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WJTN News Headlines

A very successful peer-to-peer counseling program for veterans who served in combat... or have other issues... is being launched in Chautauqua County.  State Senator Cathy Young was at the county's Veteran's Services Agency in Jamestown to announce a 185-thousand dollar state grant to establish a local branch of the "PFC Joseph Dwyer Peer-to-Peer Veteran's Support Program."  Young says the program is for veteran's of any foreign conflict suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder... Traumatic Brain Injury... or similar problems. Young says the Dwyer Program has six goals in mind.  Those include pursuing outreach and education... providing peer-to-peer support... building resiliency among veterens... encouraging a connection between vets, their families, friends and the community... providing access to suicide prevention and intervention... and, fostering an atmosphere of hope.  Veteran's Services Director Gary Chilcotte says he will now seek a director... and, once they get that person... get the program up and running in about 60 to 90-days.  Young says it's a vital program because an estimated 22 U-S Veterans commit suicide daily. 


The Warren County, Pennsylvania woman killed in a single-car crash on Ivory Road in the Frewsburg-area early Sunday morning was not driving.  Sheriff Joe Gerace says 39 year-old Chalise Hebner of Stoney Run Road in Pittsfield died at the scene of the crash.  Gerace says the crash occured shorlty before 3 AM... when the alleged driver -- 36 year-old John Hillman, Junior of Jamestown... lost control of the eastbound vehicle.  The car then went off the road... sticking a sign and several mailboxes... before hitting the ditch on each side of the road.  The car then overturned.  Gerace says Hillman and two other passengers were treated at WCA Hospital for their injuries.  The investigation is conitnuing.


City lawmakers will vote later this month on hiring a new laborer for the Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation to keep staffing at required levels.  That from City Councilman Tony Dolce... who chairs the panel's Finance Committee.  Dolce says lawmakers will have to agree to lift the on-going hiring freeze.  Mayor Sam Teresi reminded lawmakers that they have to fill the position... or be in violation of the city's manning agreement with the union. Dolce says the new laborer would replace a person who has retired.  He adds the position is already funded in the 2016 budget.  The resolution says the position is needed to "effectively manage the city's day-to-day responsibilities in a cost-effective manner."  City lawmakers will also vote on establishing another Neighborhood Watch Committee.  Public Safety Committee Chairwoman Maria Jones says this one will cover the upper area of Dearborn Street.  Jones says the lower area is already part of one.


Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to address New York lawmakers in mid-January with proposals for 2016 initiatives and a budget for the fiscal year that starts in April.  The speech on January 13th will combine the governor's state of the state address with his executive budget presentation.  Traditionally governors' budget proposals follow the address by weeks.  Cuomo said Monday that it makes little sense to lay out a vision and let everyone wait weeks to learn the plan to pay for it.  He says that's in line with his administration's approach to re-examine everything in state government, keep what works and fix what doesn't.


Chautauqua County's top cop was featured last night during a two-hour long special on the History Channel about famous American prison breaks.  Sheriff Joe Gerace was on a segment dealing with the prison break, and manhunt for convicted cop-killer Ralph "Bucky" Phillips in 2006.  Gerace says he met with History Channel producers here and in Buffalo over the past Summer. Gerace says the History Channel crew met with him at a special studio in Buffalo... then they came to Chautauqua County for an interview at the Sheriff's Office.  They also shot video in the field of places where Phillips hid out.  Gerace says he tried to convey the difficulty of tracking Phillips... a Cassadaga-area native who knew the area well... and, received help from certain members of the public.  Phillips was later convicted of murdering 32 year-old State Trooper Joseph Longobardo... and, wounding partner Donald Baker.  The History Channel program led with this past Summer's high-profile escape of convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat from the Clinton Correctional Facility in northern New York.


A Dutch-based company that owns and sells some of the leading heating brands in the European market is in the process of acquiring ECR International in Dunkirk.  Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says he is aware of the acquisition by BDR Thermea -- which also includes ECR's fabricating facilities.  Horrigan says the move will strengthen ECR. Under the proposed sale... BDR will acquire 100 percent of ECR International, including its local U-S manufacturing facilities, leading brands and distribution channels.  Reports state that ECR International shareholders are expected to decide on the sale later this month.


The New York health exchange says it's partnering with CVS Pharmacy, Kinney Drugs and TOPS Markets around the state to educate New Yorkers about insurance coverage available through the online exchange.  According to health officials... more than 100 informational events will be held at dozens of pharmacy locations during the exchange open enrollment that runs through January 31st.  Executive Director Donna Frescatore says the new ``Essential Plan'' this year will provide greater access to affordable coverage.  The exchange offers various plans in all 62 counties.  The Essential Plan for hundreds of thousands of eligible lower-income residents can lower premiums to 20-dollars or less a month.