WJTN News Headlines

Two city men have been arrested for allegedly attacking a third man during a reported fight on Jamestown's eastside last Saturday afternoon.  City police were called to a "fight in progress" shortly before 2 PM... and, found a large group of people in front of the residence at 812 Jefferson Street... and, a smaller group nearby on Isabella Street.  Officers say further investigation led to the arrest of Isaiah Pearson... who was with the group on Jefferson Street... and, Joshua Hinson... who was found on Isabella.  Both are accused of attacking the unidentified victim.  Both men were arrested for third-degree assault... and, were jailed pending arraignment in city court.


Five Buffalo-area men are in the custody of U-S Marshall's after what authorities are calling a "dismantling" of a major western New York heroin trafficking organization.  Agents with the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say the ring was distributing the drug in the Southern Tier... mainly in Olean and Salamanca.  Task Force members arrested Steven Martinez... Jeffrey Coleman... Tomas Figueroa... Julio Sanchez... and, Elias Figueroa during a raid yesterday in Buffalo.  Task Force and DEA Agents seized 591 grams of heroin during the operation... with a reported street value of more than 50-thousand dollars.  They also seized more than 70-thousand dollars in cash.  Drug agents accuse the five of distributing more than one-thousand grams or more of the drug.  All five were arraigned in U-S District Court on federal charges... and, turned over to the U-S Marshall's Office without bail.


It wasn't a big surprise... but, it signals the start of the campaign in Chautauqua County for the 23rd Congressional seat.  County Democrats unanimously threw their backing behind Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson... who annouced last year that she was going to run against incumbant Republican Tom Reed this year.  Robertson was in Mayville to accept the endorsement.  Chautauqua County Democrat Committee Chairman Norm Green says a recent national news article stated the 23rd District race will be one of the two-20 to watch... mainly due to what he calls "missteps" by Reed. Robertson's campaign has recently hammered Reed on the fact he was late on his taxes in Corning 39 times in recent years... and, that his name remained on his former law firm AFTER he had been elected.  However... the Republican National Committee wants Robertson investigated for allegedly lying in an e-mail to supporters that Republican "operatives" hacked into her campaign website last September 30th.  The Buffalo News reported yesterday that Robertson has yet to prove that actually happened.  Green also says county Democrats also endorsed Sheriff Joe Gerace for a sixth-term in office.  Jamestown-area Meals on Wheels Director Barrie Yochim has been endorsed to run for State Assembly.


In an effort to protect consumers from big surprise medical bills... the Cuomo administration has proposed extending out-of-network coverage requirements for emergencies and specialists to all health insurers in New York.  According to the state Department of Financial Services... the requirements currently apply to health maintenance organizations and 16 insurance plans in New York's new health exchange.  Legislation that Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed for the fiscal year starting April 1st would apply those consumer protections to non-HMOs, which provide most health coverage in New York.  It would also help protect patients from big surprise medical bills from out-of-network doctors by requiring clear advance disclosures about who's actually in their insurance networks.  Disputes would go to arbitration between doctors and insurance companies, leaving the patients out.


U-S Senator Charles Schumer says voluntary standards agreed to by federal regulators, and the rail industry for oil shipping, should be amended to phase out unsafe tanker cars and reduce train speed in populated areas.  The New York Democrat says Wednesday that the agreement announced by the federal Department of Transportation and Association of American Railroads doesn't go far enough to protect upstate communities.  Trains pull hundreds of tankers of highly volatile crude oil from North Dakota cross New York daily in a virtual moving pipeline to East Coast refineries.  The agreement announced last week proposes numerous voluntary safety measures but doesn't bar companies from continuing to use cars known as DOT-111s that are at risk of rupture in a crash.


The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities is hoping to start a 3-million dollar project to replace two aging electric substations by early next month.  That from BPU General Manager Dave Leathers... who calls the new Chadakoin Substation a "priority project" for the board's Transmission and Distribution group in 2014.  Leathers says the group -- led by Chris Rogers -- will locate the substation on Isabella Avenue -- near Clinton Street.  Leathers says the T-and-D group's Kris Sellstrom outlined the project for the board this past week. Leathers says the new equipment should "enhance reliabililty" for the utility.  The BPU approved the new substation project just over a year ago.  He says they're hoping the Winter weather will break within the next month so work can begin on the substation building. Leathers says the actual building should be completed fairly soon... and, adds they're hoping to have the substation commissioned and operating by next November or December.  The property had previously been used as a place for the city's Public Works Department to dump snow.


U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is telling federal officials that the Empire State needs its bees to pollinate crops.  Gillibrand wrote Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to ask him to expand the department's efforts to revive bee populations in New York and the Northeast.  Vilsack has already directed $3 million to study bee losses in the Midwest.  Gillibrand... a New York Democrat... noted that beekeepers in the state last year lost an average of 30 percent of their hives to Colony Collapse Disorder, in which honeybees suddenly disappear or die.  The losses could affect apple and other crops in New York.  The state has about 52,000 beehives.


A federal judge has approved settlement of a class-action lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase for its force-placed insurance practices, an agreement that could pay more than $300 million to about 750-thousand mortgage borrowers.  The national settlement prohibits the bank for six years from commissions, kickbacks or reinsurance from the hazard insurance it obtains when a homeowner's policy lapses.  Under Judge Federico Moreno's order Friday in Miami, class members will have to file claim forms to recover 12.5 percent of the net premiums they were charged between January 1st of 2008 and October 4th of 2013.  Moreno also barred JPMorgan Chase and Assurant and its insurance subsidiaries ``from inflating premiums'' for six years.  Assurant says it hasn't acknowledged wrongdoing but it's in the company's best interests to settle.  New York-based JPMorgan Chase didn't initially reply to requests for comment.