Local News Headlines


A single-car crash in the town of Poland Thursday led police to a Sinclairville man who was allegedly making Methamphetime... and, trying to hide it in his vehicle.  Sheriff's officers say they were called to the scene of the accident on Route 394 -- near the intersection with Cross Street -- in Kennedy about 5:30 PM.  Deputies say they found the driver, 24 year-old Jonah Warner of Route 380 with minor injuries.  He was taken to WCA Hospital for treatment.  However... the subsequent investigation revealed that Warner was in possession of the precursors for making Meth... and, tried to hide the evidence prior to officers' arrival.  He was arraigned on several charges including second and third-degree unlawfully manufacturing Methamphetime... speeding... and, for having an uninspected vehicle.  Warner was then sent to the county jail without bail.


WCA Hospital has filed plans with the state Department of Health for a 23-million expansion that includes a new operating room and new inpatient psychiatric care facilities.  Business First of Buffalo is reporting that the hospital filed it's plans on September 2nd... putting to rest -- quote -- "worries about diluted care or diminished services that might follow a merger with Pennsylvania’s largest health system."  The merger process began earlier this year with the 12-billion dollar University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.  WCA is planning a two-story addition above it's emergency department to expand its maternity department and inpatient psychiatric units.  The plans include the relocation of labor and delivery, post-partum, nursery and an operating room to the new third floor space.  In additon... the fourth floor space will house inpatient psychiatric care for both adolescents and adults.  Funding for the project will come from a 26.4-million grant from the state Health Department to support sustainability efforts and infrastructure improvements.  WCA President and Chief Executive Officer Betsy Wright has been in meetings and is unavailable for comment at this time.


Thursday was the 10th year anniversary of the conclusion to the biggest manhunt in New York State history -- up to that time.  That was the night that police from New York and Pennsylvania found and captured fugitive Ralph "Bucky" Phillips of Stockton.  The 43 year-old Phillips had escaped in early April of 2006 from the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden.  While on the run... he was accused of shooting and killing State Trooper Joseph Longobardo in Chautauqua County... and, wounding two others.  New York State Police Superintendent Wayne Bennett brought in more resources, and troopers... and, the intensified search paid off. A person near Akley, Pennsylvania earlier in the day apparently spotted someone stealing their car... which then led police on a chase into New York state.  The driver got away after getting out of the vehicle.  Police then focused on the area of the state border near Frewsburg, and Pine Grove Township in Pennsylvania.  Once captured... Phillips was turned over to New York state authorities... then taken to Buffalo for arraignment in U-S District Court.  He faced a slew of charges -- first in the Elmira area -- then Chautauqua County.  Phillips later pleaded guilty, and his now serving a life sentence.


If there was one major lesson learned from the 2006 Ralph "Bucky" Phillips Manhunt in Chautauqua County... it was the need for all law enforcement agencies involved to communicate with each other.  That from Sheriff Joe Gerace... who was critical of the way State Police, who headed up the search for Phillips, communicated.  Or... maybe that should be didn't communicate.  Gerace says once Wayne Bennett came to the scene... the situation improved. Gerace's department provided ground and air support during the search.  Following Phillips' escape in Erie County earlier in the year... he became kind of a "folk-hero" to some in Chautauqua County as he continued to elude police.  In fact... Gerace says the search was a "cat and mouse" game to Phillips... who even taunted police at times.  He says this was not "typical" behavior for an escapee.  However... Gerace says that game turned deadly serious when the trooper was shot and wounded during a roadblock in the Elmira area.  It became even moreso when Longobardo and another trooper were critically wounded... and, Longobardo later died.  Gerace says inter-agency cooperation was used in this past year's manhunt for two convicted killers who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora.


Three Amish residents are being treated at an Erie, Pennsylvania hospital after their out of control horse and buggy crashed Thursday morning in the Clymer-area.  Sheriff's officers say the buggy was traveling on the Clymer-Sherman Road just before 8 AM when the horse was "spooked" by a passing vehicle.  Deputies say the horse ran out of control off the roadway... when it became separated from the buggy.  Officers say the buggy rolled over... injuring the three riders.  They were all take to the UPMC Hamot Medical Center for treatment.  The Sheriff's Office is reminding motorists to use caution... and, reduce speeds when approaching and overtaking horses and buggies on the roadways.


For the fourth time in it's history... the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation has presented its annual John D. Hamilton Community Service Award to a Jamestown-area couple.  The 24th award was presented to Peter and Holly Sullivan of Bemus Point during a reception held last night at Moon Brook Country Club.  Foundation Executive Director Randy Sweeney says Peter grew up in Jamestown... and, Holly in Berea, Ohio... but, adds their parents instilled in them both the importance of doing good for others. Peter and Holly met while they were students at the University of Miami in Ohio... and, began dating.  They returned to the Chautauqua region in the early 1970s... and, began their own community involvement.  Sweeney says they were involved in a number of organizations... from the United Way to Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Comedy Center.... and, the Jamestown YMCA.  Peter Sullivan says they are "very proud to receive this award.  To be recognized as a couple is so special to us.  We will never forget it."  More than 200 people attended last night's event.


Health officials say they've identified the first person in Pennsylvania to have been infected with the Zika virus through sex.  Health Secretary Karen Murphy said late Thursday a state resident contracted the disease while traveling in an unspecified area where the virus is being transmitted.  That person then infected his or her partner when they had sex.



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WJTN Headlines for Thurs., Feb. 25, 2021

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