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News Headlines for Tues., Mar. 31, 2015

Gerace warns drivers of slippery roads as Jamestown area gets quick one to two-inches of snow...

We've received a quick 2-inches of snow at our Media One Studios in West Ellicott... and, more is expected on this last day of March.  The snow... and, below-freezing temperatures have slicked up local roadways with several vehicles reported off the road.  There are no warnings or watches in place... but, Sheriff Joe Gerace is advising driving caution today.  He calls this an "early" April Fool's joke.  Gerace is urging drivers to slow down, and brush off those Winter driving skills.  Gerace says the personal injury accident was on Interstate 86 in the town of Ellery earlier this morning.  However... no serious injuries have been reported.  We've also heard about problems with Route 394... and, tractor trailers having trouble on the hill near the Ashville BOCES.  Some parts of the area could see up to 4-inches of snow today.  Road crews are now out. 


East Otto man killed in car-logging truck accident on Route 219...

A Cattaraugus County man was killed when his car crossed into the oncoming lane of Route 219 in the town of Ashford... and, struck a logging truck head-on.  Sheriff's officers in Little Valley say 44 year-old George Peterson of Bowen Road, East Otto... was southbound shortly before 7:30 a.m. Monday when his car crossed the center line for an unknown reason.  Deputies say Peterson's car struck the northbound truck... operated by 43 year-old Scott Timothy of Coudersport, Pennsylvania.  Officers say Peterson was pronounced dead at the scene.  Timothy was taken to Bertrand-Chaffee Hospital in Springville... and, later released.

Goodell still has plenty of concerns over state budget deal, including lack of detail on some key, "non-budget" items...

State lawmakers are preparing to cast votes on key education and ethics provisions in the state budget ahead of a critical deadline.  The Assembly and Senate plan to cast their final votes on the spending plan after what's likely to be a long debate today.  Local Assemblyman Andy Goodell still has concerns about the budget agreement... including the lack of details about some very important non-budgetary items.  Goodell says that the agreement includes education reforms... including a teacher evaluation system that will be worked out by the State Education Department.  He calls that a "mixed blessing" because the Education Department headed up the troublesome roll-out of "Common Core" in the state.  The budget also includes ethics reform.  But, again... Goodell says there are few details that are available at this time.  The Chautauqua County Republican says he's "very disappointed" with the process... which appears rushed.  Goodell says he is pleased that the overall budget holds spending under a 2-percent increase... but, also includes a 6.1 percent increase school aid.  However... there is no word on how much local districts will receive, yet.

Horrigan says he has "no problem" with stipulations being put into Senate measure to allow county to increase it's sales tax to 8-percent...

Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says he is 'on board' with changes State Senator Cathy Young wants to make to the county's request to increase its sales tax from 7.5-percent to 8-percent.  Young wants to include a 3-percent decrease in the county's tax levy as part of the legislation.  Horrigan says it's something he's in "full support of... " adding that he believes the perception of the county as a 'high-taxed' area needs to change.  Besides lowering property taxes... Horrigan also wants to close the county’s structural deficit that is estimated at nearly $6-million.  He says the county legislature would have to approve any changes in the language of measure requesting the sales tax hike before it is submitted to the state legislature for action.

Schumer calling for legislation to outlaw gender-based discrimination...

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is calling for passage of legislation to outlaw gender-based pay discrimination.  The New York Democrat says a recent study shows that unfairness even extends to nursing, where males are paid more than female counterparts.  The Journal of the American Medical Association study examined salary trends by gender from 1988 to 2008 from a national sample survey of registered nurses.  It shows males earning about $5,100 a year more on average, though females comprise most of the profession. 

Dolce says he'll have Task Force report to Mayor by early next week...

The head of a special panel that's been investigating ways to cut costs and make the city of Jamestown... and, it's Board of Public Utilities more efficient... plans to hand in a preliminary report next week.  City Councilman Tony Dolce chairs the Joint Task Force on Efficiency and Cost Reduction... and, says the group did not meet last week.  However... Dolce says he'll talk with other panel members to get input... and, get the report to Mayor Sam Teresi next Monday or Tuesday.  Dolce says the group has made a lot of headway on two items... one being consolidating operations and maintenance of city and BPU vehicle fleets.  In addition... Dolce says they'll also make a recommendation on the possibility of combined health insurance plans for managers and employees with the city... and, it's Board of Public Utilities.  He says there are some potential directions they may want to take that will produce "some savings down the road."  Mayor Teresi put the task force together... and, asked the panel to hand in a report with preliminary recommendations by April 1.

Reed hopeful that Senate will pass "Doc Fix" bill to boost rural hospitals...

After strong support in the House, Congressman Tom Reed hopes that the Senate will pass the "Doc Fix" bill.  Reed says the legislation includes the Rural Hospital Access Act which would help several smaller hospitals across the Southern Tier... including Westfield Memorial Hospital.  The Corning Republican says it will ensure Medicare-dependent and low-volume hospitals get the reimbursements they should get.  The bill picked up the support of over 390 House members last week.  Reed expects the measure to pass in the Senate, although a vote won't come until after spring recess.  President Obama expects to sign the bill once it reaches his desk.



News Headlines for Mon., Mar. 30, 2015

Fire strikes car, then house in Falconer early this morning...

Flames have destroyed a house and car in a fire in the village of Falconer.  Falconer Fire Chief Nick Caldwell says fire crews were called to the scene at 211 East James St. just after 4 this morning.  Caldwell says the vehicle caught fire... then the house caught fire.  He says both were fully-engulfed in flames when they arrived.  A brother and sister living in the house got out safely.  No other injuries were reported.  Falconer was joined at the scene by Kiantone... Gerry... Fluvanna... Kennedy... Ellery Center... and, Busti fire crews.  One engine from Jamestown was also sent to the scene.   The cause is under investigation.

Jamestown Fire Dept. investigating alleged arson fire on West Eighth Street Sunday...

An arson fire has damaged the first-floor and basement of a vacant, two-story home on Jamestown's westside.  City Fire Battlion Chief Don Woodfield says firefighters were called to 306 West Eighth Street shortly after 1:30 yesterday afternoon.  Woodfield says crews had the flames knocked down fairly quickly inside the home... which he says had been condemned for some time.  Woodfield says someone started a fire on the first-floor, and one area had been heavily damaged.  Woodfield says they knocked down the flames fairly quickly... but, due to the building's condition... they wanted to make sure there was no extension into the walls of the structure.  He says they used a water can to knock down the flames... but, brought in a hand-line to check for extension into the walls.  Woodfield says an off-duty shift was called in to assist at the scene... and, man Fire Station-#1.  Firefighters were at the scene until just after 3 PM.  No one was hurt.  Woodfield says it's not yet known if the structure will be torn-down due to it's condition.

Lakewood man wanted for allegedly setting up Meth Labs across the county is arrested in New Orleans...

A Lakewood man accused of operating illegal Methamphetime Labs in the city of Jamestown... and, towns of Busti and Westfield... has been arrested in Louisiana.  Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say a multi-agency effort led to the arrest of 44 year-old Christopher Swanson of West Summit Avenue in New Orleans this past Saturday morning.  Task Force members say they had received information that Swanson had fled to the New Orleans area... and, contacted Orleans Parish Police.  They arrested Swanson... and, are holding him pending extradiction.

Dunkirk man jailed without bail following drug bust in north county city...

A Dunkirk man has been arrested... and, his car seized... after he was pulled over by police in the north county city for allegedly selling "crack" cocaine and marijuana.  Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task force and Dunkirk Police had a warrant for 40 year-old Charles Fredrick's arrest... and, a warrant to search his car and house.  Task Force members say hIs car was pulled over on Main Street early last weekend... and, they found with about an ounce of crack... a quantity of marijuana... a scale... and, a large amount of cash.  Fredrick was arrested on two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  His residence was later searched... and, more pot and cash was seized.  Other charges are pending.  Fredrick was arraigned... and, sent to the County Jail without bail.  Anyone with information on illegal narcotics activity is asked to contact the Drug Task Force at 1-800-344-8702.

State lawmakers, Cuomo, reach basic budget agreement...

Top state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have agreed on a $142 billion budget that increases school funding by $1.4 billion, enhances legislative ethics rules and implements several of Cuomo's education reforms.  The deal announced late Sunday is expected to be voted on by lawmakers early this week.  The increase in school funding is accompanied by revisions to teacher evaluations that Cuomo says will help transform what he says is an ``entrenched education bureaucracy.''  The disclosure rules will require lawmakers to report outside income and, if they are attorneys, their big legal clients.  Some clients would be redacted, however, if the state's court administrator agrees.  Proposals to raise the minimum wage or offer greater property tax relief were dropped from the final budget.

Young says Chautauqua County will have to cut property taxes to have any chance at increase in Sales Tax...

A three-percent property tax cut will be needed if Chautauqua County officials want to increase the sales tax from 7.5-to-8-percent.  That from State Senator Cathy Young... who said early last weekend that a property tax cut has to be part of the bill's language.  Young says Senate Republicans feel "heavy property taxes" suffocate home owners... and, stifle jobs and economic growth.  With that... she says such wording is needed to get it approved.  She says the cut would produce a $2-million property tax cut.  However... Young says that even with the language change... it will not be an easy process to get approval.  County Executive Vince Horrigan is seeking the increase to help close a $6-million structural deficit in 2016... and, to help lower the county's property tax rate.  The county legislature approved  the sales tax increase last Wednesday night, 14-to-4.

After slow start... local Maple season going well...

Spring has struggled to start... but, maple syrup producers are not complaining.  Lloyd Munsee of Big Tree Maple on Holly Lane near Lakewood says they've made a lot of good syrup.  Munsee says they don't want it to get warm quickly... and, the cold nights, and slightly above freezing temperatures during the day are working well.  He adds they boiled until April 10 last year, and will probably go that long this year as well. Linda Fairbanks of Fairbanks Maple, near Forestville, concurs... the season has been good, particularly for light syrup.  That finer syrup used to be known as 'light amber', but a new universal grading system has the same quality syrup labeled as 'golden with a delicate taste'.  The second of the two annual 'Maple Weekends' was held this past Saturday and Sunday.


News Update for Fri., Mar. 27, 2014

Four Jamestown residents arrested during Meth drug raid; wanted man in connection with other Meth case among those taken into custody...

Four Jamestown residents are in the county jail without bail for allegedly being involved in running a Methamphetime Lab on the city's westside.  Police add that one of those involved was also wanted from a previous drug bust earlier this year.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force arrested 30 year-old Beau Jones when they raided an apartment at 600 West Fifth St. shortly before 7:30 last night.  Samuelson says they found a "one-pot" method lab in place... along with 4 ounces of meth oil, and a quantity of Meth.  He adds they also brought in the state Police Contaminated Crime Scene Emergency Response Team to handle the clean-up.  Samuelson says they removed the meth, and materials for making the drug.  In addition to Jones... Samuelson says officers also arrested 29 year-old Rocco Beardsley... 28 year-old Brandon Smith... and, 29 year-old Aimee Hogg.  He says all four face Felony charges of second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, third-degree unlawful manufacture of Methamphetime.  Samuelson says they worked closely with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force on the raid.  If you have any information on illegal drug trafficking in the Jamestown-area... call city poilce at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.

Young says Chautauqua County will have to lay-out plan to cut property taxes if sales tax increase is to fly in Albany...

If Chautauqua County wants to increase the sales tax rate to 8 percent... it will have to lower the county's property tax.  That's according to State Senator Cathy Young... who said late Friday that a property tax cut has to be part of the bill's language.  Young says Senate Republicans feel "heavy property taxes" suffocate home owners... and, stifle jobs and economic growth.  With that... she says such wording is needed to get it approved.  Young says she is looking at the feasibility of requiring a 3-percent property tax levy decrease -- or $2-million -- as part of the legislation.  Young says that even with the language change... it would not be an easy process.  County Executive Vince Horrigan is seeking the increase to help close a $6-million structural deficit in 2016... and, to help lower the county's property tax rate. 

Cesana says it "was time" to retire as TRC Director...

The time was right to step aside.  That from the long-time director of The Resource Center in Chautauqua County on why he's retired after 27 years as the organization's leader.  Former Center Director Paul Cesana today is reflecting back on his 40 years working with the developmentally disabled... including his time as TRC's leader.  Cesana says he's pleased with what was accomplished during that time... and, wanted to step down at a time where he can enjoy retirement.  He says it was something he had to think about, and after some time, Cesana decided now is the time.  Cesana's successor, Denise Jones, has referred to him as a pioneer in what he did at The Resouce Center.  TRC Board Chairman, Dr. Todd Jacobson, says that -- under Cesana's direction -- "The Resource Center has maintained and expanded it's position as a recognized leader among organizations" that support people with disabilities.

Jamestown's 68th annual Easter Egg Hunt set for a week from Saturday...(corr)...

The weather is looking iffy right now... but, no matter how it is... the city of Jamestown's 68th annual Easter Egg Hunt will take place a week from tomorrow on Sat., April 4.  That from City Parks and Recreation Coordinator Julia Ciesla-Hanley during today's announcement at City Hall.  Ciesla-Hanley says they have plans in place for if it snows... rains... or is "seasonal" outside.  She says they will make an announcement next Thursday on where they'll be.  If it's good outside, and park conditions are good, they'll be at their usual location in the park.  Otherwise, they'll be inside the Allen Park Ice Rink.  Ciesla-Hanley says if the hunt has to be held indoors... there will be more of a "procedure" in place for getting the various age groups in and out of the building.  In addition to about 5,000 chocolate eggs... she says there'll be 30 prize eggs... and, Gold and Silver Eggs containing major prizes.  The hunt begins at 10:30 a.m. next Saturday morning.

Trout Fishing Season to begin next Wednesday, Apr. 1 -- and, that's no joke...

New York conservation officials say the state's fishing season for trout and salmon will open on Wednesday.  The Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner says some of the season's best fishing can be found in lakes and ponds immediately after the ice is out.  With 7,500 lakes and ponds and 70,000 miles of rivers and streams, the state also is home to an estimated 1.9 million anglers, while nearly 300,000 others come from out-of-state.  A study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates the industry generates nearly $2 billion in economic activity annually and supports almost 17,000 jobs.  The DEC plans to stock over 2.3 million catchable-size brook, brown and rainbow trout in 312 lakes and ponds and about 2,900 miles of streams.


WJTN News Headlines!

A Mayville man has been arrested for allegedly operating three separate Methamphetime labs... and, selling quantities of Meth to an undercover police officer.  Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say they raided the Beaujean Road home of 42 year-old John Noel-the-third late yesterday morning.  Task Force members says they arrested Noel without incident... and, found the "one-pot" Meth labs inside.  Police say they also seized over 12 ounces of Meth Oil... a quantity of Meth... Laboratory equipment... money... scales and packaging materials.  Task Force agents say Noel faces multiple counts of criminal possession and sale of a controlled substance... and, other charges are pending.  He was arraigned in Chautauqua Town Court... and, sent to the County Jail on 75-thousand dollars bail.  The Mayville Fire Department and County's Hazardous Materials Team were also called to the scene.  Anyone with information about illegal drug activity is asked to contact the Task Force at 1-800-344-8702... or your local police department.


Cattaraugus County Sheriff's officers are investigating a hit-and-run car-pedestrian accident in the town of Great Valley Wednesday night.  Deputies say they were called to the scene on Route 417... near Sullivan Hollow Road... about 7:40 PM.  Witnesses say a silver or grey colored mini-van allegedly struck the victim... who way laying in the road.  Officers say the vehicle left the scene.  The person was injured and taken to the hospital... but, no other information is available on their condition.  If you have any information... you're asked to call the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office at 938-9191.


It will now be up to the New York state Legislature to decide on a request to raise Chautauqua County's sales tax from 7.5 to 8 percent.  County lawmakers Wednesday night approved the proposal submitted by County Executive Vince Horrigan by a 14 to 4 vote.  Horrigan says he's is pleased by the overwhelming majority vote... and, calls it a "watershed" moment. Jamestown Republican Elizabeth Rankin supports the move... saying she has heard from her constituents... who say -- to a person -- that they prefer increasing the sales tax versus the property tax.  However... Sheridan Republican Terry Niebel called the sales tax a "regressive tax" and fears that many county residents will decide to do their shopping in nearby Pennsylvania where the sales tax is lower.  Niebel was joined by Legislators John Hemmer, Janet Keefe and John Runkle in voting against the measure.  Horrigan says the sales tax hike is needed to address the county's 5-million dollar structural deficit.


Hundreds of public school teachers protested Governor Andrew Cuomo's education reform proposals at the Capitol as closed-door budget negotiations continue.  Thursday's protest was organized by NYSUT -- the state's largest teachers union.  Cuomo and lawmakers are now working out the details of the state budget ahead of an April 1st deadline.  Cuomo's 142-billion dollar spending proposal contains several provisions that have angered teachers, including revised teachers evaluations that place more emphasis on student test performance, and new tenure rules.  Cuomo has tied a 1.1-billion education funding increase to the passage of the reforms.  Many lawmakers object to the measures, and a compromise proposal would create a commission to recommend changes to evaluations.


The new director of The Resource Center in Chautauqua County says she's excited to be in the position... one that she's been groomed for for the past several years.  Denise Jones has replaced the retired Paul Cesana... who had told TRC officials that he was stepping down at the end of March after 27 years as director.  Jones has been Assistant Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer at TRC the past several years.  She says The Resource Center is a "great organization...." TRC and it's affiliates support, and work with people who have developmental disabilties.  Jones has been with The Resource Center for 25 years... and, admits she has some "big shoes" to fill in replacing Cesana -- who she called a "visionary."  One area she wants to continue working on is moving it's employement arm -- Allied Industries -- away from declining U-S Defense Department contracts -- and towards commercial products.  Jones says they're also moving towards improving the "holistic" health of their clients... and, a wider variety of employment opportunities.  


Jamestown firefighters were called back to a re-kindle of an early morning blaze at a southside home early yesterday morning.  Deputy Fire Chief Chet Harvey says... while crews had to pull away some walls... the hot embers were put out quickly.  The call came in around Noon-time.  Officials say the original blaze... which was called in about 4 AM... damaged the porch, and part of the second-floor of the home at 50 Broadhead Avenue.  An off-duty shift was called in to assist.  When firefighters arrived... officials say fire was showing on the porch... and, had extended to part of the second-floor.  However... crews made a quick stop on the blaze.  No one was home at the time... but, firefighters had to rescue a "number of cats" from the building.  Crews were there about two-hours.  The cause remains under investigation.


Funding to help new, minority businesses get off the ground... and, paying attention to Jamestown's gateway streets were the two big take-aways from a public hearing Wednesday night.  The city's Department of Development held it's inital hearing on what residents and organizations want addressed in Jamestown's 2015 Community Development Block Grant.  Development Director Vince DeJoy says about 20 people attended the session... and, he says -- while it's been brought up before -- the idea of a Microenterprise Fund was brought up to help small, start-up businesses. DeJoy says city development officials also heard a lot about the need to improve the city's gateway streets -- namely East Second Street.  There's been a lot built and proposed for North Main Street... but, he says there's a feeling that all major points need to be developed... including East Second and Washington Streets, and Foote Avenue.  DeJoy says there was also a renewed call to continue with their "demolition program" to remove blighted homes and other structures in the city.  DeJoy says they'll now take the input from the meeting... and, work on their CDBG... and, HOME Program proposals.


Petitions for the two seats up for a vote in this year's Jamestown school board race will be available next Monday morning in the superintendent's office.  School Spokeswoman Cathy Panebianco says any eligible resident can pick up a petition at the district offices at 197 Martin Road.    Petitions are due with at least 100 signatures from qualified voter by 5 PM on Wednesday, April 29th.  Panebianco says two seats are up for election to a full, 3-year term.  They are currently held by Laurel Lucas, and Dan Johnson.  The terms begin this July 1st.  To qualify as a candidate... Panebianco says a person must be a U-S Citizen... and, be a registered voter in the Jamestown school district... and, has lived there for at least one-year before the May 19th vote.  If you are not registered to vote... the Jamestown Public School’s registration day will be held on Friday, May 1st, from Noon to 6 PM at the district offices.  For more information... call 483-4420.







News Update! for Tues., Mar. 24, 2015

Warren, PA man killed in two car crash on Route 62 in town of Kiantone, just north of state line...

A Warren, PA man has died in a two-car head-on crash on Route 62 in the town of Kiantone near the Pennsylvania state line.  Chatauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace says the accident was called in just before 8 o'clock this morning.  Gerace says the man... now identified as 57 year-old Joseph Guiffre III... was driving south when the accident occured.  He says the vehicle veered into the west guard-rail... then crossed into the northbound lane -- and struck the other vehicle... driven by 50 year-old Elise Lund of Russell, PA.  Lund was taken to WCA Hospital for treatment of what appears to be a non-life threatening injury.  He says they're not sure what led to the accident because the road was clear and dry.  Gerace says both lanes of Route 62 were closed from the state line to the "T" intersection with Route 60 for about 2-and-a-half hours.

News Update! for Mon., Mar. 23, 2015

Police have to break-up fight between "out of towners" at Lakewood YMCA following basketball tournament...

Four police agencies were called to the Lakewood YMCA last Saturday night after a large fight broke out... and, six people were arrested.  Lakewood-Busti Police report that the fight was allegedly started between two teen age boys -- but, attracted a crowd of about 60 people.  Lakewood busti Police Chief John Bentley tells us they were called to the scene shortly before 8 p.m., at the end of a three-on-three basketball tournament at the 'Y.'  Bentley says disagreements during the tournament between the suspects apparently spilled outside the court.  The Sheriff's officers, Ellicott Town Police and State Police were called into assist.  Five juveniles between the ages of 13-and-15... and, one 17 year old were arrested.  All were from the Dunkirk and Buffalo areas.  The 17 year-old from Dunkirk is charged with disorderly conduct... and, unlawful posession of marijuana.  The younger teens cases were petitioned to family court.

One year-old baby found unattended at Lakewood Wal-Mart store, father and mother arrested...

Two Jamestown residents have been arrested following the discovery of a one-year-old baby in a stroller left unattended for "some time" in the Lakewood Wal-Mart Sunday night.  Lakewood-Busti police were called to the scene on East Fairmount Avenue shortly after 9 p.m. on a report the toddler had been found in the shoe department.  Officers say they found the father of the child was part of a group that had gone to the store... and, he left the child unattended.  The toddler was taken to the store's Loss Prevention Office until the parents could be found.  The mother... identifed as 20 year-old Nelly Gonzalez... told employees that the child was with his father.  She was charged with endangering the welfare of a child.  During the investigation... police found Gonzalez's boyfriend had an order of protection against the father -- identifed as 39 year-old Miguel Ramos-Flores.  When police tried to arrest Ramos-Flores -- he resisted and struggled with officers -- who had to use a low-setting taser on him.  He was arraigned on charges -- including resisting arrest, and child endangerment -- and jailed on $10,000 bail.


WJTN News Headlines

A Bear Lake, Pennsylvania man has been arrested for allegedly stealing two vehicles... one in Jamestown... and, the other in the town of Clymer early Saturday morning.  Sheriff's officers say they were first alerted to the thefts when 48 year-old Daniel Cracker allegedly took the keys for a car on Frissell Road in Clymer.  Deputies say he then took the car while the residents were asleep... and, drove to the Jamestown-area.  Several police agencies were notifed... and, Cracker was seen driving the car on North Main Street.  He was taken into custody... and, police also learned that he also allegedly stolen a vehicle from a home on Weeks Road in Clymer.  Deputies say Cracker then confessed to taking pick-up truck in the driveway after finding the keys in the ignition.  He then allegedly drove the vehicle until it ran out of fuel.  At that point... he left the truck on the side of the road... and, walked until he found the unlocked home on Frissell Road.  Cracker was arraigned on several charges... including two counts of second-degree burglary... and, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle... and, sent to the county jail without bail.  Sheriff Joe Gerace reminds residents of the importance of locking your doors at night and while away from home.  In addition... when not using your vehicle you should remove your keys and lock the doors, even if parked in a garage.


An unattended electric heat lamp is being blamed for a blaze that destroyed a town of Ellington early last Friday morning.  Sheriff's Department Fire Investigators say Ellington firefighters were called to the scene at 597 Hunt Road in Cherry Creek shortly after Midnight.  Cherry Creek fire crews assisted at the scene.  The house was reportedly vacant... and, no injuries were reported.  Following an investigation... officials say the blaze was caused because the heat lamp was placed in close proximity to combustible material for a long time period.


Negotiations between the state Senate and Assembly on a new budget got underway last week in Albany... and, there's about a week and a half to go before the April 1st deadline.  Assemblyman Andy Goodell tells us that there seems to be some progress... and, that's lent to some optimism about an on-time spending plan.  However... there are some sticking points... mainly over language inserted by Governor Andrew Cuomo regarding the minimum wage... and, teacher evaluations.  Otherwise... Goodell says the strickly "budgetary" issues are manageable this year.  He adds lawmakers are working hard to get those dealt with so the sticking points can be addressed.  Goodell says the addition of those language issues into the budget process is troubling... and, may be against the State Constitution.


Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to pit seven upstate regions against each other in a competition for 1.5-billion dollars in economic development funds has prompted some lawmakers and mayors to say the state shouldn't pick winners and losers.  The contest dubbed Cuomo's ``Hunger Games'' by some is part of ongoing budget negotiations between the governor and lawmakers.  Senate Republicans have criticized the contest, saying regions shouldn't have to compete with each other for state help.  Cuomo's administration says the losing regions will continue to get regular economic development funds, and that the competition will spur innovation.  That's a common refrain for the Democratic governor, who has also announced business competitions in Buffalo, a clean-energy contest in the Southern Tier and an annual kayak race in the Adirondacks.


The major fund-raiser for an organization that advocates for the young victims of physical and sexual abuse is coming up in just over a month from now.  However... tickets are going quickly for the Child Advocacy Program of Chautauqua County's fifth-annual "Diamond Dinner Auction" at Chautauqua Institution.  CAP Executive Director Jana McDermott says the event has been moved to the Athenaum Hotel this year to accomodate more seating.  In addition to the program on Saturday, April 25th... McDermott says they have a special package for people who want to spend the night. McDermott says CAP was formally created after District Attorney David Foley obtained a grant in 2007 to better combine efforts to the several agencies -- including his own -- who were interviewing the child involved in each abuse case.  McDermott says they help about 400 children each year in Chautauqua County... and, have offices in Jamestown and Mayville.  She adds the diamond ring to be auctioned off has been donated anonymously this year.  For more information... call 338-9844.  McDermott made her comments on this past weekend's Community Spotlight program.


Teachers from a prime apple-growing region in New York have delivered 1,000 of them to Governor Andrew Cuomo to protest education funding levels.  The teachers from the Finger Lakes say each of the shiny red apples represents a local teaching position unfilled because of years of underfunding for public education.  They laid the baskets of apples in front of Cuomo's office Friday as a guard looked on.  Cuomo's spokesman says the office couldn't accept the apples because of restrictions on officials taking gifts. The teachers plan to give the fruit to a food bank.  The Democratic governor wants to increase education funding of $22 billion by about $1.1 billion this year.  Teachers' unions say greater investments are needed.  They also oppose the governor's calls for changes in teacher evaluations and tenure.


About 12 to 13-hundred people were on hand for the two-days of the annual Media One "Home and Recreation" Expo at Jamestown's Gateway Train Station.  The event... with 44 exhibitors on hand this year... wrapped up early Saturday night.  Many of those exhibitors had smiles on their faces.  Bike Department Manager Bill Canby with the Jamestown Cycle Shop says it was a "successful" two days for them. There were some first-time exhibitors at this year's show... including Burnett's Flooring.  Kate Burnett says the foot traffic was good... and, they got some "good leads" for sales.  Burnett says she and her husband liked having the show at the train station for the second year in a row.  Clearview Pools and Spas' owner Scott Axelson echoed those sentiments... saying he especially liked the "warehouse" look of the East Wing.  Axelson says he would hate to see that not available in the future.  The east wing is slated to become part of the new National Comedy Center sometime in the future.  This was the 37th Media One Home and Recreation Show.


News Update for Fri., Mar. 20, 2015

Goodell sounding optimistic tone about possible on-time Budget...

Budget negotiations got underway this week in Albany... and, there are less than two weeks to go before the April 1st deadline.  Assemblyman Andy Goodell tells us that there seems to be some progress... and, that's lent to some optimism about an on-time spending plan.  However... there are some sticking points -- namely issues that are "unrelated to the budget," but, were added to it by Governor Andrew Cuomo.  Among those issues are increasing the minimum wage... and, teacher evaluations and testing requirements.  Goodell says the addition of those issues into the budget process is troubling and may be against the State Constitution.  State lawmakers face an April 1st budget deadline.

Anderson Precision officials sign new "Flex Rate" agreement with BPU...

A local maker of "turned metal" products has become the first company inside the city of Jamestown to become part of the Board of Public Utilities "Flex Rate" program.  BPU and City officials were at Anderson Precision on Livingston Avenue Friday morning to sign the new, 3-and-a-half year agreement with company officials.  The contract will provide the local manufacturer with a slightly lower electric rate in return for investments in the local facility and workforce.  Mayor Sam Teresi credited BPU General Manager Dave Leathers -- and others -- for working with the state Public Service Commission to allow smaller companies... like Anderson... to be part of the program.  Leathers says the agreement with Anderson came together "pretty quickly" once the PSC approved the "Flex Rate" expansion.  Anderson Precision's Co-Owner, Dave Archer, says the contract is a "big deal..." and, will help them compete in a global marketplace.  Anderson is the fifth Jamestown-area company in the program.    The Flex Rate agreement takes effect this April 1st... and, runs through October of 2018.

Fire at vacant, Ellington home determined accidental...

An unattended electric heat lamp is being blamed for a house fire in the town of Ellington early Friday morning.  Sheriff's Department Fire Investigators say Ellington firefighters were called to the scene at 597 Hunt Rd. in Cherry Creek shortly after Midnight.  Cherry Creek fire crews assisted at the scene.  The house was reportedly vacant... and, no injuries were reported.  Following an investigation... officials say the blaze was caused because the heat lamp was placed in close proximity to combustible material for a long time period. 

NYS Report: Failing Schools tied to poverty level...

An analysis by the Fiscal Policy Institute says most of the 178 New York schools identified by Governor Andrew Cuomo as ``failing'' are located in the state's poorest communities.  The institute, which advocates shared prosperity, says 31 percent of the students in those schools live below the poverty line... and, 78 percent get free or reduced-price lunches.  The governor says failing schools are in the bottom 5-percent of schools statewide based on combined test scores and aren't showing progress or have graduation rates below 60 percent for the last three years.  He has proposed that a non-profit or other district take over those deemed failing three years in a row.  The institute says the fundamental issue is poverty.  It's urging a $2.2-billion boost in state aid targeting "high-needs" districts... such as Jamestown.

WJTN News Headlines

City police have made one arrest as officers continue to investigate a disturbance on Jamestown's northside which led to discovery of a Heroin overdose... and, quantities of illegal drugs.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says police were called to the scene at 21 Sturges Street just after 9:30 Wednesday night.  Samuelson says 29 year-old Richard Philbrick allegedly tried to keep police from investigating... but, they were able to finally get to the 22 year-old female overdose victim.  That person was revived using Narcan... and, was taken to WCA Hospital for treatment.  A search warrant was obtaining after police found Methamphetime inside the residence.  Police later found other alleged substances... which are being tested.  Officers arrested Philbrick for drug possession.


An Olean man has been indicted by a federal Grand Jury accusing him of trafficking Heroin and suboxone... and, Felony possession of a firearm.  U-S Attorney William Hochul, Junior announced that 23 year-old Giovanni Salomonson was taken into custody on the four-count indictment.  Prosecutors say Olean Police allegedly discovered Salmonson in possession of quantities of heroin and suboxone during an investigation back on New Year's Day.  They also accuse him of having a 22-caliber revolver in his possession.  Hochul adds he was previously convicted on state charges which prevent him from legally possessing a firearm.  He says the indictment is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Olean Police Department, under the direction of Chief and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  The charges against Salmonson carry a mandatory minimum of five years in prison, a maximum of life... 250-thousand dollars... or both.

Several hundred people, many of them teachers, went to the Southwestern auditorium Thursday night for a forum on public education.  Ten different speakers talked about the successes and challenges in the schools today.  Many expressed concern over the governor's proposals for funding in the state budget now being negotiated.  Jamestown High School Business teacher, David Munella, asked "When did teachers become the enemy of the state?". Maureen Dohahue, the Superintendent at Southwestern talked about the millions of dollars her district has lost since the great recession forced the 'gap elimination adjustment' onto schools. A representative of Assemblyman Andy Goodell's office spoke at the beginning of the session, and encouraged those with a stake in school funding to continue to make their case in Albany. 


A Jamestown man escaped serious injury early yesterday morning when he was shot in the shoulder at close range during an incident on the city's southside.  Jamestown Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the shooting apparently occured about 5 AM on McKinley Avenue.  Samuelson adds city police were notified by the emergency room at WCA Hospital about the incident around 6 AM... and, officers have been investigating since then.
Samuelson says the unidentified male victim is expected to recover.  However... he says they have no motive for the shooting... and, no suspect.  Samuelson says they're looking for the public's help in the investigation because they have received conflicting information so far... but, adds there was at least a gunshot that would have been heard.  Samuelson says anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Jamestown police at 483-7537... or call their confidential tips-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


Some have questioned if there is a need for a statewide weather system.  Governor Andrew Cuomo raised the issue last November when Western New York was digging out from a major lake effect snowstorm.  There are discussions underway involving the state... and, the National Weather Service.  That from Chautauqua County Emergency Services Director Julius Leone... who adds they are also looking at having a monitoring station in the county. Leone says such a statewide system would provide real-time weather information at available to the state and to public.  He says this would not only help the state... but, also local governments in making decisions on how to help the public be "more prepared "for that event."  No decisions have been made on where such a monitor would be located in the county, although the discussions will continue.  Cuomo has indicated that he would fund such a system by using some of the federal disaster funding the state has obtained for the recovery from Hurricane Sandy.


The excitement is building at Panama Central Schools as the Lady Panthers get ready to play in the New York State Class-D Basketball Championships for the first time ever.  In fact... Panama's appearance in the final four in Troy is the first time a Panther's team has made the finals.  With that... the community has planned a big send-off for the girl's this morning at the school.  Michelle Sperry is the mother of player Emily Sperry... and, she says it's a "very exciting" time for everyone. Sperry... who works in the school system... says she's very excited... and, she's been involved in planning the big send off at the school's parking lot at 8:15 this morning.  And... hopefully on the way to a state Championship.  Panama will play Heuvelton at 9 AM Saturday.  Meantime... Chautauqua Lake in Class-C will play Cooperstown in the semi-finals at 12:30 PM Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College.


Students in a western New York school district walked out of school and through the streets in protest of a decision to retire the Redskins nickname because it offends some Native Americans.  Lancaster school officials say about 300 high-and middle-school students participated in the Thursday morning demonstration, with most returning to class by mid-morning.  Among their signs: ``School board speak with forked tongue'' and ``Once a Redskin, always a Redskin.''  The suburban Buffalo district had been phasing out use of the mascot and nickname for the past few years.  The school board voted this week to retire it altogether after three nearby districts with sizeable numbers of Native American students canceled lacrosse matches.  A statement from Superintendent Michael Vallely said it's time to rethink traditions that are unintentionally hurtful.








News Update! for Thurs., Mar. 19, 2015

Distrubance call leads to discovery of narcotics, and Heroin overdose in Jamestown...

City police have made one arrest as officers were called to a reporte disturbance on Jamestown's northside that led to discovery of drugs, and a Heroin overdose.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says police were called to the scene at 21 Sturges St. just after 9:30 Wednesday night.  Samuelson says one person inside... 29 year-old Richard Philbrick... tried to interfere with their investigation.  He says Philbrick was arrested after being found in possession of drugs.  Samuelson says police found the 22 year-old female overdose victim.  That person was revived using Narcan... and, was taken to WCA Hospital for treatment.  It's the first time JPD has used Narcon in the field, and it was a successful deployment.  A search warrant was obtaining after police found Methamphetime inside the residence.  Police then discovered more meth and other substances... which are being tested.  If you have any information on narcotics trafficking in Jamestown, call the JPD tipline at 483-TIPS, that's 483-8477.


WJTN News Headlines

The mayor of Westfield turned aside a challenge to his office during Wednesday's sparse village elections in Chautauqua County.  Incumbant Michael Vandevelde defeated Richard Raynor in yesterday's vote, 350 to 224.  In the trustees races.. Alan Holbrook and Robert Cochran won seats over David Carr.  Holbrook led the way with 476 votes... while Cochran wound up with 401.  Carr ended up with 207 tallies.  In Sherman... a write-in campaign may have earned one person a village trustee seat.  Donna Higginbotham got the most votes for one seat with 79 tallies.  However... write-in candidate Timothy Fisher received 61 votes... and, Jame Weise got 60 for the other seat.  Results are unofficial at this point.  In Panama... no one was on the ballot.  Beverly Lubi received the most write-in votes with 17... while Kimberly Davis had 10.  In Sinclairville... Tami Berg has been elected Mayor.  She received 68 votes... while write-in candidate John Embury got 30.  In Bemus Point... voters approved moving the village election to November.  All other races Wednesday were uncontested.


Lakewood Village Mayor Dave Wordelmann has released a 3.36-million dollar budget that... for the third-year in a row... keeps the tax levy flat.  Wordelmann also says the 2015-16 spending plan includes a tax rate that's 36-cents per thousand assessed value less than this year.  He adds that the new spending plan came together "easier" than it has over the past several years -- and, for one reason in particular. In fact... Wordelmann says... while spending is up about 59-hundred dollars in the proposed budget... the tax levy is down about 74 dollars.  He says one of the biggest increases in the budget is 46-thousand dollars for a new, Comprehensive Plan.  Wordelmann adds he's also putting in 56-hundred dollars for the first-time for new trees. He says the tax rate will go down from about 7-dollars-49 cents per thousand to 7-dollars-13 cents.  A public hearing on the budget is set for April 13th and the final spending plan must be adopted no later than May 1st.


New York's farms can't afford any further increases in the minimum wage.  In a (Wednesday) morning news conference, New York Farm Bureau President, Dean Norton said while only the newest and youngest workers get the minimum... there is a hidden effect. Norton believes that it's "untenable" in a state where the costs of farming are already high.  Brian Reeves (ree-vus), a vegetable farmer in Central New York, says there is another problem with New York making it's minimum wage higher than other states... and, that is competing with other states where expenses are lower.  Reeves (ree-vus) would prefer the state follow the Federal Government in any minimum wage change.  As part of the budget negotiations in Albany, the governor has proposed a $10.50 minimum.  Some in the state Assembly would like to see it go to $12.60 an hour.  The minimum wage currently in effect in New York is $8.75 an hour... and, will go to 9-dollars by the end of this year. 


The state attorney general has reached agreement with the largest upstate health insurer to cover more mental health and addictions treatment for its 1.5 million members.  The settlement with Rochester-based Excellus Health Plan cites recent state and federal laws requiring mental health coverage at the same level as medical treatment.  It's the fifth settlement by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman since last year.  It requires Excellus to notify 3,300 members whose requests for inpatient treatment for drug and alcohol abuse and eating disorders were denied from 2011 to 2014.


New York's junior U-S Senator has reintroduced a bill that would create paid family leave... including maternity and paternity leave... personal medical leave, and spousal support.  During a conference call late yesterday... Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand discussed her Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, which would establish a national paid family medical leave insurance program.  Gillibrand says the United States is the only industrialized nation in the world without any form of paid family leave. According to Gillibrand... fewer Americans have access to paid leave than those who have lost a job or threatened with getting fired for taking medical leave.  Right now... she says only 13-percent of American workers have access to paid leave.  Gillibrand adds our national economy has lost more than 3-billion dollars due to caregivers having to leave their jobs because of not having access to paid leave.


There is one option the Jamestown City School District has if it doesn't receive enough state aid to cover a projected 5-million dollar shortfall in it's 2015-16 budget.  School Superintendent Tim Mains recently met with state Assemblyman Andy Goodell about the district's fiscal problems... and, says Goodell agrees the district is not getting it's "fair share" of state aid as a "high needs" district.  While the state budget is still being negotiated... Mains says Goodell suggested they request "bullet aid" once they know what the gap is. Since their meeting at Bush Elementary School... Mains says he spoke again with Goodell in Albany... and, learned that both the Senate and Assembly budget bills increase state aid over what Governor Cuomo has proposed.  However... the Assembly wants it doled out through elimination of the Gap Elimination Adjustment... while the Senate want's to increase Foundation aid.  Goodell speculates that the added funding would be doled out on a "50-50" basis.


Gasoline prices continue to go down in Chautauqua County... falling another penny a gallon for regular, unleaded fuel this week.  That from the Triple-A's Fuel Gauge report... which says the average price is now 2-dollars-64 cents a gallon.  It dropped to 2--60 in a couple of locations earlier this week.  The national average is now 2--42 a gallon.  Nationally... Triple-A says -- after rising for 40 days in a row -- the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has now fallen for nine straight days.  Compared to this same date last year, consumers are saving an average of one-dollar-9 cents per gallon at the pump.  The Fuel Gauge reports that prices may continue to drop in the near future due to a steep decline in the cost of crude oil.


Governor Cuomo says the latest round of targeted crude oil tank car and rail inspections have uncovered 93 defects... including seven critical safety defects that required immediate corrective action.  The inspections are the latest in a series of actions state agencies are taking to protect New Yorkers from potential dangers associated with the transport of crude oil by rail.  Cuomo's office said Tuesday that state and federal teams examined 453 crude oil tank cars and approximately 148 miles of track in these inspections.  In Chautauqua County... the CSX mainline along Lake Erie had five defects found -- none of them serious.






WJTN News Headlines


Fire officials in the north county say an ice jam at the mouth of Cattaraugus Creek caused flooding in Irving on Tuesday.  WIVB-TV in Buffalo reports that there were no major issues... but, Sunset Bay fire officials say some roads had three to eight inches of water on them.  Due to the large size of the creek, they said they couldn’t go in and break up the cluster of ice.  Officials say for now, they'll just have to wait and see if the water levels continue to recede. Fire officials and emergency management crews will continue monitoring the situation until the flood threat is gone. If the situation gets worse, residents will get a reverse 9-1-1 call notifying them about the flood status.




There has been some progress... but, more needs to be done to bring about a "Detox" facility for people seeking help in getting off addictive drugs in Chautauqua County.  That from County Executive Vince Horrigan... who says more than 260 people were on hand for Monday's latest Community Drug Forum in Mayville.  Horrigan adds that -- with the number of people attending -- and, passionate discussion that took place -- showed that finding answers to the problem has not lost momentum. Horrigan agreed that the need for an Outpatient Detox Center was a major issue for those attending the forum.  The nearest such centers are in the Buffalo-area... and, he says Chautauqua County tried to go through the state to get one three years ago... but, that was rejected.  He says if they can find the right "combination of providers..." he's optimistic they'll have one in the near future.  Horrigan says more still needs to be done regarding prevention, treatment... and, residential programs.  He says their Steering Committee will follow the state budget process on transitional housing... and, work with local providers on treatment options.


(**Correction)It's Election Day in seven Chautauqua County villages.  County Elections Commissioners Norm Green and Brian Abram says residents in those communities will be casting ballots from Noon until 9 PM.  Green says village elections this year were moved to Wednesday to legally accommodate St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.  Since 1998... he says village elections are legally not allowed to be conducted on St. Patrick’s Day.  The only other time since the bill’s passage that the collision of democracy and Irish celebration has occurred was 2009.  The only contested races are taking place in Westfield... where Mayor Michael Vandevelde is being challenged by Richard Raynor.  In addition... three candidates are running for two village trustee seats.  They are Robert Cochran, Alan Holbrook, and David Carr.  Panama will have a vote on one trustees seat... but, no one running.  Write-in candidates are welcome.  Otherwise... in Bemus Point... Mayor Bryan Dahlberg and village trustees Margaret Richardson and Chris Wright are running unopposed.  Voters will also be casting ballots to approve moving the village election to November.  The votes in Cassadaga... Cherry Creek... and, Sherman are uncontested.  Late today, we have learned about a write-in campaign against the incumbant mayor in Sinclairville.  


It's "Jam On" as the new Jamestown Jammers baseball team prepares to begin play in the summer collegiate, Prospect League.  Team officials were on hand at City Hall yesterday afternoon to formally introduce new Business and Field Manager Anthony Barone... the team's slogan... and, promotions for the upcoming season.  Barone is a Jamestown native... who played and coached at Jamestown Community College.  Barone says he's proud to be a manager in one of the top five college summer leagues in the nation. Barone will also head up the business side of the organization... including promotions.  Public Relations and Marketing Director Van McNeil says they have a number of promotions set for their 30 homes games -- starting May 27th.  As for the make-up of the team... Barone says they've already signed more than 20 players from the college ranks for the season -- including one from the area.  Barone says players range in age from 18 to 22... and, must have one-year of college eligibility left to play in the league.


Season tickets are also available now for the Jamestown Jammers season... and, the team's first customer was Mayor Sam Teresi.  Teresi... who is an avid baseball fan... says he's purchased five season passes...but, adds he'll just be using two for himself and his family.  During the press conference yesterday... Teresi urged residents to back the team... which he says merges the "best with the best...." Teresi was eluding to the Jammers' ownership group, MKE Sports and Entertainment... and, Anthony Barone in those final comments.  He called up Max Martin, director of the Eastside YMCA... and, Jeff Kroon, director of the Jamestown Boy's and Girl's Club... which will split the remaining tickets that Teresi has purchased.  Van McNeil says ticket prices start at 8 to 12-dollars... and, adds season ticket holders for the NY-P League Jammers will get first preferance on tickets until April 15th.  For more information... go on-line to Jamestownbaseball-dot-COM.


The state Assembly has voted to make New York the fourth state to provide workers with paid time off to care for a new child or sick loved one.  The bill endorsed Tuesday would provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave of up to 545-dollars a week.  The benefit would be funded through an employee payroll deduction that, in its first year, would be capped at 45 cents per week.  The Senate has its own family leave proposal which would provide up to $424 in weekly benefits for up to six weeks.  The state would initially foot the bill.  Sponsors in both chambers plan to work on a compromise.  A spokeswoman for Governor Andrew Cuomo says he supports the idea behind the bills... but, has concerns about the details.


The organizers of a 'Forum to Support and Respect Public Education" Thursday night at Southwestern Central School want to change the current narrative about public schools.  Mark Kirsch, a teacher in the Southwestern district, has had a major role in the planning. Kirsch says the public is welcome to attend the event.  He says 10 speakers will look at public education from a variety of perspectives.  Kirsch says they include Southwestern Superintendent Maureen Donahue... and, Jamestown Superintendent Tim Mains.  He adds community and business leaders will also be part of the program.  Kirsch says the tone of the forum will be positive.  Those attending will have the opportunity to submit questions to the speakers.  The event starts at 6:30 PM Thursday at the Southwestern auditorium. Media One's Dennis Webster will be the moderator for the forum.

Local Congressman Tom Reed is co-sponsoring one of two measures that would withhold pay for House and Senate members if they fail to pass an on-time budget.  But... Reed says he's backing both a short -- and, a long-range "No Budget -- No Pay" Acts in Congress.  The Corning Republican says Congress "must act..." and, Republicans must act because the American people have "put their truct in the GOP to bring Washington back to normal...." Reed the short-term bill... sponsored by Republican Rob Whitman of Virginia, calls for withholding lawmakers pay if a new budget is not adopted by April 16th... and, they would only get paid once a spending plan is agreed to.  He says the longer-term bill is sponsored by Tennessee Democrat Jim Cooper.  With the national debt now having reached 18-trillion dollars... Reed says it's time to do what every American family has to do... and, that's live within a budget.  He made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media.


New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has called for a ban on outside income for state legislators, saying state ethics reforms don't go far enough to prevent corruption.  In a speech at a Citizens Union forum at New York Law School Monday night...  Schneiderman said the scandals involving state lawmakers in recent years have prompted ``reforms that largely tinker at the margins.''  He says he supports Governor Andrew Cuomo's pursuit of ethics reform as part of budget negotiations.  But... Schneiderman says it's impossible to avoid the appearance of conflicts if lawmakers continued to be able to earn outside income.  Cuomo has proposed strengthening outside income reporting but no outright ban.  The attorney general also proposes increasing legislators' pay and their term from two years to four, while closing campaign finance loopholes.


Former presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Rick Santorum says the field of Republican contenders for the White House in 2016 shows a party with diverse viewpoints and different ideas -- in contrast to what he says is a ``monolithic'' Democratic Party.  Santorum said Tuesday that he's still weighing whether to run. The former Republican senator from Pennsylvania contended for the GOP nomination for president in 2012.  He visited the New York state Capitol on Tuesday to address a conservative gathering.  Former New York Governor George Pataki is also exploring a White House bid.  Santorum said he's encouraged by Pataki's interest and says the number of potential candidates represent a healthy range of viewpoints within the GOP.  Santorum said that diversity of perspectives is largely missing from the Democratic Party.








WJTN News Headlines

A Pennsylvania resident  is in the Jamestown City Jail after being found unresponsive in his car with a hypodermic needle and a quantity of Heroin in plain view.  Police say 24 year old Shane Rodgers was found unresponsive just after 2:30pm Sunday in the area of Jeffords and Falconers Street in his vehicle that was running  and stopped at the intersection.  Further investigation found that Rodgers allegedly had been driving the car while impaired by the drugs.  He was taken into Custody and faces drug related charges including Criminal Posession of a Controlled Subastance adn Driving while ability impaired by drugs.


Two men -- one from Jamestown -- have been arrested for allegedly being part of a Youngstown, Ohio-to-Jamestown drug connection.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson also says 22 year-old John Tuffino of Youngstown, and 25 year-old Luis Moreno of Jamestown... were also found in possession of a loaded pistol during a traffic stop late last week.  Samuelson says Tuffino and Moreno were arrested during a traffic stop on Interstate 86 in the town of Ellicott early last Friday morning. Samuelson says the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force then searched the vehicle after getting a court warrant... and, found quantities of cocaine, pot, and cash -- in addition to the handgun.  He says both Tuffino and Moreno were arrested without incident.  Samuelson says they're pleased to have gotten a loaded, 40-calibur pistol off the streets.  He says the investigation is continuing... and, more arrests are pending.  Both Tuffino and Moreno were arraigned on charges of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, face drug possession charges.  They were both arraigned in city court... and, sent to the county jail without bail.  If you have an information on illegal drug trafficking in Jamestown... call the tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


A Rochester man who provided the handgun used to kill a Jamestown man who had reportedly turned drug informant in mid-2008 has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.  U-S Attorney William Hochul, Junior late last week annouced that 33 year-old Juan Dejesus-Santiago received the prison term on his conviction on charges of drug conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy... and, discharge of a firearm during a violent crime.  Proscutors say that Santiago took part in "a large, violent narcotics trafficking organization..." and, that he took part in the 'contract killing' of 31 year-old Quincy Turner in May of 2008 near Jamestown.  In addition to the gun... they say Santiago provided the vehicle the killers used.  Prosecutors say he was part of a ring responsible for the receipt... and, distribution of hundreds of kilograms of cocaine in the Rochester-area between January 2007 and October 2008.  He was found to be one of 33 related defendants charged with federal crimes for taking part in a Puerto Rico to Rochester cocaine operation.  To date... Hochul says all 33 defendants have been convicted... and, only two remain to be sentenced.   


Prevention and treatment options are expected to be the focus of the latest Community Drug Forum in Chautauqua County today.  This is the first forum since three recent Heroin overdoses in the south county in which one was fatal.  County Executive Vince Horrigan says the drug problem locally "keeps him up nights."  However... he says -- since last year's county-wide Community Drug Forum -- better treatment options have been put in place.  He says both ends of the county have access through WCA Hospital's Inpatient Treatment Center in Jamestown... and, at Lakeshore Hospital in Irving.  However... Horrigan says access also remains the big issue. Horrigan says he's also been working with the region's state Senator on getting a new and "unique program" in place that would be involving one local agency... Southern Tier Environments for Living.  It would provide housing to help addicts recover.  Horrigan says they'll be focusing primarily on Prevention at today's forum beginning at 9 AM at Chautauqua Suites.  Registration begins at 8:30.


Governor Cuomo has signed legislation to postpone until next year the deadline for doctors to issue only electronic drug prescriptions.  Lawmakers who backed the measure say many physicians still lack the required federal approval for their computer systems to do that for painkillers... and, other addictive drugs on the government list of controlled substances.  The electronic prescriptions -- connected to a central database that doctors and pharmacists can check -- are intended to prevent prescription fraud, doctor shopping for addictive painkillers and illicit resales.


New York's top insurance regulator says most health insurance in the state pays hospitals and doctors for each service regardless of quality, efficiency or outcome, and his staff will try to encourage alternatives to reduce costs and improve health.  Department of Financial Services Superintendent Ben Lawsky says their recent survey shows every major insurer in New York's commercial market is making some effort at payment reform, like ``pay-for-performance'' or pay-per-member fees for health care.  However... the pilot projects account for less than 15 percent of payments.  Lawsky says they will work with providers, insurers, consumers and business to identify and measure successful alternatives, then ``create incentives'' to move insurers in that direction.  That may mean removing regulatory hurdles or using review authority to seek adherence to payment reform targets.


In addition to a budget... voters in the Dunkirk School District will be deciding on whether the Dunkirk Free Library should become a 'school district' public library.  School Superintendent Gary Cerne says that library officials collected the required 25 signatures to get the issue on the ballot.  If approved... Cerne district residents would see a separate line on their tax bill to cover the costs of the library.  That line would include the individual cost to cover the library's approximately 350-thousand dollar budget.  If the proposal is approved... Cerne says the library would be governed initially by seven library trustees who are elected by the voters of the school district.  And, the city of Dunkirk would no longer be required to help cover the cost of the library.


A problem with an electrical outlet box is the apparent cause of a fire last Saturday night that's left a town of Hanover family homeless.  Chautauqua County fire investigators say Forestville fire crews were called to the scene at 2 Cedar Street just after 8 PM.  Crews were able to snuff out the blaze... but, not before it spread through-out the residence.  Investigators say the flames originated in the wall-mounted outlet box... then spread onto a bed.  No one was hurt... but, the local Red Cross was called in to assists the residents. 


Authorities overseeing New York's Freedom of Information Law say the public ``urgently needs'' more and clearer information about police actions including misconduct.  In a report citing ``visceral reactions'' nationwide to recent events involving police use of force... the Committee on Open Government is calling on the governor and Legislature to ``remove secrecy'' that currently surrounds some police actions and repeal the statutory exemption from public disclosure of police personnel records.  The report says New York is virtually the only state with that exemption while the state's sunshine law otherwise has sufficient privacy protections for police as it does for other government workers.  The union representing 36-hundred uniformed state troopers says the exemption protects against ``unwarranted public ridicule'' for a minor infraction that may be in an officer's record.


Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani says President Barack Obama is to blame for the police shootings in Ferguson, Missouri, and other disturbing events because he sets the tone for the nation.  Giuliani spoke late last week WNYM-AM's ``The Answer'' with host John Gambling.  Giuliani said Obama wasn't addressing what Giuliani called the ``enormous amount of crime'' being committed by blacks.  The White House declined to comment Friday on Giuliani's remarks.  Giuliani also said Obama should say the kind of things comedian Bill Cosby used to say -- before he was accused of sexual assault, which Cosby denies.  Cosby often exhorted black people to focus on education and parenting.  Giuliani drew criticism last month for questioning Obama's love of country.  Late last week... Giuliani said he considers Obama a good family man.
















News Update for Sat., Mar. 14, 2015

Two arrested for allegedly being part of Youngstown, Ohio to Jamestown drug connection...

Two men -- one from Jamestown -- are jailed for allegedly trying to bring cocaine and marijuana to the area from Youngstown, Ohio.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson also says 22 year-old John Tuffino of Youngstown, and 25 year-old Luis Moreno of Jamestown... were found in possession of a loaded pistol.  Samuelson says Tuffino and Moreno were arrested during a traffic stop on Interstate 86 in the town of Ellicott about 12:30 AM Friday.  He says members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force found quantities of cocaine, pot, and cash in addition to the loaded gun.  Samuelson says the investigation is continuing... and, more arrests are pending.  Both Tuffino and Moreno were arraigned on charges of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Tuffino also faces two other drug possession charges.  They were both being arraigned late this morning in city court... and, were to be sent to the county jail.  If you have an information on illegal drug trafficking in Jamestown... call the tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.

News Update for Fri., Mar. 13, 2015

NWS issued Flood Watch for western New York -- including Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties...

The potential for ice jam flooding and up to an inch of rain has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Flood Watch for all of Western New York -- including Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties.  Forecaster Dave Thomas says it's in effect until 8 a.m. Sunday.  Thomas says milder temperatures and some rainfall will be a concern.  He says temperatures got into the low 50s Friday... and, won't be below freezing until late tonight.  Thomas says that, and a quarter to half-an-inch of rain, creates the chance of ice jam flooding.  People living in areas that are prone to ice jam flooding should prepare for the potential for flooding this weekend.  Up to this point... County Executive Vince Horrigan says we're fortunate that we've had no rain... and, still low temperatures at night to keep the ice from melting too quickly.

City home damaged in Kitchen Fire...

A grease fire in the kitchen of a home on Jamestown's westside triggered a blaze that heavily damaged the kitchen of that home.  City Fire Battalion Chief Don Woodfield says crews were called to the scene at 34 McDaniel Ave. shortly before 2:30 a.m. Friday.  Woodfield says firefighters found heavy fire coming from the kitchen... and, were able to make a quick stop on the blaze.  He says it was then a matter of checking for any fire extension.  Woodfield says fire crews used a one-a-three-quarter inch line to douse the fire.  He says -- for the most part -- damage was confined to the kitchen.  He says damage was significant... and, the family living there has been temporarily displaced.  Woodfield says they are being helped by the local Red Cross chapter.  He says no injuries were reported in the fire.  Woodfield says an off-duty shift was called in to assist at the scene... and, man Fire Station-one.  Firefighters were at the scene until 4 a.m. Friday.

Chautauqua County Sheriff's Dept to take part in state's latest Stop DWI Enforcement program...

Local police will be out in force during this extended St. Patrick's Day holiday weekend.  That from Sheriff Joe Gerace... who says his, and other agenices across the region, will be out in force to deterr people from drinking and driving during the St. Patrick's Day period that begins today... and, runs through Tuesday night.  Gerace says this detail is similar to ones they had back on Super Bowl Sunday Weekend... and, Christmas and New Years.  He says "removing intoxicated drivers from county roadways is one of our top priorities."  He says Christmas is now one of the big time periods where drinking and driving is seen.  Gerace says St. Patrick's Day is often celebrated by drinking... and, he adds celebrate as much at you like... but, don't get behind the wheel of a car.  This latest Stop-DWI Crack-down is taking place through next Tuesday... St. Patrick's Day... in New York state.  During Super Bowl weekend... Gerace says there were more than 70 traffic stops... arrests and summonses.

DiNapoli says Medicaid Spending on the rise in NYS...

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says state spending on Medicaid is projected to rise in New York by nearly $700-million a year over the next four years.  However... DiNapoli says the state's efforts to limit Medicaid spending are showing signs of progress with annual growth at less than 2 percent.  The growth rate had previously been more than 5 percent annually.  New York's Medicaid spending has long been among the highest in the nation.  The federal government picked up just over half of New York's $55.3-billion Medicaid bill last fiscal year.  Medicaid is the insurance program for low-income people.  Total state enrollment is expected to exceed 6.4 million in several years.

Maple Weekend Preview Day held in Kennedy...

If we continue to reach about 40 degrees during the day... and, fall to around 20 at night... there should be a great Maple harvest this year in Chautauqua County.  That from local Maple producers previewing the upcoming New York Maple Weekends later this month.  This is the 20th year for the Maple Weekends... where local producers open up their sugar shacks... and, allow the public to see how syrup and other products are made.  Big Tree Maple's David Munsee says they're ready to go.  The first weekend is March 21-22, and the second will be March 28-29.  The Chautauqua Maple Promotion Day was held Friday at Steward's Dairy Farm on Waterboro Hill Road in Kennedy.  It's operated by Donald and Paul Steward, and their family.  Paul Steward says they got a little bit of a late start due to the frigid cold weather through the end of February.  Steward says they've got about 2,000 taps out... with another 600 yet to go out.   Steward says he made his first batch of syrup just Friday... and, says it was "really good."  He says he's anticipating good sugar content for this year.  For more information on Maple Weekends in Chautauqua County... go on-line to


WJTN News Headlines

The New York Senate and Assembly have advanced their own budget proposals as negotiations over state spending enter their final weeks.  The two proposals endorsed Thursday represent the Senate and Assembly's priorities as they craft a final budget with Governor Andrew Cuomo.  Both chambers say they want to spend more on education than Cuomo recommended.  The Senate budget offers more tax relief while the Assembly budget contains a phased minimum wage increase to 12-dollars-60 cents.  Both chambers balked at Cuomo's effort to link the budget to his proposals requiring greater reporting of lawmakers' outside income and his changes to teacher evaluations and tenure.  Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos says budget negotiations are progressing and hopes the budget will be approved before the fiscal year begins April 1st.


A weight-bearing beam at the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater failed early Wednesday afternoon... damaging a column in the northeast corner of the Amphitheater.  Chautauqua's Communications Director Jordan Steves says the failure occured about 12:30 PM... adjacent to Gate 1.  Steves says some people in the area heard a loud "crack..." and, the institution's operations staff was called in.  He says the column was at the top of the Amphitheater seating area. Steves says Operations staff brought in a large crane to help support that part of the amphitheater's roof to access what happened.  He adds most of the visable damage is to that column.  Steves says the heavy snowmelt appears to be the cause.  With the failure... he says the Amphitheater has been closed off to visitors, along with some of the roadway in that area.  Steve says the crane and other equipment is being staged in that location.   In addition to restricting the "Amp" to appropriate personnel only... vehicle and pedestrian access is restricted on Roberts south of Miller, and on Bowman west of South Terrace.


A north county man has been arrested for allegedly sexually attacking a woman while giving her a ride home a week ago last Sunday.  Sheriff's officers say they've taken 35 year-old Philip Tirone of Oak Street, Silver Creek, into custory for the alleged incident.  Deputies say the victim did not consent to the physical contact... which allegedly occured on Route 39 in Forestville just after 6 PM on March 1st.  Following an investigation... officers took Tirone into custody on charges of first-degree sexual abuse... and, second-degree harassment.  He was arraigned in Hanover Town Court... and, sent to the county jail on 10-thousand dollars cash bail.


A new, stand-alone grocery chain that has had some success in the Jamestown-area is moving a second store into the area in the village of Lakewood.  The proposal is being made by the Florida-based owners of the former Super Duper-Jamesway strip plaza on West Fairmount Avenue.  Mayor David Wordlemann says Save-A-Lot is planning to use the just over 17-thousand square feet of space formerly used by Super Duper for the new store.  Wordlemann says Bocar Family Holdings is proposing one of the chain's "basic" type stores. Once the new store is up and running... it'll be the first stand-alone grocery store in the village since Quality Markets closed it's location in the Lakewood Village Center several years ago when parent company, Penn Traffic, went out of business.  Wordlemann says the site plan now goes before the planning board... which is expected to make a recommendation by late April.  Wordlemann says he doesn't expect any problems, and if all goes well, the new Save-A-Lot should be open by mid-Summer.  He says Save-A-Lot sells a fairly large selection of brand name items.


State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has obtained indictments against 33 people accused of conspiring to distribute heroin and cocaine in northern New York.  Investigators in Watertown say wiretaps and surveillance used in the year-long probe helped identify four loosely-related networks were involved.  They allegedly funneled illegal drugs into Potsdam, Edwards, Pierrepont and Stockholm in St. Lawrence County from Yonkers, the Bronx, Syracuse and Leominster, Massachusetts.  Authorities seized more than one-million dollars worth of Heroin and Cocaine during raids.  Schneiderman says addictive and deadly heroin has spread even into the most rural counties -- including Chautauqua. 


Emergency management officials in Chautauqua County will be keeping an eye on area creeks and streams as the snow pack continues to melt.  Temperatures have reached above the freezing mark for the past few days and it is forecast to reach 50 today.  County Executive Vince Horrigan says no major problems have surfaced so far. Horrigan says they have been in touch with local communities that have a history of ice jam flooding.  In addition... he says county officials have reached out to the Red Cross, and local fire departments, and, secured heavy equipment that may be needed at a moment's notice.  Forecasters are concerned about a weather system that could bring a quarter to as much as a half inch of rainfall tonight through Saturday.  There’s the potential for some minor flooding this weekend -- especially if temperatures climb higher than expected and rainfall exceeds the current forecast.


The wife and two children of the New York man who faces charges that he fraudulently claimed an ownership stake in Facebook have been reported missing.  State police say 36-year-old Iasia Ceglia (SEHG'-lee-uh) and her two sons, 10-year-old Leeman and 11-year-old Joseffinn, were reported missing on Tuesday, the same day Manhattan federal court judge revoked bail for Paul Ceglia.  Prosecutors say the businessman dropped out of touch with his pretrial services officer and was no longer at his family's rural home in Wellsville.  Troopers say it's unknown if the wife and boys are with Ceglia, who's apparently has fled after circumventing his electronic ankle monitoring bracelet.


Mental health advocates are lobbying for a new tax check-off they say will help end the stigma around mental illness, which they say is common, treatable and far too often unaddressed.  With hundreds of supporters in Albany this week, they say a new tax check-off -- similar to those where taxpayers can support Alzheimer's research or breast cancer awareness -- would send a clear message that mental health issues are equally important.  Glenn Liebman, president of the Mental Health Association of New York State, says one in four people in the U.S. has a diagnosed mental illness and many don't get treatment.  Advocates say many of those affected by the stigma _ and reluctant to acknowledge issues and get treatment _ are adolescents and their parents, as well as returning military veterans.


Pennsylvania's corrections secretary is scheduling two executions.  However... a death penalty moratorium imposed by the governor two months ago means it's not likely anyone will be put to death in the near future.  Secretary John Wetzel signed notices of execution Thursday that call for Albert Perez and Lance Arrington to be put to death on April 17th.  The announcement comes two months after Governor Tom Wolf announced the moratorium, saying he had concerns about the state's system of capital punishment.  Wolf's moratorium produced a lawsuit from the Philadelphia district attorney, a case the Supreme Court will hear.













News Headlines for Thurs., Mar. 12, 2015

Weigh-bearing beam for roof at Chaut. Institution Amphitheater fails under weight of snow...

A weight-bearing beam at the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater failed early yesterday afternoon... damaging a column in the northeast corner of the Amphitheater.  Chautauqua Spokesman Jordan Steves says some people in the area of the Amp reported hearing a "loud crack" about 12:30 p.m. near Gate 1.  Chautauqua's Operations staff brought in a crane to secure that part of the structure, and have called in outside engineers to assess the structure and provide direction on how best to prevent further damage, and begin repairs.  The weight of the heavy snowpack on the roof apparantly triggered the "localized" collapse.  Until further notice... institution officials say access to the entire Amphitheater is restricted to appropriate personnel only.   In addition... as a precaution, vehicle and pedestrian access is restricted on Roberts south of Miller, and on Bowman west of South Terrace.

No one hurt in Falconer roof collapse blamed at least -- in part -- to heavy snow and snowmelt...

Some anxious moments in Falconer yesterday afternoon when the roof collapsed on a residential building on the village's westside.  Chautauqua County dispatchers say Falconer fire rescuers, and police, were called to the scene at 359 West Main Street just after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.  Falconer was joined at the scene by Kennedy firefighters... while others were on stand-by.  The county's Technical Rescue, and Medical Tech teams were also called in.  No one was hurt.  The Post-Journal reports that heavy snowmelt contributed to the collapse.  West Main... which is Route 394... was closed in that area -- near Dow Street -- just over an hour and a half while the scene was secured.

Carroll Town Police investigating weekend vehicle break-ins...

Town of Carroll residents -- especially those in Frewsburg -- are being warned to keep their vehicles locked when they're not being used.  That from Carroll Police officials following an investigation into more than a dozen vehicles break-ins by two, alleged juvenile offenders during the overnight hours from about Midnight this past Sunday through 7 a.m. Monday.  Officers say their investigation determined several parked cars and trucks on local streets, and driveways, were checked to see if they were unlocked.  They say the suspects stole a number of items from those vehicles.  However... Carroll police say some items were recovered.  Officers say -- if you found your vehicle was broken into -- and haven't reported it... you should do so by calling 569-5365.  You can also make an appointment to see if the recovered property is yours.  Carroll Police add you should also secure your garage and home.

Horrigan encouraged by consolidation discussion involving Gerry, Charlotte, Sinclairville and Cassadaga Valley School District...

County Executive Vince Horrigan says he's encouraged by discussions that two towns and a village in the central part of the county are having on the possibility of consolidation.  Horrigan says he's happy about the news that the towns of Gerry and Charlotte -- along with the Village of Sinclairville -- are looking at such a venture.  The proposal came up at a meeting of the Cassadaga Valley School Board Tuesday night..  Horrigan says he was not aware of the talks... but, called them "encouraging."  The local governments are looking for a centralized location, with the school property being discussed.  Sometimes... Horrigan says "we only think of municipalities... " and, forget schools have incredible infrastructure that can help local towns and villages.  Horrigan says the county has been working with local governments to develop shared services iniatives for submission to the Governor's office in June as as they relate to the State's tax freeze program.

Gillibrand co-sponsoring Medical Marijuana bill...

New York's junior U-S Senator is one of lawmakers that have introduced a bill that would allow patients to use marijuana for medical purposes in states where it is legal.  Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand adds it would allow them to do so without fear of federal prosecution for violating narcotics laws.  Gillibrand says current federal laws ignore the health benefits of medical marijuana... and, get in the way of scientific progress.  Gillibrand adds that federal drug laws restrict scientific research that goes into use of the drug... and, she says they don't allow transparent financing for medical dispensers -- which has forcing those in the business to operate it as a "cash-only business."  She, along with Senators Cory Booker and Rand Paul, announced the bipartisan medical marijuana bill on Tuesday.

Cuomo restates his contention that ethic's reform be part of 2015-16 State Budget...

Governor Andrew Cuomo is again insisting that his legislative ethics reforms be included in the state budget... saying he's ``not willing to sacrifice'' the proposals as he negotiates a final budget with top lawmakers.  Speaking in Rochester Wednesday... Cuomo said he also wants to see the $142-billion state budget include his proposals to overhaul teacher evaluations and tenure rules.  The Democratic governor's comments are an indication that he's taking a hard line as budget talks enter their final weeks.  Cuomo's ethics proposal includes requiring lawmakers to detail their outside income... and, submit receipts for their daily food and lodging expenses.  Lawmakers have objected to Cuomo inserting so many big policy ideas into the budget, which they hope to approve by April 1st.

Hundreds attend Education Rally in Albany...

Hundreds of public school students and parents rallied yestereday afternoon at the state Capitol in Albany to urge lawmakers to boost school funding and reject Governor Andrew Cuomo's education reforms.  Cuomo has suggested $1.1-billion in additional education spending -- but only if lawmakers agree to implement tougher tenure rules, teacher evaluations more reliant on student test performance and the authorization of more charter schools.  Wednesday's rally was organized by the Alliance for Quality Education.  Billy Easton, the group's executive director, called for nearly $2-billion in new school spending.  He says overall funding remains $5.9-billion below levels prescribed in a 2006 court ruling.  Easton said Cuomo's reforms are ``cockamamie'' ideas that will hurt schools.  Last week... thousands of charter school supporters held their own rally to back Cuomo's ideas.



WJTN News Headlines

State Assembly Democrats have proposed a $150.7 billion state budget they say will put families first... and, call for larger increases in the minimum wage and school aid than Governor Cuomo did.  The plan also has increased support for child care, affordable housing and social services.  Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, surrounded by colleagues, says the goal is to promote all 19 million New Yorkers' economic independence and future well-being.  The Democrats have a two-thirds Assembly majority, constituting one of three main forces in negotiations on spending for the fiscal year that starts April 1st.  The Cuomo administration has proposed a spending plan that's also loaded with possible new laws on topics ranging from government ethics to teacher evaluations.  The Senate's Republican majority is expected to disclose positions Thursday.


Local state Assemblyman Andy Goodell says he's disappointed by the Democratic majority's rejection of 13 rule changes introduced by minority Republicans.  Goodell says it's especially frustrating when a group of Democrats had supported many of the changes outlined by the GOP. The proposals included measures that would post committee votes online and and establish term limits for legislative leaders.  As a result, Goodell doesn't expect much to change under new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.  He says that flies in the face of what Heastie said when he was elected speaker... and, pledged to reform the way the Assembly operates.  The votes were mostly along party lines.  Assemblyman Michael "Mickey" Kearns from the Buffalo-area was one of the few Democrats who supported most of the reforms.


The state Assembly's Democratic majority has proposed raising the state's minimum wage twice over the next three years... with higher levels for the New York City area.  The statewide minimum is currently 8-dollars-75 cents... and, is scheduled to reach $9 next year.  The Assembly Democrats, in their budget proposal, say the minimum hourly wage upstate should rise to 10-dollars-50 cents in 2017... and, two years later to $12.60.  For tipped workers it would increase at the same time to $7.50 and later to $9.  In New York City, Westchester County and Long Island, the minimum wage would rise to $12.50 in 2017 and two years later to $15.  Tipped wages there would rise to $9.50 and later to $11.40.  Inflation indexing would begin in 2019.  The rates are higher than what's in Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal.


Chautauqua County's Congressman was in Jamestown yesterday... learning more about what kind of tax and trade help they need to be competitive in the global marketplace.  Corning Republican Tom Reed spent about an hour Tuesday afternoon touring TitanX Engine Cooling... and, it's wind tunnel on Allen Street.  Reed says meeting with business leaders, and touring their facilities, helps him in working on tax policy as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Early last July... TitanX entered into a unique agreement with it's two unions... the United Auto Workers... and, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.  The "High Performance Partnership" involves giving workers on the floor a voice in making a better product.  Company leaders told Reed about that agreement... which he says is a great example of the "can-do" attitude of Southern Tier Manufacturers.  TitanX makes state-of-the art cooling systems for heavy duty vehicles... and, does a lot of research and development in that area.


Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area have jumped nearly 11-cents a gallon this week to more than 2-dollars-60 cents.  That from the Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report... which says the average price of regular, unleaded rose from just over 2--54 last week, to 2--65 this week.  The Triple-A says the average was based on reports from 19 service stations in the area.  The national average is now 2-dollars-45 cents a gallon.  Triple-A reports the national average fell Monday for the first time since increasing for 40 consecutive days, which was the longest streak of daily price increases since 2011.  The Fuel Gauge says retail gas prices typically trend higher this time of year as suppliers undergo maintenance... and, plan to reduce winter grade fuel in preparation for the changeover to summer-grade gasoline, which is more costly to make.  Globally... Triple-A says the price of crude oil remains volatile due to speculations about possible production cuts due to oversupply... and, news of rising global demand.  U.S. production continues to hit record levels, and stockpiles have climbed to their highest weekly levels since the energy agency started collecting statistical data on the subject in 1982.


There is now special foundation in place to help raise money for projects in the Jamestown city school district consistant with the district's mission goals.  The school board recently approved a resolution establishing the PROMISE Fund... and, it's eight-member board of directors.  Jamestown School Superintendent Tim Mains says the fund -- which has been several years in the making -- will help further projects in the district which is facing "severe financial challenges...."  The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation will host the new fund... which Mains says is similar to the Southwestern Schools Education Foundation.  That foundation was established several years ago to help fund construction of that district's new athletic complex.  Mains says the effort raised nearly all the money for the project.  Mains says the PROMISE Fund will begin as a "non-endowed" fund that will raise money for projects... and, scholarships... like the Southwestern Fund. 


The state Assembly has approved four new members to the state Board of Regents that sets education policy for public schools and state colleges and universities.  The Assembly has also returned two members of the 17-member board to additional five-year terms.  The positions are unpaid.  New regents include Beverly Ouderkirk, former teacher, principal and school superintendent and currently school board member and library trustee in Morristown.  Catherine Fisher Collins, is an author who has degrees in nursing, health education and a doctorate from the State University at Buffalo.  The third new Regent is Judith Johnson, a Brooklyn College graduate and former school superintendent, is past president of the New York Association of Small City Schools.  Finally... Judith Chin worked for the New York City Department of Education for 37 years, including as a regional superintendent.

WJTN News Headlines

In addition to a half-a-percent increase in the local sales tax... Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan is looking at cuts in the 2016 budget to resolve a nearly 6-million dollar "structural deficit."  Horrigan's proposed increase in the sales tax from 7.5 to 8-percent has received mixed reviews from the county legislature.  Some lawmakers want to see more cuts made before looking at hiking the sales tax.  Horrigan says the county was forced to lower it's sales tax several years ago... and property owners have been feeling the effects since.
Horrigan says he's also looking at eliminating "some" local share programs... and, adds they will be "painful."  He did not say where the cuts would be made.  He adds the county must continue to reduce it's costs.  He says the other major item on the 2015 agenda is getting an "alternatives to incarceration" program in place to deal with overcrowding at the jail... and, the county's drug problem.  He sys he's looking at a "supportive transitional housing" program.  Horrigan made his comments on this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the five Media One Group stations.


The federal prosecutor who brought bribery charges against New York's assembly speaker says he hopes other lawmakers will now think twice about doing anything corrupt.  U-S Attorney Preet Bharara (Buh-RARE-uh) says his aggressive prosecutions of Sheldon Silver... and, other state legislators are meant to serve as a deterrent.  But... he also says reforms that bring more transparency to the political process are needed as well.  Bharara made the remarks late last week while appearing at a Manhattan forum.


Chautauqua County's representative in the State Assembly is pushing for bi-partisan support for a proposal to change the chamber's rules... making the process of selecting a new speaker more open.  Assemblyman Andy Goodell says the current process is not transparent... and, the speaker is selected behind closed doors by that party's caucus. The Bemus Point Republican wants to require the candidates for Speaker to answer questions from the members of the Assembly in open session... and, to allow members the opportunity to express publicly the reasons they supported or opposed a particular candidate.  Goodell says the proposed reforms are expected to voted on by the full Assembly later today.


A city man is jailed for allegedly being in possession of a quantity of Heroin and Methamphetime during a traffic stop in downtown Jamestown early last weekend.  City police say they pulled over a car, driven by 29 year-old Richard Philbrick, on Harrison Street shortly after 2 AM Saturday.  Officers say a background check revealed that Philbrick's license had been suspended.  While police were taking him into custody... they say he allegedly dropped doses of Heroin and Meth on the ground.  Both drugs were recovered... and, he was arrested on two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, aggravated unlicensed operation.  He was jailed pending arraignment.


Environmental groups say New York needs to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to fix its aging water and sewer systems.  A coalition including Environmental Advocates, Riverkeeper and the Adirondack Council is pushing for lawmakers to dedicate 800-million dollars to clean water projects around the state.  The money would come from the state's 5-billion dollar windfall from financial settlements.  Riverkeeper President Paul Gallay says New York faces a crisis if it doesn't address the problem.  The state's environmental department says New York needs at least 36-billion dollars to repair and upgrade wastewater systems over the next 20 years.  Another report estimates that the state faces $22 billion in drinking water needs.  The challenges are already obvious in cities like Syracuse, which experienced nearly 400 water main breaks last year.


State Representative Kathy Rapp from Warren County has several issues with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf's proposed 2015-16 budget.  Rapp says she has tried to give Wolf -- "the benefit of the doubt due to his reputation as a successful business owner."  However... the Republican says the Democrat's intentions have never been more "transparent" than was seen in his budget address... and, individual spending line items.  She first has trouble with a nearly 5-billion dollar spending increase... which she says is the biggest increase in state history.  Rapp says the 16-percent increase includes hikes in the personal income tax, and expansion of the sales tax. She adds that she's just as disappointed in some line items... such as Agricultural Research, Promotion, Education and Exports would get no funding in the governor’s budget proposal.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced several initiatives to boost winter tourism in the Adirondacks and persuade Canadians to shop south of the border.  A promotion called ``Ski NY Spring Break'' will offer discount skiing across the state from March 13th to 31st.  The ``I Shop NY'' campaign partners with the state's Retail Council to advertise New York stores in key Canadian markets from March 22nd to April 6th.  The Democratic governor made the announcements Sunday at the 2015 Adirondack Winter Challenge, which included snowmobiling, bobsledding and a variety of ice sports in Lake Placid.  Cuomo says the Winter Challenge, now in its second year, is meant to remind New Yorkers of the tourism and recreational opportunities in the upstate region.  Numerous state and local officials participated.


U-S Senator Charles Schumer is calling for upgrades to the computer systems used by the nation's air traffic controllers after a report found vulnerabilities to hackers.  The New York Democrat says Sunday that has written to the Federal Aviation Administration to urge the agency to immediately implement several security upgrades to protect the systems.  Schumer cited a Government Accountability Office report released last week that found several weaknesses in the computer system's handling of sensitive data and its firewall security.  He says the vulnerabilities raise the possibility that hackers could take the air traffic control system off-line while thousands of planes are in the air across the nation.








WJTN News Headlines

It's a problem that's affected hundreds of Jamestown-area residents over the past couple of months... and, it's not going away soon.  Frozen water pipes... and, broken water mains have been almost as common this Winter as potholes.  However... there is a way to help keep your pipes from freezing up.  Board of Public Utilities' Spokeswoman Becky Robbins is advising BPU Water customers to keep a trickle of water running continuously from one faucet running to keep lines from freezing up.  Robbins says they had a total of 90 calls over the past few days... mainly because the Frost Line has gone 50 inches into the ground in most places. Robbins says the Frost Line is now around most pipes that directly service homes and businesses.  Those are about four-feet under the ground.  She urges BPU customers to leave at least a 1/32nd inch stream of water running 24-hours a day until the frost has moved out of the area around the pipes.  However... she warns that even once we get safely above the freezing mark... it will take a "couple of weeks" for the frost to receed enough to where the water can be completely turned-off.  Robbins says leaving that trickle of water running will cost about 53-cents a day in Jamestown.  If you have a problem with frozen pipes -- and, don't have a plummer -- you can call BPU Customer Service at 661-1660... or after hours at 661-1640. Like Robbins says... the BPU was dealing with four water main breaks Wednesday.  Those caused additional problems in the area of Trenton Street between Hillcrest and Norton... Gordon Street... Glenview Avenue and Vega Street. 


There's been no testing done yet on the Heroin involved in a pair of overdoses that occured in the village of Lakewood last Friday.  However... Jamestown Police say only Heroin was found in the overdose that claimed the life of a young woman in the village of Falconer.  That from City Police Captain Bob Samuelson... who says they got back the results of testing from the State Police Crime Lab in Albany.  Samuelson says no other chemicals or agents were found in the sample checked by the lab.  He adds their investigation is continuing.  In Lakewood... Lakewood-Busti Police Chief John Bentley says neither person located at a fast-food restaurant were "in distress."  Bentley says both people were obviously 'high...' but, neither required a dose of Narcan.  Unfortunately... he says it's become somewhat routine to have such calls.  Both victims were treated at WCA Hospital.


Dunkirk Police officials are keeping track of developments concerning the spread of Heroin in the Jamestown area.  Police Cheif David Ortolano says the heroin in "pink" packaging that's been in question has not apparently surfaced in the North County area yet. Ortolano says Dunkirk Police continues to encourage the public contact their office at 366-2266... or the confidential tip line at 363-0313 when they observe narcotics related activity in their area.  In Jamestown... you're urged to call the JPD Tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been honored for his work to support help for those struggling with addiction.  The Manhattan Democrat received the ``Champion Award'' from the Coalition for Community Services.  The group represents addiction treatment professionals and held its annual legislative reception Tuesday.  Last month... Silver stepped down as speaker after more than 20 years following his arrest on charges that he took nearly 4-million dollars in kickbacks and payoffs.  He has pleaded not-guilty and is keeping his Assembly seat.  The coalition's public policy officer, Luke Nasta, says his group wanted to honor Silver despite his legal trouble to acknowledge his long support of programs to help those with addiction.


The state's budget process got off to a slow start due to the scandal surrounding former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.  However... while legislative leaders have begun meeting with Governor Andrew Cuomo... the process has been slowed... mainly because of language tying certain items together in the governor's proposed 2015-16 spending plan.  For instance... local Assemblyman Andy Goodell says Cuomo has tied ALL tuition aid to the DREAM Act... which would allow people here illegally to obtain aid for college. Goodell says that type of "heavy handed" power will make it "very difficult" to bring about an agreement in the leigslature.  While Majority Democrats in the Assembly generally support the DREAM Act... the GOP Majority in the state Senate does not.  Goodell adds Cuomo has also tied the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program... or CHIPS funding... to how a 5-billion dollar surplus is going to be used.  He says it gives the governor the power to determine where that funding goes.  The new budget deadline is Midnight on April 1st.


Governor Andrew Cuomo and juvenile justice reformers say New York should stop automatically prosecuting 16- and 17-year-old offenders as adults.  Supporters of the change have come to the state Capitol to make their case to lawmakers.  They want to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18, so all but the most violent 16- and 17-year-old offenders would be handled by the juvenile justice system.  New York and North Carolina are the only two states that still automatically treat 16- and 17-year-olds as adults, even though most offenders of that age face misdemeanor charges.  Critics say young offenders lack adult decision-making skills and shouldn't be prosecuted as if they did.  Cuomo says treating them as juveniles would help them get needed services and reduce the chances that they will re-offend.


Jamestown-area gas prices have gone up nearly 5-cents a gallon this week for regular, unleaded fuel.  That from the Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report... which says the price is now just over 2-dollars-54 cents a gallon.  The Fuel Gauge says it was 2-dollars-49.5 cents last week.  The Triple-A says it based the average on reports from 19 stations in the Jamestown area.  Last year... the price was about 3--70 a gallon.  On the national front... the average price is just under 2-dollars-43 cents.  That's a 13-cent increase over last week.  The Fuel Gauge report says the national average price has increased for 35 consecutive days... the longest streak of increases since February 2013.


U-S Senator Charles Schumer is asking federal regulators to set a strict standard for the volatility of crude oil shipped by rail to help reduce destruction from accidents like a fiery derailment in West Virginia last month.  The New York Democrat says Wednesday that he's particularly concerned about oil from the Bakken Shale formation in North Dakota and Montana because it has more volatile gases and higher vapor pressure than some other crude.   North Dakota has adopted a standard for removing gas to a certain level before shipping.  But... Schumer says it's too low and the regulation should be federal.  He says such a limit isn't included in still-unreleased draft oil train rules the federal transportation department developed in response to accidents, including the Lac-Megantic, Quebec, wreck that killed 47 people.  An industry organization didn't initially respond to a request for comment.


Nearly 40 race dates have been set for this year at Stateline and Eriez Speedways in 2015.  Short Track Management -- headed up by Bill Catania, Jr. -- has announced this year's schedule of 39 events for both tracks.  The first-ever Winter Extravaganza has now wrapped up... and, stock car racing is scheduled to begin April 25th at Stateline with the Super Late Model "Papa" Don Frank Memorial.  A practice night will preceed that on April 18th.  Eriez will open a week later.  The World of Outlaws Super Late Models return August 22nd... and, highlight 14 touring series that'll be at both tracks.  Also... for the first time, Stateline will hold a three-race Memorial Series starting with the Lloyd Moore Memorial on May 9th.  Two others... featuring the late Bill Rexford, and Julian Buesink.  For more information... go on-line to RaceStateline-dot-COM.


Fresh off his first budget proposal to the Republican-controlled Legislature... Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is questioning how GOP lawmakers can be so critical of its elements.  Wolf, a Democrat, says after touring high schools specializing in science and engineering in Downingtown and Hamburg that his plan addresses things that have been discussed for decades... namely cutting school property taxes and corporate taxes.  Rather, he says Republicans should talk to their constituents about the need for property tax cuts.  Democrats and education advocates applauded Wolf's plan to raise state taxes on income, sales and natural gas drilling to support more than 4-billion dollars for education aid and property tax cuts.  Wolf says he's trying to make the tax system fairer, improve the business climate and help lower-income homeowners by expanding the state's role in funding schools to 50 percent.








WJTN News Headlines

NWS issues Winter Weather Advisory for Noon to 1 a.m. Wednesday...

It's likely to be a slippery commute home tonight in the Jamestown-area after we get a combination of sleet and freezing rain later today.  The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for today beginning at Noon... and, it will run until 1 a.m. Tuesday.  Forecaster John Hitchcock in Buffalo says we'll first see snow... then a quick combination of sleet and freezing rain this afternoon.  Hitchcock says the snow may accumulate an inch or two... but, then the sleet and freezing rain will make for a messy and slippery ride home tonight.  Hitchcock says we may see a quarter of an inch of ice accumulation during the day today.  He adds we'll have more rain and freezing rain tonight... with another quarter of an inch accumulation.  However... he says temperatures will rise during the overnight... which will bring all rain.... until early Tuesday morning.  Some snow returns later tomorrow morning.

JFD urges residents to help keep Fire Hydrants clear of snow...

Our snowy and cold winter has left a number of fire hydrants in Jamestown covered with snow.  City firefighters have already had to deal with one hydrant that was covered at the scene of a blaze... and, are urging residents to clear out their hydrants if they haven't been already.  Firefighters have been out and about clearing as many as they can... however... many are again covered with the snow fall of the past couple of days.

County D-A pleased to see Coggins get maximum sentence in town of Carroll double-homicide case...

The accused ringleader of the April 2013 robbery and murders of a town of Carroll couple has received the maximum 50 years to life in prison.  District Attorney David Foley says the term was handed down to 35 year-old Davide Coggins in Chautauqua County Court late yesterday morning.  Foley says he was "very pleased" to see Judge John Ward hand down the sentence on two counts of Felony second-degree murder in this "vicious" case.  Foley says -- all along -- he's pushed for the maximum term.  He says members of 66 year-old Gordon, and 59 year-old Joyce Skinner's family spoke before Ward delivered sentencing for Coggins.  He adds that Coggins also addressed the family... again minimizing his role in the heinous crime... claiming that Steven Todd, Ricky Knickcerbocher, and Joshua McCormick... all played bigger roles in the murders.  All three of the co-defendants were recently sentenced to long-prison terms for their involvement.

City's plan for restructuring, and cost-savings approved by State panel...

A special state panel developed to help local governments to consolidate and save costs has given it's approval to the city of Jamestown's plan.  That piece of good news was delivered by Mayor Sam Teresi at last night's City Council work session.  Teresi says he learned about the development at the end of last week.  He says the board is now moving at a "lightning pace" on initiatives for Jamestown... and, three other upstate communities.  Teresi says the biggest item the panel is backing is the study of consolidating the city police department with the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department.  He says the board is "extremely interested" in the final outcome.  The effort has already received a $400,000 grant.  Teresi adds the state Financial Restructuring Board has approved giving the city a $250,000 grant to help pay for energy conservation and saving components in Jamestown's recent, $3-million Public Works project bond.  In addition... he says the city could receive between one-third and one-half for the cost of "fixture changes" for new street lights that use LED lighting.

Mental Health Assoc. director says no other Heroin overdoses reported from "pink" packages...

There have been no other Heroin drug overdoses reported in the Jamestown-area since the three last Friday... but, it's unlikely that this deadly batch is gone from the street.  That from Rick Huber, director of the Mental Health Association of Chautauqua County... who says they worked with city Police and other agencies to get out a public health warning about Heroin.  One person died of an overdose in Falconer... while two others in Lakewood had to be hospitalized.  Huber says it's still not known if this Heroin had a higher potentcy... or was cut with another drug, like Fentanyl.  He says dealers will then slight reduce the amount to get their buyers to get more.  Huber says when dealers boost the potency... it can produces a stronger "high."  However... that also produces the likelyhood of overdoses.  The bad batch is being sold in "pink" packages.  If you are in crisis... or have some of the "pink" packaged Heroin... Huber urges you to call 9-1-1, city police... WCA Hospital... or the Mental Health Association.  You should also do that if you're an addict, and want to get off the drug.  The association's number is 661-9044... or Huber himself at 499-2980 if you don't want to talk to police.  Huber says they will help you get rid of it.

State Police start up hotline to report sexual assaults on college campuses...

In an effort to respond better to sexual assaults at colleges and universities... the New York State Police have established a new 24-hour hotline to take reports.  Authorities cite data showing 95 percent of crimes against young women on campuses are unreported to police, while 90 percent of college rapes are committed by only 3 percent of male students, often repeat predators.  The phone number was activated this week at 1-844-845-7269.  New York's state university system has adopted a new definition of sexual consent that requires a clear, affirmative agreement between partners.  It applies to more than 463,000 students on all 64 state campuses.  The Cuomo administration has proposed legislation to mandate that policy at private colleges statewide.


News Update! for Mon., Mar. 2, 2015

Coggins receives 50-to-Life sentence for April 2013 town of Carroll murders...

The accused ringleader of the April 2013 robbery and murders of a town of Carroll couple has received the maximum 50 years to life in prison.  District Attorney David Foley says the term was handed down to 35 year-old Davide Coggins in Chautauqua County Court late this morning.  Foley says he was "very pleased" to see Judge John Ward hand down the sentence on two counts of Felony second-degree murder in this "vicious" case.  Foley says members of 66 year-old Gordon, and 59 year-old Joyce Skinner's family spoke before Ward delivered sentencing for Coggins.  He adds that Coggins also addressed the family... again minimizing his role in the heinous crime.

WJTN News Headlines

February 2015 was one for the record books in the Northeast -- the coldest month ever for three upstate New York cities -- including Buffalo.  It was also the snowiest month ever for Boston.  The director of the Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University, Art DeGaetano, says Buffalo, Syracuse and Ithaca shivered through their coldest months on record.  February's average temperature was 10.9 degrees in Buffalo, beating the 1934 record of 11.4.  The monthly average was 9.0 in Syracuse and 10.2 in Ithaca.  Boston's 64.8 inches of snow easily beat the city's 2003 record February snowfall of 41.6 inches.  DeGaetano says if Boston gets 5.6 more inches before the end of May, it'll be the snowiest winter on record.  DeGaetano says February temperatures in the Northeast were the farthest below normal of anywhere on Earth.


The 24 Hours of "continuous hockey" at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena was a big success with a large number of people, and teams taking part.  That from Arena General Manager Brian Cersosimo... who says it started with the Mayor performing the ceremonial puck-drop Friday... and, issuing a proclamation renaming Jamestown "James 'Hockey' Town" for the event.  Cersosimo says a big crowd was on hand for the start... despite temperatures that dropped to about 14-degrees below zero.  He says the frigid temperatures may have kept some people around longer Friday night. Cersosimo says a lot of people "camped out" during the overnight period.  He adds that... if there was a lull... it was a brief one.  He says they had 7 or 8 people playing at 5 or 6 AM.  Otherwise... he says they had plenty of skaters -- for both rinks A and B.  Cerosimo says a lot of people also took part in the "Wearing Red" fashion show... and, other activities for WCA Hospital.  He says fund-raising numbers for WCA's Heart Center... and, the event won't be known for a few days yet.  A lot of people also signed up at "Krafthockeyville-dot-COM" to nominate the arena for the national contest to land an NHL Pre-Season Game... and, 150-thousand dollars in arena upgrades.  Voting continues until March 18th. 


The arctic cold that most recently gripped most of Western New York -- for most of February -- is still causing frozen waterlines in the north county village of Silver Creek.  Village officials are still asking all residents to leave water trickling to avoid waterline freeze-ups until further notice.  Mayor Nick Piccolo -- early last weekend -- said they thought they had beat the problem of frozen waterlines until last Thursday and Friday night's sub-zero temperatures.  He says they ended up with more frozen lines Saturday because of the big drop in temperatures during the overnight.  The village is asking residents to leave water running in your sink at a fast drip, or trickle until further notice.


Our sub-zero temperatures in the city of Jamestown have also increased the number of water main... and, pipes freezing -- or breaking -- in recent days.  BPU officials say they've seen a sharp uptick in those calls over the past week or so.  They advise anyone with pipe exposed to the outdoors, or in a cold area... allow the faucets to be left running at a pencil-thin drip to avoid freeze-ups.


State lawmakers have voted to postpone the deadline for doctors to issue only electronic drug prescriptions until next year.  They say many still lack the required federal approval to do that for painkillers and other addictive drugs on the government list of controlled substances.  A spokesman says Governor Cuomo will review it.  The electronic prescriptions -- connected to a central database that doctors and pharmacists can check -- are intended to prevent prescription fraud... and, doctor-shopping for addictive painkillers and illicit re-sales.  The mandate to prescribe electronically is currently scheduled to take effect March 27th.


A former Dunkirk fire chief will again take the helm of the department with the pending retirement of current chief, Keith Ahlstrom.  Mayor A-J Dolce has annouced that Mike Edwards is his choice as the north county city's new chief.  Dolce says Ahlstrom is retiring from the position later this month... and, Dolce says he wants to appoint Edwards... who mostly recently has been a captain. Ahlstrom has held the post since it became a full-time, paid position several years ago.  He'll be retiring effective March 14th.  Ahlstrom has also been a long-time Chautauqua County Legislator... and, was previously legislature chairman.  He is currently Democrat Minority Leader.  The Dunkirk Common Council will take action on Edwards appointment during their regular meeting this Tuesday.


State Senate Republicans have introduced ethics legislation requiring state officials file financial disclosures for everyone they live with -- a move that would affect Governor Andrew Cuomo.  Cuomo girlfriend and television chef Sandra Lee lives with the governor.  The bill would expand existing annual disclosure beyond an official, spouse and dependent children.   Cuomo proposed last week to require detailed disclosure of officials' outside income, which would apply to many Senate Republicans who are lawyers.  A spokeswoman for the governor says they'll be happy to review any proposal with the bill's sponsor, ``whoever that may be.''  The listed sponsor is the Senate Rules Committee.  A spokesman for the Senate Republican Conference says their goal is to pass ``a comprehensive ethics package that restores the public trust.''


The state's casino location board has moved forward with new bidding from developers for a license in New York's Southern Tier.  The Gaming Facility Location Board has accepted bid documents drafted by staff, though members note that a winning bid will have to be better than two previously rejected proposals in the region.  It has also accepted the 800-page report with detailed findings on all 16 applicants in earlier bidding.  That resulted in recommendations for new casinos in the Catskills, Schenectady and the Finger Lakes.  The state's Gaming Commission must still approve the new bidding.  It's currently conducting background investigations of the three winning bidders' principals.  Governor Andrew Cuomo asked the board and commission in December to consider awarding a fourth license for a Southern Tier site.


Sign-ups for the 2015 Jamestown Soap Box Derby will be held this coming Saturday, March 7th, at the Gateway Tranin Station in Jamestown.  Derby officials say competitors must bring a copy of their birth certificate... and, a 30-dollar registration.  Anyone registering on March 7th will be entered into a drawing for a 50-dollar gift card.  Tell all your friends how much fun we have on race day... which is coming up next June 12th and 13th.








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