WJTN News Update

A Jamestown man suspected in the deaths of two city residents has been arrested in Cattaraugus County... but, police are offering little more information.  City Police Chief Harry Snellings updated their investigation from the scene at 235 Barrows Street late yesterday afternoon.  Snellings says officers were called to the eastside location early Tuesday morning. Snellings says the suspect... 51 year-old Allen Witrucke (Wit-TRUCK)... was found with his car -- a 2009 Chevy Impala -- in Olean about mid-afternoon.  First Assistant District Attorney John Zuroski (Zur-ah-ski) would not say when specific charges may be placed against the suspect.  Zuroski says need to fully-review the facts in the case first.  Snellings says city police investigators went to Olean to interview Witrucke... but, he won't say if the suspect has said anything to authorities yet.  He says they are not identifying the victims yet because not all of the next of kin have been notified.  If you have any information on the case... you're asked to call the JPD Tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


The Robert H. Jackson Center has announced Susan Murphy of Chautauqua as its next Executive Director.  Murphy became familiar with the center and its work through Dan Bratton... a longtime Chautauqua President.
Murphy says her intial goals include making sure the Jackson Center's programs are 'well thought out and well funded'.  And, she wants to expand the educational mission of the center... saying Jackson's approach to justice has great relevance today. Susan Murphy most recently was Director of External Affairs for the Detroit Country Day School in Michigan. She replaces interim Executive Director Tom Schmidt, who took over for former Director Jim Johnson earlier this year.  Susan's husband, George Murphy, is the Chief Marketing Officer at Chautauqua Institution. 


Dunkirk Police are continuing to investigate the fatal crash that occurred early Sunday on Maple Avenue.  However... they are now identifying the victim of the accident.  Police say the driver of the vehicle reportedly fled on foot... and, at last report was still at large.  However... officials say they are still following leads in the case.  The passenger in the vehicle later died at Brooks Memorial Hospital.  Police Chief David Ortolano released the victim's identity late yesterday. The vehicle involved in the crash was initially being pursued by Fredonia Police.  Anyone with information about the crash should contact Dunkirk Police at 366-2266... or the department's confidential tip line at 363-0313.  The New York State Police Accident Reconstruction Team is assisting with the investigation.


A Westfield man has been arrested for allegedly stealing a number of items -- including a car -- from a home on Route 430 in the town of Ellery late last month.  Sheriff's officers say they arrested 26 year-old David Ralph of Cass Street a short time later in Mayville.  Deputies were called to the scene about 3:30 AM on November 27th.  Officers say a flat screen TV... and, the resident's 2008 Chrysler P-T Cruiser were all taken.  Ralph was found -- with the vehicle -- a short time later on Elmwood Road.  Officers say all the property taken during the burglary was recovered.  They say Ralph has now been arraigned in Ellery Town Court on charges of second-degree burglary, and fourth-degree grand larceny... and, sent to the county jail on 10-thousand dollars bail.


Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi has issued no vetos to the 35.1-million dollar, 2016 budget that city council approved at it's November 30th voting session.  Teresi had until the end of the business day Monday to make any vetos to the budget plan.  He adds there were only two places he could actually veto because they were the only two changes made to the spending plan.  The budget includes a 4-percent tax increase.  It was at 5.6-percent prior to the changes approved by lawmakers. Teresi says that increase was an additional 232-thousand dollars dividend payment form the BPU.  That's in addition to the 250-thousand dollars that Teresi first budgeted for 2016.  Members of the business community have been outspoken in their opposition to the proposal.  The increase brought the total dividend payment... from BPU profits... to the current year's level of 482-thousand dollars.  Teresi says the changes made were "reasonable, defendable and explainable."  He adds they also were not going to have an "adverse impact on the overall budget."  As he has in recent years, though, Teresi did not sign the budget.  However... with no vetos... it will automatically take effect on January 1st.


In closing arguments at a corruption of former New York Senate leader Dean Skelos... a prosecutor says Skelos bullied companies to benefit his son.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Mukhi (MOO'-kee) said in Manhattan federal yesterday that Skelos ``strong-armed'' three companies to force them to pay his son 300-thousand dollars.  The prosecutor said the 57-year-old Republican was in lockstep with his 33-year-old son, Adam, as he violated the law and abused his powerful state post.  Both have pleaded not guilty.  Their lawyers say they will be vindicated.  Skelos has retained his Senate seat but relinquished his leadership position.  Defense lawyers are scheduled to deliver closings Wednesday.  The summations cap a three-week trial that's featured numerous recordings of father-son phone conversations as well as chats between the defendants and others.


Catholic Charities of Buffalo held open houses in the north and south county yesterday to celebrate their newest local service.  The organization will run the Women Infants and Children program -- otherwise known as WIC.  Catholic Charities took over the program from the county's Health and Human Services Department in October... and, continues to operate offices in Dunkirk and Jamestown.  Judette Dahleiden, the Catholic Charities WIC program director, says 50-percent of the U-S population would benefit from WIC. Tish Brady, Catholic Charities Chief Operating Officer, says they have been handling WIC in Erie and Niagara counties for years... and will be applying their experience to the Chautauqua County programs in Jamestown and Dunkirk.  Brady says they've been doing emergency assistance and offering parenting help.  She adds that WIC suppliments that.  They will continue to work closely with the Chautauqua County's Health and Human Services Department and in Dunkirk with Lake Erie Medical Services.  WIC has offices at 326 Central Avenue in Dunkirk and 200 Harrison Street in Jamestown.


An open house to learn more about the new Essential Air Service carrier at the Chautauqua County Airport near Jamestown was held last night.  The Chautauqua Regional Economic Development Corporation will be hosted the first "Shuttle to the Stars" event at the Robert H. Jackson Center.  County Executive Vince Horrigan was among those on hand to welcome Sun Air Express as the county's new "low-cost" airline.  Horrigan was among several officials who recently took a flight to Pittsburgh. Horrigan says after a "rough start..." Sun Air has been using new 'Caravan' Aircraft... which are an upgrade from the Navajo they had used at first.  He adds their reliability has also improved.  In addition... Horrigan says the connection area for the lower-cost carriers in Pittsburgh is much improved... and, adds there is great shopping now around the "hub" area.  For more information about Sun Air and what they offer check them out on-line or... call 661-8906.


Authorities say a father and son stole more than $40,000 worth of chicken wings from the Syracuse restaurant where they worked and sold them on the street or to other businesses.  The Onondaga County Sheriff's Office says 56-year-old Paul Rojek and 33-year-old Joshua Rojek, both of Syracuse, were caught stealing wings from the Twin Trees Too Restaurant in Syracuse.  Deputies say both men were employed as cooks when they placed numerous chicken wing orders with the restaurant's wholesaler.  Officials say the Rojeks would later pick up the orders and resell them at a reduced price.  Deputies say the men billed about 41-thousand dollars worth of wing orders to the restaurant's account between last February and November 21st.  Both have been charged with grand larceny and falsifying business records.