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WJTN News Headlines

It felt more like mid-July or August yesterday than mid-October... and, we should see one more day of above-average temperatures today.  However... the National Weather Service in Buffalo reported no new records yesterday afternoon.  Forecaster Bill Hibbert says the mercury crept to near 80 in many areas... but, adds Tuesday's winds held down any possible records.  Regarding the winds... Hibbert expected some gusts to be about 45 to 50 MPH... especially along the lake shore.  However... speeds generally were between 30 and 40 miles per hour.  While temperatures were about 20-degrees above normal... they did not reach Buffalo's record high of 82 for October 18th.


If Chautauqua County's additional point-5-percent sales tax had been distributed to local municipalities like it typically is... the city of Jamestown's pending deficit could have at least been cut in half.  City Council Finance Committee Chairman Tony Dolce lamented the issue following Monday night's initial review of Mayor Sam Teresi's proposed, 2017 budget plan.  Dolce says it's frustrating... but, adds if the city was getting half of that additional sales tax, like the original was set up, it would cover the entire amount. Teresi pointed out that the sales tax was established in the late 1960s for counties to use for helping provide services to their communities... and, that it would also be shared with towns, villages and cities to provide other essential services.  City lawmakers reviewed both the Public Works and Parks budget's on Monday... and, learned about vehicle and equipment needs... especially for the parks where some trucks are 10 to 12 years old.  In the past... Dolce says city lawmakers have been creative in obtaining funding for such purchases... including borrowing money once the debt is paid off on some bonds. Late last year... the state approved the county's request to increase the sales tax by half-a-percent to help fill a 6-million dollar structural deficit, and replenish a depleted fund balance.  However... in return, the state had certain budgetary stipulations that had to be met.


A Jamestown man has been sentenced to 7-and-a-half years in state prison for making and trafficking Methamphetime.  Acting Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson says 45 year-old Christopher Swanson received the sentence from Acting County Court Judge John LaMancuso.  Swanson says Christopher Swanson was given the term for his conviction on three counts of third-degree unlawful manufacturing of Methamphetime.  Acting D-A Swanson adds the defendant received 2-and-a-half years on each count... along with one-year each of post-release supervision.  Another Jamestown man... 22 year-old Laquil Hilson... was sentenced to 4 years determinate in state prison.  Swanson says Hilson also received three years post-release supervision after being convicted of third and fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  A third Jamestown man has been sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prision for one count of Aggravated Criminal Contempt.  D-A Swanso adds that 31 year-old Michael Hetrick was also ordered to stay away from the victim for eight-years.


Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is continuing to insist that voter fraud poses a significant threat at the polling booths.  However... the A-P reports there is a lack of of evidence that it does.  Trump's running mate, Vice-Presidential nominee Mike Pence, says he and Trump will abide by ``the will of the American people'' on Election Day.  Pence has suggested that the claim of a ``rigged'' election stems from Trump's belief that a biased national media is ganging up on him.  Local Congressman Tom Reed is the Co-Chair of Trump's New York campaign. A few have called Trump's recent statements and actions, moves of desperation.  However... Reed... who is running his own campaign for re-election to a fourth-term in Congress... is not.  The Corning Republican admits, though, that there is some frustration with -- quote -- "some of the potential bias that has been uncovered" in this campaign.  Reed adds that Elections officials need to remain diligent to potential voter fraud.  But, he says there is no evidence of any wide-spread fraud.


The Business Council of New York has announced it's state legislative endorsements for the November 8th election.  But... locally... the list is more notable because of who is NOT on it.  State Assemblyman Andy Goodell is among those members receiving the Business Council PAC's endorsement.  However... State Senator Cathy Young -- who has received the endorsement in the past -- did not this time.  Business Council Spokesman Zack Hutchins says, though, that Young didn't get it during this time because she either had no sought the endorsement, or had not filed out their questionaire.  Hutchins says Young still ranked "very high" in their most recent rankings of business-friendly lawmakers.  He says most everyone's grade went down this election cycle because the legislature recently approved new, minimum wage increases.   


Gasoline prices in Chautauqua County are about the same as they were last week... at just under 2-dollars-34 cents a gallon.  The Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report says the price is determined by the average of 19 reporting service stations.  Nationally... Triple-A says the average price has now dropped for nine straight days to just over 2--24 a gallon.  The Fuel Gauge reports the average price represents a decrease of two cents per gallon compared to one week ago... but, remains five cents more than last month.  However... drivers across the country continue to see savings at the pump and are paying an average of three cents less per gallon year-over-year.  Prices continue to wobble as areas of the country impacted by Hurricane Matthew work to replenish supply and several refineries across the country address planned and unplanned facility maintenance. 


The Trolley Car Restoration Project is nearing completion... and there's one last chance to see it before it leaves the train station for Falconer.  Bob Johnston is one of the leaders of the restoration effort.  He says there'll be an open house on Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM. Johnston says a Ideal Coatings off South Work St in Falconer has volunteered a new space.  The move is expected to happen sometime next week.  The trolley, number 93, was used on the streets of Jamestown from 1926 to around 1938. 


New York education officials are looking for feedback on several concepts being considered as the state prepares to implement the new federal education law.  Commissioner MaryEllen Elia says a "think tank" with representatives from school districts, unions, parent organizations and others met over the summer to compile ideas.  The 36 concepts outlined Monday include using chronic absenteeism and suspensions to measure student engagement and giving extra credit to schools whose students excel academically.  The department will solicit feedback during meetings to be held around the state in October and November.


Buffalo public school teachers have a new contract for the first time in more than a decade.  The Board of Education approved the three-year contract with a 7-2 vote last Monday night. The Buffalo Teachers Federation ratified it later in the evening.  The agreement replaces one that expired 12 years ago.  The contract lengthens the school day by 25 minutes.  Teachers will have to start contributing toward their health insurance and will no longer have a cosmetic surgery rider.  In exchange... they'll see a 10 percent pay raise in the first year, and 2 percent raises in the second and third years. Teachers also will receive one-time bonuses of between $2,000 and $9,000.


A New York Power Authority contract will allow 300 electric vehicle charging stations to be installed at public locations around the state.  The five-year contract enables the state authority to make charging station infrastructure and services available to local governments at lower costs and with favorable financing.  There are currently about 1,600 charging stations in the state.  The contract is part of the Cuomo administration's broader goal of having 3,000 charging stations online in New York by 2018.  The power authority has installed 100 charging stations at 37 locations in New York.