Local News Headlines

WJTN Headlines for Fri., June 11, 2021

Arrest made in connection with vandalism, and threats against Reed and family... 
There's been an arrest made in last year's campaign headquarters vandalism and alleged family threat incidents against local Congressman Tom Reed.  Corning Police say 21 year-old Jack Kahabka of Watkins Glen was charged with making terrorist threats and third degree criminal mischief.  In a statement issued late last night... Reed said he and his family "are incredibly thankful that our family can rest easier knowing the person who threatened and intimidated us this past fall has been arrested.  We continue to be grateful for the remarkable efforts of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe."  The Corning Republican also applauded the service of those dedicated people... adding "we also want to thank the people of our community for their support throughout this ordeal – our family appreciates it more than you know."  He says he hopes this starts the closure and healing process.


Gillibrand willing to wait for possible compromise, but, urges Biden to "go big on infrastructure bill...
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says she supports President Biden's efforts to create a major infrastructure bill that will get support from both sides of the political aisle.  The first step towards that may have happened last night with the announcement of an agreement on a one-trillion dollar package by a bi-partisan group of 10 senators.  However... Gillibrand says they should still "go big" because there are hard infrastructure investments that need to be made to roads, bridges, and broadband.  In addition... the Democrat says there also needs to be what have been called "softer infrastructure" projects... including helping get schools fully reopened in the Fall, and child care.  She says it appears that's a bridge too far for many Republicans... and, she says that is a "half-hearted response."  If a final agreement can't be reached, she says Democrats should just do a "one-and-done" bill Gillibrand says the president has been looking at a $1.8-trillion measure that would deal with what Gillibrand considers essential.  The bi-partisan group of Senators say the measure adds $579-billion in new spending.  However... they say it would not require tax increases.


Borrello co-sponsors approved measure to reduce broadband barriers...
Local State Senator George Borrello praising passage of a Senate bill he co-sponsored to eliminate barriers faced by broadband service providers in getting service to underserved areas.  Borrello says the measure will ease both cost and operational obstacles faced by those providers.  The Sunset Bay Republican says "the prevalence of ‘internet deserts’ remains one of the biggest problems in our rural areas and it was an issue that was exacerbated by the pandemic, which made remote work and schooling essential."  Borrello says a key provision allows broadband providers seeking to install Internet service using utility poles in a given area to obtain one contract for all the poles in that city, town or village.  Currently, they currently have to get a contract for each individual pole. 


Findings of NRG Plant re-use study made public...
Officials with the of Dunkirk and Chautauqua County hosted a presentation this week on the key findings of the NRG Power Plant Feasibility Study.  A total of seven site re-use alternatives were explored during the year-long planning process, involving consultant Bergmann Associates.  Deputy County Executive for Economic Development Mark Geise says there were two preferred re-use concepts... one was a data center, and the other was an industrial use.  Geise says the county is now seeking a second grant through the federal government to develop proposed uses for the site.  He adds that would also be an Appalachin Regional Commission grant -- similar to the first.  Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas says NRG's support is needed in repurposing the plant because the property is privately-owned by the utility company, and he says they need them to be "at the table."  Geise says NRG has been a willing partner in the process.


Four new COVID cases reported in County...
There were just four new, confirmed COVID-19 cases reported yesterday in Chautauqua County... and, again no new deaths.  The county Health Department says that brings the local total during the pandemic to 9,277.  Officials say only 19 cases are currently active, and only one is now hospitalized.  The infection rate remains 0.5%... and 9,102 cases have now recovered.


Trooper shot and wounded near Binghampton...
Police are searching for a man they say shot a state trooper during a welfare check in the Binghamton area.  State police say the trooper was shot in her lower body Wednesday night while working with Broome County sheriff's deputies checking on the welfare of a person in Colesville, about 12 miles east of Binghamton.  Police said the unidentified trooper's injuries were not life-threatening.  Police were searching for suspect Jason Johnson. They say the 34-year-old should be considered armed and dangerous.


State Senate passes new Absentee Ballot counting legislation...
New York election workers would have to start counting absentee ballots earlier under legislation that passed the state Senate Wednesday.  Lawmakers say the state could not handle another election like 2020, when delays, litigation and mistakes by election boards who faced a flood of absentee ballots led to confusion over election results in New York.  Boards of elections would have to start counting absentee, military and special ballots on a rolling basis as soon as they're received under the legislation.