National Drug Take-Back Day
Law enforcement agencies across the region will again be taking part in the Nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day today. Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace says the give-back day has taken on added emphasis with the problem with opiate drug addiction both locally, and nationally. Gerace says drug abuse, misuse and, accidential poisoning are a "critical problem" and, this is an excellent way to rid the community of potentially dangerous drugs without them getting into the local water supply.
Gerace encourages people to get their old prescriptions that aren't being used to one of the four drop-off points in the county. He adds this is the drug take-back day is also free to the public. He says you can drop off the unused and unwanted prescription drugs from 10 AM to 2 PM. The Drug Enforcement Agency is partnering with local agencies to put on the program. Drop off points are the Chautauqua Mall Parking Lot -- in front of the JC Penny store -- in Lakewood and, the Southside Plaza in Jamestown. The other two sites are Alstar Ambulance in Dunkirk and, Westfield Family Physicians in Westfield.
Reed Holds Roundtable with First Responders
Emergency first responders offered a lot of candid and, important input on regulatory and monitary needs they have to their local Congressman yesterday afternoon. Corning Republican Tom Reed hosted a First Responder's Roundtable Forum in Mayville, mainly to hear what local police and fire chiefs had to say about dealing with the federal government. Reed says he got "great input" from all those on hand, adding that holding such a meeting ensures that they are filling " the needs of the community."
Lakewood-Busti Police Chief John Bentley says a lot of the military surplus equipment is good but, some of it's "junk." Chautauqua County Emergency Services Director Julius Leone felt it was a "very good" meeting. Leone adds he was happy to see that Reed was very receptive to the idea of ranking federal emergency response grants that benefit regional entities higher than those for individual departments. Another County Fire Coordinator, Dan Imfeld raised the need for some items for Hazardous Materials Teams that often need specialized equipment to deal with spills.
Seniors Struggle with Foreclosure
The county's Office for the Aging is trying to get out in front of a problem that has grown for local seniors and, that's the possible loss of their home due to tax foreclosure. Office for the Aging Director Mary Ann Spanos says her office estimates about 1200 seniors are on the list right now and, they're reaching out to them. If you haven't been contacted, Spanos says contact them about the several programs they have available that can sae you money and, help you keep your home. One of the biggest is the Basic and Enhanced School Tax Relief -- or STAR -- Program. This program can save seniors up to $1500 on their school taxes.
The Enhanced Program is mainly in place for Senior Citizen property owners who meet income eligibility guidelines. In addition, Spanos says they also can provide free legal advice that may help a Senior get their house back -- even if the foreclosure process has begun. Spanos says they're working with Southern Tier Legal Services to help such people. For more information, contact the Office for the Aging or the NY Connects Helpline at 753-4582 or 661-7582 in Jamestown. You can hear more with Mary Ann Spanos on this weekend's "Community Spotlight" Program.
Fiscal Woes Among Cities
The former lieutenant governor who helped New York City avoid bankruptcy in the 1970s is warning that cities around the U.S. can expect more fiscal troubles in the years ahead. Richard Ravitch served as lieutenant governor under former Governor David Paterson and has spent years studying the financial health of governments. He says cities around the nation will be forced to consider cutting services and investments in education and infrastructure unless they can address their fiscal challenges head on. Ravitch says the problems are the result of mounting debt, increased pension and health care costs and politicians who won't make tough decisions. The 80-year-old Ravitch was in Albany this week to address students at Albany Law School and discuss his new memoir.
Nursing Home Arrests
Eight nurses and nine nurse's aides are charged with endangering the welfare of a nursing home patient in Buffalo. New York's attorney general says a hidden camera revealed they didn't give the man medicine and check on him at times their paperwork said they did. All but one of the employees of the Highpointe on Michigan Health Care Facility appeared in City Court Friday and, pleaded not guilty. The other was out of state.
Syracuse Drug Bust
Police say they've seized hundreds of bags of heroin and other drugs during a raid at a home in Syracuse. The police department says detectives executing a search warrant at a residence on Bellevue Avenue recovered 513 bags of heroin, 35 bags of cocaine and 14 grams of marijuana. Authorities say a 32-year-old man living there has been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal use of drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of marijuana. He's scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Syracuse City Court. Police say the raid was the result of an ongoing narcotics investigation and the Syracuse Police Department's effort to combat a recent spike in heroin sales and use in central New York.