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WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Jan. 24, 2022

Space heater blamed for house fire in town of Pomfret...
No one was hurt in a house fire in the town of Pomfret last Friday night reportedly caused by a propane space heater.  Chautauqua County Fire investigators say Fredonia crews were called to the scene on Kelly Hill Road about 9:30 p.m., and, mutual aid was called in from Stockton, Cassadaga, and Brocton.  They found the space heater was in close proximity to debris and a propane tank inside a mobile home... and, started the blaze on the floor of the residence.  Two parked recreational vehicles were also involved.  


Fredonia crews respond to apartment house fire Monday morning...
Fredonia firefighters responded to a report of a fire in an apartment on Cleveland Avenue this morning.  Crews were sent to the scene around 7:15 a.m., and, Chautauqua County Emergency Dispatchers say firefighters were able to knock down the fire.  Fredonia Police also assisted at the scene.

 
Jamestown woman arrested for shoplifting and assault...
A Jamestown woman has been arrested for allegedly shoplifting several items from the Dollar General store on Winsor Street... and, then punching and biting an employee while trying to flee.  City police were called to the scene about 3 PM last Friday on a complaint of a shoplifter.  Upon arrival... officers spoke with the employee who confronted the shoplifter... 30 year-old Victoria Bentley.  The employee said an altercation occurred in the parking lot where Bentley allegedly punched and bit the employee prior to police arriving.  Officers took Bentley into custody after a short struggle... and, she was taken to the City Jail pending arraignment on charges of third-degree assault, and petty larceny.


Sundquist explains new citizen BPU appointments...
City lawmakers will vote next week on two new citizen members of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities appointed by Mayor Eddie Sundquist.  Sundquist's decision to not reappoint former City Councilman Greg Rabb and Jim Olson has stirred some controversy.  He did publicly thank both men for their service... but, had decided to name Shawn Connor and Sabrina Gustafson to be on the panel.  Sundquist says Connor comes from a banking background... and, Gustafson is a former social welfare examiner for the county... who now owns a translation business.  He says she has a good perspective on minority communities in the city.  With future changes in the energy industry likely... and, moves towards climate policy... Sundquist believes having diversity is important.  The appointments were tabled at the City Council's reorganizational meeting earlier this month.  They'll be voted on at the Jan. 31 meeting.  The City Council holds a work session tonight at 7:30 p.m.  Sundquist made his comments for a recent "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Wendel says county leaders across NYS feel positive about dialogue with Hochul...
Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel says county leaders statewide are generally positive about Governor Kathy Hochul's first few months in office... as well as her 2022-23 budget proposal.  Wendel took part in a conference call with members of the New York State Association of counties late last week to mainly discuss the 216-billion dollar spending plan.  He says Hochul has been hearing county leaders... and, they will be getting more infrastructure money under the proposed spending plan.  Wendel says it's the first time since he's been in office where the counties feel they have a good working relationship with executive branch.  He says what has helped the state is the influx of federal funding... that has wiped out what was looking initially like a multi-year, $69-billion deficit.  He says that is now going to become a surplus -- thanks in large part to COVID relief aid from the federal government.  Last week... Hochul also said that higher than expected tax revenues have helped, as well.


Reed feels Biden's "Build Back Better" legislation is dead...
It appears President Joe Biden's proposed $1.7-trillion "Build Back Better" legislation is dead in the water... at least in it's current form.  Some members of Congress have suggested pulling some items -- like the child tax credit -- out and voting on separate bills may garner some bi-partisan support.  However... local Congressman Tom Reed isn't sure about that.  That's even though his former co-chair on the Problem Solver's Caucus -- New Jersey Democrat Josh Gottheimer -- believes it can be.  Reed says he feels, though, it would have to be presented apart from the "Build Back Better" framework.  The Corning Republican says the way the Biden Administration tied the legislation to the infrastructure bill wound up slowing progress on the 1.2-trillion dollar infrastructure measure.  He says the eventual separating of the two allowed some Republican members to also support the "road and bridges" measure.  Reed hopes the administration learns from what's happened.  During his first telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media in several months... Reed touted what's in the Infrastructure Bill that will benefit the 23rd Congressional District.  


Senior scammer snagged on Long Island after trying to scam retired police dispatcher...
A Long Island woman is being praised by police after she helped them catch an alleged scammer seeking to prey on the elderly.  Newsday reports the 73-year-old woman received a call last Thursday from a man pretending to be her grandson and saying he'd been charged with driving under the influence and needed cash to post bail.  The woman, a retired police dispatcher, knew it was a scam since her grandchildren are too young to drive, but she played along with the ruse and contacted Nassau County police.  They arrived and hid inside, and when a man arrived to collect the money, they tackled him in her front yard and arrested him.