WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 31, 2018

A Jamestown man is accused of trafficking narcotics in the area following a traffic stop last Saturday night on Maple Street in the village of Sinclairville....  

Sheriff's officers say they stopped 26 year-old Alexander Cieplinski for allegedly failing to stop at a stop sign.  Deputies say further investigation revealed that Cieplinski was allegedly in possession of multiple controlled substances that include a quantity of LSD, psychdelic mushrooms and MDMA.  They say he was also found in possession of multiple scales and marihuana.  Cieplinski was arraigned on charges including two Felony counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, one Felony count of fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and, second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia.  He was sent to the county jail on $100,000 bail.


The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office has been surprised by a life-saving Christmas gift for it's K-9 unit by a former Jamestown resident.... 

Deputies say that Cynthia Miley-Evans, now of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and her husband David, donated a new bullet-proof, stab resistant vest to the K-9 unit.  The Evans purchased the vest to be used by K-9 "Bentley."  Bentley, a 2 year old Belgian Malinois Shepard, is the newest canine member of the Sheriff’s Department K-9 unit.  However, he was not yet equipped with a protective vest until the Evans made their generous donation.  As a surprise thank you on Christmas Day, the entire K-9 unit -- including "Bentley" "Drago" and "Link" arrived at the family's Jamestown residence and met with the family members to thank them in person and to showcase the life-saving vest that was provided through their selfless donation.


Chautauqua County's top-cop for the past 24 years is wrapping up his career with the Sheriff's Department today and, is reflecting on his 40 years with the department....  

Joe Gerace says it's been an "honor" to serve and protect the people of the county.  Gerace says that serving in law enforcement has been his life's passion.  He says there have been a number of cases that come to mind through the years, including the one involving the area's "HIV Preditor..." Nushawn Williams.  Williams was the first person nationally to be arrested for allegedly knowingly infecting several girls and women with the virus that causes AIDS in the late 1990s...  However, he says there were more enjoyable assignments -- including when President Clinton came to Chautauqua.

The Sheriff's Office -- and other departments --  helped provide "outer perimeter security" for former President Bill Clinton when the Democrat came to Chautauqua Institution to prepare for a 1996 Presidential debate with Republican Bob Dole.  Gerace was defeated in a tight election race by Republican Jim Quattrone last November.


Governor Andrew Cuomo says a record $35-million has been awarded to 40 farms across the state to protect 13,000 acres of land...  

The Democratic governor says the grants mark a historic level of funding awarded in a single round of the state's Farmland Protection Implementation Grant program.  The program provides local governments, soil and water conservation districts and land trusts with grants to offset the cost of conservation easements to keep farmland from being converted to non-agricultural use.  More than $283-million has been awarded to farmland protection projects since 1996.  Nearly 289 projects have protected more than 73,000 acres of New York farmland.


If you found some money in the road during a drive, would you stop and go after it?  

That's what many people did on Routes 5 and 20 near Silver Creek last Thursday morning.  But, the co-owner and operator of Can Kings Redemption Centers realized the money that was scattered across the busy highway couldn't be real.  Steve Promber took a closer look after scooping up a quantity of the alleged money and determined it was replica or "prop" money, then alerted Sheriff's Office.  He says a young deputy came out to talk with him, and the officer then went around the village to inform others.  Right now, Promber is alerting the public about the fake bills.  The bills either have "replica" or "this note is not legal" marked on them.  Some photos of the fake money is posted on-line at Chautauqua Today.com.

 
The New York Thruway Authority has filed a lawsuit against multiple companies over the failure of four wind turbines....  

The authority says in its lawsuit filed late this week the turbines located along the Thruway in Erie, and Chautauqua counties went offline between October 2017 and January 2018.  The turbines were installed in 2013 and 2014 as part of a renewable energy initiative.  The lawsuit is alleging negligence, professional malpractice, breach of warranty and breach of contract.  WIVB-TV reports the authority is seeking $8.1-million plus interest, costs and collection fees.  One of the agencies named in the lawsuit, Kandey Company, Inc., says it has not been served.  Still, Kandey says it is confident it did nothing wrong and will be vindicated in court.


The Cuomo administration says the number of confirmed cases of influenza is rising across New York state, with more than 5,400 people coming down with the illness so far this season...  

The state Department of Health says as of Thursday new cases of flu have been reported in 58 counties, including the five boroughs of New York City.  Only Wyoming, Yates, Seneca and Hamilton counties are not reporting any cases yet.  Officials say the number of people hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed flu was 363 this past week, a 41 percent increase over the previous week. So far this season more than 1,300 people have been hospitalized with the flu.  Governor Andrew Cuomo is urging flu vaccinations for all New Yorkers six months of age and older.

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WJTN Headlines for Dec. 29, 2018

Warren, PA man arrested for alleged on attempted homicide charges following arson fire...
A Warren, Pennsylvania man faces seven counts of attempted homicide following an arson fire in Sugar Grove Township last Thursday night.  State Police in Warren responded to Wilson Road to assist firefighters at 8 p.m., and, conducted interviews.  Further investigation revealed 25 year-old Jackson Knappenberger allegedly came to the home with a plastic bag containing gas and oil.  Knappenberger is accused of lighting the bag on fire next to the door of the residence with two adults and five children inside.  Troopers say the suspect fled and was found a short distance away.  The motive is not known.  Knappenberger was transported to the Warren County Jail.  The investigation remains open at this time. 


Flu cases rising in NYS...
The Cuomo administration says the number of confirmed cases of influenza is rising across New York state, with more than 5,400 people coming down with the illness so far this season.  The state Department of Health says as of Thursday new cases of flu have been reported in 58 counties, including the five boroughs of New York City.  Only Wyoming, Yates, Seneca and Hamilton counties are not reporting any cases yet.  Officials say the number of people hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed flu was 363 this past week, a 41 percent increase over the previous week. So far this season more than 1,300 people have been hospitalized with the flu.  Governor Andrew Cuomo is urging flu vaccinations for all New Yorkers six months of age and older.


Wendel expected to again be elected as Co. Legislature Chair in 2019...
The Lakewood Republican who has headed up the Chautauqua County Legislature over the past year is expected to continue in that post in 2019.  P-J Wendel has been approved as chairman by the GOP Majority Caucus... and, is expected to be approved at next Wednesday afternoon's re-organizational meeting in Mayville.  Wendel says he appreciates the on-going support of his collegues... but, doesn't know if Democrats will nominate anyone or not.  He says he looks forward to the challenge... including what he says will be the 'big issue' next year -- dealing with the weed and algal bloom problems on Chautauqua Lake.  He praised Executive George Borrello for reaching out to all the groups involved to develop a "Consensus Plan."  Next week's reorganizational meeting will begin at 4 PM in the legislature chambers next Wednesday... and, leadership will be acted on.  He says Republican Majority Leader Pierre Chagnon is expected to remain in his position... with Lisa VanStrom as Assistant leader.  For the Democrats... Chuck Nazzaro of Jamestown is expected to be Minority Leader... with Bob Bankowski serving as Assistant Leader.


Wind Turbine Lawsuit filed by state Thruway Authority...
The New York Thruway Authority has filed a lawsuit against multiple companies over the failure of four wind turbines.  The authority says in its lawsuit filed late this week the turbines located along the Thruway in Erie, and Chautauqua counties went offline between October 2017 and January 2018.  The turbines were installed in 2013 and 2014 as part of a renewable energy initiative.  The lawsuit is alleging negligence, professional malpractice, breach of warranty and breach of contract.  WIVB-TV reports the authority is seeking $8.1-million dollars plus interest, costs and collection fees.  One of the agencies named in the lawsuit, Kandey Company, Inc., says it has not been served.  Still, Kandey says it is confident it did nothing wrong and will be vindicated in court.


Tranum says Holiday Shopping Season looked good in Chautauqua County...
Chautauqua Chamber of Commerce officials say they are optimistic about local retail sales during the holiday shopping season.  That from Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Tranum.  Tranum says one of their indicators may be the sales of Shoptauqua gift cards... where he says they "really saw an uptick" in the number sold.  He is also encouraged by national retail sales and says that could also be an indicator of local sales.  While the organization does not do a direct survey, Tranum says there are other indicators that can help gauge the local economy.  The Chamber's top official is also encouraged by the recent Regional Economy Development Council awards and the four projects that will be fully-funded by the state in Chautauqua County.  He says that bodes well for the county in 2019.


Christmas Tree pick-up slated for a week from Monday in Jamestown...
The city of Jamestown will begin it's annual pick-up of discarded Christmas Trees on Monday, Jan. 7.  City Parks and Recreation Coordinator Julia Ciesla-Hanley says the pick-up will be held, weather permitting, and the old trees will be recycled.  Ciesla-Hanley says all trees should be removed from plastic bags... Chrismas lights and tree stands.  She says residents are urged to place their tree on the terrace between the street and sidewalk and, if possible, to keep visible should a large snowfall occur.  For more information... call the City Parks and Recreation Office at 483-7523.


 

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 28, 2018

The investigation continues into an arson fire at a home in Warren Pennsylvania's Sugar Grove Township Thursday night... 

State Police were called to assist firefighters at the scene on Wilson Road at 8 PM. Through interviews, Troopers learned 25 year-old Jackson Knappenberger -- of Warren --  allegedly came to the home with a plastic bag containing gas and oil. He's accused of lighting the bag on fire next to the door of the residence with two adults and five children inside. Troopers say the suspect fled and was found a short distance away. Knappenberger faces seven counts of attempted homicide and other criminal count, then was transported to the Warren County Jail. 


Chautauqua County's Sheriff-elect says he's had a smooth transition since winning office in early November....  

Republican Jim Quattrone is set to be sworn-in during a ceremony in the County Courthouse on New Year's Day and, says he's been working with outgoing Sheriff Joe Gerace on what needs to be done before that.  He says there is some logistical work, and reading he needs to do.

Quattrone says one of his first duties will be to appoint a new Undersheriff with the retirement of former Undersheriff Charles Holder earlier this month.  As part of the transition, he says he has been taking a look at the Chautauqua County Jail operations and the staffing to see if there are ways to cut costs, especially the amount of forced overtime.  Quattrone defeated Gerace in last month's election in a close race.  He will be sworn-in during a public ceremony at the Mayville courthouse at 12:30 p.m. New Year's Day.


State officials say a crackdown on impaired driving on New York roads will continue through New Year's Day....  

Governor Andrew Cuomo says state police will boost patrols into January 1st to look for motorists driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  The Democrat says the enforcement effort is part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.  State troopers will be conducting DWI patrols and checkpoints into Tuesday, while also being on the lookout for distracted drivers and improperly restrained vehicle occupants.  State police also plan to watch for drivers violating the state's Move Over Law and will conduct underage drinking enforcement details as New Year's Eve approaches.  Last year's anti-DWI campaign held during the holidays resulted in nearly 650 arrests for driving while intoxicated.


Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area continue to drop, following a national trend in recent weeks, heading into the New Year's holiday....  

The AAA East Central Gas Price Report says local prices are almost six-cents a gallon cheaper than last week.  The report says the price is now just under $2.64 for regular, unleaded fuel.  Statewide, AAA says gas prices are about four-cents a gallon cheaper at $2.64 a gallon.  Last year at this time, the price in Jamestown was $2.71 a gallon.  


It's going to be a very "happy new year" for the Salvation Army of Jamestown! 

Major John Merchant says they exceeded their goal in its annual Red Kettle Campaign, raising $115,600 this year, to finance its programs in Chautauqua County. He says a final push from the community helped the 2018 campaign.

Merchant says this year's goal was $115,300. Proceeds will go to Social Services to help those who may be in a bind to help supply clothing, medications and more. He adds that the Salvation's Army efforts are year-round and, thanked the community, organizations and churches who volunteered their support and donations to give back to those who need it the most. 


The embattled mayor of Lakewood resigned this past Fall amid controversy over several recent absences, and other matters....  

Back in October, the village clerk's office sent out a brief statement Cara Birritierri had decided to resign.  In a letter to the village, Birritierri based her decision "solely on personal and medical reasons."  She also praised staff, other elected officials and "countless volunteers" who dedicated themselves to the village.  The clerk's office says -- for now -- Deputy Mayor Ted McCague will fill-in in the interim.  Chautauqua County Board of Elections Commissioner Brian Abram says, since the September 20th deadline for an election has passed, there can be no election this year. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 27, 2018

Three men have been arrested for allegedly taking part in a shooting incident between two cars on Jamestown's eastside early Christmas morning....  

City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers were called to the area of East Second and Jeffords Streets about 2:40 a.m. on a complaint of shots fire.  Samuelson says they received cooperation from the alleged victim in the case, who directed them the suspect's home on Foote Avenue.

Samuelson says officers arrested the suspected shooter -- 27 year-old Angel Carino-Ricard -- along with two others.  They are identified as 31 year-old Rafael Gonzalez-Rivera and, 33 year-old Mike Santiago.  Samuelson says police got a search warrant and, found the suspected gun -- a 45-calibur hand-gun and, others.  One was a loaded AK-47 assault rifle and the other was a 22-calibur rifle.  Samuelson says Ricard faces the most serious charges, including two counts of second-degree criminal possession and use of a firearm and, first-degree reckless endangerment.  Ricard is jailed on $510,000 cash bail, while both Gonzalez-Rivera and Santiago are each jailed on $400,000 each.


An Ashville man has been arrested as a fugitive wanted in Pennsylvania for attempted criminal homicide....  

Sheriff's officers say they and Lakewood-Busti Police were contacted by State Police in Warren, about an arrest warrant for 22 year-old Michael Shreve of Blockville-Watts Flats Road.  They were told he may be in the Ashville or Busti areas after allegedly being involved in a weekend incident in Sugar Grove.  Sheriff's deputies with their K-9 units and, Lakewood-Busti Police made checks in the area and, found Shreve about 7:30 Tuesday night.  He was arraigned in the Chautauqua Town Court as a fugitive from justice and committed to the Chautauqua County jail without bail pending his extradition to Pennsylvania.


Several north county fire departments were called to the scene of a reported house fire early Wednesday morning near the village of Brocton....  

Sheriff's Department dispatchers say Brocton fire crews were called to the scene at 8299 Route 380 shortly after 5 AM.  The fire was out earlier and no injuries have been reported.  Brocton was joined at the scene by Portland, Stockton, Westfield and Fredonia firefighters.  The Jamestown Post-Journal reports investigators determined the cause to be a pipe connected to a wood stove, causing fire to begin in the wall and travel to the second floor of the home. The paper says several of the families pets also perished in the fire. 


The new year will be one of transitions for the Jamestown-area's main hospital...  

UPMC Chautauqua went through a final name change -- and is now a full affiliate of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.  In addition, there will be a new leader of the local institution -- starting January 1st when Interim President and Chief Executive Officer Brian Durniok replaces the retiring Betsy Wright.  Hospital Board Chairman Steve Kilburn says, while Wright's retirement is a major loss, he says being affilated with UPMC helps cushion that blow.

Durniok, who has headed up UPMC Northwest in Venango County, Pennsylvania since February of 2017, says he's happy about the new opportunity.  Kilburn adds that Durniok will be of considerable help in 2019 because the local hospital will switch over to UPMC's Electronic Health Records program, something he's been through at UPMC Northwest.  Most recently, Durniok has served as vice president of human resources at UPMC Hamot, and later UPMC Northwest and UPMC Chautauqua, from 2013 to 2018. 


The woman who has led UPMC Chautauqua -- formerly WCA Hospital -- in Jamestown for nearly the past 20 years announced her retirement earlier this month...  

A reception and Open House at the hospital was held last Friday for President and Chief Executive Officer Betsy Wright to give community leaders and staff and administrators the chance to say good-bye.  Wright's retirement after nearly three decades there is our seventh biggest story of 2018.

After some initial photographs, nurses, doctors and others lined up to speak with Wright... who was also congratulated by Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello, and local Congressman Tom Reed -- among others.  UPMC Chautauqua Board President Steven Kilburn had nothing but praise for Wright and all she has done through her wisdom and professionalism.  During here nearly 20 years as head of the hospital, Wright oversaw operations during some drastic changes in the health care field, the new association with UPMC and the start and continuation of the approximately $20-million expansion project. 


New York state is expanding a legal defense project for immigrants launched in 2017 to include social and health care services for families....  

Governor Andrew Cuomo says the new "Project Golden Door" will provide family support services at 12 existing sites.  In addition, a new Regional Rapid Response team will set up attorneys in the state's 10 regional economic development council areas to respond to raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  Democrat Cuomo says the immigrant legal defense project is the first of its kind in the nation.  The governor's office says New York is home to 940,000 immigrants in the country without legal authorization, and 53,000 of them are under 16.


An avid Buffalo Bills fan from Texas who's battling cancer has been given a trip to Disney World thanks to the efforts of a fan club known as the Bills Mafia....  

Ezra Castro is known as Pancho Billa for his game-day outfit that includes a sombrero and facemask in the NFL team's red, white and blue colors.  The 39-year-old mortician from Dallas has attended numerous Bills games on the road and at New Era Field in Orchard Park, earning him the honor of being named the inaugural member of the Buffalo Fan Wall of Fame.  Last Sunday... while watching the Bills-Patriots game at a Dallas-area bar with other Buffalo fans, the Bills Mafia surprised him with an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney World in Florida for him, his girlfriend and their two young children.

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 24, 2018

A Mayville man escaped serious injury, but faces a drunk driving charge following a one car crash in the town of Chautauqua Saturday night....  

Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on the Chautauqua-Stedman Road about 7:30 PM and, found the car -- driven by 42 year-old James Glover -- had struck a telephone pole.  Deputies say Glover, who sustained an arm injury during the incident, was found to be intoxicated.  He was issued appearance tickets for Chautauqua Town Court for driving while intociated, speed not reasonable, and failure to keep right. 


Chautauqua County Sheriff's Deputies were called to assist Pennsylvania State Police early Saturday morning to investigate a possible stabbing.... 

Pennsylvania State Police reported that two males had been involved in an altercation in Sugar Grove about 2 AM with one  person stabbed and, the other fleeing into the town of Busti.  Patrols located the suspect on foot along Hoag Road in Busti.  Police were informed that 'the male suspect' may have discarded the knife used in the stabbing, somewhere along Hoag Road.  The Sheriff's K-9 "Link" was brought in for the search along Hoag Road.  Link's search led into a wooded area about 100 yards from the roadway, where they found the knife used in the alleged stabbing.  The male stabbing victim was transported to UPMC Hamot Medical Center in serious condition.  Charges are pending from Pennsylvania State Police.


A man who has served in a vice-president's capacity at UPMC Chautauqua Hospital will serve as the Jamestown hospital's interim president...  

Brian Durniok is currently President and Chief Executive Officer at UPMC Northwest in Seneca in Venango County, Pennsylvania.  He will replace the retiring Betsy Wright at the local hospital when she retires at the end of the year.  Durniok says he's happy to help another smaller, community hospital during it's transition.

The Pennsylvania native has headed up UPMC Northwest -- in Venango County -- for nearly 2 years.  Most recently, Durniok has served as vice president of human resources at UPMC Hamot, and later UPMC Northwest and UPMC Chautauqua, from 2013 to 2018.  He was appointed vice president of operations at UPMC Northwest in 2014.  Durniok has yet to finalize a schedule between here and UPMC Northwest... but, says there will be one.  Plus, he'll use some newer technology.  He says video conferencing makes a "marked difference" in being able to schedule, and hold meetings if he's not able to be in Jamestown at a particular time.


In New York state government news, top lawmakers from both parties are pushing back on Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo over plans to limit legislative moonlighting.... 

A state commission recently approved new restrictions on how much money lawmakers can make from side jobs outside the legislature.  Cuomo supports the idea. It's intended to address longtime worries that jobs outside the legislature can be a conduit for legal bribes from businesses and organizations that deal with the state.  But top lawmakers from both parties say those limits were never part of a deal they negotiated with Cuomo.  They say the pay commission exceeded its power.  Cuomo insists the lawmakers are wrong.


Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that requires New York state agencies to establish a sexual assault survivors' bill of rights...  

The Democrat signed the bill into law Friday, saying it's New York's response to a federal government that "shamefully ignores the voices of sexual assault survivors."  The new law directs the Department of Health to formulate a bill of rights to notify victims of their legal rights as they navigate the medical and criminal justice systems.  The Division of Criminal Justice Services, the Office of Victim Services and other stakeholders are to be consultants for the plan.  The bill of rights will include a victim's right to consult with a rape crisis organization and receive updates on the status of their case.


It is shaping up as an exciting 2019 for the 1891 Fredonia Opera House and downtown Fredonia.....  

Plans are coming together for the use of $2.5-million in Smart Growth Community Funds the state awarded the village in October.  Opera House Executive Director Rick Davis says a number of projects are in the planning stages for the facility and the downtown area to help bring more tourism to the village.

Davis says they should have a better idea of how the funds will be used in early 2019 and, adds it's great that so many projects in the village -- not just the Opera House -- are receiving funds.  Among the projects that could be included, Streetscape improvements along Water and Temple Streets surrounding Barker Commons along with Opera House improvements.

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News Headlines for Sat., Dec. 22, 2018

Man in custody following stabbing incident in Sugar Grove, PA...
Chautauqua County Sheriff's Deputies were called to assist Pennsylvania State Police early this morning to investigate a possible stabbing.  Pennsylvania State Police reported that two males had been involved in an altercation in Sugar Grove about 2 am with one  person stabbed... and, the other fleeing into the town of Busti.  Patrols located the suspect on foot along Hoag Road in Busti.  Police were informed that 'the male suspect' may have discarded the knife used in the stabbing, somewhere along Hoag Road.  The Sheriff's K-9 "Link" was brought in for the search along Hoag Road.  Link's search led into a wooded area about 100 yards from the roadway, where they found the knife used in the alleged stabbing.  The male stabbing victim was transported to UPMC Hamot Medical Center in serious condition.  Charges are pending from Pennsylvania State Police.


Wright hnoored at UPMC Chautauqua Retirement Party...
Community leaders and staff and administrators officially said good-bye Friday afternoon to long-time UPMC Chautauqua Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Betsy Wright.  The hospital held a Retirement Reception for Wright to thank her, and recognize her nearly three-decades of working at -- and leading -- the Jamestown hospital.  Wright says it's "been a great experience," and adds the hospital is now positioned well in the community for years to come.  After some initial photographs... nurses, doctors and others lined up to speak with Wright... who was also congratulated by Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello, and local Congressman Tom Reed -- by phone -- among others.  UPMC Chautauqua Board President Steven Kilburn had nothing but praise for Wright and all she has done... adding that she will have a legacy of wisdom and professionalism at the hospital.  During her nearly 20 years as head of the hospital... Wright oversaw operations during some drastic changes in the health care field... the new association with UPMC... and the start and continuation of the approximately $20-million expansion project. 


NYS population declines the most of any state between July 2017 and 2018...
New York state's population declined more than any other state in a recent 12-month period.  New numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau this week show the state's population declined by 48,510 between July 1, 2017 and July 1 of this year.  That's the largest decline of the nine states that lost population during that time. New York's population is 19.75 million.  Nevada and Idaho led the nation in population growth rates, while Texas saw the largest overall gain in residents.  Republican lawmakers blame New York's decline on high taxes and the upstate economy.  Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo faults the state's long winters and says economic factors aren't to blame.  On Thursday... he noted that New York's jobless rate of 3.9 percent is the lowest since 1976.


Cuomo signs sexual assault survivors bill...
Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that requires New York state agencies to establish a sexual assault survivors' bill of rights.  The Democrat signed the bill into law Friday, saying it's New York's response to a federal government that "shamefully ignores the voices of sexual assault survivors."  The new law directs the Department of Health to formulate a bill of rights to notify victims of their legal rights as they navigate the medical and criminal justice systems.  The Division of Criminal Justice Services, the Office of Victim Services and other stakeholders are to be consultants for the plan.


Teresi pleased with funding from latest round of Regional Economic Development Council awards...
The city of Jamestown did well in the latest round of funding awards given out for projects in the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council area.  Those are the feelings of Mayor Sam Teresi... who says maybe the biggest award for city government was $100,000 to help with the acquisition of the Chautauqua Brick property on Market Street for new development along the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk.  Teresi says the money will help "kick-start" the project... which will include the relocation of Chautauqua Brick.  While the city is looking to acquire the property... Teresi says there is no intention to create a park on the property and take it off the tax rolls.  He says there is a possibility that Chautauqua Brick could still wind up back on the site with a more modern facility... but, he says -- right now -- they are looking at a relocation to a better site for them.  The biggest award in Jamestown is $500,000 for the bell tower and front porch stablization project at St. Luke's Episcopal Church.


National Comedy Center now leads USA Today Poll for best new attraction...
Downtown Jamestown's newest attraction has received some exciting news... and, there could be more in the near future.  National Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson says the center has been nominated for U-S-A Today's Top New Attraction of 2019.  Gunderson adds, though, that people need to vote... and, voting is as easy as going online.  She said late this week that the Center was in second place.... but, Comedy Center officials say today that the center is now in first-place.  Gunderson says you can vote as many times as you like between now and Jan. 7.  The Comedy Center opened at the beginning of August... and, has already attracted people from most states.. and, several other countries.  Again... the website to visit is www.ComedyCenter.org/Vote.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 21, 2018

Local Congressman Tom Reed says he voted to "build the Wall" in the lastest continuing resolution acted on last night in the House of Representatives... 

The Corning Republican noted that his vote was aimed at voting "to provide the American people with border wall funding to keep our country safe and prevent a government shutdown."  Reed insisted the vote was not about politics.  He said it's "the right thing, and securing our southern border so mothers can sleep in peace without fear of dangerous MS-13 gang members pouring into our country."  He adds that the country needs a "functioning immigration system" which allows properly vetted people to come here and work to provide for their families.  The spending bill runs through February 8 and provides $5.7-billion for border security.


The Jamestown Police Department is warning residents about a telephone scam involving imposters calling people to solicit money on behalf of their agency....  


Officials say the scammers are trying to get personal information from unsuspecting victim's that include that person's credit card information.  City police say this is "not something that the Jamestown Police Department would solicit and, anyone receiving calls of this nature should treat it as a scam."  They urge people to not give their personal information to anyone you don't know or trust.


It appears that unless there is another warm-up, we will get some snow through next Tuesday, making it likely there will be a White Christmas in the Jamestown-area...
  
That from Forecaster Dan Kelly with the National Weather Service, who says we will have an unusual start to Winter today, because we'll see warmer than normal temperatures and rain to start the day.  However, he says that changes later in the day, when snow starts to fall.

Kelly says the rain began late yesterday and, continue through the day on Friday.  He says the mercury again today will rise into the upper 40s before that low pressure system moves into the area.  Once the snow falls through Saturday, there will be about a 30-percent chance of the white stuff through Christmas Day with highs in the 30s.


Chautauqua County legislators took action on a resolution that was tabled last month that will allocate up to $25,000 of 2 percent occupancy tax funding for the clean up of Burtis Bay on Chautauqua Lake.....  

The measure, which was amended to have the funding come from the 2019 budget, was approved 18-0.  County Executive George Borrello says by taking it now, there will be more time to develop a plan for this spring to eliminate the weed mass.

Legislators passed two other resolutions dealing with the lake.  They authorized the use of 2 percent occupancy tax monies to retain professional services to assist with development of a weed management consensus for the lake.  Legislators also approved a measure authorizing the county to participate in a statewide clean lakes collaboration.  Both resolutions were approved by unanimous votes.


The investigation into a Pennsylvania State Police-involved shooting is underway, following a botched robbery attempt at a Union City Dollar General Wednesday afternoon....  

Troopers from the undercover VICE Unit say they were trying to buy a suspected stolen chainsaw that was posted for sale on-line by 26 year-old Keith Hawley.  Police contacted the Union City man to arrange the purchase, during which Hawley allegedy brandished a handgun and tried to rob the undercover officers.  An unidentified Trooper reportedly discharged his weapon and shot Hawley.  EMS crews were called immediately, but he died at the scene.  The involved officers were placed on administrative leave pending investigation by the Erie County District Attorney's office and Pennsylvania State Police from Venango County.  No Troopers were injuried during the incident. 


The Chautauqua County Humane Society is closing in on it's goal of adopting out 100 pets during this year's "Season of Hope"  

Human Society Spokesman Brian Papalia says -- as of Wednesday -- they have found homes for 93 animals, including six over the past two days.  Brian tells our Dennis Webster that they also have pictures of some of the dogs and other animals with humans outside of the shelter to give people a better idea of how they are on their Facebook page. 

Papalia says they still have a nice mix of animals available over the holiday season, adding they have dogs over six-months or older that are available for $50.00 -- half the usual cost.  He adds that cats six-months or older are available for a donation.  They also have some rabbits and guinea pigs available.  In addition to their Facebook page, he says you can also go to their website at spcapets.com,  or call 665-2209.


County Executive George Borrello and the Legislature recognized County Sheriff Joe Gerace for his years of service to the county... 

During the last meeting of the year, Borrello presented the outgoing sheriff with a commendation, citing his many program achievements, including the Sheriff's Department EMT program, SMART 911 and, the new 911 communications center.  Gerace, who has held the office since 1995, thanked Borrello and county lawmakers. Gerace is leaving office at the end of the year, with incoming Sheriff Jim Quattrone taking over on New Year's Day.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 20, 2018

The Senate has approved legislation to temporarily fund the government and avoid a federal shutdown.... 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a stop-gap measure to continue funding the government until February 8th. He calls it "a simple measure" to show that Republicans are governing.  Local Congressman Tom Reed also believes a "reasonable package" will be acted on in the next couple of days.

Reed says that would include use to technology to better track illegal immigrants trying to enter and, more border agents.  Congress faces a Friday deadline when funding for part of the federal government expires. Trump has not yet said he will support the measure, but the White House says he'll take a look.


Congressman Reed says there is some good news heading into the Christmas break regarding Criminal Justice reform...  

The Corning Republican says he supports the bill, which was passed in the Senate on Tuesday.  Reed says he hopes to see it passed in the House within the next two days, and get it to the President's desk before Christmas.

The bill is based on research from Columbia University and advocates for criminal justice reform.  However, Reed say there are concerns with the bill on both sides of the aisle, including violent offenders, who should not be in the position to get early-release options.  But at the same time, he says some drug-laws have led to "low-risk offenders" who should not spend 20 to 30 year sentences in prison.  Reed says this bill is a significant opportunity to reform the criminal justice system for the first time in decades. 


Chautauqua County legislators took action on a resolution that was tabled last month that will allocate up to $25,000 of 2 percent occupancy tax funding for the clean up of Burtis Bay on Chautauqua Lake...  

The measure, which was amended to have the funding come from the 2019 budget, was approved 18-0.  County Executive George Borrello says by taking it now, there will be more time to develop a plan for this spring.

Legislators passed two other resolutions dealing with the lake. They authorized the use of 2 percent occupancy tax monies to retain professional services to assist with development of a weed management consensus for the lake.  Legislators also approved a measure authorizing the county to participate in a statewide clean lakes collaboration.  Both resolutions were approved by unanimous votes.


Two Jamestown men were arrested during a parole check on the city's eastside Tuesday night....  

Jamestown officers responded to 947 East 2nd Street and, arrested 26 year-old John Tufino for a parole violation at 8 PM.  A loaded .357 revolver was reportedly found inside the residence, along with 26 year-old Chad Haskins, who was found in possession of methamphetamine and heroin. Police say Tufino was taken to the county jail without bail, and has additional charges pending.  Haskins was arraigned on charges including third and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and, jailed on $10,100 cash bail. 


Governor Andrew Cuomo's announcement to include an initiative to legalize adult use of recreational marijuana in New York as part of his top priorities for 2019 is not making a local state lawmaker very happy...  

Republican Assemblyman Andy Goodell says he will oppose the initiative.  Goodell questions why Cuomo has done an about face on the issue.
 
Goodell believes it's a case where the Democratic governor is looking for new ways to tax New Yorkers, calling it a "money grab."  He believes legalizing marijuana will cause more harm than good, especially for the young and, he says it "doesn't make sense."  Goodell says he's also concerned about highway safety, citing statistics from other states where marijuana use has become legal.  If the state legislature votes to legalize pot use, Goodell vows to fight for "reasonable" restrictions, including a ban on advertising-especially when it targets youth-and make it illegal for adults to share marijuana with youth.


An award of more than $16,000 is being offered for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons who threw two dogs from a moving vehicle on a New York highway...  

New York State Police announce Tuesday that local, state and national animal welfare agencies and a private donor have contributed $16,500 to the award stemming from an animal cruelty case that has gained national attention.  Authorities say a truck driver traveling on Interstate 81 on the morning of December 12th saw someone throw two beagle mix dogs out of an SUV traveling south in Marathon in Cortland County.  The trucker from Syracuse pulled over and rescued the dogs. The older one had to have its right front leg amputated.  Troopers say both dogs are doing well.  No arrests have been reported.

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WJTN News Headlines

Flames have destroyed an older model recreational vehicle in a lot behind a vehicle repair business on Fairmount Avenue between Lakewood and Celoron...  

Celoron First Assistant Fire Chief Jordy Bailey says firefighters were called to the scene at Monro Muffler-Brake about 1:30 Tuesday afternoon and, found the RV fully-engulfed in flames.  Officials say an employee had kept the vehicle behind the business for several months and, tried to start it.  Once he did, he went back into the store, and the front part of the RV caught fire.  No one was hurt and, the cause of the blaze is under investigation.  Celoron fire crews received mutual aid from Lakewood firefighters.


Two Jamestown women were arrested during a burglary in progress in the Village of Lakewood Tuesday morning....  

Lakewood-Busti Police responded to a residence on Ohio Avenue and, were able to locate 23 year-old Adriana Machado and 20 year-old Rebecca Machado on arrival.  The pair allegedly broke through a window and entered the residence just before 1 AM.  Officers say the Machados each face charges of second-degree burglary and fourth-degree criminal mischief.  Adriana was additionally charged with second-degree harrassment.  Both were arraigned in Busti Town Court and remanded to the Chautauqua County Jail on $40,000 cash bail. 


The 2018 Regional Economic Development Council Awards were held Tuesday in Albany.  Chautauqua County is part of the Western New York council, one of ten across New York State...  

Empire State Development Commissioner Howard Zemsky announced the $763-million in awards, including the Western New York REDC's share of $66-million. Chautauqua County has four of the 16 priority projects that were announced by the council earlier this fall.  The biggest proposals include $498,600 to rehabilitate the a former grape juice factory in Fredonia for a new business called AgriAmerican Grape Juice.  The biggest award in the county is one-million dollars for redevelopment of the former Welch's Building.  Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul says the REDC program has worked well. 
The projects also include $695,000 for a project to convert Chauauqua Avenue in Lakewood to a "green street."  Jamestown will get $100,000 to help acquire property for development along the Chadakoin River.  Among those making the trip to Albany for the announcement, Fredonia Mayor Athanasia Landis and Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi.

 
Cable company Charter Communications has agreed to a $174.2-million settlement with the New York attorney general's office for defrauding customers with slower-than-promised internet speeds....  

Under the settlement announced Tuesday, Charter agreed to pay back $62.5 million dollars to more than 700,000 New York customers and provide 2.2-million of its active customers $110 million worth of streaming services and premium channels for free.  Attorney General Barbara Underwood said it's believed to be the largest refund by an internet provider in U.S. history.  A Charter spokeswoman says the state's lawsuit stemmed from advertising practices by Time Warner Cable prior to its 2016 merger with Charter.  The company says it will contact eligible customers about compensation they will receive under the settlement.


The Jamestown City Council has approved a new snow and ice removal contract with Chautauqua County that runs from this past November 1st through next April 30th...  

City Public Works Director Jeff Lehman says it's a compromise measure between the city and county, which wanted a 3-percent annual increase.  However, Lehman says the city had been receiving 5-percent increases.

Lehman told lawmakers last month that the city and county were at odds on how much the contract with the city should be increasing on an annual basis.  The new agreement will include 4-percent, yearly increases going forward for county roads the city's DPW clears during the Winter months.  The vote was taken at Monday night's Council voting session.


A Jamestown man was arrested late last weekend on multiple Felony warrants for allegedly being at a home on the city's southside that he had been ordered to stay away from...  

City police say they were called to the scene on McKinley Avenue shortly after Noon Sunday for a warrant check.  When officers arrived, they found 42 year-old Frank Bindics at the scene and, that there was a court order of protection for him to stay away from the residence.  Bindics was arrested for first-degree criminal contempt and aggravated family offense.


The Salvation Army of Jamestown has reached the half-way mark in it's 2018 Red Kettle Campaign but, there needs to be a major push in the final seven days to reach this year's goal...  

That from Major Kim Merchant, who updated the effort with our Dennis Webster and Russ Diethrick yesterday morning.  Merchant says they still have a number of openings at their several indoor and outdoor kettles across the Jamestown-area.

Merchant says the loss of Sam's Club on Fairmount Avenue, which was one of their main kettle locations, has hurt them somewhat.  But, she urges people who used to ring the bells there to do so elsewhere.  She says they have nine locations where they need people to man the kettles, including the two entrances at the Lakewood Wal-Mart and, the four Tops Markets in the Jamestown-area.  In addition to the kettles, Merchant says you can also give on-line or by phone.  The phone number is 664-4108.  This year's goal is $112,000.
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In addition, Major Merchant says the Salvation Army is wrapping up it's Angel Tree program, and if you took a tag, she says please get your gift and bring it to their headquarters, or you can leave them at the lay-away department at the Lakewood Wal-Mart.


The U.S. surgeon general says swift action is needed to prevent millions of teenagers and adolescents from becoming hooked on Juul and other high-nicotine electronic cigarettes....  

Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Tuesday that parents, teachers and physicians must take aggressive steps to address an epidemic of underage vaping.  The nation's top doctor is joining a governmentwide effort to reverse the trend, driven by devices like Juul. The company's small, discrete devices have quickly dominated the U.S. vaping market.  Last month, Juul shut down its social media accounts and halted in-store sales of its flavored pods to deter use by kids.  The surgeon general says adults should learn about e-cigarettes and talk to children about their risks.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 18, 2018

 

Jamestown police are investigating three weekend incidents in which one person was allegedly shot, while two others were stabbed...  

None of the injuries are life-threatening but, police officials are frustrated because none of the victims is cooperating.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the shooting incident occured shortly after Midnight Sunday in the area of 96 Falconer Street.  Samuelson says the victim was shot in the arm several times after an argument by an unknown shooter in a small silver sedan.  The car then sped off westbound and, the victim was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment.
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Captain Samuelson says the first of the two stabbing incidents occured about 11:30 last Saturday night at an unknown location.  He says the victim was brought to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital by a private citizen after being stabbed while he sat inside his parked car.  Samuelson says the second stabbing occured a short time later when the unidentified victim went to a home on West 8th Street.  He says the victim was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of a stab wound to the back.  Samuelson says all three victims were specifically targeted.  If you have any information on any of the incidents, you can call JPD confidentially at 483-TIPS.  You can also use JPD's Tips 4-1-1 app.


The Jamestown City Council has a vacancy heading into the new year, following the resignation of a first-term lawmaker at last night's year-end meeting..  

Council President Marie Carubba read a letter from Democrat Vanessa Weinert at the end of the meeting.  Weinert, a Democrat, had been absent from the past several council meetings following a death in her family, but Carubba says they did not receive any official word until Monday.

Weinert was among two newcomers elected to the council in 2016 and, served as an "at-large" councilmember.  Carubba says the charter calls for the mayor to name a replacement after getting a recommendation from the city's Democratic Committee.  She says there is no "go to" list for a replacement right now because the resignation has just been acted on.  However, discussion about a replacement is expected to take place once Mayor Sam Teresi returns from a trip out of town.  The election of Weinert in 2016 gave the Jamestown City Council it's first-ever female majority.


City lawmakers last night approved purchasing a new, all-purpose trackless vehicle to replace an old model that broke down during the area's last big snowstorm...  


Council unanimously approved purchase of the Trackless MT-7 sidewalk plow from Trackless Vehicles of Courtland, Ontario, Canada for just under $138,000.  Public Works Director Jeff Lehman says, while it's mainly used for snow removal, it performs other duties as well.

Part of the money to make the purchase will come from what's left in the city's contingency account, totaling about $43,000.  Lawmakers say the majority of the money will come from money left over in in the 2018 budget, which is expected to be about $95,000.  Lehman says Trackless is the only place that makes the machines and, he hopes to have the 2018 model machine here by the start of 2019. 


Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello says his first year in office has been very busy and, there were a number of achievements...  

Borrello says those include being able to visit more than 100 business during his first 100 days in office.  He says it changed the conversation when it comes to employment from one of "there aren't enough jobs, to the fact businesses here "have jobs... but, not enough skilled workers to fill them."   Borrello is also pleased with another initiative, the Countywide Alliance for Enforcement and Rehabilitation, also known as CAER.

The improved numbers include a drop in the number of drug-related overdose deaths over the past year.  As far as disappointments, he says the biggest was losing the first $20-million Municipal Consolidation and Efficiency Competition.  But, Borrello says there is a silver lining, because all 14 of those projects are now up for funding individually.  He says the first victory is $-1.2-million to form a water and wastewater cooperative.  Borrello looks forward to another busy year in 2019. 


A Lakewood man and the passenger in his vehicle were taken to a local hospital following a two-vehicle crash in the Town of Kiantone Sunday evening....  

Sheriff's deputies responded to the accident just after 5 p.m. at the intersection of Kiantone Road and Route 60. Investigation found that 85 year-old Carl Mazzuro --  was trying to make a left-hand turn onto Route 60 -- but allegedly failed to yield to a southbound vehicle.  Mazzurco and his passenger were transported to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.  Deputies say the occupants of the other vehicle involved were treated at the scene.  Mazzurco was charged with failure to yield to right of way and issued appearance tickets for Kiantone Town Court.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's agenda for 2019 puts the legalization of recreational marijuana and fixing New York City's crumbling subway system among his top priorities for the start of his third term....

Cuomo's 45-minute speech Tuesday was heavy on references to Franklin D. Roosevelt, a fellow Democrat and former New York governor.  Cuomo touted liberal accomplishments while vowing to continue to fight Trump administration policies he says are detrimental to New Yorkers.  A Democrat-controlled Senate will be seated along with the already Democrat-led Assembly when the Legislature reconvenes next month.  Cuomo is optimistic about moving forward with what he refers to as his "justice agenda."  Cuomo is a potential candidate for president in 2020.  He also reinforced his criticism of President Donald Trump's Republican policies.


Thanks to a great response from the community, The Resource Center's Toys for Tots campaign in conjunction with the U-S Marine Corps Reserves has been another success....  

After last weekend's distribution, one of the Coordinators, Terri Johnson, said they received more than one-thousand dollars and, "hundreds of toys."  Johnson and others put out a plea last week for more toys to help meet the need this season in both the Jamestown and Dunkirk-areas.  She adds that they have also been able to help a few more children have a Merry Christmas this season.  Johnson says they also had several people help them with getting the toys ready for distribution. Usually, The Resource Center is able to get to it's goal of 3,000 toys with few problems but, this year they actually ran out of toys during the distribution the weekend of December 8th and 9th. 
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 17, 2018

A Cattaraugus County has been arrested for allegedly raping, and sexually assaulting a child in the city of Olean...  

Sheriff's officers in Little Valley say 32 year-old Shawn Sayers, Senior was arrested on a sealed indictment warrant last Friday at a location on Leo Moss Drive.  Deputies say Sayers is charged with two counts each of preditory sexual assault against a child and, sexual conduct against a child, along with first-degree rape, and preditory sexual assault.  Officers say he was arraigned, and sent to the Cattaraugus County Jail without bail.


A Cassadaga man faces several traffic and vehicle charges after leading police on a high-speed chase on Route 60 in the town of Stockton late last Friday night....  


Sheriff's officers say they tried to pull over a motorcycle after seeing a violation shortly after 10 p.m., but the operator failed to comply.  Deputies say the bike took off at a high-rate of speed and, into the town of Gerry -- where the motorcycle was stopped.  Officers arrested 28 year-old Anthony Digangi for speeding in a 55 mile per hour zone third-degree unlawfuly fleeing a police officer with a motor vehicle, third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation and, several other vehicle and traffic violations.  He was arraigned in Charlotte, Stockton, and Gerry Town Courts, and sent to the County Jail on $10,000 cash bail.

 

The Jamestown City Council will decide tonight whether to exhaust it's remaining contingency account to help purchase a new, trackless bombadier snowplow to use on sidewalks....  

City Council Finance Committee Chairman Tony Dolce says Public Works Director Jeff Lehman told lawmakers earlier this month that one of their sidewalk plows broke down during the last big snow storm and, needs to be replaced.  Dolce says it was the second of two pieces of equipment that has to be replaced.

Dolce says the other item was a front-line truck that was paid for entirely out of the contingency account.  In addition, he says the Teresi administraton will use at least some of the money that comes out of the annual "over-and-under" from the current year's budget.  That's expected to be about $95,000 a year.  He says Public Works is one of the main "equipment-dependent" departments in city government.  Dolce adds they're also looking at some new equipment and vehicles for the fire department.  He says they may have to bond for a new engine and, overhaul an old ladder truck.  Tonight's Council voting session begins at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.


A pay raise for New York lawmakers that will give them the highest state legislative salaries in the nation is being challenged in court...  

The Government Justice Center filed a lawsuit Friday challenging the legality of a panel's vote last week to raise lawmakers' pay for the first time in 20 years.  The conservative legal advocacy group claims pay raises must be voted on by the state Senate and Assembly.  The 63 percent increase will be phased in over three years, with legislative pay going from $79,500 a year to $130,000 Members of the pay committee also voted to limit how much money lawmakers can earn from outside jobs.  Governor Andrew Cuomo said on WCNY radio Friday that he believes the panel acted within its authority.


It took some extra effort at the end, but this year's 'Holiday Haul' for St. Susan's Center collected five tons of food and supplies, and $11,500... 

Organizer Keith Martins's voice cracked with emotion as he thanked the community for its contributions.  The final push on Saturday afternoon came from the Falconer JV Girls' Basketball team.  The team's coach, Dan Keefe, says the nine players on the team collected 1,603 pounds of food, and $520.  Keith Martin says that's the most that any sports team has raised anytime in the 6 years of the Holdiday Haul.  Martin, who is the Executive Director of Northwest Arena, spent three days in front of the Jamestown Cycle Shop, collecting non-perishable items and cash for St. Susan's.


Overseas recycling policies are having a negative impact on recycling world-wide and, in Jamestown and Chautauqua County....  

Last year, China began policies that restrict the importation of foreign recyclables.  In a recent release, the Board of Public Utilities noted that many organizations who collect recyclables -- like them and the county landfill -- have been hard hit by China's policies, especially in the mixed paper market.  With that market essentially closed, recycling has become much more costly.  However, BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says they've been able to weather the storm so far.

In the past, Leathers says various entities paid the BPU for recyclables brought to their facilities.  In 2014,  he says plastic, metals, cardboard, paper and box board were sold for $5.00/ton.  While the BPU must pay to dispose of paper/cardboard and box board, plastics and metals are accepted with no payment to or from the BPU at this time.  No vendor accepts glass recyclables in the area, but the BPU receives support from the county for glass.  Leathers says BPU officials will meet during the first-quarter of 2019 to see if any changes need to be made.


A new state task force will examine the availability of child care across New York state...  

The panel, which met for the first time earlier this month, includes child care providers, child welfare advocates and business leaders.  Created as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2018 Women's Agenda, the task force is charged with coming up with ways to improve access to affordable, quality child care throughout the state.  Cuomo, a Democrat, says availability of child care is essential to the state's economy, since a lack of child care options can force parents to choose between caring for a child and working.  Initial recommendations from the task force are expected to be submitted to the Cuomo administration next year.

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WJTN Headlines for Sun., Dec. 16, 2018

Lawsuit filed to stop planned state legislative, administration pay raises...
A pay raise for New York lawmakers that will give them the highest state legislative salaries in the nation is being challenged in court.  The Government Justice Center filed a lawsuit Friday challenging the legality of a panel's vote last week to raise lawmakers' pay for the first time in 20 years.  The conservative legal advocacy group claims pay raises must be voted on by the state Senate and Assembly.  The 63 percent increase will be phased in over three years, with legislative pay going from $79,500 a year to $130,000.  The first step... to $110,000... will take place on Jan. 1.  Members of the pay committee also voted to limit how much money lawmakers can earn from outside jobs.  Governor Andrew Cuomo said on WCNY radio Friday that he believes the panel acted within its authority.


Officer involved in fatal police-involved shooting in Fredonia identified...
As the investigation continues into Monday's police involved shooting in Fredonia, the village police department has released the name of the officer involved.  Police Chief Brad Meyers announced Thursday afternoon that patrolman Nathan Scriven was police officer who shot and killed man wielding a knife at 76 Liberty St.  Scriven, who has 15 years of experience with the department, was wearing a body camera at the time of the shooting.  Footage from the device was utilized by members of the State Attorney General's Office in making a determination that the incident did not require involvement of the AG's Office.


Borrello "thrilled" that state is providing nearly $6-million to help two big, water infrastructure projects in the county...
Two major water infrastructure projects in Chautauqua County are being awarded nearly $6-million to bring both closer to completion.  County Executive George Borrello says they recently received $5.97-million through the New York State Water Infrastructure Act program.  Borrello says they are "thrilled" to receive the funding... $2.97-million of which will go to the South and Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer Districts for the West Side Sewer Extension project.  He says it will help close the funding gap found by the State Comptroller's Office and help complete the project.  Borrello says the West Side project encompasses the town of North Harmony.  He adds the remaining $3-million will go towards providing a transmission main for the North County Water District to create an interconnection with the village of Fredonia.  Borrello says the district tried to switch to the back-up system in Fredonia due to a leak in the Dunkirk system.  However... the interconnection didn't work.


New St. Susan's Director named...
The Jamestown area's largest soup kitchen has a new executive director.  Bonny Scott-Sleight is a 30-year resident of Jamstown... who's background is in non-profit work, including 10 years with Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc.  Scott-Sleight replaces outgoing director Jeff Smith... and, says she felt if it was meant to be, it would happen.  She calls it a great opportunity.  So far... Scott-Sleight has taken part in the annual volunteer dinner and is now helping with the fifth-annual Holiday Haul, which concluded last Saturday afternoon in the parking lot of Jamestown Cycle Shop. 


 

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 14, 2018

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

That from D-A Patrick Swanson yesterday.  He says the decision was based on evidence gathered in the case.  Swanson says an investigator from the A-G's Office was sent to the scene of the fatal shooting on Monday.

Swanson says the investigation is continuing, but he admits it has been a slow process, which is probably the "right way to do it."  He says there are several pieces of evidence his office still needs from the incident.  Police officials said Monday night that the officer fatally shot the man who was wielding a knife.  Swanson did indicate that he met with the man's family today and they did not want authorities to release his identity.  The D-A says he will leave it up to Fredonia Police Chief Brad Meyers to decide whether to release the officer's name.

 
A newspaper is now identifying the man suspected of fatally stabbing another man in western New York last weekend and, is being held in a Nevada jail....  

The Olean Times-Herald reports police in Henderson, Nevada say 22-year-old Brandon Francis is being held in a local jail on an outstanding warrant from Cattaraugus County.  Francis is accused of fleeing to Nevada after allegedly stabbing 22-year-old Juwaan Holt, of Buffalo, to death.  The victim's body was discovered Saturday at a home in Salamanca.  The Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office has declined to identify the suspect for investigative purposes but, deputies have said the man is charged with second-degree murder.  Francis is awaiting extradition proceedings to be brought back to New York.  It couldn't be learned from prosecutors if he has a lawyer.


Jamestown police have arrested a city man on 13 Felony charges stemming from a late November investigation into a rash of criminal mischief complaints....  

In a printed release, Police Chief Harry Snellings says 21 year-old Kyle Seekings and three male juveniles are allegedly responsible for damages -- in excess of $30,000 -- to homes, business and vehicles along First Street and the Riverwalk.  In addition, Snellings says the four are also accused of throwing rocks and snowballs from the viaduct on North Main Street and Foote Avenue.  Seekings is being held pending arraignment on 6 counts of second-degree criminal mischief and 7 counts of third-degree criminal mischief.  Snellings says the three juveniles will be petitioned to Family Court. 


Local Congressman Tom Reed is joining with other GOP House members from New York in calling on the Justice Department to investigate the state's Justice Center for failure to investigate crimes involving death and abuse of people with disabilities...  

Reed says those people are directly under the state's care and, says they were made aware of these "egregious and unreported crimes" by an advocate whose son died while in state care.

Reed says nearly 1,400 allegations related to staff abuses, patient neglect, sexual assaults and even patient deaths have been reported to the New York State Justice Center, which is authorized to investigate all reports of abuse and neglect and prosecute criminal offenses.  However... he says it has only investigated about 2.5-percent of those.  That's why he and others have written the Justice Department.  Reed says they include fellow Repubicans Lee Zeldin, Peter King and Elise Stefanik.  He adds that "for Governor Cuomo’s Justice Center to sweep these crimes under the rug is unfair for the people our government is charged with protecting." 


Members of the New York state Assembly are getting an early start to 2019.  Members of the Assembly's Democratic majority are gathered in Albany for a few days of meetings....  

Senate Democrats are also meeting this week to prepare for 2019, when they will have the majority in the Senate.  The Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs held a hearing Wednesday on veteran employment programs.  Lawmakers say the early meetings, many held behind closed doors, help them pick priorities and plot strategy before the session begins.  The full Legislature is scheduled to convene January 9th for the beginning of its six-month session.  Meanwhile, Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo will get the new year started when he delivers his third inaugural address on January 1st on Ellis Island.


The United Way of Southern Chautauqua County is now over 80-percent of it's goal for the 2018 General Campaign....  

Committee officials met Thursday and, learned the campaign was at 82-percent of their $1.335-million goal.  United Way Executive Director Amy Rohler says they're pleased with where they are at but, she adds they still have to get over the finish line.

Rohler says she and others with the United Way are in the midst of making presentations to local businesses and companies to generate excitement about the campaign.  She and others were at our Media One Radio Group headquarters yesterday to talk about what their dollars do for one local human service agency, the Chautauqua Blind Association.  Rohler says all United Way campaign dollars stay local to support 39 programs at 26 member agencies.  She says the best way to keep up with the campaign and, learn more about their visits, is to go to their Facebook page.  You can also got to their website at UWaysCC.org.  You can also call 483-1561.

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 13, 2018

Two boys from Jamestown face charges in Family Court after allegedly stealing several items from a number of cars on the city's northside over the past several weeks......  

City police say -- among the items stolen -- were an AR-15 Rifle, and a loaded, 9-millimeter pistol.  Officers say the pair was taken into custody late Wednesday after they allegedly tried to use a stolen credit card at a local retail business.  Police say the boys, who were not identified, were found on surveillance video and arrested.  Investigators are trying to recover the other items stolen during the rash of vehicle thefts.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson reminds residents to never store any firearms in their cars and always lock your vehicle when you leave it parked.  He says the juveniles will face charges in Family Court.


Congress has approved a new, five-year federal Farm Bill that includes "some substantial reforms"....  

Those are the feelings of local Congressman Tom Reed, who says he voted for the measure, which had been reconciled in both chambers.  Reed says there is some trade-off in the final measure provides some additional relief for dairy farmers -- especially those with up to 200 head of cattle.  The Corning Republican adds that, while it doesn't go far enough in his mind, there were some gains in limiting food stamp benefits.

Reed says the dairy component would increase the ability of farmers to get margin insurance if they have up to 200 cows in their herd.  He says the bill would also encourage expansion of milk markets, both in the U-S and internationally.  However, he says the latter part is also dependent on the U-S wrapping up the new USMC trade deal with Mexico and Canada.  Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier media.


U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says she's "very excited" about the new federal Farm Bill, which has now been approved by both houses of Congress....  

Gillibrand says she supported the measure as a member of the agriculture committee and, adds that she like many aspects of the five-year bill, including two in particular.  She says one is that it helps smaller dairy farmers who will get margin protection over the past three years.

Gillibrand says the Farm Bill also protects the Supplimental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP or food stamp benefits.  She says it rejects the House GOP plan that would have cut benefits, and created a "massive paperwork nightmare" for low-income families trying to get help from the program.  Gillibrand made her comments during a conference call with state media this week.


The former head of the State University of New York's Polytechnic Institute has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for his role in corrupting the state's Buffalo Billion project....  

Alain Kaloyeros was sentenced Tuesday in Manhattan federal court by Judge Valerie Caproni.  She also fined him $100-thousand dollars.  The judge said he can remain free on bail pending appeal because there was a substantial legal question that the appeals court must consider.  However, she said he must report to prison two months after the appeals court rules, if it upholds the conviction and sentence.  Kaloyeros, who apologized to New York state residents, was convicted in July of conspiracy and wire fraud.  His lawyers said afterward they still believe him to be "an innocent man."


A 22 year-old man -- who fled to Las Vegas Nevada -- is awaiting extradition to Cattaraugus County on a second-degree murder charge in connection with a fatal stabbing incident in Salamanca....  

Sheriff's Officers in Little Valley report the arrest was made following an investigation into the death of 22 year-old Juwaan Holt at 357 Broad Street last Saturday.  Deputies say the unidentified suspect allegedly stabbed the Buffalo-area victim in the abdomen, resulting in his death.  The investigation is continuing in conjuction with the Salamanca City Police and, more charges are pending.  Officers say this was an isolated incident, the suspect is in custody and there is no current danger to the public. 


The village of Fredonia's neighboring police agency has assisted with the response, and the investigation into this past Monday's police involved shooting in the village....  

Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano says his department sprang into action when they learned of the shooting at 76 Liberty Street around 2 PM. Ortolano called the shooting a tragedy, not only for the man who was shot and killed, but also for the police officer and his family.  He says the officer is obviously going through a lot right now.  Ortolano says police officers in both communities work closely together and continue to show support following the difficult ordeal.  The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office along with New York State Police are assisting with the investigation. 

 
Through some good work from their finance department, there will be no rate hikes for any of the five divisions of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities next year....  


That good news this week from BPU General Manager Dave Leathers, who says the board recently approved all five 2019 budgets.  Leathers says the panel, during it's last meeting, approved both the electric and water division spending plans.  That news was conveyed to the city council this week.

Leathers says both the water and wastewater budgets do reflect the new, 10-year agreement with the town of Ellicott.  Customers there will pay 200-percent of the city rate going forward but, the BPU takes on more infrastructure responsibilities.  That includes sewer and water main replacements when needed.  Leathers says the board approved the other three division budgets for wastewater, solid waste, and District Heating in late October. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 12, 2018

A 22 year-old man -- who fled to Las Vegas Nevada -- is awaiting extradition to Cattaraugus County on second-degree murder charges in connection to a stabbing incident in Salamanca... 

Sheriff's Officers in Little Valley report the arrest was made following an investigation into the death of 22 year-old Juwaan Holt at 357 Broad Street last Saturday. Deputies say the unidentified suspect allegedly stabbed the Buffalo-area victim in the abdomen, resulting in his death. The investigation is continuing in conjuction with the Salamanca City Police and, more charges are pending. Officers say this was an isolated incident, the suspect is in custody and there is no current danger to the public. 


A Fredonia woman has been arrested for allegedly driving drunk in a two-car accident on Route 60 in the town of Pomfret Monday night....  

Sheriff's officers came across the accident scene shortly after 11 p.m. and, found that the driver of one vehicle, 60 year-old Andrea Tarnowski, drove into the intersection with Straight Road, and struck a southbound vehicle.  No injuries were reported, but deputies found that that Tarnowski's license had been suspended due to a prior impaired driving arrest.  After processing, officers say Tarnowski was released with tickets for Pomfret Town Court at a later date to answer charges of DWI, first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, and failure to yield right of way.


The attorney representing the officer involved in Monday's police involved shooting in Fredonia believes it was a "legitimate and lawful use" of deadly force under New York State law...  

Police officials say the incident at 76 Liberty Street was first reported as a medical call, before village police were sent to the scene.  The officer involved is being represented by attorney Thomas Burton from the Buffalo area, who has handled a number of police-involved shooting cases over the years.  He says the man who brandished a knife did not obey the commands from the officer.

The man, who has not been identified, was pronounced dead at the scene by a county coroner.  The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office, with the help of the State Police, are handling the investigation that is being overseen by District Attorney Patrick Swanson.  The Attorney General's Office was contacted and sent an investigator to the scene on Monday, but Burton does not believe the AG's Office will take over jurisdiction of the case because a weapon was obviously seen and recovered. 


A pair of people essential to the growth of the Robert H. Jackson Center were honored in a ceremony there on Tuesday.....  

Fran Galbato began as a docent, giving tours of the fledgling facility as it started over 17 years ago.  Her husband, Tom, quickly joined on.  Greg Peterson, one of the founders of the center, said the couple stepped up on many fronts when help was needed the most.

The Galbatos' -- whose family business is Brigiotta's -- organized fund raising spaghetti dinners, took long trips to bring 'Jackson memorabilia' back to Jamestown, and helped organize the office as the center began to grow.  Because of health issues, neither Tom nor Fran could be present at the ceremony.  Their daughter, Carla Kays, spoke on her parents' behalf, saying her mother loved what Robert Jackson stood for-- equality, justice, and treating one another with respect and kindness. The Jackson Center's Interim President, Tom Schmidt, said a brick honoring the Galbatos' commitment will be installed in the front sidewalk next spring.    


The Chautauqua Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Council will hold a forum tonight to try and clarify the differences between medical marijuana and recreational pot....  
 

CASAC Executive Director Melanie Witkowski says the forum will be held at McEwen Hall at the SUNY College at Fredonia from 5:30 to 7:30 PM.  Witkowski says she'll be on the panel in addition to health care, and local task force officials.

Witkowski says Chautauqua County Health Commissioner Christine Schulyer, Will Jones of Smart Approaches to Marijuana and, retired UPMC Chautauqua Hospital Clinical Director Andy O'Brien will also be on the panel.  She says there is a lot of concern about recreational marijuana being legalized in New York state because there is already a lot of substance abuse here already and, the area's poverty numbers are high.  The forum will be held in Room 209 of McEwen Hall at SUNY at Fredonia.  For more information or to register, go on-line to casacweb.org.


Several nationwide food contamination outbreaks has led U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to call on the Food and Drug Administration to implement legislation approved several years ago by Congress...  

The New York Democrat says the Food Safety Modernization Act was drafted -- by her -- in 2010, but the FDA has yet to enforce the standards.  While grocery stores are good at getting those products off the shelves, Gillibrand says they don't do as well in notifying their customers of those recalls.

Gillibrand says -- often -- people will have items left in their pantry or freezer that has been recalled and, they don't realize it.  She adds that -- with the use of current technology -- shoppers can be informed quickly through various means.  Gillibrand says supermarkets and grocery stores know what was sold and often to whom and, can connect with those people through a phone call, e-mail or text.  She says there are four store chains -- including Wegman's -- in New York that have already implemented such measures on their own. 


With less than two weeks to Christmas and one major distribution yet to come, Toys for Tots in Chautauqua County has run out of toys....

Heather Brown, one of the Toys for Tots Coordinators from the Resouce Center, speaking at Toy Central in Falconer Tuesday, said donations have been a little down this year, and applications way up, reaching 3,000 for the first time in TRC's 18 year history with the project.  Terri Johnson, another of the coordinators, hopes people will purchase toys for any age range over the next couple days and place them in one of the over 100 barrels at stores and other locations throughout the community.   Toys should  be new and unwrapped.  They final distribution is set for Saturday, when they hope to have toys for another 1200 young people.  More information on Facebook, or call 661-1042.


A Pennsylvania man convicted of killing his wife and tossing her body into Lake Erie has been sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole....  

The Erie Times-News reports that Erie County President Judge John Trucilla imposed the mandatory sentence Tuesday on 49-year-old Christopher Leclair.  He also added three years and nine months to 17 years for counts including abuse of a corpse, evidence-tampering and false reports.  Leclair reported his wife missing in June 2017 but surveillance images showed the two leaving and him returning alone, and he later put out a distress call.  Her body was found in July off Dunkirk, New York.  The judge ordered him to pay nearly 706-thousand dollars in restitution to the Coast Guard for the search.  Defense attorney Bruce Sandmeyer said Leclair maintains his innocence.


Authorities say three snowmobilers have died in separate crashes in northern New York since last Friday...  

Two crashes took place on Friday, with 46-year-old Thomas Hetherington of Middlesex, New York killed after crashing into a tree while snowmobiling in the Adirondack town of Inlet.  New York Upstate reports that 23-year-old Jonathon Black of Somerset, New Jersey died that same evening near Old Forge.  Webb Police Chief Ronald Johnson says conditions in the area were very icy, and the causes of the crashes were "imprudent speed for the conditions."  New York State Police say 18-year-old Luke Tyrrell of Adams, New York died Sunday morning after losing control of his snowmobile and crashing into a tree.  Tyrrell was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 11, 2018

The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office, with assistance from the State Police, are continuing to investigate a police-involved shooting that claimed a life Monday afternoon in the village of Fredonia....  

Fredonia Police Chief Brad Meyers says police responded to 76 Liberty Street around 1:45 PM to assist Fredonia Fire with a medical call at the location. According to Meyers, the man, armed with a knife, attacked one of the officers.  The officer retreated to the street and shot the man who was pronounced dead at the scene by a county coroner.  Meyers says its was a difficult situation.

Meyers says the officer has not been identified.  However, he did indicate the officer, a 15-year veteran of the department, has been placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of the investigation. Police involved shootings are very rare in Fredonia.  Ryan Wysong, a nearby resident, heard the gunshots and knew something wasn't right. Wysong says he heard a total of four shots that were fired.  The last police involved shooting in the village was when a police officer was shot in the leg in 2003.  


An unidentified female was flown to a regional hospital for treatment of serious injuries following an altercation in the town of Hanover Sunday evening....  

Sheriff's deputies were called to an undisclosed address and, arrested 41 year-old Kenneth Monture -- of Jamestown -- for allegedly striking and kicking the female at 11 PM.  Officers say Mercyflight took the victim to Erie County Medical Center for her injuries.  Monture was charged with second-degree assault and sent to the county jail without bail. 


Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello says he will be reviewing the recommendations issued from a countywide task force that's been focused on the county's opioid crisis...  

The Countywide Alliance for Enforcement and Rehabilitation, or CAER, recently issued a report entitled - "2018 Summary and Recommendations."  Borrello tells us that he is pleased with the work of CAER and will be discussing the recommendations with the County Legislature.

Among the recommendations is combining the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force with the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force.  Borrello says he agrees that the two task forces need to either merge or work more closely together.  He's hopeful that the major stakeholders will work towards one of both of those outcomes.  Another recommendation is adding a full-time investigator to the District Attorney's Office.  Besides the recommendations, the task force reports that drug overdose and drug-related deaths in the county appear to have dropped during the past year.  Direct overdose deaths were down from 29 at this time last year, to 10 this year.


Grants totaling $2.6 million have been awarded to 28 organizations around New York state to support projects that address environmental and health concerns in low-income and minority communities...  

The money is from the Department of Environmental Conservation's environmental justice community impact grant program.  Money will be used to clean up vacant lots, create organic urban farms, improve waterways, expand environmental education and promote community-owned solar.  Since the program began in 2006, 145 organizations have received almost $5 million for projects addressing environmental issues in their communities, including research and outreach projects.


Two young women who have been able to forge major collaborations in their professional lives in Chautauqua County have been given one of the county Chamber of Commerce's most prestigious awards...  

Dunkirk's Monica Kemp-Simpson and Jamestown's Simone Sellstrom are this year's co-recipients of the Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award.  Sellstrom is a midwest native and, moved here to become Communications Coodinator at Jamestown Community College more than 6 years ago.  Most recently, she has worked with the Small Business Development Center at JCC to distribute a social media guide and, says their help has been vital.

Simpson is a Forestville native, who is program manager for the Fredonia Technology Incubator and, has worked on a number of programs and projects in the north county area.  But, she says she's also very proud of what she's been able to do with the local "young professionals" group. The Pam Lydic Awards were presented at last Friday's annual meeting of the chamber at the Chautauqua Harborfront Hotel in Celoron.  The main speaker at the event was hotel owner--operator David Hart.


Governor Andrew Cuomo has vetoed a measure that would have allowed big lottery jackpot winners in New York to remain anonymous....  

Bill sponsors wanted New York to follow the lead of a handful of other states that give jackpot winners the option of anonymity so they can avoid being besieged by people seeking money.  The bill would have applied to jackpots over $5,000.  Cuomo said in a veto message issued late Friday that people should know there are actual lottery winners and that the state is not merely padding its coffers.  The governor says winners seeking anonymity in New York can form a limited liability corporation.
 A New York City resident who won a $344-million Powerball jackpot last month told newspapers he wished he could remain anonymous.


A Sherman man has been arrested for drunk driving, speeding and having no headlights early Sunday morning in the town of Sherman....  

Sheriff's officers say a patrol stopped 24 year-old Martin Hostetler on Route 76 shortly before 2:30 AM for speeding and, he was found to be intoxicated.  Hostetler was arrested and, after processing was released with traffic tickets for Sherman Town Court.  He was charged with driving while intoxicated, aggravated unlicensed operation, speed in zone, and no/inadequate headlights.


Two committees of the New York state legislature will examine the level of mental health services provided in the state's juvenile justice system...  

The Assembly's Committee on Children and Families and the Committee on Mental Health are scheduled to hold a public hearing on the topic later today in Albany.  The meeting will focus on the level of care given to juvenile offenders struggling with some type of mental health challenges.  Experts, advocates and relatives of offenders are expected to participate.  Findings from the hearing could play a role next year as lawmakers take up a variety of reforms to the juvenile justice system.  Critics say too many youthful offenders don't get the mental health help they need.

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 10, 2018

(Corrected) A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly stealing a bicycle... and, acting suspiciously near a church and the Fenton History Center in the Brooklyn Square area of the city.  

The Jamestown Police K-9 unit was called to the scene near the New Creation Assembly of God at 116 South Main St. just after 8 p.m. last Saturday.  Officers found 26 year-old Luca Brownlee behind a bush outside... but, he immediately ran off when police called for him to come out.  Brownlee allegedly left the bike behind.  K-9 "Mitchell" later found Brownlee reaching into his waste band near the Fenton History Center on Washington Street, and he resisted arrest.  However... nothing was taken from the center.  He was finally arrest, and arraigned on two counts of petty larceny... and others including obstruction.  Brownlee was sent to the county jail on $1,000 dollars cash bail.
 

New York state spent a lot of money to win the recent competition to land the second U-S headquarters for Amazon, but did the state and New York city, give up too much?  

A group of economists last weekend said while New York will bring in another $27-billion in new tax money over the next quarter century, the state's analysis does not consider added expenses... including costs to educate the children of workers, and public transportation needs.  Local Congressman Tom Reed says -- if the state had a better tax and regulatory climate -- huge incentives would not be needed.

Reed believes the $2.8-billion economic development package given to Amazon is a "slap in the face" to businesses currently here that did not get such sweetheart deals to locate or stay here.  He says, by his own admission, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that unless the state and city provided those incentives, Amazon was going to go to Texas.  Reed recently wrote a letter to the governor that calls for more tax and regulatory relief.  He adds that a deal that large should be approved by a three-fifths majority of the state legislature.


In New York state government news, good-government groups are cheering new restrictions on legislative moonlighting....  

A state compensation committee voted Thursday to raise legislative salaries from the current $79,000 to $130,000 over the next three years.  The raise is the first in 20 years and comes with restrictions capping lawmakers' outside income at 15 percent of their salary.  Government watchdogs say outside jobs can be a conduit for bribes, and groups such as Common Cause and Reinvent Albany say the new restrictions are a long-needed reform.  Meanwhile, members of the Assembly return to Albany this week to get ready for the start of the 2019 session next month and, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been tapped as vice chairman of the National Governors Association, a job sure to raise the Democrat's national profile.


It appears that state lawmakers may be getting their first pay raise in 20 years... 

However, that's not sitting well with at least one local state legislator.  A special panel created by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature voted to increase the base pay for state legislators.  However, State Assemblyman Andy Goodell is not pleased with the move and says he opposed the creation of the pay commission.

The move would raise annual salaries from $79,500 to $130,000 by 2021.  They would make $110,000 to begin 2019.  Goodell says he doesn't have a problem with the current annual salary, but, adds he can understand the concerns of downstate lawmakers.  He says he "knew what the salary was when I ran..." but, he says he understands the cost of living in the New York City area is "much higher" there.  The pay raises will take place unless the state Legislature decides to overrule the committee's decision.  Goodell believes there should be a vote. 


The Jamestown High School Acappella Choir was tested in an unexpected way Sunday, as more than 500 people gathered for the first of this year's Vespers Services....  

Brian Bogey, the choir's Director Emeritus and accompanist, said, moments before the start, one of the 4,000 pipes in the organ at First Lutheran Church developed a cipher, a note that wouldn't stop playing.  Bogey scrambled across the choir loft and played the entire program at the piano. Acappella President, Corin Derby, was very happy with the performance, saying "We rely on the organ, but we rely on Mr. Bogey more."  Acappella Director, Norm Lydell, gave credit to his students for being flexible as they adapted to the breakdown.  Brian Bogey said repair people will be summoned immediately, so the organ will be ready for the second Vespers, next Sunday, December 16 at 4 PM.


A coalition of New York education groups says schools will need a $2.2-billion increase in state aid to meet the needs of students next year....  

The Educational Conference Board's budget recommendation late this week includes a $1.3 billion increase in the base Foundation Aid, as well as $400 million more for reimbursements for services including transportation and special education.  An additional $500-million is being sought for priority areas like school safety and supporting struggling schools.  The conference board, which comprises agencies representing administrators, parents and teachers, cites increases over the past decade in students who are poor, disabled or are English language learners.  Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to release his budget proposal next month.


Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says legislation boosting federal investment in roads, bridges and other infrastructure must include efforts to curb global warming....  

Lawmakers have cited infrastructure investment as ripe for bipartisan agreement next year, but, the New York Democrat's position could complicate things.  The Trump administration has prioritized undoing the Obama administration's efforts to slow climate change.  Schumer said Friday in a letter to President Donald Trump that climate change will cause "untold human suffering and significant damage to the U.S. economy" if left unchecked.  He is calling for permanent tax credits to boost production of wind and solar energy and to make homes and offices more energy efficient.  Schumer also is calling for loans to communities that would invest in projects that limit the damage caused by hurricanes and other natural disasters.

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 7, 2018

Snowfall totals weren't what they were predicted to be early Thursday, but there was still more than enough to slick up roads across Chautauqua County and making driving conditions hazardous last night...  

Local police report several cars off the road, or involved in minor fender-benders.  Forecaster Dan Kelly with the National Weather Service also say there will be some snow around this morning's commute, making travel tricky.  Kelly says our Winter Weather Advisory expired early this morning.

Earlier predictions called for 5 to 9 inches in the persistant lake snow areas.  Kelly said late yesterday that we may also see some significant snow again tonight, with between 2 to 3 inches of snow through early Saturday morning.  However, Kelly says after that, the weekend should be relatively uneventful.  

The city of Jamestown's ad hoc Salary Review Commission has unaniomously approved pay increases for both the mayor, and city council members, beginning with the next term....  

However, it's not clear yet how the City Council will receive those increase.  City Clerk Todd Thomas says members voted Wednesday to increase the mayor's pay from $72,000 a year to $85,000 while city council members would double from $5,000 a year to $10,000.  The Council president would still receive an additional one-thousand dollars a year.  The mayor's pay was last increased in 2008, while council members haven't seen an increase in more than 30 years. 

New York lawmakers could be getting their first pay raise in 20 years....  

A state compensation committee on Thursday voted to increase legislative pay from $79,500 dollars annually to $130,000.  The increase would be phased in over three years, beginning with a bump to $110,000 on New Year's Day.  With the increase, members of the New York Legislature will be the best paid state lawmakers in the country.  Many legislators say their compensation hasn't kept up with inflation and doesn't reflect the work they do outside of the six-month legislative session.  The four-member compensation committee was created to study the issue and render a decision.  Commission members also called on lawmakers to cap how much they can earn from outside jobs, often seen as a potential conduit for bribes.

The House of Representatives and Senate have now approved a two-week extension of the current Continuing Resolution to keep the federal government running through December 21st...  

Work on a new appropriations measure ground to a halt most of the week with the national days of mourning and funeral for late President George H.W. Bush.  However, local Congressman Tom Reed said he was confident there will be a measure in place by today's deadline to give lawmakers more time to negotiate a final resolution.

Reed says the biggest sticking point remains President Trump's insistance on having $5-billion in the new spending bill for border security, namely a new wall, at the southern border.  The Corning Republican says, though, that it's up to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to decide what he wants.  While Republicans say it's up to Schumer to decide on whether there will be a government shut-down or not, Schumer has insisted it's up to the GOP because they Congress and the presidency.  Reed made his comments for his weekly telephone conference call with regional media.

One of the Jamestown area's most famous and longstanding holiday programs will begin this weekend...  

The Jamestown High School Acappella Choir will present the first of its annual Vespers Services on Sunday, at 4 p.m. at First Lutheran Church.  Director Norm Lydell says this year's program offers something for everyone, including traditional works with new harmonies.  This is the 94th year of the choir's performances. This year's Vespers will be accompanied by the choir's Director Emeritus, Brian Bogey, who says First Lutheran, on Chandler Street, seats over a thousand people and with 90 foot ceilings, is a an extraordinary place to make music.  There is no charge to attend Acappella Vespers.  A free-will offering will be collected to help defray expenses.  The second of the two Vespers Services will be on Sunday, December 16th. 

New York's farmers are in the gift-giving mood....  

The New York Farm Bureau announced this week that so far this year farmers from around the state have donated nearly 11 million pounds of food to regional food banks so far this year.  That's enough food to serve nearly 9 million meals.  The Farm Bureau announces the total each year around the holidays. This year's haul is more than 1.6 million pounds higher than last year's total.  Since the initiative began farmers have donated more than 85 million pounds of food to food banks.  New York state food banks distribute more than 225 million pounds of food to almost 3 million people annually.

A Syracuse executive has been sentenced to 2-and-a half-years in prison for defrauding the state's Buffalo Billion project...  

Joseph Gerardi was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni.  The judge said the sentence should serve as a warning to anyone who wants to cheat as they compete for contracts involving government funding.  Gerardi was convicted by a jury of conspiracy, wire fraud and making false statements to federal officers.  Gerardi was a top executive at COR Development.  Prosecutors say Gerardi bribed a senior official in the governor's office in one of the schemes.

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 6, 2018

Two fundraising events are scheduled for Jamestown's Spire Theater on Saturday-- a 'Pop Up Holiday Market' and a jazz concert....  

The Spire's Angelo Guiffre, says they're raising money for a new roof on The Spire... the oldest public assembly building in the city.  From noon to 6p.m., Saturday, the holiday market will feature 30 artisans and craftspeople from the local area.  A 6 p.m., Ralph Rasmusson's band 'Pearl City Jazz' will present a holiday concert. 'Dem Bones,' a trombone choir, will join the event.  Tickets for the concert at $10.  The craft show is free.  The cost to replace The Spire roof is $62,000.  So far they've raised $11,000.  The Spire is located on East Third Street opposite the Post Office.  More information on their Raise the Roof campaign can be found at inspirejamestown.com.


The nation continues to pause to mourn the passing of the 41st President, local Congressman Tom Reed is among those praising the man that was George H.W. Bush....  

Reed says while Bush-41 served just one-term, he will ultimately be recognized as one of the "more successful" presidents of the modern era.  On the day of his state Funeral in Washington, the Corning Republican says Mr. Bush was a "true leader and war hero."

Reed says Bush's success actually dates back to when he served as Ronald Reagan's vice-president for eight years.  He says George H.W. Bush's sense of service to country was unparalleled starting as an 18 year-old in World War-Two and, the years after being in the White House.  Reed, who says he did get to meet the elder Bush a couple of times, made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media.


A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly leading police on a high-speed chase on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott late last week...  

Lakewood-Busti police say they received a call about the theft of a car from a garage at a home in the village of Lakewood last Thursday.  Police spotted the car on Fairmount Avenue and, they tried to stop the vehicle.  However, they say the driver, 22 year-old Tyler Tedesco, would not comply and, a chase ensued.  Police say speeds reached 90 mph, but police later found Tedesco and his girlfriend and their 3 year-old child a short time later.  He was arrested on several charges including criminal possession of stolen property, unlawfully fleeing a police officer and speeding.  Tedesco was later released to County Probation.


A Jamestown woman -- wanted on 6 active bench warrants -- was arrested as an unwanted person late Tuesday night....  

City police responded to a Price Street residence.... and, found 38 year-old Noel Luciano lying in a bed under the influence of an unknown substance. Officers say she was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment, where she was allegedly found to be in possession of methamphetamine and one suboxone strip. Luciano was transported to the Jamestown City Jail after she was released from the hospital and, was additionally charged with two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. 


Gas prices in the Jamestown-area are down by nearly 14-cents a gallon this week for regular, unleaded fuel....  

The East Central Triple-A reports the average price is now 2-dollars-72 cents per gallon.  Statewide, AAA says gasoline is five cents less expensive this week in New York at $2.79 a gallon.  Despite a draw of nearly 700,000 barrels, they say gasoline stocks continue to measure above 61-million in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region.  Regional refinery utilization has increased to 86 percent, indicating that a large build could be coming in the week ahead and contribute towards reducing gas prices even further.  Prices are now the lowest they have been for all of 2018.  The average price last year at this time was $2.75 a gallon.


The budget just approved by the Jamestown City Council for 2019 is the one that will go into effect for next year....  

That from Mayor Sam Teresi, who says he has no vetoes to the nearly $36-million spending plan that is essentially what he proposed in early October.  Council Finance Committee Chairman Tony Dolce says the problem is the mayor and council have made so many cuts in previous years, there's nothing left they can cut.

Dolce says, while the 2019 budget includes no tax increase and a slight 13-cent per thousand tax rate decrease, the situation is tenuous.  That's because the city still faces an arbitration ruling for two-percent pay increased for city police, going back to 2016.  Dolce says the city is fighting the ruling because the ruling could eat up most of next year's entire fund balance of $1.8-million. He says the ruling would cost the city about $400,000 for each year and, would then be compounded in future years.  Lawmakers last month agreed to challenge the ruling.


Dunkirk Common Council members approved a 2019 city budget during Tuesday's session....  

Council approved the nearly $23-million spending plan by a 4-1 vote.  Third Ward Councilman Shaun Heenan cast the lone no vote and has concerns about the continued reduction of transitional aid from NRG. Meanwhile, Second Ward Councilman Marty Bamonto was among those approved the budget.  He felt it;s a good spending plan that had no tax increase and, does not raise water and sewer rates.

 
Village of Falconer Announcement.... 

Due to the unexpected passing of long time firefighter and past Falconer Fire Chief Wayne Oste, the village of Falconer has postponed the Comprehensive Plan Open House.  The Open House was scheduled for this Saturday, December 8.  Officials say this will allow committee members, village administration and residents who would like to pay their respects to firefighter Oste to do so.

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 5, 2018

A Lakewood man was taken into custody following a high-speed chase in a stolen vehicle on Interstate-86 late Tuesday morning.... 

Troopers from the Jamestown Barracks say 22 year-old Collin Slack was pulled over for driving 87 mph in a 65-zone, but allegedly drove away as a trooper approached the vehicle.  A pursuit was initiated as the vehicle accelerated over 100 mph Police later deployed stop sticks, which successfully disabled Slack's vehicle.  As the car came to rest, police said Slack jumped out and fled into the woods, but he was later found and arrested.  Investigation revealed Slack allegedly took the vehicle from LUV Toyota in Lakewood and, was additionally found in possession of two stolen dealer platers and a key fab. Slack was arraigned and sent to the county jail without bail. 


The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help in locating the owner of a group of young cows that fell off a truck on Interstate-86 Tuesday morning....  

Just before 4 a.m., deputies received a call of several loose calves in the westbound lane of I-86 in the Town of Sherman.  Five injured calves were located in New York and three more were found in Pennsylvania, along with another found dead.  The five calves found in New York were taken by a local farmer for the time being.  Anyone who locates any more calves are asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at 753-2131.


There's another bout of lake effect snow coming our say later in the day today, but this time the Buffalo Metro-area may be getting more of a taste of it...  

That from Forecaster Aaron Reynolds at the National Weather Service in Buffalo, who says the lake effect snow will develop this evening and, then move north of the area by Thursday morning.   Meanwhile, Reynolds says there are indications of a major warm up for the second half of the month.  He says we'll get back to near normal temperatures by early next week, then go above normal for the middle of December. 

 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will deliver his third inaugural address at Ellis Island on New Year's Day...  

The Democrat announced his plans on Tuesday, calling Ellis Island a "fitting" location to begin a new term that he says will be focused on fighting for New Yorkers and setting a "progressive example" for the rest of the nation.  Ellis Island was the nation's busiest immigration station for decades, welcoming millions of immigrants from around the world.  Cuomo calls it an "enduring symbol" of America's core values of hope and opportunity.  Cuomo won a third term last month, beating Republican Marc Molinaro and three third-party candidates.  The speech's location is likely to encourage speculation that Cuomo may run for president, though the 60-year-old has said he has ruled out the idea.


A measure used for the past seven years will be considred during the next legislative session by state lawmakers...  

That the local two-percent property tax cap.  Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed the tax cap during his first year in office, calling it one of his top economic achievements.  Assemblyman Andy Goodell says he supports keeping the cap in place and says it has helped local property tax payers.

Goodell says there is a change he would like to see made regarding the tax cap on school budgets... and allow a simple majority public vote, but keep it at a 60-percent majority for school boards.  Whether or not the change is made, Goodell intends to support extending the tax cap.  He also expects the legislature pass the measure, since it seems to be very popular with state lawmakers. 

 
Southwestern Central School Superintendent, Maureen Donahue, said "It's great to be a Trojan tonight," as the new school's new gym officially opened Tuesday...  

The gym is part of a $15.9 million project and took just over a year to construct.  Donahue says it brings the facility into the 21st century with safer bleachers, a broader perimeter around the playing floor, and new technology.  One of the most distinctive exterior features of the new addition is the 'tilt-up' concrete walls.  Architect Brian Kulpa, of Clark Patterson Lee, says the walls make the building to 'stand out' and gave them the speed and savings they needed.  The addition also includes five new classrooms.  Following the opening ceremonies, the Southwestern boys and girls bastketball teams took to the floor and won their first games in the new gym.


There is still an urgent need for more bellringers for the The Salvation Army of Jamestown's annual Red Kettle Campaign across southern Chautauqua County...  

That from Major Kim Merchant, who says they're only at $27,200 of their $112,000 goal they want to reach by Christmas Eve.  Merchant says there are only 18 days left in the drive, but adds you can make one quick phone call to help them.

Merchant says they have just over 670 hours as their several red kettle locations that need to be filled between now and Christmas Eve day.  She adds they're also into the final stretch of their "Angel Tree" program, where gifts need to be turned in by Friday, December 14.  They also need non-perishable food items to help provide the Holiday Food baskets they provide to the needy.  If you would like to help them, contact the Salvation Army at 664-4108.

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News Headlines for Tues., Dec. 4, 2018

Salamanca man arrested for alleged bar shooting in Ellicottville...
A Cattaraugus County man is being held on $50,000 bail following a shooting in the village of Ellicottive last Saturday.  Members of the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation say the incident occurred during an altercation at the corner of Monroe and Washington Streets... when 25 year-old Damien Marvin of Salamanca allegedly shot one-round into the abdomen of a 41 year-old victim with a legally possessed Glock.  Troopers say Marvin remained on scene and surrendered without incident.  The victim was taken to Erie County Medical Center where he's in critical condition.  The incident remains under investigation.


Savlation Army's Red Kettle Campaign way behind... still looking for bell ringers...
The Salvation Army of Jamestown is still in urgent need of bellringers for their annual Red Kettle Campaign across the Jamestown-area.  That from Major Kim Merchant... who says they're only at $27,200 of their $112,000 goal they want to reach by Christmas Eve.  Merchant says there's only about three-weeks left in the drive.  Merchant says they have just over 670-hours left to fill in the final 18 days of the effort.  She adds people can also mail donations to them at 83 South Main St. in Jamestown.  Merchant says if someone would like to ring the bells at their many locations... they can call 664-4108 and ask for Holly... who schedules all of their ringers.  She adds they're also into the final stretch of their "Angel Tree" program... with gifts due by Friday, Dec. 14.  Merchant says they are also looking for donations of non-perishable food items that they can place in their food baskets for the Holiday Season.  Again... if you would like to help out with the Red Kettle Campaign, or the Angel Tree program... contact the Salvation Army of Jamestown at 664-4108.


Martin to again host annual Holiday Haul for St. Susan's Center Dec. 13 -- 15...
One of the St. Susan's Center's biggest fund-raisers and food drives is set for next weekend to help the Jamestown area's largest soup kitchen get through the holiday season.  Northwest Arena Executive Director Keith Martin is again hosting the event.  Martin says the fifth-annual Holiday Haul will be held in the parking lot of the Jamestown Cycle Shop Dec. 13 through 15.  He says they hpe to accomplish what they have over the past few years, bringing in a few tons of supplies, and a nice monitary donation to the soup kitchen... which is again on track to provide more than 120,000 meals to the area's needy.  Last year, Martin says they were able to bring in 4-and-a-half tons of supplies, and over $14,000 for the St. Susan's Center.  In addition to the 100-percent juices and non-perishable foods, he says the center is in greatest need of a few specific things... such as paper towels, and dishwashing soap.  Martin says they also need the money so they can buy milk every other day.  The 2018 Holiday Haul will run 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. next Thursday and Friday.... and, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. next Saturday.  More information is available by calling Keith Martin at 484-2624.


State legislature to again consider pay raises...
In New York state government news, legislators will soon learn whether they will get their first raise in two decades.  A commission created to study a possible pay increase for the Senate and Assembly is due to make its decision by Dec. 10.  Lawmakers now make $79,500.  Many argue the pay hasn't kept up with the cost of living and doesn't reflect work they do outside the six-month legislative session.  Meanwhile, Attorney General-elect Letitia James is urging lawmakers to close a loophole in state law that could hurt the state's ability to bring charges against anyone pardoned by the president.


Wright says $20-million in very capable hands when she retires...
A major project to upgrade the emergency department and develop a new maternity area at UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown will be in good hands once the current head of the hospital retires.  The approximately $20-million project began under the leadership of President and Chief Executive Officer Betsy Wright... but, it will finish under a different leader next year.  While the hospital will be led by interim president Brian Durniok from UPMC Northwest... Wright says the project has really been led by Vice-President of Operations Cecil Miller.  She says Miller will also take on some other responsibilities once she retires on Dec. 31.  Wright says that Durniok will only be in Jamestown two to three days a week.  As for her nearly 20 years of heading up WCA -- now UPMC Chautauqua -- Wright says there were two huge challenges she was able to help the hospital get through.  She says the main one was navigating the changing "reimbursements" for Medicare and Medicaid.  Wright is retiring after about 35 years in the Health Care industry... nearly 30 of those alone at UMPC Chautauqua -- formerly WCA Hospital.  


Erie, PA woman assaults, crushes boyfriend to death...
An Erie woman has pleaded guilty to killing her boyfriend by stabbing him, hitting him with a table leg and crushing him.  Windi Thomas faces a sentence of 18 to 36 years after pleading guilty to third-degree murder.  She had been scheduled for trial next week, but instead will be sentenced on Dec. 21.  The 44-year-old Thomas admitted killing Keeno Butler last March, partially by lying on top of him.  Thomas weighs about 300 pounds, while the 44-year-old Butler weighed about 120 pounds.  The Erie Times-News reports Butler's sister said her family is still coping with her brother's death and had been hoping for a longer prison sentence for Thomas.


 

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 3, 2018

A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly unhooking the gas line to a stove inside a westside home and, poured lighter fluid on a bed with people inside the home....  

City police were called to the scene at 11 West 10th Street shortly before 7 p.m. Friday night and found the suspect -- identified as Justin Traver -- outside the home.  Officers along with Jamestown fire crews, got everyone else out of the home and, firefighters re-hooked the gas line.  Police say Traver intended on harming the people inside and, faces several charges, including first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree menacing and, five counts of endangering the welfare of a child.  He was arraigned and sent to the county jail without bail.


A Jamestown woman has been arrested for alleged stalking, and being at a home she was supposed to stay away from in the town of Carroll....  

Sheriff's officers say they conducted a warrant check at a home on Bragg Road in Frewsburg last Saturday afternoon for Victoria Miller and, found her inside the residence.  Deputies arrested Miller on three counts of second-degree criminal contempt and one count of fourth-degree stalking.  She was arraigned and sent to the Chautauqua County Jail on $10,000 cash bail.


Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson says he's disappointed by the county legislature's vote to reject a proposal to hire qualified Assistant D-As from outside the county...  

Swanson says Chautauqua County is not alone in facing difficulty in finding qualified assistants and he says the requests are becoming more common in the more rural counties where D-A's have had a problem finding enough qualified applicants.  He says he will continue seeking the most qualified candidates he can.

He says the most recent request to the state came from Oswego County.   The measure was defeated at the legislature's November 28th meeting, 12-5.  All 12 no-votes came from Republicans on the County Legislature, something Swanson found somewhat troubling.  He considers his office non-partisan and, he has Democrats and Republicans and they really don't care what party someone is from, so long as they can do the jobs. 


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have ordered government flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of George H.W. Bush...  


Cuomo, a Democrat, said in a statement Saturday that the Republican president was "a great unifier of Americans, always putting country before party."  He said Bush showed "the compassion, decency and good humor that is often lacking in our politics today."  On Twitter, de Blasio, also a Democrat, said Bush had "devoted his life to serving our nation."  The 41st U-S president died Friday at his Houston home. He was 94.


The head of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for New York and New Jersey says she'll spend a month in a public housing apartment to "fully understand" the challenges public housing tenants face....  

Lynne Patton's plan to move from her Trump Tower home to the Grant Houses in Harlem was first reported by WPIX, Channel 11 in New York.  Patton's spokeswoman, Olga Alvarez, told the New York Daily News on Friday that Patton will move into a public housing apartment in January if HUD's general counsel approves.  Patton was named to her HUD position after serving as an event planner for the family of Republican President Donald Trump.  The New York City Housing Authority is mired in scandals over falsified lead paint inspections as well as failure to provide heat.


New York state has opened another of its welcome centers located along major interstate highways.  Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced the grand opening of the Capital Region Welcome Center....  

The Democrat says the new facility located along the Thruway in Greene County will help boost the Albany area's tourism industry for decades to come.  The new welcome center is located off Interstate 87's northbound lanes, between Exit 21B and Exit 21A, across from the New Baltimore Service Area about 15 miles south of Albany.  The welcome center features a Taste NY Market and displays and information on historical and natural attractions from the Albany area north to the Saratoga-Lake George region.  The welcome center is now one of 11 located across the state, including three along the Thruway system.


With the holiday shopping season underway, the U.S. Postal Service wants to make sure you send all of your holiday cards and presents on time...  

Karen Mazurkiewicz, spokesperson for the Postal Service's Buffalo office, has some tips to help you beat those deadlines.  Mazurkiewicz says it is very helpful to track your mailings with the Postal Service's official website -- usps.com. There are several shipping options, including overnight and expedited. Mazurkiewicz says if you're sending someone a gift domestically, please have it in the mail by December 20.  For international mailings, December 8.

 
Members of the New York state Assembly are heading to Long Island for a public hearing on proposals to legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults....  


Monday's 10:30 a.m. hearing at Babylon Town Hall is intended to gather input on legalization and how it has worked in other states.  Lawmakers expect legalization to be a big debate in next year's legislative session, which gets underway in January in Albany.  There's broad support among many lawmakers for legalization, but figuring out the details of the regulations and tax rules for the drug will be challenging.  This is fourth hearing on the topic held by the Assembly.


Nine new members of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame will be formally inducted during the hall's annual Banquet next February 18 in Lakewood....  

That from Hall of Fame President Randy Anderson, who says the living inductees are amateur and professional soccer player and coach Cheryl Bailey, Trapshooter Tiffany Decker, long-time north county baseball coach Vince Gullo, professional sports trainer Mike Lopriore, college and pro football coach Bob Palcic and, matial arts master Mark Weaver.  Anderson says those to be inducted posthumously are pro baseball player Jack Harper, north county baseball coach, Charles Johnston and, softball and baseball umpire Luella Kye.  The induction banquet will be held at the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club and, will bring the total number of inductees to 200.  Dinner tickets are $50.00 each. For more information, call Chairman Chip Johnson at 485-6991.

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WJTN Headlines for Sat., Dec. 1, 2018

Jamestown celebrates start of Christmas Season with parade, tree lighting at Tracy Plaza...
Thousands of people lined Third Street from the bridge to City Hall in Jamestown for the annual Christmas Parade and Holiday Celebration last night... but, 13 year-old Riley Kolstee started it all with a rousing rendition of the National Anthem.  Mayor Sam Teresi did the honors... and, was helped with this year's countdown by Audrey and Elijah Evans... to light the city's 40-foot tall Colorado Blue Spruce Tree.  Joining Teresi on the stage were Paul and Jennifer Liuzzo, who donated the huge tree that is anchored on Tracy Plaza through the Christmas and New Year's season.  The annual Christmas Parade was put on again this year by the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation with the help of The Resource Center, the Shults Auto Group and others.  Former St. Susan's Center Director Jeff Smith... who now heads up the Food Service Program at Jamestown Public Schools... was the grand marshall for the parade.


JPS Board accepts teachers resignation, reason not announced...
The resignation of a high school teacher in Jamestown has been accepted by the city school board after he alleged engaged in inappropriate behavior.  The board acted on the resignation of Scott Lumia at Friday's special meeting, after spending about 20-minutes in a closed-door executive session.  School Superintendent Bret Apthorpe declined to discuss specifics of the matter... but, adds the board acted in the interest of student safety... which he says is "very important" to himself and all members of the board.  School officials say Lumia has been on administrative leave since this past Monday.  The board also authorized Apthorpe to negotiate a separation agreement with Lumia.


Dunkirk area man arreste for stealing several guns in town of Portland...
A north county man was arrested for grand larceny for allegedly stealing seven firearms from a home in the town of Portland.  Sheriff's deputies say they received the intial report last October.... and, determined 39 year-old Jarrett Sikes was responsible for the theft.  Officers found a portion of the missing firearms at Sikes residence in the city of Dunkirk.  An arrest warrant was later issued for felony charges.  Sikes was arrested Tuesday and sent to the county jail without bail... pending a future court appearance in both the City of Dunkirk and the town of Portland.


Falconer man arrested in Gerry for resisting arrest...
State Police in Jamestown arrested a Falconer man for allegedly interfering with a traffic stop in the town of Gerry Thursday.  Troopers say 65 year-old Ronald Eddy was a passenger in a vehicle pulled over on Gerry-Levant Road... but, say he allegedly got out of the vehicle to prevent the trooper from speaking to the driver.  Officers say Eddy refuse instructions to stop.... and continued to act belligerent.  Troopers say he physically resisted being handcuffed, but was later taken into custody and arraigned in Ellicott Town Court.  The driver received a traffic ticket. 


City, Town of Ellicott, sign new 10 year Water and Sewer Agreement...
The final step has been taken to put a new, 10-year water and sewer agreement in place between the city of Jamestown and town of Ellicott to provide water and sewer services to parts of the town.  Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi and Ellicott Town Supervisor Pat McLaughlin were at the BPU Offices Friday afternoon to formally sign the new agreement... which increases the amount the city is paid, and in return... the city takes on maintenance and repair on those lines.  Teresi says this is what can happen when people work together... even if they don't agree on everything in their negotiations.  He adds there was "give and take" on both sides.  McLaughlin praised everyone involved in the negotiations... which lasted for many months.  He thanked city and BPU officials for keeping their many meetings friendly... and that's the way negotiations should go.  The BPU will charge Ellicott residents... includling those in the villages of Falconer and Celoron... 200-percent of the city rate.  That's similar to what all other out-of-city BPU customers pay.  


UPMC Chautauqua announces Betsy Wright's retirement...
The woman who has headed up UPMC Chautauqua Hospital... formerly WCA Hospital... for nearly the past 20 years is retiring at the end of the year.  The hospital formally announced Friday that current President and Chief Executive Officer Betsy Wright will step down on Dec. 31 of this year.  Hospital Board President Steve Kilburn says Wright will step down after more than 35 years in the health care industry... nearly 30 of those at the Jamestown-based hospital.  Kilburn says Wright has been "exceedingly instrumental" in maintaining high-levels of employee engagement... community support... and positive relationships with national, state and local officials.  In the interim... Kilburn says UPMC Northwest President, Brian Durniok, will serve as UPMC Chautauqua's interim president, until a replacement is selected.  Kilburn says all other management remains in place.


 

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News Headlines for Sat., Sept. 14, 2019

County Dept. of Health and Human Services issued Vaping Advisory... Chautauqua County health officials are now urging residents to stop using all vaping products until the investigation into the defi...

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