Twelve jurors have been selected for the civil confinement trial of Nushawn Williams in Chautauqua County Court. WIVB-TV in Buffalo reports the state trial is expected to begin once the full panel...plus two alternates... is selected. Williams was the so-called "HIV Predator" in the late 1990s when he was arrested... and later pled guilty to several counts of statutory rape and reckless endangerment because there was no statute covering knowingly infecting someone with the virus that causes AIDS. He was accused of infecting at least a dozen women, and one girl as young as 13 with the HIV Virus. Williams... who now goes by the name Shyteek Johnson... was supposed to be released from prison three years ago. However... he continues to be held under the state civil confinement law that applies to highly dangerous sex offenders. This latest trial will determine whether or not he stays behind bars. Williams' defense attorney recently stated that a medical test showed his client does not have HIV. Jury selection is to continue today. The trial is expected to begin next Monday... but, the press will be barred from court due to HIPAA laws.
The sheriff's in both Chautauqua and Cattaraugus County are warning people -- especially the elderly -- about the latest phone scam to surface in both counties. In fact... this one involving a call from someone saying you've won -- or someone has bought you -- a Medical Alert System -- has been a problem state-wide. Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace says anytime someone calls you with such an offer... then asks for personal information including a Social Security number, or credit or debit card information... don't give it out. In at least some cases... there is no cost to have the monitoring system put in place. However... there is a big monthly monitoring fee. In that case... Gerace says you're always going to pay "one way or another." Cattaraugus County Sheriff Timothy Whitcomb says the scam there has involved someone making 4 or 5 calls... unlike when you receive one call... and, it stops. Both Gerace and Whitcomb remind residents to never give out ANY personal information over the telephone. People receiving such calls should contact their local law enforcement agency.
Some Chautauqua County Legislature committees will consider several local laws next week that would give raises to the County Executive, County Clerk, County Sheriff and County Legislators. The proposed increases follow recommendations that were issued by the a Salary Review Commission. Fredonia Mayor Steve Keefe, a former legislator, chaired the panel. Keefe says the commission looked at a number of factors before making its recommendations. When it comes to county legislators... Keefe says the commission considered the downsizing of the Legislature as a factor. The proposed local laws would increase the salaries of legislators from 9-thousand dollars a year to 12-thousand. The salary of the County Executive would increase from 85-thousand to 109-thousand dollars. The county clerk would see a 15-thousand dollar increase to just over 68-thousand dollars... and, county Sheriff from 82-thousand-500 dollars to nearly 87-thousand-500. The Administrative Services and the Audit and Control Committees will take up the proposals. The full legislature could take action later this month.
State Senate Republicans remain strongly opposed to creating a voluntary system of taxpayer-funded election campaigns that's getting a strong, last-minute push by some Democrats. Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos says his chamber remains philosophically opposed to a program he estimates would cost 200-million dollars. Supporters say the voluntary system that would match private donations 6-to-1 is the best way to blunt the influence of big-money special interests. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Assembly Democrats support public financing as part of a package of new laws to require greater disclosure and lower donation limits. Skelos says Tuesday the issue hasn't even been discussed ``in a while'' during closed-door negotiations. Supporters say Cuomo and Democrats could still get the bill to the Senate floor without Republican approval.
A city woman has been arrested for allegedly threatening another person with a knife during a possible fight on Jamestown's eastside. City police were called to the scene at the corner of Winsor and Allen Streets just after 6:30 PM Tuesday on a report of a fight. Officers say... on arrival... they learned that 22 year-old Jennifer Dellahoy had allegedly brandished the knife... and, threatened the victim. Dellahoy had left the scene... but, police found her a short time later... and, she was arrested without incident. Dellahoy was still awaiting arraignment late Wednesday on one count of second-degee menacing.
U.S. maple syrup production soared to a record 3.2 million gallons this year, boosted by good weather and a high number of syrup taps in use. The Department of Agriculture reported Wednesday that the 2013 production jumped 70 percent over 2012, when production was limited by warm temperatures. The previous record of 2.8 million gallons was set in 2011. Vermont, as usual... was the top producer, with more than 1.3-million gallons. New York was second with 574-thousand gallons, and Maine sugarhouses produced 450-thousand gallons. The value of syrup won't be released until next year... but, officials say this spring's good weather resulted in high-quality syrup.