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News Headlines for Tues., Dec. 29, 2015

No one hurt in weekend fire at home in Celoron...

No injuries were reported when flames swept through the upper floors of a two-story home in the village of Celoron last Sunday night.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department dispatchers say the call at 15 Leslie St. came in about 9 p.m.  Celoron fire officials tell the Post-Journal that crews found fire and smoke coming from the second-floor and attic area.  Officials say two people inside the home got out safely... and, the blaze was under control in about an hour.  Celoron firefighters were joined at the scene by crews from Lakewood and Busti.  County fire investigators are looking for a cause.

One person hurt in Amish Buggy accident in Sherman...

A Sherman teenager is being treated for serious injuries after she was apparently thrown from an Amish horse and buggy early yesterday morning in the town of Sherman.  Sheriff's officers say an 18 year-old male was operating the buggy on Alder Bottom Road abouut 12:15 a.m. when the horse got spooked... and, he lost control.  Deputies say the boy then jumped from the buggy... and, found that 17 year-old girl laying unresponsive in the roadway.  Officers say the girl was transported to UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pennsylvania for treatment of her injuries.  The investigation into the accident is continuing.

New Neighborhood Watch established on Dearborn St. in Jamestown...

The city of Jamestown has added to it's ever-growing number of neighborhood watch groups that help keep an eye out for crime... or other suspicious activity.  The City Council last night unanimously approved establishment of a watch group on the upper end of Dearborn Street on the southside.  Council President Greg Rabb... whose neighborhood on Lakeview Avenue formed a neighborhood watch group a short time ago... said it's a great way for neighbors to get to know each other.  He says the city posts the the signs for the watch community, and a police officer is assigned by the police chief to work with them on what to look for, and what to do if they see something unusual or suspicious.  Rabb adds city Police do a "great job..." but, can't be everywhere because of their lower numbers.  He says it's important to have that "extra set of eyes" in the neighborhoods.

In addition... city lawmakers last night approved lifting the hiring freeze to fill one laborer position in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation.  However... it was not unanimous.  The vote was 7-to-1 with Councilman Brent Sheldon voting no.  Sheldon recently moved to cut mainly part-time positions in the department as part of the 2016 City Budget.  Those moves were rejected... and, he voted against the overall spending plan as well.

The state to prohibit municipalities from collecting traffic fees if charges are dismissed for alleged violations...

Next Spring... New York state will prohibit municipalities from collecting fines, surcharges or administrative fees for traffic cases when the violations are dismissed.  The amendment to state traffic law was approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week.  It takes effect in March.  The law's sponsor, Democratic Assemblyman Michael DenDekker of Queens, says fining motorists whose violations are dismissed places ``an undue burden'' on them.  He cites ``numerous complaints'' where drivers were charged an administrative fee for showing up at traffic court even after their violations were dismissed.  Cuomo, in signing the law, says the law's terms would also prohibit fines and surcharges in the common practice of plea bargaining violations to lesser charges.

Gerace says county's new Emergency Radio System to go on-line by end of January...

The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office is about a month away from having a new, digital, county-wide emergency communications system in place.  That from Sheriff Joe Gerace after the Sheriff's Office recently completed testing of the new system across the county.  Gerace says the new system has been about 20 years in the making... but, suffered a setback several years ago when New York decided to end it's effort to create at state-wide network.  Gerace says the new system will be completely "inter-operable" between police, fire and local EMS.  He says the new system is "phenominal..." and, exceeded 99-percent coverage of the county with portable radio coverage.  He says the contract called for 95-percent coverage.  Gerace says testing was extensive.  He says Motorola was the vendor for the project.  The county received a $6-million state grant for the project.  The Sheriff expects to have the new system completely on line by the end of January.  He made his comments for this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program.

Martin celebrates community response to annual "Holiday Haul..."

The three-day "Holiday Haul" brought in another "wonderful" response from the community in support of the St. Susan's Center.  That from Jamestown Community College Athletic Director Keith Martin... who again hosted the third-annual event to bring food, essentials and money to Jamstown's soup kitchen the weekend before Christmas.  Martin says they've just tallied up the numbers... and, found they had received more than 6,000 pounds of items -- including items St. Susan's, and the people they help -- need.  He says that includes toiletries, napkins, and paper towels.  In addition to the just over three-tons of items... they also brought in more than $12,000 in cash and gift cards for St. Susan's.  Martin says that allows the soup kitchen to purchase $7 worth of food for each dollar they raised hrough the Food Bank of Western New York.  The money also helps with their overhead and expenses.  Martin again thanked Jamestown Mattress... and, the Jamestown Cycle Shop for their ongoing support... and, the Falconer J-V Girls Basketball Team for helping accept items all day on Saturday, Dec. 19.