The skys brightened... and, the threat of rain burned off by early afternoon... and, Jamestown's 35th annual Labor Day Festival was in full-swing. The local rock group "The Bogarts" were among the bands entertaining at the yearly event... which was delayed by a day due to heavy rains on Sunday. Partly sunny skys and 80-degree temperatures greated festival-goers... and, others celebrating labor's contribution to the American landscape. During the afternoon's George Ritzer Labor Award presentation... Jamestown-Area Central Labor Council President Dave Wilkinson says Labor Day remains a big part of strengthening the community. Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi also took the opportunity to thank the city's 460 member work force... including the police and fire departments... and, Board of Public Utilities. He also put out a special thanks to the city's Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department for it's efforts to get Bergman Park ready for the festival... and, the work employees do at all the parks across the city. Yesterday's festival was capped off by a huge fireworks display before several-thousand on-lookers.
The presentation of the annual George Ritzer Labor Award yesterday was an historic one. The award is given annually to a member of local labor who goes above and beyond the call of duty for not just their union... but, the community as well. Central Labor Council President Dave Wilkinson says Valerie Hagglund is only the second woman to receive the award... which has been presented yearly since 1984. Wilkinson says Hagglund has been a member of Association of Jamestown Paraprofessionals of NYSUT Local-04-217 for 18 years... 16 of those as president of the NYSUT Local. She recalled the help she received early on as an officer with the organization from mentor Steve Maggio... who told her that if she was going to stick with it... she would need a "fire in her belly." Hagglund... who is union co-president this year... was nominated by the Labor Council committee's George Spitale. She's been very involved in the schools her children attended in Jamestown as an officer in the PTA and PTO groups... raised money for the local March of Dimes, and has been very involved with her local church.
A new study released on Labor Day suggests the number of working-age New Yorkers who identified themselves as union members rose in the last 18 months. The study was conducted by two professors at the City University of New York Graduate Center. They found that nearly one in four working New Yorkers belonged to labor unions. The New York Times says that compared to slightly more than one in five at the start of 2013. They say the rebound was mainly caused by a surge in construction and hotel industry hiring.
Jamestown's 'Mr. Baseball'... Russ Diethrick... said he wasn't sure he could look back as he left the stadium yesterday. The ballpark that bears his name saw it's last professional baseball games Monday, as the Jamestown Jammers split a doubleheader. The team is moving to Morgantown, West Virginia next summer. A large crowd was on hand, buying up all the Jammer's merchandise they could find. The team's General Manager, Matt Drayer, thanked all the fans, and said he was a heartbroken as they are over the loss of the team. Influencial members of the baseball community continue to express optimism that some kind of 'new league' would come to Russell E. Diethrick Jr. Park next year.
A city man has been arrested for allegedly assaulted his girlfriend at an apartment in downtown Jamestown early last weekend. City police were called to the scene at 607 Pine Street about 7:30 AM Saturday. Officers spoke with the victim when they arrived... and, they later found 40 year-old Alberto Santiago on Prendergast Avenue later in the morning. Police say Santiago was arrested without incident. Officers say he faces several charges... including third-degree assault... and, second-degree unlawful imprisonment and strangulation. He's being held pending arraignment.
The case against two homeless men accused of killing a New York City concert violinist in the Town of Westfield nearly two weeks ago will likely go next to a federal Grand Jury. That from U-S Attorney William Hochul, Junior following a detention hearing late last week for 43 year-old Jonathan Conklin and 30-year-old Charles Sanford. Both men allegedly lured 61 year-old Mary Whitaker to her front door the morning of August 20th on the ruse their car had broken down. Hochul says Whitaker was then allegedly shot and stabbed by the pair. Hochul says an Assistant U-S Prosecutor laid out some of the details about how Whitaker was killed during a robbery at her summer home on Titus Road. He says the "ruse" began with knocks at her door early in the morning of August 20th. An autopsy determined she died of a gun-shot wound to the chest. Conklin and Sanford have pleaded not guilty to the federal charges... which include stealing property and taking it across state lines... and, carjacking during commission of a murder.