Local News Headlines

City man arrested for criminally negligent homicide...

A Jamestown man sought for his involvement in a fatal incident late last year has been arrested.  Sheriff's officers say they took 37 year-old John Hillman into custody at his home shortly before 6 last night without incident.  Deputies say Hillman was wanted for criminally negligent homicide on an arrest warrant issued out of Chautauqua County Court.  City police and the Sheriff's Department K-9 unit assisted in serving the warrant.  No other details were available last night.  Hillman was arraigned and sent to the county jail without bail.


Horrigan will hold public hearing on new smoking law, but, says he's inclined to sign it at this point...

Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says he's leaning towards signing the local law, raising the age to buy tobacco products in the county from 18 to 21.  Horrigan yesterday said he listened to the approximately 20 speakers at Wednesday night's legislature meeting... the majority of whom favor the change.  He says, though, that he must hold a public hearing first.  At the same time... he says unless he receives some compelling argument otherwise... he favors the measure... which also covers e-cigarettes. Horrigan says he will be scheduling the required public hearing over the next few days.  He agrees with studies that have shown that Chautauqua County has a higher than average rate of smoking in the state.  Horrigan adds that most teens he's talked to across the county agree with the change... while some don't.  He adds he also understands business's perspective on the matter.  The owner of Yeti Vape on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott spoke against the change... saying that there big differences between tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes.


County legislators sound off before vote on increasing age to buy tobacco e-vape products...

County lawmakers were generally supportive of the local law on both sides of the political aisle. Frewsburg Republican Ron Lemon was among the 13 legislators who voted in favor of the legislation. But, Fredonia Republican Robert Scudder proposed -- and pushed an amendment that would have removed e-cigarettes from the local law.  Scudder says that came after he checked out an e-vape shop in his village.  He says he spoke with two and three-pack a day smokers who switched, and have gotten better health reports from their doctors.  With that... he feels the jury is still out on e-cigarettes.  The amendment failed, with Scudder joining Robert Bankoski, Kevin Muldowney, Terry Niebel, Lisa Vanstrom and David Wilfong in voting against the local law.


Mess pleads guilty to manslaughter in husband's death...

The wife of a New York farmer whose body was found buried in manure has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.  Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O'Green says Charlene Mess of Attica faces up to 25 years in prison after entering the plea in county court in Warsaw Thursday.  O'Geen says the Mess family supports the lengthy prison sentence for the death of 52-year-old Douglas Mess last year.  Authorities say Charlene Mess hit her husband of 30 years with a pitchfork and shot him in the head with a .22-caliber rifle before burying his body in a manure pile on the family dairy farm.  One of his sons reported him missing, setting off a seven-hour search.  Charlene Mess is scheduled to be sentenced June 23.


Gerry man arrested on Felony DWI charge, others...

A Gerry man faces felony charges of driving while intoxicated... and, without a license after he was pulled over for allegedly driving drunk earlier this week.  Sheriff's officers say they stopped a car, driven by 41 year-old David Spunaugle, on the Gerry-Ellington Road, just after 1 AM this past Monday.  Deputies say their investigation showed Spunaugle was intoxicated... and, he was taken into custody.  Officers say a check of his driving history in New York State revealed that Spunaugle had a prior conviction for DWI with in the past 10 years.  He was also found to have a a revoked driver's license.  Spunaugle was arraigned in Ellery Town Court... and was sent to the county jail on 5-thousand dollars cash bail on several charges... including Felony DWI, and first-degree Aggravated Unlicensed Operation.


Reed touts American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act...

Local Congressman Tom Reed says he fully supports a measure coming out of a House committee that would lower manufacturing costs in the U-S by $1-billion.  The Corning Republican recently voted with the House Ways and Means Committee in favor of the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act of 2016.  Reed says the measure... which has bi-partisan support in Congress... will help several, local manufacturers in the Southern Tier.
Reed says the manufacturing bill will help local companies compete better in the global economy.  Right now... he says when those businesses import raw materials they are unable to get here... they pay an added tax on those items.  Reed calls this a "common sense" piece of legislation.  He says, keeping manufacturing companies in the Southern Tier will keep "family-sustaining" jobs in the region.  He says the full Congress is expected to act on the bill before the end of the week.  Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media.


Dunkirk Schools looking for new superintendent...

The Dunkirk School Board has set interviews with the three finalists for the superintendent's position before the end of the week.  That's because the current occupant is preparing to leave the district in a couple of months.  In a recent interview... Gary Cerne says he's enjoyed his nine-and-a-half years as superintendent. Cerne says he will never forget when the district's Board of Education approved his appointment... March 7th of 2007.  Now... he says he wouldn't have wanted to be superintendent at "any other district."  Cerne will stay on until July 1st and says he will be available to assist the new superintendent once a selection is announced.  A stakeholders team is holding interviews with the finalists this week.


Catskill Region wildfire now contained...

Crews have now contained a wildfire that burned nearly 2-thousand acres of forestland in a state park in upstate New York.  State officials say the brush fire at the Sam's Point Preserve in the Minnewaska State Park Preserve in Ulster County was fully contained by Thursday evening.  Hundreds of firefighters and first responders battled the fire, which started Saturday afternoon and forced the evacuation of hundreds of park visitors.  No structures or homes were damaged.  Two firefighters suffered minor injuries.  Officials say the fire has scorched about 1,900 acres in a rugged, heavily wooded section of the Shawangunk Mountains on the park's southern part.  The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 22, 2019

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