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WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Sept. 23, 2022

Sempolinski discusses wide range of topics -- including GOP "Commitment to America" during chamber breakfast...
He's not running again in November... but, new Southern Tier Congressman Joe Sempolinski says he supports House Republicans on their new "Commitment to America."  House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy rolled out the party's four-part election agenda near Pittsburgh today.  It includes broad ideas for the economy, crime, and social issues.  During a Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Congressional Breakfast near Jamestown this morning... Sempolinski said he feels it's a message that will resonate with people "across the board..." including independents and more moderate Democrats.  Specifically... he says the four-issues are: government accountability... public safety... improving the economy... and, promoting freedom.  The Corning-area Republican says... while he hasn't been in office two-weeks yet... he's been able to get constituent services back up and running.  Sempolinski reiterated that that's one of the most important things Congressional members do because you deal directly with the people, and they need someone to help them.  He says a lot of their constituent cases involve issues with the IRS.  Sempolinski also said he would be supporting fellow Republican Nick Langworthy in the November election.


Chautauqua County Sheriff's Dept. investigators pressing to solve Bindics homicide case...
The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office Unsolved Crimes Unit is looking for the public's help as they continue work on solving the Yolanda Bindics homicide case.  Senior Investigator Tom Di Zinno says investigators are looking for more details about the day of Bindics disappearance in Jamestown on Aug. 10 2004.  Di Zinno says they know that a former boyfriend, Clarence Carte, with whom she had a child, was inside the Kwik Fill store at Washington St. and Fluvannia Ave. -- across the street from where Yolanda worked at the Family Dollar about the time she finished work.  Di Zinno says they are looking for anyone who may have interacted with Carte or Bindics... and, is urging them to call investigators.  If you have any information to share... contact investigators at 716-753-4578 or 753-4579.  You can also email unsolvedchautauqua@sheriff.us.

 
NFG announces a roughly 50% increase in home heating bills this Winter...
Home heating bills will be going up significantly this Winter... as natural gas prices follow the trend of just about every product on the market.  National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation has just released it's Winter heating season forecast... and, the utility is estimating that -- based on the current market prices -- the average residential customer will pay $1,023 to heat their home this Winter.  National Fuel Spokeswoman Karen Merkel says the amount they have to pay for supply his spiked upward... and, that means expect about a 50% increase this November through March.  Merkel says one way to lend more stability to your heating bills is to sign up for their year-long "balanced" or "budget billing" program.  She adds that it's important to have your heating system checked out to make sure it's operating properly... reduce air leaks... and, set thermostats between 65 and 70 degrees during the winter months.


Two Jamestown residents arrested during traffic stop in Sinclairville...
A vehicle stop in the village of Sinclairville just before Midnight Thursday has led to drug charges against a passenger in the vehicle.  Sheriff's officers say they stopped the car on Jamestown Street for no inspection, and non-transparent side windows.  They found the driver, 45 year-old Lisa Tibbetts of Jamestown, was operating with a suspended license.  Deputies ay further investigation found the passenger, 30 year-old Zachary Miller of Jamestown, was in possession of a quantity of methamphetamine.  Miller was arrested for seventh-degree criminal possession Controlled Substance.  Tibbetts was issued citations charging third-degree aggravated unlicensed operator... uninspected motor vehicle, and side windows non-transparent.  Both were released with appearance tickets for Charlotte Town Court.


United Way starts 2022 General Campaign at Lake Lodge...
There's a sense of "excitement" as the 2022 general campaign for the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County gets underway.  The kick-off was held at the YWCA's Lake Lodge in Lakewood last night... with United Way officials, volunteers and others on hand.  Executive Director Amy Rohler says... after dealing with the challenges of the COVID pandemic... she's hoping for a more "normal campaign" this year with most restrictions gone.  However... Rohler says there are some challenges this year... with an "up and down" economy and inflation putting a strain on pocketbooks.  At the same time... she says "we have a generous community" and, she's optimistic they'll make their $1.3-million dollar goal.  The campaign helps fund 42 programs at 29 member agencies... and, the United Way's own programs.  For more information... go on-line to uwayscc.org.


Whitaker says NYS Education Commissioner addresses school superintendent's gathering...
Preparing for future education challenges was the theme of keynote speakers at the state's gathering of local school superintendents near Albany recently.  That from Jamestown Superintendent Kevin Whitaker... who says State Education Commissioner Betty Rosa was one of the keynote speakers... and, she talked about the need to prepare students for thousands of new jobs that haven't yet been created.  Dr. Whitaker says she also talked about serving what are ever-changing communities... and, that they make sure to serve the entire community.  He says there was also discussion about a more pressing problem... filling jobs.  In fact... the Buffalo School Board recently approved a pilot program that would reimburse parents who drive their kids to school due to a severe shortage of bus drivers.  Whitaker says "fortunately..." Jamestown doesn't have that issue. 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Sept. 22, 2022

Fire investigators rule house/vehicle fire near Fredonia was intentionally set... 
Chautauqua County fire investigators have determined that the cause of a blaze on Stone Road in the town of Pomfret was incendiary.  Fredonia firefighters responded to the fire that involved a house and two vehicles around 8:45 p.m. Tuesday.  The Sheriff's Fire Investigation Team was called to the scene to assist in determining the cause and origin of the fire.  The investigation is ongoing. We learned that Fredonia received mutual aid from East Dunkirk, Sheridan and Cassadaga firefighters.  County fire coordinators also assisted.  Crews were at the scene for nearly two hours.  No injuries were reported.


Schmidt says Judge rules to keep some confidentiality among witnesses in case against Rushdie assailant...
The prosecution in the case against the man accusing of stabbing famed Author Salmon Rushdie at Chautauqua Institution last month has been granted a protective order to preserve the confidentiality and limiting access to the identities, and factual witnesses in the case.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt says that was the outcome of a "closed-door" hearing held Wednesday in front of County Court Judge David Foley.  Schmidt says Foley also granted his request for an time extension in providing the defense with discoverable materials under New York’s reformed discovery laws.  He says the judge also directed that disclosures be made within 60 days from Wednesday.  


Sempolinski hosts first telephone conference call as Southern Tier Congressman; discusses first week in office...
Chautauqua County's new member of Congress has "hit the ground running" during his first week in the House of Representatives.  Corning Republican Joe Sempolinski was sworn-in Tuesday, Sept.,13, and, says he's already voted in two-dozen bills.  However... Sempolinski feels the most important part of his short, four-month tenure is getting constituent services back up and running.  He says they have all their satelite offices -- in places like Jamestown -- fully up and running now.  Sempolinski says that was of "paramount importance" to him upon taking office.  He was a Congressional Aide to former Congressman Tom Reed... who prided himself in responding to more than 10,000 constituent cases before he retired.  He's also spent some time in the district... including the solumn duty of attending late Southern Tier Congressman Amo Houghton's memorial service.  Houghton died just before the COVID Pandemic began... but, they could not hold the service until last Saturday.  Sempolinski has fond memories of Houghton because he first met the congressman for the first time as an intern in Houghton's Office.  He made his comments during his first telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media.


Sempolinski to address Chautauqua Co. Chamber Breakfast Friday...
New 23rd District Congressman Joe Sempolinski will make his first appearance since being elected in Chautauqua County this Friday morning.  He'll be speaking at the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce's annual Congressional Breakfast at Moonbrook Country Club... where he'll talk about what he's doing in Washington... and, hear about chamber members prorities.  Sempolinski says the breakfast is a "long-time tradition" in the county... and, adds he's looking to restart another, as well.  That's holding town hall meetings, like his predecessor, Tom Reed died.  He says his staff is in the process of scheduling those for the Fall.  Chamber members typically will bring up issues regarding the economy and economic development... which is something Sempolinski has expressed an interest in pursuing more.  He says this event will be a "great opportunity for listening."  Friday's chamber program at Moonbrook begins at 8:30 a.m. 


Busti Apple Harvest Festival set to go this Sunday...
The 48th annual Busti Apple Harvest Festival will be this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Historical Society Grounds.  One of the founders and organizers of the festival, Judy Schultz, says there'll be all kinds of history to learn... and shopping to do.  Schultz says they'll have more than 20 demonstrators in the demonstration barn... and, 70 to 80 craft vendors out on the grounds.  She says there will also be 11 food trucks on the grounds... and vendors offering all kinds of apple products, including pies, fresh apples, and apple cider.  The grist mill at the center of the grounds will will be running and open for tours.  Schultz says there's a $5 admission for everyone age 12 and over... and, that will be paid at the gate.


Hamburg man indicted by Erie County Grand Jury in rape case...
A town of Hamburg man has been indicted for allegedly raping, kidnapping and holding a victim from Chautauqua County against her will last month.  Erie County District Attorney John Flynn says that 62-year-old Scott Saracina was arraigned Tuesday on an indictment charging him with first degree rape... second degree kidnapping... and first degree unlawful imprisonment.  The charges stem from incident on Aug. 23.


Trump, and adult children begin sued by New York State A.G....
New York state Attorney General Letitia James has sued former President Donald Trump and his company... alleging business fraud involving some of their most prized assets, including properties in Manhattan, Chicago and Washington, D.C.  James' lawsuit, filed Wednesday in state court in New York, is the culmination of the Democrat's three-year civil investigation of Trump and the Trump Organization.  Trump's three eldest children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump, were also named as defendants, along with two longtime company executives, Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney.  A Trump attorney says the lawsuit is ``neither focused on the facts nor the law.''

 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Sept. 21, 2022

City man already under arrest in connection with Aug. shooting now charged with murder...
A Jamestown man has now been formally charged with murder in the fatal, targeted, daylight shooting of another man on Prendergast Avenue last month.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt announced late Tuesday that 22 year-old Kevin Roldan-Pantojas is now accused of shooting 35 year-old Jesus Batista-Perez in the 800-block of Prendergast last Aug. 19.  Schmidt says Pantojas was arraigned Tuesday afternoon on a five-count indictment in County Court by Judge David Foley.  He says Foley set bail at $1-million cash... or $2-million property bond.  Pantojas is charged with second-degree murder... and, second-degree attempted murder for the man wounded during the incident.  Pantojas is also charged with first-degree assault... second-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, tampering with physical evidence.  He was initially arrested with another man on the criminal possession of a weapon charge.  A discovery hearing is to be held in the case on Oct. 24.  Jamestown Police Chief Tim Jackson thanked Schmidt and surrounding police departments that assisted JPD the day of the incident.


Concerns voiced to City Council about ramp safety and security...
A resident of the Hotel Jamestown who uses the Cherry Street Parking Ramp is expressing several safety-related concerns about that ramp.  The man spoke to the City Council during the most recent work session... and told lawmakers that he was threatened by one person, he didn't know, who had been stalking him.  He adds that two teenagers were assaulting another man on the other side of the garage, and he chased them off before reporting it to city police.  In addition... he says the elevator in the Cherry Street Ramp has not been working the past nine-months.  City Public Works Director Jeff Lehman says a new elevator is under construction, and should be up and running in a few weeks.  As for the other safety problems... Police Chief Timothy Jackson says JPD will be patroling those places more often.  He adds that people need to call the police when they see vandalism or other crimes taking place.  The man said most of the problems seem to occur after 7 p.m., after the attendant on duty leaves for the day.


Corry, Pa. man killed in truck-pedestrian accident in western Warren County...
A Corry, Pennsylvania man was struck and killed by a pick-up truck early last Sunday moring in Warren County's Spring Creek Township.  State Police in Corry tell WJET-TV that 36 year-old Curtis Higby was walking along Picidilli Road just after 2 a.m. Sunday when he walked into the path of a Dodge pick-up truck.... and, was struck by the vehicle.  Troopers say Higby was reportedly wearing dark clothing.  The Spring Creek Fire Department rescue unit, and EmergyCare EMS assisted on the scene.  No charges have been filed.


Borrello complains that Hochul still has too much emergency power...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul's emergency COVID-19 powers recently expired... but, a local state lawmaker says he's concerned that she still has too much power.  State Senator George Borrello feels Hochul should have ended the COVID state of emergency much sooner... and, that she still has too much authority... includes States of Emergency for polio, monkeypox, and gun violence.  Borrello also accused several state lawmakers of taking advantage of the COVID emergency... and, not showing up in Albany for legislative meetings.  He says it essentially became a "no show" job for them.  Governor Hochul did not renew the COVID state of emergency... which expired last week.  It gave her expanded authority given to the executive amid the coronavirus pandemic since taking office one year ago.  The COVID state of emergency initially took effect under former Governor Andrew Cuomo on Mar. 3 of 2020.


Jackels to host 5K Run, Walk and Dribble this Saturday...
A unique event is being held at Jamestown's Jackson-Taylor Park this coming weekend to support a program that helps people develop their potential, and achieve success.  The first-ever Jamestown Jackels 5-K Run, Walk and Dribble will be held on Saturday... beginning at 10 a.m.  It's being organized by the Jackels... and, Owner Kayla Crosby... and, the start and finish line will be in the park.  Crosby says it'll cost $20 per person to take part... and, that includes a T-shirt from the event.  She adds that during the 5K... they'll have a first-ever "1-K Dribble" around the park.  Crosby says the first 20 youths that register for that event will get both a basketball and T-shirt.  She says they'll dribble along the paved areas of the park, and the riverwalk.  That's not all... Crosby says the Jackels will hold a free youth-basketball clinic at Park United Methodist Churcy in Sinclairville for 6 to 17 year-olds.  She says proceeds will support their "Integrityfirst" charitable organization based in Jamestown... which owns the Jackels... and, works to foster integrity... motivation... confidence and sportsmanship.  To register or find more information... e-mail Crosby at kayla@jamestownjackels.com.  You can also register at runsignup.com/Race/NY/Jamestown/Jackels5K.


Westfield Memorial Hospital dealing with loss of phone service...
A damaged fiber cable has caused a temporary phone outage at Westfield Memorial Hospital.  Repairs are being made... but, the situation is currently making it impossible for the public to make phone calls, to or from hard lines in parts of the area.  With that... Westfield Memorial has set-up a cell phone number people can use to contact the hospital.  It's 814-397-0661. 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Sept. 20, 2022

Man from Ohio being treated at hospital following Kayak accident on Chautauqua Lake...
An Ohio man is being treated at an Erie, Pennsylvania hospital following a kayaking accident on Chautauqua Lake near the town of Ellery.  Sheriff's officers say they responded to the call shortly after 3 p.m. Monday on a report of an overturned kayak in Maple Springs.  Upon arrival... deputies found 73 year old Paul Maxim of Patskala, Ohio unconscious.  Officers immediately began CPR.... and, were soon assisted by county EMS, Emergency Services, and the Maple Springs Fire Department.  Maxim was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown for treatment... and was later transferred to UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie.


Phone service out, cell phone contact number released for Westfield Hospital...
A damaged fiber cable has caused a temporary phone outage at Westfield Memorial Hospital.  Repairs are being made... but, the situation is currently making it impossible for the public to make phone calls, to or from hard lines in parts of the area.  With that... Westfield Memorial Hospital has set-up a cell phone number people can use to contact the hospital.  The number is 814-397-0661.  The number will serve as the main contact number to the hospital until normal phone operations in the region are restored.


Lucille Ball Little Theater Board Pres. says Fall production cancelled due to unsafe stage conditions...
A recent inspection of the Lucille Ball Little Theater in Jamestown has deemed it's 40 year old stage "unsafe..." and with that... their Fall production of "Young Frankenstein" has been cancelled.  That from Little Theater's Board President Holly Weston... who says they're sad to have to call off the program... but, says safety is a priority.  Weston adds that they've gotten their money's worth out of the current floor... which was only supposed to be good for 20 years.  She says... barring anything unforseen... they should be able to do the replacement work using volunteers... and, they have funding in place for the in-house work.  She says they expect to be open again in time for their Christmas-themed December production of "Elf the Musical..." and, adds auditions will be held this coming weekend at the theater.  Auditions will be held this Fri., Sept. 23 at 6 p.m., Saturday the 24th at 10 a.m., and, Sunday the 25th at 6 p.m.  "Elf the Musical" will open on Fri., Dec. 2... and, weekend performances will continue through Sun., Dec. 11.  For more information... call 483-1095.


Gasoline prices down another 3-cents in Jamestown-area...
The cost for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline in the Jamestown-area has fallen another 3-cents this week.  The AAA East Central's Gas Price Report says the price fell from just under $4 a gallon... to $3.96 this week.  AAA says the demand for crude oil decreased from 8.73-million barrels to 8.49-million last week.  The price per barrel is now $85.  AAA officials add that total domestic gas stocks declined by 1.8-billion barrels to 213-million barrels.  With that... the national average price fell 4-cents a gallon to $3.67 this week.  AAA adds the U.S. is also making the annual transition to Winter blend gasoline.  The national average price has now fallen by $1.34 cents since it's peak in mid-June.


City man arrested following domestic incident...
A Jamestown man accused in a domestic dispute has been arrested after allegedly leading city police on a foot chase that went into the Chadakoin River... and, a wooded area.  Jamestown police were called to a Hopkins Avenue location just before 8:30 Sunday morning... and, were told the suspect was 41 year-old Michael Newman.  Officers say they also knew that Newman was wanted on outstanding Felony warrants.  They began speaking with Newman after arriving at the scene... but, he ran off into the river.  Police finally located Newman inside a nearby building, and arrested him on new charges of second-degree harassment and second-degree obstruction.  He was jailed pending arraignment.


Man arrested for alleged harassment in Ellery...
An Ellery man has been arrested for allegedly harassing a teenager during an incident in the town last Sunday night.  Sheriff's officers were called to a location in the town about 9 p.m. on a harassment complaint.  Deputies say their investigation showed that 42 year-old William Mitchell had harassed the minor earlier in the evening.  Mitchell was located, taken into custody, and charged with second-degree harassment... and, endangering the welfare of a child.  Mitchell was taken to the County Jail pending centralized arraignment. 


Borrello and Goodell named "most talkative" in State Legislature...
Both of Chautauqua County's representatives in the New York State Legislature have been found to be the 'most talkative' on their respective chamber floors since November of 2020.  That's according to a recent analysis by Politico... which found that State Senator George Borrello spoke a total of 76,247 words on the Senate floor during that time.  Assemblyman Andy Goodell spoke 300,372 words on that chamber's floor.  Borrello says he hopes it translates into people's voices being heard in the State Capitol, and he believes it is.  Borrello says their words do make a difference, and cited this year's redrawing of the state's congressional and legislative district maps as an example.  He called it a critical component of the lawsuits that later overturned those maps and had more "fairer one" drawn up.  Borrello adds their 'outspokenness' during floor debates is important because often times, it results in changes to any legislation that eventually passes. 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Sept. 19, 2022

Greenhurst man arrested for causing disturbance among kayakers on Conewango Creek last weekend...
A man from Greenhurst is accused of screaming and causing a disturbance among some kayakers on Conewango Creek last Saturday afternoon.  Sheriff's deputies say officers were waved down by bystanders along the creek in the town of Poland shortly after 3 p.m.  They were told that 49 year-old Steven Walsh had begun causing a disturbance... and, deputies soon after made contact with Walsh... who was uncooperative and threw what appeared to be water on a deputy.  While trying to take him into custody... they say Walsh began resisting arrest.  He was arrested and taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for unrelated medical treatment.  Walsh was arraigned and issued appearance tickets for Carroll Town Court on charges of second-degree harassment... disorderly conduct... and, resisting arrest.


Falconer man arrested following a traffic stop for drug possession... 
A Falconer man faces multiple drug-related charges following a traffic stop on School Street in Randolph last week.  State Police in Jamestown say they pulled over 31 year-old Blaydon Niles last Wednesday for multiple violations... and, when he was producing identification to the trooper... two hydrocodone pills fell from his wallet.  Further investigation showed that Niles did not have a prescription for the Hydrocodone... and, that he was also in possession of methamphetamine... and, that his non-driver ID card had been revoked.  Niles was arrested on charges including two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation.


Sundquist says 2023 budget proposal will have challenges for revenue, but, spending is being helped by retirees moving onto Medicare...
The city of Jamestown is facing a number of challenges in preparing a 2023 budget proposal to be presented early next month.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he's been working on the proposal, along with department heads who have submitted their proposals for the new year.  He says part of the challenge is working with new finance team, including new Comptroller John Sellstrom.  Sundquist says there are two other challenges... including lower sales tax figures.  He says they're watching that to see where their numbers end up, and they aren't receiving the $1-million from the state anymore to boost aid payments.  Sales tax revenues came in lower than projected for the second-quarter as the economy slows because of inflation.  However... Sundquist says the city does have American Rescue Plan Act funding to help.  He adds they've also been helped by a large number of Medicare-eligible retirees agreeing to leave the city's own plan... and going to Medicare.  Sundquist says between 60% to 70% have moved onto the Medicare plan.  The mayor will present his budget... which is expected to total about $35-million-plus dollars... on Oct. 7.  He made his comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" on the six Media One Radio Group stations. 


Hearing adjourned until Wednesday on witness confidentiality in Matar case... 
A hearing will resume this Wednesday into a prosecution motion to preserve witness confidentiality in the case of the New Jersey man who attacked famed Author Salmon Rushdie at Chautauqua Institution.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt says the hearing... in front of Judge David Foley... will resume at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.  Schmidt says "Judge Foley ruled that he would permit Hadi Matar’s attorneys to be present during the hearing subject to a temporary non-disclosure order prohibiting them from sharing witness information with their client."  He adds there is already a gag order in place preventing these disclosures to the public.  Schmidt concluded that he will be ready to proceed on Wednesday.  Matar is accused of attacking Rushdie as he was about to give a lecture at the Amphitheater last Aug. 12.


Borrello to host Farm Tour in district Wednesday and Thursday...
About two dozen New York state legislators will be in Western Southern Tier the next two days for a farm tour that includes Chautauqua County.  State Senator George Borrello is hosting the tour that will run Wednesday and Thursday, with about 25 lawmakers taking part with tours of farms and other agribusiness in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany Counties.  Borrello says past farm tours have been proven to be worthwhile.  The Sunset Bay Republican says it's where he met Queens Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz... who has worked with him to establish -- and now make permanent -- the Nourish-NY food program during the COVID Pandemic.


New Harmony-North Harmony History Center opens...
The ribbon was cut last Saturday morning for the ‘Harmony-North Harmony’ History Center' in Blockville.  The newly enlarged and renovated center is located on the Harmony Historical Society’s grounds.  John Brown is a trustee of the Historical Society, and Harmony Town Supervisor.  He says they are ‘doubly blessed’ to have the new center to be able to celebrate the two town's history.  Harmony and Panama historian, Pam Brown, had advocated for a larger space for research and displays, and says residents responded.  The new Harmony-North Harmony History Center is open on Tuesdays until 4 p.m., and by appointment. 


JHS, F2CS Bands win divisions at Fall Festival of Bands...
The 43rd Fall Festival of Bands at Strider Field in Jamstown last Saturday night was a big success.  A large crowd gathered… in perfect weather conditions… to hear six high school marching bands.  Among them was the JHS marching band.  JHS finished first in the ‘National Class,’ with a score of 75.4... just 1.2 points ahead of the second place band from Lancaster.  The F2CS Blue and Gold Vanguard from Falconer and Frewsburg also competed... and earned a winning score of 64.30 in the ‘Small School 3 Class.’  

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Sept. 16, 2022

City man on Top 10 Wanted List arrested for having loaded handgun at convenience store...
A Jamestown man wanted by city police has been arrested at an eastside convenience store... allegedly with a handgun and drugs in his possession.  City police say members of the third-platoon spotted Jordan Dandridge inside the 7-Eleven at 1011 East Second St. about 4 a.m. today.  Officers say Dandridge is on the JPD Top 10 Most Wanted List.  Police arrested his without incident... and, while searching him... they found a loaded, .38 Special revolver, and a quantity of Fentanyl and crack cocaine.  Officers took Dandridge to the city jail pending arraignment.  Further investigation found that the gun Dandridge had in his possession was stolen out of Union Township, Pennsylvania.  He's charged with second-degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon... third and seventh-degree criminal possession of a Controlled Substance... and, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property... along with the outstanding Felony warrant.


North county man arrested following vehiclel pursuit in Brocton and Portland...
A Dunkirk man has been arrested after allegedly leading Chautauqua County Sheriff's officers on a vehicle chase in the village of Brocton and town of Portland.  Deputies say investigators tried to pull over a green-colored Dodge Challenger for vehicle and traffic violations about 1 p.m. Wednesday on West Main St. in Brocton.  However... after turning on their emergency lights and sirens the driver failed to comply... and, a short pursuit began.  It traveled north on Lake Avenue and struck guardrail at Lake Ave. and South Swede Rd. and continued on South Swede Rd.  South Swede is a dead end... and, the car crashed into a lawn at the end of the road.  The suspect, identified as 31 year-old Brandon Vangiesen, got out and ran towards a brush line.  An investigator positively identified the driver and sole occupant as Vangiesen.  Deputies and a K-9 unit arrived soon after... and, began a search.  However... that was discontinued.  Officers were called to a home on Route 380 in the town of Portland this morning... and, Vangiesen was arrested on several charges... including third-degree unlawfully fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle.... failure to comply with a lawful order... speeding and reckless driving.  He was taken to the county jail pending centralized arraignment.


Dolce pleased with turn-out for Public Safety-Neighborhood Forum...
The organizer of Wednesday night's Public Safety Forum in the city of Jamestown is pleased with the outcome of the session... which had a near capacity crowd.  City Council President Tony Dolce says it shows there's a definate level of public concern over a number of issues... not just gun violence.  About 75 residents turned out for the nearly-two hour long forum at Christ First United Methodist Church.  Dolce says it shows that "people are concerned about public safety issues, housing homeless and neighborhood" issues.  He says there were a couple of items they weren't able to get to because of time.  Gun violence and drug trafficking were a major issue discussed by Jamestown Police officials... and, some members of the public.  There have been 16 shooting incidents scattered around the city so far this year.  All of last year... there were 19.  Dolce says council members and city officials will now take the comments and move forward on addressing them. 


Pair from Jamestown arrested in Gerry for alleged shoplifting...
Two people from Jamestown have been arrested for allegedly shoplifting a number of items from a business on Route 60 in the town of Gerry.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene shortly after Noon Wednesday... and, located 33 year-old Christina Marrero... and, 39 year-old Alex Ruiz inside a vehicle nearby.  Both allegedly had possession of the stolen items.  Both Marrero and Ruiz were charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property... and, petty larceny.  Both were issued appearance tickets for Gerry Town Court.


Sempolinski attends first committee meetings as Congressman...
New Southern Tier Congressman Joe Sempolinski didn't waste any time getting right to work in the House of Representatives... and, attending committee meetings.  The Corning Republican... who replaces the retired Tom Reed... attended his first hearing of the of the Education and Labor Committee Wednesday... and, was at Thursday's meeting where he was appointed to the panel's Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education.  Sempolinski says he's "proud" to be selected to a panel that's dealing with very important issues.  He pointed out that his wife is a teacher, so he has an interest in education. 


Harmony Historical Society to hold open house Saturday...
For the first time in several years... a major event is set for this Saturday at the place long known as the Harmony Historical Society in Blockville.  Past President, Lyn Nagel, says they've used the pandemic shutdown to make major renovations.  Nagle says the main building was essentially gutted, and is now one "open space..." she adds they've also been able to bring new technology in.  During the lengthy closing... volunteers combed through the collection, and some new donations... resulting in many new things to display.  In addition... Nagle says there's now enough room for the North Harmony Historical Society to be housed there as well.   With that... it will now be the Harmony-North Harmony History Center.  The open house Saturday will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Sept. 15, 2022

About 75 residents turn-out for spirited public safety forum in Jamestown...
Topics ranged from dealing with drug traffickers... to recent shootings in the city of Jamestown.  However... how to deal with the homeless issue became a major focus of last night's Public Safety Forum hosted by City Council President Tony Dolce at Christ First United Methodist Church.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist spoke early in the forum about meeting with more than 60 local pastors about the growing problem.  Sundquist says it provided a good look at what churches can offer, and how they might be able to work with local service providers.  He says he's spoken with a number of other mayor's who are seeing similar increases... and, they have all said the best way to deal with the issue is to have the local faith-community work with service providers.  However... one resident... Alfred Perra... who has only lived in Jamestown about two years... expressed concern over the city becoming a "magnet" for the homeless if they get too many "hand-outs" versus "a hand-up."  Others echoed those sentiments... but, one gentleman said he's taken in a friend who is homeless, and is doing what he can to help him get back on his feet.  About 75 residents attending the session at Christ First Church... and, Dolce says more may be scheduled.


Gun violence the other big issue discussed at forum...
The Jamestown Police Department is doing all it can to stem the tide of gun violence in the city... but, the problem is being seen citywide... not just in one or two places.  That from Chief Timothy Jackson... who also made a presentation during last night's forum.  Jackson showed a map of where all the confirmed shootings have occured this year.  He adds it's hard to specifically target any one area... because they've been seen everywhere in the city.  However... Captain Scott Forester... who is JPD's Operations Commander... says -- even with limited manpower -- they have been doing some "saturation patrols..." along with beat patrols, and bike patrols in the warmer weather months. 


Two people from Salamanca arrested on larceny, and attempted larceny charges...
Two Cattaraugus County residents... staying in Jamestown... have been arrested for allegedly stealing items from a car... and, then trying to steal another car.  City Police add that one of the suspects, 26 year-old Deven Redeye of Salamanca, had just been arrested just two-days before for another incident.  Officers say he and the other suspect, 19 year-old Elsie Redeye -- also of Salamanca -- tried to steal items from an unlocked car about Noon Tuesday in the parking lot of a business.  However... they were discovered when one issued a "strange verbal announcement" inside the business.  Shortly after that... it was discovered that some property had been taken from the car, and that the incident was captured on security camera video.  Both were confronted... but, fled.  About 10 p.m. that night... police responded to another business on a report of two people trying to steal a car.  However... the attempt failed... and, police arrested both suspects.  Police say Deven Redeye is charged with sixth-degree conspiracy... and fourth-degree attempted grand larceny.  Elsie Redeye is charged with sixth-degree conspiracy... and, two counts of fourth-degree  grand larceny from the first incident... and, fourth-degree attempted grand larceny for the second incident.  She's also wanted by Salamanca City Police.


Dunkirk police pleased with sentencing for man accused of threatening city officer...
Officials with the Dunkirk Police Department say they're pleased with the sentencing of a Dunkirk man who threatened to stab a city police officer with a large knife last year.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt says 37-year-old Juan Resto, Jr. will serve four-years in state prison and four years post-release supervision for his conviction on first-degree menacing a police officer.  Captain Chris Witkowski says deadly force could have been used during the incident in September 2021, but the officer used a taser. 


Gillibrand urges Biden Admniistration to get farm relief in Inflation Reduction Act to struggling farmers ASAP...
Helping small farmers who have low profit margins needs to be the main focus of small farmer debt relief provisions in the federal Inflation Reduction Act.  That from New York Senator Kirsten Gilllibrand... who says she was pleased about the fact that $3.1-billion of the $5.3-billion dollar Farm program she supported... is part of the recently approved bill.  During a video press conference Wednesday morning... Gillibrand said... while she's pleased the $3.1-billion made it into the final Inflation Reduction Act... but, the money needs to get out the door quickly if many farms are to survive.  She especially wants to see farms making $300,000 or less over five years get the money.  As of 2019... Gillibrand says New York's approximately 30,000 farms held more than $160-million in debt... and, many need relief now to stay afloat due to issues with supply chains, inflation, and crop loss due to weather problems.


Comedy Center receives Betty White artifacts and other items from estate...
The National Comedy Center in Jamestown has now received rare artifacts... wardrobe and awards from the estate of late comedy legend and actress Betty White.  The center made the announcement Wednesday, on the 37th anniversary of the debut of 'The Golden Girls,' the sitcom that White co-starred in for many years.  Executive Director Journey Gunderson says the items will become part of the Center’s permanent archives.  Gunderson says much of the collection, which includes pieces from White’s award-winning work in acclaimed TV comedies 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show,' 'The Golden Girls' and 'Hot in Cleveland,' is now on display at the center. 
  


 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Sept. 14, 2022

City man arrested during westside drug bust...
A Jamestown man has been arrested on drug-related charges following a raid on the city's westside early Tuesday afternoon.  Jamestown Police say members of the city's Metro Drug Task Force executed a search warrant... following a lengthy investigation... at 19 Langford St. just after 1 p.m. with the help of the JPD SWAT Team.  Police say they found three people inside... along with a quantity of Fentanyl... 7-grams of methamphetarmine... three units of Suboxone... scales... packaging materials... cash and an immitation pistol.  Officers arrested 27 year-old John Dahn for third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, one count of second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia.  He was taken to the city jail pending arraignment.  If you have any information on illegal drug activity in the city... call the Jamestown Police confidential Tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477. 


Descendents of Plessy vs. Ferguson case tell Jackson Ctr. audience that historic court case is still relevant...
Descendents on both sides of the 1896 U-S Supreme Court case ‘Plessy versus Ferguson’ spoke Tuesday at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown.  That decision allowing ‘separate but equal’ institutions in the U.S. was reversed in 1954.  However... Keith Plessy says its implications are still felt today in recent U.S Supreme Court cases -- namely the recent ruling on Dobbs where the right to an abortion was struck down.  Plessy believes the makeup of the court that turned back Roe vs. Wade this summer is similar to the court that decided the Plessy case.  Phoebe Ferguson also believes the court was wrong in 1896, and wrong this year in the Dobbs case that turned back abortion rights.  Ferguson says the court has again "skewed the due process rights" -- in this case -- for women.  The pair has formed a foundation called Plessy AND Ferguson.  Their mission is to teach a proper understanding of the 1896 Plessy case and what happened to the country as a result of that decision.


Sempolinski sworn-in as Congress returns to Washington, D.C....
Chautauqua County's new Congressman is in Washington... and, has been sworn-in to serve out the rest of 2022.  Corning Republican Joe Sempolinski was given the oath of office late Tuesday along with fellow representative Pat Ryan from the Mid-Hudson Valley.  During remarks following the ceremony... Sempolinski akcnowledged his family... and, supporters... and, answered the big question he got during the campaign... "why would you run when you would only serve for four-months?"  He replies "It would be an honor to serve for 4-minutes."  Sempolinski says American's choose "who speaks for us."  He adds that this is "a sacred thing..." and, adds that he's ready to begin tackling the main issues being felt by his constituents with rising prices from inflation... and, crime being two of the biggest.  Sempolinski won last month's Special Election over Democrat Max Della Pia to fill the remainder of retired Congressman Tom Reed's term.


Wendel happy to see end of NYS State of Emergency...
Chautauqua County's top elected official says he is glad that Governor Kathy Hochul has allowed the state of emergency for COVID-19 to expire.  It took effect at Midnight this morning.  County Executive P.J. Wendel says the move ends the executive powers that have been in place since pandemic hit in March of 2020.  Wendel says it "shows us that COVID is in our rear-view mirrors..." and it's a move back to common sense.  He says some of the COVID directives were "overreaching."  Meanwhile... he had reaction to a lawsuit filed against the county by the village of Mayville over the village's contaminated water wells.  He was surprised by the legal action... and, don't know much about it yet.  The lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court last week, is seeking $2.5-million from the county.  


City Council Committee approves city's redistricting plan...
There are no significant changes to ward boundries in the city of Jamestown under a final redistricting map approved by the city's reapportionment panel.  The local law establishing the new lines was approved Monday night by the City Council's Public Safety Committee.  It also keeps the number of wards in the city at six.  Public Safety Committee Chairman Brent Sheldon says there were very few changes to Ward-One... which he represents.  Sheldon says Ward-Three had no changes.  He says the biggest change was a large area... including a sparsley populated area of Allen Park... was moved into Ward-Six.  Council President Tony Dolce thanked the committee for it's work over the four-months it was in place.  Dolce discussed changes to his second-ward and Sheldon's first-ward... but, overall says there wasn't "very much shift."  He says the reapportionment panel began with "3 or 4 proposals" to review.  The new map had to also reflect a population loss of about 2-thousand people between 2010 and 2020.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says a local law will be introduced at the Sept. 26 council voting session to begin the final approval process.


MHA receives $500,000 grant...
The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County is receiving a $500,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission for workforce development... and, it's social enterprise program.  MHA officials are planning a special open house celebration on getting the grant next Tuesday, Sept. 20... at their Jamestown facility in the Gateway Center at 31 Water Street at 4 p.m.  The public is invited to attend.  

  

 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Sept. 13, 2022

City Council, Sundquist, further discuss homeless situation...
Jamestown city leaders are talking with everyone... including officials in other cities... that are dealing with a huge increase in the number of homeless people.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who calls this a "new challenge..." because these people are not those who are "typically" homeless.  Sundquist told the City Council at last night's work session that there are usually 25 to 30 people at any one time in the city.  However... he says there are now "encampments" of 50 to 70 people.  Sundquist held a meeting Monday on the matter... and another will be held tonight with local clergy members.  In fact... Sundquist says -- in some of his discussions with other mayors -- they have told him that linking up the "faith-based" community with service providers is one way to deal with the issue.  He adds that city officials are working on a meeting later this month with the Chautauqua County Homeless Coalition about the problem. 


Dolce reminds public of Public Safety Forum this Wednesday; no council meeting next Monday...
A public forum on Jamestown's gun violence and other public safety issues is set for this Wednesday night at Christ First United Methodist Church.  City Council President Tony Dolce is hosting the session... which had been in the works for some time... but, took on added urgency with last months fatal, drive-by shooting on the city's northside.  Dolce reminded lawmakers, and the public during last night's meeting about the forum... which is scheduled for Darrah Hall at Christ First... beginning at 6:30 PM.
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Dolce also informed city lawmakers that there will be no second work session next Monday night because Mayor Sundquist and some other council members cannot be there.  He says he's asked the mayor and department heads to get any additional measures to be acted on at the Sept. 26 voting session to get them in early so council members can get any questions answered. 


Two men arrested for allegedly stealing car last weekend, and one being found with loaded handgun...
Two men were arrested Sunday afternoon after they were found to be in possession of a stolen car in Jamestown... and, the driver had a loaded handgun with him.  City Police say they responded to a report of a stolen car from a local businesses driveway just after 3 p.m. last Sunday... and, say they located the vehicle in the area of North Main and Sixth Streets.  They stopped the car... but, the driver, 30 year-old Nelson Hernandez of Jamestown, immediately got out of the car and began walking away.  Hernandez is accused of disobeying police commands, and he was quickly arrested.  Police say they then found the loaded handgun in Hernandez's possession.  Officers say his passenger, 26 year-old Deven Redeye of Steamburg, was also arrested without incident.  Hernandez was also found to have a valid order of protection against him... and is prohibited from carrying a firearm.  He was being held pending arraignment for second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree criminal contempt... and, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.  Redeye is also charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.


Woman from Sinclairville arrested for menacing with a shotgun...
A Sinclairville woman has now been arrested for allegedly firing a round from a 20-gauge shotgun in the area of a man... and, almost hitting him.  Sheriff's officers were initially called to the scene on Waterman Road in the town of Stockton last Aug. 28, and, investigated.  Deputies Monday afternoon took 19 year-old Kaelyn Hayward of Route 60 into custody for first-degree reckless endangerment... and, second-degree menacing.  Hayward was taken to the county jail for centralized arraignment... and, was issued appearance tickets for Stockton Town Court.


Retired YMCA Director Eckendorf reflects on career...
The retired, long-time director of the Jamestown Area Family YMCA's is reflecting on his 44 years with the local organization.  However... it didn't start out that way.  Mark Eckendorf was on his way to becoming a teacher at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania... when he decided it wasn't for him.  Eckendorft says he had dropped out, and went to work in Erie, Pennsylvania when he got a chance to get together with a friend who was working at the local "Y."  He later finished his degree... and, soon after got a job as Camp Director for the Jamestown Y... and, one of his first tasks was to rehabilitate Camp Onyahsa, which had fallen into disrepair and he thought "what have I gotten myself into?"  Eckendorf retired earlier this year... and, has been replaced by long-time 'Y' employee, John Barber.  Eckendorf recently spoke about his tenure with the YMCA with our Andrew Hill and Russ Diethrick on at broadcast of The Times of Your Life.


Gas prices in Jamestown-area down again... now just under $4 a gallon...
For the first time in several months... the average price for regular, unleaded gasoline in the Jamestown-area is below $4 a gallon.  The AAA East Central's Gas Price Report says the price is now just over $3.99 a gallon... a drop of nine-cents over the past week.  However... it's still about 65-cents higher than the same time last year.  AAA says the lower cost of crude oil remains the big reason for the on-going decline.  The price is now down to $86.79 a barrel.  The national average price for a gallon of gas fell 7-cents in the past week to reach $3.71... a level not seen since the beginning of March. 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Sept. 12, 2022

Two dead, one critically hurt, in single-car crash in Cattaraugus County last Friday night...
Two men are dead... and, a woman is in critical condition... following a one-car accident late last Friday night in the Cattaraugus County town of Yorkshire.  State Police in Machias says the car... driven by 30 year-old Jarrett Kile of Arcade... was northbound on State Rt. 16 about 10:30 p.m. when the crash occured.  Witnesses tell troopers that the vehicle was operating erractically before it went off the road... got airborne... and, slammed into a utility pole.  Police say Kile and his front seat passenger, 33 year-old Willie Boyles of Delevan, were ejected from the vehicle.  Troopers say Kile was pronounced dead at the scene by the Cattaraugus County Coroner and Boyles was rushed to Bertrand Chaffee Hospital in Springville... and, later succumbed to his injuries.  Police say the rear seat passenger, 31 year-old Amber Cosentino of Delevan, was taken to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo where she's in critical condition with multiple injuries.  The investigation is continuing.


One person killed in second, fatal crash in Cattaraugus County last weekend...
One person was killed last Saturday night in a one-car accident on Pigeon Hill Road in the Cattaraugus County town of Freedom.  Sheriff's officers in Little Valley say the driver, who was not identified, was operating the vehicle just after 6 PM when the crash occured.  That person was pronounced dead at the scene.  Deputies say the three passengers in the car were transported to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo for treatment.  Officers say the investigation is continuing.


Resident complaints about deer problem in Jamestown continue; council president looking at new committee...
City lawmakers in Jamestown received more complaints in August about the on-going deer problem in the city.  Barker Street resident Robert Sisley complained about deer destroying several flowers and other plants in his home's garden.  Sisley was unhappy that city council did not approved an earlier committee's recommendations on dealing with the problem.  He says he's got one whole side of his house that has nothing but "stems left..." and, some others were eaten to the ground.  Sisley says city council should have done more homework on the matter and been able to answer any "last minute" questions and concerns before voting on a plan.  Lawmakers themselves have also expressed concerns about the deer population... but, also the idea of harvesting deer through a limited hunt in sparsely populated parts of the city.  Sisley says there are other places in the country that have done that successfully, and lawmakers should further investigate.  City Council President Tony Dolce says they are looking into forming a new committee.


Schmidt clarifies announcement that he'll use another 30 days on evidence discovery in Matar case...
It will take up to 30 more days to process more than 30,000 files of evidence in the case of the man who attacked author Salmon Rushdie on Aug. 12 at Chautauqua Institution.  That from Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt... in a press release last weekend.  The prosecution in the case against the attacker, 24 year-old Hadi Matar of New Jersey, would normally be required to provide evidence under New York's discovery laws within 20 days after a suspect is arraigned.  However... Schmidt has informed County Court Judge David Foley... and, Public Defender Nathanial Barone... that due to the unusually large amount of evidence, he will be taking up to 30 additional days to review and assemble that evidence.  The D-A noted that this is "a matter of right..." and, does not require a motion to the judge to do it.  Schmidt informed the court of his intentions during a discovery conference last Thursday.  Another pre-trial conference is set now set for this Wednesday for Matar.  Rushdie is still recovering from his injuries.


YWCA ‘Reunion’ at Lake Lodge a success...
The Jamestown YWCA used its Lake Lodge in Lakewood for a ‘reunion’ on Sunday.  Executive Director Amanda Gesing says they invited current and former board members, friends, supporters, clients and employees to visit.  Gesing says, with COVID in the rear view mirror, now was a good time to get everyone back together.  Gesing says the YW was ‘stable’ through COVID-19, and is now looking to grow.  One of the emerging program areas is ‘social justice and race equity.'  She says they've hired someone to help lead that program... and, they've promoted another person to be 'mission and impact' director.  The YWCA is also continuing it's well-established childcare and ‘teen education and adolescent motherhood’ programs.  Effective this year, anyone who supports the mission of the YWCA can join... with no membership fee.


Monument for Olympic champion Jenn Suhr unveiled in Fredonia...
A Fredonia native and two-time Olympic medalist who recently retired from athletic competition was honored Saturday afternoon for her career achievements.  Jenn Suhr, along with her husband Rick and members of the Fredonia Olympic Celebration Committee, unveiled a monument in front of a crowd that gathered in Barker Common for the ceremony.  Julie Essek, who heads up the committee, thanked Suhr for her perseverance throughout her career, which included an Olympic gold medal in 2012, an Olympic silver in 2008, and 17 U.S. pole vaulting championships.  Essek says the community congratulates Suhr, and "wished her the best in retirement."  Suhr expressed her appreciation for the support she has received during her career, saying that her fans' support during her times of struggle was more important than when she won her gold medal.

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Sept. 9, 2022

Three arrested in Westfield on drug and weapons charges during raid...
Three north county residents have been arrested for allegedly trafficking drugs, and being found in possession of several guns, during an early morning raid Thursday in the town of Westfield.  Sheriff's deputies say they executed a search warrant at 7617 Felton Road about 6 a.m. following a lengthy investigation.  Sheriff's Department Narcotics and Criminal investigators... along with the department's SWAT assisted in the raid.  Inside the home... they found 1.65 grams of fentanyl... about half-a-gram of ketamine... 65 dosage units of Clonazepam...  scales and drug packaging material... four long guns and $352 cash.  They arrested 28 year-old Alexis Campbell and 34 year-old Mark Baker-ll of the Westfield address for third, fifth, and seventh-degree criminal possession of a Controlled Substance and second-degree criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.  The third person... 37 year-old William Petsch of Brocton... is charged with third, and-fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... second-degree criminal possession of Drug Paraphernalia... and, fourth-degree criminal possession of a Weapon.  All three were taken to the county jail pending centralized arraignment.  If you have any information about illegal drug activity... call the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force Tip line at 800-344-8702.


Whitaker very pleased with opening of school in JPS District...
The Jamestown Public Schools have had a "wonderful" first couple of days of the new school year for students, parents, faculty and staff.  Those are the feelings of School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker... who says he spent part of Tuesday's half-day at one of the district's elementary school... greeting students and parents.  Whitaker says the biggest positive was seeing most everyone's smiles without masks on.  He says everyone also seemed very excited to be back.  Whitaker says the opening was all that he hoped it would be.  The Jamestown Public Schools have strengthened or added staff to help students have a successful school year... both academically... and, psychologically.  Dr. Whitaker adds that being able to have a "normal opening" for the first time in three years was an unexpected pleasure.  The big changes for all school districts in New York state is officials have eliminated the need for "testing to stay" if someone has been exposed to someone with COVID... and, removal of the recommendation to quarantine, except in high-risk congregate settings.  Dr. Whitaker made his comments on WJTN's Dennis Webster Show Thursday morning.


County Chamber to host Congressional Breakfast with Sempolinski...
The region's new Congressman-elect will be sworn-into office next Tuesday... and, one of his first public appearances will be in Chautauqua County.  The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce will be holding a Congressional Breakfast on Friday, September 23rd at Moonbrook Country Club.  Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Heitzenrater says they reached out to Corning Republican Joe Sempolinski after he won the special election.  Heitzenrater believes this may be Sempolinski's first public event as 23rd District Congressman.  Sempolinski won the August 23rd Special Election over Owego Democrat Max Della Pia to fill out the remaining four-months of retired Congressman Tom Reed's final term.  Sempolinski was part of the former Congressman's staff... but, will not be running in the November election.  That will pit Della Pia against the winner of last month's GOP primary, Nick Langworthy.


Fugitive from Missouri arrested during traffic stop in town of Ellicott...
An Oklahoma man has been arrested as a fugitive from justice following a traffic stop in the town of Ellicott.  Town Police say they stopped 51 year-old Timothy Roberts about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday for an alleged violation.  Ellicott officers say, during their investigation, they found that Roberts was sought in Missouri on an "extraditable" warrant.  He was taken to the county jail pending extradition back to Missouri.


City police find crack-cocaine during traffic stop on Jamestown's eastside... 
A Jamestown woman is accused of being in possession of crack-cocaine following a weekend traffic stop on the city's eastside.  State Police in Jamestown say troopers stopped a car, driven by 30 year-old Kasey Sweeney last Sunday on East Second Street... and, during the stop... she was found with the crack cocaine, and was found to have a suspended driver license.  Sweeney was arrested... and, processed at the Jamestown State Police barracks.  She was issued appearance tickets for city court.


Man arrested for criminal mischief in Westfield...
A Westfield man has been arrested for criminal mischief following an altercation with another person in which he's accused of damaging that person's property.  Sheriff's officers were called to an undisclosed location in the town about 8:30 p.m. last Saturday... and, arrested 61 year-old Walter Houser, Jr.  He was issued appearance tickets for Westfield Town Court on a third-degree criminal mischief.


Unionized workers at four PA Nursing Home facilities reach agreement, strike averted...
Workers at four Pennsylvania nursing homes have reached a tentative contract agreement, nearly a week after going on strike over pay and staffing.  Terms of the deal with Comprehensive Healthcare were not disclosed pending a ratification vote.  Workers could be back on the job as early as Saturday, according to SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania.  The contract covers about 300 workers at the four homes in western Pennsylvania... and, two other Comprehensive-owned homes who were set to walk out on Friday.  The strike continues at 10 other nursing homes statewide.

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Sept. 8, 2022

City man faces Felony animal cruelty charge after allegedly beating pit bull dog...
A Jamestown man is accused of beating a pitbull dog Tuesday afternoon after it had gotten into a fight with his dog at a location on the city's southside.  Jamestown police were called to the scene shortly before 3 p.m. and, found the grey pitbull laying on the ground and unable to move.  There was also heavy blood coming from several open wounds to the animal's face and head.  Officers learned that 57 year-old Gregory Rosier had broken up the fight between the two dogs... and, witnesses say neither appeared to have been hurt.  However... they say Rosier then engaged the pitfull, and started hitting it with a metal object.  Police say the pit bull never showed an aggression towards the man.  Witnesses say Rosier only stopped when they intervened for the dog.  The animal was taken to a local veterinary office for medical help.  Rosier was arrested for felony Aggravated Cruelty to Animals... and was taken to the city jail pending arraignment.


BPU to host "Retool '22" Conference in October to help businesses deal with new climate regulations...
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities is hosting a three-day conference next month designed to help current, and new entrepreneurs in the area transition to new climate and clean technology.  The BPU is putting on the program... entitled "Retool '22..." at the Northwest Arena Oct. 17-19.  BPU Business Development Coordinator Ellen DiTonto says it will feature a number of speakers... and, break-out groups.  DiTonto says there's been a lot of interest shown by local companies to use those new technologies.  However... she says they need more information on how to do it, and how to pay for it.  DiTonto made her comments to the city council during a recent work session.  She says they have a couple of very prominent speakers coming in for the program.  A "retool' webinar is also coming up on Sept. 13.  For more information on the conference... go to the Board of Public Utilities website.


District Attorney says it'll take more time to sift through evidence in case against Rushdie attacker...
The criminal case against the man charged with stabbing author Salman Rushdie involves so much potential evidence that prosecutors say they need more time to review it.  The suspect, 24 year-old Hadi Matar, appeared in the Chautauqua County Courtoom Wednesday.  The A-P reports that District Attorney Jason Schmidt asked for additional time to comply with a legal requirement to turn over evidence to Matar's lawyer -- Public Defender Nathanial Barone.  County Court Judge David Foley did not immediately rule on the request.  In a release late Wednesday... Schmidt says the law allows prosecutors to take another 20 days for discovery when they have an unusually large amount of evidence to sort through.  Both sides are due back next Tuesday.  Matar, who is from New Jersey, is accused of rushing the stage at the Chautauqua Institution August 12th... and, severely injuring the 75-year-old Rushdie. 


Hochul announces masking requirement for public transportation has been eliminated...
Masks are no longer manditory on public transit in New York state -- effective Wednesday.  That from Governor Kathy Hochul during a COVID-19 briefing in New York City Wednesday.  Hochul also announced that the latest booster shot is now available in New York... and, will be taylored towards the current and future types of variants.  Hochul also announced that masks will be now option on buses, trains and subways.  However... she says they are still encouraged on public transit.  Hochul also indicated that masking requirements will remain in effect at adult care facilities... as well as other health care facilities regulated by the state Department of Health.  


City man arrested after allegedly damaging JPD vehicles...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly damaging several Jamestown Police cars that were parked in front of the police station on East Second Street Tuesday night.  City police were alerted to a disturbance outside the station about 6 p.m., and, spoke with several witnesses who said a man had damaged the police vehicles.  Officers say they investigated... and arrested 38 year-old Michael Jones for Felony second-degree criminal mischief.  Jones was jailed pending arraignment.


Lakewood Libary reopening to be held next Monday...
Residents anxious for the reopening of the Lakewood Memorial Library will have to wait 'just a little longer.'  That from Library Director Shannon Taylor... who says they had hoped to open today.  However... there are still a number of boxes that need to be unpacked.  So... they'll open next Monday.  The library closed in February after the heating and air conditioning system sprung a leak, and quickly led to 14 separate drips across the ceiling.  To keep the collection safe, everything was removed.  As part of the necessary renovation, Taylor says the HVAC system has been replaced and improved.  She says they are having to rearrange things because they have less space.  Once Monday comes, the library will be open weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  A major reopening celebration is set for Saturday, Oct. 8.  Library and Administrative Assistant Melanie Smith says all the regular library programs will be back this fall... with some new one as well.  

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Sept. 7, 2022

Stockton mobile home fire ruled Incendiary in nature...
A criminal investigation is underway into the cause of Tuesday afternoon's fire that extensively damaged a mobile home in the town of Stockton.  Sheriff's officers say Stockton firefighters were called to 4943 Munger Road just after 2 p.m., and, found the trailer fully-engulfed in flames on arrival.  They were joined by Sinclairville and Brocton fire crews.  The county's Fire Investigation Team was called in... and found no accidental cause... and, have ruled it incendiary.  The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office will be following up with a criminal investigation on this matter that has displaced three persons temporarily.  No injuries were reported.


Homeless problem in Jamestown getting worse with expiration of eviction moratorium, and other factors...
The homeless problem in the city of Jamestown has been made worse by the recent expiration of New York State's eviction moratorium.  However... it's not the only reason why the numbers have been increasing in recent months.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who commended City Council members who have taken the time to talk with some of the homeless to get a better handle on the problem.  Sundquist says it's been a "perfect storm" of circumstances including the evictions, and location of the city, and shelters being at capacity, right now.  He says all of the shelters in the city... including the UCAN Mission and others... are struggling to meet the demand.  He says most are families, and are not from here.  However... they have made their way here... and, have nowhere else to go.  Sundquist says city police and the parks departments have had regular interactions with them to help get them the resources they need.  He says one of the places many homeless have ended up is under railroad viaducts to protect them from the elements.  However... in most cases... those places are not safe. 


Sundquist pleads with County's Homless Coalition to meet in Jamestown, and see problem first hand...
Jamestown's homeless problem will be the focus of a meeting hosted by city leaders sometime soon.  That from Mayor Sundquist at last month's second work session.  Sundquist says he recently spoke to the Chautauqua County Homeless Coalition about the city's challenges... and, basically told them "you need to be in Jamestown."  He says they're focusing on using funding to help get people where they are going, and "on the ground" support.  Sundquist says another problem has been churches and other groups doing charity work... and, providing food and other services in places that are either unsafe... or cause other problems for the general population.  No date has been announced for a meeting at this time.


Borrello sounds off on NYS Farm Laborers Wage Board recommending 10 year phase-in of lower overtime threshold...
The New York State Farm Laborers Wage Board has officially recommended that the overtime threshold for farm workers be lowered from 60 hours to 40 hours a week over 10 years.  The decision by the three-person panel is moving New York's farming community "another step closer to a tragic reckoning."  Those are the feelings of local State Senator George Borrello... who has called on the panel to not recommend the change because it will make it too expensive for many farmers to stay in business.  Borrelo says "it was unfair and unethical of the Legislature’s majorities and New York’s former governor to require this decision of three unelected individuals, two-thirds of whom lack any agriculture background."  However... the Sunset Bay Republican says Governor Kathy Hochul can halt the move by not enacting the recommendation.  


Three city men arrested for drug possession following traffic stop...
Three Jamestown men are accused of trafficking drugs early last weekend following a traffic stop on the city's westside.  City police say a patrol pulled over the vehicle... driven by Markeel Hilson... just after 4 a.m. last Friday for making an improper turn at Lafayette and West Fourth Streets.  Officers say they also found that Hilson was driving with a suspended license.  Officers then searched the vehicle and found a quantity of cocaine, a digital scale, and cash.  Hilson, along with his passengers, Daryle Tyson and Brandon Hogg, were placed into custody.  All three were charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia.  Hilson was also charged with second-degree Aggravated Unlicensed Operation, and making an Improper Turn.  All three were taken to the city jail pending arraignment.


Wendel says mandated county threat assessment planning underway...
The process of developing a new, state-required Threat Assessment and Management Team is well underway in Chautauqua County.  That from County Executive P.J. Wendel... who says the team will develop a local "Domestic Terrorism Prevention Plan" being required by an executive order from Governor Kathy Hochul.  Wendel says the program needs to be in place by the end of the year... and, says they are using a threat-assessment team for local schools... and, what was recently approved for Monroe County... as a blueprint for the county's plan.  Hochul announced recently that she has made $10-million available to all 57 counties... and, New York City to support developing those teams.  However... Wendel says the problem is identifying those lone wolf extremists who are relatively quiet.  In some ways... that's what happened in Buffalo and the attack on author Salman Rushdie at Chautauqua Institution.  Hochul's order was issued in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Buffalo last May 18.  It's designed to fight the "troubling surge" in domestic terrorism and violent extremism frequently inspired by, planned on, and posted about on social media platforms and internet forums.  


 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Sept. 6, 2022

County Exec. pleased to see pretty much a "normal" school opening this year...
It's back to school for most -- if not all students -- in Chautauqua County today.  It'll also be the most "normal" opening since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March of 2020.  That's great news for students, parents and teachers alike.  County Executive P.J. Wendel... a former teacher himself... was pleased to hear Governor Kathy Hochul's recent announcement about lifting most COVID restrictions.  He called her approach bold... noting that they're taking a more "common sense" approach to dealing with COVID this year.  Wendel says he's also pleased to see the state... and local districts... taking steps to address the social and emotional needs of students to begin the school year.  Today is a full-day of class in the Southwestern and most of the Falconer districts.  It's a half-day of classes in the Jamestown Public Schools.


Whitaker sad to see Panebianco retiring, but, pleased with her replacement...
The woman who has spent the past 20-plus years communicating with the Jamestown community about what's happening in the school district is retiring later this month.  Cathy Panebianco is stepping down as Communications Coordinator for the Jamestown Public Schools on Sept. 13... and, will be replaced at the end of the month by 2016 JHS Graduate, Cameron Hurst.  School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker praised Panebianco for her writing abilities under pressure... and being able to "think on her feet."  Panebianco... who is also a professional photographer... is known for her feature stories on Jamestown school students, and faculty members.  Dr. Whitaker says Cameron Hurst was one of the first people they went to in seeking to replace Panebianco.  Hurst has been doing similar work in recent times for the Pine Valley, and Springville-Griffith districts.  He says he loves this community and his alma mater.  Hurst did a sports blog while he was in the Jamestown Public Schools... and, did communications work for SUNY Jamestown Community College... and, was a reporter for the Jamestown Post-Journal. 


Randolph man arrested for domestic incident after being arrested during drug bust in Jamestown... 
A Randolph man arrested with two others during a vehicle stop in Jamestown early last weekend has now been arrested for allegedly breaking into a home in Steamburg last October.  State Police in Jamestown say they had been looking for 27 year-old Jonathan Wright since he broke into the residence... and, fled before troopers arrived.  Troopers say the victim in the case was able to flee and call police from a neighbor's home.  While unable to locate Wright... police say they obtained a warrant for his arrest.  Wright was arrested during the vehicle stop early last Saturday morning for alleged fentanyl and methamphetamine possession.  After being arraigned in Jamestown City Court... he was arraigned in Conewango Town Court on charges of second-degree criminal trespass... and fourth-degree criminal mischief.  Wright was issued appearance tickets for later this month.


Two city residents arrested for drug possession in separate incidents...
Two Jamestown residents were arrested early last Sunday morning for allegedly being in possession of illegal narcotics during separate incidents.  City Police say they stopped 42 year-old Josh Moore in the area of Allen and Institute Streets for several traffic violations shortly after 12 a.m.  Officers later found him in possesion of quantities of cocaine and fentanyl.  Shortly before 2 a.m., officers stopped 22 year-old Sabrina Flores in the area of North Main and Sixth Street during a street check near a business.  Police found Flores was wanted on active warrants out of the town of Busti... and, she was taken into custody.  She was also found in possession of quantities of Fentanyl and pills.  Both Moore and Flores were arrested on two counts each of criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, released with appearance tickets for City Court.


Olson recognized for her community service during Ritzer Labor award presentation...
Community Service -- in addition to union leadership -- is a big part in deciding who receives the annual George Ritzer Labor Award at the annual Jamestown Labor Day Festival.  That was never more evident in this year's naming of Karen Olson as this year's recipient.  The new President of the Jamestown Central Labor Council, Gary Swain, made the presentation.  Besides being a union member... Swain says Olson donates her time to a "lot of organizations."  Local elected officials also presented proclamations to Olson for her work in labor... and, volunteering in the community.  Among those acknowledging that was County Executive P.J. Wendel... and include volunteering at UPMC Chautauqua Hospital... and, with the Celoron Fire Department Auxillary.  Commendations were also presented by Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist, and state Assemblyman Andy Goodell. 


Ripley man arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs...
A Ripley man is accused of driving while under the influence of drugs when his car crashed into a ditch in the town of Ripley late last week.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Welch Hill Road just after 1 a.m. last Thursday... and, found the vehicle lodged in the ditch.  Deputies says they determined the driver, 71 year-old Timothy McBride, was driving while ability impaired by drugs.  He was arrested for DWI and DWAI-Drugs... and, issued appearance tickets for Ripley Town Court.

 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Labor Day, Mon., Sept. 5, 2022

One teen killed, two others seriously hurt in bizarre vehicle-pedestrian accident in Cattaraugus County...
One teenager was killed... and, two others were seriously hurt after a pickup truck went out of control and stuck a parked Jeep... then a car... in the Cattaraugus County Town of Porttville.  Sheriff's officers in Little Valley were called to the scene on Route 417 just before 1:30 a.m. Saturday.  Deputies say the pick-up, driven by an unidentified 20 year-old man, hit the jeep which was legally parked on the side of the road.  The jeep was propelled forward across a lawn where it struck the 19 year-old boy... who died at the scene.  Officers say the truck then struck the car before going across a lawn.  One or both vehicles then struck an 18 year-old girl and a 16 year-old girl.  Deputies say the 18 year-old was taken to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo where she's in critical condition.  Officers say the 16 year-old was being treated for multiple injuries at Oishei Children's Hospital in Buffalo.  Sheriff's deputies say the investigation is continuing... and, they suspect intoxicants may be involved.


Trio arrested for drug possession during traffic stop in downtown Jamestown...
Three men were arrested early last weekend following a traffic stop in downtown Jamestown for allegedly trafficking methamphetamine and Fentanyl.  City police say they stopped a car in the area of West Third and Cherry Streets about Midnight Saturday... and, found the driver, 27 year-old Jeremy Fish of Jamestown, was driving drunk.  Further investigation turned up quantities of the two illegal narcotic drugs... along with scales and packaging materials.  Police arrested Fish, along with 21 year-old Austin Weatherby of Jamestown... and, 27 year-old Jonathan Wright of Randolph.  Fish faces numerous charges... including DWI... third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation... and third and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Both Weatherby  and Wright were arrested for third and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and criminally using drug paraphernalia.  All three were taken to the city jail pending arraignment.


Long-time union leader, and local volunteer receives Ritzer Labor Award...
There was a light sprinkle yesterday afternoon... but, a good crowd was on hand at Jamestown's Bergman Park for the first Labor Day Festival since the COVID Pandemic began.  There was plenty of music and food during the day.  A major highlight on the main stage was the annual presentation of the George Ritzer Labor Award by the Jamestown Central Labor Council.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist announced Karen Olson as this year's winner... and, talked about her many years of service to the community... including receiving the Joseph Mason Community Service Award for union leaders who do a lot for their communities.  She's also been a long time member of the Celoron Fire Dept. Auxillary... treasurer of the United Auto Workers Local #338, and retired from TRW, MRC-SKF.  Olson says she had to be talked into receiving the Ritzer Award because she didn't feel worthy of receiving it.  State Assemblyman Andy Goodell presented commendations from both he and State Senator George Borrello.  Olson urged those on hand to join their local volunteer fire department, because their numbers have been dwindling.  Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel was also on hand to present a commendation to her.


Stockton man arrested following large fight, and threatening another person with a machete...
A man from Stockton has been arrested on menacing and other charges after allegedly arguing with multiple people at a location on Route 380... and, pulling a machete on one of them.  Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday... and arrested 30 year-old Justin Grant for allegedly commiting the offenses in front of young children living in the home.  Grant was arrested on charges including second-degree menacing... second-degree aggravated harassment... second-degree harassment... and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.  He was taken to the county jail pending centralized arraignment.


Falconer Schools ready to go on Tuesday...
For most students in the Falconer Central School district... the first day of classes tomorrow will be a full-day of instruction.  That from School Superintendent Steven Penhollow... who says their youngest students at Temple Elementary School will only have a half-day of class.  Penhollow says that is for Pre-K through Second-Grade.  All others have a full-day of class.  Penhollow says they're especially ready to have a relatively "normal" opening with most COVID restrictions having now been lifted.  As for whether they have any shortages in teachers or bus drivers... he says they've been diligent over the Summer to make sure they have everything covered.  With the issues caused by the COVID Pandemic regarding learning, and socio-emotional problems... Penhollow says the Falconer School district has added more nursing staff... along with social workers and others to help students during the school year.


Several states extening Medicaid coverage for new mothers...
Several states around the country are making it easier for newborn moms to keep Medicaid in the year after childbirth, a crucial time when depression and other health problems can develop.  But... tight government budgets and low reimbursement may ultimately limit this push and make it hard for patients who get expanded coverage to find doctors willing to take it.  Since the spring... 23 states and Washington, D.C., have said they will extend the government-funded coverage for 12 months after babies arrive.  That's up from a requirement to keep it for only 60 days, after which many women lose coverage.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Sept. 2, 2022

Irving man faces numerous charges after leading police on vehicle pursuit...
A north county man has been arrested following a high-speed chase last weekend in the town of Hanover.  Sheriff's officers say a patrol spotted the vehicle speeding westbound on Routes 5-&-20 just before Midnight last Sunday... and, tried to stop the operator, 19 year-old Donato Schade of Irving.  However... Schade would not comply... and the pursuit went into the village of Silver Creek and the town of Sheridan.  Schade was finally stopped... and, charged with multiple counts of unlawfully fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, reckless driving, speed violations, and other miscellaneous state Vehicle and Traffic violations.  Schade will appear in both the Hanover, and Sheridan Town Courts at a later date.


AAA expects to see 22% increase in travel for Labor Day Weekend...
The final holiday weekend of the Summer season is expected to be a very busy one.  That from AAA... which is projecting that domestic travel will be up about 22% this year  Regional Spokeswoman Elizabeth Carey says higher costs are not preventing people from traveling over the three-day weekend.  Carey says that's due largely to "pent-up" demand... and, people still ready to travel.  However... she says make sure you are prepared before you leave by checking your car's tires, battery, and you have your keys before locking your car.  Carey says AAA expects to busy across New York during the holiday weekend... with them responding to calls from about 18,000 people over the weekend.  


Wendel says his proposed 2023 Budget is "solid and balanced," but, not giving specifics yet...
Chautauqua County's top-elected official says his 2023 budget will be a 'solid,' and 'balanced' spending plan.  County Executive P.J. Wendel adds that the process has been challenging due to rising costs... but, adds residents should like what they see at the end of the month.  The Lakewood Republican will present the approximately $270-million budget on or about Sept. 25.  Wendel says the fact the state is in much better financial shape than shortly after the pandemic began, is playing a role in that... and, the county has a "couple of projects" they're looking to have state funding assist with.  Wendel says he and his financial team have been meeting with department heads in recent weeks to go over the figures... and, find reductions where they can.  He says the biggest challenge for everyone has been inflation driving up the cost of goods and services.  Second quarter sales tax numbers were down slightly... but, Wendel says the county is on target to meet final, 2022 numbers. He made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Salamanca man indicted on Child Porn charges...
A man from Cattaraugus County has been indicted by a federal grand jury on multiple charges for allegedly producing, receiving and possessing child pornography.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross announced Thursday that 37 year-old Robert Caulkins, Jr. has been officially charged in the case after a complaint had been filed.  Prosecutors say... in April of 2020... the State Police began investigating Calkins after receiving dozens of reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that he possessed suspected child porn in his Google accounts.  In September 2020... State Police investigators say they executed a search warrant at Calkins’ East Jefferson Street home... and, seized four cell phones and an SD card.  They say a forensic analysis recovered thousands of images and videos of child pornography, including several images that Calkins produced using a minor victim.  Ross says the charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.


Whitaker pleased to see his first "normal" school opening since becoming superintendent at JPS...
It will be the first "normal" school opening for Jamestown School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker this coming Tuesday when classes begin.  Dr. Whitaker says he's pleased to see that almost all COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted on all New York schools this year.  He adds the biggest difference is the definition of "isolation versus quarantining..." and that students and staff will only have to isolate for five-days if they test positive for the virus.  Whitaker says once that five-day isolation period is done... you can return to class with a mask -- if you test negative for COVID.  As for staffing... he says the district's in pretty good shape generally... but, adds filling positions has been a "major challenge."  He says they've hired between 60 to 100 new people... and, adds a number of retired teachers have also returned to help fill gaps.  Whitaker adds that instruction will all be in-person this year... and, opening day next Tuesday will be a half-day of instruction. 


Some students struggling being held back at school... in some cases parents want it...
As some children struggled to keep up with school in the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic... many states saw significant increases in the number of students held back to repeat grades.  Twenty-two of the 26 states that provided data for the recent academic year, as well as Washington, D.C., saw an increase in the number of students who were held back, according to an Associated Press analysis.  Three states -- South Carolina, West Virginia and Delaware -- saw retention more than double.  Experts have cautioned about risks to students' social lives and academic futures, but many parents have asked for do-overs to help their children recover.

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Sept. 1, 2022

About 60 people attend Zeldin for Governor rally in Lakewood...
The wind was strong and the rhetoric even stronger Wednesday afternoon as the three major Republicans running for state-wide office made a whistle-stop in the heart of downtown Lakewood.  Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin, the GOP candidate for governor, said he was running to ‘restore New York to glory' and make life "more affordable again, make sure freedoms are restored, and our streets are safe.  His running mate, Alison Esposito, is a former New York Police Department inspector.  She emphasized law enforcement... and, that public safety is the main function of government.  Former TV host Joe Pinion, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, struck a similar tone.  About 60 people were on hand for the 45 minute rally, held at Group Ther-happy at Chautauqua and Summit Avenues.  The intersection was closed and a number of police officers kept a close eye on the event.  That after Zeldin was attacked by a man at a rally earlier this Summer in Fairport.


County man and woman indicted on federal gun and weapons charges... 
A man and woman from Chautauqua County have been indicted by a federal grand jury on multiple gun and drug charges... along with robbery.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross has announced the indictments were handed up Wednesday against 41 year-old Alisha Klinger of Mayville... and, 36 year-old Jacob Snow of Jamestown.  Both are charges with narcotics conspiracy, Hobbs Act Conspiracy, Hobbs Act Robbery, possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, and brandishing of a firearm during a crime of violence and in furtherance of drug trafficking.  Prosecutors say both Klinger and Snow conspired with others between November of 2020 and April of this year to sell the deadly drug Fentanyl.  The indictment also accuses the pair of stealing drugs and cash from individuals engaged in illegal drug trafficking and possessing and brandishing firearms while doing so.  Ross says the charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 17 years in prison, and a maximum of life. 


Hochul announces start of new gun laws with Adams during NYC press conference...
Several new gun laws take effect in New York State today... and Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams held a joint announcement Wednesday on the regulations.  Hochul spoke about the measures that were passed during a special session of the State Legislature earlier this summer.  She says they'll strengthen background checks, and gun safety training... as well as concealed carry requirements to "sensitive areas."  Hochul says the new guidelines include a list of places where guns can't be carried... including schools, colleges, day care centers, parks and churches.  The sensitive areas also include a 25-block area of Times Square in Manhattan.  Hochul says the new laws are in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down New York's limits on carrying concealed handguns outside the home.


Jamestown begins putting together new Salary Review Commission to look at salaries for elected leaders...
The process putting together a new Salary Review Commission for the city of Jamestown is underway... with Mayor Eddie Sundquist announcing three appointments.  During this week's City Council voting session... lawmakers approved the appointments... which include past City Comptrollers Ryan Thompson and Joe Bellitto.  Council President Tony Dolce also gets to appoint three others in September.  Dolce says the commission is formed every four-years to review the mayor's and city council salaries and make recommendations.  Those recommendations are then given to City Council to review and act on.  He says any new salaries would not start until the beginning of the next term (of office).  Salary Review Commissions have recommended pay increases in recent years... but, lawmakers have been very hesitant about it due to the city's long-time fiscal constraints.  However... next year could be different with Jamestown looking at a $6-million undesignated fund balance.  The mayor has made $72,000 for the past more than 20 years... while city council has been stuck at $5,000 a year since 1984.  Council president does receive an additional $1,000 annual stipend.


Southwestern Central Schools ready for 2022-23 school year opening...
Public schools across Chautauqua County open for students next week.  The superintendent at the Southwestern Central School District, Maureen Donahue, says she’s been talking to some students... who are excited to be coming back.  Donahue says there's "a sense of relief and joy" that's back to the way it was before the pandemic.  With up to 2,000 people on the Southwestern campus every day, Donahue says they are taking security seriously… and while more school doors are locked, the district is 'wide open' to parents with questions.  She urges parents to talk with their students teachers, and or schedule an appointment with their principal.  All instruction will be ‘in person’ at Southwestern this school year... with COVID restrictions essentially removed.


New York Judge nixes plea deal fatal, 2018 Limo crash...
A judge has rejected a plea agreement that would have meant no prison time for the operator of a limousine company involved in a crash that killed 20 people in upstate New York, drawing applause and tears from victims' relatives who packed the court.  Judge Peter Lynch called the agreement ``fundamentally flawed`` on Wednesday.  Prosecutors and lawyers for Nauman Hussain had reached a deal a year ago that would have spared him prison time, angering the families of the people killed in 2018 when brake failure sent a stretch limo full of birthday revelers hurtling down a hill.

 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Aug. 31, 2022

International Humanitarian Law Roundtable ends with resolution, and push to create "ad hoc" tribunal to try Russia for crimes in Ukraine...
Russia has committed numerous violations of the international rule of law during it's bloody, six-month invasion and war in Ukraine... but, the act of aggression is the worst of them.  That was part of the final statement of principles from the 14th International Humanitarian Law Roundtable that concluded Tuesday at Chautauqua Institution.  The Roundtable's Chairwoman... past Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, Fatu Bensuda... says the current situation in Ukraine led to a lively two-days.  Bensuda says "people really were very engaged" and bringing their expertise to bear.  However... it was telling when the international prosecutors on hand agreed that existing law and "mechanisms" are inadequate to prosecute the crime of aggression.  With that... the prosecutors are pushing for the creation of an "ad hoc" tribunal to handle the case against Russia.  Dean of the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Michael Scharff, says that's because current tribunals don't have the power to do that.  Scharff says that tribunal would have the ability to go after people like Russian President Vladimir Putin... and, his Foreign Affairs Secretary Sergey Lavrov.  Another aspect of the final statement at the roundtable dealt with the use of mercenaries, and how they should be handed by the the International Criminal Court. 


Case Western Law Students get to take part in Humanitarian Roundtable...
A group of law school students at Case Western Reserve University got some "real life" lessons about how international law is developed and used during the roundtable at Chautauqua this week.  Law School Dean Michael Scharf says the "repratroiries" have been assisting the international prosecutors in researching ways to deal with crimes of "aggressive war."  Scharf says among the questions they were grappling with was whether to establish an "ad hoc" tribunal to deal with the crime of aggression.  One of the students... Kelsey Shannon... says the experience was "really cool" and fast paced.  But... she says it's been great meeting everyone at the event in a "retreat-like" setting.  There were about 50 people on hand.. so you could meet and talk with everyone.  The repratoiries got hands on experience in assembling the final documents.  Those were all put together... and, then boiled down to one, final document with principle statements the prosecutors signed off on to conclude the roundtable.  In addition to her experience at Chautauqua... Shannon says she also served an internship with Interpol in France earlier in the Summer.


Barge runs aground at Van Buren Point on Lake Erie...
A large barge ran aground near Van Buren Point on Lake Erie overnight after breaking loose from a tug boat that was towing it.  Petty Officer Faba of the Coast Guard's 9th District in Cleveland, Ohio says the incident happened about 1:30 this morning... when they were notified that a tug boat was towing a barge when it ran aground.  Faba says they're been trying to break the vessel free, and pollution control crews are on scene as "refloat efforts" are underway.  The 200-foot barge belongs to a Michigan company.


Times Square in NYC will become a "Gun Free Zone" Thursday...
New York City will begin posting signs proclaiming the iconic tourist destination Times Square as a ``Gun Free Zone.''  The 25-block business district in the center of Manhattan is arguably the busiest in the United States.  Under a sweeping new state gun law that goes into effect this Thursday... it would be one of scores of ``sensitive'' places, including parks, churches and theaters that would be off limits for guns.  The new rules are meant to address a U.S. Supreme Court decision that further expanded Second Amendment gun rights when it invalidated a century-old law that required gun owners to prove they had a compelling need to carry.


Investigators say garage fire in Busti caused by lighting strike...
A lighting strike during Monday's severe thunderstorms triggered a garage fire on the Big Tree-Sugar Grove Road in the town of Busti.  That from Chautauqua County Fire Investigators... who were called to the scene once the blaze was out.  Busti firefighters were initially called to the location... between Northrup and Kortwright Roads... about 3 p.m.  Several other New York and Pennsylvania companies were called in to assist.  The investigation determined the fire originated in the garage roof due to the lightning strike.  No injuries were reported.


Man injured when motorcycle strikes downed tree during storm in Jamestown...
A motorcyclist escaped serious injuries in Jamestown yesterday afternoon when his bike struck a tree that had been knocked down near Jamestown Community College.  City police say they were called to the scene at Buffalo Street and Prendergast Avenue about 2:45 p.m. on a report of a motocycle hitting a tree in the roadway.  Police arrived... and the rider was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.  No charges were filed.


 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Aug. 30, 2022

No one hurt when lighting triggers fire in garage in Busti during storms...
A lighting strike during yesterday's severe thunderstorms triggered a garage fire on the Big Tree-Sugar Grove Rod in the town of Busti.  That from Chautauqua County Fire Investigators... who were called to the scene once the blaze was out.  Busti firefighters were initially called to the location... between Northrup and Kortwright Roads... about 3:15 p.m.  Several other New York and Pennsylvania companies were called in to assist.  The investigation determined the fire originated in the garage roof due to the lightning strike.  No injuries were reported.


Motorcyclist hits tree downed during storm in Jamestown...
A motorcyclist escaped serious injuries in Jamestown yesterday afternoon when his bike struck a tree that had been knocked down near Jamestown Community College.  City police say they were called to the scene at Buffalo Street and Prendergast Avenue about 2:45 p.m. on a report of a motocycle hitting a tree in the roadway.  Police arrived... and the rider was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.  No charges were filed.


City Council approves additional ARPA funding to boost housing, business, and neighborhood stablization...
City lawmakers in Jamestown have approved about $3.3-million in additional American Rescue Plan Act funding for various housing, and other projects.  The City Council last night unanimously approved four measures involved... while tabling a fifth.  Council President Tony Dolce says the biggest pot of money... $2-million... is for the Healthy Communities and Neighborhoods Program to help with various private property upgrades and repairs.  Dolce says they weren't sure how much would be needed initially... but, soon found that money was spent quickly.  In addition... lawmakers also approved another $1-million for the Building and Infrastructure program.  Dolce says both actually had long waiting lists of people in line for some funding after the intial monies ran out.  He says the people who were told they would be covered under additional, pending funding should get it this time around.  The ARPA program that was tabled would have created a 750-thousand dollar program for neighborhood stabilization under a "19-A" program.  However... Dolce says some questions arose... and, that information is still being scrutinized.  The third item using ARPA funding approved last night would use $174,000 for concrete work by Signature Paving and Sealcoating on Gwendolin Avenue... and, the fourth was $133,000 to help replace the Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department roof.  
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The annual Labor Day Festival is coming up next Sunday at Bergman Park.  With that... city lawmakers last night also approved spending $19,500 for the fireworks that will conclude the program.  The pyrotechnics will be provided by Zambelli Fireworks from New Castle, Pa. 


Dolce announces final details on public safety and neighborhood forum... 
Details have now been finalized for the Sept. 14 public safety and housing forum to be hosted by Council President Tony Dolce.  At the end of last night's monthly meeting... Dolce announced the session will be held at Darrah Hall at Christ First United Methodist Church on Lakeview Avenue beginning at 6:30 p.m.  The Second-Ward representative says holding the forum has taken on more importance with the fatal drive-by shooting on Prendergast Avenue earlier this month.  He says Police Chief Timothy Jackson will first provide an update on that investigation, and other safety issues... and, city Development Director Crystal Surdyk will give a brief presentation after that on Wednesday, Sept. 14.  The public is welcome to attend.  Dolce says Surdyk will be at the forum to discuss housing and neighborhood issues.  He anticipates the program running until about 8 p.m. or shortly after.


Hochul announces $10-million for counties to do Mass Shooting threat assessments...
Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that she has made $10-million available to all 57 counties... and, New York City to support the development of Threat Assessment and Management Teams.  Hochul says those are a key component of local Domestic Terrorism Prevention Plans required under Executive Order 18.  The Executive Order was issued by Hochul in the immediate aftermath of the mass shooting in Buffalo last May 18, and, is designed to fight the troubling surge in domestic terrorism and violent extremism frequently inspired by, planned on, and posted about on social media platforms and internet forums. 


Well-known Jamestown piano teacher/instructor Helga Hulse passes at age 100...
One the Jamestown area's most well-known piano teachers and performers has died.  Helga Hulse passed away last Saturday at the age of 100.  Helga spent more than 50 years in Jamestown teaching piano to thousands of children and adults at her private studio.  Her enthusiasm for the area and its musicians was irrepressible, as demonstrated in an interview with our Dennis Webster in 2011 when she was planning to move south to be closer to family.  She said she had a "wonderful life" in Jamestown... and, her time away only lasted a year or so.  She missed Jamestown so much, she moved back home.  The family has announced a memorial service for Helga Hulse at 4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 23 at 1st Lutheran Church in Jamestown.  The Lind Funeral Home is handling arrangements.  


 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Aug. 29, 2022

Jamestown, Chautauqua Co. public safety officials report some damage, outages from thunderstorm...
Crews from the Jamestown Public Works, and Board of Public Utilities, have been busy this late today after a severe, mid-afternoon thunderstorm roared through the city.  Jamestown Police say the traffic light at Fluvanna Avenue and Washington Street was out late Monday afternoon... and, there are multiple reports of trees or large limbs down on houses across the city.  The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department dispatcher center also reported scattered outages... and, trees down on home... but, nothing significant at this time.  No injuries have been reported.


Two men hurt when their Glider crashes in Mayville...
Two men escaped serious injury after the glider they were riding in crashed into some trees as they tried to land in an open field in the town of Chautauqua.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene of a plane crash on North Erie Street -- in Mayville -- about 1:30 p.m. last Saturday, and, found the glider with the two men already out of the glider.  Deputies say 56 year-old Galo Grijalva of Lakewood, and his passenger, 60 year-old Douglas Sillart of Derby were both treated for non-life threatening injuries at the scene.  No charges have been filed... but the Sheriff's Office and the Federal Aviation Administration are continuing to investigate.


Silver Creek man arrested for criminal mischief following fight early Friday...
A north county man has been arrested for criminal mischief following altercation early last Friday morning in the village of Silver Creek.  Sheriff's officers were called to a locaton on Lafayette street for the alleged fight just after 4 a.m.  When deputies investigated... the found that 52 year-old Christopher Domenico of Silver Creek had committed fourth-degree criminal mischief.  Domenico was taken into custody... and, taken to the county jail pending centralized arraignment.


International Humanitarian Law Roundtable begins today...
The 14th International Humanitarian Law Roundtable... formerly known as the International Humanitarian Law Dialogs... get underway at Chautauqua Institution today.  The program will feature a number of current and past international prosecutors who have tried a number of 'crimes against humanity' cases since World War II.  The Robert H. Jackson Center helps put on the program... and, Center President Kristan McMahon calls it a unique event because it's the only event of it's kind in the world.  The two-day program kicked off with a "welcome event" at the Jackson Center where Ambassador Hans Corell received the Joshuan H. Heintz Award for Humanitarian Achievement.  Corell was Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and the Legal Counsel of the United Nations from March 1994 to March 2004.  Kristan McMahon says this year's program is especially timely... given what's happening in Ukraine.  She says this year's topic is "Tracking Aggression from Nuremburg to Kiev... and, with the nature of the subject, they are asking those who would like to attend to contact the Jackson Center first at 483-6646.  Kristan McMahon made her comments last week on our Dennis Webster Show on WJTN Radio.


Della Pia says he's ready to go with November election campaign...
The Democratic candidate for the 23rd Congressional District seat says he feels energized going into the Fall campaign.  Owego's Max Della Pia says his campaign was "written off by every pollster across the country as a guaranteed Republican blow-out."  However... Della Pia says he finished within 5 or 6 points of Republican winner Joe Sempolinski in last week's Special Election to fill-out the final four months of retired Congressman Tom Reed's term.  Della Pia says "Trump won the district by 15 points in 2016 and 11 points in 2020.  Paladino and Langworthy spent millions of dollars to get out the vote between their campaigns and their dark money supporters.  It’s clear voters are tired of the hyper-partisanship in Congress.  They value a candidate who is looking to find common ground."  Della Pia concluded that the new 23rd District is "winnable."


NYSSBA officials talks Back to School issues for 2022-23 school year...
Many school districts in Chautauqua County begin their Fall classes a week from tomorrow... and, are working to finalize staffing and getting new people trained.  That from New York State School Boards Association Spokesman David Albert... who says this will be the first "normal" opening for district's since the COVID-19 pandemic began.  Albert says district's have American Rescue Plan Act funding to mainly deal with "learning gaps."  He says there are a number of reasons for that -- especially in math and reading skills.  Albert says the school board's group is providing as much information and support to local school boards as they can.  The nationwide teacher shortage has been well-documented.  However... he says in New York state... it's more a lack of bus drivers.  Albert says the teacher shortage seems to be seen mainly in STEM, and other technology courses, and others that tend to be more specialized.  He says that in itself is creating a shortage because demand for them has increase.  David Albert made his comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Aug. 26, 2022

Two city men now charged in connection with fatal shooting on Prendergast Avenue...
Two Jamestown men taken into custody in connection with last Friday's fatal "targeted" shooting incident on Prendergast Avenue now face a pair of charges.  However... they do not deal directly with the shooting death of 35 year-old Jesus Batista Perez... nor the wounding of another man in the same incident on Prendergast.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt confirmed late Thursday that 32 year-old Joseph Fontanez-Walker is now charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, tampering with evidence.  The other man... 22 year-old Kevin Roldan-Pantojas is charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon... a Class C violent felony... and tampering with physical evidence.  Schmidt says bail for Roldan-Pantojas was set at $200,000 cash... $400,000 property bond because the weapon's possession count is a violent Felony.  However... the charges against Fontanez-Walker did not qualify for bail, and under state law, he was released. 


Sempolinski says he's ready to go in Congress...
Fresh off his special election victory Tuesday night... Joe Sempolinski says he is ready to become the 23rd Congressional District's representative for the next four months.  However... Sempolinski tells us that he doesn't know when he will officially begin to fill out Tom Reed's final term.  Sempolinski says House members are not scheduled to return to Washington until Sept. 13, but, he thinks there's a chance the swearing-in could come sooner because there are other Congressional Special Elections where winners need to be sworn-in.  Sempolinski, who will not be running in November, has a lot to do.  Among his first tasks, getting constituent service back up and running.  Then he'll move onto the legislative agenda.  Sempolinski... who is a Steuben County Republican... says he is waiting to hear about his committee assignments. 


State begins accepting applications for marijuana dispensaries...
New York state has started accepting applications to open its first recreational pot shops.  The state is taking a novel approach by reserving the initial roughly 150 retail dispensary licenses for people with past pot convictions or their relatives.  The application process began Thursday... and is a key step toward opening one of the country's most hotly-awaited legal marijuana markets.  There's no firm date yet for sales to begin.  New York officials have emphasized that they want to make sure the new industry provides opportunity to people who bore the brunt of drug law enforcement.


City man arrested on outstanding warrant, and as a parolee absconder...
A Jamestown man wanted on outstanding arrest warrants and for violating his parole has been arreste following a traffic stop on the city's westside last night.  Jamestown police say they pulled over 41 year-old Justin Meacham in the area of Livingston Ave. and Geneva St. about 8:30 p.m. for a traffic violation... and, ran background check.  Officers found city court warrants, and that Meacham was a parole absconder.  When police tried to take him into custody... Meacham ran off and led officers on a short foot chase... then resisted arrest.  He's also accused of trying to destory a quantity of drugs he had.  Meacham was arrested on two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and one count each of tampering with physical evidence...resisting arrest and second-degree obstruction.  He was taken to the city jail pending arraignment.


Co. Legislature approves borrowing for North County water tower project...
Chautauqua County lawmakers on Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution authorizing borrowing money for a project to repair and rehabilitate a water storage tower in the North County Industrial Water District.  Two legislators spoke about the project at a public hearing during the legislature's monthly meeting in Mayville.  Dunkirk's Robert Bankoski says the facility in the Town of Sheridan supports the area's large manufacturers... like Nestle Purina.  Sheridan's Terry Niebel says the county has secured more than $860,000 in American Rescue Plan funds for the project, but it plans to apply for grants that would allow for the repurposing of the federal money at a later date. 


Dunkirk man arrested for assault last weekend...
A Dunkirk man is facing multiple charges after a domestic dispute on Lake Shore Drive West in Dunkirk early Sunday morning. Dunkirk Police say that 24-year-old Austin Burgess allegedly had thrown a female victim to the ground and tried to choke her, and then took the victim's phone when she tried to call 911.  The victim then flagged down a patrol car for assistance.  Burgess is also accused of attempting to obstruct the investigation... and allegedly resisted police when he was being taken into custody.  After being booked... Police say Burgess attempted to tamper with the surveillance system.  He's charged with criminal obstruction of breathing/blood circulation, obstructing governmental administration, criminal mischief and harassment.


F2CS band to hold preview program early this evening...
The members of the F2CS Blue and Gold Vanguard High School marching band are working intensively this week on their fall 2022 show 'Blue Print.'  The band is made up of 40 students from both Falconer and Frewsburg Central schools.  Director, Alicia Laska, says the combined band is in its 6th year of existance... and things are going very well, even with some new staff.  She says it's great now because the kids get along much better than in the beginning.  Alicia's husband, Shaun, is the assistant director of the band... and this year, one of their children, Frewsburg senior Kelson Laska, is one of the drum majors.  The band's preview show will be today at 5:15 p.m.

 

 


 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Aug. 25, 2022

Initial charges placed against suspects in "targeted" fatal shooting on Prendergast Ave...
The two city men taken into custody in connection with last Friday's fatal "targeted" shooting incident on Prendergast Avenue in Jamestown now each face a pair of charges.  However... they do not deal directly with the shooting death of 35 year-old Jesus Batista Perez... nor the wounding of another man on Prendergast last Friday.  The Post-Journal reports that 32 year-old Joseph Fontanez-Walker is charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, tampering with evidence.  The other man... 22 year-old Kevin Roldan-Pantojas... is charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a Class C violent felony, and tampering with physical evidence.  County Jail officials confirmed Roldan-Pantojas was sent to the Mayville lock-up with bail set at $200,000 cash bail and $400,000 property bond.  However... the charges against Fontanez-Walker did not qualify for bail, and under state law, he was released. 


County lawmakers approve one-year extension of CSEA Contract...
The Chautauqua County Legislature has approved a tentative one-year contract extension with the labor union that represents the majority of county employees.  Lawmakers on Wednesday passed a resolution for the deal with Civil Service Employees Assocaition Local #6300 that runs from January to December 2023.  Sheridan legislator Terry Niebel says the contract includes a 3% wage increase and a one-time bonus for the employees of $750 for about 900 employees.  Niebel says the cost of the extension is about $2.3-million.  He believes it is a fair deal for the employees and county taxpayers.


Dolce announces date for public safety/gun violence forum in Jamestown...
Final details are still being worked on... but, Jamestown City Council President Tony Dolce has now scheduled a public forum on the city's gun violence issue for three weeks from Wednesday.  Dolce made the announcement during the council's Work Session earlier this week.  Dolce says it'll be held on Wednesday night, Sept. 14, and, city officials are being asked to be there.  They would include Police Chief Tim Jackson, and city Development Director Crystal Surdyk to talk specifically about neighborhood, and housing issues.  While there was a lot of discussion about public safety during Monday night's meeting... Dolce says there really isn't enough time during the course of council meetings to address the many concerns.  Monday night's comments came in the wake of the latest shooting in the city last Friday afternoon when one person was killed, and other seriously wounded.


Sempolinski declares victory in Special Election... Langworthy wins GOP Primary...
A former staff member for retired 23rd District Congressman Tom Reed has now claimed victory in the Special Election to fill out the rest of Reed's final term.  Corning's Joe Sempolinski, the Republican and Conservative Party nominee in the race, declared victory late Wednesday morning.  Sempolinski says "it's the honor of a lifetime to be selected by my friends and neighbors to speak for them on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.  I intend to spend my time in Congress fighting for the people that have given me everything in my life. I will work to make sure that the voice of the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes is heard throughout the remainder of this Congressional term."  He received 38,749 votes to Democrat Max Della Pia's 34,001 tallies.  Sempolinski thanked all those who voted in the election, volunteered for the campaign and supported him throughout this entire process, especially his family. 
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In the Republican Primary for the new 23rd Congressional District... State GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy has won the Republican primary to run this Fall.  Langworthy wound up winning by the same number as was shown early Wednesday morning, 24,275 to 22,283 for Buffalo developer Carl Paladino.  Paladino conceded the race late Wednesday morning.


County elections officials very pleased with higher than expected voter turn-out for special election, and primary...
Turnout for Tuesday's special election and Republican primary in the 23rd Congressional District proved to be much higher than elections officials had anticipated.  Chautauqua County Republican Elections Commissioner Brian Abram says numbers were much greater than the primary contests held in June.  Abram says they saw 13% participation back in June, and they were looking at similar numbers this time.  However... he says they're looking at something "in the mid 20s."  Meanwhile, Abram says the Board of Elections is now beginning the process of reconciling the ballots... namely affidavit and absentee ballots with the state Board of Elections.  He says that's to ensure no one could cast "multiple votes."  Abram says because of the higher than expected turnout, there were delays at some of the poll sites.


Farmer Neighbor Awards handed out in Ellington...
Several awards were conferred at the fifth-annual Chautauqua County Farmer-Neighbor Dinner... held Tuesday night at the Grandview of Ellington.  The organizing committee named the Carlberg Farm from just south of Jamestown as 'Farm of the Year.'  Ginny Carlberg, accepted the award.  She says it's really an honor to receive the award, and was a surprise.  The dairy the farm part of the business dates back to 1904.  The family added a produce operation in 2018.  The 'Friend of Agriculture' award went to Robert Cross and family of 3 C's Catering.  Cross took the business from dairying to catering in 1996.  The Farmer-Neighbor Committee named Steve Kimball of Kennedy as 'Legacy Producer.'  The Soil and Water Conservation District presented its annual 'Environmental Management' award to the Dunnewold Farms of French Creek.   

 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Aug. 24, 2022

Sempolinski winner of Special Election, Langworthy now declared winner of GOP Primary...
A former staff member for retired Congressman Tom Reed has pulled out a victory to fill-out the final four-months of his former bosses seat.  With nearly 100% of the vote tallied by this morning... Corning Republican Joe Sempolinki had the lead over Owego Democrat Max Della Pia with nearly 53% of the vote to Della Pia's 46%.  Della Pia tells us he's "very proud" of the effort by his campaign... which visited Chautauqua County a handful of times during the campaign.  Sempolinski won Chautauqua County with 8,039 votes to Della Pia's 5,413.  Della Pia says he'll continue pushing his message of Congress needing to work together better... and, hopes that resonates with voters in November election.
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In the Republican Primary for the new 23rd Congressional District... nothing was decided last night.  However... with 99% of the vote now in... State GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy leads Carl Paladino by nearly 2,000 votes.  The A-P declared Langworthy the winner early this morning... and, a Buffalo TV station now reports that Paladino has conceded the primary election.


Two men and two teenaged boys arresed for being in possession of drugs, and switchblade knife...
Two Jamestown men and two 17 year-old boys have been arrested for allegedly being in possession of illegal drugs and a switchblade knife following a Monday afternoon drug raid.  City police say members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at an apartment with the help of the JPD SWAT Team at 27 Stowe St. about 4 p.m.  They found 23 year-old Jovian Maisonet... 18 year-old Jaquez Thomas... and, the two juveniles inside... along with a quantity of crack cocaine, cocaine, items used for the packaging and distribution of drugs, a quantity of cash -- believed to be the proceeds of drug sales, and a
switchblade knife.  Both Maisonet and Thomas were arrested... and, charged with third-and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia... and, fourth-degree criminal Possession of a Weapon.  Maisonet was also arrested on multiple warrants... including one for robbery.  Police say the juveniles were released to a guardian – additional charges are expected to be filed in the future.  If you have any information about illegal drug activity... call the JPD Tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


City man arrested for allegedly attacking Mayville Library employee Tuesday night...
A Jamestown man is under arrest after allegedly assaulting an employee of the Mayville Library early last night with a knife.  Sheriff's officers say they were called to the scene at 92 South Erie St. about 7 p.m.  Their investigation determined that 20 year-old Xavier Guadarrama assaulted the worker... and then fled the scene before deputies arrived.  After a brief search of the area... officers found and arrested Guadarrama on one count of first-degree attempted assault... fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, second-degree menacing.  They say Guadarrama was also found to be wanted on a probation warrant... and, he was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.


Erie, Pa. man arrested after his car collides with an Amish buggy in Sherman...
Two people riding in an Amish buggy were taken to the hospital Tuesday afternoon after a car that was exiting Interstate 86 in Sherman struck the buggy.  Sheriff's officers say they were called to the scene at Exit 6 after the westbound vehicle... driven by Naresh Venkatesan of Erie, Pennsylvania... failed to stop at the stop sign with Osborn St.  The car then struck the buggy... which was northbound on Osborn.  The two people on the buggy were taken to Westfield Memorial Hospital for treatment of their injuries.  Officers say the horse was not injured as a result of the accident.  Venkatesan was ticketed for failure to stop at a stop sign and is scheduled to appear in Sherman Town Court at a later date.


Jamestown man arrested for allegedly being in possession of guns with child nearby in home...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly being in possession of two shotguns in the presence of an unsupervised, 3-year-old child.  City police say they were called to an eastside address about 10:30 a.m. Monday for a reported drug overdose.  They began treating the victim... and, then spotted a shotgun in the living room.  Police say they then found the 3-year-old in a room with another shotgun within reach.  Officers they arrested 52 year-old Thomas Kimbrough, Sr. on one count of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, endangering the welfare of a child.  Kimbrough was arraigned and released on his own recognizance.  The investigation is continuing and more charges are expected.


City of Jamestown launches new disk golf course at Bergman Park...
The city of Jamestown's new, disc golf course has officially opened in Bergman Park... with 12 holes currently in play.  City officials say another six holes are to be added next Spring.  Parks Manager Dan Stone says the course utilizes many of the underused open areas of the park, as well as some of the wooden areas around the back of Bergman Park.  Stone says they were put in about a month and a half ago with the help of the Twin Tiers Disk Golf Club, which will be holding a kid's clinic there on Aug. 30.  Stone says they're "excited to offer more recreational opportunities to residents.  Having a high-quality disc golf course only enhances what we provide to residents and will draw in people from all over the region to play.”  Stone adds that a map and the ability to keep track of scoring can be found on-line at udisc.com/courses/bergman-park-x3mX. 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Aug. 23, 2022

Two arrested in connection with last Friday's fatal, drive-by shooting in Jamestown...
Two Jamestown men have been arrested in connection with last Friday afternoon's drive-by shooting that left one person dead... and, another seriously wounded.  City Police Chief Timothy Jackson told members of the City Council's Public Safety Committee about the arrests of 32 year-old Joseph Fontanez-Walker... and, 22 year-old Kevin Roldan-Pantojas late Monday.  That from Committee Chairman Brent Sheldon... who says JPD Chief Timothy Jackson informed the committee about the arrests, which occured just prior to the meeting.  Jackson says they are working with the District Attorney's Office on the charges.  The shooting in the 800-block of Prendergast Avenue left 35 year-old Jesus Batista-Perez dead... and, a second, unidentified man, wounded.  Police add that the black Toyota four-door sedan that was previously posted has been located.  If you have any information on the incident... call JPD at 483-7537... or the confidential tips line at 483-8477.


City Council members react to, and discuss what to do about gun violence uptick in city...
Last Friday's fatal, daylight shooting incident led to much discussion about the issue of gun violence in the city of Jamestown... and what to do about it.  While lawmakers recently agreed to hire more police officers to put on the streets to deal with the situation... resident Doug Champ criticized council and Mayor Eddie Sundquist for waiting about a year to start doing something with American Rescue Plan Act funds.  Champ urged using more of what's left over of ARPA funds -- about 20% -- for public safety.  He says if there's $10-million in funding left... they should put at least $2-million towards public safety.  At-Large Councilman Jeff Russell... a retired city police officer... says he's "frustrated" by the situation.  Russell feels there needs to be more work done at the neighborhood-level using "zero tolerance" to make it uncomfortable for the drug and gun traffickers.  A "zero tolerance" program was used... often successfully some years back... to put more heat on those involved in criminal activity to get them off the streets.  While he believes some bail reform was needed... Russell said he was also frustrated because it went "too far."


Special Election and GOP Primary Day underway in 23rd Congressional District...
Chautauqua County Elections commissioners say that early voting for Tuesday's Special Election and Republican primary for the 23rd Congressional District seat went better than expected.  That from Republican Commissioner Brian Abram... who says 1,670 voters took part in the Special Election between Republican Joe Sempolinski... and, Democrat Max Della Pia.  Abram adds that 585 took part in the GOP Primary... but, added those voters had to be registered Republicans.  He says that early voting allowed poll workers to work out the kinks... and, voters responded.  In fact... he says turn-out was even better than the gubernatorial primaries in June... when 900 people voted early.  Democratic Elections Commissioner Luz Torres says early voting ended Sunday... and, the actual Special Election and primary day is Tuesday.  Torres says poll will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and, all 49 of the county's polling sites will be open.  She and Brian Abram say ALL voters will receive a ballot for the Special Election.  If your a Republican... you will also receive a ballot for the GOP Primary.


Hochul says new COVID guidelines get children back into school...
Circumstances have changed a lot since last year... and, with that Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that New York State will be easing COVID guidelines for schools this Fall.  During a briefing on COVID-19 and monkeypox in New York City Monday... Hochul said the state will be aligning its guidance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before the start of the school year to make sure kids are in the classroom.  Hochul says there's "no replacement for in-classroom learning."  She says the changes include ending "test to stay" and full-class quarantining.  She says children who come in contact with someone who tested positive... but, don't show symptoms... and, stay in class with a mask on.  Hochul says... with the new guidelines... an entire classroom will not be sent home.  She adds that the state will once again launch its "vax to school" program.


Ashville mobile home damaged by fire...
Firefighters from several departments responded to a trailer fire on the Carpenter-Pringle Road near Ashville early Monday morning.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's dispatchers say Ashville firefighters got the call around 12:30 a.m., and, received mutual aid from Panama, Bemus Point, Lakewood, Chautauqua, Sherman, Ellery Center and County Emergency Services.  No injuries were reported.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.


JHS Band learning fall's show, and preparing for preview program this Friday...
The official opening of school is still a couple of weeks away.  But the Jamestown High School Marching Band is already busy learning this fall’s show...'Lunar Odyssey.'  Band Director Meghan Murray says they are using a new tool to teach the marching part of the show.  It’s called‘Ultimate Drillbook’ which is an app that can be downloaded, and shows the students where they need to go.  Some phones were donated to make sure every student had one.  The app replaces the old-style, spiral-bound index cards.  Murray says there’s an opportunity to see the band’s progress later this week on Friday night, Aug. 26 at 8 p.m. and is open and free to the public.  The Fall Festival of Bands, with seven performing groups, will be held at Strider Field on Sat., Sept. 17.

 

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Aug. 19, 2022

(**Bulletin)One killed, one wounded in daylight shooting in Jamestown...
One person has been killed... and, another wounded in a daylight shooting in the middle of the 800-block of Prendergast Avenue in Jamestown.  Few details have been released... but, police were called to the scene shortly after 1 PM.  There was still a heavy police presence at mid-afternoon as investigators combed over the area.  There was a white sedan with blood showing on the driver's side... and, a covered body on the street.  Chief Timothy Jackson confirms the fatality... and, says the shooting appears to have been targeted.  Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call the Jamestown Police Department at 483-7537 or the JPD Tip Line at 483-8477.  They say all tips are confidential.  The person wounded was taken to a regional hospital.  No arrests have been reported.  More when it becomes available.


Matar indicted by Chautauqua County Grand Jury, pleads not guilty in Rushdie stabbing...
The man accused of stabbing famed author Salman Rushdie as he was about to give a lecture at Chautauqua Institution has now been formally arraigned on an attempted murder charge.  The A--P and ABC News say 24 year-old Hadi Matar of Fairview, New Jersey pled not guilty to a charge of second-degree attempted murder in county court Thursday... after an indictment was handed up by the county Grand jury.  The A--P is also reporting that Judge David Foley denied bail for Matar... who was arrested after he rushed the stage at the institution last Friday morning.  He then stabbed Rushdie several times in front of a horrified crowd.  Rushdie is 75, and is getting treatment at an Erie, Pennsylvania hospital for severe wounds.  During the court hearing, public defender Nathaniel Barone asked Foley to do something to stop reporters from trying to contact Matar at the county jail.  Barone says the jail had received ``several hundred phone calls.''  Foley issued a gag order in the case.


Chautauqua instituting more security measures in wake of attack on Rushdie...
Chautauqua Institution is continuing to beef up security following last Friday's attack on author Salman Rushdie in the amphitheater.  That from Chautauqua Spokesperson Vanessa Weinert... who says there's now a 'no bags' policy in place, and all gate passes and tickets now require identification.  Weinert says another major move is now in effect... that being use of metal detecting technology at some venues.  Weinert says Chautauquans have been very supportive of the Institution following last week's incident... echoing what President Michael Hill said after it occured.  She says "we have to reclaim the podiums and pulpits with programming that meets the ideals of Chautauqua and Salman Rushdie."  Chautauqua's nine week season comes to a close a week from Sunday on Sun. Aug. 28.


Missing girl in Mina got stuck in thick brush...
The 6 year-old girl who went missing just over an hour in the Findley Lake area was found safe and sound in the Route 430 area after getting stuck in a thick area of brush.  Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene about 7:45 p.m. Wednesday... and, conducted a preliminary search of the buildings on the property.  Sheriff's K-9 "Link" was then deployed on an area search.  After about an hour of searching... the K-9 located picked up an 'odor trail' and began tracking into a wooded area.  The dog found the girl stuck in the brush about half-a-mile from her home.  She was uninjured and returned to her family.  Sheriff's deputies were assisted by State Forest Rangers, the Findley Lake and Sherman Fire Departments... and county EMS.


TRC to Open first ever retail location, "CHQ Plus..."
The Resource Center will soon be opening its first ever retail location… in the Wellman Building in downtown Jamestown.  TRC’s Director of Employment and Community Services, Terri Johnson, says the store will be called ‘CHQ Plus.'  Johnson says they'll be selling items either man by locatl residents, or people with disabilities.  ‘CHQ Plus’ will also help the Resource Center prepare persons with disabilities to enter the workforce by giving them training in a retail setting.  The exact opening date for the store has not been set.   ‘CHQ Plus’ is a collaborative project of the Resource Center, the county Chamber of Commerce, and the Gebbie Foundation.


County Airport near Jamestown to celebrate 90th birthday this weekend...
The Chautauqua County Airport near Jamestown will celebrate its 90th anniversary this weekend with two special events.  Airports Manager, Shannon Barnhart, says the first will be an outdoor showing of the Disney movie ‘Planes’ tonight at dusk, around 8:15 p.m., on a knoll outside one of the hangers.  Barnhart says the movie is free.  Popcorn and drinks will be sold to benefit a couple of not for profit organizations.  The other special event is a Three-C’s pancake breakfast Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the terminal building.  The cost is $15 person, $8 for children 12 and under.  Airport historian, and pilot, Mike Johnson, says the official grand opening of the Jamestown field was held on Aug.t 20, 1932.


Schumer sounds alarm on Spotted Lanternfly being seen in upstate New York, need for federal effort to eradicate...
Nearly every region of upstate New York has now reported seeing the invasive Spotted Lanternfly putting crops and wineries at risk.  That from U.S. Senator Charles Schumer... who says the U.S. Department of Agriculture needs to deploy federal funds he's secured for the state to educate the public and eradicate the insect.  The New York Democrat is also pushing an additional $22-million in the upcoming budget for the state's Integrated Pest Management Program.  While the Spotted Lanternfly has not been reported in Chautauqua County so far... Schumer says it's now being reported in the Finger Lakes... Southern Tier... Central New York... the Hudson Valley... and, Capital Regions. 

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