A plan that "links" Jamestown's east and westsides -- with a focus on the new National Comedy Center -- was rolled out to the public for the first time last night. More than 100 people were on hand for the first of three sessions at the Robert H. Jackson Center to hear the presentation by two principles with A-E-COM Technical Serivces, a world-wide firm that designs cultural facilities. A-E-COM was hired by the Gebbie Foundation to do draw up the plan... and, Executive Director Greg Edwards the idea was to have the plan done, and presented a year-and-a-half before the Comedy Center opens. Vaughn Davies, head of A-E-COM Design and Planning, says they looked at the entire downtown area... and, ways to enhance the experience of visitors to the Comedy Center. He says there are some specific ideas they hope will draw commercial and other development to that area. Davies says... with more than 100-thousand people expected to be coming to the National Comedy Center... support development -- including restaurants, hotels -- will be needed. At the very least... they want people to spend and day and night here.
One of the state's most powerful lawmakers for nearly two decades says he'll appeal his conviction by a federal jury of charges that he used the power of his office to earn 5-million dollars illegally. Former New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was convicted on all charges late Monday afternoon. Silver stepped down from the leadership post after his January arrest, though he has remained on an assemblyman. Outside the courthouse... Silver remained defiant. He still believes there will be a "different result" once the appeal is heard. No sentencing date has been set yet. The 71 year-old Silver's attorneys argued that he did nothing wrong... but, prosecutors maintained that he was guilty of bribery and extortion.
Chautauqua County's member of the state Assembly says he's not surprised by former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's conviction on federal corruption charges. Jamestown-area Republican Andy Goodell says he believes the case against the New York City area Democrat was a strong one. Goodell says he hopes Silver 's conviction will lead to further election law reforms in Albany. He does believe there have many reforms made to the Speaker's position that led to Silver's downfall. Goodell says lawmakers had already strengthened financial dislosure provisions, and put in independent reporting requirement. He says Silver was found to have violated both many times. Silver is vowing to appeal the conviction. He is free on bail until a sentence date is set.
A multi-agency investigation has led to the arrest of two Jamestown residents -- one for allegedly trafficking Heroin from a home on the city's northside. Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force... along with the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force and State Police C-NET Team... raided the residence at 826 Prendergast Avenue about 8:30 yesterday morning. Task Force members say they arrested 59 year-old Louis Rivera for allegedly selling quantities of heroin from the location numerous times. Agents says Rivera is charged with one count each of third-degree criminal sale and possession of a Controlled Substance. He was arraigned and sent to the county jail without bail. The Task Force says they also seized a quantity of cash... cocaine... marijuana... packaging materials... and, scales used to weigh controlled substances. In addition... police arrested 42 year-old Jody Buck for seventh-degree criminal possession of a Controlled Substance... unlawful possession of marijuana... and, criminally using drug paraphernalia. She was arraigned, and posted bail. Anyone with information on illegal narcotics trafficking is asked to call the Southern Tier Task Force at 1-800-344-8702.
Two people who spoke before Monday night's budget vote commended city lawmakers for their hard work on the 2015 spending plan... and, offered some ideas to help Jamestown out of it's financial problems. Manufacturer's Association of the Southern Tier Executive Director Todd Tranum... and former BPU District Heat leader Doug Champ offered a few ideas they felt could help going forward. Tranum stressed the need for a 3 to 5-year financial and economic plan to find a way out of these problems. Tranum says the city should also develop a long-term plan to make structural improvements in it's government operations. Champ says the word "re" is used a lot now in "re-development... and, re-purposing." He suggested a term he heard elsewhere called "re-neighborhooding" to spark interest in the city's empty, and abandoned lots. Tranum also suggested a third item... and, that was ending the recent practice of taking the dividend payment from the Board of Public Utilities. The city again took 482-thousand dollars in profits from the BPU. However... the 35.1-million dollar spending plan still includes a 92-cent per thousand tax rate increase.
An urgent need for bellringers has led the Salvation Army of Jamestown to advertise for paid bellringers in the local newspaper. That from Salvation Army Captain Kim Merchant... who spoke to us by phone yesterday morning. Merchant says the annual campaign is at only 20-thousand dollars to begin December... and they have a lot of openings now through the end of the campaign. She says this is the first time that the Jamestown location has had to hire bellringers. Merchant adds that shopping traffic is down due to the growth of on-line shopping. Merchant adds you can also give on-line to Salvationarmy-dot-ORG -- 'Red Kettles' and find Jamestown, New York to make a secure donation. Merchant says... if you have some time to give... you can call them to help staff the Red Kettles. That number is 664-4108. This year's campaign goal is 105-thousand dollars... and, the effort runs through Christmas Eve.
More than three dozen people were lined up outside Community Helping Hands on Water Street in Jamestown just before 10 o'clock yesterday morning. Staff member Mike Forness watched them come in for the opening of their "Christmas Store..." and looking for specials. Forness is the coordinator for the Christmas Shop. He says they get loads and loads of holiday items donated every year, and they sell them at very modest prices. Forness adds they have some nice nativity sets this year, as well. The store is re-stocked with new items everyday and will be open to the public Tuesday through Friday 10 AM to 4 PM... and, Saturday from 10 AM to Noon. The proceeds are used to help those in need have a Merry Christmas.
Ithaca College students have expressed dissatisfaction with school President Tom Rochon in a symbolic no confidence vote. The Student Government Association says 72-percent of students voted ``no confidence'' in Rochon after several weeks of on-line vote. Fifty-four percent of eligible students voted. The association initiated the symbolic vote following protests over the racial climate on campus. The student group announced the results Monday night. Ithaca is among several college campuses that saw demonstrations in the wake of protests at the University of Missouri over the administration's handling of racial issues and subsequent leadership resignations. Rochon has said the current wave of student activism is creating an opportunity for discussions that can lead to more inclusive campus environments.