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WJTN News Headlines

The age to purchase tobacco in Chautauqua County will go up to 21 beginning this fall.  The Jamestown Post Journal reports that the Chautauqua County Legislature voted 13-6 in favor of the move, which is the first of it's kind in Western New York.  Anyone under 21 would also be barred from purchasing e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine.   "Business Members, High School Students, health care professionals and other community members took to the podium to voice their opinion on the controversial matter".   Christine Schuyler, county public health director said the law will safegaurd youth from developing a lifelong tobacco and nicotine addiction.  Brian Ellis, wholesale manager of Yeti Vape in Jamestown told the legislature to vote the bill down or consider tabling the law for revision.  Ellis said smoking and vaping look similar, but are very different.  New York City and Suffolk County are the only other parts of New York State that have the tobacco purchase age set at 21.


There will be four candidates running for the two seats up for a vote on the Jamestown School Board next month.  School officials say the four returned petitions with the required number of valid signatures as of 5 PM yesterday.  They are incumbant School Board President Joe DiMaio (Dih-Mayo)... and incumbant first-term member Patrick Slagle.  There are also two newcomers... Todd Rushforth... and, Jeffrey Yeates.  They'll be running for two full, three-year terms on the panel.  The school board vote is the same day as the budget vote, Tuesday, May 17th from Noon to 9 PM. 


A Jamestown man is jailed without bail for allegedly trying to run over three police officers... and, lead them on a high-speed chase... after they tried to arrest him on drug charges.  However... members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force were able to take 41 year-old Donald Dean into custody Tuesday afternoon in the village of Falconer.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says task force members were following up on an investigation into alleged Methamphetime sales... when they approached Dean's car on Falconer Street.  However... Samuelson says Dean sped off... almost striking the officers before leading them to a wooded area behind the Red Roof Inn in Falconer. Samuelson says they don't know why Dean tried to run over the officers, nor if he was high on drugs at the time. He says the suspect was apparently renting a room at the hotel... and, adds officers had gotten a search warrant for the room.  Dean was arraigned in Jamestown City Court... and, sent to the county lock-up. Samuelson says anyone with information on illegal drug activity in the immediate Jamestown-area can contact the Metro Drug Task Force through the JPD Tip-Line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


Two Cattaraugus County residents are jailed for allegedly being found in possession of drugs in their Gowanda apartment.  Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say they raided the dwelling at 47 West Hill Street last weekend.  Task Force members say 28 year-old Sammie Harris... and, 21 year-old Donnice Young have been charged with one count each of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, second-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia.  Both were taken to Persia Town Court for arraignment.  The Task Force was assisted by Gowanda Police... the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office -- and, it's K-9 Unit -- and state Police.


The county's top prosecutor says his office is continuing to work with Fredonia Police on the investigation into last weekend's shooting incident that occurred on Liberty Street.  Acting District Attorney Patrick Swanson says he has been working closely with village police officials on the case since early Saturday when the incident was first reported. Police have identified James Duman of Dunkirk as the person who was shot by the homeowner who had used a legally-owned handgun during the confrontation.  Swanson says it doesn't appear that the homeowner will be charged... unless circumstances change in the case.  Duman, who was treated at the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, remains in the Chautauqua County Jail on a parole violation stemming from a 2013 arrest.  Swanson expects to release an official position on the case at some point next week. 


It's looking less likely that the presumptive winner of a pivotal state Senate race on Long Island will take his seat in time for the Legislature's return to Albany.  Democrat Todd Kaminsky won 780 more votes than Republican challenger Chris McGrath in last week's special Senate election.  But... McGrath hasn't conceded and wants a recount.  Official results must also wait until nearly 3-thousand absentee and emergency ballots are counted.  That process began Wednesday... and, could take several days or weeks to complete.  The Senate returns Tuesday.  The winner replaces ex-GOP Senate Leader Dean Skelos who was convicted of corruption.  If Kaminsky wins the Democrats will have a majority of Senate seats.  However... Republican control will likely continue thanks to six Democrats who broke with their party to empower the GOP.


Two members of New York's congressional delegation say ongoing economic expansion in the state's western areas shows the need for a high-speed rail link between Buffalo and Rochester.  Democratic Representatives Louise Slaughter of Rochester and Brian Higgins of Buffalo say cutting the travel time between the two cities would allow people to commute to the growing technology jobs increasingly available in western New York.  They point to the SolarCity project in Buffalo and AIM Photonics in Rochester as examples of the region's changing economy.  New York's upstate congressional delegates have pushed for years for a high-speed rail system linking the region's largest cities with New York City.  Higgins says refocusing the effort on the 70-mile stretch between upstate New York's two largest cities would be far less costly.


There will be a special meeting of the Ellicott Town Board this (Thursday) afternoon in the town hall in Falconer.  Town Clerk Mike Erlandson says the meeting will begin at 12 Noon... and, will deal with a new fee schedule for the town.  Board members and town Supervisor Pat McLaughlin have been working on an updated fee schedule for the past several months.