Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Feb. 4, 2020

Jamestown police are now being tasked with serving warrants for more than 100 people arrested under the state's new bail feform law eliminating cash bail.  

Members of the City Council's Public Safety Committee got the latest update on the law's impact from Police Chief Harry Snellings.   Committee Chairman Brent Sheldon says Snellings told lawmakers that 107 people in January alone were issued appearance tickets... and failed to show up on their city court date.  He says the chief will testify before a State Senate Republican task force this week.

Snellings says the hearing in Buffalo will be held by the new "Repeal Bail Reform Task Force.." which is co-chaired by local State Senator George Borrello.  He says Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone, and Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano have also been asked to testify at the 2 PM hearing in Buffalo.  Borrello says it's meant to give voice to police agencies, and the victims of crime committed by suspects issued appearance tickets under the new bail reform law.

Jamestown police arrested a driver operating his vehicle with a suspended license and drugs in his possession Sunday afternoon.  

Officers say 39 year-old Steven Gaddy was taken into custody at the intersection of Superior and Park Streets when they allegedly found numerous pills packaged for sale.  Gaddy was released with an appearance ticket for Jamestown City Court on charges of second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation.... Expired Registration.... fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, traffic violations. 

An early evening fire in the town of Cherry Creek Sunday night has extensively damaged a barn.  

Chautauqua County Sheriff's dispatchers say Creek Creek crews were called to the scene at 17-10 Thornton Road about 5:45 PM... and, found the barn fully-engulfed in flames on arrival.  Dispatchers say mutual aid was called in from Kennedy, and Falconer... and Leon and Conewango from Cattaraugus County.  The fire was reported out about 8 PM.  No one was hurt... but, there's no word on whether any animals were injured.  No cause has been released.

A $3-million grant from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation will be used to help the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities replace old and deteriorated water mains through-out it's service area.  

BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says the matching grant was recently announced by the state and, says it will help with a $5-million project they have planned to start this year.  Leathers credited his Water Division Team, led by Deputy GM Mike Saar, for identifying where most breaks occur.

Leathers says the BPU is providing the $2-million share, as required, to receive the grant.  He adds that this Winter has been pretty mild in terms of number of main breaks.  He says November and December were "fairly mild" in that regard.  Leathers says the water mains to be replaced include those on Washington Street, Hazeltine Avenue, West 18th Street and, West Virginia Boulevard.

Officials with the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities are warning customers about a local scam that has resurfaced in the city.  

BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says a customer new to the area said she received a call from a person saying she owed the BPU $200.00 and that her utilities would be shut off if she didn’t immediately pay a person posing as a BPU employee.  Customers should remember that they can initiate BPU bill payments in our Customer Service Office, online, in their drop boxes and by phone.  Robbins adds the BPU does not call people, and threaten to turn off service if payment isn’t made immediately to a private person.  She says customers should hang up the phone in such a situation.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed a 3-percent increase in public school aid for the coming fiscal year.  

But, as he calls for more aid to poorer districts to help increase student achievement, does his new budget reflect that?  To a degree it does, but the state School Boards Association is still trying to get more information.  Association Spokesman David Albert says Cuomo appears to have consolidated some aid areas into base, or "Foundation Aid."  However, Albert says they're leery of such moves, including proposals to change building and transportation aid.

Albert says the Association is also concerned about possible changes to BOCES Aid.  He says that aid helps districts work with BOCES to find more efficiencies and cost savings.  The governor's budget plan adds about $826-million to the school aid portion of his $178-billion budget plan for 2020-2021.  The legislature has to approve a new spending plan by April 1st.

A Type-One diabetic from Bemus Point, who has talked about the disease and how it's impacted his life, will be on hand for President Trump's State of the Union Address tomorrow night.  

Local Congressman Tom Reed says 14 year-old Ben Cornell will be his guest for the address in Washington, D-C.  Reed says he's gotten to know Ben and his family through the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  He says "Ben recently invited me to attend the JDRF of Western New York’s 20th anniversary Gala to hear him share his story as the “Fund a Cure” Speaker, and I am pleased to return the favor by inviting him to the State of the Union.”  Cornell thanked Reed for the invitation... and says "you can tell that Type I Diabetes is an issue he truly cares about, and I appreciate his work to improve the lives of those affected by this disease."  Reed's son, Will, also also a Type-One Diabetic.

A Cattaraugus County man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting another man with a softball bat in the town of Yorkshire.  

State Police in Machias say they arrested 70-year-old Leslie Spencer of Yorkshire last Saturday for first-degree assault.  Spencer is accused of striking the victim with the bat at a home on Route 16.  Troopers say he was arraigned in Yorkshire Town Court and sent to the Cattaraugus County Jail on $15,000 cash bail, pending a future court appearance.