Local News Headlines

The operator of an Amish Buggy was killed... and, four others on board were hurt... when the buggy was struck from behind by a car in the town of Harmony.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene of the crash on Weeks Road in Panama shortly before 5 PM yesterday afternoon.  Deputies say they found that the driver of the car, Peggy Miles of Panama, apparently fell asleep at the wheel, and her car then slammed into the buggy.  Officers say the operator, Henry Koffman, Junior of Panama, was pronounced dead at the scene.  They say Rachel Koffman and a youth in the buggy were flown by Starflight to the UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie for treatment.  Two other youths were taken to Hamot by ambulance.  Officers say the county's Accident Reconstruction team was called out to process the scene.  The investigation is ongoing.


A former top aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is among nine people charged with bribery and fraud in the governor's signature economic development projects.  U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced the charges during a Noon-time news conference Thursday.  Bharara says Joseph Percoco is the former executive deputy secretary to the governor.  The Democratic governor's office said in April that Bharara was examining possible undisclosed conflicts of interest and improper bidding related to Cuomo's efforts to attract high-tech jobs upstate.  The federal probe revealed a web of individuals and businesses tied to Cuomo that stand to make millions from the projects.  Also charged is Alain Kaloyeros, president of SUNY Polytechnic Institute.


New York authorities have accused the head of a state research institute with violating state law by rigging bids for a developer for three multimillion-dollar contracts.  The attorney general's office says SUNY Polytechnic Institute president Alain Kaloyeros is accused of restraint of trade along with 59-year-old Joseph Nicolla... the president of Columbia Development.  Kaloyeros was charged with related federal crimes earlier Thursday along with seven other people.  The state complaint alleges Kaloyeros agreed to steer construction contract awards to hand-picked companies, including Columbia for student housing.  Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that Kaloyeros has been suspended without pay from his job at SUNY.  Neither Kaloyeros nor his attorney has returned messages seeking comment.


It was a highly-successful... and, record-setting year in 2016 for the Chautauqua Lake Association -- which harvested more weeds than the past two Summers combined.  That from CLA Operations Manager Don Emhardt... who adds -- though -- that this year was -- quote -- "very different than other seasons."  Emhardt says the CLA removed just over 13-million pounds of weeds this year.  That's about 3-million pounds more than they did for the 2014 and 2015 seasons combined.  However... he says they "found very few weeds in the lower basin while the middle and upper lake was bursting with obstacles and problematic areas needing to be addressed."  Emhardt says they had three harvesting crews working eight hours a day, five days a week to manage the aquatic vegetation.  While getting to pretty much every area of the lake during the Summer... Emhardt says several lake residents and business owners called the CLA office to express their frustration with the clean up.  CLA Executive Director Doug Conroe says they are looking at doing more next year... if the funding is available.  For more information about the CLA or to make a donation... go on-line to Chautauqualakeassociation-dot-ORG... or call 763-8602.


Establishing a "positive" reputation and improving test scores are some of the goals of the new supervisor of the Jamestown High School's Tech Academy on East Fourth Street.  That from JHS Principal Mike McElrath and Assistant Principal Tom Langworthy... who was named to head up the academy prior to the start of Fall classes.  Both explained their efforts at this week's school board meeting.  McElrath says they're "off to a good start..." and School Superintendent Tim Mains says there are two programs there for their "most at-risk" kids. The two programs are the Personalized Learning program... which is the "Alternative High School" program for ninth and tenth-graders.  The Adaptive Education Program is the tutoring program for suspended students.  Mains says Langworthy is implementing recommendations made by Hanover Research... which looked over the academy -- and it's programming -- late last year.  Another goal Langworthy also discussed was improving attendance for the approximately 40 students involved in the two programs.  So far this year... he says attendance has improved to 84.1-percent.


New York state education officials are proposing changes to the Common Core learning standards used to guide lessons at every grade level in preparation for college or a career.  Commissioner MaryEllen Elia released the draft revisions to the math and English language arts standards Wednesday and invited public comments through November 4th.  New York and most other states began adopting the Common Core in 2010 to improve college- and career-readiness, but the standards have been criticized as too difficult and not always age-appropriate.  Elia says two parent and educator committees have recommended changing 60 percent of the ELA standards and 55 percent of the math standards.  Among recommendations are clarifying student writing expectations, creating a new early learning task force and providing more time for students to develop math skills.


The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and it's six community chambers are again paying tribute to several people and businesses who "make our county and extraordinary place to live, work and play."  The county Chamber has announced those people and entities who'll be honored at next month's Community Service Awards at the SUNY College at Fredonia's Williams Center.  Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Tranum says a Jamestown couple who own Blackstone Advanced Technologies are their Person of the Year. Tranum adds that the Peek 'n Peak Resort and Spa will received the county Chamber's Economic Development Award.  The Peak was able to resume hosting professional golf this Summer.  Among the Community Chambers... Tranum says the Jamestown-Area Chamber will honor one of the people who been at the forefront in the area's battle with the Heroin and Opioid Drug Crisis.  He says Chief Executive Officer Rick Huber with the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County is getting that service award.  In the north county... John "Jay" Warren... will be getting the Dunkirk chamber's award.  Tranum says Warren has been very involved with Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation's formation of a Local Economic Development Committee.