A Sherman native has been named to replace Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley until a Special Election can be held next November. Fredonia's Patrick Swanson was named by Foley last Friday to replace the former D-A. Foley became County Court Judge January 1st after being elected without opposition. Swanson admits "it's a big job..." but, adds he's looking forward to the challenge. Swanson will serve as Acting D-A until the election... unless there is a gubernatorial appointment. However... Swanson says he has not heard about one being made at this point. He won't say -- at this point -- if he will run for the position in next Fall's election. Swanson says the "politics will sort itself out... and, his focus is to run the office as "ethically and as honorably as Foley did. He adds that Foley has left the office in great shape... and, says he was left with a "great staff." Swanson has been with the local District Attorney's office the past four years... mostly recently as an Assistant D-A working felony cases in the north county area. Prior to this... he worked a year in Erie County, New York.
The city will have to tear down both vacant homes that were torched by an alleged "serial arsonist" last week on Jamestown's northside. During the city council's first work session of 2016 last night... lawmakers learned that both buildings... one at 1052 North Main Street and the other at 866-1/2 Spring Street... will have to be razed. The one on Spring was already condemned. In addition... Finance Committee Chairman Tony Dolce says they learned the city will have to pay 50-thousand dollars to have the bricks at the North Main Street location disposed of. Dolce says the money will come out of the DOD's 2016 budget... but, adds that won't leave much left for other demolitions in that budget... or the city's general fund. After that... he says they have to look for funding in "other ways." No one was hurt in either fire... the first was called in shortly before 4 AM last Wednesday morning at 1052 North Main. While fire crews were there... the second call came in about 5:30 AM for the fire at 866 1/2 Spring Street. City police now believe those fires... one on Falconer Street last October... and three others last year... were all set by the same person.
Chautauqua County Legislators have re-elected Legislator Jay Gould to a fifth term as Chairman during their annual organizational meeting held in Mayville Monday afternoon. The vote was 18-0, with Legislator John Hemmer the lone member absent from the session. In his acceptance speech, Gould spoke about the legislature's accomplishments of the last two years. In looking ahead to 2016, Gould says there are two major issues facing the legislature…expansion of the County Landfill in Ellery and the uncertainty concerning the future of the NRG plant in Dunkirk. After the meeting, Gould indicated he looked forward to working with the Legislature's four new members…Kevin Muldowney, Robert Bankoski, Christine Starks and Mark Odell.
Chautauqua County's Congressman says President Obama should make sure that gun control systems now in place work before he takes any executive action. Corning Republican Tom Reed says... otherwise... he opposes any effort to keep "law-abiding citizens" from exercising their second-amendment right. Reed says it's a right that "must be respected." He says that he prefers to deal with the "root causes" of gun-violence in the U-S... namely mental illness and criminal intent. The president says his actions will be "consistant" with the second-amendment... but, offered no specifics following a meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch... and, FBI Director James Comey. In the case of mental health... Reed says it's a matter of an individuals rights versus public safety. It's widely believe that the President's steps are expected to include expanding background checks on gun sales. That would include forcing more sellers to register as federally-licensed gun dealers. Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media.
The first arctic blast of the Winter season is only going to be around through this morning. A warm-up begins later today... but, there are indications that a longer lasting blast could be on the way next week. Forecaster Jon Hitchcock with the National Weather Service says expect some frigid temperatures through about mid-morning... but, a warming trend will begin... and, we'll be in the low 40s by the end of the week. Hitchcock adds there are still indications that a longer lasting pattern change is on the way... possibly next week. He says there'll be an initial wave of cold air early next week -- then a colder one. In addition... with a wide-open Lake Erie, there is sure to be more lake effect snow on the way during that time period.
A former Chautauqua County planning official has taken a new job as Senior Planner for the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation. North County resident Mark Geise... who had been the county's Deputy Director of Planning and Economic Development... began his new job with the JRC yesterday. Renaissance Corporation Executive Director Greg Lindquist says the position opened up when former Senior Planner Peter Lombardi took a consulting job with CZB... a Buffalo-area planning firm... in the middle of 2015. During his time with Chautauqua County... Geise led the latest county Comprehensive Plan Development process -- known as "Chautauqua 20/20" -- and, he also founded the Chautauqua County Land Bank Corporation. Lindquist says Geise has already hit the ground running... working on JRC's applications for the next round of state Consolidated Funding grants. Lindquist says Geise will also be working to implement some of the potential projects identified by the Downtown Jamestown Economic Strategy program developed by A-E-COM Associates. Geise and his wife, Katie, live in Fredonia with their three children.
Jamestown Renaissance Corporation Director Greg Lindquist says... while Peter Lombardi has gone to work for CZB Associates... he'll still be involved with planning in Jamestown. Lombardi went to work for CZB in late June... but, remains in Jamestown while working at CZB's satelite office here. Lindquist says Lombardi will do some part-time work for the JRC. He says the JRC has ended up with the best of both world's by hiring Mark Geise... and, still being able to tap into Peter Lombardi's expertise.
Restaurant owners in New York state have written to Governor Andrew Cuomo asking him to hold the line on the base wage paid to servers and other tipped workers for five years. Tipped workers had made between 4-dollars and 90-cents... and, $5.65 before Cuomo raised it to $7.50 an hour before tips in 2015. The increase took effect last Friday. More than 100 restaurant owners wrote to Cuomo and top lawmakers asking that they agree to keep the tipped wage stable to give the industry time to adjust to the increased labor costs. Workers such as restaurant servers are paid less than the minimum wage on the assumption that tips will make up the difference.
State police say a New Jersey man led them on a chase that topped 120 MPH on an upstate New York highway before crashing. Troopers say they spotted 24-year-old Trevon Clement of Newark traveling at nearly 100 MPH around 9:40 PM on New Year's Day in the southbound lanes of Interstate 81 in the Broome County town of Barker... just north of Binghamton. Police say Clement fled from troopers, hitting almost 127 mph as he drove on state Route 17's westbound lanes, where he crashed into a guide rail in the neighboring town of Chenango. Clement was charged with unlawfully fleeing a police officer and numerous other traffic violations. He was released from the Broome County Jail after posting bail. It couldn't be determined if he has a lawyer for his pending court appearance.