WJTN News Headlines

 

A former Jamestown Police officer accused of threatening other law enforcement officers on-line has been sentenced to a year in federal prison.  U-S Attorney William Hochul, Junior announced late Thursday that 45 year-old Michael Bush received the sentence after being convicted of transmitting communications containing threats to injure the person of another.  Hochul says Bush was also sentenced to three-years of supervised release by U-S District Court Judge Frank Geraci.  He says the former officer was found to have posted the threats on January 2nd of last year... and, again on February 26th of 2016... on Topix.com.  Jamestown police and the FBI were both involved in the investigation.

 

Achieving even a small tax decrease in his proposed 2017 budget was not easy for Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan... given some recent drains on county finances.  One is the moth-balling of the NRG Power Plant in Dunkirk.  With that... NRG officials put local leaders on notice earlier this year that their payment in lieu of tax payment would be cut by 85-percent next year.  Horrigan says state transitional aid will help cover 80-percent of those costs. However... Horrigan does admit more of a problem in the out-years as the transitional aid is phased-out.  He says the biggest concern is for the city of Dunkirk... and, the Dunkirk School District.  Horrigan says the losses to them -- even with transitional aid -- is significant.  He adds that both the cities of Dunkirk and Jamestown have major issues facing them this year.  Jamestown is nearly at it's constitutional taxing limit.

 

The Heroin and Opioid Addiction Crisis in Chautauqua County is being specifically addressed by a couple of the moves being made in the County Executive's budget proposal for next year.  Vince Horrigan says the nine additional, part-time corrections officers will help provide what's called "Constant Watch" for addicts and others who have mental health issues in the county jail.  Most recent estimates are that at least 15-percent of the jail's population has such a problem. With the jail's recent overcrowding issues... Horrigan says overtime had become a problem.  He says he's also proposing three more social workers, a substance abuse counselor and a receptionist to the county's Mental Hygiene Clinics to deal with the growing heroin and drug epidemic.  Horrigan says he wants "to make sure that any citizen of Chautauqua County -- regardless of ability to pay -- can get into one of our outpatient clinics without waiting."  He says waiting could be fatal.   Horrigan acknowledges this won't be enough, because the county is still a-ways off from having a long-term rehabilitation program in place.  But, he says emergency out-patient help is important. 

 

A Cattaraugus County man faces 17 counts of burglary for allegedly stealing items from garages an buildings in several towns.  Sheriff's officers in Little Valley say they've arrested 26 year-old Codie Capron of Little Valley for allegedly taking tools, and other property during the rash of break-ins.  The break-ins allegedly occured in several towns... including Salamanca and Olean.  Deputies say Capron was arraigned in Cattaraugus County Court... and, released on his own recognizance pending further court proceedings.

 

Resolution of two major issues... one regarding funding to combat the Zika virus... led to agreement on a bill to fund the federal government another 10-weeks.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who was among the majority of House members who approved a stop-gap bill after a weeks-long struggle.  Reed says the bill passed in both the House and the Senate late last night.  He recently said it will not only avert a government shutdown but provides funding for critical programs, including 1.1-billion dollars for Zika. Reed says the Zika funding will also receive about 700-million dollars in re-programmed money that had been designated to fight the Ebola Virus.  He says there was also $82.5-billion dollars set aside for veterans services -- including $52.4 billion for their medical care -- and roughly $37 million funding to implement programs in the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act.  Reed says he wanted to "make sure the government is able to operate for the sake of our taxpayers, veterans, senior citizens and national security.  The Corning Republican adds that "it was only right that we came together to support this bill as it prevents a lapse in critical programs."

 

New York's attorney general has announced an agreement with an herbal supplement maker to implement new quality control measures to confirm the authenticity of its products.  The settlement with Long Island-based NBTY follows earlier agreements by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman with GNC and Nature's Way.  His office last year wrote to several makers of herbal products, demanding detailed ingredient and quality control information on products they sell in the state.  The new agreement calls for NBTY to phase in DNA barcoding on herbal ingredients within two years and implement annual testing to detect allergens like peanuts, milk, soy, eggs and wheat in products.  NBTY said there was no evidence it failed to comply with FDA requirements and that they are committed to promoting reliable testing for herbal dietary supplements.

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The efforts of the past two-plus years to increase the local sales tax and sell the Chautauqua County Home has allowed County Executive Vince Horrigan to propose another, small tax cut for 2017.  Horrigan outlined his tentative budget plan... which cuts the tax rate by 6-cents per thousand full-value... at last night's county legislature meeting.  He says the budget plan moves the county in "the right direction while maintaining high-quality services."  That includes a new, day-time emergency service. Horrigan says three new "fly-cars" would be purchased initially for the service... which would be paid for through insurance reimbursement.  He says the 228.8-million dollar spending plan also invests one-million dollars to buy new, heavy-duty equipment needs for the Department of Public Facilities.  Horrigan says that should help cut repair costs.  The budget also uses another 402-thousand dollars from the undesignated fund balance to offset fluctuations in sales tax, energy plant profits, and critical staffing needs.  That includes nine addition part-time corrections officers for the County Jail to reduce overtime costs. 

 

A long-time member of the County Legislature who has been a key member of it's main financial committee says -- given the past two years budgets -- this one is "refreshing."  Those are the feelings of Jamestown Democrat Chuck Nazzaro... who is ranking member of the Audit and Control Committee.  Nazzaro says it's his 10th budget... and, adds there are a "lot of messages" in the executive's spending plan. Nazzaro says there are a "lot of positives" in Vince Horrigan's 2017 budget plan... including the addition of nine part-time corrections people for the jail... which has had overcrowding issues this year.  Those problems have driven up overtime costs because there are some inmates that must be watched at all times of the day.  The budget also includes 5-year projections.  Nazzaro says the Audit and Control Committee will meet with department heads next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to begin work on the budget... which is due by November 1st.

 


An investigation is underway into a fatal train-pedestrian accident on the CSX railroad tracks near Middle Road in Dunkirk.  Police say the accident forced the closing the railroad crossing for several hours early Wednesday morning.  Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano says it reopened about mid-morning.  Ortolano says local agencies responded to the call shortly after Midnight just west of the crossing. Ortolano says it's believed the victim, who was not identified, was walking along the tracks at the time of the accident.  The chief says a video from the train showed what appeared to be another person walking along the tracks with the victim at the time of the accident.  Dunkirk Police are asking for the individual to come forward... and, talk with investigators about the accident.  The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about the accident is asked to call Dunkirk Police at 366-2266.

 

A north county man has been arrested for allegedly entering a Westfield home illegally... and, stealing a number of items from the house.  Sheriff's officers and Westfield Police were called to the scene at 83-43 Route 5 just after 9 AM Tuesday on a report of a "burglary-in-progress."  Deputies say the caller said she heard the dog barking... and, saw a man entering her house through a window.  Officers say she left the residence and called 9-1-1.  Westfield and County Sheriff's officers entered the house to clear it... and, found 32 year-old Jeffrey Switzer in a bedroom with items from the house in bags.  Switzer was arrested on one count of second-degree burglary, and arraigned in Chautauqua Town Court.  He was then sent to the County Jail in lieu of 30-thousand dollars cash bail.

 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's re-election campaign will "set aside" 350-thousand dollars it received from developers facing federal corruption charges.  Basil Smikle, executive director of state Democratic Party, says the money will go into a separate account pending the outcome of the case.  Smikle says Wednesday the money will be available if federal authorities seek its forfeiture.  Democratic state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli isn't waiting for the outcome.  His campaign said it will return $23,700 in contributions from the developers.  Five executives at Buffalo-based LPCiminelli and Syracuse-based COR Development face charges they worked to rig bids for lucrative contracts awarded by the Cuomo administration.  Others charged include former top Cuomo aide Joe Percoco and State University of New York Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros.

 

Gas prices in Chautauqua County are holding steady this week... decreasing just a fraction of a penny to just over 2-dollars-29 cents a gallon for regular, unleaded fuel.  The Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report says the actual price is 2--29.3 cents this week.  Nationally... the Fuel Gauge says the price is also holding steady at just over 2-dollars-20 cents this week.  Triple-A says drivers are paying the same price per gallon month-over-month, and 8 cents less per gallon year-over-year.  Although today’s average remains flat compared to one week ago... pump prices have been pressured higher in some regions due to disruptions on the Colonial Pipeline.  Drivers in 25 states are paying less at the pump week-over-week, although some volatility remains in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions where prices continued to see upward momentum as a result of the Colonial Pipeline disruption.

 

A pair of hockey games, a concert and a special ceremony are among the activities that'll be part of "Alex: Celebrate the Life, the Smile" at the Northwest Arena in Jamestown.  The event will be held this Saturday... just ahead of what would have been the '27th birthday' for Alex Foulk.  Alex... who was an avid hockey player... died last February from a Heroin overdose.  His mother, Kim Carlson, has organized the event with others... and, says the hockey part begins at 2 PM. Carlson says the Red Carpet ceremony will also allow addicts in recovery to speak as well.  After that... she says activities will resume with a concert by the local band, TPT... and, there will then be an "open skate" until 6:30 PM.  Carlson says individual tickets are 10-dollars each... unless you come as a family of "up to six" will be able to get in for 25-dollars.  Tickets are already on sale at the Northwest Arena lobby.  Proceeds will benefit the Alex Foulk Memorial Fund, to raise money for transitional housing for those recovering from drug addiction.

 

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf addressed a joint session of the state House and Senate Wednesday as he presses for action on a package of legislation designed to combat opioid and heroin addiction.  Wolf's address comes as lawmakers' fall voting session winds down.  He says lawmakers can't afford to stall with 10 people a day dying from drug overdoses in Pennsylvania.  Wolf is seeking passage of bills to require prescribers to check a prescription drug monitoring database every time they prescribe opioids and limit the opioid quantities that emergency room doctors can prescribe to seven days.


 

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One person is dead after being struck by a train in Dunkirk early this morning.  Dunkirk police report that just after midnight they were called to the scene of a train/pedestrian accident on the CSX rail line west of Middle Road.  The victim was walking along the tracks and was struck by a Westbound CSX freight train.  The investigation into the accident revealed that a second person was walking along the tracks with the victim.  Dunkirk police are asking for this person to come forward and talk with investigators about the accident.  The name of the victim is not being released at this time so family can be notified.  Anyone with information on this accident is asked to call Dunkirk Police at 366-2266.  Police were assisted at the scene by the Dunkirk Fire Department, Chautauqua County Sherriff's Department, CSX Railroad officials, and the County Coroner.


Chautauqua County's Congressman wants to give law enforcement another tool when it comes to the fight against heroin and opioid abuse.  Corning Republican Tom Reed has introduced a bill that would include life in prison and the death penalty for drug dealers that supply users with illicit substances that cause an overdose death.  The legislation is called the Help Ensure Lives Are Protected -- or HELP Act.Reed says the move comes in the wake of several roundtable discussions he has held throughout the region.   He says these drug dealers are the "worst of the worst" who cut Heroin with Fentanyl... and, other dangerous substances.  Reed says the number of deaths due to synthetic opioids, mainly the highly-addictive fentanyl, rose 80 percent between 2013 and 2014.  The legislation received four co-sponsors when it was introduced last week.

 

New York's comptroller reports eight municipalities were under "significant" fiscal stress last year, with low fund balances and operating deficits, while another 14 were under moderate stress and 18 were considered susceptible.  The eight are the counties of Monroe, Broome, Franklin and Rockland; the cities of Port Jervis and Albany; and the towns of Tuxedo and Parish.  Here in Chautauqua County... the village of Cherry Creek was under "moderate stress" with a score of 62.5-percent.  Forestville did not file a report.  Gowanda in Cattaraugus County was also under "moderate stress."  One school district... Jamestown... remains under moderate stress.  State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says the fourth annual report shows it can be difficult for localities to overcome problems years in the making.  Each year, 19 municipalities have been designated.  The 2015 financial information was provided by nearly one-thousand municipalities whose fiscal year ended last December 31st.  That includes the counties and towns, 44 cities and 10 villages, though 62 failed to file information in time to be scored the past three years.

 

The lawyer for a prominent Albany-area developer says his client is innocent of charges that he worked to rig the bids for a student housing project.  The Albany Times-Union reports that E. Stewart Jones, the attorney for Joseph Nicolla, says the allegations against his client are "completely without merit."  Nicolla had a court appearance in Albany on Monday.  New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office last week accused Nicolla of working with SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros to illegally ensure the bid for the housing project went to his company, Columbia Development.  Kaloyeros also faces charges in a federal case that he conspired with developers in Syracuse and Buffalo to ensure they won lucrative state contracts.  The attorney representing Kaloyeros says his client is innocent.

 

Fall seems to have brought an uptick in the number of phone scams... especially the IRS scam.  Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace says that 'phony call' never went away... but, there's been a pick-up in recent days.  Gerace says the caller -- be they live or recorded -- will threaten you with legal action if you don't arrange to make a payment.  He says the best way to deal with such a call is end the call. Gerace says always remember that the Internal Revenue Service will never initiate the process with a phone call.  He says there will be letters in the mail... and, any phone conversation should be initiated by you.  Gerace also says that's not the only scam still out there.  He says the "Grandparent" Scam is still a problem.  That's where an elderly person gets a call from someone, saying they're their grandchild -- or calling on their behalf -- because they're in jail and need bail money.  Gerace adds some scams come from local area codes... indicating that it's a local call.  However... he says unscrupulous telemarketers are able to set up any area code or exchange they want. 

 

Local Congressman Tom Reed has announced two major education related grants.  The Corning Republican says the Erie2- Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES will receive a 221-thousand dollar grant from the U-S Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program for distance learning and that Jamestown Community College will receive a just over 113-thousand dollar grant through the Appalachian Regional Commission for the development of a Community-Based Teaching Clinic in the field of Occupational Therapy.  Reed says both programs focus on skills training for the current and future generations.  He made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media.

 

Dunkirk's new Public Works Director says he's looking forward to his new job.  The Common Council has approved the appointment of Robert Bankoski to the position.  Bankowski says he's excited to begin his duties and believes he can help the city move in a positive direction... and, he says new Mayor Willie Rosas, agreed.  The new director says they have a "great workforce..." and, adds maybe it's a matter of attacking some issues with "a different mindset."  Council approved Bankoski's appointment 4-1.  He is also a member of the County Legislature... having begun his two-year term in January.  Bankowski also serves as a member of the Dunkirk School Board.

 


 

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The Jamestown City Council has making application to the Empire State Development Corporation for RESTORE-New York funding for a proposed development project at a former bank building.  Lawmakers voted unanimously last night to apply for up to 500-thousand dollars to help redevelop the former Key Bank building at the corner of North Main and East Second Streets.  Council Finance Committee Chairman Tony Dolce says they believe the project would be perfect use for those funds. The project... which would include some commercial and professional office space development... is being proposed by the new owner, Arnold Duke, who has talked with city officials about possible development of the structure.  Dolce says it would be the second of three major bank buildings in the downtown area that have been vacated... but, have had new businesses move into them.  City Principal Planner Bill Rice says one potential business could bring 25 to 30 new, "high-paying" jobs to the downtown area.

 

The Jamestown City Council has approved a plan to buy new software for the system that manages the city's vehicle fleet.  Public Works Director Jeff Lehman recently told lawmakers that the current system is 20 years-old... and, has had big problems in recent months.  The city will also be buying the hardware needed for the new system.  Finance Committee Chairman Tony Dolce says they approved two measures to upgrade the antiquated system... something a special committee he has headed up has pushed for. Originally... Lehman said he, and others including City Comptroller Joe Bellitto, have been looking at equipment and the costs from various companies.  He says they started with a cost of 95-thousand dollars for just the software.  However... they were able to get the price under 30-thousand dollars.  One resolution authorized buying the software from Collective Data of Cedar Rapids, Iowa for 29-thousand-900 dollars.  The second was with Dell of Round Rock, Texas for 95-hundred dollars for the server and workstations for the new system.  The new system will be purchased with 40-thousand dollars from the city's Contingency Account.

 

A Panama man has been arrested for allegedly trespassing on another person's property, and threatening them with a metal chain.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Goshen Road in Panama about 3 PM Monday on a report of a disorderly person.  Deputies investigated the incident.. and, found that 48 year-old Scott Dickerson had allegedly threatened another man and a woman at that location.  Officers later arrested Dickerson for second-degree menacing and criminal trespass.  He was arraigned and sent to the County Jail with bail to be set.

 

Authorities have now identified the three people killed when their two small airplanes collided and crashed in western New York.  Both pilots and one passenger were killed in the crash in North Collins on Sunday morning.  Erie County authorities identified the victims Monday as 60-year-old Paul Rosiek, of Hamburg, and Richard and Kathleen Walker, who were both 69 and lived in Eden.  An investigation is underway into what caused Rosiek's Cessna 120 and the Walkers' Piper Cherokee to collide after leaving Hamburg Airport on route to St. Marys, Pennsylvania.  Authorities say they were part of a group that routinely flew together on Sundays.  National Transportation Safety Board investigator Robert Gretz says a preliminary report is expected within 10 days.

 

Across the country, young people are being imprisoned because their families are unable to pay fines or court fees, according to a new report. "Debtor's Prison for Kids," by the Juvenile Law Center, says the practice can pull young people deeper into the juvenile-justice system. In many states, court-imposed fees can include the cost of tests and evaluations, rehabilitation, probation and court operation. Jessica Feierman, associate director at the center, calls it a punishment for being poor. The study says in New York, where judges have discretion to order juveniles to pay restitution, there are fewer financial penalties for juvenile offenders than any other state. But, unlike most states, New York still automatically charges people as young as sixteen as adults, making them susceptible to fines and fees. And while it is rare for anyone to be jailed for failure to pay, according to Tina Luongo with the Legal Aid Society of New York, those fees can cause serious problems. Feierman notes the research shows young people of color are more likely to have unpaid justice-system costs. Some jurisdictions, such as Alameda County in California and Washington State, have taken steps to repeal fees and fines in their juvenile-justice systems.

 

New York conservation officials say the fall hunting seasons for turkeys, pheasants and waterfowl begin Oct. 1.
The Department of Environmental Conservation says the season for wild turkeys will run Oct. 1-14 in the state's Northern Zone, Oct. 15-28 in the Southern Zone and Nov. 19 to Dec. 2 in Long Island's Suffolk County.
The statewide season bag limit is one bird of either sex. The department says about 30,000 adult pheasants will be released on lands open to public hunting. The pheasant season begins Oct. 1 in the northern and eastern portions of the state, Oct. 15 in central and western regions and Nov. 1 on Long Island. Adult hunting seasons for waterfowl including ducks, coots, mergansers, snow geese and brant all begin Oct. 1 in southeastern New York.

 

Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey is trying to turn his refusal thus far to endorse GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump into a strength.  In a Monday appearance... at the Pennsylvania Press Club, Toomey insisted there's no evidence his Democratic challenger Katie McGinty would stand up to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, should Clinton be elected.  McGinty is broadly in line with the top priorities of President Barack Obama and Clinton, and has endorsed Clinton.  Polling shows McGinty and Toomey in a neck-and-neck race that could tilt Senate control.  Toomey is routinely criticized by Republicans who support Trump for refusing to back the billionaire developer.  Toomey says he's weighing Trump's "outrageous and offensive" statements with the good Trump could accomplish.

 

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The operator of an Amish Buggy was killed... and, four others on board were hurt... when the buggy was struck from behind by a car in the town of Harmony.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene of the crash on Weeks Road in Panama shortly before 5 PM yesterday afternoon.  Deputies say they found that the driver of the car, Peggy Miles of Panama, apparently fell asleep at the wheel, and her car then slammed into the buggy.  Officers say the operator, Henry Koffman, Junior of Panama, was pronounced dead at the scene.  They say Rachel Koffman and a youth in the buggy were flown by Starflight to the UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie for treatment.  Two other youths were taken to Hamot by ambulance.  Officers say the county's Accident Reconstruction team was called out to process the scene.  The investigation is ongoing.

 

A former top aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is among nine people charged with bribery and fraud in the governor's signature economic development projects.  U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced the charges during a Noon-time news conference Thursday.  Bharara says Joseph Percoco is the former executive deputy secretary to the governor.  The Democratic governor's office said in April that Bharara was examining possible undisclosed conflicts of interest and improper bidding related to Cuomo's efforts to attract high-tech jobs upstate.  The federal probe revealed a web of individuals and businesses tied to Cuomo that stand to make millions from the projects.  Also charged is Alain Kaloyeros, president of SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

 

New York authorities have accused the head of a state research institute with violating state law by rigging bids for a developer for three multimillion-dollar contracts.  The attorney general's office says SUNY Polytechnic Institute president Alain Kaloyeros is accused of restraint of trade along with 59-year-old Joseph Nicolla... the president of Columbia Development.  Kaloyeros was charged with related federal crimes earlier Thursday along with seven other people.  The state complaint alleges Kaloyeros agreed to steer construction contract awards to hand-picked companies, including Columbia for student housing.  Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that Kaloyeros has been suspended without pay from his job at SUNY.  Neither Kaloyeros nor his attorney has returned messages seeking comment.

 

It was a highly-successful... and, record-setting year in 2016 for the Chautauqua Lake Association -- which harvested more weeds than the past two Summers combined.  That from CLA Operations Manager Don Emhardt... who adds -- though -- that this year was -- quote -- "very different than other seasons."  Emhardt says the CLA removed just over 13-million pounds of weeds this year.  That's about 3-million pounds more than they did for the 2014 and 2015 seasons combined.  However... he says they "found very few weeds in the lower basin while the middle and upper lake was bursting with obstacles and problematic areas needing to be addressed."  Emhardt says they had three harvesting crews working eight hours a day, five days a week to manage the aquatic vegetation.  While getting to pretty much every area of the lake during the Summer... Emhardt says several lake residents and business owners called the CLA office to express their frustration with the clean up.  CLA Executive Director Doug Conroe says they are looking at doing more next year... if the funding is available.  For more information about the CLA or to make a donation... go on-line to Chautauqualakeassociation-dot-ORG... or call 763-8602.

 

Establishing a "positive" reputation and improving test scores are some of the goals of the new supervisor of the Jamestown High School's Tech Academy on East Fourth Street.  That from JHS Principal Mike McElrath and Assistant Principal Tom Langworthy... who was named to head up the academy prior to the start of Fall classes.  Both explained their efforts at this week's school board meeting.  McElrath says they're "off to a good start..." and School Superintendent Tim Mains says there are two programs there for their "most at-risk" kids. The two programs are the Personalized Learning program... which is the "Alternative High School" program for ninth and tenth-graders.  The Adaptive Education Program is the tutoring program for suspended students.  Mains says Langworthy is implementing recommendations made by Hanover Research... which looked over the academy -- and it's programming -- late last year.  Another goal Langworthy also discussed was improving attendance for the approximately 40 students involved in the two programs.  So far this year... he says attendance has improved to 84.1-percent.

 

New York state education officials are proposing changes to the Common Core learning standards used to guide lessons at every grade level in preparation for college or a career.  Commissioner MaryEllen Elia released the draft revisions to the math and English language arts standards Wednesday and invited public comments through November 4th.  New York and most other states began adopting the Common Core in 2010 to improve college- and career-readiness, but the standards have been criticized as too difficult and not always age-appropriate.  Elia says two parent and educator committees have recommended changing 60 percent of the ELA standards and 55 percent of the math standards.  Among recommendations are clarifying student writing expectations, creating a new early learning task force and providing more time for students to develop math skills.

 

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and it's six community chambers are again paying tribute to several people and businesses who "make our county and extraordinary place to live, work and play."  The county Chamber has announced those people and entities who'll be honored at next month's Community Service Awards at the SUNY College at Fredonia's Williams Center.  Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Tranum says a Jamestown couple who own Blackstone Advanced Technologies are their Person of the Year. Tranum adds that the Peek 'n Peak Resort and Spa will received the county Chamber's Economic Development Award.  The Peak was able to resume hosting professional golf this Summer.  Among the Community Chambers... Tranum says the Jamestown-Area Chamber will honor one of the people who been at the forefront in the area's battle with the Heroin and Opioid Drug Crisis.  He says Chief Executive Officer Rick Huber with the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County is getting that service award.  In the north county... John "Jay" Warren... will be getting the Dunkirk chamber's award.  Tranum says Warren has been very involved with Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation's formation of a Local Economic Development Committee.


 

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A major project is underway to repave Fairmount Avenue from the village of Lakewood to the Jamestown city line.  State Department of Transportation Spokeswoman Susan Surdej says the 2-million dollar effort began back on September 12th with some curbing and storm drain work starting.  Once that's completed... Surdej says crews will begin repaving the 3.3-mile stretch of road from Winch Road to McDaniel Avenue. Surdej says the actual milling and paving will likely begin around October 1st.  She says the completion date for the project is December 30th.  However... she says the contractor for the work -- Cattco Construction of Alden, New York -- expects to finish the paving well before that.  Surdej says both they and the contractor are confident the repaving will be done well before Winter sets in.  The project should be helped by the fact that weather forecasters are calling for a warmer than normal Fall season.  Surdej says Cattco was awarded the contract for the project back on July 18th.

 

A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly theatening another man on the city's eastside with a gun about Noon-time yesterday.  City police were called to the scene at 344 East Fourth Street just after 12 PM... and, on arrival... spoke to the male victim.  Officers say the man told them that the suspect, 31 year-old Anthony Ober, had threatened him while displaying a black hand-gun.  Police searched the area... and, say they found Ober near the Police Station at City Hall.  He was arrested without incident... and, officers recovered a black 'air pistol.'  Ober was arraigned on one count of second-degree menacing... and, sent to the county jail with bail to be set.

 

A Wisconsin man is jailed on 250-thousand dollars bail for allegedly trying to flee police pursing him on Route 6 in Warren County's Brokenstraw Township.  State Police in Warren say they tried to stop the driver, 46 year-old Satpal Singh, shortly before 9 AM Wednesday, when Singh failed to stop.  Troopers accuse him of driving another 4.5-miles to the east before they finally stopped him near the intersection with Route 62.  Singh was arraigned on several charges... including fleeing and eluding police... and, sent to the Warren County lock-up.

 

Chautauqua County's unemployment rate for August fell by two-tenths of a percent... and, looks "very good" compared to both the state and national averages.  That today (Wednesday) from State Labor Department Analyst John Slenker... who says the jobless rate fell from 5.3-percent in July to 5.1 last month.  Locally... Slenker says the jobless number went down. Slenker says there was a lot of "stability" in the private sector job market in Chautauqua County... including in manufacturing.  He says the both the state's and nation's jobless rates were very close to the county's.  New York's was 4.9-percent... while the U-S rate was 5-percent.  Slenker says the number of jobs in Chautauqua County last month totalled 53-thousand-600... which is down 200 from July.  The county's unemployment rate in August of 2015 was 5.4-percent.

 

The jobless picture in Cattaraugus County was similar to what was found in Chautauqua last month... numbers very close to the state and national averages.  State Labor Department Analyst John Slenker says the jobless rate in the county to our east fell from 5.3-percent in July to 5.2-percent in August.  Slenker says the number of employed went up by 100 last month... 300 for the year. Slenker says the increse in the job count is directly attributable to the private sector area... where 200 jobs have been added.  He says they've seen some small increases in education and health services... and, government.  Slenker says Cattaraugus County's jobless rate in August of 2015 was 5.5-percent.

 

Gas prices in the Jamestown-area have dropped 10 cents a gallon for regular, unleaded fuel this week.  That from the Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report... which says the price is a tick under 2-dollars-30 cents.  The Fuel Gauge reports the national average is now 2-dollars-20 cents a gallon.  That's 3-cents more than last week... and, 8-cents more than last month.  However... in some places in the south... it has gone up as much as 8-cents in some places due to disruptions in a service pipeline.  Last year at this time... the price per gallon was just under 2-dollars-65 cents.  Gas prices across most of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region have remained relatively stable with New York on the list for one of the smallest weekly change.

 

The city of Jamestown will be celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month with two events... the first one tonight... with a free concert and program at Jamestown Community College.  The program is being presented at the Weeks Gallery by the city's Strategic Planning and Partnership Commission's "Cultural Bridges" Action Team.  Action Team Member Jennifer Gibson says there'll be music, and the start of the Jamestown Reads program... featuring Esmeralda Santiago's book, "When I was Puerto Rican...." The city of Jamestown has seen an influx of about 3-thousand Hispanics to the community in recent years... most of which have come from financially-troubled Puetro Rico.  Max Martin with the Hispanic Community Council says they just recently welcomed six more families to the area.  Martin says those people are coming here are for education and the medical opportunities.  Martin agrees the biggest issue facing them is the language barrier.  He says... since Puerto Rico is a U-S Territory... people from there do not have to learn English to come here.  In addition to the "Jamestown Reads" program... Gibson says the group "Trio Tumbao"  will play music of the Latin American tradition during tonight's program... which runs from 6 to 8 PM.

 

Fredonia Police are investigating two separate crashes involving motorcycles Tuesday night.  Police are attempting to locate a burgundy/maroon colored SUV involved in a hit and run accident near McDonald's on Route 60 in Fredonia around 8:50 PM.  Police Chief Brad Meyers says the vehicle left the scene dragging its bumper.
Meyers says the operator of the motorcycle was taken to Brooks Memorial Hospital for treatment.  A second crash involving a motorcycle had occurred earlier, around 8 PM, near 120 Liberty Street.  The motorcycle operator was also transported to Brooks Memorial with unknown injuries.  Anyone with additional information about the hit and run crash can contact Fredonia Police at 679-1531.


 

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WJTN News Headlines

 

Jamestown police are asking for the public’s help in finding the allegedly suspect involved in a shooting incident that took place early Tuesday afternoon on the city's northside.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers were called to the scene at 811 Prendergast Avenue shortly before 1:30 PM.  Samuelson says no one was hit the the single-round that was fired in an upstairs apartment. Samuelson says, by the time police arrived, the alleged suspect had fled the scene in a green-colored mini-van.  He says they are looking for the suspect... who is described as a dark-skinned Hispanic male in his 40s, wearing a red tank top, Caveliers hat, and long dark shorts.  Samuelson says they're sure the suspect was aiming at the victim in this case.  He says... anyone with information on the incident... is asked to call the Jamestown Police at 483-7537... or their anonymous tip line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.  He says all calls will be kept confidential.

 

Jamestown school officials are "very disappointed" that a lawsuit against the state saying they, and other small city districts, are being shortchanged has been thrown out of court.  The "Small Cities" lawsuit claimed the state is denying their students' constitutional right to a sound basic education by not fully funding it's own school aid formula.  Jamestown Superintendent Tim Mains says Acting State Supreme Court Judge Kimberly O'Connor relied on a 2006 report that recommended 75-percent of increases in school aid go to New York City. A family in the Jamestown School District helped initiate the Small Cities case several years ago.  In addition to Jamestown... other "high-needs" districts -- Kingston, Mount Vernon, Newburgh, Niagara Falls, Port Jervis, Poughkeepsie and Utica later joined in as plaintiffs.  In her 16-page decision... O'Connor noted that the state took steps to improve funding in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit.  But, she also said that the state ultimately is allowed to adjust school funding levels based upon its own fiscal condition.  Those involved with the case have already indicated they are going to appeal the ruling.

 

The Empire Specialty Cheese plant near Ashville has a new owner... as the head of Castelli America Group cut the ribbon on the plant Tuesday.  Castelli's Executive Chairman... Paul Bensabat... says he was excited to be opening the cheesemaker's first American plant.  Castelli is a large cheesemaker based in Italy... but, he says they'll start out making what Empire was making in the facility just off Route 474. Bensabat praised both state and county officials... and, their efforts to overcome 'challenges' in Castelli's acquisition.  State Senator Cathy Young says those challenges were financial... and, environmental.  Young adds it's also a long process to get an overseas firm to invest here.  Bensabat would not reveal Castelli's total investment in the Ashville plant... but, New York state offered a 500-thousand dollar grant, and a 5.5-million dollar loan through Empire State Development.  The acquisition saves the milk market for 93 Amish dairies that will be shipping milk to Casteli.

 

Now that Empire State Development has taken over as the lead agency... Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says the Athenex Project is now fully on track.  Horrigan recently attended a meeting with officials from Athenex, the company's board of directors and officials from Empire State Development... including Chief Executive Officer Howard Zemsky.  Horrigan says he spoke with one of the leaders of the company... and, says everyone is excited to see the project moving forward.  He says Athenex company officials will be visiting the county October 7th to discuss workforce development -- including a tour of local education facilities.

 

New York state residents owe a combined $82-billion dollars in student loan debt, a figure that's more than doubled in the past decade.  The numbers released Tuesday by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli show the number of borrowers and the amount they owe increased sharply in recent years as the cost of higher education went up.  The state now has 2.8 million borrowers, who each owe an average of $32,200.  DiNapoli says burdensome loans can force a person to put off buying a home or saving for retirement, affecting the broader economy.  The average in-state cost of tuition, fees and room and board at a public college was $20,549 last year, compared to $13,275 in 2005.

 

There's been a real problem the past couple of months with vandalism in Jamestown's seven parks... and, city lawmakers will soon consider buying new surveillance cameras for those areas.  That from Mayor Sam Teresi... who says it's mainly been a problem around the restrooms at each park.  Teresi and city Public Works Director Jeff Lehman outlined the problem at Monday night's work council session... and, proposed placing the cameras in those areas outside the restrooms. Lehman showed city councilmembers a picture of graffiti spray-painted on the back wall of the recently renovated Allen Park Bandshell.  Lawmakers expressed shock over seeing what had happened.  Lehman says it will cost about 50-thousand dollars for seven cameras to be set up in each park.  He and Teresi says they also met with City Police Chief Harry Snellings about the situation.  Lehman says the 50-thousand dollars will come out of the city's 2016 Contingency account... which still has 220-thousand dollars in it.  Lawmakers will vote on the move next Monday night.

 

A large backpack left near a downtown Niagara Falls hotel has been determined safe by police.  The Erie County Bomb Squad brought in two robots to investigate the backpack near the Sheraton Hotel Monday afternoon.  Parts of three streets were shut down by police for five hours during the investigation.  Investigators say they found personal items including electronics inside.  Police are trying to determine who owns the backpack and why it was left there.  Police agencies have been on elevated alert after explosive devices detonated Saturday in Seaside Park, New Jersey, and lower Manhattan.  A suspect was arrested in New Jersey on Monday.

 

With a vacancy on New York's highest court opening next year... a state commission is reminding prospective candidates that applications are due by September 26th.  The Commission on Judicial Nomination is expected to establish a short list of possible nominees from among those applicants to replace Judge Eugene Pigott, Junior.  Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to choose someone from the list for his seventh appointment to the seven-member Court of Appeals.  Pigott was nominated by Republican Governor George Pataki in 2006.  He turns 70 this year, the mandatory retirement age from the court.  The Court of Appeals establishes case law for the state and sets precedents often influential in other state and federal courts.


 

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News Headlines for Tues., Sept. 20, 2016

City police looking for allegedly shooter involved in northside incident...
Jamestown police are asking for the public’s help in finding the allegedly suspect involved in a shooting incident that took place early Tuesday afternoon on the city's northside.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers were called to the scene at 811 Prendergast Ave. shortly before 1:30 PM.  Samuelson says no one was hit the the single-round that was fired in an upstairs apartment.  On arrival... he says they found a single-round had been fired from a pistol towards another person, but, the victim ended up getting hit in the head with the gun during an altercation before the suspect fled the scene.  Samuelson says the suspect reportedly drove off in a green-colored mini-van.  He says they are looking for the suspect... who is described as a dark-skinned Hispanic male in his 40s... wearing a red tank top, Caveliers hat, and long dark shorts.  Samuelson says they're sure the suspect was aiming at the victim in this case.  He says... anyone with information on the incident... is asked to call the Jamestown Police at 483-7537... or their anonymous tip line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.  He says all calls will be kept confidential.
 
 
Haffa arraigned on three charges in indictment, pleads not guilty...
A Cheektowaga man who is accused of trying to kill a Chautauqua County Sheriff's deputy on Sept. 11 appeared in County Court Monday morning for arraignement.  Acting District Attorney Patrick Swanson says 21 year-old Justin Haffa was arraigned on three felony charges... first-degree attempted murder, first-degree robbery, and, and attempted aggravated assault on a police officer.  Swanson says Haffa was originally charged with the first-degree attempted murder... and, second degree assault.  However... he says that they looked at the case file... and, decided on the three counts against Haffa.  He's accused of pulling a knife on a deputy as she was giving him a field sobriety test on Route 60 in the town of Pomfret.  The Sheriff's Office says the deputy tried to use her gun to defend herself, but Haffa got the gun away from her and fled the scene.  He was later taken  into custody on Putnam Road in the town of Stockton.  Haffa will remain in the county jail without bail... pending an Oct. 3 pre-motion conference.
 
 
House fire at 20 Linden Ave. in Jamestown determined accidental...
An electrical problem is the apparent cause of a house fire in Jamestown that caused onsiderable damage in part of a single-family home on the city's southside late yesterday morning.  City Fire Battalion Chief Andrew Finson says crews were called to the scene at 20 Linden Ave. about 10 a.m.  Finson says two people were inside when  the blaze was called in... but, adds they got out safely.  He says crews found flames coming from the first-floor... and, says the fire was moving up the back exterior wall.  Finson says it took about 15-minutes to bring the blaze under control.  He says they called in an off-duty shift of 12 firefighters and a commander to help deal with the blaze.  Finson says they also had five firefighters left from the earlier blaze at 158 James St.  No one was hurt in that accidental blaze.  He says fire crews were at the scene about two hours.  Finson says one firefighter suffered a minor injury... and, was treated at the scene. 
 
 
City lawmakers to vote on application for RESTORE-New York funds for project at former Key Bank building...
The city of Jamestown is applying for $500,000 in state funding to help the new owner of the former Key Bank headquarters in downtown Jamestown turn the building into a "mixed use" facility.  During last night's Council work session... lawmakers heard basics of the proposal from Principal City Planner Bill Rice.  Rice says the new owner is looking a putting commercial, professional office, and some residential space in the location at North Main and East Second Streets.  However... he says there will likely be only one residential unit on each of the top three floors because of issues with structure.  He says the application has to be into the state by Oct. 3.  Rice says the new owner... identified as Arnold Duke... has been contacted by a number of interested commercial and professional office parties in the building.  He would only say that one would add 25 to 30 "high-paying" jobs to the downtown core.  Mayor Sam Teresi says the city will be seeking the largest grant possible -- 500-thousand dollars -- from the state's RESTORE-New York Program... for the project.  The city council will vote on applying for the funding at next Monday night's voting session.

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WJTN News Headlines

 

An EF 1 Tornado touched down in Warren County, Pennsylvania Saturday.  The Warren Times Observer reports that the Tornado touched down sometime between 6:35 and 6:45pm in Scandia.  The National Weather Service confirmed the twister had a width of 40 yards and a path of two miles.  There were reports of three different funnel clouds Saturday, but this was the only one that touched down according to Todd Lake, head of Warren County Emergency Management. There were no injuries or signifcant damage beyond some downed tree limbs and damage to some outbuildings.

 

"Smart Growth" and Sustainable Economic Development were the focus of a recent conference hosted by Governor Andrew Cuomo in Buffalo.  Mayor Sam Teresi was among the presenters at the one-day event to talk about what's been done in Jamestown... and, the city's winning application for a 10-million dollar Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant.  Teresi says the main focus of this program was "Smart Growth..." and, locating development where the infrastructure is already available. Teresi says the featured speaker was former Maryland Governor Parris Glendenning... who is considered the "father of Smart Growth."  He says Glendenning used the basics of Smart and Sustainable growth to help boost Maryland's cities.  As for Teresi... he spoke about some of Jamestown's recent projects using existing structures, and their application for the 10-million dollar state award.  Late last week... Teresi told us that the state had selected H-R-and-A Consultants of New York City to work with the city... and, put final plans together for 5-to-8 projects that'll benefit from the award.  He made his comments on this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the Media One Group stations.

 

The Jamestown 'Fall Festival of Bands' had to move inside because of weather Saturday night.  Instead of marching on Strider Field... the seven bands stood and performed inside the fieldhouse at Jefferson School.  The director of the JHS band, Meghan Murray, said it went as well as it could. As for the two-time state champion Jamestown band, Murray says the young people know the challenge they are up against... having moved to the top 'National Division' in the field band conference. No scores are given for an indoor show... just descriptive comments.  Jamestown was rated 'outstanding'.  Falconer was rated 'excellent'. 

 

New York regulators say they're requiring a full environmental review of permits that allowed fuel transporters to turn Albany into a major hub for crude oil rail shipments from North Dakota to East Coast refineries.  The Department of Environmental Conservation says Friday it will require Waltham, Massachusetts-based Global Partners to restart its environmental review process given significant new information about benzene air emissions and the hazards of crude oil transport.  Environmental groups that have harshly criticized DEC's quiet approval of the company's original application in 2012 without public hearings hailed Friday's action as a victory.  The action comes a month after the Environmental Protection Agency accused the company of violating air pollution standards at the Port of Albany.  Global said it was in compliance with standards.

 

Work will begin soon on a parking lot repair project at the Chautauqua-Jamestown Airport just north of Jamestown.  The project was given a recent boost by U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand... who late last week made official a 745-thousand dollar grant for the project.  County Executive Vince Horrigan says the parking lot has fallen into disrepair... and, is badly in need of the work.  Horrigan says the contracts will be finalized shortly, and hopefully the project will be done before Winter begins.  He expressed his appreciation to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for their efforts.  In addition to the funding for the Chautauqua County project... the Senators also announced 150-thousand dollars for the Cattaraugus County Airport in Olean.  Schumer and Gillibrand say that will receive 150-thousand dollars to buy new snow removal equipment in preparation for the winter season.

 

A Ripley man faces a criminal possession of a weapon charge after he was allegedly found with a switchblade in his possesion during a fight in the village last week.  Sheriff's officers and Westfield Police were called to the scene on South State Street about 5:30 PM Tuesday.  Deputies say they interviewed 21 year-old Brandon Murphy... who was allegedly found with the switchblade-style knife.  Murphy was issued an appearance ticket for Ripley Town Court at a later date.

 

U-S Senator Bernie Sanders says a fellow liberal champion in New York is running in one of the most important congressional races in the country.  The independent senator from Vermont is speaking at a rally for Democrat Zephyr Teachout on Friday in New Paltz.  Teachout is running against Republican John Faso in a high-profile race for the open swing seat.  Sanders has continued to support selected Democrats since ending his presidential bid.  Teachout became a liberal standard bearer during her surprisingly strong 2014 primary challenge to Governor Andrew Cuomo's re-election bid.  The Vermont native appeared at Chautauqua this Summer.  Faso served in the state Assembly for 16 years and became the chamber's minority leader.

 

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate rose again last month, and it now lags the national unemployment rate by the widest gap in more than three decades.  The state Department of Labor and Industry said late last Friday that Pennsylvania's jobless rate rose to 5.7 percent in August.  That's the fifth monthly increase in the last six months.  The national rate was 4.9 percent in August.  Pennsylvania's rate hasn't lagged the national rate by a bigger gap since 1981.  Meanwhile, a survey of employers found that seasonally adjusted non-farm payrolls slid by about 900 jobs in August, remaining below 5.9 million and March's record high.

 

 

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News Headlines for Sat., Sept. 17, 2016

Rain forecast for the weekend should help ease ongoing drought situation in parts of Chautauqua County...
The weather forecast for today should help parts of Chautauqua County that  remain under "moderate" drought conditions.  The latest U-S 'Drought Monitor' report from the federal government says that's still the case in the north county.  Forecaster Aaron Reynolds with the National Weather Service in Buffalo says the rainfall deficit has improved... but, the level of streams and creeks remain low.  Reynolds says the situation's been compounded by a lack of snowfall last Winter, and lack of rain this Summer.  He says there is more rainfall in the forecast for today... and, that should help in the short term.  However... it will take months for the area to get out of the drought.  After this weekend's expected rainfall... Reynolds says temperatures will warm up again next week.  It will reach close to 80 by next Thursday, the first day of fall.
 
Chautauqua County Airport near Jamestown to officially receive federal aid for parking lot project...
U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand made it official Friday... more than $896,000 in federal funding is on the way for two Western New York regional airports -- including one in Chautauqua County.  County Executive Vince Horrigan says the County Legislature recently took action on accepting $745,000 in funding for completing work on the Jamestown Airport parking lot... which has fallen into disrepair.  Horrigan says it's part of their five-year plan that's been in the hands of the FAA.  He adds the project will take place this Fall.  The Cattaraugus County Airport in Olean will receive $150,000 to purchase snow removal equipment in preparation for the winter season.
 
 
Teresi says New York City consulting firm hired to help drive projects to be part of $10-million Downtown Revitalization Initiative program "over the goal-line..."
The outside consultant that will help shepard the city of Jamestown through some 5 to 8 economic development projects to completion has been named by the state.  It's part of the initial process for using the $10-million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant awarded by the state for each of the 10 Regional Economic Development Zones.  Mayor Sam Teresi says the national consulting firm H-R-and-A of New York City has been selected to do the work using $300,000 of the funding.  Teresi says the state is "very involved" in the process,  He says H-R-and-A will work with the city and New York state to put together a "well-crafted, interconnected program" of activities using the remaining $9.7-million in funding.   He says there are basically three areas of development the funding can go for.  Those include infrastructure upgrades in support of development... plugging financing gaps on such projects... or, for public or not-for-profit initiatives... such as the National Comedy Center.  Teresi made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the five Media One Group stations.
 
 
State Unemployment rate up slightly in August...
New York's private sector unemployment rate edged up slightly in August to 4.8 percent from 4.7 percent a month earlier.  The state Department of Labor says that compares to a national rate of 4.9 percent.  After steadily gaining jobs since the recession, the state's private sector lost 12,400 jobs in August.  The department says the fastest growth in jobs over the past over the past year has been in Kingston, Dutchess and Putnam counties, the Watertown/Fort Drum area, New York City and Ithaca. 
 
 
Police looking for thief or thieves involved in break-in at Sherman Town Court-Offices...
A reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons involved in the theft of a large safe from the Sherman Town Court, and town offices.  Sheriff's officers say the break-in at 111 Mill Street occured back on April 15... at about 12 Midnight.  Deputies say the safe contained a small amount of cash.  However... officials say -- more importantly -- it contained extremely important town records... particularly the cemetery records.  Officers say it's extremely important that these cemetery records are recovered.  If you have any information on this burglary... you are asked to call the We Tip-line at 1-800-78-CRIME... that's 1-800-782-7463... or contact Investigator Boland directly at 753-4925.  In addition to the potential "We Tip" reward money of up to one-thousand dollars... additional reward money may be available.
 
 
Batman Day being celebrated at Chautauqua Comics...
It's "Batman Day" today across the nation... and, locally, Chautauqua Comics in Jamestown is celebrating!  Owner Al Steffans says there will be store specials, contests and some special guests... including Batman and the Riddler.  Steffans says there will be extra incentive for visitors to the store that come dressed as their favorite Batman Character.  He adds a winner will be announced through a Facebook Contest on the store’s page.  The winner will receive a $50 gift card, or a free graphic novel.  Steffans says Batman Day started in 2014 when D-C comics celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the character.  In the spirit of the day... he says everyone that visits Chautauqua Comics will get a free "rebirth" issue Batman Comic Book.  Steffans adds that everyone will get a chance to be a hero as donations will be collected for St. Susan’s Soup Kitchen.  Anyone who donates $1 or more will be able to spin the prize wheel.  The Batman Day Celebration runs until 8 p.m. Saturday at Chautauqua Comics.
 
 
 
 

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WJTN News Headlines

The old, historic Amphitheater at Chautauqua Institution came down faster than expected late yesterday after what was left of the structure threatened to crash into what holds the Massey Organ.  That from Chautauqua's Chief Spokesman, George Murphy, who says crews had fully disconnected the Amp from the Organ.  Murphy adds they had begun taking down the perimeter roof about 4 o'clock... but, construction supervisors became concerned... and, decided to push what was left to the west towards the old bleachers. A group of artists staying at the nearby Methodist House witnessed the Amphitheater come down.  East Aurora's Donna Brott says the crews did "masterful" work... bringing down what was left "within minutes."  We reported last night that crews had been working double-shifts to expedite removal of the Amp so work  can begin on the new structure.  Chautauqua officials hope to have a certificate of occupancy for the new structure by mid-May of next year.

 

State Police say an Indiana man has died after his pickup truck was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer on the state Thruway in Chautauqua County... closing an eastbound section of the highway for several hours.  Troopers with Troop "T" say the crash occurred around 3:30 AM Wednesday on Interstate 90 between Exit 59 and Exit 58 in the town of Sheridan.  Police say a tractor-trailer rear ended 81-year-old Rush Addair's pickup, causing it to overturn.  The Indianapolis man was ejected from his vehicle.  He was pronounced dead at the scene.  A 21-year-old Indianapolis woman riding with him suffered minor injuries.  Police say a 41-year-old Canadian man driving the tractor-trailer wasn't injured.  Troopers say the crash remains under investigation.  The eastbound lanes were closed until nearly 9 AM Wednesday.

 

Local Republican Party chairmen in New York have picked a replacement to fill a position formerly held by a GOP lawmaker who won his primary election Tuesday, days after killing himself. GOP chairmen from Monroe, Livingston and Steuben counties Wednesday selected former state Assemblyman Joseph Errigo. Errigo will replace the late Bill Nojay on the Nov. 8 ballot in the Republican-leaning 133rd Assembly District, which represents parts of suburban Rochester and the Finger Lakes region.

 

State and federal officials are meeting this week to get more information to help farmer's take advantage of the recent Drought Disaster Declaration in most of Western New York.  The U-S Department of Agriculture last August 30th designated 15 counties in the state as "primary natural disaster areas" due to crop losses from this year's drought conditions.  Chautauqua County is eligible because it's next to Erie County... which was one of the 15 counties initially named.  Local Congressman Tom Reed says representatives from his office are part of a roundtable with Central New York state Senator Tom O'Mara. Reed says he's heard from several farmers across his 23rd Congressional District about their plight.  He says the US Department of Agriculture has told him that farmers and ranchers are eligible if they can prove at least a 30-percent crop loss.  Reed says... if any farmers or agri-businesses impacted by the drought this Summer want to contact his office... by all means do so.  He made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with area media.

 

New York state regulators have proposed new cybersecurity requirements for banks and insurers intended to protect them and consumers.  The Department of Financial Services' proposal, subject to public comment, would require financial institutions to adopt written policies and designate individual security officers responsible for implementing and enforcing them next year.  The regulations are intended to ensure security of computer systems and non-public information, including data accessible or held by third parties.  The department surveyed more than 150 banks and 43 insurers and began conducting risk assessments of financial institutions last year, concluding "robust regulation" is needed.  Key areas including access controls, customer privacy, data governance, incident responses and disaster recovery planning.  Managing third-party providers would require multifactor identity authentication, data encryption, loss indemnification, warranties, incident notices and audits.

 

The United Way of Southern Chautauqua County's 2016 General Campaign is off to a "very strong" start... led by 181-thousand dollars raised by the Pacesetter's Campaign.  That from Campaign Co-Chairs Paul and Anne Hedin... as the effort kicked-off at the Jamestown Boys and Girls Club late Wednesday afternoon.  Paul Hedin says their goal is 1.3-million dollars to help the community through four key objectives. Hedin says the people here "work hard, and help hard..." and, that's making a difference in people's lives through the United Way.  Anne Hedin says their quick start is a credit to the collective efforts of the Pacesetter's, individual and Leadership Circle donors, and Foundation partners.  Pledge cards will be sent out shortly... and, Paul Hedin says United Way staff and volunteers will be available to make presentations in local workplaces to let people know about the campaign.  He says you can call the United Way at 483-1561 to learn more about having a presentation done.  You can also learn more by going on-line to UWayscc-dot-ORG.

 

The Fisher-Price Little People and Care Bears will square off against Rock `Em Sock `Em Robots and Transformers for a place in the National Toy Hall of Fame.  Whether any or all make it will be announced November 10th.  Twelve finalists for the Class of 2016 were revealed late Tuesday by the hall at The Strong museum in Rochester, New York.  Also making the list: Nerf, the board game Clue, card game Uno, pinball, the swing, Dungeons & Dragons and coloring books.  Rounding out the list is bubble wrap, which could join the cardboard box and stick among unconventional honorees.  To be recognized by the hall, toys must have lasted across generations, influenced the way toys are designed or played with, and fostered learning or creativity through play.


  

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News Update for Wed., Sept. 14, 2016

Police investigating fatal State Thruway crash in town of Sheridan...
The New York State Thruway has re-opened after a fatal crash had forced the closing of the east bound lanes between Exits 59 and 58 in the north county.  Officials say the crash occurred around 3:30 this (Wednesday) morning near milepost marker 462.2 in the town of Sheridan.  State Police Troop "T" is handling the investigation and an accident reconstruction team was sent to the scene.
 
 
 

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News Headlines for Tues., Sept. 13, 2016

It's Primary Day in Chautauqua County, and New York state...
It's Primary Day across New York state and Chautauqua County with one major party race taking place today locally.  That from County Republican Election's Commissioner Brian Abram... who says polls open today at Noon... and, voting runs until 9 p.m. Abram says the local GOP will decide on their Family Court Judge candidate for November 8th between endorsed candidate Michael Sullivan of Fredonia, and Sherry Bjork of Busti.  The winner will face Democrat Sally Jaroszynski... who is also facing Mike Sullivan in a Reform Party Primary today.  That's a minor party with only 24 members county-wide.  Abram adds that the Reform Party has a couple of other votes today... those are for state Assembly, and Senate.  He says there are 51 polling places across Chautauqua County.  Sample ballots are available to view at Votechautauqua.com.
 
 
Fatal accident investigation leads to charges against driver of one of the vehicle's involved...
A Lakewood man is now jailed on a number of charges following a fatal car accident earlier this month at the intersection of Route 380 and Sinclair Drive.  Sheriff's officers say 29 year-old Jude Gagliano was arrested on a warrant issued out of Ripley Town Court on charges stemming from the September 2nd accident that took the life of 22 year old Charles Clutter of Stockton.  Gagliano is charged with second-degree Vehicular Manslaughter, Driving while intoxicated, and failure to stop at a stop sign.  Gagliano was arraigned in the Ellery Town Court... and, sent to the County Jail without bail. 
 
 
Gerace says suspect in attempted murder of Sheriff's officer faces major charges...
A Cheektowaga man is facing charges of first-degree attempted murder of an officer and assault after he allegedly tried to kill a Chautauqua County Sheriff's deputy.  Sheriff Joe Gerace says the incident occurred when the unidentified deputy responded to a property damage crash on Route 60... north of Cassadaga... about 3:30 a.m.   Gerace says the driver, 21-year-old Justin Haffa was likely under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  The deputy attempted to do field sobriety tests... but, Haffa resisted, and Haffa allegedly wrestled with the deputy, pinning the officer to the ground... and, tried to kill the deputy with a knife.  Gerace says the officer then fired her gun, but Haffa wrestled it away and fled the scene.  He was later found on Putnum Road in the town of Town of Stockton.
 
 
Swanson says Haffa jailed without bail pending Thursday hearing...
The Cheektowaga man who allegedly tried to kill that Sheriff's deputy early Sunday was immediately sent to the county jail without bail.  Acting Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson says that Justin Haffa was arraigned in Pomfret Town Court, and sent to the County Jail without bail.  Swanson says the attempted murder charge is an A-1 Felony, and local courts cannot set bail for those kinds of offenses.  The female deputy was treated at a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries and later released. 
 
 
Jamestown man arrested for allegedly stabbing another man...
A Jamestown man had to be taken to WCA Hospital for treatment after he was stabbed on the city's southside early Monday morning.  Jamestown police were called to a home just after 1 a.m., and, found the male victim standing in the kitchen of the residence.  Emergency Medical personnel were called to the scene to treat the victim for a stab wound to the chest.  Police say they arrested the alleged suspect, 56 year-old Robert Gifford, in the living room.  Gifford was charged with first-degree assault, and taken to the city jail pending arraignment.  The victim was taken to WCA Hospital for treatment. 
 
 
City man arrested for criminal mischief...
A city man is under arrest for allegedly being involved in an alleged fight... and, for throwing an item through a glass window.  Jamestown police say officers were called to the scene at 170 Baker Street just after 9 a.m. Monday... and, their investigation showed that 28 year-old Shane Kalb had allegedly thrown the item through the window.  In addition... police say Kalb began yelling obscenities towards other people in that neighborhood.  Kalb was taken into custody for fourth-degree criminal mischief... and, unnecessary noise.
 

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WJTN News Headlines

 

A single-car crash in the town of Poland Thursday led police to a Sinclairville man who was allegedly making Methamphetime... and, trying to hide it in his vehicle.  Sheriff's officers say they were called to the scene of the accident on Route 394 -- near the intersection with Cross Street -- in Kennedy about 5:30 PM.  Deputies say they found the driver, 24 year-old Jonah Warner of Route 380 with minor injuries.  He was taken to WCA Hospital for treatment.  However... the subsequent investigation revealed that Warner was in possession of the precursors for making Meth... and, tried to hide the evidence prior to officers' arrival.  He was arraigned on several charges including second and third-degree unlawfully manufacturing Methamphetime... speeding... and, for having an uninspected vehicle.  Warner was then sent to the county jail without bail.

 

WCA Hospital has filed plans with the state Department of Health for a 23-million expansion that includes a new operating room and new inpatient psychiatric care facilities.  Business First of Buffalo is reporting that the hospital filed it's plans on September 2nd... putting to rest -- quote -- "worries about diluted care or diminished services that might follow a merger with Pennsylvania’s largest health system."  The merger process began earlier this year with the 12-billion dollar University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.  WCA is planning a two-story addition above it's emergency department to expand its maternity department and inpatient psychiatric units.  The plans include the relocation of labor and delivery, post-partum, nursery and an operating room to the new third floor space.  In additon... the fourth floor space will house inpatient psychiatric care for both adolescents and adults.  Funding for the project will come from a 26.4-million grant from the state Health Department to support sustainability efforts and infrastructure improvements.  WCA President and Chief Executive Officer Betsy Wright has been in meetings and is unavailable for comment at this time.

 

Thursday was the 10th year anniversary of the conclusion to the biggest manhunt in New York State history -- up to that time.  That was the night that police from New York and Pennsylvania found and captured fugitive Ralph "Bucky" Phillips of Stockton.  The 43 year-old Phillips had escaped in early April of 2006 from the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden.  While on the run... he was accused of shooting and killing State Trooper Joseph Longobardo in Chautauqua County... and, wounding two others.  New York State Police Superintendent Wayne Bennett brought in more resources, and troopers... and, the intensified search paid off. A person near Akley, Pennsylvania earlier in the day apparently spotted someone stealing their car... which then led police on a chase into New York state.  The driver got away after getting out of the vehicle.  Police then focused on the area of the state border near Frewsburg, and Pine Grove Township in Pennsylvania.  Once captured... Phillips was turned over to New York state authorities... then taken to Buffalo for arraignment in U-S District Court.  He faced a slew of charges -- first in the Elmira area -- then Chautauqua County.  Phillips later pleaded guilty, and his now serving a life sentence.

 

If there was one major lesson learned from the 2006 Ralph "Bucky" Phillips Manhunt in Chautauqua County... it was the need for all law enforcement agencies involved to communicate with each other.  That from Sheriff Joe Gerace... who was critical of the way State Police, who headed up the search for Phillips, communicated.  Or... maybe that should be didn't communicate.  Gerace says once Wayne Bennett came to the scene... the situation improved. Gerace's department provided ground and air support during the search.  Following Phillips' escape in Erie County earlier in the year... he became kind of a "folk-hero" to some in Chautauqua County as he continued to elude police.  In fact... Gerace says the search was a "cat and mouse" game to Phillips... who even taunted police at times.  He says this was not "typical" behavior for an escapee.  However... Gerace says that game turned deadly serious when the trooper was shot and wounded during a roadblock in the Elmira area.  It became even moreso when Longobardo and another trooper were critically wounded... and, Longobardo later died.  Gerace says inter-agency cooperation was used in this past year's manhunt for two convicted killers who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora.

 

Three Amish residents are being treated at an Erie, Pennsylvania hospital after their out of control horse and buggy crashed Thursday morning in the Clymer-area.  Sheriff's officers say the buggy was traveling on the Clymer-Sherman Road just before 8 AM when the horse was "spooked" by a passing vehicle.  Deputies say the horse ran out of control off the roadway... when it became separated from the buggy.  Officers say the buggy rolled over... injuring the three riders.  They were all take to the UPMC Hamot Medical Center for treatment.  The Sheriff's Office is reminding motorists to use caution... and, reduce speeds when approaching and overtaking horses and buggies on the roadways.

 

For the fourth time in it's history... the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation has presented its annual John D. Hamilton Community Service Award to a Jamestown-area couple.  The 24th award was presented to Peter and Holly Sullivan of Bemus Point during a reception held last night at Moon Brook Country Club.  Foundation Executive Director Randy Sweeney says Peter grew up in Jamestown... and, Holly in Berea, Ohio... but, adds their parents instilled in them both the importance of doing good for others. Peter and Holly met while they were students at the University of Miami in Ohio... and, began dating.  They returned to the Chautauqua region in the early 1970s... and, began their own community involvement.  Sweeney says they were involved in a number of organizations... from the United Way to Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Comedy Center.... and, the Jamestown YMCA.  Peter Sullivan says they are "very proud to receive this award.  To be recognized as a couple is so special to us.  We will never forget it."  More than 200 people attended last night's event.

 

Health officials say they've identified the first person in Pennsylvania to have been infected with the Zika virus through sex.  Health Secretary Karen Murphy said late Thursday a state resident contracted the disease while traveling in an unspecified area where the virus is being transmitted.  That person then infected his or her partner when they had sex.

 


  

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News Headlines for Thurs., Sept. 8, 2016

Thursday is 10th anniversary of the capture of Ralph "Bucky" Phillips...
Today is the 10th year anniversary of the conclusion to the biggest manhunt in New York State history -- up to that time.  That was the night that police from New York and Pennsylvania found and captured fugitive Ralph "Bucky" Phillips of Stockton.  The 43 year-old Phillips had escaped in early April of 2006 from the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden.  While on the run... he was accused of shooting and killing State Trooper Joseph Longobardo in Chautauqua County... and, wounding two others.  New York State Police Superintendent Wayne Bennett brought in more resources, and troopers... and, the intensified search with about 200 state troopers paid off.  Bennett says police were on "the same page" in finally flushing Phillips out and capturing him.  A person near Akley, Pennsylvania earlier in the day apparently spotted someone stealing their car... which then led police on a chase into New York state.  The driver got away after getting out of the vehicle.  Police then focused on the area of the state border near Frewsburg, and Pine Grove Township in Pennsylvania.  Once captured... Phillips was turned over to New York state authorities... then taken to Buffalo for arraignment in U-S District Court.  He faced a slew of charges -- first in the Elmira area -- then Chautauqua County.  Phillips later pleaded guilty, and his now serving a life sentence.  More on this story later.
 
 
Horrigan says he's "fine-tuning" the proposed budget he'll present in late September....
County Executive Vince Horrigan says he's close to having his tentative 2017 budget ready to present to the legislature at the end of this month.  Horrigan says he has now reviewed the spending plans for all department heads... and, is fine-tuning the budget this week.  He says he's not ready to reveal details yet... but, does say it's part of an overall, five-year spending plan.  Horrigan says he's looking at a few more areas that could save taxpayers some money.  He congratulated his department heads for their hard work on their spending plans... which he says gave him a good base to work from.  Horrigan will present the spending plan at the county legislature's meeting on Wednesday, September 28th.  He made his comments on this week's "Community Spotlight" program.
 
 
Jamestown man arrested for assault of woman on eastide...
A city man is jailed for allegedly punching a woman in the face several times early yesterday morning at a home on Jamestown's eastside.  City police say officers were called to the scene at 222 Winsor St. about 1:40 a.m. for a reported assault.  Police say they found the female victim on arrival... and, she told them she had been hit several times by 47 year-old Raymond Finch III for no apparent reason.  Officers say the victim was taken to WCA Hospital for treatment of facial injuries.  Finch was arrested for third-degree assault... and, taken to the city jail pending arraignment.
 
 
Mains says JPS UPK to now include some 3 year-olds...
Early childhood education is taking on new meaning in the Jamestown Public School district this year... as seven classrooms -- two in district schools -- will work with 3 year-old students this year.  School Superintendent Tim Mains says it's part of an effort to add a year of Universal Pre-K for young students who could use an extra year of learning.  Mains calls it a good way to start acquainting children with the basics... such as learning their letters, sounds and colors to help "them function well in school."  Mains says... since it's a "brand new program..." they've limited it to just the two classrooms in district schools.  Five others they fund at other early learning centers are also part of the initiative.  He says there are between 25 and 30 students involved.  If the program proves successful... Mains says the school administration may consider expanding it in the future.
 
 
Three hurt when Amish Buggy goes out of control on Clymer-Sherman Road...
Three Amish residents are being treated at an Erie, Pennsylvania hospital after their out of control horse and buggy crashed Thursday morning in the Clymer-area.  Sheriff's officers say the buggy was traveling on the Clymer-Sherman Road just before 8 a.m. when the horse was "spooked" by a passing vehicle.  Deputies say the horse ran out of control off the roadway... when it became separated from the buggy.  Officers say the buggy rolled over... injuring the three riders.  They were all take to the UPMC Hamot Medical Center for treatment.  The Sheriff's Office is reminding motorists to use caution... and, reduce speeds when approaching and overtaking horses and buggies on the roadways.
 
 
Jamestown-area gas prices trending upward...
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area have been moving upward over the past week.  That from the AAA's Fuel Gauge Report... which says the price is now just over $2.38 a gallon.  AAA says regular, unleaded gas last year at this time was about $2.71 a gallon.  The Fuel Gauge adds that the national average price is now $2.20 per gallon... a figure that's dropped for the past six days.  Generally... gas prices started turning lower heading into the Labor Day weekend, which marks the unofficial end to the summer driving season.  The Fuel Gauge reports that prices rose in the second half of August due to increasing crude oil prices and uncertainty regarding Hurricane Hermine's impact on Gulf Coast refineries. 
 
 

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WJTN News Headlines

 

A Kennedy man escaped serious injury after a coughing spell caused him to pass out... and, his car crashed into a power pole and a tree in the town of Poland.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Route 394 at Stone Road shortly after 2:30 PM Tuesday.  Deputies say the driver, 63 year-old David Johnson, Junior, was eastbound when he started coughing uncontrollably before passing out.  Officers say the vehicle went off the southside of the roadway, and then struck the National Grid pole head-on... shearing if in half.  Deputies say live wires came down, both across the road, and on top of several vehicles parked in a driveway.  Johnson's vehicle then traveled another 100 yards through a lawn before hitting a tree head on.  Officers say Johnson was was wearing his seatbelt saving him from life-threatening injuries.... but, he was taken to WCA Hospital for treatment of a fractured nose.  Route 394 was shut down for several hours while National Grid restored power to about 20 customers.  Officers say charges are pending.

 

It was a smooth opening day of classes for the Jamestown Public School system Tuesday.  That from School Superintendent Tim Mains... who says today will be a full-day of classes after just half-a-day on Tuesday.  Mains says he saw excited students and teachers for the Tuesday's opening.  He reported to the school board last night that he had a chance to check-out what was happening at most of the district's schools. Mains says... other than the fact today will be a full-day in all nine of the district's schools... he reminds all motorists in the city that the speed limit is 20 miles per hour in all school zones.  He says, thankfully, there were no problems with traffic or speeding Tuesday.  He says their buses worked fine... and, student drop-off and pick-ups went off without incident.  Mains adds that today will also be the opening day for the Jamestown District's Universal Pre-K program.  He adds there are also two new classes this year for 3 year-olds in Pre-K.  More on that later today.

 

It's been a relatively smooth start to the new school year in the Southwestern Central School District.  Superintendent Maureen Donahue says they had a full day for all grades Tuesday... and, adds the opening went well. There was a minor glich came with the yellow "schools in session" warning lights signaling the 20-and 30 MPH speed zones for the three schools on the campus.  Donahue says they are aware that those lights have not been working.  However... there is a firm in Toronto they have to work with to get them back operational.  They hope that'll be done before the start of school today.  Donahue says it's not a matter of them simply "flipping a switch" there.


A Jamestown man taking two young children to school Tuesday morning is accused of driving drunk after his car was involved in a property damage accident on the city's westside.  Jamestown police were called to the scene at Washington and West Seventh Streets about 7:45 AM on a report of a car leaving the scene of the crash.  Officers say their investigation revealed that 32 year-old Christopher Troutman was allegedly operating the vhicle in an intoxicated state.  Police say they also found Troutman was taking the kids to school when the accident occured.  He faces two counts of Aggravated DWI with a child under 15 in the car... and, endangering the welfare of a child... along with leaving the scene of a property damage accident... and, DWI.  He was arraigned and sent to the county jail without bail.

 

New York's 2.7 million students head back to school this week... and, -- after teaching -- health and safety will be a big emphasis during the early school year.  That from President Tim Kreamer of the New York State School Board's Association... who says students and teachers can again expect a dozen emergency drills during the new school year.  In addition... Kreamer adds there are more requirements this year. Kreamer adds that four of the drills during the current school year have to be lock-down drills.  He says there is safety training required for teachers and staff that has to be done by September 15th.  Kreamer says the focus will be on violence protection, and mental health disturbances.  He says there are now new issues... including abuse and violence in the home... that kids are bringing to school with them now that teachers have to be ready for.  He adds any possible threats of violence now have to be reported to parents and guardians.  

 

New York's attorney general says his office is investigating Mylan Pharmaceuticals... which has been criticized for steep price increases for its emergency allergy treatment EpiPen.  A-G Eric Schneiderman said Tuesday that a preliminary review shows the company "may have inserted potentially anticompetitive terms" into sales contracts with schools.  EpiPens are used in emergencies to treat severe allergic reactions to insect bites and foods like nuts that can lead to anaphylactic shock.  The price has grown to $608 for a two-pack, up more than 500 percent since 2007.  The drugmaker says it will launch a generic version that will cost $300.  Canonsburg, Pennsylvania-based Mylan N.V. says more than 700,000 free EpiPens have been distributed to over 65,000 schools... and it has dropped a previous purchase restriction for schools that wanted more at discounts.

 

The U-S House of Representatives is back in session... and, Congress is expected to act on a measure that deals with an issue Chautauqua County's representative fully supports.  Local Congressman Tom Reed says plans are for lawmakers to vote sometime this week on the "Survivor's Bill of Rights Act of 2016..." which helps the victims of sexual assault.  Several years ago... one of Reed's nieces was the victim of such an assault... and, this legislation includes some measures he pushed for. Reed adds that the bill also sets national standards for the management of rape kits... and, requires that victims are provided with information about those procedures.  He says victims would also be notified about potential destruction of the kit they used before that occurs.  Reed says the U-S Senate has already overhwhelmingly approved a similar version of the bill.  He says the "Survivor's" bill also calls for developing a working group to improve the processes used to address sexual assault's nationwide.  Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call.

 

The State Fair has ended its 12-day run with the highest attendance total in the annual event's 175-year history.  Governor Cuomo was at the fairgrounds in the Syracuse suburb of Geddes Monday to help state and local officials celebrate the record-breaking year.  By the time the fair ended Monday night.. more than 1.1-million people had visited the fair.  That tops the previous record set in 2001, when just over 1 million attended.  This year's attendance increased by 23 percent over the 2015 State Fair.

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WJTN News Headlines

New York's 2.7 million students and 207,000 teachers go back to work this week.  State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia will greet students at William Hackett Middle School in Albany Tuesday.  Most students in Buffalo also return to class Tuesday, while students in the Syracuse and Rochester districts go back Wednesday.  New York City students have until Thursday to enjoy summer vacation.  Students can still expect a dozen emergency drills during the school year, but now four of them have to be lockdown drills.  Also new is a requirement for periodic lead testing of drinking water in schools. The state will pick up part of the cost.

The new school year begins in earnest for most all school districts in New York state... including the Jamestown Public Schools... which will have a half-day today.  That from School Superintendent Tim Mains... who says the only level not having classes today is Universal Pre-K.  That begins tomorrow.  Mains says there are some new faces... and, new school leaders.  Among them is new Jefferson Middle School Principal Chad Bongiovanni... who replaces Carm Proctor... who has retired.  Bongiovanni also has a new assistant -- Carol Smith. There will also be a new Assistant Principal at Jamestown High School.  That's current Varsity Football Coach, Tom Langworthy.  As for the start of school... Mains says it'll again be 8:20 AM at the elementary schools... 8:05 for the middle schools... and, 8 AM at the high school.  However... today will again be a half-day in Jamestown... with just breakfast being served.  School will be dismissed today at 11:30... and, the first full-day is tomorrow.
In addition... the Southwestern Central Schools begin classes today.  The Falconer School District began last Thursday, and resume today.

New York state is looking to put locally grown foods on the menu in school cafeterias.  Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration has announced that the state plans to award 500-thousand dollars in grants to help schools increase the amount and variety of locally grown fruits, vegetables and other items served to students.  Cuomo calls the idea a ``win-win'' that provides healthy meals to students while helping the state's agricultural industry.  A similar round of grants last year helped 45 districts throughout the state increase their use of local products.

A city man is jailed without bail for allegedly stabbing another person during an argument at a bar in downtown Jamestown.  City Police were called to the scene at the Crescent Inn at 141 Harrison Street about 11:40 PM Saturday... and, found the victim had been stabbed once in the chest.  Officers say they arrested 36 year-old Jared Leroy for Felony second-degree assault.  Leroy was arraigned and sent to the county lock-up pending further court action.

The "Kolors for Kallie" 5-K Run/Walk was another high-light of the fourth-annual "Kallie's Krusade Fundraiser" at the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club Monday. The 5-K Run/Walk... which featured "colored" powder being blown onto participants... was one of the big high-lights to the annual event -- now held on Labor Day Monday.  Kallie Swan's mother, Tara, was pleased with the way the weather turned-out... and, the turn-out for the event... which help's families devastated by Childhood Cancer.  She says putting on these events is "theraputic..." In fact... Swan says they believe there are more families than even they realize who are going through such difficulties... so the funds raised are needed.  Earlier... she gave the count-down to start the annual Motorcycle Dice Run.  There was also "Kallie's Carnival..." which was also held the first year.  She adds "why mess with what works...." Tara Swan says they raised about 15-thousand dollars for the effort last year... and, hoped to come close to that again this year.  Her husband, Shane, says it's the second year in a row the event has been held at the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club.  Kallie Swan died at the age of 3 from a form of childhood Leukemia in May of 2015.

New York has 31 new Environmental Conservation Officers and 17 new Forest Rangers.  The 48 recruits graduated recently from the Department of Environmental Conservation's 20th Basic School for Uniformed Officers.  They'll join the ranks of 268 conservation officers and 119 rangers across the state.  The 27-week program covered conservation law, criminal procedure, vehicle and traffic laws, physical conditioning, wildfire suppression and search and rescue, among other topics.  Environmental Conservation Officers issued more than 22-thousand tickets in 2015.  Their duties range from ticketing unlicensed anglers to conducting surveillance on corporate chemical dumping.  Forest Rangers in 2015 conducted 341 search and rescue missions, extinguished 175 wildfires and issued nearly 3-thousand tickets, many of them for illegal ATV and snowmobile use on state lands.

The efforts of organized labor -- past and present -- were celebrated and recognized during Jamestown's 37th annual Labor Day Festival last Sunday.  The annual George Ritzer Labor Award is given out annually to a member of local labor who helped the movement... and, their community.  This year... it was given posthumously to Dunkirk's Joe Sweeny... who was president of the Dunkirk Teacher's Association for 28 years.  State Assemblyman Andy Goodell says Sweeny helped him move important legislation forward. State Senator Cathy Young says she knew Sweeny for 18 years... and, said his passing last May was a "big loss" because he was such a strong voice for teachers.  But... most of all... she says he was a strong advocate for children and their education.  The Jamestown-Area Central Labor Council presents the Ritzer Award each year... and, President David Wilkinson also recalled Sweeny... who he says always had the right historical perspective for that they were doing.

Reknowned competitive food-eating champion Joey Chestnut successfully defended his title Sunday at the Chicken Wing eating contest in Buffalo.  The Buffalo News reports the 32 year-old Chestnut successfully downed 188 wings in 12-minutes to edge out Gideon Oji (Oh-Jee) by 11 wings.  It's the third straight year Chestnut has won the competition held during Buffalo's annual National Chicken Wing Festival at Coca-Cola Field.  

A Viking ship is heading down the Erie Canal.  The 114-foot-long Draken sailed from Norway to North America this summer.  The hand-built wooden ship has a stunning red sail and a carved dragon figurehead, but they had to be taken down so the craft could pass under bridges over the canal.  The ship is having deck tours at several stops along the canal.  It's scheduled to spend this weekend at Little Falls, New York... and, will arrive at the Hudson Maritime Center in Kingston, New York, this Friday.

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News Headlines for Sun., Sept. 4, 2016

Stockton man killed in two-car crash in town of Ellery...
A Stockton man has been killed in a two-car crash that occured last Friday night in the town of Ellery.  Sheriff's officers say multiple emergency response services were called to the scene at the intersection of Route 380 and Sinclair Drive just after 9 PM.  Few details have been released... but, authorities say drinking and driving may have been a factor.  Deputies say the driver of one of the vehicles... 22 year-old Charles Clutter... was pronounced dead at the scene.  Officers say the operator of the other vehicle, 29 year-old Jude Gagliano of Lakewood... was flown to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pennsylvania for treatment of non-life theatening injuries.  Details of the crash were not released... but, the investigation is continuing and charges are pending.
 
 
Two people hurt in collision at Route 394--I-86 intersection in North Harmony...
Two people were hurt -- but, not seriously -- when a car pulled in front of another one on Route 394 at the junction with Interstate 86 in the town of North Harmony.  Sheriff's officers say one vehicle... driven by 71 year-old Richard Cole of Jamestown... was northbound about 9:20 a.m. Saturday... when he came upon the westbound off-ramp to I-86.  Deputies say the second car, driven by 71 year-old Kenneth Kellogg, was on the off-ramp... and, pulled in front of Cole's vehicle... and, the vehicles collided.  Officers say Cole was treated at the scene... then taken to WCA Hospital for further treatment.  Deputies say Kellogg was not hurt.  However... his passenger, 71 year-old Diane Kellogg, was also taken to WCA Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.  Kenneth Kellogg was ticketed for failure to yield the right of way.
 
 
Gerace pushing Labor Day Weekend safety...
The last major holiday weekend of the Summer season is underway... and, law enforcement will be out in force to ensure it's a safe one.  That from Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace... who says his department is taking part in the latest STOP DWI Crackdown effort.  Gerace says they'll be looking for both impaired and distracted drivers.  He adds that -- if you have to drive any significant distance -- make sure you're rested.  Gerace says police generally see more crashes during the Labor Day Holiday weekend.... so watch you're speed, also.  Again... the Sheriff emphasizes the need to pay attention to the road... and, not your cell phone... if you are driving.
 
 
Olean couple arrested for allegedly trafficking Heroin laced with Fentanyl...
A Cattaraugus County couple has been arrested for allegedly selling Heroin -- laced with the seditive Fentanyl -- from their home in Olean.  Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say they raided the home at 1558 East State Street... and, found 2-ounces of suspected Heroin.  Task Force members say they also arrested 32 year-old Thomas... and, 28 year-old Andrea Stanczykowski for allegedly selling Heroin to other people last month.  Both were arrested for third-degree Felony criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance... arraigned and jailed pending further court action.
 

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News Headlines for Fri., Sept. 2, 2016

Salamanca teacher from Frewsburg arrested for allegedly pocketing money as part-time chiropractor...
A Frewsburg man has been arrested for allegedly committing heath care fraud and making false statements about his part-time chiropractic practice.  U-S Attorney William Hochul, Jr. says that Leo Kronert, Jr., also known as Lee Kronert... was a full-time teacher at the time at Salamanca High School.  Assistant U-S Attorney Maura O'Donnell says Kronert was also running his chiropractic business... and, billing Medicare and private insurance companies between January of 2011 and December of 2015.  However... O'Donnell says the claims included services allegedly performed on Kronert’s family members... claims for services the defendant did not provide... and, claims for services allegedly provided while the defendant was out of town.  He made an initial appearance in U-S District Court... and, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison... and, a $250,000 fine.
 
 
Clymer man arrested for allegedly threatening people with shot-gun during road rage incident in French Creek...
A Clymer man is jailed on $15,000 cash bail for allegedly causing a two-car crash in the town of French Creek... and, threatening the two people in the other car with a shotgun.  Sheriff's Officers say they were called to the scene of the accident... and, incident... on Marks Corners Road about 8:20 p.m. Wednesday.  They were also told that one person was pointing a gun at another person.  On arrival... they found 34 year-old Nathan Babcock waving and pointing the shot-gun towards the others involved in the accident.  Deputies ordered Babcock to drop the gun... which he did... and, he was arrested without incident.  Futher investigation found he had allegedly caused the accident, and, then got the gun out.  He's accused of hitting the two other men in the face with the gun, and firing one shot in the air.  The other driver... a Corry, Pennsylvania man... ticketed for DWI.  Babcock was arraigned on several assault and menacing charges... and, sent to the county lock-up pending further court action.
 
 
Local leaders breathing easier after Empire State Development takes over state management of Athenex projects...
Local leaders are feeling much better about situation concerning the Athenex project... now that Empire State Development is taking on the state's lead role.  State Senator Cathy Young told us Wednesday that she wanted to see the change, and ESD announced it was doing it late Wednesday afternoon.  County Executive Vince Horrigan tells us he feels it's a good move... and, should help get the project involving the location of a pharmaceutical plant in the town of Dunkirk moving once again.  Horrigan says he spoke with Young and, Athenex officials later Wednesday... and, was updated on the situation.  The Buffalo News reported Wednesday that the company's Chief Executive Officer stated that the projects had stalled with the state.  Horrigan says just two weeks ago, representatives of the County's education coalition visited the QuaDPharma production site in Newstead in Erie County.  He says company executives plan to come to Chautauqua County during the first week of October to tour educational and job training facilities.
 
 
New Lucy statue not missing, but, getting base fixed...
The new statue of comedic legend Lucille Ball in Celoron is not missing.  She's been sent back to Eastern New York sculptor Carolyn Palmer's New Jersey studio so the base can be fixed.  Village Mayor Scot Schrecengost says Palmer initially became concerned after the sculpture was unveiled August 6th with how the bolts were aligned with the holes in the base.  Schrecengost says the 800-pound statue would move if touched, and if a gust of wind blew against it.  He says that's because, during the mounting process, the bolts didn't clear the bolts properly.  He says because of that... the statue was prevented from resting properly on the base.  Some people who went to see the statue Wednesday morning apparently called Ellicott Town Police to report the figure of the Jamestown-area's most famous red-head had been stolen.  However... Schrecengost says Palmer's people had contacted him Tuesday night to say they were going to be arriving early Wednesday morning to take the bronze figure.  He says Palmer will fix the problem... and, the statue will be returned -- more securely -- in a week or week-and-a-half.
 
 
Buffalo-area man sentenced for racketeering...
A former construction union president has been sentenced to three years in prison for his part in what prosecutors say was a 10-year criminal enterprise that used intimidation and violence to secure jobs.  Mark Kirsch was one of 12 people indicted in the case against Operating Engineers Local 17 in 2008.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Lynch says that between 1997 and 2007, leaders and members of the suburban Buffalo-based union sabotaged equipment and attacked nonunion workers at job sites.  Kirsch was one of eight people convicted following a nine-week trial.  The jury acquitted four others.
 
 
 

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News Headlines for Thurs., Sept. 1, 2016

Speakers high-light local observance of International Overdose Awareness Day...
Drug abuse and addiction has turned the United States into a nation "at risk..." and, more needs to be done to stop the epidemic which has led to increasing numbers of overdose deaths.  That from speakers at last night's local observance of International Drug Overdose Awareness Day at the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood.  Kim Carlson is the mother of Alex Foulk, who died of a Heroin overdose last February.  Carlson recounted how Alex was a "normal" All-American kind of kid... who she knew smoked marijuana once in a while.  She adds he hated needles... worked at a state job.  She says she talked with him about drugs, and the fact there was "bad Heroin" in the area at the time, and he assured her that he wasn't taking it.  Carlson started the Alex Foulk Foundation to help those with drug issues get a place to stay... or get to treatment or counseling.  She's also part of the effort to bring long-term transitional housing to the Jamestown-area.  In addition to Carlson... the audience of more than 50 people heard from former Chautauqua County Health Director Dr. Robert Berke... who now practices at Family Health Medical Services... Jamestown Police Chief Harry Snellings... and, Julie Franco with the Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council. 
 
 
Horrigan says he was not aware of any roadblocks regarding Athenex, and is still working with company on workforce matters...
Roadblocks in New York state have reportedly led the head of the anti-Cancer drug maker Athenex to begin looking elsewhere for a corporate headquarters and manufacturing plant.  That from Athenex's Chief Operating Officer Flint Besecker... who tells The Buffalo News that he is "actively talking to someone else, actually, and it's in the U-K."  Besecker is expressing frustration with the pace of constructing the new facilites.  County Executive Vince Horrigan says he is surprised by the report... and, adds that the county has been working with Athenex officials on developing the needed workforce.  Horrigan says education leaders in the county have toured Athenex's current facilities to see how they operate.  The new plant in the town of Dunkirk is expected to employ 900 to 950 workers.  Horrigan adds that the land has now been acquired by the company... and, he says some design work has been done on the new facility... which would be located off Routes 5 and 20. 
 
 
Young responds, and works with Cuomo administration to change state agency involved in the Athenex project...
An area state lawmaker says that a media report about the Athenex projects hitting roadblocks is "disconcerting."  And... that led State Senator Cathy Young to talk with the Cuomo Adminstration about the need to change state oversight of the project.  Late yesterday... Young said that the administration had changed the state agency managing the effort from SUNY Polytechnic to Empire State Development.  Otherwise... Young says everthing else is in place... including $225-million in state funding.  Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas says he did hear back from Cuomo official... who assured him on the state end that the project was moving foward.  Governor Andrew Cuomo traveled to Dunkirk earlier this year to announce the deal... calling it a "game changer."  
 
 
Single-car crash in Sugar Grove, PA area sends two to the hospital...
Two women were hurt -- one seriously -- in a one-car crash on Jackson Run Road in Sugar Grove Township in Warren County, Pennsylvania.  State Police in Warren say the vehicle, driven by 74 year-old Gloria Rieder of Warren, was southbound about 8 p.m. Tuesday when the car went off the side of the road.  Troopers say the vehicle hit several mailboxes... and, continued on -- hitting a tree.  Police say the car overturned onto the driver's side before stopping.  Rieder and her passenger, 82 year-old Adelina Pitner of Sugar Grove, were taken to Warren General Hospital for treatment.  Troopers say Pitner was later transported to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie for further evaluation and treatment.
 
 
Sullivan announces Family Court Judge candidacy, GOP endorsement...
The north county man who is the endorsed Republican candidate for Chautauqua County Family Court Judge says he's got the experience needed for the job.  Fredonia's Mike Sullivan says he has more than 25 years of experience representing children, parents and others in the court.  Sullivan recently received the GOP Committee's nod to run... adding that he will put his "full effort and attention to both adjudication of the cases before me, and work to improve the experience... of everyone in the court."  He also touted his work to help establish a Family Treatment Court in the county the past 12 years.  Sullivan says he knew from his first cases that he had a passion of this kind of work.  He admits there are some bad days... but, adds that when you work hard and address what's in front of you... you can really help make a difference in the life of a child, or a family.  Sullivan has also been rated "Highly Qualified" for election as judge by the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission. 
 
 
Meningitis Vaccine to be given to all 7th and 12th graders in school in NYS...
Starting today... all school students entering the 7th or 12th grades in New York state will be required to be vaccinated against meningitis.  Twenty-seven states already require the vaccine as part of standard immunizations.  Meningitis refers to acute and often life-threatening inflammation of the membranes covering the brain.  More than one-thousand people contract the disease each year in the U.S., with between 10 and 15 percent of them dying from the disease.  Survivors can suffer hearing loss or limb amputation.  Many public health advocates supported the push for the mandate, which lawmakers passed in 2015. 
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 14, 2018

The Chautauqua County District Attorney's Office and not the New York State Attorney General's Office will lead the investigation into Monday's police involved shooting at 76 Liberty Stree...

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