Jamestown police are asking for the public’s help in finding the allegedly suspect involved in a shooting incident that took place early Tuesday afternoon on the city's northside. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers were called to the scene at 811 Prendergast Avenue shortly before 1:30 PM. Samuelson says no one was hit the the single-round that was fired in an upstairs apartment. Samuelson says, by the time police arrived, the alleged suspect had fled the scene in a green-colored mini-van. He says they are looking for the suspect... who is described as a dark-skinned Hispanic male in his 40s, wearing a red tank top, Caveliers hat, and long dark shorts. Samuelson says they're sure the suspect was aiming at the victim in this case. He says... anyone with information on the incident... is asked to call the Jamestown Police at 483-7537... or their anonymous tip line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477. He says all calls will be kept confidential.
Jamestown school officials are "very disappointed" that a lawsuit against the state saying they, and other small city districts, are being shortchanged has been thrown out of court. The "Small Cities" lawsuit claimed the state is denying their students' constitutional right to a sound basic education by not fully funding it's own school aid formula. Jamestown Superintendent Tim Mains says Acting State Supreme Court Judge Kimberly O'Connor relied on a 2006 report that recommended 75-percent of increases in school aid go to New York City. A family in the Jamestown School District helped initiate the Small Cities case several years ago. In addition to Jamestown... other "high-needs" districts -- Kingston, Mount Vernon, Newburgh, Niagara Falls, Port Jervis, Poughkeepsie and Utica later joined in as plaintiffs. In her 16-page decision... O'Connor noted that the state took steps to improve funding in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. But, she also said that the state ultimately is allowed to adjust school funding levels based upon its own fiscal condition. Those involved with the case have already indicated they are going to appeal the ruling.
The Empire Specialty Cheese plant near Ashville has a new owner... as the head of Castelli America Group cut the ribbon on the plant Tuesday. Castelli's Executive Chairman... Paul Bensabat... says he was excited to be opening the cheesemaker's first American plant. Castelli is a large cheesemaker based in Italy... but, he says they'll start out making what Empire was making in the facility just off Route 474. Bensabat praised both state and county officials... and, their efforts to overcome 'challenges' in Castelli's acquisition. State Senator Cathy Young says those challenges were financial... and, environmental. Young adds it's also a long process to get an overseas firm to invest here. Bensabat would not reveal Castelli's total investment in the Ashville plant... but, New York state offered a 500-thousand dollar grant, and a 5.5-million dollar loan through Empire State Development. The acquisition saves the milk market for 93 Amish dairies that will be shipping milk to Casteli.
Now that Empire State Development has taken over as the lead agency... Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says the Athenex Project is now fully on track. Horrigan recently attended a meeting with officials from Athenex, the company's board of directors and officials from Empire State Development... including Chief Executive Officer Howard Zemsky. Horrigan says he spoke with one of the leaders of the company... and, says everyone is excited to see the project moving forward. He says Athenex company officials will be visiting the county October 7th to discuss workforce development -- including a tour of local education facilities.
New York state residents owe a combined $82-billion dollars in student loan debt, a figure that's more than doubled in the past decade. The numbers released Tuesday by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli show the number of borrowers and the amount they owe increased sharply in recent years as the cost of higher education went up. The state now has 2.8 million borrowers, who each owe an average of $32,200. DiNapoli says burdensome loans can force a person to put off buying a home or saving for retirement, affecting the broader economy. The average in-state cost of tuition, fees and room and board at a public college was $20,549 last year, compared to $13,275 in 2005.
There's been a real problem the past couple of months with vandalism in Jamestown's seven parks... and, city lawmakers will soon consider buying new surveillance cameras for those areas. That from Mayor Sam Teresi... who says it's mainly been a problem around the restrooms at each park. Teresi and city Public Works Director Jeff Lehman outlined the problem at Monday night's work council session... and, proposed placing the cameras in those areas outside the restrooms. Lehman showed city councilmembers a picture of graffiti spray-painted on the back wall of the recently renovated Allen Park Bandshell. Lawmakers expressed shock over seeing what had happened. Lehman says it will cost about 50-thousand dollars for seven cameras to be set up in each park. He and Teresi says they also met with City Police Chief Harry Snellings about the situation. Lehman says the 50-thousand dollars will come out of the city's 2016 Contingency account... which still has 220-thousand dollars in it. Lawmakers will vote on the move next Monday night.
A large backpack left near a downtown Niagara Falls hotel has been determined safe by police. The Erie County Bomb Squad brought in two robots to investigate the backpack near the Sheraton Hotel Monday afternoon. Parts of three streets were shut down by police for five hours during the investigation. Investigators say they found personal items including electronics inside. Police are trying to determine who owns the backpack and why it was left there. Police agencies have been on elevated alert after explosive devices detonated Saturday in Seaside Park, New Jersey, and lower Manhattan. A suspect was arrested in New Jersey on Monday.
With a vacancy on New York's highest court opening next year... a state commission is reminding prospective candidates that applications are due by September 26th. The Commission on Judicial Nomination is expected to establish a short list of possible nominees from among those applicants to replace Judge Eugene Pigott, Junior. Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to choose someone from the list for his seventh appointment to the seven-member Court of Appeals. Pigott was nominated by Republican Governor George Pataki in 2006. He turns 70 this year, the mandatory retirement age from the court. The Court of Appeals establishes case law for the state and sets precedents often influential in other state and federal courts.