It's tax season... and, with that typically come scams involving criminals calling people... claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service, and threating people to pay money they owe. That's one of a couple of scams local officials are warning Jamestown-area residents about today. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says they received a call from one resident... who said a person calling themself "Officer Charlie with the IRS" called them... and, said they owed back taxes, and needed to pay them immediately or face arrest. Samuelson says the number listed was from the 703 area code. He says the first rule of thumb is to never agree to pay out money over the phone... and, don't give out any financial information, or your Social Security number. Samuelson says they've had some city residents become victims of such scams... and, while the FBI will investigate those... it's nearly impossible to recover the money.
In addition... the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities is advising customers to be on the alert for a recent scam that has surfaced among hotel customers. BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says two local hotels received a call Tuesday from someone saying they were from the BPU. Robbins says the man told them there was a problem with their routing number on their payment... and, that if they did not give the correct information, he would send someone to turn off their water. Another hotel was told by the person that they would need to pay 600-dollars within two hours or water would be disconnected. Robbins says the BPU will NOT call and ask for account information from a customer.
The frigid Artic blasts of recent weeks... along with brief warm-ups... have wrecked havoc on local streets and roadways. Public Works crews have been trying to keep up with the numerous potholes, and massive ruts... but, there's only so much that can be done when temperatures are well-below freezing. That from Jamestown DPW Director Jeff Lehman... who says his crews can only use "cold patch" at this point until Spring gets here. Lehman says their summer "hot patch" won't be available from the local asphalt plant until sometime in April. Possibly the worst conditions this Winter have been on The Arterial and Foote Avenue... where there are holes... and, ruts everywhere. That is a state road... but, Lehman says they've been doing some temporary patching there. He adds he and Mayor Sam Teresi have been pushing to the state Department of Transporation since last Summer to finally fix the road. Lehman says they met again a couple of weeks ago... and, adds the state will have to do a full milling and overlay project for the roadway. He adds another problem areas have been part of West 6th Street... and, the approaches to the Washington Street Bridge... and, the intersections with Washington Street.
Class size in the Jamestown School district is one area that school officials and the board of education are looking at as work begins on the 2015-16 budget. That was confirmed by Superintendent Tim Mains... who hosted another budget work session prior to last night's regular board meeting. Mains adds that class size is one of the items brought up to the Jamestown Teachers Association when he recently met with heads of the district's seven bargaining units. Elementary School Teacher Laurie Cobb says the idea of increasing class sizes from 15 to 25 doesn't sit well with her. Cobb added that "class size should not be on the budget table." She says the students should come first... and, have the best classroom opportunity possible. Mains says that class size has become an issue because if the district is forced to make cuts... the number of students in each class will likely increase. Mains says the cuts may be avoided if they can obtain more revenues... and, or concessions from the bargaining units. The four areas covered at last night's budget session were employee benefits... contractual items... BOCES Aid... and, Special Education services.
A new Siena College poll finds that while New York voters support efforts to rein in state government corruption, they're more concerned about whether lawmakers pass an on-time budget. Fifty-three percent of those responding said passing a budget on-time is more important than Governor Cuomo's proposed legislative ethics overhaul. Cuomo has said his proposal must be in the budget, raising the specter of a standoff that would delay the spending plan... and, disrupt state government.
Discussion is continuing in Washington on ways to prevent the Department of Homeland Security from shutting down at the end of this week due to a lack of funding. Local Congressman Tom Reed wants to see a change in the rules of the Senate. Reed is calling for the partial removal of the Senate filibuster. Reed is accusing Democrats of holding Homeland Security funding hostage. The Corning Republican is hopeful that a shutdown of DHS will be averted. Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier media Monday afternoon.
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area have risen a fraction of a cent this week... but, the price remains just under 2-dollars-50 cents a gallon. That from the Triple-A's weekly Fuel Gauge report... which says the price rose four-tenths of a penny to 2-dollars-49.5-cents for regular unleaded gas. The Triple-A says the averag is based on reports from 19 service stations in the area. Last year... the cost was about 3-dollars-69 cents a gallon. Nationally... the Fuel Gauge reports the average price has increased for 28 consecutive days for a total of 27 cents per gallon. Triple-A says that's the longest streak of rising prices since last spring. Refineries are in the midst of conducting seasonal maintenance, a process that can limit fuel production and contribute to rising pump prices. In addition, the Fuel Gauge reports the potential remains for unexpected refinery problems to further impact production... and, cause temporary prices spikes in various regions. Last week an explosion at the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance helped push up prices in California, while bitterly cold weather in the Northeast and Midwest led to a number of refinery problems in those areas.
Sentencing for the main suspect in the April 2013 double-murder of a town of Carroll couple has been delayed for one week. Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley says 35 year-old Davide Coggins was to be sentenced Monday on two counts of second-degree murder, and other charges in connection with the torture-homicides of 66 year-old Gordon Skinner, and his 59 year-old wife, Joyce. Foley says both sides agreed to the delay in county court yesterday. However... he says he will still push for the maximum on both counts of murder -- which is 50 years to life in prison -- on Monday, March 2nd, at 11 AM.
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting another man at a hotel on the city's eastside last Sunday morning. City police were called to the Bullfrog Hotel on East Second Street about 8 AM on a reported assault. Following a brief investigation... officers arrested 56 year-old Daniel Weilacher for alleged assaulting the victim... who had to be treated in the emergency room at WCA Hospital. Police say Weilacher was jailed on one count of third-degree assault.
A Warren County, Pennsylvania man is jailed after he allegedly threatened to shoot police during a stand-off at his home in Pleasant Township. State Police in Warren say Sheriff's officers were attempting to serve an order of protection on 58 year-old John Blauser of Arlington Road shortly before 7 PM Monday. Troopers say Blauser had barricaded himself in his bedroom... and, wouldn't come out. Both Sheriff's Deputies and State Police tried to talk him out several times... before tear-gas was used. Blauser finally came out... and, was arrested without further incident. He was charged with assault, and making terroristic threats... arraigned, and sent to the Warren County Jail with bail to be set.