WJTN News Headlines

A Bemus Point man was arrested late last week for allegedly growing several marijauna plants on property in the town of Ellery.  Sheriff's officers say 58 year-old James Gatto of 4708 Bemus-Ellery Road was arrested late last week for allegedly growing the plants... and, being in possession of a quantity of marijuana.  After processing the seized plants... member of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say they found that the amount of marijuana seized met the threshold to constitute a Felony charge.  As a result... Task Force agents say Gatto was charged with one count each of Unlawful Growing Marijuana -- a Misdemeanor... and, third-degree Criminal Possession of Marijuana -- a Class  E felony.  Gatto was issued appearance tickets for each of the charges and is scheduled to be in Ellery Town Court at a later date.  Anyone with information in illegal drug trafficking is asked to call the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force at either 800-344-8702 or 363-0313 if they see suspicious in their area.



Chautauqua County residents will get the chance to question the two candidates for Congress in a live forum tonight at Chautauqua Lake High School auditorium in Mayville.  Incumbant Republican Tom Reed and Democratic challenger John Plumb will take part in the program... which begins at 7 PM.  It's being co-hosted by the local chapter of the American Association of University Women... and, the Chautauqua County League of Women Voters.

A top leader with the county's Democratic Committee is questioning the process used to rate the candidates running for Family Court Judge.  Committee Vice-Chairman Don Williams adds they believe that a local member from the commission involved may have played a role in the lowering of Democratic candidate Sally Jaroszynski's rating.  Williams says Jamestown Attorney Ken Lasker, who served on the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission, may have pushed the lowering of Jaroszynski's rating from qualified in 2014 to unqualified in 2016.  Williams says they obtained the voice mail from Republican Sherry Bjork, who lost last month's Republican Primary to Fredonia attorney Mike Sullivan. In the voice mail... Lasker allegedly made bias comments about Jaroszynski's candidacy.  Williams says he believes the process is "tainted" and accused Lasker of "manipulating" the rating and, is upset over it.  Sullivan would not comment about his opponent's rating,  However... he says his own rating of "highly qualified" had not changed and he will continue to use it in his campaign.


The attorney that is accused of manipulating the rating of a candidate for Family Court Judge by county Democrats says he recused himself from the vote.  Jamestown Attorney Ken Lasker, who has served on the Independent Judicial Election Qualification Committee for a number of years, says he did not take part in votes on Sally Jaroszynski and Mike Sullivan. Democratic Committee Vice Chairman Don Williams believes that Lasker played a role in the lowering of Jaroszynski's rating from 'qualified' to 'unqualified' and has a copy of a voice mail with comments from Lasker about Jaroszynski.  Lasker confirms that it was his voice on the recording from Republican Sherry Bjork who lost in the September primary with Sullivan.


Two Jamestown men have been arrested for allegedly breaking into the Moose Club on the city's eastside early Sunday morning.  City police say they responded to an alarm at the location at 405 East Fifth Street shortly after 6 AM.  Officers say... on arrival... they heard subjects moving around inside the building.  Police say they then spotted the pair leaving the Moose Club... and, they ran from officers.  However... officers say they were able to quickly stop 24 year-old Kyle Lauriston and 18 year-old Cody Boisvert... and take both into custody.  Police say they found Lauriston in possession of burglars tools.  Both are charged with third-degree burglary and criminal mischief.  Lauriston was charged with possession of burglar's tools... and, Boisvert with obstruction.  Both were arraigned and sent to the county jail without bail.


A Western New York native has been named as the Acting U-S Attorney for the western District of New York following the retirement of the previous chief.  It's been announced that James Kennedy, Junior will replace William Hochul, Junior... whose retirement took effect last Friday.  Kennedy was named by Hochul in April of 2010 to be his First Assistant U.S. Attorney.  Kennedy says he's "honored to be named Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of New York.... I look forward to working with our outstanding law enforcement partners at the local, state and federal levels and serving the people of the community in which I was born and raised."  Kennedy is a 1988 graduate of the Buffalo Law School... and, lives with his family on Grand Island.


The Empire State Winter Games has landed a sponsor and organizers are adding two new sports for the upcoming competition in February.  Community Bank will be the title sponsor for 2017.  Company president and Chief Executive Officer Mark Tryniski made the announcement late last week.  The 37th edition of the Empire State Winter Games will feature a new "Marathon Skate" event on Mirror Lake and mogul skiing.  More than 19-hundred athletes from across New York and beyond will compete in 19 winter sports at various venues in the Adirondack Mountain region.  The games will take place February 2nd through 5th... and, officials are expecting an increase in both the audience and participants in all sports.  The community-driven event is expected to have an economic impact of nearly $3 million on the region.