Firefighters were at the scene of an overnight fire in the Town of Portland. Crews were called to a house fire at 6384 Route 20 just after 3:30 this morning. There's no word on whether anyone was home at the time of the fire. Portland, Brocton, Westfield, Sherman, Stockton and the Chautauqua County FAST team are on the scene. Fire investigators were called to the scene to determine the cause of the fire.
The Northeast is bracing for a strong, slow-moving storm expected to bring heavy rains and high winds to a wide swath of the coast and at least a half-foot of snow to some inland areas. However... it's not expected to bring much snow to the Jamestown area. The National Weather Service says a storm moving into the northeast is threatening to bring 2 or more inches of rain to southern New England on Tuesday. Flood watches are in effect in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Some coastal areas are also under high wind watches, with 60 mile-per-hour gusts possible. Snowfall is expected to be minimal along the Interstate 95 corridor from Philadelphia to Boston, but winter weather advisories have been issued for parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. A Winter weather advisory has been issued for our area from 4am Wednesday through 4am Friday.
Two people were hurt... but, not seriously... in a two-car crash on Route 394 in the town of North Harmony Monday morning. Sheriff's officers say 27 year-old Cole Robbins of Falconer attempted to turn onto Route 394 about 9 AM... but, collided with an oncoming vehicle... driven by 75 year-old Janice Gernatt of Falconer. Deputies say both Robbins and Gernatt were taken to WCA Hospital for treatment of what appeared to be minor injuries. No charges have been filed.
New York state's attorney general is seeking the authority for his office to investigate deaths at the hands of police following the public outcry over the killing of an unarmed Staten Island man. A-G Eric Schneiderman, in a letter Monday to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, says that authority exists under New York law, has been used in the past, and is needed now because of the ``crisis of confidence'' in law enforcement. The attorney general's authority would apply to cases after the executive order is signed and last until the state Legislature acts to permanently address the issue.
A new video contest gets underway on New Year's Day to see who can produce the best on-line videos that highlight what residents and visitors love about Chautauqua County. County Executive Vince Horrigan... and, local tourism and business leaders... have announced the "I Love Chautauqua (or CHQ) Challenge." During a press conference at the Chautauqua County Visitor's Bureau Monday afternoon... Horrigan noted that he had introduced the concept during his State of the County message earlier this year. Visitor's Bureau Executive Director Andrew Nixon says the contest involves making a "non-commercial" one-and-a-half to three-minute video of something a person... or group... likes about the county. Nixon adds there will actually be 20 winners over four quarters of 2015. Videos in each catagory with the most "likes" will win. Nixon says the "first quarter" runs from January 1st until March 31st. Winners in each of five catagories will receive 250-dollars each. Those catagories include Living Here... Local Flavors -- featuring restaurants and argiculture... Outdoors and Recreation... Working Here... and, Arts, Culture, HIstory, and Education. Nixon says all prize winners will also be eligible for a one-thousand dollar grand prize at the end of the final contest period. For more information... go to the CCVB's Facebook page at facebook-dot-com/Tour-dot-Chautauqua... or call 357-4569.
Better defining who is eligible for Social Security Disability is one way to save the program from bankruptcy in 2016. That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who says he's been named to the House Ways and Means Committee's Social Security Subcommittee. Reed says he wanted to be on the panel after questioning Treasury Secretary Jack Liu (Lew) this past year on what the administration was going to do about the problem. He says Liu didn't have an answer. However... he says the White House now plans to fill the 20-percent funding gap by taking money from Social Security Administration funds. Reed says the Ways and Means Committee has addressed some issues... and, those ultimately led to a sting operation that took down a group committing SSD fraud in New York City. He says Chairman Sam Johnson has led the way in that effort... and, trying to better define who can, and should be on it. Reed says there are about 30-thousand people in the 23rd Congressional District who receive SSD. Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone news conference with Southern Tier Media.
Jamestown's current mayor says he's lost a "lifelong friend..." and, his first boss. Former Mayor Steven B. Carlson died last Friday in eastern New York following a battle with Cancer. Carlson was 74. He had formerly lived in the Albany suburb of Delmar... where he moved to in 1993 when he took a job with the state. Current Mayor Sam Teresi say he first met Carlson while he was in high school in 1977 during a student debate... and, he later interned with Carlson. Carlson later named Teresi to be his director of Development in 1988 before Teresi ran for mayor in 1999. Carlson was the mayor of Jamestown from 1976 to 1989... and, Teresi called him one of the city's "best ever." Prior to that... Carlson served as the city clerk of Jamestown... and, the county clerk of Chautauqua County. Carlson served on the Board of Public Utilities, the Jamestown Community College Board of Trustees... and, the Jamestown General Hospital Board for many years. His funeral notice says one of Carlson's proudest moments was to host the King of Sweden, Carl Gustav, during his visit to Jamestown in 1976. He moved to the Albany area in 1993... and, was a business specialist with the state Department of Economic Development.
State lawmakers in plan to review New York's efforts to curb homelessness. Two committees of the state Assembly are scheduled to meet later today in Albany to discuss the problem of homelessness and the effectiveness of programs aimed at reducing the number of people without adequate housing. The federal government estimates that there were more than 77,000 homeless people in New York state in 2013.