Another regional air carrier has acquired the current essential air carrier at the Chautauqua-Jamestown Regional Airport. Southern Airways announced late Thursday that it has purchased Ft. Lauderdale-based Sun Air Express, a commuter airline serving eight cities in the mid-Atlantic region - including Jamestown. Sun Air has hubs at both Pittsburgh International Airport... and, Washington-Dulles International Airport. Southern Airways officials say a big reason for acquiring Sun Air is because the smaller carrier has successfully developed a connecting hub model at the Pittsburgh International Airport. Southern Chairman and CEO Stan Little says "we look forward to expanding those connections and adding additional cities in the near future." More on this story later today.
About 100 people forced to evacuate their homes in Ripley because of a freight train derailment were finally allowed to return to their houses early Thursday morning. That's the official word from Chautauqua County Emergency Services Director Julius Leone. Leone says the off-loading of hazardous materials from three cars involved in the nearly 15 car derailment was completed early yesterday morning. The derailment occured about 9:45 PM Tuesday after the derailment... because two of the 15 cars were leaking ethanol. A third car was carrying liquid propane, but it remained intact. Leone says work continues in the clean up of the derailment... and, he says it will probably take several days to complete. In other developments... Route 76 in Ripley re-opened Thursday morning. One of the side streets remains closed. We have also learned that the railroad company, Norfolk-Southern, opened up a claims center Thursday at the Methodist Church in Ripley.
The Chautauqua County Republican Committee has endorsed four candidates for county, state and federal government office this Fall. County GOP Chairman Al Hendrickson says nominations were voted on Wednesday night in Mayville. Hendrickson says Republicans first endorsed the incumbant, three-term Congressman from the 23rd District. Hendrickson says the committee also endorsed incumbant State Senator Cathy Young... and, Assemblyman Andy Goodell. The fourth person endorsed was Fredonia's Jason Schmidt... who will challenge Democrat Patrick Swanson for county District Attorney. Swanson was named Acting D-A by for District Attorney David Foley... who is now Chautauqua County Court Judge. Hendrickson says Republicans never considered Swanson for nomination because he's a Democrat. He adds the Republican Committee also endorsed GOP Election's Commissioner Brian Abram for another term.
The Fredonia man who has been endorsed by the Chautauqua County Republican committee for District Attorney believes he is the right man for the job. North County Attorney Jason Schmidt says he is a "former Felony prosecutor and experienced trial attorney." Schmidt was first hired as an Assistant District Attorney by past D-A James Subjack in 2006... and, served under former D-A David Foley until early 2011. Schmidt believes that his experience in prosecuting hundred's of cases... and, handling appeals for a number of them... qualified him for the office. He adds that -- in his private practice -- he also argued a case before the U-S Second-Circuit Court of Appeals. That's one level below the U-S Supreme Court. He says he values working with the police... and, adds that helping crime victims is important. In his private practice... Schmidt says he's handled all kinds of serious violent and non-violent cases... including murder cases in Chautauqua, Erie and Cattaraugus Counties. Again... he will face Acting D-A Patrick Swanson in November's election.
The Chautauqua County Sheriff's office is reporting another overdose save through the use of the anti-opiate drug Narcan. Deputies say they were called to the scene in the town of Chautauqua about 12:20 this (Thursday) morning. Officers say ambulance crews from the Chautauqua and Mayville Fire Departments were also called to the scene. Deputies say they administered Narcan to the overdose victim. They say that person subsequently regained consciousness. The subject was then taken to an area hospital for further treatment.
Jamestown's police chief has come out strongly against the idea of a supervised injection facility for Heroin users here... or anywhere. Police Chief and Public Safety Director Harry Snellings was asked about the news that Ithaca's mayor wanted to offer such a facility where addicts would be able to "shoot up" under the care of a nurse. Snellings says he doesn't know all the specifics of Svante Myrick's proposal... but, says he would "never" support such a concept. Snellings says there's also the issue of liability if someone dies from an overdose in the facility. He says the rationale offered by Myrick and others who support a supervised facility don't make sense. Snellings says treatment needs to be the focus. He adds associated health issues... like Hepatitis C... can be addressed through needle exchange programs -- like the one in Jamestown. Mayor Myrick recently told the A--P that the facility would also connect addicts to recovery services. He called it part of the puzzle to fight the scourge of addiction.
Panama Central School District officials, students and residents can be forgiven if they are suffering a little "March Madness" of their own this year. Both the high schools' Boys and Girls Varsity basketball teams begin play in the New York state tournaments this weekend after winning Section 6 Championships. Panama Athletic Director Chris Payne says the community's having a "great time" there this season. Payne adds community members have also been coming by... and, asking what they can do to help out. But... typically schools find one program... or the other really strong in one particular season. This year... the boy's program under Head Coach Ed Nelson... has won 20 games in a row after a 1-and-2 start. The 21-and-2 Panthers have been led by Jack Payne... Chris Blose... and, Josh Odell. The girls... who made a great run in the state play-offs last year... are led by Seniors Emily Sperry and Taylor Bowen... along with Natalie Angeletti. The boys play at Noon Saturday at Buffalo State... while the girls play at Rush-Henrietta at 5 PM Saturday.