The Memorial Day Holiday weekend got off to a tragic beginning last Saturday afternoon when a Pennsylvania teen accidentally drowned in Warren County. State Police in Warren say a 13 year-old boy from Mount Jewitt was swimming with friends in Tionesta Creek about 50 yards south of the Bull Hill Bridge -- about 5 PM -- when the boy went under the water and did not resurface. Troopers say the unidentified victim was found near the Tionesta Boat Launch in Sheffield. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene by the Warren County Coronor.
More than a dozen post '9/11' heros from Chautauqua County were remember during a commemoration last Saturday morning at Jamestown's Veteran's Memorial Park. Two women from the Blue Star... and, Gold Star Mothers led the more than 100 residents and local officials in "God Bless America" to conclude the 4th annual Blue Star Mothers "Fallen Heros Recognition." Among the dignitaries was the county's Congressman Tom Reed... urged those at the gathering to "never forget" those who go to war... and, don't come back. He also said remember those who come back as well. Reed says he learned the meaning of Memorial Day from his mother after his father -- who was a military man -- passed away when he was 2 years-old. The head of the Blue Star Mother's Lake Erie-4 Chapter, Susan Rowley, thanked the less than one-percent of the population that volunteers to defend their nation. The Blue Star Mothers gave special recognition to the family of Marine Lance Corporal Mason Vandewark... a Jamestown native... who was killed in an accidental Mortar explosion at a Nevada military base in 2013.
Several Memorial Day Parades and services dot the schedule today... with the first parade taking place in Busti at 9 AM. The procession begins at the former New Beginnings Restaurant Parking lot... and, will wind through the 5-corners to the Gazebo Park for the annual service. Jamestown's annual parade kicks off at 10 AM on West Fourth Street -- near Baker Park. The procession goes to Prendergast Avenue... then moves onto Lakeview Cemetery. Chautauqua County native... and, retired U-S Air Force Staff Sergeant Doug Kibbe will speak at the service at Soldier's Circle. Kibbe... whose father is a World War-Two veteran... served as a Cryptologic Linguist during his time in the service. There will also be a parade on Hunt Road... which starts at Southwestern High School... at 10:45 AM. A service at Sunset Hill Cemetary will follow.
The state Division of Veterans' Affairs is reminding New Yorkers over the Memorial Day weekend that the flags of the U.S., New York, military branches, military services and prisoners of war are exempt from sales taxes. Tax authorities say U.S. flags are fully exempt from state and local sales taxes year-round. That also applies to Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Prisoner of War/Missing in Action flags. Military service flags are those that have been approved by the Defense Department, including Blue Star and Gold Star banners put on display by family of military personnel who died in the armed forces or currently serving. Certain military decorations, including ribbons, medals, and lapel pins, are exempt from sales tax when sold to active military members or veterans.
Fast moving airport security lines at the start of the Memorial Day weekend may bode well for return travelers Monday. Travelers reported moving quickly through airport checkpoints early last weekend, after authorities opened extra screening lanes, and used bomb-sniffing dogs to give some passengers a break from removing their shoes. The extra dogs were concentrated at the nation's largest airports, but they were not used for all screenings. Many travelers still had to observe the usual procedures. The federal Transportation Security Administration was trying to offer travelers some relief after weeks of slow-moving lines blamed on an increase in the number of air travelers and a shortage of TSA security officers. A TSA spokesman said the extra dogs would remain well beyond the holiday.
New York lawmakers are considering legislation that would limit the amount of prescription opioid drugs patients can get after an initial visit to the doctor's office, part of an effort to curb a statewide addiction crisis. The bill would allow patients five days-worth of short-term prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin and hydrocodone to treat acute pain from procedures such as recovery from surgery. Patients would need another consultation with a doctor to get more medication. Advocates say the limit would prevent distribution of unneeded pills that can end up being sold or left for anyone in a household to use. But opponents... including the Medical Society of the State of New York, say the potential limit would inhibit physicians' ability to exercise their best judgment when dealing with patients.
Some New York lawmakers want to mandate that complaints about possible abuse or neglect of disabled or mentally ill people in state care be made first to 9-1-1... and local prosecutors. Currently, such complaints are routed directly to New York's Justice Center, the agency set up three years ago to protect the more than one-million people in state care. Supporters of the legislation have questioned how aggressively the Justice Center pursues such cases, and they say getting local authorities involved sooner could help stop abuse and start potential cases faster. The Justice Center has yet to take a position on the legislation. Opponents, led by the public employees union, argue 9-1-1 could be overwhelmed with such complaints and that it should be reserved for medical, fire and safety emergencies.