Local News Headlines

Investigation continues into blaze that destroyed home in the town of Poland...
The investigation is continuing into an early Saturday morning fire that destroyed a home in the town of Poland.  Chautauqua County fire dispatchers say Kennedy fire crews were called to the scene at 615 Eccles Rd. shortly after 2 a.m., and found heavy fire in the front of the home.  They were joined at the scene by crews from Falconer, Frewsburg, Kiantone, Randolph and Ellington in battling the flames... which soon after fully-engulfed the house.  The family living there got out safely. 


Five arrested in Cattaraugus County drug bust Saturday...
Five people -- one from Chautauqua County -- were arrested last weekend during a raid at a home in the Cattaraugus County Town of Machias.  Sheriff's officers in Little Valley say they and members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at 3506 Roszyk Road about 10 a.m. last Saturday.  Deputies say they found 1.25-ounces of crystal methamphetamine, suboxone, scales, packaging materials and paraphernalia.  The five people... 25 year-old Brian McGonagle of Cherry Creek, 25 year-old Vincent Schaub of Arcade, 32 year-old Samuel McCaslin of Machias, 23 year-old Meghan Kulczyk of Franklinville, and 23 year-old Brandon Bain of Cattaraugus, are charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substane with intent to sell.  McGonagale was later taken to the Salamanca Police Department on a bench warrant.  The others were issued appearance tickets for a later date.


The Gerry Rodeo appears to be a "go" for this August...
The full Gerry Fire Department membership will make the final decision in early June... but, it appears the annual Gerry Rodeo is a "go" this coming August.  Spokeman Paul Cooley says the rodeo committee has been meeting regularly and concluded they can pull it off.  Cooley says they don't see any reason not to do it.  If current regulations remain in place... he says there will be some changes in the arena at Gerry for the four nights, Wednesday, August 4--7.  Cooley says they will have to have full sections for people who are vaccinated, and another for unvaccinated.  He adds there may be some changes to the presentation of the rodeo's beef barbeque... depending on what restrictions are in place in August.  Last year's rodeo had to be postponed because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.


JPS working towards reopending, and allowing more people for graduation...
Three groups of community members are working on ways the Jamestown Public Schools can fully-reopen safely... possibly later this Spring -- but, more likely next Fall.  School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says the three subcommittees -- which include between 45 and 50 community members -- have been working about a month on the matter.  Dr. Whitaker says it's been challenging work... especially for the parents who are part of them.  He says they've been surprised to see the regulations, and the added difficulty larger districts have in meeting them.  Whitaker says the big challenge right now is looking for a way to have an outdoor graduation ceremony that allows more than what current restrictions include.  Currently... the state is only allowing 200 people can gather outdoors, and 100 people indoors.  Beyond that... all attendees would have to show proof of vaccination or of a negative COVID-19 test.  Whitaker says the district has written to the state Department of Health to allow what sporting events are allowed to have.  Those activites can have up to 500 unvaccinated or untested spectators outside and 250 unvaccinated or untested spectators inside. 


Bemus Pt.-Stow Ferry repairs completed, operations to resume this Friday...
After three years out of operation... and over $200,000 in repairs... the Bemus-Point Stow Ferry will be running again, starting Memorial Day weekend.  Jay Kuntz, one of the Co-Presidents of the organization that operates the ferry, says his group feels a deep sense of fulfillment... in reaching this point.  In the spring of 2018, state inspectors determined the ferry was not seaworthy, and work began immediately to get it back in shape, culminating with major hull repairs last year while in drydock at Stow.  At 4 p.m. Friday afternoon on the Stow side, there'll be a re-dedication with a ribbon cutting, and flag raising.  The ferry will take passengers until 9 p.m. on Friday... and then 11 to 9 Saturday and Sunday... Noon to 5 on Monday.  There's no set charge to ride from one side to the other, but donations are gratefully accepted, as there's still over $20,000 to pay off from the rehabilitation.  A chicken barbeque will be held noontime Sunday on the Stow side, and a Memorial Day Tribute from the center of the lake at will occur at noon on Monday.  More information on the schedule is available at bemuspointstowferry.org.


Movie about Stateline Speedway's winningest Late Model racer premier's Sunday night...
The movie showcasing the career of Ashville's Dick Barton, the winningest super late model driver in the history of Stateline Speedway, had its premiere outside the National Comedy Center last night.  Over 150 fans and friends gathered for the unique showing on the Comedy Center's big screens.  Dick Barton was fine with it, so long as his whole team got the recognition.  Well-known local attorney and interviewer, Greg Peterson, did all the interviewing for the two-and-a-half hour film. He says there is something special about how Barton managed the car, and the people behind it.  'TEAM: The Dick Barton Story' is a production of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame and are available for purchase at the Hall of Fame.