WJTN News Headlines

The former head of the Frewsburg Post Office has pleaded guilty to stealing just over 14-thousand dollars in cash paid for postage stamps.  Assistant U-S Attorney Russell Ippolitto, Junior says 51 year-old Donna Spencer of Falconer pled to misappropriation of postal funds by a Postal Service employee in U-S District Court Thursday.  Ippolitto says Spencer had been the Frewsburg Postmaster from February of 1999 to July of last year.  But... he says the theft of funds actually began in early 2012. Ippolitto is leading the prosecution in the case.  He says Postal Service investigators -- acting on a tip -- audited the Frewsburg Post Office... and, found the descrepancy.  He says Spencer was confronted with the information... and, admitted to taking the money.  Ippolitto says Spencer faces 6 to 12 months in prison... and, a 2-thousand to 20-thousand dollar fine.  She must also make restitution.  She could face up to a decade in prison... and, a 250-thousand dollar fine. Ippolitto says Spencer had been employed by the U-S Postal Service since 1986.  He says she is to be sentenced next May 27th at 10 AM before Chief U-S District Court Judge Judge William Skretny.


A significant storm system has moved into the region.. and, is expected to produce rain and some strong winds... and, the resulting warm up could bring some local flooding issues.  The National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a High Wind Warning through 10 this Evening for Chautauqua County.  Forecaster Bob Hamilton said last night our temperatures had reached about 40... and, with rising temperatures and rain overnight... he says there will be flooding in some areas. As for the winds... gusts overnight were to reach 45 MPH - especially near Lake Erie.  Hamilton says today... they'll be about 50 miles and hour.  The Weather Service is continuing a Flood Watch from now through this afternoon.  Ice Jam-flooding is also possible in those areas prone to see it.


Motorists in the region will tell you the worst 'by-product' of our harsh Winter is potholes.  They're everywhere... and, they've tested the driving skill of every driver in Chautauqua County.  Our extreme cold weather... which first hit the area in early January... followed by short, but, quick warm-ups... has led to potholes and asphalt coming up in numerous places.  The city of Jamestown has had more than it's share.  Public Works Director Jeff Lehman says he can't remember a worse Winter than this.  He says a couple of locations have been especially bad.
Lehman says they've got crews out every day applying "cold patch" to fill the holes.  But... he says sometimes they're so big and deep... it doesn't do much good.  He says the "cold patch" actually works well when it's cold... but, not as well when the weather is wet -- like it's to be through tomorrow night.  He says the problem is when the ice melts... the water it seeps down into the asphalt -- and, when it freezes -- it breaks apart. 


Since the first "Polar Vortex" in early January... the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities has dealt with some 40 Water Main breaks.  BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says that a much larger number of breaks than usual.  Robbins says Water Division crews have been very busy this winter... having to deal with fixing the mains -- often times in below zero weather.  On yesterday's Dennis Webster Show... Robbins said the fact the frost line is now so far into the ground... it's not far away from water mains... and, water lines going into homes and businesses.  She adds with our current warm-up... there's another issue. Robbins again advises residents that they should still continue to have a "pencil thin" drip of water from a faucet going to prevent water pipe freeze-up.  That's because the frost-line is down about 40-inches into the ground -- just above the mains and pipes.  That won't change before our next bout of cold weather.


Billionaire developer Donald Trump's public flirtation with running for governor is being criticized by a potential Republican rival.  Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino says Wednesday that Trump needs to end ``this circus stuff'' and say he's running for governor or not.  Astorino has yet to declare that he's running, though he is traveling the state and has created a campaign committee.  Astorino is expected to announce his decision by the end of the month.  Polls have shown either man would face an uphill race challenging Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.  Astorino also claimed to have the most state party support.  Michael Cohen, special counsel to Trump, says Astorino appears to be perpetuating the media hype to create name recognition. And Cohen says Trump has more party support.


A western New York woman has been convicted of threatening to kill President Barack Obama. Federal prosecutors said Thursday that 38-year-old Christine Wright-Darrisaw of Rochester made the threat in a cell phone call to the White House in February 2012.  The White House operator testified during the one-day trial that she still remembers the call nearly two years later because of its violent tone. A jury also found Wright-Darrisaw guilty of lying to the Secret Service agents who investigated. Wright-Darrisaw faces up to five years in prison on each count when she's sentenced in May.