A handful of recent suicides by students who were relentlessly-bullied by other students has led family members to call on Jamestown school officials to take action on a problem they say is out of hand.
Several people addressed the school board during last night's meeting at the high school. One Barbara Solis, just recently had to bury her 14 year-old niece. She called for students found to have bullied get more than a suspension.
Solis also urged the board to look at a law similar to one just instituted in Tonawanda, just north of Buffalo where parents could be held liable in cases involving bullying. Marsha Hamilton also feels more needs to be done. She recently lost her 14 year-old granddaughter, Mariah Schroeder and, says she knew of a 17 year-old girl who also committed suicide on the same day.
A couple of former students who have dealt with being bullied also spoke about how relentless the bullying was and, the fact that social media amplified the problem especially on some special, on-line apps that kids were able to use.
Jamestown school board members were visibly moved by the stories by family members and, former students about the bullying situation.
Board President Paul Abbott spoke following the public comment session which lasted more than half-an-hour. Abbott says the board's number-one priority is student safety and, says officials have already been discussing ways to address the problem. He says he and new District Superintendent Bret Apthorpe have been discussing the situation and looked at ways to deal with the matter.
Apthorpe says one is better ways for students to anonymously notify school officials about being bullied. More on that later today.
A Forestville man is jailed on 20-thousand dollars bail for allegedly being in possession of child pornography earlier this year.
State Police in Fredonia say their Bureau of Criminal Investigation arrested 62 year-old Robert Howard of Forestville earlier this month on 10 Felony counts of Possessing a Sexual Performance by a Child, as well as two counts of Promoting a Sexual Performance by a Child.
State Police say their initial investigation began following a complaint that was filed last July 20th. Howard was arrested and, arraigned in Hanover Town Court. He was sent to the County lock-up.
For the second year in a row, Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi has presented a new budget proposal that includes a sizeable, projected deficit.
Teresi announced his $35.7-million spending plan yesterday afternoon and the need to work with the city council to reduce the nearly $947,000 shortfall. In addition, he says the city remains at it's constitutional taxing limit, which this year allows for about a "slight" tax levy increase.
Teresi says the budget includes a $.21 per thousand full-value tax rate increase, which would bring the rate to $23.98 for next year. He says the increase is largely being driven by increases in personnel costs as well as increases in the city's own health insurance program for retirees.
However Teresi says they are still working with New York state to fully-impliment an incentive program to get Medicare-eligible retirees. He says "bottom-line, the state of New York doesn't want the city of Jamestown to fail." City Council budget hearings begin next Monday night.
A woman who has been involved in the church and, community outreach work has been named as the new director of the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County.
The United Way, late this morning, announced that the Reverend Amy Rohler will replace Tory Irgang on January 1st. Irgang was recently named as the new Executive Director of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.
In a printed release, United Way Board President Christopher Colburn says Rohler became director of Community Helping Hands in 2009. Since then, the organization has grown from a simple thrift store... into a relationship-based workforce development resource.
Chautauqua County's Congressman says he's not surprised that New York state isn't getting it's fair share of tax dollars returned by the federal government.
However, Corning Republican Tom Reed says, at least part of the reason is the state's own tax policies that have driven people and businesses from the state. Commenting on a state report that New York gets back 84-cents for each federal dollar sent to Washington Reed added that that's why tax reform is so necessary.
The House recently approved a budget blueprint that includes some tax reform. Reed says it's his goal to make the tax code more fair for all Americans. He says much of the reason why New York gets short-shrifted on federal money is the New York City-Metro area is part of the state and there is a "lot of wealth" there.
In a recent report by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, he noted that New York state got back 84-cents on each federal dollar returned to individual states. DiNapoli says only three states New Jersey, North Dakota and Connecticut get back less.