A man from the Jamestown-area has been arrested for allegedly setting 12 local arson fires including five during a several hour period late last month on the city's northside.
In addition City Police Chief Harry Snellings says 19 year-old Jonathan Young a Falconer native is also accused of setting the huge fire that destroyed nearly a half-block area of West Main Street in downtown Falconer.
During a Wednesday press conference Snellings said Young was arrested in Butler County, Pennsylvania last Tuesday, March 28th on unrelated arson, auto theft, and burglary charges.
Snellings says city police received a call from the Butler County Jail Monday saying that they had an arson suspect in their facility they believed was from the Jamestown-area. However they say Young had no identification on him when he was arrested and, he gave them several false names.
Jamestown Police investigators were in Pennsylvania Tuesday, meeting with state Police in Butler County and filing the local charges as a detainer to make sure Young is held for extradiction. Snelling says Yong is being held in Butler County on $75,000 bail pending further court action.
Perhaps the most stunning announcement was the fact that Young has also started the blaze at 29 to 39 West Main Street in Falconer.
There was a lot of speculation about that blaze including the possibility that a Methamphetime Lab had exploded. There had also been a rumor that the fire might have been intentionally set.
The first fire Young is accused of setting was on March 2nd at 621 East Sixth Street which was an occupied apartment.
The mayors of Jamestown and Falconer were at yesterday afternoon's press conference to personally express their thanks to police and fire personnel for all they did to protect the public, and make an arrest in the case.
Jamestown's Sam Teresi says he normally doesn't get involved in police press conferences but, says he was compelled this time by the severity of the crimes involved.
Teresi says what happened was more than a property crime. Teresi says there was also a lot of concern over the fact that fire personnel including EMT's were stretched to the limit.
Falconer Mayor Jim Rensel thanked all the mutual aid departments that responded to Falconer. Rensel says they had somewhere between 200 and 300 firefighters at the scene. He also thanked fire investigators for all their "hard work."
Thankfully Rensel says no one was seriously hurt in the blaze which was called in just after 7:30 AM on Wednesday, March 22nd. The effort to tear-down the remains of that fire are continuing.
Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson says if he's convicted Jonathan Young faces a lengthy stay in state prison on the charges leveled against him.
Swanson says that includes the two second-degree arson counts for the West Main Street fire in Falconer and, the one at 621 East Sixth in Jamestown. He says the counts for the two homes that were occupied including the Falconer apartments each carries 5 to 25 years in jail.
Swanson says the penalties on the third-degree arsons in the vacant and condemned homes are because no one was inside the homes and, no one else was hurt in any of those fires.
Jamestown Police Chief Harry Snellings says there are some other arson fires in vacant homes including Tuesday's on the southside that were not allegedly set by Jonathan Young.
The home at 206 Charles Street was heavily-damaged by flames Tuesday. Fire Battalion Chief Andrew Finson says crews were called to the scene at about 6:45 AM... and, found the blaze had a good head start. Fortunately.. no one was hurt in that blaze.
State budget negotiations have collapsed after members of the state Senate left Albany.
Republican Senate Leader John Flanagan said he will call his members back when and if there is a deal with Assembly Democrats and Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo. The budget was due by Saturday.
Lawmakers on Monday passed a two-month extension of the old budget to ensure the vital functions of government continue. Just moments before the Senate left members of the Assembly announced they would stay in the hopes of striking a deal.
However State Senator Cathy Young blamed Assembly Democrats on reneging on what the Senate felt was a final deal. Lawmakers won't get paid until they pass a budget.
The Legislature is scheduled to return to Albany in late April. The breakdown in talks is a defeat for top lawmakers and Cuomo, who has long criticized late budgets as a sign of government dysfunction.
While there were reports of an agreement on a final state budget being worked out... the rank and file members still didn't have a lot of details.
We reached Assemblyman Andy Goodell, who represents Chautauqua County, late yesterday morning. He says only a portion of the bills that make up the final budget had actually been printed.
But, Goodell a Jamestown-area Republican say no details have been released on the more controversial issues so far including Uber and Ride-Sharing and, the "Raise the Age" proposal.
He says the State Senate passed four of the budget bills late Tuesday night and, the Assembly was to take up the bills late yesterday. He remains frustrated about the process, much of it done behind closed doors.
Despite a Democratic "talk-a-thon" as some are calling it in the U-S Senate... it appears Republicans will be moving ahead with a confirmation vote on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
If it takes a vote on allowing a simple majority instead of the usual 60 votes so be it. Those are the feelings of local Congressman Tom Reed who doesn't have a vote but, has been discussing the situation with some Senators.
Reed says "we need to get Gorsuch appointed to the Supreme Court" and, adds that he's calling on the Senate to "expedite" the matter. The highest court in the land has been dead-locked in recent months on more controversial matters following the untimely death of conservative judge Antonin Scalia.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation says New York hunters killed about 214,000 deer in 2016, up about 5 percent from 2015.
That includes an estimated 109-thousand adult bucks a 10 percent increase from 2015 and 105,000 antlerless deer.
The numbers are preliminary estimates. The DEC says final harvest numbers are expected later this month as the agency updates its harvest calculation system. Annual deer and bear harvest reports are posted on the DEC website