WJTN News Headlines

A Conewango Valley man is missing and persumed drowned after he was thrown from an inner tube being pulled by a boat on the northern end of Chautauqua Lake.  Sheriff Joe Gerace says his department's Marine Division and members of the county's Water Emergency Team were called to the scene by the boat operator shortly before 7 PM.  Gerace says the location where 48 year-old Ricky Whipple went missing was just north of the northern end of Chautauqua Institution. Gerace says crews searched for about two-hours before calling it a night... and, resuming at 5:30 AM Sunday.  He says it was an exhaustive day for divers... due mainly to the extreme heat.  They concluded their dives by 4 PM... but, Gerace says boat patrols were still checking the area.  He says Whipple's problems were compounded by the fact that he was not wearing life jacket or vest.  He says the search has now become a recovery operation... and, his department's search will resume at about 6 this morning.


Chautauqua Institution President Tom Becker opened his final summer season Sunday with the the traditional '3 Taps' address.  Becker began by thanking the Amphitheater staff for preparing to work through the summer without a backstage area... which has been torn off in preparation for the new Amp a year from now.  The outgoing President also commended Chautauqua's senior staff for its hard work and the Board of Trustees for thinking 'rigorously and combatively' about how to 'do the right thing'.  Tom Becker will leave the Chautauqua Presidency at the end of this year.  A new President is expected to be named in the fall. 


A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly threatening another person with a knife at a southside home early last weekend.  City police were called to the scene at 109 Newland Avenue shortly after 8 PM last Friday... and, learned that 58 year-old Patrick Liberte had allegedly gone after another person during an argument.  The victim was not identified.  Officers arrested Liberte for second-degree menacing, and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  He was sent to the county jail on 10-thousand dollars cash bail.


The Class of 2016 from Jamestown High School received a lot of good advice from a number of speakers at last weekend's Commencement at Chautauqua Institution.  That from Keynote Speaker, Kim Sinatra, a member of the JHS Class of 1978.  However... the Executive Vice-President and General Counsel for Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas also had some wisdom to pass along.  Sinatra equated the graduate's situation with her own... growing up in Jamestown... and, learning valuable lessons working in her father's doctors office as a teenager. She says Jamestown, New York is a place that fosters "care, compassion, emphathy, and dedication."  Valedictorian Matthew Elia used the most famous quote from late President John F. Kennedy... "ask not what your country can do for you, but, ask what you can do for your country."  Elia urged his classmates to realize and use their "talents and abilities..." but, to also help the "less fortunate."  JHS Graduates also heard from Salutatorian Luke Kindberg...  School Superintendent Tim Mains... and, High School Principal Mike McElrath.


A Ripley man has been arrested for allegedly trafficking narcotic drugs... and, violating his probation... following a raid late last week.  Sheriff's officers say members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force... state Parole officials went to the apartment of 28 year-old Rance Freeman, Junior at 94-99 Route 20 late last Thursday night.  Task Force agents say they arrested Freeman without incident for a parole violation... and, third-degree criminal sale, and possession of a controlled substance.  Members say Freeman allegedly sold quantities of oxycodone to undercover agents.  But... after the arrest, a search of the apartment uncovered an additional quantity of oxycodone... as well as a large quantity of cash.  With that... he was charged with a second count of criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Freeman is being held in the county jail without bail on the parole violation count... but, will also be arraigned in Ripley Town Court on the new drug sale and possession charges.  Anyone with information on suspicious, or narcotics-related activities is urged to call the task force at 1-800-344-8702.


New York lawmakers have voted to gradually pay for public defenders statewide to ensure the poor have lawyers at arraignments and fill other gaps in their constitutionally required legal counsel.  The bill heading to Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo's desk follows his administration's settlement two years ago with the New York Civil Liberties Union.  The group sued seven years earlier alleging New York systematically provided inadequate staff and money.  New York City and 57 counties currently fund defenders.  The settlement requires the state fund staff or contract defenders in Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Suffolk and Washington counties, which were named in the suit.  The legislation would require the state reimburse the rest in 2023, starting with 25 percent payment next year.  It cost almost 400-million dollars last year.  Required improvements would cost more.


President Barack Obama is designating New York's Stonewall Inn as a national monument - the first to honor gay rights.  Obama says the Stonewall National Monument will tell the story of the country's struggle for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.  He says he believes that America's national parks should reflect "the full story of our country" including the diversity that has always defined the U.S.  The tavern in Greenwich Village became the site of an uprising after police raided it in June 1969, triggering what's widely viewed as the start of the gay rights movement.  The monument will cover 7.7 acres in Manhattan, including the bar, a small park across the street called Christopher Park... and, the streets around it where the uprising took place.


The state attorney general's office is offering help to homeowners who want to get solar power.  A new brochure available on the attorney general's website discusses the different types of solar contracts available, and what to look for when choosing a solar company.  It also details the steps involved in going solar and points out important considerations such as future sale of the home, protecting the roof, and getting a power production guarantee.  It recommends that landowners consult with an attorney before leasing land for large solar projects.  Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says the tips will help homeowners become more savvy consumers as they look into solar projects.