Local News Headlines

Former Ironworkers union treasurer pleads guilty to embezzlement...
A Celoron man who was once the treasurer for Ironworkers Local 470 has pleaded guilty to stealing funds from the union during a seven-year period... beginning in May of 2011.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Junior announced today that 40 year-old Scott Russell Merritt entered the plea before U.S. District Court Judge John Sinatra, Jr. to theft from a labor union.  Prosecutors say during the time he was treasurer... Merritt embezzled $50,850, and wrote union checks to pay various personal expenses.  He's to be sentenced in August... and, faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 


Quattrone says efforts to recruit minorities for police officers slow to begin...
With the guilty verdicts in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin... area police agencies are moving forward with the plans they filed with the state under Governor Andrew Cuomo's State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative.  As a result, Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone says many departments are looking to recruit more non-white officers.  But, Quattrone says it's been a difficult finding any candidates.  Quattrone says the "national backlash" is also making it hard to not only recruit, but, finding qualified candidates.  He says not many candidates have signed up for a Civil Service exam that will be given next month.  But he's hopeful recruitment efforts will yield more success as the area continues to re-open from the pandemic. 


County reports 27 New COVID-19 Cases, and one new death, Thursday...
There are 27 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus being reported in Chautauqua County the past day... including one new death.  The county's Health Department says there have now been 8,809 total cases... and, 147 deaths.  Officials say 190 cases are currently active and 7 of those are hospitalized.  Six of the new cases were in Jamestown... and, 4 in Falconer.  The infection rate is 2.1-percent... and, 8,472 cases have now recovered.


BPU to begin distributing new garbage collection containers to customers starting May 10...
A major change that many customers of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities' Solid Waste division have been calling for is being realized later this Spring.  BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says new, standard garbage containers will be delivered to residents homes... beginning the week of May 10.  Leathers says they are purchasing 14,000 containers at a cost of about $850,000 to $900,000 so all their customers have one.  He says the BPU will also putting tipping units onto their garbage trucks.  Leathers says the BPU's Solid Waste Division has been working on the program for about two-years.  He says it will allow customers to abide by the city code... which requires residents to put garbage curbside in a container with a lid on it.  He estimates about 60-percent of their customers don't have that.  Leathers says the city will defer some of the cost through a SMART City's grant.  He says the new containers will be able to hold about "7 or 8" 13-gallon tall kitchen trash bags.  The program officials begins July 1.  For more information... call 661-1680.  Leathers made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


City school district hands out NYSSBA Awards for two programs, board member...
Two creative programs put together by students and teachers in the Jamestown Public Schools have been given awards by the New York State School Boards Association.  The city School Boards representative on the state board... Christine Schnars, and Superintendent Kevin Whitaker... made the presentations at this week's board meeting.  High School Band Director Megan Murray... and three Middle School music teachers... were recognized for their Student "Taps" Performance last Veteran's Day.  Murray says the middle school trumpeters were recruited to play taps outside their homes, across the city, at the same time the high school trumpter played taps for the traditional program at Third and Main Streets.  The JHS Band traditionally plays the National Anthem and a trumpeter plays Taps at the city's Veteran's Day observance at Third and Main Streets.  Murray says, this year, middle school trumpeters played outside their homes so more residents could hear Taps being played... and, socially distance during the pandemic.  In addition to Marc Lentch, Carrie Pawelski and Gina Wakefield... NYSSBA also honored the Bush Elementary School's Parade Balloons Writing Initiative.  Fourth-grade teacher Christin Hockenberry and Technology Integration Specialist Jason Kathman were recognized for their work.  In addition... the state School Boards Association also presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to board member Nina Karbacka.  She was recognized for her work on the board, and for taking part in NYSSBA's several leadership development programs.


Dunkirk man arrested after car hit's house on Urban Road...
A vehicle that State Police say was traveling too fast for conditions, struck a house on Urban Road in the town of Dunkirk Wednesday night.  Troopers say the car apparently went out of control about 8 p.m., and, struck a parked vehicle before hitting the house.  An occupant inside the house was not hurt.  The Observer reports the driver, 24-year-old Brandon Perry of Dunkirk, was transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.  Perry has been charged with second-degree aggravated unlicensed operator, speed not reasonable and prudent, failure to keep right, moving from lane unsafely and no seat belt.