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WJTN News Headlines

A former Jamestown Police officer has been arrested by federal authorities for allegedly posting a theat on the Jamestown Topix Forum Page against two people.  U-S Attorney William Hochul, Junior says that 35 year-old Michael Bush was taken into custody... and, charged with transmitting communication containing a threat to injure the person "of another."  Hochul says the charge carries a maximum of 5-years in prison, a fine of 250-thousand dollars -- or both.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Caleb Petzoldt (Pet-Zoldt) is prosecuting the case... and, says Bush posted the threat on the Topix website back on February 26th.  Bush made an initial appearance yesterday morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Schroeder.  A detention hearing is scheduled for April 7th.  Petzoldt says the investigation was conducted by the FBI... and, Jamestown Police Department.


The Jamestown Public School District has agreed to hold a public referendum on June 7th... allowing residents to vote on creating a "Community Based" funding initiative for the Prendergast Library.  The school board agree last night to hold the vote... which would provide a new funding mechanism for the library.  Library Director Tina Scott says the they are going directly to the public to fund 850-thousand dollars of the library's 1.3-million dollars for annual operations.  Scott says this would begin next year. Scott says the new "Community-Based" Funding initiative would begin in the year 2017... if approved by voters in the Jamestown Public School District.  School Superintendent Tim Mains says the bills for the Community-Based funding initiative would be sent out by the district, because it has the taxing authority.  He says residents of the school district will also get a bill to fund the library... but, that would be separate from the school district tax bill.  Scott says they have now undertaken a public education program on the referendum.  For more information... call the library at 484-7135.


The city of Jamestown's Department of Development has drawn up it's Action Plan for use of more than one-million dollars in federal money to improve housing and infrastructure.  Development Director Vince DeJoy says his department has now released the plan for use of 1.05-million dollars in Community Development Block Grant funding... and, another 255-thousand in HOME monies.  DeJoy says they've boosted funding for "target-area " Rental Rehabilitation to 100-thousand dollars because of landlord demand. DeJoy says they've spent down the monies in Rental Rehabilitation over the years... and, needed to designate more for it in 2016.  He says the biggest chunk of money -- 219-thousand dollars -- will be used for Neighborhood Target Area infrastructure improvements.  DeJoy says there is now a 30-day comment public comment period through early May before City Council votes on the plan next month.  He says there will be more dicussion of the plan... which must be voted on by lawmakers by the end of the month.  At least 70-percent of the CDBG funding must be used for low-to-moderate income projects.


More than 70 airports in upstate New York are eligible to compete for a share of $200 million in state funds up for grabs in a new state competition from Governor Andrew Cuomo.  The money will be divided up among the airports that submit the best plans for enhancing safety, improving service or reducing environmental impact.  Cuomo, a Democrat, came up with the idea of a competition to encourage airports to think creatively and submit their best plans for how they'd use the money.  His initial idea, announced in January, was to award five 40-million dollar grants to the winners.  State lawmakers included the competition in the 156-billion dollar state budget they passed on Friday.


Dunkirk city and school officials say they're pleased that the new state budget contains 'transition aid' for the north county city and the school district.  However... they will still have to make adjustments.  Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas praised the work of State Senator Cathy Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell on having the funding included in the final budget passed last week.  However... Rosas says the city still faces some tough funding cuts.
Dunkirk City School Superintendent Gary Cerne says word of the transition aid came just as the school district gears up for a budget vote next month.  He says they will still have to make reductions before the school board can adopt the proposed spending plan later this month.  Cerne says they are still just over 700-thousand dollars short for 2016-17 on the NRG PILOT payment.  NRG notified the local entities -- including Chautauqua County -- earlier this year that the company intended to reduce its PILOT on the Dunkirk Power Plant by 85-percent In 2017.


New York's highest court says courtroom spectators should be prohibited from displaying portraits of the dead during murder trials.  But... the Court of Appeals also says such displays aren't automatic grounds for mistrial, noting depictions can range from small buttons to life-size portraits.  The court said Tuesday in Joel Nelson's case he wasn't deprived of a fair trial when Leo Walton's family sat quietly in the gallery's second row wearing T-shirts bearing his image and the phrase ``Remembering Leo Walton.''  Nelson had appealed his conviction.  Judge Eugene Fahey cited ``overwhelming'' trial evidence Nelson shot Walton and Mark Maldonado in Brooklyn in 2008.  The judge notes photographs of victims when alive generally aren't allowed in evidence because they may ``arouse the jury's emotions.'' He says spectators don't have a First Amendment right to such displays.


New York state has banned non-essential state-funded travel to Mississippi after that state's governor signed a law allowing religious groups and some businesses to refuse service to gay couples.  Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the ban late Tuesday... the same day Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed the measure, which supporters say will protect those who have religious objections to same-sex marriage. Opponents to the measure say it's intolerant and will lead to discrimination.  Last week Cuomo, a Democrat, banned state-funded travel to North Carolina after lawmakers there blocked anti-discrimination protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people.  In a formal statement... Cuomo said the Mississippi law is a ``sad, hateful'' measure and that he will not allow any official state travel to that state until the law is repealed.


A New York health insurer's study shows 10 common conditions like sinus infections and sprains represented more than 2 million visits to emergency rooms statewide in 2013... costing about 1.3-billion dollars.  Excellus BlueCross/BlueShield examined 6.4 million emergency room visits in 2013, concluding many were avoidable with less expensive and faster treatment in doctors' offices... urgent care clinics... or even through telemedicine.


The Pennsylvania Game Commission has given preliminary approval to banning drones over 1.5 million acres of state game lands after reports of the unmanned craft near bald eagles' nests and drones interfering with migrating waterfowl.  The commission's unanimous decision is scheduled for consideration for a final vote in July.  Officials cited at least five instances in which drones disturbed wildlife during this year's snow goose migration season in the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area.  Drones have also been reported close to bald eagles' nests.  Game officials say they presume the drones are being used to take pictures or video, but the devices can spook migrating birds and disrupt their rest and feeding.  The executive director can authorize exceptions to the ban.