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WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Sept. 7, 2022

Stockton mobile home fire ruled Incendiary in nature...
A criminal investigation is underway into the cause of Tuesday afternoon's fire that extensively damaged a mobile home in the town of Stockton.  Sheriff's officers say Stockton firefighters were called to 4943 Munger Road just after 2 p.m., and, found the trailer fully-engulfed in flames on arrival.  They were joined by Sinclairville and Brocton fire crews.  The county's Fire Investigation Team was called in... and found no accidental cause... and, have ruled it incendiary.  The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office will be following up with a criminal investigation on this matter that has displaced three persons temporarily.  No injuries were reported.


Homeless problem in Jamestown getting worse with expiration of eviction moratorium, and other factors...
The homeless problem in the city of Jamestown has been made worse by the recent expiration of New York State's eviction moratorium.  However... it's not the only reason why the numbers have been increasing in recent months.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who commended City Council members who have taken the time to talk with some of the homeless to get a better handle on the problem.  Sundquist says it's been a "perfect storm" of circumstances including the evictions, and location of the city, and shelters being at capacity, right now.  He says all of the shelters in the city... including the UCAN Mission and others... are struggling to meet the demand.  He says most are families, and are not from here.  However... they have made their way here... and, have nowhere else to go.  Sundquist says city police and the parks departments have had regular interactions with them to help get them the resources they need.  He says one of the places many homeless have ended up is under railroad viaducts to protect them from the elements.  However... in most cases... those places are not safe. 


Sundquist pleads with County's Homless Coalition to meet in Jamestown, and see problem first hand...
Jamestown's homeless problem will be the focus of a meeting hosted by city leaders sometime soon.  That from Mayor Sundquist at last month's second work session.  Sundquist says he recently spoke to the Chautauqua County Homeless Coalition about the city's challenges... and, basically told them "you need to be in Jamestown."  He says they're focusing on using funding to help get people where they are going, and "on the ground" support.  Sundquist says another problem has been churches and other groups doing charity work... and, providing food and other services in places that are either unsafe... or cause other problems for the general population.  No date has been announced for a meeting at this time.


Borrello sounds off on NYS Farm Laborers Wage Board recommending 10 year phase-in of lower overtime threshold...
The New York State Farm Laborers Wage Board has officially recommended that the overtime threshold for farm workers be lowered from 60 hours to 40 hours a week over 10 years.  The decision by the three-person panel is moving New York's farming community "another step closer to a tragic reckoning."  Those are the feelings of local State Senator George Borrello... who has called on the panel to not recommend the change because it will make it too expensive for many farmers to stay in business.  Borrelo says "it was unfair and unethical of the Legislature’s majorities and New York’s former governor to require this decision of three unelected individuals, two-thirds of whom lack any agriculture background."  However... the Sunset Bay Republican says Governor Kathy Hochul can halt the move by not enacting the recommendation.  


Three city men arrested for drug possession following traffic stop...
Three Jamestown men are accused of trafficking drugs early last weekend following a traffic stop on the city's westside.  City police say a patrol pulled over the vehicle... driven by Markeel Hilson... just after 4 a.m. last Friday for making an improper turn at Lafayette and West Fourth Streets.  Officers say they also found that Hilson was driving with a suspended license.  Officers then searched the vehicle and found a quantity of cocaine, a digital scale, and cash.  Hilson, along with his passengers, Daryle Tyson and Brandon Hogg, were placed into custody.  All three were charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia.  Hilson was also charged with second-degree Aggravated Unlicensed Operation, and making an Improper Turn.  All three were taken to the city jail pending arraignment.


Wendel says mandated county threat assessment planning underway...
The process of developing a new, state-required Threat Assessment and Management Team is well underway in Chautauqua County.  That from County Executive P.J. Wendel... who says the team will develop a local "Domestic Terrorism Prevention Plan" being required by an executive order from Governor Kathy Hochul.  Wendel says the program needs to be in place by the end of the year... and, says they are using a threat-assessment team for local schools... and, what was recently approved for Monroe County... as a blueprint for the county's plan.  Hochul announced recently that she has made $10-million available to all 57 counties... and, New York City to support developing those teams.  However... Wendel says the problem is identifying those lone wolf extremists who are relatively quiet.  In some ways... that's what happened in Buffalo and the attack on author Salman Rushdie at Chautauqua Institution.  Hochul's order was issued in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Buffalo last May 18.  It's designed to fight the "troubling surge" in domestic terrorism and violent extremism frequently inspired by, planned on, and posted about on social media platforms and internet forums.