Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines

A problem has arisen with apartment house tenants getting the proper credit for recycling under the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities new incentive program.  One tenant... Guinn Anderson... addressed the City Council at last night's voting session about the problem.  Anderson told lawmakers he has been recycling since the program -- involving new, bar-coded orange bins -- began.  However... he says he's found he's not getting the credit for it... and, is getting charged the full amount for trash collection.  Anderson says he's learned since that while the bins are coded for specific apartments -- they weren't distributed to each apartment. Anderson says he doesn't want to be confrontational... but, does says this is a problem.  A couple of city lawmakers said they had heard about a few such problems in recent times.  Second-Ward Councilman Tony Dolce urged Anderson to address his concern directly to the BPU to see how it can be rectified.  Anderson says tenants need to really pay attention to the bar code number on their garbage bill invoice.  He says they should make sure it matches the bar code on their orange bin.


The approximately 200 unionized workers at RHI Monofrax in Jamestown have gone on strike... accusing the company of claiming it doesn't have enough work to support it's workers.  However... the company this year has received a couple of major U-S Department of Energy contracts for ceramic containers over the past year.  An employee who wished to remain anonymous tells us they and Monofrax are far apart on wages and benefits.  He adds the company wants to slash health insurance.  He also says that pension's have been frozen.  Monofrax has laid-off 20 workers during various times in recent months due to "lack of work."  We have calls into Monofrax management officials... and, officials with the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers- Local-#266 for comment... but, have not heard back from them yet.  Local-#266 represents most of the workers at Monofrax.


A federal lawmaker, who was key to RHI Monofrax getting the U-S Department of Energy contracts for the nuclear waste containers, believes the local manufacturer is having the work done in Falconer.  Congressman Tom Reed is reacting to worker speculation that the DOE contracts... the most recent one for 2.8-million dollars... are actually being filled by RHI workers overseas.  Reed said Monday that the Energy Department agreements with Monofrax are 'very specific' to the Falconer plant.  He adds that these contracts aren't going to solve all of RHI's problems.
An employee... who did not want to be identified... says RHI has a plant in France that may have been given the work on the public contracts to save money.  However... Reed says that's pretty well-tracked -- and he and the DOE would have known about it.  In the meantime... he remains hopeful that management and the employees can work out their differences... and, keep Monofrax a "viable" company.  RHI Monofrax's contract with it's unionzed workers expired at Midnight Sunday night.


Chautauqua County's jobless rate fell last August to 6.1-percent from 6.5-percent in July.  While the workforce numbers have dropped... State Labor Department Analyst John Slenker tells us the number of people who have reached 62 years of age... and, have retired... is also up.  Overall... Slenker says the job count dropped 400 from July to 53-thousand-700 last month.  He adds the number of people working in the county is down by 100 over the year.  Slenker says there were no increase in two major job areas in August. Generally... Slenker says there will be some ongoing weakness through the end of the year due to pending lay-offs at ConAgra's two Carriage House plants in Dunkirk and Fredonia.  Both plants are closing by the end of the year.   Slenker says the unemployment rate is down -- even though the workforce numbes are also down.  He says that's due in part to workers dropping out of the job market.  But... he says the biggest factor recently has been retirements as "Baby Boomers..." and, not replaceing them.  Slenker says the jobless rate in August of last year was 7.3-percent.


The unemployment picture in Cattaraugus County is similar to Chautauqua's with a decline in the labor force.  However... the jobless rate is down from 6.6-percent to 6.2 in August.  Labor Analyst John Slenker says the number of people in the work force was down 500 from July to 38-thousand-300.  However... Slenker says that number is down by 12-hundred for the year... mainly due to an aging population.  However... slenker says the actual job count is even for the year... and month... at just under 32-thousand.  Cattaraugus County's jobless rate in August of last year was 7.5-percent.


New York has requested federal permission to import out-of-state marijuana so children and young adults with epilepsy can get medication soon instead of waiting for the state to develop its own program.  Acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, in letters to the Justice Department, says there's objective evidence that cannabidiol, the active ingredient in marijuana, may help those patients who are suffering and not responding to conventional treatments.  He says New York's medical marijuana program, with tightly regulated cultivation and manufacture within the state, isn't scheduled to start before 2016.  In July, New York became the 23rd state to authorize its use for patients with diseases, including AIDS, cancer and epilepsy.  Health department spokeswoman Emily Pierce says the Justice Department is studying the request.