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WJTN News Headlines for Wed., July 13, 2022

Investigation into Sheridan business fire continues...
The investigation is continuing into Monday's major fire that destroyed a pawn shop on Route 20 in the town of Sheridan... but, officials believe they now know where it started.  Sheridan firefighters were joined by 15 other departments in battling the blaze at Pawn Starz at 3491 Route 20, which was first reported at about 5:15 p.m. Monday.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone says crews on arrival saw flames from the back of the building.  Quattrone says several fire companies from Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Erie Counties were called in to assist.  Investigators late Tuesday said they found the blaze originated in the area of an auto detailing business near the back of the building... which also housed a pet grooming business.  The location is the former Astro Lanes bowling alley.  Quattrone says county fire investigators arrived on scene Tuesday morning to look for the cause because most of the fire companies were on scene through late Monday night trying to bring the blaze under control.  Firefighters returned to the scene early Tuesday morning to take care of some hot spots.  Quattrone says there were no reports of any injuries. 


Flames gut home in town of Chautauqua...         
An improperly discarded cigarette is the apparent cause of a fire that gutted a home in the town of Chautauqua Tuesday afternoon.  Sheriff's Department fire investigators say Chautauqua, Hartfield, Dewittville, Mayville, Stockton, Brocton, Cassadaga, Ellery Center, Sherman and Portland firefighters were called to the scene at 5989 Stockton-Hartfield Rd. about 2:30 p.m., and, found the structure fully-engulfed in flames.  The Fire Investigation Team determined that the blaze was caused by the improperly discarded cigarette coming into contact with combustible materials on the back porch.  There were no occupants home at the time of the fire... and no injuries reported.


Two men arrested on drug charges after being found in vehicle passed out...
Two Chautauqua County men have been arrested on numerous drug-related charges after they were found passed out in their car on Jamestown's northside Tuesday morning.  City police were called to check on the well-being of two men inside a car that was idling on Lakeview Avenue.  Officers say they found 41 year-old Shaun Ellison of Forestville, and 31 year-old Benjamin Gray of Cassadaga, inside the running vehicle.  During the investigation... police say they found about 75-grams of methamphetamine... 14.4-grams of Fentanyl... and, a quantity of Naloxone along with other items inside the car.  Both Ellison and Gray were arrested... and, charged with one count each of second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, two counts each of third and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Both also face multiple charges of criminally using drug paraphernalia.  Both were taken to the city jail pending arraignment.


County receives second payment in ARPA funding, more projects being eyed...
A two-part review of future projects for just over $12-million in the second round of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act is underway in Chautauqua County.  County Executive P.J. Wendel confirms the county has received the approximately $12.3-million, and, that will include some efforts already underway.  Wendel says that includes Phase-Two of the Sewer Expansion on the western side of Chautauqua Lake.  He says a working group will look back on how projects went in the first-round... and, use that to help determine what they'll go forward with.  Wendel says part of the review will be looking at certain projects that need the best, or "cadillac"-type of equipment... or that for a modest, mid-sized sedan.  He says they will get input from their people in the field to determine what's best to do because they know what's needed.


Paladino files lawsuit challenging NYS's new gun control measures...
A federal lawsuit challenging part of New York's new gun law has been filed by Republican congressional candidate Carl Paladino.  State lawmakers this month approved an overhaul of licensing rules after the Supreme Court struck down a 109-year-old state law that required people to demonstrate an unusual threat to their safety to qualify for a license to carry a handgun outside their homes.  The lawsuit filed in federal court in Buffalo takes aim at the law's provision that will bar people from bringing guns into private businesses unless the owners put up signs saying guns are welcome.  Paladino is running against State GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy for the nomination to run in the new 23rd Congressional District.


Scandinavian Festival returns after two-year absense due to COVID...
After two years off for COVID, Jamestown’s Scandinavian Folk Festival returns this weekend.  Gwen Funsell is one of the organizers... and, she admits it all seems a little "surreal" and like their holding their first festival.  The festival will run 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday (7/16) and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday (7/17).  With dala horses and decorations all over the arena, Funsell says it will become the ideal setting for the festival's vendors, lecturers, musicians and dancers.  Admission is just $5 with children under 16 free.  There’ll be some outdoor events, too... including a ‘mid-summer’ celebration starting at 10 a.m. Saturday with the decoration of the maypole -- near the public market.  A replica Viking ship will sail the Chadakoin River on Friday and then be on display on Lafayette Street throughout the festival.  More information is available at the website scandinavianjamestown.org.