(**updated) Jamestown city lawmakers have overwhelimingly voted to make city facilites -- including the parks -- 100-percent smoke and "vapor" free. The City Council last night approved a new policy measure making all recreation facilities, vehicles and equipment smoke-free by a vote of 7-to-1. They also approved a code change for all city parks and public lands by that same vote. Tobacco Free Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegeny Coordinator Ken Dahlgren called these "very important" moves. The measures were also supported by Shelly Wells... who spoke for the Chautauqua County Health Network. The lone "no" votes came from Councilman George Spitale... who paraphrased what one fellow veteran told him in opposing the moves. Spitale says his biggest problem with the new enforcement is the fine structure... which begins with a $50 fine for the first-offense. Spitale says another person questioned if the city of Jamestown was getting to be like New York City under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg... who famously tried to outlaw "large gulp" soda drinks. The city council last night also voted unanimously to institute a new Parking Amnety Program that begins this Friday... and, will run through the end of April.
The late Jim Roselle "left an extraordinary legacy" of optimism and goodwill. Those are just some of the feelings expressed during the long-time WJTN Morning Man's funeral Monday. Jim passed away last Wednesday at the age of 89... following a 62-plus year career here. During the service at St. James Catholic Church... his stepson, Phil Nalbone, recalled that it was often an "arguous and time consuming" task just leaving the house with Jim, a walk down a Jamestown Street could easily take a half hour due to all of the well wishers wanting to talk to "The Great Roselle!" Phil spoke on behalf of Jim's family, and wife Kathy... in thanking the large group of people who attended. Jim's long-time friend Russ Diethrick talked about Jim's love of interviewing all the big name celebrities and others at Chautauqua Institution and elsewhere. However... he says Jim had just as much fun interviewing the kids at Jamestown's annual Easter Egg Hunt. Russ also recalled another broadcast Jim liked doing each year... and, that was from the local Special Olympics... where he talked to many of the young people who took part each year.
New York is putting an end to most paper prescriptions for medicine as the nation's toughest electronic-prescribing law takes effect. As of Sunday... doctors, dentists and other health care professionals must electronically send prescriptions directly to pharmacies, instead of giving paper scripts to patients. There are exceptions for emergencies and unusual circumstances, and thousands of prescribers have gotten extensions. The law aims to fight painkiller abuse by thwarting prescription-slip forgery, while reducing errors by eliminating sometimes hard-to-read handwriting. What's known as ``e-prescribing'' has grown nationwide in recent years. Many patients, doctors and pharmacists find it time-saving and helpful. But... some New York medical leaders have expressed qualms about requiring e-prescribing in almost all situations and about the law's penalties. They include the possibility of fines, license loss or even jail.
The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County is helping to host two programs this week to raise awareness about the Heroin drug epidemic in the Jamestown-area. Association CEO Rick Huber says they are working with local resident Kim Carlson to put on the "Be Part of the Solution" events... which will also high-light a proposal to locate a self-sustaining long-term drug detox facility somewhere in the city. Huber says the programs will begin at 5:15 PM today and Wednesday at Shawbucks Press Room on West Second Street. Huber says the long-term drug detox facility will allow addicts to work with professionals to stay "clean..." and, also have some kind of gainful employment during their recovery. Again... the "Be Part of the Solution" program for people who want to learn more about the drug problem in the area... and, potential solutions... can attend either tonight or Wednesday night at 5:15 at Shawbucks Pressroom. **We now understand tonight's session is full, but, there is room at tomorrow's.
Strong, gusty winds have been hitting portions of western New York... mainly Northern Chautauqua County. Local police agencies report a number of downed trees and limbs, causing property damage. There were a handful of downed trees and limbs in Jamestown. One tree toppled onto a parked car at 714 Deer Street in Dunkirk around 11:30 yesterday morning. The National Weather Service had posted a Wind Advisory through early last night. A 51 MPH wind gust was reported twice at the Dunkirk Airport... while the Dunkirk Lighthouse had a 66 MPH gust around 1 PM. The strong winds also ushered in colder air. Forecaster Jim Mitchell with the National Weather Service said yesterday that by Wednesday...we'll see a rebound in temperatures. But... there are still indicators that the area may be hit by an arctic blast by next weekend, sending temperatures into the 20s by Sunday and Monday. There may even be a little snow added in.
The leader of the New York State Assembly says negotiations for a final state budget are advancing. But... Speaker Carl Heastie says issues remain, particularly how New York City will make out. That includes its payments to Medicaid. After briefing his chamber's Democratic majority yesterday... Heastie said raising the minimum wage and establishing paid family leave for workers ``are absolutely part of discussions on a final budget.'' He says state aid to schools also isn't settled yet in talks with Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Senate's Republican leaders. Heastie says he's unsure whether lawmakers will meet their midnight deadline to print budget bills and may need a special message from Cuomo to skip the usual three-day waiting period and vote for the budget on time. The new fiscal year starts Friday.
AIDS activists say New York lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo must invest more state funds if they are serious about the state's goal of ending the epidemic by 2020. Six people were arrested last night after a rally at the state Capitol to push for 70-million dollars in funding as Cuomo and legislators negotiate the state budget before a Friday deadline. The state's target is to cut the number of new infections to 750 per year by 2020, down from 3,200 cases in 2013. The strategy includes expanded HIV testing and treatment, a focus on drugs that reduce the risk of infection, and housing and help for those living with the disease. Longtime AIDS activist Charles King says the plan requires continued state investment if it is to succeed.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has banned all non-essential state travel to North Carolina in the wake of that state's decision to overturn an ordinance on transgender rights. The ban, which was signed by executive order on Monday, requires all state agencies, departments, boards and commissions to immediately review all requests for state funded or state sponsored travel to North Carolina. In a statement... Cuomo said New York ``will not stand idly by as misguided legislation replicates the discrimination of the past.''