A problem with a hot water tank is the apparent cause of a blaze that's destroyed a car repair shop... and, several vehicles inside... in the town of Mina. Sheriff's Department dispatchers say Findley Lake fire crews were called to Jack's Repair Shop at 99-94 Bailey Hill Road just after 4 PM last Saturday... and, found heavy smoke and fire coming from the structure on arrival. Several mutual aid fire companies were called in to assist. County Fire Investigators say the fire started accidently inside the water tank... and, spread from there. No injuries were reported.
An Erie County, New York man suffered serious... but, non-life threatening injuries in a single-car crash on Routes 5 and 20 in the town of Hanover late Saturday night. Sheriff's officers say 44 year-old George Murray of Angola was eastbound about 10:45 PM when his car left the road for no apparent reason... and, struck a snowbank. Deputies say the car then struck a utility pole -- shearing it in half. Murray was flown by Mercyflight to the Erie County Medical Center for treatment. Charges are pending.
Chautauqua County's representative in the State Assembly is working with local highway superintendents to get more funding to deal with local roads and highways which have taken a beating this Winter. The highway superintendents traveled to Albany late this past week to meet with Bemus Point Republican Andy Goodell. Goodell says they're trying to get more Consolidated Highway Improvement Program... or CHIPS funding. He adds they're also looking at some of the state's gasoline tax. Goodell says it will be probably difficult to get an increase in funding in the upcoming state budget... but he is also pushing for a dedicated fund for roads and bridges.
The group says that local governments are responsibile for maintaining 87 percent of the roads in New York and half of the state's 18-thousand bridges. Goodell says he will be backing legislation that would create the 200-million dollar fund.
Police are still searching for the two men who may have tried to abduct a Frewsburg Central School student after school last Thursday afternoon. Sheriff's officers say they were called to the scene on Falconer Street about 3:20 PM to investigate a "suspicious" situation. Deputies say they learned the unidentified student was walking north -- near Howard Street -- when a northbound car pulled alongside them. Officers say the front seat passenger grabbed the student's arm... but, the student quickly pulled away... and, was able to flee safely from the scene. Deputies say both men were described as white males... and, the passenger was wearing a red, long-sleeved shirt and may have a darker complexion. However... the victim says both men were wearing ski masks. The car is described as a "fairly late model" car that was bluish-gray in color with tinted windows. The vehicle left the scene in a northerly direction. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at 664-3100... or 753-2131.
Two smaller "Family Drug Forums" have been scheduled around the main "Community Drug Forum" in Mayville this Wednesday. County Executive Vince Horrigan says the first of the family sessions will be held in Dunkirk Tuesday night from 6 to 8 PM at Jamestown Community College's North County Center. The second will be held at the same time Wednesday in the Carnahan Theater at JCC's city campus. Horrigan says the smaller forums are mainly for people who aren't able to be at Wednesday's day-long session at Chautauqua Suites. Horrigan says the Jamestown and Dunkirk forum's will serve to address the issues facing family's who may have someone abusing drugs. The forums have taken on added onus following confirmation last week that Fentanyl is in the Jamestown-area. The powerful narcotic was found during a raid on a residence at 520 Newland Avenue... but, city police say it had been packaged "as heroin." For more information on the the three forums... call the county's Office of Mental Hygiene at 753-4507.
The trial for the main suspect in last Spring's double-murder in the town of Carroll has been postponed until next September after having his trial separated from three other defendants. The Buffalo News reports the postponement in 34 year-old David Coggins' case was granted late last week in County Court. District Attorney David Foley says the separation of the cases was agreed to last week between he, and Public Defender Ned Barone... who is representing Coggins. Coggins and the other three are accused of murdering 66 year-old Gordon and 59 year-old Joyce Skinner last April. The couple was found dead in their Wheeler Hill Road home... where they were reportedly tortured and killed. Authorities have not released a motive in the case. The four were later found in Elmira after police received a description of the get-away vehicle from neighbors. In addition to Coggins... the other defendants include 21 year-old Joshua McCormick... and 18 year-olds Ricky Knickerbocker and Steve Todd. The four are also accused of setting the Skinner's home on fire to try and cover up the crime.
Some state senators are circulating a letter asking the body's leaders for 20-million dollars in funding for bicycle and pedestrian safety efforts. Park, trail and transportation advocate groups have been pressing for more funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in the budget bill due next week. A similar letter is also making the rounds with Assembly leaders.