A Mayville man faces several charges -- including kidnapping to collect ransom -- following three separate incidents in Allegany County early Wednesday morning. State Police in Amity responded to a 9-1-1 call after an unknown, and armed man broke into a home in the village of Filmore about 3:30 AM. Troopers say they found 31 year-old Mark Sarama outside the home... holding the unidentified homeowner at gun-point. They took Sarama into custody... but, at that time... he overdosed on narcotic drugs he had taken after getting medical treatment at a hospital in Wellsville. Police say Sarama was trying to force the victim to get more money at an ATM machine when they arrived. Earlier...troopers say Sarama allegedly stole a hand-gun from a place where he was staying in Filmore... then went to another home and struck a 90-year-old man in the head with it. That man then called 9-1-1. Sarama was arraigned on the Felony kidnapping charge, along with two counts each of first-degree burglary, and first-degree robbery. He's being held in the Allegany County Jail on 100-thousand dollars cash bail.
Local Congressman Tom Reed says New York state is already beginning to see the consequences of the "Green Light Law" which allows illegal immigrants to obtain a driver's license. Reed says the biggest so far is the fact that police departments across the state are not able to access Department of Motor Vehicle data unless they agree to not share the information with federal law enforcement.
Police say they need the DMV data to help with investigations and to verify people's identities during traffic stops. He adds there may also be another consequence to the law... noting that New York driver's licenses end up not being allowed to be used as official identification when traveling... primarily if you're flying. He says that means some people may have to get a passport to be able to fly. Reed says there are rumblings that the Department of Homeland Security may deem all New York drivers licenses as invalid because all levels of state licenses look virtually identical. He says he plans to speak with the Acting Homeland Security Secretary in the near future.
Chautauqua County will not be charging a 5-cent fee on paper bags sold once New York state's plastic bag ban takes effect on March 1st. The decision was made recently following an extensive review of the law by the county legislature's Audit and Control Committee. Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Nazzaro, who is the committee's ranking member, says -- while the cause is good -- to opt in would be a "regulatory nightmare...."
Nazzaro told county lawmakers Wednesday night they don't have to take any action -- unless they were to opt into the program. Next Monday... Wegman's will end use of plastic bags in it's stores... and, will be charging 5-cents per paper bag. Nazzaro says that's something the regional grocery chain is doing on it's own. He says they can do that, and adds they are giving money raised to charity. Wegman's officials have told us that their 5-cent fee will be collected regionally... and, given to the Food Bank of Western New York.
Two Chautauqua County school districts are at least "susceptible to fiscal stress" in the latest monitoring of the financial health of New York's public school districts. State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli released his annual report this week... with four districts showing "significant stress." None were in Chautauqua County. However... both the Frewsburg and Clymer Central School Districts were among the 24 districts listed as "susceptible."