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WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Aug. 3, 2022

Spanaugle sentenced on burglary/attempted burglary charges...
A Jamestown man convicted of third-degree burglary... and, attempted burglary... has been sentenced to five-years in state prison.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt says 46 year-old David Spunaugle received the jail term... and, five years supervised parole... from County Court Judge David Foley.  Foley says Spunaugle was given to 2-to-4 years indeterminate in state prison on his conviction for the third-degree burglary charge... which will run concurrently.  Schmidt says Spanaugle was awaiting a court date on the attempted burglary charge when he burglarized another person’s home.  


Preliminary cause given on fire at Fredonia tavern... 
It appears that Monday afternoon's fire that damaged Heenan's Irish Pub in Fredonia started accidently.  The Post-Journal reported late Tuesday that Chautauqua County fire investigators determined that village crews burning weeds on the sidewalk in the area likely sparked flames that caught the side of the building on fire.  Fredonia Fire Chief Josh Myers says the call came in as a fire on an exterior wall shortly before 3 p.m., and on arrival, saw the fire going on the outside, but, adds it was moving into the interior at the same time.  Fredonia crews got mutual aid at the scene from the city of Dunkirk and Sheridan crews.  Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek, who is also a volunteer firefighter, praised the work of the fire crews.  Essek says there's always concern over a fire in an older building where flames can travel quickly.  County fire investigators were later brought to the scene... and, it's believed the fire started on the exterior of the building at ground level. 


Suspect sought in Seneca Casino robbery in Cattaraugus County...
State Police in Cattaraugus County are asking for the public's help in finding the suspect in an armed robbery at Seneca Gaming and Entertainment Oil Springs Casino in the town of Ischua.   Troopers in Machias say the unidentified man entered the casino just before 11 p.m. last Saturday night... displaying what appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun, and carrying a cloth shopping bag.  They say the man approached the cashier cage where he demanded money.  The suspect appeared to be an average build white male and approximately 5'9" inches tall... and, he was wearing a camouflage shirt, hat, mask, dark sweatpants and black sneakers with white trim.   The suspect appeared to be wearing transparent gloves with the words LOVE either tattooed on his knuckles or drawn on the gloves.  He left on foot with cash in the shopping bag, as well as a cashier drawer.  Anyone with information can contact State Police at 585-344-6200.  


Borrello introduces legislation to eliminate Farm Laborer's Wage Board...
Local State Senator George Borrello has made good on his word... and, has introduced legislation in Albany that would eliminate the three-member Farm Laborers Wage Board.  A companion measure in the State Assembly has been introduced by Ranking Minority Agriculture Committee member, Chris Tague.  The wage board was established as part of Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act approved in 2019.  Borrello says the board is charged with making a recommendation on reducing the current 60-hour overtime threshold for farm workers to 40 hours.  Back in January... Borrello says more than 70% of the testimony given during public hearings was concerns over the harm that such a measure would cause.  Borrello says "the wage board has just one member with an agricultural background, making it ill-equipped to render sound, informed decisions concerning New York State’s critically-important agriculture industry."  The board is to meet next on September 6th to make it's final report and recommendations to state leaders.


Annual Gerry Rodeo set for 77th edition to begin tonight...
About 200 professional rodeo cowboys and cowgirls will be taking part in the 77th Gerry Rodeo... which is set to begin tonight at the grounds of Rt. 60.  The first performance will be held at 8 p.m., and will feature several men's divisions... and, two for the women this year.  Long-time rodeo Spokesman, Paul Cooley... says the rodeo's stock contractor and producer... Painted Pony from Lake Lucerne, New York... is back again.  He said Tuesday they've brought more than 100 head of bulls and horses this year.  Florida's Brinson James is this year's rodeo clown... and, entertainer.  It's the 28 year-olds first time at Gerry... and, told our Dennis Webster that he's enjoyed his short stay so far.  James has been a rodeo clown the past 10 years... and, says he's been to most of the major rodeos in North America... including the Calgary Stampede in Canada.  The Gerry Rodeo runs each night... tonight through Saturday beginning at 8 p.m.  The Gerry Fire Department will also be selling their traditional beef barbecue dinners beginning at 5.  For more information... go on-line to gerryrodeo.org.


Attica Book Ban Lifted...
New York state prison authorities have lifted a ban on a book about the 1971 Attica uprising following a First Amendment lawsuit.  Author Heather Ann Thompson, a historian and professor at the University of Michigan, sued the state's prisons in March in Manhattan federal court over the censorship of her book ``Blood in the Water: The Attica Uprising of 1971.''  Prison official said last week in a letter to a Manhattan federal judge that they would dismiss the ban... but, will cut out a two-page map from all copies for security purposes.