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WJTN News Headlines for Wed., May 31, 2023

Man arrested for allegedly violent domestic incident at West Ellicott motel...
A town of Ellicott man has been arrested for allegedly beating a woman with a metal rod during a violent domestic incident at a West Ellicott motel.  Town Police say they were called to the Colony Motel on Fairmount Ave. about 10 a.m. Tuesday... and, found that 51 year-old Bobby Kastelic allegedly struck the woman... injuring her.  He also refused to let the victim use a phone, or leave the motel room.  Police say the woman was later able to get away... and, call police.  Officers also found that Kastelic had an order of protection to stay away from the victim.  He was arrested for second-degree harassment... third-degree assault... second-degree criminal contempt... and, unlawful imprisonment.  Kastelic was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.


Schmidt says it may be another week -- or more -- for Michael Burham to be extradicted to NYS...
It may be another week -- or more -- before the suspect in the death of a Jamestown woman earlier this month is returned to Chautauqua County to face charges.  District Attorney Jason Schmidt this morning updated the case regarding 34 year-old Michael Burham... who was caught in South Carolina last week.  During an extradiction hearing on May 25, he says Burham waived any objection to being returned here... and, says "my understanding is that the U.S. Marshals Service is handling his transport back to the Western District of New York and that his estimated time of arrival is not yet clear.  It may take another week or two, if not more, before he is back in New York."  Burham faces several federal charges including kidnapping and taking victims over state lines.  Burham is accused of kidnapping an elderly couple from Sheffield, Pennsylvania... and, taking them to South Carolina as he was fleeing the area.  Burham is accused of killing 34 year-old Kala Hodgkin of Jamestown at her William Street home in the early morning hours of May 11.  He's also accused of rape for a previous incident... and, arson for allegedly setting another person's car on fire shortly after Hodgkin was killed.


Accidental fire heavily damages barn in Falconer area on Memorial Day...
Fire has heavily-damaged an old barn on Harris Hill Road in the Falconer-area.  Falconer Fire Chief Bryce Webster says they were called to the scene shortly before 2 p.m. Monday... and, with the help of mutual aid... doused the flames quickly and prevented any spread to nearby brush.  Webster says crews did a "great job" knocking the blaze down.  Tankers were brought in from Sinclairville, Gerry and Ellington.  He says crews were at the scene about two hours.  No injuries were reported.  Spontaneous combustion among some old, dried timber apparently sparked the accidental fire.


Langworthy voices support for county's enacting States of Emergency regarding migrants...
Local Congressman Nick Langworthy says he supports county executives, including Chautauqua County's P.J. Wendel, who have declared states of emergency over the influx of migrants from the southern border.  The Western New York Republican says one of his biggest concerns is the lack of immigration judges... and, the fact that some migrants and asylum seekers don't have court dates until 2028... so they'll be here for the next four years.  During a recent interview... Langworthy said that counties like Chautauqua lack the resources to deal with the asylum seekers who are coming into the U.S. on a daily basis.  He says if a district gets a call before the start of school next Fall... and, is told there are going to be 45 migrant families coming into their district... that will be an emergency.  Langworthy, a Republican from the Buffalo-area, opposes President Biden's border policy... and, feels the southern border is very porous and needs to be sealed. 


County Legislature approves motion supporting C.E. Wendel's emergency declaration...
The Chautauqua County Legislature has spoken on Executive P.J. Wendel's State of Emergency to deal with a potential influx of migrants from the southern border.  Lawmakers in Mayville voted at this month's meeting to approve an emeregency motion, fully supporting the action.  Sheridan Republican Terry Neibel introduced the measure... calling it the right move to keep the county from potentially being overwhelmed by asylum seekers.  Neibel says the county already has people, such as veterans and the homeless who already need help.  Wendel recently estimated the number of migrants and asylum seekers in the county totaled upwards of 80... with at least 30 in the city of Jamestown.  Republican Elizabeth Rankin represents part of the city... and commended the work of St. Luke's Church... which has helped many migrants in settling in the area.  Fredonia-area Democrat Susan Parker says Wendel has been talking with state and federal officials to deal with what could be a very difficult situation.  However... she along with Jamestown Democrat Tom Nelson said they disagreed with the language in the motion... and, voted against it.  The final vote was 15-2.

 

Stabbing in Fredonia under investigation...
Fredonia Police made an arrest following an investigation into a stabbing that occurred last Monday night.  Officers were called to a domestic incident at the 100 Brigham Rd. apartment complex about 8 p.m., where they located a male with a bleeding stab wound to his chest and to the left leg.  He was treated at the scene, but refused several attempts to transport.  An investigation led to the arrest of Tamika Thomas for second-degree assault, and endangering the welfare of a child. 

 

  
 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., May 30, 2023

Vietnam veteran remembers friends and comrades he lost during Jamestown Memorial Day service...
For this year’s Memorial Day speaker at Lakeview Cemetery in Jamestown, remembering those lost in war is personal and powerful.  Kameron Brooks flew hundreds of missions as an Army helicopter pilot in Vietnam.  Brook's voice choked with emotion has he remembered four of his comrades who never made it back home.  They included: Larry, John, Dale and Bob.  In the particular case of Vietnam... Brooks says there is even more to think about… those lives destroyed by the defoliant ‘agent orange.'  Brooks grew up in Cattaraugus, New York and is a partner in the law firm Brooks & Brooks.  Over 250 people were in attendance at this year’s service at Soldiers Circle.  The solemn ceremony ended with the playing of Taps, Amazing Grace, at 21-gun salute, and the raising of the American flag to full staff. 


Busti commorates Memorial Day with huge parade, and service next to Busti Cemetery...
Memorial Day started this morning with the annual town of Busti Memorial Day Parade and Service at the Busti Cemetery.  A long procession of units and bands took part... including the Southwestern High School and Middle School Bands.  During the service at the Gazebo next to the cemetery... the keynote speaker was Gordon Robbins... who told the large gathering on hand that "many have given their lives for our freedom... and, lest we never forget."  Robbins noted that the first Memorial Day in 1868 was actually called "Decoration Day" because the gravesites of union soldiers were decorated at that time.  Robbins also read Flanders Field... and, a poem about the American Flag.  Before the Reverend Roy Ferguson gave the Benediction... he noted an empty chair that was on the gazebo... and, urged people to have, or remember the empty chair at the table that day.  Yesterday's parade was one of the largest in recent memory... and included a couple of units that specifically honored the town of Busti's Bi-Centennial celebration.  That kicked off last month... and will continue through September.


Jamestown man accused of injuring three persons during fight on North Main St....
A Jamestown man is accused of injuring three people during a fight Monday morning at a home on the city's northside.  Jamestown Police were called to an address on North Main St. about 11 a.m. on a report of a fight.  On arrival... officers say they found several people walking away from the residence.  They talked with many of them... and other officers interviewed the victims directly involved in the fight.  Police say they found that one person... 37 year-old Tony Stebbins... had gotten into the fight with the trio -- injuring them.  The victims requested charges again Stebbins... and, he was taken into custody on three counts of third-degree assault.  He was arraigned... issued appearance tickets... and, released pending a future court appearance.


City man arrested for allegedly stealing car, and on multiple arrest warrants...
A Jamestown man has been arrested following a street check for allegedly stealing a car from a local dealership... and, on multiple arrest warrants.  City police say they spotted 32 year-old Jonathan King in from of a home in the area of Newland Avenue and South Main Street just after 12:30 p.m. last Saturday.  Officers confirmed that King was sought on the arrest warrants, which were issued by both Jamestown and Lakewood-Busti Police.  Police took King into custody... and, further investigation led officers located a set of keys from a stolen vehicle from Shults Kia of Jamestown.  Officers later located the vehicle...  which had King's dog inside.  The vehicle was parked in front of the same residence King was found.  He was taken to the city jail pending arraignment on one count of third-degree criminal possession of stolen property... and, the arrest warrants.


Man arrested in Jamestown on drug and resisting arrest charges following "backyard" incident...
A Jamestown man faces a drug possession charge after police responded to a report of an "unwanted person" in the backyard of a northside home.  City police were called to 824 Prendergast Ave. about 2 p.m. last Friday... and, on arrival... found 28 year-old Jeremy Lyons on the sidewalk of the residence speaking erratically.  Officers say they found Lyons with belongings at the rear of the property... which contained just under a gram of fentanyl.  Police told Lyons he was under arrested... but, he resisted.  Once taken into custody... he struggled briefly with officers again.  He was taken to the city jail on charges of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, resisting arrest.  Lyons was also arraigned on a second charge of seventh-degree criminal possession because he was found in possession of fentanyl during a separate incident in the earlier in the day... along with third-degree criminal mischief for damaging property inside the police department.


Brocton man arrested following drug raid...
A Brocton man faces multiple drug-related charges folloing a raid on a Peerless Street residence in the north county village last week.  Sheriff's officers say their narcotics investigation team... along with deputies and Jamestown and Dunkirk Police... executed a search warrant at 111 Peerless about Noon last Tuesday.  They allegedly found just over 14-grams of methamphetamine...  scales and packaging material for the sale of meth... and, $528 cash.  They arrested 38 year-old Benjamin Reed for third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia.  Reed was jailed pending arraignment.  The Portland Town Ordinance Officer was called in to inspect the home's condition, and it was later condemned.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., May 29, 2023

Ohio man dies in drowning on Chautauqua Lake last Friday...
An Ohio man has died in an apparent boating accident on Chautauqua Lake near Bemus Point.  Sheriff's Department's Marine Division says it got a report of an overdue fisherman about 8:30 a.m. last Friday.  Marine Division personnel later found the vessel... and, found a person submerged in the water nearby.  The patrol recovered the body of 66 year-old Robert Mieczkowski of Wintersville, Ohio.  Efforts to revive the man were not successful... and, the county coroner pronounced him dead a short-time later.


Two arrested for allegedly stealing several items -- including two firearms -- in Westfield burglary...
Two people -- one from Jamestown -- have been arrested for allegedly stealing a large number of items -- including two guns -- from a home in the town of Westfield.  Sheriff's officers say they responded to a possible "burglary-in-progress" on Route 394 shortly after 5 a.m. last Friday.  While deputies were responding... they were advised that the two subjects had fled in a vehicle.  A short time later, officers spotted the vehicle on Route 430 in the town of Chautauqua... and, pulled the vehicle.  The occupants were identified as 28 year-old Austin Smith of Pueblo, Colorado... and, 48 year-old Jamie Norene of Jamestown.  Further investigation found that Smith and Norene were in possession of two firearms... and a large quantity of property that was removed from the residence on Route 394.  Smith and Norene were both arrested for third-degree burglary... fourth-degree Grand Larceny... petty larceny... and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.  Both were taken to the county jail pending centralized arraignment.


Gold Star Memorial event held at Veteran's Park...
The annual ‘solemn ceremony’ to honor families who’ve lost a loved one in service to the nation was held Saturday at Veterans Park in Jamestown.  The keynote speaker was Afghanistan War veteran Robert Ortt of North Tonawanda.  He described the sacrifice Gold Star families make.  He says the price we pay is "the promise of that person's life are laid on the alter of freedom so America can achieve our promise."  Ortt, a Republican, is the 62nd District Representative in the New York State Senate.  County Executive P.J. Wendel was one of the other speakers.  He noted that in these divisive times, Memorial Day calls for unity because "we are the United States of America..." and, those we honor fought for the "United States." The Blue Star Mothers, New York Chapter Four organizes the annual Gold Star Remembrance.  Twenty-one Gold Star families were recognized at this year’s event.  A complete review of Memorial Day programs tomorrow.


Cummins celebrates past and future with production soon of natural gas, and hydrogen engines...
The Cummins Engine Company will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Jamestown Engine Plant next year... but, officials have their eyes focused on the future.  During this past week's celebration of the 2.5-millionth heavy-duty engine produced at the plant... company leaders outlined "Destination Zero..." their plans to reach zero carbon emissions from their engines by the year 2050.  Plant Manager Anna Dibble echoed comments by Cummins' Engine Business President Srikanth Padmanabhan... who said "they're not exactly sure of what the roadmap is going to look like."  However... she says they'll be ready to provide their customers with what they need.  The first big move will be to producing cleaner burning natural gas engines.  In fact... the 2.5-millionth engine produced at the town of Busti plant was a natural gas engine.  Dibble says the fact they have their "most flexible workforce" at the Jamestown plant is a big reason the natural gas engine will be produced there... and, then hydrogen-powered engines before 2050.  She says a big part of that will entail expanding production of the natural gas engine... and, that will be boosted by Cummins' $452-million expansion project, which will begin shortly.

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., May 25, 2023

Burham caught in South Carolina, concluding two-week manhunt for alleged killer...
A multi-day search of two counties in South Carolina has led to the capture of the fugitive wanted in the murder of a Jamestown woman two weeks ago.  A Charleston TV station reported late Wednesday that 34 year-old Michael Burham was found fleeing from behind a shed in rural Berkeley County.  Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis says they received a call from a resident Wednesday afternoon that they had spotted Burham on their property.  He was captured soon after... much to the relief of Jamestown Police.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says they followed developments on a scanner app., and were glad to hear authorities take Burham into custody without further incident.  Samuelson says Burham is being held in the Berkeley County Jail... and, may he be arraigned on charges there as soon as today.  He says the man accused of killing 34 year-old Kala Hodgkin in the early morning hours of May 11 will face multiple federal kidnapping charges for forcing a Sheffield, Pa. couple to take him from Pennsylvania to South Carolina.  The Pennsylvania charges would be next in line... then Chautauqua County will be able to bring charges... which will include murder, arson, and rape. 


Falconer man arrested for theft of cargo trailer, bail revoked on other cases...
A Falconer man has been arrested for allegedly stealing an 18-foot cargo trailer from a business in the village... and, then trying to flee by jumping into the Chadakoin River.  Ellicott Town Police say they received a report Tuesday that the trailer had been taken... and, that a man had been seen on video driving a four-wheeler... pulling the trailer... along the railroad tracks towards the town of Poland.  Officers recognized the four-wheeler as belonging to 31 year-old Blaydon Niles... and, they later found the trailer in a wooded area behind Niles' home on Hartson Road in Poland.  Niles had fled the scene... and, a warrant was obtained for his arrest.  He was later seen riding a bicycle in Falconer... but, he rode towards the river to avoid capture, and, then jumped in.  He was later found downstream and arrested for Grand Larceny.  Justice Marilyn Gerace revoked Niles bail for previous cases... and, set new bail at $100,000 cash, $200,000 property bond.


County Legislature approves renewal of current sales and occupancy taxes...
The Chautauqua County Legislature has approved two resolutions that allow the county to retain it's current occupancy tax and sales tax percentage amounts.  There was only debate on the 5% occupancy -- or bed tax -- after Fredonia-area Democrat Susan Parker tried to amend language in the resolution.  Parker said she felt the state was being somewhat "dictatorial" in setting guidelines for how the tax is to be used... and, the amendment would allow the county more discretion.  However... Jamestown Republican Elizabeth Rankin... who works for State Assemblyman Andy Goodell... says that kind of language is not unusual for the state to hand down because New York signs off on it.  The amendment failed, 3-14.  The original request was ultimately approved, 17-0.
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Lawmakers also voted unanimously to request the state allow the county to continue it's additional one-percent sales tax.  Final state approval would allow that rate to remain 8%. 


Two arrested during drug raid on Westfield home...
Two people from Westfield have been arrested following a drug raid on a home in the north county village early Wednesday morning.  Sheriff's deputies say drug agents from several agencies... with the help of the Sheriff's Department SWAT Team... executed a search warrant at 31 Cottage St. about 6 a.m., and, seized quantities of fentanyl, methamphetamine... and, prescription Clonazepam.  Officers arrested 54 year-old Richard Young and 49 year-old Kelly Briggs on three counts each of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  They say both Briggs and Young were issued appearance tickets for Westfield Village Court.


Jackson Center honors "Ladies of Legend" Wednesday...
The Robert H. Jackson Center honored ‘Ladies of Legend’ in a special program Wednesday.  ‘Ladies of Legend’ refers to local women who have been pioneers in law and justice.  Long-time Chautauqua County Historian, Michelle Henry, told the story of Busti’s Kate Stoneman.  She went to Albany Normal School in the 1880’s to become a teacher.  While there... Stoneman took an interest in the law.  At that time... Henry says Stoneman wasn't allowed, by law, to practice law in the state.  Also in attendance was Grace Hanlon, the first woman from Chautauqua County to become a New York Supreme Court Justice.  Being a ‘pioneer’ is not something she things about all the time, because a lot of people helped her get to where she is today.  Wednesday’s program was held in conjunction with the Town of Busti Bicentennial being celebrated this year.   


WJTN's Dennis Webster honored by Chautauqua County School Boards Association...
WJTN's Dennis Webster has been given the 2023 'Friend of Education' award by the Chautauqua County School Boards Association.  The President of the association, Sylvester Cleary, made the presentation at the group's annual meeting at the Harbor Hotel in Celoron on Tuesday night.  Dennis has been an announcer on WJTN for over four decades and done many stories and programs in conjunction with the public schools.  He said he was honored and humbled by the recognition because he enjoys reporting on the students and their achievements.  

  


 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., May 24, 2023

Burham sighted in South Carolina, multiple police agencies involved now in manhunt...
The man accused of killing Jamestown mother Kala Hodgkin has reportedly been nearly caught in South Carolina following an incident in Berkeley County on Tuesday.  The Berkeley County Sheriff's Dept. reports today that nearly a dozen law enforcement agencies initially began searching a large wooded area in Hugar, S.C. after receiving a "concerned citizen's tip" about 34 year-old Michael Burham.  Sheriff's officers say they later found the man described by the citizen... and, he gave deputies a false name.  He then ran off... and, a press release stated that that deputies were unable to catch the man.  However... the man dropped a bookbag that contained items that confirmed it was Burham.  The FBI and U.S. Marshalls are now involved in the manhunt, as well.  Burham was last seen wearing a gray shirt and blue and white shorts.  Burham is accused of coming to Jamestown from Warren, Pa., and, killing the 34 year-old Hodgkin the early morning of May 11. 


Shooting in Dunkirk still under investigation...
Police in the city of Dunkirk are investigating a shooting that occured on Maple Avenue late Tuesday afternoon.  Dunkirk Police and Fire Departments responded to a call around 4:30 p.m.  We have learned that one individual was flown to an area trauma center for treatment.  Dunkirk Police are being assisted by Chautauqua County Sheriff's officers and the New York State Police.  The Chautauqua County Forensics Team was also called to the scene.  More when it becomes available.


Jamestown officials react to vote to hire eight new firefighters with SAFER Grant...
Hard work by all sides involved in the matter brought about the final compromise resolution allowing the city of Jamestown to hire eight new firefighters.  That from city leaders following Monday night's vote to lift the hiring freeze... and, agree to accept a $1.8-million federal SAFER Grant to hire the additional firefighters.  Those are the feelings of Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who has pushed to have the grant accepted.  As for the resolution... Sundquist agreed adding the stipulation that the Jamestown Professional Firefighters union waive it's ability to go to arbitration on a new, higher minimum staffing number... was key.  The City Council unanimously approved the revised resolution... which included a total of five stipulations that allowed lawmakers with financial concerns to be comfortable voting yes.  Council President Tony Dolce agreed those were important.  As for firefighter funding from the new, second ambulance the city will be getting... Dolce says that will likely be the case.  During the public comment prior to Monday night's vote... Union President Ben McLaughlin reminded lawmakers that the union was willing to waive it's ability to set new minimum staffing levels for IMPACT payments.  The other stipulations included the city making a "good faith effort" to provide funding to keep the new hires in place.


Two arrested on drug trafficking charges following traffic stop in Jamestown...
Two men are accused of trafficking narcotic drugs in the city following their arrests during a traffic stop in Jamestown's eastside last weekend.  City police say they pulled over the car in the area of Chandler and Winsor Streets just before 1:30 a.m. Sunday.  Officers say a search of the vehicle uncovered just over 20-ounces of methamphetamine... a quantity of methadone hydrochloride pills... and $2,560 in cash that is suspected to be proceeds from narcotic drug sales.  The two men inside the car... identified as Joshua Waygood and Tyren Thompson... were both arrested on charges of second and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, jailed pending arraignment.


County IDA approves sale of former ConAgra building to Refresco... 
The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency's board of directors has approved the sale of the former Con Agra Building on Talcott Street in Dunkirk to Refresco Beverages U.S.  The price was $1.4-million.  During their monthly meeting... board members also approved a 15-year adaptive reuse Payment in Lieu of Tax agreement for the facility.  County IDA Chief Executive Officer Mark Geise outlined the proposal during the meeting carried on YouTube.  Geise says the best news is Refresco will be investing about $13-million in the Dunkirk-area... and, creating 10 additional jobs.


Officials with State School Boards Association pleased that nearly 99% of school budgets in the state passed last week...
A New York School School Boards Association official says they're very pleased with the outcome of recent, state-wide budget votes.  Association Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Dave Albert says only 10 of the nearly 700 districts in the state rejected their budgets.  Albert says that includes districts that needed tax cap overrides.  Overall... he says about 98% of all budgets passed, and not including budgets that required the 60% supermajority to pass, that number was 99%.  Albert says of the 10 budgets defeated... four of them failed to receive the 60% "supermajority" vote to pass.  As for school board elections... Albert says nearly two-thirds of incumbants were re-elected.  He reminds newly-elected board members that there is required training they need to get from NYSSBA.  Albert says they have to take training in fiscal oversight... and, governance.  The state School Boards group says they're happy to see most districts get an increase in state aid... which was needed to help offset numerous inflationary increases.  Albert says one increase in particular is in health insurance.

  

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., May 23, 2023

City Council unanimously approves hiring eight new firefighters -- with stipulations...
An 11th hour push to find a way to allow eight more firefighters to be hired in the city of Jamestown proved fruitful... as the Jamestown City Council approved a revised measure unanimously.  Lawmakers agreed to lift the hiring freeze... and, accept a 1.8-million dollar federal SAFER Grant last night after several weeks of debate and discussion.  In the end, though, it was the re-worked resolution with five added stipulations that won over lawmakers concerned about the financial implications after the three-year grant expires.  Councilman Jeff Russell commended lawmakers -- in particular Marie Carrubba -- for working out he final bill... even with all the "unnecessary noise" surrounding the proposal.  Councilman Bill Reynolds supported the measure from the beginning... noting that he often heard how residents felt about the need for more firefighters.  Reynolds says "the need is now"  A key stipulation has the Jamestown Professional Firefighters union agreeing to waive having to make IMPACT payments to the union based on a "new minimum staffing" number with the eight additional firefighters once the grant expires.     


City fire crews busy with pair of Monday afternoon fires...
City firefighters had a busy Monday afternoon having to respond to two house fires.  The first one was reported at 511 Clinton St., and, caused significant damage to the home.  Deputy Fire Chief Matt Coon says the structure was heavily-engulfed in flames when crews arrived around 12:20 p.m., and it took about 45 minutes to bring it under control... and, about two-hours to complete extinguish the flames.  No residents were hurt... but, three pets perished.
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Coon says the second fire was called in from 20 Newland Avenue just before 5:30 PM.  Coon says they found a lot of smoke both inside and outside the home.  He says it took about 20 minutes to bring the blaze under control.  The one person living there was not home at the time... and, no injuries were reported.  The cause remains under investigation.


Burham now implicated in kidnapping of two Sheffield, Pa. residents located in So. Carolina...
The search for the man accused of killing Jamestown mother-of-three Kala Hodgkin has led from Pennsylvania to South Carolina.  City police overnight released a flyer from the North Charleston, S.C. Police Department with three pictures of 34 year-old Michael Burham... who is now believed to have kidnapped two people in Sheffiled, Pa. in his efforts to flee New York and Pennsylvania in the wake of the murder of the 34 year-old Hodgkin May 11.  North Charleston Police were called to a Rivers Avenue address on a report of two kidnapping victims... who were taken from their home in at gun-point and driven to South Carolina.  Few details have been release on that incident... but, police say Burham was last seen wearing a dark baseball cap... blue jeans and a light-colored T-shirt.  He may no long have facial hair, and changed his hair style.  
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Earlier in the day Sunday... police said that last Friday night's streaming of the national program "On Patrol: Live" highlighted the manhunt for Burham... and, it produced numerous tips.  Investigators say he apparently went to Warren, Pennsylvania... rented a car... and drove the the area of Hodgkin's home in the early morning hours of Thursday, May 11th.  He's then accused of setting fire to what we are now being told was another woman's vehicle on Fulton St. before fleeing back to Warren.  If you have any information on the case... call JPD at 483-7537... or the Tips line at 483-8477.


Catt. County man arrested after fleeing scene of fatal car-pedestrian accident...
A Cattaraugus County man is charged with murder after he allegedly hit a woman with his pick-up truck while she was walking along a town of Olean road... killing her.  Sheriff's deputies in Little Valley say the accident occured Sunday when 48 year-old Scott Carlson was driving the pick-up on Seneca Avenue, and struck the unidentified, 42 year-old woman.  Officers say Carlson then fled the scene... but, he was later found following an investigation.  He was arrested for second-degree murder... and, second-degree manslaughter.  Carlson was arraigned and sent to the Little Valley jail in lieu of bail.


Cummins Engine celebrations production of 2.5-millionth heavy-duty engine at JEP...
A large gathering of local officials, Cummins Engine officials and employees gathered this afternoon at the Jamestown Engine Plant to mark the 2.5-millionth heavy duty engine to be produced at the town of Busti facility.  Engine Business President Srikanth Padmanabhan pointed to a Kenworth tractor near their stage with a new, environmentally friendly natural gas engine.  Padmanabhan says when you use a lower-carbon producing engine, that's good for the environment.  Jamestown Engine Plant Manager Anna Dibble, emceed the program, and expressed her appreciation to local officials... the Jamestown-area community... and, their employees... for making it all possible.  Dibble says it's because of all that support... Cummins is making an approximately $450-million investment in the plant.  She says the area of the plant they were gathered will be full of machining equipment for next year's 50th anniversary at JEP.  Dibble herself is a 32-year veteran of the Cummins Jamestown Engine Plant located on Baker Street... starting as a Summer employee.  The plant has now begun production of the first of three engines from the next generation... which will also include hydrogen powered truck engines.

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., May 22, 2023

Search for homicide suspect takes investigation to South Carolina...
The search for the local man accused of killing Jamestown mother Kala Hodgkin has led from Pennsylvania to South Carolina.  City police overnight released a flyer from the North Charleston, South Carolina Police Department with three pictures of 34 year-old Michael Burham... who is now believed to have kidnapped two people in his efforts to flee New York and Pennsylvania in the wake of the murder of the 34 year-old Hodgkin May 11.  North Charleston Police were called to a Rivers Avenue address on a report of two kidnapping victims... who were taken from their home -- we have now learned -- in Sheffield, Pennsylvania and were driven to South Carolina.  Few details have been release on that incident... but, police say Burham was last seen wearing a dark baseball cap... blue jeans and a light-colored T-shirt.  He may no long have facial hair, and changed his hair style.  
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Earlier in the day Sunday... police said that last Friday night's streaming of the national program "On Patrol: Live" highlighted the manhunt for Burham... and, it produced numerous tips.  Investigators say he apparently went to Warren, Pennsylvania... rented a car... and drove the the area of Hodgkin's home in the early morning hours of May 11.  After killing her... he then drove the rental car to Fulton Street... where he set it on fire.  He then got a ride to Warren the morning after the homicide.  Based on information received...  police believe that Burham was then picked up, and driven out of the area.  They add that someone, who may not have known about the murder, apparently drove him back to Warren... and, police would like to speak with them.  If you have any information on the case... call JPD at 483-7537... or the Tips line at 483-8477.


Jamestown man arrested in connection with recent burglaries in the city of copper and tools...     
A city man is accused of being involved in breaking-into a pair of westside businesses the past several days... and, stealing about $5,700 worth of tools and other items.  Jamestown police last weekend announced the arrest of 43 year-old Larry Whitehill, Jr.,  who is accused of breaking into the first location on Saturday, May 13... and another on Wednesday, May 17 where copper had been stolen.  Officers say they got a description of the vehicle... and, knew it had been involved in some previous burglaries.  They later located the vehicle, parked, and Whitehill was inside.  He tried to flee into a nearby house... and an altercation with police ensued.  However... Whitehill was arrested on two counts of third-degree burglary... third-degree grand larceny... petty larceny... obstruction... and resisting arrest.  He was jailed pending arraignment.

Sundquist outlines bonding proposal for city facility projects...
The city of Jamestown is looking at a preliminary plan to borrow $6.4-million for approximately eight projects involving facility upgrades.  The majority of the money... though... is being looked to replace two roofs -- the one at City Hall, and the other on the Fenton History Center.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who presented a first draft of the proposal to the City Council last week.  Sundquist says there are still some leaks after a recent repair job on the City Hall roof.  Sundquist says officials had hoped that recent patch work would have held.  Sundquist says that project will cost $1.8-million.  He adds that they are also looking at security upgrades for the building... along with replacing at least 17 windows.  He they also need to do about $600,000 in upgrades for HVAC units... for a City Hall total of just over $3.1-million.  Replacing the Fenton is projected to be about $2-million... but, the mayor says the city is in line for some grant funding for that.  Other projects include roof work on DPW building roof at 145 Steele St., a new water line at Bergman Park... and, gap funding for the new Fleet Maintenance Building on Washington Street.


Lily Dale man arrested for receiving large amount of narcotics from U.K....
A Lily Dale man has been arrested for allegedly trafficking a significant amount of narcotics between Great Britan and Chautauqua County.  Sheriff's officers say their Narcotics Investigation Team conducted a month-long investigation of 23 year-old Nicholas Loomis of Cottage Row where he allegedly used FedEx to receive packages containing 3-kilos of codine from Great Britan.  The local department worked with Customs and Border Protection... and, the Department of Homeland Security on the case.  Police took Loomis into custody without incident late last week on one count of first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  He was take to the county jail for centralized arraignment... then jailed without bail pending further court action.  If you're aware of any suspicious drug-related activity... you're asked to call the Sheriff's Office Narcotics Investigators Tip line call either 800-344-8702 or 716-664-2420.


Ribbon cut held Saturday at Carlberg Farm's new produce stand...
It was a rain drenched ribbon cutting Saturday morning at the Carlberg Farm Produce stand on Peck Settlement Road south of Jamestown.  One of the owners, Ginny Carlberg, says while the farm has been in the family for over a century, they’ve only done produce for four years... and, that aspect of the business has grown quickly.  The Carlbergs’ NEW stand is actually a very OLD building… a refurbished grainery dating back almost 200 years.  Cooperative Extension used the occasion at the Carlberg Farm to remind residents of its recently reinvigorated service called 'Chautauqua Grown.'  For more information... go on-line to chautauqua.cce.cornell.edu.  

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., May 19, 2023

Dunkirk Mayor's brother arrested for stealing festival, hurricane relief funds...
The brother of Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas has been indicted for allegedly stealing hurricane relief donations and Festival Funds while he was the city's Festivals Coordinator.  State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt today announced the indictment of 63 year-old Hector Rosas... for using his public position to steal more than $50,000 through several schemes.  DiNapoli says "Rosas allegedly used his position to steal donations meant to help Hurricane Maria victims and divert funds meant to benefit his community into his own pockets."  He added that "public service is a privilege and a duty that he is charged with betraying."  D-A Schmidt adds that "these types of crimes are not victimless."  Rosas is accused of transferring nearly $15,000 in donations to Hurricane Maria relief into his own bank account... and, another more than $42,000 in cash sales for summer festivals between 2016 and 2019 that was not reported or deposited.  He was arraigned in county court... and is due back in court next month.


Borrello fires off letter to Hochul; blasts her and NYC officials for plan to ship migrants to SUNY Campuses...
New York State Senator George Borrello has written to Governor Kathy Hochul... opposing her plan to house undocumented immigrants at SUNY Fredonia... and, other SUNY campuses around the state.  In a printed release Thursday afternoon... Borrello says "this is a reckless idea born out of desperation caused by a self-created crisis of the Governor’s own making.  Words have consequences."  The Sunset Bay Republican says he doesn't believe Hochul when she says housing migrants at SUNY campuses is "a temporary solution."  He says migrants processed as asylum seekers earlier this week were reportedly given immigration court dates more than a decade away.  Borrello adds that "due to the Biden Administration’s unwillingness to control the border, these migrants are not properly vetted or investigated."


Wendel also issues State of Emergency regarding migrants that may be bussed to county...
Late Thursday... Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel declared a State of Emergency in response to New York City's stated intentions of sending migrants and asylum seekers to other counties.  Wendel says -- "in December 2016, New York City declared itself a 'Sanctuary City' dedicated to supporting undocumented individuals.  Over the past several months, thousands of asylum seekers have been arriving in the City, which is now so overwhelmed that it is trying to move these individuals to other counties that do not have the infrastructure to care for them... especially since social services funding is not available to undocumented individuals."  Wendel adds that "while we support the families who have already migrated to our county... we lack the services and funding required to assist additional individuals.” He says the order "prohibits other municipalities from bringing and housing people in the county, prohibits hotels and motels from housing immigrants without a license, and requires any municipalities that might bring migrating or asylum-seeking people here to ensure they will be fully cared for... and paid for."


Whitaker thanks community for budget, and capital reserve fund support...
Jamestown School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says he "appreciates" everyone from the public who came out... and, overwhelmingly approved the new district budget.  Dr. Whitaker says Tuesday's votes for both the $101-million budget... and, establishing a $5-million capital reserve fund... gave school officials the affirmation they were seeking... but, adds they would like to see more people vote.  The 2023-24 budget includes no tax increase for the new school year.  With the budget now approved... he says it's time to put the emphasis on getting students -- and the district -- back to normal after COVID.  In addition to the academic side... he says the socio-emotional issues that have arose will also take time to deal with.  In Tuesday's vote... the budget plan was approved, 555-127.  Voters also approved creation of the Capital Reserve Fund, 575-106. 


Blue Star Mothers aiming to help people better understand patriotic holidays this year...
Leaders of the local chapter of the Blue Star Mothers are promoting a better understanding of the patriotic holidays that are about to unfold.  New York Chapter 4 President, Susan Rowley says the first one is this weekend on Sat. May 20, which is Armed Forces day where all currently serving military are honored.  Veterans Day on Nov. 11 is set aside to honor all veterans for their service.  Rowley says Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, has a different purpose.  She says it's a day set aside for "those who never came home" from the battlefield and made "the ultimate sacrifice for our country."  Blue Star Mothers First Vice-President, Kathy Collver, says Memorial Day is often looked at from a receational perspective, and that's not all bad because that's part of what freedom is all about.  The local Blue Star Mothers are taking on a bigger role in this year's Memorial Day celebration, in addition to their traditional program at Veterans Park in Jamestown on Saturday, May 27.  They will also coordinate the post-parade ceremony at Soldier's Circle at Lakeview Cemetery on Memorial Day. 


GoFundMe page set up for children of recently deceased Jamestown woman...
A GoFundMe page has been established for the three children of the Jamestown woman killed a week ago yesterday morning in the city.  The page... called "Justice for Kala..." is dedicated to 34 year-old Kala Hodgkin... who was killed during what the page describes as "a domestic violence" altercation.  Those who have set up the page say Hodgkin left behind children ages 8, 11, and 14 who are currently living with family members.  They add that "this devastating loss of life has made life very grim and difficult for not only them but also the family members."  The page was set up because "funds are getting scarce.  If you could donate money to help her three childern during this time of need."  So far... about $2,800 has been donated... with a goal of $10,000.
 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., May 18, 2023

City police arrest man involved in taking a youth, and barricading himself and youth inside home during domestic incident for second-time this week...
A Jamestown man arrested just two days before for allegedly grabbing a juvenile relative, and barricading himself and the child inside another home... has been arrested again for the same crimes.  City police say they were called to a northside residence just after 3:30 p.m. Wednesday on a report of 21 year-old Elijah Keefe entering the home illegally,  On arrival... officers determined that Keefe had walked inside... and, again removed the juvenile relative -- violating an order of protection.  He also violated another order by pushing a female victim and taking her phone while she tried to call 911 for help.  Police add that Keefe fled the home before they arrived.  A short time later, JPD officers and Ellicott Town Police got word that Keefe was at a Falconer address.  Police went there... and, found that Keefe had again barricaded himself inside with the juvenile.  He refused to come out... and, officers forced entry.  However... Keefe took the child and fled to another room where he again barricaded himself before police again forced entry and Keefe was finally taken into custody.  He faces charges including: second-degree burglary... first and second-degree criminal contempt... and, fourth-degree criminal mischief.


Schmidt announces indictments of two men for thefts at Crawford Furniture, just prior to last November's major fire...
Two people have been indicted -- and one is jailed on bail -- on multiple charges in connection with last November's break-in at a former factory building near Jamestown that was later destroyed by a massive fire.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt has announced that 37-year-old Robert Clark of Conewango Valley... and, 33-year-old Justin Myers of Jamestown are each facing one count of third-degree burglary, one count of third-degree attempted grand larceny, and two counts of fifth-degree conspiracy.  Schmidt says both men were trying to steal skid steers that were located inside shortly before the fire occurred.  He says the skids were worth $16,000 to $18,000 each.  Schmidt says the charges do not qualify for bail... and, as a result, Clark was released.  However, he says Myers is being held on $10,000 cash bail... $20,000 property bond due to his prior criminal history.  Schmidt says he had requested more.  He says both men have been arraigned, and they are scheduled to appear in County Court for a discovery conference on May 31. 


Langworthy believes sending Santos expultion case to Ethics Committee is the right call...
A resolution to expel Congressman George Santos of New York from the House has been referred to the House Ethics Committee... as Republicans successfully sidestepped an effort to force them into a vote that could have narrowed their already slim four-seat majority.  The House voted along party lines, 221-204, to refer the matter to the ethics panel, with Santos himself joining his GOP colleagues in voting to do so.  That was good news to local Congressman Nick Langworthy... who in his previous position of New York State Republican Chairman... had called for Santos' resignation.  The freshman congressman from Long Island has been charged with embezzling money from his campaign, falsely receiving unemployment funds and lying to Congress about his finances.  He has denied the charges and has pleaded not guilty. 


Gillibrand reintroduces caregiver credit measure...
U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has reintroduced a bill that she says would provide Social Security credits to caregivers.  The New York Democrat says the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act would help a lot of New York families... with about 2.2-million New Yorkers providing "billions of hours" of caregiving work.  She says while most of them keep working their other job, about 30% end up having to leave the workplace... putting a strain on the caregiver's finances.  Gillibrand says the legislation would provide retirement credits to unpaid caregivers who spend at least 80 hours a month providing care to a dependent relative under the age of 12... or to a chronically dependent individual.  She adds that the vast majority of older Americans would love to "age in place" -- or at home.  


Limo Service Mgr. convicted of manslaughter in 2018 Schoharie crash...
A limousine service manager has been convicted of manslaughter in a crash that killed 20 people in the Albany area... one of the deadliest U.S. road wrecks in two decades.  Jurors reached their verdict during their second day of deliberations in the trial of Nauman Hussain, who ran Prestige Limousine.  Hussain faces the possibility of up to 15 years in prison at his May 31st sentencing.  Hussein looked disappointed on hearing the verdict.  He was taken into custody.  A message seeking comment was sent to his attorney.  Applause could be heard in the audience as the jury was discharged.  


Billy Miley named as new JHS Boy's Basketball Head Coach...
The Jamestown School Board has approved the appointment of a new head boy's varsity basketball coach... and, he's a familiar name to the program.  Bill Miley, Jr., who's been boy's junior varsity coach the past 19 years... will replace the retired Ben Drake next season.  Miley... a 1999 JHS graduate... has also been an assistant coach under Drake.  Miley says "I am extremely excited and humbled to be appointed the next coach of JHS basketball.  It has been a thrill and a pleasure working alongside Coach Drake and the other coaches the last 20 years and having a front row seat to much of the program’s success"  Miley is currently an eighth grade math teacher at Jefferson Middle School. 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., May 17, 2023

Investigation underway into fire at unoccupied home in Ashville...
Half-a-dozen south county fire departments were called to battle flames in an unoccupied home in the Ashville area early this morning.  Chautauqua County Fire Dispatchers say Ashville crews were initially called to 3264 Wall St. -- in the town of North Harmony -- about 5:30 a.m.  Dispatchers say mutual aid was called in from Lakewood, Panama, Sherman, Clymer and Chautauqua.  Crews were at the scene until about mid-morning.  No injuries were reported... and, the cause is under investigation.


JPS Budget, Capital Reserve Fund, new board member approved during Tuesday vote...
Residents of the Jamestown Public School district Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a $101-million, 2023-24 budget that includes no tax increase.  The vote was 555-127.  Voters also approved creation of a $5-million Capital Reserve Fund, 575-106.  There will be one new member of the school board come July 1.  John Panebianco won the seat being vacated by Shelly Leathers... and he was leading vote getter with 576 votes... while Melissa Paterniti received 240.  Board incumbants Paul Abbott and Christine Schnars were re-elected.  Abbott received 512 tallies... while Schnars had 514.


SWCS voters approve Budget, and Bus purchases...
All other school districts in the immediate Jamestown area saw their budgets adopted as well.  At Southwestern... residents approved a $33.1-million spending plan, 199-66.  School Superintendent Maureen Donahue was pleased with the results... noting that her budget team had to deal with rising costs in a number of areas... but, held spending below the rate of inflation.  Donahue says there are more needs for students coming out of COVID, food, fuel, and utility costs are also up.  She adds they also added staff to help students get back to where they need to be coming out of the pandemic.  Voters also approved a $520,000 proposition to buy three new buses, 212-54.  Three school board members ran unopposed.


All other school budget's approved Tuesday...
Other results from last night include the Brocton School District... where the budget was approved, 114-41.  Voters also approved a proposition to establish a reserve fund to purchase buses, similar vehicles and equipment, 124-29.  Robert Mead-Colegrove and Melissa Seavy ran unopposed for the school board.
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Voters in the Falconer School District approved a $29.5-million budget... 104-13.  The spending plan included no tax levy increase.  A capital improvement project also passed, 103-14. 
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In the Bemus Point District... voters easily approved a $16.6-million budget, 301-89.  They also approved a bus proposition... a capital project... and, library funding. 
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Voters in the Panama District approved a $13.9-million budget, 122-17.
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In Sherman... a $12.1-million budget was approved... along with the purchase of two new buses.  Residents also approved a small capital project.  
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Residents of the Clymer Central School district approved a new, $12-million budget, 139-60. 
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Chautauqua Lake Central School District voters approved a $24.3-million budget, 326-101. 


Jamestown man receives 10-year sentence on sexual conduct against a child conviction... 
A city man will spend the next 10 years in state prison after being sentenced for pleading guilty to sexually abusing a child. Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt has announced that 38 year-old Jeffrey Bair had pled guilty to the Felony first-degree sexual conduct against a child charge back on March 2.  In addition to the sentence... Schmidt says Bair also received 20 year-old post-release supervision from County Court Judge David Foley.  The D-A thanked the county's Child Advocacy Program staff for their dedication to local child victims.  He says without CAP... "prosecuting these types of cases would be exponentially more difficult." 


City man faces charges after allegedly holing up with child inside home...
A Jamestown man faces several charges after allegedly breaking into a northside home Monday afternoon... and, taking a juvenile relative to another home where he barricaded himself and the child inside a room.  City police were called to the undisclosed location just before 3 p.m., and, learned that 21 year-old Elijah Keefe had damaged a doorway to get into the home... which he had an order of protection to stay away from.  Officers say Keefe then took the child to another home, and holed up in a room.  Police say he refused to come out... but, officers eventually were forced to make entry... and, Keefe was taken into custody without further incident.  The child was returned safely to family members.  Keefe was taken to the City Jail pending arraignment on charges including: second-degree burglary... second-degree criminal contempt... fourth-degree stalking... second-degree obstruction... and, endangering the welfare of a child.


FEMA explains grant, and answers questions of City Council on SAFER Grant...
The city of Jamestown was awarded a federal SAFER Grant of $1.8-million to hire eight new firefighters... no less.  That from a grants official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency during a Zoom Conference call with city lawmakers, and Mayor Eddie Sundquist Tuesday afternoon.  The City Council requested the meeting to clarify what the city can do with the grant... and, whether funding would be available after the grant runs out.  FEMA's Julia Barren says the eight additional firefighters would bring the city to 62... which they need to be considered "fully-staffed."  Barren says, when you accept the grant, you agree to "maintain the number of firefighters to keep the department operational."  She adds the city needs to begin hiring by Aug. 8 if the grant is accepted by the city... and, make a "good faith effort" to keep staffing at 62.  Barren adds that the city can apply for a retention grant down the line... but, says obtaining one of those is much more difficult, and competative.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., May 16, 2023

City Council meets today with FEMA officials to resolve issued surrounding SAFER Grant...
The Jamestown City Council will get to speak directly today to an official with the Federal Emergency Management Agency regarding a $1.8-million grant to hire eight new firefighters.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist and his administration have put together a Zoom Conference with the FEMA Grants Coordinator at 4 p.m. at City Hall to get answers to a number of questions they have.  Sundquist says lawmakers need more information before next week's vote... and, those were given to FEMA in advance of today's meeting.  Deputy Fire Chief Matt Coon recently discussed the need for more firefighters... and, how the SAFER Grant would help cover those costs.  He says most of their calls -- about 81% -- the past year have been rescue calls.  The Teresi Administration did look into just providing an additional ambulance service... but, Sundquist says they found that EMT's are already "in short supply" in the county and region... and, you wouldn't be able to hire enough people to do it. 


Burham now a suspect in last week's homicide, and charged with arson in vehicle fire...
Jamestown police remain on the look-out for the now-suspect in last week's homicide of 34 year-old Kala Hodgkin... and, Western New York Crimestoppers is now offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest of Michael Burham.  The 34 year-old Burham is considered armed and dangerous.  In addition to the homicide... Burham is also wanted on a warrant for a rape charge.  Crimestoppers says information can be reported anonymously by calling 716-867-6161, through the "Buffalo Tips" app or by visiting www.crimestopperswny.org.  Burham is accused of killing Hodgkin during an incident early last Thursday morning.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson also says that he is wanted for the Fulton Street vehicle fire a short time later that morning.  In addition to previous warrants... Samuelson says new warrants have been issued for third-degree arson... fourth-degree criminal mischief... and, two counts of second-degree criminal contempt... and, endangering the welfare of a child.  Anyone with any information regarding Burham can also contact JPD at 483-7537 or the anonymous tips line at 483-8477.  All calls and tips will be kept confidential. 


City police recover stolen car, arrest three in the theft...
Three men... two from Jamestown and one from Lakewood... have been arrested for allegedly stealing a car in the city last weekend.  Jamestown police say they were alerted to the stolen car from a location on Tower Street shortly before 8 PM Sunday... and, conducted a traffic stop.  Officers say they found 19 year-old Illinois Jackson... and 18 year-old Joseph Connolly of Jamestown... and, 21 year-old Corey Stingel of Lakewood inside.  All three were charged with third-degree criminal possession of stolen property... and, they were taken to the city jail pending arraignment.  Police say the vehicle's owner came to the scene and retrieved their vehicle.


Several departments make quick work of Ripley house fire...
Eight fire departments battled a house fire on Route 76 in the town of Ripley Monday afternoon.  Ripley firefighters responded to the blaze shortly after 2 p.m. and, the department's Facebook page reports that tankers from South Ripley, Westfield, Sherman, Findley Lake, Portland, Fuller Hose in North East, Pennsylvania and Chautauqua were called in for water supply and manpower.  Crews had the knocked down quickly with no injuries being reported.  County fire investigators have determined the cause was an electrical issue along an exterior wall of the home.


County Board of Elections again assisting with local school budget votes...
All 18 school districts in Chautauqua County will be holding budget votes and board elections on Tuesday.  The Chautauqua County Board of Elections will be once again partnering with the local districts.  That from County GOP Elections Commissioner Brian Abram says they use the same machines, and work with the districts to have "familiar faces" on hand to help with the voting process.  Since the voting hours vary from district to district... Abram encourages residents to check with their local school districts for more information.  All schools in the state will hold their budget votes on Tuesday... with the exception of the "Big 5" city districts of New York, Yonkers, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse.


JPS school budget, capital reserve fund, and school board votes underway...
Among the local districts... voters in Jamestown will be deciding on a $101-million, 2023-24 budget that includes no tax increase.  There will also be a proposition to establish a $5-million capital reserve fund for future projects.  School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker urges eligible residents to come out and vote at one of the three presidents schools from Noon to 9 p.m. In addition to the budget... and, reserve fund... Whitaker says there are also four people on the ballot running for three school board seats.  They include: incumbants Paul Abbott and Christine Schnars... and, newcomers John Panebianco... and, Melissa Paterniti. 
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Others holding votes also include Southwestern.... where residents will decide on a $33.1-million budget for the new school year.  School Superintendent Maureen Donahue says there is a small increase in the tax levy... and, three people are running unopposed for three school board seats.  Voting at Southwestern High School runs today from 7 to 9 a.m. and, 2 to 8 p.m. 
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Voters in the Falconer Central School District will decide on a $29.5-million budget... which increases spending by nearly 9%, but, includes no tax levy increase.  Two school board incumbants are running unopposed.  Voting runs from 2 to 8 p.m. 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., May 15, 2023

Search continues for Burham; WNY Crimestoppers offering reward for information leading to his arrest in death of Jamestown woman...
Jamestown police remain on the look-out for the now-suspect in last week's homicide of 34 year-old Kala Hodgkin... and, Western New York Crimestoppers is now offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the arrest of Michael Burham.  The 34 year-old Burham is considered armed and dangerous.  In addition to the homicide... Burham is also wanted on a warrant for a rape charge.  Crimestoppers says information can be reported anonymously by calling 716-867-6161, through the "Buffalo Tips" app or by visiting www.crimestopperswny.org.  Burham is accused of killing Hodgkin during an incident early last Thursday morning.  Anyone with any information regarding Burham is still asked to contact the JPD at 483-7537 or the anonymous tips line at 483-8477.  All calls and tips will be kept confidential. 


Falconer porch fire blamed on plug strip failure...
A family pet perished in a weekend fire at a home on Central Avenue in the village of Falconer.  Chautauqua County Fire Investigators say Falconer firefighters were called to a porch fire shortly before 7 p.m. Saturday.  Once the fire was out... investigators were called in... and, found the blaze was accidental.  They determined it was caused by a failure in a multi-plug strip located on the porch of the residence.  The people living there got out uninjured.


City man arrested in assault of 67-year-old...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting a 67-year-old person... while a child was in closed proximity... on the city's eastside last weekend.  City police were called to the undislosed location shortly after 11 p.m. last Saturday... and, found that 26 year-old Carlos Ruiz had also thrown a chair, a table and other items at the victim while the child was nearby.  Officers say they began to take Ruiz into custody when he began resisting arrest.  Police took him into custody following a brief struggle... and, he was charged with second-degree assault... endangering the welfare of a child... and, resisting arrest.  Ruiz was jailed pending arraignment.


JCC again hold's smaller, outdoor Commencement ceremony...
Jamestown Community College continued its ‘new’ tradition of an intimate, outdoor commencement over the weekend.  On Sunday in Jamestown, graduates… in cap and gown…ascended a small stage in the middle of campus.  College President, Dr. Daniel DeMarte, presented each degree and posed for pictures… with family and friends just a few feet away.  JCC’s Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Kirk Young, says the ‘new model’… spawned by COVID-19… is popular among students and their families.  One of Sunday’s graduates in Jamestown was Celina Carlson of Warren, Pa.  Having just finished the Occupational Therapy Assistant program, she told our Dennis Webster she was both proud and relieved because she was able to get hired at Warren General Hospital once she takes her certification test.  Around 180 of the 300 graduates on the Jamestown campus ‘walked’ for their degrees on Sunday.  Another 100 got their degrees in Olean on Saturday.   


Three-dozen new trees planted along W. Third St. in Jamestown Saturday...
The replacement trees for the cathedral oaks along West Third Street in Jamestown are now in the ground, and growing.  More than 50 citizens and city officials gathered to do the work last Saturday, as part of the city’s annual Arbor Day celebration.   Jamestown Parks’ Manager and Arborist, Dan Stone, emceed the event and noted this is Jamestown’s 42nd year as ‘Tree City USA.'  Stone says there have been some milestone Arbor Day events in Jamestown, but, "nothing like this."  Mayor Eddie Sundquist recalled the poignant emotion city leaders had three years ago, when they realized the century old oaks were too dangerous to keep anymore.  However... Sundquist adds they "also knew there was an opportunity to reimagine what this street looks like."  Those on hand planted 37 trees were planted Saturday.  Four different varieties were chosen: American elm, red maple, sergeant cherry and a smaller kind of oak than the ones previously along West Third.


Cassadaga man arrested for Aggravated DWI after allegedly hitting several parked cars in Pomfret...
A Cassadaga man is accused of driving drunk after the vehicle he was driving went off Glasgow Road in the town of Pomfret earlier this month and crashed into several parked cars.  Sheriff's Officers also say that 41 year-old Joseph Spayer fled the scene of the Tuesday night, May 2 accident on foot.  Deputies say some time later... they were able to locate Spayer... and, he ws found to have been driving with a blood alcohol content of .18% or higher.  He was arrested for aggravated DWI... DWI... leaving the scene of a property damage accident... moving from lane unsafely, and speed not reasonable or prudent.  Spayer was taken to the Sheriff's Office north county substation for processing... and, later released with appearance tickets for Pomfret Town Court.  No one was hurt in the accident.

 

Leichner to be replaced temporarily by Davison once he retires... 
With current School Superintendent Chuck Leichner retiring at the end of the school year from Cassadaga Valley... a former school superintendent will become interim superintendent July 1.  Leichner has been with the district since August of 2014... and, will be leaving at the end of June.  Leichner says it was a difficult decision... but, adds he and his wife have seven grandchildren and want to see them more often.  He says Davison has been Cassadaga Valley's director of operations in recent times.  Davison was also the superintendent for a time at the Westfield Academy and Central School District.  Leichner has been in education since 1985... and, says the most difficult challenge during his career was dealing with the COVID Pandemic.

WJTN News Bulletin for Fri., May 12, 2023

(update)JPD identifies victim as search continues for Michael Burham in connection with homicide...
The search is continuing today for a local man wanted for questioning in connection with the death of a Jamestown woman early Thursday morning on the city's southside.  And, late this morning, JPD identified the victim as 34 year-old Kala Hodgkin.  City Police Chief and Public Safety Director Tim Jackson says "our thoughts and prayers are with the family and everyone involved."  He says officers were called to 125 William St. shortly before 4:30 a.m. on a report of an "unresponsive female."  Jackson says they are looking for 34 year-old Michael Burham... who is believed to be "armed and dangerous."  He says contact police immediately, and "the public should not approach him."  City police say they've received several tips on their confidential tips line... and, some have been helpful.  A short time after late night's press conference at City Hall... police announced that Burnham's red-colored, 2018 Dodge flat-bed truck was found.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt was also at the press conference... and says his office is working with several agencies on the case -- including the FBI.  Schmidt says the Warren County District Attorney's office did assist with obtaining a search warrant.  Burham is believed to be in either the Jamestown... or Warren, Pennsylvania areas.  If you have any information on his whereabouts... call JPD immediately at 716-483-7537... or the anonymous tip line at 483-8477.

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., May 11, 2023

JPD, city firefighters, respond to multiple incidents early Thursday morning; search for person of interest is underway in connection with homicide...
It's been a busy day for Jamestown police and firefighters.  Media One News has learned that JPD officers were called to the scene of an apparent shooting involving a female victim on Williams Street.  A source has told Media One around 4 a.m... and found a deceased female.  This noon... police issued a release saying they were looking to interview a person -- identified as 34 year-old Michael Burham  -- whose reportedly "armed and dangerous" in connection with the incident.  Police late today also said they were looking for Burham's truck, a 2018 model, red truck with a flatbed on the back he apparently uses for business. 
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Just before that... city police responded to a burglar alarm at Danielson Oil Company at 258 Crescent St., and, found much of the building on fire.  City Fire Battlion Chief Shawn Shilling says he was among the first crew to respond on scene... says there were flames and smoke showing from both the first and second-floors.  Shilling says they pulled a handline for an exterior attack... and, were eventually able to get water from two hydrants.  He says they had that under control in about an hour.  Shilling says he then sent a crew inside to douse flames inside the building.  He says they called an off-duty shift to assist at the scene.  Shilling says they are still trying to piece together what happened... specifically if the alarm was tripped by someone breaking in, or if the fire may have triggered the alarm.  Shilling says the brick building is still structurally intact... but, will require interior work to be put back into operation.  Shilling says no one was was hurt... the cause late today was announced as a malfunction in an appliance, and accidental in nature.


Fredonia man arrested on Child Porn charges...
A man from northern Chautauqua County man has been arrested for allegedly being in possession of child pornography following a local and federal investigation.  Sheriff's officers say the FBI conducted a preliminary investigation last month into 49 year-old Robert Norris, Jr. of Fredonia.  Deputies say the case was turned over to the Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division back on April 26.  Their investigation found that Norris was in possession of the child porn... and, he was was charged with possessing a sexual performance by a child.  He was issued appearance tickets for Pomfret Town Court.


Cassadaga man arrested for violating terms of Sex Offender Registry...
A Cassadaga man who is a Level-3 sex offender, has been arrested for allegedly failing to verify his address with local law enforcement.  Sheriff's officers say they arrested 65 year-old William Strong was arrested Wednesday for violating the sex offender registry... which he's required to do every 90 days.  Due to a previous violation... deputies say Strong was charged with a class D felony.  He was taken into custody and take to the county jail pending arraignment.


Wendel looks back on COVID pandemic as federal health emergency ends tonight...
The federal health emergency for the COVID-19 Pandemic comes to an end at Midnight tonight with little in the way of fanfare.  Chautauqua County government faced some major challenges during the pandemic that lasted just over three years.  County Executive P.J. Wendel was three-months into his new job when the virus reached New York State in March of 2020.  Wendel says it consumed the energies of nearly every county department and agency... and, was certainly historic in nature.  While COVID is no longer grabbing the daily headlines, Wendel says the virus is still around and the county's new chief medical officer -- Dr. Michael Faulk -- will continue to follow developments.  He adds that... starting on June 1... they will have a new Media Information Officer to help get clear and timely information out. 


Ellicott Democrats announce Fall town election endorsements...
The town of Ellicott Democratic Committee has endorsed a full-slate of candidates for the first time in many years.  Meeting Wednesday night... party members backed Todd Beckerink to run for Town Supervisor... and, Adrian Swanson for Town Clerk.  For town council... past Falconer Mayor Jim Rensel is running for the First-Ward seat... while Dave Lamantia is seeking the Second-Ward seat.  Democrats are also supporting two independents... Steve Cybart in Ward-Three and Daniel McNeill in Ward-Four.  Long-time Town Justice Marilyn Gerace is also again seeking re-election.


City to hold tree "re-planting" ceremony on Saturday for new West Third St. trees...
The Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department is inviting the public to join them this Saturday morning to begin planting about three-dozen new trees on West Third Street.  The new trees will replace the Cathedral Oaks that had to be taken down 3 to 4 years ago due to age and disease.  Parks Manager Dan Stone adds they'll also be celebrating Jamestown being again named a "Tree City USA."  Stone made the announcement at this week's City Council work session... noting that the ceremony will begin at 9 a.m., and people should make sure to bring a shovel with them.  The trees will be planted between Hall Avenue and to Hallock Street.  For the past couple of years... that stretch of West Third has been void of trees... in part to let soils there settle while new trees were decided on.  Stone says they'll start at the intersection with Cook Avenue where Healing Word Ministries Church is located... where there will be a brief ceremony.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist also encouraged city residents and people from the surrounding area to come and help.  Stone says they'll be planting four different kinds of trees... including: Cherry trees... Oaks... American Elms and Red Maples. 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., May 10, 2023

Hochul issues executive order for Nat. Guard to help deal with expected surge in asylum seekers...
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul issued an executive order late Tuesday ahead of an expected increase in asylum seekers that she said will allow the state to mobilize more National Guard members and to quickly react to food and supply needs.  The Democratic governor's order came two days before the U.S. government will end pandemic-related restrictions on people requesting asylum at the border, known as Title 42, under which migrants have been expelled from the country.  New York City has already been straining to handle about 60,000 asylum seekers since last spring.  


Dunkirk man arrested in Fredonia, on DWAI, illegal firearms possession...
A north county man has been arrested for allegedly driving while under the influence of drugs... and, being in possession of two firearms.  Sheriff's officers say they conducted a traffic stop on Bennett Rd. in Fredonia shortly before 11 p.m. last Saturday.  Deputies say they found the driver... 25 year-old Dakota Cordell of Dunkirk... was driving while impaired.  Officers say they also found Cordell in possession of a disassembled shotgun... and, an AR-15 Rifle.  He also had a loaded, high-capacity ammunition feeding device.  Further investigation also found that he was also driving without a license... and, with an unregistered motor vehicle.  Cordell was taken to the county jail pending centralized arraignment on charges of third-degree criminal possession of a firearm... DWAI... unlicensed operation and unregistered motor vehicle.


Wendel says it's unclear what may benefit Chautauqua Co. in new state budget...
Chautauqua County's top-elected official says he's disappointed by much of New York state's final, 2023-24 budget... especially how it favors the downstate region.  County Executive P.J. Wendel says they did have a couple of requests in for funding for Chautauqua Lake... carried by State Senator George Borrello and Assemblyman Andy Goodell... who pushed to have that put in.  However... Wendel says they haven't heard anything specific yet on what's in the $229-billion spending plan.  He says there were two funding requests, totaling about $4-million.  Wendel says it's difficult not knowing what's going on with that funding... and, New York City is receiving about one-billion dollars to deal with the overflow of migrants that have been brought to the city.  The Lakewood Republican also feels upstate isn't getting it's fair share of money for road and bridge projects... especially when the NYC Theater District is receiving $1-billion alone.  Wendel made his comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations. 


Tranum says new state budget does include modifications to Climate Action Plan...
The new state budget approved last week by lawmakers in Albany is pushing New York toward electrification.  But... there are exemptions for commercial and industrial buildings.  That from Todd Tranum, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier.  Under the new law... all-electric heating and cooking is required in new buildings shorter than seven stories by end of 2025, and in new buildings taller than seven stories by the end of 2028.  Howver... Tranum points out there are exceptions in place for commercial and industrial buildings such as restaurants and stores.  He believes there is a "readlity that came into play" for people in Albany because the state doesn't have the power available on the grid for massive changes, and transporting that power also needed to be upgraded.  MAST has been working with other groups across the state who feel that natural gas is a "bridge fuel" as the state implements the Climate Act.  Tranum feels manufacturers will play an important role in the transition because they're on the front-lines of technology.  


Two people arrested for trespassing in former Arcade Bldg...
Two Jamestown residents face trespassing and drug-related charges after they were found inside the former Arcade Building -- which is condemned -- last week.  City police were called to the scene at 26 North Main St. about 4 p.m. last Wednesday on a report of trespassers.  Officers say they found 52 year-old Heather Babyak... and, 46 year-old Jeremy Morris on the top floor of the building.   Police charged both with trespassing... and, after a brief struggle... Babyak was charged with resisting arrest and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Babyak was taken to the city jail pending arraignment... while Morris was released with an appearance ticket.


Members of public rally for additional firefighters, while one cautions about grant expiring in three-years...
Several supporters of the Jamestown Fire Department were on hand last Monday night's City Council meeting... as well as an earlier rally on Tracy Plaza... to show their support for hiring the eight new firefighters.  Among them was Alyssa Porter... who was one of four people at the meeting who told lawmakers they should accept a $1.8-million federal SAFER Grant and hire the firefighters.  Porter also thanked three councilmembers  for stopping by to talk with those at the rally to "Support a Safer Jamestown."  Those members were Council President Tony Dolce, Regina Brackman, and Bill Reynolds.  However... while he has supported boosting both the Fire and Police Departments... resident Doug Champ cautioned that City Council has both a public safety and fiduciary responsibility to the city.  He asked... if and when the funding runs out -- and there aren't enough revenues coming in -- what would you cut?  A recent financial analysis by the City Comptoller's Office found that the city would have to kick-in about $300,000 to cover the entire cost of hiring the firefighters.
 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., May 9, 2023

Ellicott Town Bd. rescind's second town justice position after public pressure...
The Ellicott Town Board has voted to restore the town Justice position cut earlier this year.  The official action to rescind the resolution was unanimous, 5-0.  Town Supervisor Janet Bowman declined to comment on the reversal.   Had the original resolution stood... Justice Marilyn Gerace’s post would have been eliminated.  However... Gerace says with the town board's decision, that position will remain on the ballot this November.  A firestorm of controversy resulted from the original decision.  The other Town Justice, Sally Jaroszynski, says the board did the right thing... and, they're thankful for that.  However... she says if town officials had spoken to them earlier, this could have been avoided.  If the board had not changed its mind, Gerace was ready to take the issue to a public referendum later this year. 


City Council to have Zoom meeting with FEMA officials on SAFER Grant next Tuesday...
City lawmakers in Jamestown will hold a special meeting next Tuesday afternoon with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to get more information on the city's SAFER Grant.  Lawmakers have asked for more details on the $1.8-million outlay to hire eight new firefighters.  During last night's work session... City Council President Tony Dolce said the administration discussed the matter with FEMA... and, set up the meeting at 4 p.m. at City Hall via Zoom.  Dolce says council members provided questions to Mayor Eddie Sundquist, who then gave them to FEMA.  He says those questions, and any follow-ups, will be addressed at the Tuesday meeting in the Mayor's Conference Room.  The meeting came out of discussions during last month's voting session when council members asked if the city was locked into having to hire eight firefighters under the grant... or could the number be lowered.  While lawmakers have voiced the need for more firefighters there are major concerns over how much the city will have to pay once the grant expires in three years.  Dolce says that's the first of four key questions they have.  Another question was could the city reapply for the grant for another three-years, and what's the likelyhood they would get it. 


Buffalo-area man killed in weekend motorcycle-truck crash in Cattaraugus County...
A North Collins man was killed late Sunday morning when his motorcycle struck a pick-up truck head-on in the Cattaraugus County town of Allegany.  State Police in Olean were called to the crash on Buffalo Road just after 10:30 a.m.  Troopers say 21 year-old Razvan Tuduc was northbound on his Harley-Davidson when he failed to negotiate a curve.. and, crossed the centerline before hitting the truck.  Tuduc was pronounced dead at the scene.  The people in the truck were not hurt.  The Cattaraugus County Medical Examiners office will perform an autopsy.  The crash remains under investigation.


Hochul in WNY to lay-out how state will use $1-billion to improve mental health services...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul was in the Buffalo-area Monday to outline her $1-billion mental health care plan that's part of the new budget approved by state lawmakers last week.  The Western New York Democrat was joined by a number of mental health and community leaders in Buffalo for the announcement.  Among the highlights... she says... are plans to triple the number of inpatient psychiatric treatment and outpatient service locations.  Hochul adds the budget also mandates insurance coverage.... which she calls a big step towards insuring those who need quality health care get it.  She adds that the state will also be developing thousands of more units of supportive and transitional housing for people with mental illness... some 3,500 more.  Among the elected leaders who attended the event was Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist.


More information released on Non-Fredfest stabbing incident...
Fredonia Police investigators continue to probe a stabbing incident that occurred during a Non-Fred Fest gathering on Canadaway Street in the village Saturday night.  Two victims from Jamestown were transported to Brooks Memorial for treatment and have since been released with non-life threatening injuries.  Police have released two photos that may help identify a possible stabbing suspect.  Meanwhile.. police say they met an "unruly" crowd of about 1,000 people when responded to the incident and required assistance from area law enforcement agencies to secure and clear the area for the investigation. 


Mayville woman arrested for DWI following accident...
A Mayville woman is accused of driving with twice the limit of blood alcohol in her system when her car crashed in the town of Chautauqua last Saturday night.  Sheriff's officers say 45 year-old Cara Magill was driving on McKay Rd. shortly after 7 p.m. when her vehicle was involved in an accident.  Deputies say their investigation found that Magill had a blood alcohol content of .18% or higher while she was driving.  She was charged with Aggravated DWI... DWI... and, moving from lane unsafely.  She was issued appearance tickets for Chautauqua Town Court at a later date.


Schmidt announces Dunkirk man gets 8 years for violating probation... 
A Dunkirk man has been sentenced to eight-years in state prison for violating terms of his probation for attempted sale of drugs.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt says 42 year-old Rodney Clyburn has been on five-year probation this past January for third-degree attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance.  Schmidt says the conviction occured in March of 2022... and, adds a hearing was held last Friday in County Court.  After the hearing... Judge David Foley determined that Clyburn had violated his parole.  He also received three-years post-release supervision.  


 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., May 8, 2023

Four arrested during late week, simultaneous drug raids in Jamestown...
A pair of early morning drug raids in the city of Jamestown last Friday have landed four people in jail... and, led to confiscation of narcotics, weapons and about $6,000 in cash.  City police say members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force... and other agencies... executed the first search warrant at 36 Van Buren St. about 6:15 a.m.  They found 45 year-old Jose Ortiz inside... and, 32 year-old Jordan Austin and 51 year-old Annabelle Santiago in the doorway.  All three were taken into custody after detectives found 51 baggies of fentanyl... packaging materials... scales, and $3,400 cash.  Ortiz and Santiago face charges including third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia.  Austin was found with a quantity of fentanyl, and arrested for seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  About the same time... the Task Force, with the help of the Sheriff's Department SWAT Team, executed the other warrant at 111 Crossman St.  Inside... they found 39 year-old Tammi Vaughn... along with two other women... and, some children.  Detectives searched the home, and located 11.2-grams of a cocaine/crack cocaine mix... 3-grams of fentanyl... scales... packaging materials... metal knuckles, a switch blade knife... and, just over $2,600 cash.  Vaughn faces two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia... and, two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  All four suspects were jailed pending arraignment.  


Three arrested in Jamestown after physical altercation on northside...
Three people from Jamestown have been arrested for allegedly getting into physical altercations with another person... and, damaging another person's property.  City police say they were called to a northside location shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday for a "domestic dispute in progress."  On arrival... officers found that 39 year-old Monica Pacheco... and, 32 year-old James Smouse had gotten into the fight, and injured another person.  A short time later... they discovered that 31 year-old Dustin Newbree had damaged property belonging to another person.  During the investigation... police say they also found a quantity of narcotics in Pacheco's and Newbree's possession.  All three were taken to city jail pending arraignment.  Officers say Pacheco is charged with second-dgree assault... and, three counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled Substance.  Smouse is charged with third-degree assault... and, Newbree is charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief... and, three counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.


County's Board of Elections preping for Primary Day in June... 
The Chautauqua County Board of Elections is gearing up for Primary Day in late June.  The County's Republican Election Commissioner Brian Abram says there will be several differences from 2022... which included two primary days.  Abram says there was an extra primary day in August, which also included the Special Election to fill the seat held by former Congressman Tom Reed.  For the June 27 primary... there will be contests in the towns of Arkwright, Dunkirk, Mina, North Harmony and Ripley, along with the city of Dunkirk.  There will also be one location for early voting June 17-25.  Abram says that location will be the County Fairgrounds in Dunkirk... and, they'll be there for those nine-days prior to the primary.  He says there will also be a consolidated polling location in the city of Dunkirk for Primary Day, at St. John's United Church of Christ.  Voting hours on June 27 will run from 6 a.m. to 12 Noon.


Barrett and Carmone host program on RBG, and SCOTUS at Jackson Center...
A biographer of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and a renowned constitutional scholar spoke Saturday at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown.  The biographer, Irin Carmone, says Ginsberg, who died in 2020,  probably did stay on the bench too long… in part because the Supreme Court’s  ‘right hand turn.'  She saw herself on the court as trying to altert the public at large about what was happening on the court.  John Q. Barrett of St. John’s University says in the years since Ginsberg’s death the court has begun to ‘blow itself up.’  He believes ethics issues have led it to a ‘tragically dark time' because there is at least a "self-control" challenge the court "is flunking."  Carmone and Barrett appeared together to tell the story of Cornell University’s Robert Cushman... a friend of Robert H. Jackson’s in the 1930’s and 40’s… who became one of Ginsberg’s teachers in the 1950’s.


Fredonia village board approves tkaing part in Water Study...
After much discussion in recent weeks... the Fredonia Village Board has given the go ahead for a comprehensive water study.  By a narrow 3-2 vote... trustees approved the study during last week's meeting.  Trustees Jim Lynden and Michelle Twichell cast the no votes.  Citing a study conducted in 2016, Lynden says a new study is "unwarranted" because the study found that the village has "a quality water system deserving of investment to maintaine."  He adds a number of improvements have also been made.  However... Trustee Jon Espersen, who sponsored the resolution, says he's willing to keep an open mind... and, wants to see what the new study shows.  The Dunkirk Common Council recently approved a resolution to help fund the study.  The Village Board also learned that the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation has offered $14,400 toward the study. 

 

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., May 5, 2023

Matar request for bail denied by Judge Foley...
Chautauqua County Court Judge David Foley has denied a request for bail for the New Jersey man accused of last August's vicious attack on author Salmon Rushdie at Chautauqua Institution.  District Attorney Jason Schmidt says the decision was made following an omnibus hearing for 25 year-old Hadi Matar.  Schmidt adds that Matar's defense attorneys also sought to have certain comments he made to police at the time of his arrest... and, certain items of physical evidence suppressed for trial.  The D-A says the court will schedule pre-trial hearings to rule on the defense’s suppression applications.  Schmidt says they expect holding those hearings over the next two months... which will clear the way for the case to be scheduled for trial... possibly by the end of the year.


Gillibrand again calls on IRS to clear ERC backlog...
U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is again pushing for the Internal Revenue Service to address it's backlog of requests for Employee Retention Credit refunds to small businesses and nonprofits.  During a Zoom teleconference Thursday... the New York Democrat pointed out that the IRS now has as many as 1-million unprocessed ERC claims.  Gillibrand says that means many small New York businesses have yet to receive the money they are owed for keeping employees on the payroll during the COVID Pandemic.  She says she wrote to the IRS director at the time to speed up the ERC claims processing.  However... Gillibrand says the problem has actually gotten worse.  She is also calling on IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel to provide updates to Congress about how it's resolving the problem.  Gillibrand says, Werfel testified before a Senate committee April 19, and, he said there were two reasons for the backlong.  One was that ERC refunds are processed manually, and that's time consuming.  Werfel added that they were also still in midst of tax season.  But... once that was finished... he believed they would be able to finish 40,000 of those a week to clear the backlog. 


Comedy Center announces Lucy Festival Headliners...
The two headliners for this year's Lucille Ball Comedy Festival have been announced... and both have been breaking on-line and ticket sale records.  Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson says Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias and Taylor Tomlinson will headline the 2023 festival, which runs Aug. 2-6.  She says Iglesias was the top-selling comedian in the world in 2022... and, one of the most-watched comedians on YouTube with over 1.1-billion views.  He'll be on stage on Thursday, August 3rd.  Tomlinson, who is currently breaking ticket sale records set by the likes of Jerry Seinfeld... and, selling out venues worldwide following her two highly acclaimed Netflix stand-up specials, will perform on Fri., Aug. 4, as part of her current “The Have It All” tour.  The Comedy Center says tickets for these shows... and, many other festival comedy events including the festival’s annual Stand-Up Showcase, will go on pre-sale for National Comedy Center Members only – starting Friday, May 12 at noon... through Wednesday, May 17 at www.ComedyCenter.org. Public on-sale date will begin Friday, May 19 at noon.


Whitaker says final NYS school aid pretty much be what JPS will receive...
The Jamestown school district is receiving the amount of state aid it was anticipating from the new, New York state budget adopted earlier this week.  That from School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker... who says there was one minor change... that being a reduction in the amount of money they were to receive to support BOCES Services.  Whitaker says that's a drop of $300,000.  However... he adds the district is still getting an increase of $7-million to $8-million from the state.  He says that's part of the pool of money local districts pay to BOCES for special services they provide.  Dr. Whitaker says... otherwise... the district has some new reporting guidelines to deal with... and, there were also some changes to support for tutoring services.  However... that was taken out in the final spending plan.  He says... with the increase in state aid... the district will be receiving more than $86-million from New York state for the 2023-24 school year.  


JHS PTO to host ‘Meet The Candidates’ Night next Thursday night...
Voters in the Jamestown Public School district will have the chance next Thursday night to meet and learn about the four candidates running for the school board on May 16.  School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says the "Meet the Candidates Night" will begin at 6 p.m. in the board room in the Administration Building on Martin Road.  Whitaker says there are two incumbants seeking reelection this month.  They are Paul Abbott and Christine Schnars.  The two newcomers are John Panebianco and Melissa Paterniti.  Whitaker says next Thursday's forum is free and open to the public.  The forum is being hosted by the Jamestown High School Parent-Teacher Organization.  Questions for the candidates can be sent to the moderators, PTO President Joanne Dean at deans@stny.rr.com... or Treasurer Melissa Rhodes at msrhodes1984@gmail.com.  They should be submitted no later than May 10.  Whitaker says residents will decide on the candidates... $101-million budget... and, establishing a $5-million capital reserve fund during the May 16 vote.  That'll take place from Noon to 9 p.m. at Lincoln Elementary School, Jefferson Middle School and Washington Middle School. 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., May 4, 2023

North County man arrested on federal charges for selling drugs leading to person's death in Celoron...
A Fredonia man has been arrested on federal charges for allegedly selling drugs that led to an overdose death just over a year ago in the village of Celoron.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross says that 36 year-old John Wallace Buchanon was taken into custody Wednesday for distribution of fentanyl causing death, narcotics conspiracy, and possessing firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes.  Prosecutors say Ellicott Town Police responded to a home on Boulevard Avenue in the village for a death investigation on Jan. 10, 2022.  Officers found the person -- identified as 'B.G.' -- lying face down on the living room floor with signs of drug use nearby.  The cause of death was listed as a potential overdose.  A review of the victim's cellphone identified Facebook conversations between the account and Buchanan... dating back to November of 2021.  They included a conversation just prior to 'B.G.’s' death.  At the scene... officers say they also recovered ammunition and three firearms.  Investigators learned that Buchanan was trying to sell firearms to 'B.G.' in December 2021.  Buchanan was ordered detained following a detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Roemer.


Borrello voices displeasure about State budget changes to Western Regional OTB...
New York state's new budget includes some major changes to the Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corporation... and, it's not sitting well with State Senator George Borrello.  Borrello says the $229-billion spending plan includes language that changes the OTB board's voting process... which he says will essentially lessen Chautauqua County's voice in decisions begin made.  He says each municipal entity had one vote up to now.  However... there would be 100 votes under the new arrangement, and that would include just five for Chautauqua County.  Buffalo and Erie County -- combined -- would have 34 votes.  Overall... Borrello says all the rural counties of the 15 that own the corporation will be cut dramatically by the change.  Still... he says most of the revenues come from those counties.  He says there are also reports that the language in the budget will terminate all current board members.


24th annual "Cents for St. Susan's" drive kick's off...
The annual drive to raise money for the Jamestown-area's largest soup kitchen is now underway.  The 24th annual "Cents for St. Susan's" was kicked-off at the center Tuesday... and, the bright yellow canisters are in places at several dozen locations for you to put your coins into.  The Board of Public Utilities' puts on the campaign with St. Susan's each year... and, BPU Communications Coordinator Becky Robbins says... with higher food prices... the center -- and it's guests -- need the help.  Robbins says St. Susan's served many more meals in April with 1,000 more meals served than the just over 3,000 meals each month in January through March.  As with previous campaigns... Robbins says they don't have a goal... but, urge people to help out.  BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says the BPU's "Cents for St. Susan’s" drives have raised just over $307,000 over the past 23 years.  Robbins says the BPU will... again this year... host a Hot Dog sale at their Steele Street campus on June 2nd.  Robbins says they have several generous sponsors who help raise the majority of the money during the drive.  The Media One Radio Group and Post Journal are media sponsors. 


Man and woman from Jamestown arrested for trespassing inside condemned building...
Two people from Jamestown have been arrested for allegedly trepassing inside a condemned home on the city's eastside.  Jamestown Police were called to the undisclosed scene about 6 PM Wednesday... and, on arrival... found 23 year-old William Gardner... and, 25 year-old Katelynn Martinez... inside.  Officers arrested both subjects without incident... and, they were taken to the city jail for processing on one cout each of third-degree criminal trespass.


Jamestown man arrested for physical domestic...
A city man is accused of holding a woman against her will... and, assaulting her for several hours on Jamestown's northside last weekend.  City police were called to the undisclosed address late last Saturday afternoon for a "physical domestic" incident.  Officers say they made contact with the man... identified as 33 year-old Arthur Hubbard... who had gotten involved in a physical confrontation with the woman.  The victim was finally able to get away... and, called police from a friend's apartment because Hubbard had damaged her phone.  He was held pending arraignment on charges including second-degree unlawful imprisonment... and, third-degree assault.


County Office for Aging Services celebrating 50th Anniversary...
A large gathering was held in Celoron Wednesday for the first of two 50th anniversary celebrations for the Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services.  The event also falls on the half-century mark for the beginning of the federal, Older Americans Act.  Current Office for Aging Services Director Mary Ann Spanos says that legislation was actually approved by Congress in 1965... but, did not take effect until 1973.  Spanos is a member of the national board for aging... and, was recently in Washington, D.C. to help lobby Congress for more funding in renewal of the Older American's Act.  The next 50th anniversary program will be held next Wednesday at the Clarion Hotel in Dunkirk from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  For more information on the Office for Aging Services... call NY Connects at 753-4582.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., May 3, 2023

Borrello blasts new, late state budget as being another "bad budget" for the state...
Chautauqua County's State Senator says the now-approved 2023-24 state budget does not make New York "more livable or affordable."  Sunset Bay Republican George Borrello says state leaders have said the past month that "the right budget is more important than an on-time budget."  However... Borrello says "all the extra time did not produce ‘the right budget."  He says it produced "another bad budget that, once again, ignores New Yorkers’ top concerns – affordability and public safety – and spends us into a fiscal death spiral."  He says it increases Medicaid reimbursement rates for hospitals and nursing homes... but, says it's not enough.  He says the GOP Minority tried to up that amount for nursing homes and hospitals, but, even in a $229-billion budget, "we still have people whose needs are not being met."  Borrello adds that he's also not happy with the fact the budget includes a phasing-out of Enhanced Federal Medicaid Percentage -- or e-FMAP -- funding for counties.  He says the budget does take out the full-intercept of that money in the governor's original budget.  


Local school runs show majority receiving more state aid... but, four are getting reductions...
Even with a record $34.5-billion in the state budget for education... four school districts in Chautauqua County will see reductions in state aid in the new spending plan.  The biggest winner in getting more aid is the Jamestown district... which will see last year's $77.7-million in aid increase by more than $8-million to $86.6-million.  The four districts seeing reductions include: Chautauqua... Clymer... Bemus Point... and Ripley.  The biggest cut -- $560,000 -- is to the Chautauqua District.  Also in the Jamestown-area... Southwestern is seeing a $1.85-million increase to $17.9-million.  Falconer is receiving $2.3-million more to $20.9-million... and, Frewsburg is getting $1.3-million more in state aid to $15.9-million.  The school budget runs were provided Tuesday by State Assemblyman Andy Goodell.


JPS announces school budget, and board votes...
In addition to voting on a new budget and setting up a capital reserve fund on May 16... residents in the Jamestown Public School district will chose from four candidates for three school board seats.  Two incumbants are seeking re-election... they are past presidents Paul Abbott and Christine Schnars.  One incumbant... Shelly Leathers... is not seeking re-election.  The two newcomers are retired JPS Human Resources Director John Panebianco... and, resident Missy Paterniti.  Paterniti current works for Ballgame Heroes.  The vote will take place from Noon to 9 p.m. at the three president's schools: Washington, Lincoln, and Jefferson on Tuesday, May 16.  The budget hearing will be held at 6 p.m. at Jefferson on Tuesday, May 9.


County Office for Aging Services celebrates 50th anniversary...
A capacity crowd was on hand today for the first of two celebrations of the Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services 50th anniversary.  It also falls on the half-century mark for the federal, Older Americans Act, which established local offices for the aging.  The first local celebration was held today at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel in Celoron... and, featured several activites, and a catered lunch.  Current Office for Aging Services Director Mary Ann Spanos says the Older Americans Act was actually approved by Congress in 1965... but, did not take effect until 1973.  Spanos says the county immediately jumped on board, and established their local office once they were allowed to.  Spanos is a member of the national board for aging... and, was recently in Washington, D.C. to help lobby Congress for more funding in the renewal of the Older Americans Act.  She says more services have been required since the original act was approved... simply because people are living longer.  The next 50th anniversary program will be held next Wednesday at the Clarion Hotel in Dunkirk from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  For more information... call NY Connects at 753-4582.


Attempted murder case against Hadi Matar could go to trial by this Fall...
The New Jersey man accused of stabbing author Salman Rushdie last summer at Chautauqua Institution could be facing trial sometime this Fall.  County District Attorney Jason Schmidt says 25-year-old Hadi Matar, who is facing second degree murder and second degree assault in the August 12, 2022 stabbing, appeared in County Court on Tuesday for an omnibus hearing.  Schmidt says there are some legal issues to resolve before the case can go to trial.  Judge David Foley will schedule a Huntley hearing regarding some statements made by Matar immediately after the incident.  Schmidt also indicated that the judge is going to review the various search warrant applications that resulted in the collection of certain items of evidence from Matar.


Two men from Dunkirk arrested in drug raid...
Two people from Dunkirk have been arrested following a late morning drug raid Tuesday at an apartment in the north county city.  Sheriff's Department Narcotics investigators, along with Dunkirk Police, executed a search warrant at 131 Lakeshore Drive East... with the help of the SRT Team... about 10 a.m.  They found two people inside... and, seized just over 12-grams of cocaine... and, 31-grams of fentanyl... along with 38.7-grams of crack cocaine... packaging material, scales and $642 cash.  The two men... 43 year-old Ronnie Walker, and 48 year-old Kevin Hunt... face five counts each of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and one count each of second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia.  Both men were taken to the Dunkirk Police Department and held pending arraignment in Dunkirk City Court. 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., May 2, 2023

State lawmakers begin voting on new budget...
New York lawmakers began voting Monday on a $229-billion state budget due a month ago that would raise the minimum wage, crack down on illicit pot shops and ban gas stoves and furnaces in new buildings.  State Senator George Borrello says four bills were passed Monday... and, he expects another five by the end of the day today.  Negotiations among Governor Kathy Hochul and her fellow Democrats in control of the Legislature have dragged on past the April 1 budget deadline, largely because of disagreements over changes to the bail law and other policy proposals included in the spending plan.  Floor debates on some budget bills began Monday.  State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said she expected voting to be wrapped up Tuesday for a budget she said contains “significant wins” for New Yorkers.  Hochul was able to push through a change to the bail law that will eliminate the standard that requires judges to prescribe the “least restrictive” means to ensure defendants return to court.


Matar has latests pre-trail Omnibus Hearing today in County Court...
The New Jersey man who has been jailed since he viciously attacked author Salmon Rushdie at Chautauqua Institution had another pre-trial hearing this morning.  And.. it appears that 25 year-old Hadi Mater's trial may begin this Fall.  Matar faces one count of second-degree attempted murder... and, second-degree assault in last August's stabbing.  Rushdie had been living under threat of assassination since 1989 after his fourth-novel, "The Satanic Verses..." had come out in 1988.  Matar is accused of stabbing Rushdie at least 10 times.  Rushdie has recovered from his serious injuries... but, did lose an eye in the attack. 


City Council has homework to do on potential changes to SAFER Grant to hire more firefighters before next Monday's meeting...
There was no Jamestown City Council meeting last night... but, that doesn't mean there isn't work to do before next week's work session.  City Council last week tabled a resolution to hire eight new firefighters that would allow all fire stations to be staffed, along with a second ambulance.  However... the question was raised if the city could still take advantage of a three-year SAFER grant to hire fewer firefighters -- more than likely four.  Council President Tony Dolce says he wants to explore all possibilities... but, doesn't want to hire the eight... then have to lay them off in three-years.  He says "I'd rather take the time to try and get it right."  Council did ask Mayor Eddie Sundquist to see if the Federal Emergency Management Agency would go along with a grant for fewer firefighters.  Dolce also took a moment to thank firefighter union members and others for keeping the discourse civil... because that wasn't the case in the past.  The city was awarded the $1.8-million SAFER Grant earlier this year to hire the additional firefighters.  However... the City Comptroller's Office found the cost would be $2.1-million before the grant runs out in 2026. 


Langworthy helps kick-off Small Business Week in Chautauqua County Monday...
The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce held a kick-off event for Small Business Awareness Week Monday at DFT Communications in Fredonia.  Congressman Nick Langworthy was among several elected officials who turned out for the event and commended the work of small businesses in the county.  Langworthy says small businesses create about two out of every three jobs in America... and, the nation's success is built on "small business success."  Langworthy also recognized DFT Communications, with the telecommunications company celebrating its 125 year in business.  He presented Kris Maytum of DFT with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition.  Maytum spoke on behalf of the company... adding that the communities support has been key to their success all these years.  Deputy County Executive for Economic Development, Mark Geise, also presented Maytum with a certificate of recognition.


Trial of Limo company owner in Schoharie County gets underway...
Nearly five years after a stretch limousine packed with birthday revelers careened down a hill and crahsed on a rural upstate road... killing 20 people... the operator of the company that rented out the vehicle is going on trial.  Nauman Hussain, who ran Prestige Limousine, is charged with criminally negligent homicide and second-degree manslaughter in connection with the Oct. 6, 2018 crash -- one of the deadliest U.S. road wrecks of the past two decades -- in Schoharie, just west of Albany.  Jury selection began Monday in Schoharie County Court for a trial expected to last at least four weeks.  Seventeen people using the limo for a birthday celebration were killed, along with the driver and two bystanders outside a country store where the vehicle crashed. 


Gould named as new Media Information Officer for Chautauqua County...
A Falconer native who has headed up an on-line media company in recent years has been hired to be Chautauqua County's new Media Information Officer.  County Executive P.J. Wendel says Justin Gould will take on the newly-created, bi-partisan role to "enhance and ease communication between both the news media and public."  In the position... Gould will disseminate all noteworthy county communications... and, coordinate news media inquiries that pertain to county government and other related affairs.  He calls it "an honor" to be named to the position.  Gould will begin work for the county on June 1. 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., May 1, 2023

Legislature begins voting on new State Budget...
The New York state legislature Monday began voting on a $229-billion state budget due a month ago that would raise the minimum wage... crack down on illicit pot shops... and ban gas stoves and furnaces in new buildings.  Negotiations between Gov. Kathy Hochul and her fellow Democrats in control of the Legislature have dragged on past the April 1 deadline, largely because of disagreements over changes to the bail law and other policy proposals included in the spending plan.  Floor debates on some budget bills began Monday.  State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said she expected voting to be wrapped up Tuesday for a budget she said contains "significant wins" for New Yorkers.  Hochul was able to push through a change to the bail law that will eliminate the standard that requires judges to prescribe the "least restrictive" means to ensure defendants return to court.  


Gerry couple killed in house fire...
A husband and wife were killed in a house fire early Sunday morning in the town of Gerry.  Chautauqua County Fire Dispatchers says Gerry volunteer crews were called to the scene at 4932 Herrick Rd. about 5:50 a.m.  Gerry was joined by several other departments at the scene... including Falconer, Kennedy, Fluvanna, Ellery Center, Ellington and Stockton.  Once the blaze was out... they found Jeffrey and Judith Church... both 66 years of age... dead inside.  Firefighters were at the scene for several hours... and, investigators were called in.  Pictures from the scene showed extensive interior damage... and, heavy damage was reported inside the structure.  No other injuries were reported.


City woman arrested after allegedly hurting man with knife and glass jar during domestic incident...
A Jamestown woman is accused of cutting a man with a knife during a domestic incident on the city's northside late last week.  Jamestown police were called to the scene about 4 p.m. last Friday for a "physical domestic in progress."  On arrival... officers say they spoke with 31 year-old Kayla Wiberg and the male victim... and, found that she had cut the man on his arm, injuring him.  In addition... they also learned that Wiberg had thrown a glass jar at the victim... hitting him in the face.  When officers tried to arrest her... Wiberg began fighting with officers... but, she was finally taken into custody.  She was charged with second and third-degree assault... and, resisting arrest.  Wiberg was taken to the city jail pending arraignment.


Goodell and Borrello talk economy in NYS budget plan during chamber breakfast...
The increase in New York state's minimum wage will increase employers costs... and, translate into higher prices for goods and services.  That from both of Chautauqua County's representatives in the state legislature.  During last Friday's State Legislative Breakfast hosted by the county's Chamber of Commerce... Senator George Borrello told members the higher wage in the budget will only add to current inflation because you also have to bring up other worker's wages so they can keep up.  Borrello and State Assemblyman Andy Goodell both predicted there will be job losses associated with the higher wage... and, employers turning to more automation.  On top of that... Goodell says the conceptual agreement on a new budget includes more taxes and regulation for businesses... and, that's driving them to other states.  He says the new budget includes a 26% increase in business taxes.  Goodell adds it's also affecting worker retention.  Borrello says... even with the higher minimum wage in New York... compared to neighboring states... you're not seeing big numbers of people moving here.  In addition to hiking the upstate minmum wage... lawmakers have also proposed tying it to the rate of inflation in the 2023-24 budget plan.


Borrello voices concern over potential "politicizing" of Western NY OTB Board... 
State Senator George Borrello is voicing concern over reports that a budget proposal being considered would dismantle the current board of the Western Regional Off-Track Betting.  In a weekend press release... Borrello says the current board would be replaced with a "restructured model" that could undermine the role of rural counties.  The Sunset Bay Republican calls it "the latest power grab" by Democrats inn Albany.  Borrello says the five-decade old model of a shared operational control between 15 county governments and the cities of Rochester and Buffalo... would be replaced by a "politicized board that would do Albany’s bidding." 


Borrello and Goodell say everything is in place for new Brooks-TLC Hospital, repurposing current one... 
Everything is in place to move ahead with building a new Brooks-TLC Hospital in the Dunkirk-area.  That from Chautauqua County's two representatives in the New York state legislature.  Both Senator George Borrello and Assemblyman Andy Goodell have been part of the effort to keep a viable hospital in the north county area.  After several meetings of a special task force... Borrello says everyone involved locally is ready to go... and, the current hospital will be turned over to the city of Dunkirk for repurposing.  Goodell, who has been heavily-involved in getting everyone on board with putting up a new, state of the art facility, says the issue of primary care in the city of Dunkirk has also been addressed.  He says Brooks has made a written commitment to support having that in the current location.  Goodell says it's now more a question of getting Governor Kathy Hochul on board with moving ahead on a new hospital. 

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