How best to deal with the local Heroin and Opioid Abuse problem is the biggest issue facing Chautauqua County. That was the consensus of candidates on hand for a south county candidates forum in Jamestown last night. However... Acting District Attorney Patrick Swanson -- a Democrat -- and Republican challenger Jason Schmidt... differ on how to get there. Swanson... who's been with the local D-A's office for four-years... stressed the need to build partnerships with local police and other agencies. Former Assistant District Attorney Jason Schmidt has headed up his own criminal defense attorney's practice since leaving the local D-A's office in 2009. Schmidt says he has laid out a plan to deal aggressively with the drug trafficking issue. Swanson touted the fact that he's been endorsed by five, local police organizations in his run for a full, D-A Term. Schmidt contends he hasn't received any because he's represented several dealers, aggressively, and rubbed some in the police ranks the wrong way.
The two candidates for Family Court Judge also answered questions during the forum at Jamestown Community College. Both Republican Mike Sullivan and Democrat Sally Jaroszynski touted 25 years each in working on cases in Family Court. Jaroszynski... whose from Falconer... says in addition to drugs... mental health, domestic violence and poverty are also big issues. Sullivan says he's not only been involved with Family Court... but, development of it's Drug Treatment Court component. He says treatment works... but, adds the commitment to make it work sometimes isn't there. Last night's forum was put on by JCC, the county's League of Women Voters... and, the local chapter of the American Association of University Women.
There are just two weeks until Election Day... and, there's been an increase in the amount of activity at the Chautauqua County Board of Elections. Officials say they have received a lot of inquiries about writing in a candidate for President. Republican Elections Commission Brian Abram says the State Board of Elections has prepared a list of official write-in candidates. So... a vote for anyone other than those appearing on the official list will not be counted. On another voting related matter, the County Board of Elections says there is still time for residents to take part in absentee voting. Abram says one-stop absentee voting is available at the Board of Elections in Mayville... and, the office will have extended hours until 7 tomorrow night... and, November 2nd until 7 PM. To be eligible for an absentee ballot, a voter must plan to be out of town on Election Day. Voters who have a permanent or temporary physical disability or who are a caregiver to a voter with a physical disability, can also apply for an absentee ballot.
More results of water tests from area schools are starting to trickle in. The Pine Valley Central School has become the fourth area district to report elevated levels of lead in a water source. In a letter to the district... Superintendent Scott Payne indicated that a total of 66 water samples were tested... and, only one showed lead levels above the 15 parts per billion threshold. The water sample came from an infrequently used hand wash sink located in the kitchen at Pine Valley Elementary School. Payne indicated that the district is taking a number of steps to correct the problem.
City lawmakers in Jamestown have approved a local law that would allow the city to exceed the state's 2-percent property tax cap in the 2017 budget. The measure was approved at Monday night's voting session, 8-to-1. First-Ward Councilman Brent Sheldon cast the lone "no" vote. The city lawmakers have approved the move in the past... but, have not needed to exceed the cap. However... Mayor Sam Teresi's 35-milion dollar proposal includes a point-96 percent tax increase -- which would bring the city to it's constitutional taxing limit. Council President Greg Rabb says they're still looking for ways to bring the increase below the cap limit of point-69 percent. Rabb says lawmakers don't intend to exceed the cap... but, may have no choice this year, given the city's financial condition. Even with the maximum, 150-thousand dollar tax levy increase... Mayor Teresi's proposal includes an 878-thousand dollar shortfall. The tax levy increase is currently about 43-thousand dollars over the tax cap. Teresi says he will hold a public hearing on the override local law on Monday, November 7th, at 9 AM.
Gas prices in the Jamestown-area are up slightly this week... about a penny to just over 2-dollars-34 cents a gallon. The Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report says the price for regular, unleaded fuel was just over 2-dollars-33 cents last week. Nationally... Triple-A says the price is down two-cents a gallon to 2--22 a gallon. The Fuel Gauge reports the average price has fallen for 15 of the last 16 days... for a total savings of 4 cents per gallon. The National average is down 17 cents per gallon versus the 2016 peak price reached in June at 2-dollars-39 cents a gallon. This year’s seasonal refinery maintenance continues across the United States and select regional markets are still under pressure as a result of planned and unplanned maintenance.
A judge has allowed the New York Farm Bureau to intervene in a lawsuit that could dramatically affect farm wages in the state. The New York Civil Liberties Union in May filed a legal challenge to a state law that prohibits farmworkers from unionizing. The NYCLU claims the law is unconstitutional, while opponents say allowing unions on farms could lead to higher labor costs and strikes among New York's 60-thousand agricultural workers. A state judge recently granted the Farm Bureau's motion to intervene. The farmers' group says they intend to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Governor Andrew Cuomo decided his administration would not seek to defend the law in the face of the lawsuit by the NYCLU.
A New York man has denied charges that he brought 280 bags of heroin emblazoned with "Donald Trump" into Vermont. The Rutland Herald reports 29-year-old Danny Main Jr. of Hoosick Falls, New York, pleaded not guilty Monday to a felony count of trafficking heroin from out of state. Defense attorney Frederick Bragdon said if Main had heroin, it was for his own personal use and not for sale. Main allegedly told police during his July 26 arrest he was bringing the drugs to three customers. It's common for heroin dealers to put stamps on packages as a way of branding their drugs. The names are frequently taken from pop culture.