(**Alert!)Local Police issue public Health Alert regarding Heroin overdoses...
Police in the Jamestown-area are putting out an urgent health notice to residents regarding three reported drug overdoses -- one fatal -- that occured in the Jamestown area this morning. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says they are warning any Heroin users to avoid taking any of the drug that's been coming in "pink packaging." Samuelson says the fatal overdose occured in the village of Falconer... while the other two occured in Lakewood. Samuelson says the overdose victims in Lakewood were at a restaurant where they were going to the bathroom. Samuelson again is urging anyone who uses Heroin to not use anything in pink packaging. He says most of what they've dealt with is in "clear" packaging. If you come across any such packaging, you can call police, or the JPD anonymous tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477. He says the announcement was being made for public safety reasons - not prosecution ones.
New York's governor and three top lawmakers have begun the annual series of closed-door budget negotiations. Governor Andrew Cuomo met Wednesday afternoon with Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos... as well as Senator Jeff Klein, the leader of a small breakaway faction of Senate Democrats known as the Independent Democratic Conference. The meeting was the first of what's likely to be several such gatherings, traditionally known as the ``three men in a room'' who negotiate the details of the state budget. Cuomo said Klein was included because his faction's support may prove critical for passing the spending plan. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who leads the Senate's Democratic minority, was not invited. She criticized the process and says the leaders of all legislative factions should be included.
Members of the Chautauqua County Legislature generally reacted positively to Vince Horrigan's second State of the County message. However... some say they want to know more about Horrigan's proposal to raise the sales tax by a half-a-percent first. One is Cassadaga-area Republican John Runkle... who says he wants to look at possible cost-cutting measures in addition to raising the tax. At the same time... Legislature Chairman Jay Gould of Ashville says he believes the county has cut about all it can -- within the framework of state mandates -- and, adds they need the added half-a-percent sales tax to help reduce the property tax. He says the county's property taxes shouldn't be in the area of Westchester County's rate. He adds that if the revenue can't be found... the county may be "bankrupt" by the end of next year. Legislature Minority Leader Keith Ahlstrom says he can "support" an increase in the sales tax if it produces "true property tax relief." He says it's a relatively painless way to raise the revenues they need to "cover their expenses."
There were several challenges in 2014... but, Chautauqua County goverment was "one the move" ove the past year. That from County Executive Vince Horrigan... who celebrated several in his State of the County Address. Two of the biggest occured in the north county, with the approval of the NRG Repowering Project... and, privatizing the Chautauqua County Home. Horrigan says the 16-million dollar sale of the home last December 31st culminated a "difficult" three-year process. Horrigan says the county also took "numerous steps" toward addressing significant challenges with it's lakes and streams. With the help of State Senator Cathy Young... Assemblyman Andy Goodell... and, Congressman Tom Reed... he says Barcelona Harbor was successfully dredged. The Ellery Republican adds dredging is planned for Dunkirk and Hanover this year. He adds there is a new Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance... which will pursue state and federal funding to maintain the lake. Horrigan also welcomed Erin Brickley... who will be the Watershed Alliance's first executive director. He also touted the Department of Social Services efforts to ensure that people entitled to public assistance get it... and, those who don't -- don't.
Three people from New York City living in the Jamestown-area have been arrested for committing a form of shop-lifting called "under-ringing." It's where they use a self-checkout area to scan their merchandise... but, intentionally scan lower price tag items... and, put different items in their bag. Lakewood-Busti police say a second method used is scanning half the products in a shopping cart... and, not the other half. Officers say they arrested Bryonna Vickers of the Bronx... Achaia (Ah-kay-uh) Buckhanon of New York City... and, Trevor Patterson of Harlem -- all 19 -- on multiple counts of petty larceny. Police officials say they have investigated numerous complaints of "under-ringing" over the past several months. Lakewood-Busti officers say the three had allegedly committed the crime at the same store... but, this time were caught in the act. The trio was arraigned... and, posted bail.
State lawmakers have begun debating grand jury reforms meant to restore trust when police are investigated. The issue is getting attention following last year's death of an unarmed Staten Island man in a videotaped confrontation with city police where no officers were later indicted. Eric Garner's death in an apparent chokehold led to major protests. At a hearing on the state's criminal justice budget... several legislators are questioning reform proposals by Governor Andrew Cuomo and Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, who would establish oversight by a special prosecutor or judge, respectively, when police are accused. Individual legislators are also raising other options. One would require prosecutors to disclose publicly what charges they have grand juries consider. Another proposal, from a former police officer, would leave the current closed-door system intact.
There have been no names announced... but the first new Jamestown businesses under Start Up New York could be opening soon. The guest speaker for the Chamber 'Salute to the Finest' awards Wednesday was John Sayegh, Vice President for External Partnerships at Jamestown Community College. He says the college and its advisory council have put their applications before the state. The first will be sponsored by the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation. As for the second application, Sayegh said he could not divulge the name... or nature... of the business, but did say "it is very excting". Those firms approved for Start Up New York will enjoy a variety of significant tax exemptions for ten years.
Two men who have 'painted the town' were honored as the 'Pride of Jamestown' at the Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce Awards Wednesday night. Gary Peters, Senior, and Gary Peters, Junior, are responsible for the Lucy-Desi murals found throughout the downtown area. Gary, Junior said he and his father were not the only artists at the ceremony. The 'business of the year' award went to Digitell. Jim Parker started the business 30 years ago, selling cassettes of Chautauqua lectures. He now employs over 50 people... streaming video conferences all over the United States. He calls it a tough business... but, adds they're small operation in Jamestown is doing well. Other 'Salute to the Finest' awards went to Titan X, the Jamestown Cycle Shop, Line-X of Jamestown, Shawbucks, and the Lynn Development Group. Individual awards were presented to Peter Lombardi of the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation, and Jamestown Skate Supply Owner Pete Scheira (sheer-uh). Tim Shults of Shults Auto Group was given the 'Community Service Award'.
The New York Farm show is returning to the State Fairgrounds. The 30th edition of the show began yesterday and runs through Saturday. Last year... more than 25,000 people attended the Farm Show, which occupies more than 220,000 square feet of space in six buildings and includes over 400 exhibitors. The show will be held in the Exhibit Center, Center of Progress Building, Horticulture Building, Science & Industry Building, International Building, and Art & Home Center. It's co-sponsored by the Northeast Equipment Dealers Association and American Agriculturalist and features the latest innovations in agricultural equipment, as well as services and products targeted specifically for farm operators in the Northeast. A Robotic Milking Seminar is being offered daily, and presentations also will be made in forest management and agricultural safety.
For the second time in two years, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is sending a bill to the Senate to privatize the operations of much of the state-controlled wine and liquor store system. However, the Republican-backed proposal that passed 114-to-87 yesterday faces an uphill road, like the previous one that died in the Senate. Democratic lawmakers oppose it, as does Democratic Governor Tom Wolf.
Chautauqua County's nearly 6-million dollar "structural deficit" projected in 2016 is the "biggest reality facing us." With that... County Executive Vince Horrigan outlined his recommendations to eliminate that deficit during last night's State of the County Address. Horrigan outlined three ways to attack the problem... the key one being a push to increase the county's sales tax from 7.5 to 8-percent. He told the county legislature that such an increase would be in line with neighboring counties... and, allow them to work on cutting property taxes in the future.
Horrigan says he's propose home rule legislation next month requesting that the state legislature allow the half-a-percent increase. However... he would not eliminate the current clothing and residential energy sales tax
exemptions. The second area Horrigan says he'll focus on is putting alternatives in place to eliminate jail overcrowing, and the need to send prisoners to other jails at a cost of about one-million dollars a year. He adds he'll also work with the county's Insurance Department... and, others to reduce skyrocketing Workers Compensation Costs.
No serious injuries were reported when a Panama Central School bus slid off a town of Harmony road... and, struck a snowbank yesterday morning. State Police in Jamestown say they are continuing to investigate the crash... which occured on Eddy Road just after 7:30 AM. We have learned there were just over 30 students on the bus. The Post-Journal reports some 13 suffered minor injuries... and, none were reportedly hospitalized. State police could not say if any charges were pending against the driver.
A major water main break has left the small, northwestern Pennsylvania city of Bradford without water... and, forced a number of businesses... and, a local college... to close. The Bradford Era reports the 24-inch main broke late Monday... and, officials say the line was ruptured so bad... water will be shut off for the next "several days." The director of the city's Water Authority Tuesday said -- during an emergency meeting -- that the break caused a 5-million gallon water leak. Kim Benjamin says if they didn't shut the system down... it would go down on it's own because of the loss of water. Mayor Tom Riel (Ryl) has declared a State of Emergency to begin the process of applying for federal aid. The break forced the closing of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, and schools in the Bradford Area School District through at least the end of the week.
The Chautauqua County Water Agency has taken another step in the process of developing a North County Regional Water District. In a unanimous vote... the agency has approved the "framework" of a plan that would include the city of Dunkirk and the village of Fredonia as water providers. County Executive Vince Horrigan says it's a major step for the project. An independent analysis of the plan projects nearly 356-thousand dollars in savings when compared to having three water providers producing water on an independent basis. He says they "have everyone together now..." and, that's a major step. Several more steps will need to be taken in developing a water district, starting with the intermunicipal agreements.
The Jamestown Area Community Chamber of Commerce presented its annual 'Salute to the Finest' awards Wednesday. Two new award categories for young professionals were added this year. Peter Lombardi, Deputy Director of the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation was named 'young community leader of the year'. The 'young business leader of the year' was Pete Scheira (sheer-uh), owner of Jamestown Skate Supply. Scheira was unable to attend the ceremony. His award was accepted by William Bacon, a friend and business partner. Bacon talked about what he sees when goes to Jamestown Skate Supply on Pine Street. Also honored at the event at La Scala Wednesday night were Titan X, the Jamestown Cycle Shop, Line-X of Jamestown, the Lynn Development Group, Shawbucks, and Digitell. Tim Shults of Ed Shults Auto Group was given the Community Service Award. Mural artists Gary Peters Senior and Junior were given the 'Pride of Jamestown' award.
The keynote speaker at the 'Salute to the Finest' dinner was John Sayegh (sigh-egg), a Vice-President at Jamestown Community College. He reported on the Start Up New York program, and said two new businesses appear ready for approval for Start Up incentives. One will be a research and development business sponsored by the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation. Sayegh said the other business will also be located in the city of Jamestown, but could not divulge the name of nature of it. He added, "It's really exciting." Sayegh says approval at the state level could come in the next month.
Governor Andrew Cuomo says neither he nor his staff have been subpoenaed or contacted by federal investigators probing Albany corruption. The Democratic governor's comments were in response to a reporter's question. He said he had not been contacted... and, a spokeswoman later said that no executive chamber staffer had received a subpoena, either. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has said his Albany investigation is continuing.
Hundreds of advocates for better mental health treatment for New Yorkers rallied Wednesday at the Capitol, especially for one basic need -- housing. The New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services says that leads its list of legislative priorities for the coming year. The coalition of people who use and provide mental health services is calling for an 82-million dollar investment in the statewide rate adjustment for supported and other types of housing to address ``a crisis'' from rising prices. The group says there's also a need for 35,000 more state-supported housing units -- 30,000 in New York City and 5,000 upstate -- citing the record number of 60,000 homeless individuals in the city, a disproportionately large number of them with psychiatric disabilities.
An initiative created to get school students interested how their coursework is relevant in today's working world is nearing it's fund-raising goal to purchase a drone for it's projects. "Dream it -- Do it" Western New York has reached just over 22-hundred-60 dollars of it's 25-hundred dollar goal to purchase the Drone. "Dream it -- Do it" coordinator Justin Hanft with the county's Chamber of Commerce says they only have four days left in the campaign... and, need to reach their goal in order to get the money. Hanft says they are using the "Kickstarter" website to do what's called "Crowdsourcing" to raise the money in a condensed time period. He says they plan to use the drone as part of their local STEM camps and programs to help students get "excited" about math, science, and engineering. To make a donation... Hanft says go on-line to Kickstarter-dot-COM... then search "Dream it Do it Western New York Student Drone video project." He says you can also reach him for more information by calling 484-1101.
It's tax season... and, with that typically come scams involving criminals calling people... claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service, and threating people to pay money they owe. That's one of a couple of scams local officials are warning Jamestown-area residents about today. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says they received a call from one resident... who said a person calling themself "Officer Charlie with the IRS" called them... and, said they owed back taxes, and needed to pay them immediately or face arrest. Samuelson says the number listed was from the 703 area code. He says the first rule of thumb is to never agree to pay out money over the phone... and, don't give out any financial information, or your Social Security number. Samuelson says they've had some city residents become victims of such scams... and, while the FBI will investigate those... it's nearly impossible to recover the money.
In addition... the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities is advising customers to be on the alert for a recent scam that has surfaced among hotel customers. BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says two local hotels received a call Tuesday from someone saying they were from the BPU. Robbins says the man told them there was a problem with their routing number on their payment... and, that if they did not give the correct information, he would send someone to turn off their water. Another hotel was told by the person that they would need to pay 600-dollars within two hours or water would be disconnected. Robbins says the BPU will NOT call and ask for account information from a customer.
The frigid Artic blasts of recent weeks... along with brief warm-ups... have wrecked havoc on local streets and roadways. Public Works crews have been trying to keep up with the numerous potholes, and massive ruts... but, there's only so much that can be done when temperatures are well-below freezing. That from Jamestown DPW Director Jeff Lehman... who says his crews can only use "cold patch" at this point until Spring gets here. Lehman says their summer "hot patch" won't be available from the local asphalt plant until sometime in April. Possibly the worst conditions this Winter have been on The Arterial and Foote Avenue... where there are holes... and, ruts everywhere. That is a state road... but, Lehman says they've been doing some temporary patching there. He adds he and Mayor Sam Teresi have been pushing to the state Department of Transporation since last Summer to finally fix the road. Lehman says they met again a couple of weeks ago... and, adds the state will have to do a full milling and overlay project for the roadway. He adds another problem areas have been part of West 6th Street... and, the approaches to the Washington Street Bridge... and, the intersections with Washington Street.
Class size in the Jamestown School district is one area that school officials and the board of education are looking at as work begins on the 2015-16 budget. That was confirmed by Superintendent Tim Mains... who hosted another budget work session prior to last night's regular board meeting. Mains adds that class size is one of the items brought up to the Jamestown Teachers Association when he recently met with heads of the district's seven bargaining units. Elementary School Teacher Laurie Cobb says the idea of increasing class sizes from 15 to 25 doesn't sit well with her. Cobb added that "class size should not be on the budget table." She says the students should come first... and, have the best classroom opportunity possible. Mains says that class size has become an issue because if the district is forced to make cuts... the number of students in each class will likely increase. Mains says the cuts may be avoided if they can obtain more revenues... and, or concessions from the bargaining units. The four areas covered at last night's budget session were employee benefits... contractual items... BOCES Aid... and, Special Education services.
A new Siena College poll finds that while New York voters support efforts to rein in state government corruption, they're more concerned about whether lawmakers pass an on-time budget. Fifty-three percent of those responding said passing a budget on-time is more important than Governor Cuomo's proposed legislative ethics overhaul. Cuomo has said his proposal must be in the budget, raising the specter of a standoff that would delay the spending plan... and, disrupt state government.
Discussion is continuing in Washington on ways to prevent the Department of Homeland Security from shutting down at the end of this week due to a lack of funding. Local Congressman Tom Reed wants to see a change in the rules of the Senate. Reed is calling for the partial removal of the Senate filibuster. Reed is accusing Democrats of holding Homeland Security funding hostage. The Corning Republican is hopeful that a shutdown of DHS will be averted. Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier media Monday afternoon.
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area have risen a fraction of a cent this week... but, the price remains just under 2-dollars-50 cents a gallon. That from the Triple-A's weekly Fuel Gauge report... which says the price rose four-tenths of a penny to 2-dollars-49.5-cents for regular unleaded gas. The Triple-A says the averag is based on reports from 19 service stations in the area. Last year... the cost was about 3-dollars-69 cents a gallon. Nationally... the Fuel Gauge reports the average price has increased for 28 consecutive days for a total of 27 cents per gallon. Triple-A says that's the longest streak of rising prices since last spring. Refineries are in the midst of conducting seasonal maintenance, a process that can limit fuel production and contribute to rising pump prices. In addition, the Fuel Gauge reports the potential remains for unexpected refinery problems to further impact production... and, cause temporary prices spikes in various regions. Last week an explosion at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance helped push up prices in California, while bitterly cold weather in the Northeast and Midwest led to a number of refinery problems in those areas.
Sentencing for the main suspect in the April 2013 double-murder of a town of Carroll couple has been delayed for one week. Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley says 35 year-old Davide Coggins was to be sentenced Monday on two counts of second-degree murder, and other charges in connection with the torture-homicides of 66 year-old Gordon Skinner, and his 59 year-old wife, Joyce. Foley says both sides agreed to the delay in county court yesterday. However... he says he will still push for the maximum on both counts of murder -- which is 50 years to life in prison -- on Monday, March 2nd, at 11 AM.
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting another man at a hotel on the city's eastside last Sunday morning. City police were called to the Bullfrog Hotel on East Second Street about 8 AM on a reported assault. Following a brief investigation... officers arrested 56 year-old Daniel Weilacher for alleged assaulting the victim... who had to be treated in the emergency room at WCA Hospital. Police say Weilacher was jailed on one count of third-degree assault.
A Warren County, Pennsylvania man is jailed after he allegedly threatened to shoot police during a stand-off at his home in Pleasant Township. State Police in Warren say Sheriff's officers were attempting to serve an order of protection on 58 year-old John Blauser of Arlington Road shortly before 7 PM Monday. Troopers say Blauser had barricaded himself in his bedroom... and, wouldn't come out. Both Sheriff's Deputies and State Police tried to talk him out several times... before tear-gas was used. Blauser finally came out... and, was arrested without further incident. He was charged with assault, and making terroristic threats... arraigned, and sent to the Warren County Jail with bail to be set.
Fire has destroyed one home on Jamestown's westside... while another next door was extensively damaged late Monday morning. City Fire Battalion Chief Sam Salemme says crews were first called to the scene at 5 West 10th Street shortly before 10:30 AM. Salemme says they found the single-family home fully-engulfed in fire... and, that the flames had spread to an adjacent home. Salemme says they immediately called in an off-duty shift of 15 firefighters, and a shift commander... and split up crews among the two structures. He says two crews worked to knock down the flames at 5 West 10th... while two others went inside to deal with flames on the second-floor at 9 West 10th. Salemme says it took about an-hour and a-half to bring the fires under control... and, the zero-degree temperatures caused problems with water... and, a couple of fire trucks froze up. No occupants were hurt in the fires... but, Salemme says two firefighters suffered minor injuries. Salemme says the cause remains under investigation... and, the house at 5 West 10th had to be torn-down.
The National Weather Service is continuing a Wind Chill Warning for much of western New York -- including Chautauqua County -- until 9 this morning. Forecasters say temperatures will remain below zero... and, Wind Chill's to 25-below until later than first predicted. That's due to our latest Artic blast that moved into the region early Monday morning. We'll see sunny skies this morning, with winds remaining about 10 to 20 MPH out of the west... then south. Once that happens... we'll begin to see a bit of a warm-up by this afternoon.
There will be public meetings in the near future for the public to attend regarding a proposal to de-dedicate a one-block section of Lafayette Street on Jamestown's northside. The head of the City Council adds that there is no intention of leaving northside residents out of the process of deciding on a proposal to expand a car dealership between 10th and 11th Streets. About 20 people were on hand for last night's Council voting session to express their on-going concern over the proposal. Regina Brackman says access to Chadakoin Park remains the concern.
The Dave Warren Autogroup wants to obtain that block for a location to display more cars they have for sale. The proposal was recently laid out for some northside church ministers so they could speak knowledgeably about the plan. However... some residents felt lawmakers were going behind their backs... and, trying to "sell" the proposal. Council President Greg Rabb says a meeting with residents will be held... and, he assured them that lawmakers haven't made any decision yet on the proposal.
County Executive Vince Horrigan is gearing for his second-annual State of the County message this Wednesday night... and, one of the main items is how he would like the county to respond to a structural deficit of nearly 6-million dollars. Horrigan Monday says a commission has been looking at the situation and has outlined some recommendations. Horrigan says he'll be looking back at some of the successes of the past year... and, will be looking ahead to some of the challenges the county will facing. The county's top-elected official says he spent the weekend "fine-tuning" his speech... which he will deliver during the County Legislature's monthly meeting in Mayville Wednesday. The session begins at 6:30 PM.
Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan... and, county Community Mental Hygiene Services Director Patricia Brinkman will be hosting another Community Forum on local drug abuse issues next month. Horrigan says the March 16th session will focuse on the continuing prevention efforts to combat the epidemic of Opiate use and abuse in the County. Horrigan is also looking to update the public on the progress that is being made to get help to those who need it. He says the forum will be held on Monday, March 16th beginning at 9 AM at Chautauqua Suites Hotel and Expo Center in Mayville. Three speakers and presenters will be part of the program.
The excitement is building for the first-ever 24-Hour James "Hockey" Town event at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena this coming Friday and Saturday. There will be 16 hockey games with a number of teams already signed up. That from Arena General Manager Brian Cersosimo... who says they are figuring about an hour and a half for each game. Cersosimo says while they don't have every slot filled at this point... they have a good list of teams to fill in with. Activities get underway this Friday night with an event mixer at 6:30 PM... and, ceremonial "puck-drop" with Mayor Sam Teresi. Sandie DeAngelo with the Infinity Visual and Performing Arts program will perform the National Anthem prior to the first game at 7 PM in Rink "A." Cersosimo says activities "outside" Rink "A" also begin at 7 PM Friday... with Karaoke, and two bands performing. The event is also serving as a fund... and, awareness raiser for WCA Hospital's Heart Center. That will include a "Go Red for Women" Fashion Show Saturday from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM. For more information... go to the arena website at Jamestownarena-dot-COM.
The 24-hour James "Hockey" Town event was initially created to call attention to the arena... and, voting for it as the top small-town hockey arena in the U-S. That would give it the designation of "Hockeytown USA." Arena G-M Brian Cersosimo says that would be a feather in the cap of the arena... and, users of the facility. Cersosimo says the vote criteria is very much in line with what the arena was built for. He says that was to be a "key piece" of the community. If they win... Cersosimo says they'll get an NHL Pre-season game... and, 150-thousand dollars for upgrades to the facility. He says you can nominate the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena by going on-line to Krafthockeyville-dot-COM... and, put in your nomination. Once you go to the website, you can search for Jamestown Savings Bank Arena... and, add your nomination with a short description why.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer says the federal government is allocating 32-million dollars to the state of New York to cover all expenses related to ebola readiness and treatment. Schumer says that money from the federal Department of Health and Human Services will reimburse the state's designated ebola treatment centers. New York City will receive 21.7-million dollars... and, the rest of the state will receive $7.5 million.
Flames destroy one home on Jamestown's westside, extensively damage another...
Fire has destroyed one home on Jamestown's westside... and, extensively damaged another next door when flames broke out this morning. City Fire Battalion Chief Sam Salemme says crews were first called to the scene at 5 West 10th Street shortly before 10:30 a.m. Salemme says they found the single-family home fully-engulfed in fire... and, that the flames had spread to the second-floor and attic of an adjacent home. He adds two other nearby homes on North Main Street suffered exposure damage. Salemme says they immediately called in an off-duty shift of 15 firefighters, and a shift commander... and split up crews among the two structures. He says it took about an-hour and a-half to bring the fires under control... and, the zero-degree temperatures caused problems with water... and, a couple of fire trucks froze up. No occupants were hurt in the fires... but, Salemme says two firefighters suffered minor injuries. Salemme says the cause of the fire remains under investigation. The house at 5 West 10th had to be torn-down in an emergency demolition.
Another day... another Wind Chill Warning and frigid temperatures for the western New York region for the next day or so. The National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a Wind Chill Warning now through 7 a.m. Tuesday. Forecaster Aaron Reynolds says... while temperatures were in the lower 20s early last night... they fell as another Artic cold front came into the region from our north and west. Reynolds adds that wind speeds will be about 5 to 10 miles per hour... bringing the Wind Chills during the day down to about 20 to 25-below zero. Reynolds says... while we're expecting a bit of a warm-up during the day Tuesday... we won't see the Freezing mark this week. He says the highs will get to about 20 on Tuesday... and, 15 on Wednesday.
For the second straight winter... bitter weather threatens to turn the surface of the Great Lakes into a vast frozen plain. The federal Great Lakes research laboratory in Ann Arbor reports Friday that nearly 81-percent of the five lakes' surface area is ice-covered. On Thursday... the ice cover exceeded 85 percent. The lab's George Leshkevich says the small drop-off probably happened because winds broke apart some ice, creating open spots. Still... satellite imagery shows this year's ice cover has nearly doubled over the past couple of weeks.
The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency can now begin working on finding a new business -- or businesses -- to occupy the former ConAgra building in Dunkirk. The IDA closed on purchasing the Talcott Road facility late last Friday. Agency Executive Director Kevin Sanvidge announced the acquisition... adding that the IDA had issued a 2-million dollar bond that was bought by the county last Fall. Sanvidge says the IDA now has "the opportunity to control the future use of the facility, thus allowing us to insure that manufacturing jobs are returned to this Dunkirk facility." ConAgra closed both Carriage House plants at the end of 2014... putting about 450 people out of work.
Cummins Engine's Jamestown plant won out over overseas competition for the new engine block manufacturing line that'll be constructed later this year. That from the Chief Financial Officer with the county's Industrial Development Agency... who says they were made aware of Cummin's plans to install the line about eight months ago. Rich Dixon says the IDA and state's Empire Development Corporation were brought into see what kind of incentives they could provide. He says the agency was able to provide some tax relief for project. The 94-million dollar project includes 40-million in new construction, and materials. Dixon says the other 54-million is for creating 40-thousand square feet in new space... and, building the new line. Since there are multiple kinds of engines constructed there... Dixon says Cummins will still be receiving some other engine blocks at the Ashville facility. Dixon says Cummins local plant... which is the company's main heavy-duty engine builder... won out over a German proposal to house the new engine block production line. The new production line should be ready for use in early 2017.
U-S Senator Charles Schumer says Congress should reject President Barack Obama's plan to cut funding for a program that targets high-intensity drug trafficking. The New York Democrat says Obama's proposal to cut more than $50 million from the program would set back efforts to fight heroin abuse. Schumer says the spread of dangerous opiates shows the need to boost funding for the initiative. The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program teams federal law enforcement with local police in designated areas. Chautauqua County -- and mainly Jamestown -- received such a designation last year. There are now 28 such areas in 46 states. Schumer says he'd like to see a 100-million dollar increase.
A Jamestown woman has been arrested for allegedly engaging in a "course of conduct" with a child under the age of 10 following a weekend incident on the city's eastside. Sheriff's officers served an arrest warrant on 32 year-old Amber Johnson on Anderson Street last Friday night. Deputies say the arrest stems from an investigation conducted by Child Protective Services... and, the Sheriff's Office. Johnson was taken into custody... and, arraigned in Chautauqua Town Court on one count each of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child... and, reckless endangerment. She was sent to the county jail, where she posted bail. The warrant was served with the assistance of Jamestown police.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing detailed ethics reforms meant to restore trust in state government by requiring officials to detail all outside income and everybody who pays them more than $1,000. Current annual reporting consists of broad income categories and little about work done. The governor would require reporting all actual services performed and any connections to state government. Lawyers, real estate agents and certain other professionals would have to report. Legislators would be barred from any compensation in connection with pending legislation. Violators could be prosecuted and lose longstanding state pensions. Only documented travel expenses would be reimbursed, instead of broad per diems. The proposals in budget amendments Friday follow ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's indictment on charges he took $4 million in kickbacks as legal fees, which he denies.
The top Democrat in the New York Senate says the state's 5-billion windfall from financial settlements should pay for housing, transportation and school upgrades and tax rebates for low-paid workers. Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins announced the plan Thursday. The rebate would go to workers currently making less than 10-dollars-10 cents per hour. The specific amount would vary based on the worker's wage, with those making the least getting a maximum of 28-hundred dollars. The rebate would cost $900 million. Another $1.2 billion of the surplus would pay for building and improving affordable housing units. One-billion dollars would fund public school upgrades and $1.1 billion would go to transportation projects including the new Tappan Zee Bridge. Stewart-Cousins calls the proposal a smart investment in New York's economy and its people.
National Weather Service continues Wind Chill Warning through 10 a.m... but, bitter cold to persist...
Our frigid temperatures and dangerously cold wind chills continue through at least late this morning in the Jamestown-area. The National Weather Service in Buffalo is continuing a wind chill warning until 10 this morning for all of Western New York. Forecaster David Church says wind chill values this morning will fall to 35-below zero... and, adds that anyone going outside during that time should bundle up because hypothermia and frostbite are real dangers. However, there is a respite on the way. Church says highs for the weekend might climb towards freezing mark... with at least a 30-degree reading on Saturday. However... temperatures across the area are expected to dip back down into the single digits by the start of next week. This morning... there's been very little wind... and, the temperature at our Media One Group studios at 6 a.m. was 13-below zero. It was also 13-below at the County Airport near Jamestown.
Deep Freeze continues for all of upstate New York...
The winter weather isn't letting up in upstate New York. The National Weather Service says Syracuse, northern Onondaga County and northern Madison County could get hit with another four to six inches of snow by this morning, and high winds will sharply reduce visibility. The most severely affected areas are expected to be north of the New York State Thruway, and the weather service has issued a lake-effect snow advisory. Sub-zero temperatures also remain in the region, making road salt less effective. Wind chills as low as 25 below also are predicted, and a warning has been issued through late Friday morning for all of central New York and the Watertown area.
Slippery roads may have contributed to two-vehicle crash on Route 60 in Gerry...
Two people suffered very minor injuries in a two-vehicle accident on Route 60 early Thursday morning just north of Gerry that may have been partly due to slipper road conditions. State Police in Jamestown say the driver of a northbound Sports Utility Vehicle lost control just north of Gerry shortly after 6:30 a.m. Troopers say the SUV went into the southbound lane and into the path of a pick-up truck. Troopere say one of the operators allegedly tried to walk away from the scene... but, was caught a short time later. No names were released. Both drivers signed off on treatment... and, both face charges in the crash.
Two people -- one from Tennessee -- arrested in "significant" Heroin bust in Jamestown...
Two people are jailed without bail for allegedly being part of a "significant" Heroin trafficking operation on Jamestown's eastside. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force raided the lower apartment at 609 East Eighth Street shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday... and, arrested 48 year-old Ricky Baucher of Jamestown... and, 44 year-old Nicole Foster of Tennessee. Samuelson says the arrests culminate a 'major investigation' that uncovered more than 100 doses of the drug... and, about $10,000 in cash. He says several neighbors thanked task force members following the raid. The Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force... made up of city and Ellicott police officers... and, State Police. Samuelson says Baucher and Foster were both arraigned on charges of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, sent to the county lock-up. If you have any information on illegal drug trafficking in Jamestown... call the confidential JPD Tips-line at 483-8477.
Reed holding listening tour stops in 23rd Congressional district this weekend -- three in Chautauqua County...
Local Congressman Tom Reed is holding a series of five "Town Hall" meetings in his 23rd District this weekend to get constituent input on how to vote regarding the use of force against Islamic State terrorists. Reed began the town hall session's last night in Owego... and, another one is set for today in Penn Yan. The Corning Republican's first of three sessions in Chautauqua county will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Ellington Town Hall on West Main Street. Reed says he's made no final decision on supporting president Obama's three-year proposal yet. In addition to the Town Hall meetings... Reed says he also wants to hear more from the president about what he envisions the mission would be for troops... or special forces in the Middle East. ISIS has spread it's hold on the Middle East from parts of Syria and Iraq... to Libya. Reed says beyond the 3-year time limit he want's to know more about the presidents call to "degrade and destroy" ISIS. In addition to the Town Hall sesssion in Ellington... Reed will be at the Brocton Village Hall at 12:30 p.m., and, he'll appear at the Dutch Village Restaurant in Clymer at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Gas prices hold steady this week...
Gas prices in the Jamestown-area are holding steady this week... just dropping a fraction of a penny over the past week. That from the AAA's weekly Fuel Gauge Report... which says the average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded this week is down 5-tenths of a cent to $2.49. AAA says the average is based on reports from 19 local stations. Nationally... the Fuel Gauge reports the average price for regular unleaded has now increased every day since Jan. 27 for a total of 22-cents over 22 days. Gas prices have increased sharply due to more expensive crude oil costs and the start of refinery maintenance season. AAA says prices typically increase this time of year as refineries conduct maintenance, which can limit fuel production.
Another artic blast is hitting the Jamestown-area. The National Weather Service is continuing a Wind Chill Warning now through 10 AM Friday for all of Western New York. Forecaster Dave Zaff in Buffalo says temperatures took a nosedive overnight... with the coldest air reaching the area during the day today. There will be a brief break from the frigid weather pattern over the weekend. Temperatures will drop again by Sunday night. Forecasters expect the below normal temperatures to continue for the rest of the month.
Both lanes of the state Thruway westbound near the Lake Erie shoreline in western New York were reopened late last night after a crash involving a truck. The Thruway Authority says a tractor-trailer crashed around 6:30 AM Wednesday between Exit 58 and 59 in the Chautauqua County town of Sheridan. The right lane reopened around 10 AM... but, the left lane remained blocked until about 9:30 last night. State police say westbound traffic was diverted off Interstate 90 at Exit 58 at Irving while both lanes were closed, while all westbound tandem trucks had to get off the highway at Exit 57 at Hamburg. Troopers say one person reportedly suffered non-life threatening injuries in the accident.
Fire investigators have determined the cause of this past Monday's fire that destroyed the warehouse portion of a Lakewood-area manufacturer was electrical in nature. Lakewood Fire crews were called to Carving Masters at 47-18 Cramer Road just after 5:30 AM... and, found the back portion fo the building heavily-involved in flames. The Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team, and Lakewood fire officials, searched for the cause... and, now say the blaze originated in the painting room... and, was caused by an electric baseboard heater. No one was hurt in the fire... and, officials say there was minor damage to the front portion of the facility.
In spite of a law passed in 2012... nearly 300 synthetic drugs are still available on the market that can cause serious health problems. That's starting to be seen with young people... including four school students recently in Batavia who became ill after ingesting "Cloud-9..." a stimulant also known as "bath salts." U-S Senator Chuck Schumer of New York... who pushed for the previous legislation... says he want's the U-S Drug Enforcement Administration to "pick up the pace" of outlawing many of those drugs that are still available, and causing kids to get sick. He made his push during an appearance in Jamestown earlier this week. Schumer adds that two other students went to the hospital after taking the drug in the Churchville-Chili District near Rochester. He says the problem is that synthetic drug-makers "skirt" the law by packaging and selling new combinations. However... Schumer says these drugs are starting to show up in local schools... and, causing health problems for students who take them. The Democratic lawmakers says taking the drugs can lead to health problems such as seizures... and, hallucinations.
A legislative ethics commission has sent a notice of delinquency to former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver demanding more information about his outside income. The Manhattan Democrat stepped down as speaker this month after being charged with taking nearly 4-million dollars in kickbacks and payoffs. He is keeping his Assembly seat... and, has said he will be exonerated. The notice of delinquency was sent this month by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which had previously asked Silver to provide more information about private legal work he did in 2011 through 2013. Silver did not comply. He could face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines if he is found to have violated state ethics rules.
New York's highest court has ruled that state law determines where sex offenders can live in a community, not the growing number of municipal ordinances setting boundaries around parks, schools and other areas where children are likely to gather. The Court of Appeals ruled unanimously late Tuesday in a case out of Nassau County, saying New York's ``comprehensive and detailed'' statutes and regulations for identifying, restricting and monitoring registered sex offenders prohibit localities from enacting their own residency restrictions. Judge Eugene Pigott notes state law already prohibits offenders considered level three, or highest-risk for new offenses, from any public or private school grounds, or in a publicly accessible area or parked car within 1,000 feet. He notes that has been interpreted by courts as prohibiting them from living within 1,000 feet.
A new report says nearly a half-a-million tons of solid fracking waste from Pennsylvania has been dumped in landfills in New York state... and, it calls upon the Cuomo administration to take emergency action. Liz Moran with Environmental Advocates of New York authored the report "License to Dump... " which relies on Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection records to document what she calls a major toxic and radioactive threat to New Yorkers. Moran says New York currently has no system in place to track the potentially toxic and radioactive waste that has been dumped at seven New York landfills since at least 2010. Her organization is calling on the Department of Environmental Conservation to issue an emergency rule to classify waste from fracking operations as "hazardous."
A meteor moving at 45-thousand miles per hour lit up the sky over western Pennsylvania early Tuesday. NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office says the space rock measuring two feet in diameter... and, weighing roughly 500 pounds entered Earth's atmosphere above the Pittsburgh suburbs around 4:50 AM Tuesday. It could be seen in Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio.
There is a move on by federal lawmakers to make legislation geared towards helping Medicare dependent, low-volume hospitals permanent. Local Congressman Tom Reed is among those backing the measure... which he says is "vital" to keeping smaller, rural hospitals open. Reed says the current, temporary legislation expires on March 31st... so, he and a Democrat Counterpart have introduced legislation in the House. The Corning Republican says there are many such hospitals that are "living on a shoestring" in his district. Reed says making the legislation permanent would cost about 6-billion dollars. But... he adds it's critical to hospitals serving rural areas. While in Jamestown Monday... U-S Senator Charles Schumer also spoke to the issue... saying it's "vital" to Chautauqua County hospitals. Schumer and Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa are co-sponsoring the measure in the Senate. The New York Democrat says rural hospitals should be treated the same as urban -- and, suburban ones. Reed says he's "optimistic" the permanent measure will be approved in both chambers of Congress... saying the temporary measures have encountered few problems in the past.
Our series of Artic outbreaks in recent weeks means the month of February could wind up being one of the coldest on record for Western New York. That from Forecaster Tony Ansuini (Ensweeney) with the National Weather Service in Buffalo. Ansuini says another arctic blast is on the way late tonight through Friday. He adds he doesn't see the trend changing anytime soon. Ansuini confirms that February is turning out to be one of the coldest on record in Western New York. He says the average temperature is 13.4-degrees...while the coldest month ever recorded was February of 1934 when the average was 11.6. As for the season, Ansuini ranks it among the top 10 coldest. The temperature was 4-below zero here at our Media One Studios early yesterday morning. It was 17-below in Dunkirk... and, 21 below in Stockton.
A major manufacturer of heavy-duty truck engines in the Jamestown-area has announced it has made a "significant" investment to install a new, engine block machining line to it's current facility. Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says Cummins Engine is now preparing it's plant near Ashville to begin putting the new line in place during the second-half of this year. Horrigan adds that full production is expected to begin at the start of 2017... and, that's "good news...." However... Horrigan says he doesn't have specific numbers as to jobs being retained... or, how many would be added. Local Congressman Tom Reed... who's been a big supporter of manufacturing... says he met with Cummins' Chief Executive Officer about the proposal... which he says will cost about 40-million dollars. He says that kind of local investment "only bodes well for our future." Horrigan adds that the investment represents a "vote of confidence in manufacturing in the Jamestown... and, surrounding area."
Here's one idea for fixing Albany: Pay New York state lawmakers more. Legislators make a base salary of 79-thousand-500 dollars for what's supposed to be a part-time job. But... they have long complained that the compensation hasn't changed in 15 years... and, doesn't reflect the workload. Now, a pay increase has resurfaced as part of a proposal to address political corruption. Many lawmakers and good-government groups say banning or restricting the money lawmakers make from side jobs would eliminate a frequent source of corruption. In exchange... they're suggesting a big legislative pay increase. Critics say outside work gives give lawmakers valuable perspective and note that no state bars lawmakers from holding other jobs. The latest lawmaker to face charges is ex-Speaker Sheldon Silver, accused of taking nearly 4-million dollars in payoffs.
Local law enforcement and housing officials are supporting legislation that would require new owners or tenants of housing previously used for a "Meth Lab" be told about it. Jamestown city... and, Chautauqua County officials were on hand for Monday's press conference hosted by U-S Senator Charles Schumer. Schumer says the U-S Drug Enforcement Adminstration reports that 95-percent of the residences used by people illegally making Meth aren't reported. Jamestown Development Director Vince DeJoy says they work with City Police on cleaning up Meth houses... and, feels the proposal will help keep the city's aging housing stock viable. The press conference took place at 824 Prendergast Avenue... where a Meth Lab exploded... and, triggered a fire that heavily-damaged the structure. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says they've dealt with 14 Meth Labs in the past two-and-a-half years... but, 11 of those have been in the past seven months. Sheriff Joe Gerace was also on hand... and, called this another tool that localities can use in the war on drugs. He also thanked Schumer for his efforts to support their work.
U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand spoke in Watertown and Utica Tuesday as part of a tour to publicize enactment of the federal ``Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.'' The measure signed by President Obama last week creates a variety of mental health and community support programs to help veterans transition into civilian life. It's named after a Texas infantryman and sniper who committed suicide in Houston in 2011 after fighting to get governmental help for his combat-related mental health troubles. The Veterans Administration says more than 8-thousand veterans a year commit suicide... the majority of them under age 50.
The tourism office of Ithaca, New York, is waving the white flag on winter and advising visitors to its website to check out the Florida Keys instead. VisitIthaca.com's home page displays Sunshine State vacation photos and provides links to the website for tourism information about the Florida Keys and Key West. The top of the Ithaca page reads: ``That's it. We surrender. Winter, you win. Key West anyone?'' Referring to ``this ridiculously stupid winter,'' the Ithaca website suggests visiting the Florida Keys this week and returning ``when things thaw out.'' Ithaca and the rest of upstate New York have been in the grips of a snowy and brutally cold winter.
The Cuomo administration has proposed boosting New York's oil spill fund to 40-million dollars amid the recent surge in railroad shipping and dangerous derailments, while transferring authority from the state comptroller to its own environmental staff. The increased funding is supported by the comptroller's office and environmentalist groups. Shifting control to the Department of Environmental Conservation is not.
This February could end up being one of the coldest ever -- if not the coldest...
Our series of Artic outbreaks in recent weeks means the month of February could wind up being one of the coldest on record for Western New York. That from Forecaster Tony Ansuini with the National Weather Service in Buffalo. Ansuini says another arctic blast is on the way for late Wednesday through Friday. He adds he doesn't see the trend changing anytime soon... with "well-below" normal temperatures through the beginning of March. Ansuini confirms that February is turning out to be one of the coldest on record in Western New York. He says the average temperature is 13.4-degrees...while the coldest month ever recorded was February of 1934 when the average was 11.6. As for the season, Ansuini ranks it among the top 10 coldest.
Cummins Engine announces major investment in new block machining line...
A major manufacturer of heavy-duty truck engines in the Jamestown-area has announced it has made a "significant" investment to install a new, engine block machining line to it's current facility. Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says Cummins Engine is now preparing it's plant near Ashville to begin putting the new line in place during the second-half of this year. Horrigan adds that full production is expected to begin at the start of 2017... and, that's "good news." He says this follows a "very successful 2014 for the company." Horrigan, though, doesn't have specific numbers as to jobs being retained... or, how many would be added. Local Congressman Tom Reed... who's been a big supporter of manufacturing... says he met with Cummins' Chief Executive Officer about the proposal... which he says will cost about $40-million. He says that kind of local investment "only bodes well for our future." Horrigan adds that the investment represents a "vote of confidence in manufacturing in the Jamestown... and, surrounding area."
Some state lawmakers may push for pay raise in return for reforms on outside income...
Here's one idea for fixing Albany: Pay New York state lawmakers more. Legislators make a base salary of $79,500 for what's supposed to be a part-time job. But... they have long complained that the compensation hasn't changed in 15 years... and, doesn't reflect the workload. Now, a pay increase has resurfaced as part of a proposal to address political corruption. Many lawmakers and good-government groups say banning or restricting the money lawmakers make from side jobs would eliminate a frequent source of corruption.
After several arctic outbreaks in recent weeks... the month of February could wind up being one of the coldest on record for Western New York. That from Forecaster Tony Ansuini (Ensweeney) with the National Weather Service in Buffalo. Ansuini says another arctic blast is on the way for late Wednesday through Friday. He adds he doesn't see the trend changing anytime soon. Ansuini confirms that February is turning out to be one of the coldest on record in Western New York. Landing it in the top two coldest. As for the season, Ansuini ranks it among the top 10. The temperature was 4-below zero here at our Media One Studios in West Ellicott. It was 17-below in Dunkirk early this morning. Unofficially... the lowest temperature phoned in was 21-below zero in Stockton.
Local law enforcement and housing officials are supporting legislation that would require new owners or tenants of housing previously used for a "Meth Lab" be told of it. Jamestown city... and, Chautauqua County officials were on hand for Monday's press conference hosted by U-S Senator Charles Schumer. Schumer says the U-S Drug Enforcement Agency reports that 95-percent of the residences used by people illegally making Meth aren't reported. Jamestown Development Director Vince DeJoy says they work with City Police on cleaning up Meth houses... and, feels the proposal will help keep the city's aging housing stock viable. The press conference took place at 824 Prendergast Avenue... where a Meth Lab exploded... and, triggered a fire that heavily-damaged the structure. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says they've dealt with 14 Meth Labs in the past two-and-a-half years... but, the majority have been found recently. Sheriff Joe Gerace was also on hand... and, called this another tool that localities can use in the war on drugs. He thanked Schumer for his efforts... including federal resources the county is receiving after being designated a "High-Intensity Drug Drug Trafficking Area."
Senator Schumer is pushing for federal legslation to protect people from the health effects, and cost of buying or renting a home that was once used as a "Meth Lab." During yesterday's press conference... Schumer said the DEA reports that only 5-percent of homes used to make Meth are reported... and, that's usually due to a drug bust or fire -- as was the case of the house he stood in front of at 824 Prendergast Avenue. Schumer says... while the previous occupants may "clean" the inside of the dwelling... the effects of chemicals used to make Meth can remain. Schumer says 23 states currently have laws that force homeowners... or landlords... to disclose if a home or apartment was used as a "Meth Lab." He says the chemicals used to make methamphetimes can cause a number of problems such as headaches... nosebleeds... and, difficulty breathing -- especially in children. He adds disclosure could be done in a similar way that lead paint is now disclosed.
Jamestown police have now arrested the one person they are looking for in connection with the discovery of an alleged Methamphetime Lab on the city's eastside last weekend. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says a citizen tip helped them locate 25 year-old Brandon Hogg early last night. Samuelson says Hogg was wanted on two Felony warrants for second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, Unlawful Manufacture of Methamphetime. He says Hogg is also accused of violating his parole. Samuelson says investigators found a large quantity of materials used to make meth at the scene at 305 East Fifth Street. Samuelson says they're investigating whether or not there is a connection to the lab taken down at 242 McKinley Avenue last week, and this one. He says police were able to obtain a search warrant... and, raided the apartment on East Fifth about 2:30 PM last Friday. The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information on the case... can city police at 483-7537... or the JPD Tips-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
The "back" warehouse at an Ashville-area manufacturing plant was destroyed yesterday in a fire that appears accidental in nature. Lakewood Fire Department Public Information Officer P-J Wendel says crews were called to Carving Masters on Kramer Road in the town of Busti just after 5:30 AM Monday. Wendel says a plow driver called in the initial alarm... and, first-arrving crews found heavy smoke and fire in the back. Wendel says it was also difficult to deal with 27-below zero temperature when they first arrived. He says water froze up... and, some part of the scene were like a "skating rink." He says county, and Lakewood fire investigators determined the cause was accidental... and, found the point of origin in a corner of the building. Lakewood was joined at the scne by Panama, Busti and Mayville Fire crews. Wendel says their equipment was back in service about 5 PM yesterday. No injuries were reported. The exact cause remains under investigation.
Here's one idea for fixing Albany: Pay New York state lawmakers more. Legislators make a base salary of 79-thousand-500 dollars for what's supposed to be a part-time job. But... they have long complained that the compensation hasn't changed in 15 years... and, doesn't reflect the workload. Now, a pay increase has resurfaced as part of a proposal to address political corruption. Many lawmakers and good-government groups say banning or restricting the money lawmakers make from side jobs would eliminate a frequent source of corruption. In exchange... they're suggesting a big legislative pay increase.
The 10 newest members of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame were honored last night at the hall's 34th annual induction banquet in Lakewood. The Class of 2015 represents everything from coaching... to professional football... and, horse racing. Coaching was well-represented with long-time Sherman High School boys and girl's basketball coach Mel Swanson. Swanson... who was New York State Girls Basketball Coach of the Year last year... calls his induction a "great honor" that he wanted to share with everyone who contributed to his -- and the programs' successes. In addition... late Panama Football Coach Jack Keeney... retired Falconer Wresting Coach Bill Davenport... and collegiate Track and Field Coach Dan Stimson of Falconer were inducted. High college and professional football was represented by Clymer High School graduate Jehuu Caulcrick. Salamanca native... Chuck Crist... who played professionally with the New Orleans Saints, New York Giants... and, San Francisco 49ers was also inducted. The media was also represented... with former Post-Journal Sports Writer "Scrubby" Olson... and, our own Jim Roselle.
U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will speak in Watertown and Utica as part of a tour to publicize enactment of the federal ``Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.'' The measure signed by President Barack Obama last week creates a variety of mental health and community support programs to help veterans transition into civilian life. It's named after a Texas infantryman and sniper who committed suicide in Houston in 2011 after fighting to get governmental help for his combat-related mental health troubles.
The Mayville Village Board has approved a new, four-year agreement with the operators of the Chautauqua Belle to allow the steamship to be anchored at the village's Lakeside Park. Mayor Marty Bova (Boh-Vuh) says the unanimous vote came after several people in an overflow crowd of about 90 people spoke -- primarily on wanting to keep the Belle headquartered in Mayville. Bova called the meeting "very productive..." and, one where people spoke passionately... but, civily.. about the issue. He adds the board also gave him some latitiude in nailing down final details on the contract. Bova says the board voted 4-to-0 in favor of the four-year agreement... which was the same agreement the panel discussed one week ago with U-S Steam Lines... which owns the Belle. He expected attorneys for both sides to begin hammering out final details today. Bova says he feels "wonderful" to have an agreement approved... adding that village officials want to keep the Belle in Mayville. He adds it was a matter of coming up with a new contract that everyone could "live with." The contract has new language to deal with payment of the 4-thousand dollar a year lease... and, penalties.
A meeting of pastors from four churches on Jamestown's northside with the owner of a local car dealership is the first step in letting residents know what they're proposing for a one-block section of Lafayette Street. Last night's meeting was put together by another Pastor -- City Councilman Alfonso Pagan -- to allow the ministers the chance to hear the proposal by the Dave Warren Autogroup... and, ask questions about it. Pagan says these men are leaders in the community... and, giving them the information will help their congregations understand what's going on. The Dave Warren Autogroup is requesting the city de-dedicate the block of Lafayette Street between 10th and 11th Streets to allow the Washington Street dealership to expand it's lot. However... several residents of the area spoke out against the proposal during last month's Council voting session. They were upset that they hadn't been told about the proposal... and, that it would affect access to Chadakoin Park. The proposal to de-dedicate Lafayette between 10th and 11th Streets has been approved by the city Planning Commission... but, is not yet before lawmakers for formal action.
A Dunkirk man is jailed without bail for allegedly trafficking Heroin following a raid in the north county city yesterday afternoon. Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force members say they took 52 year-old Robert Gee of 25 Benton Street into custody after executing a search warrant his home just after 1 PM. Task Force agents say the arrest culminates a two-month long investigation with Dunkirk Police that involved multiple undercover drug buys. Gee was arrested without incident... and, agents says they seized a stun gun, chukka sticks and high-capacity magazines for high-powered rifles during the raid. Gee was initially arraigned on one count each of third-degree criminal possession, and sale of a controlled substance... and, more charges are pending. Police say tips from the public were "extremely helpful" during the investigation. Anyone with information on illegal drug activity is asked to call the task force at 1-800-344-8702.
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area have gone up a fraction of a penny.... but, remain relatively stable this week. That from the Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report... which says the average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded, is now 2-dollars-49.6-cents. Triple-A says that's up 4-tenths of a cent from last week. The price is based on reports from 19 service stations in the Jamestown-area. Nationally... the average price for regular, unleaded has increased every day for two weeks for a total of 14 cents per gallon. The Fuel Gauge says prices had previously dropped for a record 123 consecutive days before beginning to rise again on January 27th. While prices have moved higher recently... the national average is still one-dollar-11 cents less than the same time last year.
Majority Republicans in the state Senate say a top priority this year is eliminating annual cuts in state aid to public schools under the so-called gap elimination adjustment. Senate Education Committee Chairman John Flanagan... joined by 20 colleagues Tuesday... said they have worked the past few years to reduce the impact of the adjustment enacted in 2010 to help close state budget deficits... negotiating an additional 602-million dollars in state aid last year. The Cuomo administration has proposed raising education funding in the coming year by 1.1-billion dollars... but, have tied it to several reforms.
Officials at the State University college at Fredonia has pulled the plug on FRED Fest weekend... and, is looking at alternative programs to replace the popular event. That after students... and, mainly non-students have caused trouble on campus and in the village during the annual festival the past few years. Vice President for Student Affairs David Herman notified students about the decision through a e-mail and letter. Herman says they plan to offer other events during the months of April and May. Herman says... mainly due to social media... large number of non-students have come to Fredonia during the weekend... which would have been held this coming May 1st through 3rd. He says -- in recent years -- FRED Fest has resulted in serious safety issues... and, led to a number of non-students making it a "destination weekend."
An amendment to a proposed federal law would ensure that government has to identify the impact an action it takes will have on private property. The "Private Property Impact Test..." offered by local Congressman Tom Reed... is another major step to protecting private landowners rights. Those are the feelings of Reed... who explaned the amendment to the Unfunded Mandates Information and Tranparency Act... during Tuesday's telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media. The Corning Republican says he proposed the amendment on the House floor... and, it was approved unanimously. Reed says the proposal has "broad" bi-partisan support. He says it will work "hand-in hand" with his overall bill, the "Defense of Property Rights Act." Reed adds it will make government entities not only look at the impact an action will have on the community at-large... but, property as well. He says the Defense of Property Rights Act is currently awaiting approval by the House Judiciary Committee. He says that provides two avenues of defense for land owners. One is compensation... the other is court of jurisdiction.
Governor Cuomo says he can't be blamed for the charges that prompted state Sheldon Silver to resign as state Assembly speaker any more than President Barack Obama can be blamed for former Congressman Anthony Weiner's sexting scandal. In a on-line profile in The New Yorker... the governor says the corruption charges against Silver relate to the acts of an individual legislator. He defends his decision to disband a commission investigating government corruption, saying that in exchange, lawmakers passed modest ethics reforms and prosecutors obtained the commission's files anyway.
A winter storm warning with heavy snow has been issued for Central New York and the western Catskills... while we are just looking at a Winter Weather Advisory. However... it's promising to be a slick commute in the Jamestown-area this morning with a combination of snow and sleet -- totaling about 2 to 3 inches -- through the latter part of this morning. Forecaster Kirk Apfell with the National Weather Service says an area of snow is moving into the area after some freezing rain late last night. Apfell says most of the accumulating snow and sleet will be done by the afternoon as the storm system moves further east. He says -- for the most part -- we will only see about 2 to 4 inches total accumulation... while there'll be about 4-to-8 in Wyoming and Livingston Counties. Our advisory runs until 4 AM Tuesday. Eight to 14 inches of snow are expected to fall in Central and Eastern New York by the time it's over.
Three people suffered only minor injuries after a car swideswiped an oncoming vehicle on Route 60 in the town of Charlotte -- then struck a tree head-on. Sheriff's Deputies say the driver of a southbound car... 18 year-old Tiffinni Keyes of Randolph... allegedly pulled out and made an unsafe pass on a blind corner about 6 PM last Saturday. Officers say Keyes' vehicle sideswipend a northbound car... and, both cars went off the road. Deputies say Keyes' vehicle then struck the tree... while the other car struck a snow bank. Officers say Keyes, the unidentified driver of the other vehicle... and, one passenger were treated for minor injuries at WCA Hospital. Keyes was issued tickets for failure to keep right... and, improper passing from Charlotte Town Court.
Two people from Dunkirk are in the county jail without bail following a one-year long investigation into Heroin sales in the north county city. Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force, and Dunkirk Police... say they arrested 59 year-old Rosa Rodriguez-Vasquez of 58 North Ermine Street on a warrant at a Main Street location early last Friday. Shortly after her arrest... Task Force agents and police raided the Ermine Street residence... and, arrested 42 year-old Julio Torres for alleged trafficking Heroin and other drugs. Task Force members say they found Heroin, "Crack" Cocaine... and, Suboxone inside the home along with scales and packaging material. They also found more than 6-thousand dollars in cash from drug sales... and, a rifle. Police say they also seized a late model vehicle they were allegedy using to sell Heroin from. Both Vasquez and Torres were arraigned on several drug related charges, and sent to the county lock-up. If you have any information about illegal narcotics sales around the county... call the task force at 1-800-344-8702.
"Weekend" drug traffickers from Rochester and Buffalo have been a problem in Jamestown... and, that's been shown by the latest drug raid in the city. One of the three people arrested last Thursday was not allegedly dealing "crack" cocaine from a Bowen Street address every day of the week. That from City Police Captain Bob Samuelson... who says 71 year-old Joseph Robinson -- along with the other two -- is charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Samuelson says their investigation showed Robinson would come into town on Thursdays... and, go back to Rochester on Sunday. Unfortunately... he says "no matter how much enforcement we do..." there's not a lot they can do about it until the matter is investigated -- and an arrest is made. He says that's where their Tip-line has been so important. Samuelson says they received several leads from calls to the tip-line. That number is 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
U-S Senator Charles Schumer is urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make measles shots free and widely available... like the flu vaccine. Schumer made the recommendation Sunday, noting that the CDC says at least 102 people have contracted measles in 14 states including New York so far this year. There was a record number of cases last year -- 644 in 27 states. The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, or MMR, is given in a series of shots.
A barn fire in the town of Arkwright early this past weekend is being blamed on a portable heater being placed too close to combustables inside the building. The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office says Forestville and several other companies were called to the scene at 92-65 Putnam Road shortly before 11 PM last Friday. Fire dispatchers say county Fire Investigators were called to the scene about 12:15 Saturday morning. Crews were at the scene until well after 1 AM. The barn was extensively damaged. Sheriff's officers say all the animals inside were removed safely... and, no injuries were reported.
A review of New York state's main economic development agency says it needs to do more to evaluate whether its programs are helping the economy. The report released by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli on Thursday found that the Empire State Development Corporation provides little information about the value of its programs. The report also says the agency ``makes no public assessment'' about whether its programs are cost effective and that it's ``unclear'' to what extent the agency is helping to create good-paying jobs. The corporation runs more than 50 programs designed to boost the economy and oversees tax credits, subsidies and financing tools. In a statement, the agency's leaders said it regularly reports on its own performance and will ``be more than happy'' to direct the comptroller's office to its website.
Three arrested in two drug raids in Jamestown last night...
Three people -- one from Rochester -- have been arrested during two raids for allegedly trafficking "crack" cocaine in the Jamestown-area. City Police say the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force... with the help of the JPD SWAT Team... first raided a home at 108 West Eighth Street at 7:05 last night. Task Force members arrested two people there... 22 year-old Anthony Darling and 19 year-old Devonah Ferguson... and, seized a quantity of crack, and cash. The second raid occured at 50 Bowen Street about 10 minutes later. Police say they arrested 71 year-old Joseph Robinson of Rochester at that location. Robinson was arrested for third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.... as were the other two suspects. Police say all three are being held pending arraignment. If you have any information on the illegal trafficking or use of narcotics... you're asked to call the JPD Tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477. Police say all calls will be kept confidential.
Stop DWI Patrols over Super Bowl weekend result in 1,400 tickets being issued...
New York State Police say they issued nearly 1,400 tickets during 12-hour traffic enforcement campaign conducted on Super Bowl Sunday. State police officials say they increased trooper patrols on New York roads and highways starting at noon on February 1st... and, set up sobriety checkpoints to deter and catch impaired drivers. Troopers say by midnight Sunday, they had issued a total of 1,390 tickets. That number included 31 people for driving while intoxicated. More than 400 motorists were ticketed for speeding, and nearly 100 others were given traffic citations for distracted driving, failure to wear a seat belt or failing to move over for a stopped police or emergency vehicle.
Unionized workers at a leading maker of ceramic refractories in Jamestown are expected to begin work again next week after two bargaining units approved new, five-year contracts. A source close to the situation tells us that the approximately 180 members of the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers Local-#266 approved the pact with RHI Monofrax earlier in the day Wednesday. About a dozen members of a smaller union then followed suit. Vote totals were not made available. The source says the fact the agreement is five years -- as opposed to the earlier three-years -- helped in dealing with the sticky issue of health insurance contributions. Wages were also an issue. The unions had been on strike since last September 28th. A number of replacement workers were hired in the interim.
There's another shot of colder air moving into the Jamestown-area today through tonight. A Winter Weather Advisory ended at 4 this morning as the area received another 2 to 4 inches of snow overnight. Forecaster John Hitchcock with the National Weather Service in Buffalo says we'll start the day in the lower single digits today... after a cold front moved through last night. The high today will be about 8. Hitchcock adds we'll dip below zero shortly tonight before we get a bit of a warm-up by the end of the week. Last night's steady snow slicked up roads around the Jamestown-area... causing a number of cars to go off the road... and, a couple of fender-bender type accidents.
One person suffered minor injuries when she lost control of her car on snow and slush on Route 60 in the town of Ellicott Wednesday morning... and, it skidded into a deep ditch. Town police say the unidentified woman was driving on Airport Hill -- just before 8 AM -- when her car slid out of control. Officers say the car rolled onto it's side. Police say a passenger was not hurt. No charges were reported.
It was apparently a medical emergency suffered by the driver that led to a school bus carrying 30 members of a high school swim team to go off a town of Kiantone road Tuesday night... and, hit a snow bank. Sheriff's Deputies say the 43 year-old operator of the Cathedral Prep bus from Erie, Pennsylvania had the emergency shortly before 9:30 PM while driving on Route 62 near Riverside Road. Officers say the team was on it's way back home from a meet in Warren, Pennsylvania. Deputies say the bus went off the road... and, into some deep snow. No one was hurt... and, no charges were filed.
The man instrumental in putting together Chautauqua Institution's programming schedule each season for the past 25 years says the 2015 season will be his last at the institution. Vice-President and Director of Programming Marty Merkley says he is retiring after this coming season amid a flood of memories of major speakers, concerts and other programs that make up the nine-week season. Merkley says he decided that -- given where he is now in his life -- it's time to step aside. Using a literary reference... Merkley says his work at Chautauqua since 1991 has been "a wild ride for this toad." He says the Chautauqua schedule was busy when he first arrived... but, it's now grown to more than 2-thousand events each season. If there's one high-light... he says it was a couple of years ago when he got to conduct the Morman Tabernacle Choir in the amphitheater. Merkley calls it a "realy bucket list" moment. The institution brought in an Associate Program Director a short time ago to work with Merkley -- Deborah Sunya Moore. However... no replacement has officially been named yet.
A Jamestown man is jailed without bail for allegedly stealing several items from a car on the city's southside early yesterday morning. Jamestown police say officers were called to a Maple Street address just after 3:30 AM on a report of a suspicious man entering parked cars. On arrival... police say they found 24 year-old Brandon Moriarty in the act of taking property from a victim's car. They say Moriarty was arrested without incident... and, arraigned on charges of fourth-degree grand larceny, and two counts of petty larceny. He was then taken to the County lock-up.
An investigation into a home invasion that occurred last month in the village of Forestville has led to the arrest of a Fredonia area man. Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace adds the probe is continuing. Gerace says deputies picked up 26-year-old Alex Tye on Monday for several charges stemming from the January 24th incident on Lodi Street. He adds Tye had a weapon. Gerace says Tye is facing some serious charges... including first-degree attempted burglary... and, second-degree menacing. He adds further arrests are pending. Tye was arraigned in Hanover Town Court and remanded to the Chautauqua County Jail with bail set at 20-thousand dollars cash... or 40-thousand dollars property bond.
The new speaker of the state Assembly says the Legislature needs tighter rules on financial disclosures and more transparency. Carl Heastie (Hay-stee) proposed several ethical reforms that he says will help restore the public's trust in the Legislature after several recent scandals. An analysis of Heastie's own financial records shows just how loose the rules are. In one instance... the Bronx Democrat received more than 23-thousand dollars in travel and accommodation reimbursements for legislative business last year -- the third-most of any Assembly lawmaker.
Jamestown School District officials have begun work on the 2015-2016 budget... and, they begin already 2-million dollars in the hole. School Superintendent Tim Mains says that's because the board agreed to use the money remaining in their undesignated fund balance this year to help stave off major cuts. However... Mains says that money no longer is available... and, expenses are guaranteed to be up. During a preliminary budget presentation Tuesday night... he said a big part is salaries... but, adds there are several others, too. Mains says he and Business Manager Kevin Ziemba estimate the district is looking at a 5-to-7-million dollar deficit in the coming year's spending plan. During a report in the later school board meeting... Mains noted that if Foundation Aid from the state was "unfrozen..." that would likely provide enough to cover most -- if not all -- of that deficit. He says elimination of that catagory would provide about 5 to 6-million additional dollars. Four of the district's eight bargaining units don't have contracts in place... so district officials say they'll have to account for that. Officials add no school runs have been provided yet by the state.
The dire ``final warning'' letters might look like they came from the New York Attorney General's Office. With the office seal, a case number and threat of legal action to collect debts, the notices would arrive out of the blue. That's because they're coming from scammers trying to intimidate people into paying off fake debts or call a phone number that rings somewhere outside the U.S. and is answered by someone who may threaten arrest or job loss to force a payment. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says the bogus letters surfaced recently and feature a scheme similar to scam involving a caller posing as an attorney from his office. He says legitimate government agencies don't issue such threats and consumers should be wary of any suspicious mailing or call.