A city man faces several charges after allegedly leading Jamestown police on a high-speed pursuit through the city early yesterday morning. Jamestown police say the chase... involvding 24 year-old Joshua Whalen... began on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott -- near the city line -- just before 4:30 AM. Officers say they followed Whalen's car south on Fairmount -- then east onto West Fifth Street. At that point... police say Whalen allegedly disobeyed a number of one-way street signs... stop signs... and, made unsafe turns unitl he was trapped on a dead-end street. Police say Whalen then got out of the car... and, tried to flee from police... but, he was caught and arrested a short distance away. Whalen faces charges including first-degree reckless endangerment... and, unlawfully fleeing police.
The Chautauqua County Landbank has "targeted" up to 26 vacant and blighted buildings in the city of Jamestown for demolition. City Council Housing committee Chairwoman Marie Carubba says Development Director Vince DeJoy gave them a list of properties that have been tentatively approved for the process. Carubba says the city expects to get a significant amount of money reimbursed for the cost of taking down the dilapitated homes. She adds no priority has been given to any particular structures, either. Carubba says the city and the County Landbank have a "pretty aggressive" plan to take down the nearly two-dozen structures. She says DeJoy estimated it'll cost about 25-thousand dollars -- on average -- to knock down each one. However... a lot still depends on whether there will have to be asbestos removal... or if there's need for an emergency demolition.
Mayor Sam Teresi says there may be other factors that alter the cost of each demolition... including environmental contaminiation. The city will pay half the cost of each one. The initial list was 20... and, DeJoy says six were added after going through the City-County's In-REM forclosure process.
New York's attorney general says he's hopeful state lawmakers will pass legislation to combat abandoned properties before adjourning. A-G Eric Schneiderman has asked the Legislature to support his bill to make banks and other mortgage lenders responsible for maintaining properties that have been abandoned after the start of a foreclosure. Known as ``zombie'' homes... the properties are often abandoned after their owners receive a notice of foreclosure -- even though foreclosures can take years and occupants are entitled to stay until the process is complete. The homes can fall into disrepair, reducing property values and serving as magnets for crime and vandalism. Schneiderman's bill would authorize fines for lenders who fail to maintain abandoned homes. It has the support of several mayors from around the state... including Jamestown's Sam Teresi.
President Obama needs to clearly articulate what our national security interests are before there's any kind of military engagement in the deteriorating situation in Iraq. Those are the feelings of local Congressman Tom Reed... who says he's "frustrated" by the fact there is no consistant policy to support the current government... which is being overrun by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Tal Afar in northern Iraq has now fallen to the al-Qaida splinter group. Reed says he's opposed to having "boots on the ground" in Iraq. The Corning Republican also addressed the issue of the leader of the Islamic militants involved was in U-S custody... but, was released in 2009. Reed says... as in the recent prisoner swap involving U-S Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl... he has serious concerns about letting such militant leaders free. Reed says whether it's military strikes... or aid... the president needs to clearly articulate that. He says it also again speaks to the need for an "all of the above" energy strategy for the U-S.
It shouldn't be long before Governor Andrew Cuomo declares several western and central New York Counties -- including Chautauqua -- as federal disaster areas due to flooding. That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who has already toured much of the devastation in Yates County... where the worst of the flooding was last month. Many parts of Chautauqua County sustained just over one-million dollars in damage from the storms. Reed was pleased the region did meet the 26.9-million dollar threshold for aid. Reed says he called Governor Cuomo last week to urge him to request the declaration as soon as possible... and, he says Cuomo's office indicated that they're finalizing what has to be done. Otherwise... he says it's a matter of dealing with the bureaucracy of getting the request to federal officials... and, dealing with the bureacracy involved. He made his comments during his weekly Media Conference Call.
The fate of medical marijuana, a higher minimum wage and efforts to combat heroin addiction are set to be decided as New York lawmakers enter their final week of work during this year's regular session. Legislators will return to Albany on Monday and are expected to consider hundreds of bills before Thursday's planned adjournment. One high-profile bill would raise the starting wage from 8-dollars an hour to 10-dollars-10 cents and let cities like New York City set a local minimum wage of up to $13.13 an hour. Supporters of medical marijuana hope to secure a deal with Governor Andrew Cuomo and for top lawmakers to clear the way for passage. Finally... lawmakers hope to pass legislation to combat opiate addiction, though some say they're wary of proposals to strengthen criminal drug penalties.
There were some tense moments late Saturday night at the Dunkirk City Pier when a man jumped into the water to try and rescue his dog. Dunkirk Firefighters and police sprang into action around 10 PM. That from Dunkirk Fire Lieutenant Bob Trzaska... who explains how first responders handled the situation. Trzaska says they put a ladder into the water... and, one firefighter went in to rescue the dog. Trazka says the dog's owner also made it up the ladder and both are safe and sound.