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Local News Headlines

Local Congressman Tom Reed was among the slim majority of House members who voted for the American Health Care Act yesterday afternoon and, is calling it a "great victory" for the American people.  

 

Reed says "we are finally on the path to fixing our broke and broken health care system."  The Corning Republican says the new Health Care plan "upholds protections for pre-existing conditions and, the expansion of Medicaid which help our most vulnerable populations."  He says the bill will also provide much needed property tax relief for New Yorkers who are unfairly forced to foot the bill for Medicaid.  

 

Reed adds, "we care about giving people the freedom and flexibility to make their own health decisions while providing promised tax relief for middle-income families and small business owners."

 

A plea agreement has allowed the Jamestown man to avoid trial for beating and stabbing his wife and step-son to death in early December of 2015.  
 
Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson says some "back-and-forth" involving the judge... prosecution and defense lawyers led 53 year-old Allen Witruke to plead guilty to two counts of first-degree manslaughter in the deaths of Catherine Witruke and Eric Washburn.  
 
Swanson says the manslaughter charges stem from each side's psychiatric experts determining that Witruke had an "extreme emotional disturbance" when the homicides occured.
 
Swanson says Witruke was facing the start of jury selection for his trial next Tuesday.  With the plea Witruke faces 10 to 20 years in state prison on each count of first-degree manslaughter.  
 
He's to be sentenced on August 22nd.  Swanson says members of the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department Civil Division were executing an eviction order at Witruke's home at 235 Barrows Street on December 8th of 2015, when they discovered Catherine Witruke, and Eric Washburn's bodies.  Allen Witruke was arrested in Olean later that same day.
 
The Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force says it has put two major cocaine drug traffickers in jail following a two-month long investigation in the Dunkirk area.  
 
Task Force members say they arrested 26 year-old Michael Pacheco and, 29 year-old Fred Santiago early Tuesday evening.  
 
Agents say they arrested Pacheco at a location on Vineyard Drive in the town of Dunkirk and found him with 4.5-ounces of cocaine in his possession.  A short time later Task Force members raided the residence at 80 Lincoln Avenue in the city of Dunkirk.  
 
They arrested Santiago during the raid and, seized about 28.5-ounces of cocaine  with a street value of about $50,000.  They also seized $46,000 in cash, postal money orders, scales, and other materials.  
 
Both men are charged with second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Pacheco is in the county jail on $150,000 cash bail while Santiago is being held with no bail.  
 
Additional State and Federal charges are pending, and more arrests are expected.  Dunkirk Police assisted along with other departments.  
 
Anyone with information about the sale of narcotics should contact the the Task Force at 1-800-344-8702.
 
New York's second-in-command helped to kick-off the first meeting of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council as it gears up for Round 7 of Governor Andrew Cuomo's chief economic development program.  
 
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul addressed members during the meeting held at the State University of New York College at Fredonia Thursday.  Hochul says it's not "a given" that the funding would be included in the new state budget that was approved by state lawmakers last month.
 
County Executive Vince Horrigan, one of the REDC members, says the process has helped a number of projects in Chautauqua County over the years, but there is still a critical need for funding, with projects such as moving ahead with the North County Water District, and providing sewer around Chautauqua Lake.  
 
Yesterday's meeting was the first one for University President Dr. Virginia Horvath as the Council's co-chair. Besides Horrigan, Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi is also a member of the Western New York REDC.  
 
A total of 10 regional councils are competing for a share of the $800-million dollar pot. 
 
 
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is touting a big jump in public education spending.  
 
The Democratic governor traveled to a school in Queens on Wednesday to celebrate a $1.1 billion dollar increase in school funding.  Overall the state will spend a record $25.8 billion on public education under the budget approved by Cuomo and lawmakers last month.
 
Cuomo says the investment recognizes the importance of public education, which he says creates economic opportunities and allows New Yorkers of all backgrounds to pursue the American dream.  Cuomo also announced a new round of awards for top teachers.
 
Sixty teachers from around the state will each receive stipends of $5,000 for professional development.  Applications and nominations are due later this month.

 

The most visable fund-raiser for Jamestown's larges soup kitchen is underway and, the need for the serves of the St. Susan's Center have been never greater.  
 
That from Executive Director Jeff Smith, as the 19th annual "Cents for St. Susan's" campaign kicked-off yesterday morning at the Board of Public Utilities.  Most of the campaign's sponsors gathered to rally support for the effort which raised just over $18,000 last year.  
 
Smith says, without the support of the community they wouldn't have been able to provide just over 467,000 meals the needy the past four years.
 
Smith says they've provided meals for well over 30,000 individuals during that time.  He says they appreciate the support of the BPU in running the "Cents for St. Susan's" program each year.  
 
Smith says there's been no slow-down in the need this year thanks in part to a record-setting January.  The major sponsor this year is KeyBank which is joined by National Fuel Gas and, Northwest Savings Bank as sponsors.  
 
The Media One Group is again a media sponor.  The bright yellow canisters for people's change will be out at local stores, banks and restaurants through July 4th.
 
'Help Portrait Chautauqua' will be held at the Resource Center on Dunham Avenue near Celoron this Sunday.
 
The event is organized by the Southwestern Central School Photography Club and local professional photographers. Mark Kirsch, who teaches photography at Southwestern, says it's an opportunity for ANYONE to get a professional portrait taken for FREE.
 
The hours will be 11 AM to 2 PM Sunday, at the Conference Room at the rear of the Resource Center's building.  Kirsch says help with hair will be available at the site, and the framed pictures will be ready the same day.  There is no cost, and no obligation.  

 

 

Local News

WJTN Headlines for Sat., Dec. 7, 2019

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