Jamestown police say they are looking for one suspect who they believe have set 11 arson fires in vacant nad condemned homes in the city including five last weekend since the beginning of the year.
Police officials say the fires are being tracked by investigators from early January until last Friday night and into Saturday morning. City police have now released a video from the first arson fire last Friday night at 11:05 PM at 650 East Sixth Street.
The video shows a person walking out from the rear of the home and then proceeding to walk down the street towards Winsor Street and then to walk up Winsor Street. The person appears to be of thin build and is wearing a hooded sweatshirt.
Anyone who may recognize or know who the suspect is in this video is asked to contact the JPD Anonymous Tip Line at 483-TIPS that's 483-8477 or you can leave a tip on the Tips 411 App. This information will also be forwarded to Crime Stoppers at 867-6161, where tipsters can be eligible to receive a reward.
Demolition work has begun at the scene of last week's massive fire that devastated a half-a-block of commercial and residential property in the village of Falconer.
Mayor Jim Rensel told us late Thursday afternoon that work was underway, with equipment being moved into place to tear-down what's left of 29 to 39 West Main Street. Rensel says George Patti Construction is the contractor for the work which will involve taking the damaged area down.
Rensel says it will take some time to get the rest of the structure down safely. He says the collapse-zone fencing that was put up after the fire remains up because that remains a threat. However he expressed his appreciation to several people including building owners Art Bailey, and Jim Gronquist, Junior.
He also thanked Village Attorney Greg Peterson, County Executive Vince Horrigan, State Senator Cathy Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell and, Gebbie Foundation Director, and attorney, Greg Edwards. Rensel says they hope to have the building down by early in the weekend and, then have West Main Street reopened where it's been closed since the fire.
Top lawmakers say there's still no deal on a state budget for New York state as the main deadline approaches.
Republican Senate Leader John Flanagan and Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie conferred with Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo behind closed doors Thursday morning. They had hoped to pass a budget before the new fiscal year begins Saturday but that looks unlikely as negotiations drag on.
Sticking points in the more than $150 billion spending plan include a Democratic proposal to raise the age of criminal responsibility so 16- and 17-year-old offenders aren't prosecuted as adults. Alternatively, Republicans propose creating a "youth court" within the justice system for violent youthful offenders.
Lawmakers are also negotiating increases in school funding and tuition assistance and a proposal allowing Uber and Lyft to expand upstate.
While Governor Andrew Cuomo appears committed to having an on-time state budget inaction in the Assembly is what is holding up a budget deal.
That from State Senator Cathy Young, who says the Governor and the Senate are working "in good faith" towards an on-time spending plan. But she says the Assembly is "holding the budget hostage" The Olean Republican says the state needs to pass a budget which contains education funding, job growth, and tax relief for middle-class families.
On another matter Young says she's introduced legislation that would ban the type of guardrail that was involved in a crash that claimed the life of a Fredonia native in Tennessee from being used in New York.
She says 27-year-old Hannah Eimers was killed in the crash last November on Interstate 75 after her vehicle struck an "X-Lite" guardrail. Young says part of the rail broke, and penetrated into the cockpit of the car and, killed Eimers.
Besides banning the use of "X-Lite" guardrail products, Young's legislation would also require that any existing "X-Lite" guardrail products be replaced.
A long time area school superintendent will be ending a 32 year career in education Friday when he bids farewell to his district.
Fredonia's Paul DiFonzo will be wrapping up his nearly 16 years as superintendent after serving three years as the middle school principal. DiFonzo says he has seen a lot of change in education, but there has been one constant at Fredonia Central.
Fredonia Central has faced some challenges over the years, many of them dealing with budget matters such as the loss of state aid. DiFonzo says he's proud of how district voters supported a failed merger with Brocton Central a years ago because both districts stood to "gain a lot" with a merger.
He says he doesn't have any definite plans for his future although he does hope to do some kind of community work.
Retired Amherst School superintendent Dr. Laura Pless will take over the reins Monday as interim superintendent. The district is conducting a search for a new superintendent.
Two more colleges have been authorized to participate in New York's industrial hemp pilot program.
The program allows farmers to partner with universities to grow and research hemp as an agricultural commodity. The program was launched last year and the first crop was harvested last fall.
Industrial hemp is a variety of cannabis without the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana. It's used in a wide range of products from clothing to food supplements.
Binghamton University and SUNY Sullivan have been authorized to participate in the state's hemp program. Both are interested in the medicinal properties of cannabidiol, a chemical component of the hemp plant. Cornell University and Morrisville State started participating in the hemp research program last summer.
Local Congressman Tom Reed says he wants to see tax reform that helps people to buy and afford a new home.
However he's not saying whether he supports a proposal in the most recent tax plan that would do away with the ability to write-off local and state taxes on homes. The "Better Way" Plan was laid out last year by House Speaker Paul Ryan as a simpler, fairer plan for Americans.
However it did not include the deduction. Reed says he's open to ways to improve the tax code.
Reed says another idea he would like to see is using a "tax credit" as opposed to a deduction to promote home ownership that would also help people that don't itemize on their taxes.
The Corning Republican says he's open to all possible options and, is confident that they can come up with a traditional or non-traditional solution. Reed is a majority member of the House Ways and Means committee which is tasked with driving and dealing with tax policy in Congress.
He made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media.
Another comedic legend will be coming to Chautauqua Institution this Summer as part of Chautauqua and the National Comedy Center's week on Comedy.
Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson announced yesterday afternoon that comedian and director David Steinberg will be the featured lecturer next August 1st as part of "Comedy and the Human Condition" Week at Chautauqua. Gunderson says they are "thrilled" to have Steinberg speak at 10:45 AM.
Most recently Gunderson says Steinberg is in his ninth season of directing the cable comedy show "Curb Your Enthusiasm" that stars Comedian Larry David. Steinberg has also directed for the hit series "Weeds." He has resume that spans The Second City, Broadway, and a prolific television career. Known for his work on "The Smothers Brothers..." Steinberg’s satiric and controversial "sermons" caught the ire of President Richard Nixon and caused the show to be thrown off the air.
The week at Chautauqua is being held in conjunction with the National Comedy Center's annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival... which runs from August 3rd through 6th.
The investigation is continuing into a drowning in Lake Erie near Silver Creek yesterday morning.
Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace confirms that that the drowning involved an elderly male, with the victim's body being located behind St. Columban’s on the Lake on Route 5 shortly after 7:30 AM.
The victim's name with being with-held until family members are notified. Sheridan Fire crews also assisted at the scene. More details when they become available.
The city of Jamestown needs the federal Community Development Block Grant program now as much as ever with more than 100 vacant and condemned homes.
That includes the eight structures destroyed in nine arson fires during four-days last week. That from Mayor Sam Teresi who says they try to budget a certain amount of city, state and CDBG funding to knock down unsafe structures each year. Teresi says that's one reason why CDBG funds are so critical. That resolution called on the administration and, regional Congressional leaders to push to keep the program in place.
Local Congressman Tom Reed has already voiced his support for CDBG. While it costs upwards of $40,000 to do a "planned demolition" at can cost upwards of $60,000 for an "emergency demolition" because the wood composition changes.
The investigation is continuing into those fires. If you have any information on them call Jamestown Police at 483-7537 or the confidential Tips line at 483-TIPS, that's 483-8477. You can also use the JPD Tips 4-1-1 app.
The Western New York Chapter of the American Red Cross is continuing to assist the victims of last week's fire that heavily damaged a half-a-block area of West Main Street in the village of Falconer.
Executive Director Chuck Marra says they are assisting a total of 19 people left homeless by that major fire. Marra says the local Red Cross depends on volunteers and they received the assistance of several Disaster Assistance Team members during the fire. He says five volunteers are part of their Disaster Action Team that responds to a fire at anytime.
As for the victims, Marra says the Red Cross will help them get assistance from community service partners and government agencies to make sure that they have the resources to move forward with their lives.
Gas prices in the Jamestown-area have fallen slightly again this week dropping nearly half-a-penny to just over $2.46. That from the AAA's Fuel Gauge Report which say the price for regular, unleaded is now $2.46.4. It was $2.47 last week.
AAA says nationally the average price at the pump is now $2.29 a gallon.
The Fuel Gauge says this is the same price as compared to one month ago, but just fractions of a penny below one week ago and 25 cents per gallon more than the same date last year. The average pump price has now decreased nine of the past 10 days.
Prices in much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast remain relatively steady on the week. Regional gasoline inventories remain low as the region continues to remove winter-grade gasoline from the system.
A record number of prize baskets will be up for bidding at this Saturday's 14th annual Basket Fair put on by the St. Susan's Center in Jamestown.
Executive Director Jeff Smith says the fund-raiser for the area's largest soup kitchen begins at 11 AM in the Physical Education Complex at Jamestown Community College.
Smith says admission is free but, adds you do have to buy tickets to be able to bid on any of the 125 gift baskets they'll have this year. Smith says a basic sheet of tickets costs $10 each. There's also what he calls a "super sheet" you can buy that is a better value, and allows you to bid on more items.
He says they have all kinds of gift baskets with various items in them. Smith adds they have some terrific grand prizes this year including a meat smoker, and a 55-inch Hi-Definition TV.
He says you'll be able to bid on the various gift baskets starting at 11 AM and, tickets will be available until 1:45 PM. He says drawings start at 2 PM. He says they hope to raise at least $15,000 this year.
Democratic lawmakers in some states are pressing ahead with efforts to protect birth control access Planned Parenthood funding, and abortion coverage in case they are jeopardized in the future.
Republican leaders in Congress withdrew a bill last week that would have repealed former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, halted Planned Parenthood's federal funding and curtailed the ability of many low-income women to obtain affordable birth control.
Despite that setback for the GOP, some Republicans say Congress might revisit health care. At the same time, anti-abortion leaders say they will not abandon their campaign to defund Planned Parenthood.
The uncertainty has prompted decisions to press ahead with bills in Nevada, Oregon and Maryland that would protect against some proposed GOP actions.
Monthly alternate parking begins this Saturday April 1st in the city of Jamestown.
That from City Police Captain Todd Issacson who says vehicles must be parked only on the odd-numbered side of the street during odd-numbered months and, only on the even-numbered side of the gtreet during even numbered months.
Issacson says vehicles should be moved at 10 AM on the first-day of each month and there is no grace period.
The state's budget deadline is just days away and no agreements have yet been worked out between Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders.
State Assemblyman Andy Goodell, who represents all of Chautauqua County, says time is running out. Goodell says primarily non-financial issues seem to be holding up the process, such as criminal justice reform and workers comp reform.
The 150th District Assemblyman is still hopeful of having an on-time budget. He believes the final, 152-billion dollar spending plan could be done by late Friday morning after what could be a "round the clock" session.
Among the main proposals Governor Cuomo is pushing for is tuition-free college for lower and middle income students... however, a proposal to boost tuition assistance has been gaining traction.
Concerned residents from Jamestown's north side near the area where five arson fires were set early last weekend say they want to see a public-private housing project move forward.
Some Spring Street residents say the 12 to 13-million dollar Jackson-Spring housing development proposed by a Buffalo developer and Citizen's Opportunity for Development and Equality will eliminate eight vacant homes in that area.
Darrell Sisak of 824 Spring Street spoke at Monday night's City Council meeting. He says vacant homes attract drug dealers and users and fire bugs. Another resident Donald Paine of 872 Spring again voiced his support for the CODE project in light of a letter from the Gebbie Foundation last December that voiced concern over the project and, that it would not improve the city's housing issues.
Paine called on State Senator Cathy Young and city officials to move the Jackson-Spring project moving forward. He says "we want this now more than ever." Paine held the letter from the Gebbie to Young which states the Jackson-Spring "will not help in rejuvenating the city."
City leaders remain staunchly behind the proposal to bring 36-units of new housing to Jamestown's northside.
That from Mayor Sam Teresi who says he appreciates the neighborhood support voiced Monday night for the Jackson-Spring housing development. Teresi emphasized that this is NOT government-subsidized housing it is private investment.
Teresi says it's great to see someone willing to come and invest in clean, afforable housing that will improve the neighborhood similar to what's happened at Euclid Gardens and the Wellman Building downtown. He says the city council has enthusiastically supported the development headed up locally by CODE Inc. and, NRP of Buffalo.
Teresi says they hope the state will "favorably review' the application for the state tax credits that will help finance the local project. He adds they and CODE are awaiting word on what is happening with those tax credits.
CODE officials say some of the Jackson-Spring housing development would also be available for disabled residents.
Two Westfield residents have been arrested for allegedly operating a methamphetamine lab inside their Portage Street apartment.
Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force responded to citizen complaints about suspected Meth production at 63 South Portage Street and the apartment was raided early Tuesday afternoon. Prior to that Task Force members say they and Westfield Police seized a quantity of items on the property used to make Meth.
As a result police got a search warrant for the apartment and arrest warrants for the two occupants. They were identified as 48 year-old John Buzcek-the-third, and 47 year-old Julie Warren.
Task Force members arrested Buzcek at the scene and found Warren at another location in the village. Both were arraigned on two counts each of third-degree unlawful manufacture of Methamphetime and sent to the Chautauqua County Jail on $50,000 bail each.
The state Police C-SERT Teeam was also called in to help remediate the scene, and gather evidence. Authorities continue to ask for the support of community members when they observe suspicious or narcotics related activity in their neighborhoods by calling either 800-344-8702 or 363-0313.
Chautauqua County's population has now fallen below 130,000 according to the latest Census figures.
The new figures were released earlier this week by the U-S Census Bureau and shows the county continuing it's downward trend between July of 2015 and July 2016.
The bureau's figures show that Chautauqua County's population dropped from 130,811 in 2015 to 129,504. That's a drop of 1,307.
That's a 1% loss, placing Chautauqua County among the largest percentage population declines among the state's 62 counties.
Hamilton County had the largest percentage drop at 3.3%, followed by Jefferson County at 2.8%, Delaware County at 1.2%. Tioga County tied Chautauqua County with a one-percent decline.
Overall the Census Bureau reports the state had a net migration loss of 73-thousand people between July of 2015 and 2016.
Jamestown Teachers are taking on a 'formidable' opponent in a basketball game tonight as they play a game to support a local charity.
Jamestown High School Government Studies teacher, Tony Dolce, says the game will begin at 7 PM at McElrath Gymnasium. Doors open at 6:30. Dolce also mentioned that it would be members of the Jamestown Police Department playing the Teachers.
The Alex Foulk Foundation has been chosen as the Battle of the Classes charity this year. The Foulk foundation supports recovering addicts with transitional housing and help in returning to jobs and family.
Tony Dolce also says there will be other events happening within the next two weeks to support this fund through the "Battle" at JHS... but, adds the basketball game has always been the biggest event.
More information about the Foulk Fund can be found at the Chautauqua Regional community foundation or on their website CRCFOnline.org
Jamestown's mayor says the nine arson fires over the past week amount to "terrorism."
Sam Teresi conveyed his thoughts following last night's City Council voting session where a few people expressed their concerns over the fires, and about vacant homes in their neighborhoods.
Teresi says some may joke about fire's in vacant homes being called "urban renewal" but, he says it's not a joking matter.
Teresi says fire damaged homes are costly to tear down at the city's expense.
Teresi says part of arsonists try to do is strike "terror" into the hearts of local residents.
He also spoke to the media gathered about the need for the state to impose stronger, manditory penalties on people who commit and are found guilty of arson. City police and fire investigators are still looking to talk to people who may have seen something, or heard something last Friday night when five fires, four in vacant homes were set.
Teresi echoed At-Large Councilwoman Kim Ecklund's comments during last night's meeting where she emplored residents that if they "see something, say something" to authorities.
Jamestown police investigators are pouring over information, and video surveillance in an effort to find the person or persons responsible for nine arson fires in the city over a four-day period last week.
Five of those occured within a three hour period late last Friday night, and Saturday morning. That from City Police Chief and Public Safety Director Harry Snellings who says police and fire officials met yesterday morning to update the investigation.
Snellings says they've received a number of tips so far. The first call last Friday night came in for a vacant, two-story house at 654 East Sixth Street just after 11 PM. The other calls came in quick succession through just after 2 AMSaturday. However it was quiet the rest of the weekend.
Snellings says, though, there is still a lot of concern that the suspect may strike again. Senllings says he's never seen anything like this and says it's kept both firefighters and police very busy.
He says anyone with information on any of last week's arson fires is asked to call JPD at 483-7537 their Tips-line at 483-TIPS that's 483-8477. You can also go to JPD's Tips 4-1-1 app or their Facebook page.
Discussions continued Monday between Falconer village officials, building owners and contractors on beginning demolition work on the half-a-block area on Main Street in the village ravaged by last week's massive fire.
Mayor Jim Rensel was back at the scene yesterday morning discussing the best course of action to take at 29 to 39 West Main Street. Rensel expressed some frustration because no equipment is in place yet to start the work.
That's because the threat of a partial building collapse remains in place. Rensel says a piece of the wall did fall off last Saturday night. However the 6-foot tall "collapse zone" fence did it's job, and there was little damage and no one was hurt.
Rensel adds that the Falconer business community has also done a great job helping the seven businesses inside the building that lost storefronts. He says they're all "working well together" and, the ones burned out of their previous locations now have at least temporary quarters.
Rensel adds the local Red Cross is helping the approximately 19 people who lived in apartments above the commercial businesses on the first floor find temporary shelter following the blaze.
Local Congressman Tom Reed believes the House of Representatives will be back dealing with health care before the end of the year due to problems Republicans believe will come forward with the Affordable Care Act.
The Corning Republican says he was "re-committing" to be part of a governing block of House members going forward. Reed says the ACA also known as "ObamaCare" is looking at 40 to 50-percent premium increases this year and, fewer insurance choices.
If that does happen he expects lawmakers will HAVE to act. Reed says it may require the unraveling of the ACA for some lawmakers who were hesitant about backing the House GOP bill to finally get on board. He himself just got to the point of supporting the new, American Health Care Act, just a week ago.
As for what could have been done to garner support for the AHCA Reed says the GOP leadership should have probably brought more of the policy to light before a vote including proposed tax credits.
He says it's time for lawmakers to work together to find bi-partisan solutions and pointed to the "Problem Solver's Caucus" and "No Label's" groups he works with.
A coalition of anti-hunger advocates, agricultural groups and environmental organizations are urging New York leaders to create a tax credit for farmers who donate fruits, vegetables and other products to foodbanks.
The measure has broad support in the state Legislature. But it has been vetoed before by Governor Andrew Cuomo because it wasn't a part of the state budget. Supporters are gathering today in Albany to ask that the tax credit be included in the budget this year.
Farmers already donate millions of pounds of food annually, but say tax credits would reduce the costs of harvesting and transporting surplus crops that would otherwise go to waste. Environmentalists and anti-hunger advocates say more donations would reduce food waste and give poor New Yorkers access to healthy fruits and vegetables.
The power was back on about mid-morning Monday for about 350 National Grid customers in the city of Dunkirk.
National Grid Spokesman Steve Brady says the outage was first reported around 6 AM. Brady says the customers were in an area served by a tap-line off their "Main line" failed.
Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano says the outage affected several traffic lights on Central Avenue and the Police Department was operating with an emergency generator until the power was restored around 9 AM.
Jamestown's Interclub Council named the 2016 Woman of the Year, Monday night at the Marvin House and the winnner is Carol Drake.
Carol and her husband Rod, moved to Jamestown 40 years ago. Over that time Carol's volunteered for a dozen or more organizations. Carol is a volunteeer at the Robert H. Jackson Center, a place she worked for 10 years as Office Manager. Carol Drake, Jamestown's Interclub council's 2016 Woman of the Year.
A professional wrestling show is coming to the Northwest Arena this Saturday that will benefit a local wrestling team.
Southern Tier Wrestling Spokesman Randy Grey says there will be plenty of entertainment for wrestling fans at this show and, there is a lot of effort being made to make it successful.
Grey says this event is designed to be a fundraiser for the Jamestown Community College Wrestling Team and it will help fund their operations. Grey says bell-time at Northwest Arena is 6 PM and, pre-sale tickets are $10 each and it is $20 for front row seats.
For more information call the Northwest Arena Box office or go on to the Gold Rush Wrestling Tournament Facebook Page.
The Maid of the Mist tour boats at Niagara Falls are being readied for their earliest launch ever.
The famed boats that bring passengers from the New York shore to the base of the falls in the lower Niagara River will open the 2017 season this coming Saturday.
A similar attraction, operated by Hornblower, launches from the Canadian shore the same day. Last year 1.6 million people rode the Maid of the Mist boats during the tourist attraction's 131st year. The season runs through early November.
It was an exhausting early weekend for Jamestown and several nearby fire departments who responded to five arson fires in the span of three hours last Friday night and early Saturday.
That from Fire Battalion Chief Andrew Finson who says four others at vacant homes and one garage occured last Wednesday morning through Friday. Finson says the first call last Friday night was to a vacant houe at 654 East Sixth Street just after 11 PM.
The other calls came in quick succession through just after 2 AM Saturday and most all off-duty firefighters were called in. Those mutual aid companies that assisted overnight Friday into Saturday included Falconer, Lakewood, Celoron, Kiantone and Fluvanna.
One firefighter suffered a minor injury. The Jamestown Fire and Police Departments are investigating three of the fires while county investigators are looking into the other two.
Anyone with information on ANY of the overnight fires is asked to call the Jamestown Police Tips-line at 483-TIPS that's 483-8477.
Demolition work on the burned-out structure left by this past Wednesday morning's devastating fire in downtown Falconer is expected to begin later today.
That from Falconer Mayor Jim Rensel who says the property owners for 29 to 35 West Main Street got tentative agreements in place contractors to do the work. Rensel says a 6-foot-tall fence was put up late Friday around the destroyed structure to keep people away from portions where the threat of collapse is a major concern.
Rensel says West Main in that area which is also State Route 394, remains closed. He says they'll confer with the state about re-opening the road.
At this point Rensel says the building will be demolished in stages and the debris will be taken away.
Rensel says the fence accouts for the threat of the entire, remaining brick wall coming down on Main Street. While most of the businesses in the area where the fire took place have reopened he says officials are starting to work with the business owners in that half-a-block area find new, or temporary quarters in the village.
A federal jury has convicted a Bemus Point attorney of mail fraud in connection with a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.
Prosecutors said that between January 2008 and December 2010, 46-year-old James MacCallum encouraged victims to liquidate their investments to take advantage of higher rates of return with his investments. MacCallum claimed his investments were secured by real estate and life insurance policies.
Government evidence showed that MacCallum was using the investments of his victims to pay back earlier investors, and also to pay personal, travel, and office expenses.
The scheme defrauded investors out of approximately $3.4-million. The verdict was announced Friday. Sentencing is set for July. MacCallum faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The population of New York state is shrinking.
New estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show the state had a net migration loss of nearly 73,000 New Yorkers between July 2015 and July 2016.
Some of the largest percentage population declines were here in Chautauqua County Jefferson County in the north country and Broome County on the Southern Tier.
Long Island's Suffolk County also saw a decline of more than 5,000 people. Overall, downstate New York continued to see modest population growth, centered on New York City. But that growth is being overshadowed by declines upstate.
Overall, New York's population decreased by about 1,900 during the 12 months included in the new numbers. The state's overall population is 19.75-million.
A proposal for a new craft brewery and restaurant on West Third Street in Jamestown is moving ahead and a big step could be taken for Jamestown Brewing Company at tonight's city council meeting.
Lawmakers will vote on a $180,000 Local Development Corporation Loan at tonight's meeting. City Development Director Vince DeJoy says another loan is in the works to help finance the venture in the Lillian Ney Renaissance Center.
The Jamestown Brewing proposal is one of 12 that were included with the Local Planning Committee's list of projects they want the state to look at funding with Jamestown's 10-million dollar Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant.
DeJoy says city council has to vote on the loan because it exceeds the $100,000 limit on JLDC loans. The loan will be paid back over seven-years at 4% interest. Tonight's council voting session begins at 7:30 PM.
Will it be a happy fiscal new year for New York state's college students? New York lawmakers will soon decide.
In state government news a key budget deadline approaches and lawmakers close in on a deal that could see an increase in tuition assistance at state universities.
Lawmakers are also poised to make key decisions on whether to allow Uber and Lyft to expand upstate, and whether to heed a call by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to raise taxes on the wealthy.
Ethics and election reforms may not make it in the final budget, which top lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo are now negotiating. Lawmakers hope to approve the spending plan by April 1, the start of the new budget year.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo isn't mincing words when describing how Congressional Republicans have handled the health care overhaul.
The Democratic governor said Friday that Republicans in Washington have shown a ``disgusting display of government at its worst.'' Cuomo had warned of dire consequences for New York if the bill passed, saying it would cut nearly billions in Medicaid spending in the state and jeopardize health care for seniors, women and the poor.
One provision of the bill would stop counties from outside New York City from having to pay more than $2 billion of the state's Medicaid charges, likely shifting those costs to the state.
Following the decision by Republicans to pull the bill from the House floor Cuomo said the legislation should be ``killed once and for all.''
Pennsylvania's environmental agency is taking too long to process drilling permit applications.
That's the complaint of industry officials who analyzed public data to show that approval times for a key permit are going up. David Spigelmyer is president of the Pittsburgh-based Marcellus Shale Coalition.
He says the regulatory logjam is hurting Pennsylvania's competitiveness with other shale states like West Virginia, Ohio and Louisiana.
The Department of Environmental Protection confirmed that applications are lagging and pledged to do better. The gas industry's complaints about permitting come as Democratic Governor Tom Wolf makes a push to attract plastics and petrochemical manufacturers that use natural gas as a feedstock.
Jamestown and county fire investigators investigating five suspicious, overnight fires; three already ruled arson...
Jamestown and Chautauqua County fire investigators are investigating five overnight fires in the city... three of which have already been ruled as arson. That from Fire Battalion Chief Andrew Finson... who says the first call was to a vacant houe at 654 East Sixth Street. Finson says the call came in shortly after 11 p.m. Friday. Finson says the two-story, vacant house was fully-ingulfed in flames when crews arrived... and, an off-duty shift was called in. While crews were at the scene on East Sixth... Finson says the second call came in -- shortly after Midnight -- to 220 Crossman St. He says that house was fully-engulfed on arrival. He says the third call, for an "outdoor" fire in a large pile of construction debris, was called in from 30 West 11th Street... just after 1 a.m. Finson says they spotted the vacant house at 22 West 11th St., was also on fire. He says more off-duty firefighters were called in at that point... and the final call was to another vacant house at 33 West 10th just after 2 a.m. He says fighting five fires within three hours took it's toll. Finson says some firefighters wound up at three fires during the three hour time frame. He says they called in mutual aid from Falconer, Lakewood, Celoron, Kiantone and Fluvanna Fire Companies. But... he says just one firefighter suffered a minor injury. Finson says city fire investigators have already determined the blazes on East Sixth, Crossman, and, West 10th Streets were intentionally set. Anyone with information on any of the overnight fires is asked to call the Jamestown Police Tips-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
Jamestown Fires causing discolored water through-out BPU service areas...
With five fires during the overnight hours... there is wide-spread discolored water in the Jamestown Board of Public Utilites water system. That from BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins... who says all customers should be on alert for possible discolored water in the next 12-to-24 hours. The five fires required the opening of many fire hydrants which stirs and discolors our water. The water is safe but displeasing to view. Do not do laundry until your water appears clear.
City fire crews also looking into two other fires since Wednesday morning...
Jamestown fire investigators are looking into the cause of a small fire that broke out in the second-story of a two-story garage on Jamestown's eastside Friday afternoon. City Fire Battalion Chief Andrew Finson says crews were called to the scene at 529 East Fifth Street just after 12 Noon... and, found the fire quickly. Finson says they pulled a hand-line and had the blaze out in about 5-minutes. No one was hurt... firefighters were at the scene about 50-minutes.
City fire investigators have also ruled a small fire in a vacant house on Winsor Street was inetntionally set. Fire Battalion Chief Andrew Finson says crews were called to 441 Winsor Street about 9 a.m. this past Wednesday. Finson says damp and humid conditions inside may have prevented the blaze from growing bigger. No one was hurt in that arson fire.
Falconer mayor says fence has been put up around downtown fire scene, demolition to begin Monday...
Demolition work on what's left of a huge commercial and apartment building destroyed in last Wednesday's fire in downtown Falconer is now expected to begin during the day Monday. That from Falconer Mayor Jim Rensel... who says the property owners for 29 to 35 West Main Street have now signed agreements to do the work. However... Rensel says, first, a 6-foot-tall fence has been put up around the scene to keep people away from portions of the structure where the threat of collapse is still a major concern. He says they next need to get the plan for tearing down the remains underway, and get the debris hauled away. Rensel says the fencing process will include a "collapse zone" on the Main Street side... which would account for the possibility that they three-story brick wall were to come down all at once. At this point... Rensel says West Main Street from Davis Street to the area of the four-corners with South Work Street will remain closed through the weekend. He says it will stay closed until the demolition work is done.
Falconer community continues to rally in support of fire victims...
Members of the Falconer community are coming together to help the people displaced by Wednesday's devasting fire that left 19 people without a place to live. Falconer School Superintendent Steve Penhollow says they are working with Mayor Rensel to get donations of clothes, laundry detergent and monetary donations. Checks can be made out to the "Cheer Fund." Both Rensel and Penhollow say donations can be dropped off at the Hogg Shop on East Main Street. Rensel says he's also working to keep as many of the displaced businesses in the village. A Community Prayer service last night at First Baptist Church in Falconer drew about 30 people. The organization "Brothers by Choice" tells us today that they don't need anymore donations of clothes... but they still need towels, blankets, bedding, toiletries... and pots and pans. Rensel says a former Falconer resident has also started a GoFundMe page to support the people displaced by the fire. You can go on-line to www.gofundme/downtown-falconer-fire-victims.com.
Jamestown drug traffickers indicted by federal Grand Jury...
Two Jamestown men -- one arrested last year for being found in possession of about 17-pounds of drugs -- face an 11-count federal indictment for trafficking large amounts of cocaine... methamphetime... and, marijuana. Acting U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. says a federal grand jury returned the indictment Friday against 34 year-old Juan Pacheco, Jr, and, 36 year-old Andrew Garner -- also known as "Bam." Kennedy says both are charged with conspiracy to distribute over five kilograms or more of cocaine, more than 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, and marijuana, and maintaining a drug involved premises. Pacheco was also charged with possession with intent to distribute those drugs. Garner was additionally charged with distribution of cocaine and possession with intent to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. Kennedy says Pacheco faces at least 20 years in prison... while Garner faces 10. Both also face a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $10-million dollar fine.
Flames have extensively damaged a vacant, two-and-a-half story, two-family home on Jamestown's eastside.
City Fire Battalion Chief Matt Coon says crews were called to the scene at 621 East Sixth Street at the corner with Grant Street about 6:15 PM yesterday.
Coon says there was a lot of fire shooting from the roof-area. Coon says it took about 30-minutes of pouring water from an aerial truck and other hand-lines to bring the blaze under control.
He says part of the roof collapsed while they were battling the blaze. He says fire damage was confined to the upper floors of the structure while there was extensive fire damage to the first-floor of the house.
Coon says they called in an off-shift of 12 firefighters to assist at the scene along with Jamestown Police who helped with traffic control.
He says crews were still at the scene after 10 last night. No one was hurt. The cause remains under investigation.
The on-site investigation into Wednesday morning's fire that destroyed about half-a-block of businesses and residential apartments in the village of Falconer has concluded.
However no findings have been released. Falconer Mayor Jim Rensel adds that the fire department has also snuffed out all the hot spots at the scene at 29 to 35 West Main Street.
Rensel told us late yesterday that the owners of the four buildings involved will meet with contractors tomorrow about safety issues at the scene. Rensel says that "collapse-zone" remains in place on Main Street and he says they need to deal with that before they can look to open West Main between Davis Street and the four-corners where Main Street intersects with South Work Street.
He says the unsupported walls on the Main Street side are the biggest concern right now. Power has been restored to the areas that lost it Wednesday and Wednesday night. Rensel adds that power has been restored to the village hall and that reopened today.
No one was hurt in the fire, but the cause remains under investigation.
The Falconer Community is coming together to help the people displaced by Wednesday's devasting fire that left 19 people without a place to live.
Steve Penhollow, Superintendent of the Falconer Central School District says they are working with Mayor Jim Rensel to get donations of clothes, laundry detergent and monetary donations. Checks can be made out to the "Cheer Fund".
Penhollow says that donations can be dropped off at the Hogg Shop on East Main Street in the village. According to their Facebook page the Hogg Shop is open from 10am to 4pm today.
The Lynn Group is also joining in on the effort offering a special deal on rent for those people displaced by the fire.
There will be a Community Prayer Service at 7pm this evening at the Falconer First Baptist Church. The church is located on the corner of Homestead and Falconer Streets. The whole community is invited to come show support. The church is handicapped accessible.
As the cleanup continues from Wednesday's fire in Falconer, village officials say businesses unaffected by the fire are reopening.
They include: CVS, Phil's Auto Plaza, Blue Fin Pet Shop, M & T Bank, the Falconer Vac Shop, and the Bellview East Restaurant.The Falconer Library will also re-open today.
While West Main Street in the area of the fire is still shut down, the main intersection in the village is otherwise open to traffic and parking is available at CVS, Phil's Auto Plaza, and village parking lots.
Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan spent time Wednesday at the scene of the Falconer fire talking with Mayor Jim Rensel and others on what's being done for the people who owned businesses and lived in the upper floors of the West Main Street structure.
Horrigan says the county's Department of Emergency Services has been assisting Falconer and other local leaders. Members of the Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team are also at the scene searching though the rubble and remains for the cause of the fire which has been under investigation since crew arrived at the scene.
Horrigan says it's great to see the "incredible partnership" between local and county agencies to help those impacted by the blaze. He especially praised the fire departments and fire coordinators for their tireless efforts.
A Bemus Point man has been arrested for allegedly being found in possession of two stun guns and a large amount of Methamphetime and other drugs during an investigation early yesterday morning in Mayville.
Sheriff's officers say they spotted two vehicles parked on vacant property near the intersection of Sea Lion Drive and Mill Street about 3:45 AM. Deputies say they stopped one of the vehicles as it tried to leave and found the driver 41 year-old Gary Hannold, Junior in possession of a stun gun.
Further investigation led to disovery of a second stun gun along with 37 grams of Meth, about 4 grams of crack cocaine, and more than 2-ounces of marihuana.
Officers say they also found digital scales, packaging materials, and a quantity of cash. Hannold was arrested and arraigned on several charges including two counts of third-degree criminal possession of controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of weapon. He was sent to the county jail without bail.
Chautauqua County's Congressman is echoing the concerns of local leaders over the proposed elimination of the federal Community Development Block Grant program.
Corning Republican Tom Reed says he was the mayor of Corning several years ago and he knows the program is critically important to the many communities that receive those funds.
While he supports many of President Trump's proposals Reed says they disagree on this one and he stands with local mayors who say there is "great value" in the program. He believes he can keep the program in place.
Reed says he has already spoken with city leaders from Jamestown, Binghampton, and Ithaca who say they have benefitted from the CDBG Program.
Earlier this week Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi blasted the President's proposal as being a "travesty" and one that would have a devastaing impact on Jamestown and several other upstate cities.
A proposal to eliminate a federal program that helps low-income families and seniors pay their Winter heating bills is on the choping block in President Trump's 2018 budget "blueprint."
The proposal to scrap the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance program is already drawing sharp criticism from Congressional members in the northeast.
US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York calls the move "cold-hearted" and adds it would force more than one-million residents to have to make some very difficult decisions.
Gillibrand says more than 48,000 households in the Southern Tier and another 126,000 in Western New York take advantage of the LIHEAP Program.
She says she'll do her best to keep the program in place because it's "irresponsible to cut these funds." Benefits-dot-GOV says New York's grant is allocated among the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance for a heating benefit program, the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal for weatherization activities, and the state Office for the Aging for outreach and referral activities.
A devastating fire has destroyed much of a block of businesses and residential apartments in the village of Falconer.
Crews from upwards of 15 fire departments remain at the scene of the blaze at a three-story structure from 29 to 35 West Main Street.
Falconer Mayor Jim Rensel says Falconer firefighters were called to the scene shortly after 7.30 AM when someone living in an upstairs apartment called in the blaze to Streets Superintendent Pete Fuller who then called in the alarm. He says they appreciate all the help at the scene.
Crews found fire coming through the roof of the building and immediately closed off West Main Street from Phetteplace to South Work Street. Fire police have been keeping people away from the building because of further threat of collapse.
Shortly before 9 AM Rensel says the center part of the structure collapsed. He adds fire crews have also been battling unseasonably cold temperatures and water freezing up,however no one has been hurt.
Wednesday morning's huge fire in downtown Falconer is likely the worst the village has seen in more than 50 years.
That from Mayor Jim Rensel who is a lifelong resident. Rensel says he's been the mayor for four years now and in talking with people yesterday he's learned about a major fire the village dealt with just over 55 years ago in 1960 or 1961. He says it'll be difficult but he believes they "will recover from this."
Owners involved with the structure at 29 to 35 West Main Street were being contacted yesterday morning about the blaze. At least one confirmed full insurance coverage. With the fact officials were working on demolition of the remaining structure because of safety issues there has been no talk yet about re-building.
A Sinclairville woman has been charged in connection with the escape of her husband earlier this month.
Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace says 30-year-old Kelsey Raynor was arrested on a warrant when she appeared in Charlotte Town Court on an unrelated matter Tuesday. Gerace says she allegedly assisted her husband, 34 year-old Jacob, who had escaped during arraignment on charges of third-degree unlawful manufacturing methamphetamine back on March 7th.
Jacob Raynor was captured on March 14th. Gerace says Kelsey Raynor is also facing drug related charges after an investigation by the Sheriff's Office and the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force. She was arraigned and sent to the county jail on $15,000 bail.
A Dunkirk man who was considered the "co-leader" of a drug trafficking ring in the north county city has been sentenced to eight years and a month in federal prison.
Acting U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior has announced that 40 year-old David Jesus Pagan who was convicted of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and being a felon in possession of a firearm received 97 month from U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth Wolford.
Prosecutor Michael Adler says that Pagan and co-defendant Rafael Burgos were the leaders of a drug trafficking organization that distributed illegal narcotics in the Dunkirk area between 2013 and June 10th of 2015.
During that time they allegedly distributed multiple kilograms of cocaine throughout the Dunkirk area. Four others were also arrested at that time and an AR-15 assault rifle, a 30-round magazine, and about $175,000 in cash was also seized.
Gasoline prices in Chautauqua County are holding steady this week with a very slight increase of just under a penny a gallon.
That from the AAA's Fuel Gauge Report which says the price is $2.47 a gallon for regular, unleaded fuel. AAA says that's about 2-tenths of a cent more than last week. Nationally the Fuel Gauge says pump prices also remain relatively stable with today’s national average price for regular, unleaded holding at about $2.29 per gallon.
The average price is down by a fraction of a penny compared to one week ago, but has moved one cent higher compared to last month. Drivers are paying 31 cents more per gallon at the pump compared to this same date last year. The East Coast saw a decline in gasoline supplies last week as refiners prepare to switch from winter-blend to summer-blend gasoline.
New York state is launching a program to provide electric cars buyers with rebates of up to $2,000.
Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo says the $55-million rebate program is designed to spur more electric car use in New York and help reduce carbon emissions.
The rebates are available to New York residents who buy eligible cars through participating new car dealers. The rebates of up to $2,000 will go toward purchases of new plug-in hybrid electric cars, all-electric cars or hydrogen fuel cell cars.
An additional $15 million will be spent on consumer education, charging station installation and other efforts to increase electric car usage.
Blaze diestroys Falconer commercial building...
A devastating fire has destroyed much of a block of businesses and residental apartments in the village of Falconer. Crews from upwards of 15 fire departments remaine at the scene early this afternoon of the blaze at a three-story structure from 29 to 35 W. Main St. Falconer Mayor Jim Rensel says firefighters were called to the scene shortly after 7:30 a.m. when someone living in an upstairs apartment called in the blaze to Streets Superintendent Pete Fuller... who then called in the alarm. He says they appreciate all the help at the scene. Crews found fire coming through the roof of the building... and, immediately closed off West Main Street from Phetteplace to South Work Street. Fire police have been keeping people away from the building because of further threat of collapse. Shortly before 9 a.m., Rensel says the center part of the structure collapsed. He adds fire crews have also been battling unseasonably cold temperatures... and, water freezing up. This afternoon... Rensel says the fire is still smoldering, but, there have been no further building collapes. No one has been hurt, and the cause is under investigation.
A commercial building that also reportedly housed some apartments has been extenstively damaged in a mid-morning fire in the village of Falconer.
Falconer Fire crews were called to the scene at 27 West Main Street between 7:30 and 7:45 this morning and found heavy flames coming from the upper floors of the three story structure.
Our Brian Papalia reported a short time ago that part of the building had collapsed.
Brian says there were several fire companies on hand assisting Falconer in battling the blaze.
Brian says Jamestown also brought in it's aerial ladder truck to attack the flames from above the roof. The owner of the building next door Brian Nelson, tells us he was there about that time the blaze broke out
In addition to Falconer and Jamestown we understand that Kiantone and Celoron are also at the scene. There is no report of any injuries.
The Village Salon and Better Life Nutrition are in the building. West Main Street between Phetteplace and South Work Street is closed.
Local Congressman Tom Reed says a series of amendments to the proposed American Health Care Act has put him solidly in support of the replacement measure for "Obamacare." However, Reed admitted yesterday that he was "leaning no" on the initial proposal offered by President Donald Trump, and the Congressional leadership.
The Corning Republican says the biggest change that was added during a Monday night session was an amendment that would relieve New York's upstate counties from having to pay 25% of local Medicaid costs. Reed says the measure to give relief to 50 to 64 year-olds, who were reportedly going to get hit with much higher premiums was also important to him because they make up a large part of the 23rd Congressional District's population.
He says the Congressional Budget Office found they would be disproportionately burdened by the new law. Reed says he believes the House will now have enough votes to pass the measure on Thursday.
Jamestown's mayor is blasting a Trump Administration budget proposal to cut $6-billion from the U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development that would eliminate the Community Development Block Grant program.
Sam Teresi Monday night called the proposal a "travesty" that would have "devastating" impacts on the city and many others across the country.
Jamestown has been a "Small City Entitlement" Community since 1990 meaning it receives a certain amount each year to boost low and middle income, and other projects during the coming year.
Teresi who was city Development Director in 1990 says Jamestown has been a good steward of it's money. Teresi says because of the CDBG and HOME Programs they have been able to undertake a number of projects that otherwise would not get done. He says one area in particular that's been helped is the city's Infrastructure Improvement Program which he says involves "major street reconstruction work."
Teresi says those efforts alone have garnered nearly $7.2-million for such projects since 1990. He urged the city council to approve a measure next week calling for reinstatement of the CDBG Program.
U-S Senator Chuck Schumer is also weighing-in on the proposed cut to the Community Development Block Grant program saying the move would be "incredibly damaging" to upstate New York.
The Senate's Minority Leader also calls it a "non-replaceable stream of investment in essential services" for area residents and economic development projects." Schumer says he will "fight these drastic cuts tooth and nail to make sure the CDBG program remains fully funded and that Upstate New York gets the money it deserves." The Democrat says more than ever they need to ensure that local communities "have the resources they need to modernize their infrastructure, deliver vital services to working families and seniors and continue the neighborhood revitalization efforts critical to local economic development."
There is a new mayor in the Chautauqua County village of Cassadaga.
Mary Joanne Bauer was the winner in a run-off to replace Leann Lazarony who decided not to run for another term. Bauer received 31 votes in the contest while Mike Lehnen was second with 22 tallies. That was the only contested race in Cassadaga.
In Westfield there were three people running for two village trustee seats. They were won by Alan Holbrook with 162 votes... and, Robert Cochrane with 126. Dennis Lutes was third with 115 tallies. In the village of Sinclairville James Kianos, Junior was elected mayor. He ran unopposed. There were only three villages that held elections Tuesday.
U-S Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch spent a full-day on Capitol Hill yesterday being grilled by members of the Senate's Judiciary Committee on everything from abortion to President Trumps criticism of federal judges.
However when he addressed the panel Monday, Gorsuch talked about role models he's had in the judiciary and one of them is the late Justice Robert H. Jackson of Frewsburg. St. John's law professor John Q. Barrett is the Lenna Fellow at the Jackson Center in Jamestown and says Gorsuch is connected to Jackson in two ways.
One is that Gorsuch cited Jackson's writings as something he admired. In addition if Gorsuch is confirmed he would replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia who held the seat Jackson had held several decades earlier.
Jackson left the high court a few weeks before his untimely passing in 1954. But Barrett says many of his written opinions are still part of the basis for decisions being rendered today.
He made his comments during yesterday's Dennis Webster Show on WJTN.
Some of the wealthiest New Yorkers are asking the state to raise their taxes. Eighty people including George Soros, Steven Rockefeller and Abigail Disney wrote to lawmakers and Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo saying they and other top earners can afford to pay more to support schools, roads, bridges and programs to help poor and homeless New Yorkers.
Many of those signing the letter are millionaires and all make more than $650,000 making them members of the state's top 1 percent when it comes to income. A similar letter last year was largely ignored by lawmakers. Democrats in the state Assembly have called for higher taxes on millionaires and multimillionaires. Senate Republicans oppose the idea.
New York officials are warning about a tax-season scam in which email fraudsters pose as company executives to get employees' Social Security numbers.
State tax officials say at least 65 companies with New York employees have been victimized by the identity thieves, compromising 7,100 Social Security numbers.
Scammers posing as company executives send emails to payroll and human resource departments requesting lists of employees and personal information.
Officials urge people not to respond to emails demanding payroll data and Social Security numbers.
Jamestown city lawmakers got some good fiscal news during last night's work session. The city ended up 2016 with it's first budget surplus since 2010. That from City Comptroller Joe Bellitto... who gave his unaudited, year-end report... which showed that Jamestown wound up in the black by just under 97-thousand dollars. Bellitto attributed the surplus to two things... the first being taking in about 181-thousand dollars more than expected in miscellaneous revenues. That included getting nearly 300-thousand dollars more in state aid than expected. Bellitto says... the city was also able to bring the 2016 budget in about 325-thousand dollars under anticipated expenses. He says the biggest area of savings was in benefits... where the city saved just over 548-thousand dollars. With that... Bellitto says revenues exceeded spending by 506-thousand dollars. He adds that Jamestown also used 409-thousand dollars in fund balance to help balance last year's budget. With that... they found up with a 96-thousand-637 dollar surplus. In addition... Bellitto says the city also wound up with 65-thousand dollars that was unused in the contingency account. The city's final audit will be completed later this Spring.
A proposed cut of 175-million dollars in President Donald Trump's budget "blue-print" for 2018 would threaten the Essential Air Service program... which supports the county airport near Jamestown. That from U-S Senator Chuck Schumer of New York... who says Jamestown is one of several upstate communities facing huge funding reductions under the proposal. Schumer... who is Senate Minority Leader... is vowing to fight the cuts. County Executive Vince Horrigan says the county's 2-million dollar allocation supports local air carrier Southern Air Express... which has been working to boost it's passenger numbers. Horrigan says he's aware that there are two sides to the argument about the need for... and, against the Essential Air program. The Bemus Point Republican says he's also aware of the fact there have been cuts threatened to the EAS before... and, it has survived. He says haveing air service in Jamestown is important to supporting the county's "economic development initiatives." Some in the area have said they can reach their destinations easier, and cheaper, by flying out of Buffalo or Erie, Pennsylvania. Others, though, say it's especially needed for local corporations to do business.
Six area departments along with Chautauqua County Emergency Services responded to an early morning house fire Monday in town of Stockton. Stockton fire crews responded to the scene at 64-85 South Stockton-Cassadaga Road about 3:30 AM. Officials says they received mutual aid from Cassadaga, Brocton, Dewittville, Sinclairville and East Dunkirk. No injuries were reported... and, all of the residents were able to make it out of the house safely. Crews were able to get water from a nearby creek to help snuff out the flames, but, there was extensive damage to parts of the house. There are reports the blaze may have started as a dryer fire.
The local Red Cross is assisting five people left homeless by the fire in the town of Stockton. It's one of three fires the Red Cross responded to Monday morning in Western New York... including two in the Buffalo area. Chief Red Cross Communications Officer Jay Bonafede says the Red Cross usually gets a call from first responders. Bonafede says specially trained volunteers are sent to the scene and talk with and assist the victims. He says that help includes food, clothing and shelter... as well emotional support. Bonafede says fires are the number one disaster in Western New York and the Red Cross is asking every household to take two simple steps: check their existing smoke alarms and practice fire drills at home.
New York officials are warning about a tax-season scam in which email fraudsters pose as company executives to get employees' Social Security numbers. State tax officials say at least 65 companies with New York employees have been victimized by the identity thieves, compromising 71-hundred Social Security numbers. Scammers posing as company executives send emails to payroll and human resource departments requesting lists of employees and personal information. Officials urge people not to respond to emails demanding payroll data and Social Security numbers.
The need remains high... and, that's why Jamestown's largest soup kitchen had record numbers of local residents come by for a hot meal during the first month of 2017. St. Susan's Center Executive Director Jeff Smith says they served some 11,247 meals in January... which exceeded the previous record of 98-hundred meals set in January of 2016... by 15-percent. He says that followed an 18-percent drop-off from last December. Smith says the St. Susan's Center was on pace to serve 125-thousand meals in 2016... but, they ended up with 122-thousand-406. That was still a more than 25-hundred increase in meals served. He says their largest demographic of people coming to St. Susan's is between the ages of 18-to-64. However... he says the number of children are growing the fastest of any age group. Smith says that's why they continue to fund-raise over the Winter months, with their 'Soup and a Song' Series. The latest one will be this coming Saturday night. So far this year... Smith says St. Susan's has served 24-thousand-614 meals -- an 8.55 percent increase over last year at this time. For more information on St. Susan's... call 664-2253.
Advocates for the disabled, elderly and chronically ill in New York are concerned the state's move to a $15-dollar an hour minimum wage could deepen a shortage of home health aides. More than 180-thousand Medicaid patients in New York are authorized to receive long-term, in-home care, the most in the state's history. But... there are increasingly too few aides to go around, especially in the state's remote, rural areas. It's a national problem that advocates say could get worse when the state's $15 minimum goes statewide by 2021. It could potentially push low-paid health aides into other jobs, in retail or fast-food, that don't require hours of training or the pressure of keeping another person alive. New York state employs about 326-thousand home health workers, but is projected to need another 125,000 by 2024.
Latest STOP-DWI Enforcment Crack-down underway...
Another law enforcement campaign to crack down on impaired driving is underway for the St. Patrick's Day weekend. The campaign will include a number of sobriety checkpoints, additional DWI patrols along with a statewide underage drinking detail. Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace, who heads up the STOP DWI campaign in the county, says the problem of impaired driving seems to spike during celebrations such as St. Patrick's Day. Gerace says they look at the number of accidents, fatal accidents, and the number that are caused by drunk or "drugged" driving. He says while alcohol remains a concern, they have seen an increase in the number of cases involving "drugged" driving. As part of the crackdown... investigators from the state Department of Motor Vehicles will also be conducting underage drinking and fake I-D prevention operations in cooperation with the state Liquor Authority.
Three city men jailed for allegedly running "one-pot" Meth Lab in the city...
Three Jamestown men have been arrested for allegedly operating a "one-pot" Meth Lab in an upstairs apartment at a home on the city's westside. City Police Chief Harry Snellings says the arrests came following a report of smoke, and strong odor coming from the building at 212 West Sixth Street. Snellings, and city fire officials, say they were called to the scene about 4:25 p.m. Thursday. He says investigation of the situation led to discovery of the lab... and, was the second time in a week they had been called to that apartment. Snellings says they found precursors for Meth at that time. Snellings says, though, that the number of Meth labs being seen in the city had fallen tremendously in recent months. He says that's due to a lot of the Meth in the city now being brought here from out-of-town. Snellings says the three men arrested are Jacob Tunison... Cody Richenbach and David Soderberg. He says all three face three charges... including Felony unlawful manufacture of methamphetime... and, criminal possession of a controlled substance. He says they also found a number of syringes inside the apartment.
City woman arrested in domestic incident...
A Jamestown woman has been arrested for her alleged part in a domestic incident reported Thursday afternoon. City police say they were called to 815 Newland Avenue shortly before 3 p.m. for an apparent verbal domestic dispute. Officers say the victim came home to find 25 year-old Toni Schnars in his apartment... and, he had an order of protection against her. She was later found on Crown Street... and, charged with first degree Criminal Contempt and aggravated family offense. She was jailed without incident.
Cattaraugus woman charged with DWI following crash...
A Cattaraugus County woman faces a drunk driving charge after her car crashed into a telephone pole on Route 438 in the village of Cattaraugus. Sheriff's deputies in Little Valley say 25 year old Cylee Twoguns was northbound about 8 AM last Sunday when her car went off the right side of the roadway and struck the pole. She was taken to Lake Shore Hospital for treatment... and, later was ticketed for DWI in New Albion Town Court.
Goodell says now that Senate and Assembly have "one-house" budget's approved, negotiations will now begin...
Now that all sides have their own budget proposals in place... the negotiating begins on New York state's 2017-18 budget plan. That from local State Assemblyman Andy Goodell...who says there is "broad consensus" already on a number of major items in the budget proposed last January by Governor Andrew Cuomo. However... Goodell says each plan also has it's particular items" that the majorities favor. Goodell says both houses of the state legislature approved their "one-house budgets" this past Wednesday. He says Assembly Democrats will "throw everything they can into their resolution, then use them as a bargaining chip in talks with the Senate." He says they then - essentially -- begin "horse-trading." Each plan totals about $152-billion. One of the main areas of consensus is on increasing public school aid... with the governor only calling for a $450-million increase. However... both the Senate and Assembly would add more than $1-billion to that total. Goodell made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the five Media One Group statiions.
Young says Senate budget provides Tax Relief...
Several billion dollars worth of water infrastructure improvements and upgrades are included in the State Senate's proposed "one-house" budget resolution approved this past week. That from Senator Cathy Young... who chairs the panel's Finance Committee that works on the budget. Young says there will be money in the $152-billion dollar spending plan to help local water contamination issues... including those at schools. He says a lot of local communities can't afford to make major upgrades to their older water systems... and, she says lead has shown up in several school districts in her 57th Senate District. Meantime... while the budget includes a tuition free college program like Governor Cuomo's proposal, the Senate plan would also include private schools. Young says New York is not a "one size fits all state..." and, needs to take much into account. She says it gives major tax relief to middle class families.
Three arrests have been made and Jamestown police are investigating the discovery of a "one-pot" Meth Lab at a westside residents.
City fire officials say a crew was initially called to the scene at 212 West Sixth Street about 4:45 yesterday afternoon for a strong odor in the area, and chemical fumes inside the building. Firefighters found the Methamphetamine Lab, and made sure the residents got out of the building.
Police were called to the scene just prior to that and are continuing to investigate.
There will be no tax increase and no staff reductions in the Jamestown School District's 2017-18 budget proposal.
School Business Manager Vern Connors laid out the big items in the more than 80-million dollar spending plan at Wednesday night's school board meeting. Connors tells us there is a spending increase of 4.7-million dollars or about 6%. However he says part of the increase is being offset by an increase in state school aid.
Connors says just over half of the spending increase is in the form of three capital projects the district will be undertaking. He says one of those is going to be an attempt to sell the district's former Crescent Street warehouse. Connors says they do have to plan, though, in case they can't sell it.
Another project they would have to help fund is not even one of it's own. That would be for the local BOCES, which is undertaking a three-year project. ALL local districts will participate in that.
Otherwise Connors says they're looking at some other cost increases including a 14% increase in health insurance costs. The budget will be further reviewed at the board's March 28th meeting.
A city woman has been arrested for allegedly trying to get rid of a loaded hand-gun during a domestic call on Jamestown's northside. City police say officers were called to the downstairs apartment at 246 Fulton Street on a report of a possible domestic incident.
While officers were trying to make contact they saw 26 year-old Jennifer Dellahoy throw a loaded, .22-caliber silver handgun out of a window.
Following an investigation Dellahoy was arrested, and taken to the city jail without incident on a charge of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and was jailed without bail.
Authorities in western New York say a 10-year-old boy has died after being trapped under a pile of snow from this week's storm. Police responded to a call about a child trapped in snow in Pendleton in Niagara County around 3:40 p.m. on Wednesday.
The boy was taken to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police say they believe the boy was digging a tunnel when it collapsed on him.
The Niagara County Sheriff's Office hasn't released the name of the child. Police believe the death was accidental. An investigation is ongoing.
Parts of the county received more than 2 feet of snow from the storm that started Tuesday and lasted into Wednesday.
Despite some extremes in weather, the maple syrup season is underway. Producers are now getting ready for the annual Maple Weekends the first of which is this Saturday and Sunday.
Syrup makers gathered at Big Tree Maple off Hunt Road in Lakewood for the annual kickoff yesterday morning.
Lloyd Munsee of Big Tree says they are doing something special this year in conjunction with the Ashville General Store.
John Gerber of Clear Creek Farms in Mayville says they've added a new store at their location on Morris Road in Mayville.
Linda Fairbanks of Fairbanks Maple on Shaw Road in Forestville says they'll have a pancake breakfast and much more.
Maple Weekends are March 18th and 19th and 25th and 26th, from 10 AM to 4 PM each day.
The Johnson Estate Winery in Westfield will also be participating in Maple Weekend, with a special maple liqueur. Full information on Maple Weekend is available at http://www.nysmaple.com/nys-maple-weekend/
Police around New York state will be cracking down on drunken driving and underage drinking this St. Patrick's Day weekend. Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the law enforcement campaign ahead of Friday's holiday.
The effort includes sobriety checkpoints, stepped up vehicle patrols and ID inspections at bars.
Police will be looking for drivers who have had too much to drink or who are using their cellphones while driving. They'll also be looking for minors in possession of alcohol, or bars, restaurants and retail shops selling alcohol to those under 21.
A similar campaign last year by state police resulted in 257 DWI arrests and more than 17,000 tickets.
Snow returned to the Jamestown-area this morning with light to moderate snowfall coming down. Forecaster Dave Thomas with the National Weather Service in Buffalo told us we are getting a little bit of Lake Effect that's actually being produced by Lake Huron.It's then getting enhanced by going over Lake Erie.
Thomas says we should only get up to an inch by this afternoon.
Yesterday the snow finally stopped here in the Greater Jamestown-area about mid-day from what we received from the east coast storm over the past two days. We received another 4 to 5 inches or so of the white stuff between early morning and Noon yesterday bringing the two-day totals to 10 to 12 inches.
The National Weather Service did continue a Winter Storm Warning until 8 last night but, conditions improved dramatically by afternoon.
Governor Andrew Cuomo says he is sending more assets to New York's central Southern Tier region. The governor notes the Binghamton area was among the hardest hit by Tuesday's snowstorm.
The National Weather Service says just over 31-inches blanketed the region.
Cuomo is sending 100 large plows and 100 members of the National Guard to assist in snow removal. In other parts of the state, another round of snow in the Rochester area has shut down schools, many businesses and most government offices.
The Republican health care plan would mean less money for states and gives them a tough choice on how to use fewer Medicaid dollars. Lawmakers say they can either find cash to make up the difference or let coverage lapse for millions of lower-income Americans.
Most states though, have not released estimates of the consequences for them based on the plan proposed by Republicans in the U.S. House and supported by President Donald Trump.
Local Congressman Tom Reed says he doesn't expect anyone in his 23rd District will lose coverage but, says it would be up to the state to redesign the program.
Reed says it puts the pressure on the state to be more "responsible" with that money. He says an amendment by Buffalo-area Congressman Chris Collins would eliminate the ability of New York state to charge back 25-percent of the cost of Medicaid to upstate counties.
The Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce honored six local business and Jamestown Community College Wednesday at the 2016 'Salute to the Finest' awards. JCC was given the 'Pride of Jamestown' award. JCC President Cory Duckworth accepted saying its "amazing" the number of people and families who say the college has had a "major impact in their lives."
The Jamestown Economic Development Award went to Borsari Food Company, which recently moved downtown...to Institute Street.
Jamestown Awning and Party Tents was named Business of the Year.
Enchanted Mountain Spirits on Water Street was given the New Business of the Year Award. Retailer of the Year went to Farm Fresh Foods. The Landmark was named Restaurant of the Year.
The Young Business Leaders award went to Jeff and Alexandria James, and Frank Besse. They operate the Labyrinth and Brazil on Fourth Street, downtown.
The 'Salute to the Finest' was held at Moonbrook Country Club.
Gas prices in Chautauqua County have dropped half-a-penny a gallon this week to just under $2.47 for regular, unleaded fuel.
The AAA's Fuel Gauge report says the price this week is down from $2.473 last week.
Nationally AAA says prices have now fallen after a period of being "relatively flat." The Fuel Gauge reports that the average U-S price is now $2.30 per gallon.
Today’s national average is one cent less than one week ago and two cents more than one month ago.
Compared to this same date last year AAA says consumers are paying 37 cents more per gallon at the pump. Gas prices may continue to drop in the near future due to declining crude oil prices and a well-supplied market, but will begin to creep up again over the next month due to seasonal refinery maintenance and the May 1st required switchover for producing summer-blend gasoline.
A Sinclairville man who escaped from police custody last week as he was making a court appearance on drug and other charges has been caught hiding in his home. Sheriff Joe Gerace says deputies and State Parole officers found 34 year-old Jacob Raynor hiding in an area under the floor of the house at 9 Reed Street. Gerace says his department used suveillance and intelligence gathering to finally nab Raynor just after 3 PM yesterday. Gerace says Raynor was otherwise taken into custody without incident. He escaped police custody while being arraigned a week ago Tuesday. Gerace says they are now investigating the likelyhood that Raynor was helped by one or two people in the escape, and eluding police for a week. Raynor was arraigned yesterday on the original charges of unlawful manufacture of Methamphetime... and, a parole violation. He is now also facing a Felony second-degree escape charge. Raynor is being jailed without bail, pending further court action.
It will be a cold and blustery end to the March Nor-easter today across Chautauqua County. That from Forecaster Bill Hibbert with the National Weather Service in Buffalo... who says a Winter Storm Warning remains in effect for all of Western New York through 8 this evening. Hibbert told us late last night that winds were becoming favorable for more our most significant shot of snow during this two-day event. Hibbert says the Nor-easter in western New York has taken place as they expected it would. The immediate Jamestown-area had received about 5 inches of snow by last night. Hibbert says the wind will be a secondary issue today... with sustained winds about 15 to 30 MPH with gusts up to 45. He says that'll drop wind chills into negative numbers. However... conditions will lighten up some by later tonight. Generally... Hibbert says we're still looking at 10 to 18 inches of snow through to night. However... the weather service is now looking at less than a foot along the Lake Erie Shoreline.
A powerful nor'easter began lashing the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast Tuesday, prompting flight cancellations, school closures and warnings from officials to stay off the roads. The National Weather Service had issued blizzard warnings for parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and other parts of New England. The storm is expected to dump 1 to 2 feet of snow on the New York City metro area with wind gusts of up to 55 mph. Coastal flood warnings are in effect from Massachusetts to Delaware. According to the airline-tracking website FlightAware, more than 5,000 Tuesday flights have been canceled.
Governor Cuomo late Tuesday morning also announced a tractor-trailer ban on the state Thruway... along with other major highways... across New York state. Cuomo says -- in addition to the Thruway -- the big rig ban is also in effect for Interstate 86-and Route 17 across the Southern Tier. There is also a full travel ban in effect for Broome County.
Chautauqua County's Congressman says he's supporting changes at the federal level that would lessen the property tax burden across upstate New York by eliminating the county share of Medicaid costs. Corning Repubican Tom Reed says that he is backing an amendment by Buffalo-area Congressman Chris Collins to eliminate that 25-percent share that's picked up by the local governments. If approved in Congress... he says the state would pick-up the entire 50-percent cost going forward. Reed says "for too long... Albany has pushed its responsibility to fund Medicaid onto local county governments." In some cases... he says counties are dedicating nearly 70-percent of their local tax dollars to the portion of Medicaid they are mandated to pay. Here in Chautauqua County... Reed's office says the local share of Medicaid is almost 50 percent of the county's tax levy. He adds that the annual local share across the U-S is 10-billion dollars... 7-billion of which is paid by for by New York's counties. Reed made his comments during his weekly conference call with Southern Tier Media.
An annual event in Jamestown that challenges the skill of local middle and high school students from across the region in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math has been postponed a week. The annual STEM Wars at Jamestown Community College's Physical Education Complex was to be held this morning. However... due to yesterday's closing of JCC due to the Nor-easter... there wasn't time to prepare the facility. It will now be held next Wednesday, March 22nd at 9 AM. Some 900 students are expected to compete in the program.
Female lawmakers in New York say early voting would make it easier for all New Yorkers - and particularly women - to cast a ballot. Several legislators on Monday urged Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders to include early voting and automatic voter registration in the state budget expected to be approved by April 1. Cuomo supports the proposals, which he says would allow more New Yorkers to participate in their democracy. Compared to other states New York has low voter turnout rates and is one of a minority of states that still doesn't allow early voting. The women lawmakers say that while the goal is increasing turnout rates for all voters, early voting would be particularly helpful for many women who must juggle work and family obligations.
Raynor found hiding in his Sinclairville home, arrested on drug, escape charges...
The Sinclairville man who escaped from police custody last week as he was making a court appearance in Charlotte Town Court has been captured. Sheriff Joe Gerace says deputies and State Parole officers found 34 year-old Jacob Raynor hiding in an area under the floor of his house at 9 Reed Street. Gerace says his department used suveillance and intelligence gathering to finally nab Raynor. He says they found Raynor in a crawl space under the floor. He says Raynor was otherwise taken into custody without incident. He escaped police custody while being arraigned a week ago today.
Nor'easter starts out light to moderate in Chautauqua County, expected to pick-up overnight...
Light snow has resumed late this afternoon here in the Jamestown-area after we received nearly 5 inches of snow from a Nor-easter that's hitting the east coast since late last night. However... we'll be seeing the major part of the snow from this storm later this afternoon and into the overnight. That from Forecaster Dave Thomas with the National Weather Service... who says a Winter Storm Warning is in effect until 8 p.m. Wednesday. Thomas says with winds expected to shift out of the Northwest, we'll get some "lake enhancement," and more snow tonight. He says we're still on target for 10 to 18 inches of snow through Wednesday night. Thomas now says there will be lesser amounts near Lake Erie... with about 8 to 10 inches of the white stuff may fall. But... across the Chautauqua Ridge... there could be 14 to 18 inches. Thomas says snowfall will be light to moderate most of the time... but, adds there will be periods over the next day and a half where it will be heavy at times.
BOCES Super discusses school closings with "State of Emergency..."
The 'State of Emergency' that was declared for all of New York State by Governor Cuomo Monday night did not automatically mean all the schools would close. The Superintendent of Erie 2, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus Boces, David O'Rourke, says school superintendents are a part of the process, along with the state Education Department. O'Rouke says it is still a local decision, but adds the SOE "was a factor." O'Rourke says all 27 districts that are part the Erie 2 system did close... many making the decision Monday night. However... he called it a "unique" situation with the Governor's declaration, and the forecast. The BOCES Superintendent emphasized that superintendents weight such decisions with care... because it's "never an easy decision." Superintendents for each district will go through the same decision making process for Wednesday.
Cuomo orders tractor-trailer ban on many major highways -- including Thruway...
Governor Cuomo late this morning also announced a tractor-trailer ban on the state Thruway... along with other major highways... across New York state. Cuomo says -- in addition to the Thruway... the big rig ban is also in effect for Interstate 86-and Route 17 across the Southern Tier. There is also a full travel ban in effect for Broome County, as that part of the state has been hit hard by the storm.
Nor'easter to begin taking shape late tonight into Tuesday, Jamestown area to get 9 to 17 inches of snow...
A major winter storm is taking aim on the Northeast and Western New York will be feeling the effects of the Nor'easter. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the entire region including both Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. Meteorologist Shawn Smith of the Buffalo office tells us that... while this will be a general snowfall.... amounts will vary greatly -- from 9 to 17 inches. The warning takes effect at 8 p.m. tonight and continues through 8 p.m. Wednesday. Smith says the storm will produce moderate to at times heavy snow and blowing snow. The heaviest amounts of snow are expected along the lake shore area. Everyone can expect very difficult driving conditions at times with very poor visibility and deep snow cover on roads.
Cuomo says NYS Emergency Operations Center to be activated tonight for NYC area Blizzard...
Governor Andrew Cuomo is getting New York ready for the snow blizzard expected to sweep the region starting late today. Cuomo announced Sunday that the New York State Emergency Operations Center will be activated Monday evening, with stockpiles of sandbags, generators and pumps at the ready. The National Weather Service announced a blizzard watch for coastal regions including New York City and upstate New York.
JHS Band returns from successful St. Patrick's Day parade in Chicago; will be in Jamestown between 7 and 7:30...
It was a cold day in Chicago last Saturday... but, the Jamestown High School Band was warmly welcomed in Chicago as the students marched in the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. Band Director Meghan Murray says they had a great time marching in the parade... calling it a "once in a lifetime opportunity." She says the weather was frigid... but, the students did a "great job" The St. Patrick's Day Parade is the biggest Holiday celebration in the Windy City... and, is high-lighted by the turning of the Chicago River green. Meghan Murray says they were able to do a lot during their relatively short stay... including a trip to the Science and Industry Museum. The band is now returning to Jamestown from Chicago -- and should return here between 7 and 7:30 p.m.
Randolph man arrested for alleged Child Assault...
A Cattaraugus County man is accused of kicking a youth in the head during an altercation early last weekend in the town of Randolph. State Police in Jamestown say they were called to the scene late last Friday... and investigated the alleged incident involving 39 year-old David Chapman. Troopers say the unidentified child was injured. Chapman is charged with third-degree assault... and, Endangering the Welfare of a Child. He was issued appearance tickets for Randolph Town Court.
Route 60 traffic stop leads to drug arrest...
A Buffalo man is accused of driving under the influence of drugs following a traffic stop last Saturday on North Main Street in the city of Jamestown. State Police in Jamestown say they pulled over 34 year-old Justin Blankenship for a traffic violation... and, he failed multiple sobriety checks. Troopers say they found a bag inside the vehicle containing Vicodin and Xanax pills... and, he was arrested on two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a Controlled Substance... and, possessing a Controlled Substance in a non-original container. They also found that Blankenship’s Non-Driver I-D was suspended six times... and, he was additionally charged with second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation. Blankenship was evaluated by a Drug Recognition Expert... and, issued appearance tickets for Jamestown City Court.
County Chamber hires Sixbey as new Health Insurance Manager...
A Jamestown man has been hired by the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier to manage their insurance benefits program. Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Tranum says they're pleased to announce that Kevin Sixbey will be their director of Insurance Services. Tranum says they're "thrilled" to have Sixbey as part of their team because of his extensive insurance experience and strong connections to the community.... adding that the insurance program is a big part of what they offer their membership. Sixbey says the Chamber and Manufacturers Association have both grown extensivley in their insurance offerings over the past few years... and, in doing so is "well-positioned" to meet the diverse needs of their members. Tranum says about half of their Chamber and MAST membership are in one of their plans. Tranum says Sixbey... who attended Baldwin Wallace College... and, Syracuse University... has worked in the insurance industry for the past 10 years. For more information about the Chamber and MAST's insurance programs... call 484-1101... or 366-6200 in Dunkirk.
Tranum says CCCC and MAST anticipating little if no change in New York state -- even if ACA is replaced...
With debate over the proposal national health care law proposed by Congressional Republicans... the organizations that represent local small business and industries don't expect many changes in New York state. That from county Chamber and MAST Eexcutive Director Todd Tranum... who says New York state's had one of the stronger health exchange programs... and, they aren't anticipating a lot of movement away from that. Tranum says the provide health insurance for about half of their combined 900 members. He says the biggest concern right now is the state losing $3.5-billion dollars in Medicaid funding. Tranum says the move could cause some disruption in health insurance for the needy, and elderly. One positive in some of the GOP plans -- says Tranum -- are the possible return of "association plans" which were big in the 1980s. He says such a return would allow the chamber and MAST to better negotiate more favorable rates for their members.
City woman acquitted in second-degree murder trial...
A Jamestown woman accused of stabbing and killing her half-brother last August has been acquitted in her Chautauqua County Court jury trial. The Post-Journal reports that 24 year-old Barbara Redeye was found not guilty after the 12 jurors deliberated for just over three-hours Friday in the case. The newspaper reports that Redeye was visably elated by the outcome. She claimed when she was arrested and during the trial that she had been physically and psychologically abused by 36 year-old Dale Redeye leading up to the August 14, 2016 stabbing. Both shared an apartment at 501 Lakeview Avenue. Redeye was looking at a possible maximum sentence of 25-years to life in state prison if she had been convicted.
Cuomo says restoring power to WNY and CNY customers still without power is top priority...
Governor Andrew Cuomo says restoring power is the first priority in the response to violent weather that knocked out power to more than 200,000 utility customers in western New York. The Democrat traveled to Rochester Friday afternoon to assess the damage and recovery. Wednesday's windstorm brought gusts of 70 mph to 80 that mph knocked down trees and utility poles across a 10-county area from the state's southwest corner to the Lake Erie shoreline. As of Noon Friday... outages had been reduced to around 122,000 by local crews alongside utility workers from other states and Canada. Meanwhile, a storm hitting southern New York has dumped 4 to 7 inches of snow in the Hudson Valley and several inches around the New York City area. Cuomo urged residents to check on neighbors and said the state will do everything possible to assist crews working to restore power.
All but a few Chautauqua Co. outages restored as of Saturday morning...
There are still a few, individual power outages across Chautauqua County after Wednesday's wind event that left more than 7,000 National Grid customers without power. That from National Grid Spokesman Steve Brady... who says there were still 27 outages scattered across the county... and, another 240 in Cattaraugus County late Friday morning. Brady says -- overall -- National Grid restored power to more than 100,000 customers across western New York Thursday. He says says more of the problems were along Lake Erie... and, south of Chautauqua Lake in the Stow-area. Brady says they"re wrapping up a lot of their work here. However... he urges anyone still without power to call them to ensure they weren't missed. Brady says... don't assume that National Grid knows your power is out. He says once crews are done here... they'll be moving to trouble spots to the north and east. Brady says... if you are still without power at your home or business... call their Outage Reporting number at 1-800-867-5222.
Dunkirk school officials get latest budget update...
Dunkirk school district officials continue to wrestle with the budget that will go up for a public vote in May. Business Manager William Thiel gave an update at last night's board meeting. With the district facing a possible 4.3 percent increase in the tax levy... school officials hope the final state budget contains more state aid than what Governor's budget included. Thiel says this will be key in determining the outcome of the final tax levy figure. The District is also taking hit with its revenue side with the loss in funding as a result of the NRG re-adjustment... and, will be receiving about $200,000.
Turn Clocks ahead before retiring tonight...
Daylight Savings Time begins early Sunday morning... and, that means turn you clocks ahead before to go to bed tonight. As residents prepare to "Spring Ahead" tonight... the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York urges all New Yorkers to check their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure their homes are properly protected. If alarms have removeable batteries, those batteries should be replaced. Officials says alarms equipped with sealed-in batteries should be tested to ensure they are in proper working condition. The National Fire Protection Association says three of every five home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms, and the vast majority of smoke alarm failures are due to dead or missing batteries.
WJTN-SE-93 Home and Rec Show continues Saturday...
Dozens of vendors are on hand... and, you'll have a chance to win $10,000 at this year's annual WJTN, SE-93 Home and Recreation Show at the Northwest Arena in downtown Jamestown. The show got underway yesterday afternoon... and, continues today through 5 p.m. You'll see the latest in Spring home and garden opportunities in the Jamestown-area.
The one school district that closed due to Wednesday's wind storm in Chautauqua County will be re-opening today. Superintendent Chuck Leighner (Like-ner) says Cassadaga Valley Central Schools will open today after emergency repairs were made Thursday to a large part of the Junior-Senior High School roof, which was torn off by gusty winds early Wednesday night. Leighner says about 12-thousand to 15-thousand square feet of the rubber roof over the Central Office Wing was affected.
Leighner says the school was closed Thursday because the damage was significant... and, repairs will ultimately be extensive. He says the wind also took vents, drains and insulation off... so what was left on the ground was heavy. Leighner says they called in their roofing contractor -- Farrell Roofing -- to get the work done. He says -- if the weather stayed dry -- they would have enough temporary repairs made to resume classes Friday. He adds that the schedule for all other activities... including the high school musical -- "The Sound of Music" -- will go on as scheduled. Performances of the musical begin tonight.
The clean-up continued yesterday afternoon across Western New York following Wednesday's major wind event that hit the regioni. Wind gusts of nearly 70 miles an hour toppled trees and power lines across Chautauqua County. Utility crews are busy restoring power... but, Spokesman Steve Brady with National Grid says they still have a-ways to go in both Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties... where there will still about 25-hundred customers without power by late morning. Brady says they hope to have over 11-hundred field workers involved in restoring power, but he says it will likely take more than a day. He says they weren't able to do a full damage assessment last night... which means they don't have an exact time-line. However... he says it'll be "a multi-day event for us." There were still traffic light outages along Fairmount Avenue in the Lakewood commercial corridor Thursday morning after power was lost to the Chautauqua Mall and Wal-Mart last night. There was also an isolated outage along the north side of Main Street in Sherman. Brady says the utility is asking customers to remain aware of potential safety hazards such as damaged trees and limbs. You can report outages to ther outge reporting number...1-800-867-5222.
Utility officials say power outages in some areas of western New York hit by hurricane-force winds could last for several days as subfreezing weather approaches the region. Three utilities report a total of about 207-thousand homes and businesses without power Thursday as a result of the windstorm that tore across upstate New York, knocking down trees and utility lines. Most of the outages, more than 100,000, are in the Rochester area. Officials at all three utilities say it will be "multiple" days before customers in some stricken areas get their power restored. High winds began hitting western New York on Wednesday afternoon, knocking out power across a region stretching from the state's southwestern corner through the Buffalo area to Lake Ontario's southern shoreline.
There were no records set by the wind gusts record during Wednesday's wind event. However... some could be just as destructive. Forecaster Jeff Wood with the National Weather Service in Buffalo says the highest winds were found between Buffalo and Rochester... with an 81-mile an hour gust at the Rochester Airport. Wood says the Thruway corridor was also hit hard by the sharp winds... and that led to a brief ban on empty tractor-trailers for a few hours from Rochester to Ripley. In fact... Wood says the highest wind gust in Chautauqua County reached 69 miles an hour at a weather station near Fredonia. Also in the north county... he says the Dunkirk Lighthouse reported a 63 mph gust. Wood says cold weather is on the way for the next couple of days... as Artic air brings chilly temperatures by the weekend. Temperatures will only reach the 20s for the early part of next week.
The strong, gusty winds were seen and felt in the immediate Jamestown-area... but, few major problems were reported in the Board of Public Utilities service area. Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi says there was a fairly significant amount of tree damage. However... Teresi says there was just one outage of note that occured Wednesday afternoon. That one outage lasted about 15 minutes in the Falconer area... and Jamestown's north and east sides. The BPU says a piece of equipment got blown open by a wind gust around 3 PM. Teresi attributed the lack of outages to two things... one a well-run system that emphasizes a tree-trimming program to keep limbs away from power lines... and, he says the other factor is luck. The fastest wind gust in the immediate Jamestown-area yesterday was a 56 mile an hour gust at the County Airport in the town of Ellicott.
Authorities say con artists are exploiting immigrants' fears of deportation by posing as federal agents and demanding they pay up or else. An immigrant in New York City, for example, got a call from someone who told him he was in the U.S. illegally and would have to hand over one-thousand-550 dollars to stay. People in the U.S. without permission are seen as easy targets for such scams because they are reluctant to go to the police. As a result, authorities have found it difficult to investigate such schemes or determine how common they are. The New York attorney general's office says immigrants should know this: A real agent from ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, will never ask for money.
Local police agencies are looking for a Sinclairville area man who escaped from custody during a court appearance yesterday morning in the town of Charlotte. Sheriff's officers say 34 year-old Jacob Raynor was being arraigned on a Felony charge about 11:30 AM when he got away from deputies. Raynor is a white male, 6-foot tall, and weighing 170 pounds. He was reportedly handcuffed and wearing a black shirt and black hat. Officers say Raynor is not armed and is not considered dangerous. Further updates will follow as more information becomes available. The public is asked to call 9-1-1 with any information including his whereabouts.
Another round of potentially damaging winds will be hitting the area later today... and the National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning for Chautauqua and Erie counties. The warning will run from 9 AM to 10 PM today. Meteorologist Jon Hitchcock with the Weather Service's Buffalo Office says to expect wind gusts of up to 60 MPH. Hitchcock says this wind event will be very similar to one that hit the area last week causing downed trees and power lines, triggering scattered power outages. Cattaraugus County is under a Wind Advisory from Noon today until 1 AM Thursday.
With our High Wind Warning today... the Chautauqua County Office of Emergency Services and County Executive Vince Horrigan are reminding residents to use caution and be prepared. Horrigan says... with wind gusts expected to be up to 60 miles an hour... those winds could result in downed trees and powerlines, scattered power outages, and property damage. He says residents are encouraged to secure or bring in any loose items outdoors that could be blown away by the wind. If an outage occurs... residents can reduce the risk of fire by using flashlights in the dark and not candles. They should also eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car, as traffic lights will be out and roads may be congested. Appliances, equipment or electronics that were in use when the power goes out should be turned off and disconnected. This will prevent damage to the equipment, which could occur if there is a surge or spike when the power comes back on. National Grid customers can report power outages by calling 1-800-NIAGARA. They can also view the Outage Map online at www.nationalgridus.com/Upstate-NY-Business/Storms-Outages/Outage-Map.
Local Congressman Tom Reed says he's fully-on board with the new American Health Care Act... which President Trump and most Republican lawmakers have now introduced. Reed says he believes the new House GOP plan -- in the final analysis -- will cover more residents in his Southern Tier District than the Affordable Care Act. The Corning Republican reiterated that there will be a three-step process in putting the new plan in place. He says the first took place with introduction of the bill to repeal and replace what had become known as "ObamaCare...." The proposal to include affordable tax credits for those who are insured has raised concern among lower-income Americans... who say they don't make enough money for those to help. However... he says the tax credit will be based on age... not income. Reed adds that Medicaid will be the "back-stop" through 2020. White House spokesman Sean Spicer says the president is ``absolutely committed'' to the new health care legislation. Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with regional media.
Gasoline prices in Chautauqua County have fallen for the first time in the past few weeks. The Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report says the cost for regular, unleaded fuel has dropped by 3-cents a gallon to just over 2-dollars-47 cents. The Fuel Gauge says last week's price was an even 2--50 a gallon. Nationally... Triple-A says oil prices slipped fractions of a penny over the weekend, reaching today’s national average price of 2-dollars-31 cents per gallon. The Fuel Gauge reports that today’s price is still two cents more than one week ago, four cents more compared to one month ago and 50 cents more per gallon year-over-year. Retail prices continue to fluctuate but have remained between 2-dollars-28 to 2--32 a gallon for more than a month as reports of increased U.S. production continues to counter OPEC rebalancing efforts. Triple-A says the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic are some of the only regions to see moderate declines on the week. Both New York and Pennsylvania saw pump prices move down by a penny or less.
New York state last increased the amount of money it paid to local governments to maintain it's streets and highways in those communities 40 years ago. An increase is long overdue... and, the state Conference of Mayors is now pushing to at least double the amount they are receiving under New York's' Arterial Maintenance Agreements with 38 cities -- including Jamestown. Mayor Sam Teresi outlined the program for city council Monday night... saying the state contracts with the city for several miles of state roadways.
Teresi says the agreement... which provides the city 203-thousand dollars a year at 85-cents per square foot of pavement... is generally a "win-win" for both the city and state. He says that's because the state saves money in personnel and equipment, while the municipality gets some money to help defray it's expenses. However... Teresi says those expenses have gone up about 55-percent since 1987.
The Martz-Kohl Observatory is offering Jamestown area residents a close up look at NASA's plans to send people to Mars. Gary Nelson, the observatory's president, says local native Laurie Abadie will present a program at their Frewsburg location tonight at 8 PM. Nelson adds the program won't be overly technical. Extensive planning for the 2030 trip is going on now. The Martz-Kohl Observatory is located at the top of Robbin Hill Road. There are signs in Frewsburg that point the way. Again, that program is Wednesday at 8 PM.
An abandoned house in the woods behind Jamestown Community College was destroyed in a spectacular fire last night. Neighbors reported the blaze on the 'old Lawson property' around 8:15 PM. After working the fire for just over an hour... Fluvanna Fire Chief Dave Bartkowiak said the fire had been knocked down, and the building collapsed on its own accord. The house was located at the end of a narrow lane known as Woodlawn Avenue Extension, making it hard for firefighters to get water to the fire due to the distance they had to bring the water. Equipment and manpower from six departments and emergency services were at the scene. There were no known injuries. Bartkowiak said they'd been called to a fire at that same house in the middle of the winter a couple of years ago.
Fire crews are fighting a fire in the Dunkirk area this morning. Chautauqua County Dispatch reports that firefighters were called to a structure fire at 867 Harmon Hill road around 3 o'clock this morning. Fredonia, Brocton, Stockton, and East Dunkirk were called to the scene. No word of any injuries. We will have more information when it becomes available.
A third suspect has been arrested in connection with last Monday morning's robbery at the Greater Chautauqua Federal Credit Union in downtown Falconer. Ellicott Town Police say they arrested 20 year-old Patricia Harley of Jamestown yesterday morning... and, she was charged with second-degree robbery. She was sent to the Chautauqua County Jail without bail. Police say another alleged accomplice, 61-year-old Thomas Bartlett, Senior of Jamestown, was arrested and charged with second-degree robbery on March 2nd. Ellicott Police accuse Harley of helping the primary suspect... 22 year-old Kyle Senear of Jamestown... with the planning of the February 27th robbery. Senear allegedly got a small amount of cash before fleeing the scene... but, was caught later that day. The investigation is continuing... and, anyone with information is asked to call Ellicott Police at 665-7083... or the Jamestown Police Tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477... or the JPD TIPS 411 app. Police say all calls will be kept confidential.
Efforts to recruit new doctors to the Jamestown-area will be getting a 35-thousand dollar boost from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. The city council will vote later this month on accepting the funding from the foundation to support the Strategic Planning and Partnership Commission's Physician Recruitment Project. The project was created by the Commission's Health Care Action Team... led by former City Councilwoman Dr. Lillian Ney. Current Councilwoman Marie Carruba is on the action team... and, says they've been working get local students who become doctors to return to the area. The Health Care Action Team has been working on the effort for a few years to build the number of... not just primary care physicians... but, certain specialists in the area as well. Carruba says there are a couple of Jamestown High School students graduating this year that plan to go to medical school... and, members are already talking with them.
A new report finds a growing number of health care jobs in New York state. The report released by the University at Albany says health care employment in New York increased by 24 percent between 2000 and 2014. The school's Center for Health Workforce Studies says employment in home health care more than doubled during that time, while jobs in ambulatory care grew by 30 percent. The center says health care accounts for about 12 percent of total employment in the state and continues to grow faster than all other sectors. Despite the job growth... the center reports that worker retention can be a problem and that patients in some parts of the state still lack access to health care services.
Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says -- yes -- the timing was important in his announcement that he won't be seeking another term because he want's fellow Republicans to have time to make a decision on running. Horrigan further explained his decision to not run for re-election on this past weekend's Community Spotlight program. He says he was in the position of having to make an "on-the-spot" decision less than four-years ago to run when former executive Greg Edwards decided not to run again. Horrigan again emphasized that it's time for him to step aside... and, devote more time to his wife, and their family. He says the decision to run for the county's top-elected post is an important one that should not be rushed into. Horrigan says he looks forward to the campaign... and, hearing the candidates ideas and positions on the issues. He adds that the position requires a "significant amount of time, energy, and you need to be 'all in.'" The Bemus Point Republican made his announcement at the end of last month's State of the County Address.
Local organizers of protests that have greeted Congressman Tom Reed at recent appearances in Chautauqua County say they are all local people... who are well-organized. Fredonia's Marcia Johnson led organization of last week's demonstration for Reed's appearance at the county's Chamber of Commerce Luncheon in Mayville. Johnson pointed out that many of the protesters included their zip code on their sign they were carrying to dispell the notion that they are paid protesters brought in from outside the area. Johnson says they are "organizing as citizens..." and, even poked little fun at themselves... saying "no one's going to drive from some other area to stand in this freezing weather with the snow." She says -- given the weather conditions -- and time of day -- they were very happy with the turn-out for the protests. Some Republicans have denounced the nation-wide protests -- mostly at Congressional Republican town hall meetings -- as being nothing more than paid protesters being bused into each location.
The village of Fredonia's top elected official says she has learned that some changes have been made to plans for a roundabout at the corner of Routes 20 and 60. Mayor Athanasia Landis says the State Department of Transporation recently met with state, county and local officials to discuss the revised design of the project and some of the raised medians have been shortened to improve access to some of the businesses near the intersection. However... Dr. Landis says the plans still call for a roundabout at the intersection and that work is now scheduled to take place during the 2018 construction season... and, completed by the end of that Summer. While she understands the concerns local residents and businesses have about the use of a roundabout at the busy intersection... Mayor Landis says State DOT officials believe it will reduce accidents and improve traffic flow once drivers make the adjustment.
U-S Senator Chuck Schumer wants the National Transportation Safety Board to conduct an in-depth investigation of small plane crashes, following two incidents last month and at least 18 crashes in New York last year. Schumer late last weekend released a letter he wrote to the NTSB. He cited a February 19th crash of a single-engine plane that took off from Long Island and crashed into a neighborhood in Bayonne, New Jersey, as well as a February 26th crash of a plane being used for practice at another Long Island airport. Two people were killed in that crash. The New York Democrat wants the agency to look into why the small plane crashes are happening and possible additional safety measures. The NTSB said it would review the letter once it's been received.
Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania says dealing with the Medicaid expansion in a repeal of President Barack Obama's health care law must be a "negotiated agreement." Toomey also said Monday that the sickest people should be covered through a high-risk pool that is subsidized by the government to make it affordable. His comments came during a stop at the studio of Philadelphia's KYW-TV, where he answered several questions submitted online. Toomey is heavily critical of Obama's health care law, and says a transition to a new health insurance system could take a couple years. He gave no details about what he thinks should replace the Medicaid expansion. or whether he supports ending the extra federal subsidy under the Medicaid expansion for millions covered in Pennsylvania and other states.
Accused drug trafficker found passed-out behind wheel of car in Jamestown...
Jamestown police arrested an alleged drug trafficker last weekend after finding the driver passed out in a "suspicious vehicle" in the city's downtown area. City police were checking on the vehicle on Forest Park about 10:30 a.m. Saturday... and, found 20 year-old Austin Thayer passed out behind the wheel while the car was still running. Officers say they found Thayer in possession of a "large quantity" of cocaine and cash... and, that he had no license. He was arrested for third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, the cocaine and cash was seized. Thayer was arraigned... and, sent to the County Jail without bail.
Mayville traffic stop leads to discovery of drugs in vehicle...
A Westfield man has been arrested for allegedly being in possession of two narcotic drugs illegally after his car was stopped in Mayville early last Saturday morning. Sheriff's officers say they pulled over 26 year-old Theodore Francisco on Valley Street shortly before 3 a.m. on active warrants out of Jamestown -- including for having his driver's license suspended. Deputies say they took Francisco into custody and searched him. At that time... they found a quantity of Suboxone and methamphetamine in his possession. Officers say Francisco was charged with two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of controlled substance... and, second-degree aggravated unlicensed operator. He was issued citations and turned over to Jamestown Police on the outstanding warrants.
Chautauqua Co. Sheriff's Office preparing for next STOP-DWI Crackdown...
The next STOP-DWI Enforcement Crackdown is coming to Chautauqua County during the upcoming St. Patrick's Day weekend. That from Sheriff Joe Gerace... who says this latest crackdown against impaired -- and drunk driving will run from March 17--19. Gerace tells those celebrating to not drink and drive that Saturday. Gerace urges people who celebrate and drink to call a cab... or get a ride home. He says the Sheriff's Department will be teaming up with other local law enforcement agencies... and, the State Police... as part of a state-wide effort to crackdown on impaired driving. He says the crackdowns are funded through a grant from the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee.
Reed confirms House resolution to eliminate the EPA, but, says he wants to keep it with fewer burdensome regulations...
Local Congressman Tom Reed says he does not support a House resolution that would disband the Environmental Protection Agency. However... the Corning Republican does support revamping the department to eliminate onerous and burdensome regulations. Reed made his comments in response to a number of questions regarding the environment during last Friday's Congressionial Luncheon with the county's Chamber of Commerce. He says even those who support eliminating the EPA have no desire to ruin the environment. Reed gave some background to the story of an 11 year-old girl who was brought up to him to ask a question at his recent town hall meeting in Ashville. He says he was offended by the fact the girl's mother put her up to asking why he wanted to eliminate the EPA. However... Reed says he looked the girl in they eye and told her that he did not want to see the agency eliminated... but, he also wanted to "hold them accountable..." and, prevent them from overregulating the environment.
County officials involved with new "Fly-Car" program prepping for May roll-out...
Chautauqua County's new "Fly Car" program designed to enhance local emergency medical services is looking to get off the ground in May. That from officials guiding
the program. Project Coordinator Kevin Peebles and Senior Paramedic Mike Volpe recently updated residents on plans for the program, announced last year by County Executive Vince Horrigan. Peebles says three fly cars will be utilized and are currently on order... and, he says they should be at the dealer by sometime in April. He says they hope to have the vehicles and people in place by the first week of May. Peebles says Mike Volpe was brought on board in January as the program supervisor. Volpe says the new service is designed to assist local fire departments when it comes to daytime response to EMS calls. He says it was one of the recommendations that came out of a study by MMA Consulting Group of the county's delivery of Emergency Medical Services. Once the program is up and running... the Fly Cars will be available on Monday thru Saturday basis between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
State Senate approved Cyber-Terrorism measures...
The state Senate has passed dual bills aimed at preventing cyberattacks and terrorism at international business and commerce centers like New York City. The Senate on Thursday approved legislation to create new crimes for cyberterrorism and to strengthen the laws against soliciting or providing support for an act of terrorism. One proposal would prohibit using computer technology to commit financial harm against more than 10 people. Another would increase criminal penalties for using money laundering or credit card fraud to fund terrorist organizations. Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee Senator Tom Croci say the measures will protect infrastructure systems from cybercrime. The bills now require approval by the Assembly.
Reed met by protesters at Chamber Luncheon, addresses wide range of concerns by members, and public...
Local Congressman Tom Reed was greeted by some 30 protesters when he arrived for this afternoon's annual Congressional Luncheon with the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce at Webb's Captains Table in Mayville. In fact... Reed said he held "a mini-Town Hall" meeting with a handful of the people who were there. While several GOP members of Congress have avoided constituent Town Hall meetings... Reed has embraced them as "part of our democracy." He admits there is "a lot of fear, and anxiety" out there. Reed told members of the chamber that he understands that... and, that's why he's continuing to hold town hall meetings in the district this weekend. The main organizer of the Mayville protest... Marcia Johnson of Fredonia... says they wanted to convey a number of concerns to Reed that they wants what's "best for the entire country, not just the top one-percent. Reed says these town halls have featured huge numbers... and, a "little more passion and engagement" than most. In the end... he says it helps him work with the bi-partisan "Problem Solver's Caucus" he co-chairs in Washington with New Jersey Democrat, Josh Gottenheimer. Reed says he has held more than 200 town hall meetings across his expansive, 23rd Congressional District.
Reed says any meaningful change to the Affordable Care Act will have to be "bi-partisan" if it's going to be "meaningful..."
President Trump and many majority Republicans in Congress continue the push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. However... to get an truly lasting and meaningful legislation... it's going to have to be 'bi-partisan' in nature. Those are the feelings of local Congressman Tom Reed... who addressed the ACA and several other issues... during the Chautauqua County chamber of Commerce's annual Congressional Luncheon in Mayville. The Corning Republican responded to several chamber questions about the ACA... but, says -- to him -- the key numbers are "218 and 60." He says you need 218 yes votes in the House... and, 60 in the Senate to make "transformational form." He says former President Barack Obama learned in his final days in office that what is "that whicn can be done by the pen can be undone by the pen." Reed says he is working with first-term New Jersey Congressman Josh Gottenheimer on the "No Label's" Caucus on the health care matter. That's an evenliy split group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers trying to create bi-partisan legislation. Otherwise... Reed says still believes in a more "market-based" approach to health care as opposed to a "big government" one like the Affordable Care Act.
Suspicious package seen outside school in Hindsale found to be school project...
There were some tense moments... and, a Cattaraugus County school was put into lock-down Friday morning... after a suspicious package was found outside the building in the town of Hinsdale. Sheriff's officers in Little Valley says they were called to the Hinsdale School just after 8 a.m. Friday on a report of the package -- spotted by a parent -- lying on Main Street. Deputies say their Explosive Detection K-9 team was called to the scene... along with the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office Bomb Technician. After finding no other packages near the school... deputies say the package was collected. They say it was not explosive in nature... and, was apparently a school project that had been dropped by a student on the way into the building Friday morning. The all clear was given, and classes resumed by late morning.
Jamestown firefighters respond to second blaze in a day at East Sixth St. location...
Jamestown firefighters were called back to the scene of an early morning fire Thursday at an apartment house on the city's eastside late Thursday night. City fire officials say Thursday night's call came in just before 11:30 for an attic fire at 621 East Sixth St. Officials say they found the smokey blaze fairly quickly... and, had it out shortly after arrival. Crews were there until shortly after 1 this morning. The night before... City Fire Battalion Chief Roger Sigular says crews were called to the scene about 12:45 a.m. Sigular says firefighters found heavy flames coming from the kitchen area... but, they had the blaze knocked down fairly quickly. He says the occupants were all safely out of the building when they arrived. Crewes were there untiil about 4 a.m. Thursday. The cause of both blazes is under investigation.
Trump-Schumer spar over Russian allegations...
President Donald Trump, his administration under siege for contacts with Russian officials, is calling for "an immediate investigation" into Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer's own ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump tweeted a photo Friday of Schumer meeting with Putin in New York in 2003. Schumer responded on Twitter a short time later writing that he would "happily talk" under oath about his meeting with Putin, which took place "in full view of press and public."
Jamestown firefighters were called back to the scene of an early morning fire Thursday at an apartment house on the city's eastside late last night.
City fire officials say last night's call came in just before 11:30 PM for an attic fire at 621 East Sixth Street. Officials say they found the smokey blaze fairly quickly and had it out shortly after arrival.
Crews were there until shortly after 1 this morning. The night before City Fire Battalion Chief Roger Sigular says crews were called to the scene about 12:45 AM.
Sigular says firefighters found heavy flames coming from the kitchen area but they had the blaze knocked down fairly quickly. He says the occupants were all safely out of the building when they arrived.
Crews were there until about 4 AM Thursday. No injuries were reported in either fire. The cause of both blazes is under investigation.
Flames have heavily-damaged a garage being used as a workshop on the Peck-Settlement Road in Falconer. Falconer Fire Chief Charlie Piazza says crews were called to the scene at 1911 Peck-Settlement just after 5AM this morning.
Piazza says the blaze had a big head-start on them.
Piazza tells our Terry Frank that fortunately the former garage was a safe distance from the nearest occupied structure.
Piazza says crews were back in service in about 2 hours. He says Falconer received mutual aid from Kiantone, Kennedy and Frewsburg fire crews.
One firefighter is being treated for a minor injury from a fall on the ice. No one was inside the structure when the blaze was called in. The cause is under investigation.
A problem with a conveyor belt at the Keywell Metals company in Falconer led to a smokey blaze that led to the building's evacuation late Thursday morning. Falconer Fire Chief Charlie Piazza says crews were called to the scene on Lyndon Boulevard about 10 AM.
Piazza says most of the employees were out of the building when they arrived.
Piazza also said that they got plenty of mutual aid to assist at the scene.
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities was also called to the scene. Piazza says there were no injuries and crews were at the scene for about two-hours.
The Senate's top Democrat is calling on U-S Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign. In the hours before doing so several Republicans and Democrats called for Sessions to recuse himself from an investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election.
He later said that he would do that. But he said he had no intention of resigning. This after the revelation he talked twice with Russia's ambassador to the United States during the presidential campaign.
Both Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York say he should step down and Schumer also said a special prosecutor is needed to investigate the allegations of Russian interference, and also look into whether the investigation has already been compromised by Sessions.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is traveling to Israel in a gesture of solidarity as acts of anti-Semitism spread across the nation. Cuomo announced the trip late Wednesday during a speech to Orthodox Jewish students, parents and teachers advocating at the state Capitol for increased funding for religious schools.
Cuomo says the visit this weekend will send a message of support to the Jewish community.
It will focus on technology and security collaboration with Israeli leaders. Cuomo denounced local and national incidents of vandalism and threats in Jewish cemeteries, college campuses and community centers as "repugnant," and said a special task force is working to hunt down those responsible. Cuomo shared a similar message earlier in the morning at the Sidney Albert Albany Jewish Community Center.
A second person has been arrested in connection with Monday morning's robbery at the Greater Chautauqua Federal Credit Union in the village of Falconer. Ellicott Town Police Chief Bill Ohnmeiss says town officers and Jamestown police found 61 year-old Thomas Bartlett Senior hold up in a home on 15th Street in the city early Tuesday night.
Ohnmeiss says Bartlett was allegedly driving the car used to help primary suspect 22 year-old Kyle Senear of Jamestown flee the scene. He says Senear entered the 51 East Main Street location about 9:30 AM Monday... and, he demanded cash.
Senear was able to flee on foot but was found in Jamestown later in the day.
Both Bartlett and Senear are charged with second-degree robbery and are jailed pending further court action.
Anyone with information on the hold-up is still asked to call City Police at 483-TIPS that's 483-8477 or Ellicott Police at 665-7083. The FBI is now assisting in the investigation.
A Frewsburg man convicted of committing health care fraud using a "side business" he operated while he was teaching in the Salamanca School District has been sentenced to three-years supervised release and six months home confinement in federal court. In addition Acting U-S Attorney James Kennedy Jr. says 66 year-old Leo Kronert was ordered to pay just over $59,000 in restitution and perform 100 hours of community service by U-S District Judge Lawrence Vilardo.
Assistant U-S Attorney Maura O’Donnell, who handled the case, says Kronert was a part-time chiropractor in Salamanca and submitted false claims for payment to Medicare and private insurance companies seeking reimbursement for his alleged services.
She says the fraudulent claims totaled about $92,000 and included bills for patient visits on dates during which Kronert was travelling out of the area as well as bills for an individual who did not reside in Western New York.
Strong winds hit the Jamestown-area by early last night anD some gusts apparently led to some downed power lines in the immediate Jamestown-area.
The Board of Public Utilities Electric Division reported an outage that began just after 8 PM Wednesday night.
BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says the streets affected were in the area of Ellicott, English, Allen, Lexington, Tower and King Streets. Robbins said line crews were called in deal with the outages. Power was back on by 9:45 last evening.
Early Wednesday more than 1,100 National Grid electric customers in the Falconer-area were without power for about two-hours after a large tree came down on some lines near a substation.
National Grid spokesman Steve Brady says the tree came down in the Falconer-area about 5:30 AM. Brady says the outage affected 1,153 customers in the Falconer and Kennedy areas. Brady says power was restored to everyone just after 7:30 AM Wednesday.
More Wintry weather returned to the Jamestown-area late last night ushered in by strong winds as a cold front passed through the Jamestown-area.
The National Weather Service is continuing a Wind Advisory for all of Western New York that runs through early this morning.
Forecaster Jon Hitchcock in Buffalo said late yesterday that the winds would pick up for everyone once the front crosses the area. Hitchcock added that temperature's would begin to nose-dive.
Hitchcock says March is continuing a weather pattern that produced the warmest February since weather records were first kept in Buffalo in 1871. He adds it comes just two years after we had our coldest February ever. Hitchcock says the new February record high average is 34.8-degrees eclipsing the old record of 34.1-degrees set in 1998.
Hitchcock says temperatures will drop to more seasonal levels tonight through the early part of the weekend.
With the transition to an interim Superintendent complete the Jamestown school board will begin work later this month on a 2017-18 budget proposal for voters to decide on in May.
That from Interim Silvia Root following her first school board meeting Tuesday night. Root says with former Superintendent Tim Mains leaving for his new job in the Mid-Hudson Valley and her coming into the district they're getting a later start than last year.
However... she says she's already been discussing the situation with School Business Manager Vern Connors. Root says the school board has also been busy with other business prior to dealing with the budget.
The Jamestown District and all others have also been waiting for a final state budget. That spending plan is due by April 1st. Last year Jamestown took advantage of additional aid to keep current staffing levels, and begin to rebuild the district's undesignated fund balance.
The preliminary, 2017-18 budget will be presented to the school board at it's March 15th meeting. A final plan needs to be approved by April 21st for the public vote on May 16th.
Dunkirk's top elected official says he backs NRG's renegotiated payment in lieu of tax agreement for the Dunkirk power plant. Mayor Willie Rosas discussed the PILOT Agreement that was approved on Tuesday by the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency Board earlier Wednesday.
Rosas says as mayor he has to look at the big picture. Under the new agreement the city, the Dunkirk City School District, and Chautauqua County will split an annual payment of $420,000. The payments will begin during the school district's 2017-18 fiscal year and the city and county's 2018 fiscal year and continue until the conversion project's completion or the school district's 2022-23 fiscal year and the city and county's 2023 fiscal year.
Payments will then increase as power generation units are returned to service. Rosas says that without the revised agreement it's possible the repowering would not go through.
There is no change in gasoline prices in Chautauqua County this week with prices remaining "relatively stable" across the region. That from the AAA Fuel Gauge Report which says the price for regular, unleaded remains a "flat" $2.50 a gallon. AAA adds that national prices have only fluctuated a couple of cents over the past 27 days.
The Fuel Gauge says today's average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.29 per gallon, which is the same price as one week ago, same price as compared to one month ago and 55 cents more than the same date last year.
In mid-March, prices will likely rise as more refiners begin to switch from winter-blend to summer-blend gasoline and driver demand increases. AAA says prices in both the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions remain relatively stable with New York at $2.46 a gallon overall.