The region's two Congressional candidates sparred over a number of issues... from health care to Social Security... in their second and final debate last night in Chautauqua County. Nearly 200 people were on hand at Chautauqua Lake High School to see Incumbant Republican Tom Reed and Democratic challenger John Plumb discuss the issues. Most of the sparks came over the Second Amendment... and, Reed's "A" Rating from the National Rifle Association. He says Plumb got a "question mark" because he never responded to the NRA's questionaire. In response... Plumb says he's always been a supporter of the Second Amendment... adding that he's a fully credentialled sharpshooter in the U-S Military. He called the NRA ranking "silly...." Plumb also says he fully-supports the need for background checks for people to get their guns. However... Reed countered that when they went to buy his son, Will, a hunting rifle last year... the background check at the sporting goods store they went to took an hour-and-a-half to complete. Last night's one-hour debate was sponsored by the Chautauqua County League of Women Voters... the local chapter of the American Association of University Women... the Dunkirk Observer and the Jamestown Post-Journal.
The trend of warmer that normal temperatures across the region continued in the month of October. However... local farmers are benefiting from rainfall totals that were slightly above normal last month. That from Forecaster Tony Ansuini with the National Weather Service in Buffalo... who says October 2016 will go down as a mild and wet month. Ansuini says despite the above normal rainfall total for the month... there is still a sizable deficit in some places. He says western New York was about an "inch" above normal for the month. Temperatures should reach the 60s, possibly near 70 over the next couple of days. And above normal temperatures are expected through the middle of the month, although Ansuini says there are indications of colder normal weather by late November.
A Jamestown firefighter is on administrative leave following his arrest for allegedly running an illegal marijuana growing operation near his Bemus Point-area home. Otherwise... City Police Chief and Public Safety Director Harry Snellings says he's not able to comment on the case involving 58 year-old James Gatto. Snellings says Gatto will remain on leave, pending the outcome of the investigatino by the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office. Members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force arrested Gatto late last week following an investigation into the alleged operation near 47-08 Bemus-Ellery Road. After processing the seized plants... Task Force agents say they found that the amount of marijuana seized met the threshold to constitute a Felony charge. As a result... 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 Ellery Town Court.
Lakewood-Busti Police have investigated at least a dozen motor vehicle accidents where cars and trucks have struck a new concrete median on Fairmount Avenue -- near Mall Boulevard -- in Lakewood. That from Police Chief John Bentley... who says the state Department of Transporation included the 100-foot long double-strip of concrete, as part of a 3.1-million dollar resurfacting project. Bentley says the DOT decided on the median to prevent illegal left-hand turns into the Lakewood Village Plaza on the northside of the highway. Bentley says his department had pushed for better signage due to the "bottle-neck" that had been created by going from a five-lane highway to the east of Mall Boulevard to a two-lane road to the east of the intersection. He says the center of the median will later be filled in with stamped concrete -- making it about a foot high. Bentley says the DOT has indicated the project will "stand as it is." He says several accidents... including a fatal one two years ago... led DOT to put in the median.
The United Way of Southern Chautauqua County has now passed the one-third mark in it's yearly general campaign. That from United Way Executive Director Tori Irgang... who says the fund-raising effort is at 36-percent of it's 1.3-million dollar goal by the end of the year. Irgang says United Way staff, and others involved are busy making presentations at local companies, and other organizations about the effort. Irgang and two others were here at our Media One Group offices Tuesday to make a presentation about the campaign... and, where the money goes in the community. She says it's part of their education effort to make sure people know that all the pledges and money raised stays here. Irgang says 85-percent of the money raised goes directly to support 42 programs at 25 local, partner agencies. She says the United Way has four priority areas... helping families to be self-sufficient... help workers to be ready for the job market... young people succeed in school... and, help those in need. For more information on the United Way campaign... call 483-1561... or go on-line to UWayscc-dot-ORG.
A New York federal judge says he'll rule by the end of the week on a challenge to a state law banning people from showing their marked election ballot to others. Judge P. Kevin Castel heard arguments Tuesday as a lawyer for three voters insisted his clients should be allowed to distribute ballot selfies on social media. A city lawyer, Stephen Kitzinger, called it a fad and argued against it. Arguing for the voters, Leo Glickman said social media is a fact of life rather than a fad. Kitzinger said the request to declare bans on distributing pictures of completed ballots unconstitutional came too late for this election. He says over 35,000 polling place workers and 2,500 police officers already have been trained.