober'' on message boards throughout the Thruway system from Friday to Monday.


Gerace says new Emergency Radio System project underway, and on schedule...

A major, almost two-year project to upgrade Chautauqua County's emergency radio system is underway... and, the project is on-schedule.  That from Sheriff Joe Gerace... who says the county received a $6-million state grant earlier this year to help cover the cost of re-building the system.  Gerace says Motorola is the primary vendor... and, the project is to be complete by May of 2015.  He adds, though, there's a lot to be done... including finding the right frequency for the system.  He says one of their biggest challenges have to do with available frequencies because not only do they have to deal with the FCC, but, the Canadian government as well.  Gerace says State Police in Jamestown and Fredonia will be part of the system now that the county is handling dispatching... and, troopers are using the same radio frequency.  He says that's good because they'll be able to stay in close communication with that agency as well.  Fire, police, and EMS will also eventually be on the system.  Gerace says the county's current emergency radio dispatch system dates back to the 1970s... and, he adds it has several "dead spots."


Dunkirk man arrested for allegedly selling cocaine to undercover police agents...

A Dunkirk man has been arrested for allegedly selling cocaine to undercover police in the north county city over the past several months.  Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force agents say 27 year-old Daniel Melendez was arrested by Dunkirk Police on Christmas Day at his Franklin Avenue home.  Task Force members say Melendez was arrested without incident on warrants issued after he was indicted by the county Grand Jury.  Authorities say he was wanted on multiple counts of third-degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance... and, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance.  Melendez was indicted after District Attorney David Foley's office presented information from task force members that he sold the drug to them.  He was sent to the county jail... pending his arraignment in County Court.  Task Force members are encouraging members of the community to call either the Task Force at 1-800-344-8702... or local police when they observe narcotics-related activity in their area. 


Gas prices holding steady in Jamestown-area at year ends...

Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area are holding steady during the end-of-year holiday period.  The AAA's Fuel Gauge Report says the price locally continues to hover at just over $3.62 a gallon for regular, unleaded.  On the National front... AAA says the average price of gas had been edging higher in the days leading up to Christmas.  Today's national average price at the pump is just under $3.26 per gallon.  That's up nearly 4-cents from last week... due mainly to refinery issues.

 

 

News Headlines for Thurs., Dec. 26, 2013


Lake Effect Snow Advisory in effect for Jamestown-area starting late Thursday morning...

Expect more lake effect snow for the next day or so.  The National Weather Service has issued a Lake Effect Snow Advisory from 10 this morning until 10 a.m. Friday.  We may see 1 to 3 inches of snow fall today... and another 3 to 5 inches tonight.  Meteorologist Tom Paone in Buffalo says a storm system moving across the area today will trigger the next round of lake effect.  Paone says a "weak low" pressure troth moving in that will bring a surge of colder air over Lake Erie.  Storm totals from this latest lake effect event will reach 4 to 8 inches in the most persistent lake snows.  West winds will also lower visibility to a half mile at times... so drivers will want to use extra caution during their travels, especially during the evening commute.


City man jailed without bail for allegedly stealing two, high-priced jewelry items from downtown store...

A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly trying to steal two pieces of jewelry -- valued at nearly $2,300 -- from a downtown store on Christmas Eve.  City police say officers were called to Carlson's Jewelry at 31 North Main St. about 3 p.m. for a reported robbery in progress.  Once they arrived at the scene... police learned that 46 year-old Steven Riley had gone into the store... and, asked to see the two pieces of jewelry.  While he had them in his hand... store personnel say Riley quick left the store.  However... he was stopped by store employees outside... and, detained until officers arrived.  The jewelry was worth $2,295 total.  Riley was arraigned on charges of fourth-degree Grand Larceny... and criminal possession of stolen property... and sent to the county jail without bail.


City woman arrested in alleged domestic incident over turned-off crockpot...

An argument over turning off a crock-pot in an apartment on Jamestown's southside led to a stabbling early Christmas morning that's left a city man with an arm wound... and, a woman jailed.  City police were called to 59 Prospect Street just after 12:30 a.m. on a report of a stabbing.  On arrival... officers learned that 21 year-old Bridget Putnam had become angry over the fact the male victim had turned off the applicance.  Police say Putnam allegedly chocked the man... then stabbed him in the left arm with a kitchen knife.  Officers arrested the woman on charges including second-degree assault... and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation.  Putnam was jailed pending arraignment in city court.


Hot oil boiling over blamed in Falconer Street fire; tenants being helped by relatives and Red Cross...

The tenants of a two-story apartment house on Jamestown's eastside are getting help from relatives and the Red Cross after an accidental blaze extensively damaged their building.  City Fire investigators say hot oil catching fire on a first-floor stove is the apparent cause of the blaze... which was called in shortly before 10 p.m. Monday at 420 Falconer St.  City Fire Lieutenant Phil Hanlon says Engine-4 was the first responding unit... and, found heavy fire showing from one side of the house.  Hanlon says two other trucks responded shortly after Engine-4 to assist at the scene.  The blaze was out in about 10 minutes.  Hanlon says the residents were fortunate to get away after trying to put out the fire themselves.


State Police part of nationwide "Drunk Driving, Over the Limit, Under Arrest" campaign...

New York State Police part of a national crackdown on drunk driving during the Christmas and New Year's holiday season.  The goal of the initiative ``Drunk Driving, Over the Limit, Under Arrest'' is to maximize DWI enforcement efforts to prevent motorists from being injured or killed by an intoxicated or drug-impaired driver.  Data show the holiday season is a particularly deadly time because of the increased number of drunk drivers on the roads.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that just over 32,000 people were killed nationwide in motor vehicle traffic crashes.

 

News Update for Tues., Dec. 24, 2013


Hot cooking oil boiling over triggers house fire on Falconer Street...

Hot oil catching fire on a first-floor stove is the apparent cause of a blaze that extensively damaged an apartment house late Monday night on Jamestown's eastside.  City Fire Lieutenant Phil Hanlon says crews were called to the scene at 420 Falconer Street shortly before 10 p.m., and, the first responding unit found a lot of fire and smoke when they arrived.  Hanlon says Engine-4's crew also reported that all the tenants had safely escaped the house.  He says two other trucks responded shortly after Engine-4 to assist at the scene... and, crews had the flames under control in about 10 minutes.  However... he says fire damage on the first floor was extensive... and, there was heat damage to the second.  There was also a basement apartment.  Hanlon says the residents were fortunate to get away after trying to put out the fire themselves.  He says a pot of cooking oil boiled over on the stove.  In addition to the tenants... there were no firefighter injuries.  Hanlon says an off-duty shift was called in to assist at the scene.  Firefighters were at the scene until about 1:20 a.m. Tuesday to overhaul the scene... and, investigate the cause.

WJTN News Headlines


City Fire Crews were called to fight a fire at 420 Falconer Street around 10pm Monday night.  Jamestown Police report that there were no injuries and the fire started as a grease fire.  We'll have more details when they become available.

 

Wintry weather has returned to the Chautauqua region after a round of round of warm conditions with heavy rain and flooding last weekend.  However... the National Weather Service has discontinued a Lake Effect Snow Watch that was scheduled to take effect late last night.  Forecaster John Hitchcock in Buffalo says the latest weather information shows the winds will be coming out of the north--northwest... meaning areas to our south and west will get more of the white stuff. In fact... Hitchcock says Erie County, Pennsylvania... and, in northeast Ohio-areas are now under Lake Effect Snow Warnings.  He says if you're traveling that way... drive with caution.  Hitchcock said late Monday that we'll see up to two-inches of snow overnight... and, 1 to 3 inches tooday... so Winter is back.  That also means we'll likely have a White Christmas with highs today only reach the mid to upper teens... and, the upper 20s on Christmas Day.  Initially... forecasters were calling for snowfall totals locally of about 7 inches or greater possible in a narrow area of the county.

 

There are four partial road closings due to the melting snow and warm temperatures of the past weekend.  The Chautauqua County Department of Public Facilities says Water Street between Route 394 and Elmwood Avenue in the town of Ellicott is closed due to flooding.  DPF officials add that Kabob Road between Route 380 and Waterman Road in the town of Stockton is also closed due to flood waters.  The third closing is Ross Mills road between Route 380 and the Gerry-Levant Road in the town of Ellicott... and, the fourth is the Poland Center Road between Route 394 and Route 62 in the town of Poland.  DPF officials say the closings will remain in effect until the barricades are removed.

 

About 25-thousand utility customers in western and northern New York remain without electricity after a weekend ice storm knocked tree limbs onto power lines.  Most of the outages early Monday afternoon are National Grid customers... including 11-thousand-700 in Jefferson County on Lake Ontario's eastern shore.  About 75-hundred outages were still reported in Erie, Niagara and Orleans counties.  About 50-thousand customers lost power after ice began coating trees Saturday from the Buffalo area to the North Country.

 

New York's health exchange has extended the sign-up deadline for insurance coverage starting January 1st by one day... giving applicants until shortly before midnight Tuesday.  The exchange -- dubbed "New York State of Health" -- reports that by Monday morning, nearly 422-thousand people have completed applications for individual or family coverage.  Officials add that 188-thousand-546 of them have enrolled in a plan.  Locally... more than 300 were enrolled in October and November through the Navigator Program at Chautauqua Opportunities, Incorporated.  Supervisor Melanie Booth says the site is fairly easy to navigate... but, it takes time. Booth says... if you do it on your own... make sure to have all you information that you need... including projected income... and, health care needs and expenses for the coming year.  They include 136,783 with a commercial or non-profit insurer and 51,763 in government-funded Medicaid.  Over the past week... almost 60-thousand more people completed applications... and 53-thousand enrollmed.  For more information... contact COI at 661-9430.

 

The Chautauqua County Humane Society and Ellicott Town Police are asking for the public's help in solving a burglary in which the day's receipts were stolen from the Humane Society's Thift Store.  Community Relation's Director Edwin Rodriguez with the Humane Society says someone broke into the store between the close of business last Friday, December 20th... and, the open of business Saturday... and, took all the cash from the register.  If you have any information... call Ellicott Police at 665-7083... or the Humane Society at 665-2209.

 

Three men from central Chautauqua County have been arrested in connection with the theft of a significant amount of scrap metal from a town of Stockton location last September.  Sheriff's officers say 29 year-old Christopher Harding of Sinclairville... and, a pair of 23 year-olds, Peter McTaggart, Junior of Sinclairville and Frank Orazio of Stockton... were taken into custody last weekend.  They allegedly took the items from a Bear Lake Road location back on September 21st.  The trio has been charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, petty larceny... and, criminal trespass.  McTaggart and Orazio were issued appearance tickets for Stockton Town Court.  Harding... who is currently in the Chautauqua County Jail on unrelated charges... will appear in Stockton Town Court at a later date.

 

It's Christmas Eve... and, that means it's the final day of the Salvation Army of Jamestown's annual Red Kettle Campaign.  Bellringer Coordinator Major Richard Best says they still need some bellringers for today at various locations.  Best told us yesterday that those slots include some major locations. Wal-Mart has the two, lone outside kettles.  Best said were two hours available from 4 to 6 PM today at the Chautauqua Mall.  But... you can sign up for just an hour if that's all the time you have.  Salvation Army Captain John Merchant says -- going into today -- they're about 10-thousand dollars behind the 100-thousand dollar goal for this year's effort.  However... Best says the response has been great... with more than 300 volunteers ringing the bells so far.  If you have an hour or two available today... and, haven't had a chance to ring the bells yet... call the Salvation Army at 664-4108.

 

 

 

News Update for Mon., Dec. 23, 2013


After weekend of near record warmth, and rain, Lake Effect Snow to return...

After a round of heavy rain and flooding... the weather is switching back to more seasonal conditions.  The National Weather Service has issued a Lake Effect Snow Watch from late tonight through Tuesday evening for Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties.  Forecaster Dave Thomas in Buffalo says colder air will be returning to the area, setting the stage for lake effect.  By late tonight and early tomorrow... Thomas says a band of snowfall will form over Lake Erie, and cross into Chautauqua County.  He says snowfall totals of 7 inches or greater are possible in some places.  While the snow will be a narrow band... the strength and location of the band is still uncertain.


Three men arrested for allegedly stealing scrap metal from Stockton location...

Three men from central Chautauqua County have been arrested in connection with the theft of a significant amount of scrap metal from a town of Stockton location last September.  Sheriff's officers say 29 year-old Christopher Harding of Sinclairville... and, a pair of 23 year-olds, Peter McTaggart, Jr. of Sinclairville and Frank Orazio of Stockton... were taken into custody last weekend.  They allegedly took the items from a Bear Lake Road location back on September 21st.  The trio has been charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, petty larceny... and, criminal trespass.  McTaggart and Orazio were issued appearance tickets for Stockton Town Court.  Harding... who is currently in the Chautauqua County Jail on unrelated charges... will appear in Stockton Town Court at a later date.


COI Navigator Supervisor says today's the day you have to be enrolled in NYS Health Exchange...

New Yorkers whose health insurance policies were cancelled because of federal health care reform... or, don't have insurance are facing today's deadline to pick a replacement plan if they don't want a lapse in coverage.  Today is the last day people can buy a plan through the New York "State of Health" on-line insurance marketplace -- if they want coverage to be in effect on New Year's Day.  Locally... sign-ups have gone well through Chautauqua Opportunities, Incorporated's Navigator Program... which was established to help people get coverage.  Supervisor Melanie Booth says they will help you get coverage through the state's exchange.  Booth says states had the option of being part of the federal program, or setting up their own exchange.  New York decided to have it's own, along with 35 other states.  In fact... Booth says they beat their October and November projections by signing up more than 300 individuals and families.  She says it usually takes about an hour for you to sign up through one of COI's three navigators.  Booth says the site is "user-friendly..." but, takes some time to navigate because you need to prove your identity.  You can get to the website by Googling "New York State of Health."  For more information... call COI at 661-9430.


Investigation underway into Humane Society Thrift Store burglary...

Officials with the Chautauqua County Humane Society and Ellicott Town Police are asking for the public's help in the wake of a burglary at the Humane Society's Thrift Store on Fairmount Avenue.  Society Community Relation's Director Edwin Rodriguez says someone broke into the store between the close of business last Friday, December 20th... and, the open of business on Saturday, the 21st.  The burglars took Friday's proceeds from the cash register.  Those proceeds help keep the Humane Society operating, and, to adopt out the pets.  The Human Society calls it a "devastating loss..." and, their asking the community's help.  If you have any information... call Ellicott Police at 665-7083.  You can also call Humane Society Director Jeff Lubi at 665-2209.

 

WJTN News Headlines


Utilities are working to restore electricity to tens of thousands of customers in northern and parts of western New York after freezing rain coated trees with about an inch of ice... snapping limbs that brought down power lines.  However... while Chautauqua County officials were ready... there were no problems in the north county along the Cattaraugus, Walnut and Silver Creeks.  County Emergency Services Director Julius Leone said last night there was some ice jamming on Walnut and Silver Creek... but, that was cleared out late Friday night.  Leone adds it never became an issue on Cattaraugus Creek.  Temperatures reached 60 degrees in the Jamestown-area Sunday.  However... there were major icing problems in northern parts of Buffalo and Niagara County yesterday.

 

A Mayville man has been arrested for allegedly stealing several items from a Valley Street home in the village over the past weekend.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene about 7:30 AM Saturday for a burglary in progress.  However... the alleged suspect -- 28 year-old Joshua Powell -- fled the scene before police arrived.  Deputies say they were able for find Powell behind a business in Mayville.  They determined that Powell did not have permission to be in the home... and, had taken a number of pieces of property.  After arresting the suspect... officers allegedly found him in possession of a controlled substance.  Powell was arraigned on charges including second-degree burglary... and criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, sent to the county jail on 10-thousand dollars cash bail.

 

Some key recommendations have come out already from Chautauqua County Executive-Elect Vince Horrigan's nine-member transition team.  Horrigan named the team not long following his election to the county's top-elected post.  The Bemus Point Republican says he's had "much discussion" with each of the panel's nine members.... and, says the key will be implementation of those recommendations.  Horrigan says the first one came out clearly in those discussions.  That is the need to bring people together from all across the county to help push economic development and job creation. But... at the same time... Horrigan says you can't say too much too early about some projects in the beginning stages because that may "kill the deal."  But... he says there needs to be confidence instilled in local residents that "positive" developments are underway.  In fact... Horrigan says there are now 60 such projects underway in the county.  Some of those... he says... have come out the governor's "Start-UP New York" program involving the SUNY College at Fredonia... and, Jamestown Community College.  Horrigan made his comments on our "Community Spotlight" program last weekend.

 

New York residents who haven't registered yet for a property tax break are about to get automated telephone calls reminding them that the December 31st deadline is coming up.  The state tax department will be notifying about 620-thousand homeowners who haven't registered yet for Basic STAR, including more than 210-thousand in New York City.  It says 2-million have registered.  The state set the December 31st deadline to re-register for STAR as part of a program to weed out anyone claiming the exemption on properties other than their primary residence. 

 

Three former aides have accused New York state Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak (GAB'-ruh-Zack) of sexual harassment.  Gabryszak's former communications director and two other aides say in legal documents that they reported inappropriate behavior to their supervisor, but he failed to take any action.  All eventually quit.  A phone message left at Gabryszak's Albany office wasn't initially returned yesterday. 

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo says a state assemblyman accused of sexual harassment should resign if the allegations are true. Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak was accused in a legal filing Thursday of repeatedly subjecting three aides to sex talk.  The women say he told them they should wear bikinis, made salacious comments about his genitalia... and, sent one woman a video in which he appeared to be engaged in a sex act.  Phone calls to Gabryszak's offices were not returned.

 

The first-ever "Holiday Haul for St. Susan's" to re-stock the soup kitchen's shelves... and, raise needed funding was a "wonderful success."  That from organizer Keith Martin... athletic director at Jamestown Community College... who said it was "time" for him to give back to the community.  Martin camped out during the day-time hours in the parking lot of the Jamestown Cycle Shop with a Jamestown Mattress Company truck.  He accepted food donations... and, money from local residents all day Thursday, Friday, and part of Saturday. Martin says they were able to fill the truck with dozens of items... from boxes of pasta... to bottled water... and, cans of fruits and vegetables.  He says young people even dropped off pennies.  St. Susan's Center Executive Director Sue Colwell was "very excited..." and, grateful.  Colwell was especially grateful to Martin... who came up with the idea about three weeks ago.  It's not clear yet how much money was raised... but, Martin was pleased with the response.  Two school groups presented 500-dollar checks each.

 

A Silver Creek man is jailed for allegedly pulling a large pocket knife... and, threatening his girlfriend with it early last weekend.  Sheriff's Deputies accuse 55 year-old David Sodaro of breaking a front door window to get into his residence at 6 Jaekle Avenue.  Officers say Sodaro then pulled out the pocket knife... and, started waving it in a threatening manner at the woman.  Deputies say he then threatened his girlfriend further by throwing the knife so it stuck in the floor.  They add Sodaro is also accused of intentionally breaking a large window at the front of the home.  Sodaro was arraigned in the Silver Creek Village Court... and, sent to the county jail on 4-thousand dollars bail.

WJTN News Headlines


Call it our "December Thaw."  Our weather has already changed and will continue to change over the coming weekend.  That from Forecaster Dave Zaff at the National Weather Service in Buffalo... who says a Flood Watch has been issued for the entire region... beginning this afternoon.  Zaff says a surge of warm, moist air is moving in from the Pacific Southwest and the Gulf of Mexico.  He says temperatures will be around the mid-40s today... then rise to about 54 Sunday.  He adds we'll see a LOT of rain now through Sunday night. Zaff says today through Sunday... the region will see 1 to 2 inches of rain.  He adds we'll be on the southern side of a frontal boundary over the weekend... so we'll just see rain, and, with the projected snowmelt... the strong likelyhood of flooding.  He says that means residents living around places like Cattaraugus Creek... and, Silver Creek need to watchful. Zaff says the worst chance for flooding will be on Sunday... through Monday Morning.  However... he says we'll get a shot of colder air starting late Sunday night... and, we'll be back to temperatures around freezing and scattered snow showers on Monday.  Zaff says any flood waters should be receeding by then.

 

Local first responders... especially in the north county... will be keeping a close eye on area waterways during the weekend.  Chautauqua County Emergency Services Director Julius Leone says it's important for people to be prepared should any flooding occur.  Leone says they will stay in communiction with people in those areas like Cattaraugus Creek... and, Sunset Bay... where ice jam flooding tends to occur. While there are obvious places to keep an eye on... Leone says there are others that may not be so obvious -- such as local ponds, and low-lying areas.  Leone says first responders are aware of the situation and ready to go at a moment's notice should waters begin the rise. 

 

The New York Power Authority Board of Trustees approved the 2014 Operating Budget this past week.  Officials say it will result in an investment of 16 power plants and transmission facilities critical to cost effective energy efficiency projects.  The budget will prioritize infrastructure upgrades and new tecnologies while preserving competitive power rates, which benefit New York businesses as well as support thousands of jobs.  For more information and to view the entire budget, it is available on the NYPA website at www-dot-NYPA-dot-gov.

 

Much progress is being made by Chautauqua County Executive-Elect Vince Horrigan's transition team.  Horrigan named the team not long following his election to the county's top-elected post.  The Bemus Point Republican says he's had "much discussion" with each of the nine-members.... and, says the key will be implementation of the recommendations they make.  As for his department heads... only one appears to be set with Gary Chilcott recently named director of Veteran's Services. The momentum Horrigan is talking about is current efforts that have come to fruition... or, are nearly in place.  He says the first one is obviously the the deal announced by Governor Cuomo to move ahead with the NRG Re-powering project in Dunkirk.  Another is the purchase of the current Ramada Inn in downtown Jamestown by the Hamister Group from the Buffalo area. Commenting during this week's 'Community Spotlight' program... Horrigan says one of the key recommendations of the transition team has been bringing people together to get the county's economy going again.  He says that means getting people from the north and south... and, east and west... working together.

 

Chautauqua County legislators this week honored two key county leaders who did not seek re-election in November.  County Clerk Sandy Sopak is retiring from the office she has held since 1994.  Sopak began her tenure before the computerization of records... and, electronic imaging of documents. Former County Executive Greg Edwards wrapped up nearly eight years as the county's top-elected official last month to become the CEO of the Gebbie Foundation.  He thanked the County Legislature for working with him to "accomplish a lot."  Edwards says the acknowledgement "means a lot."  Both Sopak and Edwards were presented with commendations from the County Legislature... and, received standing ovations.

 

When it comes to phrases that annoy, it looks like it's ``whatever'' forever.  Pollsters at Marist College found that Americans considered ``whatever'' to be the most annoying word or phrase in conversation for a fifth straight year.  Thirty-eight percent adults polled said ``whatever'' was most annoying in conversation, followed by ``like'' at 22 percent and ``you know'' at 18 percent.  Bringing up the rear were ``just sayin,''' and ``obviously.''  The telephone poll of more than 11-hundred adults living in the continental United States was conducted December 3rd through December 5th... and, has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

News Update for Fri., Dec. 20, 2013


Most of WNY -- including Chautauqua County -- under Flood Watch Saturday through Sunday night...

We're into a "late December Thaw."  The cold and snow has changed over to warmer temperatures and rain... and, there's a strong chance of flooding over the coming weekend.  That from Forecaster Dave Zaff at the National Weather Service in Buffalo... who says a Flood Watch has been issued for the entire region... beginning Saturday afternoon.  Zaff says a surge of warm, moist air is moving in from the Pacific Southwest and the Gulf of Mexico.  He says temperatures will be around 45 Saturday... and, about 52 by Sunday.  He adds we'll see a lot of rain now through Sunday night... in fact, he says it may be a record amount -- especially Saturday night.  Zaff says on Saturday into Sunday morning... the region will see 1 to 2 inches of rain.  He adds we'll be on the southern side of a frontal boundary over the weekend... so we'll just see rain, and, with the projected snowmelt... the strong likelyhood of flooding.  He says that means residents living around places like Cattaraugus Creek... and, Silver Creek -- among others -- need to watchful.


County's Emergency Services Director says first responders ready for flood possibilities...

Local first responders... especially in the north county... will be keeping a close eye on area waterways during the weekend.  Chautauqua County Emergency Services Director Julius Leone says it's important for people to be prepared should any flooding occur.  Leone says they will stay in communiction with people in those areas like Cattaraugus Creek... and, Sunset Bay... where ice jam flooding tends to occur.  He says it looks like the situation is changable, but, there will be some kind of flooding.  While there are obvious places to keep an eye on... Leone says there are others that may not be so obvious -- such as local ponds, and low-lying areas.  Leone says first responders are aware of the situation and ready to go at a moment's notice should waters begin the rise. 


New Reg Lenna Center for the Arts director named...

A California woman who's worked in theater and the performing arts for more than 25 years has been named as the new executive director of the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts.   Reg Lenna Program Director and Interim Marketing Associate Len Barry says... following a comprehensive search and interview process... the Center's board of directors and community partners have named Kathleen Eads to the new post.  The Reg Lenna Center for the Arts was formerly the Reg Lenna Civic Center.  Most recently... Eads has been the Managing Director for the Anateus Company in Los Angeles.  In a printed statement... Eads says "I look forward to utilizing my broad background in the arts to serve the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts... it's partrons and the community with thriving and wide-ranging programming."  Among the upcoming programming will include the final Movies At the Center series shown on regular film before conversion to digital production.  Piano Sensation Jim Brickman will perform at The Reg on Feb. 7 as part of his Love Tour.

 

WJTN News Headlines


Multi-unit housing is a popular form of living in the city of Jamestown... but, it can also be a place of involuntary exposure to harmful or potentially deadly effects of secondhand smoke.  Director Christine Schuyler with the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services says they're working to reduce this health risk as well as tobacco product exposure to those living in multi-unit housing... especially children. Currently... Schuyler says her department is working through a Community Transformation Grant to reduce this involuntary exposre to secondhand smoke. Property owners or tenants looking for more information about smoke free housing may contact the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services at 753-4771... or the Tri-County Tobacco Control Program at 665-2310.

 

A city woman is jailed as a fugitive from justice... and, for allegedly being in possession of a pain-killer following a "street check" on Jamestown's eastside.  City police say they performed the check on 49 year-old Sheryl Richards just after 11 AM yesterday at 824 East Second Street... and, found her in possession of a quantity of percocete pills without a prescription.  Officers say they then did a background check... and, found an outstanding Felony warrant for Richards' arrest in Colorado.  Police arrested her as a fugitive... and, also charged her with criminal possession of a controlled substance.  She was jailed pending arraignment.

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo has vetoed legislation that would have guaranteed job leaves for volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers during emergencies.  Cuomo also vetoed another bill Thursday that would have extended coverage for their injuries in the line of duty outside the areas they regularly serve.  He says authorizing leave when New York or the federal government declares a state of emergency would force staffing shortages and a financial burden on private and public employers.  He says extending the injury coverage, similar to workers' compensation, would impose ``an undue burden'' on municipalities before they have the opportunity to opt out of its provisions.  The bills would have amended New York's labor and municipal benefit laws. The vetoes were announced Thursday.

 

An audit of New York public workers with more than one job found routine abuses that resulted in paychecks for hundreds of thousands of dollars for hours not worked.  State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says that auditors found more than a fifth of the 345 employees examined regularly violated time and attendance policies, costing taxpayers just over 413-thousand dollars.  This included a psychiatric nurse who reported working for the state mental health agency and a public school in the Bronx at the same time.  DiNapoli blamed lax oversight for employees who falsified time sheets, abused sick leave and misrepresented travel time.  He estimates that state employees allowed to hold two or more jobs account for more than 500-million dollars in pay annually.  Even a small percentage of ``double dipping'' could cost millions.

 

County legislators did not take action on a motion Wednesday night that would ask the state to establish stricter residency requirements for welfare benefits.  Dunkirk Democrats Keith Ahlstrom and Shawn Heenan decided to withdraw their signatures from the motion... leaving it one signature short.  Ahlstrom explains the reason. Cassadaga area Republican John Runkle, who introduced the motion, says he was a bit disappointed the motion wasn't acted on... but, intends to bring it back to the legislature next month. Ahlstrom and Heenan say they intend to sign the motion when it returns to the floor next month.

 

The FAA says that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's plane had to be redirected last week because the landing gear failed to deploy.  The agency issued a statement late Wednesday detailing the incident to the Associated Press.  Cuomo spokeswoman Melissa DeRosa says the governor was not on board the plane when it was redirected December 10th.  The FAA says Cuomo's plane was headed to pick him up after a press event on Long Island that day.  It says the plane returned to Albany mid-flight because of the landing gear problem.

 

Authorities say 60 people have been indicted in a major drug sweep in a county on the Canadian border in northeastern New York.  Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie says Thursday the suspects were involved in the sale of heroin, cocaine, prescription medication and methamphetamine in the North Country. He says all but five of them are in custody.  Officials say that during the drug busts that started earlier this month, police seized 7 ounces of cocaine, 260 bags of heroin packaged for individual sale and about $20,000 in cash.  Authorities say the suspects include several local college students who sold drugs to fellow students in the Plattsburgh area.

 

An American Idol contestant...a three-time CMT Award winner...and Dancing with the Stars Champion.  These accolades belong to recording artist Kellie Pickler and she will be live in concert at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena this January.  The arena announced Pickler's concert to promote her newest album "The Woman I Am."  Arena officials say tickets go on sale today.  For more information or to purchase tickets call the Arean at 484-2624 or go on-line to Jamestownarena-dot-com.

 


 

News update for Wed., Dec. 18, 2013


City police investigating two robberies similary in nature; but occur differently...

Jamestown police are asking for the public's help in solving two similary... but, different armed robberies that occured over the past six days.  The latest occured late Tuesday night in a driveway at 114 Vega St.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the two victims involved say they were getting out of their car shortly before 11 p.m., when a second vehicle pulled in behind their's.  Samuelson says two black males got of the car... and, one displayed what appeared to be a shotgun.  He says the armed suspect reportedly struck one of the victims on the side of the head with the gun.  He says the suspect then allegedly took cash and belongings from the victims.  The man struck with the gun was treated for a head injury.  Samuelson says it's believed the victims were targeted.  If you have any information... you're asked to call the JPD Tip-line at 483-8477.


No one hurt in second robbery from last Friday...

The first robbery occured last Friday night on the grounds of Jamestown Community College... where two men wearing masks approached two victims on a bench about 7:30 PM.  Samuelson says one of the suspects displayed what appeared to be a pistol... and they robbed both victims of cash and their personal belongings.  He says an 18 year-old male from Cleveland, Ohio has been arrested for criminal possession of stolen property... and, adds this was -- again -- not a random act.  The two suspects are described as being dark-skinned... over 6-foot tall... and, in their early 20s.  They ran off towards the JCC dorms.  Some of the stolen property has been found.


Co. Health Department releases Community Health Assessment... and, three areas that need to be address -- including newborns affected by drugs...

The newest Community Health Assessment of Chautauqua County shows growing problems with the number of newborn babies hospitalized with narcotics already in their bodies... and, overall drug abuse.  Mental Health is also among the growing issues found in the report... which was recently presented to the state Health Department.  County Health and Human Services Director Christine Schuyler says those issues... and, the ongoing issue of chronic health problems... like diabetes... were identified through the assessment.  Schuyler says it's a "Core" public health requirement from the state... which high-lights five areas of prevention they want to have addressed.  The counties then decide on three priority areas they feel need to be addressed from the assessment.  Schuyler says women, infants and children were another growing concern.  She says the issues include women getting pre-natal care... low birth-weight, and premature babies.  Schuyler says positive drug screens for newborns are a big issue... which "really points to the bigger picture of the health of your community."  She says the county's Community Health Planning Team will now move on implementing the health improvement plan.  Schuyler says the county's four hospitals... Department of Mental Hygiene... and, the Chautauqua County Health Network... collaborated on the plan.

WJTN News Headlines


The cost of water from the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities will be going up 2.5-percent next year.  In fact... BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says it is the only division that will see a rate increase in 2014.  Leathers says the 5-cent per unit increase is part of the Water Division's new, 5-million dollar budget.  He says the increase will cost the average, residential customer another 35-cents a month.  Leathers says it's mainly due to maintaining more than 100 miles of aging pipes and mains. Leathers says... through the good work of Water Division leaders, and other board officials... they were able to reduce what was a 6-percent increase in October to 2.5-percent.  He adds they try to replace about one-mile of pipe each year... but, adds they'll be studying a long-term plan to do more in early 2014. Leathers says... even though expenses in tranmission and distribution are expected to increase in 2014... operating costs for the Water Division are expected to go down by 100-thousand dollars from the current year.

 

There will be no electric rate increase in the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities' service area next year.  That from BPU General Manager Dave Leathers... now that the board has approved the approximately 40-million dollar spending plan for the Electric Division.  It's the board's largest division.  Leathers credited the work of the division's managers for holding down their costs to keep rates down.  However... he says the BPU's "Electric Team" will keep an eye on where the division is over the first quarter of 2014. In recent years... Leathers says they've looked at employee head-count... and, whether the division can do things differently.  He says... one "significant concern" going into 2014 is an expected loss of one-million dollars in tariff sales -- due mainly to losses in the industrial sector.  However... Leathers says the BPU's "Off-System" -- or out of territory sales are expected to be 12-million dollars next year with plans to "aggressively" run the board's gas turbine.
  


Governor Andrew Cuomo is taking some heat from environmental groups for his decision to approve a repowering and expansion project for the NRG Power Plant in Dunkirk.  Critics are calling the conversion from a coal to natural gas-fired facility an "unnecessary burning" of fossil fuels.  Earthjustice Attorney Chris Amato... who also represents two other groups opposing it... says the National Grid proposal to simply upgrad power lines is in line with the state's own "energy highway blueprint."  Amato says it's remarkable that Cuomo announced this while a period of public comment on the matter was still under way. Amato adds that National Grid's plan "would have been much cheaper... than converting this dinosaur of a plant to natural gas."  However... Governor Cuomo says the agreement will result in a larger, cleaner power plant that reduces consumers' costs, creates jobs and stabilizes the local property tax base.

 

The public is being asked for it's help in solving an alleged burglary at an area golf course in the early morning hours of this past December 11th.  Sheriff's officers say they received an alarm from the Bemus Point Golf Course about 3:30 AM... and, a responding patrol found that someone had broken into the clubhouse.  But... they were apparently scared off when the alarm went off.  Deputies are asking anyone with information on the break-in to contact their confidential We Tip-line at 1-800-78-CRIME... that's 1-800-782-7463.  If your tip leads to an arrest and conviction... you may be eligible for a reward of up to one-thousand dollars.

 

The Salvation Army in Jamestown is putting on the push to get presents for an additional 300 children that otherwise won't have any gifts this Christmas.  This year... the Salvation Army is trying to fill about 14-hundred total requests for gifts from it's 'Angel Tree' Program.  Captain John Merchant... speaking yesterday with our Jim Roselle and Dennis Webster... says they've had an "awesome" response from the community this year.  However... Merchant says -- for whatever reason -- there is still a need. Merchant says people can take a tag through today from their tree at the Lakewood Wal-Mart store... and, it will tell you the child's name... and, what they would like.  He says if the person could buy any of those items... that would be great.  Merchant says you can drop off the present at the Customer Service desk in one of their two gift boxes.  He says they prefer the gift be unwrapped. Merchant says gifts for the Angel Tree program can also be dropped off at The Salvation Army at 83 South Main Street, and K-Mart on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott.  For more information... call 664-4108.


 

WJTN News Headlines


The cost of water from the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities will be going up 2.5-percent next year.  In fact... BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says it is the only division that will see a rate increase in 2014.  Leathers says the 5-cent per unit increase is part of the Water Division's new, 5-million dollar budget.  He says the increase will cost the average, residential customer another 35-cents a month.  Leathers says it's mainly due to maintaining more than 100 miles of aging pipes and mains. Leathers says... through the good work of Water Division leaders, and other board officials... they were able to reduce what was a 6-percent increase in October to 2.5-percent.  He adds they try to replace about one-mile of pipe each year... but, adds they'll be studying a long-term plan to do more in early 2014. Leathers says... even though expenses in tranmission and distribution are expected to increase in 2014... operating costs for the Water Division are expected to go down by 100-thousand dollars from the current year.

 

There will be no electric rate increase in the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities' service area next year.  That from BPU General Manager Dave Leathers... now that the board has approved the approximately 40-million dollar spending plan for the Electric Division.  It's the board's largest division.  Leathers credited the work of the division's managers for holding down their costs to keep rates down.  However... he says the BPU's "Electric Team" will keep an eye on where the division is over the first quarter of 2014. In recent years... Leathers says they've looked at employee head-count... and, whether the division can do things differently.  He says... one "significant concern" going into 2014 is an expected loss of one-million dollars in tariff sales -- due mainly to losses in the industrial sector.  However... Leathers says the BPU's "Off-System" -- or out of territory sales are expected to be 12-million dollars next year with plans to "aggressively" run the board's gas turbine.
  


Governor Andrew Cuomo is taking some heat from environmental groups for his decision to approve a repowering and expansion project for the NRG Power Plant in Dunkirk.  Critics are calling the conversion from a coal to natural gas-fired facility an "unnecessary burning" of fossil fuels.  Earthjustice Attorney Chris Amato... who also represents two other groups opposing it... says the National Grid proposal to simply upgrad power lines is in line with the state's own "energy highway blueprint."  Amato says it's remarkable that Cuomo announced this while a period of public comment on the matter was still under way. Amato adds that National Grid's plan "would have been much cheaper... than converting this dinosaur of a plant to natural gas."  However... Governor Cuomo says the agreement will result in a larger, cleaner power plant that reduces consumers' costs, creates jobs and stabilizes the local property tax base.

 

The public is being asked for it's help in solving an alleged burglary at an area golf course in the early morning hours of this past December 11th.  Sheriff's officers say they received an alarm from the Bemus Point Golf Course about 3:30 AM... and, a responding patrol found that someone had broken into the clubhouse.  But... they were apparently scared off when the alarm went off.  Deputies are asking anyone with information on the break-in to contact their confidential We Tip-line at 1-800-78-CRIME... that's 1-800-782-7463.  If your tip leads to an arrest and conviction... you may be eligible for a reward of up to one-thousand dollars.

 

The Salvation Army in Jamestown is putting on the push to get presents for an additional 300 children that otherwise won't have any gifts this Christmas.  This year... the Salvation Army is trying to fill about 14-hundred total requests for gifts from it's 'Angel Tree' Program.  Captain John Merchant... speaking yesterday with our Jim Roselle and Dennis Webster... says they've had an "awesome" response from the community this year.  However... Merchant says -- for whatever reason -- there is still a need. Merchant says people can take a tag through today from their tree at the Lakewood Wal-Mart store... and, it will tell you the child's name... and, what they would like.  He says if the person could buy any of those items... that would be great.  Merchant says you can drop off the present at the Customer Service desk in one of their two gift boxes.  He says they prefer the gift be unwrapped. Merchant says gifts for the Angel Tree program can also be dropped off at The Salvation Army at 83 South Main Street, and K-Mart on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott.  For more information... call 664-4108.


 

WJTN News Headlines


The cost of water from the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities will be going up 2.5-percent next year.  In fact... BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says it is the only division that will see a rate increase in 2014.  Leathers says the 5-cent per unit increase is part of the Water Division's new, 5-million dollar budget.  He says the increase will cost the average, residential customer another 35-cents a month.  Leathers says it's mainly due to maintaining more than 100 miles of aging pipes and mains. Leathers says... through the good work of Water Division leaders, and other board officials... they were able to reduce what was a 6-percent increase in October to 2.5-percent.  He adds they try to replace about one-mile of pipe each year... but, adds they'll be studying a long-term plan to do more in early 2014. Leathers says... even though expenses in tranmission and distribution are expected to increase in 2014... operating costs for the Water Division are expected to go down by 100-thousand dollars from the current year.

 

There will be no electric rate increase in the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities' service area next year.  That from BPU General Manager Dave Leathers... now that the board has approved the approximately 40-million dollar spending plan for the Electric Division.  It's the board's largest division.  Leathers credited the work of the division's managers for holding down their costs to keep rates down.  However... he says the BPU's "Electric Team" will keep an eye on where the division is over the first quarter of 2014. In recent years... Leathers says they've looked at employee head-count... and, whether the division can do things differently.  He says... one "significant concern" going into 2014 is an expected loss of one-million dollars in tariff sales -- due mainly to losses in the industrial sector.  However... Leathers says the BPU's "Off-System" -- or out of territory sales are expected to be 12-million dollars next year with plans to "aggressively" run the board's gas turbine.
  


Governor Andrew Cuomo is taking some heat from environmental groups for his decision to approve a repowering and expansion project for the NRG Power Plant in Dunkirk.  Critics are calling the conversion from a coal to natural gas-fired facility an "unnecessary burning" of fossil fuels.  Earthjustice Attorney Chris Amato... who also represents two other groups opposing it... says the National Grid proposal to simply upgrad power lines is in line with the state's own "energy highway blueprint."  Amato says it's remarkable that Cuomo announced this while a period of public comment on the matter was still under way. Amato adds that National Grid's plan "would have been much cheaper... than converting this dinosaur of a plant to natural gas."  However... Governor Cuomo says the agreement will result in a larger, cleaner power plant that reduces consumers' costs, creates jobs and stabilizes the local property tax base.

 

The public is being asked for it's help in solving an alleged burglary at an area golf course in the early morning hours of this past December 11th.  Sheriff's officers say they received an alarm from the Bemus Point Golf Course about 3:30 AM... and, a responding patrol found that someone had broken into the clubhouse.  But... they were apparently scared off when the alarm went off.  Deputies are asking anyone with information on the break-in to contact their confidential We Tip-line at 1-800-78-CRIME... that's 1-800-782-7463.  If your tip leads to an arrest and conviction... you may be eligible for a reward of up to one-thousand dollars.

 

The Salvation Army in Jamestown is putting on the push to get presents for an additional 300 children that otherwise won't have any gifts this Christmas.  This year... the Salvation Army is trying to fill about 14-hundred total requests for gifts from it's 'Angel Tree' Program.  Captain John Merchant... speaking yesterday with our Jim Roselle and Dennis Webster... says they've had an "awesome" response from the community this year.  However... Merchant says -- for whatever reason -- there is still a need. Merchant says people can take a tag through today from their tree at the Lakewood Wal-Mart store... and, it will tell you the child's name... and, what they would like.  He says if the person could buy any of those items... that would be great.  Merchant says you can drop off the present at the Customer Service desk in one of their two gift boxes.  He says they prefer the gift be unwrapped. Merchant says gifts for the Angel Tree program can also be dropped off at The Salvation Army at 83 South Main Street, and K-Mart on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott.  For more information... call 664-4108.


 

WJTN News Headlines


City lawmakers will vote in two weeks on accepting a state grant to implement the final part of the "Jamestown Up Close" branding campaign.  The City Council's Finance Committee approved the measure... which not only accepts the 84-thousand-500 dollar grant... but, to hire a local firm to make 238 pole banners to market local attractors... along with five kiosks... and, 10 printed maps in the downtown area.  Director of Development Vince DeJoy says the city... and, it's partner -- the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation -- looked for local contractors. DeJoy says funding for the Branding study was matched by the Gebbie Foundation, for a total of 169-thousand dollars.  Finance Committee Chairman Tony Dolce says the state grant was awarded through the Environmental Protection Fund as part of it's tourism and recreation component.  DeJoy says the banners will help high-light activities involving the city's 'Attractor's' group... while the kiosks and maps will be in the immediate downtown area to show where the "Attractor's" are... along with other businesses.  They will also offer a code to get directly onto the 'Jamestownupclose-dot-COM' website.

 

The city of Jamestown's official Christmas Tree is back upright on Tracy Plaza after high winds and heavy snow knocked the 45-foot Norway Spruce early last Sunday night.  City Arborist Dan Stone says he was called to the scene on the northwest side of the plaza after a city police patrol saw the tree was down.  Stone says one of the four anchors on the plaza was literally pulled from the concrete. Stone says the city Parks and Recreation crews were also on hand.  Due to the wind and snow... he says they just secured the tree on the plaza until yesterday morning.  The Board of Public Utilities provided a crane to help with getting the tree back upright.  Stone says they also put in some new anchors into the concrete... and, reset the tree using the crane.  Stone says there was some minimal damage done to the tree... but, those issues are being taken care.  He adds that a parks crew will check the trees lights today to see what needs to be replaced.  No one was hurt in the incident.  The tree has been up on the plaza since November 20th.

 

The owners of the Lake Shore Health Center in northern Chautauqua County announced late yesterday that they have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the Irving hospital.  That as officials at Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York say they continue to look for a buyer.  LERHSNY Board President Christopher Lanski adds that they have lent TLC/Lake Shore more than 3.7-million dollars in 2013 from system-member Brooks Memorial Hospital to keep Lake Shore alfloat.  Lanski says that occured even as Lake Shore has lost 9.1-million dollars so far this year.  From 2008 to October of this year... audited returns show Lake Shore has lost 25.8-million dollars.  Unless a buyer can be found... the hospital still faces a January 31st, 2014 closing.

 

Governor Cuomo says he expects to end years-long deliberations about whether New York should allow hydraulic fracturing for natural gas by Election Day next year -- maybe.  The Democrat, who is seeking re-election, cautions that he doesn't want even that ballpark estimate to pressure his staff into a decision.  Cuomo's health commissioner, Dr. Nirav Shah, said back in March that he planned to make his critical recommendation to Cuomo ``within weeks.''  But... Shah said Monday he is examining new health studies.  Shah wouldn't disclose details of those studies.

 

Chautauqua County's representative in Congress was among the overwhelming majority that voted in favor of the bi-partisan budget worked out between a joint House-Senate committee.  While some... more conservative members of Congress balked at the agreement... Corning Republican Tom Reed approved the measure.  Reed says... while it's not perfect... the two-year plan takes some "baby steps" in the right direction.  First.. he says it gets away from "government by crisis...." Reed says the budget plan also includes an initial cut in manditory spending.  He's been calling for reforms to Social Security Disability... and other entitlement programs that are being threatened with bankruptcy in the near future.  Reed says the main cut was to the "unfunded liability" for federal employees who retire... which he says will make the program sustainable. Reed says he hopes the U-S Senate will act on the measure either tomorrow or early Wednesday.  He made his comments during his weekly telephone Conference Call with Southern Tier Media.

 

Residents of upstate New York who spent today and Sunday digging out from under more than a foot of snow are getting a breather before the next storm hits the region.  The National Weather Service says snowfall totals from the weekend ranged from 8 inches in western and central parts of the state to 14 inches in parts of the Albany area.  Areas south of Buffalo received up to a foot of snow from the lake-effect storms that began Saturday and lasted into early Sunday. 

 

Firefighters from six departments battled a blaze that heavily damaged a home in the north county town of Sheridan Sunday afternoon.  Sheridan firefighters were called to the scene at 3031 Whitaker Road shortly before 2 PM.  The fire apparently occurred after occupants tried to start a fire in a wood stove in the basement and it apparently spread to the rest of the fire.  Sheridan firefighters had help from Fredonia, Forestville, Silver Creek, Sunset Bay... as well as East and West Dunkirk crews.

News Update for Mon., Dec. 16, 2013


(**Update) Jamestown's Christmas Tree back up on Tracy Plaza...

The city of Jamestown's official Christmas Tree is back upright on Tracy Plaza after high winds and heavy snow knocked over the 45-foot Norway Spruce early last night.  City Arborist Dan Stone says he was called to the scene about 6 p.m. Sunday after a city police patrol saw the holiday tree was down.  Stone says one of the four anchors on the plaza was ripped right from the concrete.  He says city Parks and Recreation crews got to work this morning... and, a crane was brought in from the Board of Public Utilities to put the tree back up... and, some new anchors were used to secure the tree.

WJTN News Headlines


Governor Andrew Cuomo traveled through lake effect snow Sunday to get to Dunkirk to deliver an early Christmas gift for the city of Dunkirk... and, all of Chautauqua County.  Cuomo announced final agreement on a plan to repower and expand the Dunkirk Power Plant.  The 150-million dollar agreement will expand the plant and convert from coal to natural gas.  Cuomo made the announcement in front of a large crowd at the Clarion Hotel on Sunday.
The repowering plan will create about 50 construction jobs and preserve permanent jobs at the site.  Cuomo says the people of Chautauqua County and Dunkirk spoke -- and Albany listened. Under the agreement... the facility will be in service by Fall 2015.  It will also restore tax payments to local governments to their previous level of about 8-million dollars annually.  The terms of the deal must be submitted to the State Public Service Commission for final approval. 

 

One of incoming Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan's major concerns was what was going to happen to the NRG Power Plant in Dunkirk.  Horrigan... who is finishing out his term as a county legislator... was among the large group of people on hand yesterday for Governor Cuomo's announcement.  The Bemus Point Republican says getting the final deal in place was important in three ways. Horrigan also applauded the bi-partisan effort to keep the NRG Plant from being moth-balled... and, losing all of it's jobs and tax base.  He singled out the efforts of State Senator Cathy Young... and, Assemblyman Andrew Goodell for their efforts to keep the issue at the forefront.  But... he adds the large "very visable and persistant voice" from Chautauqua County helped get this win. Dunkirk residents... and, thousands of others from across the county were almost unanimous in their support of the project.  About 22-hundred people turned out for a state Public Service Commission Hearing on the project late this past Summer... and, about 300 turned out for a rally in Dunkirk last weekend.

 

The operators of New York state's power grid expect to have an ample supply of electricity this winter.  The New York Independent System Operator forecasts the peak demand for electricity in New York state this winter will reach about 24-thousand-700 megawatts.  That's just shy of the forecast for last winter.  Generators in the state will be able to produce just over 40-thousand megawatts this winter. That's far above the peak forecast.  Additional power will be available from beyond New York.  Power demands are typically higher in the summer because of air conditioning and cooling systems.

 

Two city teens are jailed without bail for allegedly robbing an man using a gun and knife on Jamestown's eastside late last Saturday night.  City police say the victim was walking on Tower Street -- near Willard -- about 11 PM -- when he was approached by the two 16 year-olds.  Officers say one pulled out a knife... and, the other displayed the gun... and, allegedly threatened the man.  Police say the teen with the gun put the firearm to the man's head, while grabbing a small amount of cash.  A short time later... officers found two boys who fit the descriptions given by the victim.  They were then positively identifed... and, arrested.  Both teens were arraigned on charges of first-degree robbery... and, second-degree menacing... and, sent to the county lock-up.

 

With about two weeks to go before the end of the general campaign... the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County has raised 79-percent of it's goal.  Co-Chair Deb Kathman says the effort has raised about one-million-40-thousand dollars... or 79-percent of the the 1.315-million dollar goal.  Kathman -- who's heading up this year's effort with her husband, Deke -- says they're most concerned about the fact there are a few larger companies that haven't reported the results of their individual campaigns yet.  She says they hope to have those wrapped up this week. Kathman adds that their campaign volunteers... and, United Way staff... are ready to help out in whatever way they can to get those unfinished campaigns completed.  The United Way Campaign primarily funds both United Way human service programs... and 39 others at 18 partner agencies.  For more information... call the United Way at 483-1561... or go on-line to UWayscc-dot-ORG.

 

One person was hospitalized with apparent non-life threatening injuries following a car-pedestrian accident that occured in downtown Jamestown on North Main Street.  The Post-Journal reports the call came in about 8 PM last Friday from between Second and Third Streets.  Witnesses tell the paper that officers found the victim laying on the street between vehicles.  A police official Sunday said the victim -- who was not identified -- was initially treated here... then sent to another hospital outside the area for further treatment.  Police interviewed the driver of the car involved... who said she was trying to avoid the pedestrian... and no charges will be filed. 

News Headlines for Sat. Dec. 14, 2013


City police investigating car-pedestrian accident...

Jamestown police are continuing to investigate a reported car-pedestrian accident on North Main Street early last night between Second and Third.  The Post-Journal reports the call came in about 8 p.m.  Witnesses tell the paper that officers found the victim laying on the street between vehicles.  A neckbrace was reportedly used to stablize the victim.  Police were interviewing the driver of the vehicle... who said she was trying to avoid the pedestrian... and, other witnesses.  Police still have not released details of the accident.


Mayville couple, grandfather, jailed for letting toddler smoke pot...

Three Mayville residents are jailed on $10,000 each for allegedly helping... and, encouraging a nearly 2-year-old boy smoke marijuana in there home back on Dec. 5.  The arrests came following a lengthy investigation by the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office... the District Attorney's Office... and, Child Protective Services.  Officers said Friday they had arrested the 23 moth-old's parents... 18 year-old George, and 17 year-old Jessica Kelsey of 34 South Erie Street.  They also arrested Jessica Kelsey's father, 54 year-old Don Baker.  Deputies say each is charged with second-degree reckless endangerment... and, endangering the welfare of a child.  The trio was arraigned... and, sent to the county lock-up.  The boy involved and a sibling are now in the care of Child Protective Services.


United Way at 79% of 2013 goal...

As they near the home-stretch... the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County has raised nearly 80-percent of it's goal for the 2013 General Campaign.  That from Co-Chair Deb Kathman... who says they've raised about $1.04-million... or 79-percent of the the $1.315-million.  Kathman -- who's heading up this year's effort with her husband, Deke -- says they're most concerned about the fact there are a few larger companies that haven't reported the results of their individual campaigns yet.  She says they hope those companies that haven't completed their campaigns will get those wrapped up in the next week or two.  But... Deb Kathman says they've "very confident" they'll make the goal.  The United Way Campaign primarily funds both United Way human service programs... and 39 others at 18 partner agencies.  For more information... call the United Way at 483-1561... or go on-line to www.uwayscc.org.

 

News Update for Sat., Dec 14, 2013


Gerace says Sheriff's Dept., State Police, consolidate 911 Dispatch operations...

There's been some further consolidation of police and emergency services in Chautauqua County between the Sheriff's Department and State Police.  Beginning next Monday... the Sheriff's Department's 9-1-1 Center will be dispatching for the State Police Barracks in both Jamestown and Fredonia.  Right now... the State Police dispatches Troopers from the Jamestown Barracks on Route 60 north of Jamestown in the Town of Ellicott.  Sheriff Joe Gerace says it will allow for better coordination of service... and, get the closest available car to a call.  Gerace says troopers will be primarily operating on the same frequency as the Sheriff's Dept.  He calls it a "win-win" proposition.  He adds that all 9-1-1 calls via cell phones are currently received by the Sheriff's Office 9-1-1 Center.  Gerace says staff at the State Police Barracks may still be contacted -- for non-emergency business -- by calling 665-3114 or 679-1520.  There will also be an emergency call box located at the front door of the Jamestown and Fredonia Barracks in the event a person goes there with an emergency.  The call box will ring into the 9-1-1 center... and, the closest available patrol car will be dispatched.


Three Mayville residents arrested for allegedly helping toddler smoke pot...

Three Mayville adults have been jailed for allegedly helping... and, encouraging a 23-month-old boy smoke marijuana back on December 5th.  The arrests came following a lengthy investigation by the Sheriff's Office... Chautauqua County District Attorney's Office... and, Child Protective Services.  Deputies said Friday they had arrested the boy's parents... 18 year-old George, and 17 year-old Jessica Kelsey of 34 South Erie Street.  They also arrested Jessica Kelsey's father, 54 year-old Don Baker.  Officers say all three are charged with second-degree reckless endangerment... and, endangering the welfare of a child.  The trio was arraigned... and, each jailed on $10,000 bail.  The boy involved and a sibling are now in the care of Child Protective Services.


Cattaraugus County man jailed for alleged stabbing in Limestone...

A Limestone man is jailed on $200,000 bail for allegedly stabbing another resident of the Cattaraugus County village several times during a fight Thursday.  Sheriff's Deputies in Little Valley say 31 year-old Justin Cramer is accused of stabbing Carey Mills, Jr. multiple times during the altercation.  Officers say Mills is in stable condition at the Hamot Medical Center in Erie.  Cramer was arraigned in Carrollton Town Court on one count of first-degree assault... and, sent to the Little Valley lock-up pending further court action.


 

WJTN News Headlines


An 8-year-old Amish boy suffered a gunshot wound to the chest this morning in Leon when one of his brothers accidentally shot a .22-caliber gun at him while they were playing at 8:30 Thursdady morning, according to Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Capt. Robert Buchhardt. The Buffalo News reports that the child, who is in stable condition, was rushed by ambulance to Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk and was expected to be transferred to either Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo or to Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pennsylvania. Four brothers were playing in their house and one of them picked up a loaded .22-caliber gun and shot his brother in the chest, the captain said. Detectives are doing interviews with the boys, but it appears to be accidental. He said he did not know, at this point, if the gun involved was a rifle or handgun.

 

Our early cold and snowy weather may allow for an earlier than usual opening for Chautauqua County's snomobile trails.  That from Bemus Point's Bryce Steffan... a snowmobile enthusiast who also owns Chautauqua Lake Snowmobile Services.  Steffan says most of the county's five snowmobile clubs are working towards opening next Wednesday, December 18th.  Last year... Steffan says they started late and conditions were spotty.  The year before that -- there was no season. That's no small task.  Steffan says the county is continually adding to the current 550-miles of trails that local property owners allow the clubs to use.  He says about 90-percent of the land they use belongs to local land owners.  However... snowmobile enthusiasts would like to see more snow on the ground to make for optimal conditions.  Steffan adds the economic impact of snowmobiling in Chautauqua County is about 13-million dollars.  Steffan says the county will also be featured in 'Snow Board' magazine next month.

 

After digging out from one lake effect snow event... northern Chautauqua County has again been feeling the effects of another.  The National Weather Service is continuing a Lake Effect Snow Warning for Chautauqua, Northern Cattaraugus and Southern Erie counties until 1 PM today.  A band of moderate to heavy lake effect snow moved across the region Thursday.  Forecaster Dan Kelly with the National Weather Service says the band was to possibly move into Buffalo this afternoon.  The weather service has also issued a Winter Weather Advisory from 6 AM Saturday to 6 AM Sunday.  Here in the Jamestown-area... we'll see a little more snow... but, continued cold temperatures, and blustery conditions.

 

Chautauqua County is in line for a significant share of the nearly 61-million dollars the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council is getting through the third-round of the state's Economic Development Council initiative.  We have learned from the state that several north and south counties initiatives were funded... including one-million dollars for modernizing water infrastructure to help industrial businesses improve efficiency.  Acting County Executive Steve Abdella says that's largest award for one project. The city of Dunkirk will also receive a good share of the funding -- 970-thousand dollars for the rebuilding of the Lakefront Boulevard Seawall.  The Greater Jamestown Riverwalk project is receiving just under half-a-million dollars... and the village of Celoron is getting nearly 84-thousand dollars for improvements to Lucille Ball Memorial Park.

 

The Media One Group of stations is hosting a first-ever "virtual" chance for employers to connect with job seekers... starting in early January.  In addition... the "Media One Online Career Expo" is not just for people who are in need of a job... but, those who would like to explore other career options.  That from Media One's Director of Operations and Programming, Andrew Hill, who says people are "busy" in this day and age... and, this is a 'unique way' for people to avoid the stress of having to prepare for an actual job fair. Hill says Media One is welcoming local employers to post their current... or upcoming openings by no later than this Sunday, December 15th.  He says there is no cost to the employer.  Hill says... if you run a business... and, would like to post one or more job openings... you just go -- on-line -- to Radiojamestown-dot-COM.  He says there's a form you need to complete that includes the job description... or descriptions.  Hill says... if you have any problems... call him here at Media One at 487-1151.

 

The annual Carol Sing sponsored by the Allen Park Women's Club has moved to a new night.  Club Co-President Shannon Neubauer says it'll be tonight from 6 to 8 PM, near the Allen Park Pavillion on West Virginia Boulevard. The highlight of the event is singing around a bonfire.  Neubauer says Jamestown High School Acappella Choir Director Norm Lydell will lead the caroling with the Choir's Madrigal Singers.  Santa Claus is set to make an appearance at the Allen Park event 6:30 PM.  Neubauer emphasizes the Carol Sing is free.  She says the Allen Park Women's Club works all year to preserve and enhance the neighborhood around the park.

WJTN News Headlines


Our Lake Effect Snow Warning came to an end last night.  However... the Lake Effect has not left western New York.  There is now a Lake Effect Snow Watch in effect for Chautauqua County through Friday afternoon.  Forecaster Dave Zaff with the National Weather Service, though, says the majority of the snowfall has been in the north county... and, areas just south along the Lake Erie shoreline.  Zaff adds that, to the north, its even worse.  A severe travel warning was issued for the State Thruway from Ripley to Hamburg as snowfall totals topped 2-feet in many places near the Chautauqua-Erie County border. The snow forced Mayor A-J Dolce to declare a state of emergency in Dunkirk... where five to six inches of snow had fallen from 2 PM to about 20 last night.  A travel ban began at 4 PM.  Here in the Jamestown-area... snowfall totals were about 5 to 8 inches... depending on location.  By early last evening... there was 25 inches of snow reported in Varysburg... and, about 23 to 24 inches in Perrysburg.  However... Zaff says there were places in northern Oswego County -- off Lake Ontario -- that were expecting to see 4 to 5 feet of snow by the time their lake effect snows began tapering off.

 

Chautauqua County's representative in the U-S House says the just-announced budget deal remains a "very dynamic" situation.  Corning Republican Tom Reed says Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has been keeping GOP majority members apprised of the situation... but, most are signaling support for the plan -- even though it's not perfect.  In fact... the two-year deal has drawn the ire of some very conservative members.  However... Reed's playing it close to the vest on where he stands on it. Ryan has been working on the bi-partisan bill... which the Congressional Budget office says would raise the debt another 41.4-billion dollars... with Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray.  The agreement has been defined as "very narrow..." and, doesn't deal with issues like tax and entitlement reform... which Reed supports.  However... he says there are other issues, too. The C-B-O's analysis also says the deal would save taxpayers 23-billion dollars... when calculated over the coming decade.  The deal permits 63-billion dollars in relief from automatic spending cuts over the coming two years... and, substitutes 85-billion dollars in longer-term savings and fee proposals over the coming decade.

 

A man and woman from Frewsburg are jailed without bail for allegedly stealing more than 400 pounds in steel parts from private property in the town of Carroll... and, trying to sell it as scrap metal.  Carroll Town Police say they arrested 34 year-old Chad... and, 32 year-old Roseanne Nelson... after they were spotted by patrol selling the metal to a business on North Pearl Street last Monday night.  Police say the patrol first saw the Nelson's in a 1990s pick-up truck with the scrap metal in the truck-bed about 9 PM.  They had allegedly sold most of the metal to the local site when police moved in.  Carroll police add Chad Nelson was found to be driving with a suspended New York license.  Both Chad and Roseanne Nelson were arraigned on charges of Felony grand larceny... and Felony criminal possession of stolen property... and, sent to the county lock-up.

 

A teenaged girl who lives at the GA Home on Jamestown's eastside has been arrested for allegedly tearing a phone off a wall... and, throwing it to the ground.  City police were called to the scene at 200 Gustavus Avenue just after 7 o'clock Tuesday night on a criminal mischief complaint.  Officers say the unidentified, 17 year-old was accused of damaging the phone earlier in the evening.  The teen was arrested for fourth-degree criminal mischief.

 

State Education Commissioner John King, Junior and his staff are telling Jamestown School officials that they're very impressed with how the district has implemented the Common Core curriculum.  King and State Board of Regents Chancellor Emeritus Robert Bennett visited three classrooms... and, were part of a public forum at Jamestown High School last week.  School Superintendent Tim Mains told school board members Tuesday night that King and Bennett not only observed... but, had the chance to visit with many people -- including students and parents. Mains adds that Commissioner King... and, Bennett were pleased with how last week's two-hour public forum on the Common Core went... even though the final 40-minutes included several interruptions surrounding the controversial topic.  Most of those people were reportedly from the Buffalo-area.  Mains says they were so impressed that they are going to send a team back to Jamestown early next year to provide some additional program support... and, film some of the programs they saw to post on their website at "Engage-New York."

 

A report from the state Health Department says the number of infections acquired by patients while in New York hospitals continues to decline.  The sixth-annual report on hospital-acquired infections found that since 2007 the rate of central-line associated blood stream infections has fallen 53 percent and rates of surgical site infections fell by 16 percent.  The report released late Tuesday presents 2012 hospital-acquired infection rates identified by hospitals for surgical site infections related to colon, cardiac bypass, hip replacement and hysterectomies.  The report is available at: www.health.data.ny.gov .

WJTN News Headlines


We may see the biggest snowfall to date from the latest storm that moved into the the Jamestown-area early last evening.  It's not the first wintry blast of the pre-Winter season... but, some areas may see upwards of a foot-and-a-half of snow by the time the Lake Effect Snow tapers off early Thursday.  That from Forecaster Aaron Reynolds with the National Weather Service... who says we remain under a Lake Effect Snow Warning through 4 AM Thursday. Reynolds say we'll see another 4 to 7 inches during the day today in the more persistant snow areas.  He adds we could also see another 4-to-7 inches tonight... with even colder temperatures than last night.  Some inland valleys could see the mercury fall to 10-degrees -- or lower.  Reynolds says strong winds will also cause some problems with blowing and drifting snow.  He says the lake effect machine will not only be producing heavy snow off Lake Erie... but, the storm will also produce some impressive accumulations near Lake Ontario. 

 

The head man for the Jamestown School District says they are not doing any more testing this year than it has in the past several years.  School Superintendent Tim Mains responded last night to comments by teachers and school advocates who complained there has been more testing under the Common Core standards.  Following Tuesday's school board meeting... Mains addressed the concerns raised on Monday's "Day of Action..." adding that the tests are more difficult. While Jamestown hasn't added any tests as part of APPR -- or the evaluation process -- Mains says some other districts have.  The other problem raised by an official with the Jamestown Teachers Assocation was over errors in the modules that have been used to support teaching the Common Core curriculum.  Mains, and other district officials, acknowledge there were some errors in those modules... but, he adds they have worked hard to correct them. At last night's board meeting... Mains told board members that Jamestown received a "very positive" response from state Education Commission John King, Junior's office about his visit last week.  King and Board of Regents Chancellor Emeritus Robert Bennett both visited three classrooms, and took part in a public forum on the Common Core.  More on that later.

 

 

 

A JHS Sophomore spoke out about the Common Core during Monday's "Day of Action" rally in Jamestown... but, didn't say he was having any problems.  But... Cameron Hurst did talk about problems others were having.  Hurst says it's his parents and teachers who have made him the person he is today... adding that he learned his love for music in elementary school... and, he called learning a "life-long" process.  He feels implementation was rushed... and, it needs to addressed. Hurst also says that... since the Common Core and new standards have been brought in... he's noticed much more stress among his teachers.  Due to that... he doesn't believe there will be any improvement to student learning.  Hurst says learning needs to be made fun again... without so much emphasis on testing.  As for himself... Hurst says he'll be fine... and, will graduate on time.  What he's concerned about is the students who follow him.


 
Governor Andrew Cuomo's tax commission wants a two-year freeze on property taxes.  The state would subsidize the costs, so taxpayers wouldn't see increases.  The second-year of a freeze would include provisions to force local action and cuts to yield permanent tax relief.  In a report issued Tuesday... the commission also proposes a tax credit for homeowners who spend a large portion of their income on property taxes.  Other recommendations would merge and simplify taxes for employers and reduce the estate tax.  Cuomo called the report impressive.  The report could help shape the tax cut Cuomo is promising for 2014.  He supports a state-subsidized cut in property taxes that could be tied to household income so poorer and middle class families would see more of a break than the wealthier.

 

A joint House-Senate Conference Committee is nearing final agreement what local Congressman Tom Reed hopes is a 5-year Farm Bill that will include a number of reforms.  However... Reed has maintained for some time that he wants to have a 5-year measure.  During his weekly conference call with Southern Tier media... the Corning Republican said there were a couple of "positive" programs being put into the final measure that will help local farmers... and, other agri-businesses. There also appears to be movement on the most contentious part of the Farm Bill... and, that's the Supplimental Nutrition Assistance Program -- otherwise known as SNAP.  Reed says the big reform there is a component that teaches able-bodied people with no children "how to fish... not just give them one...." Reed says -- once fully-implemented... that provision will save about 20-billion dollars.  He also thanked residents -- namely farmers -- for their input.  Reed says getting that imput from real people who are impacted by Washington's policies is "invaluable" to him in working towards good policy.

WJTN News Headlines


We're in for a "prolonged period" of Lake Effect Snow in Chautauqua County from early this evening through at least early Thursday.  That from Forecaster Bill Hibbert with the National Weather Service in Buffalo.  Late Monday afternoon... the Weather Service upgraded our Lake Effect Snow Watch into a Warning -- beginning at 6 PM tonight -- because of the "certainty of snow."  Hibbert says a cold front went through the area late Monday... and, he says that's allowed some light, lake effect to begin across the Western Southern Tier. Hibbert says temperatures will just barely get over 20 today.  He adds the winds will also pick up out of the Southwest.  Hibbert says... with Lake Erie still about 10 degrees above freezing... this system will pick-up plenty of moisture.  However... he says the worst of the Lake Effect will be between tonight... and, late Wednesday.  As for the blustery wind conditions... Hibbert says that will still be around for a while after that. Our Lake Effect Snow Warning runs from 6 tonight until 4 AM Thursday.  Hibbert says the more persistant lake band areas will see 3 to 5 inches of snow tonight... and, more heavy snow Wednesday.  The complete forecast is coming up.

 

Teachers, parents, and students around Chautauqua County wore blue today as a symbol that action needs to be taken on some key issues facing public education.  It was all part of the national "Day of Action..."  That's Jamestown Teacher's Association Vice-President Tara Hall... who says their theme was to "reclaim the promise of public education."  During a press conference at Jamestown High School this (yesterday) afternoon... Hall urged people to write the state Education Department to stop over-emphasizing testing... and, put the proper resources in place to allow teachers to teach... and, students to learn. Joanne Dean... who calls herself a "parent advocate..." has a first and fifth-grader still in the Jamestown Public School system.... as well as a sophmore in college.  Dean says the 'Common Core' of higher standards is NOT the problem... but, the teaching modules the teachers have to use are. Jamestown administrators have acknowledged there are some problems with the modules... which Dean says teachers have told her contain errors.  A retired Dunkirk Teacher... who is still with the Dunkirk Teacher's Assocation... says inequity in funding also remains a major problem for his district, and Jamestown's.

 

If you've received the Basic, School Tax Relief program exemption in the past... and, you haven't re-registerd for it... time's running out.  That from Chautauqua County Real Property Taxation Office Director Jim Caflisch... who says 22 to 23-percent of county residents eligible have NOT yet registered.  The deadline to register is December 31st.  Caflisch says many of the 6-thousand county properties eligible that haven't been registered are among those who need to be re-registered. Caflisch says... if you're under the age of 65... you are eligible for the Basic exemption.  He says you can go on-line to www-dot-Tax-dot-NY-dot-GOV... and, find the tab for registering for the program.  Caflisch says you must re-register after the State Comptroller's office found a lot of property owners were claiming more than one Primary Property as being STAR eligible.  He says you can only have ONE primary residence that's claimed for the rebate.  Caflisch also reminds residents who have Enhanced STAR that they do NOT have to re-register.

 

U-S Senator Charles Schumer of New York is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to delay a ``sudden mandate'' that would force municipalities to replace fire hydrants after January 4th.  The senator is taking issue with the EPA's interpretation of a 2011 law.  He says Congress didn't intend for hydrants to be included in the new reduced-lead drinking water standards.  Schumer says New York City would have to purchase a new stock of hydrants and hydrant parts to comply with the standards.  He says replacing all the fire hydrants will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 

About 300 people braved bitterly cold temperatures last Saturday to rally in support of the NRG Re-powering Project in Dunkirk.  Now... organizers of the effort hope to keep the momentum going by sending several buses to Albany on December 19th when the state Public Service Commission holds it's next meeting.  It's believed the project to convert the NRG plant from coal to natural gas will be taken up.  But... even if it's not on the agenda... State Senator Cathy Young says it's worth the trip. Young adds there's also strength in numbers.  She says Chautauqua County constantly surprises the people in Albany... because the P-S-C never expected 22-hundred people to be at the hearing held at the SUNY College at Fredonia last July.  The vast majority spoke resoundingly in favor of the half-a-billion dollar project.  The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is organizing the bus trip... and, those interesting in going can sign up on-line at Chautauqua chamber-dot-ORG.

News Update for Mon., Dec. 9, 2013


Lake Effect Snow Warning in effect, starting tomorrow night, for Chautauqua County...

More Lake Effect Snow is on the way to the Jamestown-area... and, much of western New York.  The National Weather Service has now issued a Lake Effect Snow Warning from 6 p.m. tomorrow until 4 a.m. Thursday.  Forecaster John Hitchcock says we will begin to see some lake effect activity after Midnight tonight... with an inch or two through the day tomorrow.  However... the Lake Effect Snow will become heavy at times tomorrow night... with 3 to 5 inches falling in the more persistant snows.  Some parts of the area could see a foot or more by Thursday morning.


Jamestown teachers, parents, and students take part in "Day of Action" at JHS...

Teachers, parents, and students around Chautauqua County wore blue today as a symbol that action needs to be taken on some key issues facing public education.  It was all part of the national "Day of Action" to call attention to the need for more resources for teaching students... and, to stop the over-emphasis on testing.  That from Jamestown Teacher's Association Vice-President Tara Hall.  She says their theme was to "reclaim the promise of public education."  Hall says they're calling for is fair funding for public schools and college, a three-year moritorium on the consequences of "high-stakes" testing, and, a renewed emphasis on "teaching and learning."  She made her comments during a press conference at Jamestown High School late this afternoon.

WJTN News Headlines


Another fight in front of "The Q" sports bar on Jamestown's westside early last Saturday morning led to the arrest of a city man for disorderly conduct.  City police were patrolling the area of West Second and Cherry Streets around closing time when they saw several disorderly subjects... and, a fight broke out on the sidewalk.  Officers were able to break up the fight... but, one man -- 31 year-old Lawrence McGrigg -- continued to yell obscenities, and he became aggressive towards police.  Police told McGrigg he was under arrest... but, he tried to get away.  Police caught up with the suspect... and, after a brief struggle... he was taken into custody.  In addition to disorderly conduct... McGrigg was also charged with resisting arrest.  He's now free on bail.

 

A Sinclairville man has been arrested for allegedly hitting another person in the head with an alarm clock during a fight in the town of Gerry.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Old Chautauqua Road shortly after 10 PM last Friday night on a report of an altercation between two people.  Deputies investigated... and, found that 50 year-old Theodore Daughenbaugh had allegedly struck the second person -- who was not identified -- with the clock.  Officers say Daughenbaugh was issued an appearance ticket for second-degree Harassment for Gerry Town Court.

 

The final piece of Jamestown's city budget is in place with final approval of a 475-thousand dollar dividend payment from the Board of Public Utilities.  However... some feel the money would better be used to market the BPU... and, the services of some of it's five divisions.  While the money is needed for the city's general fund... Mayor Sam Teresi says those making the marketing argument have a valid point... and, the BPU is working on that.  Teresi says staff, and some committees have taken up that challenge. Teresi says some BPU Divisions... including Electric and Water... already service other parts of the Greater Jamestown area. One person who spoke out against using the 475-thousand dollar dividend payment from the Electric Division felt the money should be used to market other possible utility uses... such as supporting Geo-Thermal heating for businesses.  Teresi made his comments on this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" show.

 

More potential competitors for upstate New York casino licenses are emerging despite an increasingly crowded Northeast market.  New York officials will begin awarding casino licenses next year after voters passed a state constitutional amendment to allow Las Vegas-style casinos beyond Indian land.  There will be four upstate licenses available, and more than twice that number of groups have expressed interest in operating a casino in the Catskills region, the Southern Tier or the Albany-Saratoga area.  With the new law initially leaving the populous New York City-area market out of the mix, the nearby Catskills has attracted the most interest.  Groups that are selected will pay a hefty licensing fee that is not specified.  Nearby states charge licensing fees of 50-million dollars or more.

 

A date has now been set for a Brigadier General with the U-S Army Corps of Engineers to be in Dunkirk this month to get a firsthand look at the city's Lake Erie harborfront area.  Mayor A-J Dolce says the top-ranking woman official with the federal agency will be in the north county to look at Dunkirk's situation... and, others... on Tuesday, December 17th.  Dolce says a recent visit by the area's Congressman helped get the ball rolling. Dolce says Reed was told about the need for dredging the Dunkirk harborfront area... along with a couple of harborfronts in the town of Hanover.  He says the visit by the Brigadier General is another chance for north county officials to show why those parts of Lake Erie need to be dredged.

 

Collaboration was the big focus of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting held in Dunkirk late last week.  A huge gathering was on hand to honor the recipient of the annual Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award.  That was presented to Chautauqua Lake Management Commission Chairman Lyle Hajdu (Hay-doo) of Busti. Hajdu says the commission has been working in the spirit of Lydic... who he says had the wisdom to recognize the "power of collaboration."  New Jamestown Community College President Cory Duckworth was the event's keynote speaker.  He told Chamber members he is still learning about the community college with campuses in Jamestown and Dunkirk.  But... in his short time here... Duckworth says he's learned how much of an asset JCC is to the region. Duckworth adds he's still getting acquainted with JCC... and, it's key players.  With that... he says "don't expect a new comprehensive strategy" right away.  Jim Pullan Jr., of Jamestown Mattress Company was elected Chairman of the Board with Dennis Rak of 'Double-A Vineyards' serving as Vice Chair.  SUNY College at Fredonia President Virginia Horvath is beginning her first term on the board. 

WJTN News Headlines


Another fight in front of "The Q" sports bar on Jamestown's westside early last Saturday morning led to the arrest of a city man for disorderly conduct.  City police were patrolling the area of West Second and Cherry Streets around closing time when they saw several disorderly subjects... and, a fight broke out on the sidewalk.  Officers were able to break up the fight... but, one man -- 31 year-old Lawrence McGrigg -- continued to yell obscenities, and he became aggressive towards police.  Police told McGrigg he was under arrest... but, he tried to get away.  Police caught up with the suspect... and, after a brief struggle... he was taken into custody.  In addition to disorderly conduct... McGrigg was also charged with resisting arrest.  He's now free on bail.

 

A Sinclairville man has been arrested for allegedly hitting another person in the head with an alarm clock during a fight in the town of Gerry.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Old Chautauqua Road shortly after 10 PM last Friday night on a report of an altercation between two people.  Deputies investigated... and, found that 50 year-old Theodore Daughenbaugh had allegedly struck the second person -- who was not identified -- with the clock.  Officers say Daughenbaugh was issued an appearance ticket for second-degree Harassment for Gerry Town Court.

 

The final piece of Jamestown's city budget is in place with final approval of a 475-thousand dollar dividend payment from the Board of Public Utilities.  However... some feel the money would better be used to market the BPU... and, the services of some of it's five divisions.  While the money is needed for the city's general fund... Mayor Sam Teresi says those making the marketing argument have a valid point... and, the BPU is working on that.  Teresi says staff, and some committees have taken up that challenge. Teresi says some BPU Divisions... including Electric and Water... already service other parts of the Greater Jamestown area. One person who spoke out against using the 475-thousand dollar dividend payment from the Electric Division felt the money should be used to market other possible utility uses... such as supporting Geo-Thermal heating for businesses.  Teresi made his comments on this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" show.

 

More potential competitors for upstate New York casino licenses are emerging despite an increasingly crowded Northeast market.  New York officials will begin awarding casino licenses next year after voters passed a state constitutional amendment to allow Las Vegas-style casinos beyond Indian land.  There will be four upstate licenses available, and more than twice that number of groups have expressed interest in operating a casino in the Catskills region, the Southern Tier or the Albany-Saratoga area.  With the new law initially leaving the populous New York City-area market out of the mix, the nearby Catskills has attracted the most interest.  Groups that are selected will pay a hefty licensing fee that is not specified.  Nearby states charge licensing fees of 50-million dollars or more.

 

A date has now been set for a Brigadier General with the U-S Army Corps of Engineers to be in Dunkirk this month to get a firsthand look at the city's Lake Erie harborfront area.  Mayor A-J Dolce says the top-ranking woman official with the federal agency will be in the north county to look at Dunkirk's situation... and, others... on Tuesday, December 17th.  Dolce says a recent visit by the area's Congressman helped get the ball rolling. Dolce says Reed was told about the need for dredging the Dunkirk harborfront area... along with a couple of harborfronts in the town of Hanover.  He says the visit by the Brigadier General is another chance for north county officials to show why those parts of Lake Erie need to be dredged.

 

Collaboration was the big focus of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting held in Dunkirk late last week.  A huge gathering was on hand to honor the recipient of the annual Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award.  That was presented to Chautauqua Lake Management Commission Chairman Lyle Hajdu (Hay-doo) of Busti. Hajdu says the commission has been working in the spirit of Lydic... who he says had the wisdom to recognize the "power of collaboration."  New Jamestown Community College President Cory Duckworth was the event's keynote speaker.  He told Chamber members he is still learning about the community college with campuses in Jamestown and Dunkirk.  But... in his short time here... Duckworth says he's learned how much of an asset JCC is to the region. Duckworth adds he's still getting acquainted with JCC... and, it's key players.  With that... he says "don't expect a new comprehensive strategy" right away.  Jim Pullan Jr., of Jamestown Mattress Company was elected Chairman of the Board with Dennis Rak of 'Double-A Vineyards' serving as Vice Chair.  SUNY College at Fredonia President Virginia Horvath is beginning her first term on the board. 

News Update for Fri., Dec. 6, 2013


City barber arrested for allegedly selling more than haircuts; crack cocaine, too... 
A Jamestown barber who was allegedly "moonlighting" as a drug dealer... has been accused of selling "crack" cocaine out of his business... and, home.  City police say 42 year-old Gerald Slaughter was arrested during a raid at Gerald's Barbershop Thursday afternoon.  Police and State Police C-NET Team members also found a quantity of crack and cash in the business.  Two weapons were also allegedly found.  Police also say they found cocaine at Slaughter's home on South Main Street.  Police Chief Harry Snellings says the business allegedly wound up being a "front" for Slaughter's illegal dealings.  Snellings says they've seen what drug trafficking has done to some neighborhoods, and they don't want that filtering into the business areas.  This isn't the first time city police have found someone selling drugs out of their business.  A Pizza shop owner was arrested for allegedly doing the same thing within the past year.  Snellings adds Slaughter faces three Felony charges... including criminal possession of a controlled substanced.  He was also arraigned this afternoon on an illegal weapons charge for alleged possession of metal knuckles and a billy club.  Slaughter was sent to the county jail without bail.


Winter Weather Advisory now underway in Jamestown-area...

There will be a few inches of snow... and, some slippery road conditions tonight and overnight as another round of snow moves into the area.  The National Weather Service has posted a Winter Weather Advisory from 4 this afternoon until 4 AM Saturday.  Forecaster Aaron Reynolds of the Weather Service Office in Buffalo says most of the snowfall will occur tonight... but, he adds this will not be a major weather event.  Reynolds says they especially want people to be careful on the roads.  He says the Greater Jamestown-area will see about 2 to 5 inches of snow through tomorrow morning. 


Cold, snowy weather arrives just in time for Jamestown's Christmas Parade...

The snow and cold arrived somewhat abruptly after a couple of "balmy" Spring-like days.  But... it's just in time for Jamestown's annual Christmas Parade and Holiday Celebration.  The annual parade... being put on for the first time by the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation... kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on West Third Street.  Renaissance Corporation Event and Programming Associate Tiffani Conti says they're excited about the weather... and, the parade.  Conti says some streets are being closed off at this time... and, line-up begins at 5 p.m.  The parade is again being sponsored by The Resource Center, and Lutheran.  Conti says pre-parade activities begin at Tracy Plaza at 6 p.m. with the Jamestown Harmony Express Barbershoppers providing the entertainment.  They'll conclude at about 6:30 when the parade reaches Tracy Plaza.  Mayor Sam Teresi will light the city's official Christmas Tree... and, local veteran Keith Stam will perform the National Anthem -- then the parade will resume.  Conti says Santa will arrive at the end of the parade in a Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad caboose.  A railroad engine will lead the parade. 

 

 

WJTN News Headlines


Parents and teachers spoke out about problems with implmentation of the Common Core Standards during a public forum last night in Jamestown with state Education Commissioner John King, Junior.  Some of the speakers argued the new curriculum is being rushed... while others contend there's too much testing.  King addressed many of the criticisms voiced at Jamestown High School... including the feeling the Common Core is being rushed.  During an earlier press conference... he expressed concern that New York state wasn't moving fast enough.  King says part of that's because most community college Freshmen are having to take remedial classes. About 400 people... including many from the Buffalo-area... were on hand for the first session to be held in Western New York.  Board of Regents Chancellor Emeritis Robert Bennett was on hand with King... and, met earlier with parents and teacher groups.  Bennett says... while there's been some vocal opposition... they are hearing a lot of quieter support. King also pointed out that the Board of Regents adopted the Common Core in 2010 as a way to better prepare students for college and careers.  However... he says the decisions about professional development and curriculum remain local decisions at all 700 districts in the state.

 

Frewsburg Central School district officials are "thrilled" with yesterday's vote to move forward with a major, 5.6-million dollar renovation project for both the middle and high schools.  School Superintendent Danielle O'Connor says they'll begin design work on the four main parts of the renovations... and, specifications will be drawn up.  One part involves a complete make-over of their school auditorium... which hasn't been upgraded in more than four decades. O'Connor says another key part involves student safety and security... which O'Connor calls a top priority.  That will involve a make-over of the administrative office area.  O'Connor says they'll also be upgrading a second-floor wing for technology... and, a new biology room will allow an advanced course from Jamestown Community College to be added.  She adds there will also be new bleachers for the football field.  O'Connor says the local share of the cost will be 525-thousand dollars.  She adds the district is eligible for 91 to 92-percent state aid on the project.  O'Connor says the next step is the design phase. Tuesday's vote was 107 to 78.

 

The city of Jamestown has a 2014 budget in place.  Mayor Sam Teresi said Wednesday that he has signed 33.5-millioni dollar spending plan with NO vetoes.  Teresi had earlier said that he found no problems with 91-thousand dollars in cuts made by city lawmakers from the final budget.  The final piece of the budget came Tuesday when the Board of Public Utilities approved a 475-thousand dollar dividend payment to the city from the Electric Division.  Teresi says the City Council left no stone "unturned" in looking for possible cuts. Teresi says the spending plan he delivered to city lawmakers last October was a "very tough, tight budget" without a lot of options available.  He commended the leadership of Council President Greg Rabb... and, Council Finance Committee Chairman Tony Dolce for bringing in budget that only raises taxes by 1.9-percent.  That translates to a 41-cent per thousand full value tax rate increase.  He says the final, 2014 budget will soon be up on the city's website.

 

Local gas prices in the Jamestown-area have fallen just a fraction of a cent this week to 3-dollars-60 cents a gallon.  That from the Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report... which says prices have also remained fairly stable nation-wide.  The Fuel Gauge reports the national average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline is 3-dollars-26 cents.  That's 2-cents cheaper than one week ago.  During the recent fluctuation in prices... Triple-A says motorists across the country have experienced a variety of changes in the price they pay at their local station.  Drivers in 22 states and Washington, D.C. have seen prices rise over the last week; while those in 28 states have seen prices fall.  Prices increased during the second half of November mainly due to unexpected refinery problems that limited gasoline production.  These problems included planned and unplanned maintenance that took longer than expected to fix.

 

Voters in the Dunkirk City School District approved Phase Four of the EXCEL project during a referendum on Tuesday.  The 3.8-million dollar capital improvements project was okayed by a 272-39 vote.  Dunkirk Superintendent Gary Cerne says among the major components of the project's final phase is the reconstruction of a campus roadway. The district will soon begin the design work.  The project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2016.

 

Officials are trying to get more homeowners to register for New York's STAR property tax break before the end-of-year deadline.  State tax officials are providing direct assistance to homeowners in seven STAR registration locations from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday. The centers will be in Albany, Binghamton, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Long Island. The STAR exemption averages $700 statewide. All homeowners have to reapply for the benefit as part of an effort to weed out waste and abuse. State officials say 800,000 people still haven't registered with the Dec. 31 deadline looming. More than 1.9 million homeowners have registered for basic STAR exemptions.

WJTN News Headlines


Two Jamestown residents have been arrested for allegedly trafficking heroin on the city's southside... and, child endangerment.  City police say they and the State Police C-NET Team raided the residence at 516 Newland Avenue about 4:30 PM yesterday... and, found a quantity of heroin, drug paraphernalia, and cash inside the home.  Officers arrested one resident... 22 year-old Barry Matteson... and, charged him with Felony third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Matteson is also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia... and, endangering the welfare of a child.  A second person... 22 year-old Elizabeth Griffin... was also arrested and charged with child endangerment.  The two young children involved were turned over to a relative.  Matteson and Griffin were jailed pending arraignment.  Anyone with information on drug activity in Jamestown is asked to call the JPD Confidential Tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.

 

The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities has approved a 475-thousand dollar dividend payment to the city that will be used as revenue for the 2014 budget.  The Board voted 6-to-3 yesterday to have the entire 475-thousand dollars come from the BPU's Electric Division.  BPU Chairman John Zabrodsky was among the minority that voted against the measure.  Zabrodsky says his biggest problem with the move is, he feels the money should be "invested" in other ways by the city and the BPU.  As a citizen member... he feels a responsibility to the utility customers -- as well as the city. Zabrodsky says the BPU went with taking the entire 475-thousand dollars from the Electric Division because it was "most appropriate."  The projected profit for the division in 2014 is just over 4-million dollars.  The original proposal had 400-thousand was to come from the Electric Division... while 75-thousand was to come from Electric. In addition to Zabrodsky... and, fellow citizen members Wayne Rishell and Carl Pillitierri voted against making the dividend payment.

 

The Board of Public Utilities held a closed-door session before the vote was taken... which Zabrodsky says is legal under "pending litigation."  He says that's because any electric rate increase proposed has to be approved by the state's Public Service Commission.  Zabrodsky says that means any financial matter involving the acceptance or paying out of money is subject to litigation.  He says anything that deals with paying money to the city starts at the state level... and, filters down.  Zabrodsky adds the BPU has to do it's due diligence before moving forward with such an action because the PSC may become involved in the matter... or it may be challenged to the PSC.  At the same time... he feels the board needs to use more due diligence in 2014... especially if the city is going to come to the BPU for a dividend payment each year.

 

For the first time in recent memory... the state Education Commissioner will be in Chautauqua County to see a working classroom, and take part in a public forum today.  The Jamestown Public Schools and Jamestown Community College are playing host to Commissioner John King, Junior, and Board of Regents Chancellor Emeritus Bennett at Jamestown High School.  The forum runs from 5 to 7 PM... but, Jamestown School Superintendent Tim Mains says both will get to see work being done in at least one classroom. Mains says the public is invited to be at the forum... and, that they'll know at least the basics of the forum's focus:  The Common Core.  The more rigorous educational program has been rolled out for Math and English Language Arts... and, Mains says the session will be more for people to express concerns, and ask questions about Common Core.  King was shouted down in the first such forum held earlier in the Fall of this year... but, Mains says others have gone... and, he expects the same tonight. Again... the forum at Jamestown High School with Education Commissioner King... and, Regents Chancellor Emeritis Bennett begins at 5 PM.  Mains says King will just make a few preliminary remarks... then get into the discussion.  The forum will be moderated by the county's League of Women Voters.

 

Voters in the Frewsburg Central School District have approved a capital project to renovate the middle and high school.  District Clerk Lona Carlberg says yesterday's vote was 107 to 78.

 

Everything is falling into place for this year's annual Christmas Parade and Holiday Celebration in downtown Jamestown Friday night.  Jamestown Renaissance Corporation Event and Programming Associate Tiffani Conti... who says the number of groups and businesses involved is nearly 100... and, the actual number of floats and units is well-over 125.  Conti says pre-parade activity begins at Tracy Plaza at 6 PM this Friday... and, the Parade steps off at 6:30 with the lighting of the city tree.  This year's theme is "Jamestown's Snowball Express" with a rail engine... and, caboose part of the procession. The Harmony Express Barbershoppers will kick off the pre-parade activities... and, Santa will arrived at the end on a Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad caboose.  JRC Director Greg Lindquist says that's where the Downtown Jamestown Development Corporation is taking part because the DJDC is helping to provide the train "parts" for the parade.  The DJDC... led by Lee Harkness... now operates the new Gateway Train Station.  Lindquist and Conti made their comments on last weekend's Community Spotlight program.  For more information... call the JRC at 664-2477.

 

High School Basketball:

 

Girls:

 

Sherman beat Maple Grove 58-52 in overtime to win the first round of the Cassadaga Valley Tip-Off Tournament. 

 

Falconer defeated Cassadaga Valley 51-23 in the tournament. Falconer will take on Sherman for the title on Friday. gametime 8:30pm.

 

Southwestern downed Clymer 69-38.  Alex Sullivan and Emily Wuebbolt led the Lady Trojans scoring 25 and 20 points respectively.
 

News Update for Tues., Dec. 3, 2013


BPU approves final piece of Jamestown budget with okay of $475,000 dividend payment...

The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities has approved a $475,000 dividend payment to the city that will be used as revenue for the 2014 budget.  The Board voted 6-to-3 to have the entire $475,000 come from the BPU's Electric Division.  In Mayor Sam Teresi's budget proposal... $400,000 was to come from the Electric Division... while $75,000 was to come from the Electric Division.  However... that won't be the case.  BPU Chairman John Zabrodsky says he would like to see the money used for something other than "general" expenses.  He, along with fellow citizen members Wayne Rishell and Carl Pillitierri voted against making the dividend payment.


Fire investigators say First Street fire in Jamestown was set...

Arson is being listed as the cause of a small blaze Jamestown firefighters quickly contained in a vacant house on First Street about mid-morning Tuesday.  City Fire Battalion Chief Sam Salemme says a couple of workers at Jamestown High School spotted smoke coming from the building about 9:45 a.m.  Salemme says crews put out the flames in the living room area with a fire extingusher.  No injuries were reported.  Salemme says anyone with information on the fire can call their Arson Tip-line at 483-7509... or the Jamestown Police Department.

WJTN News Headlines


Jamestown police are asking for the public's help in solving a shooting incident early Sunday morning on the city's westside in which a man allegedly fired at least three shots towards a group of people outside the "The Q" Sports Bar.  Jamestown police were called to the scene on West Second Street about 12:30 AM on a report of "several gunshots" being fired.  Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the shooting stemmed from an argument inside the bar that continued outside the night spot.  Samuelson says they don't know what triggered the incident.
Samuelson says they do have video tape surveillance from the incident in which the black male, who was reportedly in his early to mid-20s, fired on the group of people.  He says the man is about 6-foot tall, and weighs about 180-pounds.  Samuelson adds he was wearing a green overcoat on with a hooded sweat-shirt underneath.  He was last seen running north towards Third Street.  However... he says police -- otherwise -- have few leads right now.  Samuelson again urges residents who know anything about the incident to call their Confidential Tip-Line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.

 

The city of Jamestown is taking a serious look at asking the state's newly-established Financial Restructuring Board to look for ways to improve the city's financial picture... and, delivery of services.  Mayor Sam Teresi threw out the proposal to the City Council at last night's work session.  Teresi says the panel came out of discussions he and other municipal leaders had earlier this year with Governor Cuomo.  Teresi says the voluntary board would be a good way for the city to find other ways to restructure... and, cut costs in the wake of costly mandates.  He adds the city does NOT have to accept any of the board's recommendations. Teresi emphasized that this is NOT a state-control board.  He says the 10-member state board was just recently named... and, is being chaired by state Budget Director Robert Megna.  He adds, though, that there's no guarantee the city will be accepted into the program.  He says you have to meet one of two-criteria... which the city does.  Teresi adds the city could get 5-million dollars if it accepts the state recommendations.

 

A retired U-S Air Force Colonel who has toured the world as an aviation administrator and instructor has been named as Chautauqua County's new Veteran's Service Agency Director.  Acting County Executive Steve Abdella announced Monday morning in Jamestown that Buffalo-area native Gary Chilcott began his new position yesterday.  He replaces Doug Diers... who left for another position last August.  Abdella says Chilcott was one of three finalists named by a bi-partisan commission for former Executive Greg Edwards to interview.  He says Edwards then decided Chilcott had the best qualifications. Abdella adds that Chilcott has also been involved with the ROTC in public high schools in the region.  Chilcott and his wife -- who is a native of Mayville -- live in Bemus Point.  Chilcott thanked Edwards, and County Executive-Elect Vince Horrigan -- who was on the commission -- for their support.  He says he's "very excited" and looking forward to working with Horrigan. Chilcott says his big goal is to continue the fine, customer service the Veteran's Service Agency has provided under Edwards... and, he wants to "refine" that.  Former Veteran's Service Agency Director Troy Smith... who now works for the state's Veteran's organization... was also part of the commission... and, was on hand for Monday's announcement.

 

U-S Senator Charles Schumer says cutting the excise tax on small breweries will help them grow their businesses, hire new employees and revitalize communities.  Schumer was in Watkins Glen Monday afternoon to visit Rooster Fish Brewing.... and, talk about the Small BREW Act of 2013.  The legislation would cut the excise tax on small breweries in half, from 7-dollars to 3-dollars-50 cents per barrel for the first 60,000 barrels they brew per year.

 

The largest class of inductees to the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame will be installed next February 17th during the hall's annual induction banquet.  That from Hall of Fame President Randy Anderson... who says eight is the largest number they've ever installed in one year.  But... Anderson says they're all very deserving.  He adds they represent a wide-range of sports.  Major League Baseball will be represented by Jamestown native Dan Lunetta... who is now the Detroit Tigers director of Minor League Operations.  Women's professional golfer is represented by Dunkirk native Cindy Miller.  Other inductees include: retired Southwestern Central School Cross-Country and Track and Field Coach Tom Priester... who is a national track and field official since 1985... the late Jack Wigley... who stood out in several sports at the former Lakewood High School.  There's also Westfield's Vincent Calarco... who was a 50-year basketball official.  Anderson says the Late Geza Farkus was U-S National Coach of the Year with the Lakewood YMCA gymnastics team in 1996.  Two other inductees are from the north county.  They are former three-sport stand-out Al Muck... and, the late Tom Prechtl -- who lettered in four sports.  For more information on the Hall of Fame's February 17th dinner... call Chairman Chip Johnson at 485-6991.

 

Local High School Basketball:

 

Boys:

 

Southwestern defeated Ellicottville 70-30.  Mike Sandbloom led the Trojans with 11 points and 6 rebounds.

 

Frewsburg/Falconer beat Cassadaga Valley 63-52.  Mitch Carter led Frewsburg/Falconer with 19 points.

 

Girls:

 

The Lady Red Raiders pounded Clarence 68-39.  Chrisanna Green led Jamestown with 22 points and 15 rebounds.

 

Pine Valley  was a 55-41 winner over Frewsburg.  Kayla Manfred led Pine Valley with 7 points.  Mackenzie Swartzman scored 11 for the Bears.

News Update for Mon., Dec. 2, 2013


Chilcott named as new Chautauqua County Veteran's Service Agency Director...

A retired U-S Air Force Colonel who has toured the world as an aviation administrator and instructor has been named as the county's new Veteran's Service Agency Director.  Acting County Executive Steve Abdella announced this morning in Jamestown that Buffalo-area native Gary Chilcott begins his new position today.  He replaces Doug Diers... who left for another position last August.  Abdella says Chilcott was one of three finalists named by a bi-partisan commission for former Executive Greg Edwards to interview.  He says Edwards then decided Chilcott had the best qualifications.  Abdella says Chilcott had a 28-year career in the Air Force... serving in a number of diverse positions in management, and instruction.  He was then heavily involved with the ROTC and Aerospace at Ohio State University.  Abdella adds that Chilcott has also been involved with the ROTC in public high schools in the region.  Chilcott and his wife -- who is a native of Mayville -- live in Bemus Point.  Chilcott thanked Edwards, and County Executive-Elect Vince Horrigan -- who was on the commission -- for their support.  He says he's "very excited" and looking forward to working with Horrigan.  Chilcott calls it a time of "new beginnings" with a new executive.  Chilcott says his first goal is to "refine" the fine customer service that's been established with the county's Veteran's Service Agency.


County man charged with Felony DWI after car accident...

A Stockton man is charged with Felony driving while intoxicated after his car crashed into a ditch last night in the town of Chautauqua.  Sheriff's officers say 54 year-old James Medwick of Dean Road was traveling on Beech Hill Road about 9:45 p.m. when he lost control of the vehicle... and, it slammed into the ditch.  Medwick was not hurt.  However... Deputies say he was allegedly drunk at the time.  They also did a background check... and, found he had a previous DWI conviction in the past 10 years.  With that... Medwick was charged with Felony DWI... and, failure to keep right.  Nedwick was issued appearance tickets for Chautauqua Town Court.

 

 

WJTN News Headlines


Jamestown police are looking for a man who allegedly fired off three gunshots during an argument outside "The Q" Sports Bar on West Second Street early yesterday morning.  City officers were called to the scene... near Cherry Street... about 12:30 AM on a report of "several gunshots" being fired.  Witnesses says the argument began inside the bar... then continued outside.  Police say one subject... described as a black male in his early to mid-20s... fired three rounds towards several people.  However... officers say no one was hit, and no injuries were reported.  Police add the suspect is about 6-foot tall in height... and, weighs about 180 pounds.  City police are working to identify the shooter... and, a possible motive.  Anyone with information is asked to call Jamestown Police... or the JPD Confidential Tips-Line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.  Police say all calls will be kept confidential.

 

A city man is being treated non-life threatening injuries at an Erie, Pennsylvania Hospital after he was struck by a car on Route 62 in the town of Carroll early last Friday night.  Sheriff's Deputies say the victim... 52 year-old Darrell Greene of Hopkins Avenue, Jamestown... was standing in the eastbound lane directing traffic for a U-Haul trailer that was being pulled from a ditch.  Officers say the driver of the vehicle... 62 year-old Susan Burns of Rock Hill, South Carolina... was eastbound about 5:15 PM when the accident occured.  Deputies say Greene was not clearly visible until the moment he was struck.  Officers say he was flown by Starflight Helicopter to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie.  The investigation into the accident is continuing.

 

Chautauqua County Executive-Elect Vince Horrigan says his transition team is about "half-way" through the process of making final recommendations to address the county's strengths... weaknesses... and, opportunities.  Horrigan addressed the panel's progress late last week after naming a Dunkirk-area labor leader to the team.  The Bemus Point Republican says he's getting feedback from interviews the team has done across Chautauqua County on economic, workforce development, and public-private partnerships. Horrigan named the panel soon after he was elected last November 5th to being looking at five key areas:  Making government more efficient, developing the local workforce, economic development priorities, local business growth and job retention... and, marketing the county to new, potential employers.  Late last week... Dunkirk labor leader Doug Stock was named to the panel.  Horrigan says Stock is well-versed in workforce development... and, currently serves on the county's Workforce Investment Board.  He adds Stock is also one of the founders of the local Labor Coalition.  Horrigan says he will be a "great addition" to the team.

 

New York's inspector general says a nonprofit established by state prison guards for neighborhood outreach misspent 348-thousand dollars on personal mileage and poorly documented expenses.  Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott says then Corrections Commissioner Brian Fischer exceeded his authority in letting correction officers take 400 days of state time for nonprofit activities.  Scott says the Correction Officers and Police Supporting Children through Awareness and Reality-based Education, or COPS CARE, has ceased operating and reimbursed the state all its remaining assets of $54,689.  A 2008 audit of its 600-thousand dollars in grants followed complaints by some guards that the nonprofit's officers filed false time sheets and failed to conduct programs.  While Scott's probe ``did not substantiate fraud,'' finding 40 school programs were presented, she cites deficient documentation for expenses and reimbursable ``administrative duties.''

 

New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan says the Roman Catholic Church has been ``outmarketed'' on the issue of gay marriage and has been ``caricatured as being anti-gay.''  Dolan's conversation with ``Meet the Press'' moderator David Gregory aired yesterday on NBC.  Asked why the church is losing the argument on gay marriage... Dolan says it's a tough battle when forces like Hollywood, politicians and ``some opinion-molders'' are on the other side.  But... he said the gay marriage debate is not over... and the church will not give up on it.  On another divisive issue... Dolan said the Catholic Church has long championed comprehensive health care.  But... he indicated that U.S. Catholic bishops cannot support the Affordable Care Act as long as it includes coverage for abortion.

 

State officials operating New York's campsites say they are offering a $25 gift card on this "Cyber Monday" to those who book on-line a two-night stay on Monday.  The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Department of Environmental Conservation say qualifying reservations have to be made sometime in those 24 hours.  Bookings can be made through Labor Day weekend, depending on availability, at many of the state's more than 15-thousand campsites.  The website is Newyorkstateparks-dot-reserveamerica-dot-COM.

 

A Major League Baseball executive and touring professional women's golfer are among the eight newest members of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame.  Hall of Fame President Randy Anderson says the baseball executive is Jamestown native Dan Lunetta.  Lunetta began his baseball career in 1979 as groundskeeper for the former Jamestown Expos.  He became General Manager in 1980.  Lunetta is now the Detroit Tigers director of Minor League Operations in 2004.  The women's golfer is Dunkirk native Cindy Miller... who won her first pro tournament in 1979.  Other inductees include: retired Southwestern Central School Cross-Country and Track and Field Coach Tom Priester... who has been a USA Track and Field Official since 1985; the late Jack Wigley... who stood out in several sports at the former Lakewood High School... and, coached several sports;  Westfield's Vincent Calarco... who lettered in four-sports... and, was a 50-year basketball official;  The Late Geza Farkus... who was born in Hungary... and, was part of their Olympic Team before moving to the Jamestown area in 1960.  He was National Coach of the Year with the Lakewood YMCA gymnastics team in 1996;  Former three-sport stand-out Al Muck from the north county... and, the late Tom Prechtl... who lettered in four sports at Fredonia High School... and, coached at several local schools.  The Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet will be held next February 17th at the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club.  For more information... call Chairman Chip Johnson at 485-6991.


 

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