Most parts of Chautauqua County are below-zero to begin the day... and, if there's a breeze... it's feeling like it's 15 to 20-below. That after the Jamestown-area received a "quick shot" of 2 to 3 inches of snow yesterday morning... as a cold front moved into the area... bringing frigid, Arctic air with it. Forecaster Bill Hibbert with the National Weather Service in Buffalo said Thursday the heavy snow and blowing snow in some areas ended... but, we'll remain under a Wind Chill Advisory through 10 this morning. Hibbert also said air temperatures will fall to about minus-6 in some places early today. He adds we'll see little relief with highs about 10 to 15... but, wind chills will remain about 10 15-below zero. Hibbert says there will be some relief by the weekend when temperatures get into the 30s. Hibbert says our overnight low may set a record for February 28th. He says the all-time record low at the Buffalo Airport is minus-4... and, temperatures will be close to that. Hibbert adds temperatures today will again be 20 to 25-degree below normal for this time of year.
Severe white-out conditions on Route 5 in the village of Silver Creek are being blamed for triggering a 12-car accident that closed the highway from Silver Creek to Center Road in the Town of Sheridan for a few hours Thurdsay. The crash occurred around Noon-time Thursday in an area near St. Columban's when a Sheriff's Department patrol car slowed for vehicles in front of it. Sheriff Joe Gerace says the police car was then struck from behind and it was spun partially into the oncoming lane... and, struck by a large, Mack truck. Gerace says both the deputy driving and a trainee where take to Brook's Memorial Hospital. Gerace says five people from the accident were taken to Brook's Hospital... while three others were taken to Lake Shore Hospital in Irving. Ten other people signed off on treatment. Gerace says the injuries appear to be non-life threatening. First responders from Sheridan, Silver Creek, Forestville, county Emergency Services, and ALSTAR Ambulance were called out to the crash scene. Gerace says the department's accident reconstruction team is at the scene. Route 5 from Silver Creek to Center Road reopened late yesterday afternoon.
A Cattaraugus County woman is being held on 100-thousand dollars bail for allegedly shaking a 19-month-old toddler so hard that she suffered severe head trauma. Sheriff's Deputies in Little Valley says they arrested 22 year-old Jessica Courteau of Limestone following an investigation into the incident at 660 Parkside Drive. Officers say a Limestone ambulance was called to the scene for a child having difficulty breathing about 11 AM Thursday. The child was rushed to Bradford Regional Medical Center... where staff later called police because the girl had "very serious, unexplained head trauma." Courteau was arrested... and, arraigned on charges of first-degree assault... first-degree reckless endangerment... and, endangering the welfare of a child. She was then sent to the Little Valley Jail. The child was later taken to Women and Children's Hospital in Buffalo and is in critical... but, stable condition.
A new labor agreement for the union representing Chautauqua County Sheriff's Deputies has cleared the County Legislature, but not without some opposition. Cassadaga Republican John Runkle was one of three legislators voting against the contract. He's concerned how it will impact other county employees. County Executive Vince Horrigan says he understands Runkle's concerns, but he believes it was a fair contract. The five-year agreement is retroactive to 2012... and, calls for a zero-percent increase the first year... and two-percent raises in each of the remaining four-years of the contract. Joining Runkle in voting against the agreement were fellow Republican legislators Terry Niebel and Robert Scudder.
New York state's comptroller reports local sales tax collections statewide rose by 739-million dollars... or 5.2 percent last year, exceeding the 3.3 percent increase in 2012. In the annual report out this week... state tax data from all 62 counties show New York City was responsible for much of the gain, with sales taxes up 406-million dollars... or 6.8 percent. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says that's partly due to rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, though collections from retail sales have rebounded significantly in the city since the recession, up almost 38 percent since 2009. Overall, including the state's 57 other counties, sales taxes have risen 25.4 percent since then to $14.9 billion last year. Collections on Long Island rose 6.9 percent in 2013 from the year before, while falling 2.3 percent in the Southern Tier.
The deadline for Chautauqua County residents and seniors to apply for the Basic, and Enhanced New York State School Tax Relief -- or STAR Program is this Saturday. That from County Office for the Aging Director Mary Ann Spanos... and, the United Senior Council. Spanos says -- "seniors who are struggling to make ends meet need to take advantage of programs like STAR that can save them hundreds of dollars." Basic STAR is available to all homeowners of any age... and, gives them a reduction on their school taxes if they're income eligible. Seniors may be eligible for Enhanced STAR if they are 65 years of age... or older... and, their income is less than 81-thousand-900 dollars a year. For more information... call your local assessors office... the Office for the Aging at 753-4471... the NY Connects helpline at 753-4582... or go on-line to Tax-dot-NY-dot-GOV.
Wind Chill Advisory in effect until late Friday morning; frigid temperatures and snow expected to make travel difficult in some places...
Chautauqua County received a "quick shot" of 2 to 3 inches of snow this morning... but, it's going to be blowing around and the temperatures will drop dramatically by late this afternoon. That from Forecaster Bill Hibbert with the National Weather Service in Buffalo... who says the snow came in advance of a cold front bringing more frigid, Arctic air to the region. The Weather Service ended a Winter Weather Advisory at Noon... but, Hibbert says we'll remain under a Wind Chill Advisory through late Friday morning. Hibbert says the cold front has brought colder air and strong winds to the area... and, that will drop overnight wind chills to around minus-20. While wind chills overnight and early Friday morning will reach 20-below zero in much of the county... Hibbert says air temperatures will also fall to about minus-6 early Friday. On Friday we'll see little relief with highs in the mid-teens... but, wind chills remaining about 15-below zero. Hibbert says there will be some relief by Saturday when temperatures get into the low to mid-30s. He says our overnight low tonight may set a record for Feb. 28. He says the all-time record low at the Buffalo Airport is minus-4... and, temperatures will be close to that.
Part of Route 5 in Silver Creek closed this late afternoon due to 11-car accident that includes a Sheriff's Dept. patrol car...
A major crash involving 11-vehicles has closed down a portion of Route 5 from Silver Creek westward to Center Road in the Town of Sheridan. The crash occurred around Noon today in an area near St. Columban's. Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace confirms that a Sheriff's Department patrol car was among the vehicles involved. Gerace says there might have been two separate accidents. He says the one involving the patrol car involved it getting struck from behind, and spun around. It was then struck broadside by a truck. A deputy and a trainee were transported to Brooks Memorial Hospital. A total of five people transported to the Dunkirk hospital... and, three others were taken to Lake Shore Hospital in Irving. Ten other people signed off on treatment. The injuries appear to be non-life threatening. First responders from Sheridan, Silver Creek, Forestville, County Emergency Services, and ALSTAR Ambulance were called out to the crash scene. Gerace says the department's accident reconstruction team is at the scene. Route 5 from Silver Creek to Center Road remains closed at this time.
After hearing from more than a dozen speakers and engaging in nearly a half hour of discussion, Chautauqua County Legislators approved the sale of the County Home. The proposal to sell the Dunkirk area facility to VestraCare for $16 million cleared by 13 to 5 vote. Jamestown Democrat Fred Larson cast what appeared to be the deciding vote. He views last November's elections as a "referendum" on the County Home. But, Sheridan Republican Terry Niebel didn't agree with Larson. While he believes the County Home will never break even, Niebel feels it’s worth keeping in County hands. Supporters of selling the County Home didn't know whether they had enough votes since Legislature Chairman Jay Gould was unable to attend the meeting because he was hospitalized. Gould had previously supported the sale. Larson apparently did not indicate to other legislators his position on the issue until last night's vote.
The state's new health exchange reports more than 800-thousand New Yorkers have completed applications for insurance while more than 501-thousand of them have now enrolled for specific coverage. The health department says enrollment for individual and family coverage since October includes 276-thousand-681 New Yorkers in the 16 commercial and nonprofit insurers in the exchange and more than 224-thousand in government-funded Medicaid. Open enrollments continue through March for 2014 coverage at state-approved rates. Applicants with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible for tax credits to help offset premium payments. Another online exchange offers insurance for businesses with up to 50 employees.
Members of the Jamestown School Board will get their first look at the district's tenative, 2014-2015 budget early next month. But... they're already bracing for bad news. Assistant Superintendent for Administration Dale Weatherlow told panel members Tuesday night that he's putting the finishing touches on a first draft of the spending plan... and, plans to present it March 11th. Weatherlow says unless there's a big boost in state aid there's going to be a shortfall. Superintendent Tim Mains calls the situation "very frustrating...." Mains says they're seeing increasing pension and health care costs... as well as increasing utility costs. He says the district has tried to offset those costs with increased efficiencies... but, adds there's only so much left to cut after deep cuts the past four years. Mains adds he's already been in contact with Assemblyman Andy Goodell and State Senator Cathy Young about more help for "high needs" districts like Jamestown. The "GEA" is the Gap Elimination Adjustment... which was first instituted in the 2009-2010 school year. It's the amount of aid New York state can take away... using a formula... from schools if there is a state budget deficit. Most districts have called on the state to eliminate the GEA... especially this year because Governor Cuomo is projecting a budget surplus in the coming year.
A new poll shows that most New York residents favor state-funded pre-kindergarten for all 4-year-olds, and are willing to pay higher taxes for it. But... New Yorkers are about evenly split on whether the new Common Core learning standards that have changed what students learn and when they learn it will help them after graduation. The Siena Research Institute conducted the poll last week and released results Tuesday. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent. Results show 71 percent of respondents support using state tax dollars for universal pre-K, something Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed, compared to 26 percent who are opposed. More than half -- 54 percent -- of people say they're willing to pay more taxes for pre-K, while 43 percent say no.
City lawmakers have accepted two grants from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to further the effort to complete the new Veteran's Memorial Park on Jamestown's westside. The City Council this week accepted the grants... which total 14-thousand dollars... during it's monthly voting session. Council Finance Committee Chairman Tony Dolce says the first grant was for 8-thousand dollars. Dolce says the other 6-thousand dollars is to replace the cannon that was part of the old Veteran's Park between East Second and Third Streets -- across from Jamestown High School. He adds the Community Foundation is continuing to accept donations for the new Veteran's Park. Dolce also says residents can help the community match a 20-thousand dollar challenge grant for the park from the Lenna Foundation. New contributions for the matching grant will be accepted by the Lenna Foundation through November 11th of this year. Dolce also says city lawmakers are pleased with the progress that's been made at the new park... which is located at Logan Park.
(**News alert)County Legislature Chairman hospitalized; won't be on hand for County Home Vote...
There's been an interesting twist that's been thrown into tonight's scheduled vote on selling the Chautauqua County Home in Dunkirk. A fourth vote on the proposed sale of the home is on the agenda for tonight's County Legislature meeting in Mayville. However... Legislature Chairman Jay Gould will not be there. Gould has been hospitalized for treatment of burns to his foot... and, will be unable to attend. With that... Legislature Majority Leader David Himelein of French Creek will chair tonight's session. Lawmakers are deciding whether to sell the County Home to VestraCare of Long Island's local company... Dunkirk Holdings... for $16-millon. Late last year... the legislature came up one vote short of selling the home to VestraCare. However... with the smaller Legislature... 13 "yes" votes -- or a two-thirds majority -- is needed to sell the property. It's generally believed there are at 14 "yes" votes, but, that included Gould's vote. Gould says he wanted to be on hand, but, adds he won't be released from the hospital until late this week.
The Jamestown School Board has decided not to vote on a possible veteran's tax exemption until they begin deliberating the 2014-2015 budget plan. That was the outcome of discussions by board members last night... and, learning more about the state proposal. School Superintendent Tim Mains says the district certainly wants to recognize the sacrifice made by all veterans... but, adds from a financial stand-point... the timing of even a partial exemption right now is not good. He adds that... in the long-run... the district will get LESS state aid under the proposal. The board made the decision after hearing from four local veterans who supported the partial exemption -- which is mainly for combat veterans. Board President Joe DiMaio... who is a veteran himself... is against the exemption as it stands. DiMaio maintains he would rather see an state income tax exemption because then ALL veterans -- even renters -- would be eligible. He urged local veterans to help make that case to the state. DiMaio commended his fellow board members for wanting to at least investigate the idea of giving the exemption because most districts that he's aware of haven't even done that. He, too, doesn't like the shift in taxes because the veteran's exemption would be counted before the STAR Exemptions kick-in.
The school board will get it's first look at a tentative 2014-2015 budget at it's next meeting... and, it's going to be a difficult one. That from Assistant Superintendent for Administration Dale Weatherlow. The board's next meeting is March 11th.
All five divisions of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities did well last year... and, for the first time ever... there were no rate increases. Those were the results of the unaudited Financial Summary presented to the board by BPU Business Manager Mike Anderson. BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says -- generally -- the results were "acceptable." Leathers says the net income in the Electric... Water... Waste Water... and, Solid Waste Divisions exceeded their budget projections. He adds that the District Heating and Cooling Division broke even... thanks to the work of their employees. Leathers says Electric Division's expenses were about 2.6-million dollars over budget. But... he adds that was offset by a 5.1-percent increase in residential sales. Leathers adds that Electric Division Net Income was 1.2-million dollars more than budget. On the Water side... he says net income was 686-thousand dollars. That's well above the budgeted income of 253-thousand. Leathers adds the Waste Water Division and Solid Waste had similar outcomes. The final audited numbers will come out later this year.
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities reporting two water main breaks yesterday afternoon. BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says the first is on Norton Avenue between Mercury Lane and Hallock Street. The other is on High Street in West Ellicott between Howard Avenue and Highland. Robbins says water in West Ellicott and on the west side of the City may be discolored for 12-24 hours after the repairs are made.
Chautauqua County fire investigators say a blaze that heavily-damaged an Irving home about mid-day Tuesday was caused by a faulty pipe in a wood stove. County dispatchers say Irving fire crews were called to the scene at 12-836 Erie Street just after 11:30 AM. Fire investigators determined that the stove pipe ignited combustables in a crawl space... and, spread to the rest of the house. They add that two residents were able to get out of the building unharmed... and, no one else was hurt. Irving was joined at the scene by Dunkirk... East Dunkirk... Forestville... Hanover Center... Sheridan... Silver Creek and Sunset Bay fire crews. The family of five living there is being helped by the local Red Cross.
On-going computer issues at the state Department of Motor Vehicles has made it hard for local DMV's to process transactions... especially vehicle registration renewals. Deputy County Clerk Tracie Haskin says Clerk Larry Barmore has been in constant contact with the state DMV... and, state legislators from the region about the issue. Haskin says the state-wide system will go down for an hour to a few hours... then come back on line due to an "I-T" issue. Haskin says it's holding up transactions at the county's three local offices... but, she adds that since the problem is with the state system... you're better off renewing locally. She says the best course of action is to drop off your registration form at your local office in advance... and, let them work on it. Haskin says that way... you avoid the on-line problems going on at the state level. She says people are having trouble with getting the paperwork they need back in time from the state. Clerk Larry Barmore says county clerks across the state are experiencing the same problems.
A new Siena College poll shows 73-percent of New York voters support giving municipalities the authority to raise the minimum wage locally. That's something Governor Andrew Cuomo opposes... and, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio advocates for his city. The Siena College poll released Tuesday shows 85 percent support among Democrats... 48-percent among Republicans and 74 percent among independents. Cuomo says letting each city set its own rate could lead to destructive competition.
Lake Effect Snow -- from Lake Huron -- dumps 8 to 9 inches of snow on parts of Chautauqua Ridge...
Most of Lake Erie remains covered by ice... but, that doesn't mean we're out of the woods for lake effect snow just yet. The higher elevations along the Chautauqua Ridge received a lot of snow from late Monday until early this morning. That from Forecaster Bill Hibbert with the National Weather Service in Buffalo... who says there's a Lake Huron connection. Hibbert says the snow crosses southern Ontario... Lake Erie... and, falls in Western New York. Snowfall totals range from 9 inches in West Valley... to 5.5 inches in Forestville. We also have had some unofficial reports of 8 inches in Cassadaga. There was about 2 overnight in Jamestown.
2013 unaudited BPU financial report shows all divisions at least break even on net income...
All five divisions of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities at least broke even last year... with four of them exceeding projected net income. That from the unaudited Financial Summary presented to the board by BPU Business Manager Mike Anderson. BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says the results were generally "acceptable." Leathers expenses in the Electric Division ran about $2.6-million over budget... but, adds that was offset by a 5.1-percent increase in residential sales. He adds -- overall -- the results came without rate hikes for the first time in history. Leathers says Electric Division Net Income was $1.2-million more than budget. On the Water side... he says net income was $686,000. That's well above the budgeted income of $253,000. Leathers adds that was much the same for the Waste Water Division... which had a net income of $614,000. In addition... net income for Solid Waste came in $86,000 over budget. Leathers says Water, Waste Water, and Solid Waste also saw expenses come in under budget... which is a credit to their employees. Leathers says the one division that did not have a net income better than projected was District Heating and Cooling... which he says met budget.
County Clerk's office urges residents to renew registrations, other items, at local DMV due to computer issues in state-wide system...
On-going computer issues at the state Department of Motor Vehicles has made it hard for local DMV's to process transactions... especially vehicle registration renewals. Deputy County Clerk Tracie Haskin says Clerk Larry Barmore has been in constant contact with the state DMV... and, state legislators from the region about the issue. Haskin says it's holding up transactions at the county's three local DMV offices... but, she adds that since the problem is with the state system... you're better off renewing locally. She says it's apparently an "I.T." issue. Haskin says the best course is to drop off the registration information at your local office in advance... and, have their employees work on it.
The man convicted of murdering late Clymer School Superintendent Keith Reed, Junior in September of 2012 has been sentenced to the maximum in Chautauqua County Court. District Attorney David Foley says 43 year-old Anthony Taglianetti-the-second received 25 years-to-life in prison in County Court Monday morning. Taglianetti was convicted early last November of second-degree murder for shooting the 51 year-old Reed to death. Foley says Reed's daughter gave an "impact statement" to the court prior to sentencing. Taglianetti was accused of intercepting e-mail communications between his estranged wife, Mary and Reed... who both met on-line... then at a professional conference in upstate New York in 2010. After the brief tryst... they rekindled their relationship in the months leading up to the 2012 shooting. After killing Reed... Taglianetti fled the area back to his home-area of Virginia. He was on the run for about a week before federal authorities caught him.
A trial gets underway next week for the first person charged with violating New York's new gun-control law. Authorities say 33-year-old Benjamin Wassell of Silver Creek was accused of selling illegally modified semi-automatic rifles. The transactions in January and February 2013 involved an undercover officer in the Chautauqua County town of Hanover. Wassell was charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor under the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, passed in January 2013. The Dunkirk Observer reports that jury selection begins March 4th in Chautauqua County Court. The state attorney general's office is handling the prosecution. Two Chautauqua County judges recused themselves because they're members of the National Rifle Association. An Erie County judge will preside.
Local Congressman Tom Reed says he did nothing wrong in the way he handled the dissolving of his former law firm in Corning... and, he feels that Democrats are using it to "attack" him personally. During his weekly conference call... the Corning Republican defended the fact his former law firm still had his name attached to it more than a year after he was elected to Congress. A report by The Buffalo News indicates court documents showed the firm "The Law Office of Thomas W. Reed-the second" remained in Reed's name through at least 2011. He was initially elected in 2010. Reed says the outside legal counsel, Joe Rizzo, was hired because he knew cutting ties with the firm would be problematic. However... House Ethics and American Bar Association rules appear to bar the practice of keeping the name -- even though Reed had given up his law license. An official with the Bar Association says it's still "misleading" to include the name -- even if the member of Congress isn't actually practicing with that firm. However... Reed says it's not that simple. He says since he was the sole partner in the firm... he would have to shut it down entirely to effect a name change. That means his approximately 30 employees would have to have been let go.
The campaign for Congressman Tom Reed's likely Democratic opponent in this year's election says "it's disappointing" to learn of yet another 'questionable' situation involving the Corning Republican. Campaign Manager Jordanna Zeigler with the Committee to Elect Martha Robertson says -- "First, Tom Reed did not pay his taxes on time 39 times. Now, we find out he may have operated his law firm under his own name as a sitting Congressman." Zeigler says that's a possible violation of House Ethics rules. She adds that an on-line search of cases reveals that the law firm using Reed's name filed 194 case in Corning City Court in 2011... and, 9 more in 2012. Most were medical debt collection cases Reed's firm filed on behalf of Corning Hospital or the Guthrie Clinic. Reed says it's clear that Robertson's campaign is going to be all about "personal attacks."
A Wanted Man is in the county jail facing a number of drug related charges. Chautauqua County Sheriff Deputies spotted 23 year old John Gibbs the second in a parked vehicle on Wisner Street in the Town of Ripley at 8:30pm Friday. Deputies were speaking with Gibbs when he attempted to hit one of them and fled on foot. After a short chase Gibbs was tasered and taken into custody. After a search of Gibbs car sheriffs found a small amount of powdered Methamphetamine, Marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Upon further investigation a portable Methamphetamine lab was found. Gibbs was taken to Lakeshore Hospital for treatment of minor injuries then to the Chautauqua County Jail. Gibbs faces a slew of charges including Felony unlawful manufacture of Mathamphetamine, Resisting Arrest and Obstruction of Justice. Gibbs was wanted in Pennsylvania for absconding from probation. He is being held without bail as a fugitive from Justice and on 17 thousand dollars bail for the new charges.
It was a night to celebrate Jamestown's "finest." The Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce held it's 12th annual Recognition Reception and Dinner at Shawbuck's Press Room last night to acknowledge the special efforts of both individuals and businesses for what they did in 2013. Chamber Coordinator Justin Hanft tells our Terry Frank it was a "fantastic night" in which they handed out seven awards. News Director Terry Frank and WJTN Morning Show host Dennis Webster were presented with Community Service Awards for their effort "above and beyond the call of duty." The "Pride of Jamestown" Award was presented to the Chautauqua Striders organization... and, the "Service to Humanity" Award went to the Chautauqua County Health Network. Hanft says the "Manufacturer of the Year" was Artone Manufacturing Company... which is celebrating it's 40th anniversary this year. The New Business of the Year Award was given to "Vie for Fitness..." a ladies' gym located on West Third Street. The "Business of the Year" Award was presented to Jamestown Business College... while the "Retailer of the Year" went to Everyday's True Value.
Taglianetti receives maximum sentence for shooting death of Keith Reed, Jr...
The man convicted of murdering late Clymer School Superintendent Keith Reed, Junior in September of 2012 has been sentenced to the maximum in Chautauqua County Court. District Attorney David Foley says 43 year-old Anthony Taglianetti the second received 25 years to life in prison in County Court this morning. Taglianett was convicted early last November of second-degree murder for shooting the 51 year-old Reed to death. Taglianetti was accused of intercepting e-mail communications between his estranged wife, Mary and Reed... who both met on-line... then at a professional conference in upstate New York in 2010. After the brief tryst... they rekindled their relationship in the months leading up to the shooting. After the shooting... TaglianettI fled the area back to his home-area of Virginia. He was on the run for about a week before federal authorities caught him.
Busti fire wrecks home Sunday afternoon; investigation continues...
The Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team is looking into the cause of a fire that's heavily-damaged a home in the Town of Busti. Busti firefighters were called to the scene at 788 Wellman Rd. about 3:15 p.m. Fire Chief Mike Volpe says they found heavy fire coming from the front part of the structure... and, they confined the flames to the front area... and, the second-floor. Volpe says they called in several mutual aid companies to help bring water... and, manpower to the scene. No one was hurt. The two people living there are being helped by the local Red Cross.
The Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team is looking into the cause of a fire that destroyed a home in the Town of Busti. The Sheriffs Department says that just after 3pm Sunday a fire was reported at 788 Wellman Road. No one was home at the time of the fire. The single family residence was a total loss and the person living there is being assisted by the Red Cross.
A Lakewood Man was arrested Sunday on multiple drug related charges. The Chautauqua County Sheriff's and Jamestown Police SWAT Teams executed four search warrants simultaneously in the Village of Lakewood, Town of Ellicott and City of Jamestown. Authorities say they found over 150 Marijuana Plants worth more than 160 thousand dollars at 288 Southland Avenue Lakewood, 24 Melivin Avenue and 51 Boulevard in Celeron, and 70 West 13th Street in Jamestown. All four properties are owned by 48 year old Jeffrey Boardman of the Lakewood Address. The Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force has charged Boardman with Criminal Posession of Marijuana and Unlawfully Growing Cannabis. He was arraigned in Town of Busti Court and sent to the county lock up. During the investigation authorities found evidence of another Marijuana Growing Operation. More people are expected to face charges. The Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force encourages anyone to call 1-800-344-8702 when they observe narcotics related activities in their area.
Three people were hurt -- at least one critically -- in a two-car, head-on crash on Pelton Road in the town of Sherman early last Saturday morning. Sheriff's Officers say they, and Sherman Fire rescue crews, were called to the scene about 2:30 AM. Deputies aren't sure which vehicle crossed the center line... but, say 19 year-old Dakota Bird of Ripley was southbound when his vehicle crashed into a northbound vehicle... driven by 21 year-old Ronald Miller of Mayville. Officers say both drivers had to be freed from the wreckage using the "Jaws of Life." Bird was rushed to Westfield Hospital... then flown by Starflight Helicopter to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie where he's in critical condition. Deputies say Miller was flown from the scene to Hamot by Stat Medivac. Officers adds that a passenger in Miller's car... 20 year-old Stephany Cloutier... was taken by ambulance to Hamot. However... another passenger... 20 year-old Robert Gilbert escaped injury. Miller and Cloutier also remain at Hamot... but, their conditions are not known. The Sheriff's Department Reconstruction Team was called in... and, the investigation is continuing. Charges are pending.
A Jamestown man is jailed after he was stopped by city police for allegedly failing to obey a traffic control device... and, gave officers a false name. City police say they stopped the vehicle early last Saturday morning at the intersection of South Main and Kidder Streets. But... when officers asked the driver for his identification... he couldn't produce it... and, allegedly gave police a false name. Officers were later able to identify him as 29 year-old John Kennedy of Jamestown. They say Kennedy had a suspended driver's license... and, was trying to hide his identity. He was arrested on charges of failure to obey a traffic control device, aggravated unlicensed operator, and false personation. Kennedy was taken to city lock-up in lieu of bail.
New York conservation officials report 19 accidental shootings last year involving hunters statewide, the lowest total on record. Two of the shootings were fatal. The Department of Environmental Conservation says total incidents were down from 23 the year before. The average per 100,000 hunters the past five years has dropped more than 70 percent since the 1960s. Last year... 14 accidental shootings were self-inflicted. Hunters are required to take a free safety course to get a license in New York.
More than half of the 13-thousand, new recycling bins being distributed to Jamestown residents have been delivered... and, a number of them are already using them. That from Board of Public Utilities General Manager Dave Leathers... who says the BPU had been working on a new, dual-stream program for the past six-months. Leathers says the idea is to make a major improvement on the 35-percent compliance rate they have right now. He says they looked at a number of models across the country... and, decided on an incentive program. Once the new program is fully-implemented... residents who recycle at least once a billing cycle will be charged 10-dollars a month for garbage pick-up. If you don't... you'll be charged 20-dollars. The current rate is 12-dollars-10 cents per billing cycle. Leathers says they're very encouraged by the fact that a lot of people are already using the new, orange bins. Leathers says the bins use a radio transmission scanning bar so the proper bin gets credited for having left out recycleables. If you have further questions on the program.. you can call the Garbage Hotline at 661-1651... or Communications Coordinator Becky Robbins at 661-1680. Leathers made his comments on this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has upped the ante in Albany's long-running effort to get cities, towns, villages and counties to consolidate or share services. Under his new plan... if there's no cost-saving plan from local officials, then there are no rebates to local homeowners. The municipal officials who would be on the hook for executing the plans say they support the concept, but foresee challenges. Cuomo's budget proposal calls for tax rebates this year to eligible homeowners who live in jurisdictions that stay within the 2-percent cap on property tax increases. Cuomo wants to increase the pressure in the second year, when local governments and school districts also would be required to come up with a cost-saving plan for consolidating or sharing services like law enforcement and firefighting.
Mass Ice Rescue Drill Today in Lakewood
Emergency personnel from more than a dozen local, state and federal agencies will take part in the first major Mass Ice Rescue drill on Chautauqua Lake in several years this morning. The county's Department of Emergency Services is coordinating the four-hour long exercise, which begins at 8:45 AM in the area off Lakewood Community Park. Emergency Services Director, Julius Leone, is urging residents and others to avoid that area through early afternoon because the drill will be staged from the park's parking lot area.
Leone says the Lakewood Fire Department will be the first responder for the exercise and, they'll be joined by the Sheriff's Department, Lakewood-Busti Police and, WCA Hospital. He says a number of rescue vehicles will be responding to the area and, there'll be a lot of scanner "chatter."
Leone says the "exercise simulation" will involve a jet crashing into the lake after encountering severe icing upon takeoff from the County Airport near Jamestown. The jet in the drill crash-lands on the lake and breaks into several parts. Leone says it's partially submerged in approximately 15 feet of water with 43 passengers aboard. The Coast Guard will have a helicopter and, Starflight will also be involved in transporting the "victims" in the drill.
Horrigan names three-person administration team to lead County Home until home is turned over to new owner, or decision is made to keep it...
Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan has appointed a three-person management team to lead the County Home in the wake of the current administrator's resignation. Horrigan today announced the appointments... which come following Tim Hellwig's decision to step down late last month. Another factor was next Wednesday's pending vote on selling the County Home to VestraCare of Long Island. Horrigan says Andrea Snyder will be Acting Administrator... and, oversee day-to-day operations. He adds that the Acting Nursing Director will be RN Laura Hartinger. She's been the Nursing Supervisor at the home since 1999. Horrigan says Brian Reader from the TLC Health Network will be the Supervising Administrator beginning next Monday... a move he says fullfill's the state's requirement they have someone who's licensed to oversee the total operation for at least 12-hours a week.
Flood Warning cancelled; Wind Advisory now in effect...
A lack of high winds that were to push the thermometer up through today has led the National Weather Service to cancell our Flood Warning. In addition... Forecaster Aaron Reynolds in Buffalo says the High Wind Warning that was in effect until early evening has been cancelled. Reynolds says that's been replaced by a Wind Advisory that continues through 10 p.m. tomorrow. Reynolds says a warmer air front moved through the area... but, the winds never moderated the air temperature as much as was expected. He adds, though, that stronger winds will be moving in late tonight.
The former head of the Frewsburg Post Office has pleaded guilty to stealing just over 14-thousand dollars in cash paid for postage stamps. Assistant U-S Attorney Russell Ippolitto, Junior says 51 year-old Donna Spencer of Falconer pled to misappropriation of postal funds by a Postal Service employee in U-S District Court Thursday. Ippolitto says Spencer had been the Frewsburg Postmaster from February of 1999 to July of last year. But... he says the theft of funds actually began in early 2012. Ippolitto is leading the prosecution in the case. He says Postal Service investigators -- acting on a tip -- audited the Frewsburg Post Office... and, found the descrepancy. He says Spencer was confronted with the information... and, admitted to taking the money. Ippolitto says Spencer faces 6 to 12 months in prison... and, a 2-thousand to 20-thousand dollar fine. She must also make restitution. She could face up to a decade in prison... and, a 250-thousand dollar fine. Ippolitto says Spencer had been employed by the U-S Postal Service since 1986. He says she is to be sentenced next May 27th at 10 AM before Chief U-S District Court Judge Judge William Skretny.
A significant storm system has moved into the region.. and, is expected to produce rain and some strong winds... and, the resulting warm up could bring some local flooding issues. The National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a High Wind Warning through 10 this Evening for Chautauqua County. Forecaster Bob Hamilton said last night our temperatures had reached about 40... and, with rising temperatures and rain overnight... he says there will be flooding in some areas. As for the winds... gusts overnight were to reach 45 MPH - especially near Lake Erie. Hamilton says today... they'll be about 50 miles and hour. The Weather Service is continuing a Flood Watch from now through this afternoon. Ice Jam-flooding is also possible in those areas prone to see it.
Motorists in the region will tell you the worst 'by-product' of our harsh Winter is potholes. They're everywhere... and, they've tested the driving skill of every driver in Chautauqua County. Our extreme cold weather... which first hit the area in early January... followed by short, but, quick warm-ups... has led to potholes and asphalt coming up in numerous places. The city of Jamestown has had more than it's share. Public Works Director Jeff Lehman says he can't remember a worse Winter than this. He says a couple of locations have been especially bad.
Lehman says they've got crews out every day applying "cold patch" to fill the holes. But... he says sometimes they're so big and deep... it doesn't do much good. He says the "cold patch" actually works well when it's cold... but, not as well when the weather is wet -- like it's to be through tomorrow night. He says the problem is when the ice melts... the water it seeps down into the asphalt -- and, when it freezes -- it breaks apart.
Since the first "Polar Vortex" in early January... the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities has dealt with some 40 Water Main breaks. BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says that a much larger number of breaks than usual. Robbins says Water Division crews have been very busy this winter... having to deal with fixing the mains -- often times in below zero weather. On yesterday's Dennis Webster Show... Robbins said the fact the frost line is now so far into the ground... it's not far away from water mains... and, water lines going into homes and businesses. She adds with our current warm-up... there's another issue. Robbins again advises residents that they should still continue to have a "pencil thin" drip of water from a faucet going to prevent water pipe freeze-up. That's because the frost-line is down about 40-inches into the ground -- just above the mains and pipes. That won't change before our next bout of cold weather.
Billionaire developer Donald Trump's public flirtation with running for governor is being criticized by a potential Republican rival. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino says Wednesday that Trump needs to end ``this circus stuff'' and say he's running for governor or not. Astorino has yet to declare that he's running, though he is traveling the state and has created a campaign committee. Astorino is expected to announce his decision by the end of the month. Polls have shown either man would face an uphill race challenging Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Astorino also claimed to have the most state party support. Michael Cohen, special counsel to Trump, says Astorino appears to be perpetuating the media hype to create name recognition. And Cohen says Trump has more party support.
A western New York woman has been convicted of threatening to kill President Barack Obama. Federal prosecutors said Thursday that 38-year-old Christine Wright-Darrisaw of Rochester made the threat in a cell phone call to the White House in February 2012. The White House operator testified during the one-day trial that she still remembers the call nearly two years later because of its violent tone. A jury also found Wright-Darrisaw guilty of lying to the Secret Service agents who investigated. Wright-Darrisaw faces up to five years in prison on each count when she's sentenced in May.
Former Frewsburg Postmaster pleads guilty to stealing $14,000 in postage stamp sales...
The former head of the Frewsburg Post Office has pleaded guilty to stealing just over $14,000 in cash paid for postage stamps. Assistant U-S Attorney Russell Ippolitto, Jr., says 51 year-old Donna Spencer pled to misappropriation of postal funds by a Postal Service employee in U-S District Court today. The plea was made before Chief U-S District Court Judge William Skretny in Buffalo. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison... a fine of $250,000... or both. Ippolito, Junior... who is handling the case... says Spencer was employed by the U-S Postal Service since 1986. Ippolito says -- between February of 1999... and, July 19th of last year... Spencer was employed as the Postmaster at the Frewsburg Post Office. However... over the past year-and-a-half... he says she accepted cash from customers for the purchase of postage stamps. But... instead of depositing the cash payments into the register... she kept the cash for herself. Hochul says Spencer is to be sentenced next May 27 at 10 a.m. before Judge Skretny.
Rain begins in Jamestown area; High Wind Warning now issued for region...
A major storm system is expected to produce some strong winds... and, the resulting warm up could result in some significant flooding issues. The National Weather Service in Buffalo has now issued a High Wind Warning through 10 p.m. Friday for Chautauqua County. Forecaster Bob Hamilton says some gusty winds of up to 45 mph are possible between the Lake Erie Shoreline and the Chautauqua Ridge. Tomorrow... Hamilton says wind gusts could reach up to 60 mph. The storm system will also bring rain to the area starting later today... and, during the overnight hours with the possibility of some thunderstorms. The Weather Service is continuing a Flood Watch from this evening through Friday afternoon. Ice Jam-flooding is also possible in those areas prone to see it.
Local and County emergency management officials are preparing for the worst as milder and wet weather moves into the area late tonight into Friday morning. The National Weather Service is continuing a Flood Watch for all of Western New York -- including Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. Chautauqua County Emergency Services Director Julius Leone says they had a 3-hour meeting on the situation Tuesday. Flood prone areas include Cattaraugus Creek and Silver Creek. Compared with previous thaws in December and January... Leone says they are dealing with thicker ice this time around. He says that ice may tend to block upstream water more easily... causing more flooding problems. Forecasters are concerned that a cold front that will cross the area early Friday morning may contain some strong thunderstorms. Besides ice jams... runoff from rain falling on frozen ground may also cause drainage flooding.
While the current airline carrier at the Chautauqua County Airport near Jamestown plans to terminate air service there on or around May 15th... county officials are optimistic they'll have a new carrier soon. That from County Executive Vince Horrigan... who says he was formally notified by the U-S Department of Transportation about the plans by Silver Airways -- a regional United Airlines carrier -- to terminate air service out of several Northeast regional airports -- including Jamestown. Horrigan says they've enlisted U-S Senator Charles Schumer's office to help get a new carrier in place. Horrigan says Silver Airways is citing pilot shortages... reduced passenger numbers... and, United Airline's decision to reduce their flights out of Cleveland. That hub serves both the Jamestown and Bradford Airports. Horrigan says he and other county officials are looking at ALL possible options to find a new air carrier for Jamestown. He says once they receive requests for Proposals back... they'll be able to discuss the different "hub" locations... number of flights and other aspects of potential service.
As the Chautauqua County explores it's options... Horrigan is encouraging residents and visitors to continue using the Jamestown Airport. The executive says this is not the first time the county has lost it's air carrier at the airport... as Silver Airlines had only been here the past two years. However... he says continuing use of the current service is important to keeping their passenger numbers up... meaning they'll be able to get their Essential Air Service passenger numbers up. Senator Schumer was in Jamestown recently... saying he was going to push federal regulators to continue the EAS designation for Jamestown. He says a number of cancellations this past year left their average passenger numbers just below 10. The number 10 is important because that's needed to continue in the Essential Air Service. Schumer is seeking a waiver for Jamestown.
A South Dayton man faces a number of charges after he was stopped for allegedly driving over 100 miles an hour... while he was drunk. Cattaraugus County Sheriff's officers say they tried to stop 35 year-old Dale Sandy last Thursday on Route 322 for a traffic violation when he sped off through South Dayton... and, into Chautauqua County. Deputies say speeds eventually reached 101 miles an hour. Sandy was stopped on Route 39 in the town of Hanover. He was arraigned in Persia Town court on charges including speeding over 55 MPH... driving while intoxicated... and, unlawful fleeing of a police officer. Sandy was sent to the Cattaraugus County Jail on one-thousand dollars bail.
For the first time in several years... the Chautauqua County Department of Emergency Services will be holding a Mass Ice Rescue exercise on Chautauqua Lake this weekend. Emergency Services Director Julius Leone says the exercise will take place Saturday in the area of Lakewood Community Park beginning at 8:45 AM. Leone says the simulation will involve a jet plane crashing to the lake after encountering severe icing following take-off from the county Airport near Jamestown. Leone says it'll be a multi-agency drill. Leone says the Lakewood Fire Department will serve as the primary first-responder... with other area fire and law enforcement agencies involved. He says the jet in the drill will break into several parts... and, be partially submerged in about 15 feet of water with 43 passengers on board. Leone says three of the passengers taking part in the drill will be airlifted by the Coast Guard to the airport for treatment. He says our warm-up over the next couple of days will help those practicing cold water rescues because the ice will be somewhat unstable. Leone says the drill will last about four hours.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer says he's recusing himself from any role Congress plays in Comcast's planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable after learning his brother was one of the lead lawyers behind the $45 billion deal. Federal regulators and lawmakers will scrutinize how the acquisition would affect competition and consumers. The New York Democrat is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee. Schumer's office said Tuesday he didn't know his brother Robert represented Time Warner in the talks until The American Lawyer reported Friday he was the publication's ``dealmaker of the week.'' When the deal was announced Thursday, Schumer's office said he'd urged Comcast to maintain jobs in New York. Robert Schumer's role in the deal was first reported by the blog littlesis.org, a project of the nonprofit Public Accountability Initiative.
NWS continues Flood Watch for Thursday night through Friday afternoon...
The National Weather Service is continuing a Flood Watch from Thursday night through Friday afternoon. Our Wintry weather will begin to change today... when temperatures rise into the upper 30s... and, some rain mixes in with snow. Forecaster Jeff Wood in Buffalo says a warm front with some associated moisture will begin moving into the region earlier in the day Thursday. Wood says warm air in front of the front will push temperatures into the mid-40s Thursday. Wood says the warmer temperatures... along with the rain and, snowpack... will produce flooding situations along local rivers and creeks. He adds it also creates the possibility of ice jam-related flooding... especially along Cattaraugus and Silver Creeks. Wood says temperatures are expected reach the about 45 on Thursday and near 40 on Friday along with some rain showers.
BPU advises residents to use a water "drip" to prevent frozen pipes...
With our cold temperatures at night... Jamestown water customers may want to leave a trickle of water running in a sink to prevent frozen pipes. Board of Public Utilities' Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says many BPU water customers have had problems with frozen pipes due to the frigid temperatures. Robbins says the level of frost goes down as far as 40 inches from the earth's surface here this year. Water lines lie only a few more inches below that frost level.
United Airlines makes it official: Silver Airlines to terminate air service out of several regional airports -- including Jamestown -- on or by May 15...
The current airline carrier at the Chautauqua County Airport near Jamestown has formally notified the U-S Department of Transportation that they plan to terminate air service out of several Northeast regional airports -- including Jamestown -- on or about May 15. County Executive Vince Horrigan's office received the official notification late yesterday. Horrigan says Silver... which is a regional carrier for United Airlines... is citing pilot shortages... reduced passenger numbers... and, United's decision to reduce their flights out of Cleveland. That's the hub serving both Jamestown and Bradford. Horrigan says he and other county officials are looking at alll possible options to find a new airline service carrier for Jamestown. As the county explores it's options... Horrigan is encouraging residents and visitors to continue using the Jamestown Airport.
Sports Hall of Fame inductees "honored, thrilled, pleased" to be inducted...
The eldest member of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame's Class of 2014 says it's "unbelieveable" to be inducted with the seven others inducted Monday night. Westfield native Vince Calarco was a stand-out, multi-sports player in school. All eight were inducted during the Hall of Fame's 33rd annual Induction Dinner. Calarco also went on to coach several sports... and, was a basketball official for more than 50 years. The 90 year-old was genuinely touched by the honor... saying every now and then he's had "to pinch himself." Retired Track and Field... and, Cross-Country Coach Tom Priester thanked his family... and, past athletes who helped shape his career. In recent years... Priester has been a USA Track and Field Official. Something he got involved with when he was on sabbatical from Southwestern Central School in the 1970s. He says a friend of his was a national track and field official... and, got him hooked on it. Jamestown-native Dan Lunetta is now the Director of Minor League Operations with the Detroit Tigers. In addition to Calarco... Priester... and Lunetta... this year's class included Golfer Cindy Miller... Al Muck... late Olympic Gymnast, and, Gymnastics instructor Geza Farkus... Tom Prechtl... and, Jack Wigley.
New poll shows majority of New Yorkers support medical marijuana; slight majority favor recreational pot...
A new poll finds 88-percent of New York voters support the legalization of marijuana for medical use, and 57-percent also favor legalizing recreational use. The Quinnipiac University poll released Monday finds only 9-percent oppose legalizing medical marijuana. Maurice Carroll, director of the poll, says a narrow majority doubt that legalizing marijuana will lead to harder drug use, and about half say marijuana is no worse than alcohol. The poll surveyed nearly 1,500 New York voters by phone on February 6 through 10.
NWS issues Flood Watch for Chautauqua County for Thursday night through Friday afternoon...
Forecasters in Western New York will be keeping an eye on possible flooding later this week. The National Weather Service is continuing a Flood Watch from Thursday evening to Friday afternoon. Meteorologist Jeff Wood in Buffalo says flooding is possible from the snow melt. There may also be some ice jam related flooding... especially Cattaraugus and Silver Creeks in the north county. Wood says temperatures are expected reach the mid-40s on Thursday and near 40 on Friday along with some rain showers.
BPU Water Div. crews working on another Water Main break today...
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities is dealing with another Water Main break today. BPU Communications Coordinator Becky Robbins says the break occured this morning on West 13th Street. A crew is at the scene. Water service disruptions should be expected. Robbins also says that with the wind blowing this morning... some of the new, Orange recycling bins have been blown around neighborhoods... and, she's urging resident to put their name and address on the bins once they get them.
Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame inducts eight new members...
"It's a thrill..." "it's mind-boggling." Those are some of the reactions by the eight newest members of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame after Monday night's induction dinner in Lakewood. The eight-member class of 2014 is one of the largest in recent years. Jamestown-native Dan Lunetta is now the Director of Minor League Operations with the Detroit Tigers. Lunetta began his baseball management careers as grounds-keeper for the old Jamestown Expos of the New York-Penn League. Lunetta won the World Series while a member of management with the old Florida -- now Miami - Marlins. North County native Cindy Miller is a golf teacher... and, a member of the professional Legends Tour. Miller says she's "absolutely thrilled, and, glad to be part of the hall." In addition to Miller and Lunetta... this year's class included retired local officials Vince Calarco... USA Track and Field Official and retired teacher Tom Priester... Al Muck... late Olympic Gymnast, and, Gymnastics instructor Gaza Farkus... Tom Prechtl... and, Jack Wigley.
Jackie Robinson's daughter speaks at Hall of Fame Induction Dinner...
Author Sharon Robinson has written several books on her father as a way -- she says -- to find out who she is. That's the message the daughter of Jackie Robinson wants to leave with people she speaks to publicly... and, the students she talks to in the classroom. Sharon Robinson was the keynote speaker at last night's 33rd annual induction dinner for the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. Prior to the banquet in Lakewood... Robinson talked about the on-going struggle for racial equality... and, the impact her father had on it. "Jackie's 9" was the first book she wrote about her father... and, deals mainly with a person's charactor. She wanted to use the number 9 because it's "such an important number in baseball." Sharon Robinson published "Jackie's 9" in 2001. She says her parents really never talked about what he went through as a baseball player. But... she found out when she went to a day-camp as a child in Connecticut... and, they showed the movie, "The Jackie Robinson Story." She says it was in that movie that she first got a look at racism, and the backlash against her father. Robinson says it turned her "world upside down." However... she and her mother, Rachael, would later work together to preserve the legacy of her father. Sharon Robinson wrote four other books... including "Jackie Robinson: American Hero." The book wound up being tied-into the April 2013 release of the movie "42..." which told the life story of her father.
Schumer pushes for USDA help for grape growers in light of crops ruined by sub-zero cold...
The "Polar Vortex" that has brought masses of sub-zero air to much of upstate New York this winter is wreaking havoc on local vineyards, especially those with wine grapes that can't tolerate the extended chill. U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer visited a town of Portland winery on President's Day to meet with area wine makers and grape producers... and, put the U-S Department of Agriculture on alert. Schumer says he wants the federal agency to be ready to assist growers who are expecting major damage to their vineyards. He says his priority is to get federal agencies ready to process assistance to growers who have suffered bud and vine damage. Schumer says he's taking a two-pronged approach. He wants the USDA to use the Tree Assistance Program in the Farm Bill to assist growers that experience vine damage. Schumer says growers would be reimbursed 65-percent of their costs for replanting due to a "natural disaster..." which he called "huge." He also wants the USDA to be ready to consider a disaster declaration so emergency loans can be made available to growers that experience bud damage. Schumer made the announcement at 21 BRIX Winery on Route 20.
Board of Public Utilities Water Crews deal with two water main breaks....
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities had to deal with two water main breaks that began in the middle of the night. BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says one was on Hazeltine Avenue... and, the other was on East Virginia Boulevard. Robbins says both mains are now fixed... but, the customers in that area could experience discolored water for 12-to-18 hours. However... all customers are back in service.
Cold temperatures greet early morning commuters in Jamestown-area...
After a light dusting of snow and cloudy skies very early this morning... the skys cleared... and, temperatures dropped. It was zero here at our Media One Studios... then -2 about 6:30. In Lakewood... it was 7-below in one location on Fairmount Avenue. It was about 10-below in Busti. The Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Department reported a 6-below in Little Valley at 5 a.m. It was also 6-below in Warren... -13 at the Dunkirk Airport... and, -15 in Cassadaga. However... temperatures will climb to about 27 this afternoon. By Wednesday... temperatures will reach about 42... and, rain showers are forecast.
Buffalo-area couple hurt in Sunday Snowmobile accident...
A Buffalo-area couple were hurt yesterday afternoon when their snowmobiles collided on the crest of a hill in the town of Chautauqua. Sheriff's officers... and, Sherman Fire rescuers... were called to the scene on Redwing Road shortly after 12:30 p.m. Deputies say their investigation showed the woman, 51 year-old Elizabeth Oswald of Williamsville, stopped on the "blind hill" crest ahead of her husband. However... 52 year-old Eric Oswald was unable to stop in time... and, hit his wife's sled broadside. Officers say Mrs. Oswald was treated at the scene for a leg injury... but, her husband was taken to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie for treatment of a head injury. No charges were filed.
Great Lakes surfaces now 88-percent frozen...
It's been so bitterly cold for so long that the Great Lakes are almost completely covered with ice for the first time in 20 years. The last time they came this close was in 1994, when 94 percent of the lakes' surface was frozen. As of Friday, ice cover extended across 88 percent. That's according to the federal government's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor. Sections of the lakes harden almost every winter. But scientists say that over the past four decades, the average ice cover has receded 70 percent, probably in part because of climate change. The deep freeze is more than a novelty. It may help replenish water levels by limiting evaporation. It also could help sustain some species of wildlife.
Schumer to be in town of Portland today to rally support for local wine grape growers whose crops have been impacted by harsh Winter...
With the harsh winter taking a toll on upstate New York grape vines... U-S Senator Charles Schumer is telling the federal government to get ready to help. Schumer plans to be at the 21 Brix Winery in the Chautauqua County town of Portland today. He'll be joined by several upstate winemakers to urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to prepare to provide relief to vineyards should they need it. It's too early to measure the full extent of the winter's toll on upstate's numerous vineyards, but growers say the brutal cold has killed a lot of buds on the vine and they fear extensive vine damage. Schumer says the USDA should prepare to grant emergency help through the Tree Assistance Program that was just passed as part of the farm bill.
Teresi says Property Tax Freeze a step in the right direction, but, implementation could be a problem...
Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal to mail property tax rebate checks to residents in qualifying municipalities to "freeze" their taxes for two years could be a "logistical and organizational nightmare." Those are the feelings of Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi... who emphasizes that he and fellow members of the state Conference of Mayors agree with the idea of freezing taxes. However... Teresi says they believe that sending out checks is not the most cost-effective way to do it. He says there's also concern among localities -- like Jamestown -- that have been consolidating and merging services the past several years... that there won't be any acknowledgement of that. Teresi says there needs to be a "recognition of that." On this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the five Media One Group stations, Teresi gave ways he feels are better to provide the property tax relief that the governor wants to accomplish. One is to use a "STAR" type program for those communities so relief can be provided immediately. He says another way is to boost the state aid through New York's 'Aid and Incentives to Municipalities' -- or AIM Program. Teresi says it's been proven that increasing AIM payments leads to lower property taxes.
Former President of Southwestern Midget Football Program arrested for allegedly stealing fund-raising money...
A Busti woman is free on bail for allegedly stealing $7,000 in fund-raising proceeds from the Southwestern Trojan Midget Football Program. Lakewood-Busti Police say 44 year-old Tracy Parker was the new president of the program... which later merged with the Lakeshore Midget Football League. Investigators say the program held several fund-raisers to raise money to help get the program on it's feet. Over the course of the 2013 season... police say the money raised would be turned over to Parker... who would then deposit the money into the program's bank account. However... the investigation showed that she was taking money out of the deposits for her own use. Further investigation led to Parker being charged with third-degree Grand Larceny. She was arraigned... and, sent to the county jail where she posted $3,000 bail.
Eastern New York schools close or delay start as Winter storm hits...
Some upstate New York school districts had already used up their allotment of snow days even before the latest blast of winter weather forced many districts to cancel classes for a second straight day. In Dutchess County... nine of 16 local school districts were out of snow days before Thursday's storm hit the region. Most schools in the mid-Hudson Valley were closed yesterday and remained closed yesterday.
Brocton boil water order lifted...
Chautauqua County director of Health and Human Services Christine Schuyler announced Friday that the boil water order for the village of Brocton, and past of the town of Portland had been lifted. A Water Main break occured this past Wednesday night, and water was turned off to isolate the break Thursday. Service was restored later that day... but, another round of water testing was needed for the order to be removed.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency for the lower Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island. The declaration means that state resources, like snow plowing equipment, will be permitted to assist local cities, towns and villages with snow removal. The declaration also allows the state to provide local municipalities with salt and other supplies to help with the effort. Cuomo said Thursday in a conference call about the snowstorm that there are treacherous conditions on highways throughout the region. He says highway crews are out plowing, but the snow is falling at a rate of 2 to 3 inches in some areas. That's making it difficult to keep up. Cuomo says many New Yorkers are heeding his call to stay off the highways.
The city of Jamestown now has enough road salt for the foreseeable future. That from Public Works Director Jeff Lehman... who says they have now received a few truck loads of salt. Lehman said earlier this week that the city only had enough salt to make it through the end of the... and, they were using sand to "ration" out what was left. He says they received the first part of a shipment from the state's Canadian contractor at the salt barn on Steele Street this morning. Lehman says his crews have gone through a lot of salt already this Winter... and, he says they're expecting more because February's not half-way done yet... and, there's still March left to go. Lehman says the state went with a new contractor this year... which offered a price of 45-dollars a ton for road salt... and, the ontractor has been slammed with shipment orders due to the harsh Winter. He says the city has been remaining within it's salt budget for this year. While Jamestown has had it's problems... city officials say it's nothing like what communities in the downstate region have gone through.
Jamestown police have now identified the city woman is the person who died in an apartment house fire that occured on the northside Wednesday morning. Police Captain Bob Samuelson says 25 year-old Toni Brosius died of acute smoke inhalation at WCA Hospital after she was pulled out of her bedroom by firefighters. Fire crews were called to the scene at 105 Stowe Street just after 7 AM. Samuelson says a neighbor to the apartment that caught fire called in the alarm. When crews arrived... he says Brosius was found, unresponsive, in a back apartment. Samuelson says investigators determined late Wednesday that "unattended cooking" triggered the flames. The fire was ruled accidental.
It's not uncommon to have unattended cooking fires... but, they usually don't make news because they end up being put out quickly by homeowners -- or, by firefighters. However... a city fire official says you should never leave food cooking on a stove unattended. Lieutenant Andrew Finson is also a fire investigator for the department. Finson says that -- if you have to leave for a moment -- there are safety measures you can take to alert you that there's a problem. First... he says you should have working smoke detectors inside the house or apartment. Secondly... he says it's good to have a working fire extinguisher handy. Finson says the apartment Toni Brosius had on Stowe Street had a smoke alarm... however, they're not sure yet if it was operating as it should have. He also says you shouldn't leave yourself in a position where you can fall asleep.
"We're thrilled" that there will be a full ice-castle for this year's President's Day Winter Festival in Mayville. That from Community Coordinator Debbie Marsella with the Mayville/Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce on tonight's start to the annual event. Our cold -- and often frigid -- Winter has created maybe the best ice blocks ever to come out of Chautauqua Lake for this years' castle. Marsella says it will make Friday's 6 PM lighting ceremony one of the weekend's highlights. She adds there'll be a couple of other activities going on. Marsella says they would hand out the 250-dollar prize for finding the Festival Medallion to Mayville's Tom Cole, Junior just before the lighting. However... Cole has a work commitment. With that... she says the chamber will present the prize Saturday afternoon. Marsella says Saturday has a full-day of activities... starting at 10 AM. Marsella adds they'll also have the chain-saw sculptors that were in Mayville this past Summer on hand... along with horse drawn rides. She adds they'll also have the annual Bonfire at 6:30 PM Saturday... followed by the Snowmobile Parade at 7 PM... and, fireworks by Sky-Lighters of New York at 8. The festival continues Sunday from 11 AM to 4 PM. For more information... go on-line to Mayvillechautauqua-dot-ORG.
(***Update)Jamestown apartment house fire victim identified...
Jamestown police have now identified the city woman who died in an apartment house fire that occured on the northside yesterday morning. Police Captain Bob Samuelson says 25 year-old Toni Brosius died of acute smoke inhalation at WCA Hospital after she was pulled out of her bedroom by firefighters. Crews were called to the scene at 105 Stowe Street just after 7 AM. Samuelson says a neighbor to the apartment that caught fire called in the alarm. When crews arrived... he says they found smoke in the common hallway that led to a back apartment. Brosius was found unresponsive in the bedroom. Samuelson says crews took her outside... but, were unable to revive her. Fire Lieutenant Nate Alm says firefighters had the small blaze out quickly... and, there was extensive damage in the apartment. Samuelson says investigators determined late yesterday that the fire was caused by unattended cooking.
Jamestown police officials say a 25 year-old city woman is the person who died in an apartment house fire that occured on the northside Wednesday morning. Police Captain Bob Samuelson says fire crews were called to the scene at 105 Stowe Street just after 7 AM. Samuelson says a neighbor to the apartment that caught fire called in the alarm... reporting there was smoke in that part of the house. When crews arrived... he says they found smoke in the common hallway that led to a back apartment. Fire Lieutenant Nate Alm says firefighters had the small blaze out quickly... and, there was extensive damage in the apartment. Samuelson says investigators determined late yesterday that the fire was accidental. The victim has not been identified... pending notification of next of kin. Alm says Alstar Ambulance and the local Red Cross responded to the scene. Volunteers are helping one person living in the home... which housed four apartments. No other injuries were reported. Alm says fire crews were at the scene about two-hours.
A Jamestown man is jailed without bail on 15 separate charges following his arrest in connection with a high-speed chase... and, car crash in the city late last month. Police say 24 year-old Bryan Bobe (BO-Bee) was arrested on multiple-warrants following his release from a Rochester-area hospital. Bobe had been treated at the medical center since the January 20th accident. Officers say Bobe led police on a pursuit -- during which he allegedly ran through several red lights... and, stop signs. His car struck a pick-up truck on Foote Avenue. The other driver was not hurt. Police say Bobe faces charges... including two Felony counts of first-degree reckless endangerment. He was arraigned... and sent to the county lock-up.
Three Jamestown residents are jailed for allegedly receiving more than 6-pounds of marijuana shipped from Texas to their southside residence. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says they recently received notification from the U-S Postal Service in Buffalo about a large, suspicious package mailed from out of state -- later found to have the pot inside -- being sent to 352 Foote Avenue. Samuelson says they... along with the state Police C-NET Team... and, Postal Inspectors... began a joint investigation. Samuelson says... once the delivery was made... the JPD SWAT Team raided the home... and, arrested the three people inside. Taken into custody were 31 year-old Kelvin Thomas... 30 year-old Saran Best... and, 22 year-old Lesha Strudwick. Samuelson adds the marijuana was also located. He says it's a significant amount... but, not the largest shipment ever received here. Samuelson says Thomas, Best and Strudwick were all arraigned in city court on second-degree criminal possession of marjiuana charges... a Class-D Felony. They were sent to the county jail where they're being held without bail.
Residents in the Jamestown-area woke up yesterday to maybe the coldest air temperatures so far this Winter season. Forecaster Dave Thomas with the National Weather Service in Buffalo says no records were broken... but, every place in Western New York -- especially the lower elevations -- were well below zero. We had reports of 18-below in Lakewood... 22 and 25 below in parts of the Ellington area... and, minus-28 in Watts Flats. However... Thomas says the day-time temperatures will continue to go up through the end of the week before dropping again.
Thomas says there were two key factors that played into the very cold temperatures overnight Wednesday. One was high pressure that kept the skys clear... and, there was a good 10 to 12-inch snowpack to provide further cooling. However... once the sun came out, temperatures warmed up to about 25 by mid-afternoon.
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is proposing legislation that bans a form of plastic pollution that is becoming a major threat to the Great Lakes and other waterways. New York would become the nation's first state to pass a ban on the use of 'microbeads' in beauty and cosmetic products. Dr. Sherri Mason, a local researcher on plastics pollution, says microbeads are becoming a major pollution problem. Microbeads are commonly found in products that include facial scrubs, shampoo and toothpaste. Mason, who is a Chemistry Professor at the SUNY College at Fredonia... says the Attorney General's office reached out to her after hearing about her research. Assemblyman Robert Sweeney of Long Island is taking the lead on introducing the measure in the State Legislature.
A couple of the most recent clues allowed a Mayville man to find the 2014 Winter Festival Treasure Hunt Medallion in the village of Westfield. Community Coordinator Debbie Marsalla with the Mayville/Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce says the ICE Medallion was found at the Lincoln/Bedell statues in the downtown park Tuesday. Marsella says Mayville's Tom Cole, Junior found the medallion in Abraham Lincoln's hat. However... Cole won't be able to be on hand to receive his 250-dollar prize prior to the lighting of the ICE Castle to start the festival on Friday night. Marsella says Cole was able to determine from earlier clues that the location was somewhere in Westfield... so he began looking around the village's parks... and found the medallion. She felt that Clue-#9... which mentions Grace Bedell's name... would be the one someone would be able to find the medallion with. The castle lighting will kick-off the two-and-a-half day festival... which will also feature fireworks at Lakeside Park at 8 PM Saturday.
(**News alert!)One person found dead in minor apartment house fire in Jamestown...
One person has died in an apartment house fire that broke out on Jamestown's northside this morning. Fire Lieutenant Nate Alm says crews were called to the scene at 105 Stowe St. just after 7 a.m. Alm tells us a neighbor to the apartment that caught fire called in the alarm... reporting smoke in that part of the house. He says when crews arrived... they found no fire nor smoke outside... but, smelled "light smoke" in the area of the fire. Alm says firefighters had the small blaze out quickly. There was extensive damage in the apartment... and, that's where they found the person who died. The victim has not been identified. Alm says Alstar Ambulance and the local Red Cross responded to help one person living in the home... which housed four apartments. No other injuries were reported. Alm says the cause remains under investigation. Crews were at the scene about two-hours.
Several people had to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning after a C-O leak developed in their apartment house yesterday afternoon across the street from Jamestown City Hall. City fire officials say rescue crews were called to the scene at 228-to-230 East Second Street about 3:30 PM. Officials say four people were transported to WCA Hospital... while several others were taken there by private vehicle. Battalion Chief Don Woodfield says some 6 to 8 families lived in the building... which has been condemned until the cause of the leak has been determined, and repaired. A nursing supervisor at the hospital says some people were still being treated last night... but, no one had been admitted. None of the people involved appeared to be in a life-threatening situation. The local Red Cross is helping the families.
Some 25 people were on hand for a first-ever public forum to work on budget priorities for the Jamestown School District in the 2014-2015 school year. However... while it was a small gathering... several "very thoughtful" ideas and suggestions were offered before school officials begin work on the spending plan. That from School Board President Joe DiMaio... who says they got a lot of good input during last night's two-hour session at the school Administration Building. Some of the ideas involved expanding some current programs... and, keeping class sizes down in lower grade levels. There were also ideas to generate revenue... such as providing distance learning for certain subjects that can't be offered in smaller, neighboring districts. Another... which DiMaio felt was a "great idea..." was creation of a Jamestown Education Foundation. He says it's not a new idea... and, might be similar to what Southwestern did several years ago. The four areas the residents and school officials looked at were instructional programs... extra-curricular activities... facilities, operations and management... and, transportation. School Superintendent Tim Mains says the final results will be compiled into a final report... and, put onto the district's website.
Lakewood village officials are offering the town of Busti office space -- if and when the town decides to sell the current office building in the village. The village board Monday night approved a resolution making the offer -- either temporarily or permanently. Mayor David Wordelmann says they understand the town has received an offer from a financial institution to buy it's current location on Chautauqua Avenue. He adds it would be in both muncipality's best interest to do that because it was previously a bank... and, would create more foot traffic in the village's "downtown" area. The Town Board will hold a public hearing tonight on the proposal to sell the current office... and, buy the current Tordella building -- a former Quality Markets store -- next door. However... that building would require some renovation work before the offices could be moved into that space. Wordelmann says that's why they made the offer they did. He adds the two governments have worked out similar consolidations in the past. The public hearing on the Busti proposal begins at 6:45 TONIGHT.
The head of the local Premier tool and die plant in Lakewood confirms that they've filed a notice of closure for early next May. Plant Manager Ron Saxton also tells Media One News the reason for the pending closure -- which would leave 75 people out of work -- is economic conditions. Otherwise... Saxton deferred all comment to Premier's headquarters in Michigan. The state Labor Department sent out a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification late last week that Premier-Lakewood would be closing it's doors on May 6th. The WARN notice stated the lay-offs would begin at the Winchester Road-facility on May 1st. The Premier location first opened at Falconer Metal Specialties in 1963. It became Lexington Die-Cast in 2005 when it was purchased by Premier. Efforts to reach Michigan officials for comment so far have been unsuccessful.
Unless they get a shipment soon... the city of Jamestown only has enough road salt to make it through the end of this week. That from Public Works Director Jeff Lehman... who says his crews have gone through a lot of salt already this Winter... and, it's forced them to resort to using sand at times. Lehman says he's also looking at brine to help bridge the gaps. Lehman says part of the problem is the state contracted with a new salt vendor this year... and, the past two Winters were mild. Lehman said both Monday night and yesterday that they were still waiting on their next shipment from the state's Canadian contractor. He says their orders are in... but, there's been an issue getting salt in different parts of the state. Lehman says the city has remainded within it's salt budget for this year... but, he adds they're not done when the weather breaks this Spring. Lehman says -- given that -- they're hoping for a mild start to next Winter. He says when they buy their salt allocation for the year... they are allowed a 20-percent overage.
The winter that just won't take a break is causing shortages of road salt in a number of parts of the state. However... most other local communities seem to be in good shape. Lakewood Mayor David Wordelmann says he's spoken with his Highway Supervisor... who tells him they're in pretty decent shape. Wordelmann says they'd just like a break in the weather. Fredonia Mayor Steve Keefe says the village has enough salt at this point, but if could be a different story if the snow and cold drags on too long. Keefe says they did have some surplus left from last year... and, that's helped them out so far this year. He is reminding local plow operators to be careful where they are plowing... and, they should never leave snow in the middle of the street since it can create a traffic hazard. He is also encouraging local residents to give them a helping hand with shoveling the walk-ways to and from their homes and businesses.
Premier officials confirm closing of Lakewood plant...
The head of the local Premier tool and die plant in Lakewood confirms that they'll be closing the facility early next May. Plant Manager Ron Saxton also tells us the reason for the pending closure -- which would leave 75 people out of work -- is economic conditions. Otherwise... Saxton deferred all comment to Premier's headquarters in Michigan. The state Labor Department sent out a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification late last week that Premier-Lakewood would be closing it's doors on May 6. The WARN notice stated the lay-offs would begin at the Winchester Road-facility on May 1. The Premier location first opened at Falconer Metal Specialties in 1963. It became Lexington Die-Cast in 2005 when it was purchased by Premier. Efforts to reach Michigan officials for comment so far have been unsuccessful.
City facing road salt issues if new shipment doesn't come soon...
The city of Jamestown only has enough road salt to make it through the end of the week... and, Public Works Director Jeff Lehman is hoping for a new shipment soon. Lehman says his crews have gone through a lot of salt already this Winter... and, has even had to resort to using sand... and, is looking at brine to help bridge the gaps. Lehman said last night and this morning that they were still waiting on their next shipment from the state's Canadian contractor. He says they're orders are in, and they're "anxiously awaiting" the next one's arrival. Lehman says the state went with a new contractor this year... who offered a price of $45 a ton for road salt... and, the new contractor has been slammed with shipment orders due to the harsh Winter. He says the city has been remaining within it's salt budget for this year... but, he adds they're not done when the weather breaks this Spring. Lehman says because their fiscal year runs the calendar year... you also have to think of November and December. Given that... he says they're hoping for a mild start to next Winter.
The city of Jamestown met -- and slightly exceeded -- it's projected sales tax revenues for the 2013 fiscal year despite the fourth-quarter coming in slightly below projections. Comptroller Joe Bellitto reported the final figures to the City Council at last night's work session... saying the city received just over 5.78-million dollars in total sales taxes for last year. Bellitto says they received just over 1.4-million dollars in the fourth quarter... which was a decrease of just over 8-thousand dollars from the fourth-quarter of 2012. Bellitto says the city continued to budget cautiously for the revenue item in 2014... boosting the total for this year to 5.815-million dollars. He says that's a point-56-percent increase over 2013. Typically... the city receives most of it's sales tax revenues in the third and fourth-quarters of the year. However... Bellitto says they had stronger second-quarters the past two years than fourth-quarters. The third-quarters were actually produced the most dollars in sales tax each of the past two years. Last year... the figure was 1.59-million dollars... while it was 1.6-million in 2012. Bellitto says they would like to see numbers increase on a yearly basis... but, adds the past two were at least "stable."
A key New York state lawmaker says he fears implementation of Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed property tax freeze would be a ``nightmare.'' State Senate Finance Committee Chairman John DeFrancisco raised the concern to the state's tax commissioner Monday during a hearing on the governor's budget proposal. Cuomo's budget proposes tax rebates to homeowners who live in jurisdictions that stay within a 2-percent property tax cap. DeFrancisco, a Syracuse Republican, says the break in the form of a personal income tax credit could confuse people. Tax Commissioner Thomas Mattox tells lawmakers they are working to keep things as simple and efficient as possible for taxpayers. The lawmakers are examining Cuomo's proposed 137.2-billion dollar budget for the fiscal year starting in April.
Chautauqua County's top-elected official is looking at possibly contracting out for the top-executive's position at the County Home in Dunkirk. County Executive Vince Horrigan says the position... currently held by Tim Hellwig... will be filled. It has to be by law. However... Horrigan says he wants to make sure he gets a top-notch person to fill the post -- even though it may be temporary. That's because the county legislature is to vote on selling the home later this month. Even if that happens... it will take 15 to 18-months before the skilling nursing facility is completely turned over to the new owners. Horrigan also says that any change in administrator much meet with the approval of the state Health Department. He says they're also looking at other supervisory options... but, can't go into detail on that as yet. Horrigan says Hellwig will be leaving the position at the end of the month to take over as director of the Cattaraugus County nursing homes.
A public forum has been scheduled for tonight by the Jamestown School District to gather input on priorities for the district's 2014-2015 budget. That from Superintendent Tim Mains... who says the session will get underway at 6:30 PM at the school board Conference Room at the District Offices. Mains says this is something new for the district... and, will allow participants to offer their opinions about what programs work... and, which one's don't. Mains says they want input on such areas as the district's food service... and/or extra-curricular activities. He adds the opinions... both good and bad... will be gathered... and, put together into a report following the meeting. Mains adds that this session does NOT eliminate the required public hearing on the new budget... but, will provide the public a chance to provide more "meaningful" input than might be seen during a public hearing. The budget forum will be held at the Jamestown District Offices on Martin Road from 6:30 to 8:30 PM.
A U-S Marine Corps veteran from the Jamestown-area is preparing to make a cross-country walk to raise awareness about an organization that supports wounded veterans... and, their families. Frewsburg's Josh Lydell says many of his service friends have been assisted by the Wounded Warrior Project... and, that's why he wants to do something to help them out. Lydell will head to Charleston, South Carolina a week from yesterday to begin the approximately 28-hundred mile trek to San Francisco... and, he hopes to raise 100-thousand dollars for the organization. Lydell says they also help veteran's deal with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He says he's been training for about four-months for the walk... which will take about 6 to 8 months to complete. Lydell... who competed in sports in high school... says he's found the right footwear to keep him moving. He adds there's already been some publicity about his walk... and, that's brought in some early donations... including one from the local Vietnam Veteran's Association. Lydell says you can learn more by going to his facebook page -- "Joshua Lydell" -- or go on-line to 'woundedwarriorproject-dot-ORG...' and, go to the Individual events page.
Reed says weekend roundtable with educators and parents on school safety a success as they tout continuing SRO programs...
Local Congressman Tom Reed is hopeful that there will be some money for local school districts to improve safety measures from an approximately $70-million appropriation in the new, two-year federal spending bill. Reed was at the Brocton Central School District late last Friday to meet with local school administrators, teachers... parents and others about the funding. He says he was looking for feed-back on how that money could be used to make schools safer in light of more recent shootings in the U-S... such as School Resource Officer programs. He believes there's a lot of bi-partisan support for such programs... though it might not be through a program like the federal COPS Program in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Reed says last Friday's meeting was a good one... considering it was a Friday afternoon... and, the session went until about 6 p.m.
Horrigan looking at possibly contracting-out for a County Home Administrator...
Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan is looking at hiring someone to replace the County Home's Administrator... but, he is expected to do it on a contractural basis. Horrigan says they hope to replace Tim Hellwig in that position shortly. He adds, though, that any such change would have to meet with the approval of the state Health Department... so he can't go into "a lot of detail on that." Horrigan says Hellwig will be leaving the position at the end of the month to take over as director of the Cattaraugus County nursing homes. The county legislature will vote at it's Feb. 26 meeting on whether to sell the home to two local companies formed by VestraCare for $16-million. However... it will likely take 15 to 18-months to complete the transaction.
JPS schedules Public Forum to get input on 2014-15 budget priorities...
A public forum has been scheduled for tomorrow night by the Jamestown School District to gather input on priorities for the district's 2014-2015 budget. That from Superintendent Tim Mains... who says the session will get underway at 6:30 p.m. at the school board Conference Room at the District Offices. Mains says this is something new for the district... and, will allow participants to offer their opinions about what programs work... and, which one's don't. He says they want to gather that input after the meeting, and develop a report that will help guide the board through the budget process. The budget forum will be held at the Jamestown District Offices on Martin Road from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Three people accused of trafficking heroin on Jamestown's eastside have been arrested following a raid early last weekend. City police say they... along with members of the JPD SWAT Team... executed a search warrant at an apartment at 218 East Second Street early Friday night. Officers say inside they arrested 22 year-old Juan Aponte-Sierra... 18 year-old Christian Marquez-Sierra... and, 17 year-old Josh Figueroa. Police add they seized a large quantity of heroin... and, cash. They also found a shotgun and ammunition for the weapon. Officers say all three were arraigned in city court on one count each of Felony criminal posession of a controlled substance... and one count of criminal using drug paraphernalia. They were sent to the county jail without bail. More charges are pending. Anyone with information on the sales of illegal narcotics is asked to contact the JPD Anonymous Tip-Line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
A town of Busti man is jailed without bail for allegedly being being found in possession of heroin... and, two hypodermic needles after his car was pulled over Jamestown's southside last Saturday night. City police say they stopped 32 year-old Stephen Bush, Junior for an apparent traffic infraction on Forest Avenue -- near Lee Avenue -- about 6 PM. Officers say that during the course of the investigation... they found a quantity of heroin... which Bush allegedly tried to eat... and, the two needles. Police stopped Bush... and, he was arraigned on charges including Felony criminal possession of a controlled substance... possession of a hypodermic instrument... and, tampering with evidence. Bush was then sent to the county lock-up.
A Winter Storm left about 2 to 3 inches of new snow in the Jamestown-area this past weekend... but, only little more is expected early this week. On the other hand... frigid temperatures will be back with us the next couple of nights. There'll be a little more snow today... but, temperatures will drop to near zero tonight... and, zero to 5-below tomorrow night. Forecaster Tom Paone with the National Weather Service in Buffalo says these temperatures are not unusual for this time of year. Many local residents have said it seems to have been colder for longer periods of time this Winter than usual... but, Paone says -- for the most part -- we've been close to average this year. Temperatures yesterday climbed up to about 20 to 22 degrees... and, after our two nights of frigid air... we'll begin to see a slight warm-up around Wednesday and Thursday.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has assembled a panel of lawmakers, parents, educators and business leaders to look into New York's rollout of the Common Core Learning Standards. Cuomo announced plans for the panel last month and wants recommendations by the end of the legislative session. The Common Core has been adopted by all but a handful of states as a uniform set of kindergarten-through-graduation benchmarks. But... critics say New York rushed the rollout and now shouldn't punish teachers if students do poorly on Common Core-aligned assessments. Others question whether the standards will really elevate student achievement. The panel announced Friday is chaired by Stanley Litow, president of the IBM International Foundation. A separate Board of Regents panel is expected to make its own recommendations Monday.
There is real concern that if the Chautauqua County Legislature doesn't accept the latest agreement to sell the County Home that future offers will continually go down. That from County Executive Vince Horrigan... who says the subject came up during this past week's state Association of Counties Winter Conference in Albany. Horrigan says the county's already seen that with the latest offer from VestraCare of Long Island. The company dropped it's offer from last September to 16-million dollars. Horrigan says... in talking with the county's broker -- Marcus and Millichap -- they've found it's currently a "buyer's market...." Unlike opponents of the potential sale of the County Home feel... Horrigan says he's the "gatekeeper" on any deal involving it's sale. He has to not only try to get the best "dollar deal..." but, one that's best for the people living at the Dunkirk facility... and, those who take care of them. Horrigan says he also believes it's a good deal because... even county legislators who will vote against the sale say they are impressed by VestraCare and it's operation. He made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" Program.
The insurer with the most initial clients from New York's health exchange says it's taking steps to fill coverage gaps. The exchange has helped process enrollments by more than 380,000 New Yorkers with 16 commercial and non-profit insurers and Medicaid. Empire BlueCross/BlueShield says its nearly 30,000 new clients who enrolled by December 24th... and, who paid an initial premium by January 31st are considered covered since January 1st. The insurer says it's also posting temporary insurance cards online that can be printed by clients who paid but didn't yet get regular cards. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman faulted Empire in a January 14th letter. He said some patients who lacked proof of coverage may have skipped medical care.
New Wind Chill Advisory
Cold artcic air will remain with us through mid-morning today before a weak winter weather system moves in later today. Forecaster Tom Paone in Buffalo said late Friday we'll have partly cloudy skies through the morning... which helped allow temperatures to dip slightly below zero overnight in the Jamestown-area. Add 10 to 15 MPH winds to that and, wind chills are an issue.
Paone says we'll see a chance of snow moving into the area as a weak, Low Pressure system moves east over the Great Lakes through Sunday morning. He also says highs today will reach nearly 20-degrees at mid-day. When the Winter Weather system moves entirely into the region, he says we'll see mainly cloudy skies, which will keep temperatures in the mid-teens Saturday night into Sunday morning. Paone does say we should see a warm-up about mid-week with temperatures nearing 30 on Wednesday and, the mid-30s by Thursday.
Ice Castle Complete
The annual President's Day Weekend Winter Festival in Mayville next weekend may have the best Ice Castle it's had yet. That's thanks to the frigid, arctic weather we've been experiencing the past couple of months this winter. While the Mayville/Chautauqua Chamber of Commerce has moved away from making the castle the centerpiece of the yearly event, it becomes more of an attraction if there is one. This year's Construction Supervisor, Dave Douglas, says they completed the castle late yesterday. Douglas says their crews have made a lot of progress despite the frigid conditions.
Douglas says they've had between 12 and 20 volunteers working on the castle this year and, they've been putting in full-days to get it ready. He adds they've also gotten some help from the apprenticeship program with the local Operating Engineers' Union. Douglas says they'll now put a few lights around the castles so people can get an early look at it. But, the castle will be officially lit during Opening Ceremonies for the Winter Festival a week from last night. The festival runs February 14-16 at Lakeside Park. For more information, call the Mayville/Chautauqua Chamber at 753-3113.
(**Update)Local plow truck driver dies in tragic, accidental fire while finishing up job in town of Busti...
A local plow truck driver was killed early yesterday morning in a tragic accident when his vehicle caught fire while completing a job in the town of Busti early yesterday morning. Lakewood-Busti Police Chief John Bentley says police and Lakewood firefighters were called to the scene at Snug Harbor Marine Showroom on West Lake Road about 4 a.m. Bentley is releasing few details... but, says officials found the truck fully-engulfed in flames on arrival. He adds the 26 year-old man was found dead in the driver's seat. Bentley says the body of the driver was sent to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo for identification... and, to determine the cause of death. Early reports where that the vehicle was still running when officials arrived. Bentley says investigators confirmed that the blaze was sparked when the rear wheels caught fire. He adds the incident has hit home with a lot of local plow truck operators.
It's going to be very cold the next couple of days with cold temperatures... and, gusty winds producing below-zero wind chill temperatures. The National Weather Service is continuing a Wind Chill Advisory through 10 this morning. Forecasters say the air temperature will fall to about zero... and, with winds at 10 to 20 MPH... it's feeling like about 15-below. While the advisory ends at 10 AM... wind chills will remain as low as 15-below during the day today. Tonight... the weather service says it'll be very cold...but, a partly to mostly cloudy night won't drop the temperature as much as first expected. Lows will again be about zero... and, wind chills will be about 15-below once again. Snow showers this morning could also slick up roads in spots...so driving caution is advised. Saturday... it'll be sunny... with highs nearing 25.
Jamestown Board of Public Utilities water customers may want to run a "pencil thin drip" of water from their faucets during this recent cold snap. BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says that's a way to prevent water pipes from freezing. Robbins says... while repairing water main breaks in recent days... BPU water crews have observed the frost line as far as 38 inches below the ground's surface. She says water pipes and lines do not lie too much lower than the frost line... and, can freeze.
Cold temperatures and freezing equipment made it a rough night for area firefighters as they battled a house fire in Panama. Panama Fire Chief Vernon Sheldon Junior said they received a structure fire call early Thursday morning and arrived at 541 Goshen Road in Panama around 12 AM. Sheldon called in assistance from Clymer, Ashville, Busti, and Sherman Fire Departments as well as from three Pennsylvania Departments... Bear Lake, Rightsville, and Columbus. The Chautauqua County Sherriff's Department investigated the scene and determined the cause of the fire to be a wood stove. Luckily the resident that was home at the time was able to evacuate. Firefighters did face frigid temperatures, which caused trucks and air packs to freeze. Damage was reportedly extensive... and, the Red Cross is assisting the residents. Fire crews were on the scene for about 7 hours.
Two people from Kane, Pennsylvania... and, one from Jamestown... are jailed without bail for allegedly selling cocaine to undercover police officers in recent weeks. Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force members... city police and, other agencies were involved in a vehicle stop late Thursday afternoon. Officers say the trio... 36 year-old Theresa Russo of Barrett Avenue, Jamestown... and, 42 year-old Samuel Russo and 20 year-old Samuel Bundy of Kane... were arrested shortly after their car was stopped on Winsor Street. Task Force members say the suspects were found to be in possession of an additional quantity of cocaine... along with the drug Suboxone...and, cocaine scales. Police say all three were jailed pending arraignment on two counts of criminal posession of a controlled substance... and, one count each of criminal sale... and, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia.
Officials with the Long Island firm looking to buy the Chautauqua County Home says they will hire back "most" of the home's 280 employees if the sale. The principles with VestraCare also addressed employee... and, resident issues at length during Wednesday night's meeting with county lawmakers. However... local Civil Service Employees Association President Steve Skidmore says many of the CSEA workers there are frightened. Skidmore says they haven't talked with VestraCare officials... but, they have spoken with CSEA leaders now at the former Ulster County home in eastern New York. VestraCare's Shannon Cayea says employees must pass a background and drug test before they can be hired back. Cayea also says -- in their analysis -- the home is understaffed to deal with that's there... and, the expansions they are planning. That sounded good to Skidmore... but, he adds they still have questions about the agreement. As for the 216 residents of the county home... Cayea says they in "no way, shape or form intend to evict any (current) resident." Regarding the very poor... she says they will "help them find a payer-source" so they can stay or more into the home.
One of the biggest trips ever for Jamestown High School music students is just a week away. Members of the marching band, acappella choir, and the concert orchestra will all be heading to Disney World on Friday, February 14th. That's Katie Darrenbacher, director of the JHS orchestra. The band will be marching in Disney World's Electric Light Parade. The choir and orchestra will be performing in downtown Disney. Choir director Norm Lydell says the community has been very supportive of the 'big trip'. There are 185 people making the six day trip. Lydell says donations are still welcome. Contact the trip coordinator, Billy Stevenson, at 664-0707. (The JHS Bands' winter concert is tonight (Thursday} at 7 PM at JHS. Tickets are just $5. Choir Director Norm Lydell will conduct the concert. Band Director Meghan Murray is on maternity leave.
Three guards are recovering from injuries following a confrontation with inmates inside a western New York prison. The Department of Corrections says that a sergeant and two corrections officers were treated and released following the incident Wednesday at the Gowanda Correctional Facility. The medium-security prison in Cattaraugus County is about 30 miles south of Buffalo.
House Fire in Panama
The Panama Fire Department received a structure fire call early this (Thursday) morning. Firefighters arrived at 541 Goshen Road in Panama shortly after 12 AM. Upon arrival, Panama Fire Cheif Vernon Sheldon Junior said the home was glowing and smoke was coming from the eaves. Cold temperatures and freezing equipment made it a rough night for those on the scene, causing trucks and air packs to freeze. The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department Investigation team arrived at the scene and determined the fire was caused by a malfunctioning wood stove. The resident of the home was awoken by his dog and able to evacuate safely. No injuries were reported.
Q & A Session with VestraCare
Making the Chautauqua County Home profitable as a private entity is not all about cost-cutting but, expanding services and enhancing revenue. That from one of the principles from VestraCare, the Long Island-based nursing home firm that's offering $16 million for the home during a special legislature meeting last night. Edward Farbenblum and Shannon Cayea answered several questions about how they could turn the Dunkirk facility into a financially-viable institution that still provides quality service. Farbenblum addressed employee issues such as pension plans and health insurance.
When asked about whether the home would pay taxes based on it's assessed value, Farbenblum said yes, once the property's assessment had been determined. He says the reason their purchase offer had been cut by $500,000 from last September is two-fold. One is they did a new analysis of the facility and two, a proposed freeze or cut in Medicaid reimbursements from the state in Governor Cuomo's budget plan.
Status of the County Home and CSEA
Most of the Chautauqua County Home's 280 employees will likely continue working at the facility if the purchase by VestraCare is approved. Principles with the Long Island firm addressed employee and, resident issues at length during last night's meeting with county lawmakers. VestraCare's Shannon Cayea told the legislature that it's their "intent" to hire back most all the workers.
Cayea says employees must also pass a drug test. She adds that they want local people, who are familiar with the home and it's residents, working there. Cayea also says -- in their analysis -- the home is understaffed to deal with that's there... and, the expansions they are planning. That sounded good to county Civil Service Employees Association President Steve Skidmore. The CSEA currently represents County Home workers. However, Skidmore adds many are "frightened" over the pending sale, so much so they're willing to leave the union.
As for the 216 residents of the county home, Cayea says they in "no way, shape or form intend to evict any resident. Regarding the very poor, she says they will "help them find a payer-source" so they can stay or more into the home.
Making the Chautauqua County Home profitable as a private entity is not all about cost-cutting... but, expanding services and enhancing revenue. That from one of the principles from VestraCare... the Long Island-based nursing home firm that's offering 16-million dollars for the home during a special legislature meeting last night. Edward Farbenblum and Shannon Cayea answered several questions about how they could turn the Dunkirk facility into a financially-viable institution that still provides quality service. Farbenblum addressed employee issues such pension plans... and, health insurance. The County Home is currently just a Skilled Nursing facility... and, some new lawmakers wanted to know what kind of services would be added if the approve VestraCare's offer. Cayea -- who is Chief Executive of Operations -- says they will put a number of programs in place... two in particular. Asked about whether the home would pay taxes based on it's assessed value... Farbenblum said yes... once the property's assessment had been determined. He says the reason their purchase offer had been cut by 500-thousand dollars from last September is two-fold. One is they did a new analysis of the facility... and, a proposed freeze or cut in Medicaid reimbursements from the state in Governor Cuomo's budget plan.
We continue on the 'Winter weather roller-coaster' the next few days after getting hit by yesterday's snow storm. Now... bitterly cold wind chills will be returning to the Jamestown-area for the next two nights. The National Weather Service has now issued a Wind Chill Advisory for Chautauqua County from 1 AM to 10 AM Friday. Forecaster Dave Thomas in Buffalo says temperatures will fall to the lower single-digits tonight... and, just below-zero Friday night. Thomas adds that... with 10 to 15 mile an hour winds... it'll feel like minus-15 tonight... and, about 20-below Friday night. After that... Thomas says our next snow storm arrives Saturday. Thomas says that system will move from the west into the Great Lakes region. Initially... he says forecasters believed it might combine with a system forming in North Carolina to generate a more powerful storm. Still... Thomas says it will produce up to six inches of snow. Thomas adds that... once we get through the weekend... we'll still see cold temperatures through at least the middle of next week.
Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan is back from Albany where the New York State Association of Counties held it's Winter session this week. Horrigan says one of the issues he spoke with officials from other counties about is how they're dealing with public nursing homes. The Bemus Point Republican says it's an issue that many counties are dealing with. Horrigan says most of people he spoke with seem to be coming to the same conclusion. Horrigan was at last night's special meeting of the County Legislature. Lawmakers heard a quick presentation... and, asked questions of VestraCare representatives. The public was not able to speak during last night's session... but, will have a chance to speak at the legislature's regular meeting February 26th where a vote on selling the home is likely to take place.
Even as Governor Andrew Cuomo talks about tax cuts and surpluses, potential state budget challenges loom on the horizon. Cuomo's budget plan claims the state can rack up a 2-billion dollar surplus by 2017 as long as the governor and state lawmakers agree to keep spending growth under 2 percent over that time. There are several big-ticket financial challenges in the years ahead as the governor and the Legislature make those future budgets. State-wide universal Pre-Kindergarten could eventually cost roughly $1.6 billion a year. Cuomo also proposed a broad range of tax cuts, freezes and repeals. The costs for the coming fiscal year would be $657 million, but they would more than triple the next year to $2.1 billion.
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly breaking into a Bemus Point home late last month... and, taking a box containing money and property. Sheriff's officers say their investigation detemined that 31 year-old Matthew Olson of Parttridge Street entered the residence on North Everett Park Drive the evening of January 25th through bilco doors... then the basement. Deputies say Olson was arrested after a brief investigation. He was arraigned on charges of second-degree burglary... and, third-degree Grand Larceny... and, sent to the county jail on 15-thousand dollars bail.
The New York State Bar Association says there has been ``a shocking level of decline'' in Americans' understanding of democracy and its framework... and, is calling on state education leaders to renew emphasis on civics and put it on a par with math and science. The association's Law Youth and Citizenship Committee says social studies has become a ``secondary curriculum'' in schools.
Winter Storm Warning to end... but, not snow - at least immediately...
A major winter storm is moving through the Northeast... and has already brought several inches of snow to the region. The National Weather Service is continuing a Winter Storm Warning until 4 this afternoon for all of Western New York including Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. Meteorologist John Hitchcock says we got about 3 to 5 inches by early this morning... and, more was on the way. Hitchcock says another 4 to 7 inches was expected... bringing totals in some higher terrain getting close to a foot. The heaviest snow associated with the snow has been moving through the area since late morning. It will last through early to-mid-afternoon. At a couple of points... snowfall rates were an inch an hour. Snowfall rates have diminished to light to moderate snow through the rest of the afternoon.
Entire Upstate Region of NY -- especially to the east -- experiencing worst of storm...
The state has deployed more than 2-thousand plows and other pieces of heavy equipment to keep roads clear during a storm that has forced the closure of one major highway... and, hundreds of schools upstate. Cuomo and other authorities are advising against any unnecessary travel Wednesday because of hazardous driving conditions from a storm that has dumped up to a foot of snow on some upstate areas. He adds that the entire state is now under a "State of Emergency...." which mobilizes resources to local governments that are otherwise restricted to state use only. No schools closed in Chautauqua County... but, some have called off after-school activities. Cuomo says the 65-mile stretch of Interstate 84 between the Pennsylvania and Connecticut borders is closed to all vehicles. Some places could see 16 to 20 inches of snow in Eastern New York today.
Jamestown man and woman arrested for illegal possession of weapon... and, large amount of pot ready for sale...
A drug raid in Jamestown last night has landed two people in jail... and, led to the seizure of a large quantity of marijuana... and, an illegally possessed hand-gun. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says JPD officers and SWAT Team members... and, members of the State Police C-NET Team... executed a search warrant at 33 Linwood Ave. about 6 p.m. Samuelson says police found more than 180 grams of packaged marijuana... digitial scales and several cell phones... and, a 32-calibur revolver inside. He says they're pleased to get the pot... and, that gun... off the street. Samuelson says getting the gun off the street especially is great news because they were in possession of it illegally. Investigators arrested 27 year-old Wilfredo Torres and 21 year-old Mallory White on charges of Felony criminal possession of a weapon... and, fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana. Samuelson says they're not sure if Torres or White were "high-level" dealers at this point. However... he says the gun has been turned over to federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents to see if the hand-gun was stolen. Both Torres and White are being held pending arraignment. Samuelson says anyone with information on illegal drug sales and trafficking is asked to call the JPD Tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
A Winter Storm Warning is in effect until 4 this afternoon for all of Western New York... including Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. Forecaster John Hitchcock with the National Weather Service says a storm system began in the southern Plains... then tracked through the Ohio Valley before snow developed about mid-evening. Hitchcock says storm totals will range from 6 to 10 inches through late THIS afternoon. Hitchcock says no lake effect is involved, so just about everyone will be getting several inches of snow. The greatest snowfall rates... and, worst travel conditions... are expected through about mid-morning today. Between 3 and 6 inches of the white stuff was predicted overnight... with another 3 to 5 inches predicted for today. However... the weather service is also calling for areas of blowing snow this afternoon, with northeast winds gusting up to 30 miles an hour.
The state Legislature has cancelled its session tomorrow because of a winter storm. The National Weather Service has issued winter storm warnings for much of upstate New York, including Albany. Forecasters predict more than 20 inches of snow could fall in some areas by late tomorrow.
A Lakewood man suffered non-life threatening injuries when his car was struck by a second vehicle at a busy intersection on Jamestown's southside... and, then spun and crashed into a brick wall. City police say officers and city fire rescuers were called to the scene at Foote and Cole Avenues shortly before 1 PM yesterday... and, found the 73 year-old man trapped in the car. Officers say rescuers had to shore up the wall before freeing the unidentified man from the wreckage. Police say he was northbound on Foote when his vehicle was struck by an eastbound car on Cole... driven by 67 year-old Ernest Strickland of Jamestown. Officers say Strickland allegedly passed a red light while making a left turn... and, struck the other vehicle. Both cars spun in the intersection... with the Lakewood man's car heading west. It then crashed into a brick wall at the Orthodontics office of Doctor Andrew Kohl. No one inside was hurt. The victim was taken WCA Hospital for treatment. Strickland refused treatment... and, was ticketed for passing a red light.
A community forum on the growing epidemic of Opiate -- or pain-killer -- abuse in Chautauqua County will be held in Mayville on March 12th. The forum was announced yesterday by County Executive Vince Horrigan... and, County Community Mental Hygiene Services Director Patricia Brinkman. Horrigan says the forum will begin at 9:30 AM at Chautauqua Suites. Horrigan says planning for the forum began shortly after he was elected... and, has been led by Brinkman. He says they want local... and, 'outside' experts and stakeholders will be invited. Horrigan and Brinkman say there will first be a panel discussion to discuss the data on current practices... the impact of drug abuse... and, barriers to help addicts. The afternoon session will include break-out sessions to identify action steps or strategies that can be implemented to help with awareness... and, educating and helping people. Horrigan says the public is invited to attend... because people from all walks of life have been affected by this problem. Several local mental health and substance abuse agencies will be involved in the forum... including the Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council... and, the Mental Health Association. For more information on the forum... call the county's Department of Mental Hygiene at 753-4104... or the County Executive's office at 753-4211.
A handful of residents spoke last night -- mainly in favor -- of a partial tax exemption they could receive on their Jamestown school taxes. The school board held a public hearing at Washington Middle School to get input on whether to adopt the exemption. U-S Army veteran Joseph Viccaro fought in Vietnam for just over a year... and, favored the move... saying the cost to other non-veteran property owners would be minimal. School Board President Joe DiMaio -- a veteran himself -- says the cost range is about 12-dollars. DiMaio... though... feels the exemption represents a "tax shift." He adds that while veteran's who own property would benefit... those who rent apartments, or live in nursing homes would not. Viccaro says many veterans went straight from high school to war... and, deserve a break. DiMaio says the board will decide on the exemption at it's next meeting near the end of the month. Since he would benefit from the exemption... DiMaio says he would have to be excused from the vote.
The state's new health exchange reports more than 657-thousand New Yorkers have completed applications for insurance while nearly 381-thousand of them have enrolled for specific coverage. The health department says enrollment for individual and family coverage since October includes 241-thousand-242 New Yorkers in the 16 commercial and nonprofit insurers in the exchange... and, about 139-thousand-500 in government-funded Medicaid. Open enrollments continue through March for 2014 coverage at state-approved rates. Applicants with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible for tax credits to help offset premium payments. Another on-line exchange offers insurance for businesses with up to 50 employees.
Two-car accident in Jamestown sends Lakewood man's car crashing into brick wall at city doctor's office...
A 73 year-old Lakewood man was hurt when his car was struck at a busy intersection on Jamestown's southside... and, then spun around and crashed into the wall of a doctor's office. City police say officers and Jamestown fire rescuers were called to the scene at Foote and Cole Avenues shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday. They found that the unidentified Lakewood man's car was northbound on Foote when his vehicle was struck by an eastbound car on Cole... driven by 67 year-old Ernest Strickland of Jamestown. Officers say Strickland allegedly passed a red light while making a left... and, struck the other vehicle. Both cars spun in the intersection... with the Lakewood man's car heading west. It then crashed into a brick wall at the 660 Foote Ave. office of Orthodontist Andrew Kohl. Fire rescuers shored up the wall... then extricated the man from the car. He was taken to WCA Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. Strickland refused medical treatment... and, was ticketed for passing a red light.
Chautauqua Co. Drug Abuse -- in particular of opiates -- forum planned...
A day-long, community forum on the growing epidemic of Opiate -- or pain-killer abuse -- in Chautauqua County will be held next Month in Mayville. County Executive Vince Horrigan... and, County Community Mental Hygiene Services Director Patricia Brinkman jointly announced Tuesday that the forum will be held Wednesday, March 12th at 9:30 a.m. at Chautauqua Suites in Mayville. Horrigan says planning for the forum began shortly after Horrigan was elected... and, has been led by Brinkman. He says "effective solutions to big problems require all of us to come together to evaluate where we are... and, how we can become more effective in reversing the growing problem of drug abuse..." The growing problem of Heroin use has become a prominent issue in the city of Jamestown. Several local mental health and substance abuse agencies will be involved in the forum... including the Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council... and, the Mental Health Association.
Get ready for the possibility of nearly a foot of snow late tonight into Wednesday night. The National Weather Service has now issued a Winter Storm Warning from 10 PM TODAY through 4 PM Wednesday. Forecaster Tom Paone in Buffalo says the predicted storm track will bring the system close enough to Western New York to produce between 6 to 10 inches of snow -- at least. Paone says there will not be any lake effect snow involved with this storm because of much of Lake Erie remains ice covered. Forecasters say we're looking at 3 to 5 inches of snow tonight... and, overnight into Wednesday.
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities is ready to launch it's new Residential Recycling Credit Program, which provides an incentive to bring up the number of residents who recycle. BPU Communications Coordinator Becky Robbins and General Manager Dave Leathers updated the City Council last night on the program's roll-out. Robbins says the BPU hopes to begin distributing new, orange bins next week that'll be used to accurately determine who is recycling on a regular basis... and, who is not. Robbins told lawmakers the bins will include a Radio Frequency Identification tag that will identify each household... and, whether they're recycling items at least once a month. They will be tied in to the BPU's current software... and, the resident's current account. Leathers says a committee has been working on the program... and, decided to increase garbage fees to 20-dollars per month. But... those who recycle will only pay 10-dollars. Currently... Leathers says says less than 35-percent of the city's residents recycle... and, while the BPU doesn't have a goal... they'd really like to get those numbers to 80 to 90-percent by the end of the year. Leathers says if they can get most people to recycle... it would significantly reduce the amount of money the BPU has to pay in tipping fees at the County Landfill. He adds they are also paid for the recyclables they turn over. If you have any questions... you're asked to call BPU Customer Service... or check the BPU's website.
The current propane gas shortage and price spikes is proof the U-S needs to strengthen both energy development and infrastructure to avoid such problems. Those are the feelings of local Congressman Tom Reed... as temperatures nose-dive in the northeast again this week. A Winter Storm is again on the way beginning tomorrow night. Reed says the shortage is proof that this is a --- "ramification for not having a comprehensive energy plan." He adds that it's also proof of the need to boost natural gas production in New York. Reed says propane is a by-product of natural gas. The Corning Republican says the shortage is primarily related to the lack of infrastructure to move the heating source to areas of need. As for what Congress can do -- right now -- to help deal with the lack of propane... Reed says there's not much right now. He says they can only make sure there's no "price gouging" taking place... and, he adds there's no evidence of that taking place right now. He made his comments during his weekly telephone news conference with western New York Media.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah says he expects the state trial of medical marijuana to be up and running within a year. Shah told lawmakers at a hearing today that the research is intended to examine the drug's effectiveness in patient treatment, for example with pain in stages of cancer. Shah testified as part of hearings on Governor Andrew Cuomo's 137.2-billion dollar budget. He says the goal is to provide evidence of value not only for New York but for the country.
U-S Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand say they've successfully petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture to use 11.5-million dollars to buy concord grape juice for use in domestic nutrition programs such as school lunches. The U.S. grape industry has a surplus of Concord grapes used to make juice due to a large 2013 crop. The senators wrote to the USDA to help purchase some of the surplus to ensure that prices remain stable for the industry ahead of the 2014 harvest. New York has 281 growers and over 9,700 acres of Concord vineyards in western and central New York and the Finger Lakes. The purchase will also benefit growers in Washington, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arkansas, Missouri, and Indiana.
Country superstar Jason Aldean is bringing his ``Burn It Down Tour'' to the New York State Fair on August 30th. Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. Saturday at the State Fair Box Office and via the fair's online ticket seller, etix.com. Aldean performed to a sold-out audience at the 2012 State Fair. His appearance this year will close the fair's grandstand concert series. Aldean has sold more than 8.5-million albums and has notched 12 Number-#1 hits. His 2014 ``Burn It Down Tour'' will trek to about 50 cities this year, including several Major League Baseball stadiums. His last tour had sellouts at some of the nation's most legendary venues, including Madison Square Garden, Wrigley Field and the Hollywood Bowl.
NWS issues Winter Storm Watch for late Tuesday through Wednesday evening...
Get ready for the possibility of several inches of snow late Tuesday into Wednesday night. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch from Tuesday night through Wednesday evening. Meteorologist Tom Paone in Buffalo says the forecasted storm track will bring the system close enough to Western New York to produce a significant snowfall. He says there's the potential for at least 6 inches of snow for the entire region because this is a "general snowfall" system. Paone says there will not be any lake effect because of much of Lake Erie remains ice covered.
Reed says propane shortage, and high prices to blame on lack of federal comprehensive energy plan...
The current propane gas shortage and price spikes is proof the United States needs to strengthen both energy development and infrastructure to avoid such problems. Those are the feelings of local Congressman Tom Reed... as temperatures nose-dive in the northeast again this week. A Winter Storm is again on the way tomorrow night through Wednesday. Reed says the shortage is proof that this is a "ramification for not having a comprehensive energy plan." He adds that it's also proof of the need to boost natural gas production in New York. Reed says it's causing a lot of instability in the region's market. He adds that propane is a by-product of natural gas. The Corning Republican says the shortage is primarily related to the lack of infrastructure to move the heating source to areas of need. As for what Congress can do -- right now -- to help deal with the lack of propane... Reed says there's not much they can do. He says they can only make sure there's no "price gouging" taking place... and, he says they are not seeing that right now. Reed says the price of propane has skyrocketed from $2.80 a gallon last October to $3.80 a gallon last week. He made his comments during his weekly telephone news conference with western New York Media.
Trump speaks to Erie County GOP this past weekend...
Real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump offered a preview last Friday night of what a Trump-for-governor campaign might look like. At a local fundraiser in Buffalo... Trump called New York's new gun control laws a disaster, supported fracking for natural gas... and, criticized Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo's tax policies for businesses. Trump was the featured guest at a $100-per-person event held by the Erie County Republican Party in suburban Buffalo. The New York City developer has met with Republican leaders about a possible challenge to Cuomo. But... he repeated Friday his condition that he'll only run if the state's Republican Party rallies behind him and he faces no challengers for the nomination. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is also considering running.
A city man has been arrested for allegedly pulling a knife on another man... and, threatening to "cut him up" on Jamestown's northside late last Saturday night. City police were called to the scene of a person with a knife on Bowen Street at the intersection with Bush shortly before 10 PM. Officers say they found 23 year-old Jean Melendez outside wen they arrived. They say their investigation found that Melendez had allegedly pulled the knife on the victim, and threatenend to hurt him. Melendez was arrested for second-degree menacing and harassment... and, sent to the city jail pending arraignment.
Chautauqua County's state Assemblyman remains hopeful that some positive changes can be made to New York's SAFE Act to fairly address hunting and sportsman rifles. Bemus Point Republican Andy Goodell says he remains disappointed that Governor Andrew Cuomo has resisted calls to change two provisions of the gun-control measure regarding rifles. Goodell says the first is that all semi-automatic rifle owners have to have that gun registered by Apriil 15th. In that case... Goodell says the state will either confiscate the weapon... or your estate will have to sell it to someone out of state. However... he says that's a difficult process. Goodell was hoping that Cuomo was softening his stance on making changes to the SAFE Act. However... during a radio interview on Martin Luther King, Junior Day... the governor said those who opposed the SAFE Act were right-wing "extremists..." which has brought a firestrom of controversy. No specific dates for any demonstrations or rallies in support of repealing... or amending the SAFE Act have been announced. Goodell made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program.
An Ohio woman has been arrested for allegedly operating a snowmobile while she was drunk... and, hitting an ice fishing shanty on Chautauqua Lake. Sheriff's Deputies were called to the scene about 1 AM last Saturday to investigate a reported snowmobile accident. Officers say 31 year-old Christina Black, of Burghill, Ohio was operating a sled northbound on the frozen lake ice about 200 yards off-shore from Lakeside Park in Mayville. Further investigation found that Black struck the shanty... and, narrowly missed three men who were ice fishing nearby. The shanty, along with a lot of other ice fishing equipment, was either damaged or destroyed. Nobody was hurt. After interviewing Black... she was arrested for snowmobiling while intoxicated... as well as SWI with a BAC of point-0-8-percent or higher... and, not operating at minimum speed within 100 feet a person -- or an ice fishing shanty. She was issued appearance tickets for Chautauqua Town Court at a later date.
Real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump offered a preview last night of what a Trump-for-governor campaign might look like. At a local fundraiser in Buffalo... Trump called New York's new gun control laws a disaster, supported fracking for natural gas... and, criticized Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo's tax policies for businesses. Trump was the featured guest at a $100-per-person event held by the Erie County Republican Party in suburban Buffalo. The New York City developer has met with Republican leaders about a possible challenge to Cuomo. But... he repeated Friday his condition that he'll only run if the state's Republican Party rallies behind him and he faces no challengers for the nomination. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino is also considering running.
Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget would see 69-percent of the state's school districts starting the 2014-15 school year with less money than they received five years ago. That's part of a new analysis by the state's largest teachers union... which also reports the funding would not even keep pace with inflation. New York State United Teachers President Richard Iannuzzi says that... in itself... is bad news. Iannuzzi says some of the education-related aspects sounded good to the state's largest teacher's union. Cuomo's commitment to universal pre-kindergarten... and, his critical focus on problems with the Common Core curriculum were noted favorably. But... Iannuzzi says the fact aid increases in most cases aren't even where they were five years ago is a "very difficult thing to accept if you're a school district trying to meet higher standards and trying to have college- and career-ready students." The Educational Conference Board says proposed education budget's total school aid increase of almost 603-million dollars should be closer to 1.5-billion dollars.
A Steamburg man faces drunk driving charges after state police found him sleeping in a closet at a rest area on Interstate 86 with his car parked on the highway median. Troopers in Machias say they followed footprints in the snow early Sunday from a vehicle on the median of I-86 to the Allegany rest area. There... they found 37 year-old Trevor Jimerson sleeping in a closet. He was arraigned on DWI and unlawful possession of marijuana charges... and, jailed on one-thousand dollars cash bail.
Western New York's Weather prognosticating ground-hog differs with most of the other ground-hogs on whether there will be an early Spring. "Dunkirk Dave" was brought out of his home yesterday morning by handler Robert Will... and, did NOT see his shadow. That word on 'Dave's' website. In Groundhog lore... that means an early Spring is on the way. That differs directly with Punxsutawney Phil... whose handlers say he saw his shadow... and, is forecasting six more weeks of what already has felt like a brutally long and cold winter. Pennsylvania's famed groundhog emerged from his lair in front of thousands of fans around daybreak Sunday. At least one other Ground-hog... Staten Island Chuck in the New York City area... also saw his shadow.
(**Alert)BPU crews working on water main break on Hunt Road...
Jamestown Board of Public Utilities' Water crews are at a water main break on Hunt Road at Homestead today. Traffic was closed in the westbound lane. BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says water customers in the area should be aware of discolored water in that area for the rest of the day.
Ohio woman charged with snowmobiling while intoxicated after he sled strikes ice fishing shanty on Chautauqua Lake...
An Ohio woman has been arrested for allegedly operating a snowmobile while she was drunk... and, hitting an ice fishing shanty on Chautauqua Lake. Sheriff's Deputies were called to the scene about 1 a.m. Saturday to investigate a reported snowmobile accident. Officers say 31 year-old Christina Black, of Burghill, Ohio was operating a sled northbound on the frozen lake ice about 200 yards off-shore from Lakeside Park in Mayville. Further investigation found that Black struck the shanty... and, narrowly missed three men who were ice fishing nearby. The shanty, along with a lot of other ice fishing equipment, was either damaged or destroyed. Nobody was hurt. After interviewing Black... she was arrested for snowmobiling while intoxicated... as well as SWI with a BAC of .08-percent or higher... and, not operating at minimum speed within 100 feet a person -- or an ice fishing shanty. She was issued appearance tickets for Chautauqua Town Court at a later date.
STOP-DWI Craking Down During Super Bowl Weekend
Police agencies across Chautauqua County are taking part in a special enforcement effort to crack down on impaired driving during Super Bowl Weekend. The announcement was made late Friday by the Chautauqua County STOP-DWI Program. Sheriff Joe Gerace says the enforcement effort began yesterday and, will continue through Monday, February 3rd. Gerace says Super Bowl Weekend is historically a deadly period for impaired driving. The local STOP-DWI group is working with the Sheriff's Department, State Police, Jamestown, Ellicott, Lakewood-Busti and many more to protect others from drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs. Gerace says getting drunk drivers off Chautauqua County roads is "one of our top priorities." Funding for the effort is being provided by the New York State STOP-DWI Foundation through a grant.
Bus Accident at Maple Grove High School
A Bemus Point Central School bus driver is being treated at a Buffalo-area hospital after the driver had a medical emergency and, the bus crashed in the parking lot at Maple Grove Junior-Senior High School. Sheriff's officers say the incident occured at about 8:00 Friday morning. However, Deputies say no students were on the bus at the time. Officers say the bus struck three parked cars in the lot before driving over a snow bank. The driver -- who was not identified -- was treated at the scene by Fluvanna fire rescuers and, taken to the Ellery Town Park. Officers say the operator was then flown by Starflight Helicopter to Buffalo General Hospital. No charges have been filed in connection with the accident.
Jamestown's Largest Soup Kitchen Celebrates Milestone
Today is a special anniversary for the Jamestown-area's largest soup kitchen. The St. Susan's Center in the Gateway Center is celebrating it's 30th year of operation. They won't have a big party but, will begin a year-long commemoration to celebrate and, make the community more aware of their mission. Director Sue Colwell says, while it's been 30 years, they're serving more people than ever. In fact, she says they dished out a record number of 538 meals for people Thursday.
Colwell says it's been quite a change from February 1st of 1984 when St. Susan's opened up at a small location on Prospect Street and, served grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. She says it's "quite amazing" how their operation has changed and, the number of people they serve. Colwell says, though, if it weren't for the community's support in so many ways St. Susan's wouldn't be able to help the people it does.