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WJTN News Headlines

The issues surrounding "horizontal fracking" are more complex than just the matters of 'jobs versus water.'  That from one of the presenters at last night's Chautauqua County work session on Hydraulic Fracturing in Mayville.  Attorney Mary Hajdu (Hy-due) of the firm Burgett and Robbins has worked with a lot of landowner's groups in Pennsylvania.  She says water is just one of the infrastructure issues in 'fracking...' with another being roads because of increased traffic where there are drilling sites. "They" are the drilling companies... which Hajdu says are now spending up to 5 to 8-million dollars per well on their various sites.  One of the other major issues is what's called "flowback."  That's the waste water produced from fracking... and, how it's desposed of.  Glen Wahl represented the group "Cattaraugus-Chautauqua for Clean Water..." and, the League of Women Voters. Wahl... who is a college Geology Professor... told lawmakers he was basically neutral towards towards the idea of fracking until he did further research on it.  However... Mike Hogan of Hogan Energy Consulting says advances in technology has allowed many companies to recycle 100-percent -- or near 100-percent -- of their "flowback" water.  He says it makes sense both economically and environmentally.


Incumbant Southern Tier Congressman Tom Reed was in Jamestown yesterday afternoon to officially kick-off his re-election campaign.  Reed made the second of two announcements across the 23rd Congressional District at Blackstone Advanced Technologies on the city's eastside.  Speaking to Blackstone officials and employees... the Corning Republican said he picked the location because the "jobs of today and tomorrow" are his top priority.
Reed heads up the House Manufacturing Caucus... and, says Blackstone represents what is one of the country's "biggest opportunities today..." and, that's where American manufacturers "make it here to sell it there."  He reiterated his feeling that there can be a manufacturing rebirth -- or renaissance in the sprawling, 23rd District.  However... he says there are a number of other issues he's also been working on to allow that to happen.  One is getting the country's spiraling, 17-trillion dollar debt under control.  He says it jeopardizes job growth because it necessitates raising taxes to pay it off.  Reed... who'll face Democrat Martha Robertson... made his first campaign announcement earlier in Olean. 


Weakening demand for for many of it's food products has led ConAgra Foods to decide to close it's Carriage House facilities in Dunkirk and Fredonia.  The move... which the Omaha, Nebraska-based company says is expected to be completed by May of 2015... will eliminate more than 400 jobs.  County Industrial Development Agency Director Bill Daly says the decision to close and consolidate facilities was just recently made at ConAgra's corporate headquarters based strictly how products were selling. Daly says demand had especially weaker for jams, jellies and juices... and, they had excess "capacity" at many of it's plants.  That led to the decision regarding Carriage House... which he says was especially well-known for it's peanut butter lines.  Daly says 38 employees were cut in early 2013 at Carriage House's Dunkirk facility when a line of salad dressing was discontinued.  About 110 were initially to be cut.  Word is the current food product lines in Dunkirk and Fredonia will be moved to other ConAgra facilities... mainly in Kentucky.


The move by ConAgra comes just a year after Carriage House and Petri Foods previous owner, Ralcorp, closed a salad dressing line in Dunkirk... as well at Petri's Silver Creek plant.  That left about 375 people out of work at the time... but, the Petri building now has a new operator.  IDA Director Bill Daly says the State Labor Department and county's Workforce Investment Boad will be working with employees to help them find new work.  As for the IDA... Daly says they have a couple of plants to fill in a year. Daly admits there had been a few rumors about what might happen at Carriage House... especially given what happened to the smaller line in Dunkirk.  He says, though, "food-grade facilities" are highly-sought after... so he's optimistic someone will be found to take over the buildings. No possible moratoriums or bans are being looked at by lawmakers.  However... Legislature Chairman Jay Gould says... with the possibility of the state ending it's 6-year moratorium on horizontal drilling later this year... he wanted legislators to be informed on both sides of the issue.  A large, interested crowd was on hand for the session.


A Kennedy man has been arrested for allegedly pushing and choking another person during an altercation at a Mayville home early Tuesday night.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Elm Street shortly before 6 PM... and, learned on arrival that 40 year-old Kristopher Russ had harassed and choked another individual.  Deputies say Russ had left the scene... and, a warrant was obtained for his arrest.  Russ was located by officers later and arrested for second-degree harassment and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation.  He was arraigned in Chautauqua Town Court, and sent to the county jail where he posted bail.