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WJTN News Headlines

The Heroin and Opioid Addiction epidemic in Chautauqua County is still increasing... and, not showing many signs of letting up.  That's the assessment of the head of the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County, Rick Huber, who says his recovery coaches in Jamestown are busier now than they've ever been.  Huber says he recently read a story about the situation in Lima (Lee-muh), Ohio... where their coaches are dealing with their own crisis. Huber says the county needs to be more aggressive on getting people into short and longer-term rehabilitation.  He says it's going to get "interesting" if the county doesn't re-allocate funding to deal with the drug abuse crisis.  Huber says you just "need to get creative..." and expand treatment court to make sure people with addiction issues get the help they need.  If those steps were taken... he says it would reduce the population of the Chautauqua County Jail... which would allow the Sheriff to again make money by housing federal prisoners.


A city man is accused of holding a Jamestown woman against her will... and, choking her during a domestic incident on the southside on New Year's Eve.  City police were called to the scene at 114 Palmer Street about 1 PM Saturday... where the victim was visibly upset and crying.  Officers say she told them that 25 year-old Jayrd Clark had restrained and choked her during the incident.  They add that Clark is also accused of damaging several doors, walls, and a cooking stove.  He was later found by Ellicott Town Police in Falconer... where he was arrested for unlawful imprisonment, and obstruction of breathing or circulation.  He was taken to the city jail pending arraignment.


Another round of targeted crude oil rail inspections has been completed in upstate New York.  Governor Andrew Cuomo says federal and state inspection teams examined approximately 140 miles of track and 87 switches, and have corrected seven critical defects and 32 non-critical defects.  Critical defects are important maintenance issues that must be addressed immediately but they do not necessarily indicate safety lapses.  Non-critical rail defects must be repaired within 30 days.  Among tracks inspected were a CSX mainline route through Albany and Greene counties, a section between Rome and Canastota in central New York, and three other sections between Syracuse and Buffalo. Inspectors also examined Canadian Pacific-owned tracks in Essex and Clinton counties, and between the state capital of Albany and Clifton Park in Saratoga County.


Local and state elected officials are pleased to hear from Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul (HOKE-ul) that the NRG repowering project is back on track.  Hochul told the media during a visit to Dunkirk late last week that Governor Andrew Cuomo remains committed to the project and that it was moving ahead.  Assemblyman Andy Goodell tells us that he has heard the same thing. In announcing the Governor's re-commitment to the project... Hochul indicated they don't have a timetable for the project to begin.  She says there is still some "background work" that has to be done, and then they'll have a firmer start date.  Goodell says that NRG is now working with NFG to upgrade the pipeline that will be required for the plant's conversion from coal to natural gas.  Hochul was in Dunkirk Thursday to announce an expansion at Fieldbrook Foods that will create 61 new jobs.


New York lawmakers will return to Albany this week to begin their work for 2017.  The six-month legislative session gets underway Wednesday.  This year's agenda includes proposals to modernize state voting rules, address government corruption and permit Uber and Lyft to expand upstate.  Democrats say they'll also look for ways to stand up to Republican President-elect Donald Trump if he moves to restrict abortion rights, deport immigrants or roll back efforts to address climate change.  Other prominent proposals include legislation to allow the terminally ill to request life-ending medication from a physician and a bill to end the state's practice of prosecuting 16- and 17-year-olds as adults.  Lawmakers expect to adjourn in June.


The man who has headed up the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation the past few years will be leaving at the end of January for a new position in Stamford, Connecticut.  JRC Executive Director Greg Lindquist tells the Jamestown Post-Journal that he's accepted a job with the city of Stamford to go to work with that city's Downtown Special Services District.  Lindquist says he'll be handling a lot of similar activities to those he's been doing in Jamestown.  His last day with the JRC will be January 20th.  He begins his new position on January 30th.  Lindquist's wife, Patty accepted a new position last year with Stamford Health as a chemistry supervisor.  Lindquist said he wanted to try commuting between Jamestown and Connecticut... but, found the distance was too much to manage.


Governor Andrew Cuomo has pardoned 101 New Yorkers who committed non-violent crimes as 16- and 17-year-olds.  The Democratic governor announced the pardons Friday. Those receiving pardons have had clean records for at least 10 years.  The pardons may be withdrawn if they reoffend.  Cuomo says those pardoned deserve a second chance to "live up to their full potential" and overcome the stigma of conviction.  Cuomo issued several other pardons and commutations Friday, including one for former radical Judith Clark.  The 67-year-old former member of the Weather Underground has served 35 years of a 75-years-to-life sentence for her role in a deadly 1981 armored car robbery.  Cuomo's office described Clark as a model inmate.  She won't be released under the commutation but will be eligible for parole next year.


It was a year that saw New York's leaders vote to raise the minimum wage, legalize mixed martial arts and once again struggle with Albany's history of political corruption.  The year also marked the end of a state sales tax on tampons and the opening of the first state-regulated casino.  Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo pushed through a paid family leave benefit and his plan to phase-in a $15 minimum wage.  But... his administration was rocked when a federal bribery and extortion case ensnared two senior advisers and several politically connected developers.  Meanwhile, lawmakers lifted the ban on professional mixed-martial arts and enacted regulations for daily fantasy sports.  They also authored a plan to address heroin addiction and expanded access to breast cancer screening.


At the top of Pennsylvania's campaign outlook for 2017 are two elections that won't even occur next year - Republican jockeying for position to become the party's nominees for governor and for U.S. senator.  The fact that the two Democratic incumbents, Governor Tom Wolf and U.S. Senator Bob Casey, plan to run for re-election may not scare away ambitious Republicans.  They're eager to build on Donald Trump's win in Pennsylvania and a string of Republican electoral successes in the Legislature.  It'll be another year before the governor's re-election campaign gets underway in earnest.