Local News Headlines Archives for 2015-09

WJTN News Headlines

A Jamestown man is in the city jail following a domestic incident that sent he and his victim to the Hospital. Police say 33 year old Joel Williams the second was a passenger in a vehicle in the area of West 3rd and Lakin Avenue just about 12 O'clock this morning when he allegedly grabbed the steering wheel and caused the vehicle to crash head on into a tree. Both Joel Willams the second and the unidentified driver of the vehicle were injured and taken to WCA.   He faces a number of charges including 2nd degree reckless endangerment and 3rd degree assault. Williams the second was taken to the city jail where he's being held pending arraignment.


A Bradford woman is in the Chautauqua County Jail following a trafffic stop on Interstate 86 Monday.  State Police pulled over 26 year old Rachel Gustafson when she was spotted texting while driving.  Police say Gustafson was driving without a licence and suspended.  After further investigation the State Police brought in their K-9 Kubi and the dog allegedly sniffed out an unspecified amount of Heroin in the vehicle.  Gustafson faces a number of charges including 7th degree criminal posession of a controlled substance, aggravated unlicensed operation and Texting while driving.  She was arraigned in the Town of Sherman Court and commited to the jail in lieu of 1,000 dollars bail.


New York's attorney general is leading an effort to convince the federal government to require warning labels and child-resistant packaging for liquid nicotine after reports of accidental poisonings.  Eric Schneiderman joined his colleagues from Illinois and Indiana to write a letter urging the Food and Drug Administration to take ``immediate'' steps to protect children from the substance, which is used to refill electronic cigarettes. The letter, which was announced Tuesday, was signed by 30 other attorneys general from around the country. Last year a toddler in upstate New York died after ingesting liquid nicotine and poison control centers received more than 3,700 reports of problems associated with the product. New York already requires liquid nicotine to be sold in child-proof containers but Schneiderman says federal rules are needed.


The 5th annual Links Pink Walk is this Saturday at the Chautauqua Mall. The walk is one of the Links Charities fundraisers to contribute funds for the battle against breast cancer. This year's Patient Ambassador is Carrie Olmstead. Olmstead says that when she was diagnosed with breast cancer she was going to make her fight as public as possible. Brad VanRyper the executive director of the Links Charity says they are working to raise 400 thousand dollars over the next four years. WCA Director of Development  Megan De'Angelo says there are a number of ways you can contribute. Again the Links Pink Walk is this Saturday October 3rd at 11am, walkers will be able to register in advance by contacting Megan D'Angelo, WCA Director of Development, at 716-664-8423 or up until the walk starts at the Chautauqua Mall on Saturday Morning.


The local group known as the 'Men of Integrity' is bringing baseball great Darryl Strawberry and his wife Tracy to Jamestown on Saturday.  They'll be talking about the challenges they've faced as a couple.  Pastor Roy Miller, a spokesman for the 'Men of Integrity' says the Strawberrys' have a great marriage... today... after surviving adultery, addiction, financial ruin and more.  At 7 PM Saturday, the Strawberrys will be at the phys ed center at JCC to discuss their book "The Imperfect Marriage, Help for Those Who Think It's Over'.  Roy Miller says the book is terrific. Tickets for the Saturday night event are $10 in advance... and available at The Allen Street Diner, Stan's Service, Valu Hearing, J. Edwards Insurance and the Lakewood Golf Center.  They'll be $15 at the door.
Earlier in the day Darryl and Tracy will conduct a program at JCC called 'Freedom from Addictions' and will have lunch with some people in recovery at the Mental Health Association on Water St. 


A new analysis of New York's infrastructure is giving the state's bridges, roads and wastewater systems a bad grade.  The New York chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers released the state's infrastructure report card on Tuesday. The organization rated several categories of infrastructure including airports, drinking water, transit, dams and parks. The state's overall grade is a C-minus. New York earned Ds when it came to bridges, roads and sewers. However the report notes that many roads and highways are in poor condition, most bridges are at least 75 years old and the state's wastewater systems need $36 billion in repairs and upgrades.
On the positive side, the state earned B-minuses for parks and solid waste.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has assembled a panel of educators, lawmakers and parents to review the Common Core learning standards and the way schoolchildren are tested on them.  Cuomo has been critical of the state's rollout of the standards and earlier this month promised a review and changes. On Monday, he launched the 15-member Common Core Task Force to be led by Richard Parsons, a senior adviser at Providence Equity Partners. Parsons led an earlier education reform panel that made recommendations in January 2014.
Cuomo said the Common Core panel's agenda is ``a total reboot'' of the Common Core system. He's seeking a review of the standards themselves, the training of teachers and the tests used to measure student and teacher performance. A report is expected by year's end.


The Jamestown Audubon Society is wrapping up there annual fund drive. The drive ends September 30th.  Ruth Lundin from the Audubon says there is extra incentive for the community to give, because an anonymous donor who said that they "would match donations in the next couple of days up to 25 hundred dollars". The Audubon uses these funds for programming at their Nature Center that serves three counties. You can donate, or become a memember of the Jamestown Audubon Society by calling 569-2345 or visiting Jamestown Audubon.org and click on the donate now button.


The average price of gas in the Jamestown area is down just over 4 cents a gallon this week ringing in at 2-dollars-60 cents a gallon.  According to the Triple A's Fuel Gage Report... the drop is due to lower crude oil prices, declining demands and a switch to winter blend fuels.  The cost of a gallon of regular gas this week back in 2014 was 3.64 cents a gallon!  The current national average is $2.29 cents.









WJTN News Headlines

A member of the Holy Apostles Parish in Jamestown had a front row seat for the historic visit by Pope Francis to Madison Square Garden  this past Friday Night.  Peg Cornell of Jamestown says she was able to go because her ticket was chosen in a lottery held at Her sister's church in Rochester early last week. Cornell says when she arrived at Madison Square garden she waited two hours to get in due to the long line and tight security. Cornell describes the Pope's message as a simple one of love and take care of the poor and opressed.
She said it was a "Humble and Sacred Experience".


The crowds and the music lasted well into the afternoon Sunday, at the annual Busti Apple Harvest Festival.
The Allegheny Crossing String Band, provided a musical background for festival goers looking at all the historic demonstrations at the heart of the festival.  Inside the old mild, the Historical Society's President, Carl Schultz talked about what delighted people this year. The restored mill has been running for the past several years.  The festival is the last Sunday of September, but the mill itself operates the third Sunday of the month all year long.


The Martz Observatory in Frewsburg was packed with star-gazers and amatuer astronomers last night for the harvest moon, blood moon, supermoon eclipse.  Gary Nelson, President of the observatory did a play-by-play as the clouds cleared and the eclipse began. Gary Nelson says the Martz Observatory has public nights on occasions other than eclipses... and they plan to create what he calls an 'organic planetarium'... an elevated platform with a roof that can be rolled back so people can watch all kinds of celestial events.  More information is available at their website. 


New York's lieutenant governor is continuing a push to inform college students about the state's new ``yes means yes'' law designed to combat campus sexual violence. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul tells The Associated Press that she plans to meet with students and faculty during a visit Monday to Pace University in New York City. New York this year became the second state after California to mandate campus policies requiring clear, affirmative consent before sexual activity. The law also boosts training for law enforcement, gives witnesses who report assaults amnesty from alcohol violations and creates a Bill of Rights for victims. Hochul says it's vital that students know about their responsibilities and rights under the new law. She says she expects to visit ``scores'' of campuses as part of the effort.


Fifty-three energy projects designed to help schools, hospitals and other facilities create their own energy are under way in New York state.  Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the start of the work.  The projects involve on-site power generation, typically through natural gas, that is more efficient and reliable than relying on electricity from the power grid.  By generating their own power, hospitals and schools can save money and make their operations more efficient.  Heat created by the generation of power can run boilers and heaters.  And on-site generation means hospitals and other vital facilities can continue to operate when severe weather knocks out power elsewhere.  The projects all received state support.  Cuomo, a Democrat, says the projects will help the state's energy system become more efficient and resilient.


New York's governor and the president of Cuba met early last weekend to discuss economic development as relations between the Caribbean nation and the U.S. continue to thaw.  Governor Andrew Cuomo and President Raul Castro met late last Friday at the Cuban mission to the United Nations in New York City.  Cuomo was joined by Howard Zemsky, his administration's top economic development official.  Cuomo traveled to Cuba in April for a two-day trade mission, becoming the first sitting American governor to visit the nation since President Barack Obama and Castro announced the two nations would re-establish diplomatic ties.  The Democratic governor has said he wants to find ways to help New York take advantage of the emerging Cuban market.


New York environmental officials are reminding new hunters and trappers that they first need to take a safety and education course. The state Department of Environmental Conservation requires all first-time hunters to pass one or more courses before they can get a license. The courses cover topics like gun safety and hunter ethics. DEC officials work with certified instructors to provide free training courses around New York.  State officials caution new hunters from waiting until just before hunting season, since courses can fill up quickly. Information on hunter and trapper education courses can be found at the DEC's website at www.dec.ny.gov.


The Empire Center says the latest public data show more than 2,900 state and local government retirees in New York are collecting pensions topping $100,000. The fiscally conservative think tank says data from the public retirement system's 2015 fiscal year, which ended in March, shows that total rose by about 200 retirees from a year earlier. Most _ nearly 1,800 _ are retired police officers and firefighters. According to the center, 10 public pensioners are collecting more than $200,000 yearly. The largest retirement benefit for the sixth straight year went to George M. Philip, former executive director of the state Teachers' Retirement System and former president of SUNY Albany. Philip's pension benefit last year was $261,649.


There's been a sizeable drop in off-track betting in New York state. A new state audit released Friday by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli shows off-track wagering dropped by $1.2 billion during the five-year period of 2009-2013 compared to the previous five-year span.  The nearly 25 percent decrease came at a time when gamblers had more ways to wager than ever, at casinos, slot parlors and on online games. DiNapoli says the dramatic decrease in wagering shows that the viability of off-track betting parlors is in jeopardy. He noted that OTB revenues for local municipalities are down by 42 percent from 2009 to 2013. The state regulates five regional off-track betting corporations that operate parlors around the state.


The American Museum of Natural History in New York has no shortage of larger-than-life dinosaur exhibits but a new installation coming in January will surpass them all. A cast of a 122-foot-long dinosaur is so huge its neck and head will reach out toward the elevator banks on the fourth floor where it'll be installed. By comparison, the museum's popular Tyrannosaurus rex is 39 feet long. The dinosaur is a new species and one of the largest dinosaurs ever discovered. It has not yet been formally named by paleontologists who discovered it in Argentina in 2014. It belongs to a group known as titanosaurs. On March 19, the museum also will open a new exhibition titled ``Dinosaurs Among Us.'' It will examine how one group of dinosaurs evolved into birds.




News Headlines for Mon., Sept. 21, 2015

City man arrested for allegedly home burglary in Fredonia... 
A Jamestown man is in custody after allegedly breaking into an apartment in the village of Fredonia on Saturday.  Fredonia Police say that 46-year-old Marcus Norman allegedly entered the upstairs apartment at 180 Lambert Ave., and, stole an undisclosed amount of cash and property.  Officers say one of the victims awoke and found Norman burglarizing the apartment.  The suspect fled the scene... but, Jamestown Police located Norman after receiving a description of the suspect and his vehicle. 

Frewsburg man arrested early this morning for allegedly DWI, Leandra's Law violation...

A Frewsburg man has been arrested on a number of charges... including a violation of Leandra's Law... after his car was pulled over early this morning in the town of Carroll.  Sheriff's officers say they stopped the vehicle... driven by 40 year-old Robert Houghwot... just before 12:30 a.m. on Frew Run Road for several alleged traffic violations.  Deputies accuse Houghwot of driving drunk... and, he was arrested.  Officers add that a child under the age of 16 was inside the vehicle... making the charge a Felony under Leandra's Law.  Deputies also say he had a previous DWI, and had his driving privleges in New York State suspended.  When Houghwot was taken into custody... he was also allegedly found in possession of a small quantity of marijuana.  Houghwot was arraigned in Carroll Town Court... and, sent to the county jail without bail... pending a future court appearance.

Airport Manger says Sun Air stepping up it's game in commuter air service...

The new air carrier at the Greater Chautauqua -- Jamestown Airport had a rough start in the area market.  However... Sun Air has made several corrections to it's service... and, riders have been seeing a big improvement over the past couple of months.  That from the county's Manager of Airports and Parks, Bill Tucker, who says Sun Air needed to step it's efforts up in all five of it's new markets.  He says that's led to a 98-percent reliabililty rate in August.  Tucker says Sun Air is now operating an average of 208 flights per month.  Tucker says there are four, round-trip flights each weekday, and, two round trip flights on both Saturday and Sunday.  He adds they also fly on holidays.  Tucker adds Sun Air is also very affordable, with $29r flights to Pittsburgh.  However... he says that rate is only good through going to their website at www.flysunairexpress.com.  You can also call 1-844-8SUNAIR.  Tucker says you can not get that rate through Expedia and other internet booking sites.  He feels Sun Air is working hard to live up to it's motto of "Frequent, Reliable, and Affordable."  Tucker made his comments for this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program.  

New owner former M-&-T Bank building renames it the "Signature Center..."

There's a new name for the former M-&-T Building at Third and Main Streets in downtown Jamestown.  The building's new owner, George Patti, says it's now the "Signature Center."  He made the announcement during last Friday's official ground-breaking on the $3.5-million project.  It's the first project to use new state tax credits under city's recently received "Downtown Historic District" status.  Patti thanked the Jamestown Renaissance Center... and, Mayor Sam Teresi's administration for their help in making the project a reality.  Patti already has an "anchor tenant..." in Digitell moving into the second and third-floors of the three-story building this coming December.  Mayor Sam Teresi says having the public and private sectors working together is the key.

Schumer wants DEA to create special unit to investigate on-line sales of Synthetic Marijuana...

U-S Senator Charles Schumer says the Drug Enforcement Administration should create a special investigative unit to target online sales of synthetic marijuana.  The New York Democrat says that despite state bans on fake pot, dealers are able to sell it online to users as well as retailers. He says a special unit within the DEA could investigate these dealers and notify credit card companies to stop transactions involved in purchasing the drugs.  Schumer that federal statistics show some 2,300 emergency room visits in a two-month period were related to synthetic marijuana use, and that poison control center calls about the drug are surging around the nation. 

Harmony Historical Society holds successful annual Fall Festival...

Under a clear, blue sky at Blockville Sunday... the sounds of the local Swedish group, Svenska Spellman, entertained the audience at the Harmony Historical Society's Fall Festival.  The society's president, Lyn Nagle, said the weekend went very well.  While there was rain Saturday, they still had a nice turn-out as the grounds dryed out by later in the day.  The group held its festival two weeks earlier than usual this year in hopes of getting better weather.  Nagle believes they'll keep the new date in future years.  She says people really enjoyed the demonstrators, the food, the music... and the quilts.



News Headlines for Fri. and Sat., Sept. 18-19, 2015

Ground broken on new Signature Center in downtown Jamestown...

Ground was broken Friday afternoon on the $3.5-million purchase and renovation of the vacant M-&-T Building in downtown Jamestown.  The three-story, 30,000 square-foot building at the corner of Third and Main Streets was bought in 2014 by local businessman the George Patti Development Company.  The project has been headed up by the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation... and, Executive Director Greg Lindquist says the project is being financed by Patti, grant funding, or state Tax Credits.  Lindquist says use of those tax credits is the first time they have been within the new, Downtown Jamestown Historic District.  He says the project is just another example that the downtown economy has made the turn and is on the "upswing again."  He adds that another major reason the project is able to move foward is because Patti already has an anchor tenant once the building reopens this December.  Digitell... which has been at another downtown location... will be occupying the upper two floors of the building... which will now be known as the "Signature Center."

City teen hurt after being struck by truck in Brooklyn Square...

A teenaged girl from Jamestown is being treated for non-life threatening injuries after she was struck by a truck at the corner of Main and Harrison Streets Friday afternoon.  City police were called to the scene shortly before 3:30 p.m. on a report of a car-pedestrian accident.  Officers say they learned that two girls -- one a 15 year-old -- tried to run across North Main against the traffic light.  Police say one girl saw the southbound truck on North Main and stopped... but the 15 year-old did not and ran in front of the vehicle.  The truck driver had an obstructed view, and was unable to avoid the girl.  She was taken to WCA Hospital for treatment.  No charges have been filed.

Jamestown woman arrested for allegedly stealing identity of local couple to get credit cards...

A city woman is accused of stealing the names of an elderly couple that she was caring for, and obtaining credit cards fraudulently.  U-S Attorney William Hochul, Jr. says that 37 year-old Alicia Wilson was taken into custody Thursday on a criminal complaint for access device fraud.  Hochul says the complaint resulted from an investigation by the U-S Postal Service.  He says the charge carries a penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  The complaint says that Wilson, an in-home health care aid, applied for credit cards in the names of the elderly couple she cared for.  She allegedly used the credit cards on-line and at local retail establishments in the region... and, withdrew cash from local banks.  Wilson made an initial appearance yesterday in U-S District Court... and, was later released.

Teresi says lower gas prices, and pension rates, should help 2016 Budget...

There is some good news for the city of Jamestown as Mayor Sam Teresi prepares his final, 2016 executive budget to be presented early next month.  Teresi says he and his budget team have now received all of the requests from department heads... and, they're in the process of updating numbers.  One of those sets of numbers will be fuel costs... which have been going down over the past month.  While that's good news... Teresi says they have to look at a corresponding drop in sales tax revenues.  He says, in a "strange kind of way," the loss of revenues in sale taxes offset any savings they get from lower fuel costs.  Teresi says he's also happy to see the state's 2016 pension rates have dropped by 2.7-percent for general employees... and point-4-percent for Police and firefighters.  However... he says their contributions are based on the salary for that year, and if those numbers go up... the cut may be negligible.  One piece of strictly good news is a $250,000 grant from the state for installing energy-efficient windows and other projects at Tracy Plaza.  The city borrowed $3-million for those projects.  Teresi's budget must be presented on or before Oct. 8.

County sales tax increase proposal on the Governor's desk...

Even though he hasn't signed the legislation yet... Chautauqua County officials are closer to having Governor Andrew Cuomo's signature on a bill that will allow the county to raise its sales tax from 7-and-a-half to 8-percent in December.  County Executive Vince Horrigan says the request for the higher tax has made it to the governor's desk.  Horrigan is hopeful it will be signed in about a week -- sometime on or around Sept. 26.  He says the state Association of Counties has confirmed that along with State Senator Cathy Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell.  Horrigan... who who presents his budget next Wednesday night... is asking legislators to approve the final step of the process...even without Cuomo's signature.  Horrigan says his 2016 budget proposal will comply with legislation allowing the sales tax increase, since it also requires that the county reduce its property tax rate by at least 3-percent.  That would be a $2-million reduction in taxes.



News Headlines for Thurs., Sept. 17, 2015

City man arrested for allegedly operating a Meth. Lab out of West Cowden Place apartment...
A Jamestown man is jailed without bail for allegedly making Methamphetime in an apartment on the city's southside.  But... this Meth Lab was discovered in a strange way.  A person living in the area of West Cowden Place and Barrett Avenue reported seeing smoke coming from two trash bags in front of 20 West Cowden.  City police were called... and, investigated.  They found products allegedly used to make Meth inside the bags.  Police Chief Harry Snellings says investigators determined that the trash came from the upstairs apartment... and, they investigated further.  A search warrant was obtained... and, police found additional materials... and, Meth itself inside.  The occupant... 24 year-old Kyle Moore... was arrested on two Felony charges... including second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  He was arraigned, and sent to the county lock-up pending further court action.

County Legislature Committee approves Microbead ban local law...
A Chautauqua County Legislature committee has unanimously approved a local law that would ban personal care products from store shelves that contain plastic microbeads.  Legislator George Borrello, who chairs the Planning and Economic Development Committee, is pushing for the ban, which would be similar to the one recently enacted in Erie County.  Borrello's panel discussed the measure during the meeting... and, it will now go before the full legislature.  Once the law is passed, he says it will take six-months to take effect to give manufacturers, distributors, and retailers time to sell or get rid of products with the tiny, plastic beads in them.  Borrello says there will also be plenty of opportunity for public comment on the proposal.  He says people will get to speak at the beginning of next Wednesday night's legislature meeting... and, there will be a public hearing later before County Executive Vince Horrigan signs the measure.  The public was also able to address the issue at last night's meeting.  As mentioned... a microbead ban has already been approved in Erie County, New York... and, a similar law has also been proposed now in Albany County, New York.

State Education Commissioner announces cut-back on length of Common Core testing...

New York state's education commissioner says the Common Core tests to be given in the spring will be shorter than in previous years.  Speaking to the Board of Regents at its monthly meeting Wednesday in Albany, Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said that some of the writing and reading passages will be removed from the English assessments and the math assessments will lose some multiple choice questions.  The tests are given statewide to third- through eighth-grade students each spring to measure student and teacher performance.  Elia says the tests' length is why some parents sat their kids out during the last school year.

Stateline Speedway has new owners...
A stock car racing venue in the Jamestown-area for nearly six decades is now under new ownership.  Jim and Jean Scott... and, local businessman Brian Horner officially closed on the purchase of Stateline Speedway in Busti late Tuesday.  Jean Scott tells us they bought the track from the estate of the late Frances Seamens... and, adds they're excited... and a little overwhelmed to finally have the speedway, and, it's go-cart track... in their possession.  She adds that Jim... a retired Late Model racer... has a lot of ideas to improve racing... and, the "fan experience."  Jean Scott says they have a five-year plan that includes improvements to the racing surface.  That will include new clay... which is slated to be brought in for next season.  She says other improvements will be made to concessions... and, even the rest rooms.  The purchase price was not announced.  The transactio was officially announced on the NEW Stateline Speedway Facebook page Wednesday morning.  Stateline -- under the new ownership -- will have it's final night of the 2015 season this Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

TRC hosts first-ever agency-wide picnic...
The Resource Center held its first ever agency-wide picnic Wednesday outside the administrative offices on Dunham Avenue.  TRC Community Relations Director Steve Waterson says... in addition to hot dogs and soda... the event had a serious theme -- titled 'It Matters to Me'.  Agencies like the Resource Center all across New York are asking the state for three things.  Enhancing expanding residential services for people with disabilities, for better wages for direct support professionals, and keeping work centers -- like their's on Jones and Gifford Ave. -- as an employment option for people with disabilities.  Mark Morton, Assistant Executive Director for Employee Relations, says raising the miminum wage for some entry level workers in the economy could have a negative effect on agencies serving people with disabilities.  Morton says their staff are also "deserving of a higher wage, too."  Following the picnic, the center held its annual recognition for Direct Support Professionals, the people who work every day helping individuals with disabilities.

NY National Guard helicopter crew sent to help defend southern border against drug, and human trafficking...
A New York Army National Guard helicopter crew is headed to the U-S--Mexico border to conduct aerial reconnaissance missions.  Officials at National Guard headquarters in suburban Albany say four crew members are flying a UH-72 Lakota light utility helicopter to the Mexican border in Arizona.  They departed from Latham Tuesday morning.  The aircraft and crew are headed to Marana, Arizona, to support U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies.  The four-man crew from New York will be accompanied by a Customs and Border Patrol agent on all missions.  Their mission involves keeping watch for drug smuggling and human trafficking.



News Headlines for Wed., Sept. 16, 2015

County water official says Blue-Green Algae a major problem on Findley Lake; just becoming a problem on Chautauqua Lake...

The Blue-Green Algae blooms that have pretty much been kept away from Chautauqua Lake this Summer have returned in the south basin... and, there are large ones confirmed on Findley Lake.  That from Water Resource Specialist Bill Boria with the Chautauqua County Health and Human Services Department.  Boria confirms the most recent findings by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.  He says the blooms on Chautauqua Lake move around a lot due to the wind and wave activity.  Boria says the center area of the south basin, at last report, tested positive for the algae.  He says there are a few, smaller ones in the north basin.  He says the Blue-Green Algae "mats" on Findley Lake are concentrated along the shoreline... and, the DEC has posted warnings.  Boria says... this is not a new phenomenon... but, he adds caution should be exercised around those "mats" because research has shown that the algae emits a toxin if it's ingested by humans or animals... and, it can also cause a rash on the skin.  He says the Blue-Green Algae has been a much bigger problem on Findley Lake than Chautauqua Lake this Summer.

Chautauqua County has first report of West Nile Virus in Mosquito pool in town of Kiantone...

Chautauqua County officials have received confirmation from the state Department of Health that one mosquito pool of 10 adult mosquitos collected earlier this month has tested positive for West Nile Virus.  County Health and Human Services Director Christine Schulyer says the pool was tested last September 3rd in the town of Kiantone, at the Jamestown Audubon Society.  Schuyler says this mosquito species... that tested positive... primarily bites birds.  She says this is only the fifth mosquito pool from Chautauqua County that has tested positive for West Nile since 2001.  Schulyer says residents should not be "alarmed" by the news... but, she adds that these findings do reinforce the fact that there is a continuing threat of transmission in the county.  It is important that everyone take precautions... such as wearing protective clothing... to reduce exposure to mosquito bites.  For more information... go on-line to www.co.chautauqua.ny.us... or call 753-4481.

No injuries reported in three-car accident on Chautauqua Lake Bridge due to visability issues...

The early morning sun is being blamed for a three-car... chain-reaction accident in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 86 on the Chautauqua Lake Bridge.  Sheriff's officers say 68 year-old Mary Rappole of Chautauqua was near the center of the bridge just before 7:30 a.m. when she slowed due to the sun getting in her eyes.  Deputies say the driver of another eastbound car, 49 year-old Jeffrey Kimbel of Westfield, did not see Rappole slowing... and, struck the rear of her car.  Officers say visability was also a problem for the third driver, 17 yeaer-old Kennadee Woods of Mayville, who ran into the back of Gleason's vehicle. There were no injuries... and, the scene was cleared up a short time later... and, traffic returned to normal.

Reed calls on U-S Senate to stop hiding behind procedure, and vote on Iran nuke deal...

Local Congressman Tom Reed is calling on members of the U-S Senate to go on the record... and, vote the Iran Nuclear Deal up or down.  A Senate bill... and, the "Disapproval Bill" approved in the House of Representatives last week... have been stalled by procedural moves.  Democrats blocked a vote for the second time last night.  The Republican Majority Leader in the Senate said earlier in the day that he wanted to have a final vote as soon as possible.  Reed says it's time to vote on a resolution before the end of the week.  He says it's only fair to the people they represent.  Reed was one of the 269 members of Congress who voted against the Iran deal... which would lift monitary sanctions against the Middle Eastern nation Iran in exchange for monitoring and restricting Iran's nuclear program.  Reed has opposed the deal... brokered by the Obama Administration... since it was first announced.  He made his comments during his weekly telephone Conference Call with Southern Tier Media.

Wu is new advisor to State Attorney General's office...

A Columbia Law school professor who ran for lieutenant governor last year is joining state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office as a special adviser focusing on technology and Internet policy.  Tim Wu's appointment was announced late Monday by Schneiderman's office.  Wu coined the term ``net neutrality'' and his work focuses on free speech... Internet regulations... and, antitrust law.  He will take a leave of absence from Columbia University while working for Schneiderman.  Wu ran for lieutenant governor in 2014, losing to Kathy Hochul in the Democratic primary.



News Headlines for Tues., Sept. 15, 2015

City Council may or may not take a position on possible sale of Prendergast Library artwork; but, as an individual, Council President urges board to reconsider...

The head of the Jamestown City Council says the panel may decide to take a position on the possible sale of artwork at the Prendergast Library to help ease a budget shortfall.  However... Council President Greg Rabb says -- while the city appropriate's a large amount of money to the library each year -- they have no control over who is on it's board... nor the decisions they make.  Two residents who are part of a social media movement called "Save the Art..." urged lawmakers last night to tell the library board they oppose any sale.  Rabb says he doesn't know if there will be any vote on making a recommendation to the board.  But, as an individual resident... Rabb says he's also concerned about some of the library's art work... some of which was donated... being sold off.  He calls it the art collection "an asset..." and, that in the long run you don't "sell your assets."  The library receives the largest amount of funding to an "outside agency" from the city.  But... Rabb says -- given the city's financial position -- they can't afford anymore than they already provide.  This past year... the city of Jamestown doled out about $340,000 to the library.  That's down about $30,000 from what they gave the institution several years ago.  He adds the city would never tie funding to the board's decision about the artwork.

Two residents approach City lawmakers to ask support for not selling the artwork at the library...

Two Jamestown residents involved in a Facebook page that calls for saving the paintings and other art at the Prendergast Library are urging city lawmakers to support them.  Diane Soule told the city council at last night's work session that they're concerned that the library board isn't being open about possibly selling some of those works.  Library officials say they're still trying to close a $186,000 deficit from the beginning of the year.  Soule says the public needs to know what's going on... and, right now their "not seeing transparency," though it's been promised.  Soule says they're learned that many people -- both here and out-of-town -- are aware of the collection and concerned about it's status.  However... many others don't.  Another resident... Lilly Grice... says they understand that half of the "Heritage Collection" the library could be sold.  However, she believes there are other ways to make up the current budget gap... but, the board hasn't looked into them.  The library board meets this Thursday at Noon.

County Democrats endorse Foley and Plumb to run for County Court Judge, and Congress, respectively...

The Chautauqua County Democratic Committee has cross-endorsed District Attorney David Foley to be the next county court judge.  They have also voted to endorse Lakewood's John Plumb to run next year for the 23rd Congressional District seat.  Democrat Committee Chairman Norm Green says the committee's decision to back Foley comes on the heals of current Judge John Ward's recent retirement.  Foley... who's from the town of Portland... has served as county District Attorney since 2005.  A registered Republican, he has been re-elected twice with multi-party support.  Plumb, a Lakewood resident, is a fourth-generation western New Yorker and Naval Reserve Commander.  He was born in Jamestown... and raised in Randolph.  Plumb has spent the past two decades in military and public service.

Candidates determined in Fredonia village mayor race...

A former mayor will be squaring-off against a first-time candidate in November for mayor of Fredonia.  Michael Sullivan, a practicing attorney, will be seeking his old office.  Sullivan will face a challenge from Dr. Athanasia Landis who received the backing of Democrats.  That from current Mayor Steve Keefe, who is also a Democrat.  Keefe says Landis is a physician who no longer practices... but, he says her ability to diagnose and treat problems is very good.  Sullivan has the backing of both Republicans and the Independence Party.  He says the village is facing some difficult challenges, especially with the closing of Carriage House.  Sullivan says the village needs to cut spending, and seek regional solutions.  Dr. Landis is a wife, and, a mother of five and has lived in the village for the past 23 years.

Reed in Fredonia to view LoGuidice BOCES Center's P-Tech program...

Chautauqua County's Congressman was in the north county yesterday afternoon to learn about a high school technology program that helps students go to a community college for free.  Corning Republican Tom Reed was on hand to learn about the Erie-2, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus BOCES P-Tech Program at the LoGuidice Center in Fredonia.  Reed says he had heard of P-Tech... and, wanted to learn more about it from the students... and, teachers who are directly involved.  Reed says P-Tech is "arming our students of today" with the science, technology and math backgrounds they'll need to help advanced manufacturing in the U-S to compete globally "going forward."  He's been a strong backer of advanced manufacturing legislation... and, says if you want to advance the issue, you need to talk to the instructors, and students on the front lines.



News Headlines for Mon., Sept. 14, 2015

Prendergast Library board to consider selling some of it's artwork to get needed money, and cut maintenance costs...

The board of the Prendergast Library in Jamestown is looking at selling some of it's art pieces to help offset an on-going budget deficit... and, that's stirred some controversy.  The board agreed to let Sotheby's Auction House do an appraisal of all of the library's art work to determine the value of all the pieces.  However... Library Director Tina Scott says not all the art can be sold.  Scott says pieces received directly from the family of Mary Prendergast... and, some Roger Tory Peterson prints cannot be sold -- and will not be sold.  She says there are others that could be sold... and, that's where the board has to make a decision.  Scott believes the paintings that were bought after Mary Prendergast, and the rest of the family, died would ideally remain in the library.  But, that may not be practically possible now.  Scott says the library has run deficits for each of the past 10 years... and, started 2015 with a $186,000 shortfall.  She says a $98,000 foundation grant has helped cut that to just under $100,000.  Otherwise... Scott says they just cut spending where they can.  Scott adds that new capital projects Are mostly paid for by state construction grants.

Chautauqua Belle runs aground after high winds, rough water, pushes it towards shore in north end of Chautauqua Lake...

High winds and rough waters pushed The Chautauqua Belle into shallower waters... and, the steamship became stuck in mud early last Saturday night with nearly 75 passengers on board.  Sheriff Joe Gerace says his officers, and the department's WET Team were called to Chautauqua Lake... near Point Chautauqua... shortly before 6:30 PM.  Gerace says a citizen was already helping to get passengers off the boat when they... and, several nearby fire departments were called to the scene.  He says five fire departments, his department's Water Emergency Team and some private individuals helped evacuate people on the Belle.  They were then transported by Chautauqua Suites vehicles to where the Belle is docked near Lakeside Park in Mayville.  Gerace says a wedding party of some 72 people were on board when the incident occured.  No one was hurt.  Gerace says the Belle was stuck about 100 yards off shore near the We Wan Chu Cottages... just north of Chautauqua Institution.  He says volunteers from Chautauqua... Mayville... Dewittville... Bemus Point... and, the Ashville fire department's assisted at the scene to assist with evacuation.  He says some private boats also helped move the Belle from where it got stuck.  There was no damage reported to the vessel.

Fire damages home in Dunkirk early Sunday morning...

The investigation is continuing into the cause of a fire that occurred early Sunday morning at 737 Main Street in the city of Dunkirk.  Crews were alerted to an electrical problem about 4:30 a.m., and saw smoke coming from the basement when they arrived on the scene.  Firefighters spent about 90 minutes and were able to confine the flames to the basement.  No injuries were reported.  No official cause has been determined yet.  An engine from Fredonia stood by during the incident.

Cuomo calls for $15 an hour minimum wage in wake of his wage board giving final okay for $15 minimum for fast food workers...

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for a $15 an hour minimum wage... a proposal guaranteed to face substantial opposition and one even supporters view with some skepticism.  Cuomo announced the idea during a labor rally late last week with Vice President Joe Biden.  The remarks came after Cuomo's administration formally approved a phased-in $15 minimum for fast-food workers.  That increase didn't require legislative approval because it was recommended by a state Wage Board created by Cuomo.  Passing a broader $15 wage would be much harder.  The Republican-led Senate remains steadfastly opposed and Cuomo's own spokeswoman earlier this year dismissed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's $13 wage proposal as a ``non-starter.''  Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins says Democrats ``look forward'' to the debate but noted that she's heard similar promises before.


News Headlines for Fri., Sept. 11, 2015

No fancy announcement to be made, but, Teresi officially running for a fifth term...

Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi says that... after year's of dealing with budget shortfalls... and, other struggles small cities have dealt with... it's fun again to be mayor.  That's why Teresi says he's running for an unprecidented fifth, four-year term in office.  Teresi... who first ran for the city's top-elected position in 1999... is confirming today that he's running for re-election.  However... he adds there'll be no fanfare nor 'big' announcement... similar to what he's done before.  Teresi says he plans on running the city's "day to day" business, and let people know "what they're doing moving forward."  He says the city has been able to focus more attention in recent months to economic development... and, neighorhood improvement.  For a while... it looked like the Democrat was going to have an opponent... but, a possible independent candidate decided against running.  Teresi says he's a little suprised to not have an opponent.  But, he adds he understands it's a big commitment... and, whether or not he has an opponent won't change the way he campaigns.  Teresi made his comments for this coming weekend's "Community Spotlight" Program on the five Media One Group stations.

Rosas wins Democrat Primary for Dunkirk Mayor...

City Councilman at-large Willie Rosas has won the Democratic nomination to run for mayor in the city of Dunkirk.  Rosas won yesterday's Democrat Primary in Dunkirk over incumbant mayor, A-J Dolce, 568-to-380.  There were also 12 write-ins.  Earlier this year... Rosas was endorsed by the Dunkirk Democat Committee.  However... Dolce circulated petitions... and, got the needed signatures to force a primary.  In addition... Dolce may have lost the Working Families line in November during an "Opportunity to Ballott" in the city.  He received 6 votes.  However... write-ins received 15 votes.  It will depend on how many valid write-ins one candidate received.  Results can be viewed on-line at www.votechautauqua.com.

Two arrested for alleged burglary spree in the county...

A two-month investigation of eight burglaries around Chautauqua County has led to the arrest of two north county men... and, more arrests are pending.  Sheriff Joe Gerace says officers yesterday arrested 50 year-old Kevin Weary of Cassdaga... and, 25 year-old Joshua Link of Fredonia in connection with the rash of break-ins.  Gerace says the work of his road patrol officers likely helped to prevent more burglaries.  He says they're still investigating the motive... but, it appears Weary and Link were looking for money during the overnight hours.  Gerace says they mainly used what he called the "smash and grab" way to get valuables.  He says the eight businesses hit appear to have been picked randomly.  One was in the north county... the Vineyards Golf Course.  He says there was also the Jamestown-area Federal Credit Union in the village of Panama... and, the 430 Market in Ellery.  Gerace says both Weary and Link were arraigned... and, sent to the county jail.  Weary is jailed on 40-thousand dollars bail for third-degree burglary... and, fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.  Link is being held on 25-thousand dollars bail for third-degree burglary.

Fire on Bush St. in Jamestown quickly contained...

Quick work by Jamestown firefighters prevented a small fire in the living room of a house on the city's eastside from spreading... and, causing heavy damage.  City Fire Battalion Chief Matt Russo says firefighers were called to the scene at 16 Bush Street shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday, and, found the flames quickly.  Russo says crews pulled one line... and, had the fire extinguished within minutes.  He says no one was hurt.  Crews were at the scene just under an hour.  The cause is under investigation.

Gas prices go down another 4-cents in Jamestown-area this week...

Gasoline prices in Chautauqua County have fallen about another 4-cents a gallon this week for regular, unleased.  That from the AAA's weekly Fuel Gauge Report...which says the price fell from $2.75 last week to just under $2.71 a gallon.  The price is based on reports from 19 area service stations.  AAA says the national average is now down to $2.39 a gallon.  That's about $1.33 less than a year ago at this time.  In fact... the AAA says Labor Day 2015 brought consumers the lowest national average gas prices in more than a decade.  Over the past 22 days... gas prices have dipped consecutively... even with an increase in demand as more travelers hit the road enticed by cheaper gas prices over the first eight months of the year.

Schumer announces winners in lottery to get to see the Pope during his visit later this month...

Some 100 people from across New York State have won the lottery.  There's no money involved... but, it's just as exciting to have won.  U-S Senator Charles Schumer says more than 100,000 New Yorkers signed up for a chance to be chosen to be part of the crowd on hand to hear Pope Francis speak on the West Lawn of the White House on Sept. 24.  Schumer says each member of the Senate received 100 tickets... and, he decided the best way to decide who got them was a random drawing.  Schumer adds that 10 people were selected... along with a guest... from the Western New York Region.  One of those was from Fredonia... however... that person has not been specifically identified.  We hope to have that later.  A woman from the Bronx won the chance to sit with Schumer when he is among the joint session of Congress to hear the Pope earlier that day.  The pope will arrive in the United States on Tuesday, Sept. 22.  It will be the fourth papal visit ever to the U-S.




News Headlines for Tues., Sept. 8, 2015

SWCS Superintendent says Tuesday's opening day went smoothly...

It's been a smooth start for another public school district in Chautauqua County that was among another hand-ful that opened for the 2015-16 school year.  The Southwestern Central Schools opened with a full day for all grade levels.  Superintendent Maureen Donahue says her second opening at Southwestern went great with no delays or other problems.  However... she cautions parents and other motorists about road work taking place on Southwestern Drive this week.  The old surface is being milled... and, the road between Fairmount Avenue and Hunt Road will be paved during the day Thursday.

Horrigan says final framework for 2016 budget will soon be in place...

Chautauqua County's top-elected official says he's very close to having a "final framework" in place for the 2016 budget... which is to be presented to the legislature later this month.  County Executive Vince Horrigan he and his finance and budget team are looking at capital spending and fund balance in the new spending plan... which will total just over $230-million.  Horrigan says he's "committed to the lowest possible property taxes."  He says the county will see that because it's needed to attract new business, homeowners and second-homeowners.  The county is still waiting for Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign a half-a-percent sales tax increase.  In return... the county has agreed to a $2-million, 3-percent property tax cut in the 2016 budget.  Horrigan says they're also looking at better efficiency in county services... and, looking at more possible privatization of some services.  He says they've already begun doing that with Health and Human Services.  The deadline for the budget to be presented is Sept. 25.  Horrigan made his comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the five Media One Group stations.

Jamestown man arrested for allegedly taking merchandise from Washington Street Supermarket...

A Jamestown man has been arrested for robbery after allegedly stealing items from the Tops Market on Washington Street... and, then fighting with store personnel.  City police were called to the scene at 2000 Washington about 3 p.m. Saturday on a report of a shoplifter fighting with staff.  On arrival... officers allegedly saw 27 year-old Andrew Kiendl still fighting with staff and store security in the front entryway.  Police took Kiendl into custody... and, charged him with third-degree robbery... petty larceny... and, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  He was arraigned... and, sent to the Chautauqua County Jail without bail.

Sheriff's Officers in Cattaraugus County urging Little Valley residents to keep their cars locked after multiple thefts from cars...

The Cattaraugus County Sheriff's office is urging residents in Little Valley to keep vehicle doors locked during the overnight hours after a rash of break-ins were reported.  Sheriff's deputies say they're investigating a number of thefts from unlocked cars throught the village.  Officers say they've have recovered some of the stolen items... and, are interviewing boys... and, young adults who are believed to be responsible for the thefts.  If you suspect your vehicle has been entered and items were taken please... call Deputy Daniel Irish on the dayshift at 938-9191.

"Kolors for Kallie 5K Run/Walk" calls awareness to pediatric Cancer...

It may have been a holiday... but, hundreds of people turned out on Labor Day for the 3rd annual "Kolors for Kallie 5-K Run/Walk" in Lakewood.  There was also a Motorcycle rally to benefit 'Kallie's Krusade' with more than 100 riders taking part... starting at the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club.  "Kallie's Krusade" is named for the late Kallie Swan... who passed away earlier this year from a form of childhood leukemia.  Her mother, Tara, was one of the people in charge of yesterday's event... and, says a lot of people were on hand for the 5-K Fun Run and Walk.  She says they had 130 runners pre-registered, but, adds they ran out of shirts for people.  She says they were likely well over 200 participants for that.  Swan thanked the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club for hosting the event this year.  This was the first year they were able to hold the event during September... which is "National Pediatric Cancer Awareness" Month.  Tara Swan says... in preparing for this year's event... they came to realize there are many more families dealing with childhood cancer.  Patricipants in the 5-K Run/Walk were doused with "powdered" paint so they wore different colors for the event.  For more information on the "Kallie's Krusade Foundation..." go to their website at KalliesKrusade.org.  They also have Facebook page... and Twitter Account.

County's annual "Ag Discovery Tour" set for this Saturday in Frewsburg...

Farmers and members of the general public are invited to take the first ever 'Ag Discovery Tour' this coming Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Jone's Family Farm.  Cornell Cooperative Extension's Kately Walley-Stoll says it's located at 287 Robbin Hill Road.  Stoll says J-High Acres is a working dairy farm with around 300 cows.  What's unique about the 'Ag Discovery Tour' is that agri-business sponsors will be there along with members of the Jones family.  The event is free to the public.  To get to J-High Acres Farm... take Frew Run Road out of Frewsburg, and follow the signs for the Martz Observatory.  The farm is located at a picturesque location, one of the highest spots in Chautauqua County. 


WJTN News Headlines

Road crews around New York state are keeping lanes open this Labor Day weekend to help ease holiday traffic congestion.  Governor Andrew Cuomo says temporary lane closures associated with road and bridge construction projects on state highways will be lifted until 6 AM on Tuesday.  Some work may continue behind concrete barriers or for emergency repairs.  Labor Day weekend is typically one of the busiest travel times of the year.


State and local police departments in New York are cracking down on impaired drivers over the long Labor Day weekend.  "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" is part of a national effort to reduce accidents caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  Richard Mallow runs the New York State chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.  His chapter is based in Suffolk County on Long Island... which leads every other county in the nation in the highest number of alcohol-related car accidents. Mallow says the state can do more to crack down on impaired drivers, including strengthening existing laws that penalize them.  The campaign runs through today... September 7th.  The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department... and, State Police are part of the weekend effort.


A Jamestown man faces drug possession charges after police conducted a felony warrant check on the suspect at a store in the Brooklyn Square area.  City police say 32 year-old Timothy Warrior was located inside the Walgreen's Store at 10 Prospect Street last Friday afternoon.  Officers say Warrior became combative with arresting officers... but, following a brief struggle... he was taken into custody.  While being arrested... police say he was found to be in possession of a quantity of Crystal Methamphetime... and, marijuana.  Officers say he was charged with Felony third-degree burglary... and petty larceny.  He was also charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, unlawful possession of marijuana.  Warrior was jailed pending arraignment.


Much of the modern labor movement came out of men who returned from military service... and, the recipient of a local labor award acknowledged that yesterday.  Financial Secretary Gary Swain of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local-#17 received this year's George Ritzer Labor Award at Jamestown's annual Labor Day Festival.  Swain thanked the Jamestown Central Labor Council for the award... and, also thanked the Viet Nam Veterans for presenting the 21-gun Salute.  Swain then talked about his father, who was a World War-Two veteran.
Swain also thanked the city of Jamestown for putting on a Labor Day Festival... adding that he was "really impressed" by the event.  The Ritzer Award was presented to Swain by Central Labor Council President Dan Wilkenson... who called Swain a special person to drive all over his five-county territory... and, do so much for his fellow laborers.  The festival was well attended prior to last night's fireworks.  Several local bands and musical groups played during the afternoon Sunday.


The city of Dunkirk's Director of Development will be leaving City Hall shortly for a job in Pennsylvania.  Calling it "a bittersweet moment..." Mayor A-J Dolce announced the departure of Steve Neratko late last week... adding that he's moving onto a "great opportunity" in Allentown, Pennsylvania.   Neratko says Allentown officials reached out to him "a short time ago."  He also says he has enjoyed his time with the city of Dunkirk... and, will be working with Dolce on the transition. Neratko has been Dunkirk's development director for three-and-a-half years.  Dolce says he will be exploring some options in filling the position.


A Jamestown woman faces drunk driving... and, other charges -- after she was pulled over for allegedly speeding on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott early last Saturday morning.  Sheriff's officers say 23 year-old Heather Mundt was was pulled over for speeding just before 3 AM.  Deputies say they spoke with the alleged operator... and, following an investigation... Mundt was found to be intoxicated.  She was taken into custody... and, found to be driving while she had a suspended license.  Mundt was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated... DWI... third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation... and, speeding.  She was issued appearance tickets for Ellicott Town Court.

With dry conditions forecast for the Labor Day weekend, New York state officials are warning about the potential for wildfires.  Forest rangers were on the scene of six small wildfires affecting a combined 3.4 acres on Friday... at least three of which were caused by unextinguished campfires.  Governor Andrew Cuomo's office says two of the fires were in Suffolk County, two were in the eastern Catskills and two in the eastern Adirondacks.  Campfires are prohibited in the Eastern Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness Area and on all Department of Environmental Conservation state lands in Suffolk County.


With dry conditions forecast for the Labor Day weekend, New York state officials are warning about the potential for wildfires.  Forest rangers were on the scene of six small wildfires affecting a combined 3.4 acres on Friday... at least three of which were caused by unextinguished campfires.  Governor Andrew Cuomo's office says two of the fires were in Suffolk County, two were in the eastern Catskills and two in the eastern Adirondacks.  Campfires are prohibited in the Eastern Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness Area and on all Department of Environmental Conservation state lands in Suffolk County.





News Headlines for Fri., Sept. 4, 2015

Cuomo says Common Core needs to "be fixed..."

Governor Andrew Cuomo says that the Common Core program in New York is not working and must be fixed.  The governor issued a statement late Thursday announcing a review of the standards, curriculum and tests.  Cuomo says he'll seek recommendations by January from a group that includes education experts, teachers, parents... Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia... and, state lawmakers.  Cuomo says he agrees with the goal of the standards, which are meant to better prepare students for college.  But... he repeated his criticism that the state Education Department's implementation of them has been flawed.  He says he sympathizes with the parents who had their children sit out of this year's Common Core-aligned math and English tests.  Twenty percent of eligible students skipped the tests in April.  The Education Department didn't immediately comment.

Mains says Cuomo "missing the boat" on Common Core; says main problem is with teacher evaluations tied to student performance on Common Core...

The governor is "missing the boat" when it comes to his recent evaluation of the state's Common Core program.  Those are the feelings of Jamestown School Superintendent Tim Mains... who says his concern lies with the new teacher evaluation system... which now calls for as much as 50-percent of that to be determined by testing on the new standards.  Mains says there will be a learning curve with any new curriculum... but, to expect high proficency now is unrealistic.  He says that's not just for the students, but, teachers as well.  Mains adds that the current evaluation system puts too much pressure on teachers... and, that doesn't promote a good learning environment.  He says the best learning occurs when an error occurs... but, there's not a high consequence for it.  Otherwise... Mains says he feels Common Core -- overall -- has been a step in the right direction.  He says that's because the world students are being prepared for is "more complex."  Mains says, the big problem he has right now, is he wishes they could get information, and do the testing quicker.

Mains pleased with how first-day at JPS went...

The first-day of school in the Jamestown City School district yesterday went "very smoothly."  Those are the feelings of School Superintendent Tim Mains... who says he went to several of the schools Thursday morning to see how the half-day went.  Mains says he went to all of the district's elementary schools... and, greeted many of the students at the beginning of the day at Lincoln Elementary.  That school's population has reached 700 this year with Kindergarten through second-graders coming there from Love School.  He says he greeted students getting off the bus... and, those entering buildings.  Mains adds that parents also seemed happy for the most part.  He also says he liked what he saw as he began checking out individual classrooms at Lincoln... and, elsewhere.  While it was just a half-day of class... Mains says he wanted to see students beginning the year learning.

Fire damages utilitly room in Winsor St. apartment house fire...

Fire damaged the utility room of a first-floor apartment early this morning on Jamestown's eastside.  City Fire Battlion Chief Matt Russo says crews were called to the scene at 414 Winsor St. shortly after 4 AM... and, found some flames showing on the southeast corner of the building.  Russo says firefighters quickly knocked the fire down... and, checked for extension.  He says everyone inside the building... including the owner...who lived in the second-floor apartment... got out safely.  An off-duty shift was called in to assist.  The family living on the first-floor are being helped by the local Red Cross.  The cause is under investigation.

Reed says movement to have Upstate sesseed from rest of NYS growing... 
Several groups across the Southern Tier of New York are pushing to have the upstate region secede from the rest of the state.  Local Congressman Tom Reed says he believes it should raise some red flags for state officials.  During a conference call earlier this week... Reed was asked about the sesession movement and whether it is growing.  He says over the past fews years... there's been a growing sense of frustration in the upstate region.  Reed he feels several state policies have led to the 'movement...' and, adds that state leaders should take another look at their policies and regulations.  More than a dozen groups recently met in Chenango County to show their support for a plan to split Upstate from New York City.  They expressed anger about such issues as the SAFE Act... the ban on fracking and Common Core.

Dunkirk supermarket sells TAKE 5 Winner in state Lottery...

The New York State Lottery is looking for the top-prize winner in it's September 1st TAKE 5 drawing... the winning ticket for which was sold in Dunkirk.  Lottery officials say the ticket was sold at the Tops Markets at 3955 Vineyard Dr., and, is worth $33,056.50.  The second prize ticket was sold on Long Island.  Lottery officials say the first prize is won by matching five out of the five numbers.  Meantime... 197 players each purchased winning tickets worth 503-dollars each by matching four out of five numbers for the drawing.  The winning numbers for the September 1st TAKE 5 drawing were 7... 13... 20... 26... and, 39.  The Lottery encourages everyone who bought a New York Lottery draw game ticket, to check their tickets again, as they could be holding a winner. 



News Headlines for Thurs., Sept. 3, 2015

Bemus Point-Stow Ferry shut-down for rest of year after mechancial issues cause broken drive system...

A mechanical problem with the drive system of the historic Bemus Point-Stow Ferry has led to it being shut-down for the season about two weeks early.  However... the long-time operator of the historic vessel says it'll be back and running again next Spring.  Bemus Point's John Cheney says the problem with the ferry began about two-weeks ago.  Cheney says a tree limb floating in the narrows between Bemus and Stow likely got into the ferry's hydraulic drive... and, it broke loose after a tree limb got inside.  Cheney says the "splines" inside the motor "let go" last weekend... after many of the bikers involved with the Chautauqua Lake Grand Fondo had riden the historic vessel as part of the ride around the lake.  It's disappointing news to people who like to ride the ferry during Labor Day Weekend... before it shuts-down for the year.  Cheney adds that... while it's disappointing... he's heartened by the many people... and, businesses... that volunteer to help him keep the ferry operating.  Cheney says he's also disappointed... because several local schools were scheduled to bring young students by to take ride the historic ferry. 

Cuomo says Common Core Program in NYS needs fixing...

Governor Andrew Cuomo says today that the Common Core program in New York is not working and must be fixed.  The governor issued a statement today announcing a review of the standards, curriculum and tests.  Cuomo says he'll seek recommendations by January from a group that includes education experts, teachers, parents... Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia... and, state lawmakers.  Cuomo says he agrees with the goal of the standards, which are meant to better prepare students for college.  But... he repeated his criticism that the state Education Department's implementation of them has been flawed.  He says he sympathizes with the parents who had their children sit out of this year's Common Core-aligned math and English tests.  Twenty percent of eligible students skipped the tests in April.  The Education Department didn't immediately comment.

Scott says Stateline ready to reopen Saturday night with full program of stock car racing

A legendary stock car racing track reopens under new operations this coming Saturday night.  Stateline Speedway had fallen silent since the end of June when the insurance lapsed on the previous operator.  However... retired Late Model Star Jim Scott... his wife, Jean... and, Jamestown-area businessman Brian Horner have leased the track... with an eye towards buying it.  Scott, who runs his own business in Garland, Pennsylvania, says one of their first orders of business was fixing the tracks configuration to make for better racing.  Scott says they are working "as hard as they can" to ensure good racing for the fans.  He says leveling-out the surface should promote more "side-by-side" racing... which had been lacking in recent years.  The cars were back on the track for a "practice night" last night.  However... Scott adds it also gave them a chance to test out the new configuration.  He says it's important to bring back the fans... and, good racing will do that.  The first show is scheduled for this coming Saturday night... and, will feature at 30-lap Super Late Model Feature... and, racing for the speedway's other six divisions.

Emergency Management officials in NYS still grapping with response to disasters involving Oil Trains...

Three years after Albany became a major hub for rail shipments of highly flammable crude oil from North Dakota, emergency management officials are still grappling with response plans to deal with a potential disaster.  As many as 44 100-car oil trains a week move through upstate New York to converge in Albany en route to coastal refineries.  The Department of Environmental Conservation is working with local agencies in 21 counties along oil train routes to develop spill-response plans, pre-position specialized equipment such as fire-suppressing foam, and train first responders.


News Briefs for Wed., Sept. 2, 2015

Three people, one a juvenile, arrested in Jamestown drug bust...

Three people have been arrested following a drug raid on Jamestown's westside early this afternoon.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force... as part of it's on-going investigation of reported narcotics trafficking... raided the upstairs apartment at 248 Broadhead Ave.  Samuelson says they arrested 30 year-old Rocco Beardsley... a unidentified 17 year-old female... and, 29 year-old Brandon Smith.  He says they also found just over 60-grams of powdered cocaine... which is says is a "substantial" amount of the drug... and, a quantity of crystal methamphetime.  Both Beardsley and the 17 year-old girl face two counts each of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... while Smith was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession... a misdemeanor.  All three are jailed pending arraignment.  Samuelson says their anonymous tip-line continues to help them slow the trafficking of narcotics in the city.  The phone number is 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.

New York City-area man arrested in connection with August stabbing in Jamestown...

A Brooklyn, New York man has been arrested in Jamestown for allegedly stabbing another man during an assault last August 7th on the city's westside.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says they received information that the alleged suspect may have returned to the scene of the incident at 114 West Seventh St.  Samuelson says... in recent days... they had learned that suspect -- now identified as 28 year-old Joshua McKinney -- had been known to be traveling between Jamestown... and, his hometown area.  He was found hiding in a closet... and, arrested.  A second man was also arrested for alleged obstruction.

Gasoline prices drop a penny in Jamestown-area this week...

Gas prices in the Jamestown-area are continuing their downward trend... but, have only dropped a penny a gallon over the past week.  That from the AAA's weekly Fuel Gauge Report... which says the price for a gallon of regular, unleaded fell from $2.76 to $2.75 this week.  The price was based on reports from 19 local service stations.  However... one station in the Jamestown area had dropped it's price to $2.71 Tuesday.  The AAA says the national average is now $2.47 a gallon.  The Fuel Gauge Report says that prices continue to drop... and, most drivers should pay the lowest gas prices for Labor Day weekend since 2004.  Drivers nationwide continue to benefit from the relatively low price of crude oil with today’s average about 96-cents per gallon less than a year ago. 

Gerace urges drivers to be safe; it may still be Summer... but, children are heading back to school...

Six Chautauqua County School districts began the new school year today... even though it still look and feels very much like Summer.  That from Sheriff Joe Gerace... who says motorists especially have to get "back into the mode" of realizing that school buses are on the road again.  Gerace says this year's school starts are not 'universal' because Labor Day is late.  However... he says keep in mind you'll be seeing buses pretty most days now through late next June, so it's time for drivers to be in "the mode of having school buses on the road again."  Gerace says motorists need to keep in mind the "precious cargo" that's on board those school buses... and, the fact that you must stop when the red lights come on those buses.  He says it's "our obligation as motorists to yield to that school bus... and, stop for those red-lights."  Gerace says any driver who goes through a school buses red lights face "serious fines..." and, could even lose their driver's license.  He says it's one of the most serious, "non-misdemeanor" vehicle and traffic infractions on the book. 



WJTN News Headlines

The state Department of Transporation will now move ahead with plans to reconfigure the West Third Street Bridge in Jamestown for two-lanes of traffic, and two bicycle lanes.  The DOT and city held a public hearing last night on a joint plan to re-design the traffic flow on the bridge -- eliminating the four-lanes of traffic that have existed since the mid-1980s.  The DOT's Paul Gavin was on hand for the hearing to answer questions... and, says they worked for more than a year on the project. The turning lane would also widen out to 10-feet at Third and Porter... and, Third and Hall Avenues.  Third and Hall was the main source of concern for some people.  One... Hall Avenue resident Jim Kress... is worried about westbound traffic getting bottled up behind westbound cars turning left at Hall.  He says a turning light may help keep drivers from going to the right, and into the bike lane.  One other person also expressed concern about that... and, Gavin says the DOT will monitor the situation.


During last night's voting session... city lawmakers approved Mayor Sam Teresi's appointment of Kevin Okerlund as Jamestown's new assessor.  He'll replace the retired Randy Holcomb... who stepped down earlier this Summer.  Teresi says Okerlund has been the city's Commercial Property Appaiser for the past several years.  The appointment runs through September of 2019.  The City Council also approved a new agreement with the town of Busti... which Holcomb worked for.  However... the city will be paying the full salary for the assessor... while the other communities using Okerlund's services will pay a smaller percentage.


Prices at the gasoline pump are heading in the right direction.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed... but, he still wonders why they aren't lower... and, intends to look into the matter.  The Corning Republican says he has several questions he wants to ask Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz about why we aren't seeing a bigger drop in the cost of gas. During a conference call Reed held with Southern Tier Media Monday... Reed was asked whether he intends to inquire about why there is such a difference in gasoline prices across the state.  He says yes, he will... but, he says it could be regional... or state border issues.  Reed says he believes lower energy costs will help the nation's economy.  He feels based on the price per barrel of oil reaching historic lows... gasoline prices should be closer to 2-dollars a gallon. 


The closing of both Carriage House plants in the north county is still causing weakness in Chautauqua County's job market -- even several month later.  That from State Labor Department Analyst John Slenker... who says the county's jobless rate rose slightly, from 6-percent in June to 6.2-percent in July.  Slenker says Chautauqua County's job count fell from 53-thousand-200 to about 53-thousand last month.  However... he says most job areas increased slightly... or held steady for the month. Slenker adds that a decrease at this time of year is not unusual... mainly because schools scale back at the end of the academic year... as do colleges.  He says that's why one other sector is down from month to month.  That's colleges and universities... particularily the SUNY College at Fredonia... which let out for the Spring Semester in late May.  Slenker says the number of employed workers in Chautauqua County is also down 200 over the year.  He says the jobless rate in July was down by half-a-percent from July of last year.


There were some significant job loss numbers... and, the unemployement rate in Cattaraugus County rose by 3-tenths of a percent in July.  State Labor Department Analyst John Slenker says the jobless rate there was 6-percent last month.  Like Chautauqua County... Slenker adds there were also government sector losses there with the school year ending... and, St. Bonaventure University closing for the year.  However... he says other sectors at least held their own in July. Slenker says... overall... July was "a quiet month" in Cattaraugus County.  He says July's jobless rate was 7-tenths of a percent down from July of 2014.


New York's comptroller reports tax revenues so far this fiscal year are nearly 10 percent higher than the same four months last year.  According to the comptroller's office... the 25.3-billion dollars in tax receipts through July reflect stronger personal income tax collections.  Comptroller Thomas DiNappoli says settlement funds have also boosted the state's available balance at the end of July to 9.6-billion dollars.  New York has reached settlements with several major banks following state and national investigations into troubled mortgage-backed securities and currency transactions for nations barred from U.S. trade.  The comptroller's report shows consumption and use tax collections of $5.3 billion through July, up nearly 4 percent, and business tax collections of $2 billion, down about $534 million from a year earlier.


One of the major highlights of the annual International Humanitarian Law Dialogs at Chautauqua Institution took place last Sunday night with presentation of a major award.  The Robert H. Jackson Center posthumously presented the Joshua Heintz Award for Humanitarian Achievement to lawyer Sergei Magnitsky... who died in a Russian prison after being arrested in late 2008.  Acting Director of the Jackson Center... Tom Schmidt... says Magnitsky uncovered major fraud allegedly perpetrated by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Magnitsky wouldn't back down from his position... and, helped his law firm determine that a substantial amount of money had been taken from Hermitage Capital Management.  Hermitage was once Russia's largest portfolio investor.  Magnitsky's wife and 14 year-old son were on hand to accept the Heintz Award.  It's given to a person who "demonstrates compassion, vision and dedication in the pursuit of international humanitarian justice."  The law dialogs continue through tomorrow with the conference's annual statement.


Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony were the most cited nominees to be pictured on the 10-dollar bill during a town hall meeting with U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios in upstate New York.  The hearing was held Monday at the Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls.  Eleanor Roosevelt and Elizabeth Cady Stanton also had support as Rios took suggestions during an hour-long session Monday in the upstate city... where the original 1848 Women's Rights Convention was held.


New York's Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance reports collecting more than 135-million dollars in overdue child support payments last year through specialized enforcement.  According to the office, the collections on behalf of tens of thousands of children came in cases where parents fell behind on payments and had the means to pay but were unwilling.  The state program says it collected 1.8-billion dollars altogether last year for nearly one-million children, administered by county and New York City social service departments.


Veteran running back and respected team leader Fred Jackson has been released by the Buffalo Bills.  With nine seasons in Buffalo... the 34-year-old Jackson had been the second-longest serving active player and one of the team's most popular players among fans.  The move came as a slight surprise, though Jackson's tenure was in question because of his age and the team's moves to restock its running backs this offseason.  The Bills acquired LeSean McCoy in a trade with Philadelphia to take over the No. 1 spot, and also selected hard-hitting rusher Karlos Williams in the draft.  Buffalo's depth chart at running back also includes Boobie Dixon and Bryce Brown.  Jackson was one of 12 players cut on Monday, when all NFL teams had to reduce their roster to 75 players.






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