Local News Headlines

A new program designed to help Jamestown school students who are "at risk..." or have troubled backgrounds has led to a break-down of discipline -- in particular at the high school.  That was the message from more than 100 teachers, parents and students who were on hand for last night's school board meeting at Love Elementary School.  About a dozen people spoke... including Jamestown Paraprofessionals union Co-President Valerie Haglund. Jamestown Teacher's Association President Chris Reilly says his union brought the matter to the district's attention back on October 20th... and, filed a grievence regarding the Alternative Education Program on October 31st.  Reilly says many teachers he's talked to feel they no longer have control of their classrooms... and -- in some cases -- feel it's become a safety issue.  One parent... Joanne Dean... says lack of consequences, and discipline... are of "most concern."  Another speaker indicated there should have been more training for teachers, teacher's aides and school staff on the new "Positive Behavior Intervention System."

 

Jamestown Superintendent Tim Mains told those in attendance last night that he's aware of the disciplinary issues... and, shares their concerns.  Mains spoke for several minutes at the end of last night's meeting... and, explained that his focus is on instruction first.  However... he says the "Positive Behavior Intervention System" system has been... and, is successful in many other schools where it's being used.  Mains adds they're just beginning the program in Jamestown... but, adds there have also been some successess so far. Mains reiterates that the program... which was introduced at a board meeting earlier this year... is meant to help students who have challenges in their lives to succeed in school.  He urged everyone on hand to work together to make the program work.  Mains also said he planned to talk to the heads of the employee bargaining units about their concerns with the PBIS Program.  Board President Joe DiMaio says he's never been a naysayer... and, believes the issues can be "worked out."

 

Lake Effect Snow moved back into northern Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties late yesterday... but, that area's just been getting the southern edge of the system bringing the snow to the Buffalo-area.  That's where the trouble has been -- mainly Southern and Central Erie County... where up to 6-feet of snow has been reported in some areas.  Here in the Jamestown-area... we had little or no snow yesterday.  However... it has been cold.  Forecaster Steve Welch with the National Weather Service says the areas with the most snow are just north of the Dunkirk-Fredonia area. Welch says we should only see about an inch of snow between now and late this morning when the Lake Effect Snow Warning ends.  He says once this Lake Effect band breaks up later today... we'll get a break for about 12-hours before another Lake Effect Snow system kicks in Thursday.  He says the next band of Lake Effect is expected to pretty much be in the same place as this one.  However... the city of Buffalo will be more under the gun. There was a Travel Advisory in place for both Dunkirk and Fredonia late yesterday.  The Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Department says there was also one in Northern Cattaraugus.  It's not a ban.  Also... State Route 219 northbound has been closed to tractor-trailer traffic at the Route 242 intersection in Ellicottville.  All other traffic is limited to local traffic on Route 219 only -- north of Ellicottville.

 

Most major highways in western New York are closed due to hazardous conditions caused by lake-effect storms... including a 132-mile stretch of the Thruway.  State police and the Thruway Authority say Interstate 90 is shut down in both directions between Exit 46 outside Rochester and Exit 61 at Ripley... at the Pennsylvania state line.  Interstate 190, the Niagara Thruway, is closed southbound from I-290 to I-90.  Routes 219 and 400 in the Buffalo area have also been closed, and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown issued a driving ban for the southern sections of the city.

 

While the heaviest snowfall is occurring over Erie County... in the Buffalo Southtowns... Chautauqua County officials were prepared for the storm when it hit yesterday.  County Executive Vince Horrigan says he held a conference call on Monday to develop a plan. With the closing of the entire length of the state Thruway from Ripley to Henrietta near Rochester... Horrigan said yesterday a second shelter may be opened in Ripley.  He says the county is working with local municipalities in dealing with the wintry blast.  Horrigan says all fire departments are on alert... and, a number of specialized vehicles are at the ready.  He says much of the snow that makes it to the county will impact Dunkirk-Fredonia and Silver Creek areas... but, he says all county residents should keep a close watch on the weather should forecasts change.

 

Three Coudersport, Pennsylvania residents had to be treated for hypothermia after the pick-up truck they were riding in went off a Cattaraugus County road... and, crashed down a steep embankment.  Sheriff's Deputies in Little Valley say the driver... 50 year-ld Rodney Yentzer... was eastbound on South 9 Mile Road late last Friday night when he lost control of the vehicle.  Officers say the truck then crashed into the small ravine.  However... Yentzer was able to climb out... and, signal for help.  Limestone Fire crews helping pull 44 year-old Lisa Van-Hal... and, 9 year-old John Van-Hal up the steep embankment.  All three were treated... and, released.  No charges were filed.

 

There will be a new administrator coming on at the Chautauqua County Home in Dunkirk as the facility makes the transition to becoming a privately-owned entity.  County Executive Vince Horrigan says that -- late last week -- an announcement was expected sometime this week.  Horrigan adds that -- otherwise -- the transition has been going smoothly. Horrigan did not reveal the identity of the new administrator.  But... he says that person will take the County Home through the closure of the sale to VestraCare of Long Island... and, will be "administrator of record" for VestraCare when it takes over full operation.  Horrigan says the sale remains on track to be completed by mid-to-late December. 

 

The town of Ellicott has a just over 4-million dollar budget in place for 2015 that increases taxes - overall -- by about only about one-percent.  Town Supervisor Cecil Miller says the spending plan was approved at Monday night's town board meeting.  Miller says the vote took place following a public hearing in which no one spoke.  He says the tax rate -- outside the villages of Falconer and Celoron -- increased. Miller says the rate outside the villages went to 5-dollars-12 cents per thousand assessed value.  He adds there were just some minor changes made to the budget before it was approved.  Miller says there was little left to cut at that point.  He says the town's two unions were a big help in helping hold down health care costs during their most recent negotiations.  Miller says retirement costs are also continuing to go up.  He says the total tax levy... or the amount to be raised by taxes... went up about 14-thousand dollars.

 

Downed tree limbs in nearby Pleasant Township in Warren County, Pennsylvania are the apparent cause of a nearly hour-long power outage in the city of Warren... and parts of western Warren County.  Sources tell us the limbs came in strong winds about 1:20 Tuesday afternoon... knocking out power to two manufacturing facilities, and other businesseses on Warren's westside.  However... Pennelec was able to get power back up by about 2:15 PM.  No major problems or issues were reported during the outage.