News Headlines for Tues., June 30, 2015

Sheriff says charges are pending against driver of car involved in high-speed fatal 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.  He says damage to the vehicle was "unbelievable."  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.


City man arrested for allegedly threatening eastside residents with bb-gun...

A Jamestown man faces a menacing charge after allegedly threatening his eastside neighbors with what was later determined to be a bb-gun.  City police were called to the scene at 20 Bush Street shortly before 4:30 Monday afternoon on a report of the man threatening other people.  Officers say two of the victims directed them to a place where four people were sitting... and, one fit the description of the suspect.  Police later detained 19 year-old Tyree Holland and secured the bb-gun... which looked like a rifle.  The victims say Holland came outside... and, allegedly pointed the gun at them while they were in a truck.  He's being held on two counts of second-degree menacing pending arraignment.


City Council accepts $112, 000 grant for put more surveillance cameras downtown...

The city of Jamestown has accepted a $112,000 grant from a local foundation to fund several overhead surveillance cameras in the downtown area.  The City Council last night voted to accept the grant from the Johnson Foundation... which will come to the city through the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation.  Second-Ward Councilman Tony Dolce expressed his appreciation to the foundation's John and Carol Sellstrom for their significant contribution.  Dolce calls it another "tool" to combat the drug and crime issues in the city.  City officials say the camera's would be located at the intersections of Main and Harrison Streets in Brooklyn Square... North Main and Sixth Streets... North Main and Eighth... Fourth and Pine Streets... Winsor and Second Streets... and, Winsor and English Streets.  Police Chief Harry Snellings says the police department hopes to have the new cameras up and operating by the end of Summer.  Dolce says the next step will be drawing up specifications, and putting the project out to bid.


Inside: Chautauqua Institution's first tour of Amphitheater given to show residents issues that need to be addressed...

A structural engineer is advising Chautauqua Institution to shore up the Amphitheater before next winter.  Institution Architect and Operations Director, John Shedd, conducted the first of a series of Amp tours Monday morning.  He told the 75 people on hand that the engineer was called in after an exterior beam snapped last winter.  Protecting against snow and wind are the main issues.  Shedd says they'll need install cross-bracing from the top of one column to the bottom of the one across from it to properly support the structure.  Part of the problem is the columns that support the main structure appear to be rooted in nothing more than dirt... and, the bottom is "sliding."  Shedd says they are slipping towards Chautauqua Lake on the bottom.  Shedd says some of the columns have drifted as much as four inches.  He also says the concrete floor of the Amphitheater is always shifting.  Amp tours will be available each Monday at 8 a.m.  Additional programs are set for Wednesdays and Fridays at that same hour in the Hall of Christ.   The series was set up after plans for a new Amp raised a storm of controversy in the off-season.  The Board of Trustees could vote on the plans in late August.


Vocal opponent locally of Same Sex Marriage says SCOTUS decision not grounded in U. S. Constitution...

A staunch opponent of same-sex marriage is blasting the liberal members of the U-S Supreme Court for basically 'legislating from the bench' in it's ruling on gay marriage.  Local Pastor Mel McGinness of Kiantone Congregational Church adds, though, that he is not surprised by the 5-to-4 ruling.  Justice Anthony Kennedy siding with the four liberal members of the court.  McGinness says Kennedy's move "stacked the deck" against same-sex opponents.  He says they "trumped the will of the people in the states" that have bans in place.  McGinness says he would have liked to see the high court give the matter back to the states because there is nothing in the U-S Constitution that addresses marriage.   He says the liberal judges ignored what the Constitution says... and, moved their own "personal agenda."  McGinness says -- barring a legislative move by Congress -- he and other like-minded pastors need to speak up on "what marriage is."  Moving forward... McGinness says the ruling puts "religous liberty" in jeopardy... and, he urges the church to be prepared for that battle.


Rabb admits to being "giddy" about Same Sex Marriage ruling...

The only openly gas elected-official in Western New York says he is "thrilled" by last Friday's Supreme Court ruling in favor of same sex marriage.  In fact... Jamestown City Council President Greg Rabb says he was still "giddy" early last weekend over the 5-to-4 decision.  Rabb says he's been working for marriage equality since he was a young man... and, first saw a major step taken in 2011 when the state legalized it.  He calls it a "major step towards equal rights for all."  Rabb says he heard about the ruling during a newcast on his car radio... and, says he didn't know whether to cry or smile.  The council President has presided over hundreds of marriages as a Marriage Officer for the city... many of them same sex couples since New York's 2011 action.  Rabb says he doesn't mind if he's put "out of business" because people can now stay in their home-state to get married.  Prior to the Supreme Court ruling... 36 of the nation's 50 states recognized same sex marriage... including New York State. 

 

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News Headlines for Mon., June 29, 2015

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.


 


 

 

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News Headlines for Sat-Sun, June 27-28, 2015

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. 
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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.

 

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News Headlines for Thurs., June 25, 2015

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.  

     

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News Headlines for Wed., June 24, 2015

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.

 

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News Alert for Wed., June 24, 2015

(**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.

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News Update for Monday, June 22, 2015

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.
 

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WJTN News Headlines

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.

 

 

 

 


 

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News Headlines for Fri., June 19, 2015

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.

 

 

 

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WJTN News Headlines

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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News Headlines for Fri. night, June 12, 2015

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.

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News Headlines for Fri., June 12, 2015

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.

 

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News Update! for Thurs., June 11, 2015

(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.

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News Bulletin for Thur., June 11, 2015

(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.

 

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News Headlines for Thurs., May 11, 2015

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.

 

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WJTN News Headlines

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.
 

 

 


 

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WJTN News Headlines

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.
 
 
 

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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.

 

 

 

 


 

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WJTN News Headlines

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WJTN News Headlines for May 25, 2018

Leaders of the bi-partisan caucus that local Congressman Tom Reed co-chairs has signed a discharge petition that would force floor votes on four immigration and border security bills...  ...

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