Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Feb. 25, 2020

State Police in Fredonia are investigating a three-car accident, in which a child was killed Monday afternoon.  

Troopers with the Bureau of Criminal Investigations responded to scene on Route 60 in the Town of Pomfret just after 4 PM... and, say a 2009 Hyundai was northbound on 60 when it rear-ended a 2016 Kia that was stopped to make a left turn. Troopers say the Kia was pushed into the southbound lane and struck by a tractor-trailer. The unidentified 35 year-old driver and 7-year-old passenger were transported to Brooks Memorial Hospital, where the child was pronounced dead.  The operator was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. The State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit, Commercial Vehicle enforcement Unit and, Fredonia Police Department assisted at the scene.

The city of Jamestown is moving foward with resuming the process of annexing about four-acres of land -- most of it belonging to the Board of Public Utilities -- from the village of Falconer.  

The City Council last night approved two resolutions by 7-to-2 votes to move ahead with the annexation of the Dow Street Substation, and approve a "negative" environmental declaration on the action.  Council President Tony Dolce says he's disappointed that village, town of Ellicott, and Falconer school officials walked away from talks.

Mayor Eddie Sundquist, who campaigned saying he wanted to negotiate a deal that could benefit everyone involved... says he remains willing to talk.  Dolce says all parties involved looked at and discussed a number of possible scenarios in the first meeting... including a partial... or phased-in annexation.  They also discussed a proposal that would involve the county's Industrial Development Agency.  The two new Republicans on council, Grant Olson and Jeff Russell, voted against the annexation measures.  

City lawmakers also approved the purchase of eight new surveillance cameras for the Jamestown Police Department to track activity in the busiest parts of the city. 

 Police Chief and Public Safety Director Harry Snellings says the cameras they have put up in the downtown areas have already helped with several of their investigations.

Snellings says the eight cameras from DFT Communications will cost just under $48,000, and two systems at Second and Washington Streets, and Third and Washington, will be replaced.  He says these will NOT be used for traffic enforcement.  Snellings says they do have live feeds to their command room, so if they get a call about an incident in a particular area, they can see what's happening before a patrol gets there.  The city will use $24,000 in contingency funds to buy the camera systems... while the other $23,899 will come from local drug seizure proceeds.

The Chautauqua County Democratic Committee has issued its endorsement for County Executive in the November election.  Committee Chairman Norm Green says Dunkirk City Attorney Richard Morrisroe was unanimously endorsed by the committee.

Meanwhile, the current county executive intends to announce his candidacy this week.  Interim "PJ" Wendel says county Republicans will meet tonight to make their endorsements.  He says once that takes place... he'll be making a formal announcement of his candidacy.  Wendel was appointed by the County Legislature in January and will face a special election in November.  The Democratic Committee is also looking for a candidate to run for state Assembly... or to be considered for Democratic County Election Commissioner.  Norm Green will be retiring at the end of the year... and, the new commissioner would start in 2021.  If you're interested... send a resume to chqdem@gmail-dot-COM... or call Green at 499-9628.... or Jamestown Committee Chairman Jim Walton at 499-5001.

A Jamestown man faces several charges after allegedly ramming a police cruiser during a pursuit through the city Sunday night.  

Officers say they attempted to pull over 27 year-old Samuel Gagliano for driving recklessly in the area of South Main and Harrison Streets, but he refused to comply and fled the scene.  Gagliano continued driving recklessly and struck another car traveling near Fairmount and Whitley Avenues.  Police say he drove to a residence on Catlin Avenue and struck the police car, causing heavy damage.  He was later taken into custody without further incident and is being held in the city jail pending arraignment. 


WJTN News Headlines for Feb. 24, 2020

An attorney representing the City of Dunkirk received the unanimous endorsement to run for Chautauqua County Executive by the Chautauqua County Democratic Committee.  

In a printed release this morning, the committee announced 45 year-old Richard Morrisroe as its candidate for the November 3rd election. Democratic Chairman Norm Green says --in addition-- District Attorney Patrick Swanson and 23rd Congressional District candidate Tracy Mitrano also received endorsements. Green says they are still on the lookout for a contender in the New York state Assembly. He says anyone interested in running can send a resume to CHQdem@gmail.com or call 499-9628. 

A city man is jailed for allegedly holding a woman against her will... and trespassing during a domestic incident early Sunday morning on Jamestown's northside.  

City police were called to an apartment at 101 Bush Street about 3:30 AM on a report of a person being hurt.  Officers were told that the female victim was choked by 26 year-old Antonio Hall... and, she tried to escape... but Hall pulled her back inside.  The woman was later able to get out, and run to her car.  However... she was confronted by Hall, who then broke a mirror on the car with a hammer.  The victim was able to flee to a Jefferson Street home, where Hall tried to force entry.  Police, though, arrived and quickly arrested him with no further incident.  Hall faces several charges... including second-degree unlawful imprisonment, and second-degree criminal trespass.  He was jailed pending arraignment.

   Hearings resume this week on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's $178-billion executive budget proposal... and local State Senator George Borrello is part of those discussions.  

Borrello, who is a ranking member of the Senate Committee on Budget and Revenues, says one area that needs to change is school aid because he increased foundation aid... and reduced other areas.  The Hanover Republican says another area that needs attention is infrastructure.

Borrello says that's not the way to deal with a $6.1-billion budget shortfall, nearly $4-billion of which is attributable to Medicaid.  He says Cuomo should not be "proud" of the fact that that nearly one-third of New Yorkers -- six-million people -- are on the health care and social service program.  Borrello says he does agree with govenor's creation of a Medicaid Redesign Team, but questions whether the panel will have enough time to do its work before the April 1st budget deadline.

Chautauqua County Four-H held its 8th annual Green Tie Affair Sunday night at Chautauqua Suites in Mayville.  

Cornell Cooperative Extension Four-H Educator, Kate Ewer, says 72 tables, around 500 guests, were there for dinner. The famous pie auction, handled by Mike and Dakota Peterson, raised over $10,000.  Pete James of Chautauqua Transportation Services invested a total $2,900 in five pies at the auction.  James says he met his late wife through Four-H, and really believes in the organization.  The highest price for any pie was $1350, a red raspberry pie purchased by H & H Enterprises of Bemus Point. While the crowd was a little smaller than some years, Kate Ewer believes they have a good shot at making their $25,000 goal.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is keeping the $15-million in funding added last year for county Offices for the Aging in his new budget proposal.  

However, more is need to significantly reduce the local waiting lists for home-aid services.  That from Chautauqua County Office Director Mary Ann Spanos, who says the in-home aids are their most expensive program... but, it helps many seniors stay in their homes.

Spanos adds there is some concern about a few, smaller cuts in other areas.  However, she says the state Offices for the Aging will need another $19-million to completely eliminate their wait lists state-wide.  Spanos says it costs about $150,000 a year to keep each senior in a nursing home and, most people run out of what money they have quickly.  After that, the cost is mostly picked up by Medicaid.  However, Spanos says keeping a senior in their home -- on average -- only costs about $7,000 a year.  She made her comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


WJTN Headlines for Sat., Feb. 22, 2020

Cuomo offers to allow most information on illegal immigrants who obtain driver's licenses to feds...
New York's governor is offering to allow federal officials access to the state's motor vehicle database but not to drivers' Social Security numbers.  It's part of an effort to persuade the Trump administration to let state residents back into Global Entry and other frequent traveler programs.  The proposal is the latest compromise that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is publicly floating in hopes President Trump's administration will reverse its decision announced earlier this month to prevents New Yorkers from enrolling or re-enrolling in programs that let them skip long security lines at airports.  But Cuomo says the Trump administration rejected the idea when he proposed it privately weeks ago.

The nation's top immigration enforcement official says that New York's new law allowing people who are in the U.S. illegally to get driver's licenses goes far beyond other states' measures in restricting his agency's access to motor vehicle records.  In response to that law... the Department of Homeland Security blocked New York residents from enrolling or re-enrolling in Global Entry and other "trusted traveler" programs.  Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence says the new law's restrictions could hinder his officers from assisting in ongoing criminal investigations and running license plate searches.

Jamestown woman arrested after falling through ceiling trying to avoid arrest...
A city woman allegedly trying to hide from police in an apartment ceiling in Jamestown... and, was arrested after she fell through Thursday afternoon.  Officers responded to a reported Order of Protection violation at a residence on Charles Street about 3:30 p.m., and, determined 31 year-old Ashley Inserra was unlawfully in the home of the victim.  Police say Inserra had climbed into the ceiling when she learned of their arrival... and, was later taken into custody without further incident.

Jamestown BPU warns of new telephone scam...
Another phone scam has surfaced that the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities is warning customers about.  BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says... in this case... a caller claims to be from the BPU, and says the customer was overcharged.  Robbins says the caller is checking to be sure the money was refunded to the customer's bank account... but, Robbins says customers are asked for bank account numbers and other personal financial information.  She says never give out those numbers... and adds the BPU is not making such calls.  Robbins says hang up if you receive such a call.

Schumer calls on federal government to provide better coverages for Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange...
New York's senior U.S. Senator is calling on the federal government to approve the addition of four health conditions to a benefits list that would help give coverage to Vietnam veterans who suffer from conditions linked to the chemical Agent Orange.  Democrat Charles Schumer made an appearance Thursday at Memorial Park in Dunkirk and was joined by local Vietnam veterans.  Schumer says there are more than 240,000 Vietnam veterans in New York State, with approximately 32,000 of them from Western New York.  Schumer says there are 82,000 nationally who have confirmed Agent Orange-related illnesses now.  He is demanding to know why the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Veterans Affairs is continuing to block billions of dollars in health care coverage and benefits for thousands of Vietnam-era veterans. 

Mitrano says it does not appear there will be a Democratic Primary this year for 23rd Congressional District race...
At the moment... it appears there won't be a Democratic Primary for the nomination to run against incumbant Republican Tom Reed for the 23rd Congressional District seat.  That from Penn Yan Democrat Tracy Mitrano... who says the only other person who has announced is Tompkins County Oral Surgeon, Dr. Scott Noren.  However... Mitrano says he's had a minimal campaign... and, tends to run against Democratic women.  She says he ran against incumbant U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand the last time she ran for re-election.  But, she says he doesn't campaign, has no election team, nor does he fund raise.  Noren has also never been put on a ballot, either.  Mitrano says her campaign has looked, and Noren has very little campaign finances.  Conversely... Mitrano says she's been able to raise almost half-a-million dollars for the campaign after raising about $1.8-million in her first run against Reed.  Reed announced shortly after defeating Mitrano in November of 2018 that he would be running for another two-year term this year.  On his website... Noren makes his case that health care is a "basic human right..." and offers other views. 


WJTN News Headlines for Feb. 21, 2020

A Clymer man was ticketed for failure to keep right following a fatal motor vehicle accident in the Town late last week. The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office says the crash occurred on Clymer Center Road just before 4:30 PM last Thursday. Deputies say 52 year-old Michael Wade reportedly failed to keep right and struck another vehicle in the on-coming lane. The driver of the other vehicle was identified as 69 year-old David Bensink, of Wattsburg-Pennsylvania. Futher investigation revealed he was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident. Both men were transported to UPMC Hamot Medical Center for treatment. Police say Bensink succumbed to his injuries yesterday. No additional charges were filed. 

A city man is in federal custody in Buffalo after local drug agents executed a search warrant at a home on Jamestown's eastside... and, arrested him on drug and weapons charges.  

City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says members of the Jamestown Metro... and, Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Forces had been searching for 35 year-old Richard Kinsey, Junior for sometime, and found him staying at 126 Hedges Avenue home early Thursday morning.  Samuelson says Kinsey tried to flee police, but, was quickly taken into custody.  He was then found in possession of more than 25-grams of methamphetamine, and a loaded handgun.

Samuelson says police also found some brass knuckles, and drug paraphernalia.  He says Kinsey is to be arraigned later today.  If you have any information on illegal drug trafficking and sales in Jaemstown... Samuelson says you are asked to call the JPD Tips-line anonymously at 483-TIPS  You can also go to their Tips 4-1-1 app.

Chautauqua County's public bus system is receiving a $1.5 million grant from the New York State Department of Transportation for the modernization and enhancement of its transportation fleet.  

State Senator George Borrello says the county applied for this grant for CARTS over a year ago, when he was County Executive.
Borrello says the money will be used to upgrade the CARTS system by purchasing clean-fuel hybrid trolley buses and associated equipment.  In addition, he says it will make the system more user-friendly... using new technology to make it easier and more convenient to get tickets, and check bus routes.  Borrello says modernizing CARTS was a priority for him when he was County Executive.  The grant is part of $14.2-million awarded to 13 counties, cities, and regional authorities statewide to modernize and enhance municipally sponsored public transportation services.

The city of Jamestown and it's Board of Public Utilities have officially signed new, 10-year water agreements to provide water service to the towns of North Harmony and Busti.  

Officials with both municipalities were on hand at the BPU's offices this afternoon to sign the agreements... which run through the year 2030.  BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says the new contracts replace an extension of the last agreement... which expired in 2015.  Leathers says there are no big changes from the previous agreements.

North Harmony Town Supervisor Louise Ortman, and Busti Supervisor Jesse Robbins were on hand to sign the new pact... and, Robbins says they're both pleased with the agreement... which he says shows all three municipalities are willing to work together for the betterment of their respective communities.  Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he's pleased with the outstanding collaboration that's again been shown between the city and, the surrounding towns.  Leathers says both municipalities will be paying the BPU 280-percent of the city rate for water.

The woman who ran against local Congressman Tom Reed two years ago says he's done little to help make health care more affordable... and it's time to do something comprehensive about it.  

However... Yates County Democrat Tracy Mitrano says it doesn't have to be done all at once.  Mitrano says those were her big takeaways from five recent town halls she hosted about health care reform in the district.  She likened her approach to something she did when she was in charge of Information Technology at Cornell University.  She had a 14-point policy that people initially balked at.
During the town halls... one of which was held in Jamestown... Mitrano says while her audiences were mostly Democrats, there were some Republicans there as well who wanted to see changes.  Reed argued that the Democratic policy used artificial means to bring down prescription drug costs, instead of allowing free market forces to dictate those costs. 

An Amish buggy was extensively damaged after a passenger vehicle struck it from behind in the Village of Panama Wednesday. 

State Police in Jamestown responded to the scene on Rock Hill Road... and, learned the driver of the car reportedly became distracted by the sun when the crash occurred.  Troopers say occupants of both vehicles... as well as the horse... were not hurt.  The unidentified driver of the car was ticketed for Failure to Reduce Speed for Special Hazards.

A couple dozen people gathered in light snow and a stiff breeze on Central Avenue in Silver Creek around 5 PM last evening for the ribbon cutting of a new restaurant... Villaggio Italiano.  

Among the crowd were FOUR Chautauqua County Executives: P.J. Wendel, Andy Goodell, Greg Edwards and George Borello.  The restaurant project is the work of Borello's wife, Kelly, who already owns the nearby Sunset Bay Beach Club and Cabana Sams.  Since those are just seasonal businesses, she's hopeful the year-round restaurant will allow her to keep key staff members employed.  George Borello, now a state senator, says he's mostly a 'silent partner' in the restaurant, but added they're proud to bring a full service restaurant back to Silver Creek for the first time in decades.  Villaggio Italiano features pizza and pasta.  More information is available at villaggioSilverCreek.com or on Facebook. 


News Bulletin for Wed., Feb. 19, 2020

Fire damages home in Cottage Park area of Busti between Lakewood and Ashville...
(**Alert)Fire has gutted the first-floor of a small, single-family home in the Cottage Park area of Ashville... just outside of Lakewood.  Lakewood firefighters were called to the scene at 2244 First Ave. about 11:30 this morning.  Fire Chief Kurt Hallberg says they found a lot of smoke coming from the front of the house... and, there was fire and smoke visable from the driverway side windows.  Hallberg says they got initial word of entrapment in the home... but, soon found that everyone was out and accounted for.  However... two pet dogs perished in the blaze.  Hallberg says fire damage was confined to the first-floor... while there was smoke damage on the second-floor.  He says they called in mutual aid from Ashville and Celoron Fire Departments... and, a member of the Panama Fire Department also stopped to assist.  No firefighters were hurt.  Crews were still overhauling the scene early this afternoon.  The county's Fire Investigation Team was called in to look for a cause.

BPU reports discolored water from hydrant use in Lakewood-area fire...
The use of a fire hydrant in battling the blaze in Lakewood has caused some discolored water in that part of the Board of Public Utilities service area.  BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says the water has been stirred up on the west side of Jamestown, West Ellicott, Lakewood, Celoron, Cottage Park and west.  Robbins says water customers should avoid doing laundry until water appears clear.  Water generally takes 12-24 hours to clear.



WJTN News Headlines for Feb. 18, 2020

Nine more people who achieved greatness in the world of sports were officially inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame during the annual induction dinner in Lakewood.  

Frewsburg's Bob Goold made a name for himself by coaching several sports at Frewsburg and Maple Grove schools.  He also achieved national and international recognition with the Special Olympics.  He says it's great being recognized for doing something "you love."

Former Jamestown High School Basketball Stand-out Justin Johnson was recognized for setting several varsity records his senior year in 1994 and, having a fine career at Army.  The "Father of Jamestown Community College Athletics," the late George Bataitis, was also inducted.  Former Pine Valley Girls Varsity Basketball Coach Tim Nobles, was recognized for leading the Lady Panthers to six state titles during his varsity coaching career.  Other inductees on hand included former Panama and Grove City College sports stand-out Christine Carlson-Jenkins, Professional baseball and football official Elly Norton of Bemus Point, and Westfield's Mark Orlando and Dunkirk's Mike Tramuta.

Two people were seriously hurt in a two-car, head-on, crash in the Cattaraugus County town of Randolph early Sunday morning.  
Sheriff's deputies in Little Valley say they were called to the scene on Main Street just after 12 AM and, found that a Jeep had crossed the center line, and struck an older model car head-on.  Officers say the drivers of both vehicles were taken to UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pennsylvania for treatment of serious injuries.  Neither has been identified.  Officers say two passengers in the van were treated for lesser injuries at UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown.  Charges are pending.

State Senate Republicans are slated to hold more bail reform hearings during the month of March, following the first one held in Buffalo on February 6th.  

That from State Senator George Borrello, who chairs the Repeal Bail Reform Task Force.  Borrello tells us that the task force would like to finish the series of hearings before the state budget deadline of April 1st.

The Hanover Republican says the first bail reform hearing, which featured law enforcement officials from Chautauqua County, gave him the sense of frustration from those officials.  Borrello says District Attorney Patrick Swanson, who shared a letter he now shares with victims and witnesses about how evidence is now being handled.  The police chiefs expressed their frustration with the fact many of the accused are now failing to show up for court dates.  Borrello says their testimony was "frustrating to listen to..." and, that Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers need to hear those stories.

New York retailers have begun giving up single-use plastic bags as the state prepares for the March 1st implementation of a ban aimed at reducing pollution.  

A new state law bars many types of businesses from sending shoppers home with the single-use plastic sacks that have been clogging up landfills, getting tangled in trees and accumulating in lakes and seas.  As the deadline to drop the bags nears, though, not all environmentalists are ready to celebrate.  Some worry the state's new regulations include a loophole that could potentially allow stores to phase in plastic bags thick enough to be considered multiuse.  Others note the proposed rules include exemptions that allow for some use of single-use bags.

Water quality advocates are worried that major cuts to clean water programs in the Trump administration’s proposed national budget would be a big loss for the Great Lakes.  

The budget proposal would maintain the current level of funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $320-million. But according to Laura Rubin, director the Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition, cuts proposed for other programs would undermine efforts to reduce algal blooms and invasive species, and to repair the infrastructure that keeps pollution from entering the Great Lakes in the first place.

The Coalition estimates that New York alone will need almost $54-million over the next 20 years to repair and replace crumbling drinking-water and wastewater infrastructure.  The president’s budget also would cut the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund by almost $266-million. She says the Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition will be in Washington, D-C, next month to urge Congress to make full funding of clean water programs a top priority.


WJTN News Headlines for Feb. 17, 2020

An inmate in the Cattaraugus County Jail has been arrested for allegedly being found in possession of unidentified prescription pills late last year....  

Sheriff's officers in Little Valley say they found 27 year-old Holton Pierce, Junior in possession of the pills last November.  Deputies had the pills tested, and they were found to be a controlled substance.  Pierce has been charged with second-degree promoting prison contraband and, he'll be arraigned in Little Valley Town Court at a later date.

Disagreements over revenue and reparations have held up proposals to legalize recreational marijuana in New York, but opportunities for compromise could come up in the weeks ahead....  

Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to soon release suggested tweaks to his budget proposal, which included a plan to legalize the drug.  Lawmakers plan to unveil their own legalization bill.  In addition, marijuana legalization could be part of the state budget proposals being prepared now by the Assembly and Senate.

A number of data breaches in recent years has led New York's junior U-S Senator to propose legislation to create a new agency to help protect American's private information.  Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand has authored the Data Protection Act, which would lead to the Data Protection Agency....  

Gillibrand cited the 2017 breach of credit reporting company Equifax as one of the reasons such an agency is needed.  Gillibrand cited her own situation with her two sons going on-line to play games, and chat with friends.  She says Americans have expressed a desire to have their personal information guarded so they don't fall prey to unscrupulous "data mining" companies.  She says data is routinely sold to companies that then target those people with ads and e-mails.  Gillibrand says there are three "core" missions the DPA would undertake.  The first is working to allow people to have protection and control of their personal data.  The second is the agency will work to ensure "fair competition" in the digital marketplace and, thirdly, will prepare the government for the digital age we have entered. 

Lake Erie has is less than 5% ice covered....  

It's a subject of concern for Jennifer Russo, Viticulture Specialist for the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program. An ice covered lake helps protect tender buds from the wide swings in temperature that often come in March and April.  Over 95% of the grapes grown in the Lake Erie belt are concords, sweet grapes.  Russo says returns per ton for that kind of grape have been 'frozen' for many years, in the range of $220 to $300, while the costs to grow them have gone up significantly.  Chautauqua County is the largest grape growing county in the state.

Work is set to begin on the site of a massive Amazon warehouse in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York State....  

The Middletown Times Herald-Record reports that nearly 190 acres of trees in the Town of Montgomery will start being cut down on Tuesday after the $75.2-million project was granted a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement.  The warehouse, 50 miles north of New York City will be one of the company's more than 75 fulfillment centers across the country.  The roughly one-million-square-foot warehouse will house bulky items such as patio furniture and outdoor equipment.  

Congress has approved legislation that will relieve some of the financial burden put on the U-S Postal Service in funding it's employee retirement program.  

Local Congressman Tom Reed and others in the bi-partisan Problems Solvers Caucus drew up the Postal Fairness Act and, get it on the calendar for a vote through the new House Rules.  The Corning Republican says they were able to get 290-plus members to agree to bring the measure to the floor just over a week ago.

What helped get the legislation through the House was that the pension fund is now stable and appears fully funded after several years of the mandate being in place.  Reed says this shows that the new Consensus Calendar rule in the House works if leadership is unable or unwilling to bring forth good legislation.  He says the measure now moves onto the Senate for it's approval before it would go to President Trump for his signature.  He made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier media.

Today is the final day to vote on USA Today's "Best New Museum" on-line competition....  

At last word, the comedy center was atop the standings of 20 nominees for the honor.  To keep entities from "stuffing the ballot box..." USA Today is not showing the most recent rankings.  The Comedy Center was one of 20 new museums in the U-S nominated for this award back on January 20th by a panel nationally-recognized travel experts for the USA Today travel award series, which celebrates outstanding destinations, attractions and experiences.  Votes can be cast until Noon today at VoteComedyCenter.com.  The National Comedy Center is the only museum in Western New York that has been nominated for this award.  It was voted number-two last year in USA Today's "Best New Attraction" award.


WJTN Headlines for Sat., Feb. 15, 2020

City police vehicle involved in accident in downtown Jamestown...
A Jamestown Police officer suffered minor injuries when his patrol car crashed into another vehicle at a downtown intersection early Friday morning.  City police confirm the accident at Second and Main Streets occured about 6:30 a.m., and, the officer was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, and was later released.  The intersection was closed for a short time while the accident scene was cleared.  There's no word yet on any tickets being issued.

Police in Dunkirk investigating alleged shooting incident...
Dunkirk Police are investigating an incident involving a gunshot victim that occurred Thursday evening.  Police indicate they were called to Brooks Memorial Hospital's emergency room around 7:30 p.m. for a victim with an apparent gunshot wound.  No further details are available at this time... including the location of the shooting.  Police say the investigation is ongoing, and that anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Dunkirk Police Department at 366-2266 or the confidential tip line at 363-0313.

Cuomo and Trump hold talks about suspension of Trusted Traveler programs in NYS...
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited the White House Friday in hopes he can persuade President Donald Trump to reverse a decision to boot New Yorkers from programs that allow travelers to avoid long lines at U.S. at the border.  The Democratic governor and Republican president met Thursday afternoon to discuss their dispute over New York's new "Green Light" law, which lets unauthorized immigrants obtain state driver's licenses.  It also bars federal immigration agents from accessing state motor vehicle records.  Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf says the leaders held a "productive meeting." 

Gillibrand votes in favor of War Powers legislation regarding Iran...
New York's Junior Senator voted in favor of a bi-partisan measure that limits President Donald Trump's authority to launch military operations against Iran. The resolution says Trump must seek approval from Congress before engaging in further military action against the arab country.  Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand says the resolution is now about Trump or even the presidency, but instead is an important reassertion of congressional power to declare war.  Gillibrand says it would reclaim the authority for Congress that it's given up during the time period after "9/11."  She says they voted on a number of amendments prior to the final vote on Sen. Tim Kaine's proposal.  In addition... Gillibrand says she will soon be offering a proposal that would limit the president's ability to get the country into "Forever Wars..." like Afghanistan.  Under the proposal... she says the president would have to name the country involved, and secondly, the authorization would only late two years.  At that point... the president would have to come back to Congress.  The House could take up the Senate resolution later this month.  Two-thirds votes in the House and GOP-run Senate would be needed to override an expected Trump veto.

Sundquist takes part in lobbying by NYCOM for increased state road and bridge maintenance funding...
Jamestown's new mayor took part in the New York State Conference of Mayor's annual Winter Legislative session in Albany... which included rallying for more funding to maintain state roadways in the city.  Democrat Eddie Sundquist attended the two-and-a-half day program earlier this week... and, says he was part of the effort to lobby members of the State Senate and Assembly to boost Arterial Maintenance funding.  He says the rate has not changed on reimbursements since 1987, but, he says the city's costs to do that have gone up, and they now lose money on the program.  Former Mayor Sam Teresi was part of a several year effort to get that funding increased.  Currently... Jamestown receives $220,000 a year from the state, and they're looking to at least double that amount.  Sundquist says he made some valuable contacts while at NYCOM... because he feels it's important to see how other cities are dealing with common issues they face.  Generally... Sundquist adds that the mayor's also discussed other implications of Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2020-2021 budget proposal on their communities.  There was also continuing discussion over dealing with the state's new "cashless bail" reform law.

Former Assembly Minority Leader Kolb says he's not running for re-election...
A state Republican lawmaker who was charged with drunken driving and blamed his wife for a New Year's Eve crash says he will not run for re-election this year.  Brian Kolb previously served as the top Republican in the New York State Assembly, but stepped down from the leadership post after being charged with driving while intoxicated.  Kolb was behind the wheel when his state-issued 2018 GMC Acadia slid off a driveway and down an embankment near his home in western New York, according to authorities.


WJTN News Headlines for Feb. 14, 2020

A state Appellate Court Judge has dismissed the final part of a lawsuit brought by a waste company that had wanted to locate a landfill in the town of Carroll.  

Town Supervisor Russ Payne says they announced the court's ruling during Wednesday night's board meeting.  In the lawsuit... Payne says Sealand was challenging a 2007 local law prohibiting a landfill from being located off Dodge Road.  However... the judge ruled the company has no "vested property interest" because it never owned the property.

Payne says Sealand also argued that a past board member -- who was also part of a citizen's committee -- had a conflict of interest regarding the 2007 law.  Since the woman left the citizen's group before the law was acted on... he says there was no conflict involved.  He says the latest action was taken on February 5th.  Payne says the biggest part of the decision is that it shows that "Municipal Home Rule Law alive and well and works in New York state."

Lawmakers in Washington are looking over President Donald Trump's $4.8-trillion dollar budget for fiscal year 2021... which includes about $2-trillion dollars in cuts that would eliminate entitlements and social safety net programs.  

That number includes food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security disability benefit programs... as well as the Low-Income Heating Energy Assistance Program.  Local Congressman Tom Reed expressed concern over cuts to medical research and development.

Reed says he will fight to retain that funding... which includes money to help with diabetes research.  That's an important program to the Corning Republican.  The cuts will take place over 10 years... and, Reed says it'll again force lawmakers to defend spending they want restored, or added.  At the same time... the proposed budget does not eliminate the deficit in the next 10 years... but 15 years.  Reed has been concerned about ringing up the deficit... which the Congressional Budget Office has reported, will add up to one-trillion dollars annually.  He made his comments during his weekly telepone conference call with area media.

A portion of North Work Street in the Village of Falconer was closed due to a motor vehicle accident early yesterday morning that knocked out power over a wide area.  

Chautauqua County dispatchers say the accident occurred shortly before 7 AM... when a truck hit a utility pole and knocked out power to parts of the Village.  They say thru-traffic was blocked off on North Work between Mosher and Mapleshade.  Board of Public Utilities Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says BPU electric crews restored power about 8 AM. 

Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he's hopeful that the city will get a good response to request for proposals they've sent out to private emergency ambulance service.  

Sundquist's office shared the FRP's with City Council members at this week's work session.  Sundquist says they received a list of potential, private EMS companies in the region before sending out those proposals.  Current service provider, Alstar EMS, says they're experiencing a shortage of EMTS.

Sundquist says th city is continuing to get back-up from surrounding departments, such as Falconer and others... and, he recently thanked them during a meeting for that.  The meeting also included Police Chief Harry Snellings, and Deputy Fire Chief Sam Salemme.  Alstar recently told city officials that they were getting out of their agreement with the city in early April.  Sundquist says the city is asking for the RFPs to be returned by Wednesday, March 11th.  He made his comments for this coming weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Group stations.

A report of shots being fired in the backyard of a residence on Ruggles Street in Dunkirk Wednesday afternoon has led to the arrest of a 21-year-old man.  

Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano says police quickly located the man and recovered a loaded firearm. In another development... Ortolano says Dunkirk Police have arrested a Forestville man on charges stemming from two separate crashes in the city on Wednesday. Ortolano says 25-year-old Jerry Murphy is facing several charges, including driving while under the influence of drugs.


WJTN News Headlines for Feb 13, 2020

A portion of North Work Street in the Village of Falconer is shut-down due to a motor vehicle accident this morning.  

Chautauqua County dispatch says the accident occurred shortly before 7 AM... when a truck hit a utility pole, knocking out power to parts of the Village.  Dispatch says thru-traffic is shut down on North Main between Mosher and Mapleshade. Chautuauqua County Fire Police, Gerry and Falconer Fire crews are at the scene.... there's no word on any injuries at this time. 

A storm system moving in from the southwest has dumped several inches of snow on the region... including Chautauqua County.  

Snow moved into the Jamestown-area about mid-evening last night... and, Meteorologist Kirk Apfell from the National Weather Service in Buffalo says the snow will begin tapering off as we go through the morning.

Some 3 to 6 inches generally are expected for the Jamestown-area... but some spots near the Pennsylvania state line may see 4 to 8 inches of the white stuff.  Apfell says the high on Friday will only be about 15... but, the wind chlls will make it feel much colder than that.  The projected low on Friday night into Saturday morning is forecast to be one-above zero.  Some places may fall to below-zero.  However... he says we'll see temperatures begin warming up fairly quickly on Saturday, when the high is expected to reach 30.

For the 15th year... the Chautauqua County Humane Society is holding it's "Pennies for Paw's" fund-raiser to help support their efforts to save, and find a home for the animals they take in.  

However... there is something new with this year's program.  That from Community Relations Director Brian Papalia... who says you can still give at a number of locations where their cannisters are located.  However... he says you can also donate on line.  Papalia says it's all part of finding a "forever home" for their stray animals.

Brian says you can go to their Facebook Page... and, give there.  He says click on "fund-raisers..." and, you can set it up on your own account, and invite people to give... or volunteer.  He says they are also high-lighting the new effort provide support to keep animals in their current homes.  The "Pennies for Paws" campaign runs now through April 30th... and, Papalia says their goal this year is $13,000.  For more information... go to their website at chqhumane.org, you can also call 665-2209.

Following an extensive statewide search... the Dunkirk City School District has announced a new superintendent.  

During Tuesday's school board meeting, the board approved a resolution naming Bemus Point Central Superintendent Michael Mansfield as Dunkirk's new superintendent.  Mansfield, who also has experience working for Jamestown Public Schools, says he is "very honored" to be selected.

Mansfield says his goal for the Dunkirk School District is to create a positive experience for every student so they can reach their potential and be ready to contribute to society.  Mansfield's first day on the job in Dunkirk will be April 20th.  Interim Superintendent Sylvia Root will continue in that position until then.

The city of Jamestown has now sent out requests for proposals from ambulance service companies to provide emergency medical transport coverage.  

The proposals were shared with City Council members at Monday night's work session.  The RFPs come in the wake of current provider, Alstar EMS, announcing that it would be ending it's current agreement with the city in April.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says the city is asking for proposals to be returned by Wednesday, March 11th at 4 PM.  After that point... he says they will review those through March 27th... and, have something for council to vote on at it's March voting session.  

New York's governor plans to propose that the state could share some driving records with federal immigration agencies if the Trump Administration reverses its move to block state residents from Global Entry and other programs that allow travelers to avoid long border security lines.  

Democratic Governor  Andrew Cuomo's comments in a Wednesday radio interview come a day after New York officials filed a lawsuit challenging the Department of Homeland Security's move to block New York residents from "trusted traveler" programs.  Federal officials said it was necessary because of a new law that bars federal immigration agents from accessing New York state's motor vehicle records.


WJTN News Headlines for Feb. 12, 2020

Local Congressman Tom Reed says it was the state's decision as part of it's new "Green Light" bill which led the U-S Department of Homeland Security to block residents from being part in it's "trusted traveler" programs. 

 Reed has been accused of pushing DHS to block the access... but, the Corning Republican says New York is the only one of 15 states that prohibits the sharing of ID information with Customs and Border Security.  Reed and fellow GOP Congressman Lee Zeldin did write to Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli about the matter. 

Reed say most of the other 14 states that have "Green Light" laws only restrict the sharing of information with ICE Agents, and domestic law enforcement.  The ban has caused headaches for Western New Yorkers who use the "NEXUS" program, and others, to travel and do business in Canada.  Reed says the state could solve it's own problem by repealing the part of the law that blocks information from immigration and border officials.  He was on conference call with 25 local and regional officials -- including Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist -- about the matter last Saturday.

A more than 100 year-old Jamestown company has purchased a Falconer-based roll forming manufacturer.  

In a recent press release, Dahlstrom Roll Form said it's agreed to purchase DC Rollform, along with DC's 13,0,000 square foot building.  Dahlstrom Owner Robert White says the consolidation, and move to the new building is scheduled to be complete by the third-quarter of this year.  White says they are putting inventory buffers in place, and with careful planning, they expect no disruption to any of their customer-supply programs.  He adds that seven DC Rollform employees will move over to the Dahlstrom operation. 

The Jamestown City Council is holding off on having another Parking Ticket Amnesty Program, opting instead to go with stronger enforcement actions against violators. 

 That was the determination after much discussion in the council's Finance Committee Monday night.  Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says they've decided to continue going after the biggest offenders.

The city has increased it's "booting and towing" efforts to ensure that people are paying their tickets when they should be.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist recently called attention to some $587,000  in tickets and fines that have piled up among motorists.  Sundquist pitched the idea of a possible Amnesty Program,  which was last done about four years ago.  Monday night, lawmakers discussed ways to deal with the ticket fees and fines that have piled up since the last program, which they felt was successful.  An Amnesty program would allow people to pay up their past tickets, but, not have to pay penalties, for a short period of time.

The Jamestown School Board has selected a consultant for it's search for a new superintendent to replace the retiring Bret Apthorpe on July 1st.  Board members agreed yesterday morning to hire New York State Leadership Group as their search consultant.  

The Leadership Group is a non-profit educational organization that's part of the SUNY Buffalo State College Foundation.  Under the leadership of Executive Director Robert Christmann, the group has completed over 50 school district leader searches.  Their process assures board members of receiving many high-quality candidates.

An officer with the Fredonia Village Police Department has been given a meritorious service award for saving the life of young man who suffered a severe cut to his bicep when he went through a plate glass window.  

City Police Chief Phil Maslak says Officer Zack Hand responded to the incident last December 14th.  Maslak says Hand... who was recently promoted to a full-time officer. was credited by first responders with saving the man's life.

Maslak presented the award to Officer Hand at Monday night's Fredonia Village Board meeting.   Maslak says Hand has made quite an impression on the department considering he is a young officer.  Hand was on a foot patrol when he came across the incident.

The Jamestown Tarp Skunks are partnering with the Jock Shop this week to celebrate the upcoming baseball season, but also support those who use the area's largest soup kitchen.  

That from the team's General Manager Frank Fanning, who says 10-percent of sales of their "Skunk Junk" from the Jock Shop will benefit the Saint Susan's Center.  Fanning says the entire point of the team's re-branding was to find different ways to help the local communities in the city. He says you can purchase "Skunk Junk" -- including hats, shirts and hoodies -- at the Jamestown Cycle Shop or online through their team shop at TarpSkunks.com. 


WJTN News Headlines for Feb. 11, 2020

A Jamestown manufacturer of painted and stainless steel furniture and equipment will be laying off nearly 40 employees by this Spring, cutting it's workforce by half.  
The New York State Labor Department reports it received an official WARN Notice from Institutional Casework, Incorporated on February 5th,  stating that Jamestown Metal Products on Blackstone Avenue has notified employees that 37 workers will be laid-off on or about May 8th.  The reduction would leave 40 workers at the plant.  JMP was purchased in 2009 by Institutional Casework, which is based in Tennessee.  Our efforts to reach the local company, and it's Tennessee parent company have been unsuccessful.

Jamestown's Public Works Department will begin work later this year on a new, storm water management system to hopefully end a major stormwater flooding problem on the city's northside.  

Public Works Director Jeff Lehman outlined plans to deal with to help slow down water coming off private property on Federal Place that's heavily-impacted Fluvanna Avenue and Roseland Park area.

Lehman says the rushing water has also caused problems for the Pepsi-Cola plant on Washington Street.  He says the plan now is to use three "arch pipes" with stone placed around it to slow the water down from that 47-acre area.  He says the system will allow them to hold much of the run-off uphill so that it drains slowlly to the lower level.  Lehman says they have a similar set up, using six arch pipes, on Huxley Avenue.  He says the DPW is looking to add more storm water drainage into that area of Fluvanna Avenue in the future.  The City Council's Finance Committee last night approved using just over $14,700 from a 2015 bond to finance the project.  The full council will vote on the plan in two weeks.

Jamestown's chief financial officer says the city had another "very good" quarter for sales tax revenues during the final three months of last year.  

In fact, Comptroller Joe Bellitto told lawmakers last night that the city had just received it's fourth-quarter payment of $1.66-million, which was $94,000 more than the 4th Quarter of 2018.  With that, he says they exceeded their record amount received in 2018.

Bellitto says State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli recently announced sales tax revenues were up across the state by about 4.7-percent, so he says they were very close to the average.  In 2018, Bellitto says the city received just over $6.4-million in sales tax revenues.  Since 2009, he says they've now had three consecutive years of solid growth in those revenues, after seven difficult ones.  Bellitto says the city's 2020 budget includes an anticipated $6.5-million in sales tax revenues.  Jamestown will receive it's first-quarter sales tax payment on or around May 1st.

Two people were arrested for endangering the welfare of a child after one allegedly overdose in a motel room last Wednesday.  

Ellicott Town Police were called to the Budget Inn on East Main Street just before 1:30 AM and, found a female who overdosed on drugs.  During the investigation, police say a 2-month-old infant was reportedly in the room during the incident and both parents were under the influence of drugs while caring for the child.  Officers say 36 year-old Joshua Lincoln and 24 year-old Tanisha Babcock were issued appearance tickets for Town Court at a later date. 

One of the candidates in the Democratic Presidential Primaries is seeking a campaign headquarters in Chautauqua County.  

That from county Democratic Committee Chairman Norm Green, who is back after a quick weekend in New Hampshire in advance of today's first party primary of 2020.  Green also says he has been contacted by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's campaign about a location in the Jamestown-area ahead New York's April 28th primary.

Both Bloomberg and fellow Billionaire Tom Steyers have been spending millions of dollars on advertising, which has created a lot of political buzz.  There's still a lot of buzz about last week's disasterous Iowa Caucuses.  Green says there are often issues that arise during voting, but he says Iowa needs to do a better job and, maybe have their caucus and votes handled by professionals.  The New York Primary is one of several that will be held on Tuesday, April 28th, also known as "Super Tuesday."  Michael Bloomberg skipped the Iowa Caucuses and, has mainly been eyeing Super Tuesday states.


WJTN News Headlines for Feb. 10, 2020

A Sinclairville man has been arrested on menacing and drug possession charges after allegedly threatening other people with a knife in two Chautauqua County towns....  

Sheriff's officers were intially called to a location in the Town of Stockton last Thursday and following an investigation, they learned the suspect was 24 year-old Austin Schwab.  Schwab allegedly threatened another person's life while brandishing a knife.  A warrant was issued for his arrest for second-degree menacing, and criminal possession of a weapon charges.   Last Friday, deputies stopped Schwab's car in the town of Gerry, and he was allegedly found to be operating the vehicle while under the influence of drugs.  He was also found to be in possession of a controlled substance, and numerous hypodermic needles.  He was charged there with driving while ability impaired by drugs, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and aggravated unlicensed operation.

A north county man has been sentenced to eight-years in federal prison and 25 years supervised post-release for his conviction on child pornography charges...

U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior announced late last week that 56 year-old Joseph Harvey of Forestville, received the sentence from federal Judge Lawrence Vilardo.  Prosecutors say Harvey was accused of being found in possession of 37 videos and 51 images of child pornography in May of 2016 and, some included prepubescent minors, and depictions of violence.  They also say he exchanged text messages at that time with another man in which they discussed child pornography.  During those text exchanges, Harvey distributed and received images of child pornography.

The city of Jamestown's Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department has had to take down five old and damaged trees that are part of the West Third Street "Cathedral Oak Trees."  

City Arborist Dan Stone responded last week to a number of public inquiries about the work that was taking place along the street between Hall Avenue and Hallock Street.  Stone says they were taken down over several days.

In recent years, the Oak Trees across the city have been impacted by the Emerald Ash Borer.  Stone says that led to the removal of 317 oaks last year alone.  He says they've been able to treat and fertilize several trees, but, some done several years ago are at the end of their life cycles.  Stone says parks crews cut down 200 to 300 trees a year but, he adds they replace them.  He says they have 255 trees that will go into the ground this Spring.  In 1986, Stone says there were 67 Oak Trees in that five-block area of West Third Street.

Two major projects should be having a positive impact on the Dunkirk area's economy during 2020....  

Mayor Willie Rosas announced late this past week that the Cold Storage Warehouse located on South Roberts Road is ready for operation.

Rosas also gave an update on another project that is expected to get underway in 2020 at Fieldbrook Foods.  He says that expansion effort has been in the design and planning stages, and they are looking to receive the necessary approvals and permits to begin.  The $89-million expansion is expected to employ about 70 workers. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says his state will file a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's plan to block New Yorkers from enrolling in "trusted traveler" programs...  

The lawsuit announced Friday is the latest salvo in an escalating fight over immigration policy between President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders in his home state.  Federal officials say they took the step of blocking New Yorkers because of a new state law barring immigrant agents from getting access to state motor vehicle records.  The law allows New York residents to apply for driver's licenses without having to prove they are in the U.S. legally. 

The Chautauqua County Office buildings and courthouse in Mayville had to be evacuated for a while last Friday after a power outage triggered their emergency system....  

County Executive PJ Wendel's office confirms that, due to the winter weather, evacuees were taken to the nearby Mayville Catholic Church.  Wendel says at first officials were not sure why the system was triggered, but after they determined there was no threat to public safety, the campus was re-opened.  He says no other county facilities were effected by the outage and subsequent evacuation.


WJTN Headlines for Sat., Feb. 8, 2020

Green in New Hampshire for Democratic Presidential Primary...
Chautauqua County's Democratic Party Chairman is heading to New Hampshire this weekend to help with organizing leading up to next Tuesday's first presidential primary vote.  Norm Green was on his way Friday afternoon to the Granite State... and, says he's excited to be heading back.  Green says he visited New Hampshire last Fall, and looks forward to working to unify the party through the November election.  He's the guest of Jeremy Zellner, who is chairman of the Erie County Democratic Committee, for a major fundraiser tonight in Manchester.  Green says he and Zellner have yet to endorse a candidate... and, he says the nomination remains up in the air after the disasterous Iowa Caucus.  Senator Bernie Sanders and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg were neck-and-neck for the top spot in Iowa... with others close behind.  Green says former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomburg has become an interesting addition to the race. 

Congressman Tom Reed says a new Infrastructure Bill could come in late 2020 or mid-2021...
While political rancor has been on full-display in Washington, D.C. this week... there has been some talk about working to get a new infrastructure bill in place.  A $1-trillion dollar measure has been discussed by President Donald Trump, and many members of Congress on both sides of the political aisle.  Prior to the State of the Union Address... U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said she would like to work on such a bill... and, local Congressman Tom Reed followed up those sentiments.  Reed says most of the vetting and solution work has already been done.  However... he's not sure anything will be agreed to during the current election season.  Still... Reed, who is running for re-election himself this November, says he believes that if a major infrastructure isn't voted on this year... it very well could be in the first half of 2021.  The Corning Republican says he believes that will be the case whether President Trump is elected to a second-term or not.  He made his comments for his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier media.

Cuomo announces state lawsuit opposing Trump administration blocking New Yorkers from being enrolled in "trusted traveler" program... 
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says his state will file a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's plan to block New Yorkers from enrolling in "trusted traveler" programs.  The lawsuit announced Friday is the latest salvo in an escalating fight over immigration policy between President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders in his home state.  Federal officials say they took the step of blocking New Yorkers because of a new state law barring immigrant agents from getting access to state motor vehicle records.  The law allows New York residents to apply for driver's licenses without having to prove they are in the U.S. legally. 

Ripley man arrested for sexual offense in case involving juvenile...
A Ripley man has been arrested for allegedly having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a juvenile in the town of Ripley.  Sheriff's officers say their Criminal Investigation Division was called to investigate a "suspicious situation" at a Ross Street home.  Deputies say they found that 19 year-old Cortland Hepfner did engage in the inappropriate relationship with the juvenile.  Hepfner was issued an appearance ticket for a later date in Ripley Town Court for one count of sexual misconduct. 

County office buidlings in Mayville evacuated briefly after power outage triggers alarm...
Chautauqua County’s Mayville Office Buildings and county courthouse had to be evacuated Friday morning after a power outage triggered their emergency alarm system.  County Executive P-J Wendel's office confirms that, due to the winter weather, evacuees were taken to the nearby Mayville Catholic Church.  Wendel says at first officials were not sure why the system was triggered, but after they determined there was no threat to public safety, the campus was re-opened.  The executive said no other county facilities were effected by the outage and subsequent evacuation.

Two major projects set to begin at cold storage facility, and Fieldbrook Foods this year...
Two major projects should be having a positive impact on the Dunkirk area's economy during 2020.  Mayor Willie Rosas announced late this past week that the Cold Storage Warehouse located on South Roberts Road is ready for operation.  Rosas says the facility is already open and looking to hire more people.  Rosas also gave an update on another project that is expected to get underway in 2020 at Fieldbrook Foods... and says they're getting their approvals and permits in place for a major expansion there.  He says the $89-million expansion is expected to employ about 70 workers. 

City woman arrested for stealing nearly $350 worth of merchandise at Lakewood WalMart...
A Jamestown woman was arrested for allegedly stealing nearly $350 worth of items without paying at the Walmart Superstore in Lakewood.  Village Police were called to the Fairmount Avenue location Wednesday night... and, took 38 year-old April Crawford into custody.  Officers says Crawford allegedly under-rang $349.16 in merchandise at the self-checkout.  She was issued an appearance ticket for Busti Town Court on a charge of petty larceny. 



WJTN News Headlines for Feb. 7, 2020

Opponents and supporters of the new Bail Reform law were heard from Thursday afternoon during a hearing by the state Senate Repeal Bail Reform Task Force.  

Some 17 people testified during the first of a statewide series of hearings on the impact of the cashless bail, and other criminal justice reforms that took effect on January 1st.  State Senator George Borrello, who chairs the task force, says the goal is to get testimony from people who he says were ignored in the process of creating the new laws.

Borrello says the new reforms have resulted in a more than 70-percent increase in bench warrants for failure to appear in court in the city of Jamestown.  He says the last count was 119 people who have not shown up for their court dates.  Borrello says Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone and District Attorney Patrick Swanson were on hand, along with Jamestown Police Chief Harry Snellings and Dunkirk Police Chief Dave Ortolano.

Also in Buffalo, local Assemblyman Andy Goodell joined other members of the chamber's minority Republicans calling for an immediate repeal of the criminal justice reforms -- namely cashless bail.  

The press conference was hosted by Gowanda Assemblyman Joe Giglio and other Republicans.  They were also joined by families directly impacted by the new bail reform laws and law enforcement professionals who expressed serious concerns with the new requirements.  The members also discussed their recently issued report, “Criminal Justice Reform: Addressing the Issues with Bail and Discovery Reforms."  Goodell says "catch and release’ is great for fishing, but is a terrible criminal justice policy.  Lives are being lost and New Yorkers are losing confidence in their safety; we know what we have to do.  It’s far past time to repeal this ‘catch and release’ policy."

Local Congressman Tom Reed spent some time meeting and, getting to know new muncipal and county officials recently in Mayville.  

He says it was also a chance to get updates on local issues facing those officials.  Reed says the meeting included people like Interim County Executive P-J Wendel, and new State Senator George Borrello.  The Corning Republican says the health of Chautauqua Lake remains a big issuesone local issue... along with workforce development.

Reed says the third major issue is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's recent proposal to cap state Medicaid aid at 3-percent growth.  Cuomo is making the proposal to try and reign in spending on the program.  However, local leaders say the state runs the program, and New York needs to find cost cuts.  Reed says it's wrong to shift any added costs onto local counties.. and, he'll oppose any such move.  

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says it will no longer let New York residents enroll in its "trusted traveler" programs because of a new state law that blocked federal immigration officials from accessing motor vehicle records.  

The so-called "Green Light" law went into effect in December and allowed people without legal permission to be in the United States to apply for driver's licenses.

  Acting Director of the Homeland Security Department, Chad Wolf, called New York's new law "disappointing" during a Fox News interview late Wednesday night.  A senior adviser to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, says the move by DHS was politically motivated.  Local Congressman Tom Reed recently sounded a warning on the potential move by DHS and, again called this morning for the "Green Light" law to be repealed.

The 2019 Hunting Seasons for New York State are the safest on-record in history.  That from Department of Environment Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos, who says nearly 55,000 hunters enjoy the sport in New York state each year.  Seggos says the declining number of incidents confirms that today's generation of hunters are the most safety-conscious yet.  The DEC documented seven tree stand incidents, 12 Hunting-Related Shooting incidents and one fatality last year, compared to 166 incidents -- 13 of which were fatal -- in 1966.


WJTN News Headlines for Feb. 6, 2020

Local Congressman Tom Reed agrees there was a lot of partisanship on display during the State of the Union Address.  

But... the Corning Republican says "enough is enough."  Reed says lost in the theatrics was President Trump saying it's important to remember they're all working for the American people.

Reed says he took the president's address in "a positive way..." and, high-lighted some bi-partisan successes over the past three years.  One of those was the recent approval... and, signing of the new United States, Mexico, and Canada Trade agreement.  He says lawmakers came together to advance a policy that will help manufacturers, farmers and workers.  Reed adds that other bi-partsian measures... such as Crimnal Justice Reform... was put in place through the efforts of Congress and the president.  He did note that one area he wished the president would have discussed was the ballooning national deficit... which has now reached $23-trillion.

A crowd of about 25-to-30 people gathered in a peaceful protest in Fredonia late Wednesday afternoon in response to the Senate's acquittal of President Trump...

The protest, organized by the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Women's Action Group, was one of several across the nation known as "Reject the Cover-Up".  A few Trump supporters held a counter-protest at the event.

One of the high-lights of the State of Union for Chautauqua Countys' Congressman was having a Jamestown-area teenager on hand to watch the speech with him.  

Tom Reed says it was "great" to have a young leader in the area of Type-One Diabetes research and treatment in the gallery.  Bemus Point's Ben Cornell is a regional ambassador for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Reed says the 14 year-old Cornell was "very appreciative" of being selected to watch the State of the Union in person.  The Corning Republican's son, Will, is also a Type-One Diabetic, and he says he can appreciate what the Cornell family has dealt with.  Reed made his comments for his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier media.

A broken drainpipe at Ring Elementary School in Jamestown has forced city school officials to close the school for today while repairs are made.  

District Spokeswoman Cathy Panebianco says the pipe is in the cafeteria area of the school.  While Ring will be closed... all other Jamestown schools will be open.  In addition... she says students should not report on Friday due to scheduled Inservice Day. 

Officials with the National Comedy Center in Jamestown say they're excited to have four legendary comedians coming to this year's 30th annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival.  

Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson says first... Jeff Foxworthy will be performing his "Red-Neck humor" show on Friday night... August 7th at the Northwest Arena.  Gunderson says Foxworthy is the "highest selling comedian" of all time.

In addition... Gunderson says they'll be celebrating the 45th anniversary for Saturday Night Live on Saturday night, August 8th with stand-up shows by SNL legends David Spade, Rob Schneider, and Kevin Nealon.  She says all three have "fantastic" stand-up shows.  Gunderson says pre-sale tickets for the two shows at the Northwest Arena go on sale to National Comedy Center members only on Tuesday, February 25th at 12 Noon.  The general public has it's crack at tickets on March 3rd, beginning at Noon. 

Comedic legend Jeff Foxworthy has never been to the National Comedy Center... but, he did an extensive interview with it's producers about stand-up comedy.  

Director Journey Gunderson says it's part of one of their stand-up comedy displays at the center... breaking down "the anatomy of a joke."  Gunderson is also reminding residents that the Comedy Center is still in the lead for USA Today's "Best New Museum" contest nationwide.  The center is one of 20 new museums that are vying for the title.  You can vote everyday now through Monday, February 17th... at VoteComedyCenter.com.

The Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame's annual induction dinner in Lakewood has again sold out....  

That from Chairman Chip Johnson... who says every ticket has been handed out for the February 17th event at the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club.  This years inductees include: George Bataitis, Bob Bender, Bob Goold, Christine Carlson-Jenkins, Justin Johnson, Tim Nobles, Elly Norton, Mark Orlando and Mike Tramuta.  Hall of Fame President Randy Anderson adds they'll also be honoring nearly 50 high school, collegiate and community athletes... and, Legacy Awards will be presented to 17 deserving individuals. 


WJTN News Headlines for Feb. 5, 2020

Jamestown school Superintendent Bret Apthorpe will leave the district at the end of June.  

The announcement was made at Tuesday's school board meeting, with Apthorpe saying he was retiring -- effective June 30th -- and is doing so because it is time to put his family first. Board President, Paul Abbott issued a statement saying this "Dr. Apthorpe has made many improvements during his tenure and has also guided us through some challenging events".  Bret Apthorpe became the Jamestown Superitendent in September of 2017.  His work with JPS includes launching the Success Academy and the Jamestown LEAP summer literacy program. A search for a replacement will begin immediately, with Apthorpe helping in the selection and transition process.

It may only be February, but the National Comedy Center announced their celebrity line-up for the 30th annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival this morning.  

The Center's Steve Neilans says comedian Jeff Foxworthy will be performing August 7th.  Neilans says the Comedy Festival will also celebrate the 45th anniversary of Saturday Night Live, with performances by SNL legends David Spade, Rob Schneider and Kevin Nealon on August 8th.  Pre-sale tickets for National Comedy Center members starts Tuesday, February 25th and the public on-sale date will be March 3rd at 12-noon. 

Fire has extensively damaged the upper portions of a single-family home on Jamestown's southside.  City Fire Battalion Chief Matt Coon says crews were called to the scene at 121 Cole Avenue shortly before 2 PM Tuesday.  Coon says nine firefighters and one commander responded.

Coon says no one was home at the time but, they were able to rescue three dogs inside.  He says it took about 15 minutes to bring the flames under control... and, another 15 minutes to put the fire out.  He says fire damage was confined to the upper story of the house and that was extensive.  He adds there's water and slight smoke damage to the first floor.  Right now, Coon says the house is uninhabitable.  He says the three occupants are being helped by the Red Cross.  He says crews were at the scene until about 3:30 this afternoon and, the fire remains under investigation.  No one was hurt.

The investigations into three separate and targeted shooting incidents in the city of Jamestown the past month are ongoing and, have been linked to two factors.  

Mayor Eddie Sundquist said during a news conference at City Hall yesterday that it's drugs and gang violence.  Sundquist, who was joined by Police Chief Harry Snellings, is asking the community to get engaged in helping to solve those incidents.

Snellings says the most recent shootings... one on Hazzard Street and Newland Avenue on January 25th, has been tied to another incident that occured about a month earlier.  That one occured on Newland Avenue in late December.  Snellings says they have identified the suspects involved in those shootings.  However, he adds they need to interview the victim first.  Snellings says their investigation of the shooting at the Bullfrog Hotel has not been solved because the victim won't cooperate with police.  If you have any information on these incidents, you can call the JPD Tips line -- confidentially -- at 483-8477.  You can also contact their Tips 4-1-1 app.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says she was hopeful that there may be a couple of areas where Democrats may be able to work with President Trump and Republican lawmakers.  

Gillibrand was among the lawmakers on hand for last night's State of the Union Address in Washington.  The Democrat was looking forward to hearing about some areas where her party would be able to work with the president on at least a couple of areas.

Gillibrand says there had been renewed discussion in recent months about the possibility of some kind of infrastructure bill that would likely cost at least one-trillion dollars.  However, she's not sure whether it will be brought up by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  Gillibrand, who has pushed a number of bills to help veterans, is now pushing a "Burn Pits" bill that would help soldiers who were exposed to those overseas.

There are no known cases of the novel coronavirus in Chautauqua County and in New York State.  That from the county's Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Division.  Breeanne Agett, an epidemiologist with the county, says the risk to the general public remains low.

Agett says there's a greater risk of getting the flu, which is prevalent across the county and the state.  While there is no vaccine for the coronavirus, Agett says there are everyday preventive actions that can be taken to help stop the spread of the coronavirus and many other respiratory illnesses.  She says wash your hands often during the day with soap and water for at least 20-seconds, not touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and avoiding people who are sick.  The World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus outbreak a global emergency.  The state Health Department says it will to provide updated information about the outbreak, ensuring appropriate protocols are in place.


WJTN News Headlines for Feb. 4, 2020

Jamestown police are now being tasked with serving warrants for more than 100 people arrested under the state's new bail feform law eliminating cash bail.  

Members of the City Council's Public Safety Committee got the latest update on the law's impact from Police Chief Harry Snellings.   Committee Chairman Brent Sheldon says Snellings told lawmakers that 107 people in January alone were issued appearance tickets... and failed to show up on their city court date.  He says the chief will testify before a State Senate Republican task force this week.

Snellings says the hearing in Buffalo will be held by the new "Repeal Bail Reform Task Force.." which is co-chaired by local State Senator George Borrello.  He says Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone, and Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano have also been asked to testify at the 2 PM hearing in Buffalo.  Borrello says it's meant to give voice to police agencies, and the victims of crime committed by suspects issued appearance tickets under the new bail reform law.

Jamestown police arrested a driver operating his vehicle with a suspended license and drugs in his possession Sunday afternoon.  

Officers say 39 year-old Steven Gaddy was taken into custody at the intersection of Superior and Park Streets when they allegedly found numerous pills packaged for sale.  Gaddy was released with an appearance ticket for Jamestown City Court on charges of second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation.... Expired Registration.... fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, traffic violations. 

An early evening fire in the town of Cherry Creek Sunday night has extensively damaged a barn.  

Chautauqua County Sheriff's dispatchers say Creek Creek crews were called to the scene at 17-10 Thornton Road about 5:45 PM... and, found the barn fully-engulfed in flames on arrival.  Dispatchers say mutual aid was called in from Kennedy, and Falconer... and Leon and Conewango from Cattaraugus County.  The fire was reported out about 8 PM.  No one was hurt... but, there's no word on whether any animals were injured.  No cause has been released.

A $3-million grant from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation will be used to help the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities replace old and deteriorated water mains through-out it's service area.  

BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says the matching grant was recently announced by the state and, says it will help with a $5-million project they have planned to start this year.  Leathers credited his Water Division Team, led by Deputy GM Mike Saar, for identifying where most breaks occur.

Leathers says the BPU is providing the $2-million share, as required, to receive the grant.  He adds that this Winter has been pretty mild in terms of number of main breaks.  He says November and December were "fairly mild" in that regard.  Leathers says the water mains to be replaced include those on Washington Street, Hazeltine Avenue, West 18th Street and, West Virginia Boulevard.

Officials with the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities are warning customers about a local scam that has resurfaced in the city.  

BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says a customer new to the area said she received a call from a person saying she owed the BPU $200.00 and that her utilities would be shut off if she didn’t immediately pay a person posing as a BPU employee.  Customers should remember that they can initiate BPU bill payments in our Customer Service Office, online, in their drop boxes and by phone.  Robbins adds the BPU does not call people, and threaten to turn off service if payment isn’t made immediately to a private person.  She says customers should hang up the phone in such a situation.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed a 3-percent increase in public school aid for the coming fiscal year.  

But, as he calls for more aid to poorer districts to help increase student achievement, does his new budget reflect that?  To a degree it does, but the state School Boards Association is still trying to get more information.  Association Spokesman David Albert says Cuomo appears to have consolidated some aid areas into base, or "Foundation Aid."  However, Albert says they're leery of such moves, including proposals to change building and transportation aid.

Albert says the Association is also concerned about possible changes to BOCES Aid.  He says that aid helps districts work with BOCES to find more efficiencies and cost savings.  The governor's budget plan adds about $826-million to the school aid portion of his $178-billion budget plan for 2020-2021.  The legislature has to approve a new spending plan by April 1st.

A Type-One diabetic from Bemus Point, who has talked about the disease and how it's impacted his life, will be on hand for President Trump's State of the Union Address tomorrow night.  

Local Congressman Tom Reed says 14 year-old Ben Cornell will be his guest for the address in Washington, D-C.  Reed says he's gotten to know Ben and his family through the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  He says "Ben recently invited me to attend the JDRF of Western New York’s 20th anniversary Gala to hear him share his story as the “Fund a Cure” Speaker, and I am pleased to return the favor by inviting him to the State of the Union.”  Cornell thanked Reed for the invitation... and says "you can tell that Type I Diabetes is an issue he truly cares about, and I appreciate his work to improve the lives of those affected by this disease."  Reed's son, Will, also also a Type-One Diabetic.

A Cattaraugus County man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting another man with a softball bat in the town of Yorkshire.  

State Police in Machias say they arrested 70-year-old Leslie Spencer of Yorkshire last Saturday for first-degree assault.  Spencer is accused of striking the victim with the bat at a home on Route 16.  Troopers say he was arraigned in Yorkshire Town Court and sent to the Cattaraugus County Jail on $15,000 cash bail, pending a future court appearance.


WJTN News Headlines for Feb. 3, 2020

Two Brocton residents have been arrested for allegedly harassing another person during an incident in the north county village late last week....  

Sheriff's officers and State Police were called the the scene on East Main Street shortly before 5 PM last Friday for a disorderly person.  Their investigation revealed that 50 year-old David McLaughlin allegedly damaged another person's property, and subjected the victim to unwanted physical contact.  The victim also accused 41 year-old Bambi Hawkins of spitting on them during the incident.  Both were found a short time later and arrested for second-degree harassment, while McLaughlin was also charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief.  They were issued appearance tickets for Portland Town Court at a later date.

Chautauqua County's most famous groundhog is in agreement with Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog in revealing an early spring is on the way....  

At sunrise on Sunday, members of Punxsutawney Phil's top hat-wearing inner circle revealed the furry forecaster's prediction. The annual event has its origin in a German legend that says if a furry rodent casts a shadow on February 2nd, winter continues.  If not, spring comes early.  In Dunkirk, "Dunkirk Dave" also saw no shadow Sunday morning at Sunrise, and is in agreement with Phil.

Jamestown's new mayor laid out a lenghty and daunting list of initiatives that he would like to begin work on in the new year that's a big turn from where the city has been....  

That from City Council President Tony Dolce, reacting to Mayor Eddie Sundquist's vision for the coming year in his State of the City Address this past week.  Dolce says he wants to see more details but, adds that zoning changes to help development are usually a continually changing issue.

Sundquist is also proposing a look at the city's tax structure to provide more incentives for building new homes, and local businesses in the city.  Dolce cautions that Sundquist needs to be mindful of the city's tenuous financial situation, which has had to be a major focus the past two decades.  City lawmakers were able to make a small tax cut for 2020 after some addition savings were found in it's health insurance program.  The city council will hold it's first February work session tonight at City Hall beginning at 7:30 PM.

An employee of the Lakewood Wal-Mart Superstore has been accused of taking money from the cash register for the past month for her own use....  

Lakewood-Busti Police say they charged 23 year-old Brianna Bloom of Jamestown with petty larceny.  Officers say their joint investigaton with Wal-Mart security found that Bloom had taken money from the register she was working at from last December 29th through late last week.  Bloom was processed and released with an apparance ticket for Busti Town Court at a later date.

Tickets are now available for this year's Four-H 'Green Tie Affair,' to be held Sunday, February 23rd at Chautauqua Suites in Mayville....  

Kate Ewer, Four-H and Youth Educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Chautauqua County, says it's the 8th such dinner, and as a result, will have a '1980's theme.'  Pre-sale tickets are $20, $25 after February 10th.  Tables of eight that include special advertising are $200.  More information is available from Cornell Cooperative Extension at their new offices in the Carnahan Center at Jamestown Community College.  Kate Ewer says the 5:00 PM dinner will preceded by a bake sale and basket auction... and followed by the famous Four-H pie auction.  She adds, the dinner is more than just a good time, a successful fundraiser is essential to the continuation of the program in Chautauqua County.  Four-H serves 300 young people with programming year-round, while reaching another 1,000 youth with one-time programming.   

The mayor of the north county City of Dunkirk outlined the city's accomplishments in 2019... and, his goals for the city in 2020 during his annual State of the City Address late last week....

In his presentation at City Hall, Democrat Willie Rosas emphasized economic achievements, including the city having a $1.3-million increase in its fund balance since he took office in 2016.

Rosas added that his primary goal in 2020 is improving the downtown area by helping existing businesses expand and bringing in new businesses.  The mayor says, in order to do that, the city will offer incentives for businesses to locate downtown and apply for grant assistance for facade improvements.  Rosas also gave updates on several ongoing projects in the city, including the North County Water District. He says that project is ahead of schedule, and the city will soon be able to supply water to customers in the Town of Sheridan.

The New York State Bar Association is endorsing the legalization of recreational marijuana, a move that comes as state lawmakers consider proposals this session to legalize the drug...  

Governor Andrew Cuomo has put forward legislation to legalize marijuana in New York.  Under the governor's proposal, sales to retail dispensaries would be taxed at 20-percent and people could have one ounce of marijuana before getting in trouble.  A separate proposal, backed by Democrats in the Legislature, would permit people to have to have three ounces of marijuana. 


WJTN Headlines for Sat., Feb. 1, 2020

Jamestown man arrested following high-speed chase in city...
A city man has been arrested for allegedly leading Jamestown on a high-speed car chase early Thursday morning.  City police say an officer spotted a northbound black-colored Lincoln Sports Utility Vehicle speeding shortly after 4 a.m. on Washington Street... and, began a pursuit.  Officers say the driver then make a reckless right turn onto Fluvanna Avenue, and traveled east to North Main Street.  The driver then sped at more than three-times the speed limit to the intersection of North Main and Interstate 86 where 24 year-old Braedon Kim finally pulled over.  Police say Kim was arraigned on charges including speeding in zone, third-degree unlawfully fleeing an officer, and reckless driving.  He was released with appearance tickets for City Court.

Borrello, other officials, join in rally to save TLC/Lakeshore in wake of news of Emergency Dept. closing...
The Brooks-TLC Hospital System has announced that the emergency department at the TLC/Lakeshore Campus in Irving will be closing this Sunday night due to the lack of available medical coverage.  The hospital system added that a paramedic-staffed ambulance will be stationed at the at the facility in the event there is need for emergency care.  Meanwhile, at a news conference and rally held outside the hospital Friday afternoon... State Senator George Borrello said that he believes Brooks-TLC did not have permission from the Department of Mental Health to close the emergency department.  Borrello says he was on the phone with OMH just prior to the rally, and he says nothing was said about the Sunday closing.  A coalition of community leaders, healthcare workers and elected officials attended the event.  Peter DeJesus of 1199 S-E-I-U says the hospital system's board needs to "do the right thing" and stop the closure.  Assemblyman Andy Goodell, Allison Hunt from Congressman Tom Reed's Office, and healthcare worker Lillian Harrington were among the other speakers at the rally.

Buffalo Diocese facing imminent bankruptcy...
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo says bankruptcy is imminent after posting a $5-million loss in 2019, with a barrage of clergy sexual misconduct lawsuits still pending.  The western New York diocese released its annual financial report Thursday.  It says a bankruptcy filing would best allow the diocese to manage sexual misconduct claims fairly.  The diocese would become the second of New York's eight dioceses, after Rochester, to seek bankruptcy protection.  Buffalo's financial report cites lower revenue from donations and investments as hundreds of alleged child victims of clergy abuse have come forward with claims.  The news comes as the Diocese's Catholic Charities begins it's $10-million Appeal for 2020.

Rosas high-lights improving downtown area, other goals, in State of the City address in Dunkirk...
Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas outlined the city's accomplishments in 2019... and, his goals for the city in 2020 during his annual State of the City Address late last week.  In his presentation at City Hall... Rosas emphasized economic achievements, including the city having a $1.3-million increase in its fund balance since he took office in 2016.  He says that came out in the 2018 audit.  Rosas added that his primary goal in 2020 is improving the downtown area by helping existing businesses expand and bringing in new businesses.  The mayor says, in order to do that, the city will offer incentives for businesses to locate downtown and apply for grant assistance for facade improvements.  More on that Monday.

Activists pushing to get New York to do more to fight Climate Change...
New York state has set some of the nation's most ambitious goals on fighting climate change, but some activists say it isn't moving fast enough.  Lawmakers holding budget hearings this week faced protests from environmental and left-leaning groups who criticized the lack of new solar and wind projects breaking ground in the state.  This year, the governor has proposed borrowing $3-billion for food protection projects, wildlife habitat restoration, and construction of small renewable energy systems.  Still, the state has a long way to go to reach its environmental goals.

Wendel and other officals meet Friday with Truck-lite officials... 
The effort to try and preserve about 100 manufacturing jobs at Truck-lite Company just outside of Jamestown was the focus of a meeting Friday between company and elected officials.  New Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel and others met with Truck-lite officials at the Falconer plant to try and see if the facility can be kept operating beyond this year.  The maker of vehicle lighting systems announced tentative plans earlier this month to end production at the end of 2020.  Wendel says they want to keep all of Truck-lite's current operations here.  He says Truck-lite was founded in Jamestown back in the mid-1950s.  Wendel says company officials have so far indicated that management, financial and accounting departments will stay in Falconer. 

PA State Senate passes tougher drunk driver law...
The Pennsylvania State Senate has passed legislation to substantially increase penalties for motorists who have multiple DUI convictions to end what the bill's sponsor called it's ``revolving door system'' for the most serious drunk drivers.  The bill passed Tuesday, 43-6, and has gone to the House of Representatives.  Under the bill, penalties would rise for those who receive multiple driving-under-the-influence convictions and have higher blood alcohol content levels.  In addition, the bill would create a court-administered sobriety monitoring program and make it a condition of bail for at least three months for someone who is charged with their second DUI offense.  



WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 31, 2020

Local State Senator George Borrello has been named as co-chair of the Senate Republican "Repeal Bail Reform Task Force" to collect testimony on New York's new bail reform law.  

Borrello says the task force will hold it's first hearing next Thursday, February 6th, at 2 PM in Buffalo.  He says it's time to hear from the people who have been most impacted by these changes.

Borrello says... since the January 1st enactment of the law, there has been a public outcry over the changes, which have allowed some violent and repeat offenders back onto the streets after their arrests, with nothing more than court appearance tickets.  Borrello says they have yet to have any Democrats discuss joining them for the hearings, even though some moderates are critical of the law.  He again blasted the way the Democratic-majority in the legislature pushed the changes through last year... adding the changes eliminated bail bail and pretrial detention for over 90 percent of crimes.  Borrello made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group station.

Two north county men were arrested early Thursday morning on drug possession and other charges following a traffic stop in the village of Mayville.  

Sheriff's officers say they stopped a car, driven by 31 year-old Christopher McNett of Brocton, on Lakeview Avenue shortly before 5 AM for an alleged traffic violation.  Deputies say they found that McNett's license had been revoked for a prior drunk driving conviction.  Officers also accuse McNett of being in possession of a quantity of methamphetamine.  Further investigation found that his passenger, 28 year-old Leroy Stepp, Junior, of Westfield, was in possession of quantities of meth and marijuana.  McNett was arrested and charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, false personation, and aggravated unlicensed operator.  Stepp was also charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of drugs and, unlawful possession of marijuana.  Both men were issued appearance tickets for Chautauqua Town Court.

The Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump resumed Thursday with Republicans appearing focused on bringing the proceedings to a vote of acquittal, possibly in a matter of days.  

However, Senate Democrats are still pushing for witnesses, especially former National Security adviser John Bolton.  Among those wanting to hear from Bolton is New York's junior U-S Senator, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand.

Bolton's new book reportedly implicates the president in withholding military aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into former Vice-President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.  Gillibrand also blasted Wednesday's comments by one of Trump's attorneys' -- Alan Dershowitz -- that what the president did was for the "public good," and therefore was not impeachable.  Dershowitz and the presidents other lawyers used yesterday and Wednesday's question-and-answer session to insist senators have heard enough.

The new Jamestown Tarp Skunks baseball team is set to the take the field at Russell Diethrick, Junior Park for the first time in late May and, the community 'buzz' is continuing.  Local baker Chad Ecklof, of Ecklof's Bakery, says he's been hard at work developing a cookie to celebrate.

Frank is Tarp Skunk's General Manager Frank Fanning.  Ecklof says they are working with the organization to sell the cookies to help raise funds for youth baseball leagues in the Jamestown area. Fanning says -- from uniforms to cookies -- they are trying to keep everything as local as possible so local people and businesses benefit.  Ecklof, Fanning and Mayor Eddie Sundquist were guests of the Andrew and Noel Show program Wednesday night to unveil the new Skunk Stripe Cookie.

The National Comedy Center in Jamestown is currently in the lead for USA Today Readers’ Choice “Best New Museum” Travel Award.  

Center officials say the center is in first place after the first 10-days of on-line voting for the honor.  Online voting continues through Monday, February 17th at 12 Noon.  Officials are asking visitors, fans and supporters to cast their vote for the museum as part of the public voting process to select a winner.  Everyone is invited to vote daily, now through February 17th at Noon.  Just go on-line to VoteComedyCenter.com,  The winner will be announced on Friday, February 28th.

The Western New York Farm Show is underway now through Saturday in heated buildings at the Erie County Fairgrounds at Hamburg.  The show's coordinator, Kirby Dygert, says it has something for everyone, and it's free. 

The show runs through Saturday, and each day at noon, men, women and children, can enter the 'Elite Toss Hay Bale Throwing Competition' with cash awards to the winners.  On Friday, high school students will compete in a mechanics competition.  On Saturday, top timbersport athletes will line up for the 2nd annual 'Lumberjack Classic.'  The Western New York Farm Show runs today from 10 to 4, Saturday 9 to 3.  Parking is also free at the Erie County Fairgrounds. 


WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 30, 2020

Jamestown Police say they have now recovered the suspect vehicle reportedly involved in a targeted, drive-by shooting last Saturday night on the city's southside....  

JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says the dark-colored sedan was found parked behind a condemned home on Broadhead Avenue earlier this week.  Samuelson says the vehicle has now been processed for evidence.  He adds there was a prior incident involving the victim and the suspect shooter at a diffrent location that may have also involved shots being fired.  Samuelson says the man remains in critical condition following the incident at Hazzard Street and Newland Avenue.  Police found the victim laying in the street next to his car with multiple gun-shot wounds.  The unidentified man was traveling on Hazzard Stret when the second vehicle pulled up and shots were fired into the victim's car.  A loaded pistol was found inside the victim's vehicle.  The man is still being treated at UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pennsylvania.  If you have any information, you are asked to call JPD at 483-7537, or their Tips line at 483-TIPS, that's 483-8477.  You can also contact JPD's Tips 4-1-1 app.

Local Congressman Tom Reed says he's alarmed by a report that says the U-S deficit is likely to burst through the symbolic one-trillion dollar barrier this year despite a healthy economy.... 

The news was released late Tuesday by the Congressional Budget Office, which says a big spending burst last year, and December's repeal of several taxes that help fund the Affordable Care Act, are the main culprits.

Reed says this is an issue he strongly disagrees with the administration about.  He says they don't view it as "an immediate crisis."  The CBO says this has combined to "deepen the government's deficit spiral" well on into the future, with annual trillion-dollar deficits likely for as far as the eye can see.  The annual CBO update estimates a $1.3-trillion deficit for the ongoing fiscal year and that the accumulated deficit could reach $31.4-trillion by the year 2030.

A former Jamestown City Councilman who was known for being a "straight shooter" has passed away at the age of 77....  

Seven-term Democratic Councilman Jim Ventura represented both the sixth and seventh wards during his 14 years on the panel.  Ventura was also chaired the council's Public Works Committee for several years.  Current Council President Tony Dolce was on council during several of the years Ventura served and says was able to "tell is like it is".

Ventura, who was a long-time union official during his 30-plus years at MRC-SKF Aerospace, also helped with city union matters.  The fact he could be outspoken at times led to some arguments down through the years, but his candor was always appreciated.  Dolce says Ventura left the council in 2007.  He was a U-S Army veteran, serving in Korea from 1961-1964.

A Forestville man is charged with multiple counts of burglary and petting larceny following several reported burglaries in the towns of Ripley, Gerry and Pomfret.....  

Sheriff's deputies say they received several reports of break-ins and thefts in those areas last November and December.  Officers say they did an extensive investigation and arrested 51 year-old Gary Land for allegedly entering two separate dwellings at night unlawfully while the residents were sleeping inside and stole property.  He's also accused of stealing property from several unlocked vehicles.  Lang has been arraigned in Ripley, Gerry and Pomfret Town Courts on charges including two counts of second-degree burglary, and five counts of petty larceny.  The Sheriff's Office reminds residents to lock their homes and vehicles as a precaution.

Now that Fredonia has won the competition for Season 5 of the Small Business Revolution, the work begins soon to select the businesses that will be featured on the reality TV show....  

Amanda Brinkman of SBR says they have decided to increase the number of businesses from six to seven. Meanwhile, the application process is underway.  That from President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Tranum with the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, who says there's a tight timetable because applications are due, on-line, by Midnight, Monday, February 3rd.  Deluxe will announce the seven businesses on February 20th, with filming to get underway in March.  The company expects to use $500,000 to help turnaround the businesses. 

A political backlash over New York's new bail law may have dimmed some moderate Democrats' appetite for further criminal justice reforms in 2020....  

Reformers had been riding high last spring after persuading the legislature to pass an overhaul that eliminated cash bail for most nonviolent crimes.  They were hopeful of winning additional reforms on issues like parole eligibility, solitary confinement and police accountability.  Now, those same advocates find themselves on defense amid deep criticism from prosecutors and law enforcement officials, who say the new bail law has jeopardized public safety.  Most of the concerns revolve around stories of criminal some defendants being released from jail under the new law, then committing new crimes.


WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 29, 2020

City lawmakers in Jamestown have approved the next step in the Annexation process for the Board of Public Utilities Dow Street Substation in the village of Falconer.  

However... it was largely a routine matter that all sides in the dispute have now approved.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist after the city council voted Monday night for a new Environmental Assessment Form for the approximately four-acres of land.  Council President Tony Dolce agrees with Sundquist that they aren't ready for final action on moving forward... but, says the previous arguments for annexation remain the same as before.

A former BPU member, John Zabrodsky, earlier challenged council members on whether they want to see the process move ahead and, incurr more legal fees.  Lawmakers have more time to discuss the issue before a vote has to be taken.... and, Dolce agreed that they want more discussion and review before deciding whether to move forward.  The city and BPU say annexing the property would save more than $300,000 in taxes paid to Falconer, the town of Ellicott, the Falconer School District, and Chautauqua County.

The village of Fredonia won the race to win Season 5 of the Small Business Revolution.  The crowd inside the 1891 Fredonia Opera House and Performing Arts Center erupted as the winning community was announced.

SBR's sponsor Deluxe, will be using half-a-million dollars in resources to help revitalize seven businesses in the village.  Host Amanda Brinkman says she is proud of SBR's track record. Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek says the top 5 competition helped bring the community together.  He called it "amazing."  Pomfret Town Supervisor Dan Pacos and Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas were also on hand to support the village.

 The legal team for President Donald Trump wrapped up it's defense yesterday by making a "forceful case" against the relevance of possible testimony during his impeachment trial.  

That would include anything from former national security adviser, John Bolton.  It's not known yet whether there will be the votes to have witnesses in the Senate Trial.  However... local Congressman Tom Reed says House Democrat had their chance to call Bolton, and others, but, did not pursue it.

The Corning Republican adds that there is an election coming up during the next 10 to 11 months... so the people should ultimately make the decision.  Supporters of Impeachment say Democrats wanted to call Bolton... but, add the White House issued a blanket rejection of that.  Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier media.

Jamestown's professional basketball team is set to begin its 5th season on Friday.  

Kayla Crosby, executive director and manager of the Jamestown Jackals, says they missed the playoffs by just one game last year, and are aiming for the championship this year.  Speaking at a news conference at the Sports Hall of Fame on Tuesday, Crosby announced they've recruited a dozen players for this season, their second in what's called 'The Basketball League.'  She said the move up has increased the caliber of play and the budget, to around $130,000 for the season.  They hope to raise $100,000 through sponsorships, the rest through ticket sales at their 12 home games.  The first opponent Friday at 7 PM at the JCC Phys Ed Center will be the Columbus Condors. Season tickets are $100 for adults, $50 for students, seniors and veterans.  Game tickets are $10 and $5.  Full information, and streams of all games can be found at jamestownjackals.com. Friday's opening will also include a tribute to Kobe Bryant.   

 A Bemus Point man was arrested for allegedly driving while intoxicated at nearly three times the legal limit with a weapon and methamphetamine in his possession Sunday in Jamestown.  

State Police say they pulled over 32 year-old Jordan Eckwahl for speeding on Route 430 and after failing sobriety tests, was arrested.  Troopers say a search of the vehicle additionally revealed a rifle with several round of ammunition.  Police say Eckwahl's driving privileges were revoked due to a previous DWI conviction and criminal history check revealed a felony conviction, prohibiting him from possessing a firearm.  He was released with appearance tickets for Ellicott Town Court next month. 

It was close right up to the end... but, the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County made it's goal for the 2019 General Campaign.  

Officials announced last night that they had raised $1.331-million, about $1,800 more than the goal of $1.33-million.  United Way Executive Director Amy Rohler says it was a "team" and community effort that pushed them over the top.  She adds that they were able to put on 89 workplace presentations this year... and, she says those are a big help in getting people to give.

Rohler says in one case, a man -- who had never given before, pledged $2,500 because of a campaign presentation given at his employer.  She says that presentation was given by a volunteer from the Mental Health Association, which is a United Way partner agency.  She says he was moved to give by that presentation.  Over the past year, the United Way supported 39 programs at 26 partner agencies.  For more information on the United Way, call 483-1561.

A Jamestown School Board member has been named one of the top 100 most-influential people in the New York Education community.  

In a printed release, district officials say Nina Karbacka was selected as part of the City and State magazine's Education Power 100 List in their February 17th issue.  Board President Paul Abbott says they are very proud of Mrs. Karbacka, who was previously named to head-up the Small Cities Schools Association for the current school year and, officials say she was instrumental in getting equal funding and other needs for small city schools around the state.


WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 28, 2020

A north county-area woman has been charged with drunk driving after the car she was driving went out of control Monday morning in Silver Creek and, crashed into a house....  

Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Central Avenue about 7 AM and, found the car, driven by 21 year-old Kali Isacc of Lawtons, had missed a curve then hit a stop sign before striking the house.  During their investigation, deputies found that Isacc was allegedly under the influence of alcohol.  She was charged with DWI, Aggravated DWI, speeding and moving from lane unsafely.  The residence sustained only minor damage, and no one was hurt.  Isacc was issued appearance tickets for Silver Creek Village Court.

Optimism shared the stage with reality during Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist's first State of the City Address at last night's first voting session of 2020...  
Sundquist is nearing the end of his first month in office, but started off by saying it's "no secret" that Jamestown is a "fiscally distressed" city.

Sundquist did add that it's going to take a "community effort" to get the ship righted.  He discussed the need to modernize the city's tax code, and bring in new development.  Those were two of Sundquist's focuses during his address.  Another was public safety and, he says he's instructed his administration to reopen discussions with the police and firemen's unions to settle their outstanding contracts.  Also regarding public safety, Sundquist says his administration is working to get a better ambulance agreement with Alstar EMS or someone else, to provide emergency service in the city.  Lastly, he also addressed the need to revamp the way people communicate at City Hall and, out to the public. 

Mayor Sundquist recently told city lawmakers that they will begin requesting proposals to share ambulance services with another entity late next month....  

During last night's address, he said Alstar Ambulance has given the city 90-days notice about them pulling out of their agreement with the city.  He also noted that his administration drawing up a new request for proposals to provide that service.  However, Sundquist says, under the RFP, the city would not be the primary responder.

Due to fiscal constraints, the city has not been able to add firefighters, nor another ambulance to deal with huge increase in emergency calls.  However, that may be addressed under a recent, capital projects proposal.  Sundquist says a separate RFP would also be put out for billing for those services.  He says they should have a draft RFP ready for review by the city council, and fire department and union review, next month.

The Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce presented its annual 'Salute to the Finest' awards Monday night.... 

Among the winners were two long standing Jamestown businesses:  JRSC Digital was named Business of the Year.  Geer-Dunn, in its 101st year, received the first-ever Hometown Legacy Award.  Andrea Latona of Full Moon Rising Bakery received recognition as the Young Business Leader of the Year and Fringe Hair Salon was named New Business of the Year.  The chamber also recognized the work of the Chautauqua Blind Association and the Winifred Crawford Diebert Boys and Girls Club of Jamestown.  The annual ceremony was held at the Landmark Restaurant.  

Republican State Senator George Borrello will serve as the ranking member of the Senate's Committee on Budget and Revenues, an assignment he looks forward to....  
Borrello says he's "proud to be named the ranking member of a committee that is involved in the budget process as well as in larger discussions about state spending priorities.  With my background in county government, I have a strong understanding of how the state budget and funding formulas impact our municipalities."  Borrello says he's also been named to the Local Government Committee and, that will deal with budget and revenue issues, as well.


WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 27, 2020

A man is in critical condition after being shot while inside his car by someone who drove by in a second vehicle and then fled the scene on Jamestown's southside.  
City police were called to the scene at Hazzard Street and Newland Avenue about 10:45 PM Saturday and, found the victim laying in the street next to his car with multiple gun-shot wounds.  Officers say the man was traveling on Hazzard Stret when the second vehicle pulled up and shots were fired into the victim's car.  Police say the second car, possibly a dark-colored sedan, then fled the scene.  Officers say the victim's car then struck a parked car on Hazzard.  A loaded pistol was found inside the victim's vehicle.  The man was rushed to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery before he was flown to UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pennsylvania.  Police say shooting appears targeted.  If you have any information, you are asked to call JPD at 483-7537, or their Tips line at 483-TIPS. You can also contact JPD's Tips 4-1-1 app.

Local municipalities are still sorting through Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State and Budget messages to see what kind of impacts they will see.  

New Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist says there were a number of areas it looks like the city may benefit from.  Sundquist says one of those is Cuomo's plan to spend several billion more dollars on infrastructure needs across the state.

For many years, former Mayor Sam Teresi banged the drum on the need for the state to increase funding for municipalities that maintain state roads in their communities.  Sundquist adds that Cuomo has also proposed more funding for the environment, which could be directed to projects on the Chadakoin River.  He says the majority of city residents would be able to benefit from the governor's proposed middle class tax cut.  Sundquist says there is also more money to help locate affordable housing in local communities.  He'll address his plans more during tonight's annual "State of the City" Address during the city council's monthly voting session at City Hall at 7:30 PM.

The 9th annual Souper Bowl soup competition was won Sunday by the Ashville General Store.  

The store's Jackie Francis made a cream of tomato soup that took the top prize by one vote.  Right behind was 'loaded cheesy potato' from Gametime Sports Bar and Grill.  Nine restaurants took part in Souper Bowl number nine.  The event benefits the Rappaport Fund at the WCA Foundation. The foundation's Executive Director, Brigetta Overcash, says the fund's founder, Mary Rappaport, makes her own contribution, putting together dozens of baskets that earned $1,500 to benefit cancer care at UPMC Chautauqua Hospital.
Over 250 people attended this year's event, held for the first time at the DoubleTree by Hilton on Fourth Street.  The total amount raised through the Souper Bowl was still being added up on Sunday.  

Public negotiations over New York's budget are set to begin amid worries about another round of Medicaid cuts...  

Heads of state agencies, lobbyists and members of the public will start to offer input on the governor's proposed budget today.  That will kick off three weeks of budget hearings.  Lawmakers are likely to focus much of their attention this spring on avoiding more cuts to Medicaid.  Cuomo's administration hopes to help plug a $6-billion deficit with $600-million in Medicaid cuts to nursing homes, hospitals and other healthcare providers.  

Preparations are underway for a Reveal Rally to be held Tuesday night at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House for the announcement of the Season 5 winner of the "Small Business Revolution" on-line TV program.  

Fredonia made it to the Top 5 and the community hopes it collected enough votes to make it over the top.  Rick Davis of the Opera House says the public is invited to turnout for the announcement.

Davis says there will be a celebration immediately following the announcement, including a Street Party whether the village wins the competition or not.  The street party will be held in front of Village Hall on Church Street.  Davis says they'll have a big screen TV located outside for people in the overflow to watch outside.  Fredonia was last reported to be in first place just before the voting ended for "Small Business Revolution."

Legislation to amend Pennsylvania's constitution that could cut short the current Democratic majority on the state Supreme Court is advancing through the Republican-controlled Legislature.  

Final approval of the constitutional change could land in front of voters on the May 2021 primary ballot.  It's a tight timeline, but possible with concerted action. The crux of the Republican-penned constitutional amendment is this: Instead of Supreme Court justices and appellate court judges running for 10-year terms in statewide elections, they would run for the seats in judicial districts where they live.  Democrats call it a scheme to gerrymander the courts.  Supporters say it would create more geographic and ideological diversity on the bench.



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WJTN News Headlines for Feb. 25, 2020

State Police in Fredonia are investigating a three-car accident, in which a child was killed Monday afternoon.   Troopers with the Bureau of Criminal Investigations responded to scene on Route...

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