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News Update for Tues., Mar. 18, 2014

North County man sentenced for manslaughter in shooting death of Fredonia man in 2012...

Chautauqua County's top prosecutor says he's satisfied with the sentence given to a Dunkirk man who admitted to pulling the trigger in the fatal shooting of a Fredonia man.  District Attorney David Foley says 46 year-old Theodore Wickham pled to second-degree manslaughter last month in connection with the death of 73 year-old Frank Slate in September of 2012.  Foley had asked for a 3 to 9 year sentence... but, ultimately agreed to a 1 to 9 year indeterminate term handed up Monday in County Court.  He says he wanted Wickham to plea to the charge in the indictment, and he did.  Foley says Wickham and his co-defendant, 28 year-old Christopher Grant, were at Slate's apartment when an argument broke out... and, Wickham shot Slate with the victim's 16-gauge shotgun.  However... Wickham testified he only intended to shot toward Slate to scare him.  Foley says that will be considered when it comes to how long Wickham actually spends behind bars.  Grant received 20 to 60 months as a sentence for his role in the crime... although he did not shoot Slate.  He cooperated with the prosecution in the case.  Wickham apologized to the court and Slate's family.

County's jobless rate up in January, but, well down from Jan. of 2013...

The brutal Winter cold is at least being partially blamed for a 1.1-percent increase in Chautauqua County's jobless rate in January.  State Labor Department Analyst John Slenker says the unemployment rate jumped from 7.2-percent in December... to 8.3-percent in January.  However... Slenker says there were "normal" seasonal factors involved.  He says both the number of people working... and, the number who were employed... were down.  Slenker says some sectors were up... like professional business.  But... some others -- including manufacturing -- were down.  He says the frigid temperatures... especially in early January... were the major reason construction ended up being down 300 jobs for the month.  He adds it also kept people indoors... and, not out shopping.  At the same time... he says a lot of what happened in January -- normally happens.  Slenker says the holiday season is over... and, the construction season has wound down.  He says the good news is the January 2014 jobless rate was 1.5-percent lower than that in January of last year... when it was 9.8-percent.

Cattaraugus County jobless rate also up... but, down compared to January of 2013...

While it was brutally cold... our Winter provided a "nice bump" to local ski resorts, and other Winter related businesses.  That was especially seen in neighoring Cattaraugus County... where Labor Analyst John Slenker says they saw a 200-job jump in leisure and hospitality due mainly to a much better ski season than in 2013-2014.  Slenker says it helped keep hold Cattaraugus' jobless rate at 8.1-percent in January... which was up one-percent from December's rate.  Overall... he says jobs were down 400.  He says part of that was due to construction... trade... and, financial sectors being down.