WJTN News Headlines

(Corr.)A local foundation has made a major donation to help sustain the long-term operation of the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County.  A reception was held late Tuesday afternoon at Moon Brook Country Club in Jamestown to recognize the Johnson Foundation for it's support of the human services agency.  The foundation is contributing $200,000 to the United Way's Endowment Fund. United Way Executive Director Tory Irgang says the United Way's Endowment Fund was started -- with a lot of help from the Gebbie Foundation -- back in 2000.  She says the endowment currently covers about 25-percent of their operating expenses.  Irgang says that means more of the "donor's dollar" goes to members agencies to run their programs.  She says the reception also gave them a chance to thank the founders of the Johnson Foundation.  Irgang says they have re-named the endowment, "The John A. and Oscar Johnson Fund..." in appreciation of their community support.  She adds that the 2015 General Campaign is into it's final days.  For more information... call 483-1561... or go on-line to UWayscc-dot-ORG.


The average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline in the U-S is now below 2-dollars a gallon... and, has reached about 2-and-a-quarter in the Jamestown area.  That from the Triple-A's Fuel Gauge report... which says prices are about the same as last week heading into the Christmas Holiday weekend.  Triple-A says prices this week are about 2-dollars-25 cents per gallon locally.  Meantime... Triple-A says the national average price of gas has dropped below 2-dollars per gallon for the first time since March 25th of 2009.  The Fuel Gauge says they estimate that cheaper gas prices have saved Americans more than 100-billion dollars on gasoline so far this year compared to 2014, which works out to nearly 550-dollars per licensed driver in the country.


The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities has reduced a possible 12-percent Water rate increase to the original amount of 2.7-percent in the final, 2016 division budget.  That from BPU General Manager Dave Leathers... who says the board approved both the Water and Electric Division budgets Monday by 6-to-2 votes.  Leathers says panel members decided against making a 482-thousand dollar dividend payment to the city from just the Water Division. The board had given verbal agreement to about 175-thousand dollars in Water Division cuts at last week's meeting.  Leathers adds that about 133-thousand will come from the Electric Division for the payment from budget cuts.  In addition... one BPU project will be cancelled or delayed... saving another 300-thousand dollars.  He says the board's "mini" electric rate case is still pending before the state's Public Service Commission.  However... Leathers says their more concerned about a ruling on their restricted Capital and Overhaul Fund than the rate case right now.  Board members John Zabrodsky and Carl Pillitierri voted against the two budgets.


A Jamestown woman has been charged following a two-vehicle accident on Route 474 in Ashville that took down a utility pole.  Sheriff's officers say 49 year-old Debbie Slagle was westbound about 2:30 PM Monday... when she reportedly fell asleep at the wheel.  Deputies say Slagle's car went off the southside of the roadway... and, sheared the utility pole before stopping in a yard.  Officers say... a few minutes later... another westbound car -- driven by 80 year-old Loretta Livermore of Ashville -- struck the low-hanging utility lines -- caused by Slagle's accident.  Neither Slagle nor Livermore were hurt in the accidents.  Slagle was ticketed for Failure to Keep Right... and, will appear in North Harmony Town Court at a later date.


New York corrections officials have established a procedure for identifying and managing problem workers in the state prison system with 53-thousand inmates.  The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision says all 53 prison superintendents are reporting directly to the commissioner's office at least twice monthly, including discussion of staff identified as potentially problematic and actions required.  Meanwhile, the department this year added an analysis unit that logs inmate grievances by categories and time periods to better monitor complaints and alleged staff misconduct, including searching grievances by particular officer.  The unit is expected to be fully operational early next year.  The New York Times reported Monday that there are about 4,000 open investigations into inmate grievances.  The union that represents prison guards did not immediately respond Monday to requests for comment.


The Salvation Army of Jamestown is hoping for big push over the final two-days left in the 2015 Red Kettle Campaign.  Captain Kim Merchant says they've been able to fill most bell-ringing slots... and, are now just 6-thousand dollars behind last year's pace.  About a week ago... Merchant tells us... they were 10-thousand dollars behind.  She says they still have several slots available for bell-ringers who want to volunteer through 6 PM on Christmas Eve. Speaking with our Dennis Webster, Jim Roselle and Russ Diethrick... Captain Merchant also said that people can just make out a check and send it to their South Main Street location.  The check can even be sent after the campaign... just so long as it's dated before December 31st.  Merchant adds that there have been several other high-lights during the Christmas season... including just recently holding their holiday food basket distribution.  She says it's a nice way to share the spirit of the season.  For more information on the Red Kettle Campaign... or to be a bell-ringer... call 664-4108.


Governor Andrew Cuomo has chosen the top staff member of the state Senate's majority Republicans to be his new budget director.  The governor, a Democrat, has appointed Robert Mujica to head the state's Budget Division.  Mujica has been chief of staff to the Senate majority leader and secretary to the Senate Finance Committee that examines and develops tax policy proposals.  He replaces Mary Beth Labate, who is joining State University of New York as a senior policy and program advisor.  Cuomo has also named his communications director Melissa DeRosa to be his chief of staff.