New York may soon join California, Rhode Island and New Jersey by allowing workers to take paid time off to care for a new child or sick loved one. Supporters have pushed for years to pass a paid family leave bill with little success. But... this year it's got the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo. Polls show broad support even among Republicans. The bill that passed the Democratic-led Assembly this month would grant up to 12 weeks of leave. The system would be funded by a payroll deduction of less than one-dollar a week, and the benefit would be capped based on average state wages. Business groups say the proposal could be a burden on employers forced to hire temporary workers. Senate leaders say the bill remains under consideration.
A business-backed coalition fighting Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed 15-dollar-an-hour minimum wage is growing. The Minimum Wage Reality Check Campaign says Friday that it has added 18 new members, including the Buffalo-Niagara Manufacturing Alliance... the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County... and, the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce. The coalition now comprises 50 organizations opposed to the Democratic governor's plan to gradually raise the wage from $9 to $15 an hour. Cuomo has been joining labor groups in a statewide tour designed to drum up support for the increase, which he says will help working families make ends meet while injecting more cash into local economies. Critics say the wage boost will increase prices, reduce jobs and hurt the overall economy. Lawmakers are expected to vote on the measure in the coming months.
The annual 'Have a Heart for Four-H Dinner' was held Sunday at Chautauqua Suites in Mayville. Ninety-six tables were filled... 750 people attended... around $25,000 was raised. Chautauqua County Four-H educator Kate Ewer was exuberant. Some of the money will go to the their endowment, the rest will help keep Four-H going for the next year. Many of the pies were auctioned off for a hundred dollars or more. Kate Ewer says one pie sold for 10 times that amount. Tom Hockran, of Bemus Point, paid $1050 for that pecan pie. Four-H provides unique experiential learning for several hundred young people across Chautauqua County. Many of the members were in attendance Sunday, helping with the event.
It's become more known for it's lower-income rental units on East Second Street in Jamestown... but, there is more to what Citizen's Opportunity for Development and Equality is all about. That from CODE, Incorporated's Executive Director, Pat Morris, who says they are a neighborhood group that owns and operates around 200 rental units in the area. On the Media One Group's "Community Spotlight" program this past weekend... Morris said CODE has grown and expanded it's mission in recent years. In Jamestown... Morris says they're most involved on the city's northside, and CODE has been working with the Cleveland-area developer involved in the Jackson-Spring Apartments proposed between North Main and Spring Streets. He says those would be similar to the Euclid Gardens development CODE has in the former Euclid School that are one and two-bedroom units for middle-income people. He says they do have some one-and-two bedroom apartments in the Appleyard developments. However... he says those are mainly 3 or more bedrooms... with a number for handicapped residents. Morris adds that very little of their available housing -- including Appleyard -- are for public assistance, or Section 8 Housing. In fact, he says only 10 of their 200 units are specifically for that.
There are new hours for customers looking to pay their bills... or get other services... at the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities Customer Service office -- beginning this week. BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says the move is being made in accordance with customer trends... and, the fact more and more people are paying on line... or looking to pay on-line. During budget discussions late last year... the Board of Public Utilities generally agreed to cutting hours as part of ways to save the BPU money. Leathers says their hours will now be 9 AM to 4 PM on Mondays through Wednesdays. On Thursdays and Fridays... he says they be expanded to 8 AM to 5 PM. For more information... call the BPU Customer Service Office at 661-1660.
New York state is using online videos to help people learn about drug addiction and treatment programs. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the series of 10 videos early last weekend. They are designed to inform users and their loved ones about the signs of addiction, the types of treatment, how insurance can cover it, and where to get help. The Democratic governor says more than 1 million New Yorkers are affected by addiction and the videos will help them navigate the ``path to recovery.'' The videos can be found on the website of the state's Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, www.oasas.ny.gov.
It wa an approach that worked for the National Comedy Center in Jamestown... and, now community leaders in the Dunkirk-Fredonia area want to seek state funding for what's being called "Chautauqua North." County Executive Vince Horrigan announced in his State of the County message last week that the project would have the city of Dunkirk, the village of Fredonia and the State University of New York at Fredonia join for a cultural/recreational project with public and private investment. Horrigan says there is also interest from the village of Fredonia... where the new mayor wants to reinvigorate the cultural part of the downtown area. He says it's time to work together for a major grant. Horrigan says they will be seeking a technical assistance grant through the University of Buffalo for the project. He says there is also a good chance that the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council may be eligible for additional funding from the state and he hopes the project will be able to pick up a share of the funding.
The New York state legislature is examining the effectiveness of New York's six-year-old electronic waste recycling law. During a hearing late last week... state environmental officials said more than 318-million pounds of electronic waste was diverted from landfills in the first three years of the state's electronics recycling law. However... they say discarded televisions and computer monitors pose a challenge. The New York Association of Counties testified... saying they want lawmakers to amend the law, saying local municipal solid waste systems have been saddled with costly electronics disposal -- particularly cathode ray tubes from old TVs and computers. The 2010 e-waste law was intended to have electronics manufacturers support recycling costs, but the volume of discarded CRTs has exceeded what manufacturers have to pay for.
Outlining the successes and challenges facing Chautauqua County, County Executive Vince Horrigan delivered his third State of the County address during last night's County Legislature meeting. Emphasizing the need for regional solutions, Horrigan announced that he will be forming a Regional Solutions Commission. Among the successes, Horrigan cited the development of the National Comedy Center in Jamestown and the return of the PGA to Peak 'n Peek. In looking forward, Horrigan says he is looking to generate transformational, regional projects such as a "Chautauqua North" project. He is currently working leaders from Dunkirk, Fredonia and the State University of New York at Fredonia on the development of the cultural/recreational project that would involve both public and private investment in the North County area.
The state Public Service Commission has approved the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities' request for a 2.6-percent increase in residential electric rates. In a printed release this (Wednesday) afternoon... BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says they had applied for the "mini-rate hike" back in March of last year. Leathers says the PSC issued it's order Tuesday... for a 3.5-percent increase in the BPU's base delivery revenue, effective next Tuesday, March 1st. He says a typical residential customer will see an increase of about one-dollar-40 cents per month. Leathers says the commission also approved the BPU's request to establish a new Overhaul Reserve Fund. The fund would be used to pay for the cost of overhauling the gas turbine and steam generators. The gas turbine alone must be overhauled every 25-thousand run-time hours at a cost of 2.5-million... to 4.5-million dollars. The PSC also ordered the BPU to move 2.8-million dollars in the current Dismantling Fund, which is excess of the projected dismantling cost, to the new Overhaul Reserve Fund.
The state Public Service Commission also ruled today that the city... which owns the BPU... may require the board to distribute "a reasonable portion of its profits to the City." However... the commission says that's provided that the utility is earning a profit and will remain financially stable. Also... the PSC accepted the BPU's request to expand it's program that allows qualifying customers the opportunity to apply to install equipment that generates electricity-using wind or solar powered equipment. This expansion will enable approved BPU Service Class 3 and 6 customers (large and economic development customers) to install equipment with a capacity of up to 200 Kilowatts. Leathers... who was not available for direct comment today... says they are "very pleased to receive the input and ruling from the PSC." He maintained that the BPU's rate incease -- the first since August of 2010 -- certainly is justified.
Western New York is on the warmer side of a winter storm that will tracking across through the overnight hours into this morning. Wintry weather is returning to the area later today after we nearly hit 50 degrees in Jamestown yesterday. Forecaster Bob Hamilton with the National Weather Service in Buffalo, says a "dynamic low pressure system" moved through yesterday... with thunderstorms mainly to the east of us. As the storm travels into Quebec today... Hamilton says colder air will make a return, changing the rain to snow today. He says we may see up to two inches of the white stuff today.
The 20th annual Street JAM 3-on-3 basketball tournament is set for June 4th... and, will include a number of changes -- including a new venue -- for this year. That from Tournament Director Vicky Bardo with The Resource Center. Bardo tells us that the new venue at the Resource Center's Administrative Offices on Dunham Avenue in Celoron... is probably the biggest change. However... she also tells us that they have decided to make it a one-day tournament. Bardo says that... under the new, one-day format... they will have the younger children play in the morning... and, the older ones will play in the afternoon. Registration will take place -- beginning next month. Bardo adds registration will be limited -- tentatively -- to 125 teams. She says their excited about the new location for the tournament. Bardo says the basketball courts will be set up in the rear parking lot at the Dunham Avenue offices. She says proceeds will support TRC's "Filing the Gap" program. For more information... call Bardo at 661-1477. You can also go on-line to jamestownstreetjam-dot-NET.
Most Americans, regardless of ideology, say they have no interest in voting former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg into the White House. That's according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. Six in 10 Democrats and Republicans alike rule out Bloomberg in a general election. The total saying they wouldn't vote for him is the highest level for any candidate in the field. The media billionaire is set to decide next month if he'll launch a third-party bid. While the poll points to a daunting road for him, it also suggests that a Bloomberg candidacy could not be merely shrugged off by the two parties. With more than one-third at least open to backing him, Bloomberg may have the potential to become a spoiler in a close fall election.
A prosecutor says a man charged in the slaying of his 21-month-old daughter likely killed the toddler on state-owned forestland outside Syracuse before returning to the city and dumping her body in a creek. Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick says it's believed 24-year-old Ryan Lawrence killed his daughter Maddox last weekend at the Labrador Hollow Unique Area on the Onondaga-Cortland county line... 15 miles south of Syracuse. State police divers found the child's body Tuesday in Onondaga Creek, which flows into Onondaga Lake through Syracuse's Inner Harbor. Lawrence was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder. Police say they don't have a motive for the slaying. Authorities issued an Amber Alert for Maddox Sunday after Lawrence disappeared with the girl. Lawrence is being held in jail.
The National Weather Service is continuing a Winter Weather Advisory through late this morning. Forecaster David Church in Buffalo says a light wintry mix is possible... especially through the early part of the morning.later tonight and overnight. Church says a trace to a few-hundreds of an inch of ice is possible in some locations... so driving and walking caution is advised. The advisory is in effect until 11 this morning.
The large statue of late U-S Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson that welcomes people traveling into Jamestown on North Main Street will be moved to a new location later this year. The city School Board last night approved a resolution to loan the bronze statue of Jackson to the Center, so it can be placed in front of the Jackson Center at West Fourth Street and Prendergast Avenue. School Superintendent Tim Mains says discussions began a while ago... and, all the key players involved agreed to the move. Mains says the Jackson Statue... which was unveiled during a ceremony at it's current location in front of Love Elementary School in 1996... remains "very well regarded." In fact... he says the bust of Jackson on the statue has been used to create Jackson's likeness for other places across the country... including the new federal courthouse in Buffalo. Mains says Jackson Center officials believe the statue will be moved... after some clean-up work is done on the bronze monument... sometime this Spring. The statue was created by sculptor Dexter Benedict of Penn Yan.
A joint task force looking at cutting costs for the city of Jamestown and it's Board of Public Utilities held it's first meeting in several month's Monday. Second-Ward Councilman Tony Dolce -- who chairs the Joint Task Force on Efficiency and Cost Reduction -- called the meeting "productive." Dolce says members were given information to review... and, adds a pair of sub-panels were also named. Dolce says the idea of a more "centralized" fleet has been discussed by the joint task force for several months. In addition... the insurance issue has also been much discussed. The meeting reportedly did not include the rancor that had been part of previous meetings before Dolce decided to not have anymore meetings late last year. The panel includes two new BPU members... Councilwoman Maria Jones and Martha Zenns. They replace John Zabrodsky and Wayne Rishell... who were not reappointed to the panel. Another new member will be Kelly Hawkins from the BPU... who will be replacing the retiring Mike Anderson as Financial Services Manager later this year. The panel will meet next on Tuesday, March 22nd.
Gasoline prices in Chautauqua County have fallen just over 10-cents in the past two weeks to one-dollar-99 cents per gallon. However... the price has already fallen to 1-95 a gallon at a few places for regular, unleaded. The Triple-A East Central Fuel Gauge report says the average price was based on reports from 19 service stations in the area. The average price two weeks ago was just over 2-dollars-9 cents a gallon. The national average price is now one-dollar-71 cents. Nationally... Triple-A says the price is continuing to hover at levels not seen since the Great Recession. The Fuel Gauge says that's largely due to abundant supplies and low crude oil costs.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is out of the presidential race... and, that means Chautauqua County's Congressman will take a look at the other candidates who who remain to see who he will back. However... Corning Republican Tom Reed says he knows what he's looking for in a candidate. Reed decided early in the race to back Bush. With the former Governor now out of the running, Reed says he has not made a commitment to another candidate -- at this time. He says he believes the American people "will make an informed decision." Another election contest also has Reed's attention... his own. He is seeking a fourth term in the House. Reed made his comments during his weekly conference call with Southern Tier Media.
A Democrat originally from the Jamestown-area is making the rounds across the 23rd Congressional District as he challenges Republican incumbant Tom Reed. John Plumb is a career military man... who spent 22 years in the U-S Navy and Naval Reserves. During a recent stop in the area... Plumb said there are two key issues in his mind... the first being national security. Plumb says the other major issue is the economy... especially in the Southern Tier. He says the area needs a Congressman who will "throw his shoulder into it" and not just give lip-service. Plumb also served in the Pentagon and on the National Security Council after leaving active duty. He moved back to the area about a year ago. Reed is running for a fourth-term in Congress.
An anonymous whistle-blower has led to the arrest of a Jamestown man for allegedly receiving more than 12-hundred dollars in food stamp benefits he was not entitled to. Sheriff's officers say they arrested 32 year-old Eric Morrison early last weekend for welfare fraud. Deputies say they investigated the case... along with the county's Department of Health and Human Services... after receiving an anonymous letter reporting the alleged situation. Officers say Morrison allegedly failed to report employment income and unemployment insurance benefits that he received while actively receiving Food Stamps. He's accused of filing a false application in February of 2015 which did not include his unemployment benefits. As a result... deputies say he received one-thousand-298 dollars in unentitled food stamps between October of 2013... and, June of 2015. Morrison is charged with fourth-degree Welfare Fraud... Grand Larceny... and, first-degree Offering a False Instrument for Filing. He was issued appearance tickets for Jamestown City Court.
Chautauqua County fire investigators say a blaze that destroyed a barn in the north county late Monday has been ruled accidental. The Sheriff's Department's Fire Investigation team reports West Dunkirk fire crews were called to the scene at 10576 Temple Road in the town of Dunkirk at 5:45 PM. Officials say... following their investigation... the fire was determined to have started in a work shop due to a wall mounted heater. Investigators say the building was a total loss... but, no one was hurt.
Police in Syracuse say divers have recovered the body of a toddler who disappeared over the weekend with her father, who is being charged with murder. Police say the body of 21-month-old Maddox Lawrence was found yesterday in Syracuse's Inner Harbor. Maddox disappeared Saturday night with her 24-year-old father, Ryan Lawrence. He was taken into custody Monday.
Two free throws by James Rojas with just under 5 seconds left in the game was enough to carry the JHS Red Raiders to a 45-44 Semi-Final win over Williamsville North. Jamestown moves onto the title game at 8:30pm Saturday at the Buffalo State Sports Arena where they will face Niagara Falls.
Chautauqua Lake defeated Allegany Limestone 53-41. The Thunderbirds advance to play Olmstead at 8:15pm this Friday at Jamestown Community College.
Cassadaga Valley Central School officials say they have had an outpouring of support from the community following the death of a High School senior who lost his life in a tractor accident on Saturday. Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace says 18-year-old Alan Harding died after a tractor he was operating on some property near 28th Creek Road overturned. Gerace says the victim was pulling a log when the tragic accident took place. Cassadaga Valley Central School Superintendent Charles Leichner says that school counselors and representatives from local churches are available for students today. He says Alan had a very "likeable personality... and was always positive and supportive to other students. Funeral arrangements have been set for Alan Harding. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 11 AM Thursday in St. Mary of Lourdes Catholic Church in Bemus Point. The family will receive friends from 3 to 7 pm Wednesday in the Lind Funeral Home in Jamestown.
Roughly half of Jamestown's residents would be eligible to rent housing in a proposed housing development on the city's northside. Jamestown City Council members, and the public, got the chance to learn more about the Jackson-Spring development tentatively proposed for the area of Eighth and Spring Streets. The Cleveland, Ohio developer involved has been working with Citizens Opportunity for Development and Equality -- also known as CODE -- on the proposal. Housing Committee Chairwoman Marie Carubba says the plan is for 27 apartment units. Carubba adds that... since the most recent meeting with the developer, and neighbors to the project -- those who attended are now strongly behind the proposal. She says there's the realization that the 10 to 11-million dollar project would be good for that part of the city. City Council Finance Committee Chairman Tony Dolce was at the meeting... and, he emphasized that no one will be evicted from the properties being proposed for the project, and Eminent Domain would not be used to obtain them.
Advances in Global Position Satelite technology has resulted in a number of advances... but, has also helped local municipalites track code violations. That's been seen in the town of Ellicott... where Supervisor Pat McLaughlin says they've been able to find at least 40 violations over the past year or so. McLaughlin says one of the first items he's been working on since last Fall's election is updating the town's code. However... he tells our Terry Frank they've also found a number of times where people made improvements without a permit. McLaughlin says he's been working on updating the code with Deputy Supervisor Janet Bowman... and, Code Enforcement Officer David Rowe. He adds, though, that once they know of a violation... residents have 30-days to respond. McLaughlin says they've even found a cabin in a wooded area that was built without the proper permits. He says they're also looking to update their fee structure because Ellicott's are lower than 70-percent of the other towns across the region. McLaughlin made his comments during this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program.
In nearly two years since New York colleges were told to adopt policies defining consensual sex and rights of rape victims, the number of schools under federal investigation for handling of sexual violence increased from four to 25. That six-fold state increase even exceeded national numbers that showed a tripling of schools under such investigations to 164. Experts say the dramatic increases reflect better reporting rather than an actual uptick in sexual violence on college campuses. Critics argued that for years many U.S. colleges hid such crimes behind federal privacy laws in an effort to publicly protect their brands. At the State University at Albany... which opened a dedicated Advocacy Center for Sexual Violence in 2014... officials say the number of alleged victims seeking help increased from 23 to 150.
Chautauqua County's congressman says he expects House members to take on the budget when they return to Washington this week. Corning Republican Tom Reed says he will support a budget that takes on the national debt crisis since it's impacting everyone. Reed also believes one area that should be cut is foreign aid. He says it could make a big difference. Reed says a "simple cut of 25-percent" would save 150-billion dollars during one year. He says that's one good area to look at. However... Reed says one exception is funding for Israel. He says he would also like to see the federal government go to a bi-annual budget process. The Congressman made his comments this afternoon during a conference call with Southern Tier Media.
The New York Farm Bureau says Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to give farm trucks a break on Thruway tolls that could save farmers 5-million dollars annually for three years is a ``drop in the bucket.'' Spokesman Steve Ammerman says the more pressing concern is the plan to gradually increase the hourly minimum wage to $15 an hour. He says that could cost farmers $500-million a year. The toll credit would apply to vehicles weighing up to 26-thousand pounds that are owned by someone who's primarily a farmer. Ammerman says that qualifies small farm trucks for the credit, but the Farm Bureau wants the limit increased to 92-thousand pounds. The state Comptroller's office reported that as of 2012 New York had more than 35,500 farms making over $5.4 billion in commodity sales.
A mayor in New York state wants his city to be the first in the U.S. to offer a supervised injection facility, where heroin users would be able to shoot up under the care of a nurse. Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick tells The Associated Press the facility, which would also connect addicts to recovery services, is one piece of a new approach he wants his city to take against the scourge of addiction. At similar facilities in Canada, Europe and Australia, medical professionals step in if a user overdoses. There are legal and political challenges in the U.S. Myrick needs state permission to open a supervised injection site, and his proposal is certain to face significant opposition. Myrick backs a law enforcement strategy that prioritizes treatment over arrests. State health officials haven't responded to a request for comment.
A high school senior was killed last Saturday night in a farming accident in the town of Gerry. Sheriff's deputies say they were called to the scene on 28th Creek Road about 6:30 PM. Officers say 18 year-old Alan Harding was operating a farm tractor when he had the accident... and, the vehicle overtuned. Officers say Harding was fatally injured. The Post-Journal is reporting that Harding was a senior at Cassadaga Valley High School. No one else was injured.
Three city residents are in the county jail without bail following two drug raids -- during which a loaded handgun was found -- at the Best Western Hotel in downtown Jamestown. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says members city and county's drug task forces... along with the State Police C-NET Team... raided rooms on the first and third floors of the West Third Street hotel... just after 3 PM Friday. He says they found a lot of powder cocaine, and extasy in the rooms.Samuelson adds they found the loaded pistol in the first-floor room... along with two suspects... 36 year-old Larry Hicks... and, 26 year-old Johnee Thompson. He says both are charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, third and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He adds the third suspect -- 39 year-old Dwight Leeper -- was found on the third floor with the 46 grams of cocaine and cash. Samuelson says Leeper is charged with third-degree possession.. and criminal tampering for trying to flush the drug evidence down a toilet. Anyone with information on the illegal trafficking of drugs in the city is asked to call the Confidential Tip-Line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
City police officials acknowledge that the simultaneous raids took place at a "public place..." but, say the "serious circumstances" involved led them to do the raid when they did. At 3:15 PM on Friday... JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says the hotel was still in "pre-check-in" time... and, there weren't as many people inside the Best Western. Samuelson says task force members tried to be as unintrusive as possible. There were activities going on across the street at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena... with a children's hockey tournament going on. Samuelson says officials felt it was best to get the drugs being trafficked, and the loaded hand-gun, out of the hotel.
A Jamestown man is jailed for allegedly harassing another person... and, throwing them over the top of a car. City police were called to the scene at 111 West Second Street about 1:30 PM Saturday... and, arrested Eric Goodlow for the incident... which was reportedly the continuation of an earlier domestic incident. Officers say Goodlow is charged with aggravated family offense... second-degree harassment... Grand Larceny... and, criminal obstruction of breating and blood cirdulation. Goodlow was arrested without incident... and, is being held pending arraignment.
The New York pension fund for state and local government workers reports an investment return of nearly 3 percent for the quarter that ended December 31st with an estimated value of 178.3-billion dollars. That follows the previous quarter when the fund lost 4 percent, which Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli attributed to late summer volatility in financial markets. DiNapoli, sole trustee of the fund, says there was some recovery while markets remain challenging across all asset classes. As of December 31st... it had about 37 of its investments in domestic stocks, 15.3 percent in international stocks, and 21 percent in bonds and mortgages. The rest was divided among cash, Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, private equity, real estate and other investments. The fund holds assets for more than a million government employees, retirees and beneficiaries.
A lot of work went into the effort to land nearly 5.9-million dollars in Impact Funding for four area school districts that include portions of the Seneca Nation territories. The Seneca Nation was well represented at the announcement by Congressman Tom Reed late last week at Silver Creek Central. Trudy Jackson, Education Director for the Cattaraugus Territory, says the Tribal Council played an important role. That approval was unanimous. Christina Jimerson, a Tribal Council member, says they were glad to see the funding approved. She believes it will not only help taxpayers, but also the students who are served by the districts. Jimerson says they were also glad to see the cooperation involved in getting the applications together. The Silver Creek... Lake Shore... Gowanda... and, Salamanca City School districts will each receive a share of the funding.
Chautauqua County residents have saved just over 5-million dollars on their prescription medications through a discount drug program over the past nearly seven years. That from County Executive Vince Horrigan... who says prescription users have saved 10 to 20-percent on brand name drugs... and, 20-to-70 percent on generics using their ProAct Prescription Discount Card. Horrigan says the program was exclusively endorsed by Chautauqua County in December of 2009. Since the program was implemented... he says residents have filled more than 150,000 prescriptions saving an average of 50-percent... or 32-dollars-71-cents on each prescription they fill. For people who have no prescription drug insurance coverage... Horrigan says the program has provided them with "sizeable savings." For more information on the program... go on-line to NYRxDiscountCard.com... or call the County Executive’s Office at 753-4211.
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout were headliners at the first gathering of the New York State Progressive Elected Officials Network. It's a new organization created to help liberal politicians work together... and, held two days of meetings last weekend at an Albany-area hotel. The coalition says the event gave elected officials from around the state the chance to discuss politics related to ``economic justice,'' education, climate change, housing and other issues. Nearly 100 officials attended. DiNapoli, a Democrat, was re-elected in 2014. Teachout, a Fordham University law professor, unsuccessfully challenged Governor Andrew Cuomo in the 2014 Democratic primary for governor. She is now running for the U.S. House seat in the Hudson Valley that Republican Chris Gibson says he's going to vacate to run for Governor.
(**New!)Three city residents found with illegal drugs, loaded hand-gun at Jamestown hotel...
Three people are jailed following two drug raids -- during which a loaded handgun was found -- at the Best Western Hotel in downtown Jamestown. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says members city and county's drug task forces... along with the State Police C-NET Team... raided rooms on the first and third floors of the hotel... located at 200 West Third Street. Samuelson says they found the gun on the first-floor... where they found 36 year-old Larry Hicks, and 26 year-old Johnee Thompson. He says they also found a quantity of powder cocaine, extacy pills, and more than $5,000 cash. Both Hicks and Thompson are charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, third and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He adds the third suspect -- 39 year-old Dwight Leeper -- was found with 46 grams of cocaine and cash on the third floor. Samuelson says Leeper is charged with third-degree possession.. and criminal tampering for trying to eliminate the drug evidence. He says the raids were conducted as quickly as possible because the hotel is a "public" location. More Monday. Anyone with information on the illegal trafficking of drugs in the city is asked to call the Confidential Tip-Line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
McLaughlin lauds town of Ellicott plow crews for work in Tuesday's Winter Storm...
Ellicott Town Supervisor Pat McLaughlin is commending the town's Highway Department for a job well done during this past Tuesday's major Winter Storm. The nearly one-foot of snow that fell between Midnight and 1 PM that afternoon keep local and county plow crews very busy. McLaughlin says all four of their full-time plow trucks were out during that entire time... making four passes on some roads. He says crews were out in the "wee-hours" of the morning to make sure that roads, and local streets were passable for the morning rush hour. Otherwise... he says the town has had a good Winter season because the plows haven't had to be on the roads that much this year. McLaughlin says that's eased the pressure on the town's 2016 budget. He made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the five Media One Group Stations.
Cuomo says the fact Skelos and Silver are collecting pensions an "insult..."
New York's governor says it adds ``insult to injury'' that taxpayers have to pay for pensions for elected officials convicted of corruption. Andrew Cuomo's comments late this week came after the state comptroller's office announced that two former legislative leaders found guilty of corruption are getting pensions. Ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos' annual state pension is $95,831. Ex- Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is getting $79,222. Skelos, a Long Island Republican, was convicted of using his influence to get his son no-show jobs with companies that had state interests. Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, was convicted of trading favors to enrich himself. Both have asked for the convictions to be thrown out, arguing crimes weren't proven. Cuomo supports a Constitutional amendment that would strip pensions from elected officials convicted of official misconduct.
Director discusses interior renovations made to Reg Lenna Center for Arts theater...
The Reg Lenna Center for the Arts is putting the finishing touches on some major renovations at the 95 year-old Jamestown theater. Executive Director, Kathleen Eades, says part of the project involved removing some seats near the stage in the first three rows. She says that'll allow room for dancing when they have concerts, and allow children to better see the stage from the front. Eades says they've also repaired all the seats, done significant repainting, and are putting down new carpeting. In addition... they're responded to 20 years of requests from sound engineers, and moved the audio console to the main floor to they get a better read on the sound. The Lenna, Holmberg, Gebbie and Sheldon Foundations... and Cummins Engine Company helped fund the renovations. With the cooperation of the BPU, Jamestown Sign Company, and Ahlstrom Sheaffer Electric, all the lights in the Reg marquis have been changed to LED's. The next big show at the Reg is Cirque Ziva on Feb. 27.
Library Director talks about passing of author Harper Lee...
The literary world is mourning the loss of author Harper Lee... whose book ``To Kill a Mockingbird'' became an enduring best-seller and classic film. Lee's death was confirmed Friday by a spokesperson for Harper Collins. She was 89. "To Kill a Mockingbird" took a "child's-eye" view of racial injustice in a small Southern town in the 1930s. The Prendergast Library in Jamestown made "To Kill a Mockingbird" it's "Big Read" feature several years ago. Current Library Director Tina Scott says they found the book's popularity had not at all diminished... and, it may have been their most successful "Big Read."
A Brocton man is being treated for serious injuries after he fell off his snowmobile, and was run over by another one in a field off Thornton Road in the town of Cherry Creek. Sheriff's officers say 44 year-old James Karalus of Route 380 was riding with a group about 4:15 PM yesterday when he lost control in deep snow. Deputies say Karalus then fell off the sled, and was struck by a second snowmobile, been riden by 52 year-old Gregory Irish of Park Street. Cherry Creek and Ellington fire rescue crews treated Karalus at the scene, and he was flown by Starflight Helicopter to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie for further treatment.
The anti-opiate drug Narcan was used twice yesterday on an unresponsive woman in the town of Ellery Wednesday... but, the woman later died at the hospital of an overdose. Sheriff's officers were called to the undisclosed scene shortly before 10 AM for the suspected overdose. However... authorities say they won't know until toxicology tests are done whether the woman had taken Heroin. On arrival... deputies say they administered two doses of the Narcan nasal spray to the 22 year-old woman... and, Fluvanna Fire rescuers performed CPR. Officers say the patient was transferred to WCA Hospital... where she was pronounced dead on arrival.
The Chautauqua County Legislature's main financial committee has approved funding the county's lawsuit brought by the town of Ellery against the proposed landfill expansion. That from Audit and control Committee Chairman Pierre Chagnon... who says the measure was approved at Thursday morning's committee meeting. The amount to be funded is unknown at this point. The town filed suit after a possible "host agreement" for Ellery fell through. Chagnon declined comment on the measure because he represents both the town of Ellery... along with the town of North Harmony... on the legislature. The measure was also approved earlier this week by the legislature's Public Facilities Committee.
The county legislature's Audit and Control Committee has approved final funding and environmental declarations on six new, streambank projects for this year. The panel took the action at Thursday's meeting. Chairman Pierre Chagnon says the bulk of the funding for the projects comes from New York state. Chagnon says they're are designed to stop streambank erosion... which he says will accomplish three ways to help alleviate Chautauqua Lake's invasive weed problem. Chagnon says preventing streambank erosion will help stop the nurtrients the weeds feed on from getting into the lake. He says the county will have to kick-in about 370-thousand dollars in matching funds for the state grants of just over one-million dollars. In addition... Chagnon says the committee also approved the State Environmental Quality Review... or SEQRs for all six projects. He says a negative declaration was approved because they will have no adverse impact on the environment. The measures now go before the full legislature next week.
Both former New York legislative leaders found guilty of public corruption are getting state pensions, each having filed for monthly checks after their convictions by federal juries late last year. The State comptroller's office says ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos' annual state pension is 95-thousand-831 dollars. Ex- Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is getting $79,222. Skelos, a Long Island Republican, was convicted of using his influence in return for getting his son no-show jobs with companies that had state interests. Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, was convicted of doing that and authorizing state grants in return for legal fees. Both have asked their trial judges to throw out their convictions, arguing crimes weren't proven. Governor Andrew Cuomo is pushing legislation to strip pensions from any elected official convicted of official misconduct.
Jamestown public works crews have begun their major clean-up of the downtown area of the city in the wake of Tuesday's major northeast storm. Public Works Director Jeff Lehman says all 13 plow routes were being taken care of once the snow started falling heavy between 5 and 6 AM. Lehman says the city's in pretty good shape right now... with just a few side streets now being cleared. Lehman says his department was staffing the plow routes... starting at 1 AM Tuesday morning. However... he says they started to get overwhelmed by a "heavy amount of snow" just before the morning rush hour. At that point... Lehman says they fell behind and had trouble catching up. The snow was falling at a rate of about an inch per hour... and, a little more than that at times. Lehman says they have one plow route for all the main streets... and 12 that handle residential areas. However... he adds they will move one or more of the residential plows into the downtown area if the snow is like it was Tuesday.
The DPW late Thursday announced a major effort to clean-up the downtown area this Saturda morning. Director Jeff Lehman says there will be no parking in downtown Jamestown this Saturday, February 20th, from 2 AM to 8 AM to facilitate snow removal. Motorists must find alternate parking areas.
Local Congressman Tom Reed is blasting China for unfair trade practices after the communist nation reportly dumped cheap aluminum on to the world market. Reed says the move undercut domestic manufaturers... and, the Corning Republican adds he has signed onto a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee... urging the chairman to begin an investigation into international business practices within the aluminum industry. Reed says "enough is enough..." and "the U-S is going to enforce the trade agreements we have..." along with the World Trade Organization standards. He says this will also be part of the U-S negotiations on a new Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. China is not a partner in that group... but, he says once the agreement is in place, the U-S will be able to use that as leverage with the Chinese. Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media.
The rising number of heroin overdoses are being felt in the north county area... and, Dunkirk-Fredonia area police officials say it's becoming a drain on their resources. Fredonia Village Police Chief Brad Meyers says they have had three cases within the past week, including one outside a local business. He says it could have had a tragic ending.Police and fire units were able to use Narcan to revive the unidentified person who was then transported to Brooks Memorial Hospital. Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano says it's just an example of the growing problem that is sweeping the state... and, much of the nation. He says it's a "drain" on their departments... but, adds it's also a "drain on society" because young people are often the victims. Local Congressman Tom Reed is one of eight congressional members asking the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy to hold a forum in the upstate area on ways to combat the problem.
A Cattaraugus County man has pleaded guilty in federal court to illegally buying and selling elephant tusks.. and, trafficking other prohibited wildlife. U-S Attorney William Hochul, Junior has announced that 77 year-old Ferdinand Krizan of Franklinville pled guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank Geraci, Junior to trafficking in prohibited wildlife. Hochul says the charge carries a maximum penalty of 5-years in prison and a fine of 250-thousand dollars. U-S Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Chief of Law Enforement, Edward Grace, says "elephants are being slaughtered daily by poachers for their ivory. Each tusk represents one step closer to their extinction." In November of 2013... Prosecutors say Krizan, who owned Fred’s Antiques in Franklinville, purchased two elephant tusks from an auction house in Montreal, Quebec for 4-thousand-320 Canadian dollars. They say the defendant then had the tusks shipped to an address in Niagara Falls, Ontario... and, later tried to bring them across the Rainbow Bridge... violating the Endangered Species Act. He sold the tusks in May of 2014... which he knew was illegal. Hochul says the total value of the wildlife trafficked by the defendant is just under 142-thousand dollars. Sentencing for Krizan is set for May 19th.
A partnership involving the region's Congressman, the Seneca Nation, and four area school districts, has resulted in federal funding to help lessen the property tax burden on local residents in districts with large areas of tax exempt property. Corning Republican Tom Reed late Wednesday announced more than 5-million dollars in Impact Funding for the districts that include portions of the Seneca Nation. They include Silver Creek, Lake Shore, Gowanda and the Salamanca City Schools. Reed made the announcement in Silver Creek... saying there were several key players involved. Seneca Nation President Maurice John says it's not a case of entitlement money... but, likened it to the loss of tax base if there's a military base in that community. The Salamanca district will pick up the largest share of funding... 4.3-million dollars... followed by Gowanda... with 884-thousand dollars... Lake Shore with 483-thousand... and, Silver Creek with 201-thousand dollars. The districts will receive the funding for their 2015-16 school year budgets.
The Chautauqua County Sheriff's office is seeing another surge in the number of IRS Phone Scams taking place in the county... and, one person in the Findley Lake-area was recently a victim. Sheriff Joe Gerace says the scam involves a person... often in a foreign country... calling you and claiming to be with the IRS. Gerace says they also demand payment of some outstanding tax bill... or try to obtain personal information. He says hang-up on them. Gerace says two things bad can happen with these calls... one is you pay a toll fee by calling back. He says many of these IRS Scams originate from Pakistan. Secondly... he says you end up sending a money order, credit card or Western Union to scam artists. Gerace again emphasizes that the IRS will not originate any tax inquiry by phone. He says they will initiate any inquiry via the mail. Gerace says another indication that the call is a scam is that the caller will require you to use a "specific payment" method to take care of your taxes -- such as a pre-paid debit card.
The county's top-law enforcement official say his department has initiated a new program to help locate adults or children who wander away due to Alzheimer's Disease... Autism... or other cognitive conditions. Sheriff Joe Gerace says they have started Project LIFESAVER... in which clients are fitted with a bracelet that emits a specific frequency that his department can track... using a special tracking antenna. Gerace says he has two certified deputies who are trained in locating... and, equiping clients with the special braclets. He says they can do the search using their helicopter... but, most of the time... that's not necessary. Gerace says there is a fee for the service... but, adds there is funding available to defray the cost for low-income residents. He says part of the cost is replacing the batteries. Gerace says there are currently 5-million Americans who suffer from Alzheimer's Disease... which is the fastest growing developmental disability.. as well as Autism. For more information on Project LIFESAVER... call the Sheriff's Office... or go on-line to Sheriff-dot-US.
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly driving drunk when his car was involved in an accident in the town of Poland late Tuesday night. Sheriff's officers say they were called to the scene on the Falconer-Frewsburg Road just after 11 PM. Deputies say... when they arrived... the driver -- 26 year-old Dane Sobocinski -- was allegedly intoxicated and he was taken into custody. Once he was processed... officers say Sobocinski was released with traffic tickets from Poland Town Court. He will appear later on charges of DWI... DWI per se... failure to stop at a stop sign... and, for having a suspended registration.
Governors from 17 states are committing to work together to seek cleaner energy and transportation, and to build a better electrical grid. The bipartisan group announced on Tuesday what it's calling the Governors' Accord for a New Energy Future. The governors intend to work together on energy planning and policies. The accord says the goal is to expand participating states' economies while protecting citizens' health and the environment. The governors are from New York... California... Connecticut... Delaware... Hawaii... Iowa... Massachusetts... Michigan... Minnesota... New Hampshire... Nevada... Oregon... Pennsylvania... Rhode Island... Vermont... Virginia... and Washington. The states include nearly 40 percent of the nation's population.
Clean-up continuing after Winter Storm dumps 8 to 12 inches in Jamestown-area; two-feet in Rochester-area...
The clean-up is continuing today with more snow falling in the Jamestown-area -- and all of Western New York. However... it's not the 8 to 12 inches we got from Tuesday's major storm. The snowfall actually did set a record at the National Weather Service Office at the Buffalo Airport yesterday. The Weather Service reports 8.7-inches had fallen through late afternoon... which broke the old record of 6.6-inches for Feb. 16. Cold will be the issue tonight with the mercury dropping to between zero and 5-above zero.
As the Rochester area digs out from under nearly 2 feet of snow, some residents are questioning how local authorities handled the storm. The snow started falling early Tuesday and continued into the morning commute, causing major traffic backups on interstate highways and other roads across Monroe County. The wet, heavy snow caused tractor-trailers to become bogged down on Interstate 490, closing the highway in both directions and stranding motorists heading to work. Some people were stuck in their vehicles for several hours.
Three Heroin overdose cases reported in North County area in recent days...
The rising number of heroin overdoses are being felt in the Dunkirk-Fredonia area and local police officials say it's becoming a drain on their departments. Fredonia Village Police Chief Brad Meyers says they have had three cases within the past week, including one outside a local business. He says it could have had a tragic ending... because the person ingested the Heroin... then drove from Forestville. Police and fire units were able to use Narcan to revive the unidentified person who was then transported to Brooks Memorial Hospital. Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano says it's just an example of the growing problem that is sweeping the state... and, causing big problems in several parts of the country.
Reed says Obama nominee to replace Scalia on high court won't get a "free pass" to the bench...
If President Obama decides to nominate an "ultra-liberal" judge to the U-S Supreme Court to replace late Justice Antonin Scalia... it won't be approved by the Senate's Republican majority. Those are the feelings of Chautauqua County Congressman Tom Reed. During this week's conference call with Southern Tier Media... the Corning Republican was asked about the likelyhood that Obama will nominate a replacement. That person would have to be confirmed by the Senate. However... Reed says he's being a "realist" about the situation. He says "I know that this president has committed himself to changing the country to a 'liberal ideology,' but adds, "I don't anticipate that the president's going to be nominating anyone of that ideology." But... if he does, it will go "nowhere in the Senate." Reed says Obama's nominee...whoever it is... won't get a "free pass" to the bench. Some Republican Senators have already told the president to not even send up a nominee, because there's less than a year left in Mr. Obama's second-term. However... Obama has already said he will nominate someone. A few names have come up... including his current Attorney General... Loretta Lynch.
Jamestown man arrested on Felony warrants tries to elude police...
A city man is jailed without bail on several felony warrants following his arrest late Monday after he tried to elude Jamestown police during a street check. Officers on patrol spotted spotted 28 year-old William Blakey on the side of the road on Forest Avenue about 5 p.m., and, police knew he was sought on the warrants. However... Blakey ran inside a nearby home, and refused officers commands to turn himself in. They later found him hiding upstairs in the house. Blakey was arrested on several charges... including Felony second-degree criminal mischief... obstrucing governmental administration... and, endangering the welfare of a child. He was arraigned and sent to the county lock-up.
State sees factory activity pick up... but, only by small amount...
Factory activity shrank in New York for the seventh straight month in February, though measures of new orders and shipments ticked up from very low levels. The New York Federal Reserve's Empire State manufacturing index rose to minus 16.6, up from minus 19.4 in the previous month. January's level was the lowest since the Great Recession. Any reading below zero indicates contraction.
N E W S R E L E A S E
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Sheriff Gerace Warns about IRS Scam -- Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph A. Gerace advised that numerous County residents are still receiving calls from individuals who are claiming to be from the IRS. Some of the calls are somewhat intimidating and demand a call back immediately. The callers are either demanding payment or trying to obtain personal information. Sheriff Gerace warns residents not to give out any personal information or make a payment to these callers and recommends you hang up on them. The scammers are asking people to call a phone number in response. Do not call this number.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen issued a press release stating:
“These telephone scams are being seen in every part of the country, and we urge people not to be deceived by these threatening phone calls,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “We have formal processes in place for people with tax issues. The IRS respects taxpayer rights, and these angry, shake-down calls are not how we do business.”
According to the IRS release:
There are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam.
The IRS will never:
1. Call to demand immediate payment, nor will we call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
3. Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:
• If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
• If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484 or atwww.tigta.gov.
Sheriff Joseph A. Gerace email@example.com
Western New York, and Chautauqua County, remain under Winter Storm Warning this afternoon...
Snow continued to fall about about an inch per hour in some parts of Western New York... and, we had received 6 to 9 inches of snow by mid-morning here in the Jamestown-area. However... the snow should lighten up early this afternoon. Most schools in Chautauqua County are closed for the mid-Winter break. However... most of the few that were open closed today. Forecaster Dave Zaff with the National Weather Service says the highest snow totals will be to the east... where Zaff says we could see 18 inches of snow around Rochester. This snow appeared somewhat grainy... but, still heavy. Zaff says we're seeing a "synoptic..." or general snowfall from this system that's different than typical lake effect snow. He says it will depend on where you are... but, snowfall totals will be between 8 and 18 inches of snow... with higher amounts around Rochester, and just south of Rochester. Just to the east of Rochester... most places were seeing a mix of precipitation including rain, sleet and snow. It was all rain in much of eastern New York.
Winter Storm affecting all of Ustate NY...
A mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain is making driving conditions dicey for commuters across upstate New York, with winter storm warnings and hazardous weather advisories posted throughout the state. Separate crashes occurring within an hour... and, a few miles of one another shut down the Thruway in both directions just northwest of Albany early Tuesday morning. One lane is now open in each direction. State police say there was freezing rain at the time of the accidents but the causes of the crashes are being investigated.
Flames destroy barn in Fredonia-area...
Firefighters from a half dozen departments battled a blaze that has destroyed a barn in the town of Pomfret. Fredonia firefighters were called out to the fire at 8836 Fredonia-Stockton Road, near lower Hahn Road around 11:30 p.m. Monday. Fredonia firefighters received mutual aid from Cassadaga, Stockton, East and West Dunkirk and Sheridan along with County Emergency Services. The city of Dunkirk sent an engine to standby at Fredonia Fire Headquarters. The last units cleared the scene around 3 a.m. There were two rekindles. No one was hurt... and, there's no word on a cause.
Nine new members inducted to Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame...
It was a night of excitement and story-telling before a capacity audience at last night's 35th annual Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame Induction banquet. The inductees came from all parts of the county... and, even across the country to be on hand. Several sports catagories were well represented... including Cross-Country. Robert "Doc" Rappole was inducted for his work at Maple Grove High School... where the girl's team won three straight State titles in 2010-through-2012. However... he was also a teammate of a past inductee -- Dan Stimson. Track and Field was also represented by SUNY College at Fredonia Coach Jim Ulrich... whose teams won 20 consecutive SUNY Athletic Conference Championships. Wrestling was well-represented with former Fredonia High School Coach Alex Conti... who is now with the U-S Women's Olympic Team. The late "Flash" Olson... who coached several league wrestling championship teams at Southwestern was also inducted. Southwestern graduate Dan Hoard went in for sportscasting. He's the play-by-play voice of the Cinncinati Bengals. Dunkirk's Julie Gawronski was inducted for staring in several high school and college sports. She worked for the U-S Olympic Committee from 2007-12. Also inductee posthumously was Falconer native Heather Leffort Edborg. Fredonia swimmer Sarah Schuster Morrison was also inducted... as was the late Parke Hill Davis of Jamestown. He is known as the "grandfather" of Football statistics.
Don Beebe talks about "not quiting," and charactor at CSHOF Dinner...
Another member of the Buffalo Bill's teams that went to four Super Bowls was the keynote speaker at last night's Hall of Fame banquet... and, he's become a great example of what it means 'not to quit.' Retired Wide Receiver Don Beebe was a big part of the Bill's success from 1990 to 1994. However... he's probably most well-known for coming up from behind... and, knocking the ball away from Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Leon Lett. Lett had recovered a fumble... and appeared on the way to scoring an easy touchdown. He says "God gave me a play that stapled 'I'm never giving up' on me." Beebe says he didn't think much about the play because the Bills were getting beat handily. However... he says he was inundated with letters of support following the game... and, still wins accolades from coaches who tell their players to "never give up."
Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office investigating fatal snowmobile accident...
One person has been killed and another critically injured following a head-on crash involving two snowmobiles in the town of French Creek. Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene along Snowmobile Trail 4-F near Conway Road about 11:40 pm Saturday night for a serious snowmobile accident. Officers say one of the riders... 25 year-old Matthew TeCulver of Panama... was pronounced dead on arrival at a local hospital. The other rider... identified as 28 year-old William Rick of Union City, Pennsylvania... was in critical condition. The crash is under investigation.
Upstate New York sees record, or near record cold early Sunday morning, Winter Storm approaches...
There was at least one record set... and, a near record when bitter Arctic air moved into western New York for the first time this Winter early Sunday morning. The frigid conditions dropped the mercury into the minus numbers across the region... with a 6-below reading at the Jamestown Airport... and, it got as cold as 15-below in Olean in Cattaraugus County. That from Forecaster Steve Welch with the National Weather Service in Buffalo... who says the record was set in Watertown along the eastern shore of Lake Ontario. That was -37 which beat the old record of -30 in 1979. Buffalo had a low of -12... just missing the record of -13. Wind chills across the region pushed to minus-25 to minus-30 degrees. Temperatures will warm to about 30 today... but, Welch says our next Winter Storm will move in late tonight... with significant accumulations forecast. He says the storm is tracking closer to western New York... and, accumulations will be 7 to 13 inches through Tuesday night. A Winter Storm Warning has now been posted for Chautauqua County for tonight through Tuesday night.
National Comedy Center officials takes over operation of the Gateway Train Station in Jamestown...
The National Comedy Center has officially assumed operation of the Gateway Train Station in Jamestown... and, has announced it will extend new event rental opportunities through 2016. In a printed release last weekend... Center officials say use of the facility for events will now include the new Comedy Center Park and Patio, and, newly constructed components of the site that were developed in 2015 -- using National Comedy Center grant funds. A published report also says that Train Station General Manager Lee Harkness has been let go with the change-over in operations. In the release... Comedy Center Chairman Tom Benson said that construction planning for the site has been updated to allow rentals beyond the prior June 30th cut-off. Benson says that "as we have moved through the final design process, we have gained more visibility on the construction plan. The Comedy Center began leasing the train station on Jan. 1. For more information on renting the Gateway Train Station... contact Dallas Thurn at 484-0800.
Teresi says Athenex drug manufacturing plant to be built in town of Dunkirk will benefit the entire county...
Governor Andrew Cuomo "personally drove" the effort to locate a new drug manufacturing plant -- and it's 900 jobs -- in northern Chautauqua County. That from Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi, who was among the officials in Dunkirk last Thursday for Cuomo's announcement that Athenex will be locating the 300,000 square foot facility at a site on Route 5 in the town of Dunkirk. Teresi calls it "fantastic news" for Dunkirk... and all of Chautauqua County. He says Cuomo put the deal together, and "carried it on his back." Teresi says Cuomo was driven by three reasons to make the project happen... one was because the business, which was spawned at the University of Buffalo research facility, has great potential. He says the governor also wants to spur "high-tech" business in the state... and, wanted to do something for Dunkirk -- which has seen major job losses the past few years. Teresi says the project will have a "positive impact" on the county's tax base... and, ultimately boost county sales tax revenues. He made his comments on this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program.
State Police kept busy by Super Bowl Weekend STOP-DWI Campaign...
New York's STOP-DWI initiative on Super Bowl weekend kept state troopers busy. State Police say the issued nearly 47-hundred tickets were issued last weekend during the crackdown, which began at 2 p.m. Saturday and continued until midnight on Super Bowl Sunday. During the 34-hour campaign... state police increased patrols and conducted sobriety checkpoints. Troopers arrested 92 people for DWI and investigated 157 accidents, which resulted in 29 people injured but no fatalities. In all, 1,772 tickets were issued for speeding, 141 for seatbelt violations, 101 for distracted driving, and 63 for violations of the move-over law. Last year's effort ran for just 12 hours on Super Bowl Sunday. State police issued 1,305 tickets and arrested nine people for DWI.
Two treated for drug overdoses in Cherry Creek...
Chautauqua County Sheriff's officers report two more saves from opiate drug overdoses using Naloxone over the past weekend. Deputies were called to the scene in Cherry Creek about 11:25 p.m. last Saturday... and, found two unresponsive subjects. They were joined at the scene by Cherry Creek and South Dayton Fire rescue crews... who assisted. The Sheriff's patrol assisted crews in administering Narcan to revive the two victims. Both were then transported to Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk for further treatment.
Frigid wind chills to follow Lake Effect Snow that drops about a foot of new snow in parts of Jamestown-area...
The Lake effect snow returned to the Jamestown-area overnight... and, has ushered in the coldest air of the Winter Season so far. Forecaster Tony Ansuini with the National Weather Service in Buffalo says the snow moved southward late last night as an arctic front passeed across the region. Ansuini says some areas may wind up with about a foot of snow. But... the coldest air of the season has moved in... and, he says it'll be a reminder of last year's record breaking February. Ansuini says the high today will struggle to get above zero, and it'll fall to about -5 overnight tonight into Sunday. With winds reaching 35 mph at times... that'll plunge the wind chill to -25 to -35. The Weather Service is continuing a Wind Chill Warning until 10 a.m. tomorrow, and a Lake Effect Snow Advisory until 1 a.m. Sunday.
Presidents Day Weekend Winter Festival on despite bitter wind chills...
Despite the frigid temperatures forecast for Saturday... all activities planned for the annual President's Day Weekend Winter Festival are still on in Mayville. However... the timing on a few events may be adjusted due to the sub-zero temperatures and wind chills predicted during the day. That from the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce's Craig Colburn... who is lending a hand to the Mayville/Chautauqua Chamber... which which is again putting on the event. Colburn says activities Saturday run from now to 10 p.m., and, one of the big events will be snowmobile rides, beginning at 2:30 p.m. The annual Polar Bear Plunge will be held at 12 p.m. One thing that has changed already is that all parking will be free this year. Colburn says there is concern over having volunteers out being out in the bitter cold conditions... and, there is no ice castle this year due to a lack of ice. He says the bon-fire is still on for 6:30 tonight... and, the fireworks begin at 8 p.m. The Winter Festival concludes Sunday with hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Local reaction very positive to Athenex announcement in Dunkirk...
People are still talking about Governor Andrew Cuomo's visit to the city of Dunkirk on Thursday and his proposed $200-million investment by the state into the proposed Athenex facility to be built in the town of Dunkirk. Cuomo says the facility will produce 900 jobs. There would also be another 500 at the company headquarters in Buffalo. Thursday's announcement brought Congressman Tom Reed, who traveled to the city from the nation's capitol. Reed calls the project the product of elected leaders and the private sector working "well together." However, there are still a lot of questions about the project, including who will have an opportunity to land one of those 900 jobs. Mayor Willie Rosas says he's talked with company officials... who say they're ready to train local residents looking for jobs. Governor Cuomo indicated that state lawmakers including Senator Cathy Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell will be playing an important role.
State Health Officials say Flu Season now "prevalent" in NYS...
New York's health commissioner has declared influenza prevalent in the state, requiring health care workers who aren't vaccinated against it to wear masks in areas where patients are typically present. Dr. Howard Zucker says some workers in medical settings choose not to get shots, which he says provide a safe and effective way to reduce the risk of getting the flu and transmitting it. Zucker says requiring unvaccinated workers to wear masks around patients helps protect the sick, elderly and other vulnerable people. According to the state health department... laboratory-confirmed cases have been reported in 44 counties and all boroughs of New York City, with 817 flu-related hospitalizations so far this season and no reports of related pediatric deaths.
The Lake effect snow returned to the Jamestown-area overnight... and, has ushered in the coldest air of the Winter Season so far. Forecaster Tony Ansuini with the National Weather Service in Buffalo says the snow moved southward late last night as an arctic front passeed across the region. Ansuini says some areas may wind up with about a foot of snow. But... the coldest air of the season has moved in... and, he says it'll be a reminder of last year's record breaking February. A Wind Chill Warning will run until 10 AM Sunday for all of Western New York.
Despite the frigid temperatures forecast for today... all activities planned for the annual President's Day Weekend Winter Festival are still on in Mayville. However... the timing on a few events may be adjusted due to the sub-zero temperatures and wind chills predicted during the day. That from the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce's Craig Colburn... who is lending a hand to the Mayville/Chautauqua Chamber... which which is again putting on the event. Colburn says activities Saturday run from 10 AM to 10 PM... and, one of the big events will be snowmobile rides. One thing that has changed already is that all parking will be free this year. Colburn says there is concern over having volunteers out being out in the bitter cold conditions... and, there is no ice castle this year due to a lack of ice. He says the bon-fire is still on for 6:30 tonight... and, the fireworks begin at 8 PM. The Winter Festival runs from 10 AM to 4 PM Sunday.
People are still talking about Governor Andrew Cuomo's visit to the city of Dunkirk on Thursday and his proposed 200-million dollar investment by the state into the proposed Athenex facility to be built in the town of Dunkirk. Cuomo says the facility will produce 900 jobs. There would also be another 500 at the company headquarters in Buffalo. Thursday's announcement brought Congressman Tom Reed, who traveled to the city from the nation's capitol. There are still a lot of questions about the project, including who will have an opportunity to land one of those 900 jobs. Mayor Willie Rosas says he's talked with company officials... who say they're ready to train local residents looking for jobs. Governor Cuomo indicated that state lawmakers including Senator Cathy Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell will be playing an important role. Goodell says he's confident that the 200-million dollar investment will make it into the final budget... with the help of Young, who chairs the Senate's Finance Committee. Athenex officials hope to break ground in April.
County fire investigators are still looking for the cause of a house fire in the town of Portland that occured late Thursday. Officials say the blaze at 63-43 Ellicott Road was first reported about 4 PM... and, it destroyed the structure. Portland fire crews had help from Brocton, West and East Dunkirk, the city of Dunkirk, Fredonia, Mayville and Stockton departments. There were no injuries. The Red Cross is helping the six adults and one child who lived there.
With a temporary court injunction lifted... Chautauqua Institution can resume preperatory work on the 41.5-million dollar Amphitheater project. Chautauqua's Vice-President of Marketing George Murphy says they lost about two weeks of time due to the lawsuit. However... Murphy says they should make up that time with little trouble. They will lose about 75-thousand dollars because nothing regarding the project could be touched while a Temporary Court Injunction was in place. Murphy expects work to begin again early next week. Murphy says there will be a slight cost "overrun" on the project... but, even without working weekends... crews will get caught up. He says one of the major items to be taken care of first will be the removal of asbestos, and lead from the back "house area" of the Amp. He says they already have the permits for that. The project is to be completed in time for the 2017 season.
Calling it an historic day for the region... Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that hundreds of new jobs will be coming to the north county. During a formal event at Dunkirk Hig School... Cuomo says a cancer-treating drug manufacturing center will be built. He made the trip to Dunkirk despite sub-zero wind chills and the threat of lake effect snow, to announce the new company... Athenex. Cuomo says it will be a "game-changer" for the area... because of the spin-off effects on the economy with new homes purchased, along with vehicles, meals, and so on. State Senator Cathy Young... Assemblyman Andrew Goodell... and, local Congressman Tom Reed were also among the area officials who spoke at the event.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for an investigation of NRG Energy's handling of it's Dunkirk power plant. In a letter to the state Public Service Commission Wednesday... Cuomo describes what he calls grave concerns about the New Jersey company's behavior in the wholesale market and impact on the state. NRG announced plans to mothball the coal-fired plant in 2012... but, kept it operating through 2015 after receiving more than 110-million dollars from National Grid ratepayers. Cuomo says NRG was supposed to convert the plant to natural gas... and, he wants to know why that didn't happen and how that's affected consumers. NRG spokesman David Gaier says NRG stands by everything it's done and is surprised by the letter.
A lawsuit to stop the tearing down of the current Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater... and, replacing it with a new replica structure... has been dismissed. State Supreme Court Justice Frank Sedita-the-third issued his verbal decision this afternoon in Mayville. After expert testimony was given in court earlier this week... Sedita says he determined that the 41.5-million dollar project was a "minor action..." that did not fall under a local waterfront development law... and, complied with the state's Environmental Quality Review Act. He also emphasized that he was not making his ruling based on "whether or not the project should go forward." The lawsuit was brought by the preservation group "Save the Amp," and five institution residents.
The co-founder of the preservation group... "Save the Amp" is calling the court's decision to allow Chautauqua to go ahead with it's "renewal" project a "travesty." However... in a statement issued a short time after the decision by Judge Sedita was announced... Brian Berg did not announce whether the group would pursue further legal action in the matter. Berg was also critical of Chautauqua's leadership on the Amphitheater project. He says they believe that -- quote -- "history will judge President Tom Becker, the Board of Trustees and the Amp's donors not as they believe-- by the structure they are building---- but by the one they are destroying." He adds the board misled and ignored the community in moving ahead, and "destroying Chautauqua’s most valuable asset."
Two men are jailed in Warren County, Pennsylvania for their alleged involvement in the murder of a Russell, Pennsylvania teenager. State Police in Warren say they found the body of 18 year-old Marcus Mattson inside a residence in rural Brokenstraw Township -- near Youngsville -- early Thursday. The Warren Times-Observer reports that the main suspect... 25 year-old James McDaniel -- also of Russell... has confessed to killing Mattson. Warren County District Attorney Rob Greene tells the paper that the confession -- quote -- "gave us the location of the body and the condition of the body." McDaniel, and his alleged accomplice, Gary Williams of Northern Cambria, Pennsylvania... were both arraigned and jailed: McDaniel without bail... Williams on 200-thousand dollars bail. The body was found in an area not far from where Mattson's burned out car was found late last Sunday night. The case is believed to be drug-related.
The branch manager of the Eastside YMCA in Jamestown has been fired... and, the head of the Jamestown Y says they are moving in another direction to serve the diverse population in that part of the city. Jamestown "Y" Executive Director Mark Eckendorf Thursday confirmed that Max Martin... who has headed up the Eastside Y since 2011... was let go yesterday. However... Eckendorf says everyone there still thinks highly of Martin.
Eckendorf says there is concern about the "sustainability" of the Eastside Y... which is located on East Second Street... given the fact it's facing a "significant" funding cut in the coming year. Eckendorf says they are looking at eliminating the branch manager's position... and, hiring a youth specialist or program director. That person would be bi-lingual to help that area of the city's Hispanic Population. A public meeting on the future of the facility was held last night at the Eastside Y.
A strong fourth-quarter last has put the city of Jamestown "over the top" in getting enough sales tax to cover the city's projected budget for that revenue source. Comptroller Joe Bellitto told city lawmakers at this week's work session that they received just over 1.49-million dollars for the final three months of 2015... which was a nearly a 2-percent increase over 2014. Overall... Bellitto says the city received nearly 5.96-million dollars. He says the city had budgeted 5.87-million for 2015... so they got nearly 101.5-percent of their projected budget. While the figures were good news... Bellitto did caution the city may have trouble meeting the 2016 budget... mainly because of lower gasoline prices. He says the city has already noticed an impact on their sales tax proceeds. Bellitto says lower gas prices are certainly good news for local residents. However... he says the state, county and local governments get less in sales tax money from that. Local gas prices are now between 2-dollars-4 cents and 2-05 a gallon.
(**Alert)"Save the Amp" Case dismissed in state Supreme Court...
A lawsuit to stop the tearing down of the current Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater... and, replacing it with a new replica structure... has been dismissed. State Supreme Court Justice Frank Sedita-the-third issued his verbal decision this afternoon in Mayville. After expert testimony was given in court earlier this week... Sedita says he determined that the 41.5-million dollar project was a "minor action..." that did not fall under a local waterfront development law... and, complied with the state's Environmental Quality Review Act. He also emphasized that he was not making his ruling based on "whether or not the project should go forward." The lawsuit was brought by the preservation group "Save the Amp," and five institution residents.
State Police in Warren, Pennsylvania are confirming that they have found the body of a missing Russell teenager they believe was murdered. Troopers tell the Warren Times-Observer that the suspect... 25 year-old James McDaniel -- also of Russell -- has confessed to killing 18 year-old Marcus Mattson. Warren County District Attorney Rob Greene tells the paper that the confession -- quote -- "gave us the location of the body and the condition of the body." Greene says McDaniel is in police custody and will be arraigned later today. He says the discovery of the body and arrest are "a combined effort between the Pennsylvania State Police, Warren County Drug Task Force, and Warren County Probation." The body was found in a remote area of Youngsville, Pennsylvania... not far from where Mattson's burned out car was found late last Sunday night. The case is believed to be drug-related... and, a second suspect is being brought to Warren County.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for an investigation of NRG Energy's handling of its Dunkirk power plant. In a letter to the state Public Service Commission Wednesday... Cuomo describes what he calls grave concerns about the New Jersey company's behavior in the wholesale market and impact on the state. NRG announced plans to mothball the coal-fired plant in 2012... but, kept it operating through 2015 after receiving more than 110-million dollars from National Grid ratepayers. Cuomo says NRG was supposed to convert the plant to natural gas... and, he wants to know why that didn't happen and how that's affected consumers. NRG spokesman David Gaier says NRG stands by everything it's done and is surprised by the letter. He says the company will respond more fully in the days ahead.
Governor Cuomo is in Dunkirk today, making what officials call a "transformational" economic development announcement. According to a letter from Empire State Development to the county's Chamber of Commerce... the governor is at Dunkirk HIgh School to make the announcement. The event was scheduled to begin at 10:30 AM. No other information was made available... but, the governor has included a line-item in his 2016-17 budget for a 200-million dollar project to locate a "commercialization center" in the Dunkirk-area.
A strong fourth-quarter last has put the city of Jamestown "over the top" in getting enough sales tax to cover the city's projected budget for that revenue source. Comptroller Joe Bellitto told city lawmakers at this week's work session that they received just over 1.49-million dollars for the final three months of 2015... which was a nearly a 2-percent increase over 2014. Overall... Bellitto says the city received nearly 5.96-million dollars. He says the city had budgeted 5.87-million for 2015... so they got nearly 101.5-percent of their projected budget. While the figures were good news... Bellitto did caution the city may have trouble meeting the 2016 budget... mainly because of lower gasoline prices. Bellitto says lower gas prices are certainly good news for local residents. However... he says the state, county and local governments get less in sales tax money from that. Local gas prices are now between 2-dollars-4 cents and 2-05 a gallon.
The branch manager of the Eastside YMCA in Jamestown has been fired... and, the head of the Jamestown Y says they are moving in another direction to serve the diverse population in that part of the city. Jamestown "Y" Executive Director Mark Eckendorf today confirmed that Max Martin... who has headed up the Eastside Y since 2011... was let go yesterday. However... Eckendorf says everyone there still thinks highly of Martin. Eckendorf says there is concern about the "sustainability" of the Eastside Y... which is located on East Second Street... given the fact it's facing a "significant" funding cut in the coming year. A significant amount of Eastside Y funding has come from local foundations. Eckendorf says they are looking at eliminating the branch manager's position... and, hiring a youth specialist or program director. He says that person would be able to speak both English and Spanish. Eckendorf says details of the new position still have to be worked out. A public meeting on the next steps will be held at 6 PM this evening at the Eastside Y at 727 East Second Street.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is urging federal regulators to reject KeyCorp's 4.1-billion dollars deal to buy First Niagara Financial Group and create the 13th largest commercial bank in the United States. The New York Democrat says the proposed acquisition of Buffalo-based First Niagara by Cleveland-based KeyCorp would reduce retail banking competition in upstate New York, limit consumer access, and eliminate jobs. Cuomo is asking the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Justice Department's Antitrust Division to block it. First Niagara has nearly 400 locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Parts of the Jamestown-area will see up to a half-foot of snow overnight into this morning... and, the National Weather Service says at Lake Effect Snow Watch has now been issued for Thursday night through Friday evening. Forecaster Kirk Apfell with the Weather Service's Buffalo office says we remain under a Lake Effect Snow Warning until 4 PM today. Apfell says there'll be heavy Lake Effect at times through this morning. Apfell says the areas of more persistant snow will see 3 to 6 inches of snow overnight tonight... but, he adds interior areas and the lower elevations won't see as much. He says the lake snow areas may receive as much at 7 to 14 inches by late tomorrow afternoon. Apfell says we'll see a little more snow late Thursday into Friday night. Then... we'll see our sub-freezing temperatures fall to zero -- and below -- by late Friday and Saturday. Apfell says after we get back to the lower teens on Sunday... we'll warm up to around 30 degrees by next Monday... which is President's Day.
With snow back on the roads, and falling across the Jamestown-area... motorists need to again brush off their Winter driving skills. Sheriff Joe Gerace says it can be difficult going from bare pavement to snow covered and slippery... then back to bare pavement again. However... he says the first rule in Winter-time driving remains the same... slow down. Gerace says... even if you have four-wheel or "all-wheel drive..." you still have just four wheels and four brakes to stop with. He says be defensive, and adjust you're speed. The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department reported several cars off the road as temperatures dropped through the teens last night.
Tuesday afternoon's fatal car crash in the town of Ellicott is "a horrible tragedy" that underscores the need to pay attention to your driving. That from Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace on the two-car accident that claimed the life of 35 year-old Jill Hamrick of Gerry. Gerace says the department's thoughts and prayers go out to the families involved... adding that such accidents "shock us to reality...." Sheriff's deputies say the driver of a northbound car on Harris Hill Road... a 40 year-old Falconer woman... was reportedly distracted when she reached for an item in the vehicle... and, her car veered into Hamrick's car. Most of us have been distracted at one time or another... but, Gerace says you have to keep your eyes on the road. He cited the problem with taking phone calls or texts from cellphones. He says taking three seconds to glance at a text means you've traveled about the length of a football field at 55 MPH. Gerace says "that's a long time to have your eyes off the road."
Police say 11 children have been taken to a hospital with minor injuries after their school bus was struck from behind by a SUV during a snowy morning commute in western New York. West Seneca Police Lieutenant Dave Szmania (ZMAY'-nee-uh) says 35 children between the ages of five and 11 were on the bus when the accident happened about 8:30 AM Wednesday in the Buffalo suburb. After being checked by medical responders at the scene, 11 students were sent to Women and Children's Hospital in Buffalo as a precaution. The rest continued on to Allendale Elementary School on another bus. Szmania didn't know if the SUV driver was hurt or would be ticketed. The investigation into the crash is continuing. It was one of several accidents reported around the region as several inches of snow fell.
Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas says he's also disappointed by word that NRG Power intends to cut it's Payment in Lieu of Taxes by 85-percent next year. Rosas adds that he continues to work with local... state... and, federal elected officials continue to work together to keep the Dunkirk repowering project alive. However... Rosas has also heard that the city of Dunkirk may not be eligible for state funding that has been set aside for municipalities facing a shutdown of coal-powered plants. He explains the situation. Rosas says he's been in touch with State Senator Cathy Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell... and, adds that they are working to have the wording changed. He spoke with state officials about the city's situation when he traveled to Albany last month to attend Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State message.
Members of the Fredonia School Board have overwhelmingly approved a proposal to merge the district's football program with the Westfield and Brocton school districts. The board voted 6-to-1 Tuesday night in favor of the move. Most board members felt the need to combine the football program with the two neighboring districts... adding it would spur added benefits for other programs and academics. However... Board President Mike Bobseine voted against the resolution citing injury, costs and liability as major issues. Board Member Dave Giambrone, who voted in favor of the measure, felt such moves increase programs and even educational opportunities for students. The Interscholastic Athletics Sharing Agreement is a one-year contract... and, it will take effect this Fall.
Two Assembly members and other advocates of letting the terminally ill end their lives say the proposed law would limit suffering and has safeguards to prevent mistakes and abuse. Opponents, who on Tuesday included the Senate majority leader, aren't convinced. Bills pending in the Assembly and Senate since last year are getting a new push in Albany. Assembly member Amy Paulin, a Westchester Democrat whose sister died painfully and slowly from cancer, says people in that situation should be able to choose a calm, peaceful and dignified end at their chosen time. Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat, agrees. John Flanagan, the Long Island Republican who leads the Senate, says his immediate feeling is that he doesn't like it, adding any action should be approached with caution.
President Obama's final budget as president includes millions of dollars needed for the construction of a new national veterans' cemetery in western New York. U-S Senator Charles Schumer says the president's budget for the federal fiscal year 2017 includes 36-million dollars for the construction phase of the cemetery to be built on 132 acres in the Genesee County town of Pembroke, in between Rochester and Buffalo. While funding for the design and planning phases was already in place, the New York Democrat said in December that he would push Veterans Affairs officials to make sure money was set aside in the upcoming budget so construction could begin in 2017. The closest veterans' cemetery to the Buffalo and Rochester areas is in the Southern Tier in Bath, about 60 miles from Rochester and 90 from Buffalo.
Distracted driving is being blamed for a two-car, head on crash yesterday afternoon in the town of Ellicott that caused the death of a Gerry woman. Sheriff's officers say 35 year-old Jill Hamrick of Herrick Road was southbound on Harris Hill Road about 1:40 PM when the accident occured. Deputies say the driver of an on-coming car... 40 year-old Kerry Jo Mitchener of Falconer... was reportedly distracted when she reached for an item in the vehicle... and, her car veered into Hamrick's car. The "jaws of life" were brought in to free Hamrick from her vehicle. She was then taken to WCA Hospital... where she was pronounced dead. Mitchener suffered non-life threatening injuries and was transported to WCA for treatment. She is charged with failure to keep right. Harris Hill Road was closed for about 3-hours while the Sheriffs Department's Accident Reconstruction Team investigated the scene.
A burning gold Ford Explorer found in a remote location "off of Murray Hill Road" in Youngsville, Pennsylvania was last associated with 18 year old Marcus Matson. The Warren Times Observer reports that a passer by spotted the fire around 11:30pm Sunday. Lt. Wayne Kline with the Pensylvania State Police is "comfortable saying the fire was set". Police are trying to develop leads, but no one was in or around the vehicle at the time of the fire. Matson has not been seen since last Friday. His mother has set up a Facebook page as a way to share information. According to that page there will be a prayer service at 11am this Saturday at Lander United Methodist Church. State Police ask for anyone with information to please contact them.
Governor Andrew Cuomo will be in Dunkirk this coming Thursday morning to make what officials call a "transformational" economic development announcement. According to a letter from Empire State Development to the county's Chamber of Commerce... the governor will be at Dunkirk HIgh School to make the announcement at 10:30 AM. No other information was made available... but, the governor has included a line-item in his 2016-17 budget for a 200-million dollar project to locate a "commercialization center" in Chautauqua County. The Buffalo News recently reported that sources indicated it would be a plant for a drug manufacturer.
The county's Congressman is co-sponsoring legislation he says would allow local manufacturing communities to be designated for federal grant funding to encourage job creation. Corning Republican Tom Reed says the 'Make It In America Manufacturing Communities' Act makes a program started by the Obama Administration permanent. Reed adds that existing manufacturing communities with a geographic region would be allowed to apply for a two-year federal designation that makes them eligible for grant funding. Reed reiterates that advanced manufacturing will play a role in any effort to boost the economy of the western Southern Tier. He says it's a natural progression after lawmakers, and President Obama, approved Reed's "Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act" of 2014. He says it's another piece of the puzzle that shows how he and the other sponsors care about a manufacturing rebirth. Reed is encouraging coordination between different levels of government, business, and education to help manufacturers succeed. He made his comments for his weekly telephone Conference Call with Southern Tier Media.
State, local and county officials are continuing to work together as they deal with the uncertain future of the NRG Power plant in Dunkirk. The county, city, and Dunkirk City School District recently got notice that the company intends to reduce its PILOT payment by 85-percent. That would have a major impact all three entities as NRG completes work on "mothballing" the plant. State Senator Cathy Young says she was disappointed by the news, but remains determined to deal with the short-term impact. County Executive Vince Horrigan says he will continue to work closely Senator Young, and Assemblyman Andy Goodell to get transition funding for the city, and school district if -- and when -- they need it. Young says the group also continues to push NRG to move ahead with repowering. The Olean Republican says there is still some hope for the project... provided NRG can be part of a solution to deal with power "congestion" issues in Western New York. NRG Spokesman David Gaier pointed out that this past December and in January of this year, NRG made the full $8.1-million annual tax payment even though it wasn't required to under the PILOT agreement.
A new poll shows Hillary Clinton favored by registered New York Democrats... while Donald Trump leads among Republicans voters in the state. The Siena poll has Clinton beating Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders 55 percent to 34 percent if the primary were held now. In a Republican primary... the poll shows 34 percent would vote for Trump. Florida Senator Marco Rubio... and, Texas Senator Ted Cruz both were the choice of 16 percent of the voters. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has 11 percent support, followed by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush at 7 percent and Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 4 percent. The poll of 434 registered Democrats has a margin of error of 5.6 percentage points. The poll of 235 Republicans has a margin of 7 percentage points. New York's primary is April 19.
Republican Representative Chris Gibson is moving closer to a run for New York governor with the formation of a committee that allows him to raise money for a possible campaign. The three-term congressman from the Hudson Valley filed papers for an exploratory committee today with the state Board of Elections. The former Army colonel said that while he won't decide whether to run until after his final congressional term ends this year, the committee will allow him to raise money. Gibson has traveled around the state as he mulls a run. Democrats hold a 2-to-1 enrollment advantage in New York. Republicans have not held a statewide office since Governor George Pataki's term ended in 2006.
A Dunkirk man is jailed on 30-thousand dollars bail after being arrested during a traffic stop early yesterday morning on Eagle Street for allegedly being in possession of a significant amount of Methamphetime. Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano says that an officer observed 34-year-old Dale Miller, Junior, driving away from the 100-block... an area known for Meth dealing. Ortolano says police officers then searched Miller... and, found several bags containing Methamphetime. He was then arrested on one count each of fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation.
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly receiving public assistance while not reporting income he was getting from self-employment. Sheriff's officers say their investigation with the Department of Health and Human Services Program Integrity Unit led to the arrest of 42 year-old Jason Farrar. Deputies say Farrar allegedly applied for Medicaid and food stamp benefits... but, not reporting income. Farrar was arrested on two counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. Farrar was issued appearance tickets for Jamestown City Court. Deputies say cases of suspected welfare fraud may be reported by calling 1-800-388-5365.
The 2016 Winter Festival is coming up this weekend at Lakeside Park in Mayville... and, there is a winner in the annual Treasure Hunt Medallion search. Officials with the Mayville/Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce say "veteran" treasure hunter Jay Young of Jamestown found the medallion after the seventh clue was given. Chamber Spokeswoman Debbie Marsala says Yong found the Medallion behind a rock in the State Fishing Access Point... just off Main Street in Findley Lake. Marsala thanked this year's clue writers... Taylor Lehman and her grandmother, Janet Henderson of Busti. Young will receive his prize at the start of the Winter Festival Friday night.
A second meeting with the likely developer of some new, middle-income housing in the Spring Street area of Jamestown cleared up a number of misconceptions. Those are the feelings of City Council Housing Committee Chairwoman Marie Carubba... who briefed lawmakers on the meeting... which was held last Thursday night. Carubba says four other council members joined her at the meeting on the 10 to 11-million dollar project between Eighth and Crossman Streets. Carubba says that part of the northside needs a boost. Officials say there would be some 40 units that are part of the project... which Carubba says would be more similar to the Euclid Apartments development. A Cleveland, Ohio developer is heading up the project... with local help from Citizens Opportunity for Development and Equality -- or CODE. The project would be in the second-ward... which is represented by Councilman Tony Dolce. Dolce says plans are "very preliminary" right now, and dependent on financing. Carubba says the unit would be rented for 700 to 800-dollars a month.
Four witnesses took the stand yesterday in the State Supreme Court case involving the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater project. The group "Save the Amp" is suing to have the court block the 41.5-milion dollar project. Institution Spokesman, George Murphy, says Chautauqua's attorneys called three witnesses. They included Operations Manger John Shedd... and, Director of Programming Deborah Moore. Murphy says the third witness was board member Bob Jeffrey. He says "Save the Amp" attorney, Arthur Giacalone, called a preservation architect to the stand. After the testimony was given... Murphy says Judge Frank Sedita-the-third said he had enough testimony to make a decision. He says he will render that this Thursday at 1 PM.
A Jamestown man convicted of trying to shoot and kill another man in the summer of 2014 has been sentenced to 8 years in state prison. Acting Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson says 21 year-old Isaiah Pearson was sentenced to the prison time for second-degree attempted murder, and first-degree assault. The incident occured in the Appleyard Terrace area of East Second Street. Swanson adds that Pearson also received 8 years for second-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, second-degree burglary. The defendant also received an indeterminate sentence of 1 1/3 to 4 years for fourth-degree grand larceny. Swanson says Pearson also received 5 years post-release supervision on the attempted murder charge.
The town of Ellery is suing Chautauqua County because the county wants to develop a new cell at the County Landfill. County Executive Vince Horrigan says he's "disappointed" by the action... adding that the county made an offer to town officials regarding a host agreement... but, he says they rejected it. Horrigan says the legal papers were filed against the county last Tuesday. He feels the "host payment" initially proposed was "fair and reasonable..." but, adds they want "a huge amount more than that." Horrigan did not specify how much the town was seeking. The new cell would be located on property the county already owns.
We has another day of unseasonably mild weather yesterday... but, some of the coldest air of the season will hit the area by late this week. It's coming from a storm system that's been hitting the upper Midwest. Temperatures will fall into the mid-30s for a high today... and, we'll see some snow. However... the mercury will only get into the single digits by this coming Saturday. That from Forecaster John Hitchcock of the National Weather Service in Buffalo. With the cold temperatures... expect the return of lake effect snow by mid-week. However... once we get past Sunday... temperatures will climb back into the upper 20s Monday. We'll have the latest forecast coming up.
State Police in Warren are asking the public to be on the look-out for a teenaged boy who has been reported missing in Pine Grove Township. Troopers say 18 year-old Marcus Allen Mattson left his home on Main Street in Russell, Pennsylvania at about 11 AM last Friday. He has not been seen nor heard from since. Police add that Mattson drove off in a 2004 gold-colored Ford Explorer. Anyone with information on Marcus Mattson's whereabouts is asked to call State Police in Warren at 1-(814)-728-3600... or Warren County Crime Stoppers.
Nurses in New York want state lawmakers to set minimum staffing requirements to address what they say is a significant understaffing problem at hospitals around New York state, a problem they say puts patients at risk. The nurses will kick off the effort to pass the legislation on Tuesday at the state Capitol. They note that nurses have filed thousands of formal protests alleging understaffing at hospitals around the state. But... hospital executives say the requirement would add billions of dollars to health care costs that would be passed on to patients and undermine their flexibility to set their own staffing levels by imposing top-down requirements. The proposal has been debated in the Legislature for years. It has bipartisan support but its outlook this year is unknown.
Endurance athlete Katie Spotz spoke last Monday at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts. In 2010, at age 22, she became the youngest person ever to row the Atlantic Ocean alone. Despite her achievement, Spotz says through most of high school she was a 'bench sitter'. Since rowing the ocean, Katie Spotz has raced across the United States on a bicycle... non-stop, and now participates in 'ironman triahtlons'. She's also written a book called "Just Keep Rowing". In addition to endurance sports, Spotz has become an advocate for clean water... and works with a non-profit at home in Cleveland called 'Because I Said I Would'. The organization helps people make... and commit to their promises. Katie Spotz came to Jamestown to help celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association.
A Frewsburg man has been arrested for allegedly being involved in a road rage incident in the town of Busti... then leading police on a high-speed pursuit. Sheriff's officers say they were called to assist Lakewood-Busti Police with the alleged incident on Baker Street Extension shortly after 11 last Friday night. Deputies say they located both vehicles -- traveling at a high rate of speed. Officers tried to stop both vehicles... but, neither complied... and, led deputies on a short pursuit. Both vehicles were eventually stopped. Shortly after being stopped... one of the vehicles involved fled the scene. Officers say that car was later stopped in the town of Carroll... and, the driver, 41 year-old Eric Stohl... was arrested. Stohl was later arraigned in Busti on charges including speeding... failure to comply... and, reckless driving. He also faces charges in Carroll... including driving while intoxicated. Stohl was sent to the County Jail, and posted one-thousand dollars bail.
Reform advocates, most voters and Governor Andrew Cuomo want to help clean up scandal-scarred Albany by prohibiting the state's 213 legislators from making serious money on the side. But... the most recent financial filings show most lawmakers already get by without substantial outside income. In fact... a majority reported no earnings from sideline work. Those with other jobs included a pharmacist, a veterinarian and an insurance agency owner. However, financial disclosures filed last year show 24 lawmakers, mostly lawyers, were making about as much or more in outside income as their 79-thousand-500 dollars base annual pay from the state. Assemblyman Steve Hawley, a Batavia Republican who reported $450,000 income from his insurance business, says hard-working citizen-legislators could finish state work in 60 days and take a public pay cut.
Chautauqua County's top-cop says he's not happy that Governor Cuomo is proposing a 50-percent state aid cut to localities that have navigation patrols for local waterways. Sheriff Joe Gerace says the cut would be state-wide... and, he adds that the New York State Sheriff's Association is reaching out to state lawmakers... and, formally opposing the cut. Gerace says the state would not be able to provide the service itself any more efficiently than the local departments. Gerace says -- if the cut is enacted -- the state would only support 25-percent of the cost... which would make it very difficult for New York's counties. The Sheriff's Office provides navigation patrols on several local lakes in Chautauqua County... and, including Lake Erie and Chautauqua Lake.
A Jamestown man who allegedly led police on a foot chase late last week faces several charges... including resisting arrest. City Police say they pulled over a car, allegedly driven by 52 year-old Michael Deponceau, on Buffalo Street near Blackstone Avenue last Wednesday night. Officers say he allegedly committed several traffic violations... and, they found him to allegedly be drunk, and driving with a suspended license. But... during the investigation... Deponceau allegedly got out of the car... and, ran off. Police caught him after a brief foot pursuit. Deponceau faces charges including driving while intoxicated, failure to yield, second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, and resisting arrest. He ws arrested pending arraignment.
An organization that looks out for consumers is also warning New York residents about scam artists posing as state and federal treasury officials this tax season. Governor Andrew Cuomo says the calls to taxpayers have been reported over the past several weeks. The Better Business Bureau Spokeswoman Melanie McGovern says you the IRS never contacts taxpayers by phone... nor by e-mail. McGovern warns against giving out any personal information over the phone... and, don't send any funds by money order. She adds you should not engage the scammer in conversation... but, just hang-up. McGovern says there seems to be an increase in Tax Scams this time of year because we are into the Tax Filing season... leading up to the annual deadline of April 15th. She says you can get more information from the Better Business Bureau's website at bbb-dot-ORG.
FBI records reviewed by The Associated Press show guns were used in 195 domestic-related killings in New York from 2006 through 2014. Nationally... records show just over 62-hundred people were killed in such attacks, with current wives and girlfriends accounting for 75 percent of the victims. New York's number compared with 637 in California, with a population twice as large, and with 798 in Texas, the second most populous state. Of the killings in New York, 88 of the victims were girlfriends and 74 were wives. Combined, that was 83 percent of the total. The others included nine boyfriends, seven common-law wives, one ex-husband, eight ex-wives and eight husbands. Gun ownership rules in New York are among the strictest in the nation and restrict ownership and access by domestic abusers.
A winter thaw has triggered sap to flow in maple trees, launching an early start to the maple syrup season for some producers in parts of New England who chose to tap trees early. Many of those taking advantage of the warmer weather were larger operations with plastic tubing and vacuum systems. The Corse Farm in the southern Vermont town of Whitingham started tapping on January 31st... the earliest date in the farm's 148-year-old history. Some of those who tap trees and attach buckets were either caught flat-footed, or elected to hold off. Tapping trees too early can allow the tap to dry out, limiting flow later. As for the price of the sweet stuff, which in Vermont goes for an average of about 49-dollars a gallon retail, it's too early to tell how the four-to-six-week season will unfold and how much syrup will be produced.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf will release his 2016-17 budget plan even as he fights to get his major priorities into this year's budget. Major portions of the current budget plan by the first-term Democrat remain in limbo after a fight with the Republican-controlled Legislature. Disagreements over school spending, taxes and Republican policy priorities could bleed into deliberations over a new budget. The new budget year starts July 1st. Wolf is the first governor in modern Pennsylvania history to come to this point with substantial portions of the budget for the current fiscal year still in limbo. He has made some revelations about what he will propose Tuesday... including an additional $200 million for public school instruction and operations and another $60 million for pre-kindergarten programs for children of low-income parents.
Some 551 New Yorkers have been certified to obtain medical marijuana, nearly one month after the state's program began. More than 330 physicians, meanwhile, have registered with the state, a requirement for doctors who want to be able to authorize the drug for patients. The figures come from the state's Department of Health in response to questions posed last Friday by The Associated Press. To receive marijuana, patients with certain qualifying conditions must get a certification from a physician registered with the state's program. The patient must then apply for a state registry card. The medication is available only in non-smokable form and can be obtained from a state-regulated dispensary. More than 20 states now have medical marijuana programs.
Finally... an astounding reunion. After 50 years of searching, and with a lot of help from her granddaughter, Betty Morrell has finally met her 96-year-old birth mother. She also has forged a close friendship with a sister she never knew she had. Morrell, of Spring Hill, Florida, flew to Binghamton, New York, last month to meet Lena Pierce, who as a 13-year-old mother was forced to relinquish her baby girl for adoption in 1933. Pierce, now living in Hallstead, Pennsylvania, says it was a joy to meet the child she had called Eva May after all these years. Morrell also met her 65-year-old sister, Minnie Hawk, who lives near Binghamton. She says the two immediately clicked. Morrell credits her granddaughter Kimberly Miccio's dogged persistence via the Internet for connecting her with her birth family.
JPD officials warn of IRS Tax Scam that took more than $4,000 from city woman...
Local police are issuing a new warning about an old telephone scam that cost one person from the city of Jamestown more than $4,000. JPD Captain Bob Samuelson is renewing his call to beware of what's called IRS Tax Scam. Samuelson says that's where someone posing as an IRS Tax Agent calls... and, says the person -- typically an elderly victim -- owes thousands of dollars in back taxes. He says, under no circumstances, would the IRS call someone saying they owed money with first sending a notice in the mail. In one local case... Samuelson says an elderly person was taken for more than $4,000 after she sent multiple money orders to Las Vegas and Orlando addresses. He adds multiple addresses are a red flag as well. Law enforcement officials say the IRS will contact you in the mail first if you have any kind of situation where back taxes are owed. He adds the IRS would never ask you for personal information... and, would not threaten arrest. He adds even their caller ID can look convincing... and, they tend to sound "very convincing."
City man arrested a predicate offender for assault and robbery...
A city man and a teenager are jailed without bail for allegedly assaulting a man with a baseball bat... and, robbing him of his money late last month. JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says their investigation into the January 23rd incident at 248 Broadhead Ave. led them to arrest 30 year-old Rocco Beardsley... and, the 16 year-old youth. Samuelson says the victim was initially taken to WCA Hospital... then transferred to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie, PA for further treatment. Both Beardsley and the teen have been charged with one count each of first-degree robbery... and, second-degree assault. They were both jailed without bail.
Statistic show shootings in NYS in Domestic Abuse cases much lower than larger states...
FBI records reviewed by The A-P show guns were used in 195 domestic-related killings in New York from 2006 through 2014. Nationally... records show just over 6,200 people were killed in such attacks, with current wives and girlfriends accounting for 75-percent of the victims. New York's number compared with 637 in California, with a population twice as large, and with 798 in Texas, the second most populous state. Gun ownership rules in New York are among the strictest in the nation... and, restrict ownership and access by domestic abusers.
Tranum says county Chamber and MAST to move temporarily while Manufacturing Technology Institute is expanded and upgraded...
A major reconstruction and expansion project at the Manufacturing Technology Institute at Jamestown Community College means a temporary move for two tenants of the building. The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturer's Association of the Southern Tier have been housed at the MTI the past several years. However... the head of both business groups, Todd Tranum, says they'll be moving to JCC's Annex Building a week from today. While there'll be some minor inconvenience... Tranum says they're excited about the project. He says there's been program growth at the MTI, and with that, they'll be moving into the Annex building near the corner of Falconer and Curtis Streets. He adds there'll be signs placed so visitors can easily find their temporary offices. Tranum adds they expect to be there between 6 and 9 months... but, adds their contact information remains the same. He adds there will be no change in their Dunkirk location during the temporary move in Jamestown. For more information... call 484-1101.
Alleged Warren County drug kingpin arrested with others...
The alleged kingpin of the illegal drug trade in Warren County, Pennsylvania was arrested Thursday morning along with a number of his cronies. The Warren Times-Observer reports that members of the Warren County Drug Task Force, State Police, Warren city police and a number of other agences raided a residence at 625 Conewango Avenue in Warren about 8 a.m. During the raid... the alleged kingpin... 46 year-old Franklin Geiger was taken into custody on charges of possession with intent to deliver, conspiracy, possession of a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of a child. Geiger is accused of selling 1-to-3 pounds of marijuana a week along with prescription medications. Three others were also arrested on charges ranging from criminal possession of drugs... to endangering the welfare of a child.
Investigation continuing into fire at vacant home at 196 Fairmount Ave. in Jamestown...
The investigation is continuing into an overnight fire at a vacant house in Jamestown that extensively damaged the upper floors of the building. Deputy Fire Chief Chet Harvey says a neighbor to the structure at 196 Fairmount Ave. knocked on the door at Station-#5 about 1:30 p.m. morning... and, alerted firefighters across the street. Harvey says fire crews found heavy flames on the second-floor and attic area. He says it took about 1 1/2 hours to bring the blaze under control. Harvey says one firefighter was treated for minor burns at WCA Hospital and released. He says crews used a number of different hose lines to battle the flames. He says no one was home at the time the blaze was called in. No one -- aside from the one firefighter -- was hurt. Harvey adds crews worked to protect the exposure side at a neighboring house that had been vacated recently by a family.
Acting D.A. Swanson says he's running for County District Attorney in November...
The man serving as Acting Chautauqua County District Attorney says he is running to be the D-A for the next four years. Patrick Swanson announced his candidacy Thursday afternoon... saying that he has the experience of prosecuting thousands of cases in the D-A's office over the past nearly five years. The Fredonia Democrat says he also has a lot of criminal law experience in Memphis, Tennessee. Swanson says he's "settled into the office..." and, feels -- after talking to family and friends -- that this was the next step for him. He is a Sherman native... who has been a lifelong Chautauqua County resident. He says he and his wife, Natalie, moved back to the area after getting their professional degrees. Swanson says it gives him a chance to "give back" to an area that's given him so much. He says the office needs someone who "understands the problems that permeate through-out the county." While he is a Democrat... Swanson says he would like to pursue other major party lines for next November's Special Election -- including the Republican line.
JPS officials hold second public budget planning session...
The first steps in developing the Jamestown School District's 2016-17 budget were taken last night... and, district leaders will now create a spending plan to present board members later this month. School officials hosted the second of two budget planning meetings last night to prioritize, and determine how much money is needed for each part of the spending plan. School Superintendent Tim Mains says break-out groups discussed four educational areas. Mains says those were identified in the first meeting... and, include Instructional Excellence... Whole Child Development... Family and Community Engagement... and, Support and Metrics. Mains says the input from the two sessions will be collated... and, presented as part of the preliminary budget plan at the school board's Feb. 23 meeting.
Horrigan returns from NYSAC Conference with new view on current issues...
The annual New York State Association of Counties annual Legislative Conference went very well... and, helped Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan better "frame" his vision for the county. Horrigan is back from the three-day conference in Albany... where he says the NYSAC Conference was one of the most well-attended ever. He says it helps him in understanding where other counties are in dealing with similar issues... ranging from jobs to the Heroin epidemic. Horrigan says it's given him a new perspective on those issues... many of which he'll be addressing in his State of the County Address at the end of February. He adds he did have a chance to meet privately for a few moments with Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a gathering of some NYSAC leaders at the Governor's Mansion. Horrigan says they talked about two issues... the NRG Project in Dunkirk... and, a 200-million dollar "Commercialization Center" project in the county. Horrigan made his comments for our "Community Spotlight" program this weekend.
Horrigan learns more about proposed $200-million "Commercialization Center" in county; TBN story adds to it...
We are getting bits and pieces about the $200-million "Commercialization Center" proposed for Chautauqua County in the governor's budget. However... County Executive Vince Horrigan says he can't talk very much about it. Horrigan can only confirm it will be a "significant project." However... the Buffalo News yesterday is reporting it will be a $200-million "high-tech drug manufacturing center." The News says it would be located in Dunkirk... and, adds the company involved is "Athenex..." which makes a specialty Cancer drug and has a headquarters in Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus.
Strong wind gusts of 50 miles an hour and more hit the Lake Erie shoreline area of Chautauqua and southern Erie counties yesterday morning... causing downed trees and power lines. Forecaster Dan Kelly with the Weather Service's Buffalo Officer says winds in the early morning were well over 50 at times... with a top gust of 60 at the Dunkirk Airport. The winds were strong enough to plunge about 3,700 New York State Electric and Gas customers in the Silver Creek area into darkness. Crews were able to get the power back on by 8 AM... but, the outage had already forced Forestville and Silver Creek school districts to cancel classes. Besides the high winds, temperatures warmed up considerably. Buffalo set a new high temperature record of 61 degrees late yesterday afternoon. That shattered the old record of 50 degrees.
As many as three witnesses could be called to the stand next Monday as the court case involving the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater project continued Wednesday. Attorney's for the "Save the Amp" group... and, the institution met in chambers Wednesday afternoon with State Supreme Court Judge Frank Sedita-the-third. "Save the Amp" attorney Arthur Giacalone said he planned to call one witness... while attorneys for the Institution planned to call two. However... one of those could be Chautauqua President Tom Becker, who is currently out of the country. If he's not available... Giacalone says there may have to be an adjournment. As of now... proceedings are to resume next Monday afternoon at 1 PM. The "Save the Amp" group has sued the institution... contending officials have not followed environmental law in how the project is to proceed. For now... a temporary restraining order is continued for the project.
A key Cuomo administration official spoke to a state legislature panel late Tuesday about a line item in the Governor's budget proposal for a 200-million dollar economic development project in Chautauqua County. State Senator Cathy Young, who chairs the Senate's Finance Committee asked Empire State Development President and Chief Executive Officer Howard Zemsky, about the project during a budget hearing in Albany on Tuesday. Zemsky says it'll be a "commercialization center..." and, be production-oriented. He adds it would be similar to the SUNY Poly-Model. Zemsky says he is not at liberty to give out any further details, although did indicate that he’s enthused about the project.
New York's economic development commissioner says boosting the minimum wage to $15 would be an economic stimulus, putting more money into circulation. Howard Zemsky, head of Empire State Development, told state legislators Tuesday that Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal would raise people out of poverty who will spend and circulate that money. Cuomo wants the general state minimum wage incrementally increased from $9 to $15 in New York City by the end of 2018 and in 2021 elsewhere. Zemsky says businesses are resourceful, and he doesn't believe there's any segment that can't adapt over the six-year rollout. Business Council of New York Vice President Kevin Pokalsky says Cuomo's plan may be the single most costly legislative proposal ever considered by lawmakers, one that will unintentionally cost jobs, especially upstate.
When the Jamestown High School bands present their Winter Concert this coming Saturday night... a new group will take the stage. Band Director Meghan Murray says for the first time in about 20 years... there's a jazz band at JHS. McGough will conduct the jazz band for two pieces at the concert, which starts at 7 PM, Saturday at the Merton P. Corwin auditorium at JHS. Tickets are $5. In addition to the Concert and Symphonic Bands, the Fredonia trombone choir, a group of twenty players from the SUNY College at Fredonia will also be joining the performance. And, while it's not marching band season, Meghan Murray reports the New York State Field Band Conference has moved JHS up one class for the next school year. Murrays says -- due mainly to winning the past two state titles in the Small School-Two division -- they are moving up to the "National Division." Murray says they'll be facing new schools and stiffer competition when the season begins in September.
The first month of new Lakewood Mayor Cara Birritierri's (Beer-ah-TEE-Airy's) term has gone "fairly well..." and, she's already put together an advisory committee to help her put together the new budget. Birritierri... who has never held public office before... chaired her first meeting earlier this month... and, says it was a little rough, but, will get better. She promised during the campaign that she would be a "full-time" mayor, and says she's been there most every day. Birritierri says she's "digging in"... and, enjoying getting to meet people... and, learn about all the village's operations. One of her first big jobs is going to be assembling the village's 2016-2017 spending plan... and, says she's put together a first-time Budget Advisory Committee to help with the process. Birritierri says she's looking forward to learning from the panel members to put together an "equitable budget" for the coming year. She says the advisory committee has three members... David Bargar, Dave Sheppard, and Doug Shuttee.
Gasoline prices in Chautauqua County have fallen another 2-cents a gallon this week to about 2-dollars-8 cents for regular, unleaded fuel. That from the Triple-A East Central’s weekly Fuel Gauge Report. The report says the price is based on reports from 19 local service stations. Triple-A says last year at this time... the price had fallen to 2--49 a gallon. Nationally... the Fuel Gauge says the average price has now fallen to just over one-dollar-79 cents. Triple-A says drivers are saving just over one-dollar a gallon from the 2015 peak price reached this past June. The national average price is now just over 1--79 a gallon. That's the lowest price for gasoline since January 2009.
High winds -- especially along Lake Erie shoreline -- trigger power outages...
High winds are being blamed for downing power lines and knocking out electricity service to more than 11,000 utility customers in parts of upstate New York... including Chautauqua County. The National Weather Service says wind gusts topping 40 MPH have been recorded early Wednesday morning in Dunkirk. The winds led to outages that have closed the Silver Creek and Forestville Schools for today. NYSEG says about 3,700 of its 5,400 total outages are reported. RG&E reports more than 4,000 outages in the Rochester area, including about 2,500 in Monroe County and another 1,700 in neighboring Ontario County. National Grid reports about 1,200 outages in the Syracuse area. The weather service has issued wind advisories Wednesday from Lake Erie's eastern shore to the Finger Lakes region and Mohawk Valley, with gusts expected to hit 55 MPH in some areas.
Gerace says new, county-wide emergency radio system live date pushed back to March...
It'll be March now before the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department goes live with it's new, digital, county-wide emergency communications system. Sheriff Joe Gerace has hoped to have the new system up and running by the end of January... however... he says he and the personnel involved in getting the system on-line have decided to make sure everything is checked and double-checked. Gerace says there'll be some issues at first... but, adds they want to minimize those because these are "critical communications" equipment and systems. He says they're working closely with the vendor, Motorola, on the project. The Sheriff's Department completed testing of the new system back in late December. Gerace says the new system has been about 20 years in the making... but, suffered a setback several years ago when New York decided to end it's effort to create at state-wide network. He says the new system will be able to work with old, analog radios that local fire and police agencies have until they have made the change-over... using a system of "gate-ways" until they make the change. The county received a $6-million state grant for the project.
Gerace says latest statewide Stop DWI Crackdown coming up Super Bowl weekend...
The latest Stop-DWI Enforcement Crackdown is set for this coming weekend. There's no holiday... but, there are going to be a lot of "Super Bowl" parties for the biggest game of the National Football League season. With that... local police will be taking part in the Crackdown... which begins on Friday, Feb. 5, and, runs through Midnight Monday, Feb. 8. Sheriff Joe Gerace says they see a number of crashes that occur... especially the evening of the Super Bowl. Gerace says the increased effort is funded by the state's Stop DWI Foundation. He says taking part in the program allows them to get additional funding to put more deputies on the streets... and, he says they'll be arresting drivers who's been drinking... or using drugs... and, driving. During the most recent crack-down over the Christmas and New Year's Holiday period... Gerace says there were 129 vehicle stops, arrests and summonses.
The AAA says if you plan to drink, plan not to drive by having a designated, non-drinking driver... alternate transportation... or plans for an overnight stay wherever you watch the big game. Party hosts are reminded to consider designated drivers when stocking up for parties.
State Assembly again approves Paid Family Leave bill...
The New York state Assembly has again passed legislation to allow workers to take up to 12 weeks of paid time off to care for a new child or a sick loved one. The measure endorsed Tuesday would be funded by a weekly employee payroll deduction that would start at 45 cents in the first year. When fully phased in... the maximum weekly benefit would be capped at $633. Rhode Island, New Jersey and California have similar laws on the books. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie noted that the U.S. is the only industrialized nation that doesn't offer paid family leave. The measure has run into trouble in the Senate before, but this year supporters are optimistic. Polls show broad public support and Governor Andrew Cuomo has offered his own proposal.
Employee at Artone Manufacturing burned during accidental ignition "flash explosion" Tuesday...
A worker at Artone Manufacturing is being treated for burns to the upper part of his body after a flammable material was ignited about mid-morning Tuesday. Jamestown Fire Battalion Chief Roger Sigular says city fire-rescue crews responded to Artone... which is located on Allen Street... shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday. Sigular says the employee... who was not identified... was rushed to the hospital... and, later flown to the Erie County Medical Center for further treatment. No condition was available for the worker.
State Assembly leader proposes millionaire tax increase...
A long-awaited tax plan from the New York state Assembly's Democratic majority would increase taxes on millionaires while giving relief to middle-class and low-income workers. Speaker Carl Heastie tells The Associated Press that under the Democratic plan, the current top income tax rate of 8.82-percent would be applied to anyone making $1-million to $5 million a year, and two new, higher rates would be imposed on those making more. Some 56-thousand taxpayers would be affected, with an average tax increase of $33,000. The proposal also would reduce rates for middle class workers to give 5.5-million taxpayers an average savings of $50, and increase the earned-income tax credit for low-income workers.
Dunkirk Dave sees his shadow, breaks ranks with other groundhogs...
Chautauqua County's own groundhog went against the regional trend of the majority of groundhogs... who agree with a prediction of an early Spring this year. "Dunkirk Dave" ventured outside his burrow this morning... and, saw his shadow. His long-time handler, Bob Will, says that means six more weeks of Winter weather. Will says Dave came out and got some of his favorite food, and walked around a little. He says there was some sun out at the time, and Dave did see his shadow. Will is quick to point out that, he has "Dave" stick with tradition for the groundhogs... which are usually left on the ground after they come out of their burrows to be fed. He points out that Punxsutawney Phil's handlers hold him up in the air... which skews the ability to see the groundhog's shadow. Phil did not see his shadow this morning... meaning an early Spring.
City man and teen arrested for allegedly assaulting another man, and pistol-whipping him...
A Jamestown man and a teenager have been arrested for allegedly assaulting another city man during an incident on Newton Avenue last Sunday afternoon. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson adds that police also recovered a loaded pistol during an investigation into the incident... which was reported about 2 p.m. Samuelson says the victim was struck in the head, and pistol whipped by the suspects. He says they found the gun in the trunk of a car connected to the incident. Police obtained a search warrant for 22 year-old Aaron Miller's apartment at 846 Prendergast Ave., where they also found more than 22 grams of "crack" cocaine, cash, and another gun. Miller faces several charges... including Felony counts of second-degree assault... and, criminal possession of a weapon. The 17 year-old faces an Felony assault charge. Both were arraigned and sent to the county jail without bail.
City police and fire investigators identified Jamestown man as alleged "Serial Arsonist..."
A city man is jailed on $75,000 bail for allegedly being the "serial arsonist" who set three vacant house fires in Jamestown between October of 2014... and, last Christmas Eve. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says 26 year-old Joshua Whalen was arrested after being indicted by the Chautauqua County Grand Jury on three counts of third-degree arson. Samuelson credited city police and fire investigators for solid evidence collecting in the case... and, says they're both pleased... and relieved... that this arsonist is off the streets. He credited city police and fire investigators for their hard work on the case. Samuelson says the arsons allegedly took place at 230 McKinley Ave. on back on October 25 of 2014... 420 Falconer St. on May 18 of last year... and, 1052 1/2 North Main St. last Dec. 24. He says Whelan was arraigned... and, sent to the County lock-up. Samuelson says they are looking to see if the suspect was involved in three other arson fies. Samuelson says... if you have any information on those other arsons... you're asked to call the JPS Tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
City police say person allegedly involved in Second St. Shooting is in custody on other charges...
One suspect is in custody on an unrelated charge in connection with a drive-by shooting on Jamestown's eastside a week ago in which a 10 year-old child was wounded. City police say they are continuing to investigate the incident at 411 East Second St., in which several gun-shots were fired into the building. No one else was hurt. The child was initially recovering from the wound at Women and Children's Hospital in Buffalo. But, we understand the child has now been released. Neither the child... nor the supect have been identified. If you have any information in the case... you're asked to call City Police at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.
Judge in case involving Chautauqua Amp. project wants expert testimony before rendering decision on lawsuit...
A temporary restraining order remains in place for Chautauqua Institution's Amphitheater project after another hearing in State Supreme Court in Mayville. That from "Save the Amp" Attorney Arthur Giacalone... who says Judge Frank Sedita-III has also ordered lawyers for both sides to be back in his chambers this Wednesday afternoon. Giacalone says Sedita wants to hear witness testimony before deciding further on another extension. He says he also needs to determine if the $41.5-million project constitutes a significant "action..." or a "minor action." He says that will help determine if the project violates the State Environmental Quality Review -- or SEQR -- Act... as well as the town of Chautauqua's Waterfront Consistancy regulations. The legal action was started once the town of Chautauqua issued demolition and building permits for the project... which will involved demolishing the old Amp... and, building a replica structure.
Both sides in Chautauqua Amp. case react...
The two sides in the case released statements following Monday's court hearing. "Save the Amp" co-founder Brian Berg says extension of the temporary restraining order is "an important next step in preserving Chautauqua's sacred space and one of America's most historic landmarks." Berg adds they're also pleased that the judge and the court are "proceeding carefully and we're looking forward to continuing the process next week." Officials at Chautauqua says they're disappointed they cannot begin work on the new Amp. However... officials say they are pleased the judge "recognizes the urgency of our Spring construction schedule." In the meantime... they says other aspects of the project are moving forward.
The head of the Jamestown City Council says he wasn't entirely sure that Mayor Sam Teresi would not give a formal State of the City Address. At the same time... Council President Greg Rabb says he believes the mayor struck the right "tone" with the written address handed into lawmakers one week ago. Rabb says Teresi full-filled his requirements by handing in the report... which is available at a number of places... including the city's website. Rabb was pleased to see the mayor focus on some items that he also brought up during the City Council's inauguration on New Year's Day. One was to push for a much-needed, residential drug treatment facility that's in the city... or just outside Jamestown. He says it's a public safety and criminal issue... but, adds it's also "a public health emergency." In the long run...Rabb says a facility is needed because in many cases it takes several tries for a person to kick drug addiction. He made his comments for this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program.
For the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club, the big game is already over... and they won! The annual Souperbowl to benefit WCA Hospital was held at the Rod and Gun Sunday, and their lobster bisque soup was the overwhelming choice as the most popular. The soup was created by kitchen manager Jill Vincent. She says the soup's on the menu... featured occasionally on Friday nights. As for the entire event, Vincent says it's a great time. The Souperbowl benefits robotic surgery at WCA. The hospital's Director of Development, Megan D'Angelo, declared the Superbowl a great success. Media One Radio helps organize the Souperbowl each year.
A Jamestown man was hurt when his car went out of control on a snow-covered town of Carroll road... and, struck a tree. Sheriff's Deputies say 19 year-old Wyatt Mann of Howard Street was southbound on Old Warren Road about 2:45 last Friday afternoon when he lost control of his vehicle... and, it left the road and hit the tree. Officers say Mann was taken to WCA Hospital for treatment of his injuries. No charges were filed.
A north county woman was hurt when her car went out of control in last Friday's snowy conditions on Farrington Hollow Road in the town of Cherry Creek... and, crashed. Sheriff's Officers say 23 year-old Katherine Clement of Fredonia was southbound about 3 PM when she lost control of the vehicle. Deputies say the vehicle traveled down an embankment on the eastside of the roadway... overturned... and, came to rest on its roof. Officers say Clement was taken to Brooks Memorial Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. No charges were filed.
The village of Fredonia will be looking again at the village's possible involvement in the North County Water District. That's according to Mayor Athanasia (Atha-KNEE-See-ah) Landis. Dr. Landis says she is open to the water district and would like to see an interconnect between the village and the city of Dunkirk. That pleases County Executive Vince Horrigan who has held several meetings with Dr. Landis and trustees. He says the state would like to see Fredonia's involvement because of grant funding. Horrigan says it could be a "significant grant." He adds the state has been waiting for a final budget-plan in place that will including Fredonia. Under the previous administration... the village board decided against the Village's participation in the North County Water District.
A Cattaraugus County woman has been arrested for allegedly driving drunk... and, being in violation of Leandra's Law in the town of Machias. State Police in Machias say they arrested 25 year-old Jacquelyn McCord of Little Valley after she was pulled over on Route 242 late last week for alleged equipment violations. While interviewing McCord... troopers say an odor of alcohol was detected... and, she was given field sobriety tests... which she failed. They add her driver's license was also suspended. A nine-month old child was in the back seat of the vehicle. McCord was arrested for Felony DWI... and, for a Felony violation of Leandra's Law. She was arraigned, and sent to the Cattaraugus County Jail on 500-dollars cash bail.
Governor Andrew Cuomo says a special election to fill state Assembly and Senate seats vacated after corruption convictions will take place on April 19th. Cuomo says the date coincides with the presidential primary in New York and was picked to maximize voter turnout. Sheldon Silver was forced from his Manhattan Assembly seat and Senate Leader Dean Skelos of Long Island Republican had to give up his seat. Staten Island voters also will fill a vacant Assembly seat.
New York residents are rallying to help residents of Flint, Michigan, where the water is contaminated with lead. True Bethel Baptist Church in Buffalo collected and sent a truckload of bottled water to Flint last Friday. Pastor Darius Pridgen says two other truckloads will follow. Utica radio host Bill Keeler and the Utica Boilermaker, meanwhile, also are conducting a bottled water drive. Improperly treated water leached lead from pipes into drinking water after Flint switched from Detroit's water system to the Flint River in 2014 to save money. Some children's blood has tested positive for lead, which has been linked to learning disabilities, lower IQ and behavioral problems.
Another Chautauqua County school district is looking at combining its football program with another football team. The issue came up at last week's Fredonia School Board meeting. School Superintendent Paul DiFonzo says the district has had discussions about joining the Westfield-Brocton combined program. DiFonzo says the other option is not to offer football. Board President Mike Bobseine indicated his concerns about continuing to allow students to participate in the sport during the meeting. DiFonzo says the board has scheduled a community forum on the issue tonight at 6 PM in the High School Auditorium. He says a decision is needed by the board's next meeting in February.
A recent, week-long trial has ended with a Dunkirk man being acquitted of all charges stemming from an alleged robbery-assault that occurred on King Street in the north county city in December 2014. Acting Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson says the jury acquitted Edwin Alicea of all charges including... first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, first degree criminal use of a firearm, first degree unlawful imprisonment, second degree assault, criminal possession of a weapon and fourth degree criminal mischief. Swanson says prosecutors "presented all of the evidence, but the jury decided that there wasn't sufficient proof to convict."
New York is operating 85 free tax filing assistance sites across the state. The sites are staffed by state tax department volunteers who guide eligible filers through tax preparation software. The sites offer morning, evening, and weekend sessions. The free tax assistance service is available to New Yorkers and families who earned less than 62-thousand dollars in 2015. Appointments are recommended, but walk-ins are welcome. Taxes are due April 15th. Taxpayers seeking a site can call the state tax department at 518-457-5181 or visit tax.ny.gov/fsa/.
The headquarters of a famed New York chopper company featured in two reality TV shows is set to be auctioned off in March. But, Paul Teutul, Senior tells The Middletown Times Herald-Record that the sell-off has nothing to do with his company, Orange County Choppers. Bidding for the 13-million dollar , 61,000-square-foot glass-and-steel building built in 2008 will start at $900,000. The paper reports the company surrendered the building that holds its custom-made motorcycles in 2011 to its lender, which then sold it to a Dallas, Texas-based company. The motorcycle-building exploits of Teutul and his son Paul Teutul, Junior have been featured on Discovery Channel's ``American Chopper'' and ``Orange County Choppers'' on Country Music Television. Teutul says the company has leased the space and the auction won't impact it's business.