It's being called a "significant wind event..." and it's taking down a number of trees and utility wires in the North Warren-area. Warren County Sheriff's Department dispatchers say they had a severe thunderstorm roar through the area -- just north of Warren, Pennsylvania -- about 5:30 PM yesterday. Dispatchers say they have no official word of any tornado activity... and say the damage was centered about the Route 62 area of North Warren. However... they add no injuries were reported. The storm hit about the same time as a severe thunderstorm moved through the Jamestown-area. There was a severe thunderstorm warning here from about 4 to 5 PM.
A fire late Saturday morning that destroyed a vacant, two story apartment house on Jamestown's eastside is being blamed on arson. City Fire Lieutenant Donald Mowery says firefighters were called to the scene at 192 Falconer Street about 11 AM. Mowery says the flames had a pretty good head start on fire crews. Mowery says the blaze began in the back of the building... and, spread through-out the structure. He says it took about an hour-and-a-half to bring under control because the flames were able to move inside the walls and ceilings. Mowery tells us the building is a total loss... and the order was given by the Department of Development late Saturday to tear down the structure. Mowery says one firefighter was treated for a minor injury. An off-duty shift of 12 firefighters and one commander was called in to assist. Mowery says firefighters were at the scence for about 4 hours. City police and fire investigators are looking for whoever may have set the house on fire.
A Jamestown man is accused of selling more than 10-thousand un-taxed cigarettes in the area following a joint investigation by local and state authorities. The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department reports the arrest of 35 year-old James Chapman of 273 South Main Street late this past Friday during two separate raids. Officers say Chapman was arrested by members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force... the state Tax and Finance Investigative Unit... and, the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force. Deputies say the first raid occured at 275-277 South Main Street... where they seized a large quantity of untaxed cigarettes and cigars... a quantity of cash, sales records, marijuana and scales. As a result of that search... they were then able to search Chapman's 273 South Main address. He's been charges with two counts of Sales of Untaxed Cigarettes... and, one count of Tax Fraud under the New York State Tax Law. Those are all felony charges. Police add that more charges are pending. Chapman has been issued appearance tickets for Jamestown City Court.
New York state lawmakers are entering the final days of their 2016 session, with big votes possible on measures to combat heroin addiction, allow Uber to expand upstate and regulate daily fantasy sports. Another item on the to-do list is the renewal of Mayor Bill de Blasio's control of New York City schools. De Blasio wants a seven-year extension but lawmakers, particularly in the Senate, have concerns. While polls show corruption remains a top issue to voters... lawmakers have shown little interest in addressing the chronic problem. Instead, lawmakers are debating measures to combat heroin and opioid abuse, legislation authorizing Uber's expansion outside of New York City and regulations allowing daily fantasy sports operators like FanDuel and DraftKings to operate within the state. The Legislature plans to adjourn on June 16th.
The Salvation Army of Jamestown is well-known for it's program that helps and houses the victims of sexual and domestic assaults. Local Congressman Tom Reed -- a strong supporter of such programs -- got the chance last weekend to learn more about that they do. Several years ago... Reed's niece was raped the night of her high school prom. Reed met with Salvation Army Major John Merchant... and, Anew Center Director Stacy Tanner... about what resources they provide... and, what types of help they need. Reed also got to tour the Anew Center's shelter... the location of which is kept secret for safety reasons. He says he learned that the demand for their sexual abuse and domestic violence services remains high... with about 200 people -- mainly women -- helped each year. Reed says he got a lot of input about the need to make programs more efficient, and provide more help to the victims. He has been part of the non-partisan "No More" effort to raise awareness to the problems of sexual assault.
During his visit to the Salvation Army's Anew Center... Reed learned about the need for a new shelter for the victims they help. The Corning Republican says the multi-story home the Salvation Army uses is old... and, really not worth putting the money into to upgrade. Reed says the Salvation Army... led by Merchant and his wife... is putting an effort together to develop a new facility. In addition to having 13-beds... the current shelter has several rooms.. including a bath, shower, and kitchen. Reed pledged his support to finding a new facility... and, getting it up and running. The Anew Center receives about 4-thousand calls a year to it's 24-hour hot-line. The number is 661-3897... or 1-800-252-8748.
The New York state Senate has passed legislation to increase the exemption of private pensions from state income taxes. Seniors have been able to claim tax exemptions for the first $20,000 of pension or retirement income for 35 years. The bill would raise that to $25,000 for the 2017 tax year, rising in increments to $40,000 in 2020. Senator Hugh Farley, a Schenectady County Republican, says the exemption hasn't kept up with the cost of living. Senate Republicans say the adjustments will help more than 377,000 seniors save hundreds of dollars... and, address the inequity of private pensions compared to government pensions that are tax-exempt under the state constitution. A companion bill with 17 sponsors is pending in the Assembly, where the legislation died last year after the Senate passed it.
Saturday's Jim Roselle Read-a-thon at the James Prendergast Library was a great success. People read aloud all day long to raise money for the library. The library had a major booksale, petting zoo, and hotdog sale going at the same time. Joni Blackman of the library's board of trustees says over 4000 dolllars was raised. Board President Tom Rankin was delighted with the turnout. The read-a-thon was named for WJTN radio announcer Jim Roselle, who died earlier this year.
Two Falconer residents were hurt -- and one had possible serious injuries -- after the motorcycle they were riding hit a tree stump Memorial Day Weekend... and, crashed. State Police in Warren say the motorcycle... operated by 71 year-old Ernest Simmons... was southbound on Pleasant Drive in Watson Township about 2:20 PM Saturday, May 28th. Troopers say Simmons lost control of the bike... and, it went off the road -- hit the stump -- and flipped over. Police say the motorcycle landed on top of Simmons, and, his passenger, 74 year-old Bertha Simmons. Both were taken to Warren General Hospital for treatment. Ernest Simmons reportedly had serious injuries... Bertha had minor injuries.
A Corry, Pennsylvania man is jailed without bail in Chautauqua County for allegedly being a fugitive from justice. State Police in Jamestown say they pulled over 27 year-old Jared Goodwill on the Corry-Clymer Road in Clymer last Saturday for a seat-belt violation. After identifying himself... Troopers confirmed there was an active warrant for Goodwill out of Meadville, Pennsylvania for a violation of probation. He was taken into custody... and, arraigned in Clymer Town Court... and, sent to the county lock-up.