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WJTN News Headlines

A Jamestown woman in the county jail for allegedly holding up a Forest Avenue service station last Friday night with a toy plastic gun.  City police were called to the Kwik Fill-Red Apple store just before 10 PM for a reported robbery.  Upon further investigation... officers say the suspect displayed what appeared to be a hand-gun... and, demanded cash from the register.  Police say the woman ran off on foot... but, was located a short time later after a description was broadcast to other units in the area.  Officers say 25 year-old Kimberly Ballenger was found with the 'air-soft' pistol that looked like an authentic gun... and, proceeds from the crime.  She was arraigned on charges of second-degree robbery and second-degree menacing... and, sent to the county lock-up without bail.


In a long-awaited announcement, the Cuomo administration last week ruled that the potential health and environmental risks of fracking for natural gas are too great and not enough is known about them to allow it in New York.  In extending a "de facto" ban on using pressurized water and chemicals to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation underneath New York’s southern tier... the state’s Environmental Conservation Commissioner and Acting Health Commissioner was applauded by Debra Goldberg of the environmental law organization, Earthjustice. Goldberg represented the town of Dryden... which passed a zoning law banning fracking.  The Cuomo administration noted that a court ruling upholding that ban -- and the possibility of more local bans as a result -- significantly reduced the economic potential to be gained from moving forward with fracking.  Acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker says that existing studies raised concerns about high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or HVHF.  Governor Cuomo says he expects there will be lawsuits filed by interests that favor tapping into the reservoir of natural gas underneath the state.


A Siena College poll finds New Yorkers remain divided over hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.  The survey of registered voters found that 38 percent oppose fracking... and 35 percent support it.  The poll was conducted just before Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration announced a ban on the process.  Support for fracking was highest among Republicans and in suburban areas... and, lower among Democrats and residents in New York City and upstate.


Moviegoers in the state will now see public service announcements warning of the dangers of heroin use.  New York began airing the announcements in movie theaters across the state last Friday.  They will appear before select movies rated PG-13 or R through early January.  The spots include testimonials from recovering users who share personal stories about how heroin abuse affected their lives and families.  Governor Cuomo says the campaign is part of the state's larger effort to ``push back'' against heroin and prescription drugs.


A new restaurant will soon be added to the county Office for the Aging's Senior Dining Out Program.  Office for the Aging Director Mary Ann Spanos says The Springs on Route 430 in Maple Springs will begin serving senior meals beginning January 1st.  Spanos says that will bring the number of eateries taking part to four.  She adds they started this program several years ago to compliment their Congregate Dining Program because "Boomers" are tending to like to eat out at restaurants instead of chruchs, or Senior Centers. Spanos says... if you want to take part in the program... you have to register with the Office for the Aging by calling the New York-Connects number.  That's 753-4582.  Spanos adds that the restaurants also have to prepare a specific Senior Menu that people can order off of.  She says the menu must meet certain dietary requirements to get funding for the program.  Participants can buy those meals for 3-dollars-50 cents.  In addition to The Springs... the other restaurants involved include Meeder's Restaurant in Ripley... the Green Arch in Brocton... and, the Cassadaga Shure-Fine.


State officials have proposed regulations for a medical marijuana program expected to start in 2016.  The rules have been posted on-line by the health department... and, will be published December 31st in the state Register  They will be subject to 45 days of public comments and possible amendments.  The Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo authorized the program under a law signed in July.  It authorizes patients with one of 10 diseases to be able to obtain non-smokeable versions of the drug, which can be ingested or vaporized.


Upstate New York's new casinos won't open for a couple of years, but there are already plenty of winners and losers as the state follows through with its gambling expansion.  Big names such as Mohegan Sun, Caesars and Hard Rock didn't make the cut when a state panel picked three winning bids for casino licenses.  The projects chosen are Montreign in Sullivan County in the Catskills, Lago in Seneca County in the Finger Lakes and Rivers casino in Schenectady.  The panel opted not to award a license in suburban Orange County -- and disappointed many in the Southern Tier by passing over that region too.  The resort developments are projected to support more than 3,200 full-time jobs and generate 265-million dollars in taxes, along with 136-million dollars in licensing fees.


JHS Senior Brayton Lydell said it was like nothing he'd ever experienced before.  Two-hundred-seventy-five alumni joined with this year's 90th Jamestown High School Acappella Choir for the final Vespers Service of the season... Sunday at First Lutheran Church.  The church was filled to capacity... 1200 people.  Lydell, the President of this year's choir, called the experience bittersweet.  He said he was glad to have all that history in the room, but at the same time he realized that he and the other seniors in this year's choir had now become a part of that history.  Brayton Lydell is the son of the choir's director, Norm Lydell.