WJTN News Headlines

New York is poised to end its ban on professional mixed martial arts, the last state to prohibit the combat sport.  Conducted inside a cage or other enclosure with a referee present... MMA bouts end when one fighter quits or gets knocked out, or judges decide after 15 to 25 minutes of fighting who the winner is.  The state Assembly voted yesterday... and, approved MMA resoundingly following seven years of leaving the ban intact after critics complained the sport is too violent.  Fighters wear small, fingerless gloves and punch, kick, elbow, grapple, tackle, slam, twist and choke each other inside a cage.  Advocates say it has evolved from rougher early days with more rules to protect fighters.  Meanwhile, it's on television, and fighters train and amateurs compete in New York.


More than 20-thousand first-time voters have registered with New York state in what state officials are calling an ``unprecedented surge'' of voter interest ahead of the state's April 19th presidential primary.  Nearly 41,000 individuals filed on-line voter registration applications between March 10th and 20th.  The online registration system set a record on Friday with almost 14,000 registration applications received.  Voters must register by March 25 in order to participate in the primary.  The online system also allows users to change their address.  It's operated by the state's Department of Motor Vehicles, which sends registration materials to local boards of election.


Chautauqua County's Congressman has found himself having to defend his sudden announcement that he had thrown his support behind Republican Presidential front-runner Donald Trump.  Corning Republican Tom Reed was peppered with questions during Monday's weekly conference call with regional media, after what seemed to be a half-hearted endorsement.  Reed emphasized again that he was not pressured into backing Trump... whom he and several other lawmakers met with Monday in Washington. Reed is still expressing a lot of concern over the rhetoric of the Trump campaign... both by the candidate, and others.  However... he says there is even more concern over the need to unite behind someone to defeat the presumptive Democrat candidate, Hillary Clinton, in November.  Reed says he has great concern over the possibility of an open convention... and, the fact that the will of the Republican Party rank-and-file may not be done.  In addition to his business and leadership abilities... Reed also touted Trump's call for fairer trade deals for the U-S.


Gas prices in the Jamestown-area have increased another nickle a gallon this week to about 2-dollars-9 cents for regular, unleaded.  That from the Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report... which says the average price... based on reports from 19 local service stations... was 2-dollars-4 cents last week.  Triple-A says gas was about 2--62 a gallon at this time last year.  The national average is now one-dollar-98-cents.  The Fuel Gauge reports that pump prices have climbed higher for two straight weeks... and, the national average price of gas may soon climb above 2-dollars for the first time this year.  Gas prices have increased largely due to seasonal increases in fuel demand and reduced production as some refineries conduct maintenance.  Refineries have also begin making their more expensive "summer-blend" of fuel.


Catholic Charities of Buffalo has closed out it's annual Appeal Week with 73-percent of it's 2016 goal reached... but, the campaign will continue through June 30th.  That from Bishop Richard Malone... who reported on the progress of the annual appeal yesterday in Buffalo.  Malone says they have raised just over 8-million dollars of the campaign's 11-million dollar goal.  He thanked the hundreds of parish, corporate and community division volunteers, and pastors, who helped to raise funds that will help them continue to impact the lives of more than 132-thousand Western New Yorkers. Malone says the funds raised for Appeal 2016 support Catholic Charities’ 70 programs and services offered across 61 sites throughout the eight-county region -- which includes Chautauqua County.  Nicole Tzetzo... who chaired the campaign with her husband, Nick... says they believe the generosity of western New Yorkers will rise to the occasion like it always has.  She says the programs benefit everyone... regardless of whether or not they're Catholic.  To make a donation... or learn more about Appeal 2016, contact Catholic Charities at 218-1400 or go on line to ccwny-dot-ORG.


No one was hurt when a tractor-trailer hauling some oil went off the westbound on-ramp from Route 430 in the town of Ellery onto Interstate 86 and crashed Tuesday morning.  Sheriff's Department dispatchers say officers and State Police were initially called to the scene about 9:30 AM... and, reportedly found the big rig laying on it's side.  There was also reportedly some oil leaking from the trailer, and the county's HazMat Team was called in.  However... no major spill was reported.  The ramp reopened by mid-afternoon.  However... the tractor-trailer was still there last evening.  No charges have been reported.


A Silver Creek man is facing a drug possession charge following a traffic stop on Brigham Road in the city of Dunkirk very early yesterday.  Dunkirk Police say they stopped 28-year-old Mark Massey after he allegedly failed to signal properly for a turn near Willowbrook Avenue around 12:30 AM.  During the stop... Police Chief Dave Ortolano says officers observed something out of the ordinary in the vehicle. Massey has been charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  He was also ticketed for failure to signal.  Massey was sent to the city lock up where he is awaiting arraignment.  Ortolano says they have had some other traffic stops in recent weeks that have netted illegal drugs.


Internet giant Yahoo says the company will suspend its paid daily fantasy sports operations in New York.  In doing so... the Sunnyvale, California-based company joins fantasy sports giants DraftKings and FanDuel.  The announcement comes a day after a deal between the companies and Schneiderman effectively suspended litigation while lawmakers draft regulations.  Schneiderman had sued the companies last year, arguing the sites were illegal sports betting operations and were violating state laws.  The companies argue their contests are games of skill, not of chance.