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News Update for Tues., Apr. 28, 2015

Teen accused of several arson's on Jamestown's westside is arrested...

Jamestown Police have arrested a 15 year-old juvenile for allegedly setting five vehicle and dumpster fires in the Shirley Lane-area of the city over the past eight-months.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the teen was arrested Monday following an interview with investigators.  Samuelson says the suspect allegedly began his spree last Sept. 25 when he set two vehicles on fire in the Spanish Gates Apartment complex... then another vehicle and two dumpsters late last month.  He says, through their investigation -- which included neighborhood interviews -- they arrested the teen for all five incidents.  Samuelson says the youth faces Felony arson charges... but, adds the case will go to Family Court due to his age.  Police Chief Harry Snellings says the arrest will not only bring relief to people in the Shirley Lane-area... but, the entire city, as well.  Snellings says arsonists "have no boundaries" on where they may strike.  He adds that, in close city settings, multiple homes can catch fire.  Police say they do have a motive for the youth setting the fires... but, aren't releasing that. 

Fire in back addition at Jamestown Royal ruled arson...

Jamestown fire officials say arson is the cause of this morning's blaze that destroyed a small addition at the back of Jamestown Royal Company.  City Fire Battalion Chief Sam Salemme now says the fire... which was called in just before 6 a.m. at 300 Crescent Street... was intentionally set.  Salemme says firefighters found flames coming from the back of the business... near the railroad tracks.  He says they found the small addition heavily engulfed in flames... but, they knocked down the flames quickly.  Salemme says several off-duty firefighters were called in to assist at the scene... and, help staff Fire Station-One at City Hall.  He says the building was already in bad shape, and, is now destroyed.  Salemme says fire crews... and, their equipment... were at the scene until shortly after 9 AM.  No one was hurt. 

News Update for Fri., Apr. 24, 2015

City man now sought for allegedly filing a false report that he was shot by someone else last Mar. 19...

A Jamestown man is now wanted by police for allegedly falsifying a report that he was shot by someone last month on McKinley Avenue.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says they have now filed a warrant for the arrest of 23 year-old Matthew Buck of 30 Terrace Pl.  Samuelson says officers were called the scene -- near Prospect Street -- about 5 a.m. last March 19 on a report of a shooting incident.  He says Buck told police that he had been shot by another person during what was reportedly a drug transaction.  However... Samuelson says investigators found Buck had apparently shot himself during the incident.  He says Buck is now charged with Felony Making an Apparent False Sworn Statement... and, Falsely reporting an Incident.  Anyone with information on Buck's whereabouts is asked to call City police at 483-7537... or their Confidential Tip-line at 483-8477.

Reed talks about change to ACA to help New York fire departments recruit more members...

Local fire departments have geared up for today's fifth annual Recruit New York... and, area Congressman Tom Reed says he continues to work with local departments to find ways to help with recruiting volunteers.  During a conference call with area media this past week... the Corning Republican indicated that a recent change with the Affordable Care Act is among the ways federal lawmakers have been helping local departments.  He says he wanted to make them held "harmless" regarding out of pocket expenses under Obamacare.  Reed says he applauds the efforts of volunteers in serving their communities.  He says they are doing it for the right reason.... "day in an day out..." and, out of the "goodness of their heart."  The House Republican says he recently met with a group of fire chiefs from the 23rd Congressional District last week to discuss other ways to help with recruiting volunteers.   

Reynolds named as new director at Cornell Cooperative Ext. in Chautauqua County...

A life-long Chautauqua County resident who's been heavily involved in agricultural activities for the past eight-years has taken over the reins at Cornell Cooperative Extension of the county.  The Association has announced that Emily Kidd-Reynolds was named to the post effective April 20.   Most recently... Reynolds served the past 6 years as it's Operations Manager... and, was 4-H Youth Development Issue Leader before that.  She's been Interim Operations Manager for the past six-months... alongside with Shawn Tiede.  Teide is currently the Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension Wyoming County... and, had served as the Interim Executive Director for the Chautauqua County Extension.  Reynolds says she's "very excited" about the opportunity to bring Cornell Cooperative Extension "forward" locally.  For more information on Cornell Cooperative Extension locally... call 664-9502 or go on-line to

National Train Day in Jamestown previewed...

There will be lots more to see and do at this year's "National Train Day" celebration Saturday, May 9th at the Gateway Train Station in downtown Jamestown.  Train Station General Manager Lee Harkness says an early, vintage steam engine will be among the attractions that'll be here beginning at 10 a.m.  Harkness says the vintage engine will be one of two train engines on display... one a steam engine the other diesel.  He adds they'll be joined by about 10 work cars... and, Trolley Car #93.  Harkness says... among the activities will be a re-enactment of the "Great American Train Robbery..." which he says will take place about 1 p.m., and, again at 7 that night.  National train historian... and, author of 25 books on the railroad... Kenneth Springirth, applauded Harkness, and city officials for restoring the old station.  Springirth says it's worth celebrating because Jamestown quickly grew from a village to a city after the first passenger train came here on August 25, 1860.  From then until 1870... he says Jamestown grew by 69-percent in size... and, kept growing after that.   Harkness says National Train Day... and, will include Toy Train lay-outs... and, other exhibits.  For more information... contact Harkness at the Train Station.

TRC holds tree planting ceremony...

A unique Arbor Day ceremony took place Friday morning at the Resource Center's Administrative Offices on Dunham Ave near Celoron.  The first of six flowering crab apple trees that will line the Lucy Lane side of the building was put in place.  The Resource Center's Chief Executive Officer Denise Jones says the new plantings will replace several large and well-aged trees that had to be taken out.  Jones says they want to "give back to the community," and make some room for their "feathered friends in the area, as well."  The trees will actually be planted by Resource Center consumers who work for TRC Landscaping.  Mike Braxton is Business Development Coordinator at TRC... and, says he loves working with such a "fantastic bunch of people."  A cold irony of the day was that the flowering crab trees, from a warm greenhouse, can't really be planted until the temperatures reach a steady 50 degrees.  One of the young trees was brought out for a photograph... andm then quickly scurried back inside.



WJTN News Headlines

The second suspect in this past Monday afternoon's vicious assault on two teachers at Jamestown High School's Tech Academy has been arrested at his home in the city.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the second, 16 year-old student was taken into custody Thursday morning after he was found hiding in a closet.  Samuelson says the suspect had fled the scene shortly before officers arrived about 12:30 PM Monday.  In addition to criminal charges... School Superintendent Tim Mains says the student will face consequences from the district. Samuelson says the teenager was taken to the city jail where he's being held pending arraignment.  The other teen was caught a short distance away from the scene on Monday.  Both teachers were punched in the face several times by the suspects... while one was also hit over the head by a metal wall clock.  Both victims were taken to the hospital... but, were back in the classroom Tuesday morning.


One of two Jamestown residents wanted for allegedly passing more than two-dozen counterfeit 50-dollars bills at last year's Warren County Fair has been arrested in the city.  Jamestown police say they located 28 year-old Jordan Adams at 13 Axtel Street about 10:45 AM Thursday after receiving a tip on his whereabouts.  Officers say Adams faces 27 counts of five separate charges... including Forgery... Theft by Deception... and, Conspiracy - Forgery.  Adams and another Jamestown resident... 35 year-old Christine Snow... were recently identified by State Police in Warren for allegedly circulating the phony 50s.  It's also believed pair may have passed counterfeit bills in New York state.  However... no charges have been placed here yet.  Police continue to look for Redding... also known as Christine Snow.  Adams is being held pending arraignment as a fugitive from justice.


It's not what Jamestown-area residents were looking for yesterday... but, we did get a measureable snowfall overnight in many locations around Western New York.   In fact... at least one location received nearly a half foot of snow in Cattaraugus County.  An upper level storm brought frequent snow showers to the area early Thursday.  That from Forecaster Dave Thomas of the National Weather Service in Buffalo. The National Weather Service reports that 5 inches of snow fell in West Valley in Cattaraugus County... 2.4 inches in Colden in Erie County... and, about 7-tenths of an inch has been reported by weather observers in Jamestown.  We had just over an inch here at our Media One Studios.  Thomas says late April snow is not as unusual as you would think.  Last year... he says we had a trace of snow on this date.


Chautauqua County's Director of Health and Human Services has high hopes for a coordinated school health program to be offered to districts beginning this fall.  Christine Schuyler believes the curriculum called 'ICE 8' is a long term, positive community response to the area's major drug problem. Schuyler says the program is being made available through BOCES, and 300-thousand dollars has been secured to get the cirriculum started in every school district in the county.  What's needed now is school boards to adopt the program... and what she calls 'buy in' by the community at-large that "health is a priority."  Schuyler says the program is evidence based, and touches on many aspects of health in ways appropriate for each grade level.  She adds ICE 8 will be helpful to classroom teachers because it meets the health and safety standards established for "common core."  Schuyler outlined the basics of ICE 8 at a Drug Forum this past Wednesday sponsored by the AAUW and League of Women Voters. 


The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County is set to launch two pilot programs next month to improve treatment for drug addicts.  Association Director Rick Huber says The 'Treatment Court Jail Diversion Program'  will allow immediate access to help for 10 people accepted into Drug Court. The program is being developed in cooperation with Jamestown City Court Judge John LaMancuso.  The second new program will provide withdrawl medication from a psychiatrist for two people fighting addiction... and intensive counseling.  Huber says someone who's been through "withdraw" will be with them 24/7.  He says that counseling will be provided by certified councelors at the Mental Health Association.  Huber says May is Mental Health Month... and, the ideal time to start new initiatives.  Huber previewed the programs at a Drug Forum held Wednesday by the AAUW and the League of Women Voters. 


A city man is jailed without bail for allegedly holding a Jamestown woman against her will... and, threatening to kill her.  City police were called to the scene of a "violent" domestic incident late this past Sunday night... and, the victim told them she was attacked by 34 year-old Fred Lee.  The victim reportedly told officers that she was held by the throat against a wall... and, not allowed to move.  She says he also threatened her, and, broke two of her necklaces when he pulled her by the shirt collar.  When they arrested him... police say they struggled with Lee briefly.  They say the victim had an order of protection against him.  Lee was arraigned in city court on several charges... including Felony criminal contempt... unlawful imprisonment... and, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation.  He was then sent to the county lock-up.


The Catholic church is opposing efforts in New York to allow alleged sex abuse victims to sue after the statute of limitations has expired.  Currently... victims have only until they turn 23 to seek charges or file a civil suit.  The bill would create a one-year window for anyone to file lawsuits no matter when the alleged abuse occurred.  A similar law in California passed in 2002 resulted in dioceses paying 1.2-billion dollars in settlements.  New York's Catholic Conference says allowing claims of decades-old abuse would cause the church ``catastrophic financial harm.''  Bill supporters say current laws fail to acknowledge the seriousness of sex abuse _ or that victims often struggle for years before stepping forward.  The measure would entirely eliminate the statute of limitations on abuse cases going forward.


The national competition is still about two-months away... but, it's been a busy week for the Distinguished Young Woman in New York state.  Cassadaga Valley Central School Senior Heather Dorler is taking time this week to work with younger student on positive ways to be their "best self."  It's part of the national program's "Be Your Best Self Initiative.  Heather will speak today to a group of sixth-grade Chorus members at Cassadaga about the "Best Your Best Self" Programs five-elements. Dorler, who lives in Stockton, won the Distinguished Young Woman of the Lakewood Area last November... then went on to win the State Title.  She'll head to Mobile, Alabama in mid-June to taken part in the national competition.  Heather is also promoting this November's local competition... and, says it's a great experience.  She says it brings together "lots of young women who are just trying to build friendships, and work together."  Heather adds it's also a great chance to win some scholarship money for college.  She says she looks forward to the national competition in Mobile, which begins June 15th. 







WJTN News Headlines

A Fredonia man that was thought to be missing was located Sunday evening.  88 year old Edward Sunday was reported missing Sunday afternoon after last being seen around 12:30 at the Portland Congregational Church.  Just after 6:30pm Sunday the Chautauqua County Sherriff's Department notified local media that "Mr. Sunday was located and is no longer considered missing."


Several hundred people visited the 'Pride of Chautauqua' Sunday at the Fluvanna Fire Hall.  It's an annual event put on by the Chautauqua County Farm Bureau to showcase agriculture in this area. Dick Kimball, a Dewittville dairyman... and President of the local Farm Bureau said consumers had a lot of questions, and farmers were there to answer them.  Larry Rater, a retired dairy farmer from Sherman and a former Farm Bureau President, said 'Pride of Chautauqua' is a great way for people to see the progress in agriculture... where farmers are always creating a better product, more efficiently.   A couple dozen local farms and farm businesses were represented in Sunday's event.


A Buffalo man is jailed without bail for allegedly pointing what appeared to be a gun at a Jamestown woman... holding her against her will... and, robbing her.  City Police were called to 163 Barrows Street about 11 PM Friday for an alleged domestic incident.  On arrival... they found a female yelling inside the apartment... and, that 32 year-old Devon Cottom had run off through the back door.  Police say Cottom had allegedly choked the woman before allegedly pointing the gun -- later identified as an "airsoft BB Gun" -- at her.  Officers say K-9 "Mitchell" help track Cottom to an area behind Allen Street... where a witness told that Cottom had run behind the house at 431 Allen Street.  Police set up a perimeter... and, got Cottom to come out of the house and surrender.  He faces several charges... including third-degree robbery... second-degree menacing... and, unlawful imprisonment.  They also found a parole warrant had been issued for Cottom's arrest.


New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (Hay-stee) has assembled a small group of Democratic lawmakers to study ways to make state government more transparent.  The Bronx Democrat announced the appointments to the 12-member panel late last week.  Heastie says the panel will recommend changes to encourage more openness and public participation in the legislative process.  The group will also look for ways to better harness technology, including improvements to the Assembly's website and expanding what information is placed online.  When he was elected speaker earlier this year, Heastie vowed to address longstanding concerns that rank-and-file lawmakers and members of the public were too often left out of legislative decision making.  Assembly members J. Gary Pretlow of Mount Vernon and Brian Kavanagh of Manhattan will lead the panel.


Sections of three roads maintained by New York State -- including Interstate 86 -- are slated for major repairs this construction season.  That from State Assemblyman Andy Goodell... who coincidentally lost a tire on a rough stretch of I-86 east of Salamanca about four weeks ago.  However... the interstate is is much worse shape in both eastbound lanes from the Pennsylvania state line to the lake bridge at Stow.  Goodell says the project is in the state Department of Transportation's Capital Fund for this year. Goodell adds that's the same fund the DOT will use to re-surface Foote Avenue in the city of Jamestown through the Arterial to West Second Street.  He says the other projects include Route 430 from Long Point to DeWittville... and, from Mayville to Findley Lake.  Goodell says there is some emergency work begin done right now... and, contracts will be awarded soon for the major repairs.  For the time being... Goodell says patchwork is being done to temporarily smooth out the roads.


Top lawmakers and several business leaders from around New York state will join Gov. Andrew Cuomo's trade mission to Cuba.  Business leaders include the CEOs of JetBlue and Chobani Greek Yogurt, the vice chairman of MasterCard and executives from the NY Genome Center, Pfizer, Cayuga Milk Ingredients, a Finger Lakes dairy company, and the biopharmaceutical company Regeneron.  The group will travel to Havana tomorrow for a two-day visit, intended to foster economic ties between Cuba and New York.


New York state's comptroller has approved an award of a 565-million dollar contract to Xerox to redesign and operate the information management system for its Medicaid program.  The comptroller's office says its review found insufficient grounds in the protests by Computer Sciences Corporation... and, Hewlett-Packard to overturn the award.  The current system is operated by Computer Sciences Corp. Hewlett-Packard bid against Xerox.  Medicaid provides health care for millions of low-income New Yorkers with total projected federal and state spending this year of $63.2 billion.  The comptroller's office says the five-year contract will take effect in 14 days.  In a letter... the comptroller's director of contracts notes the state health department has taken precautionary measures to prevent performance issues like those that have come up with Xerox contracts in other states.


Some 25 fire departments across Chautauqua County will be holding an open house this comng weekend in an effort to get people to join as volunteer firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians.  County Emergency Services Director... and, Fire Coordinator Julius Leone says the "Recruit New York" effort has picked up some momentum over the years. Leone says they had a good response last year... but, adds they need more recruits.  He says they picked up about 50 more firefighters among the 42 across the county.  However... he says -- in some cases -- departments are still playing "catch-up" as far as their numbers are concerned.  The Recruit-New York effort is for volunteer fire departments and rescue crews.  For a complete list of fire departments... and, available positions is available on-line at Fasny-dot-COM.


A Frewsburg woman faces Felony charges for allegedly receiving 45-hundred dollars in food stamps she wasn't eligible for last year.  Sheriff's Department investigators say they arrested 27 year-old Anna Towne of Warren Road late last week for Welfare Fraud.  Officers say their investigation showed that Towne failed to notify the county's Department of Health and Human Services that her husband was employed during the period she received the benefits.  Investigators say that six-month period began March 1st of 2014.  Towne faces charges including third-degree Welfare Fraud... and, third-degree Grand Larceny.  The Joint investigation involved the Sheriff's Office... and, the D-H-H-S Program Integrity Unit.  Towne was issued appearance tickets.  Instances of suspected welfare fraud may be reported by calling the welfare fraud hotline at 1-800-388-5365, or the We-Tip Line at 1-800-782-7463.

News Update for Fri., Apr. 17, 2015

(**Update)Authorities in Cattaraugus Co. busy with four Heroin overdoses in Salamanca in 24-hour period...

Police in Cattaraugus County are continuing their investigation into four Heroin overdose cases in the city of Salamanca.  Salamanca Police Chief Troy Westfall says what appears to be a "very potent" derivative of the drug killed one of the victims.  Westfall adds the other three people were saved by first-responders who used the opiate antidote "Narcan."  He says they learned through investigation that the suspected "killer" Heroin is packaged in small "white-to-clear" wax bindles with no markings.  Westfall says the drug appears to be a "clearer" white-granular mix which is different from what they've seen before.  He says it could be a purer form of the drug... or it could be mixed with Fentanyl.  He adds four overdoses in such a condensed time is incredible for a small city of 6,000.  Anyone with information on where the drug may have come from is asked to call the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force's tip-line at 373-2773... or 1-800-328-3784.

WJTN News Headlines

The suspected driver involved in a home invasion-robbery in which a Jamestown man was severely beaten nearly a week ago has been arrested.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the 16 year-old boy was taken into custody Thursday as part of the on-going investigation into the incident at 76 Pershing Avenue.  Samuelson says the teen now faces a Felony charge in the case... even though he was not directly involved in the beating of the victim inside the house. Samuelson says they have a fourth "person of interest" in the case who is not being identified at this time.  He hopes to report that person's arrest shortly.  Samuelson says 22 year-old Robert Ellsworth remains jailed without bail in connection with the case... which he says was "drug-related."  He says Ellsworth, a 17 year-old already in custody, and the "person of interest" broke into the home early the morning of Friday, April 10th... and, stole several items... and, beat the man... who was taken to an Erie, Pennsylvania trauma center for treatment of a serious back injury. 


A Corry woman has been arrested and charged with killing a Warren woman on Tuesday.  The Warren Times Observer reports that 27 year old Danielle Craker allegedly punched 50 year old Robin Ostrowski repeatedly in the face which led to her death. Craker was arrested by Warren Police late Wednesday night.  According to court documents Craker waived her rights and gave a statement saying that she punched Ostrowski in the face until she was incapacitated.  Authorities say two other people were in the residence at 701 and a half west Fifth Avenue at the time of the assault and drugs may have played a role in the homicide. 58 year old Melvin Atwell, who was reportedly the victims boyfriend also was arrested and charged with reckless endangerment, because hours passed before he called 911 to get medical treatment for Ostrowski. Craker faces a range of possible charges including first degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, and Atwell was taken to the Warren County Jail after failing to post 30,000 dollars bail.


No action is expected to be taken until next month.  But... a key Chautauqua County Legislature committee yesterday heard details about changes that area state lawmakers want to make in the request for an increase in the county's sales tax.  County Executive Vince Horrigan met with members of the Audit and Control Committee.  Chairman John Runkle says the increase from the current 7.5 percent to 8 percent will be linked to a cut in the county's property tax levy. Runkle was one of four legislators to oppose the sales tax hike last month.  The proposed changes now have him leaning toward supporting it.  He says it would be a 3-percent decrease in the tax levy -- or about 2-million dollars, next year, and there would be no increase in 2017.  Runkle says committee will mull it over before taking up the matter next month.


Some New York school districts are reporting that 60 to 70 percent of students did not take this week's mandated English tests.  That's raising questions about how the growing ``opt-out'' movement may affect federal funds.  It also could affect teacher evaluations that are supposed to be pegged to the tests.  The state Education Department says official numbers for how many pupils took the statewide assessments won't be released until this summer.  But... a group called United to Counter the Core says more than 155-thousand children boycotted the English tests that were administered Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Anti-testing hotbeds included districts upstate, in the lower Hudson Valley and on Long Island.   West Seneca Superintendent Mark Crawford said his suburban Buffalo district saw nearly 70 percent of students sit out the tests.


Members of the Jamestown School Board have reached a consensus that they want the district to retain as many teachers as possible in the 2015-16 budget.  However... how they find the money to do that is now the issue.  That from Board President Joe DiMaio... who says the panel futher discussed the 77.6-million dollar spending plan during a budget work session Wednesday night.  DiMaio says board members agree that... between the new state standards... and, keeping class sizes small... keeping another one to three teachers would help. The new budget also includes a 1.5-percent tax increase... which amounts to about 219-thousand dollars.  The majority of board members seem to accept that idea.  Two areas are being looked at for possible cuts.  One is professional staff development.  A new one that was looked at last night was athletics.  DiMaio... who is a former Jamestown Assistant Football Coach... hopes that's not the case.  He adds that would run contrary to what the district included in it's strategic plan.  School Superintendent Tim Mains will now take input from the meeting... and, make changes.  The board is scheduled to adopt the new budget at next Tuesday night's meeting.


The leader of the New York state Senate says he will cooperate with authorities following a report that prosecutors are investigating him and his son.  The New York Times, citing unidentified sources, says U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is examining whether Republican Dean Skelos of Long Island influenced Nassau County's decision to give a storm-water treatment contract to an Arizona company that hired his son, Adam.  The newspaper reports the investigation includes 20-thousand dollars paid to Adam Skelos by a title insurance company he allegedly never worked for.  Skelos said in a statement Thursday he has and ``will continue to cooperate with any inquiry.''  Bharara's office declined to comment.  The news prompted the Nassau County district attorney to announce a review of county contracting practices.  Back in January... Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was charged with taking nearly 4-million dollars in payoffs.


Volunteers for 14 partner agencies... and, several local businesses and organizations... were recognized Wednesday night for their efforts in the Jamestown-area.  The United Way of Southern Chautauqua County held it's annual Volunteer of the Year Recognition.  United Way Executive Director Tori Irgang says they honored the volunteers from the partner agencies... some of whom have been with that group more than 30 years... some just a few. However... for the second year in a row... Irgang says they also recognized seven businesses... and, four community groups that did volunteer projects during the United Way's "12 Months of Caring" initiative."  She says the goal is to introduce people to projects that are meaningful... from "getting your hands dirty" to becoming certified in CPR.  Four organizations and businesses did "Community Baby Showers."  Among the people recognized were Chautauqua Striders Volunteer Keith Ecklund... Jan Hallberg with the Allegheny Highlands Council of the Boy Scouts... Mary Jane Nordsiek and Carolyn Thomas with Meals on Wheels... and, Cecile Wilson with the American Red Cross.


Motorists who use one of Buffalo's busiest expressways at night or early in the morning will have to seek alternate routes next month, thanks to four pizza-loving turtles.  Mayor Byron Brown announced this week that scenes for the sequel to last summer's hit movie ``Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'' will be filmed in Buffalo starting May 4 and running through May 17th.  Officials say the filming will involve shutting down Route 33, also known as the Kensington Expressway, between 7 PM and 6 AM.  Detours will be set up to route traffic around the 4-mile stretch of the expressway that will be closed from downtown Buffalo to Route 198.  The film's unit production manager says the scenes to be shot are action sequences involving vehicle chases and helicopters.  The sequel is expected to hit theaters in June 2016.


We have a couple of exciting announcements to make regarding the management of the Media One Group of stations.  Media One has promoted Business Manager Rick Brodowski to Station Manager... while Jim Yezzi will be the new director of Sales.  Both have been with the company for many years now..., and our congratulations to both Rick and Jim.









News Update! for Thurs., Apr. 16, 2015

Third suspect in home invasion-robbery arrested in Jamestown; fourth suspect now being sought...

A third person has now been arrested... and a fourth is being sought in connection with last week's violent home-invasion robbery in Jamestown.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the 16 year-old driver of the get-away car was taken into custody today as part of the on-going investigation into the incident at 76 Pershing Avenue.  Samuelson says the teen now faces a Felony charge in the case... even though he was not directly involved in the beating of the victim inside the house.  Two people... including 22 year-old Robert Ellsworth of Ashville... have been arrested.  A 17 year-old boy has also been charged.  Meantime... the victim... who suffered a serious back injury... is now home. 

WJTN News Headlines

Chautauqua County's top-elected official says the county legislature won't vote this month on a modified version of a resolution to increase the local sales tax from 7.5 to 8-percent.  County Executive Vince Horrigan says he wants to get feedback from lawmakers first about the changes state lawmakers from the region want to make to the county's request.  State Senator Cathy Young recently announced that she wants to include language that the county would cut its tax levy by 3-percent -- or 2-million dollars -- as part of the request. Horrigan says they have received some draft legislation from both Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell... and, he says he'll be talking with the legislature's Audit and Control Committee about drafting a final measure.  With the state legislative session running until June... he feels a May vote will leave enough time for state lawmakers to act on final Home Rule Legislation.


Early figures for the first quarter of 2015 are looking better -- overall -- than the first-quarter of last year in the city of Jamestown.  City Comptroller Joe Bellitto says he won't have first-quarter sales tax figures for another two to two-and-a-half weeks... but, he says they do have preliminary numbers for the Board of Public Utilities Payment-in-lieu of Taxes.  Bellitto says two divisions look good... but, three others are a little short of projections.
Bellitto says there are two areas of concern regarding the 2015 budget... the first is the overtime budget for the Public Works and Parks Departments.  He says that number is just over 347-thousand for the first three-months of 2015.  Bellitto says that's 41-percent of the total budget used so far... and, is about 6-percent more than this time last year.  He also says the DPW has also used up most of it's 2015 Salt Budget -- a total of 95.4-percent.  However... Mayor Sam Teresi says... had the city not invested in a new Salt Barn on Steele Street... it probably would have been worse.  On a positive note... Bellitto says the city's fuel budget was down 20-percent in the first quarter.


Authorities in Warren, PA are investigating a "suspicious death" in that city.  The Warren Times Observer reports that Police, The District Attorney's office and the County Coroner's office were called to 701 and a half west Fifth Avenue about 5:30 Wednesday afternoon. They were on the scene until after 9pm. Warren Police Chief Raymond Zydonik says the initial call was for a medical emergency, upon arrival that changed to a reported "unattended death of a female."  Coroner Jerry Borden said he has not established the cause of death and could not release the name of the deceased until next of kin were notified. Chief Zydonik is call the death "Suspicious."


Participation in the statewide English assessment tests was above 90-percent for the two largest school districts in Chautauqua County.  That from Jamestown Superintendent Tim Mains... who says the number of students taking the standardized tests Tuesday was 98 to 99-percent of third through eighth graders.  In Dunkirk... Superindent Gary Cerne says the number of refusals were only about 9.3-percent.  Statewide... authorities say thousands of students sat out the first day of the tests.  Reports from around the state indicate varying levels of participation in the Common Core-aligned tests, which continue Wednesday and Thursday.  While about 98 percent of third- through eighth-grade students in Schenectady sat for the assessments Tuesday, only about 30 percent of eligible students in West Seneca did.  Parent critics and teachers unions say the tests and time spent preparing for them take away from creative instruction and that tying results to annual teacher rankings has worsened the problem.  But... state Education Spokesman Jonathan Burman says refusing to take the test deprives parents and taxpayers of information about how students are doing.


A coalition from New York's political 'right' and 'left' is calling for the suspension of Governor Andrew Cuomo's Start-Up NY economic development program.  The group includes the state Conservative Party and the National Federation of Independent Businesses from the right and the left-leaning Working Families Party and Fiscal Policy Institute.  In a statement Wednesday... the coalition says Start-Up NY should be shut down pending a detailed audit following a report showing that so far the year-old program has created only 76 of the nearly 2,100 jobs promised over five years in return for tax breaks.  Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long says the program unfairly creates winners and losers. Working Families Party director Bill Lipton questioned the costs of marketing the program.  State officials -- including Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul -- say Start-Up NY is in its early stages.


The first three winners in the "I Love CHQ Video Challenge" for homemade video's that best promote some aspect of Chautauqua County have been announced.  County Executive Vince Horrigan was joined by Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Andrew Nixon for the announcement... along with some of the sponsoring entities at Chautauqua Institution.  Horrigan came up with the idea as a way to promote the fact there's a lot of "neat stuff" going on in the county. Horrigan says the winners include Tracie DeMotte (Dih-Mot) from Panama... David Saxton of Jamestown... and, Roslin Smith of Fredona.  Each received 250-dollars for winning in one of five catagories.  The overall theme for the contest... which is being paid for through sponsorships... is "What Do You Love about Chautauqua County?"  For the most part... the three video presentations involved Winter scenery with a musical background.  One did involve a short video clip.  Nixon says they has a total of five entries for the first quarter... and, they're hoping for more in the second quarter... which is now underway.  For more information on the "I Love CHQ Video Challenge..." Nixon says you can go on line to Facebook-dot-COM... slash "TourChautauqua." 


ew York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has reported taxable income of $327,516 in his fourth year as the state's top lawyer.  That included more than $49,000 from ordinary dividends and $127,000 in capital gains on investments.  Schneiderman, who investigated the 2008 collapse of mortgage-backed securities that contributed to the recession, invests in mutual funds handled by financial manager Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade.  His 2014 federal return shows $150,971 from salary, $19,957 from tax-exempt interest and federal taxes of $67,184 paid.  His overall income is up about $30,000 from a year earlier, mainly from additional capital gains.


Manufacturing activity in New York state shrank this month for the first time in four months... a sign that the strong dollar and sluggish consumer spending may be holding back factories.  The Federal Reserve Bank of New York says that its Empire State manufacturing index fell to negative 1.2 reading from a plus 6.9 in March.  The latest reading is the lowest since December.  A measure of new orders fell for the third straight month to negative-6, which suggests output may remain sluggish in the coming months.  However... a gauge of hiring rose.  The survey provides an early look at U.S. manufacturing each month.  The New York Fed surveys 200 businesses in the state and typically receives responses from 100.






WJTN News Headlines

A third person is still being sought in connection with last Friday morning's home invasion-robbery on Jamestown's southside.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the incident occured at 76 Pershing Avenue about 1:35 AM when three men allegedly forced their way into the home... and, bound the victim with duck tape before beating the person.  Samuelson says the suspects wore masks... and, were armed with a machete and billy club.  He says they stole a number of items... including a safe, clothing and cash.  Samuelson says their investigation led to the arrest of 22 year-old Robert Ellsworth in Ashville... and, a 17 year-old male on Wicks Avenue in West Ellicott.  Ellsworth is charged with first-degree robbery... and, burglary.  The juvenile is charged with criminal possession of marijuana.  The victim is being treated at the Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pennsylvania.  If you have any information on the incident... and, the whereabouts of the third suspect... call city police at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


A fiery crash in the town of Sherman early last weekend sent a Sherman resident to an Erie, Pennsylvania hospital for treatment of serious injuries.  Sheriff's officers say 22 year-old Kasey Erhard of Nettle Road was found trapped inside the vehicle just before Midnight last Saturday.  Deputies say officers on patrol in the area spotted a large amount of motor vehicle debris on the roadway... and, checked the area.  Officers say they found the car off the westside of the road in a drainage ditch.  The vehicle was heavily-damaged and the engine compartment had caught fire.  Deputies used a fire extinguisher to put the fire out.  The Sherman Fire Department was called out... and, help extricate Erhard from the vehicle.  Erhard is being treated for non-life threating injuries.  Officers say charges are pending.


A judge says a federal prosecutor went too far in criticizing New York's former Assembly speaker after his arrest... but, not so far the indictment must be tossed out.  Democratic ex-Assemblyman Sheldon Silver's lawyers wanted the public corruption charges against him dismissed. U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni rejected that request on Friday.  But... the judge criticized U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (bahr-AHR'-ah), saying she didn't condone the ``government's brinkmanship'' or the ``media blitz'' prosecutors orchestrated after Silver's arrest.  The judge even attacked tweets the prosecutor's office sent.  She noted the risks that facts will be read in isolation when they are sent on a platform that limits messages to 140 characters.  Bharara's office has said his comments weren't unusual or prejudicial.


New York may be enjoying a budget surplus... but, small cities across the state have fallen still-further behind on revenue-sharing.  That from Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi... who says he's happy to see school districts getting a bump in aid this year to help hold down property taxes.  However... while schools have seen increases the past couple of years... local municipalities have seen no increases in Aid and Incentives to Municipalities -- or AIM Funding -- since 2009. Teresi says all municipalities took a 10-percent cut in AIM Funding in 2009... and, another slight decrease in 2010.  He says they haven't seen any further cuts since then.  That's because the state was running deficits at that time.  However... Teresi says another surplus is forecast... and, it's a "different picture now" financially.  In fact... he says the state received just over 5-billion dollars in settlement monies from the health care industry.  Teresi says the state Conference of Mayors... and, other organizations... have all lobbied for increased aid.  He made his comments for this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the five Media One Group stations.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton's bid for the Oval Office.  Cuomo announced his support for Clinton's candidacy Sunday, the day the former first lady, secretary of state and U.S. senator from New York formally launched her campaign.  ``Hillary Clinton has been a lifelong champion for middle-class families, an advocate for the underserved, and a fighter for civil rights.  She is a tested leader with the resilience and experience to be a great president,'' Cuomo said in a statement.  Until recently... the Democratic governor was widely believed to be eyeing a run for the White House himself.  Cuomo's relationship with the Clintons goes back to his time working in and later leading the Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton.


The New York health exchange says uninsured residents have until April 30 to enroll for coverage even though the open enrollment period for 2015 has ended.  State health officials say they are also working with state and federal tax agencies to provide information to income tax preparers to share with clients.  They note the federal tax penalty for not having health insurance in 2015 will increase to 325-dollars per adult in a household or two percent of their income, whichever is greater.  Others can qualify for special enrollment through the health exchange following a qualifying event like losing insurance along with a job or spouse, aging off a parent's insurance, new citizenship or moving into the state with new insurance options.  For more information... go on-line to NYStateofhealth-dot-NY-dot-GOV.


The now-infamous statue of Lucille Ball that touched off a firestorm of controversy has drawn dozens of people to the tiny village of Celoron daily since the story went national -- then international.  Mayor Scott Schrecengost says people have stopped by the location -- on the edge of Lucille Ball Memorial Park -- almost 'non-stop' since the press conference he held at the Community Center last Tuesday morning.  Schrecengost wanted to set the record straight on where the life-sized statue came from... and, how it got there. Schrengost adds they've also had a lot of interest shown in the statue... and, by sculptors who want to make a new one for free.  He says that means they won't likely to a make-over of the current bronze sculpture.  Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania's Jackie Johnson says she doesn't want the figure changed -- even from the shoulders up.  She says it's 'all about comedy' so "why change it now?"  Westfield's Ashley Osterstuck came to see the statue because of all the controversy... and, agreed the current statue looks "a little frightening... " adding the face really doesn't look anything like Lucy. 


Legislation to ban the use of certain chemicals in toys may get another chance in New York state before lawmakers adjourn in June.  The measure would require manufacturers to phase out the use of chemicals deemed harmful, such as benzene, mercury and cobalt.  The bill passed the Assembly last year but didn't get a vote in the Senate.  Republican Senator Phil Boyle and Democratic Assemblyman Steve Englebright have reintroduced the measure this year.  The Toy Industry of America opposes the bill, noting that toy makers are subject to federal regulations and that state-based rules would create a confusing patchwork of requirements.  Some businesses are backing the bill, including Seventh Generation, a Vermont-based household goods company.  A Seventh Generation official went to the Capitol Thursday to push for the legislation.

News Update for Sat. Apr. 11, 2015

Two arrested in alleged Home invasion-robbery in Jamestown...

Two people are in custody... and, a third is being sought... in connection with a home invasion-robbery on Jamestown's southside early Friday morning.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the incident occured at 76 Pershing Ave. about 1:35 a.m. when three men allegedly forced their way into the home... and, bound the victim with duck tape before beating the person.  Samuelson says the suspects wore masks... and, were armed with a machete and billy club.  He says they stole a number of items... including a safe, clothing and cash.  Samuelson says their investigation led to the arrest of 22 year-old Robert Ellsworth in Ashville... and, a 17 year-old male on Wicks Avenue in West Ellicott.  Ellsworth is charged with first-degree robbery... and, burglary.  The juvenile is charged with criminal possession of marijuana.  The victim was initially treated at WCA Hospital... then flown to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pennsylvania for further treatment.  If you have any information on the incident... and, the whereabouts of the third suspect... call city police at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.

One person seriously hurt in Clarendon, PA assault-fight...

A Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania man had to be treated for serious injuries after he was involved in a fight with another Warren County man late last month in Clarendon.  State Police in Warren say 23 year-old Daniel Harkins got into the altercation with 22 year-old Tyler Wilson about 2:30 a.m. last March 22nd at 7 1/2 Main Street.  Troopers were called to the scene... and, found both men had been hurt.  Wilson suffered a minor injury during the incident.  However... Harkins was flown to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie for treatment of his injuries.  Both men have now been charged with simple assault.

City man arrested for allegedly trying to bring drugs into County Jail...

A Jamestown man being held in the Chautauqua County Jail pending sentencing on drug-related charges has been accused of smuggling Heroin and marijuana into the jail.  Members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force were called to the scene last Tuesday night... where 46 year-old Roberto Morales-Sanchez was being held until sentencing on the other charges.  Task Force agents says they found the illegal drugs in Morales-Sanchez's possesion... and, an additional warrant was obtained on charges of first-degree promoting prison contraband... and, criminal possession of a controlled substance.  He will be arraigned, and returned to the Mayville lock-up on the new charges.


U.S. Attorney William Hochul, Jr. hosts forum on Jackson speech...

The western New York region's top prosecutor is also a great admirer of late U-S Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson.  And... U-S Attorney William Hochul, Junior says he was very "honored" to be delivering the main address... and, moderating a panel discussion on the 75th anniversary of Jackson's speech: "The Federal Prosecutor."  Hochul says the Frewsburg native "stands tall" historically in the region... and, the United States.  He says because of Jackson's dedicated work as lead prosecutor at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trial following World War-Two... he continues to inspire current day prosecutors -- like Hochul himself.  Hochul says the Federal Prosecutor speech "set the guide for us."

State Police, and other agencies, begin Texting While Driving Crackdown...

Police in New York are embarking on a ``statewide crackdown'' on texting while driving.  Governor Andrew Cuomo have announced that through Wednesday, state troopers in marked and unmarked vehicles will ``aggressively'' target motorists who use handheld devices while driving.  The stepped up enforcement is timed to coincide with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.  Adults caught texting while driving face big fines, while young drivers can have their licenses suspended.  According to national figures for 2013... more than 3,100 people were killed in crashes that involved a distracted driver.  A similar crackdown last fall resulted in State Police issuing more than 550 tickets to motorists caught using a hand-held device while driving.

News Update for Fri., Apr. 10, 2015

Reports of attempted abductions in Ripley and Jamestown shown to not have occured, according to police...

Further investigation into reports from a couple of Chautauqua County School districts has determined there were no attempted abductions of female students... nor anyone else.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department Undersheriff Chuck Holder says they spoke with a person who reportedly pulled over... and, offered someone a ride in Ripley... and, determined there was no attempted abduction or abductions.  Earlier... Sheriff's officers were looking for a man in a grey or silver-colored Hyundai Sports Utility Vehicle offering young girls a ride home in the village of Ripley.  The incidents in Ripley were reported yesterday afternoon... following an alleged incident in Gowanda.  There was also one reported in Jamestown... but, Police Chief Harry Snellings says that was never substantiated. 

WJTN News Headlines

Widespread discolored water can be expected today in the BPU water territory on due to a water main break on East Second Street in Jamestown. Water was shut down between Curtis and Aldren on Second as of 4 O'clock this morning.  The main is a 16 inch size which is large for a water line. Crews have worked overnight and continue this morning. No estimate of repair time is available.


Thanks to some 23 early retirements... the Jamestown school district may avoid having to make lay-offs in the 2015-2016 budget.  School Superintendent Tim Mains presented the first-draft of the 77.6-million dollar proposal at last night's school board meeting at Lincoln Elementary School.  Most of the initial concern was over the fact the budget draws on the remaining one-million dollars in undesignated fund balance to offset a small, 1.5-percent tax increase.  Mains pointed out that's the smallest amount they've used in a long-time. The tax levy increase would total about 219-thousand dollars.  Mains says the budget would also save 65-thousand dollars by delaying upgrades to the former Rogers Elementary School.  Back to personnel cuts... Mains says there are actually 20 cuts in the spending plan.  However... he says there will be four jobs added for a "net loss" of 16.  Mains says they were able to make 12 of those cuts through attrition.  Mains says class sizes would hold pretty constant under the budget... with slight increases in both the middle and high schools.  The board will meet again on the spending plan next Wednesday night.


"It's needs a make-over."  Those are the feelings of Celoron Mayor Scott Schrecengost on the life-size, bronze statue of Lucille Ball in the village park bearing her name.  During a press conference yesterday morning... Schrecengost said he wanted to set the record straight on a number of issues surrounding the controversy.  He says the village received the statue as part of a "real estate transaction" in 2009.  He says both he and late Mayor Jack Keeney talked with sculptor Dave Poulin after it was unveiled because they felt it didn't look like Lucy.
Since then... Schrecengost says they've discussed a make-over with two other sculptors from the region... who would do the work at less cost.  A published report says now that Poulin would do the work for free.  He admitted it "wasn't his best work."  However... Schrecengost says the village now has no interest in having Poulin fixing the statue since he had "plenty of opportunity" to step up and rectify the issue over the past six year.  Efforts to reach Poulin yesterday were unsuccessful... but, told the A--P he's "fine" with the village's decision. With that... Schrecengost announced the village has begun a fund-raising effort to pay for the work.  Donations can be sent to: Lucy Statue, c/o Village of Celoron, PO Box 577, Celoron, New York 14720... or Five-Star Bank in Lakewood, 14750.  You can also donate on-line at Kickstarter-dot-COM.  He says it's under the name "Lucille Ball Tribute Statue -- Celoron, New York."


Celoron Mayor Scott Schrecengost also addressed the firestorm of criticism that's come over a Facebook Page that's reportedly been up since 2012... but, has become the focal point of trashing the statue and it's creator.  Schrecengost says the annonymous page is urging people to not give to the village's effort to fix or replace the statue.  He says they apparently have their "own agenda..." to get donations to build a statue to put up in Jamestown.  Schrecengost called it a "low, cowardly move" to achieve their own ends.  He says he has no knowledge of the Facebook page... adding it "may be a scam."


Two elderly Warren County residents are being treated for serious injuries at an Erie, Pennsylvania hospital after their car struck a culvert... then a large tree in Southwest Township.  State Police in Warren say 84 year-old Harold Miller was eastbound on Route 27 yesterday when the vehicle went off the left side of the road for an unknown reason.  Troopers say the underside of Miller's car struck the culvert... and, then several small trees before hitting the large tree.  Both Miller and his 83 year-old wife, Mary, were flown to the Hamot Medical Center for treatment.  Police say Harold Miller suffered major injuries.


Local Congressman Tom Reed says he plans on seeking another term in the U-S House of Representatives next year... and, Democrats expect to have a candidate to run against him.  Reed made his intentions known during his weekly telephone Conference Call with Southern Tier Media on Monday. Chautauqua County Democratic Party Chairman Norm Green says they are currently talking with a number of prospective candidates... and, the party expects to announce a decision in the next 30 days.  Green says they've been "actively" seeking a candidate... and, says it will be "a competitive district."  Green says Tompkins County Legislator Martha Robertson, who lost to Reed last November, is in the mix.  He adds, though, that a final decision hasn't been made.  There is no word as to whether any of the individuals who are under consideration are from Chautauqua County. 


New York lawmakers recently passed several measures to address Albany's culture of corruption -- but, a provision intended to revoke the pensions of disgraced officials will need voter approval too.  Lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo want to put a state Constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot that would allow judges to take away the pensions of public officials convicted of a corruption-related felony.  The Senate has already endorsed placing the referendum on the ballot, and the Assembly plans to do the same when lawmakers return from their spring break.  To put the question on the ballot the Legislature will have to endorse the referendum again in 2017.  The proposal would allow a convicted official's spouse or dependents to keep some of the pension.


A highly-regarded classical music composer will spend two days at Jamestown Community College this week.  Eric Ewazen (ee-WAY-zin) is on the faculty of the Julliard School of Music in New York City.  Neil Flory, Coordinator of Music at JCC, says Ewazen is a prolific, contemporary composer. Ewazen has a number of events on the Jamestown campus during his stay... culminating with a concert featuring several of his compositions at 7 PM Thursday night at the Scharmin Theater at JCC.  Jamestown natives Victoria Mc Ilvain, and Erik Lundquist will be among the soloists. Tickets are just $4.  A pre-concert lecture will be held at 6:15 Thursday night in the Weeks Room.  Ewazen says he's delighted to be coming to Jamestown.  Ewazen learned about JCC's music program from James Beal... a member of the music faculty at the college.   Ewazen once wrote a piece for Beal to sing, and they have been friends for decades. 


New York's top health official is leading an effort to raise awareness about the dangers of the state's obesity problem.  Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that Acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker will participate in a series of events this week around the state intended to highlight the risks of obesity and ways to combat it.  Cuomo's office says obesity has reached ``epidemic'' levels, with a quarter of New Yorkers considered obese and 36 percent overweight.  The state's costs associated with treating diseases associated with obesity reaches into the billions.  Zucker's community visits coincide with National Public Health Week.

News Update for Tues., Apr. 7, 2015

(News Update)Celoron Mayor agrees Lucy statue is ugly, cites past efforts to get rectified, and announces new effort to fix it...

The mayor of Celoron agrees the "ugly" Lucille Ball statue need's "a make-over."  Scott Schrecengost made those comments this morning about the life-size, bronze statue of Lucille Ball in the village park bearing her name.  During a press conference... Schrecengost said he wanted to set the record straight on a number of issues that have erupted into controversy over the past few days regarding the statue.  He says village officials had a problem with it from the start in 2009.  He says they didn't get to see the statue until it was unveiled.  Schrecengost says the village received it as part of a "real estate transation."  He says both he and late Mayor Jack Keeney talked with sculptor Dave Poulin after it was unveiled... and, tried to work with him to rectify the matter.  However... he says Poulin wanted $8,000 to $10,000 for it.  With that... Schrecengost says they discussed a make-over with two other sculptors from the region... who would do it for less cost.  A published report says now that Poulin would do the work for free... and, he admitted it "wasn't his best work."  With that... Schrecengost announced the village has begun a fund-raising effort to pay for the work.  Donations can be sent to: Lucy Statue, c/o Village of Celoron, PO Box 577, Celoron, NY 14720... or Five-Star Bank, 282 East Fairmount Avenue, Lakewood, NY 14750.  You can also donate on-line at  He says it's under the name "Lucille Ball Tribute Statue -- Celoron, New York."


Schrecengost also addresses Facebook firestorm...

Celoron Mayor Scott Schrecengost also addressed the firestorm of criticism that's come over a Facebook Page that's reportedly been up since 2012... but, has become the focal point of trashing the statue and it's creator.  Schrecengost says the annonymous page is urging people to not give to the village's effort to fix or replace the statue.  He says they apparently have their "own agenda..." which appears to be to fun their own campaign to build a new statue and put it in Jamestown.  Hwoever... Schrecengost says he has no knowledge of the Facebook page... or who's running it.  He added it "may be a scam."

WJTN News Headlines

The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office has reported it's fourth-save of a victim since beginning to use naloxone hydrochloride... otherwise known as Narcan.  Sheriff Joe Gerace confirms that deputies used Narcan to revive a female heroin overdose victim in the town of Stockton around 12:30 PM Monday.  Gerace says it's the fourth time that deputies have used "Narcan."  One other "save" involved Deputy giving CPR.  The female, whose name was not released, was revived by deputies.  She was then taken to Brooks Memorial Hospital for treatment.


The "fourth" Narcan save by Chautauqua County Sheriff's officers occured earlier in the weekend in the town of Hanover.  Deputies say they were called to the scene... along with Fire rescue personnel... just before 5:30 PM Saturday.  Upon arrival... officers administered Naloxone to an unresponsive male.  Deputies say male regained consciousness... and was transported to Lake Shore Hospital for further treatment.


An East Randolph man has been arrested for allegedly being found with several types of illegal narcotics... including Methamphetime... and, a weapon early last weekend.  Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Deputies say they arrested 41 year-old David Adams during a raid late last Friday at a home at 125 Main Street.  Officers... along with members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force's Olean Office say Adams was allegedly found with the drugs... and, some stolen firearms.  He was arraigned in Randolph Town Court on charges of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, criminal possession of a weapon... and, sent to the Cattaraugus County Jail on 50-thousand dollars cash bail.  The investigation is continuing.


While it's just the "framework" of a nuclear deal with Iran... local Congressman Tom Reed says he's "very concerned" about the agreement reached in Switzerland late last week.  President Obama has called the agreement -- once finalized -- a "once in a lifetime opportunity to stop Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon."  The president also says it would be a move towards "stablizing the Middle East."  From where he stands... Reed calls the deal unacceptable. There are a number of lawmakers... and, Americans... who oppose any kind of deal with the Iranian government.  Reed says his concerns go beyond that.  For one... he says there's almost the immediate dropping of economic... and, other sanctions once the deal takes effect.  At the same time... Reed says Iran is allowed to still have the centrifuges needed for nuclear enrichment.  given Iran's track-record... he says he would have demanded that all the centrafuges be destroyed.  Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone Conference Call with Southern Tier Media.  One federal lawmaker has proposed a measure to reject the deal.


Chautauqua County's Congressman says he's pleased to see the Obama Administration set down regulations to allow hydrofracking on public lands in the U-S.  At the same time... Corning Republican Tom Reed is continuing to urge Governor Cuomo to reconsider the out-right ban he's put in place in New York State.  Reed says he still can't believe Cuomo won't allow high-volume, horizontal fracturing when even California is allowing it.  Traditionally... California has some of the most onerous environmental laws in the nation. Reed says the oil and gas now being developed provides the U-S with energy independence that also improves our national security.  With the Obama administration's decision... Reed now believes Cuomo's decision was purely 'politics' as opposed to the actual science and data involved.  He says the governor's had seven years to review... and, decide on this.  Reed hopes the move by Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency will put pressure on the Cuomo Administration to lift the current moratorium.  The A--P recently reported that some 95-thousand oil and gas wells exist on federal land.


There is good news for local water customers of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities... who have been keeping exposed water pipes running due to a deep freeze-line in the ground.  BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says the ground is thawing... and, the threat of freeze-ups is gone.  Most residential water lines are about 4-foot-2 inches in the ground... and, the freeze line was below that in places in late February.  The BPU had urged residents to run a pencil thin drip in those lines so they wouldn't freeze up.


The Jamestown School Board will receive the first "draft" of a 2015-16 budget during tonight's regular board meeting at Lincoln Elementary School.  The spending plan was crafted using the final numbers from the new state budget... which increases the district's state aid to about 51-and-a-half-million dollars.  However... School Superintendent Tim Mains says that still leaves about a 2-million dollar shortfall.  Mains says State Senator Cathy Young told him there are a couple of other funding options... one being "Bullet Aid...." Mains stays he has further discussed the idea of seeking that kind of funding from Senator Young.  He's asked for the criteria... and, what formula is involved.  Otherwise... Mains says they're looking at possible spending cuts -- including those in personnel.  He has discussed a number of scenarios with the board on how to close what was a 5-million dollar gap... and, numbers that are lower.  The board gave him three areas they want looked at.  The main one is protecting class sizes in the elementary grades.


They may have loved ``I Love Lucy...'' but, some people in actress-comedian Lucille Ball's childhood home of Celoron have no affection for her life-size statue in a local park.  The bronze sculpture was unveiled in 2009 in Lucille Ball Memorial Park... but, it's recently been blasted by some who say it bears little or no likeness to the star of the popular 1950s sitcom.  Village officials confirm that they want the sculptor to fix it for free... but, the artist -- Dave Poulin -- wants as much as 10-thousand dollars to alter the statue.  With that... the village is looking at ways to to raise the money for the sculpture's makeover.  The sculpture was donated to the village as part of a previous real estate transaction.  An unofficial statue replacement campaign has been launched on Facebook under the name... ``We Love Lucy! Get Rid of this Statue.''  No one has taken credit for putting up the page.


He just won re-election... but, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is already looking ahead to a possible third term.  New York Board of Elections records show Cuomo's campaign committee has changed its name to ``Andrew Cuomo 2018.''  A spokesman for the Democrat's campaign declined to comment Monday on the new name.  The change was first reported by the Daily News, which also reported that Cuomo is holding a 15-thousand dollar-a-person fundraiser in New York City on Tuesday.  Cuomo was re-elected in November and hasn't said whether he wants a third term.  Until recently, he was widely believed to be considering a presidential run in 2016.  Larry Schwartz, a former top Cuomo aide who left the administration this year, said in a statement that he would ``bet anything'' that Cuomo runs again.


Mental health advocates say New York lawmakers have added $1.5 million to the state budget for more pilot programs to train police officers in dealing with the mentally ill.  The money for the fiscal year that began Wednesday will expand the list of jurisdictions where police get the training, intended to ensure connections between police, families and people in crisis and keep them out of the criminal justice system.  The last state budget contained $400,000 for the training to help officers assess and de-escalate confrontations when called to incidents involving psychologically troubled people.  It was used for training police in Auburn, Binghamton, Clarkstown, Hempstead, Newburgh, Syracuse, Utica and St. Lawrence County.  The New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services says proposed funding from both the Assembly and Senate were added.








News Update for Fri., Apr. 3, 2015

Flood Watch continues, some snow also predicted for Southern Tier tonight...

We're experiencing another mild day in the western Southern Tier today before rain... but, colder temperatures are to arrive for the weekend.  The National Weather Service is continuing a Flood Watch through tomorrow afternoon for Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties.  In addition... there is some snow expected during the overnight tonight... but, Forecaster Tony Ansuini in Buffalo says -- generally -- there won't be much accumulation.  Ansuini says we'll see about an inch in most places... but, as much as 2 to 4 inches in the higher elevations.  He says the storm system... which is coming in from the Ohio Valley... will first bring rain -- then the snow.  Colder air will accompany the snow... with temperatures falling to the upper 20s.  The snow should pretty much end by late morning tomorrow.  Highs tomorrow will only be in about the mid to upper 30s.

State issues first annual report on "Start-Up NY" initiative...

The state agency responsible for economic development across New York says companies last year created 76 of the nearly 2,000 new jobs promised over five years -- in return for tax breaks under the Cuomo administration's Start-Up NY program.  The first annual report from the Department of Economic Development says 30 companies began operating in 2014 among 54 initially approved for the program.  The report says they made $1.7 million of some $91 million investments promised over five years as part of Start-Up NY. The program has established 356 tax-free zones at 62 colleges and universities that act as sponsors.  The agency says another 26 businesses have been approved so far this year, while 12 have withdrawn applications.  Industries participating in the program include biotechnology, software and manufacturing.

Young claims victory for economic development efforts locally with additional investment program...

An additional economic development fund was established in the new state budget to help places... like the Southern Tier... if it doesn't win one of the three half-billion dollar awards proposed by Governor Cuomo.  That from State Senator Cathy Young... who says the Senate's GOP Majority did not like the governor's "Hungar Games"-style Upstate Revitalization Program.  Young -- and others -- didn't like the fact that three of the state's seven Upstate Regions would evenly split $1.5-billion for economic development projects.  That's why they pushed for a smaller, $400-million "transformative investment program"  She says it will allow for "targeted" funding for local projects.  Young says economic development projects in all regions -- outside of New York City -- are eligible to compete for those funds.   She says there's also $500-million available to expand broadband access in the state... as well as $7-million for Workforce Development efforts.  She says the latter is a restoration of funding.  Overall... Young says "if a project is good, we should be supporting it."  

City man arrested for DWI, and drug possession in traffic stop...

A Jamestown man is jailed pending futher court action following his arrest for drunk driving... and, being in possession of "crack" cocaine... and, marijuana... during routine traffic stop in the town of Ellicott.  State Police in Jamestown say troopers pulled over 33 year-old Lawrence McGrigg on Winsor Street this past Saturday morning.  Troopers say McGrigg failed field sobriety tests... and, was arrested for DWI.  State Police say further investigation led to discovery of quantities of "crack" and marijuana.  McGrigg was faces several counts... including Felony criminal possession of a Narcotic Drug... DWI... and, Unlawful Possession of Marihuana.  He was arraigned in city court... and, sent to the county lock-up.

WJTN News Headlines

No records were broken... but, temperatures nudged above the 60 degree mark for the first time in several months in the Jamestown-area yesterday.  Forecaster Kirk Appfel with the National Weather Service says most areas felt the warm-up yesterday.  Apfel says the last time we saw 60 or better was last November.  However... the warm-up wasn't to last, with a cold front crashing the party last night... bringing some thunderstorms.  Apfel says much colder air tonight could bring an accumulating snow... as a second cold-front comes through. Apfell says it may only reach 40 with some rain or snow possible on Easter Sunday.  There is a Flood Watch in effect for both Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties through Saturday afternoon due to the rain possibility.  We'll have the latest forecast coming up shortly.


A multi-police agency effort has shut-down three locations in Jamestown where Heroin was alleged sold from... and, used at.  The Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force... Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force... and, State Police C-NET team conducted two raids in the city about 7 PM Wednesday.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says they executed search warrants at one location on the northside... and, another on the eastside. Samuelson says they arrested one resident at 440 Buffalo Street.  He says 52 year-old Jose Diaz-Solis was arrested for allegedly being in possession of Suboxone... which is used as a treatment for Heroin... as well as to get high.  He says drug agents did find a quantity of Heroin there... but, adds users were also found at the scene.  Samuelson says -- when the dealers are also "users" -- there isn't as much of the drug at the location.  Diaz-Solis was arraigned on charges of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance... and, fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  He was sent to the county jail without bail.  Samuelson says more arrests are pending.  


Police officials say a third-raid took place on Jamestown's westside early yesterday morning at another location allegedly being used to sell, and use Heroin from.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force joined the Metro Task Force shortly after 6 AM to execute a search warrant at 129 Fairview Avenue.  Samuelson says dealers often move outside the city once they're been arrested, and later bailed out after being arrested in the city. Samuelson says police still had several people detained yesterday morning... but, no arrests are pending at this time.  Anyone with information about illegal narcotic trafficking in Jamestown is asked to call the JPD Tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


A Buffalo man has been arrested in Cattaraugus County for allegedly trafficking narcotics in the city of Olean.  Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say they arrested 29 year-old Justun Vance at a location on 13th Street Wednesday afternoon.  Task Force members say Vance was taken into custody following a lengthy investigation that also involved Olean Police.  Vance was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with iten to sell... and, one count of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance.  He was arraigned... and, sent to the Cattaraugus County Jail with bail to be set.


A Warren, Pennsylvania woman has been arrested on drug charges... while another is recovering from a Heroin overdose... following rescue call Wednesday night.  State Police in Warren and EMS personnel were called to the scene on Third Avenue about 7:30 PM... and, found an unresponsive 28 year-old woman.  Troopers say she was taken to Warren General Hospital... then flown to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie for treatment.  Further investigation led to the arrest of 20 year-old Deserae Anderson of Jacob Lane on multiple counts... including drug possession and drug delivery. 


A city woman faces numerous charges for alleedly collecting more than 7-thousand dollars in unemployment benefits she was not eligible for in 2012.  State Police in Jamestown say they've arrested 45 year-old Michelle Pitts on 28 counts of first-degree falsifying business records... and, one count of third-degree Felony insurance fraud.  Troopers accuse Pitts of collecting the benefits during a 28-week period in 2012, while she was gainfully employed at two other jobs.  State Police say she was issued appearance tickets... and, is to appear in Ellicott Town Court at a later date.


Cold and wet weather forecast for Saturday has led the Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department to move the city's 68th annual Easter Egg Hunt indoors this weekend.  Parks and Recration Coordinator Julia Ciesla-Hanley says the move was made to the Allen Park Ice Rink for the health and safey of the participants.  Ciesla-Hanley says -- with the move -- there is a significant change in how children will be allowed into the hunt.  She says the youngest group of kids will go first. Ciesla-Hanley says the hunt will begin at the regular time... 10:30 AM.  She says the 5-thousand pieces of wrapped candy... and, more than one-thousand eggs will still be hidden in the Hunt area.  She says obstacles... including hay bales... will be put into the rink area to make it challenging for the kids.  Ciesla-Hanley says there will still be 30-prize eggs... and, two silver, and two gold prize eggs... with the winners getting 100... and, 50-dollar gift cards for Wal-Mart.  She says they are still being donated by the family of Steve Hess... late owner of Hess Enterprises.  Egg Hunt sponsors also include the Media One Group... Sertoma Club of Jamestown... the Morton and Kendall Clubs... and, the Allen Park Women's Club.


In addition... there's another change in the 54th annual Eastside Fellowship's Easter Egg Hunt.  After moving the event to the Tennis courts near Jamestown Community College... it has now been moved back to College Park on Curtis Street.  The hunt begins at 10 AM.


Also... the annual Easter Egg Hunt in the village of Celoron has been cancelled due to the pending weather on Saturday.


U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is continuing her push for paid family leave.  The New York Democrat launched a statewide tour earlier this week to build support for the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act she reintroduced earlier this month.  She met with business leaders in Buffalo Thursday.  he federal legislation would establish a paid family and medical leave insurance program that Gillibrand says would save people from having to choose between a paycheck and caring for themselves or a family member.











News Update! for Thurs., Apr. 2, 2015

City police arrest one during Wed. night drug raids...

A joint police effort has shut-down three locations in Jamestown where Heroin was alleged sold from... and, used at.  The Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force... Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force... and, State Police C-NET team conducted two raids in the city about 7 p.m. Wednesday.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says they executed search warrants simultaniously at 440 Buffalo Street... and, 241 Cresent Street.  Samuelson says they found Heroin at both locations.  He adds they arrested one resident at the Buffalo Street location.  Samuelson says 52 year-old Jose Diaz-Solis was arrested for allegedly being in possession of Suboxone.  He says more arrests are pending.  

JPD, So. Tier Regional Drug Task Force conduct third raid this morning...

Police officials say a third-raid took place on Jamestown's westside early this morning at another location allegedly being used to sell, and use Heroin from.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force joined the Metro Task Force at about 6:20 a.m. to execute a search warrant at 129 Fairview Ave.  No arrests have yet been made.  Anyone with information about illegal narcotic trafficking in Jamestown is asked to call the JPD Tip-line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.

Weather forces changes to Easter Egg Hunts in Jamestown this Saturday...

Due to the predicted weather conditions... and, conditions at Allen Park... the city of Jamestown’s 68th Annual Easter Egg Hunt will be moved inside the Allen Park Ice Rink this Saturday, April 4.  This free event is for children age 12 and under.  City Recreation Coordinator Julia Ciesla-Hanley says this means a significant difference in the way children will be allowed into the hunt.  The age groups will remain the same, but only one group will be allowed inside the Ice Rink at a time starting at 10:30 a.m.  More information later.


Also... the Easter Egg Hunt held by the Eastside Fellowship this Saturday at 10 a.m. will now be held on the Tennis Courts near College Park.


WJTN News Headlines

Chautauqua County's State Senator says the 142-billion dollar budget adopted by the legislature has many good points... including the fact it's "taxpayer-friendly."  Olean Republican Cathy Young voted in favor of the spending plan... negotiated by Governor Cuomo and leaders of the Senate and Assembly.  Young says the spending plan meets many of the spending and tax-goals the Senate Majority had set.  That includes hold down the growth in spending. Public school education was another major focus of the 2015-16 spending plan... and, Young says she was pleased to see the near-complete elimination of the "Gap Elimination Adjustment" for school systems in her Senate District.  The GEA was put in place in 2009 when New York state began running multi-billion dollar budget shortfalls.  It diverted money from education to be used elsewhere in the spending plan.  She says eliminating 95-percent of that in local districts was "a major victory."  Young adds the Senate also pushed to have the state Education Department determine the criteria for Teacher Evaluations pushed by the governor.


The Jamestown School District is receiving about 3-million dollars more in state aid than what Governor Cuomo initially proposed.  However... School Superintendent Tim Mains says that's not enough to avoid some major, devastating cuts in the district's proposed 2015-16 budget.  Mains says their 5-million dollar budget shortfall has been reduced to 2-million... and, while there's more Foundation Aid in the final state budget... it's not enough to cover that gap. About a month ago... Mains presented the school board with various options... in which class size would be increased in relation to the number of teacher cuts that have to be made.  He says their Gap Elimination Adjustment has been closed with another 500-thousand dollars... while Foundation -- or operating aid -- is up by nearly 1.2-million dollars.  He say, though, that increase is well below the average increase statewide.  Mains says the reason why Jamestown has been short-changed is the state has not yet fully-implemented the Foundation Aid formula.  The school board will get it's first budget "draft" next Tuesday night.


The new state budget also includes money to help efforts in Chautauqua County to help those people caught up in the scourge of the region's opioid and heroin epidemic.  State Senator Cathy Young has announced a 350-thousand dollar Capital Grant will be used to establish a supportive housing program at WCA Hospital's Jones Memorial Health Center in Jamestown.  Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan says he is pleased with the announcement... and, says there is a need for such a program here. Horrigan says the funding will be used to upgrade the existing facility to house the program.  He says it will allow the Jones Hill facility to be brought "up to code" to accomodate the program.  Horrigan says -- once worked out -- it will be a "one-stop" service facility.  He says Southern Tier Environments for Living, Incorporated is working on developing the new program.  In announcing the grant... Young says the new program will allow people with addiction problems to be placed in a specialize housing facility instead of jail.


The state Health Department has issued final regulations for a statewide medical marijuana program expected to start next year.  The 121 pages of details posted online follow the law signed last July authorizing patients with certain diseases to be able to obtain non-smokeable versions of the drug, which can be ingested or vaporized.   Conditions include cancer, AIDS, Lou Gehrig's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, certain spinal cord injuries, epilepsy... and, inflammatory bowel disease.


Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area have fallen another two-cents a gallon this week for regular, unleaded fuel.  The Triple-A's Fuel Gauge Report says the average price... based on reports from 19 service stations in the region... is just over 2-dollars-60 cents this week... compared to 2--62 last week.  The average last year at this time was 3-dollars-71 cents per gallon.  The national average is now 2--42 a gallon.  Nationally... the average price has fallen for 17 of the past 23 days.  Triple-A says the status of regional refineries continues to be a driving factor for gas prices in many parts of the country.  While prices over the past month are higher for many drivers... the Fuel Gauge says year-over-year price comparisons continue to highlight universal savings.  Sharply lower oil prices have resulted in substantially less expensive gas prices in every state.  Meantime... crude oil prices have fallen to multi-year lows due largely to ample global production.


He may disagree with U-S Senator Chuck Schumer on politics... but, Congressman Tom Reed says he believes it would be a good thing for New York if Schumer became the Senate's next minority leader.  Schumer has the backing of current Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid who will not be seeking re-election next year.  He says they've worked with Schumer on legislation in the past... and, adds all his hard work in the Senate "has paid off."  Schumer was given the nod by Reid over Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin.  Reed made his comments during his weekly Media Conference call with western New York reporters.


New York's top court says the state's moratorium on hydraulic fracturing does not allow energy companies to extend leases with landowners beyond the expiration date in their contracts.  The Court of Appeals is answering that question for a federal appeals court reviewing the case.  It follows a federal judge's 2012 ruling for the landowners, concluding the leases expired.  The Court of Appeals says the contract clause triggering extensions due to an event beyond the parties' control would apply if drilling for oil and natural gas had begun.  However, the seven judges say the normal expiration periods apply during the leases' initial term granting drilling and exploration rights.  New York, citing health concerns, last year banned ``hydrofracking'' for gas reserves.


It may have been the most paletable April Fool's Day donut created by the management and bakery of a Jamestown supermarket.  Farm Fresh Foods on West Third Street is handing out samples of it's "Taco Angel Creme" donuts today.  Farm Fresh Owner Dan Brown says he and Assistant Manager Mike Sanfilippo... and, their Bakery Manager... came up with the concoction. Brown says the recipe is fairly simple... you take Angel Creme filling, and mix in a little of the Taco seasoning packets... and, sprinkle some tortilla chips on top... and, you have it.  He says they were pleasantly surprised by the response of their customers... who basically say "it's not too bad."  Brown says he and his managers decided to make the April Fool's special three years ago to have some fun with the day.  He says they enjoy what they do at the store... and, this adds to it.


The U.S. Marshals Service is offering a 5-thousand dollar reward for information leading to the arrest of Paul Ceglia.  Ceglia is the New York man accused of faking an ownership stake in Facebook to justify a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against its founder Mark Zuckerberg.  Authorities have been looking for him since early March when they say he jumped bail by slicing off an electronic monitoring device and creating a crude contraption to make it seem as though he was moving around inside his home in the western New York village of Wellsville.  His wife and two sons are also missing.  In announcing the reward Wednesday... the Marshals Service says Ceglia may have been at a Wegmans store in Corning on March 6 to buy a car from an individual.











News Update! for Wed., Apr. 1, 2015

Young says new state budget is "taxpayer-friendly..."

Chautauqua County's State Senator says the $142-billion budget adopted by the legislature has many good points... including the fact it's "taxpayer-friendly."  Olean Republican Cathy Young voted in favor of the spending plan... negotiated by Governor Cuomo and leaders of the Senate and Assembly.  Young says the spending plan meets many of the spending and tax-goals the Senate Majority had set.  That includes hold down the growth in spending to less than 2-percent.  She adds they were also able to save the Basic, and Enhanced STAR Program.  Public school education was another major focus of the 2015-16 spending plan... and, Young says she was pleased to see the near-complete elimination of the "Gap Elimination Adjustment" for school systems in her Senate District.  The GEA was put in place in 2009 when New York state began running multi-billion dollar budget shortfalls.  It diverted money from education to be used elsewhere in the spending plan.  She says eliminating 95-percent of that in local districts was "a major victory."

WJTN News Headlines

New York lawmakers have passed a $142 billion state spending plan that includes new spending on schools, changes in teacher evaluations and new ethics disclosure rules for lawmakers. The Senate passed the budget late Tuesday night and the Assembly wrapped up early Wednesday morning, just after the start of a new state fiscal year. Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos praised the budget's $1.4 billion increase in school funding. Gov. Andrew Cuomo touted investments in the upstate economy and new ethics rules that will require lawmakers to disclose more about income from their outside jobs. Rank-and-file lawmakers were less impressed, with even some supporters saying the budget was put together behind closed doors and then rushed through with little time for them _ or the public _ to review the details.


New York lawmakers have approved legislation to overhaul statewide teacher evaluations, which would require firing those found ineffective three years in a row. The state Senate's 36-26 approval of the budget measure followed complaints by several minority Democrats that poverty, not teachers, is the underlying problem for the troubled schools in the state. Supporters note the legislation increased overall state aid to public schools by $1.4 billion to $23.5 billion. The Assembly's 72-54 approval followed criticism by several of that chamber's minority Republicans that there was little time to consider the voluminous budget bills, some printed only hours earlier.
The new teacher evaluations will be based partly on student test scores. Another portion will be based on classroom observation of teachers by a school administrator and by an independent evaluator.


State Senator Cathy Young says lawmakers are now in the process of adopting a "fiscally responsible state budget" that controls spending, monumentally increases school aid... and, reduces the tax burden to help create jobs and grow the economy.  Young says it's the fifth-straight year the state will have an on-time spending plan.  The Olean Republican adds it will include many initiatives that make the state a more affordable place to live, work and do business.  Young says the budget lives within a 2-percent spending cap... and, rejects unaffordable tax increases.  She adds the Senate GOP has "led the charge" to boost school aid.  As a result... she says the budget will provide schools with a 1.4-billion dollar increase in overall school aid, and includes another dramatic reduction in the Gap Elimination Adjustment.  Young adds the final budget will provide a more than 50 percent reduction in the GEA... and, puts in place enough progress for full elimination next year.  She adds there will also be meaningful property tax relief by providing "larger" property tax freeze rebate checks... and, recipients of the STAR and Enhanced STAR programs will continue to see tax relief.  Elimination of the Energy Tax Surcharge will also be accelerated.


It's officially Spring... but, a quick moving storm system in Pennsylvania brought mid-Winter like conditions yesterday morning in the Jamestown-area.  We may see a little more snow this morning... but, the system that dropped 2-to-3 inches moved out by mid-afternoon Tuesday.  Forecaster Steve Welch of the National Weather Service in Buffalo says the greatest amounts were in the higher elevations near the Pennsylvania state line.  Welch says we will get a break from this colder than normal weather pattern on Thursday.  Welch says most areas will see temperatures between 60 and 65 Thursday... with some rain moving in Thursday night.  However... Welch says don't get out your shorts just yet... another cool down is on the way for the weekend.


A Russell, Pennsylvania woman is being treated for non-life threatening injuries after she lost control on slushy road conditions in the town of Kiantone... and, her car rolled onto it's roof.   Sheriff's officers say 56 year-old Marcia Wilkins was southbound on Route 62 about 11 AM Tuesday morning... when her car skidded and struck a guard rail.  Deputies say Wilkins' vehicle then overturned.  She was taken to WCA Hospital for treatment.  Sheriff's officers were assisted at the scene by State Police... and, the Kiantone and Frewsburg Fire Departments.  No charges were filed.


The Chautauqua County jail population's overcrowding situation has stabilized for now.  However... Sheriff Joe Gerace says it will likely be increasing sometime in the near future.  Gerace says he can't wait for a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to begin meeting.  He says County Executive Vince Horrigan has been working to get all of the stakeholders together. Besides involving all of the usual groups in the county's criminal justice system... Gerace says they are reaching out to some other organizations... including not-for-profits.  He says they could help in providing "alternatives to incarceration."  Gerace says the jail population reached an all time high last fall, and, about 30 inmates had to be boarded out to other jails.  He's hoping that the council will come up with some recommendations that could avoid this practice.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has banned non-essential, state-funded travel to Indiana after that state adopted a religious freedom law critics say opens the door to discrimination against gays and lesbians.  The Democratic governor announced the ban Tuesday, saying it shows the state stands by ``our LBGT family members, friends and colleagues.''  The ban will apply to all state agencies -- including its public universities and colleges -- and means they wouldn't be able to participate in athletic or academic events in Indiana.  Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed a similar travel ban on Monday.  State Republican Chairman Ed Cox dismissed Cuomo's move as a ``stunt'' and said that if he wants to take a stand for human rights he should cancel a trip to Cuba planned for next month.


The state Attorney General has announced a settlement with the National Junior College Athletic Association to eliminate a rule adopted in 2012 that limited sports eligibility mostly to students who attended at least three years of high school in the U.S.  The NJCAA board has voted to eliminate the rule requiring 75 percent of the players on a team to meet that threshold.  The association's membership includes 525 public and private junior and two-year colleges across the country... including 41 in New York.  One is Jamestown Community College.  The concern among some of the open-enrollment schools was that others were fielding older foreign athletes.  Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says several public junior colleges in New York brought the rule to his attention last year... noting it's negative impact on urban schools with many immigrant students.


The state Senate has confirmed a Republican county executive to chair the Thruway Authority board.  Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney was nominated by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo to the unpaid position at the authority responsible for the state's systems of toll highways and canals.  Mahoney is an attorney and former prosecutor.  Howard Milstein, the billionaire appointed by Cuomo to chair the Thruway Authority board, resigned last year. 


Fans of "The Rolling Stones" in western New York will be getting some "Satisfaction" this Summer as the Rock 'n Roll legends will appear in Buffalo as part of their North American "Zip Code" tour.  It'll be the first time the Stones have appeared in Buffalo sicne 2001.  The band's 15-city stadium tour will include Ralph Wilson Stadium on Saturday, July 11th.  The tour begins with an appearance in San Diego's Petco Park on May 24th.  Tickets and VIP packages for the Ralph Wilson Stadium Show go on sale Monday, April 13th at 10 AM.  Ticketing information is available at Rollingstones-dot-COM.


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