Local News Headlines
The early morning fire Monday that destroyed the Krempa Medical Associates building on Jamestown's southside was the work of an arsonist. That from City Police Captain Bob Samuelson... who says the determination was made following a joint investigation by City police... the Jamestown Fire Department... and, the county's Forensic Investigation Team. City firefighters were called to the scene at 23 Ivy Street about 2:30 AM Monday. A couple of witnesses who spotted the blaze said they heard an explosion of some kind before seeing the flames... but, Samuelson couldn't confirm that. Samuelson also wouldn't say if they suspected a disguntled patient -- or employee set the blaze. He says they are investigating "every angle possible" in the case. Samuelson also says if you have seen someone with a recent, suspicious burn... or have other information... call City Police at 483-7531. You can also leave anonymous tips at the JPD Tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477. Police say all calls will be kept confidential. One firefighter suffered a minor injury fighting the blaze.
In the north county... fire investigators have ruled last week's business structure fire in Dunkirk as "suspicious." Dunkirk Fire Chief Keith Ahlstrom says an exact cause could not be determined because of the amount of damage caused by the blaze at 100 Ruggles Street back on May 8th. Ahlstrom says, though, that the Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team will continue to look into the cause. Dunkirk firefighters were called to the former Community Christmas-Sharing with Children program that was at the corner of Ruggles and Talcott Streets. Fredonia firefighters assisted at the scene with their Tower-18 truck.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is putting at least 80-million dollars in state assistance behind his proposal to help local cities and counties restructure their finances to survive. Cuomo provided some more details about his proposed financial restructuring panel on Tuesday. He says the panel will help local governments in distress merge and consolidate services, possibly lay off more workers, and to permanently restructure operations. Some local officials -- including Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi -- were on hand for Cuomo's press conference... and, welcomed the approach as another tool. But... some felt it avoided the biggest issues. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who wasn't invited to Cuomo's event, says in an interview that municipalities are burdened most by pension and health care costs mandated by Albany. The state Association of Counties also called for the state to reduce unfunded mandates.
The Jamestown school district's 2013-2014 budget proposal was outlined in detail during a public hearing last night. However... no one attended... mostly likely because it doesn't include a tax increase. The 75.3-million dollar also includes a 1.42-million dollar spending decrease over the current year's spending plan. Assistant Superintendent for Administration Dale Weatherlow says it's the fourth-straight "zero-tax increase" budget district officials have put before the voters. Weatherlow says a number of spending lines... including certified staff wages are down significantly. He says that's because 16 people have retired... or will retire this year. Weatherlow adds that their equipment budget is down 77.7-percent in the new budget. District officials were hoping that they would have more aid reinstated in the final state budget. However... they only received 130-thousand more to help plug a 4.5-million dollar deficit. Weatherlow says they took a big hit on building aid because what ended up being a miscalculation by the district. However... Weatherlow says the state aid formula for them has changed three times in since 2002. He also outlined a nearly 800-thousand dollar transportation proposition that will also be on next Tuesday's ballot. District officials also announced the three people running for two full-terms on the school board next week. Board President Joe DiMaio... and, newcomer Patrick Slagle are seeking three-year terms. They're being challenged by Todd Rushforth.
The final details are being put into place for this Friday's historic visit to Jamestown by Chief Justice John Roberts of the U-S Supreme Court. Roberts is slated to be here to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the dedication of the Robert H. Jackson Center. The center is named after the former U-S Supreme Court Justice... who was also Chief Prosecutor at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trial following World War-Two. Jackson Center Co-Founder Greg Peterson is acknowledged as the person who pushed hardest to get Roberts to come... because of Roberts' high-regard for Jackson. Reinquist was the second Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to appear in Jamestown on May 16th of 2003 for the official dedication of the Jackson Center. During an interview on WJTN yesterday morning... Peterson said he didn't know what Roberts will talk about... but, knows he WON'T talk about cases currently before the high court. Peterson believes he'll reflect on Jackson's legacy... and, how it applies to the court today. Roberts speech from the porch of the Jackson Center begins at 10 AM Friday. (**WJTN will carry the address live.)
A couple of schools in the Jamestown area have had a special treat this week. The West Virginia University Percussion Ensemble is playing concerts at Jamestown High School and Southwestern as part of its annual end of semester tour. The seventeen member ensemble is led by WVU percussion professor, George Willis. The group travels with a 26 foot truck filled with drums and percussion instruments from around the world. One of the members of this year's ensemble is WVU senior and Jamestown area native, Hannah Webster. Hannah is the daughter of Media One announcer Dennis Webster and his wife Sheila. (The ensemble will return to Morgantown late in the day Wednesday.)