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WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Sept. 2, 2022

Irving man faces numerous charges after leading police on vehicle pursuit...
A north county man has been arrested following a high-speed chase last weekend in the town of Hanover.  Sheriff's officers say a patrol spotted the vehicle speeding westbound on Routes 5-&-20 just before Midnight last Sunday... and, tried to stop the operator, 19 year-old Donato Schade of Irving.  However... Schade would not comply... and the pursuit went into the village of Silver Creek and the town of Sheridan.  Schade was finally stopped... and, charged with multiple counts of unlawfully fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, reckless driving, speed violations, and other miscellaneous state Vehicle and Traffic violations.  Schade will appear in both the Hanover, and Sheridan Town Courts at a later date.


AAA expects to see 22% increase in travel for Labor Day Weekend...
The final holiday weekend of the Summer season is expected to be a very busy one.  That from AAA... which is projecting that domestic travel will be up about 22% this year  Regional Spokeswoman Elizabeth Carey says higher costs are not preventing people from traveling over the three-day weekend.  Carey says that's due largely to "pent-up" demand... and, people still ready to travel.  However... she says make sure you are prepared before you leave by checking your car's tires, battery, and you have your keys before locking your car.  Carey says AAA expects to busy across New York during the holiday weekend... with them responding to calls from about 18,000 people over the weekend.  


Wendel says his proposed 2023 Budget is "solid and balanced," but, not giving specifics yet...
Chautauqua County's top-elected official says his 2023 budget will be a 'solid,' and 'balanced' spending plan.  County Executive P.J. Wendel adds that the process has been challenging due to rising costs... but, adds residents should like what they see at the end of the month.  The Lakewood Republican will present the approximately $270-million budget on or about Sept. 25.  Wendel says the fact the state is in much better financial shape than shortly after the pandemic began, is playing a role in that... and, the county has a "couple of projects" they're looking to have state funding assist with.  Wendel says he and his financial team have been meeting with department heads in recent weeks to go over the figures... and, find reductions where they can.  He says the biggest challenge for everyone has been inflation driving up the cost of goods and services.  Second quarter sales tax numbers were down slightly... but, Wendel says the county is on target to meet final, 2022 numbers. He made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Salamanca man indicted on Child Porn charges...
A man from Cattaraugus County has been indicted by a federal grand jury on multiple charges for allegedly producing, receiving and possessing child pornography.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross announced Thursday that 37 year-old Robert Caulkins, Jr. has been officially charged in the case after a complaint had been filed.  Prosecutors say... in April of 2020... the State Police began investigating Calkins after receiving dozens of reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that he possessed suspected child porn in his Google accounts.  In September 2020... State Police investigators say they executed a search warrant at Calkins’ East Jefferson Street home... and, seized four cell phones and an SD card.  They say a forensic analysis recovered thousands of images and videos of child pornography, including several images that Calkins produced using a minor victim.  Ross says the charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.


Whitaker pleased to see his first "normal" school opening since becoming superintendent at JPS...
It will be the first "normal" school opening for Jamestown School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker this coming Tuesday when classes begin.  Dr. Whitaker says he's pleased to see that almost all COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted on all New York schools this year.  He adds the biggest difference is the definition of "isolation versus quarantining..." and that students and staff will only have to isolate for five-days if they test positive for the virus.  Whitaker says once that five-day isolation period is done... you can return to class with a mask -- if you test negative for COVID.  As for staffing... he says the district's in pretty good shape generally... but, adds filling positions has been a "major challenge."  He says they've hired between 60 to 100 new people... and, adds a number of retired teachers have also returned to help fill gaps.  Whitaker adds that instruction will all be in-person this year... and, opening day next Tuesday will be a half-day of instruction. 


Some students struggling being held back at school... in some cases parents want it...
As some children struggled to keep up with school in the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic... many states saw significant increases in the number of students held back to repeat grades.  Twenty-two of the 26 states that provided data for the recent academic year, as well as Washington, D.C., saw an increase in the number of students who were held back, according to an Associated Press analysis.  Three states -- South Carolina, West Virginia and Delaware -- saw retention more than double.  Experts have cautioned about risks to students' social lives and academic futures, but many parents have asked for do-overs to help their children recover.