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Gerace says Sheriff's Department expects charges to be placed against Ashville man for fatal, weekend car crash in North Harmony...
The Chautauqua County Sheriff's office expects to place charges against an Ashville man involved in a crash on Butts Road in the town of North Harmony Saturday night that claimed the life of an Elma man. Sheriff Joe Gerace says that an accident reconstruction team was sent to the scene of the crash involving a sports type vehicle driven by 24-year-old Patrick Grimm of Ashville. His passenger, 23-year-old Darrin Power, died in the crash. Gerace says the vehicle was traveling at a very high rate of speed at the time of the crash, and the damage was "unbelieveable" to the vehicle. Grimm was treated at WCA Hospital for non-life threatening injuries. Gerace would not say what kind of charges will be placed against the driver at this time, since the investigation is continuing.
Reward now offered for information leading to arrest and conviction of Sugar Grove Bank Robber...
State Police in Pennsylvania are searching for the man who allegeldy robbed two PNC Banks this past week... one in Sugar Grove, PA last Friday. Troopers say the suspect whose about 6' to 6'2" tall, and weighs about 200-pounds... entered the Sugar Grove branch on Main Street just before 2:30 p.m. Police say the man... who was between 25 and 35 years of age... handed a teller a note... telling her to hand over the money in her cash drawer. Troopers say the suspect then took an undisclosed amount of money... and, fled the scene. Police say he was wearing a black baseball cap with orange lettering, brown cargo pants, a gray long-sleeve outer type jacket. He is also the suspect in a similar robbery in Hubbard, Ohio last Thursday. PNC is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the man's arrest... and conviction. If you have any information on the robbery... call State Police in Warren at (814)-728-3600... or call Warren County CRIMESTOPPERS.
Elected officials, law enforcement agree there will be investigation into Sweat, and Matt escape...
With the search for the two escaped killers over, attention will now focus on how such prison breaks can be prevented in the future. Congressman Tom Reed today (Monday) praised the work of the various law enforcement agencies in locating David Sweat and Richard Matt. Reed says the state needs to look into how the prison break occurred. The Corning Republican says there needs to be questions asked, and answered at the Clinton Correctional Facility about what needs to be done to prevent such an escape from happening again. Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace also believes an investigation will take place. Gerace adds that they've even re-evaluated what they do at the County Jail since the prison break. He says it was a difficult search for the two escapees because of the terrain and dense vegetation. A State Police Sergeant shot David Sweat twice in the torso on Sunday... while Richard Matt died from three gunshot wounds to the head two days earlier. Sweat's condition was upgraded today (Monday) to serious.
Winners in recently wrapped up state legislature looked at...
Many New York lawmakers are claiming at least partial victory for constituents with rent controls and property tax breaks in the 2015 session that ended last week. Some are also grumbling about missed ethics reforms in the six-month session, which saw the individual leaders of the Senate and Assembly benched by kickback scandals. The rent controls affecting more than 2-million tenants in New York City are extended four more years with slightly more protections. The statewide property tax cap, likewise extended, is topped by tax rebates for an estimated 2.5-million homeowners. Starting at 185-dollars the first year on Long Island and upstate, rebates later rise inverse to income. Bills that stalled would cost corrupt public officials their pensions and close the campaign finance loophole for limited liability companies.
Panebianco urges JHS Graduates to work hard to attain their dreams -- in fact -- be a little "unreasonable..."
There's a bad time to be "unreasonable..." but, there's also a good time. The keynote speaker at last Friday night's Jamestown High School graduation says it's good to be a bit unreasonable when it comes to pursuing your dreams. Local attorney George Panebianco grew up in a poor family... and, was one of seven children. Panebianco says he worked hard in school... and, got the grades to go to college. He wanted to go to college, and become a lawyer because he wanted to help people. But... he says his father wanted him to be "reasonable" about it. Panebianco says his father was "being practical and reasonable" about needing to get a job because the family couldn't afford to send him to college. However... he says his father "didn't understand" how much he wanted to be a lawyer. After graduating... Panebianco says he had to work hard once he got to Albany Law School. He admitted to being intimidated by some of his fellow classmates and their backgrounds. That showed with one professor... who pushed him to do more work on a legal brief until he finally defending the quality and effort on his third try. With that, he told them to do their best on "the first try." Panebianco is now the President and Managing Partner of the Lewis and Lewis Law firm's five western New York offices... which include Jamestown and Buffalo. He also touted many of the 300 members of the Class of 2015... many of whom he coached in youth leagues... or know growing up.
JHS's graduation was held at Chautauqua Institution. Southwestern's 101 graduates were honored during commencement exercises at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts. There were also ceremonies Friday night in Frewsburg, and Bemus Point... among others. Congratulations to all the graduates from the county's 18 school districts.
Jamestown native "estatic" over Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage...
The U-S Supreme Court's decision ruling in favor of gay marriage not only helps those same sex couples in states where it was illegal... but, those who are married, and live in states that don't recognize it. That from a Jamestown native who was one of the plaintiffs in the case before the Supreme Court. Paul Campion... who was recently in Jamestown to talk about the case... says he is "estatic" with Friday's ruling. Campion says the ruling now provides more than one-thousand rights he and his spouse, Randy, were previously denied. One regards getting health care... will allow them to make decisions without having to jump through all the "hoops" they've had to up until now. Campion and Randy Johnson have been together 24 years... and, since being married in 2008 in California... have adopted four children. However... Campion says he is the parent of three boys, while Randy had a girl. He says they'll be able to "blend" that family now in Kentucky... which didn't recognize same sex marriage previously. On WJTN's Jim Roselle Show... Campion told Jim and our Dennis Webster they'll be celebrating the ruling this weekend.
Malone "bitterly disappointed" by Supreme Court ruling...
While there is joy in the gay and lesbian communities over the Same Sex Marriage ruling Friday... there was also disappointment. Buffalo Catholic Bishop Richard Malone issued a statement following the decision by the Supreme Court. Malone says it "redefines" marriage... and, adds he is "bitterly disappointed." He says marriage is the "lifelong exclusive union of one man and one woman." Malone says marriage is rooted in creation... and, says "God created marriage in the very same breath as He created the human person."
Horrigan praises state legislature for approving county sales, and bed tax measures...
Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says that state lawmakers got the job done. Horrigan says the home-rule legislation that will allow the county to raise its sales tax from 7.5% to 8% has cleared the State Assembly. The Senate approved the measure a short time before that. Horrigan says he's "pleased" with the news... adding the only action needed now is for the governor to sign. Horrigan says the increase in sales tax... which is expected to bring another $6 to $8-million to the county... will help in two ways. One is to eliminate a structural deficit of about $6-million, and, to -- in a corresponding move -- lower the county's property tax by at least 3-percent. As part of the legislation... the county will have to make that reduction starting with the 2016 budget. Many lawmakers believe they can cut more than that. Horrigan says the move should help bring the county in line with its neighboring counties in Western New York.
Woman's body found near Cherry Creek Road; police believe it's missing woman...
Authorities have ended the search for a Cherry Creek woman who had been missing since a week ago yesterday. Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace tells us they believe they have found the body of 56 year-old Karen Christian. The discovery was made in a wooded-area near Aldrich Hill Road in the town of Cherry Creek. While not revealing a lot of details... Gerace says they believe the remains do belong to the woman that had disappeared from her Plank Road residence. He thanked all those agencies involved in the search... and, says it's a difficult time for everyone, "especially the family." Gerace says they hope to have a positive identification once an autopsy is completed.
Reed says he's "disappointed" in ruling on Obamacare by SCOTUS...
Congressman Tom Reed says he's "disappointed" by the U-S Supreme Court ruling upholding federal subsidies for Americans enrolled in the Afforable Care Act. Reed says the court is ignoring the legislation's wording... which says, "an exchange established by the state." In the ruling in the case King v. Burwell... Reed says the court determined that everyone who purchases healthcare through a public exchange is eligible for federal subsidies in order to offset the cost of that purchase. The Corning Republican adds that "Obamacare has been flawed from the very beginning, and as a Congress we need to make every effort to repeal the law." More later on this story.
County Legislature unanimously approves $100,000 for Dunkirk Seawall emergency repairs...
The Chautauqua County Legislature has unanimously approved giving the city of Dunkirk $100,000 in Bed Tax funding to help cover the cost of emergency repairs to the Dunkirk Sea Wall. The nearly $250,000 project has now been completed on the wall... which is located behind the city's Water Treatment Plant. While voicing their approval... a couple of lawmakers urged Dunkirk to also work cooperatively with the county on creating a North County Water District. One was Sheridan Republican Terry Neibel... who says while the Seawall is a "worthwhile project, so is the North County Water District." Neibel says that's especially regarding future economid development. The other was Dunkirk Democrat Keith Ahlstrom... who applauded Councilman At-Large Willie Rosas for working with him and fellow lawmaker Shaun Heenan... to obtain more than the $40,000 originally requested.
Legislature approves moving $225,000 from CLMC Capital Reserves to new Lake and Watershed Alliance...
County lawmakers have okayed the reallocation of $225,000 from the Chautauqua Lake Management Commission to help get new grants through the new Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance. However... support was not unanimous. The measure was approved Wednesday night 16-to-2. Legislature Chairman Jay Gould, and lawmaker John Runkle voted "no." Gould says he and Runkle felt it was too much money... adding that if the CLMC was seeking $50,000 to leverage grant monies... he would have no problem with it. He says the money belongs in the Capital Reserve Fund. Gould calls the $225,000 being reallocated something akin to a "slush fund." But, adds that's his own opinion. There was $253,000 left in the capital projects account. The account was started in 2008 and 2009 with just over $602,000 in it. The money has been, and is to be used to leverage monies used for projects benefitting the water quality of Chautauqua Lake.
Missing Boater found in Chautauqua Lake...
A kayaker on Chautauqua Lake near Lakewood has found the body of a missing village man in the area he went missing this past Sunday. Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace says divers were getting ready to go back into the water in the area east of the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club when the body of 52 year-old Phillip Gibbs was found floating near the surface. Gerace says Gibbs' body was found about 6 a.m. He says the department's Marine Division and WET Team were ready to go back into the water where Gibbs was last seen. His boat was found anchored in an area about a quarter of a mile off shore Sunday night... and, divers went into the water Monday morning. Gerace says it was a 'horrific tragedy..." and, adds their thoughts and prayers are with Gibbs' family. Gerace says a county coroner confirmed the death was due to accidential drowning.
Emergency crews rescue Zoar Valley hiker hours after one was killed in fall into Cattaraugus Creek...
Emergency crews that recovered a man's body from a western New York creek used the same equipment soon after to rescue a hiker who had been swept away by the strong current. The Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office says the man died after falling nearly 200 feet from a cliff in the Zoar Valley gorge early Tuesday morning. A friend discovered his body at the bottom of the cliff along Cattaraugus Creek. Fire crews used a rescue raft to recover the body. His name hasn't been released. State police say a few hours later 35-year-old Kelly Ziolkowski of Tonawanda fell into the creek while hiking with a friend. She was swept downstream while the friend called 9-1-1. Nearby emergency crews used the same raft to pull Ziolkowski from the water. She wasn't injured.
National Trust places Chautauqua Inst. Amphitheater on "endangered" list...
The historical Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater has made this year’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Trust is releasing it's list this morning... and, says the Amphitheater is one of the places they've selected. Field Director Alicia Leuba in Boston says they carefully review" dozens of nominations... and, make their decisions based on three criteria. Leuba says they are: significance -- historically and architecturally... urgency... and, potential solutions to preserve the site. She says it's an "iconic cultural landmark." Leuba says naming the Amp to the list raises the status of it's possible "plight...." and, gives people a way to get involved in the process of saving a landmark. For more information... she says you can go to their website at www.savingplaces.org/amp to sign a petition. Leuba wouldn't reveal any of the others on the list... but, the Trust says it's the organization's "most diverse list ever." The Amphitheater was nominated by the Committee to Save the Historic Chautauqua Amphitheater... or "Save the Amp..." and two individuals.
Group opposed to SAFE Act says data shows few owners complied with law to register reclassified guns...
A group opposed to New York's two-year-old gun law says registration data show few owners complied with the requirement to register firearms reclassified as assault weapons. NY-2A, which advocates for Second Amendment rights, says newly reported data show only 23,847 people registered 44,485 firearms while Governor Andrew Cuomo estimated New Yorkers owned one million such guns before the 2013 measure banned sales in New York. The registration requirement applies to semi-automatic weapons with a detachable magazine that have a single military-style feature such as a pistol grip. The group's co-founder, Jake Palmateer, says data show the gun control scheme was a failure. Cuomo has called the measures, including a ban on large magazines, common sense. They were enacted after a gunman killed 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Gas pump prices increase slightly this week...
Gasoline prices in Chautauqua County are currently trending upward... increasing by just under a penny a gallon this week. That from the AAA's weekly Fuel Gauge report... which says the price is up from $2.94.3 last week to just over $2.95 this week. The AAA says the average price of regular, unleaded gasoline is based on reports from 19 service stations in the Jamestown area. At this time last year... the price was $3.88 a gallon. The national average is down about a penny to 2-dollars-79 cents this week. Pump prices nationally have stabilized in recent days... or even dropped in many areas as refineries solve productions issues.
(**Alert)Missing Boater found in Chautauqua Lake...
A kayaker on Chautauqua Lake near Lakewood has found the body of a missing Lakewood man in the area he went missing this past Sunday. Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace says divers were getting ready to go back into the water in the area east of the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club when the body of 52 year-old Phillip Gibbs was found floating near the surface. Gerace says Gibbs' body was found about 6 a.m. He says the department's Marine Division and WET Team were ready to go back into the water where Gibbs was last seen. His boat was found anchored in an area about a quarter of a mile off shore Sunday night... and, divers went into the water Monday morning. Gerace says it was a 'horrific tragedy..." and, adds their thoughts and prayers are with Gibbs' family. Gerace says a county coroner confirmed the death was due to drowning. Divers were having a hard time finding Gibbs because the water in that area of the lake is "cloudy..." with only about 5 to 6 feet visability. Gerace says the lake is about 10-feet deep in that area.
Search continuing for missing Lakewood man on Chautauqua Lake...
An extensive search for a Lakewood man missing in the southern end of Chautauqua Lake is continuing this early evening. Sheriff Joe Gerace says they are looking for 52 year-old Phillip Gibbs... who family members say hasn't been seen since Sunday afternoon. Gerace says members of the Sheriff's Department's Marine and Water Emergency Team have been diving just east of the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club... about a quarter of a mile from shore... looking for Gibbs. He says they have recovered his boat. Gerace identified the missing man about mid-afternoon today... but, has not released circumstances surrounding his being out on the lake. He says there's also no clear time-frame as to when the man went missing. Gerace says Gibbs went missing between 1 and 6 p.m. yesterday. But, the Sheriff's Department wasn't notified until sometime later. If you have any information... or may have seen anything unusual in that area near Lakewood... call the Sheriff's Office at 753-2131.
State police are investigating a possible sighting of two convicted killers here in tge southern tier, about 350 miles from the prison where they escaped two weeks ago. State police spokesman Beau Duffy says that officers are investigating a possible sighting of the prisoners near the Allegany County hamlet of Friendship, near the Pennsylvania border. He gave no other details. David Sweat and Richard Matt escaped June 6th from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora... near the Canadian border. Authorities said in a news release Friday that two men fitting the description of Sweat and Matt had been seen a week ago in Steuben County. Allegany County is west of Steuben County. A prison worker has been charged in the escape and a corrections officer has been placed on administrative leave.
New York state is receiving nearly 17-million dollars to support AmeriCorps programs throughout the state. Governor Andrew Cuomo says the money will flow to 14 non-profit organizations to enlist some 1,440 AmeriCorps members. The organizations are involved in promoting education and children's health, disaster preparedness and other public services. Cuomo says New York state's AmeriCorps members do ``critically important work'' around the state by stepping up to serve their communities. City Year, Incorporated will receive the single largest portion of the funds, getting more than 3-million dollars for academic tutoring and mentoring programs in New York City.
Three local youth choirs took part in yesterday's finale for the annual Juneteenth Festival at Jamestown's Chadakoin Park. The Carolyn Pennamon-Faison Gospel Fest concluded the 15th Annual Juneteenth Celebration... and, the head of the event was excited with how it went. Chairwoman Vikeye James says they took last year off to re-focus and re-energize... and, it did the trick. There were several highlights... but, James says the big one was Saturday night's showing of the documentary "Old South" in the park pavillion. James says that community came together in the face of racism and prejudice... but, she adds the residents involved found they had more in common than they had different. Thanks to a break in the weather... James says they were happy to show the film in the park. She says more than 50 people were on hand.
A Rochester-area school has again been named the top school district in the entire, 48-county Upstate New York Region... while three Chautauqua County schools are in the top-100. Business First of Buffalo has named the Pittsford Central District the top one in the Upstate region for the fourth-straight year. In addition... Fayetteville-Manlius of the Syracuse-area was number-two. Business First says each district’s rank reflects the collective performance of its elementary, middle and high schools from 2011 to 2014. That's the most recent four-year period for which comprehensive statistics are available from the New York State Education Department. The rating formula has 200 components, ranging from English and math tests for third graders up to the full complement of Regents exams for high schoolers. The top Chautauqua County School district is Bemus Point... which was 34th. Fredonia was 56th in the rankings... while Southwestern was 65th.
A public "visioning session" will be held later his week to begin the process of developing a new, Comprehensive Plan for the village of Lakewood. That from Mayor David Wordelmann... who says the public is invited to attend the meeting at 7 PM Wednesday at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church on Fairmount Avenue. Wordelmann says the current Comprehensive Plan is 45 years-old... meaning it was about the time the Chautauqua Mall was first built... and, Fairmount Avenue was still a two-lane highway. Wordelmann says the village has done a lot of pre-planning work with the village code in a number of areas... including new and used car lots... and, storage facilities. He says there is still one area they still need to wrap up... and, that's business and commercial signage. Wordelmann says the plan will guide both growth and change in the village heading into the 21st Century... and, consider all facets of community life. The consultant helping to draw up the plan is Peter J. Smith and Company of Buffalo.
New York lawmakers have largely stayed true to Albany's reputation for procrastination and back-room dealing despite corruption scandals that highlighted its insider culture. The Legislature planned to adjourn last week but is still working out a deal on one of the year's biggest issues, the renewal of New York City's rent regulations. They briefly expired last week when lawmakers couldn't agree on an extension. The six-month session was especially challenging to its new leaders, Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Leader John Flanagan. Both took over after the arrests of their predecessors threw the Legislature into turmoil. Despite the turmoil, Albany's way of doing business remains intact. Lawmakers largely ignored calls to overhaul campaign finance and ethics rules, while negotiations on the year's biggest issues are still held behind closed doors.
State lawmakers have voted to allow parents to get paid for providing personal care for their chronically ill or disabled adult children. Sponsors say many special needs children continue to live with their parents, who face the dilemma of having to work outside the home to pay for someone else to care for their son or daughter. The bill would revise the state-administered Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program, which already allows that caregiver to be another family member. It would still prohibit spouses or the person legally responsible for the care and support of the individual be eligible for the program. It also requires that the parent's services are consistent with the disabled or chronically ill person's care plan and at no higher cost than an outside personal assistant.
Goodell: County Sales Tax, and Bed Tax votes delayed until next week in Assembly...
Action on two tax bills that would have an impact on Chautauqua County has been delayed again in the state Assembly. Local Assemblyman Andy Goodell says that the Legislation that would raise the County's sales tax from 7.5-to-8-percent... and, extend the County's bed tax were on the agenda... but no vote was taken on either bill. He says both bills came up on the calendar Thursday night, but, did not make it to the floor Friday. The bills have already cleared the State Senate. In raising the sales tax rate... the legislation also directs the County to cut it's property tax levy by at least 3-percent. Goodell says he's disappointed that the Democratic led Assembly has not completed its work on time. He says they were scheduled to end the session this past Wednesday, and today is Friday, and, there's still be no action on the local measures. Goodell says Assembly members are expected to return to Albany and remain in session as long as it takes to complete their work. The Bemus Point area Repubican says there are roughly 100 bills waiting for action.
Another day concludes without finding Cherry Creek woman...
Searchers were back at it again Friday... trying to track down a missing 56-year-old Cherry Creek woman. Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace tells us that the search for Karen Christian resumed this morning... but, the search ended early this evening with no resolution. Gerace says it’s been a major challenge... mainly because the area she lived in is heavily wooded. Gerace expects the search continue into this afternoon. The Sheriff's Office continues to ask the public if they have information about Christian's whereabouts to call the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office at 753-2131.
Major Dunkirk-Buffalo drug investigation lasted two years...
A nearly two-year federal investigation has led to the indictment of six men from Dunkirk -- and four others from Buffalo -- on charges stemming from narcotics trafficking in the two cities. U-S Attorney William Hochul, Junior says the other four were involved in the operation of two locations in Buffalo. Assistant U-S Attorney, Tom Duszewicz, tells us that the major players involved were 39 year-old David Pagan... and, 40 year-old Rafael Burgos, Junior. Duskiewicz says federal drug agents raided six residences in Dunkirk... stemming from the probe... which began in 2013, and utilitized a variety of techniques to find out that Pagan had a series of distributors, and Burgos supplied the drugs. That led to the six raids in Dunkirk on June 10th. Hochul says the other Dunkirk suspects include: 34-year-old Samuel Hernandez III, 31-year-old Javier Pagan, Jr., 30-year-old Alvin Torres, Jr., and 28-year-old Angel Pierluissi, all of Dunkirk. Duszkiewicz says the investigation took about 2 years... and, implicated Pagan and Burgos as the major players. He says nearly eight kilograms of cocaine, $175,000 in cash, and an AR-15 assault rifle with a 30-round magazine were seized.
Juneteenth organizer hopes event will open dialogue in wake of South Carolina Shootings...
One of the organizers of this weekend's Juneteenth celebration in Jamestown says the killing of nine people at an historic black church in South Carolina is 'very disturbing.' The Reverend Chloe Smith hopes the tragic event will open the door to a greater dialogue in our community. Smith says she wants to see people "come together, and discuss the kind of issues that are happening." One of those opportunities may come Saturday night at 8:30 p.m., when filmmaker Danielle Beverly will bring her documentary 'Old South' to Chadakoin Park. Juneteenth honors the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation... which ended Slavery in the U-S. A full schedule of events is available on their Facebook page.
Bargar says she almost declined getting Democrat of the the Year award...
A long-time political figure in Chautauqua County has been named as Democrat of the Year for 2015 by the county Democratic Committee. Lakewood's Nancy Bargar was recognized at the party's annual dinner in Jamestown Thursday night for her contributions to the party for the past 25 years. However... Bargar says -- at first -- she wanted to decline the honor because her early mentor, former State Assemblyman Rolly Kidder, has not yet been recognized. She says, had that not happened, she might have wound up a liberal Republican. After working behind the scenes in the state Legislature... Bargar ran for local office in 1992... and, was elected to the Chautauqua County Legislature. Bargar has the distinction of being the first Democratic woman elected to the county panel. However... while 1992 was considered the "Year of the Woman" in politics locally... she feels women still have a ways to go. Bargar also ran for state Senate several years ago... and, two years ago ran for State Assembly against eventual winner Andy Goodell. Thursday night's program was held at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts.
Dunkirk man gets 10 years for possessing Child Porn...
A Dunkirk man has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prision after being convicted of possessing child pornography. Assistant U-S Attorney Carol Bridge says U-S District Court Judge Richard Arcara handed down the sentence to 43 year-old Shane Taylor late Thursday. Bridge says law enforcement raided Taylor's Dove Street home on July 18, 2011... and, seized a computer and a shotgun from Taylor’s room. She says an analysis determined that the computer contained over 3000 images of child pornography, many depicting pre-pubescent children and images of violence. The sentencing was the culmination of an investigation by Immigration and Customers Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations.
The Sherman Central School District is the "Top Overachieving" school system in western New York for the eighth year in a row. The ranking was announced Tuesday by Business First of Buffalo... which annually ranks districts in several catagories. This catagory is for those that post strong academic records -- despite sizable poverty. Sherman School Superintendent Cain Kelly says it's an "honor" to be named again... and, says the main reason is they have a talented teaching staff that puts "student achievement" first. Business First says nearly one-third of the five-to 17-year-olds in Sherman live below the federal poverty level. Kelly says Sherman is a very "blue collar town that's agricultururally based." But.. while the district is poor financially... he says it's rich "in things that count." Business First says Sherman's youth poverty rate of just under 33-percent is the seventh-worst in Western New York. However... Sherman finished 29th in Business First's Western New York academic rankings... outperforming just over 70-percent of the other 95 districts. Second behind Sherman was Randolph in Cattaraugus County... and, Silver Creek was third.
A man wanted in Jamestown is jailed in Cattaraugus County on 10-thousand dollars for allegedly giving police a false name... and, being found with a small amount of cocaine in his possession in Salamanca. Sheriff's Deputies in Little Valley say they were notified that 28 year-old Silk Spencer was sought on a warrant... and, he was found at the Seneca-Allegany Casino back on June 7th. Officers say Spencer told them he was actually his brother, Travis. However... he unable to prove that. He faces charges including second-degree criminal personation... and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Spencer was arraigned in Salamanca City Court... and, sent to the Cattaraugus County lock-up. The Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force assisted in the investigation.
Lawmakers remain far apart on a deal to renew the rent regulations covering 2-million New York City residents after the long-standing tenant protections expired at midnight. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie emerged from a meeting with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senate Leader John Flanagan Tuesday to tell reporters that renewing and strengthening the rent rules remains the top priority for his chamber... which is dominated by New York City Democrats. The Republican-led Senate, however, supports its own bill which would subject rent-regulated tenants to income verification checks. Without a deal to extend it, the existing rules expired at midnight Monday. Lawmakers are also negotiating deals on Cuomo's proposal to create an education tax credit for private-school tuition and a new sexual assault policy for the private colleges and universities.
Momentum is building behind a proposed, four-part measure supporting job growth... strengthening Social Security... and, balancing the federal budget. That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who is a co-sponsor of the National Strategic Agenda Resolution with California Democrat Ami Bera. During his weekly conference call with Southern Tier Media... Reed noted there are now two Senate sponsors... and, says it's up for a hearing in the Senate Homeland Security and Govermental Affairs Committee tomorrow. Specifics on how each of those goals would be achieved have not been announced... but, Reed says the goal right now is getting Democrats and Republicans to sign on and be part of the solution. The Corning Republican says the hearing is another "positive step" in trying to identify "common goals." Reed says Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota... and, Democrat Bill Nelson of Florida... are co-sponsoring the measure in the Senate. They introduced the legislation two weeks ago. Reed and Bera introduced it in the House of Representatives last April.
New York officials say they have awarded 1.57-million dollars to eight programs -- one in Chautauqua County -- to help provide post-adoption services around the state. The money will help fund services like family counseling, parent education and mental health counseling. The awards were announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Gustavus Adolphus Child and Family Services in Jamestown is one of the eight getting some of the money. The governor's office says they'll be receiving 142-thousand-500 dollars in funding. The other providers include Abbott House, serving Dutchess and Orange counties... Catholic Charities in Monroe County... the Children's Home of Jefferson County... which serves both Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties.... and, the Salvation Army in Onondaga County.
Students at Ring Elementary School in Jamestown took part of establishing their own legacy yesterday afternoon by helping to plant six new trees on the northern edge of the school property. The new trees are the last of 62 new ones planted there in recent years. City Arborist Dan Stone hosted the event... and, says three of the trees were Quanzan Cherrys... and, the other three were Capital Pears. Stone says it's always fun getting the kids involved. Stone... and, members of the city's Parks and Recreation Department take care of the approximately 13-thousand "terrace" trees that are maintained by the city. Mayor Sam Teresi urged the students to "remember this day..." and, recalled helping to plant a tree when he was a student at Fletcher Elementary School. He told them to take pride in what they've done. The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation again helped provide the funding to put up the new trees. But... Executive Director Randy Sweeney commended the Ring students... who raised 185-dollars themselves for the project.
A ton of confiscated ivory will be crushed in Times Square this week to draw attention to elephant poaching and wildlife trafficking. The U.S. Department of the Interior, the Wildlife Conservation Society and New York's state environmental department are among the participants in Friday's event. The Wildlife Conservation Society says elephant poaching is at its highest level in decades and is causing significant declines in the population. It says rhinos and other species are also at risk. The society's Chief Executive Officer... Cristian Samper... says the symbolism highlights an effort to crush ``the bloody ivory market'' and let poachers know that they won't profit by slaughtering the ``majestic'' creatures.
Prison worker arraigned on charges in connection with aiding escaped murders...
A northern New York prison worker accused of helping two killers escape last weekend looked scared and didn't speak during her arraignment. Prison tailor shop instructor Joyce Mitchell is accused of befriending inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora and giving them contraband. Mitchell's hands were cuffed in front of her and she stared straight ahead while she was arraigned Friday night in Plattsburgh on charges of felony promoting prison contraband and misdemeanor criminal facilitation. She was ordered jailed. Mitchell's family has said she would not have helped the convicts break out. Mitchell has another court appearance scheduled for Monday. Her court-appointed attorney says he'll make arguments then after having time to speak with her.
Three arrested in connection with three drug raids in Jamestown...
Three men -- including one from Jamestown -- have been arrested as part of two drug raids in the city early yesterday morning... and, one this past Wednesday. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson Friday's raids took place about 6:40 a.m., one at 19 Crossman Street... the other at 841 East Second Street. Samuelson says police arrested 28 year-old Miles Jordan of Cleveland, Ohio at 19 Crossman. He says Jordan is a parolee... and, members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force found quantities of heroin... ecstacy... and cash inside the apartment. At 841 East Second... police arrested 33 year-old Lawrence McGrigg of Jamestown... and, found a quantity of cocaine. On Wednesday... officers raided an apartment at 21 Sturges Street... where they arrested another parolee -- 35 year-old Anthony Dunmore of Rochester. He was allegedly found with a quantity of "crack" cocaine... cash and drug paraphernalia. All three were arraigned... and, sent to the county jail without bail.
Fire in Dunkirk that leaves four hurt ruled "suspicious..."
Dunkirk fire investigators have listed the fire that extensively damaged a home at 80 King Street -- and injured four residents -- as suspicious. Dunkirk Fire and Police and fire units responded to the scene around 2:50 a.m. Friday morning. Dunkirk Fire Chief Mike Edwards says when crews reached the scene... they were informed by police patrol units that people were trapped and hanging from the second-floor windows. Edwards says the occupants all jumped. He says five people were there... and, four were hurt -- including a child. He says crews also did a further search in the building because they weren't sure everyone was out. Edwards says it took about 45 minutes to bring the smokey blaze under control. Three of the injured people were sent to Brooks Memorial Hospital... while the fourth was transported by Starflight to the UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie. Firefighters used multiple hose-lines to douse the flames. A house at 78 King Street sustained minor damage to the exterior of the structure. Edwards says one firefighter was transported to Brooks Memorial for evaluation of possible heat exhaustion.
Teresi says city leaders will likely consider making Fourth Street in Jamestown a two-way street again...
Motorists who have complained about all the one-way streets in the city of Jamestown may be happy to hear that another street may be reverting to two-way traffic again sometime in the future. However... it won't be happening immediately. That from Mayor Sam Teresi... responding to a recent report by Jamestown Renaissance Corporation Deputy Director Peter Lombardi about changing Fourth Street back from it's current, one-way status. Lombardi recently proposed looking at the idea for a number of reasons. Teresi says the main one is helping to get traffic to the businesses there... along with slowing traffic, and making it safe for pedestrians. Fourth Street was among several that were made one-way back in the 1960s to relieve downtown traffic congestion... which was a major problem at the time. Teresi says... during the coming months... city lawmakers may begin looking at the idea. However... he says it's going to require more study, and resources. Teresi made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the Media One Group stations.
Chautauqua Co. receives $35,000 state grant to raise awarness, and help sexually exploited youth involved in human trafficking...
The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services is receiving a $35,000 state grant to help raise awareness about human trafficking... and, address the needs of sexually-exploited youth locally. The county's Department of Health and Human Services Youth Bureau has just received word of the grant from the state Office of Children and Family Services. The campaign will fund a Billboard Awareness Campaign that'll be launched next Monday. Youth Bureau Program coordinator Patty Yokom says the grant will also fund training... coordination... and safe housing options for local agencies that deal with the victims of human trafficking. For more information... call the county Youth Bureau at 753-4725.
Ashville man killed in truck-motorcycle crash on Route 474 in Ashville...
An Ashville man was killed when his motorcycle crashed into a light truck hauling a trailer Thursday morning near Ashville. Sheriff's officers say 41 year-old Richard Jensen was eastbound at an apparent high rate of speed about 7:30 a.m. near the intersection with Magnolia Road. Deputies say the Kingsview Enterprises truck... operated by 21 year-old Tyler Borowski of Bradford... was westbound when he apparently turned in front of the motorcycle. Officers say Jensen laid the bike down... and, it skidded about 125 feet before hitting the front of the truck. Deputies say Jensen had been thrown from the bike... and was later pronounced dead at the scene. An accident reconstruction team was brought in... and, officers interviewed an eyewitness before ruling on the accident. Route 474 between the four-corners in Ashville... and, Magnolia Avenue... was closed for about 3-and-a-half hours. Deputies say charges are pending.
CASAC, HOPE Chautauqua receive major grant for opiate, heroin abuse prevention programs...
A pair of drug abuse prevention agencies in Chautauqua County have received a major grant to help better address prescription opiate and Heroin abuse... and prevent opiate overdoses. The Chautauqua Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Council... and, HOPE Chautauqua... Thursday announced they are receiving a $627,300 grant to be used over a 4-and-a-half year period. HOPE Chautauqua Coalition Coodinator Julie Franco... who says the major focus of the grant will be prevention among 12 to 25 year-olds. Franco says they'll be surveying students in middle and high schools to find out prevalence of use, and then they'll survey 17 to 25 year-olds. Franco says the funding will be used to build staff... and, do assessments of the opiate and heroin problem in the county among youth and young adults. As a result... she says they hope to create and implement the tools to reverse the trend of drug abuse... by looking at what interventions work. The coalition is one of 10 such entities in New York State to receive a Partnership for Success grant from the state Office on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services... and, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
State Legislators now home for the weekend with just a few days left in the session...
New York lawmakers have headed home for the weekend without reaching a compromise on the extension of New York City's rent regulations. Members of the Assembly and Senate left Albany Thursday and plan to return Monday, the day the law governing the city's rent stabilization policies expires. A short-term extension of the law by six months or a year is one idea being floated by lawmakers. That would give lawmakers more time to consider more significant changes. The Assembly has already approved a four-year extension that also strengthens the rules governing how landlords can raise rent on vacant units. The Senate has yet to consider any proposal. The rent rules cover approximately one-million units in and around New York City. The Legislature plans to adjourn its 2015 session Wednesday.
Holiday Valley official calls ski resort data breach a "criminal attack..."
A bank's credit card division turned up irregularites that led to the discovery that a Cattaraugus County ski resort had a data breach. That from Spokeswoman Jane Eshbaugh with the Holiday Valley Ski Resort... which reported the credit and debit care breach late Wednesday. With that... Eshbaugh says visitors to the resort between last Oct. 17 and June 2 of this year... are being urged to watch their credit card statements. Eshbaugh says Holiday Valley was one of the "common points of sale" and that started the investigation. Holiday Valley officials are calling the breach a ``criminal attack'' that affected credit card and debit card purchases of food... recreation... retail and lodging transactions. Eshbaugh says Holiday Valley will provide a year of free credit repair services to card holders whose credit was harmed. The service will be available beginning June 17. Eshbaugh says... at this point... it appears some 60 cards were affected. She says they're always careful in setting up their security systems... but, adds cyber criminals have become "very clever." Eshbaugh says Holiday Valley notified the Secret Service of the breach when they discovered it last week... and, hired cyber security experts to contain it and protect against future attacks.
Assembly passes Medical Malpractice legislation extends claim period...
The state Assembly has passed legislation that would let victims of medical malpractice file claims later than allowed now. Current law requires filing claims within two-and-a-half years after the act, omission or improper treatment. The legislation would start that clock when an injured patient discovers, or should have discovered, that the injury was caused by malpractice. It would cap the claims period at 10 years after the alleged malpractice.
Tornado confirmed in WNY Wednesday night when severe weather came through the region...
The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado caused some of the damage left behind when severe storms rolled across western New York, knocking out power to more than 10-thousand utility customers. A weather service team sent to the town of Farmington concluded Thursday that a tornado rated EF-0 with winds 60 to 70 mph touched down just before 10 p.m. Wednesday and was on the ground for a half-mile. Emergency officials say high winds knocked over two barns and sent a silo nearly 300 yards into a cemetery in Farmington, in northern Ontario County 15 miles southeast of Rochester. About 12-thousand homes and businesses in Ontario and neighboring Monroe County lost power. RG&E says about 2,300 remain without power Thursday, most of them in Monroe County. There were no injuries reported.
(Corr)Ashville man killed in truck-motorcycle crash on Route 474 in Ashville...
An Ashville man was killed when his motorcycle crashed into a light truck hauling a trailer Thursday morning near Ashville. Sheriff's officers say 41 year-old Richard Jensen was eastbound at an apparent high rate of speed about 7:30 a.m. near the intersection with Magnolia Road. Deputies say the Kingsview Enterprises truck... operated by 21 year-old Tyler Borowski of Bradford... was westbound when he apparently turned in front of the motorcycle. Officers say Jensen laid the bike down... and, it skidded about 125 feet before hitting the front of the truck. Deputies say Jensen had been thrown from the bike... and was later pronounced dead at the scene. An accident reconstruction team was brought in... and, officers interviewed an eyewitness before ruling on the accident. Route 474 between the four-corners in Ashville... and, Magnolia Avenue... was closed for about 3-and-a-half hours. Deputies say charges are pending.
(Bulletin) One person dead in Route 474 Motorcycle accident in Ashville...
A motorcyclist is confirmed dead following an accident involving the rider's bike and another vehicle on Route 474 near Ashville. Sheriff Joe Gerace confirms the rider of the motorcycle died in the accident... which was reported about 7:30 this morning. An accident reconstruction team has been brought in... and motorists in the Lakewood and Ashville areas are being asked to avoid Route 474 between the four-corners in Ashville... and, Magnolia Avenue. Gerace says his department is continuing to investigate the crash. The name of the person has not been released yet, pending notification of relatives.
Holiday Valley officials blame "criminal attack" for data breach...
Visitors to a Cattaraugus County ski resort are being urged to watch their credit card statements after the discovery of a data breach. Officials at Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville are calling it a ``criminal attack'' that lasted from last Oct. 17 to this past June 2... and, affected credit card and debit card purchases of food, recreation, retail and lodging. The resort says it will offer a year of credit repair services to card holders whose credit was harmed. Officials say they notified the Secret Service of the breach when they discovered it last week and hired cyber security experts to contain it and protect against future attacks.
Goodell only State Legislator to take part in Cuomo's "Transparency Summit," pleased with outcome...
Chautauqua County's representative in the New York state Assembly was the only legislator to take part in Governor Cuomo's "Transparency Summit" in late May. Assemblyman Andy Goodell took part in the session regarding whether the governor's e-mails should be kept after 90 days. Just before the Records Retention session... Cuomo's office announced they it had reversed policy, and would retain e-mails according to state policy. Goodell says the location of the summit was not released until the day before the session. He says he wasn't told where it was until the Thursday afternoon before the summit... which didn't allow him to take part... except by phone. However... Goodell says the announcement made at the beginning of the summit was a "very positive" development... and, he applauded it. Initially... it appeared that Cuomo was not going to change course until after the summit was held. But... Goodell says that changed, and his staff announced they would be keeping the e-mails until they had been evaluated by record officials. He says the state officials also discussed how the Freedom of Information Law applied in this case.
Kolb again makes push for corruption legislation being approved in Albany...
The leader of the New York state Assembly's Republican minority says lawmakers are missing an opportunity to address the ``cloud'' of corruption that's hung over the state Capitol for years. GOP leader Brian Kolb says that there's still time for lawmakers to take up comprehensive ethics reforms before they adjourn next week. But he says he's not optimistic they will. The two men picked to lead the Assembly and Senate in January have been charged with corruption-related crimes and are just the latest of several lawmakers to face ethics questions in recent years. Kolb supports term limits on leadership positions to reduce corruption, but that idea isn't supported by Assembly Democrats.
Mayville man arrested in connection with rollover crash due to distracted driving...
A Mayville man is accused of speeding after he got distracted... and, his car veered off Route 430 in the town of Chautauqua... and, sheared a utility pole. Sheriff's Deputies say 23 year-old John Milliman was westbound just before 6 p.m. Tuesday when he was distracted for some reason... and, his vehicle went off the roadway. Officers say the car crashed through the utility pole... and, traveled several yards before coming to a stop. They say Milliman was treated at the scene for minor injuries... and, released. He was ticketed for using speed not reasonable and prudent.
One arrested so far in series of drug raids in Dunkirk...
Federal, state and local police agencies are involved in an on-going investigation into illegal drugs... which resulted in six separate raids in the city of Dunkirk early Wednesday morning. Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano says the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is heading up the investigation. Ortolano says six search warrants were executed just before 6 a.m. The U-S Drug Enforcement Agency is expected to release more details of the operation. One arrest has been reportedly made as part of the raids.
Stockton man accused of trying to set his vacant home on fire five times...
A Stockton man has been arrested for allegedly trying to set an abandoned house he owned on fire five times... and, being warned not to burn it by fire officials. State Police in Jamestown say they arrested 37 year-old Louis Horton late last week after he had been warned for a second time by the Stockton fire chief to not burn the structure on Railroad Avenue. Troopers say Horton was arraigned on four counts of second-degree Reckless Endangerment... second-degree Criminal Nuisance... obstuction and other counts. He was also issued several ENCON citations. Horton was sent to the Chautauqua County Jail on $3,500 cash bail.
Koncert for Kallie set for Friday night...
A benefit concert will be held this coming Friday night for the Kallie’s Krusade Foundation at the Jamestown High School. The band TPT will perform hits from the 1960’s to Today to raise money for the Kallie’s Krusade Foundation. Tickets to the concert are $5 for adults... and, $3 for Students and Children and the proceeds will be used to assists families with sick children who may need help traveling to get treatment. The Koncert for Kallie’s Crusade kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Jamestown High School.
A couple of preservation groups are boosting their public campaign to spare the historic amphitheater at Chautauqua Institution from demolition. That from Chairman Brian Berg with the "Committee to Preserve the Historic Chautauqua Amphitheater..." who says five new billboard signs have been put up in the area surrounding the institution. Berg says the National Trust for Historic Preservation is backing the campaign... which he says renews their call for Chautauqua officials to hold an open dialogue on ways to renovate the Amp... not tear it down.
Berg says they have been trying to openly talk to residents about upgrading the facility... but, adds they haven't gotten very far with discussions with Institution leaders. They say the institution is continuing to pursue a complete tear-down... and, replacing it with a new facility. Berg says the billboards have been strategically placed so they'll be seen by the public. He says the idea of tearing down the Amphitheater is almost akin to tearing down Chicago's Wrigley Field -- or some other major historic location -- and replacing it with a new stadium.
A Chautauqua Institution official says they have "no issue" with the billboards that have been erected across the area... calling attention to controversy surrounding the amphitheater. Vice-President of Marketing George Murphy says Chautauqua remains committed to having an open dialogue about the amphitheater... and, how the project fits into the institution's long-range planning. Murphy says there will be plenty of opportunities during the upcoming 2015 season to learn more about what's being proposed. Murphy says the bigger the number of people attending those sessions... the better. The institution has planned three morning sessions each week for the first eight-weeks of the season -- devoted to the project. Murphy says the first one will be a tour of the amphitheater on Monday mornings. He says there will then be a "history" session on Wednesdays... and, a Q-and-A forum on Fridays. Murphy says each session will begin at 8 AM... and, the Wednesday and Friday sessions will be held in the Hall of Christ.
The Jamestown School Board has unanimously approved a new contract with the union representing support staff in the district. The panel adopted the five-year agreement... which is retroactive to July 1st of 2013... at last night's board meeting. School Superintendent Tim Mains says the Jamestown Support Staff Association represents about 160 employees... including most custodians, food service workers, and bus drivers. No details were released about the contract... which runs until June of 2018. With the agreement... the district now has agreements with five of the seven collective bargaining units they deal with. The only two that haven't include the district's largest union... the Jamestown Teachers Association. The other is the union representing the district's paraprofessionals.
A former Buffalo pub manager whose murder conviction was set aside has pleaded guilty in the death of a bar patron from Silver Creek who died months after being pushed down a flight of stairs. Jeffrey Basil pleaded guilty to manslaughter Tuesday in state Supreme Court in Buffalo in a plea agreement that will let him avoid another murder trial. In exchange... he faces 15 to 21 years in prison. The 37-year-old Basil could have received 25 years to life in prison had he been re-tried in the death last year of Air National Guardsman, 28-year-old William Sager, Junior. A jury found Basil guilty of murder in January, but a judge last month set the verdict aside after Basil's lawyers argued that one of the jurors concealed information about herself during jury selection.
Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says he wants to meet with select officials in both the village of Fredonia and the city of Dunkirk before Thursday night's County Water Agency meeting. Horrigan says the earlier session is being held to respond to questions and concerns outlined in responses the county has received from the local governments. Village officials raised a number of concerns in a 6-and-a-half page document that was passed by the village board Monday night. Horrigan is asking for a meeting. But... it appears that at least one trustee has made up his mind. Joe Cerrie says that he won't support the district the way its is currently proposed. Cerrie says -- overalll -- "it's not a benefit to village residents and taxpayers." The city of Dunkirk issued its response to the proposed agreements last week... but, has not disclosed many details. The county Water Agency will meet at Shorewood Country Club on Thursday evening at 6:30 pm. The meeting is open to the public.
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area are holding steady this week, with no change in the price of regular, unleaded fuel. The Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report says the price remains 2-dollars-94 cents per gallon... while the national price is now 2--75 a gallon. Triple-A says the average price locally is based on reports from 19 area service stations. Nationally... the Fuel Gauge Reports the average price has remained steady over the past week... and, continues to hover near at what many expect to be the highest average of the year. While prices across the country have increased since April... Triple-A says consumers are still saving 90-cents per gallon compared to this same time last year.
An annual event used to raise awarness about the need for kidney donors across western New York will be held this coming Sunday in Jamestown. The 6th Southern Tier Kidney Walk will be held on the city's westside...with activities beginning at 12 Noon at the Lillian Ney Renaissance Center. That from Walk Chairman Mitch Stone... who received a kidney transplant three years ago... and, has been involved for some time with the effort. Stone says he received a kidney from a "total stranger" through the Southern Tier Kidney Association and it's "Kidney Connection" program. He says they'll walk from the center, across the Third Street Bridge to Veteran's memorial Park... and, back. Southern Tier Kidney Association president Sam Pelleritto says you can find out details about the walk by going to their website at "southerntierkidneyassoc-dot-ORG. Pelleritto adds there will also be lunch served after the walk.
Chautauqua County is on the move. That was the message delivered by County Executive Vince Horrigan this morning during the county Chamber of Commerce's annual Executive Breakfast in Fredonia. Horrigan says the county is working hard on economic development efforts and job creation. He believes he demonstrated that they are making inroads in both areas... but, adds there's still a lot of work to do on regional initiatives like the North County Water district. Horrigan says he was asked a number of questions concerning regional development initiatives. However... the Bemus Point Republican says he was surprised he was NOT asked about the county seeking a half-a-percent increase in the local sales tax. However... that may not be as big an issue because of the planned property tax cut that's part of the proposal. In the past... the county Chamber has opposed such a move. About 100 people turned out for the annual breakfast held at the Williams Center at the SUNY College at Fredonia.
A city man is being held in the county jail without bail after he was pulled over during a traffic stop on Jamestown's southside Thursday afternoon... and, the investigation allegedly led to a Methaphetime Lab in his house. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force, and State Police C-NET Team, stopped a car driven by 35 year-old Aaron Phillips just after 12:30 PM Thursday on a warrant for failure to appear in court. Police say they soon found Phillips in possession of a quantity of Meth... and, they obtained a search warrant for his house. Task Force members later raided the home at 115 Wilton Avenue... and, found items known to be used for making Meth. The State Police C-SERT Team was also called into assist and clean-up the scene. Phillips faces charges including third-degree unlawful production of Methamphetime. He was arraigned and sent to the county lock-up.
Students who would be going to Love Elementary School next Fall will instead attend three other schools due to a major, 8-million dollar renovation project at the district's oldest school. School Superintendent Tim Mains says Love will be shutting down while the entire electric service is being moved from the basement to the first floor... and, the heating and cooling systems are upgraded. Mains says the project will get underway once the current school year is finished... and be finished at the end of next Summer. Mains says school officials met with Love School parents Thursday night to explain what's taking place... and, what nearby schools their children will be attending next Fall. He says students in Kindergarten through second-grade will be bused to Lincoln Elementary School... while third through fourth-graders will be sent to Washington Middle School. He says Love School's Pre-K students will be assigned once they know who would be attending Love School. He says several of them will likely be bused to Ring School. Mains says details will be part of a letter soon to be sent out to parents.
It's been a busy past eight-months for employees of a local real estate group involved in the transformation of the former federal building on Jamestown's eastside. An Open House was held yesterday to give the public a chance to look at the changes to what is now the Lynn Building at 301 East Second Street. Event Coordinator Heather Lynn says they purchased the old post office building in 2010. Lynn says they moved into the building in 2012... and, have now built it out for six different groups or businesses. She says they needed to do a lot of duct, and, plumbing work. Lynn says both the Infinity Visual and Performing Arts... and, Chautauqua Striders moved into the first floor... off Second Street. Four others have also moved in just before or after that. They include the U-S Post Office -- which is in a new location.
State health officials plan to let the public know early next week which companies, nonprofits or others bid for licenses to grow and distribute medical marijuana in New York. Before Friday's application deadline... several bidders had announced proposals, including some now running similar programs in other states. New York's health department is expected to grant up to five licenses this summer, with each recipient allowed to establish up to four dispensaries. Under the law signed last July, patients with cancer, AIDS, Parkinson's disease and certain other medical conditions will be able to obtain non-smokeable versions of the drug, which can be ingested or vaporized. According to the Drug Policy Alliance... 23 other states have passed medical marijuana laws, while four have legalized it for adult use like alcohol.
A farmer's wife has pleaded not guilty to killing her husband, who was buried in manure after being struck with a pitch fork and shot in the head. Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O'Geen says 48-year-old Charlene Mess is being held on one-million dollars bail. Searchers found the body of 52-year-old Douglas Mess on the couple's town of Attica farm in April after his son reported him missing. Investigators say he was killed by a .22-caliber rifle shot to the back of his head. A seven-count indictment charges Charlene Mess with second-degree murder, assault, evidence tampering, using a firearm in a crime and lying to investigators.
A man from Westfield has been sentenced to 7-years in state prison for stealing about 7-thousand dollars in items in several burglaries early last year. Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley says 39 year-old Todd Reardon also faces 5-years post-release supervision for second-degree burglary. The 7-year determinate term was handed-down in county court for the March 2014 incidents. In addition... Foley says a Lakewood man will spending 1 to 3 years in prision for third-degree burglary. 22 year-old Dylan Abbey was convicted in county court of third-degree burglary... and, aggravated unlicensed operation. He's accused of stealing items from a Jamestown home. Foley also says 51 year-old Michael Foster of Cassadaga received state prision time for two counts of Felony Driving While Intoxication. Foster received one to one-and-3/4 years... and, a one-thousand dollar fine.
Three police officers were hurt when they tried to get a Jamestown man help after he was found acting strangely while he was walking on West Fourth Street. City Police were called to the scene... near Jefferson Street... just after 1:30 AM Wednesday. Officers say they were called to check on the well-being of Joseph DeJesus... but, he became combative when they wanted to take him to the hospital. Police say DeJesus also kicked the doors -- damaging one -- in the patrol car. Police say two JPD officers, and a Sheriff's Officer, were treated for minor injuries. DeJesus was arraigned on charges of second-degree assault... first degree obstruction... and, criminal mischief.. and, sent to the county jail without bail.
Local Congressman Tom Reed is backing legislation he recently filed with a Democratic House member from Connecticut that would allow parents to opt-out of annual Common Core testing. The Corning Republican joined Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro in introducing the EMPOWER Act last month. Reed says he's heard from a number of parents and even some teachers who are concerned about the tests. Reed says a number of local school districts in the 23rd Congressional District saw thousands of students opt of testing earlier this year. In fact... he says participation in the Fredonia school district fell to below 50-percent this year. The legislation has receiving the support from both the National Education Association... and the New York State United Teachers union... also known as NYSUT.
For the most part... gasoline prices in Chautauqua County remain consistent this week... changing just a fraction of a penny a gallon. The Triple-A's weekly Fuel Gauge Report says the price for regular, unleaded gas is up about 4-tenths of a cent to 2-dollars-94 cents. Triple-A says that's based on reports from 19 local service stations. The Fuel Gauge report says the price last year at this time was just under 3-dollars-85 cents a gallon. The national average is now $2--75. After a steady increase in recent months... the Fuel Gauge says it's possible that national pump prices may be near a seasonal peak.
There will be five performances this year to mark the city of Jamestown's annual Summer Band Concert Series at Allen Park starting next Wednesday. City officials -- including Mayor Sam Teresi -- and others were on hand at the Gorenson Bandshell Wednesday afternoon to highlight the events scheduled for the next several weeks. Parks and Receration Coordinator Julia Ciesla-Hanley says it all starts Wednesday, July 10th with a concert by the Jamesown High School concert band. Band Director Meghan Murray says her students always look forward to it.
After a week off... the concert series resumes on Wednesday, June 24th with the first of four "themed" shows by the Jamestown Municipal Band... directed by Rick Lundquist. Lundquist says their first concert will be "Italian Night..." featuring music of Italian composers and performers. He adds the band's annual July 4th "Patriotic" concert will be held on Wednesday, July 1st. All concerts at Allen Park begin at 7 PM... and, there is the possibility of more concerts being added if sponsors can be found. One sponsor... Chuck DeAngelo of Fessenden, Laumer and DeAngelo... was on hand for the announcment. Lundquist says the Municipal Band is now a 501-C-3 company... so donations are tax deductable. Ciesla-Hanley says the concerts cost 800-dollars to put on. For more information... call her at 483-7523.
The Gorenson Bandshell is about 50 years old... and, in need of some "tender loving care." City officials say it will get that during the Summer season. However... Mayor Sam Teresi says the work will not interfere with the Summer Concert Series. During yesterday afternoon's press conference... Teresi noted that there will be two area's of emphasis. City Parks Supervisor John Williams says the concert work on the floor of the bandshell will begin this Monday. However... he says none of the work will take place on concert days. Williams says the roof replacement will take place over the course of the season... and, by done by it's conclusion.
The top cop in the city of Dunkirk is calling the arrest of a 25-year-old city man one of the most unusual cases his department has seen in many years. Adam Jessie is accused of trying to evade police by climbing onto the roof of a two-story apartment building at 128 Lake Shore Drive East Tuesday. The call stemmed from a 9-1-1 call about a possible residential entry on South Zebra Street. Police Chief David Ortolano says Jessie wouldn't get off the roof...so Dunkirk Fire brought in Ladder One. Ortolano admits it's one of the most unusual cases he has seen in his 30 years in law enforcement. He says he's thankful that Jessie didn't get hurt... but, adds it's "something we don't deal with very often." Jessie has been arraigned on charges of third-degree criminal trespass... and, second-degree criminal nuisance and sent to the County Jail in lieu of bail.
Students in a suburban Buffalo school district have chosen a replacement for the Redskins nickname for their sports teams. The Lancaster school district announced Wednesday that teams will now be known as the Lancaster Legends, and the new mascot will be a knight. Elementary and middle school students voted Tuesday from among seven choices and high school students voted Wednesday. The Lancaster School Board will meet Monday to vote on the students' choice. The board in March decided to retire the Redskins nickname and mascot after more than 60 years because it offends some Native Americans.
Republican state senators in Pennsylvania are preparing to introduce legislation to allow Internet gambling. The forthcoming bill was advertised Wednesday by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and three other Republicans. Their memo to fellow senators says the bill would allow existing Pennsylvania casinos to offer Internet gambling. Players must be in the state and have a registered account. New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada allow Internet gambling. A Scarnati spokesman says the bill promises hundreds of millions of dollars for the state treasury, with the help of other provisions that let casinos expand traditional gambling offerings. Governor Tom Wolf's office says the Democrat is open to discussing Internet gambling legislation.
The effort to equip police officers with body cameras nationwide to tape the officer's perspective of incidents they respond to has come to the city of Jamestown. However... research into this crime-fighting tool began long before officer involved-incidents in Ferguson, Missouri and elsewhere. Mayor Sam Teresi says he was first introduced to the technology in 2010... and, he began discussing it with Police Chief Harry Snellings. Snellings has researched the matter for just over a year... and, presented his findings to the City Council at last night's work session. Snellings says he's looked at three different kinds of body cams... and, says he and Teresi wanted to wait at first because initial costs were high. However... he says the cameras are more in demand now, and, that's brought down the cost. He says... generally... the rank-and-file like the idea of back-up video. There is federal grant money available... but, Snellings says the initial cost for a stand-alone system for 48 cameras would cost about 55-thousand dollars.
A very rainy 24-hours on Sunday led to one record being set for daily rainfall in Western New York. Meteorologist Dave Thomas of the National Weather Service says a slow-moving cold front brought the wet weather and resulted in 2.25-inches of rain for yesterday. Thomas says that was the second-highest for one day total for Buffalo in the month of May. It was also the most for May 31st. Thomas says rain came mainly during the course of the day-time hours. He adds the rain should help area farmers who have been dealing with a rainfall deficit for several weeks.
The former leader of the New York Senate and his son have pleaded not guilty in a federal corruption case. An indictment levels conspiracy and extortion charges against 67-year-old Dean Skelos (SKEHL'-ohs) and his 32-year-old son, Adam. They were arraigned today (Monday) in Manhattan. The indictment, filed last Thursday, says a medical malpractice insurer provided Adam Skelos with a no-show job while it lobbied his father on legislative matters. Authorities allege that 300-thousand dollars was illegally steered to the son. Dean Skelos was New York state's most powerful Republican when he was arrested. Skelos has said he will fight the charges and that he and his son will be vindicated. His son's lawyer has said Adam Skelos is not guilty.
Chautauqua County's representative in the state Assembly says he's "very confident" there will be a vote on allowing the county to increase it's sales tax before the end of the current state legislative session. Bemus Point Republican Andy Goodell is please the county legislature took action on the proposal last week to increase the tax from 7.5-percent to 8-percent. Goodell says the legislative session is expected to end on June 17th. He adds this sales tax proposal is unique... and, that's a plus. Goodell says lowering property taxes will especially help local farmers... and manufacturers be more competitive, and remain open. He adds there will also be an obvoious benefit to local home-owners by shifting some of the tax burden onto people visiting or vacationing in the county. Goodell did not have a day where such a vote may take place... adding the county's Sales Tax increase is one of several bills that need to be acted on by the end of session. He also declined to speculate how soon a vote may come in the State Senate.
A long-time collision shop on Jamestown's southside has changed hands... but, the new owner says he's committed to carry on the quality work of the previous owner. The grand opening was held yesterday afternoon for the new Carubba Collision on Foote Avenue. It's the previous location of Gary's Carstar... which had been owned and operated for about 45 years by Gary Adams. Mayor Sam Teresi says Monday's ribbon cutting was a celebration of two things. Teresi lauded Adams' commitment to doing quality work during his 45 years in the business... and, his love for restoring antique cars. Carubba Collision's Owner, Joe Carubba was on hand for the festivities... and, also complimented Adams... saying he wants to carry on the fine traditions he had in the Jamestown community... including the quality of work, and local employees. Carubba says they'll also be adding five new employees for expanded service. He says they will be a "one-stop" center for people to get their car's repaired, and get their insurance claims taken care of.
A new, family-owned restaurant has officially opened in downtown Jamestown that carries a Cuban cuisine... but, also caters to American's love for such food. Several elected officials... and, members of the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation were on hand to help cut the ribbon yesterday on the new "Havana Cuban Cafe and Pizzaria." Owner Ruban Hernandez is originally from Miami... but, moved to Jamestown when he was 15. He adds he first became interested in opening a restaurant when he graduated from JHS six years ago. Hernandez says the reaction's been positive. Hernandez says their main staple is their version of the "Cuban" Sandwich... and, other cuban fare. He says his inspiration was his grand-father... who was a chef in Cuba. He calls the restaurant a "dream come true." Hours for the "Havana Cuban Cafe and Pizzaria" are 11 AM to 8 PM Tuesday's through Saturday's. Their business number is 720-4296.
The Dunkirk Police Department is investigating a "forced residential entry" that happened in the 200-block of Lord Street shortly before 3 PM Sunday. Police say two people, described as Hispanic males, pushed a 73-year-old female victim down to the floor after answering her door. She told officers that a heavier-set man had asked for the whereabouts of a person she did not know. They then left the home. The victim managed to call 9-1-1. Police and Dunkirk Fire and Rescue responded and transported her to Brooks Hospital for treatment of a back injury. Anyone with information on this incident can call the Dunkirk Police at 366-2266 or the confidential tip line at 363-0313.
City man jailed for allegedly threatening victim with gun during domestic incident...
A Jamestown man is jailed without bail for allegedly forcing his way into his ex-girlfriend's eastside apartment... and, threatening her while holding a shot-gun. City police were called to the scene at 111 Benedict Ave. about 3:20 a.m. Friday... and, learned that 26 year-old Allen Yarbrough got into the woman's apartment illegally... and, had armed himself with the gun. Officers say the pair got into an argument... and, Yarbrough allegedly broke the woman's cell phone. He later left the scene, and the woman called officers... who later caught Yarbrough. He was arraigned on charges including second-degree burglary... second-degree menacing... and, first-degree criminal contempt. He was then sent to the county lock-up.
Jamestown man accused of attacking woman, using knife during incident...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly attacking a woman... and, acting in a threatening manner with a knife. City Police were called to the scene at 107 Barrett Ave. just before 3:30 p.m. Thursday... and, learned that 27 year-old Jesus Torres, Junior had allegedly grabbed the victim by the hair... and, pulled her off a couch. Officers also found that Torres had allegedly stabbed a door... damaging it. He was arrested without incident for second-degree harassment, and criminal mischief. Torres was jailed pending arraignment.
Leathers says BPU "Mini Rate" case could be decided by later Summer...
It will likely be August or September before the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities knows whether or not it's push for a "mini-rate" increase is approved by the state. That from BPU General Manager Dave Leathers... who says the board is going through the normal process for getting such an increase... which can be for up to 2.5-percent. Such cases only take a few months to complete. In fact... Leathers says state Public Service Commission officials were on site just recently to gather information on the BPU's request. He says they put in formal information requests... asked questions, and, challenged the board during a 2-and-a-half day stay two weeks ago. The board approved seeking the "mini-rate" case at it's March meeting. Some have questioned whether the city taking a "divident payment" the past couple of years as a "new" revenue source led to the need for an increase. Leathers says it's because expenses 'in general' have gone up for the electric division... including commodities, materials, labor and pensions. Leathers says the approximately $475,000 "dividend" payment this past year was a factor in their asking for a rate hike... but, by no means the only reason.
Mains issues formal statement on JHS Vandalism case...
Disciplinary action has already been taken by the Jamestown School District against the six high school students who allegedly took part in the vandalism at the high school early last Tuesday morning. However... School Superindent Tim Mains also says he is "disturbed" by the fact that a number of students who were not found to be involved have been "widely and inaccurately" portrayed as playing a role in it. In a statement issued late Thursday afternoon... Mains said "I do not want our effort to protect the confidentiality of actual perpetrators to be used in order to continue to malign students who had nothing to do with this." He adds that criminal charges will be filed against the six alleged suspects.
Fredonia native in Air Force killed in accident in Germany...
A north county native who served in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed in Germany, died earlier this week in a traffic accident about 40 kilometers from the base. Media One News has learned that Staff Sergeant Michael Klose of Fredonia was stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base since December of 2011. A story posted on the air base’s website reports that the 24-year-old was posthumously awarded the rank of Staff Sergeant on May 24. Michael was the son of Mark and Karen Klose of Fredonia... and, was a 2009 Fredonia High School graduate.
Reed calls Manufacturing Summit a big success...
Local Congressman Tom Reed's first Manufacturing Summit in Chautauqua County was a "great success." Reed hosted the summit Thursday at Jamestown Community College... and, included more than 140 manufacturing companies and representatives from across the region... and, elsewhere. The Corning Republican says the information shared by several panels and other presentations will "have a big impact on our manufacturing companies." Reed says the main idea was to provide resources for local companies to help them succeed. He says the summit brought together manufacturing industry leaders, government agencies and trade representatives to discuss the future of regional manufacturing. The summit featured a number of informational panels which provided more information on opportunities to grow its businesses here, by exporting their products abroad. He says the opportunity is there with 95-percent of the world's consumers outside the United States.
Street JAM gets underway Saturday...
There are 221 three-man basketball teams are set to play hoops on the streets of Jamestown this weekend. The annual Street JAM Tournament hits the streets tomorrow. Vicky Bardo is the tournament director... and, says "street ball" has now been a tradition in Jamestown the past 19 years. Each 4-person team gets to play at least three games, and maybe as many as 10. Action gets underway at 8 a.m. Saturday... with games until early evening. That schedule is repeated on Sunday. Bardo says teams from as far away as Buffalo... and even Las Vegas, Nevada are coming to play this year. Spectators are welcome at any of the twenty courts, but the hottest action is expected on the top men's and women's courts... right in front of the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena. The tournament is presented by The Resource Center and 'Filling the Gap'... which works with TRC. Bardo adds, the tournament plays through all weather except thunderstorms. Games may be shortened if the conditions are wet.
Vets of Modern Warfare to host Chicken BBQ to benefit "Kallie's Krusade..."
A Chicken Barbeue Benefit has been set for this coming Sunday, May 31 for the Veteran's of Modern Warfare C-H 20 of Jamestown. Spokesperson Melodie Paladino says it'll be held at Classic Cuts & Nails at 1285 East Second St. in Jamestown from Noon to 6 p.m. Paladino says they'll be serving chicken dinners will be $9 to include 1/2 chicken, 2 sides and a roll. Pepsi products and water will be available for one-dollar each. Paladino says there'll also be serveral activities... including a Chinese auction... 50/50 raffle... bake sale and games for the kids. Classic Cuts is also doing hair extensions for $5 and haircuts for $10 each. All proceeds from this benefit will go to Tara and Shane Swan, parents of Kallie Swan who passed away after a long battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. They established the non-profit Kallie's Krusade to benefit such children.
Chautauqua County is a step closer to having an 8 percent sales tax. County lawmakers last night approved a resolution that supports state legislation that would allow the county to raise its sales tax from the current 7.5 percent to 8 percent along with a county property tax levy cut by at least 3 percent. County lawmakers amended the resolution to include the language "will strive to adopt a budget for 2016 and 2017 with a tax levy decrease of 5 percent compared to the 2015 real property tax levy." Dunkirk Democrat Keith Ahlstrom proposed another amendment that would have removed the words "strive to." But, Ahlstrom's amendment failed. The final resolution was approved 17-1 with Ahlstrom voting no. County Executive Vince Horrigan says the county legislation will now be sent to Albany. The language change made by the county legislature will not affect the bills being sponsored by Young and Goodell since they call for a county property tax levy cut by 3 percent.
Six Jamestown High School seniors have been arrested in what a city police official calls a "Senior Prank gone bad." City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the six males are accused of breaking into the high school about 1:30 AM Tuesday... and, damaging property through-out the building. Samuelson adds they were in the building between one and one-and-a-half hours. Samuelson says the Felony charge is third-degree burglary... and, the misdemeanors are criminal mischief and criminal tampering. He says papers were strewn around... and, furniture was moved from the basement to the third-floor. There was also damage done to some doors... and, an office. Samuelson says the investigation is continuing... and the students will be arraigned at a later date. No names have been released.
A city man has been arrested for alleged Heroin possession... and, several traffic infractions after a vehicle pursuit through the city's eastside early Wednesday afternoon. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says a patrol officer spotted the car... driven by 36 year-old Juan Velazquez... moving irratically at a high rate of speed in the area of Bowen and Bush Streets a few minutes after 12 Noon. Samuelson says the pursuit lasted several minutes before the vehicle struck a dumpster... and, Velaaquez was taken into custody. Further investigation uncovered some five bundles... or 50 bags of Heroin in Velazquez's posession. In addition to number vehicle and traffic infractions... Samuelson says Velazquez is also charged with Felony third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He's being held in the city jail pending arraignment.
The only birds at the Chautauqua County Fair this July will be frozen as per order by the state Ag and Markets Commissioner. That from Chautauqua County Fair President Dave Wilson. Wilson says it's due to concern over Avian Flu. It's not been found anywhere in New York, but is spreading rapidly in other parts of the country. Cornell Cooperative Extension's Emily Reynolds says Four-H members raising birds for show will have to keep them home. For those who want to sell chickens at the Market Animal Sale... they've come up with a unique solution -- an off-site show. Twenty-four Four-H members sold chickens at last year's county fair. This year's fair is set for July 27th through August 2nd at the fairgrounds in Dunkirk.
Two members of the Chautauqua County Legislature have decided against seeking another term on the panel. Lawmakers Keith Ahlstrom of Dunkirk and John Runkle of Stockton, will not be running in November. Both announced their intentions Wednesday morning in the north county. Ahlstrom has been a member for 18 years and recently retired as Dunkirk Fire Chief. Runkle, who currently serves as chairman of the Audit and Control Committee, says he wants to enjoy retirement from the Sheriff's Department. He plans to spend time traveling to see family. Both legislators are encouraging the public to become involved in their local government. Ahlstrom says it can be a "headache" at times... but, it can also bring some fulfillment that you are helping your community.
Gasoline prices in Chautauqua County are trending upwards towards the 3-dollar mark... increasing by 8-cents a gallon this week. The Triple-A's Fuel Gauge report says the average price for regular, unleaded gas is now just under 2-dollars-94 cents. The Fuel Gauge Report says the price is based on reports from 19 service stations in the Jamestown-area. Triple-A says last week's price was just under 2--86 a gallon. The national average is now up to about 2-dollars-74 cents a gallon. The Fuel Gauge Report says the national average price for regular, unleaded gasoline reached its highest price of the year on Memorial Day after rising for 39 of 41 days. Despite the overall trend of rising averages... consumers paid the lowest prices at the pump for the holiday since 2010. Significant yearly discounts remain, due to relatively low prices for crude oil, with today’s national average representing a savings of 92 cents per gallon compared to this same date last year. Pump prices have recently trended higher due to an increase in the price of global crude oil... and, localized refinery issues -- especially in the Midwest and on the West Coast. Crude oil is now up to just under 60-dollars a barrel.
A number of local baseball fans were on hand for yesterday's "Meet and Greet" for the new, Jamestown Jammers of the Prospect League. Fans had their first chance to meet members of the Jammers before the team was to take the field for last night's season-opener. The Gateway Train Station hosted the event... and, Station Manager Lee Harkness was excited about greeting the team. Field and Business Manager Anthony Barone says he and the players are excited... and, adds tickets sales have been up in recent days. Barone is promising an "aggressive team" built on speed, defense and pitching. He says their pitching staff is shaping up nicely. As for the ball-park... Barone says the outfield wall has been painted blue for the new season... and, some other upgrades have also been made. The Jammers were secheduled to play Butler last night before going on the road for two games. For more information on the team... call the ball park... or go on-line to Jamestownbaseball-dot-COM.
Another poll says Governor Cuomo's favorability and job performance ratings have hit the lowest point of his tenure as governor. Tuesday's Siena College survey put the Democratic governor's favorability rating at 53 percent, down from 63 percent in June 2014. His job performance rating is 41 percent, down from 49 percent in June of last year. The findings are similar to those in a Marist College poll earlier this month. Ninety-percent of respondents in the Siena poll said Albany corruption remains a ``serious problem.''
New York's attorney general says he soon plans to submit broad and detailed legislation aimed at ending public corruption in Albany. Eric Schneiderman said yesterday that lawmakers need to enact such legislation during a year when their leaders were both arrested on federal charges. The Legislature is scheduled to end its session on June 17th. Schneiderman says it's time to end ``the parade of prosecutions.'' His bill would give the state attorney general's office permanent jurisdiction to investigate official bribery and fraud, ban outside income by legislators while raising their pay and extending terms to four years, lower legal campaign contributions and close the loopholes for limited liability companies and make it easier to prosecute people who pay bribes. It also would establish a public financing option for state candidates.
Six JHS Seniors arrested for allegedly taking part in "Senior Prank gone bad..."
Six Jamestown High School seniors have been arrested in what a city police official calls a "Senior Prank gone bad." City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the six are accused of breaking into the high school about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday... and, damaging property through-out the building. Samuelson says, while it was considered a prank it wasn't "very well thought out" because it's resulted in Felony charges of third-degree burglary... along with misdemeanor criminal mischief and criminal tampering. He says papers were strewn around... and, furniture was moved from the basement to the third-floor. There was also damage done to doors where the break-in occured, and an office. The names of the six alleged perpetrators have not been released.
County Legislature to act on Sales Tax measure...
Chautauqua County legislators will likely be taking action on a revised plan to increase the county's sales tax when they meet this evening in Mayville. Audit and Control Committee chairman John Runkle says the latest proposal ties the sales tax increase to a 3-percent cut in the county tax levy. The Cassadaga Republican says he is among some legislators who would like to see a deeper cut made to county property taxes. Runkle believes they could increase the cut in the levy from 1.9-million dollars to 3.1 million. He says he concerned that the 3-percent cut would still leave a significant amount of surplus revenues. It's not known whether there will be enough support to commit to a lower property tax levy. Tonight's meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in Mayville.
Runkle and Ahlstrom says they're not running for re-election to legislature...
Two members of the Chautauqua County Legislature have decided against seeking another term on the panel. Lawmakers Keith Ahlstrom of Dunkirk and John Runkle of Stockton, will not be running in November. Both announced their intentions Wednesday in the north county. Ahlstrom has been a member for 18 years and recently retired as Dunkirk Fire Chief. He says he also spent five years on the Dunkirk School Board before that, and is looking forward to retirement. Runkle, who currently serves as chairman of the Audit and Control Committee, says he also wants to enjoy retirement from the Sheriff's Department. Both legislators are encouraging the public to become involved in their local government. Ahlstrom says it can bring about some headaches, but it can also bring some fulfillment that you are helping your community.
Gas pump prices jump 8-cents this week...
Gas prices in the Jamestown-area are trending upwards towards the $3 mark... increasing by 8-cents a gallon this week. The AAA's Fuel Gauge report says the average price for regular, unleaded gas is now just under $2.94. The Fuel Gauge Report says the price is based on reports from 19 service stations in the area. AAA says last week's price was just under $2.86 a gallon. The national average is now up to about $2.74 a gallon. The Fuel Gauge Report says the national average price for regular, unleaded gasoline reached its highest price of the year on Memorial Day after rising for 39 of 41 days. Pump prices have recently trended higher due to an increase in the price of global crude oil... and, localized refinery issues.
Major donor comes forward to help Celoron pay for new Lucy Statue in Lucille Ball Memorial Park...
A major donation from a New England businessman -- who's also a big "I Love Lucy" fan -- has moved the village of Celoron closer to being able to replace the "Scary Lucy" statue in Lucille Ball Memorial Park. Celoron Mayor Scott Schrecengost has announced that Norwood, Mass's Ernie Boch, Jr. has contributed $20,000 to the effort. In a printed release... Boch says "Lucille Ball was so talented and Iconic that I'm delighted to give the village of Celoron... the best statue they deserve." Boch is President and Chief Executive Officer of Subaru of New England. Schrecengost says the village is "very grateful" to Boch for his generous donation. He adds they are now forming a committee to review the many resumes of sculptors they have received to decide who will create the new one. The village board voted earlier this month to retain ownership of the current statue... but, allow the new, National Comedy Center to have possession of it for display in the center. However... that was contingent on a replacement statue being put in place. Schrecengost says their campaign for donations is continuing at Kickstarter.com... and, you can call the village offices at 487-4175.
Jamestown and Busti Memorial Day parades and observances tout attitude of sacrifice...
It was a sunny, almost Summer-like day for Memorial Day 2015 across Chautauqua County Monday. There were several parades... featuring marching bands. The Southwestern Middle School Band joined the High School Band to perform in the annual Busti Memorial Day Parade and Service. The Reverend Roy Ferguson of the Busti Church of God was Keynote Speaker for the Busti Memorial Day service... who talked about the attitude of sacrifice sevice men and women make. The Memorial Day speaker at Soldier's Circle at Lake View Cemetery in Jamestown Monday was County Legislator Lisa Vanstrom. The West Ellicott lawmaker says she drew inspiriation from the ancient Greek statesman Pericles, concerning the sacrifice military people make.
Kolb urges addressing ethics reform before end of current State Legislative session...
The leader of the New York state Assembly's Republican minority says legislators must pass ethics reforms before adjourning next month. Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb says that recent corruption scandals have disrupted legislative work and damaged the public's trust in government. Kolb wants lawmakers to OK a Constitutional Amendment that, if passed by the voters, would strip pensions from convicted public officials. Kolb also wants to see eight-year term limits for legislative leadership positions. Two top lawmakers have been arrested this year on corruption charges. Former Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is accused of taking nearly $4 million in bribes and payoffs. Ex-Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos is charged with extorting payments to his son from two businesses. Both men say they are innocent.
Two arrested for allegedly Domestic Assault in Jamestown...
Two Jamestown residents are accused in a vicious attack on a woman on the city's southside last weekend. City police were called to the scene at 195 Baker St. about 10:30 p.m. Saturday on a report of a domestic dispute. They're investigation revealed that 23 year-old Nichodemius Tuttle and 24 year-old Kristie Zavala allegedly began punching and kicking the unidentified female until she fell unconscious. Police say Tuttle and Zavala then allegedly fled the scene... but, quickly found them. Both were arrested for third-degree assault... and, Tuttle was additionally charged with Felony criminal contempt because the victim had an order of protection again him. He was also charged with Felony Aggravated Offense due to a prior conviction. Both were arraigned, and jailed pending further court action. The victim was not seriously hurt.
Samuelson puts out JPD plea for help in catching new Serial Arsonist...
Jamestown police are looking for another possible serial arsonist in the city... and, officials are asking for the public's help in building the case against the possible suspect. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says they has a "person of interest" in this past week's arson at 420 Falconer St. Samuelson says the house had been condemned, and was slated for demolition. He says they are investigating the "pattern" of where and when these fires have occured. Samuelson says they aren't releasing the "Person of Interest's" name. Samuelson says city police and fire investigators have been looking into 15 arsons since the beginning of 2014... and, five so far this year. Anyone with information on any of these fires is asked to call the JPD confidential tip line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
The area's state Senator is calling on the Office of Children and Family Services to investigate allegations of prior abuse involving a Jamestown toddler who died more than a year-ago. Olean Republican Cathy Young says the perpetrator of the deadly attack remains at-large... and, she's calling on OCFS Commissioner Sheila Poole to review the records of the State’s Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment regarding allegations or incidents of possible abuse involving young Nayla Hodnett. Young adds that she is also putting forward several legislative efforts to improve the state’s existing child abuse reporting system. She says "my heart breaks for this beautiful little girl and her family. Young children like Nayla are the most vulnerable among us and her case truly pulls at the heartstrings." In an effort to address cracks in the existing system... Senator Young has authored legislation that would require mandatory reporters take a free online "refresher course" offered by the state Office of Children and Family Services once a year to keep them up-to-date on signs of abuse or maltreatment and current reporting standards. Anyone with additional information on the Nayla Hodnett homicide is asked to contact Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley at 753-4241.
A Lakewood man is jailed without bail on nearly 20 charges... including drug possession and speeding... after he tried to flee police early last Friday morning. Lakewood-Busti Police say they responded to a report of a suspicious person on Hern Avenue shortly after 5 AM. Officers says they saw 40 year-old Blake Smith of Third Avenue allegedly drive off... but, he failed to signal a turn onto West Fairmount Avenue. Police then stopped Smith... and, says they saw illegal drugs in plain sight. At that point... Smith allegedly sped off... leading police on a vehicle pursuit into the town of Busti. Police say Smith abandoned his car... and, tried to run from officers... but, was eventually caught. Police say he faces charges... including Felony criminal possession of a controlled substance... driving while ability impaired by drugs... and two counts of speeding. Smith was arraigned... and, sent to the county lock-up.
It's Memorial Day 2015... a time to remember those members of the military who made the "ultimate sacrifice" during times of war and conflict. In Jamestown... veteran's from World War-Two to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will be part of today's annual Parade in Jamestown... and, service to follow at Soldier's Circle in Lakeview Cemetery. Today's parade kicks off this morning at 10 AM on West Fourth Street... near Baker Park. The parade will march east to Prendergast Avenue, then turn left, and head to the cemetary. The Grand Marshall this year is retired U-S Marine, Dan Kell... who is urging ALL veteran's to take part... and, make this the biggest parade yet. Veterans and others taking part are urged to be on hand for line-up... which begins at 9 AM this morning.
In other parades and events today... County Executive Vince Horrigan has been selected to be the keynote speaker at this year’s Memorial Day event on May 25th in the Town of Poland. The ceremony... and, parade will step off at 11:45 AM from the Fire Hall and then proceed to Riverside Cemetery where the program to honor our veterans and loved ones will take place. Horrigan -- a U-S Air Force veteran -- says "I look forward to meeting my fellow veterans and the residents of the Town of Poland as we remember those who have fought and died to preserve our liberties."
Also today... the annual Busti Memorial Day Parade will be held at 9 AM. Line-up will be at the former Windrift Restaurant. A service will follow that at the Busti Gazebo.
The annual Southwestern--West Ellicott Parade and service will begin about 10:45 AM Monday. That follows the Busti Parade... and, steps off from Southwestern Central School...
In Celoron... the village and Herman Kent Post-#777 of the American Legion, will hold their Memorial Day service at the Veteran's Memorial in Lucille Ball Memorial Park at 9 AM. Herman Kent Post, American Legion Commander Gordon Carlson... will deliver the main address.
New York traffic authorities say free inspections of child safety seats are available this year at locations across the state. The inspections by safety technicians are intended to help parents and caregivers know if the seats are properly installed, used and the right size for their children. State officials cite research showing a 71 percent decrease in the risk of fatal injuries to infants and 54 percent for toddlers in passenger cars from car seats. A National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration survey says the most common errors include using the wrong safety harness slot to secure a car seat, chest clips improperly positioned over a child's abdomen, or unused, loose installations and loose harnesses.
Buffalo is among the top 30 cities in the nation when it comes to dog attacks on letter carriers. That from a recent report by the U-S Postal Service. It ranks Buffalo 26th with 14 dog attacks last year. In Chautauqua County... there was one attack reported... in the Fredonia zip code-area. U-S Postal Service Spokeswoman Karen Mazurkiewicz says many of the attacks occur in more populated areas. Mazurkiewicz says there are things that dog owners can do to help protect letter carriers. She says it's best to put the dog in another room, and close the door. Otherwise... Mazurkiewicz says it's good to keep the dog restrained or behind a fence. If a letter carrier feels threatened by a vicious dog or if a dog is running loose... the owner may be asked to pick up their mail at the Post Office until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained.
Ongoing concern over the poor condition of Route 957... one of the main secondary roads connecting Warren and Chautauqua Counties... was the focus of a top-level meeting yesterday. Lottsville, Pennsylvania businesswoman Wanda Johnson hosted the meeting with PENNDOT officials. County officials, as well as state Representative Kathy Rapp, were on hand to reinforce local concerns. However... a Regional PENNDOT official says only basic repair work is slated for the immediate future.
JPD official asks for public's help in dealing with increase in arson's in condemned buildings...
City police in Jamestown are asking for the public's help in solving some five arson fires in vacant, condemned buildings this year... and, 15 since January of 2014. Police Captain Bob Samuelson issued the request in the wake of the recent arson at 420 Falconer St. earlier this week. Samuelson says the house had been condemned, and was slated for demolition. He says they are looking at the "pattern" of where and when these fires have been occuring... and, are asking for the public's assistance. Samuelson says the homes are easy to spot by the big, orange squared "condemned" signs nailed to the front of the building. He says they're especially looking to see if anyone is hanging around these buildings between Midnight and 6 a.m. Samuelson says they do have a "person of interest" in the Falconer Street arson... and, others where there are similarities. However... he says they've gotten very little cooperation from that person. Anyone with information on any of these fires is asked to call the JPD confidential tip line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
Gerace talks road and boat safety as "unofficial start" to Summer season gets underway...
Just over 37-million motorists are expected to travel 50 miles or more this Memorial Day Holiday Weekend... the most in a decade. That from the Triple-A's East Central Office... which calls that a 4.7-percent increase over last year's 35.5-million motorists. The weekend is considered the "unofficial start" to the Summer Driving Season. Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace urges drivers to think safety... and, turn off those electronic devices -- namely cell phones. Gerace says the Sheriff's Office is seeing "more and more" accidents being caused by people responding to calls... or texts. He says you should also make sure your tires are properly inflated... and, that your windshield wipers are in good working condition. He adds that anytime your wipers are on... your head-lights should be also. As for boaters... Gerace says safety is again the watch-word. He says make sure your equipment is in good working order... and, make sure you have "Coast-Guard approved" life-vests on board. He made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program.
Final preparations made for city of Jamestown's annual Memorial Day Parade Monday...
The call is going out for all current and former members of the U-S Armed Forces from the Jamestown-area to take part in the city's annual Memorial Day Parade... and service to follow at Lakeview Cemetery. That from United Veteran's Council President Mike Russell... who says the annual parade kicks off next Monday morning at 10 a.m. on West Fourth Street... near Baker Park. The parade will march east to Prendergast Avenue, then turn left, and head to the cemetary's Soldier's Circle. The Grand Marshall this year is retired U-S Marine, Dan Kell, who says he's both "privledged and honored" to be named. Kell says they want to make this year's parade the biggest one ever.
More people taking advantage of NYS Motorcycle Safety Courses...
New York state officials say more motorcycle permit holders are taking a state-sanctioned safety course. The Department of Motor Vehicles says 70 percent of motorcycle permit holders in New York last year took motorcycle safety courses, up from 51 percent in 2010. The courses are offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation under an agreement with the DMV. They allow motorcycle permit holders to waive the basic road test required by the DMV for a license. The waiver program has resulted in 70-thousand fewer road tests over the past five years. There are between 36,000 and 44,000 motorcycle permit riders in any given year statewide.
Cuomo to end practice of automatic deleting of e-mails after 90 days...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration is ending its practice of automatically deleting emails after 90 days following criticism that it was an affront to open government. The administration announced the change Friday at a meeting with representatives of the state comptroller and attorney general. Under the new policy... administration staffers will manually delete emails as they choose, though emails containing certain records will be retained for longer. Friday's meeting was prompted by criticism of the old policy. Cuomo's office also wanted to discuss closing a loophole that largely exempts legislators from open records laws. Legislative leaders ignored the invitation, a decision that top Cuomo aide William Mulrow says amounted to a ``boycott.'' Cuomo's administration plans to submit a bill to make the Legislature fully compliant with open records laws.
Schumer calls for improvements to safety following deadly Amtrak Train crash...
U-S Senator Charles Schumer says a railway safety system that could have prevented the deadly Amtrak crash in Philadelphia must be installed quickly on dangerous railroad curves throughout New York state. The New York Democrat said Thursday that he is urging the Federal Railroad Administration to work with Amtrak and rail freight lines to add the speed-control system, known as automatic train control. Schumer says a more sophisticated speed-control system known as positive train control is expected to be activated soon on downstate rail lines; upstate railways will likely have to wait five years for the technology.
An exhausive, one week search in the north basin of Chautauqua Lake has led to the discovery of a dead fisherman from Wyoming County. Sheriff Joe Gerace says members of the Bemus Point Fire Department found the body of 64 year-old David Spink of Varysburg in an area not far from the beach house at Long Point State Park about 6:45 Thursday morning. Gerace says it's in close proximity to where Spink's unoccupied boat was found when the search began one week ago. He says they're not sure why the body hadn't turned up until now.
Gerace says Spink apparently went missing after he was seen leaving Camp Prendergast about 7 PM on Wednesday, May 13th. Deputies say Spink planned to launch his boat from Prendergast Point... and, pick-up a friend. He was reported missing the following day by family members. In addition to the Sheriff's Office... state Police and some local fire departments -- including Bemus Points -- were involved in the search.
A Warren County, Pennsylvania man has been arrested in Jamestown for allegedly exposing himself to female students on East First Street -- not far from the high school. City police say they arrested 53 year-old David Scott Kuzminski of Russell, Pennsylvania after witnesses confirmed that he had exposed himself to them about 7:30 AM Thursday. City police quickly found Kuzminski shortly after they had been called to the scene. He was charged with public lewdness... arraigned, and sent to the county jail on 15-hundred dollars bail.
The request by Chautauqua County to increase it's sales tax from 7.5 to 8-percent is now under consideration by the State Legislature. That from the chairman of the County Legislature's Audit and Committee, John Runkle. Runkle says committee members got an update at their meeting yesterday. Runkle says the committee is looking at the possiblility that the county tax levy could be reduced by more than 3-percent. During their brief discussion... he says members came to the conclusion that they could cut as much as 5-percent from the tax levy next year... if the full half-a-percent increase were approved. Runkle says if state lawmakers do pass the request in time for next week's county legislature meeting... the local panel could take action in the form of an emergency resolution.
County clerks across the state are concerned about a network news report that the State Department of Motor Vehicles is selling personal information taken from drivers licenses and car registrations. The Chautauqua County Clerk's Office is following developments, but Deputy County Clerk Tracie Kaminski-Haskin says they want to find out more about the issue before taking a position. Haskin says county clerks from across the state will be meeting next month. She says the group will make a formal request... and, send it to the DMV. A report by CBS News indicates the State DMV made nearly 60-million dollars last year from the sales. Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs says he has written to the governor and the DMV Commissioner asking that the practice be stopped.
New York state lawmakers plan to skip a summit called by Governor Andrew Cuomo to discuss open records and his administration's policy of purging emails. As of late Thursday... only one lawmaker hoped to attend today's meeting with Cuomo's chief counsel. The Democratic governor initially proposed the meeting in March following criticism of his administration's policy of deleting most emails after 90 days. Cuomo said he was willing to consider a new, uniform retention policy for all state officials, and suggested lawmakers should consider changes to their open records policies, too. Top lawmakers ignored the invitation and said Cuomo can change his email policy without their input. A Senate Democratic spokesman called the meeting a ``hastily arranged public relations stunt.'' A lone Republican lawmaker says he hopes to attend.
New York's comptroller reports state tax collections in April totaled 8.6-billion dollars... an increase of more than 21 percent from April last year. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says the increase comes mainly from personal income taxes, but says the outlook for the coming months is a more moderate increase. He says continued strength in the stock market last year was one important factor in the April increase. The comptroller's cash report for shows the month's personal income tax receipts totaled 6.7-billion dollars, up more than 25 percent from the same month in 2014. The report also shows total spending of $7.8 billion for the month.
The head of the New York state School Boards Association says he's "elated" to see that nearly all school budgets that went before voters this week were approved. Association Executive Director Tim Kreamer (Creamer) says... you can't do much better than a 99-percent rate of passage for the state's 674 budgets. Kreamer says the biggest factor in that huge approval rating was that any tax increase was a small one. Kreamer says school districts were helped a lot by a boost in aid in the final state budget. He says that allowed district's to hold down the need for a larger tax increase. Some district's locally also used additional fund balance to hold down the tax levy. However... Kreamer says the amount dropped from 1.2-billion dollars used last year... to 1-billion this year. He hopeful that trend continues. Kreamer says a number of school officials he's talked to in recent weeks also indictated that... after several years of cutting teachers and other staff... they are hiring a few more people to preserve current programming, or add some.
Newly-released documents about the 1971 Attica prison riot contain accounts from two National Guardsmen and a doctor who said they saw injured inmates beaten with clubs. They add that others had wounds indicating they'd been tortured as authorities retook control. The documents note that several eyewitnesses to brutality against prisoners weren't contacted or interviewed by criminal investigators. However, the 1975 report by Judge Bernard Meyer found no intentional cover-up, only serious errors in judgment, omissions in evidence gathered and an imbalance in the prosecution. That conclusion has been public for 40 years. The new 46 pages detail some of the basis for Meyer's finding. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sought the disclosure about events where 32 inmates and 11 prison employees died in the nation's bloodiest prison rebellion, most shot by authorities.
The United Veterans Council of Jamestown began this year's Memorial Day observance Thursday night... with the placement of flags at Lakeview Cemetery. Retired Marine Dan Kell, addressed the more than 100 people who assembled to make sure every veterans grave at Lakeview was marked by a flag. Joe Paladino, Cemetery Chairman for this year's observance, announced a new procedure for the flag placement. Some four thousand flags were placed by the volunteers. Organizers encouraged the public to attend the annual service at Soldier's Circle in Lakeview Cemetery... Monday, following Jamestown's Memorial Day Parade.
Varysburg man, missing in boating accident more than a week, reportedly found dead...
Authorities have now recovered the body of a fisherman from Wyoming County who has been missing since a week ago yesterday. Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace's office reports that Bemus Point Fire rescue crews found 64 year-old David Spink of Varysburg dead in the northern end of Chautauqua Lake about 6:45 this morning. Gerace says Spink went missing after he was seen leaving Camp Prendergast about 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13th. Deputies say Spink planned to launch his boat from Prendergast Point... and, pick-up the friend. He was reported missing the following day by family members. Offices say his unoccupied boat was discovered on shore at Long Point State Park.
Salamanca woman charged with manslaughter in death of one-year-old daughter...
A 24-year-old woman from the Cattaraugus County city of Salamanca has been arresed in connection with the death of her one-year-old daughter last month. Police officials say they arrested Leslie Finch late Tuesday and charged her with manslaughter... reckless endangerment... and, endangering the welfare of a child. Officials say they were called to Finch's home last month for a report of an unresponsive child. Her baby, Mila Whipple, was flown to Women and Children's Hospital in Buffalo, where she died from her injuries on April 26. Police say the baby's death was likely the cause of severe abuse. Finch was arraigned Tuesday night... and, is being held on $100,000 bail.
Karbacka looks forward to serving on City School Board...
The newest member of the Jamestown School Board says she wants to use her experience... and, educational background to continue the "excellence" of the city district. Those are the feelings of retired music teacher Nina Karbacka. Karbacka was elected to the school board for the first time Tuesday. She and incumbant Dan Johnson ran unopposed for the panel. Karbacka... who received 570 votes... taught music for 40 years in the elementary, middle and high school levels. During her tenure... Karbacka also helped found the Suzuki Strings program. She says she would like to find a way to bring in members of the community to help the district solve it's current challenges. Karbacka says she didn't run because she felt anyone on the board was "doing a bad job..." She just felt she had something to offer. Johnson... who was elected to a second-term... received 528 votes.
Bourne named Volunteer of the Year at WCA Hospital...
A Cattaraugus County man known for making people laugh with his "crazy" clothing combinations has been named WCA Hospital's Volunteer of the Year. Hospital staff gathered for the hospital's annual Volunteer Recognition and Awards Luncheon yesterday afternoon. WCA President and Chief Executive Officer Betsy Wright says the recipient -- Randolph's Larry Bourne -- has volunteered there nearly 10 years... and, "exemplifies" their vision and mission. Bourne is most know for his crazy ties... but, adds he added something else this past Winter -- a "Goofy" hat he bought at Disney World in Florida. Bourne also will wear different colored shoes at times to get a laugh. Wright says volunteers play a special role at WCA... fostering a sense of community and caring to patients and their families. Bourne says he appreciates the honor... adding that he began volunteering at WCA shortly after his wife passed away less than a decade ago... but, says she was always well-cared for at WCA. With that... he wanted to "give back" to the hospital. For more information about volunteering at WCA... contact Volunteer Coordinator Elizabeth DeRosa at 487-0141.
Gas prices holding steady in run-up to Memorial Day Holiday weekend...
For the most part... gasoline prices in Chautauqua County are holding steady heading into the long, Memorial Day Holiday weekend. That from the AAA's weekly Fuel Gauge report... which says the average price is now up to about $2.86 a gallon. However... some stations in the area are now charging about $2.90 a gallon for regular, unleaded fuel. The average price is based on reports from 19 service stations in the area. The price was $2.85 last week. The national average for regular unleaded is now $2.70 a gallon. As of now... AAA says the national average has increased on 32 of the past 34 days. Despite the national average continuing to register new highs for 2015... drivers are still experiencing significant yearly savings at the pump.
Missing boater found dead in Chautauqua Lake...
Authorities have now recovered the body of a fisherman from Wyoming County who has been missing since a week ago yesterday. Sheriff Joe Gerace's office reports that Bemus Point Fire rescue crews found 64 year-old David Spink of Varysburg dead in the northern end of Chautauqua Lake about 6:45 this morning. Gerace says Spink went missing after he was seen leaving Camp Prendergast about 7 PM on Wed., May 13. Deputies say Spink planned to launch his boat from Prendergast Point... and, pick-up the friend. He was reported missing the following day by family members. Offices say his unoccupied boat was discovered on shore at Long Point State Park. We have a call into the Sheriff for more details... and, hope to hear back from him later this morning.
One of the biggest turn-outs in recent years for a Jamestown School Budget vote produced a large margin of approval for the 77.6-million dollar spending plan. School Superintendent Tim Mains says he's very pleased with both the turn-out and the result. The budget approved Tuesday included a modest, 1.5-percent tax increase... or 219-thousand dollars. However... Mains says the spending plan was approved, 466-to-196. Mains says keeping academic programs and standards in place has been difficult... especially because the city district doesn't have the resources they should. He says the students deserve it. Mains says -- thanks to several retirements -- they're able to retain all teachers. But... he says some will likely have to be moved to fill all positions before the start of the new school year in September. Mains adds, though, he would like to keep all "teams" at each school in place.
Jamestown residents Tuesday re-elected a school board incumbant... and, a newcomer. However... the newcomer to the board is very familiar to people in the district. Nina Karbacka retired a short time ago after a 40-year career of teaching music in the Jamestown public schools. Karbacka received the most votes of the two board candidates Tuesday with 570 tallies. She says she ran because she "believes in public education..." and, "give every child the opportunity to succeed." Karbacka replaced Laurel Lucas on the ballot. After 13 years... Lucas decided it was time to step down from the panel... and, will finish her term on June 30th. The other incumbant... Dan Johnson... was re-elected. The retired Jamestown Police Officer recieve 527 votes in Tuesday's vote.
Voters in the Southwestern Central School system approved their budget... but, it was closer than most other districts. Still... residents approved the budget by a better than 2-to-1 margin, 284-to-136. The budget includes a "slight" tax increase. A proposition to establish a 950-thousand dollar Building Capital Reserve Fund over 10 years was also adopted. The vote was 223-to-65. All four people running for the school board were elected. The top vote getter was Edward Brooks with 295 tallies.
Voters in the Falconer School District have approved a 21.6-million dollar, 2015-16 budget overwhelmingly. District officials say the vote was 130-to-29. Falconer Superintendent Steve Penhollow says the school board and administration did their best to 'balance' a budget that's responsible both fiscally, and educationally. Penhollow says the spending is up about 25-thousand dollars... or point-12-percent. He adds there were no staff or teacher cuts this year. There were no other propositions this year. Two incumbant school board members... Robert Carpenter and Gordon Black... ran unopposed and were re-elected.
- It was a day in which most propositions passed in a big way in Chautauqua County. However... one proposition was defeated -- handily. That was a proposal to reduce the Pine Valley School Board from 9 to 7 members. It was defeated 202-to-70. One to add a student representative to the board was approved, 238-to-35. The budget was approved, 192-to-80... and, two transporation propositions were also adopted.
There were also five people running for four school board seats at Pine Valley. Nancy Stock received the most votes with 198... David Kohler was second with 197... Adam Lukasik was third with 195... and, fourth was Jeffrey Chase with 175 votes.
- At Cassadaga Valley... voters overwhelmingly approved a 20-million dollar, 2015-16 budget, 172-to-30. They also approved a transportation proposition for two buses and two new minvans for 371-thousand dollars, 176-to-27. Daniel Pavlock ran unopposed for the school board, and was elected to a five-year term.
- Voters in the Brocton School district approved the district budget by a wide margin, 172-to-21. Douglas Walter ran unopposed for one board seat.
- Residents of the Bemus Point School District overwhelmingly approved a 13.3-million dollar spending plan Tuesday. The vote was 167-to-50. A 245-thousnd dollars bus proposition also passed, 173-to-42. The three people running for the school board... Cari Auer... Randy Oste... and, John Novotny... were unopposed.
- In Panama... residents approved a 12.75-million dollar budget by a nearly 4-to-1 margin. The vote was 115-to-31. Residents also returned James Mistretta to the school board. He ran unopposed.
- Westfield voters approved their budget, 477-to-31. Four people ran uncontested for the school board.
- We also understand that Frewsburg's budget was approved... but, have not received results to confirm that yet...
The state Power Authority's board has approved allocations of low-cost hydropower to three Western New York companies... one in Chautauqua County. Governor Andrew Cuomo adds they also approved Western New York Power Proceeds awards for three other firms in the region. Together... Cuomo says they'll support nearly 100-million dollars in capital investments and 363 jobs -- including 157 new positions. The governor says Cummins Engine Company will receive 700 kilowatts of Hydro-Power to convert 40-thousand square feet of warehouse space into a new engine machine line. The heavy-duty engine maker... which has operated it's Jamestown Engine plant since 1974 in Ashville... and, employs more than 14-hundred people. Cummins produces three diesel engine platforms, along with blocks and heads, camshafts and crankshafts. The firm will invest about 47-million dollars in the new line... and create 10 jobs. Cummins is also working with Empire State Development, which has offered up to 2-million dollars in Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits in return for Cummins job creation and investment commitments.
WCA Hospital will celebrate it's 130th birthday this coming Saturday... but, got an early start in celebrating at yesterday's annual Meeting of the Corporations. WCA President and Chief Executive Officer Betsy Wright reported on new programs, and upgrades in technology as part of the 20th meeting at the hospital. Wright says... despite the fiscal challenges in recent years... they've made great strides in robotic surgery. There have now been 500 such surgeries. Wright says they've also been able to make other investments. Despite on-going cuts in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements... Wright reported the hospital finished the past year in the black. She says a "lot of hard work" by a lot of people made that happen. In addition to the hospital... Wright says there were also reports given by the WCA Foundation... WCA Services... Starflight Helicopter... and, Alstar Ambulance. Again... WCA's 130th birthday will officially be celebrated this Saturday.
Most local police agencies are taking part in the statewide "Click it or Ticket" campaign which got underway yesterday (Monday). Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace says the Sheriff's Office will among the local police agencies participating in the safety operation. Gerace says air bags help... but, you still need to buckle up. He says air bags are only good for "straight-on collisions." Gerace adds that if the car were to go off the road, and rollover, or be hit from the side or side... airbags don't really help. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that seat belts saved more than 12,000 lives across the nation in 2013. The campaign will continue through May 31st.
The New York state Senate has voted to create a public list of those convicted of violent felonies similar to the existing sex offender registry. The proposal is intended to prevent future crimes, in particular domestic violence, by allowing people to check if a new acquaintance has a violent past. Local Senator Cathy Young cited the case of the late Shannon Pepper in voting for the bill. Pepper... who died in an accidental fire this past February... was victimized by one of the most brutal domestic violence attacks ever in Cattaraugus County.
The Drug Enforcement Administration says it has seized a record 154 pounds of heroin worth at least 50-million dollars in a New York City investigation. However... it's not known what kind of impact the seizure may have. The DEA called the heroin seizure it's largest ever in New York state. Officials said late Tuesday that most of the drugs were found in an SUV in the Bronx following a wiretap investigation. Agents also made two arrests... and, recovered 2-million dollars in cash.
President Barack Obama has signed into law a measure to create a nationwide alert system to help catch anyone who hurts, kills or makes credible threats against police officers. The new system would be similar to the Amber Alerts used to find abducted children. The bill is named for New York City police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu (WEHN'-jihn loo), who were shot in Brooklyn days before Christmas by a man who later killed himself. Families of the slain officers were on hand to see Obama sign the bill in the Oval Office. Obama says it's important for communities to do everything possible to ensure the safety of police officers. He says the alerts could help warn officers when there is an active threat against them.
Overnight arson fire in Jamestown under investigation...
Arson is the apparent cause of an overnight blaze that's destroyed a vacant apartment house in Jamestown's eastside. City Fire Battalion Chief Don Woodfield says fire crews were called to the scene at 420 Falconer St. -- near Curtis -- just after 12:30 this morning. Woodfield says someone called in the blaze... which they found had a big head start when they arrived. He says the entire back of the building was fully-engulfed in fire, and the back part of the roof had partially failed. Woodfield says the house was listed as a two-story building... but, a third-story had been added some years ago. He says it took some time to knock the fire down. In fact... he says they pulled several hand-lines to get water on the structure quickly. Woodfield says the building had been vacant since a fire occured in the house last year. He says the city has begun tearing down the structure due to it's condition. He says an off-duty shift was called into assist at the scene, and, to man the City Hall station. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries. Most fire crews were back in station by 4 a.m. However... one crew remains at the scene while the building is being torn down.
State Seatbelt Enforcement period begins today...
Police throughout New York state are cracking down on motorists who fail to buckle up as part of a national seat belt enforcement campaign. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that the stepped-up enforcement will be in effect today through Sunday, May 31. During the initiative... state and local police will be aggressively enforcing state seatbelt laws. In addition, the state will set up message boards alongside highways to encourage drivers and their passengers to obey the law. Cuomo's office says that 91 percent of New York motorists regularly use a seatbelt, which is higher than the national average. Nevertheless, Cuomo's office says there's more work to do. New York adopted the nation's first law requiring seatbelt use in the front seat.
A routine traffic stop for a traffic and noise violation in downtown Jamestown early Saturday morning led to the arrest of two Buffalo men for alleged drug possession. City police say officers spotted the car... driven by 21 year-old Maurice Cheatom... eastbound on West Third Street about 1 AM. Police say Cheatom was allegedly playing loud music in the car... and, was seen making an unsafe lane change on East Second Steet as he was turning onto Foote Avenue. Police pulled the car over... and, found that Cheatom had an suspended driver's license... and, that he and his passenger -- 19 year-old Markel Hilson -- were on possession of 4 ounces of cocaine. Futher investigation found that Hilson was also in possession of marijuana. Both were arrested on two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, unlawful possession of marijuana. They were also allegedly in possession of more than 16-hundred dollars in cash. Cheatom also faces various traffic violations. Two other people were not arrested. Hilson is jailed without bail. Bail was set at one-thousand dollars for Cheatom. Anyone with information on illegal drug activity in Jamestown is asked to call the JPD Tip-Line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
Two people... one an alleged drug trafficker... have been accused of stealing more than 400-dollars worth of food and other items from the Lakewood Wal-Mart SuperCenter. Lakewood-Busti Police say 34 year-old Zulenka Fuentes-Cruz... and, Angel Cruz... allegedly took 417-dollars worth of merchandize from the store about 4 PM last Saturday afternoon. Officers say both allegedly damaged more than 184-dollars worth of meat and seafood because it was out of the cooler for a long-period of time... and, could not be resold. Zulenka Fuentes-Cruz was arrested in Jamestown back on May 6th after she was found in a Winsor Street home being used to traffick Heroin. Both she and Angel Cruz were issued appearance tickets for Busti Town Court.
A 1966 graduate of Jamestown Community College's nursing program returned home to address this year's graduates at the school. Carol Johnson says she'd never given a commencement speech before now. In her remarks, Johnson reflected on her start at JCC and how it got her established what she still considers a great field to work in. Johnson retired in 2011 after a 47 year career at Parkview Health System in Indiana, and has just written her first book, "What Would Florence Do? A Guide for New Nurse Managers." Some 576 spring graduates were honored at the Jamestown Commencement Saturday, in addition to about 250 others who'd earned their degrees last summer and fall.
Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi has resumed his schedule of Neighborhood Walking Tours from now through mid-Fall. The mayor was on the city's southside last Tuesday night to talk with residents on Howard Street. Teresi says the walking tours were an out-growth of his first Mayoral campaign in 1999... when a number of people said they only time they saw elected officials was when they were campaigning for office. At that time... Teresi says he decided to make the walks a priority... and, he says the vast majority of residents appreciate them. Teresi says he's received a number of ideas from residents during the walks that have been implemented -- in one way or another -- by his administration. He says one was the police "crackdown" on the illegal drug trade when the city's Heroin epidemic began just over two years ago. Teresi says he heard both general and "specific" concerns. For more information on the walking tours... contact Mayoral Assistant Matt Hanley at 483-7600. Teresi made his comments for this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program.
A Westfield man is jailed on 250-thousand dollars bail for allegedly being found in possession of child pornography following his arrest last week. Sheriff's Deputies say they, and Westfield Village Police, executed a search warrant on the residence of 31 year-old Eric Brown of East Second Street last Tuesday. Officers say they arrested Brown without incident on 28 counts of criminal possession of a sexual performance by a child. He was arraigned... and, sent to the county lock-up.
The search resumes this morning for a fisherman from Wyoming County who was reported missing after he failed to stop and pick up a friend in his boat on Chautauqua Lake last Wednesday night. The Sheriff's Office reports that 64 year-old David Spink of Varysburg went missing after he was seen leaving Camp Prendergast about 7 PM Wednesday. Deputies say Spink planned to launch his boat from Prendergast Point... and, pick-up the friend. He was reported missing by family members last Thursday. Officers say his unoccupied boat was discovered on shore at Long Point State Park Thursday night. An air and water search has been underway. Anyone with information that may help in their search is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 753-2131.
Local, north county governments involved in the process of a forming a North County Water District have now received copies of a draft municipal agreement. The copies were handed out by County Executive Vince Horrigan during a meeting of the Chadwick Bay Regional Development Corporation on Thursday evening. He wants the municipalities to review the documents... and, he discussed the next step involved in the process. Some local leaders have indicated that the toughest hurdle will be the intermunicipal agreements. Horrigan remains optimistic that they will be approved. Horrigan says there have been a lot of individual meetings, but, now it's a matter of making sure are in proper "legal" form. All but two local leaders attended the meeting. Horrigan expects the County Water Authority to meet next month to work on a final draft agreement.
Governor Cuomo has already made more than half-a-million dollars on his recently published memoir and now a recently filed financial disclosure suggests he can expect at least 150-thousand dollars more. The disclosure, filed last Friday with the state, shows the Democratic governor expects to make between $150,000 and $250,000 this year off the book. The memoir, entitled ``All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics and Life,'' was published by HarperCollins last fall.
A ban on brush burning remains in effect through Thursday for New York state... but, campfires are OK. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has downgraded the fire danger rating in the state from ``high'' to ``moderate'' amid milder temperatures and rain the forecast. So campfires, recreational fires and outdoor cooking fires are being allowed. Still... state officials ask that campers reduce risks by using existing campfire rings and building fires away from overhanging branches or dry grass. Crews have battled wildfires around New York state this month during the dry spell.
Three arrested for allegedly operating four "one-pot" Meth. Labs in Busti...
Three Busti residents have been arrested for allegedly being involved in an extensive Methamphetime operation. Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say they raided two location at the Bosco Trailer Park at 611 Busti-Sugar Grove Road last night. Task Force agents say they found two people they were looking for in the trailer at Lot-#6. Task Force members say they arrested 23 year-old Edward Olsen... and, 23 year-old Sarah Deering there. They also found two working "one-pot" Meth Labs... and, about 55 ounces of Meth Oil. Task Force members say they also found precursors for making Meth... and, five shotguns and rifles. At Lot-B-#2... agents say they found 23 year-old Sarah Deering... more shotguns, and ammunition... Meth and marijuana. They also arrested 29 year-old Brian Olsen on an outstanding warrant from the town of North Harmony. Police also found two young children in the home. Edward Olsen and Deering were arrested for unlawful possession of marijuana and two counts each of endangering the welfare of a child. Child Protective Services was called in along with the Lakewood Code Enforcement Officer... who condemned the two residences after finding they were uninhabitable.
City man arrested for receiving Marijuana through mail...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly trafficking a significant amount of marijuana from California through the U-S postal service. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force raided a home at 3-and-a-half Winsor Street about 11 this morning, after receiving information that a "large quantity" of the drug was being shipped there. Task Force members say they found the pot... and, 55 year-old Gary Billquist, inside. Billquist has been charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana. He's being held pending arraignment. The street value of the marijuana is estimated at about $1,500. Anyone with information about illegal drug activity is asked to call the JPD Anonymous Tip-Line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
Varysburg man missing in Chautauqua Lake...
A Wyoming County man has been reported missing after failing to show up, and pick up a friend in his boat on Chautauqua Lake Wednesday night. Sheriff Joe Gerace says 64 year-old David Spink of Varysburg went missing after he was seen leaving Camp Prendergast about 7 p.m. Wednesday. Deputies say Spink planned to launch his boat from Prendergast Point... and, pick-up the friend. He was reported missing yesterday by family members. Officers say his unoccupied boat was discovered on shore at Long Point State Park Thursday night. An air and water search of the north basin of Chautauqua Lake has been underway... but has now concluded for the day.
Chautauqua County Best Tasting Drinking Water Contest to be held Saturday...
Three previous state titleists will take part in Chautauqua County's annual Best Tasting Water Contest tomorrow at the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood. County Water Resource Specialist Bill Boria says the contest always runs in conjunction with National Drinking Water Week... and, will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. While bragging rights are a big part of the water contest... Boria says it's also important because it calls attention to a resource we often take for granted. He says one reason for holding it is to promote the hard work the water system operators do, and that many things we do -- especially outside -- affect the drinking water supply... including gardening and farming. He says this year's contest features three ground water well systems: Jamestown... Frewsburg... and Mayville. There are no contestants from the north county this year... as Fredonia currently doesn't have a full-time operator. Boria says they'll have a lot of information about the local water supply as well. He says this year's winner will be determined by the most votes between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. He says this year's contest is being co-sponsored by the county's Department of Health and Human Services... the county's Water Works Association... and, the Water Quality Task Force.
JCC holding graduations at Olean and Jamestown campuses this weekend...
It's graduation days for students at Jamestown Community College this weekend... with two ceremonies -- culminating with the major ceremony at the city campus tomorrow morning. As per tradition... a past graduate of JCC has been selected to deliver the commencement address at both the Olean and Jamestown campuses. JCC's Vice President of Enrollment, Marketing and Communications, Kirk Young, says retired nurse Carol Johnson graduated from JCC's highly-touted nursing program nearly 50 years ago. Young says Johnson had a 47-year career -- mainly in nursing research -- at the Parkview Health System in Indiana. He says they the college's board of trustees discuss their ideas for a speaker... and, then confer with the President's cabinet. He's concluding his first year as an administrator at JCC... but, Young says he's heard the Class of 2015 was especially strong with regards to "Engaged Learning..." where they take classroom learning, and apply it in their internship or workplace. Jamestown Community College's city campus will hold it's commencement ceremony at 10 Sat. morning. The Olean campus's was this evening.
SUNY at Fredonia holds graduation Saturday...
The State University of New York at Fredonia is gearing up for a big day on Saturday... with two Commencement ceremonies set. The two ceremonies will be held under the cover of the Steele Hall Arena. SUNY College at Fredonia Spokesman... Mike Barone... says the graduation speaker will be Alumnus James Douglas... who is now Human Resources Director for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Barone says Douglas is a 1971 Fredonia graduate who is a Dunkirk native. Barone says Douglas is a Dunkirk native. He says they hold the two ceremonies... at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to make sure they can honor all the graduates. Depending on his schedule... Barone says U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is also expected to attend the afternoon ceremony.
A 15 year-old student at Jamestown High School faces drug possession charges after he was allegedly found in possession of three bags of Heroin and a quantity of marijuana. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the JHS School Resource Officer was approached by the teen shortly after school opened at 8:05 AM Thursday on an unrelated matter. However... Samuelson says the SRO smelled a strong odor of marijuana on the student... and, pulled him aside. It's the first time since the current Heroin epidemic started three years ago that a student at JHS has been found with the narcotic drug. Samuelson says the student is being charged as a juvenile... and, the case will be petitioned to Family Court. He says it's not known yet if the student was a drug user... or looking to sell them. However... he says they have no information at this point to suggest he was a "dealer." Anyone with information on this case... or others involving illegal drugs... is asked to call the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force Tip-Line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477. Samuelson says all calls will be kept confidential.
Regarding the removal of the drug contraband at the High School Thursday morning... Jamestown School Superintendent Tim Mains says the student will also face disciplinary action from the district. In a printed statement... Mains says "we do not tolerate the presence of dangerous contraband in our schools." He added that they will "not allow any individual to place our students in danger." He praised SRO Melody Peach... and other officials for the quick actions.
The 15 most recent graduates of the city of Jamestown's Drug Court were honored with a ceremony this week in the courtroom. Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi was among those on hand for the event... which also commemorated the 15th year of the drug court's existance. Teresi says while the City Police Department has done a great job getting drug dealers off the streets... they've also had to try to deal with stemming the demand... and, getting treatment for those who are addicted to drugs. Teresi says 163 people have now graduated through Drug Court... and, most have gone on to lead good, productive lives. He says a number of agencies have been involved in the effort... including the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County... The Resource Center... and, WCA Hospital. Teresi says he was first approached about the concept by City Court Judge John LaMancuso in 2000 after he had only been in office for two weeks. He says he thought it was a "terrific idea" then.. and, still does. Teresi made his comments for this week's "Community Spotlight" program.
New York state's highest court says the 2009 revisions in the tough Rockefeller-era drug laws also apply to parolees, who can seek shorter sentences. The Court of Appeals... divided 5-to-2... has upheld lower court rulings that Jarrod Brown was eligible for resentencing. Prosecutors argued that the amendments to the sentencing laws applied only to people in prison. The law applied to those convicted of a Class B felony and in the custody of state correctional services. The court majority says state custody includes parole. Brown was originally sentenced in 2002 to a sentence of six to 12 years in prison and three years' post-release supervision for selling cocaine. His sentence was reduced in 2012 to a seven-year prison term and three years supervision. That set him free from both.
Three people have been arrested for an allegedly robbery in Venango County, Pennsylvania... and, then trying to flee police in the Warren County boro of Youngsville. Media One's Ron Smith reports that police learned the trio -- two men and a woman -- were driving through Youngsville shortly before 10:30 AM Thursday. He says police were initially able to capture one man... and, were trying to find the other man and woman off of Route 6. The woman was first spotted by a State Police helicopter that was already in the air. Warren County Sheriff's officers and Youngsville Police assisted at the scene... not far from Youngsville Elementary School. However... police say the school was never threatened. After about 20 minutes... police searching the area brought out a woman in handcuffs from a wooded area. Ron Smith says the woman surrendered... and, a short time later... the second man was arrested. State Police in Warren are heading up the investigation.
It appears that the frost that hit parts of Western New York yesterday morning won't have a major impact on the local grape crop. That from Luke Haggerty, a Viticulture Extension Specialist with the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program in the town of Portland. Haggerty says he's checked local weather monitoring stations... and, it appears the frost was not a major problem. Haggerty says there may some isolated locations where it may have reached the freezing mark, but he believes any damage would be minimal. Meanwhile... local growers are still assessing the damage from the brutal winter. Haggarty says early indications are that damage was not widespread. He says they cut about 15-thousand buds... and, found some damage across the region. However... Haggerty says it was not prevalent. He says they have been in touch with state and federal representatives who are monitoring the situation... including Congressman Tom Reed. Haggerty says there may also be some assistance in the federal Farm Bill that was passed by Congress last year.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has extended the state's ban on residential brush burning until May 21st due to dry conditions across the state that have heightened the risk of wildfires. The burn ban also prohibits outdoor fires such as campfires and recreational fires, and open fires used for cooking. The eastern, central, southern and far northern regions of the state are rated as having a high risk of fire. The Southern Tier, Lake Ontario, and Adirondack regions are rated as having a moderate fire danger. This year, 110 wildfires have burned nearly 3,600 acres.
One of the seven people killed in the Amtrak train derailment in Philadelphia was a former teacher in the Rochester public school system who received a master's degree in education from a college in the upstate city. WHEC-TV in Rochester reports that Derrick Griffith taught at the city's Wilson Magnet High School in the late 1990s. Officials at the University of Rochester tell WXXI Radio that he received his masters in 1995 from the college's Warner School of Education in Teaching and Curriculum. Griffith was living in Brooklyn where he served as dean of student affairs and enrollment management at Medgar Evers College. In 2003... Griffith founded the City University of New York Preparatory Transitional High School.
The top three officials of New York state government have gathered behind closed doors for the first time since the Senate picked a new leader. Republican Senate Leader John Flanagan says Wednesday morning's meeting with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie... and, Governor Andrew Cuomo focused on priorities for lawmakers before their annual session ends next month. The Senate picked Flanagan to be its new leader on Monday following the resignation of Long Island Republican Dean Skelos, who is keeping his Senate seat while he fights federal corruption charges. Big issues facing lawmakers before they adjourn include the renewal of New York City's rent regulations and its local control of public schools. Lawmakers will also consider extending a tax break for real estate developers created decades ago to spur development in Manhattan.
State regulators have released the final version of an environmental impact review of shale gas development that's expected to lead to a state ban on fracking. Last December... Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would defer to the judgment of his health and environmental conservation commissioners, who said they'd recommend a ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing. Under state law... a formal decision on whether to allow or ban fracking will come 10 days after the environmental review's release today (on Wednesday.) The environmental review was launched in 2008. A state health study released in December found ``significant uncertainty'' over whether safety measures could adequately protect public health.
A final 2015-16 budget for the village of Lakewood could not be approved by the board... so, the new spending plan defaults to the original plan offered by Mayor David Wordelmann. The village board recently voted 2-to-2... with Wordelmann and Sue Drago voting yes... and, board members John Jablonski and David DiSalvo voting no. With that... Wordelmann says the just over 3-million dollar budget holds the tax levy where it's been for the past three years. He says that's good news. Wordelmann adds that while they have room under the state's 2-percent property tax cap... he didn't want to see a big increase in spending... or the tax levy. Property values are up in the village... so he says there will be a corresponding 36-cent per thousand drop in the tax rate to 7-dollars-12 cents. He says total assessments, due to additional development, and a reval, are up another 12-million dollars. Wordelmann says there were a few spending increases in the village...but, nothing major. The new budget took effect on May 1st.
The village of Lakewood will have a new disposal company collecting garbage beginning the first of June. That after the village board this week approved the hiring of Best Way Disposal of Fredonia to pick-up trash for the next three-years. Mayor David Wordelmann says village officials decided to seek bids after current contractor, Casella, instituted a major, 50-percent rate hike three years ago. Wordelmann says Best Way had the lowest bid... one that will save taxpayers 10-thousand dollars a year. Wordelmann says the fact there was more competition for the contract this time around helped hold down the price. Village officials say more information will be circulated prior to the date Best Way takes over. Service is slated to begin on June 1st.
Gasoline prices in Chautauqua County have held steady after jumping by 11 cents a gallon about a week ago. That from the Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report... which says the average price is now 2-dollars-85.4 cents a gallon for regular, unleaded fuel. Triple-A says the price is based on reports from 19 local service stations. The price was 3--85 last year at this time. The Fuel Gauge reports the national average is now about 2-dollars-66 cents a gallon. The Triple-A says the national average price has increased for the past 26 days... and, the current average is the highest it's been so far in 2015. Relatively low crude costs continue to translate to significant savings at the pump for consumers. Today’s national average is about a dollar less than a year ago... and is at the cheapest level for this date since 2009. With that... Triple-A predicts that travel by car this Memorial Day holiday will be up 5.3 percent over last year’s holiday weekend. That would be the highest volume in ten years. The price of crude has moved higher since the middle of March due to slowing U.S. production... and, speculation of demand growth from China.
One incumbant and one newcomer will be running for two open seats on the Jamestown School Board next Tuesday. The incumbant is first-term board member Dan Johnson. The retired Jamestown Police Officer says he loves working with the board... teachers... and, staff in the district. Johnson adds that he feels three-years is not enough time to completely learn the job. However... the other incumbant... 13 year member Laurel Lucas... won't be seeking re-election. School Superintendent Tim Mains says he's saddened by that news. But... he also thanked Lucas for her service. She says... for the most part... it's all been good. Lucas adds the board has been doing a good job, and she believes they'll "do a good job going forward." She just wishes they had more "a little more help" from the state. Lucas also praised the district's educators for making the "roll-out" of Common Core as smooth as it was. She will be replaced on next Tuesday's ballot by Nina Karbacka.
Food television star Sandra Lee says her surgery for breast cancer has been postponed until next week because of an upper respiratory infection. Lee says in a Twitter message Wednesday that her doctors decided it would be best to delay the double mastectomy until early next week. The procedure had been scheduled for today. The 48-year-old lifestyle personality and live-in girlfriend of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo shared the news of her breast cancer on ABC's ``Good Morning America'' this week. In her message Wednesday... Lee thanked those who offered prayers and messages of support. Cuomo plans to take some personal time to be with Lee following the procedure. She and Cuomo share a home in Westchester County.
The union representing about 120 workers... including registered nurses... at Brooks Memorial Hospital will have a new contract. Members of the New York State Nurses Association approved a four-year contract extension by a unanimous vote according to union officials. Terms of the agreement have not been released... but, the contract will run through June of 2018.
Pennsylvanians would see billions in lower school property taxes under a proposal that made it out of the state House and into the hands of the Senate. The House voted 105 to 86 on Wednesday for what supporters call the most significant action in decades on relief from the state's widely reviled property taxes. The legislation would increase the sales tax rate in most of the state from 6 percent to 7 percent and the personal income tax rate from 3.07 percent to 3.7 percent. Opponents warn that short-term savings will eventually be lost when schools return property taxes to current levels.
New State Senate leader meets with Heastie, Cuomo, for first time...
The top three officials of New York state government have gathered behind closed doors for the first time since the Senate picked a new leader. Republican Senate Leader John Flanagan says Wednesday morning's meeting with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie... and, Governor Andrew Cuomo focused on priorities for lawmakers before their annual session ends next month. The Senate picked Flanagan to be its new leader on Monday following the resignation of Long Island Republican Dean Skelos, who is keeping his Senate seat while he fights federal corruption charges. Big issues facing lawmakers before they adjourn include the renewal of New York City's rent regulations and its local control of public schools.
"Default" budget takes effect in Lakewood after board fails to adopt spending plan...
A final 2015-16 budget for the village of Lakewood could not be approved by the board... so, the new spending plan defaults to the original plan offered by Mayor David Wordelmann. The village board recently voted 2-to-2... with Wordelmann and Sue Drago voting yes... and, board members John Jablonski and David DiSalvo voting no. With that... Wordelmann says the $3.3-million budget holds the tax levy where it's been for the past three years. He says that's good news, because it keeps the tax levy at $1.7-million. Wordelmann adds that while they have room under the state's 2-percent property tax cap... he didn't want to see a big increase in spending... or the tax levy. Property values are up in the village... so he says there will be a corresponding 36-cent per $1,000 drop in the tax rate to $7.12. He says total assessments, due to additional development, and a re-val, are up another $12-million. Wordelmann says there were a few spending increases in the village...but, nothing major. The new budget took effect on May 1st.
Assembly approves closing Campaign Finance loophole...
The state Assembly has voted to close the campaign finance loophole for limited liability companies. The bill would stop treating LLCs like individuals who can give up to $150,000 annually while masking identities of those who establish them and instead treat them like corporations subject to a $5,000 limit. The 120-to-8 vote followed questions by several Republicans about treating them... instead... like partnerships or urging broader legislation that would also set an aggregate limit on unions.
Eight on hand for public hearing on proposed JPS Budget; one addresses board...
Jamestown school officials got some rare compliments on their efforts to balance the needs of students, and taxpayers, in the proposed 2015-16 budget. School Superintendent Tim Mains hosted a public hearing on the $77.6-million spending plan... which is up for a public vote next Tuesday. One of the eight residents on hand spoke directly to the school board. Doug Champ applauded them for their hard work... but, also asked them to look more into their capital budgeting. Champ says... with it unlikely the state will give them any more help... he urged them to look at different ways to raise money for their projects using corporate involvement, or funding applications to outside foundations. He says if you're counting on the state of New York to be "fair and equitable, it's not going to happen." Champ says he has "no real problem" with the budget... and, it's 1.5-percent tax increase. He says increased costs are sometimes unavoidable. Two other people asked questions regarding the tax increase, and use of fund balance. School Board president Joe DiMaio says it was nice to get some compliments... and, adds it validates the board's hard work. The budget vote and school board elections will be held next Tuesday, May 19... from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Cuomo proposes Education Tax Credits...
Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing tax credits of up to $500 for low-income families who enroll their children in private schools. The Democratic governor announced the measure late Tuesday at an event on Long Island where he was joined by Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Cuomo also wants the state to offer tax credits for private donations to public schools, and scholarships for students from low-and middle-income families who attend either private schools or public schools outside of their local district. The governor says the measure is intended to help parents make the best educational decisions for their children.
Second JHS Red Raider state championship sign unveiled for football team...
Another sign has been put up at the city of Jamestown's four main entrances recognizing another New York State High School Championship. City, and Jamestown school officials were on hand on North Main Street for yesterday afternoon's unveiling of the Red Raider football team championship sign. It's next to the JHS Marching Band Championship sign. Jamestown Head Football Coach Tom Langworthy says it's nice for both his 2014 title team... and, the three before it. Langworthy says the sign will always bring back "great memories, and is always going to be something special." Senior Stephen Carlson was one of the five captains on the Red Raider team... and, called it a special honor for a "special" group of players. Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi says the signs represent the "Pride of Jamestown..." and, celebrates the accomplishments of all the district's youth.
Gas pump prices -- after big jump early last week -- hold steady this week...
Gas prices in the Jamestown-area have held steady after jumping by 11 cents a gallon about a week ago. That from the AAA's Fuel Gauge Report... which says the average price is now $2.85.4 cents a gallon for regular, unleaded fuel. AAA says the price is based on reports from 19 local service stations. The price was $3.85 last year at this time. The Fuel Gauge reports the national average is now about $2.66 a gallon. The AAA says the national average price has increased for the past 26 days... and, the current average is the highest it's been so far in 2015.
Trio allegedly involved in Pearl Avenue burglary now facing Felony Arson charges...
Two men from Jamestown -- and a Buffalo teenager -- have now been charged with second-degree arson for allegedly setting an apartment on fire late last month to cover up a burglary. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says they have now charged 30 year-old Jimmy Graves... and, 25 year-old Jonathan Fields... and, the 16 year-old from Buffalo... with second-degree ason. Samuelson says an eyewitness says they saw the three leaving the house at 19 Pearl Avenue, just before the second-floor apartment bursting into flames. City firefighters were called to the scene about 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, April 30. Samuelson says the trio allegedly damaged the apartment... and, stole a number of items before setting the apartment on fire. He says Graves, Fields and the 16 year-old -- who was not identified due to his age -- were caught by police a short distance away from the scene. In addition to the new arson charge... Samuelson says the three are also charged with second-degree burglary... and, third-degree criminal mischief. Graves is jailed on $150,00 cash bail... while both Fields and the 16 year-old are being held on $100,000 bail.
City fire department investigation allegedly arson involving condemned apartment house...
Jamestown fire investigators say a blaze that extensively damaged the upper floors of a condemned, two-story apartment house on the city's eastside was intentionally set. Jamestown fire officials say crews were called to the scene at 842 Spring Street shortly before Midnight last night... and, they found the second-floor and attic fully-engulfed in flames. Firefighters say it took some time to bring the blaze under control. Officials say the blaze started in the front part of the second-floor and attic. An off-duty shift of 12 firefighters... and, one shift commander were called in to assist. Firefighters were at the scene until shortly before 3 a.m. today. No injuries were reported... and, the blaze remains under investigation.
Flanagan unanimously chosen as new NYS Senate Majority Leader...
The newly-chosen New York Senate majority leader is being described as someone who has politics in his DNA. John Flanagan is the namesake of a former state Assemblyman from Long Island who served from 1972 to 1986. The younger Flanagan served 16 years in the Assembly before being elected to the Senate in 2002. He has easily won re-election to the Senate in a district representing a portion of northeastern Suffolk County. On Monday.. he was chosen to replace a fellow Long Islander, Dean Skelos, as majority leader. Skelos and his son are facing federal corruption charges. Lawrence Levy of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University notes Flanagan has built his resume on education issues. He has been chairman of the Senate Education Committee.
Young issues statement, calls transition to Flanagan leadership "historic" for Senate...
State Senator Cathy Young says Monday's decision by the Senate GOP Conference was "historic" for residents of her Southern Tier district... and, New York State. The Olean lawmaker says New York City-controlled Senate Democrats filed a resolution to seize control of the state Senate... and, the Republican Conference blocked them by unifying behind a new leader. If the Democrats had succeeded... Young says it would have been a replay of the "debacle" in 2009-2010 when the Democrats were in control... and, hiked taxes by $14-billion. She says "every single member" of the conference united behind Senator Flanagan "to ensure balance in state government and safeguard the future of the state."
Sandra Lee, TV Food Star, and Cuomo's girlfriend, has Cancer...
Food television star Sandra Lee says she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. The popular lifestyle personality -- and live-in girlfriend of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo -- divulged the news on ABC's ``Good Morning America'' in an interview aired Monday. The 48-year-old Lee says she found out she had cancer late last month in a phone call from her doctor just after she finished a photo shoot for People magazine. She says she didn't cry but was ``stunned'' by the news. Lee says she has had a lumpectomy and will undergo a double mastectomy this week.
Celoron, National Comedy Center come to agreement on center having "Ugly Lucy" statue donated to center...
The so-called ``Scary Lucy'' statue of Lucille Ball in her hometown of Celoron may not be very flattering, but it is pretty funny. It's made enough people laugh to earn a spot in the new National Comedy Center, which plans to break ground later this year in Jamestown. Comedy Center Board Chairman Tom Benson says the center will embrace the statue -- not as a likeness of the late comedian -- but as a tribute to what she was about -- making people laugh. Benson calls it a "good ending" for everyone involved. He says if they are able to receive the statue before the new center is built... they will put it up in Comedy Center Park until the center open. Benson says the Celoron Village Board voted Monday to donate the statue to the center. However... the approved motion includes a stipulation that the village first have a bronze likeness of Lucy to replace the much-maligned one before it goes to the center. The bronze sculpture was unveiled in 2009 in Lucille Ball Memorial Park... but, gained attention recently after a two-year old Facebook campaign caught on.
A Jamestown man is accused of robbing a woman early last Saturday morning on the city's eastside. Jamestown Police say they were called to the scene in the area of Buffalo and Newton Streets shortly before 4 PM Saturday. Officers say the alleged victim told them that she and 24 year-old Cody Mason of Palmer Street had gotten into a physical altercation about 2 AM. The woman told police that Mason allegedly pushed her several times... and, kept her from calling officers. She also said that Mason stole her cellphone... cash... and, pushed her into a wooden railing. Mason was found at another address... and, arrested for second-degree robbery... third-degree assault... and, criminal mischief. He was arraigned, and sent to the county jail without bail.
It was almost a record-setting weekend in Western New York with weather conditions that were closer to "mid-Summer." The National Weather Service in Buffalo reports some later afternoon rain showers held down the high temperature Sunday to 81-degrees. The record for May 10th was 86. However... on Saturday... Buffalo not only set a new record, but, smashed it. The high at the Buffalo-Niagara Airport reached 89-degrees. Forecasters says the previous record was 82. In Jamestown... the high both days was 85. Most of western New York was in the 80s both Saturday and Sunday. We'll see the low 80s again today before a cold front moves through tonight... and, drops our high for Tuesday into the upper 60s.
The latest training in how to adminster the anti-Heroin and opiate drug, Naloxone, will be held Tuesday afternoon in Jamestown. That from Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan... who says they received clearance to use the drug -- also known as "Narcan" -- last year through the county Health and Human Services Department. Horrigan says they initially trained first-responders... and, law enforcement... in how to get the drug to people who had overdosed. Horrigan says the training will be held at the Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council's headquarters in the Sprinchorn Building on West Third Street. He says the training session begins at 4 PM. Between first-responders and law enforcement... several dozen "saves" have been made using Narcan. Jamestown Police recently had their first. Horrigan says he learned at another training last week in Dunkirk with some former addicts that "relapse is part of recovery..." and, he fully-supports helping addicts have a "second-chance." For more information on the free training... call CASAC at 664-3608. Horrigan made his comments on this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program.
A State of Emergency has been declared regarding the old McNally Building in the Cattaraugus County town of Randolph. Town officials last night said the building... located at the "Y" intersection in the former village... is in danger of "eminent collapse." They say they have closed Route 394 and Main Street between Cold Spring and Weeden Roads until the structure has been secured.
Albany's latest corruption cases focus on New York City real estate interests seeking tax breaks from politicians. Most notable is an exemption worth about one-billion dollars a year that legislators and the governor must now decide whether to extend. Federal prosecutors allege Senate and Assembly leaders took hefty campaign contributions or other payments in return for laws benefiting the city's wealthiest landlords. Real estate developers say without the tax breaks, rents would be higher and many tenants would have fewer options. Advocates for the less affluent say the exemption amounts to a needless subsidy in a hot commercial real estate market. They say it mostly helps build luxury high-rise apartments. The tax breaks have been packaged with rent controls for a million city apartments, all scheduled to expire in June.
New York Senate leader Dean Skelos may be fighting for his political life in the wake of public corruption charges, but many folks back in his Long Island hometown are more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. They describe him as a ``pillar of the community'' and ``good guy.'' One Vietnam veteran walking into a barber shop this week was even more effusive. The man said, ``If I have to go back to combat, I want him next to me.'' Skelos is under fire from Democrats and some fellow Republicans in the state Legislature to step down. He and his son Adam have pleaded not guilty to charges they pressured Nassau County officials to award a contract for a storm water project to a company represented by Adam Skelos.
New York state is setting aside 2-million dollars to invest in new high-tech businesses owned by minorities and women. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the investment fund on Friday. The Democrat says the goal of the initiative is to expand opportunities for entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds while promoting economic growth around the state. The money will be managed by a venture capital firm based in Rochester. Preference will be given to start-ups in the life sciences, green technology, advanced materials and other high-tech industries. To be eligible for the funds, companies must be a certified minority- or women-owned business.
Two people from Warren, Pennsylvania were hurt... one seriously... when the motorcycle they were riding struck a deer early last weekend in Sugar Grove Township. State Police in Warren say the bike's operator, 56 year-old David Armstrong, was eastbound on Route 957 about 10 PM last Friday. Troopers say Armstrong's motorcycle struck the animal... and, tipped onto it's left side. Armstrong was seriously hurt... and, was flown by Lifestar Helicopter to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie. His passenger, 53 year-old Janice Armstrong, was taken to WCA Hospital for treatment of moderate injuries. No charges were filed.
**(Corr.)North County man arrested for allegedly running pot growing, distribution operation...
A Dunkirk man has been arrested... and, about $50,000 worth of processed marijuana... and, growing pot plants was seized following a raid in the north county city. Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say they executed a search warrant at 35 West Third Street in Dunkirk just after 9:30 last night. Task Force members say entry was made difficult because the entryways were "heavily-fortified." They found a "very sophisticated" operation when they got inside... and, arrested 60 year-old Pedro Solares of 705 Monroe Street once inside. A large number of plants were found and seized... along with a quantity of processed marijuana. Task Force agents say they found an intricate lighting... and, watering system for the plants... along with dehumidifiers. Solares has been charged with unlawfully growing marijuana... and, other charges are pending. Anyone with information on illegal drug activity is asked to call the Task Force at 1-800-344-8702.
City man falls through second-floor railing to his death...
A Jamestown man has died from an apparent fall through a second-floor railing at a home on the city's southside. City Police say they were called to the scene at 52 Charles St. about 10:30 last night on a report of an unconscious man laying on the sidewalk. Officers say EMTs were unable to revive the 54 year-old man. He was later pronounced dead by a County Coroner. Police say their investigation shows the man was standing on the second-floor porch when he feel through the railing. The death has been ruled an accident... and, no foul play is suspected. The man's identity is not being released until the family has been notified.
Democrats in State Senate plan to try to oust Skelos again next week...
Democrat members of the State Senate will try again to oust Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos following his arrest on federal corruption charges. A spokesman for the Senate's Democrat minority says that a motion has been filed to force a vote on removing Skelos, a Long Island Republican. The vote could come as early as Monday. Skelos is accused of using his position to extort payments for his son Adam from a real estate company and an environmental technology business. Skelos and his son say they are innocent. Democrats want Skelos to resign as leader.
Second person wanted for allegedly passing counterfeit money at Warren Co. Fair arrested in Jamestown....
A Jamestown woman wanted in Warren County, PA for allegedly passing counterfeit $50 bills has been arrested in the city. Jamestown police say they responded to a call at 246 Williard Street just before 10 p.m. Monday... and, found 35 year-old Christine Redding hiding in a bedroom. Redding and 28 year-old Jordan Adams -- also of Jamestown -- were accused of passing the phoney $50 bills at last Summer's Warren County Fair. State Police in Warren say the pair allegedly passed 27 of the fake bills. Adams was recently arrested in Jamestown. Redding was arrested as a fugitive from justice... and, send to the county jail without bail pending extradiction.
Three more "name" comedians signed on to perform at 2015 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival...
There's already a buzz over the other comedic talent coming to Jamestown for the 2015 Lucille Ball Comedy Festival in August. The National Comedy Center... and, Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center for Comedy announced today that contemporary comedic stars Nick Offerman... Melissa Rivers... and, Kelly Carlin will be here for the July 30 through Aug. 2 event. They join stand-up TV Star and comedian Jerry Seinfeld for the week. Seinfeld's two shows on Saturday, Aug. 1, are sold-out. Offerman... who is also known as Ron Swanson from NBC's hit TV Show "Parks and Recreation..." will perform his show -- for mature audiences only -- on July 31. Carlin -- the daughter of Comedy Legend George Carlin -- will bring her "Carlin Home Companion" Show to town on Saturday, Aug. 1. Melissa Rivers will take part in a special Comedy Roundtable with Rivers on July 31, as well. Tickets go on sale for Lucy-Desi Comedy Center members on May 11... and, to the general public May 18. For more information... go on-line to www.lucycomedyfest.com, or call 484-0800.
Skelos surrenders to federal authorities in corruption case; proclaims innocence...
The state Senate Majority Leader has surrendered to face charges including extortion and soliciting bribes amid a federal investigation into the awarding of a $12-million contract to a company that hired his son. FBI officials said Republican Dean Skelos of Long Island surrendered at the bureau's office in Manhattan at about 9:30 this morning. Skelos said last month he was cooperating fully and wouldn't resign his leadership post. He also insisted he was innocent of the charges. Skelos has hired an attorney in response to the investigation, which focuses on whether Skelos influenced Nassau County's decision to award the 2013 contract to Arizona-based AbTech. Skelos' 32-year-old son Adam worked for the company as a consultant... and, has also been charged.
Ambit Energy being investigated by state's Public Service Commission...
State officials are investigating a Texas-based energy company after a spike in complaints from customers over higher-than-expected bills. Ambit Energy is an energy services company that supplies electricity and natural gas. Consumers can choose to get their energy from their own utility or companies like Ambit. The probe of Ambit Energy was prompted by a spike in complaints in recent months to the state's utility regulation agency. According to the state's Public Service Commission, about one in five complaints against energy services companies filed this year have been against Ambit Energy.
Three arrested for fire on Jamestown's eastside...
Two men from Jamestown -- and a Buffalo teenager -- have been arrested for allegedly setting the upstairs apartment on fire at a house on the city's eastside Thursday afternoon. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says investigators knew from the start that arson was the likely cause. Samuelson says the three were spotted by a witness as they were leaving the home at 19 Pearl Ave. about 5:15 p.m. He says the witness told them just a few moments later... the upper floors burst into flames. Samuelson says responding police officers did a preliminary investigation... and, the trio was found fairly soon after. He says the trio... 30 year-old Jimmy Graves... 25 year-old Jonathon Fields... and, the 16 year-old from Buffalo... are charged with second-degree burglary... and, third-degree criminal mischief. Samuelson says second-degree arson charges are pending. He says it appears the fire was set to cover up the burglary in the upstairs apartment.
Titusville, PA area man killed in car-pedestrian accident...
The daughter of a man struck and killed while walking in the middle of a rural northwestern Pennsylvania road says he had dementia and may have been trying to walk to visit relatives many miles away. Kristen Swanson-Sauerland, of Titusville, says her 65-year-old father, Cecil Swanson, had family in Warren and was walking in that direction when a car hit him about 4:40 a.m. Thursday. State police in Corry say Swanson was wearing dark clothes and was difficult to see in rainy conditions. The driver who hit Swanson struck him from behind as he walked in the middle of the road's eastbound lane in Oil Creek Township.
JHS Marching Band gets championship sign at city entrances...
A big weekend for the Jamestown High School band program was kicked-off with a special sign unveiling on the city's northside. The JHS Marching Band was honored yesterday afternoon by the city with a championship sign at the north entrance on Route 60. The marching band won last Fall's New York state "Large School-2" Championship in Syracuse. Marching... and, Concert Band Director Meghan Murray says she was proud... and, excited about this latest honor. Murray says the sign also honors the band's past championships in 1991... and, 2002. School Superintendent Tim Mains and JHS Principal Mike McElrath were also on hand for the unveiling. Mayor Sam Teresi says they held the unveiling Friday to coincide with the concert band's special, 90th anniversary program this evening. The signs were put up by the city's Public Works Traffic Division... with help from the district... and, were made by Hanson Signs. Three other signs have also been put up at the city's other three "gateway" entrances.
Caregiver program set to start this week put on by County's Office for the Aging, and Chautauqua Adult Day Care...
The Chautauqua County Office for the Aging is collaborating with one of it's community partners to put on a six-week program that helps caregivers with an aging spouse... or, people with elderly parents. The six-week program, entitled "Powerful Tools for Caregivers," begins next Tuesday morning at the Westfield YWCA. Office for the Aging Director Mary Ann Spanos says the program runs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and, will cover a number of programs they provide that can help caregivers manage their lives. Spanos says the program was developed at Stanford University to help caregivers get more "balance" in their lives. She says they have teamed up with that program to provide a "break" for the caregiver so they can attend. The Westfield YWCA is one of four locations Chautauqua Adult Day Care has in the county. There is no charge for the program. For more information... go to the county's website.. or call NY Connects at 661-7582.
A Baltimore man who has roots in Western New York... and, Chautauqua County... says the current situation in the riot-torn city is "really tragic." Joe Twist also says the problems between Baltimore police and the black community have been "long-term. Speaking Thursday with our Jim Roselle and Dennis Webster... Twist says the problems have become "systematic." He says he has a number of friends who are African-American... and, they say they've been pulled over for what Twist calls 'DWB...' -- "driving while black...." Twist... who spoke to us from Peru where he's stopped on a business trip... says a former Congressman from the area believes the death of a black man who was in police custody was the "spark" that started the fire. He adds the area of Baltimore where the riots and protests have taken place has a 50-percent unemployment rate. Twist is also troubled by the fact there is a 10 PM to 5 AM Curfew for the ENTIRE city. He says that could be lead to some economic hardship because many businesses will have to close early.
New York state lawmakers are taking a look at what can be done to address the state's heroin and opioid addiction crisis. A bi-partisan Senate task force held the first of a series of statewide hearings Thursday in Yorktown in Westchester County. Additional hearings are planned for Rochester, Lewiston and Albany. Local Senator Cathy Young is a member of the task force. The meetings are intended to allow lawmakers to hear from local leaders, residents and experts as they develop proposals to fight the addiction epidemic. According to state figures... there were 91,000 medical admissions for heroin and prescription opiate abuse in New York state in 2013. That's up from 76,000 five years ago.
New York education officials say they'll release some results of the statewide English and math exams earlier than usual, on July 1st. The department says that making raw scores available at the start of summer will give schools and districts time to adjust summer lesson plans and prepare for fall. Other information, including performance levels and results of individual schools and districts, will be released later in the summer. One of the major criticisms of the assessments that New York gives to students in grades 3 through 8th each spring is that results are released too late to do any good. Districts around the state say they had large numbers of students sit out this year's tests, which are also used in teacher evaluations.
The first event in a series commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Nuremburg War Crimes trial following World War-Two is set for next Monday night. A public showing... and, panel discussion on the documentary "Liberty Under Law..." will highlight the naming of local native Robert H. Jackson as Chief U-S Prosecutor for the trial. Jackson Center Director Jim Johnson says the showing of the final, 90-minute film will be the kick-off to a series of activities over the next 18-months. Johnson adds that a Northeast, Pennsylvania couple put together a "director's cut" that was viewed locally a few years ago. However... they ran out of money... and, the Jackson Center headed up an effort to finish it. Johnson says several Jamestown-area foundations helped provide the money to finish the documentary. They include the Johnson and Sheldon Foundations. Monday night's program begins at 7 PM. In addition... Johnson thanked the county legislature for recently approving 25-thousand dollars in bed tax monies to help put on the 70th anniversary commemoration.
New York's governor says the state's plan to end the AIDS epidemic by 2020 will put the virus on the same list as polio, smallpox and other largely vanquished killers. Governor Andrew Cuomo's comments came late Wednesday, the day a panel created by the governor to recommend ways to combat the virus submitted its final report. The plan focuses on expanded HIV testing, treatment and the use of pre-exposure drugs that can prevent new infections in high-risk groups. The goal is to drop the number of new HIV infections to 750 per year by 2020, compared to the 3,200 cases identified in 2013 and down sharply from the 15,000 new cases reported in 1992. Cuomo says 153,000 New Yorkers lost their lives to AIDS in the last 35 years.
The Jamestown High School Band will celebrate its 90th anniversary with a concert this Saturday night at the school. Current director of Bands, Meghan Murray, says Director Emeritus, Lou Deppas, will return to narrate and be guest conductor... and, more than 50 alumni will be back to play. The band was begun by Arthur Goranson in the 1924-25 school year. His sister, Ebba Goranson, founded the A'cappella Choir in that same year. The JHS bands have won a number of awards through the decades, including a state marching band championship just last fall. Meghan Murray says she's been sharing the band's legacy with current members... so they realize they are "part of history." during the celebration, Rick Lundquist, Director of the Jamestown Municipal Band, will be entered into the JHS Band's Hall of Fame. The 90th anniversary concert begins at 7 PM Saturday at the Merton P. Corwin Auditorium. Tickets are $5 at the door.
The Mormon church in Jamestown has organized a 'first ever' Family History Fest for this Saturday. Members of the public are invited to come... at no charge... and learn how to explore their family history. Lou Rosinski is the festival director. The festival runs from 9 AM to 4 PM Saturday at the church at 851Forest Avenue. Rosinski adds it's a 'Bring Your Own Device' event. Wi-fi will be available for laptops, phones, and tablets to access the church's extensive genealogical records. Other computers will be provided to connect to ancestry.com. Rosinski belives there are good reasons to explore family history... the main one being we "get to know our ancestors better." The full schedule of classes is available at cpoa.net/JamestownNYFH. People can attend one class or spend the entire day. Rosinski emphasizes while the church sponsors the fest... it is NOT a 'proselyting event'.
The mayor of Celoron has won this year's third-annual Chautauqua Lake Association's Ice Pick competition. Chairman and Founder of the Ice Pick competition... Peter Sullivan... says the pick fell through the ice on the lake at 1:59 PM on Friday, April 10th. Each year... since it began... residents have entered to guess what day... and, time the ice pick will fall through the ice. The pick is a wooden tripod that has a clock on it. It's placed in a particular spot each year... and, people guess when it will break through the ice. The winner was Celoron's Scott Schrecengost... who was within 12 minutes of the time the pick fell through the ice. Second was Philip Brunskill... and third was Laura Stetzko. The Ice Pick has become the "signature" fundraising event for the CLA... and, Sullivan says more than 500 people entered this year.
Governor Andrew Cuomo's 1.5-billion dollar upstate economic development competition is starting. The contest, dubbed Cuomo's `Hunger Games,' pits upstate regions against each other in a battle for one of three 500-million dollar prizes. Officials in the seven eligible regions have until October 5th to submit their proposals for how they'd use the money to improve the local economy. The Democratic governor announced the start of the competition on Thursday. He says he hopes it brings out each region's best ideas for how to revitalize their local economy. The seven eligible regions are the Finger Lakes, the Southern Tier, central New York, the Mohawk Valley, the Capitol Region, the mid-Hudson Valley and the North Country. Western New York isn't eligible because of Cuomo's previous ``Buffalo Billion'' initiative.
Teen accused of several arson's on Jamestown's westside is arrested...
Jamestown Police have arrested a 15 year-old juvenile for allegedly setting five vehicle and dumpster fires in the Shirley Lane-area of the city over the past eight-months. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the teen was arrested Monday following an interview with investigators. Samuelson says the suspect allegedly began his spree last Sept. 25 when he set two vehicles on fire in the Spanish Gates Apartment complex... then another vehicle and two dumpsters late last month. He says, through their investigation -- which included neighborhood interviews -- they arrested the teen for all five incidents. Samuelson says the youth faces Felony arson charges... but, adds the case will go to Family Court due to his age. Police Chief Harry Snellings says the arrest will not only bring relief to people in the Shirley Lane-area... but, the entire city, as well. Snellings says arsonists "have no boundaries" on where they may strike. He adds that, in close city settings, multiple homes can catch fire. Police say they do have a motive for the youth setting the fires... but, aren't releasing that.
Fire in back addition at Jamestown Royal ruled arson...
Jamestown fire officials say arson is the cause of this morning's blaze that destroyed a small addition at the back of Jamestown Royal Company. City Fire Battalion Chief Sam Salemme now says the fire... which was called in just before 6 a.m. at 300 Crescent Street... was intentionally set. Salemme says firefighters found flames coming from the back of the business... near the railroad tracks. He says they found the small addition heavily engulfed in flames... but, they knocked down the flames quickly. Salemme says several off-duty firefighters were called in to assist at the scene... and, help staff Fire Station-One at City Hall. He says the building was already in bad shape, and, is now destroyed. Salemme says fire crews... and, their equipment... were at the scene until shortly after 9 AM. No one was hurt.
City man now sought for allegedly filing a false report that he was shot by someone else last Mar. 19...
A Jamestown man is now wanted by police for allegedly falsifying a report that he was shot by someone last month on McKinley Avenue. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says they have now filed a warrant for the arrest of 23 year-old Matthew Buck of 30 Terrace Pl. Samuelson says officers were called the scene -- near Prospect Street -- about 5 a.m. last March 19 on a report of a shooting incident. He says Buck told police that he had been shot by another person during what was reportedly a drug transaction. However... Samuelson says investigators found Buck had apparently shot himself during the incident. He says Buck is now charged with Felony Making an Apparent False Sworn Statement... and, Falsely reporting an Incident. Anyone with information on Buck's whereabouts is asked to call City police at 483-7537... or their Confidential Tip-line at 483-8477.
Reed talks about change to ACA to help New York fire departments recruit more members...
Local fire departments have geared up for today's fifth annual Recruit New York... and, area Congressman Tom Reed says he continues to work with local departments to find ways to help with recruiting volunteers. During a conference call with area media this past week... the Corning Republican indicated that a recent change with the Affordable Care Act is among the ways federal lawmakers have been helping local departments. He says he wanted to make them held "harmless" regarding out of pocket expenses under Obamacare. Reed says he applauds the efforts of volunteers in serving their communities. He says they are doing it for the right reason.... "day in an day out..." and, out of the "goodness of their heart." The House Republican says he recently met with a group of fire chiefs from the 23rd Congressional District last week to discuss other ways to help with recruiting volunteers.
Reynolds named as new director at Cornell Cooperative Ext. in Chautauqua County...
A life-long Chautauqua County resident who's been heavily involved in agricultural activities for the past eight-years has taken over the reins at Cornell Cooperative Extension of the county. The Association has announced that Emily Kidd-Reynolds was named to the post effective April 20. Most recently... Reynolds served the past 6 years as it's Operations Manager... and, was 4-H Youth Development Issue Leader before that. She's been Interim Operations Manager for the past six-months... alongside with Shawn Tiede. Teide is currently the Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension Wyoming County... and, had served as the Interim Executive Director for the Chautauqua County Extension. Reynolds says she's "very excited" about the opportunity to bring Cornell Cooperative Extension "forward" locally. For more information on Cornell Cooperative Extension locally... call 664-9502 or go on-line to www.ccc.cornell.edu/chautauqua.
National Train Day in Jamestown previewed...
There will be lots more to see and do at this year's "National Train Day" celebration Saturday, May 9th at the Gateway Train Station in downtown Jamestown. Train Station General Manager Lee Harkness says an early, vintage steam engine will be among the attractions that'll be here beginning at 10 a.m. Harkness says the vintage engine will be one of two train engines on display... one a steam engine the other diesel. He adds they'll be joined by about 10 work cars... and, Trolley Car #93. Harkness says... among the activities will be a re-enactment of the "Great American Train Robbery..." which he says will take place about 1 p.m., and, again at 7 that night. National train historian... and, author of 25 books on the railroad... Kenneth Springirth, applauded Harkness, and city officials for restoring the old station. Springirth says it's worth celebrating because Jamestown quickly grew from a village to a city after the first passenger train came here on August 25, 1860. From then until 1870... he says Jamestown grew by 69-percent in size... and, kept growing after that. Harkness says National Train Day... and, will include Toy Train lay-outs... and, other exhibits. For more information... contact Harkness at the Train Station.
TRC holds tree planting ceremony...
A unique Arbor Day ceremony took place Friday morning at the Resource Center's Administrative Offices on Dunham Ave near Celoron. The first of six flowering crab apple trees that will line the Lucy Lane side of the building was put in place. The Resource Center's Chief Executive Officer Denise Jones says the new plantings will replace several large and well-aged trees that had to be taken out. Jones says they want to "give back to the community," and make some room for their "feathered friends in the area, as well." The trees will actually be planted by Resource Center consumers who work for TRC Landscaping. Mike Braxton is Business Development Coordinator at TRC... and, says he loves working with such a "fantastic bunch of people." A cold irony of the day was that the flowering crab trees, from a warm greenhouse, can't really be planted until the temperatures reach a steady 50 degrees. One of the young trees was brought out for a photograph... andm then quickly scurried back inside.
The second suspect in this past Monday afternoon's vicious assault on two teachers at Jamestown High School's Tech Academy has been arrested at his home in the city. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the second, 16 year-old student was taken into custody Thursday morning after he was found hiding in a closet. Samuelson says the suspect had fled the scene shortly before officers arrived about 12:30 PM Monday. In addition to criminal charges... School Superintendent Tim Mains says the student will face consequences from the district. Samuelson says the teenager was taken to the city jail where he's being held pending arraignment. The other teen was caught a short distance away from the scene on Monday. Both teachers were punched in the face several times by the suspects... while one was also hit over the head by a metal wall clock. Both victims were taken to the hospital... but, were back in the classroom Tuesday morning.
One of two Jamestown residents wanted for allegedly passing more than two-dozen counterfeit 50-dollars bills at last year's Warren County Fair has been arrested in the city. Jamestown police say they located 28 year-old Jordan Adams at 13 Axtel Street about 10:45 AM Thursday after receiving a tip on his whereabouts. Officers say Adams faces 27 counts of five separate charges... including Forgery... Theft by Deception... and, Conspiracy - Forgery. Adams and another Jamestown resident... 35 year-old Christine Snow... were recently identified by State Police in Warren for allegedly circulating the phony 50s. It's also believed pair may have passed counterfeit bills in New York state. However... no charges have been placed here yet. Police continue to look for Redding... also known as Christine Snow. Adams is being held pending arraignment as a fugitive from justice.
It's not what Jamestown-area residents were looking for yesterday... but, we did get a measureable snowfall overnight in many locations around Western New York. In fact... at least one location received nearly a half foot of snow in Cattaraugus County. An upper level storm brought frequent snow showers to the area early Thursday. That from Forecaster Dave Thomas of the National Weather Service in Buffalo. The National Weather Service reports that 5 inches of snow fell in West Valley in Cattaraugus County... 2.4 inches in Colden in Erie County... and, about 7-tenths of an inch has been reported by weather observers in Jamestown. We had just over an inch here at our Media One Studios. Thomas says late April snow is not as unusual as you would think. Last year... he says we had a trace of snow on this date.
Chautauqua County's Director of Health and Human Services has high hopes for a coordinated school health program to be offered to districts beginning this fall. Christine Schuyler believes the curriculum called 'ICE 8' is a long term, positive community response to the area's major drug problem. Schuyler says the program is being made available through BOCES, and 300-thousand dollars has been secured to get the cirriculum started in every school district in the county. What's needed now is school boards to adopt the program... and what she calls 'buy in' by the community at-large that "health is a priority." Schuyler says the program is evidence based, and touches on many aspects of health in ways appropriate for each grade level. She adds ICE 8 will be helpful to classroom teachers because it meets the health and safety standards established for "common core." Schuyler outlined the basics of ICE 8 at a Drug Forum this past Wednesday sponsored by the AAUW and League of Women Voters.
The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County is set to launch two pilot programs next month to improve treatment for drug addicts. Association Director Rick Huber says The 'Treatment Court Jail Diversion Program' will allow immediate access to help for 10 people accepted into Drug Court. The program is being developed in cooperation with Jamestown City Court Judge John LaMancuso. The second new program will provide withdrawl medication from a psychiatrist for two people fighting addiction... and intensive counseling. Huber says someone who's been through "withdraw" will be with them 24/7. He says that counseling will be provided by certified councelors at the Mental Health Association. Huber says May is Mental Health Month... and, the ideal time to start new initiatives. Huber previewed the programs at a Drug Forum held Wednesday by the AAUW and the League of Women Voters.
A city man is jailed without bail for allegedly holding a Jamestown woman against her will... and, threatening to kill her. City police were called to the scene of a "violent" domestic incident late this past Sunday night... and, the victim told them she was attacked by 34 year-old Fred Lee. The victim reportedly told officers that she was held by the throat against a wall... and, not allowed to move. She says he also threatened her, and, broke two of her necklaces when he pulled her by the shirt collar. When they arrested him... police say they struggled with Lee briefly. They say the victim had an order of protection against him. Lee was arraigned in city court on several charges... including Felony criminal contempt... unlawful imprisonment... and, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation. He was then sent to the county lock-up.
The Catholic church is opposing efforts in New York to allow alleged sex abuse victims to sue after the statute of limitations has expired. Currently... victims have only until they turn 23 to seek charges or file a civil suit. The bill would create a one-year window for anyone to file lawsuits no matter when the alleged abuse occurred. A similar law in California passed in 2002 resulted in dioceses paying 1.2-billion dollars in settlements. New York's Catholic Conference says allowing claims of decades-old abuse would cause the church ``catastrophic financial harm.'' Bill supporters say current laws fail to acknowledge the seriousness of sex abuse _ or that victims often struggle for years before stepping forward. The measure would entirely eliminate the statute of limitations on abuse cases going forward.
The national competition is still about two-months away... but, it's been a busy week for the Distinguished Young Woman in New York state. Cassadaga Valley Central School Senior Heather Dorler is taking time this week to work with younger student on positive ways to be their "best self." It's part of the national program's "Be Your Best Self Initiative. Heather will speak today to a group of sixth-grade Chorus members at Cassadaga about the "Best Your Best Self" Programs five-elements. Dorler, who lives in Stockton, won the Distinguished Young Woman of the Lakewood Area last November... then went on to win the State Title. She'll head to Mobile, Alabama in mid-June to taken part in the national competition. Heather is also promoting this November's local competition... and, says it's a great experience. She says it brings together "lots of young women who are just trying to build friendships, and work together." Heather adds it's also a great chance to win some scholarship money for college. She says she looks forward to the national competition in Mobile, which begins June 15th.
A Fredonia man that was thought to be missing was located Sunday evening. 88 year old Edward Sunday was reported missing Sunday afternoon after last being seen around 12:30 at the Portland Congregational Church. Just after 6:30pm Sunday the Chautauqua County Sherriff's Department notified local media that "Mr. Sunday was located and is no longer considered missing."
Several hundred people visited the 'Pride of Chautauqua' Sunday at the Fluvanna Fire Hall. It's an annual event put on by the Chautauqua County Farm Bureau to showcase agriculture in this area. Dick Kimball, a Dewittville dairyman... and President of the local Farm Bureau said consumers had a lot of questions, and farmers were there to answer them. Larry Rater, a retired dairy farmer from Sherman and a former Farm Bureau President, said 'Pride of Chautauqua' is a great way for people to see the progress in agriculture... where farmers are always creating a better product, more efficiently. A couple dozen local farms and farm businesses were represented in Sunday's event.
A Buffalo man is jailed without bail for allegedly pointing what appeared to be a gun at a Jamestown woman... holding her against her will... and, robbing her. City Police were called to 163 Barrows Street about 11 PM Friday for an alleged domestic incident. On arrival... they found a female yelling inside the apartment... and, that 32 year-old Devon Cottom had run off through the back door. Police say Cottom had allegedly choked the woman before allegedly pointing the gun -- later identified as an "airsoft BB Gun" -- at her. Officers say K-9 "Mitchell" help track Cottom to an area behind Allen Street... where a witness told that Cottom had run behind the house at 431 Allen Street. Police set up a perimeter... and, got Cottom to come out of the house and surrender. He faces several charges... including third-degree robbery... second-degree menacing... and, unlawful imprisonment. They also found a parole warrant had been issued for Cottom's arrest.
New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (Hay-stee) has assembled a small group of Democratic lawmakers to study ways to make state government more transparent. The Bronx Democrat announced the appointments to the 12-member panel late last week. Heastie says the panel will recommend changes to encourage more openness and public participation in the legislative process. The group will also look for ways to better harness technology, including improvements to the Assembly's website and expanding what information is placed online. When he was elected speaker earlier this year, Heastie vowed to address longstanding concerns that rank-and-file lawmakers and members of the public were too often left out of legislative decision making. Assembly members J. Gary Pretlow of Mount Vernon and Brian Kavanagh of Manhattan will lead the panel.
Sections of three roads maintained by New York State -- including Interstate 86 -- are slated for major repairs this construction season. That from State Assemblyman Andy Goodell... who coincidentally lost a tire on a rough stretch of I-86 east of Salamanca about four weeks ago. However... the interstate is is much worse shape in both eastbound lanes from the Pennsylvania state line to the lake bridge at Stow. Goodell says the project is in the state Department of Transportation's Capital Fund for this year. Goodell adds that's the same fund the DOT will use to re-surface Foote Avenue in the city of Jamestown through the Arterial to West Second Street. He says the other projects include Route 430 from Long Point to DeWittville... and, from Mayville to Findley Lake. Goodell says there is some emergency work begin done right now... and, contracts will be awarded soon for the major repairs. For the time being... Goodell says patchwork is being done to temporarily smooth out the roads.
Top lawmakers and several business leaders from around New York state will join Gov. Andrew Cuomo's trade mission to Cuba. Business leaders include the CEOs of JetBlue and Chobani Greek Yogurt, the vice chairman of MasterCard and executives from the NY Genome Center, Pfizer, Cayuga Milk Ingredients, a Finger Lakes dairy company, and the biopharmaceutical company Regeneron. The group will travel to Havana tomorrow for a two-day visit, intended to foster economic ties between Cuba and New York.
New York state's comptroller has approved an award of a 565-million dollar contract to Xerox to redesign and operate the information management system for its Medicaid program. The comptroller's office says its review found insufficient grounds in the protests by Computer Sciences Corporation... and, Hewlett-Packard to overturn the award. The current system is operated by Computer Sciences Corp. Hewlett-Packard bid against Xerox. Medicaid provides health care for millions of low-income New Yorkers with total projected federal and state spending this year of $63.2 billion. The comptroller's office says the five-year contract will take effect in 14 days. In a letter... the comptroller's director of contracts notes the state health department has taken precautionary measures to prevent performance issues like those that have come up with Xerox contracts in other states.
Some 25 fire departments across Chautauqua County will be holding an open house this comng weekend in an effort to get people to join as volunteer firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians. County Emergency Services Director... and, Fire Coordinator Julius Leone says the "Recruit New York" effort has picked up some momentum over the years. Leone says they had a good response last year... but, adds they need more recruits. He says they picked up about 50 more firefighters among the 42 across the county. However... he says -- in some cases -- departments are still playing "catch-up" as far as their numbers are concerned. The Recruit-New York effort is for volunteer fire departments and rescue crews. For a complete list of fire departments... and, available positions is available on-line at Fasny-dot-COM.
A Frewsburg woman faces Felony charges for allegedly receiving 45-hundred dollars in food stamps she wasn't eligible for last year. Sheriff's Department investigators say they arrested 27 year-old Anna Towne of Warren Road late last week for Welfare Fraud. Officers say their investigation showed that Towne failed to notify the county's Department of Health and Human Services that her husband was employed during the period she received the benefits. Investigators say that six-month period began March 1st of 2014. Towne faces charges including third-degree Welfare Fraud... and, third-degree Grand Larceny. The Joint investigation involved the Sheriff's Office... and, the D-H-H-S Program Integrity Unit. Towne was issued appearance tickets. Instances of suspected welfare fraud may be reported by calling the welfare fraud hotline at 1-800-388-5365, or the We-Tip Line at 1-800-782-7463.
(**Update)Authorities in Cattaraugus Co. busy with four Heroin overdoses in Salamanca in 24-hour period...
Police in Cattaraugus County are continuing their investigation into four Heroin overdose cases in the city of Salamanca. Salamanca Police Chief Troy Westfall says what appears to be a "very potent" derivative of the drug killed one of the victims. Westfall adds the other three people were saved by first-responders who used the opiate antidote "Narcan." He says they learned through investigation that the suspected "killer" Heroin is packaged in small "white-to-clear" wax bindles with no markings. Westfall says the drug appears to be a "clearer" white-granular mix which is different from what they've seen before. He says it could be a purer form of the drug... or it could be mixed with Fentanyl. He adds four overdoses in such a condensed time is incredible for a small city of 6,000. Anyone with information on where the drug may have come from is asked to call the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force's tip-line at 373-2773... or 1-800-328-3784.
The suspected driver involved in a home invasion-robbery in which a Jamestown man was severely beaten nearly a week ago has been arrested. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the 16 year-old boy was taken into custody Thursday as part of the on-going investigation into the incident at 76 Pershing Avenue. Samuelson says the teen now faces a Felony charge in the case... even though he was not directly involved in the beating of the victim inside the house. Samuelson says they have a fourth "person of interest" in the case who is not being identified at this time. He hopes to report that person's arrest shortly. Samuelson says 22 year-old Robert Ellsworth remains jailed without bail in connection with the case... which he says was "drug-related." He says Ellsworth, a 17 year-old already in custody, and the "person of interest" broke into the home early the morning of Friday, April 10th... and, stole several items... and, beat the man... who was taken to an Erie, Pennsylvania trauma center for treatment of a serious back injury.
A Corry woman has been arrested and charged with killing a Warren woman on Tuesday. The Warren Times Observer reports that 27 year old Danielle Craker allegedly punched 50 year old Robin Ostrowski repeatedly in the face which led to her death. Craker was arrested by Warren Police late Wednesday night. According to court documents Craker waived her rights and gave a statement saying that she punched Ostrowski in the face until she was incapacitated. Authorities say two other people were in the residence at 701 and a half west Fifth Avenue at the time of the assault and drugs may have played a role in the homicide. 58 year old Melvin Atwell, who was reportedly the victims boyfriend also was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, because hours passed before he called 911 to get medical treatment for Ostrowski. Craker faces a range of possible charges including first degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, and Atwell was taken to the Warren County Jail after failing to post 30,000 dollars bail.
No action is expected to be taken until next month. But... a key Chautauqua County Legislature committee yesterday heard details about changes that area state lawmakers want to make in the request for an increase in the county's sales tax. County Executive Vince Horrigan met with members of the Audit and Control Committee. Chairman John Runkle says the increase from the current 7.5 percent to 8 percent will be linked to a cut in the county's property tax levy. Runkle was one of four legislators to oppose the sales tax hike last month. The proposed changes now have him leaning toward supporting it. He says it would be a 3-percent decrease in the tax levy -- or about 2-million dollars, next year, and there would be no increase in 2017. Runkle says committee will mull it over before taking up the matter next month.
Some New York school districts are reporting that 60 to 70 percent of students did not take this week's mandated English tests. That's raising questions about how the growing ``opt-out'' movement may affect federal funds. It also could affect teacher evaluations that are supposed to be pegged to the tests. The state Education Department says official numbers for how many pupils took the statewide assessments won't be released until this summer. But... a group called United to Counter the Core says more than 155-thousand children boycotted the English tests that were administered Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Anti-testing hotbeds included districts upstate, in the lower Hudson Valley and on Long Island. West Seneca Superintendent Mark Crawford said his suburban Buffalo district saw nearly 70 percent of students sit out the tests.
Members of the Jamestown School Board have reached a consensus that they want the district to retain as many teachers as possible in the 2015-16 budget. However... how they find the money to do that is now the issue. That from Board President Joe DiMaio... who says the panel futher discussed the 77.6-million dollar spending plan during a budget work session Wednesday night. DiMaio says board members agree that... between the new state standards... and, keeping class sizes small... keeping another one to three teachers would help. The new budget also includes a 1.5-percent tax increase... which amounts to about 219-thousand dollars. The majority of board members seem to accept that idea. Two areas are being looked at for possible cuts. One is professional staff development. A new one that was looked at last night was athletics. DiMaio... who is a former Jamestown Assistant Football Coach... hopes that's not the case. He adds that would run contrary to what the district included in it's strategic plan. School Superintendent Tim Mains will now take input from the meeting... and, make changes. The board is scheduled to adopt the new budget at next Tuesday night's meeting.
The leader of the New York state Senate says he will cooperate with authorities following a report that prosecutors are investigating him and his son. The New York Times, citing unidentified sources, says U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is examining whether Republican Dean Skelos of Long Island influenced Nassau County's decision to give a storm-water treatment contract to an Arizona company that hired his son, Adam. The newspaper reports the investigation includes 20-thousand dollars paid to Adam Skelos by a title insurance company he allegedly never worked for. Skelos said in a statement Thursday he has and ``will continue to cooperate with any inquiry.'' Bharara's office declined to comment. The news prompted the Nassau County district attorney to announce a review of county contracting practices. Back in January... Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was charged with taking nearly 4-million dollars in payoffs.
Volunteers for 14 partner agencies... and, several local businesses and organizations... were recognized Wednesday night for their efforts in the Jamestown-area. The United Way of Southern Chautauqua County held it's annual Volunteer of the Year Recognition. United Way Executive Director Tori Irgang says they honored the volunteers from the partner agencies... some of whom have been with that group more than 30 years... some just a few. However... for the second year in a row... Irgang says they also recognized seven businesses... and, four community groups that did volunteer projects during the United Way's "12 Months of Caring" initiative." She says the goal is to introduce people to projects that are meaningful... from "getting your hands dirty" to becoming certified in CPR. Four organizations and businesses did "Community Baby Showers." Among the people recognized were Chautauqua Striders Volunteer Keith Ecklund... Jan Hallberg with the Allegheny Highlands Council of the Boy Scouts... Mary Jane Nordsiek and Carolyn Thomas with Meals on Wheels... and, Cecile Wilson with the American Red Cross.
Motorists who use one of Buffalo's busiest expressways at night or early in the morning will have to seek alternate routes next month, thanks to four pizza-loving turtles. Mayor Byron Brown announced this week that scenes for the sequel to last summer's hit movie ``Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'' will be filmed in Buffalo starting May 4 and running through May 17th. Officials say the filming will involve shutting down Route 33, also known as the Kensington Expressway, between 7 PM and 6 AM. Detours will be set up to route traffic around the 4-mile stretch of the expressway that will be closed from downtown Buffalo to Route 198. The film's unit production manager says the scenes to be shot are action sequences involving vehicle chases and helicopters. The sequel is expected to hit theaters in June 2016.
We have a couple of exciting announcements to make regarding the management of the Media One Group of stations. Media One has promoted Business Manager Rick Brodowski to Station Manager... while Jim Yezzi will be the new director of Sales. Both have been with the company for many years now..., and our congratulations to both Rick and Jim.
Third suspect in home invasion-robbery arrested in Jamestown; fourth suspect now being sought...
A third person has now been arrested... and a fourth is being sought in connection with last week's violent home-invasion robbery in Jamestown. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the 16 year-old driver of the get-away car was taken into custody today as part of the on-going investigation into the incident at 76 Pershing Avenue. Samuelson says the teen now faces a Felony charge in the case... even though he was not directly involved in the beating of the victim inside the house. Two people... including 22 year-old Robert Ellsworth of Ashville... have been arrested. A 17 year-old boy has also been charged. Meantime... the victim... who suffered a serious back injury... is now home.
Chautauqua County's top-elected official says the county legislature won't vote this month on a modified version of a resolution to increase the local sales tax from 7.5 to 8-percent. County Executive Vince Horrigan says he wants to get feedback from lawmakers first about the changes state lawmakers from the region want to make to the county's request. State Senator Cathy Young recently announced that she wants to include language that the county would cut its tax levy by 3-percent -- or 2-million dollars -- as part of the request. Horrigan says they have received some draft legislation from both Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell... and, he says he'll be talking with the legislature's Audit and Control Committee about drafting a final measure. With the state legislative session running until June... he feels a May vote will leave enough time for state lawmakers to act on final Home Rule Legislation.
Early figures for the first quarter of 2015 are looking better -- overall -- than the first-quarter of last year in the city of Jamestown. City Comptroller Joe Bellitto says he won't have first-quarter sales tax figures for another two to two-and-a-half weeks... but, he says they do have preliminary numbers for the Board of Public Utilities Payment-in-lieu of Taxes. Bellitto says two divisions look good... but, three others are a little short of projections.
Bellitto says there are two areas of concern regarding the 2015 budget... the first is the overtime budget for the Public Works and Parks Departments. He says that number is just over 347-thousand for the first three-months of 2015. Bellitto says that's 41-percent of the total budget used so far... and, is about 6-percent more than this time last year. He also says the DPW has also used up most of it's 2015 Salt Budget -- a total of 95.4-percent. However... Mayor Sam Teresi says... had the city not invested in a new Salt Barn on Steele Street... it probably would have been worse. On a positive note... Bellitto says the city's fuel budget was down 20-percent in the first quarter.
Authorities in Warren, PA are investigating a "suspicious death" in that city. The Warren Times Observer reports that Police, The District Attorney's office and the County Coroner's office were called to 701 and a half west Fifth Avenue about 5:30 Wednesday afternoon. They were on the scene until after 9pm. Warren Police Chief Raymond Zydonik says the initial call was for a medical emergency, upon arrival that changed to a reported "unattended death of a female." Coroner Jerry Borden said he has not established the cause of death and could not release the name of the deceased until next of kin were notified. Chief Zydonik is call the death "Suspicious."
Participation in the statewide English assessment tests was above 90-percent for the two largest school districts in Chautauqua County. That from Jamestown Superintendent Tim Mains... who says the number of students taking the standardized tests Tuesday was 98 to 99-percent of third through eighth graders. In Dunkirk... Superindent Gary Cerne says the number of refusals were only about 9.3-percent. Statewide... authorities say thousands of students sat out the first day of the tests. Reports from around the state indicate varying levels of participation in the Common Core-aligned tests, which continue Wednesday and Thursday. While about 98 percent of third- through eighth-grade students in Schenectady sat for the assessments Tuesday, only about 30 percent of eligible students in West Seneca did. Parent critics and teachers unions say the tests and time spent preparing for them take away from creative instruction and that tying results to annual teacher rankings has worsened the problem. But... state Education Spokesman Jonathan Burman says refusing to take the test deprives parents and taxpayers of information about how students are doing.
A coalition from New York's political 'right' and 'left' is calling for the suspension of Governor Andrew Cuomo's Start-Up NY economic development program. The group includes the state Conservative Party and the National Federation of Independent Businesses from the right and the left-leaning Working Families Party and Fiscal Policy Institute. In a statement Wednesday... the coalition says Start-Up NY should be shut down pending a detailed audit following a report showing that so far the year-old program has created only 76 of the nearly 2,100 jobs promised over five years in return for tax breaks. Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long says the program unfairly creates winners and losers. Working Families Party director Bill Lipton questioned the costs of marketing the program. State officials -- including Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul -- say Start-Up NY is in its early stages.
The first three winners in the "I Love CHQ Video Challenge" for homemade video's that best promote some aspect of Chautauqua County have been announced. County Executive Vince Horrigan was joined by Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Andrew Nixon for the announcement... along with some of the sponsoring entities at Chautauqua Institution. Horrigan came up with the idea as a way to promote the fact there's a lot of "neat stuff" going on in the county. Horrigan says the winners include Tracie DeMotte (Dih-Mot) from Panama... David Saxton of Jamestown... and, Roslin Smith of Fredona. Each received 250-dollars for winning in one of five catagories. The overall theme for the contest... which is being paid for through sponsorships... is "What Do You Love about Chautauqua County?" For the most part... the three video presentations involved Winter scenery with a musical background. One did involve a short video clip. Nixon says they has a total of five entries for the first quarter... and, they're hoping for more in the second quarter... which is now underway. For more information on the "I Love CHQ Video Challenge..." Nixon says you can go on line to Facebook-dot-COM... slash "TourChautauqua."
ew York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has reported taxable income of $327,516 in his fourth year as the state's top lawyer. That included more than $49,000 from ordinary dividends and $127,000 in capital gains on investments. Schneiderman, who investigated the 2008 collapse of mortgage-backed securities that contributed to the recession, invests in mutual funds handled by financial manager Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade. His 2014 federal return shows $150,971 from salary, $19,957 from tax-exempt interest and federal taxes of $67,184 paid. His overall income is up about $30,000 from a year earlier, mainly from additional capital gains.
Manufacturing activity in New York state shrank this month for the first time in four months... a sign that the strong dollar and sluggish consumer spending may be holding back factories. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York says that its Empire State manufacturing index fell to negative 1.2 reading from a plus 6.9 in March. The latest reading is the lowest since December. A measure of new orders fell for the third straight month to negative-6, which suggests output may remain sluggish in the coming months. However... a gauge of hiring rose. The survey provides an early look at U.S. manufacturing each month. The New York Fed surveys 200 businesses in the state and typically receives responses from 100.
A third person is still being sought in connection with last Friday morning's home invasion-robbery on Jamestown's southside. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the incident occured at 76 Pershing Avenue about 1:35 AM when three men allegedly forced their way into the home... and, bound the victim with duck tape before beating the person. Samuelson says the suspects wore masks... and, were armed with a machete and billy club. He says they stole a number of items... including a safe, clothing and cash. Samuelson says their investigation led to the arrest of 22 year-old Robert Ellsworth in Ashville... and, a 17 year-old male on Wicks Avenue in West Ellicott. Ellsworth is charged with first-degree robbery... and, burglary. The juvenile is charged with criminal possession of marijuana. The victim is being treated at the Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pennsylvania. If you have any information on the incident... and, the whereabouts of the third suspect... call city police at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
A fiery crash in the town of Sherman early last weekend sent a Sherman resident to an Erie, Pennsylvania hospital for treatment of serious injuries. Sheriff's officers say 22 year-old Kasey Erhard of Nettle Road was found trapped inside the vehicle just before Midnight last Saturday. Deputies say officers on patrol in the area spotted a large amount of motor vehicle debris on the roadway... and, checked the area. Officers say they found the car off the westside of the road in a drainage ditch. The vehicle was heavily-damaged and the engine compartment had caught fire. Deputies used a fire extinguisher to put the fire out. The Sherman Fire Department was called out... and, help extricate Erhard from the vehicle. Erhard is being treated for non-life threating injuries. Officers say charges are pending.
A judge says a federal prosecutor went too far in criticizing New York's former Assembly speaker after his arrest... but, not so far the indictment must be tossed out. Democratic ex-Assemblyman Sheldon Silver's lawyers wanted the public corruption charges against him dismissed. U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni rejected that request on Friday. But... the judge criticized U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (bahr-AHR'-ah), saying she didn't condone the ``government's brinkmanship'' or the ``media blitz'' prosecutors orchestrated after Silver's arrest. The judge even attacked tweets the prosecutor's office sent. She noted the risks that facts will be read in isolation when they are sent on a platform that limits messages to 140 characters. Bharara's office has said his comments weren't unusual or prejudicial.
New York may be enjoying a budget surplus... but, small cities across the state have fallen still-further behind on revenue-sharing. That from Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi... who says he's happy to see school districts getting a bump in aid this year to help hold down property taxes. However... while schools have seen increases the past couple of years... local municipalities have seen no increases in Aid and Incentives to Municipalities -- or AIM Funding -- since 2009. Teresi says all municipalities took a 10-percent cut in AIM Funding in 2009... and, another slight decrease in 2010. He says they haven't seen any further cuts since then. That's because the state was running deficits at that time. However... Teresi says another surplus is forecast... and, it's a "different picture now" financially. In fact... he says the state received just over 5-billion dollars in settlement monies from the health care industry. Teresi says the state Conference of Mayors... and, other organizations... have all lobbied for increased aid. He made his comments for this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the five Media One Group stations.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton's bid for the Oval Office. Cuomo announced his support for Clinton's candidacy Sunday, the day the former first lady, secretary of state and U.S. senator from New York formally launched her campaign. ``Hillary Clinton has been a lifelong champion for middle-class families, an advocate for the underserved, and a fighter for civil rights. She is a tested leader with the resilience and experience to be a great president,'' Cuomo said in a statement. Until recently... the Democratic governor was widely believed to be eyeing a run for the White House himself. Cuomo's relationship with the Clintons goes back to his time working in and later leading the Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton.
The New York health exchange says uninsured residents have until April 30 to enroll for coverage even though the open enrollment period for 2015 has ended. State health officials say they are also working with state and federal tax agencies to provide information to income tax preparers to share with clients. They note the federal tax penalty for not having health insurance in 2015 will increase to 325-dollars per adult in a household or two percent of their income, whichever is greater. Others can qualify for special enrollment through the health exchange following a qualifying event like losing insurance along with a job or spouse, aging off a parent's insurance, new citizenship or moving into the state with new insurance options. For more information... go on-line to NYStateofhealth-dot-NY-dot-GOV.
The now-infamous statue of Lucille Ball that touched off a firestorm of controversy has drawn dozens of people to the tiny village of Celoron daily since the story went national -- then international. Mayor Scott Schrecengost says people have stopped by the location -- on the edge of Lucille Ball Memorial Park -- almost 'non-stop' since the press conference he held at the Community Center last Tuesday morning. Schrecengost wanted to set the record straight on where the life-sized statue came from... and, how it got there. Schrengost adds they've also had a lot of interest shown in the statue... and, by sculptors who want to make a new one for free. He says that means they won't likely to a make-over of the current bronze sculpture. Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania's Jackie Johnson says she doesn't want the figure changed -- even from the shoulders up. She says it's 'all about comedy' so "why change it now?" Westfield's Ashley Osterstuck came to see the statue because of all the controversy... and, agreed the current statue looks "a little frightening... " adding the face really doesn't look anything like Lucy.
Legislation to ban the use of certain chemicals in toys may get another chance in New York state before lawmakers adjourn in June. The measure would require manufacturers to phase out the use of chemicals deemed harmful, such as benzene, mercury and cobalt. The bill passed the Assembly last year but didn't get a vote in the Senate. Republican Senator Phil Boyle and Democratic Assemblyman Steve Englebright have reintroduced the measure this year. The Toy Industry of America opposes the bill, noting that toy makers are subject to federal regulations and that state-based rules would create a confusing patchwork of requirements. Some businesses are backing the bill, including Seventh Generation, a Vermont-based household goods company. A Seventh Generation official went to the Capitol Thursday to push for the legislation.
Two arrested in alleged Home invasion-robbery in Jamestown...
Two people are in custody... and, a third is being sought... in connection with a home invasion-robbery on Jamestown's southside early Friday morning. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the incident occured at 76 Pershing Ave. about 1:35 a.m. when three men allegedly forced their way into the home... and, bound the victim with duck tape before beating the person. Samuelson says the suspects wore masks... and, were armed with a machete and billy club. He says they stole a number of items... including a safe, clothing and cash. Samuelson says their investigation led to the arrest of 22 year-old Robert Ellsworth in Ashville... and, a 17 year-old male on Wicks Avenue in West Ellicott. Ellsworth is charged with first-degree robbery... and, burglary. The juvenile is charged with criminal possession of marijuana. The victim was initially treated at WCA Hospital... then flown to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pennsylvania for further treatment. If you have any information on the incident... and, the whereabouts of the third suspect... call city police at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
One person seriously hurt in Clarendon, PA assault-fight...
A Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania man had to be treated for serious injuries after he was involved in a fight with another Warren County man late last month in Clarendon. State Police in Warren say 23 year-old Daniel Harkins got into the altercation with 22 year-old Tyler Wilson about 2:30 a.m. last March 22nd at 7 1/2 Main Street. Troopers were called to the scene... and, found both men had been hurt. Wilson suffered a minor injury during the incident. However... Harkins was flown to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie for treatment of his injuries. Both men have now been charged with simple assault.
City man arrested for allegedly trying to bring drugs into County Jail...
A Jamestown man being held in the Chautauqua County Jail pending sentencing on drug-related charges has been accused of smuggling Heroin and marijuana into the jail. Members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force were called to the scene last Tuesday night... where 46 year-old Roberto Morales-Sanchez was being held until sentencing on the other charges. Task Force agents says they found the illegal drugs in Morales-Sanchez's possesion... and, an additional warrant was obtained on charges of first-degree promoting prison contraband... and, criminal possession of a controlled substance. He will be arraigned, and returned to the Mayville lock-up on the new charges.
U.S. Attorney William Hochul, Jr. hosts forum on Jackson speech...
The western New York region's top prosecutor is also a great admirer of late U-S Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson. And... U-S Attorney William Hochul, Junior says he was very "honored" to be delivering the main address... and, moderating a panel discussion on the 75th anniversary of Jackson's speech: "The Federal Prosecutor." Hochul says the Frewsburg native "stands tall" historically in the region... and, the United States. He says because of Jackson's dedicated work as lead prosecutor at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trial following World War-Two... he continues to inspire current day prosecutors -- like Hochul himself. Hochul says the Federal Prosecutor speech "set the guide for us."
State Police, and other agencies, begin Texting While Driving Crackdown...
Police in New York are embarking on a ``statewide crackdown'' on texting while driving. Governor Andrew Cuomo have announced that through Wednesday, state troopers in marked and unmarked vehicles will ``aggressively'' target motorists who use handheld devices while driving. The stepped up enforcement is timed to coincide with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Adults caught texting while driving face big fines, while young drivers can have their licenses suspended. According to national figures for 2013... more than 3,100 people were killed in crashes that involved a distracted driver. A similar crackdown last fall resulted in State Police issuing more than 550 tickets to motorists caught using a hand-held device while driving.
Reports of attempted abductions in Ripley and Jamestown shown to not have occured, according to police...
Further investigation into reports from a couple of Chautauqua County School districts has determined there were no attempted abductions of female students... nor anyone else. Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department Undersheriff Chuck Holder says they spoke with a person who reportedly pulled over... and, offered someone a ride in Ripley... and, determined there was no attempted abduction or abductions. Earlier... Sheriff's officers were looking for a man in a grey or silver-colored Hyundai Sports Utility Vehicle offering young girls a ride home in the village of Ripley. The incidents in Ripley were reported yesterday afternoon... following an alleged incident in Gowanda. There was also one reported in Jamestown... but, Police Chief Harry Snellings says that was never substantiated.
Widespread discolored water can be expected today in the BPU water territory on due to a water main break on East Second Street in Jamestown. Water was shut down between Curtis and Aldren on Second as of 4 O'clock this morning. The main is a 16 inch size which is large for a water line. Crews have worked overnight and continue this morning. No estimate of repair time is available.
Thanks to some 23 early retirements... the Jamestown school district may avoid having to make lay-offs in the 2015-2016 budget. School Superintendent Tim Mains presented the first-draft of the 77.6-million dollar proposal at last night's school board meeting at Lincoln Elementary School. Most of the initial concern was over the fact the budget draws on the remaining one-million dollars in undesignated fund balance to offset a small, 1.5-percent tax increase. Mains pointed out that's the smallest amount they've used in a long-time. The tax levy increase would total about 219-thousand dollars. Mains says the budget would also save 65-thousand dollars by delaying upgrades to the former Rogers Elementary School. Back to personnel cuts... Mains says there are actually 20 cuts in the spending plan. However... he says there will be four jobs added for a "net loss" of 16. Mains says they were able to make 12 of those cuts through attrition. Mains says class sizes would hold pretty constant under the budget... with slight increases in both the middle and high schools. The board will meet again on the spending plan next Wednesday night.
"It's needs a make-over." Those are the feelings of Celoron Mayor Scott Schrecengost on the life-size, bronze statue of Lucille Ball in the village park bearing her name. During a press conference yesterday morning... Schrecengost said he wanted to set the record straight on a number of issues surrounding the controversy. He says the village received the statue as part of a "real estate transaction" in 2009. He says both he and late Mayor Jack Keeney talked with sculptor Dave Poulin after it was unveiled because they felt it didn't look like Lucy.
Since then... Schrecengost says they've discussed a make-over with two other sculptors from the region... who would do the work at less cost. A published report says now that Poulin would do the work for free. He admitted it "wasn't his best work." However... Schrecengost says the village now has no interest in having Poulin fixing the statue since he had "plenty of opportunity" to step up and rectify the issue over the past six year. Efforts to reach Poulin yesterday were unsuccessful... but, told the A--P he's "fine" with the village's decision. With that... Schrecengost announced the village has begun a fund-raising effort to pay for the work. Donations can be sent to: Lucy Statue, c/o Village of Celoron, PO Box 577, Celoron, New York 14720... or Five-Star Bank in Lakewood, 14750. You can also donate on-line at Kickstarter-dot-COM. He says it's under the name "Lucille Ball Tribute Statue -- Celoron, New York."
Celoron Mayor Scott Schrecengost also addressed the firestorm of criticism that's come over a Facebook Page that's reportedly been up since 2012... but, has become the focal point of trashing the statue and it's creator. Schrecengost says the annonymous page is urging people to not give to the village's effort to fix or replace the statue. He says they apparently have their "own agenda..." to get donations to build a statue to put up in Jamestown. Schrecengost called it a "low, cowardly move" to achieve their own ends. He says he has no knowledge of the Facebook page... adding it "may be a scam."
Two elderly Warren County residents are being treated for serious injuries at an Erie, Pennsylvania hospital after their car struck a culvert... then a large tree in Southwest Township. State Police in Warren say 84 year-old Harold Miller was eastbound on Route 27 yesterday when the vehicle went off the left side of the road for an unknown reason. Troopers say the underside of Miller's car struck the culvert... and, then several small trees before hitting the large tree. Both Miller and his 83 year-old wife, Mary, were flown to the Hamot Medical Center for treatment. Police say Harold Miller suffered major injuries.
Local Congressman Tom Reed says he plans on seeking another term in the U-S House of Representatives next year... and, Democrats expect to have a candidate to run against him. Reed made his intentions known during his weekly telephone Conference Call with Southern Tier Media on Monday. Chautauqua County Democratic Party Chairman Norm Green says they are currently talking with a number of prospective candidates... and, the party expects to announce a decision in the next 30 days. Green says they've been "actively" seeking a candidate... and, says it will be "a competitive district." Green says Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson, who lost to Reed last November, is in the mix. He adds, though, that a final decision hasn't been made. There is no word as to whether any of the individuals who are under consideration are from Chautauqua County.
New York lawmakers recently passed several measures to address Albany's culture of corruption -- but, a provision intended to revoke the pensions of disgraced officials will need voter approval too. Lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo want to put a state Constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot that would allow judges to take away the pensions of public officials convicted of a corruption-related felony. The Senate has already endorsed placing the referendum on the ballot, and the Assembly plans to do the same when lawmakers return from their spring break. To put the question on the ballot the Legislature will have to endorse the referendum again in 2017. The proposal would allow a convicted official's spouse or dependents to keep some of the pension.
A highly-regarded classical music composer will spend two days at Jamestown Community College this week. Eric Ewazen (ee-WAY-zin) is on the faculty of the Julliard School of Music in New York City. Neil Flory, Coordinator of Music at JCC, says Ewazen is a prolific, contemporary composer. Ewazen has a number of events on the Jamestown campus during his stay... culminating with a concert featuring several of his compositions at 7 PM Thursday night at the Scharmin Theater at JCC. Jamestown natives Victoria Mc Ilvain, and Erik Lundquist will be among the soloists. Tickets are just $4. A pre-concert lecture will be held at 6:15 Thursday night in the Weeks Room. Ewazen says he's delighted to be coming to Jamestown. Ewazen learned about JCC's music program from James Beal... a member of the music faculty at the college. Ewazen once wrote a piece for Beal to sing, and they have been friends for decades.
New York's top health official is leading an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of the state's obesity problem. Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that Acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker will participate in a series of events this week around the state intended to highlight the risks of obesity and ways to combat it. Cuomo's office says obesity has reached ``epidemic'' levels, with a quarter of New Yorkers considered obese and 36 percent overweight. The state's costs associated with treating diseases associated with obesity reaches into the billions. Zucker's community visits coincide with National Public Health Week.
(News Update)Celoron Mayor agrees Lucy statue is ugly, cites past efforts to get rectified, and announces new effort to fix it...
The mayor of Celoron agrees the "ugly" Lucille Ball statue need's "a make-over." Scott Schrecengost made those comments this morning about the life-size, bronze statue of Lucille Ball in the village park bearing her name. During a press conference... Schrecengost said he wanted to set the record straight on a number of issues that have erupted into controversy over the past few days regarding the statue. He says village officials had a problem with it from the start in 2009. He says they didn't get to see the statue until it was unveiled. Schrecengost says the village received it as part of a "real estate transation." He says both he and late Mayor Jack Keeney talked with sculptor Dave Poulin after it was unveiled... and, tried to work with him to rectify the matter. However... he says Poulin wanted $8,000 to $10,000 for it. With that... Schrecengost says they discussed a make-over with two other sculptors from the region... who would do it for less cost. A published report says now that Poulin would do the work for free... and, he admitted it "wasn't his best work." With that... Schrecengost announced the village has begun a fund-raising effort to pay for the work. Donations can be sent to: Lucy Statue, c/o Village of Celoron, PO Box 577, Celoron, NY 14720... or Five-Star Bank, 282 East Fairmount Avenue, Lakewood, NY 14750. You can also donate on-line at Kickstarter.com. He says it's under the name "Lucille Ball Tribute Statue -- Celoron, New York."
Schrecengost also addresses Facebook firestorm...
Celoron Mayor Scott Schrecengost also addressed the firestorm of criticism that's come over a Facebook Page that's reportedly been up since 2012... but, has become the focal point of trashing the statue and it's creator. Schrecengost says the annonymous page is urging people to not give to the village's effort to fix or replace the statue. He says they apparently have their "own agenda..." which appears to be to fun their own campaign to build a new statue and put it in Jamestown. Hwoever... Schrecengost says he has no knowledge of the Facebook page... or who's running it. He added it "may be a scam."
The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office has reported it's fourth-save of a victim since beginning to use naloxone hydrochloride... otherwise known as Narcan. Sheriff Joe Gerace confirms that deputies used Narcan to revive a female heroin overdose victim in the town of Stockton around 12:30 PM Monday. Gerace says it's the fourth time that deputies have used "Narcan." One other "save" involved Deputy giving CPR. The female, whose name was not released, was revived by deputies. She was then taken to Brooks Memorial Hospital for treatment.
The "fourth" Narcan save by Chautauqua County Sheriff's officers occured earlier in the weekend in the town of Hanover. Deputies say they were called to the scene... along with Fire rescue personnel... just before 5:30 PM Saturday. Upon arrival... officers administered Naloxone to an unresponsive male. Deputies say male regained consciousness... and was transported to Lake Shore Hospital for further treatment.
An East Randolph man has been arrested for allegedly being found with several types of illegal narcotics... including Methamphetime... and, a weapon early last weekend. Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Deputies say they arrested 41 year-old David Adams during a raid late last Friday at a home at 125 Main Street. Officers... along with members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force's Olean Office say Adams was allegedly found with the drugs... and, some stolen firearms. He was arraigned in Randolph Town Court on charges of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, criminal possession of a weapon... and, sent to the Cattaraugus County Jail on 50-thousand dollars cash bail. The investigation is continuing.
While it's just the "framework" of a nuclear deal with Iran... local Congressman Tom Reed says he's "very concerned" about the agreement reached in Switzerland late last week. President Obama has called the agreement -- once finalized -- a "once in a lifetime opportunity to stop Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon." The president also says it would be a move towards "stablizing the Middle East." From where he stands... Reed calls the deal unacceptable. There are a number of lawmakers... and, Americans... who oppose any kind of deal with the Iranian government. Reed says his concerns go beyond that. For one... he says there's almost the immediate dropping of economic... and, other sanctions once the deal takes effect. At the same time... Reed says Iran is allowed to still have the centrifuges needed for nuclear enrichment. given Iran's track-record... he says he would have demanded that all the centrafuges be destroyed. Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone Conference Call with Southern Tier Media. One federal lawmaker has proposed a measure to reject the deal.
Chautauqua County's Congressman says he's pleased to see the Obama Administration set down regulations to allow hydrofracking on public lands in the U-S. At the same time... Corning Republican Tom Reed is continuing to urge Governor Cuomo to reconsider the out-right ban he's put in place in New York State. Reed says he still can't believe Cuomo won't allow high-volume, horizontal fracturing when even California is allowing it. Traditionally... California has some of the most onerous environmental laws in the nation. Reed says the oil and gas now being developed provides the U-S with energy independence that also improves our national security. With the Obama administration's decision... Reed now believes Cuomo's decision was purely 'politics' as opposed to the actual science and data involved. He says the governor's had seven years to review... and, decide on this. Reed hopes the move by Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency will put pressure on the Cuomo Administration to lift the current moratorium. The A--P recently reported that some 95-thousand oil and gas wells exist on federal land.
There is good news for local water customers of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities... who have been keeping exposed water pipes running due to a deep freeze-line in the ground. BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says the ground is thawing... and, the threat of freeze-ups is gone. Most residential water lines are about 4-foot-2 inches in the ground... and, the freeze line was below that in places in late February. The BPU had urged residents to run a pencil thin drip in those lines so they wouldn't freeze up.
The Jamestown School Board will receive the first "draft" of a 2015-16 budget during tonight's regular board meeting at Lincoln Elementary School. The spending plan was crafted using the final numbers from the new state budget... which increases the district's state aid to about 51-and-a-half-million dollars. However... School Superintendent Tim Mains says that still leaves about a 2-million dollar shortfall. Mains says State Senator Cathy Young told him there are a couple of other funding options... one being "Bullet Aid...." Mains stays he has further discussed the idea of seeking that kind of funding from Senator Young. He's asked for the criteria... and, what formula is involved. Otherwise... Mains says they're looking at possible spending cuts -- including those in personnel. He has discussed a number of scenarios with the board on how to close what was a 5-million dollar gap... and, numbers that are lower. The board gave him three areas they want looked at. The main one is protecting class sizes in the elementary grades.
They may have loved ``I Love Lucy...'' but, some people in actress-comedian Lucille Ball's childhood home of Celoron have no affection for her life-size statue in a local park. The bronze sculpture was unveiled in 2009 in Lucille Ball Memorial Park... but, it's recently been blasted by some who say it bears little or no likeness to the star of the popular 1950s sitcom. Village officials confirm that they want the sculptor to fix it for free... but, the artist -- Dave Poulin -- wants as much as 10-thousand dollars to alter the statue. With that... the village is looking at ways to to raise the money for the sculpture's makeover. The sculpture was donated to the village as part of a previous real estate transaction. An unofficial statue replacement campaign has been launched on Facebook under the name... ``We Love Lucy! Get Rid of this Statue.'' No one has taken credit for putting up the page.
He just won re-election... but, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is already looking ahead to a possible third term. New York Board of Elections records show Cuomo's campaign committee has changed its name to ``Andrew Cuomo 2018.'' A spokesman for the Democrat's campaign declined to comment Monday on the new name. The change was first reported by the Daily News, which also reported that Cuomo is holding a 15-thousand dollar-a-person fundraiser in New York City on Tuesday. Cuomo was re-elected in November and hasn't said whether he wants a third term. Until recently, he was widely believed to be considering a presidential run in 2016. Larry Schwartz, a former top Cuomo aide who left the administration this year, said in a statement that he would ``bet anything'' that Cuomo runs again.
Mental health advocates say New York lawmakers have added $1.5 million to the state budget for more pilot programs to train police officers in dealing with the mentally ill. The money for the fiscal year that began Wednesday will expand the list of jurisdictions where police get the training, intended to ensure connections between police, families and people in crisis and keep them out of the criminal justice system. The last state budget contained $400,000 for the training to help officers assess and de-escalate confrontations when called to incidents involving psychologically troubled people. It was used for training police in Auburn, Binghamton, Clarkstown, Hempstead, Newburgh, Syracuse, Utica and St. Lawrence County. The New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services says proposed funding from both the Assembly and Senate were added.
Flood Watch continues, some snow also predicted for Southern Tier tonight...
We're experiencing another mild day in the western Southern Tier today before rain... but, colder temperatures are to arrive for the weekend. The National Weather Service is continuing a Flood Watch through tomorrow afternoon for Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties. In addition... there is some snow expected during the overnight tonight... but, Forecaster Tony Ansuini in Buffalo says -- generally -- there won't be much accumulation. Ansuini says we'll see about an inch in most places... but, as much as 2 to 4 inches in the higher elevations. He says the storm system... which is coming in from the Ohio Valley... will first bring rain -- then the snow. Colder air will accompany the snow... with temperatures falling to the upper 20s. The snow should pretty much end by late morning tomorrow. Highs tomorrow will only be in about the mid to upper 30s.
State issues first annual report on "Start-Up NY" initiative...
The state agency responsible for economic development across New York says companies last year created 76 of the nearly 2,000 new jobs promised over five years -- in return for tax breaks under the Cuomo administration's Start-Up NY program. The first annual report from the Department of Economic Development says 30 companies began operating in 2014 among 54 initially approved for the program. The report says they made $1.7 million of some $91 million investments promised over five years as part of Start-Up NY. The program has established 356 tax-free zones at 62 colleges and universities that act as sponsors. The agency says another 26 businesses have been approved so far this year, while 12 have withdrawn applications. Industries participating in the program include biotechnology, software and manufacturing.
Young claims victory for economic development efforts locally with additional investment program...
An additional economic development fund was established in the new state budget to help places... like the Southern Tier... if it doesn't win one of the three half-billion dollar awards proposed by Governor Cuomo. That from State Senator Cathy Young... who says the Senate's GOP Majority did not like the governor's "Hungar Games"-style Upstate Revitalization Program. Young -- and others -- didn't like the fact that three of the state's seven Upstate Regions would evenly split $1.5-billion for economic development projects. That's why they pushed for a smaller, $400-million "transformative investment program" She says it will allow for "targeted" funding for local projects. Young says economic development projects in all regions -- outside of New York City -- are eligible to compete for those funds. She says there's also $500-million available to expand broadband access in the state... as well as $7-million for Workforce Development efforts. She says the latter is a restoration of funding. Overall... Young says "if a project is good, we should be supporting it."
City man arrested for DWI, and drug possession in traffic stop...
A Jamestown man is jailed pending futher court action following his arrest for drunk driving... and, being in possession of "crack" cocaine... and, marijuana... during routine traffic stop in the town of Ellicott. State Police in Jamestown say troopers pulled over 33 year-old Lawrence McGrigg on Winsor Street this past Saturday morning. Troopers say McGrigg failed field sobriety tests... and, was arrested for DWI. State Police say further investigation led to discovery of quantities of "crack" and marijuana. McGrigg was faces several counts... including Felony criminal possession of a Narcotic Drug... DWI... and, Unlawful Possession of Marihuana. He was arraigned in city court... and, sent to the county lock-up.
No records were broken... but, temperatures nudged above the 60 degree mark for the first time in several months in the Jamestown-area yesterday. Forecaster Kirk Appfel with the National Weather Service says most areas felt the warm-up yesterday. Apfel says the last time we saw 60 or better was last November. However... the warm-up wasn't to last, with a cold front crashing the party last night... bringing some thunderstorms. Apfel says much colder air tonight could bring an accumulating snow... as a second cold-front comes through. Apfell says it may only reach 40 with some rain or snow possible on Easter Sunday. There is a Flood Watch in effect for both Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties through Saturday afternoon due to the rain possibility. We'll have the latest forecast coming up shortly.
A multi-police agency effort has shut-down three locations in Jamestown where Heroin was alleged sold from... and, used at. The Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force... Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force... and, State Police C-NET team conducted two raids in the city about 7 PM Wednesday. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says they executed search warrants at one location on the northside... and, another on the eastside. Samuelson says they arrested one resident at 440 Buffalo Street. He says 52 year-old Jose Diaz-Solis was arrested for allegedly being in possession of Suboxone... which is used as a treatment for Heroin... as well as to get high. He says drug agents did find a quantity of Heroin there... but, adds users were also found at the scene. Samuelson says -- when the dealers are also "users" -- there isn't as much of the drug at the location. Diaz-Solis was arraigned on charges of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance... and, fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He was sent to the county jail without bail. Samuelson says more arrests are pending.
Police officials say a third-raid took place on Jamestown's westside early yesterday morning at another location allegedly being used to sell, and use Heroin from. JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force joined the Metro Task Force shortly after 6 AM to execute a search warrant at 129 Fairview Avenue. Samuelson says dealers often move outside the city once they're been arrested, and later bailed out after being arrested in the city. Samuelson says police still had several people detained yesterday morning... but, no arrests are pending at this time. Anyone with information about illegal narcotic trafficking in Jamestown is asked to call the JPD Tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
A Buffalo man has been arrested in Cattaraugus County for allegedly trafficking narcotics in the city of Olean. Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say they arrested 29 year-old Justun Vance at a location on 13th Street Wednesday afternoon. Task Force members say Vance was taken into custody following a lengthy investigation that also involved Olean Police. Vance was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with iten to sell... and, one count of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. He was arraigned... and, sent to the Cattaraugus County Jail with bail to be set.
A Warren, Pennsylvania woman has been arrested on drug charges... while another is recovering from a Heroin overdose... following rescue call Wednesday night. State Police in Warren and EMS personnel were called to the scene on Third Avenue about 7:30 PM... and, found an unresponsive 28 year-old woman. Troopers say she was taken to Warren General Hospital... then flown to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie for treatment. Further investigation led to the arrest of 20 year-old Deserae Anderson of Jacob Lane on multiple counts... including drug possession and drug delivery.
A city woman faces numerous charges for alleedly collecting more than 7-thousand dollars in unemployment benefits she was not eligible for in 2012. State Police in Jamestown say they've arrested 45 year-old Michelle Pitts on 28 counts of first-degree falsifying business records... and, one count of third-degree Felony insurance fraud. Troopers accuse Pitts of collecting the benefits during a 28-week period in 2012, while she was gainfully employed at two other jobs. State Police say she was issued appearance tickets... and, is to appear in Ellicott Town Court at a later date.
Cold and wet weather forecast for Saturday has led the Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department to move the city's 68th annual Easter Egg Hunt indoors this weekend. Parks and Recration Coordinator Julia Ciesla-Hanley says the move was made to the Allen Park Ice Rink for the health and safey of the participants. Ciesla-Hanley says -- with the move -- there is a significant change in how children will be allowed into the hunt. She says the youngest group of kids will go first. Ciesla-Hanley says the hunt will begin at the regular time... 10:30 AM. She says the 5-thousand pieces of wrapped candy... and, more than one-thousand eggs will still be hidden in the Hunt area. She says obstacles... including hay bales... will be put into the rink area to make it challenging for the kids. Ciesla-Hanley says there will still be 30-prize eggs... and, two silver, and two gold prize eggs... with the winners getting 100... and, 50-dollar gift cards for Wal-Mart. She says they are still being donated by the family of Steve Hess... late owner of Hess Enterprises. Egg Hunt sponsors also include the Media One Group... Sertoma Club of Jamestown... the Morton and Kendall Clubs... and, the Allen Park Women's Club.
In addition... there's another change in the 54th annual Eastside Fellowship's Easter Egg Hunt. After moving the event to the Tennis courts near Jamestown Community College... it has now been moved back to College Park on Curtis Street. The hunt begins at 10 AM.
Also... the annual Easter Egg Hunt in the village of Celoron has been cancelled due to the pending weather on Saturday.
U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is continuing her push for paid family leave. The New York Democrat launched a statewide tour earlier this week to build support for the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act she reintroduced earlier this month. She met with business leaders in Buffalo Thursday. he federal legislation would establish a paid family and medical leave insurance program that Gillibrand says would save people from having to choose between a paycheck and caring for themselves or a family member.
City police arrest one during Wed. night drug raids...
A joint police effort has shut-down three locations in Jamestown where Heroin was alleged sold from... and, used at. The Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force... Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force... and, State Police C-NET team conducted two raids in the city about 7 p.m. Wednesday. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says they executed search warrants simultaniously at 440 Buffalo Street... and, 241 Cresent Street. Samuelson says they found Heroin at both locations. He adds they arrested one resident at the Buffalo Street location. Samuelson says 52 year-old Jose Diaz-Solis was arrested for allegedly being in possession of Suboxone. He says more arrests are pending.
JPD, So. Tier Regional Drug Task Force conduct third raid this morning...
Police officials say a third-raid took place on Jamestown's westside early this morning at another location allegedly being used to sell, and use Heroin from. JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force joined the Metro Task Force at about 6:20 a.m. to execute a search warrant at 129 Fairview Ave. No arrests have yet been made. Anyone with information about illegal narcotic trafficking in Jamestown is asked to call the JPD Tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
Weather forces changes to Easter Egg Hunts in Jamestown this Saturday...
Due to the predicted weather conditions... and, conditions at Allen Park... the city of Jamestown’s 68th Annual Easter Egg Hunt will be moved inside the Allen Park Ice Rink this Saturday, April 4. This free event is for children age 12 and under. City Recreation Coordinator Julia Ciesla-Hanley says this means a significant difference in the way children will be allowed into the hunt. The age groups will remain the same, but only one group will be allowed inside the Ice Rink at a time starting at 10:30 a.m. More information later.
Also... the Easter Egg Hunt held by the Eastside Fellowship this Saturday at 10 a.m. will now be held on the Tennis Courts near College Park.
Chautauqua County's State Senator says the 142-billion dollar budget adopted by the legislature has many good points... including the fact it's "taxpayer-friendly." Olean Republican Cathy Young voted in favor of the spending plan... negotiated by Governor Cuomo and leaders of the Senate and Assembly. Young says the spending plan meets many of the spending and tax-goals the Senate Majority had set. That includes hold down the growth in spending. Public school education was another major focus of the 2015-16 spending plan... and, Young says she was pleased to see the near-complete elimination of the "Gap Elimination Adjustment" for school systems in her Senate District. The GEA was put in place in 2009 when New York state began running multi-billion dollar budget shortfalls. It diverted money from education to be used elsewhere in the spending plan. She says eliminating 95-percent of that in local districts was "a major victory." Young adds the Senate also pushed to have the state Education Department determine the criteria for Teacher Evaluations pushed by the governor.
The Jamestown School District is receiving about 3-million dollars more in state aid than what Governor Cuomo initially proposed. However... School Superintendent Tim Mains says that's not enough to avoid some major, devastating cuts in the district's proposed 2015-16 budget. Mains says their 5-million dollar budget shortfall has been reduced to 2-million... and, while there's more Foundation Aid in the final state budget... it's not enough to cover that gap. About a month ago... Mains presented the school board with various options... in which class size would be increased in relation to the number of teacher cuts that have to be made. He says their Gap Elimination Adjustment has been closed with another 500-thousand dollars... while Foundation -- or operating aid -- is up by nearly 1.2-million dollars. He say, though, that increase is well below the average increase statewide. Mains says the reason why Jamestown has been short-changed is the state has not yet fully-implemented the Foundation Aid formula. The school board will get it's first budget "draft" next Tuesday night.
The new state budget also includes money to help efforts in Chautauqua County to help those people caught up in the scourge of the region's opioid and heroin epidemic. State Senator Cathy Young has announced a 350-thousand dollar Capital Grant will be used to establish a supportive housing program at WCA Hospital's Jones Memorial Health Center in Jamestown. Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says he is pleased with the announcement... and, says there is a need for such a program here. Horrigan says the funding will be used to upgrade the existing facility to house the program. He says it will allow the Jones Hill facility to be brought "up to code" to accomodate the program. Horrigan says -- once worked out -- it will be a "one-stop" service facility. He says Southern Tier Environments for Living, Incorporated is working on developing the new program. In announcing the grant... Young says the new program will allow people with addiction problems to be placed in a specialize housing facility instead of jail.
The state Health Department has issued final regulations for a statewide medical marijuana program expected to start next year. The 121 pages of details posted online follow the law signed last July authorizing patients with certain diseases to be able to obtain non-smokeable versions of the drug, which can be ingested or vaporized. Conditions include cancer, AIDS, Lou Gehrig's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, certain spinal cord injuries, epilepsy... and, inflammatory bowel disease.
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area have fallen another two-cents a gallon this week for regular, unleaded fuel. The Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report says the average price... based on reports from 19 service stations in the region... is just over 2-dollars-60 cents this week... compared to 2--62 last week. The average last year at this time was 3-dollars-71 cents per gallon. The national average is now 2--42 a gallon. Nationally... the average price has fallen for 17 of the past 23 days. Triple-A says the status of regional refineries continues to be a driving factor for gas prices in many parts of the country. While prices over the past month are higher for many drivers... the Fuel Gauge says year-over-year price comparisons continue to highlight universal savings. Sharply lower oil prices have resulted in substantially less expensive gas prices in every state. Meantime... crude oil prices have fallen to multi-year lows due largely to ample global production.
He may disagree with U-S Senator Chuck Schumer on politics... but, Congressman Tom Reed says he believes it would be a good thing for New York if Schumer became the Senate's next minority leader. Schumer has the backing of current Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid who will not be seeking re-election next year. He says they've worked with Schumer on legislation in the past... and, adds all his hard work in the Senate "has paid off." Schumer was given the nod by Reid over Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin. Reed made his comments during his weekly Media Conference call with western New York reporters.
New York's top court says the state's moratorium on hydraulic fracturing does not allow energy companies to extend leases with landowners beyond the expiration date in their contracts. The Court of Appeals is answering that question for a federal appeals court reviewing the case. It follows a federal judge's 2012 ruling for the landowners, concluding the leases expired. The Court of Appeals says the contract clause triggering extensions due to an event beyond the parties' control would apply if drilling for oil and natural gas had begun. However, the seven judges say the normal expiration periods apply during the leases' initial term granting drilling and exploration rights. New York, citing health concerns, last year banned ``hydrofracking'' for gas reserves.
It may have been the most paletable April Fool's Day donut created by the management and bakery of a Jamestown supermarket. Farm Fresh Foods on West Third Street is handing out samples of it's "Taco Angel Creme" donuts today. Farm Fresh Owner Dan Brown says he and Assistant Manager Mike Sanfilippo... and, their Bakery Manager... came up with the concoction. Brown says the recipe is fairly simple... you take Angel Creme filling, and mix in a little of the Taco seasoning packets... and, sprinkle some tortilla chips on top... and, you have it. He says they were pleasantly surprised by the response of their customers... who basically say "it's not too bad." Brown says he and his managers decided to make the April Fool's special three years ago to have some fun with the day. He says they enjoy what they do at the store... and, this adds to it.
The U.S. Marshals Service is offering a 5-thousand dollar reward for information leading to the arrest of Paul Ceglia. Ceglia is the New York man accused of faking an ownership stake in Facebook to justify a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against its founder Mark Zuckerberg. Authorities have been looking for him since early March when they say he jumped bail by slicing off an electronic monitoring device and creating a crude contraption to make it seem as though he was moving around inside his home in the western New York village of Wellsville. His wife and two sons are also missing. In announcing the reward Wednesday... the Marshals Service says Ceglia may have been at a Wegmans store in Corning on March 6 to buy a car from an individual.
Young says new state budget is "taxpayer-friendly..."
Chautauqua County's State Senator says the $142-billion budget adopted by the legislature has many good points... including the fact it's "taxpayer-friendly." Olean Republican Cathy Young voted in favor of the spending plan... negotiated by Governor Cuomo and leaders of the Senate and Assembly. Young says the spending plan meets many of the spending and tax-goals the Senate Majority had set. That includes hold down the growth in spending to less than 2-percent. She adds they were also able to save the Basic, and Enhanced STAR Program. Public school education was another major focus of the 2015-16 spending plan... and, Young says she was pleased to see the near-complete elimination of the "Gap Elimination Adjustment" for school systems in her Senate District. The GEA was put in place in 2009 when New York state began running multi-billion dollar budget shortfalls. It diverted money from education to be used elsewhere in the spending plan. She says eliminating 95-percent of that in local districts was "a major victory."
New York lawmakers have passed a $142 billion state spending plan that includes new spending on schools, changes in teacher evaluations and new ethics disclosure rules for lawmakers. The Senate passed the budget late Tuesday night and the Assembly wrapped up early Wednesday morning, just after the start of a new state fiscal year. Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos praised the budget's $1.4 billion increase in school funding. Gov. Andrew Cuomo touted investments in the upstate economy and new ethics rules that will require lawmakers to disclose more about income from their outside jobs. Rank-and-file lawmakers were less impressed, with even some supporters saying the budget was put together behind closed doors and then rushed through with little time for them _ or the public _ to review the details.
New York lawmakers have approved legislation to overhaul statewide teacher evaluations, which would require firing those found ineffective three years in a row. The state Senate's 36-26 approval of the budget measure followed complaints by several minority Democrats that poverty, not teachers, is the underlying problem for the troubled schools in the state. Supporters note the legislation increased overall state aid to public schools by $1.4 billion to $23.5 billion. The Assembly's 72-54 approval followed criticism by several of that chamber's minority Republicans that there was little time to consider the voluminous budget bills, some printed only hours earlier.
The new teacher evaluations will be based partly on student test scores. Another portion will be based on classroom observation of teachers by a school administrator and by an independent evaluator.
State Senator Cathy Young says lawmakers are now in the process of adopting a "fiscally responsible state budget" that controls spending, monumentally increases school aid... and, reduces the tax burden to help create jobs and grow the economy. Young says it's the fifth-straight year the state will have an on-time spending plan. The Olean Republican adds it will include many initiatives that make the state a more affordable place to live, work and do business. Young says the budget lives within a 2-percent spending cap... and, rejects unaffordable tax increases. She adds the Senate GOP has "led the charge" to boost school aid. As a result... she says the budget will provide schools with a 1.4-billion dollar increase in overall school aid, and includes another dramatic reduction in the Gap Elimination Adjustment. Young adds the final budget will provide a more than 50 percent reduction in the GEA... and, puts in place enough progress for full elimination next year. She adds there will also be meaningful property tax relief by providing "larger" property tax freeze rebate checks... and, recipients of the STAR and Enhanced STAR programs will continue to see tax relief. Elimination of the Energy Tax Surcharge will also be accelerated.
It's officially Spring... but, a quick moving storm system in Pennsylvania brought mid-Winter like conditions yesterday morning in the Jamestown-area. We may see a little more snow this morning... but, the system that dropped 2-to-3 inches moved out by mid-afternoon Tuesday. Forecaster Steve Welch of the National Weather Service in Buffalo says the greatest amounts were in the higher elevations near the Pennsylvania state line. Welch says we will get a break from this colder than normal weather pattern on Thursday. Welch says most areas will see temperatures between 60 and 65 Thursday... with some rain moving in Thursday night. However... Welch says don't get out your shorts just yet... another cool down is on the way for the weekend.
A Russell, Pennsylvania woman is being treated for non-life threatening injuries after she lost control on slushy road conditions in the town of Kiantone... and, her car rolled onto it's roof. Sheriff's officers say 56 year-old Marcia Wilkins was southbound on Route 62 about 11 AM Tuesday morning... when her car skidded and struck a guard rail. Deputies say Wilkins' vehicle then overturned. She was taken to WCA Hospital for treatment. Sheriff's officers were assisted at the scene by State Police... and, the Kiantone and Frewsburg Fire Departments. No charges were filed.
The Chautauqua County jail population's overcrowding situation has stabilized for now. However... Sheriff Joe Gerace says it will likely be increasing sometime in the near future. Gerace says he can't wait for a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to begin meeting. He says County Executive Vince Horrigan has been working to get all of the stakeholders together. Besides involving all of the usual groups in the county's criminal justice system... Gerace says they are reaching out to some other organizations... including not-for-profits. He says they could help in providing "alternatives to incarceration." Gerace says the jail population reached an all time high last fall, and, about 30 inmates had to be boarded out to other jails. He's hoping that the council will come up with some recommendations that could avoid this practice.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has banned non-essential, state-funded travel to Indiana after that state adopted a religious freedom law critics say opens the door to discrimination against gays and lesbians. The Democratic governor announced the ban Tuesday, saying it shows the state stands by ``our LBGT family members, friends and colleagues.'' The ban will apply to all state agencies -- including its public universities and colleges -- and means they wouldn't be able to participate in athletic or academic events in Indiana. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed a similar travel ban on Monday. State Republican Chairman Ed Cox dismissed Cuomo's move as a ``stunt'' and said that if he wants to take a stand for human rights he should cancel a trip to Cuba planned for next month.
The state Attorney General has announced a settlement with the National Junior College Athletic Association to eliminate a rule adopted in 2012 that limited sports eligibility mostly to students who attended at least three years of high school in the U.S. The NJCAA board has voted to eliminate the rule requiring 75 percent of the players on a team to meet that threshold. The association's membership includes 525 public and private junior and two-year colleges across the country... including 41 in New York. One is Jamestown Community College. The concern among some of the open-enrollment schools was that others were fielding older foreign athletes. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says several public junior colleges in New York brought the rule to his attention last year... noting it's negative impact on urban schools with many immigrant students.
The state Senate has confirmed a Republican county executive to chair the Thruway Authority board. Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney was nominated by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo to the unpaid position at the authority responsible for the state's systems of toll highways and canals. Mahoney is an attorney and former prosecutor. Howard Milstein, the billionaire appointed by Cuomo to chair the Thruway Authority board, resigned last year.
Fans of "The Rolling Stones" in western New York will be getting some "Satisfaction" this Summer as the Rock 'n Roll legends will appear in Buffalo as part of their North American "Zip Code" tour. It'll be the first time the Stones have appeared in Buffalo sicne 2001. The band's 15-city stadium tour will include Ralph Wilson Stadium on Saturday, July 11th. The tour begins with an appearance in San Diego's Petco Park on May 24th. Tickets and VIP packages for the Ralph Wilson Stadium Show go on sale Monday, April 13th at 10 AM. Ticketing information is available at Rollingstones-dot-COM.
Gerace warns drivers of slippery roads as Jamestown area gets quick one to two-inches of snow...
We've received a quick 2-inches of snow at our Media One Studios in West Ellicott... and, more is expected on this last day of March. The snow... and, below-freezing temperatures have slicked up local roadways with several vehicles reported off the road. There are no warnings or watches in place... but, Sheriff Joe Gerace is advising driving caution today. He calls this an "early" April Fool's joke. Gerace is urging drivers to slow down, and brush off those Winter driving skills. Gerace says the personal injury accident was on Interstate 86 in the town of Ellery earlier this morning. However... no serious injuries have been reported. We've also heard about problems with Route 394... and, tractor trailers having trouble on the hill near the Ashville BOCES. Some parts of the area could see up to 4-inches of snow today. Road crews are now out.
East Otto man killed in car-logging truck accident on Route 219...
A Cattaraugus County man was killed when his car crossed into the oncoming lane of Route 219 in the town of Ashford... and, struck a logging truck head-on. Sheriff's officers in Little Valley say 44 year-old George Peterson of Bowen Road, East Otto... was southbound shortly before 7:30 a.m. Monday when his car crossed the center line for an unknown reason. Deputies say Peterson's car struck the northbound truck... operated by 43 year-old Scott Timothy of Coudersport, Pennsylvania. Officers say Peterson was pronounced dead at the scene. Timothy was taken to Bertrand-Chaffee Hospital in Springville... and, later released.
Goodell still has plenty of concerns over state budget deal, including lack of detail on some key, "non-budget" items...
State lawmakers are preparing to cast votes on key education and ethics provisions in the state budget ahead of a critical deadline. The Assembly and Senate plan to cast their final votes on the spending plan after what's likely to be a long debate today. Local Assemblyman Andy Goodell still has concerns about the budget agreement... including the lack of details about some very important non-budgetary items. Goodell says that the agreement includes education reforms... including a teacher evaluation system that will be worked out by the State Education Department. He calls that a "mixed blessing" because the Education Department headed up the troublesome roll-out of "Common Core" in the state. The budget also includes ethics reform. But, again... Goodell says there are few details that are available at this time. The Chautauqua County Republican says he's "very disappointed" with the process... which appears rushed. Goodell says he is pleased that the overall budget holds spending under a 2-percent increase... but, also includes a 6.1 percent increase school aid. However... there is no word on how much local districts will receive, yet.
Horrigan says he has "no problem" with stipulations being put into Senate measure to allow county to increase it's sales tax to 8-percent...
Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says he is 'on board' with changes State Senator Cathy Young wants to make to the county's request to increase its sales tax from 7.5-percent to 8-percent. Young wants to include a 3-percent decrease in the county's tax levy as part of the legislation. Horrigan says it's something he's in "full support of... " adding that he believes the perception of the county as a 'high-taxed' area needs to change. Besides lowering property taxes... Horrigan also wants to close the county’s structural deficit that is estimated at nearly $6-million. He says the county legislature would have to approve any changes in the language of measure requesting the sales tax hike before it is submitted to the state legislature for action.
Schumer calling for legislation to outlaw gender-based discrimination...
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is calling for passage of legislation to outlaw gender-based pay discrimination. The New York Democrat says a recent study shows that unfairness even extends to nursing, where males are paid more than female counterparts. The Journal of the American Medical Association study examined salary trends by gender from 1988 to 2008 from a national sample survey of registered nurses. It shows males earning about $5,100 a year more on average, though females comprise most of the profession.
Dolce says he'll have Task Force report to Mayor by early next week...
The head of a special panel that's been investigating ways to cut costs and make the city of Jamestown... and, it's Board of Public Utilities more efficient... plans to hand in a preliminary report next week. City Councilman Tony Dolce chairs the Joint Task Force on Efficiency and Cost Reduction... and, says the group did not meet last week. However... Dolce says he'll talk with other panel members to get input... and, get the report to Mayor Sam Teresi next Monday or Tuesday. Dolce says the group has made a lot of headway on two items... one being consolidating operations and maintenance of city and BPU vehicle fleets. In addition... Dolce says they'll also make a recommendation on the possibility of combined health insurance plans for managers and employees with the city... and, it's Board of Public Utilities. He says there are some potential directions they may want to take that will produce "some savings down the road." Mayor Teresi put the task force together... and, asked the panel to hand in a report with preliminary recommendations by April 1.
Reed hopeful that Senate will pass "Doc Fix" bill to boost rural hospitals...
After strong support in the House, Congressman Tom Reed hopes that the Senate will pass the "Doc Fix" bill. Reed says the legislation includes the Rural Hospital Access Act which would help several smaller hospitals across the Southern Tier... including Westfield Memorial Hospital. The Corning Republican says it will ensure Medicare-dependent and low-volume hospitals get the reimbursements they should get. The bill picked up the support of over 390 House members last week. Reed expects the measure to pass in the Senate, although a vote won't come until after spring recess. President Obama expects to sign the bill once it reaches his desk.
Fire strikes car, then house in Falconer early this morning...
Flames have destroyed a house and car in a fire in the village of Falconer. Falconer Fire Chief Nick Caldwell says fire crews were called to the scene at 211 East James St. just after 4 this morning. Caldwell says the vehicle caught fire... then the house caught fire. He says both were fully-engulfed in flames when they arrived. A brother and sister living in the house got out safely. No other injuries were reported. Falconer was joined at the scene by Kiantone... Gerry... Fluvanna... Kennedy... Ellery Center... and, Busti fire crews. One engine from Jamestown was also sent to the scene. The cause is under investigation.
Jamestown Fire Dept. investigating alleged arson fire on West Eighth Street Sunday...
An arson fire has damaged the first-floor and basement of a vacant, two-story home on Jamestown's westside. City Fire Battlion Chief Don Woodfield says firefighters were called to 306 West Eighth Street shortly after 1:30 yesterday afternoon. Woodfield says crews had the flames knocked down fairly quickly inside the home... which he says had been condemned for some time. Woodfield says someone started a fire on the first-floor, and one area had been heavily damaged. Woodfield says they knocked down the flames fairly quickly... but, due to the building's condition... they wanted to make sure there was no extension into the walls of the structure. He says they used a water can to knock down the flames... but, brought in a hand-line to check for extension into the walls. Woodfield says an off-duty shift was called in to assist at the scene... and, man Fire Station-#1. Firefighters were at the scene until just after 3 PM. No one was hurt. Woodfield says it's not yet known if the structure will be torn-down due to it's condition.
Lakewood man wanted for allegedly setting up Meth Labs across the county is arrested in New Orleans...
A Lakewood man accused of operating illegal Methamphetime Labs in the city of Jamestown... and, towns of Busti and Westfield... has been arrested in Louisiana. Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say a multi-agency effort led to the arrest of 44 year-old Christopher Swanson of West Summit Avenue in New Orleans this past Saturday morning. Task Force members say they had received information that Swanson had fled to the New Orleans area... and, contacted Orleans Parish Police. They arrested Swanson... and, are holding him pending extradiction.
Dunkirk man jailed without bail following drug bust in north county city...
A Dunkirk man has been arrested... and, his car seized... after he was pulled over by police in the north county city for allegedly selling "crack" cocaine and marijuana. Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task force and Dunkirk Police had a warrant for 40 year-old Charles Fredrick's arrest... and, a warrant to search his car and house. Task Force members say hIs car was pulled over on Main Street early last weekend... and, they found with about an ounce of crack... a quantity of marijuana... a scale... and, a large amount of cash. Fredrick was arrested on two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. His residence was later searched... and, more pot and cash was seized. Other charges are pending. Fredrick was arraigned... and, sent to the County Jail without bail. Anyone with information on illegal narcotics activity is asked to contact the Drug Task Force at 1-800-344-8702.
State lawmakers, Cuomo, reach basic budget agreement...
Top state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have agreed on a $142 billion budget that increases school funding by $1.4 billion, enhances legislative ethics rules and implements several of Cuomo's education reforms. The deal announced late Sunday is expected to be voted on by lawmakers early this week. The increase in school funding is accompanied by revisions to teacher evaluations that Cuomo says will help transform what he says is an ``entrenched education bureaucracy.'' The disclosure rules will require lawmakers to report outside income and, if they are attorneys, their big legal clients. Some clients would be redacted, however, if the state's court administrator agrees. Proposals to raise the minimum wage or offer greater property tax relief were dropped from the final budget.
Young says Chautauqua County will have to cut property taxes to have any chance at increase in Sales Tax...
A three-percent property tax cut will be needed if Chautauqua County officials want to increase the sales tax from 7.5-to-8-percent. That from State Senator Cathy Young... who said early last weekend that a property tax cut has to be part of the bill's language. Young says Senate Republicans feel "heavy property taxes" suffocate home owners... and, stifle jobs and economic growth. With that... she says such wording is needed to get it approved. She says the cut would produce a $2-million property tax cut. However... Young says that even with the language change... it will not be an easy process to get approval. County Executive Vince Horrigan is seeking the increase to help close a $6-million structural deficit in 2016... and, to help lower the county's property tax rate. The county legislature approved the sales tax increase last Wednesday night, 14-to-4.
After slow start... local Maple season going well...
Spring has struggled to start... but, maple syrup producers are not complaining. Lloyd Munsee of Big Tree Maple on Holly Lane near Lakewood says they've made a lot of good syrup. Munsee says they don't want it to get warm quickly... and, the cold nights, and slightly above freezing temperatures during the day are working well. He adds they boiled until April 10 last year, and will probably go that long this year as well. Linda Fairbanks of Fairbanks Maple, near Forestville, concurs... the season has been good, particularly for light syrup. That finer syrup used to be known as 'light amber', but a new universal grading system has the same quality syrup labeled as 'golden with a delicate taste'. The second of the two annual 'Maple Weekends' was held this past Saturday and Sunday.
Four Jamestown residents arrested during Meth drug raid; wanted man in connection with other Meth case among those taken into custody...
Four Jamestown residents are in the county jail without bail for allegedly being involved in running a Methamphetime Lab on the city's westside. Police add that one of those involved was also wanted from a previous drug bust earlier this year. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force arrested 30 year-old Beau Jones when they raided an apartment at 600 West Fifth St. shortly before 7:30 last night. Samuelson says they found a "one-pot" method lab in place... along with 4 ounces of meth oil, and a quantity of Meth. He adds they also brought in the state Police Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team to handle the clean-up. Samuelson says they removed the meth, and materials for making the drug. In addition to Jones... Samuelson says officers also arrested 29 year-old Rocco Beardsley... 28 year-old Brandon Smith... and, 29 year-old Aimee Hogg. He says all four face Felony charges of second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, third-degree unlawful manufacture of Methamphetime. Samuelson says they worked closely with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force on the raid. If you have any information on illegal drug trafficking in the Jamestown-area... call city poilce at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
Young says Chautauqua County will have to lay-out plan to cut property taxes if sales tax increase is to fly in Albany...
If Chautauqua County wants to increase the sales tax rate to 8 percent... it will have to lower the county's property tax. That's according to State Senator Cathy Young... who said late Friday that a property tax cut has to be part of the bill's language. Young says Senate Republicans feel "heavy property taxes" suffocate home owners... and, stifle jobs and economic growth. With that... she says such wording is needed to get it approved. Young says she is looking at the feasibility of requiring a 3-percent property tax levy decrease -- or $2-million -- as part of the legislation. Young says that even with the language change... it would not be an easy process. County Executive Vince Horrigan is seeking the increase to help close a $6-million structural deficit in 2016... and, to help lower the county's property tax rate.
Cesana says it "was time" to retire as TRC Director...
The time was right to step aside. That from the long-time director of The Resource Center in Chautauqua County on why he's retired after 27 years as the organization's leader. Former Center Director Paul Cesana today is reflecting back on his 40 years working with the developmentally disabled... including his time as TRC's leader. Cesana says he's pleased with what was accomplished during that time... and, wanted to step down at a time where he can enjoy retirement. He says it was something he had to think about, and after some time, Cesana decided now is the time. Cesana's successor, Denise Jones, has referred to him as a pioneer in what he did at The Resouce Center. TRC Board Chairman, Dr. Todd Jacobson, says that -- under Cesana's direction -- "The Resource Center has maintained and expanded it's position as a recognized leader among organizations" that support people with disabilities.
Jamestown's 68th annual Easter Egg Hunt set for a week from Saturday...(corr)...
The weather is looking iffy right now... but, no matter how it is... the city of Jamestown's 68th annual Easter Egg Hunt will take place a week from tomorrow on Sat., April 4. That from City Parks and Recreation Coordinator Julia Ciesla-Hanley during today's announcement at City Hall. Ciesla-Hanley says they have plans in place for if it snows... rains... or is "seasonal" outside. She says they will make an announcement next Thursday on where they'll be. If it's good outside, and park conditions are good, they'll be at their usual location in the park. Otherwise, they'll be inside the Allen Park Ice Rink. Ciesla-Hanley says if the hunt has to be held indoors... there will be more of a "procedure" in place for getting the various age groups in and out of the building. In addition to about 5,000 chocolate eggs... she says there'll be 30 prize eggs... and, Gold and Silver Eggs containing major prizes. The hunt begins at 10:30 a.m. next Saturday morning.
Trout Fishing Season to begin next Wednesday, Apr. 1 -- and, that's no joke...
New York conservation officials say the state's fishing season for trout and salmon will open on Wednesday. The Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner says some of the season's best fishing can be found in lakes and ponds immediately after the ice is out. With 7,500 lakes and ponds and 70,000 miles of rivers and streams, the state also is home to an estimated 1.9 million anglers, while nearly 300,000 others come from out-of-state. A study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates the industry generates nearly $2 billion in economic activity annually and supports almost 17,000 jobs. The DEC plans to stock over 2.3 million catchable-size brook, brown and rainbow trout in 312 lakes and ponds and about 2,900 miles of streams.
A Mayville man has been arrested for allegedly operating three separate Methamphetime labs... and, selling quantities of Meth to an undercover police officer. Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say they raided the Beaujean Road home of 42 year-old John Noel-the-third late yesterday morning. Task Force members says they arrested Noel without incident... and, found the "one-pot" Meth labs inside. Police say they also seized over 12 ounces of Meth Oil... a quantity of Meth... Laboratory equipment... money... scales and packaging materials. Task Force agents say Noel faces multiple counts of criminal possession and sale of a controlled substance... and, other charges are pending. He was arraigned in Chautauqua Town Court... and, sent to the County Jail on 75-thousand dollars bail. The Mayville Fire Department and County's Hazardous Materials Team were also called to the scene. Anyone with information about illegal drug activity is asked to contact the Task Force at 1-800-344-8702... or your local police department.
Cattaraugus County Sheriff's officers are investigating a hit-and-run car-pedestrian accident in the town of Great Valley Wednesday night. Deputies say they were called to the scene on Route 417... near Sullivan Hollow Road... about 7:40 PM. Witnesses say a silver or grey colored mini-van allegedly struck the victim... who way laying in the road. Officers say the vehicle left the scene. The person was injured and taken to the hospital... but, no other information is available on their condition. If you have any information... you're asked to call the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office at 938-9191.
It will now be up to the New York state Legislature to decide on a request to raise Chautauqua County's sales tax from 7.5 to 8 percent. County lawmakers Wednesday night approved the proposal submitted by County Executive Vince Horrigan by a 14 to 4 vote. Horrigan says he's is pleased by the overwhelming majority vote... and, calls it a "watershed" moment. Jamestown Republican Elizabeth Rankin supports the move... saying she has heard from her constituents... who say -- to a person -- that they prefer increasing the sales tax versus the property tax. However... Sheridan Republican Terry Niebel called the sales tax a "regressive tax" and fears that many county residents will decide to do their shopping in nearby Pennsylvania where the sales tax is lower. Niebel was joined by Legislators John Hemmer, Janet Keefe and John Runkle in voting against the measure. Horrigan says the sales tax hike is needed to address the county's 5-million dollar structural deficit.
Hundreds of public school teachers protested Governor Andrew Cuomo's education reform proposals at the Capitol as closed-door budget negotiations continue. Thursday's protest was organized by NYSUT -- the state's largest teachers union. Cuomo and lawmakers are now working out the details of the state budget ahead of an April 1st deadline. Cuomo's 142-billion dollar spending proposal contains several provisions that have angered teachers, including revised teachers evaluations that place more emphasis on student test performance, and new tenure rules. Cuomo has tied a 1.1-billion education funding increase to the passage of the reforms. Many lawmakers object to the measures, and a compromise proposal would create a commission to recommend changes to evaluations.
The new director of The Resource Center in Chautauqua County says she's excited to be in the position... one that she's been groomed for for the past several years. Denise Jones has replaced the retired Paul Cesana... who had told TRC officials that he was stepping down at the end of March after 27 years as director. Jones has been Assistant Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer at TRC the past several years. She says The Resource Center is a "great organization...." TRC and it's affiliates support, and work with people who have developmental disabilties. Jones has been with The Resource Center for 25 years... and, admits she has some "big shoes" to fill in replacing Cesana -- who she called a "visionary." One area she wants to continue working on is moving it's employement arm -- Allied Industries -- away from declining U-S Defense Department contracts -- and towards commercial products. Jones says they're also moving towards improving the "holistic" health of their clients... and, a wider variety of employment opportunities.
Jamestown firefighters were called back to a re-kindle of an early morning blaze at a southside home early yesterday morning. Deputy Fire Chief Chet Harvey says... while crews had to pull away some walls... the hot embers were put out quickly. The call came in around Noon-time. Officials say the original blaze... which was called in about 4 AM... damaged the porch, and part of the second-floor of the home at 50 Broadhead Avenue. An off-duty shift was called in to assist. When firefighters arrived... officials say fire was showing on the porch... and, had extended to part of the second-floor. However... crews made a quick stop on the blaze. No one was home at the time... but, firefighters had to rescue a "number of cats" from the building. Crews were there about two-hours. The cause remains under investigation.
Funding to help new, minority businesses get off the ground... and, paying attention to Jamestown's gateway streets were the two big take-aways from a public hearing Wednesday night. The city's Department of Development held it's inital hearing on what residents and organizations want addressed in Jamestown's 2015 Community Development Block Grant. Development Director Vince DeJoy says about 20 people attended the session... and, he says -- while it's been brought up before -- the idea of a Microenterprise Fund was brought up to help small, start-up businesses. DeJoy says city development officials also heard a lot about the need to improve the city's gateway streets -- namely East Second Street. There's been a lot built and proposed for North Main Street... but, he says there's a feeling that all major points need to be developed... including East Second and Washington Streets, and Foote Avenue. DeJoy says there was also a renewed call to continue with their "demolition program" to remove blighted homes and other structures in the city. DeJoy says they'll now take the input from the meeting... and, work on their CDBG... and, HOME Program proposals.
Petitions for the two seats up for a vote in this year's Jamestown school board race will be available next Monday morning in the superintendent's office. School Spokeswoman Cathy Panebianco says any eligible resident can pick up a petition at the district offices at 197 Martin Road. Petitions are due with at least 100 signatures from qualified voter by 5 PM on Wednesday, April 29th. Panebianco says two seats are up for election to a full, 3-year term. They are currently held by Laurel Lucas, and Dan Johnson. The terms begin this July 1st. To qualify as a candidate... Panebianco says a person must be a U-S Citizen... and, be a registered voter in the Jamestown school district... and, has lived there for at least one-year before the May 19th vote. If you are not registered to vote... the Jamestown Public School’s registration day will be held on Friday, May 1st, from Noon to 6 PM at the district offices. For more information... call 483-4420.
Warren, PA man killed in two car crash on Route 62 in town of Kiantone, just north of state line...
A Warren, PA man has died in a two-car head-on crash on Route 62 in the town of Kiantone near the Pennsylvania state line. Chatauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace says the accident was called in just before 8 o'clock this morning. Gerace says the man... now identified as 57 year-old Joseph Guiffre III... was driving south when the accident occured. He says the vehicle veered into the west guard-rail... then crossed into the northbound lane -- and struck the other vehicle... driven by 50 year-old Elise Lund of Russell, PA. Lund was taken to WCA Hospital for treatment of what appears to be a non-life threatening injury. He says they're not sure what led to the accident because the road was clear and dry. Gerace says both lanes of Route 62 were closed from the state line to the "T" intersection with Route 60 for about 2-and-a-half hours.
Police have to break-up fight between "out of towners" at Lakewood YMCA following basketball tournament...
Four police agencies were called to the Lakewood YMCA last Saturday night after a large fight broke out... and, six people were arrested. Lakewood-Busti Police report that the fight was allegedly started between two teen age boys -- but, attracted a crowd of about 60 people. Lakewood busti Police Chief John Bentley tells us they were called to the scene shortly before 8 p.m., at the end of a three-on-three basketball tournament at the 'Y.' Bentley says disagreements during the tournament between the suspects apparently spilled outside the court. The Sheriff's officers, Ellicott Town Police and State Police were called into assist. Five juveniles between the ages of 13-and-15... and, one 17 year old were arrested. All were from the Dunkirk and Buffalo areas. The 17 year-old from Dunkirk is charged with disorderly conduct... and, unlawful posession of marijuana. The younger teens cases were petitioned to family court.
One year-old baby found unattended at Lakewood Wal-Mart store, father and mother arrested...
Two Jamestown residents have been arrested following the discovery of a one-year-old baby in a stroller left unattended for "some time" in the Lakewood Wal-Mart Sunday night. Lakewood-Busti police were called to the scene on East Fairmount Avenue shortly after 9 p.m. on a report the toddler had been found in the shoe department. Officers say they found the father of the child was part of a group that had gone to the store... and, he left the child unattended. The toddler was taken to the store's Loss Prevention Office until the parents could be found. The mother... identifed as 20 year-old Nelly Gonzalez... told employees that the child was with his father. She was charged with endangering the welfare of a child. During the investigation... police found Gonzalez's boyfriend had an order of protection against the father -- identifed as 39 year-old Miguel Ramos-Flores. When police tried to arrest Ramos-Flores -- he resisted and struggled with officers -- who had to use a low-setting taser on him. He was arraigned on charges -- including resisting arrest, and child endangerment -- and jailed on $10,000 bail.
A Bear Lake, Pennsylvania man has been arrested for allegedly stealing two vehicles... one in Jamestown... and, the other in the town of Clymer early Saturday morning. Sheriff's officers say they were first alerted to the thefts when 48 year-old Daniel Cracker allegedly took the keys for a car on Frissell Road in Clymer. Deputies say he then took the car while the residents were asleep... and, drove to the Jamestown-area. Several police agencies were notifed... and, Cracker was seen driving the car on North Main Street. He was taken into custody... and, police also learned that he also allegedly stolen a vehicle from a home on Weeks Road in Clymer. Deputies say Cracker then confessed to taking pick-up truck in the driveway after finding the keys in the ignition. He then allegedly drove the vehicle until it ran out of fuel. At that point... he left the truck on the side of the road... and, walked until he found the unlocked home on Frissell Road. Cracker was arraigned on several charges... including two counts of second-degree burglary... and, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle... and, sent to the county jail without bail. Sheriff Joe Gerace reminds residents of the importance of locking your doors at night and while away from home. In addition... when not using your vehicle you should remove your keys and lock the doors, even if parked in a garage.
An unattended electric heat lamp is being blamed for a blaze that destroyed a town of Ellington early last Friday morning. Sheriff's Department Fire Investigators say Ellington firefighters were called to the scene at 597 Hunt Road in Cherry Creek shortly after Midnight. Cherry Creek fire crews assisted at the scene. The house was reportedly vacant... and, no injuries were reported. Following an investigation... officials say the blaze was caused because the heat lamp was placed in close proximity to combustible material for a long time period.
Negotiations between the state Senate and Assembly on a new budget got underway last week in Albany... and, there's about a week and a half to go before the April 1st deadline. Assemblyman Andy Goodell tells us that there seems to be some progress... and, that's lent to some optimism about an on-time spending plan. However... there are some sticking points... mainly over language inserted by Governor Andrew Cuomo regarding the minimum wage... and, teacher evaluations. Otherwise... Goodell says the strickly "budgetary" issues are manageable this year. He adds lawmakers are working hard to get those dealt with so the sticking points can be addressed. Goodell says the addition of those language issues into the budget process is troubling... and, may be against the State Constitution.
Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to pit seven upstate regions against each other in a competition for 1.5-billion dollars in economic development funds has prompted some lawmakers and mayors to say the state shouldn't pick winners and losers. The contest dubbed Cuomo's ``Hunger Games'' by some is part of ongoing budget negotiations between the governor and lawmakers. Senate Republicans have criticized the contest, saying regions shouldn't have to compete with each other for state help. Cuomo's administration says the losing regions will continue to get regular economic development funds, and that the competition will spur innovation. That's a common refrain for the Democratic governor, who has also announced business competitions in Buffalo, a clean-energy contest in the Southern Tier and an annual kayak race in the Adirondacks.
The major fund-raiser for an organization that advocates for the young victims of physical and sexual abuse is coming up in just over a month from now. However... tickets are going quickly for the Child Advocacy Program of Chautauqua County's fifth-annual "Diamond Dinner Auction" at Chautauqua Institution. CAP Executive Director Jana McDermott says the event has been moved to the Athenaum Hotel this year to accomodate more seating. In addition to the program on Saturday, April 25th... McDermott says they have a special package for people who want to spend the night. McDermott says CAP was formally created after District Attorney David Foley obtained a grant in 2007 to better combine efforts to the several agencies -- including his own -- who were interviewing the child involved in each abuse case. McDermott says they help about 400 children each year in Chautauqua County... and, have offices in Jamestown and Mayville. She adds the diamond ring to be auctioned off has been donated anonymously this year. For more information... call 338-9844. McDermott made her comments on this past weekend's Community Spotlight program.
Teachers from a prime apple-growing region in New York have delivered 1,000 of them to Governor Andrew Cuomo to protest education funding levels. The teachers from the Finger Lakes say each of the shiny red apples represents a local teaching position unfilled because of years of underfunding for public education. They laid the baskets of apples in front of Cuomo's office Friday as a guard looked on. Cuomo's spokesman says the office couldn't accept the apples because of restrictions on officials taking gifts. The teachers plan to give the fruit to a food bank. The Democratic governor wants to increase education funding of $22 billion by about $1.1 billion this year. Teachers' unions say greater investments are needed. They also oppose the governor's calls for changes in teacher evaluations and tenure.
About 12 to 13-hundred people were on hand for the two-days of the annual Media One "Home and Recreation" Expo at Jamestown's Gateway Train Station. The event... with 44 exhibitors on hand this year... wrapped up early Saturday night. Many of those exhibitors had smiles on their faces. Bike Department Manager Bill Canby with the Jamestown Cycle Shop says it was a "successful" two days for them. There were some first-time exhibitors at this year's show... including Burnett's Flooring. Kate Burnett says the foot traffic was good... and, they got some "good leads" for sales. Burnett says she and her husband liked having the show at the train station for the second year in a row. Clearview Pools and Spas' owner Scott Axelson echoed those sentiments... saying he especially liked the "warehouse" look of the East Wing. Axelson says he would hate to see that not available in the future. The east wing is slated to become part of the new National Comedy Center sometime in the future. This was the 37th Media One Home and Recreation Show.
Goodell sounding optimistic tone about possible on-time Budget...
Budget negotiations got underway this week in Albany... and, there are less than two weeks to go before the April 1st deadline. Assemblyman Andy Goodell tells us that there seems to be some progress... and, that's lent to some optimism about an on-time spending plan. However... there are some sticking points -- namely issues that are "unrelated to the budget," but, were added to it by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Among those issues are increasing the minimum wage... and, teacher evaluations and testing requirements. Goodell says the addition of those issues into the budget process is troubling and may be against the State Constitution. State lawmakers face an April 1st budget deadline.
Anderson Precision officials sign new "Flex Rate" agreement with BPU...
A local maker of "turned metal" products has become the first company inside the city of Jamestown to become part of the Board of Public Utilities "Flex Rate" program. BPU and City officials were at Anderson Precision on Livingston Avenue Friday morning to sign the new, 3-and-a-half year agreement with company officials. The contract will provide the local manufacturer with a slightly lower electric rate in return for investments in the local facility and workforce. Mayor Sam Teresi credited BPU General Manager Dave Leathers -- and others -- for working with the state Public Service Commission to allow smaller companies... like Anderson... to be part of the program. Leathers says the agreement with Anderson came together "pretty quickly" once the PSC approved the "Flex Rate" expansion. Anderson Precision's Co-Owner, Dave Archer, says the contract is a "big deal..." and, will help them compete in a global marketplace. Anderson is the fifth Jamestown-area company in the program. The Flex Rate agreement takes effect this April 1st... and, runs through October of 2018.
Fire at vacant, Ellington home determined accidental...
An unattended electric heat lamp is being blamed for a house fire in the town of Ellington early Friday morning. Sheriff's Department Fire Investigators say Ellington firefighters were called to the scene at 597 Hunt Rd. in Cherry Creek shortly after Midnight. Cherry Creek fire crews assisted at the scene. The house was reportedly vacant... and, no injuries were reported. Following an investigation... officials say the blaze was caused because the heat lamp was placed in close proximity to combustible material for a long time period.
NYS Report: Failing Schools tied to poverty level...
An analysis by the Fiscal Policy Institute says most of the 178 New York schools identified by Governor Andrew Cuomo as ``failing'' are located in the state's poorest communities. The institute, which advocates shared prosperity, says 31 percent of the students in those schools live below the poverty line... and, 78 percent get free or reduced-price lunches. The governor says failing schools are in the bottom 5-percent of schools statewide based on combined test scores and aren't showing progress or have graduation rates below 60 percent for the last three years. He has proposed that a non-profit or other district take over those deemed failing three years in a row. The institute says the fundamental issue is poverty. It's urging a $2.2-billion boost in state aid targeting "high-needs" districts... such as Jamestown.
City police have made one arrest as officers continue to investigate a disturbance on Jamestown's northside which led to discovery of a Heroin overdose... and, quantities of illegal drugs. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says police were called to the scene at 21 Sturges Street just after 9:30 Wednesday night. Samuelson says 29 year-old Richard Philbrick allegedly tried to keep police from investigating... but, they were able to finally get to the 22 year-old female overdose victim. That person was revived using Narcan... and, was taken to WCA Hospital for treatment. A search warrant was obtaining after police found Methamphetime inside the residence. Police later found other alleged substances... which are being tested. Officers arrested Philbrick for drug possession.
An Olean man has been indicted by a federal Grand Jury accusing him of trafficking Heroin and suboxone... and, Felony possession of a firearm. U-S Attorney William Hochul, Junior announced that 23 year-old Giovanni Salomonson was taken into custody on the four-count indictment. Prosecutors say Olean Police allegedly discovered Salmonson in possession of quantities of heroin and suboxone during an investigation back on New Year's Day. They also accuse him of having a 22-caliber revolver in his possession. Hochul adds he was previously convicted on state charges which prevent him from legally possessing a firearm. He says the indictment is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Olean Police Department, under the direction of Chief and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The charges against Salmonson carry a mandatory minimum of five years in prison, a maximum of life... 250-thousand dollars... or both.
Several hundred people, many of them teachers, went to the Southwestern auditorium Thursday night for a forum on public education. Ten different speakers talked about the successes and challenges in the schools today. Many expressed concern over the governor's proposals for funding in the state budget now being negotiated. Jamestown High School Business teacher, David Munella, asked "When did teachers become the enemy of the state?". Maureen Dohahue, the Superintendent at Southwestern talked about the millions of dollars her district has lost since the great recession forced the 'gap elimination adjustment' onto schools. A representative of Assemblyman Andy Goodell's office spoke at the beginning of the session, and encouraged those with a stake in school funding to continue to make their case in Albany.
A Jamestown man escaped serious injury early yesterday morning when he was shot in the shoulder at close range during an incident on the city's southside. Jamestown Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the shooting apparently occured about 5 AM on McKinley Avenue. Samuelson adds city police were notified by the emergency room at WCA Hospital about the incident around 6 AM... and, officers have been investigating since then.
Samuelson says the unidentified male victim is expected to recover. However... he says they have no motive for the shooting... and, no suspect. Samuelson says they're looking for the public's help in the investigation because they have received conflicting information so far... but, adds there was at least a gunshot that would have been heard. Samuelson says anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Jamestown police at 483-7537... or call their confidential tips-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
Some have questioned if there is a need for a statewide weather system. Governor Andrew Cuomo raised the issue last November when Western New York was digging out from a major lake effect snowstorm. There are discussions underway involving the state... and, the National Weather Service. That from Chautauqua County Emergency Services Director Julius Leone... who adds they are also looking at having a monitoring station in the county. Leone says such a statewide system would provide real-time weather information at available to the state and to public. He says this would not only help the state... but, also local governments in making decisions on how to help the public be "more prepared "for that event." No decisions have been made on where such a monitor would be located in the county, although the discussions will continue. Cuomo has indicated that he would fund such a system by using some of the federal disaster funding the state has obtained for the recovery from Hurricane Sandy.
The excitement is building at Panama Central Schools as the Lady Panthers get ready to play in the New York State Class-D Basketball Championships for the first time ever. In fact... Panama's appearance in the final four in Troy is the first time a Panther's team has made the finals. With that... the community has planned a big send-off for the girl's this morning at the school. Michelle Sperry is the mother of player Emily Sperry... and, she says it's a "very exciting" time for everyone. Sperry... who works in the school system... says she's very excited... and, she's been involved in planning the big send off at the school's parking lot at 8:15 this morning. And... hopefully on the way to a state Championship. Panama will play Heuvelton at 9 AM Saturday. Meantime... Chautauqua Lake in Class-C will play Cooperstown in the semi-finals at 12:30 PM Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College.
Students in a western New York school district walked out of school and through the streets in protest of a decision to retire the Redskins nickname because it offends some Native Americans. Lancaster school officials say about 300 high-and middle-school students participated in the Thursday morning demonstration, with most returning to class by mid-morning. Among their signs: ``School board speak with forked tongue'' and ``Once a Redskin, always a Redskin.'' The suburban Buffalo district had been phasing out use of the mascot and nickname for the past few years. The school board voted this week to retire it altogether after three nearby districts with sizeable numbers of Native American students canceled lacrosse matches. A statement from Superintendent Michael Vallely said it's time to rethink traditions that are unintentionally hurtful.
Distrubance call leads to discovery of narcotics, and Heroin overdose in Jamestown...
City police have made one arrest as officers were called to a reporte disturbance on Jamestown's northside that led to discovery of drugs, and a Heroin overdose. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says police were called to the scene at 21 Sturges St. just after 9:30 Wednesday night. Samuelson says one person inside... 29 year-old Richard Philbrick... tried to interfere with their investigation. He says Philbrick was arrested after being found in possession of drugs. Samuelson says police found the 22 year-old female overdose victim. That person was revived using Narcan... and, was taken to WCA Hospital for treatment. It's the first time JPD has used Narcon in the field, and it was a successful deployment. A search warrant was obtaining after police found Methamphetime inside the residence. Police then discovered more meth and other substances... which are being tested. If you have any information on narcotics trafficking in Jamestown, call the JPD tipline at 483-TIPS, that's 483-8477.
The mayor of Westfield turned aside a challenge to his office during Wednesday's sparse village elections in Chautauqua County. Incumbant Michael Vandevelde defeated Richard Raynor in yesterday's vote, 350 to 224. In the trustees races.. Alan Holbrook and Robert Cochran won seats over David Carr. Holbrook led the way with 476 votes... while Cochran wound up with 401. Carr ended up with 207 tallies. In Sherman... a write-in campaign may have earned one person a village trustee seat. Donna Higginbotham got the most votes for one seat with 79 tallies. However... write-in candidate Timothy Fisher received 61 votes... and, Jame Weise got 60 for the other seat. Results are unofficial at this point. In Panama... no one was on the ballot. Beverly Lubi received the most write-in votes with 17... while Kimberly Davis had 10. In Sinclairville... Tami Berg has been elected Mayor. She received 68 votes... while write-in candidate John Embury got 30. In Bemus Point... voters approved moving the village election to November. All other races Wednesday were uncontested.
Lakewood Village Mayor Dave Wordelmann has released a 3.36-million dollar budget that... for the third-year in a row... keeps the tax levy flat. Wordelmann also says the 2015-16 spending plan includes a tax rate that's 36-cents per thousand assessed value less than this year. He adds that the new spending plan came together "easier" than it has over the past several years -- and, for one reason in particular. In fact... Wordelmann says... while spending is up about 59-hundred dollars in the proposed budget... the tax levy is down about 74 dollars. He says one of the biggest increases in the budget is 46-thousand dollars for a new, Comprehensive Plan. Wordelmann adds he's also putting in 56-hundred dollars for the first-time for new trees. He says the tax rate will go down from about 7-dollars-49 cents per thousand to 7-dollars-13 cents. A public hearing on the budget is set for April 13th and the final spending plan must be adopted no later than May 1st.
New York's farms can't afford any further increases in the minimum wage. In a (Wednesday) morning news conference, New York Farm Bureau President, Dean Norton said while only the newest and youngest workers get the minimum... there is a hidden effect. Norton believes that it's "untenable" in a state where the costs of farming are already high. Brian Reeves (ree-vus), a vegetable farmer in Central New York, says there is another problem with New York making it's minimum wage higher than other states... and, that is competing with other states where expenses are lower. Reeves (ree-vus) would prefer the state follow the Federal Government in any minimum wage change. As part of the budget negotiations in Albany, the governor has proposed a $10.50 minimum. Some in the state Assembly would like to see it go to $12.60 an hour. The minimum wage currently in effect in New York is $8.75 an hour... and, will go to 9-dollars by the end of this year.
The state attorney general has reached agreement with the largest upstate health insurer to cover more mental health and addictions treatment for its 1.5 million members. The settlement with Rochester-based Excellus Health Plan cites recent state and federal laws requiring mental health coverage at the same level as medical treatment. It's the fifth settlement by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman since last year. It requires Excellus to notify 3,300 members whose requests for inpatient treatment for drug and alcohol abuse and eating disorders were denied from 2011 to 2014.
New York's junior U-S Senator has reintroduced a bill that would create paid family leave... including maternity and paternity leave... personal medical leave, and spousal support. During a conference call late yesterday... Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand discussed her Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, which would establish a national paid family medical leave insurance program. Gillibrand says the United States is the only industrialized nation in the world without any form of paid family leave. According to Gillibrand... fewer Americans have access to paid leave than those who have lost a job or threatened with getting fired for taking medical leave. Right now... she says only 13-percent of American workers have access to paid leave. Gillibrand adds our national economy has lost more than 3-billion dollars due to caregivers having to leave their jobs because of not having access to paid leave.
There is one option the Jamestown City School District has if it doesn't receive enough state aid to cover a projected 5-million dollar shortfall in it's 2015-16 budget. School Superintendent Tim Mains recently met with state Assemblyman Andy Goodell about the district's fiscal problems... and, says Goodell agrees the district is not getting it's "fair share" of state aid as a "high needs" district. While the state budget is still being negotiated... Mains says Goodell suggested they request "bullet aid" once they know what the gap is. Since their meeting at Bush Elementary School... Mains says he spoke again with Goodell in Albany... and, learned that both the Senate and Assembly budget bills increase state aid over what Governor Cuomo has proposed. However... the Assembly wants it doled out through elimination of the Gap Elimination Adjustment... while the Senate want's to increase Foundation aid. Goodell speculates that the added funding would be doled out on a "50-50" basis.
Gasoline prices continue to go down in Chautauqua County... falling another penny a gallon for regular, unleaded fuel this week. That from the Triple-A's Fuel Gauge report... which says the average price is now 2-dollars-64 cents a gallon. It dropped to 2--60 in a couple of locations earlier this week. The national average is now 2--42 a gallon. Nationally... Triple-A says -- after rising for 40 days in a row -- the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has now fallen for nine straight days. Compared to this same date last year, consumers are saving an average of one-dollar-9 cents per gallon at the pump. The Fuel Gauge reports that prices may continue to drop in the near future due to a steep decline in the cost of crude oil.
Governor Cuomo says the latest round of targeted crude oil tank car and rail inspections have uncovered 93 defects... including seven critical safety defects that required immediate corrective action. The inspections are the latest in a series of actions state agencies are taking to protect New Yorkers from potential dangers associated with the transport of crude oil by rail. Cuomo's office said Tuesday that state and federal teams examined 453 crude oil tank cars and approximately 148 miles of track in these inspections. In Chautauqua County... the CSX mainline along Lake Erie had five defects found -- none of them serious.
Fire officials in the north county say an ice jam at the mouth of Cattaraugus Creek caused flooding in Irving on Tuesday. WIVB-TV in Buffalo reports that there were no major issues... but, Sunset Bay fire officials say some roads had three to eight inches of water on them. Due to the large size of the creek, they said they couldn’t go in and break up the cluster of ice. Officials say for now, they'll just have to wait and see if the water levels continue to recede. Fire officials and emergency management crews will continue monitoring the situation until the flood threat is gone. If the situation gets worse, residents will get a reverse 9-1-1 call notifying them about the flood status.
There has been some progress... but, more needs to be done to bring about a "Detox" facility for people seeking help in getting off addictive drugs in Chautauqua County. That from County Executive Vince Horrigan... who says more than 260 people were on hand for Monday's latest Community Drug Forum in Mayville. Horrigan adds that -- with the number of people attending -- and, passionate discussion that took place -- showed that finding answers to the problem has not lost momentum. Horrigan agreed that the need for an Outpatient Detox Center was a major issue for those attending the forum. The nearest such centers are in the Buffalo-area... and, he says Chautauqua County tried to go through the state to get one three years ago... but, that was rejected. He says if they can find the right "combination of providers..." he's optimistic they'll have one in the near future. Horrigan says more still needs to be done regarding prevention, treatment... and, residential programs. He says their Steering Committee will follow the state budget process on transitional housing... and, work with local providers on treatment options.
(**Correction)It's Election Day in seven Chautauqua County villages. County Elections Commissioners Norm Green and Brian Abram says residents in those communities will be casting ballots from Noon until 9 PM. Green says village elections this year were moved to Wednesday to legally accommodate St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Since 1998... he says village elections are legally not allowed to be conducted on St. Patrick’s Day. The only other time since the bill’s passage that the collision of democracy and Irish celebration has occurred was 2009. The only contested races are taking place in Westfield... where Mayor Michael Vandevelde is being challenged by Richard Raynor. In addition... three candidates are running for two village trustee seats. They are Robert Cochran, Alan Holbrook, and David Carr. Panama will have a vote on one trustees seat... but, no one running. Write-in candidates are welcome. Otherwise... in Bemus Point... Mayor Bryan Dahlberg and village trustees Margaret Richardson and Chris Wright are running unopposed. Voters will also be casting ballots to approve moving the village election to November. The votes in Cassadaga... Cherry Creek... and, Sherman are uncontested. Late today, we have learned about a write-in campaign against the incumbant mayor in Sinclairville.
It's "Jam On" as the new Jamestown Jammers baseball team prepares to begin play in the summer collegiate, Prospect League. Team officials were on hand at City Hall yesterday afternoon to formally introduce new Business and Field Manager Anthony Barone... the team's slogan... and, promotions for the upcoming season. Barone is a Jamestown native... who played and coached at Jamestown Community College. Barone says he's proud to be a manager in one of the top five college summer leagues in the nation. Barone will also head up the business side of the organization... including promotions. Public Relations and Marketing Director Van McNeil says they have a number of promotions set for their 30 homes games -- starting May 27th. As for the make-up of the team... Barone says they've already signed more than 20 players from the college ranks for the season -- including one from the area. Barone says players range in age from 18 to 22... and, must have one-year of college eligibility left to play in the league.
Season tickets are also available now for the Jamestown Jammers season... and, the team's first customer was Mayor Sam Teresi. Teresi... who is an avid baseball fan... says he's purchased five season passes...but, adds he'll just be using two for himself and his family. During the press conference yesterday... Teresi urged residents to back the team... which he says merges the "best with the best...." Teresi was eluding to the Jammers' ownership group, MKE Sports and Entertainment... and, Anthony Barone in those final comments. He called up Max Martin, director of the Eastside YMCA... and, Jeff Kroon, director of the Jamestown Boy's and Girl's Club... which will split the remaining tickets that Teresi has purchased. Van McNeil says ticket prices start at 8 to 12-dollars... and, adds season ticket holders for the NY-P League Jammers will get first preferance on tickets until April 15th. For more information... go on-line to Jamestownbaseball-dot-COM.
The state Assembly has voted to make New York the fourth state to provide workers with paid time off to care for a new child or sick loved one. The bill endorsed Tuesday would provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave of up to 545-dollars a week. The benefit would be funded through an employee payroll deduction that, in its first year, would be capped at 45 cents per week. The Senate has its own family leave proposal which would provide up to $424 in weekly benefits for up to six weeks. The state would initially foot the bill. Sponsors in both chambers plan to work on a compromise. A spokeswoman for Governor Andrew Cuomo says he supports the idea behind the bills... but, has concerns about the details.
The organizers of a 'Forum to Support and Respect Public Education" Thursday night at Southwestern Central School want to change the current narrative about public schools. Mark Kirsch, a teacher in the Southwestern district, has had a major role in the planning. Kirsch says the public is welcome to attend the event. He says 10 speakers will look at public education from a variety of perspectives. Kirsch says they include Southwestern Superintendent Maureen Donahue... and, Jamestown Superintendent Tim Mains. He adds community and business leaders will also be part of the program. Kirsch says the tone of the forum will be positive. Those attending will have the opportunity to submit questions to the speakers. The event starts at 6:30 PM Thursday at the Southwestern auditorium. Media One's Dennis Webster will be the moderator for the forum.
Local Congressman Tom Reed is co-sponsoring one of two measures that would withhold pay for House and Senate members if they fail to pass an on-time budget. But... Reed says he's backing both a short -- and, a long-range "No Budget -- No Pay" Acts in Congress. The Corning Republican says Congress "must act..." and, Republicans must act because the American people have "put their truct in the GOP to bring Washington back to normal...." Reed the short-term bill... sponsored by Republican Rob Whitman of Virginia, calls for withholding lawmakers pay if a new budget is not adopted by April 16th... and, they would only get paid once a spending plan is agreed to. He says the longer-term bill is sponsored by Tennessee Democrat Jim Cooper. With the national debt now having reached 18-trillion dollars... Reed says it's time to do what every American family has to do... and, that's live within a budget. He made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has called for a ban on outside income for state legislators, saying state ethics reforms don't go far enough to prevent corruption. In a speech at a Citizens Union forum at New York Law School Monday night... Schneiderman said the scandals involving state lawmakers in recent years have prompted ``reforms that largely tinker at the margins.'' He says he supports Governor Andrew Cuomo's pursuit of ethics reform as part of budget negotiations. But... Schneiderman says it's impossible to avoid the appearance of conflicts if lawmakers continued to be able to earn outside income. Cuomo has proposed strengthening outside income reporting but no outright ban. The attorney general also proposes increasing legislators' pay and their term from two years to four, while closing campaign finance loopholes.
Former presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Rick Santorum says the field of Republican contenders for the White House in 2016 shows a party with diverse viewpoints and different ideas -- in contrast to what he says is a ``monolithic'' Democratic Party. Santorum said Tuesday that he's still weighing whether to run. The former Republican senator from Pennsylvania contended for the GOP nomination for president in 2012. He visited the New York state Capitol on Tuesday to address a conservative gathering. Former New York Governor George Pataki is also exploring a White House bid. Santorum said he's encouraged by Pataki's interest and says the number of potential candidates represent a healthy range of viewpoints within the GOP. Santorum said that diversity of perspectives is largely missing from the Democratic Party.
A Pennsylvania resident is in the Jamestown City Jail after being found unresponsive in his car with a hypodermic needle and a quantity of Heroin in plain view. Police say 24 year old Shane Rodgers was found unresponsive just after 2:30pm Sunday in the area of Jeffords and Falconers Street in his vehicle that was running and stopped at the intersection. Further investigation found that Rodgers allegedly had been driving the car while impaired by the drugs. He was taken into Custody and faces drug related charges including Criminal Posession of a Controlled Subastance adn Driving while ability impaired by drugs.
Two men -- one from Jamestown -- have been arrested for allegedly being part of a Youngstown, Ohio-to-Jamestown drug connection. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson also says 22 year-old John Tuffino of Youngstown, and 25 year-old Luis Moreno of Jamestown... were also found in possession of a loaded pistol during a traffic stop late last week. Samuelson says Tuffino and Moreno were arrested during a traffic stop on Interstate 86 in the town of Ellicott early last Friday morning. Samuelson says the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force then searched the vehicle after getting a court warrant... and, found quantities of cocaine, pot, and cash -- in addition to the handgun. He says both Tuffino and Moreno were arrested without incident. Samuelson says they're pleased to have gotten a loaded, 40-calibur pistol off the streets. He says the investigation is continuing... and, more arrests are pending. Both Tuffino and Moreno were arraigned on charges of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, face drug possession charges. They were both arraigned in city court... and, sent to the county jail without bail. If you have an information on illegal drug trafficking in Jamestown... call the tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
A Rochester man who provided the handgun used to kill a Jamestown man who had reportedly turned drug informant in mid-2008 has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison. U-S Attorney William Hochul, Junior late last week annouced that 33 year-old Juan Dejesus-Santiago received the prison term on his conviction on charges of drug conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy... and, discharge of a firearm during a violent crime. Proscutors say that Santiago took part in "a large, violent narcotics trafficking organization..." and, that he took part in the 'contract killing' of 31 year-old Quincy Turner in May of 2008 near Jamestown. In addition to the gun... they say Santiago provided the vehicle the killers used. Prosecutors say he was part of a ring responsible for the receipt... and, distribution of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine in the Rochester-area between January 2007 and October 2008. He was found to be one of 33 related defendants charged with federal crimes for taking part in a Puerto Rico to Rochester cocaine operation. To date... Hochul says all 33 defendants have been convicted... and, only two remain to be sentenced.
Prevention and treatment options are expected to be the focus of the latest Community Drug Forum in Chautauqua County today. This is the first forum since three recent Heroin overdoses in the south county in which one was fatal. County Executive Vince Horrigan says the drug problem locally "keeps him up nights." However... he says -- since last year's county-wide Community Drug Forum -- better treatment options have been put in place. He says both ends of the county have access through WCA Hospital's Inpatient Treatment Center in Jamestown... and, at Lakeshore Hospital in Irving. However... Horrigan says access also remains the big issue. Horrigan says he's also been working with the region's state Senator on getting a new and "unique program" in place that would be involving one local agency... Southern Tier Environments for Living. It would provide housing to help addicts recover. Horrigan says they'll be focusing primarily on Prevention at today's forum beginning at 9 AM at Chautauqua Suites. Registration begins at 8:30.
Governor Cuomo has signed legislation to postpone until next year the deadline for doctors to issue only electronic drug prescriptions. Lawmakers who backed the measure say many physicians still lack the required federal approval for their computer systems to do that for painkillers... and, other addictive drugs on the government list of controlled substances. The electronic prescriptions -- connected to a central database that doctors and pharmacists can check -- are intended to prevent prescription fraud, doctor shopping for addictive painkillers and illicit resales.
New York's top insurance regulator says most health insurance in the state pays hospitals and doctors for each service regardless of quality, efficiency or outcome, and his staff will try to encourage alternatives to reduce costs and improve health. Department of Financial Services Superintendent Ben Lawsky says their recent survey shows every major insurer in New York's commercial market is making some effort at payment reform, like ``pay-for-performance'' or pay-per-member fees for health care. However... the pilot projects account for less than 15 percent of payments. Lawsky says they will work with providers, insurers, consumers and business to identify and measure successful alternatives, then ``create incentives'' to move insurers in that direction. That may mean removing regulatory hurdles or using review authority to seek adherence to payment reform targets.
In addition to a budget... voters in the Dunkirk School District will be deciding on whether the Dunkirk Free Library should become a 'school district' public library. School Superintendent Gary Cerne says that library officials collected the required 25 signatures to get the issue on the ballot. If approved... Cerne district residents would see a separate line on their tax bill to cover the costs of the library. That line would include the individual cost to cover the library's approximately 350-thousand dollar budget. If the proposal is approved... Cerne says the library would be governed initially by seven library trustees who are elected by the voters of the school district. And, the city of Dunkirk would no longer be required to help cover the cost of the library.
A problem with an electrical outlet box is the apparent cause of a fire last Saturday night that's left a town of Hanover family homeless. Chautauqua County fire investigators say Forestville fire crews were called to the scene at 2 Cedar Street just after 8 PM. Crews were able to snuff out the blaze... but, not before it spread through-out the residence. Investigators say the flames originated in the wall-mounted outlet box... then spread onto a bed. No one was hurt... but, the local Red Cross was called in to assists the residents.
Authorities overseeing New York's Freedom of Information Law say the public ``urgently needs'' more and clearer information about police actions including misconduct. In a report citing ``visceral reactions'' nationwide to recent events involving police use of force... the Committee on Open Government is calling on the governor and Legislature to ``remove secrecy'' that currently surrounds some police actions and repeal the statutory exemption from public disclosure of police personnel records. The report says New York is virtually the only state with that exemption while the state's sunshine law otherwise has sufficient privacy protections for police as it does for other government workers. The union representing 36-hundred uniformed state troopers says the exemption protects against ``unwarranted public ridicule'' for a minor infraction that may be in an officer's record.
Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani says President Barack Obama is to blame for the police shootings in Ferguson, Missouri, and other disturbing events because he sets the tone for the nation. Giuliani spoke late last week WNYM-AM's ``The Answer'' with host John Gambling. Giuliani said Obama wasn't addressing what Giuliani called the ``enormous amount of crime'' being committed by blacks. The White House declined to comment Friday on Giuliani's remarks. Giuliani also said Obama should say the kind of things comedian Bill Cosby used to say -- before he was accused of sexual assault, which Cosby denies. Cosby often exhorted black people to focus on education and parenting. Giuliani drew criticism last month for questioning Obama's love of country. Late last week... Giuliani said he considers Obama a good family man.
Two arrested for allegedly being part of Youngstown, Ohio to Jamestown drug connection...
Two men -- one from Jamestown -- are jailed for allegedly trying to bring cocaine and marijuana to the area from Youngstown, Ohio. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson also says 22 year-old John Tuffino of Youngstown, and 25 year-old Luis Moreno of Jamestown... were found in possession of a loaded pistol. Samuelson says Tuffino and Moreno were arrested during a traffic stop on Interstate 86 in the town of Ellicott about 12:30 AM Friday. He says members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force found quantities of cocaine, pot, and cash in addition to the loaded gun. Samuelson says the investigation is continuing... and, more arrests are pending. Both Tuffino and Moreno were arraigned on charges of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Tuffino also faces two other drug possession charges. They were both being arraigned late this morning in city court... and, were to be sent to the county jail. If you have an information on illegal drug trafficking in Jamestown... call the tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.