Local News Headlines

Local News Headlines  3/23/13


State lawmakers are still waiting for more details of the 2013-2014 budget agreement that has been worked out by Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders.  Assemblyman Andy Goodell says the budget is made up of 10 or 11 major bills... and, lawmakers have only passed one item so far. Goodell says state lawmakers are expected to continue work on passing budget bills sometime Saturday, but there is talk that legislators may be working on Sunday, Palm Sunday, and possibly even on Monday.  The legislature is trying to complete work on the 135-billion dollar budget before the start of Passover... which begins Monday evening at sundown. 


The U-S Department of Agriculture is poised to pull out of the Chautauqua County Agriculture Center.  As first reported on WJTN Friday afternoon... the USDA was taking a close look at the Turner Road facility... and, whether it meets their needs.  Local USDA Farm Service Director Lynn Laver says this is going on as a new lease is being negotiated by the General Services Administration. A lack of privacy in the offices at the Ag. Center was one of the issues cited.  Laver says the plan is for all the USDA services at the Ag Center to move... later this year... to the former Ames Plaza building on Fluvanna Avenue in Jamestown.  The county's Public Facilities Director, George Spanos, says they offered significant upgrades... including 'drop' ceilings... in their bid. Spanos believes the Ames Plaza location will cost about 10-dollars a square more than the Ag Center.  The chairman of the Soil and Water Conservation District Board, Fred Croscut, thinks the farm community will be very unhappy... because there will no longer be one location for all agriculture-related services.


A Jamestown native is among those who were killed earlier this week in a Marine night training exercise in Nevada.  The uncle of Lance Corporal Mason Vanderwark says his nephew was among the seven Marines killed when a mortar shell exploded late Monday night.  Mason... who was 21... and the others were members of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force.  His uncle -- Dwayne -- is in Hickory, North Carolina with Mason's widow, and his mother, Melissa.  Dwayne Vanderwark says the tragic part is that Mason had been doing this kind of work during two previous tours of duty overseas... including Iraq. Dwayne Vanderwark -- whose from Lakewood -- says it's been a difficult time for Mason's 19 year-old wife, Taylor, and his sister.  However... he says the support they're received from family, friends, and fellow Marines has been "overwhelming.  Mason Vanderwark was born and raised in Jamestown... and, is the only son of Melissa Vanderwark.  Funeral arrangments are incomplete.


State police say a truck driver was ticketed for following too closely after his vehicle rear-ended a school bus on a Cattaraugus County road Thursday.  Troopers say the bus carrying 14 students was stopped at a railroad crossing on Route 242 in the town of Ellicottville when it was hit from behind by a box truck.  Police say none of the students were hurt, but the truck driver from Franklinville suffered leg injuries and was taken to Bertrand Chaffee Hospital in Springville.  The students were transferred to another bus and taken to school.


Jamestown Police are asking for the public's help in finding a woman who broke into the Dollar General Store on Washington Street... and, stole a number of items early Thursday.  City police say surveillance video shows the woman entering the store at 13-56 Washington through a smashed-in glass door about 3 AM.  Officers say the suspect is believed to be an hispanic woman... standing about 5-foot-tall.  Police add she was wearing a dark-colored winter coat with grey fur around the edge of the hood.  Officers say she was also wearing blue jeans and sneakers.  She left the store with several items in a garbage container.  Anyone with information on the incident... or the woman involved... is asked to call JPD at 483-7531.  You can also call their confidential tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.  Pictures of the woman have been distributed.


A city man has been arrested for allegedly using a set of bolt cutters to cut a lock off a locker at the Jamestown YMCA... and, steal another man's money.  Jamestown police say they used surveillance video from the "Y" to determine that 37 year-old Matthew Piscitelli had stolen the money from the East Fourth Street location's men's locker room.  Officers received a complaint from the victim... and, saw Piscitelli enter the building just after 11 AM Tuesday with a set of bolt cutters hidden in his duffle bag.  Once he got into the locker room... he cut off the lock... and, took money from the locker.  Police say investigators were able find the victim's money and return it.  Piscitelli was arrested... and, arraigned on charges including Larceny... Criminal Possession of Burglar's tools... and, for violating his Parole.  He was sent to the county jail pending a Parole Hearing.


No one was seriously hurt in a near head-on crash involving two cars in the town of Hanover late yesterday afternoon.  Sheriff's officers say 21 year-old Jennifer Lee was northbound on Alleghany Road near the intersection with Bradley when her vehicle entered a snow-covered area.  Deputies say Lee was traveling at an unsafe speed... and, lost control of her car.  They say the car crossed the double-solid line... and, struck the on-coming car... driven by 45 year-old James Reinagel of Frewsburg.  Officers say the occupants of both vehicles were checked our by first responders and Lee was later taken to Lakeshore Hospital for evaluation... but, had minor injuries.  She is charged with Unsafe speed and Failure to keep right.


Chautauqua Institution has wrapped up scheduling for it's 2013 season by signing Public Radio's Garrison Keillor to be on stage Friday, August 2nd.  Chautauqua's Vice-President and Programming Director Marty Merkley says Keillor will be on stage to record a program called "Radio Romance Tour 2013.  The program begins at 8:15 PM. 


If the state isn't trying hard to lure ``The Tonight Show'' back to New York City... it's doing a pretty good impression.  A Cuomo administration official says the state is trying to attract TV shows with a proposed tax credit and the ``Tonight'' show would qualify.


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