WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 19, 2019

Jamestown police are asking for the public's help in finding a smaller-sized sports utility vehicle that was involved in an alleged hit-and-run accident in front of UPMC Chautauqua Hospital last Tuesday night.... 

City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says they are looking for a grey-colored smaller SUV like a Toyota Rav4, or a Honda CR-V, that was traveling north on Foote Avenue about 9:15 PM.  Samuelson says the car hit a woman in the crosswalk and, continued on.  He says the woman was taken to the hospital with a non-life threatening, lower leg injury.  Police say the vehicle should have damage to its front left side and hood area.  A picture is on the JPD Facebook page.  Anyone who may have information on the incident is asked to call City Police at 483-7537.  Anonymous tips can also be left at 483-TIPS.


It's appearing less likely that there will be a Special Election called this spring or early Summer to fill the vacant 57th State Senate Seat....  

That from Chautauqua County Board of Elections Republican Commissioner Brian Abram, who says they are moving ahead with plans for a GOP Primary on Tuesday, June 25th.

Abram says Governor Andrew Cuomo really needed to call for a Special Election by now for the run-off to take place on New York's Primary Day.  However, he says the governor could still call one.  Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello and Allegany County Legislature Chairman Curt Crandall are seeking the GOP nomination to run for the seat, vacated in early March by long-time State Senator Cathy Young.  Young resigned from the Senate to become director of the Center for Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell Agri-Tech.


Chautauqua County's Family Court will be moving to the county seat -- starting in mid-June....  

The Eighth Judicial District Administrative Office has announced all Family Court proceedings will convene in Mayville, at the County Family Courthouse at 2 Academy Street, beginning June 10th.  Family Court currently holds a Tuesday morning intake calendar in Jamestown City Court at 200 East Third Street.  But, the intake calendar will be handled starting June 10th in Mayville.  Court officials say the move is part of an effort to streamline court proceedings and the need to have counsel available for both intake calendars and other matters, including trials, which are currently ongoing simultaneously in Mayville and Jamestown.  The Court will continue to take into account the CARTS bus schedule to allow parties time to arrive for their court appearances.


Local Congressman Tom Reed says he was confident that the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election would turn up nothing implicating President Trump nor his campaign.... 

Reed made his comments prior to Thursday morning's press conference held by Attorney General Robert Barr -- just before the report's 11 AM release.  The Corning Republican says the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller should be as fully-released as possible, but says there was no collusion.

At the same time, Reed says he has no problem with an "evidenciary based" follow-up investigation by Congress itself.  Meantime, President Trump celebrated the upcoming release of the redacted version of Mueller's report, saying ``No Collusion'' and ``No Obstruction."  However, Congressional Democrats have already sent a letter to Mueller requesting him to publicly testify on the report.


New York state agencies paid out $787-million in overtime for more than 18 million extra hours worked by state employees in 2018....  

That from a new report released Thursday by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.  His report says last year's total overtime cost was at the highest level within the past decade.  DiNapoli says the average number of state employees decreased slightly last year to nearly 156-thousand.  That total doesn't include employees of the State University of New York and the City University of New York.  The agencies with the most overtime: Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, and Office of Mental Health.  The comptroller says the state "needs to find ways to better manage costs while providing taxpayers with critical services."


A likelyhood of rain is still in the forecast for tomorrow and with that Jamestown's 72nd Annual Easter Egg Hunt will be moved inside the Allen Park Ice Rink....  

City Parks and Recreation Coordinator Julia Ciesla-Hanley says it will still be held this Saturday, April 20th, beginning at 10:30 AM and, is free and open to the public.  Children will be allowed to hunt one age group at a time.  Ciesla-Hanley thanked the Frewsburg Soccer Club, which now leases the rink, for their support of the city's event.

Ciesla-Hanley says, once a group has found all the eggs hidden for their hunt, volunteers will hide the eggs for the next group.  The 4 and under group will go first on Saturday.  Ciesla-Hanley adds that Girl Scout Troop #20029 also helped fill their original 3,000 eggs with candy.  In fact, she says it only took the girl scouts only about an hour to fill all 3,000 eggs, which will be hidden in the ice rink.  In addition, 33 toy prize eggs and two Gold and two Silver eggs will be hidden. 


A new poll finds most registered voters in New York support the plastic bag ban recently passed by the Democrat-controlled state Legislature.....  

They're not so keen on the big pay raise lawmakers approved for Governor Andrew Cuomo.  The Siena College poll released Tuesday found that 62-percent of those surveyed said the ban on single-use plastic bags will be good for the state, while 33-percent oppose the ban.  Voters polled also approved by wide margins two other proposals included in the budget: making the 2% local property tax cap permanent and eliminating cash bail for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies.  Cuomo's salary raise from $179,000 to $250,000 by 2021 was opposed, 63%-32%.  The poll of 735 registered voters was conducted April 8-11. It has margin of error of 4.1 percentage points.

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WJTN Bulletin for Thurs., Apr. 18, 2019

**Jamestown announces annual Easter Egg Hunt Saturday will be held indoors at former Allen Park Ice Rink...

With adverse weather conditions being forecasted... Jamestown's 72nd Annual Easter Egg Hunt will be moved inside the Allen Park Ice Rink this coming Saturday, April 20.  That from city Parks and Recreation Coordinator Julia Ciesla-Hanley... who says the free event for children age 12 and under... is free and open to the public.  It will begin at 10:30 AM... and, children will be allowed to hunt one age group at a time.  Once a group has found all the eggs hidden for their hunt, volunteers will hide the eggs for the next group.  The first age group allowed in will be children 4 and under, followed by children ages 5 to 8 years, and finally children 9 to 12 years of age.  Over 3,000 eggs filled with candy will be “hidden” in the Hunt area. In addition, 33 toy prize eggs and two Gold and two Silver eggs will be hidden. 

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WJTN News Bulletin for Thurs., Apr. 18, 2019

**Vehicle identification sought in connection with alleged Car-Pedestrian accident in Jamestown...

City police are asking for the public's help in finding a smaller-sized sports utility vehicle that was involved in an alleged hit-and-run accident in front of UPMC Chautauqua Hospital.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says they are looking for a grey-colored smaller SUV like a Toyota Rav4... or a Honda CR-V... that was traveling north on Foote Avenue about 9:15 P.M.  Samuelson says the car hit a woman in the crosswalk... and, continued on.  He says the woman was taken to the hospital with a lower leg injury.  The injuries were not life-threatening.  Police say the vehicle should have damage to its front left side and hood area.  A picture is on the JPD Facebook page.  Anyone who may have information on the incident is asked to call City Police at 483-7537.  Anonymous tips can also be left at 483-Tips (8477) or via the Tips 411 App.  Samuelson says all calls and tips are kept confidential.

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 18, 2019

A Jamestown couple has now been arrested for allegedly trafficking drugs, and being in possession of firearms during a trafficking crime...  

U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 33 year-old Douglas Beardsley, and 18 year-old Camille Lopez were taken into custody on charges including possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, and possession of stolen firearms.  He says Beardsley was also charged with being a Felon in possession of a firearm.  Prosecutors say both were arrested during a raid on the couple's 70 Forest Avenue home, where authorities seized a quantity of crystal Meth, and a cutting agent, along with cash, and credit cards.  They also found two firearms reported stolen from a home in the town of Ellicott last January.  The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a one-million dollar fine.


The Zonta Club of Jamestown presented its annual 'Women in Leadership' awards last night (Wednesday).

 The honors went to longtime nurse and health educator Peg Cornell, Tara Eastman, the Pastor of the Tree of Life Lutheran Community in Jamestown, and Sheila Webster, the Director of Marketing, Communications and Governmental Relations at the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce.  The Zonta Club also presented three $1,000 scholarships at the event at the Marvin House.  They went to Chautauqua Lake senior Hannah Roush, Jill Swanson, a graduate of Maple Grove High School, who is about to begin dental school, and Stacey Chase, a secretary in the Pine Valley guidance office, who is studying to be a counselor.  


All but one of the 16 local governments and groups around Chautauqua Lake has signed onto the Lake Management Consensus Strategy "Memorandum of Agreement."  

That's the word from County Executive George Borrello, who announced the agreement in late March.  While the town of Ellery has decided not to sign it, Borrello says he's pleased that the rest of the groups are on board to deal with weed, algal bloom and, other lake issues.

Borrello says he was encouraged to have both the Chautauqua Lake Association and the Chautauqua Lake Partnership among the groups.  He says it's important for the group's to speak with "one voice."  The consensus strategy was developed through the involvement of the county, the State Department of Environmental Conservation and, a consulting firm.


The Jamestown School Board adopted a more than $90-million budget during what School Superintendent Bret Apthorpe called "their busiest board meeting yet" Tuesday night....  

The panel unanimously approved the $90.7-million spending plan.  The 2019-2020 budget includes $50.8-million in Foundation -- or base -- aid.  But, Apthorpe says that's grossly under-funding Jamestown students.

Apthorpe credits the school board's hard work on putting together a special kind of plan which he calls a "community budget..." because it will allow them to put on a literacy program for about 600 kids with the help of local organizations and foundations.  He says they'll also be starting up the district's new "Success Academy" at the former Rogers Elementary School.  The 2019-2020 budget also includes a $100,000 captial outlay project, which is proposed to "harden" the entrance of Fletcher Elementary School.  A public hearing on the budget will take place May 7th at Persell Middle School, prior to the May 21st vote.


The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities has scheduled it's annual Spring Water Main Flushing for May 3rd through May 15th this year and it will again be done during the daytime....  

That from BPU officials at this week's City Council Work Session.  Communications Coordinator Becky Robbins says they'll again begin -- weather permitting -- in Falconer on May 3rd with pre-flushing.  The head of the Water and Wastewater Divisions, Mike Saar, says actual flushing begins the following day.

Flushing in Falconer remains a mainly night-time operation but, Jamestown will still be done during the day-time.  Robbins says information on water main flushing can be found from a number of sources, including radio spots.  She adds that all the information will be on the BPU's website, the Jamestown Post-Journal and, social media.  Robbins says the lone exception in Jamestown is on Wednesday, May 8th, when flushing will take place from 5:30 AM to 5 PM to accommodate downtown Jamestown restaurants and businesses.  She says flushing that day could affect streets directly off Fairmount Avenue, even though those particular streets are not flushed that day.


New York state will grant free state tuition and room and board to the families of New York military members who are killed or disabled while on duty....  

Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the move Wednesday, days after Republican lawmakers accused the Democrat-led state Assembly of blocking legislation to expand scholarships for Gold Star families.  Cuomo said there's no need to wait for lawmakers to act, so he has directed education officials to begin covering tuition costs for dependents of fallen or permanently disabled service members.  The state already covered tuition for dependents of service members killed or disabled in combat or in training - but that didn't cover all military deaths or injuries.  Cuomo says the expansion will cost "several million dollars" but that it's a small price to honor Gold Star families.

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 17, 2019

The Jamestown Board of Education unanimously approved a $90.7-million budget proposal for the 2019-2020 school year....  

Superintendent Bret Apthorpe says the spending plan will maintain the current tax levy in the interest of keeping current programs and stability for tax payers. Jamestown is projected to receive $50.9-million in foundation aid next year, a $1.7-million increase from 2018.  Main priorities in the 2019-2020 budget include a focus on student achivement. A public hearing will take place May 7th at Persell Middle School, prior to the May 21st vote. 


The first quarter of 2019 went as well as could be expected for the city of Jamestown financially....  

Those are the feelings of City Comptroller Joe Bellitto, who presented the March 2019 financial report during Monday night's City Council work session.  From a revenue stand-point, Bellitto says they did well on payments in lieu of taxes from the Board of Public Utilities, as well as most others.  As for spending, he says all but one area was "normal" for the first three-months of the year.

Bellitto says the one item they are lacking so far is the city's first-quarter sales tax payment, which he says should be received on or about May 1st.  Back to the spending side, he says there is one area of concern... and, that's the Central Garage Contractural account.  Bellitto says 34-percent of that budget has already been used in 2019.  He adds that the 'early year' Winter Season saw overtime costs down by 30-percent and, salt expenses down about 19-percent compared to last year.


Four men -- three from Jamestown -- will serve state prison time for crimes ranging from drug possession to robbery following recent sentencings in Chautauqua County Court....  

District Attorney Patrick Swanson says 23 year-old Collin Slack was sentenced by County Court Judge David Foley to 6 to 12 years total on two counts of third-degree Grand Larceny and one of first-degree reckless endangerment.  In addition, Swanson says 35 year-old Albert Chapman of Jamestown will serve 3.5 to 7 years for third-degree robbery, and first-degree attempted robbery.  He'll also serve 5-years in post-release supervision.  The D-A says 51 year-old Fredrick Antill of Panama will spend 7 years in state prison and, 20 years post-release supervision for first-degree course of sexual conduct, and second-degree rape.  Lastly... Swanson says 20 year-old Richard Catanese of Jamestown was sentenced by Acting County Court Judge John LaMancuso to 3 to 6 years for third-degree grand larceny.


An Iowa-based ice cream maker has acquired Fieldbrook Foods, headquartered in Dunkirk, from Arbor Investments....  

County Executive George Borrello says Wells Enterprises, Incorporated, made the deal -- effective yesterday (Monday).  Borrello believes the move by Wells and Arbor will be a good one for the local area.

Borrello says Wells Enterprises is looking to expand into the Northeast and this will help that increase their capacity to do that.


Pennsylvania State Police have identified the man at a Warren County home who was reported as "out of control" when they were called and, was dead when they arrived....

Troopers in Corry  were called to the scene on Sutton Road in Freehold Township shortly before 11 PM last Friday... and, found 33 year-old Steven Little --of Erie -- deceased.  Police say they are still investigating the cause and manner of death of the victim.  The State Police Major Case Team.... Warren County Coronor's Office, and District Attorneys Office are also involved in the investigation. Autopsy results are pending. 


Buffalo Bishop Richard Malone says he'll hold a series of listening sessions to hear from Roman Catholics about the clergy sex abuse crisis.... 

The diocese said Monday the sessions could begin next month and are part of a series of initiatives being undertaken with a community group that was formed to restore trust in the church.  The diocese and group, the Movement to Restore Trust, also will review the way the names of accused clergy are made public.  Malone has apologized for his handling of some abuse allegations against priests but has resisted calls by some in the community for his resignation.  The Buffalo diocese says it has received allegations of child sexual abuse against more than 130 diocesan priests and more than 40 religious order priests.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 16, 2019

A city man has died of his injuries suffered when he was struck by a Sports Utility Vehicle while walking across an intersection on Jamestown's eastside early Monday morning.....  

City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says 59 year-old Kent Norgren had entered the intersection of East Fifth Street and Prendergast Avenue shortly before 6 AM when he was struck.  Samuelson says they are still investigating what led to the accident.  Witnesses say Chautauqua County Sheriff's officers offered assistance and, helped close the streets around the intersection.  The Sheriff's Departments Accident Reconstruction Team was also brought in.  Norgren was intially taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of serious injuries, and was taken to UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he later died.  The unidentified driver has not been charged at this time.


The city of Jamestown is closing out fiscal year 2018 with a slight budget surplus.....  

That from Comptroller Joe Bellitto, who told the City Council at last night's work session, that his unaudited spending plan shows the city finished in the black by just-over $400,000.

Those revenues now include the one-million dollars in special, additional aid the city has secured from New York state the past two years.  With that money just coming in, the city beat it's total, budgeted aid figure by $356,000.  Bellitto adds that the city was really helped by their health and dental insurance being $1.1-million UNDER budget.  He says the city was just plain lucky in many respects, but, he adds they believe their new wellness program is working.  Bellitto says the other big positive from the 2018 close-out was the fact the city didn't have to touch it's undesignated fund balance, which was about $1.85-million to begin the year.  That total has increased to $2.2-million. The city's third-party auditor will present the final 2018 audit later in the year.


A reminder of the city of Jamestown's past when steamships went up and down Chautauqua Lake, and the Chadakoin River, will be returning, starting this Summer....  

The city has reached a five-year agreement with the owner of the Chautauqua Belle, allowing the replica steamer to dock at the McCrea Point Boat Landing this Spring through mid-Fall.  That from City Council Finance Committee Chairman Tony Dolce, who says the steamship will be making round-trip excursions from the landing to the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel in Celoron.

Dolce and Mayor Sam Teresi say the agreement also calls for the Belle's owner -- U-S Steam Lines -- to maintain the dock within the boat slip.  Dolce says the lease will cost $250 the first year and, increase by $25 each year after that.  Teresi says the city will install electric service at the dock and, the Belle's operator will pay all electric charges.  The Chautauqua Belle is captained by Matt Stage from the Mayville-area, who started working on boats on Chautauqua Lake when he was about 9 years old.  For more information, go on-line to 269belle.com.


The loss of about 250 farms between 2012 and 2017 in Chautauqua County is a concern to state lawmakers from the region but, hopefully better days should be coming....  

Those are the feelings of retired State Senator Cathy Young, and Assemblyman Andy Goodell during last Friday's State Legislative Breakfast hosted in Lakewood by the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce.  Young, who is now director of the state Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell, says a new trade deal for milk is in the offing.

Young says, Cornell is working on milk and grape "alternatives" that capitalize on new fresh and natural products because those are most in demand now.  On the legislative side, Assemblyman Goodell says new farm labor bills make it very difficult on local farmers to meet the bottom line, and, get their crops in.  The latest Farm Census from Cornell shows the number of farms in Chautauqua County fell from 1,500 in 2012 to about 1,250 in 2017, a 19-percent drop.


An EF-2 Tornado packing winds of up to 130 miles an hour tore the roof off a Warren, Pennsylvania business and, left a path of damage 16 miles long....  

Forecasters with the National Weather Service in State College say the twister first touched down in Pleasant Township and tracked northeast into the Starbrick-area, where it ripped the roof off and did other damage the Carter Lumber company.  Meteorologist Kevin Fitzgerald says they sent a team to investigate this morning.

Forecaster Joe Ceru says the team found the tornado was about 400 yards wide and, first hit the area about 8:30 Sunday night in Pleasant Township.  He says it then moved into the area where the roof was torn off Carter Lumber.  Ceru says it then moved into Conewango Township and knocked down several trees, and damaged a few homes.  However, no injuries were reported.  The twister then knocked down a communications tower in the Scandia area and, then caused some damage to the Blueberry Hills Golf Course in Elk Township. 


Strong to severe storms that caused some wind damage and downed trees rolled across portions of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Erie counties Sunday evening.... 

The National Weather Service in Buffalo reports no confirmed sightings of tornadoes.  That from Weather Service forecaster Heather Kenyon.

A possible "downburst cloud" was reportedly seen over Lake Erie.  The storms did deposit hail of up to 1.75 inches in such locations as Mayville, Sherman and Westfield.  Today, the colder air is changing rain showers to snow showers, especially over the hilltops.


A Jamestown woman was arrested for allegedly providing insufficient living conditions for her children early Monday morning....  

City police were sent to 21 Price Street to check on the welfare of two-and-four year-old toddlers, who they found living in filth, poor hygiene and without food or water.  Officers took 27 year-old Crystal Depew into custody for two counts of endangering the welfare of child.  Child Protective Services were called to the scene to take custody of the children.  Depew is in the city jail awaiting arraignment. 

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News Bulletin for Mon., Apr. 15, 2019

Victim identified in fatal SUV-Pedestrian accident in Jamestown...

A Jamestown man died from injuries suffered when he was struck by a car while walking across an intersection on the city's eastside early this morning.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says 59 year-old Kent Norgren had entered the intersection of East Fifth Street and Prendergast Avenue shortly before 6 a.m.  However... Samuelson says the driver of the Sports Utility Vehicle involved was unable to see Norgren until it was too late.  Witnesses say Chautauqua County Sheriff's deputies offered assistance on-site and helped set up a road block.  The Sheriff's Departments Accident Reconstruction Team was also brought in to investigate.  Norgren was intially taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of serious injuries, and was taken to UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pennsylvania... where he later died.  The unidentified driver has not been charged at this time.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 15, 2019

Strong storms hit most parts of the region last night, but the worst of it appears to have struck an area just west of Warren, PA... 

Meterologist Kevin Fitzgerald with the National Weather Service in State College says a roof was ripped off a lumber company along with damage to steel doors of the building.    Fitzgerald says they'll send investigators to the scene later today to determine if a tornado occurred.  As for Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties, the Buffalo Weather Service office reports storm damage at disperate locations, including Findley Lake, Mina, Salamanca, Little Valley and Delevan, but no suspected tornadoes.  There have been no reports of personal injury from any of the storms.


State Police in Pennsylvania are investigating the death of an Erie man at a Warren County home who was reported as "out of control" when they were called and, was dead when they arrived.... 

State Police in Corry say troopers were called to the scene on Sutton Road in Freehold Township shortly before 11 PM last Friday and, found the unidentified, 33 year-old man had died.  Police say they are still investigating the cause and manner of death of the victim.  The Warren County Coronor's Office, and District Attorneys Office are also involved.


A city man is jailed for alleged burglary after he was found trepassing on a porch last Saturday morning on Jamestown's Southside....

Officers were called to 102 McKinley Avenue just after 8:30 AM on a report of a suspicious man there and, found the man at the scene.  However, police say 34 year-old Tony Fish initially lied about his identity because he was wanted on a Felony warrant.  Fish was arrested without incident, but, was found in possession of marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.  He was arrested for second-degree burglary, false personation, unlawful possession of marijuana, and criminally using drug paraphernalia.

 
There is both good and bad news in the new state budget recently adoped by the New York state legislature and, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo....  

That from Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi, who says, while there were cuts, the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program, or CHIPS Aid and, "Extreme Weather" road aid remains intact.  Teresi adds there's also more fairness with sales tax being imposed on most Internet sales.

Teresi says there were some items the legislature "punted on..." including an increase in funding for Jamestown to maintain state highways in the city.   However,  he says there are bills in both the Senate and Assembly now that would rectify that situation.  On the issue of additional aid, Teresi says they've been told that one-million dollars the city has received the past two-years is in this spending plan.  However, it's not in the normal state aid catagory.  He says they have to apply for the funding, and that creates some delays.  In fact, he says last year's payment was just released two weeks ago. 


A north county man had to be revived using naloxone following a drug overdose in Rumsey Street in the village of Silver Creek late last week.... 

Sheriff's officers were called to the scene just after 5 PM last Friday on a report of an unresponsive male and, deputies administered what's also commonly known as narcan and, the unidentified male soon after became alert and responsive.  Officers say the subject was taken to Lake Shore Hospital for further treatment.  No charges were filed.


The Dunkirk School Board has adopted the district's proposed 2019-20 budget.  The action came at it's monthly meeting held late last week....  

District Business Manager Cindy Mackowiak presented the board with a spending plan that totals $47.8-million, a 4.6 percent increase over the current budget.  Mackowiak says there were several factors that led to the increase, although the budget calls for no change in the tax levy.  Those include some special education costs and, salary increases.  Mackowiak says the proposed budget also includes an increase in State foundation aid of just over 5-percent, or about $1-million. The budget vote is scheduled for May 21st.


A Jamestown man faces several charges after he allegedly trespassed on property where he got involved in a fight in the town of Harmony last week....  

Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Route 474 in Ashville about 4 PM last Wednesday and, arrested 27 year-old Shawn Battle.  Deputies found Battle was trespassing and, damaged a cell phone that did not belong to him.  Battle then fled the scene but, officers say they later found Battle and, he was taken into custody on charges including third-degree criminal mischief, second-degree harassment criminal mischief and, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Battle was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.


An idea floated by President Donald Trump to send immigrants from the border to "sanctuary cities" to exact revenge on Democratic foes could end up doing the migrants a favor....  

Immigration advocates say sanctuary cities typically make it easier for migrants to put down roots and stay in the country.  The plan would put thousands of immigrants in cities that are not only welcoming to them, but also more likely to rebuff federal officials carrying out deportation orders.  Many of these locations have more resources to help immigrants make their legal cases to stay in the United States than smaller cities.  Trump blames troubles on the border on Democrats and their inaction in Congress.


New York state is launching a new effort to fight synthetic cannabinoids....  

Late last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a multi-agency initiative that includes public awareness campaigns and greater resources for law enforcement.  The Democrat says the effort includes additional drug-sniffing dogs who will search for the illicit substance in state correctional facilities.  Officials say the strategy also includes clinical guidance for mental health professionals and emergency room staff who treat users of the drug.  Known as synthetic cannabinoids or synthetic marijuana and sold under brand names such as K2, the lab-made drugs are intended to mimic the effects of marijuana but can have far more dangerous side effects.  The state has outlawed several different chemical formulations of the drug, but Cuomo says more must be done to discourage use and hold dealers accountable.

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WJTN Headlines for Sat., Apr. 13, 2019

County Chamber hears budget details from Goodell and Young...
The loss of a Republican Majority in the New York State Senate led to a final budget that heavily-favors downstate interests at the expense of the upstate region.  Those are the feelings of State Assemblyman Andy Goodell as he and retired State Senator Cathy Young addressed the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce's annual State Legislative Breakfast in Lakewood yesterday morning.  Goodell says a number of items that were often approved in the more liberal Assembly would be stopped in the Senate.  He says transportation funding was a big one... as upstate received about $1-billion in the new budget.  However... Goodell says the MTA in New York City received $5.6-billion... five times more than upstate.  He says he was also disappointed to see the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program -- or CHIPS Funding -- cut by $65-million.  Young was making her first public appearance in Chautauqua County since stepping down last month to become director of the state Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell Agri-Tech.


County Chamber, Tranum honor and thank Young...
The State Legislative Breakfast was also the first public appearance since retiring for Cathy Young in Chautauqua County... and, members of the county chamber gave her a rousing welcome.  Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Tranum praised Young for the many projects she worked on... and, pushed in the Senate.  The first... and biggest... was probably the effort to save the NRG Power Plant in Dunkirk... which NRG ended up walking away from.  There were others, as well... such as funding to combat the opioid drug epidemic, and securing record school aid here and state-wide.  Tranum also praised Young for her commitment to constituent service... and, for considering the chamber's position when dealing with legislation.  He says the chamber will "miss having you as a representative in the Senate."  Young was given a standing ovation at the end of Tranum's remarks.


St. Bonaventure President calls on Buffalo Bishop Malone to resign...
The president of a Catholic university in Cattaraugus County is calling on Buffalo's bishop to resign.  St. Bonaventure University President Dennis DePerro says in an interview with WKBW that Bishop Richard J. Malone needs to step aside so the Diocese of Buffalo can begin to heal after a year of scandals related to the handling of sexual abuse.  DePerro acknowledged that the bishop had come forward with a period of prayer and healing.  But... he says "those things do not seem to be working."  An e-mail requesting comment was sent to the diocese on Friday.


Man arrested for weapons possesion in Falconer...
A Falconer man was arrested on weapons possession charges following a domestic dispute late Thursday night.  Ellicott Town Police were called to a residence in the village about 11 p.m., and, found 52 year-old Ronald McClaran was allegedly in possession of four semi-automatic handguns. Officers say McClaran did not a state-issued permit for the guns, and was charged with four-counts of criminal possession of a firearm.  He was sent to the County Jail pending arraignment. 


Borrello joins officials with new Chautauqua Lake Pops to announce move...
The village of Mayville is poised to become "the gateway" to Chautauqua Lake as the former Bemus Bay Pops program will be returning as the new "Chautauqua Lake Pops."  That from County Executive George Borrello... who says it's a "great thing" the pops is returning after a year in limbo.  That follows more than 20 years as the Bemus Bay Pops in Bemus Point.  Borrello says it became an important cultural and economic engine for the entire region... and, he says it's return is good news and will be a nice fit for the village.  With it's summer concert series, programs, and special events... Borrello says economic impact studies have determined that the Pops has generated between $12 to 14-million annually for Chautauqua County in past summers and is poised to do so again.  Chautauqua Lake Pops Chairman and President Dan Dalpra says “we are excited to bring this great program back to the lake. Mayville has come forward with an opportunity and partnership to make this happen."  Pops Communications Director Mike Ferguson thanked Mayor Ken Shearer and others for working hard to "make it happen."


Haynes received CAP Earhart Award...
A newly promoted Cadet-Captain with the Jamestown Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol has received CAP's highest honor... the Amelia Earhart Award.  State Assemblyman Andy Goodell was on hand to present the Earhart award to Emma Haynes at the organization's weekly gathering.  Goodell says "when you get this award on behalf of Amelia Earhart, there’s a special recognition of what you have accomplished so far, and what we expect of you in the future."  The 17 year-old Haynes plans on applying to West Point and other ROTC scholarship programs in the future.


Bogus Tax Refunds on the rise...
New York's comptroller is reporting a big increase in the number of questionable or fraudulent state tax refunds this year.  State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office said Friday that it had blocked more than 12,000 bogus refunds worth $43.7 million as of Monday, compared to $24 million in bogus returns at the same point last year.  DiNapoli says his office is using increasingly sophisticated data-driven methods to catch those who claim refunds they're not entitled to. Tax day this year is Monday.

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 12, 2019

The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of a 28 year old male inmate at the Chautauqua County Jail....  

At this time, Deputies say there is no suspicion of foul play.  The New York State Commission of Corrections has been notified and the investigation is continuing.  Next of kin have been notified.


Two people had to be rescued when a structure fire broke out at a two-family home in the City of Jamestown....  

Fire Battalion Chief Don Mowry says crews were called to 34 Regent Street just before 9 AM Thursday morning and, found fire venting out a window.  He says a neighbor alerted the tenants to the flames and one person was able to get out from the first-floor.  Mowry says Good Samaritans pulled a woman and child on the second floor to safety. The cause remains under investigation. 


The value of agricultural products produced has remained stable at $161 million, but Chautauqua County has lost about one-fifth of its farms over five years....  

Farm Business Educator, Katelyn Walley-Stoll at Cornell Cooperative Extension reports the 2017 Census of Agriculture... out  Thursday... shows the county with 1,228 farms... down 19 percent from 2012.  The whole of New York state lost farms over the five year period, but only at a 6 percent rate.  Walley-Stoll says the drop in the number of farms is more than statistics.  Each farm lost represents a family and history for the land, as well.  Dairy remains the largest sector of agriculture here, producing $75 million in 2017.  Fruits... mostly grapes... come in second at $42.5 million.  In raw numbers, both sectors lost 20 percent of their farms from 2012 to 2017.  One area of agriculture saw dramatic growth in the new census... direct marketing... up 63 percent.  Walley-Stoll believes that growth came primarily in vegetable stands and 'freezer sale meats.'


It was not a very springlike day, but that didn't keep Dunkirk officials from holding a ground-breaking ceremony for the $1.5 million city pier improvements project....  

Mayor Wilfred Rosas is pleased to see work getting underway on the project.  He says it's part of his vision of improving the city's waterfront area.
 
Once completed by late summer, the project will feature a new gateway structure, pedestrian enhanced area, new lighting, and 30 parking spaces. 


Chautauqua County's top-elected official says he's hopeful that development of a Barley and Hops Cooperative in Chautauqua County will help jump start an industry that has struggled some in the county..... 

County Executive George Borrello was able to get the county legislature last month to approved $20,000 to help fund a feasibilty study that'll be mainly backed by entreprenuer Chris Lacarata.  He says the decision came after meeting with Lacarata... who agreed to fund 50-percent of the study.

Borrello says there are some Hops Farmers in the county now... and, some of them have been successful.  However, he says they also want to help those who are struggling.  He says while Lacarata is picking up $60,000 of the cost, and the county is chipping in $20,000 some local foundations will help with the remaining $40,000 .  Borrello made his comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


A low cost, one-stop pet wellness event is slated to start this weekend in Jamestown! 

The Chautauqua County Humane Society will host a healthy pet clinic at Saint Luke's Episocopal Church this Saturday. CCHS Clinic Coordinator Allie Russell says the event runs from 12 PM to 3 PM and will offer preventative care for pets. The treatments include a wellness check, flea medications and vaccines. 

Executive Director Kellie Roberts says they were able to see nearly 500 pets in 2018 and hold nine clinics in our community. She say their 2019 goal is to host 14 healthy pet clinics, however they are in need of more veterinary support in order to do so.  A small co-pay will be requested at the time of service, although receiving care is not based on one’s ability to pay.  More information is available online at SPCAPets.com.


The Robert H Jackson Center in Jamestown named Kristan Mc Mahon as its new President....  

Intermin President, Tom Schmidt, says Mc Mahon is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been a practicing attorney for 20 years.  She is currently 'principal' at Vetted Solutions... a DC based company that helps non-profits and associations find new leaders.  Schmidt says she rose to the top in an extensive search that took place through the winter.  He adds, Mc Mahnon believes Justice Jackson's values and guidance are just as relevant today as they were in his own time. Among the new initiatives Mc Mahon will take on is the expansion of Jackson Center programming beyond the immediate Jamestown area, first to Washington, DC and possibly other places as well. Kristan Mc Mahon is expected to begin her work in Jamestown later this month.  The Jackson Center has operated under interim leadership since Susan Murphy left the organization in July of 2018.


The 2020 Census Day is April 1st of next year, but opportunities are opening up now to help ensure the count is a success.... 

The Census Bureau is charged with counting every person living in the United States once each decade. According to Tim Olson, with the U-S Census Bureau, they'll soon start hiring more than a half-million workers nationwide to help the count go smoothly. Applications are being accepted now and for the first time and, people can apply online at 2020census.gov/jobs.

In another first, when the count begins next year, the 2020 Census will also allow the public to fill out their census forms online.  The Trump administration wants the census to ask respondents if they are U-S citizens, which many believe would discourage non-citizens from participating. That question is being challenged in the courts, but Olsen says either way, no one should feel intimidated.  The U-S Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case challenging the citizenship question later this month.

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 11, 2019

The Robert H Jackson Center in Jamestown will name Kristan Mc Mahon as its new President today.....  

Intermin President, Tom Schmidt, says Mc Mahon, is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been a practicing attorney for 20 years.

Schmidt says she rose to the top in an extensive search that took place through the winter.  He adds she is keenly aware of Jackson's work and legacy.  Kristan Mc Mahon is expected to begin her work in Jamestown later this month.

New York's senior U-S Senator is blasting Friendly's Restaurants for closing 14 Upstate stores -- including Jamestown's -- with no real notice to it's employees, saying they were "anything but Friendly."  

Democrat Chuck Schumer Wednesday accused Friendly's of potentially violating the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification -- or WARN Act when it suddenly shuttered the 14 New York, and 9 other stores in the Northeast.  Schumer says he has written Labor Secretary Alex Acosta about the matter.

However... Schumer adds that -- even if Friendly's actions didn't violate the law... then what's on the books now needs to be changed.  He says employers generally expect two-weeks notice when a worker is leaving.  However... in these cases... he says workers don't have similar protections.  He says it often leads people with mortgages and health care bills with no money to pay them.  The Friendly's on South Main Street in Jamestown closed without notice early Monday morning... leaving about 30 workers out of a job.


Officials with the Chautauqua County Board of Elections say they will be getting a share of nearly $25-million in funding in the state budget to cover the costs of electronic poll books and early voting....  

Democratic Elections Commissioner Norm Green says he expects the county's share of funding to be about $150,000.

Green says early voting won't be in effect for the June primaries, but will be ready for the general election in November.  He says it will "definately" be ready then.  Green says the county's estimated share would take care of the Board of Elections' startup costs but, not year-to-year expenses.


The fight over whether or not to make President Donald Trump release the past six-years of his tax returns will likely wind up in court....  

Those are the feelings of local Congressman Tom Reed, with yesterday's deadline set by a Congressional committee for Trump to turn over his tax returns for lawmaker's scrutiny.  However... Reed says the Ways and Means committee... of which he is a member... does have the right to review taxes for "tax administrative purposes."  However... he says there are political... and, privacy issues involved here.

However... in a letter from Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig... Democrats feel this is a vital first step toward oversight of Trump’s income taxes and business network.  Some lawmakers say they believe they could be rife with conflicts of interest and potential tax law violations.  He adds there would also be privacy issues if the president's New York state tax returns are requested as well. 


H. Carl McCall, the chairman of the board of trustees of the State University of New York, has announced his retirement after nearly eight years in the appointed post....  

The 83-year-old McCall announced Wednesday that he'll "pursue other interests" after more than 50 years in public service.  McCall served as state comptroller from May 1993 through December 2002, a month after he lost the November election for governor to incumbent George Pataki.  A state senator representing a Manhattan district from 1975 through 1980, McCall also served as ambassador to the United Nations and commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
 Governor Andrew Cuomo called the fellow Democrat "a quintessential public servant" and "a trailblazer who paved a path for others to follow."


Crews spent much of the day Wednesday working on a major water main break in the city of Dunkirk that occurred early yesterday morning in the 100 block of Central Avenue......  

The city was alerted to the break around 4:30 AM and it appeared like a "small geyser" shooting into the air.  Once they were able to isolate the break... City Public Works Director Randy Woodbury says they will able to dig down and make repairs.  Central Avenue from Lake Shore Drive, Route 5 to 2nd Street reopened early yesterday afternoon.  Woodbury says the city lost about 100,000 gallons of water from the break. 

 

With Easter Weekend being later in April this year compared to the past few... organizers of the 72nd annual Easter Egg Hunt in Jamestown are hoping to have the event outdoors this year... 

That from City Parks and Recreation Coordinator Julia Ciesla-Hanley... who announced this year's event at Allen Park... where the hunt will again be held.  Ciesla-Hanley says this year's egg hunt will be held in the playground area beginning at 10:30 AM on Saturday, April 20th.

Ciesla-Hanley says they are able to put on the event again this year, thanks to generous sponsors... such as the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation... which is taking on a primary sponsorship this year.  She says the foundation is donating the two children's bicycles that'll be given away to the two Golden Egg prize winners.  Fifty-dollar Wal-Mart gift cards will be presented to the two children finding the Silver Eggs by the Hess family.  Children ages 12 and under are invited to attend the egg hunt.  For more information... call 483-7523.


The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities Water Division is warning of discolored water expected in Celoron, West Ellicott and the Village of Lakewood today....  

BPU Spokewoman Becky Robbins says a warehouse on Jackson Avenue in Celoron will execute a fire system flow test this morning.  Robbins says water may be discolored for 12-to-24 hours after the test occurs.  Customers in Cottage Park and west could also be affected... and, should not do laundry until water appears clear.

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 10, 2019

Employees of the 23 Friendly's ice cream and restaurant chain stores across the Northeast that closed early Monday will be offered jobs at other locations, or offered severance pay....... 

That from Chief Executive Officer George Michel late Tuesday after 14 franchises in the upstate region -- including Jamestown -- shut-down with no prior notice.  The Wilbraham, Massachusetts-based company cited dramatic changes in the areas where some restaurants are located for the closures of the corporate-owned shops.  In addition to the 14 upstate restaurants, three more in Massachusetts, three in Connecticut, two in New Hampshire, and one in Maine also closed.  Michel says the closures "will best position the brand for a bright future."  Friendly's now has 174 restaurants - 77 corporate-owned and 97 franchisee-owned - down from 254 when the company emerged from bankruptcy in 2012.


Local Congressman Tom Reed says it's "not net neutrality..." it's basically a government take-over of the Internet..... 

That's how the Corning Republican is charactorizing a Democratic bill slated for a vote later this week in the House of Representatives.  Reed was highly-critical Tuesday of the Democratic Majority's proposed "Save the Internet Act of 2019."  He says it's heavy-handed, and would regulate the net like a utility under the Communication's Act of 1934.

Under the Democratic proposal... the three "bright line" rules of the Open Internet Order are restored... No blocking of access to lawful content... no throttling of Internet speeds, exclusive of reasonable network management practices and, thirdly, no paid prioritization.  Reed says he is supporting the Republican-backed Promoting Internet Freedom and Innovation Act of 2019, proposed by Washington State Representative Cathy McMorris-Rogers, which also includes those three rules and, not as many regulations to provide a "competitive marketplace" he says will provide Internet access in rural areas.  Reed says the Democratic bill would block future innovation, such as "5G" by requiring federal lawmakers to approve each new technology. 


Chautauqua County's Congressman says he is willing to wait for Attorney General William Barr's expected release of a redacted version of the special counsel's Russia investigation report.....  

Barr yesterday told members of a House Committee that the report would be out "within a week."  Local Congressman Tom Reed says he expects Barr to be true to his word.

Reed is not on the appropriations committee that hosted the hearing, which was mainly to review the Department of Justice's proposed budget to 2019-2020.   Barr told members of Congress at his first public appearance since receiving special counsel Robert Mueller's report that his earlier projection of releasing a version of the document by mid-April still stood.


A Jamestown woman has pleaded guilty to possessing and trafficking significant amounts of methamphetimine in the city from late 2017 through mid-2018....  

U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 39 year-old Stacie Yancer entered the plea before U-S District Court Judge Lawrence Vilardo Monday.  Prosecutors say that between November 2017 and mid-June of last year, Yancer conspired with others to operate a drug trafficking organization -- primarily involving methamphetamine -- in the Jamestown-area.  She was accused of selling meth to an undercover agent with the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force in January of 2018 and, she was arrested during a raid at 22 Bassett Street on March 12th of 2018.  Yancer was one of 14 people arrested, and the second to be convicted.  She faces 5-years to life in prison, and up to a 10-million dollar fine when she's sentenced on August 16th.


Chautauqua County is now trying to move forward on a more united front when it comes to economic development....  

That from County Executive George Borrello, who has unveiled his new economic development strategy that pushes collaboration among several entities that are involved in the effort across the county.  Borrello calls it a new "alliance" for now... but, adds he wants it to eventually become a county agency.

Borrello says Chautauqua County has had it's successes with economic development but, he hopes bringing these groups and organizations together will help the county "hit home-runs... " as opposed to singles and doubles."  He says the county will also use this to help businesses already here to expand, if that's what they are looking to do.  Borrello made his comments for this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Police in Dunkirk are investigating a shooting that occurred earlier Tuesday morning in the city's First Ward...... 

Dunkirk Police investigators say a city man was shot while in the area of South Beaver and East Second Streets around 1:55 AM.  The man was transported to the hospital for gunshot wounds to his leg.  Police are encouraging anyone with information on the shooting to call Dunkirk Police Headquarters at 366-2266. 
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Dunkirk Police are also looking for the public's assistance in locating a 39-year-old man who is wanted on a felony arrest warrant stemming from a shooting at 92 East Second Street on March 22nd.  Police say that Jeremiah Toliver is wanted for second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  Anyone with information can call Dunkirk Police or the department's confidential tip line at 363-0313.


An Arizona truck driver was arrested by state police following a traveling domestic dispute last weekend....  

State police say they pulled over the tractor trailer on Interstate 88 in Colesville and interviewed the couple inside.  Investigation revealed that while stopped at the town of Randolph Rest Area, 39 year-old Christopher Raymond allegedly grabbed the victim and struck her head against the interior of the rig, causing a laceration. Troopers say the victim was treated at a nearby hospital for non-life-threatening injuries and Raymond was taken into custody.  He was arraigned and sent to the Cattaraugus County Jail for third-degree assault, fourth-degree criminal mischief and second-degree harrassment. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 9, 2019

Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi says the city is ready to now launch an "enhanced version" of it's Rental Property Registration Program, allowing them to better track where code enforcement action is needed.....

Teresi discussed the program, which was initially launched in 2010 after a task force developed the program, and method for registration.  By next year, he says rental property owners will be able to register -- on line -- after they receive their tax bill at the end of the year.

Teresi says Development Director Vince DeJoy has been working on the new database, using the city's "MyGov" on-line platform.  DeJoy says any property with at least one rental will have to register and they will have to register on an annual basis.  Teresi says there are three ways code enforcement can check on a property but, he says 85 to 90-percent of those are generated by complaints from neighbors, and others. 


With no warning nor announcement, a popular restaurant in downtown Jamestown has closed....  

Friendly's Restaurant in Brooklyn Square was shut down Monday morning with no prior notice.  The move is apparently part of a series of about two-dozen store closings across upstate New York and, it caught many people off guard.  One of them was Mayor Sam Teresi, who was having a breakfast meeting just up the street at Lisciandro's Restaurant today when he learned about the closing.

Teresi also confirmed reports to us that the closing is not related to the number of customers at the Jamestown location.  In fact, officials had noted that the Brooklyn Square location was one of the chain's best.  Teresi says it'll be a loss to patrons who frequented the restaurant and enjoyed it's food options and, it's well-known ice cream creations.   WJTN's Saturday Breakfast Party has broadcast from Friendly's every Saturday since early 2002.  Broadcasts of that show will be temporarily suspended until a new location can be secured.   


The National Comedy Center has announced that a second show has now been added for the other headliner at the annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival this coming August.....  

Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson says the second show for John Mulany will be held at 9:30 PM on Friday, August 9th, shortly after his first show at 7 PM at the Northwest Arena that night.  Gunderson says they are pleased to add a second show for the man called "one of the best stand-up comics alive" by Entertainment Weekly.  Earlier this year, the Comedy Center added a second show for fellow headliner Sebastian Maniscalco on Saturday, August 10th.  Gunderson says tickets for Mulany's 9:30 PM performance will go on pre-sale for National Comedy Center members only starting Wednesday, May 1st at Noon eastern time.. and, to the general public on Friday, May 3rd at Noon at ComedyCenter.org.  

A Jamestown woman was arrested after becoming physically violent with children at Liilian Dickson Park early Sunday evening.....  

City Police responded to the Falconer Street playground just before 7 PM and, learned 25 year-old Denise Livingston and another female began to argue over children playing in the park.  Police were reportedly told that Livingston punched a 13 year-old girl in the face and, slapped a 5-year-old girl after a verbal argument.  Livingston was taken into custody a short distance away was charged two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.  She's being held in the Jamestown City Jail pending arraignment. 


A Forestville woman faces drunk-driving charges after striking a Chautauqua County Sheriff's Deputy's patrol car early last Saturday morning....  

Officers say the Deputy was stopped with their emergency lights activated on West Main Street in the Village of Fredonia  -- and shortly before 1 AM --  a passing vehicle struck the patrol unit causing damage.  Police say 34 year-old Jessica Tenamore fled the scene, but was stopped a short distance away.  Tenamore was taken into custody and, released with appearance tickets for Frednia Village Court.


A Dunkirk resident has come up with an alternative plan to moving Brooks Memorial Hospital from its current site to a location in the village of Fredonia.....  

But, there is no indication whether the plan would have the backing of state officials or those with Brooks itself.  Frank Beach consulted with an architect for Indiana Universities Health/Clarion Healthcare to develop the proposal that would keep the hospital at its current location on Central Avenue.  Key parts of the proposal include construction of a new facility on the current north parking lot providing up to 65,000 square feet of space.  The project would also add three floors vertically to the newer section of the current hospital.

The proposal would also involve the construction of a city-owned parking garage at the corner of 6th Street and Eagle Street. That's where the Middle School Soccer field is located.  Beach says the plan would also provide for the repurposing of the current facility over time.  He insists it would be "bigger and better" than what's there now.  Beach did not include any cost figures but, believes it's an opportunity for the Brooks Board to meet its "fiduciary responsibility" to the hospital, it's employees and the community. 


A renewed push across the United States to issue driver's licenses to immigrants in the country illegally resonates with rural workers who say driving is an absolute necessity....  

Immigrants feel frustrated because supermarkets and job sites are too far away to walk, but they risk alerting authorities if they get behind the wheel.  Thirty-four-year-old dairy farm worker Luis Jiménez in upstate New York gambles daily by driving to work and for family errands.  He says driving is a necessity in farm country.  Twelve states including California and Illinois already allow residents here illegally to get licenses, accepting such documents as tax returns for identification.  New York is among a half-dozen states where immigrants and their advocates believe a friendlier political map gives such a measure a fighting chance.

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 8, 2019

A popular Jamestown restaurant has abruptly closed.....  

Friendly's Restaurant in Brooklyn Square was shut down this morning.  The move is apparently part of a series of closings affecting up to two dozen Friendly's locations across upstate New York and not related to the number of customers at the Jamestown location.  WJTN's Saturday Breakfast Party has broadcast from Friendly's every Saturday since early 2002.  Broadcasts of that show will be temporarily suspended until a new location can be secured.   


A four-term Chautauqua County legislator from the Findley Lake-area has passed after due to health problems at the age of 72....  

Republican lawmaker David Himelein -- who was legislature chairman in 2017 -- passed away last Friday at his home.  Current Legislature Chairman P-J Wendel of Lakewood says lawmakers knew Himelein was having some issues, because he missed last month's legislature meeting.  Wendel says Himelein was always consciencious, and thorough in his work.

Wendel says Himelein and he both served as Majority Leader and Assistant Majority Leader respectively for several years, so they developed a close working relationship.  Himelein was first appointed to the legislature in 2011 when Jim Caflisch was appointed to be the county's new Director of Real Property Tax.  After redistricting, Himelein defeated another former chairman, Fred Croscut, in a primary to run for the new District 18 seat in 2012.  He later won the seat easily over the Democratic candidate. 


Two Jamestown-area men were arrested in the town of North Harmony last weekend for allegedly transporting a significant amount of methamphetimine to be sold to others..... 

Members of the Jamestown Metro, and Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Forces learned that 37 year-old Justin Meacham of Jamestown was traveling with another man on Interstate 86 and, he was wanted for criminal sale of a controlled substance.  State Police joined Sheriff's officers in finding the speeding vehicle, operated by 32 year-old Coty Schauers of Frewsburg, and pulled it over.  Police say their investigation uncovered just over 27-grams of Meth in their possession.  Both Meacham and Schauers were charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and taken to the county jail pending arraignment.  (**Anyone with information on illegal drug activity is asked to call the Southern Tier Task Force at 1-800 344-8702.  The Jamestown task force number is 483-8477.)


There is a sigh of relief coming from Chautauqua County law enforcement and others after the District Attorney's office found no reason to bring charges against Fredonia Police Officer involved in a fatal shooting last December....  

D-A Patrick Swanson announced that their four-month long investigation, that included more than 20 eyewitness interviews, and the officer's body camera video, showed Officer Nathan Scriven acted properly during the incident.  He says it also showed the man killed, 23 year-old George Penev, was under the influence of LSD and other narcotic drugs.

The fatal shooting incident began as a well-being check at the house at 76 Liberty Street.  The investigation also showed that Penev had several knife-wounds that were apparently self-inflicted at the time.  Swanson says it was clear this was not normal behavior for Penev, who was well-liked in the community.  Investigators believe Penev brandished a nine-inch long knife and, had chased Scrivin outside.  The officer fired all four shots from the driveway of a neighboring house and had gone more than 150 feet from where the incident first began.  The investigation also led to the arrest of SUNY college at Fredonia student Amanda Bridges, who is accused of selling LSD to Penev.  The 21 year-old was taken to the County Jail for arraignment. 


The chief of the Fredonia Police Department says the conclusion of the investigation into the police-involved shooting last December will help bring some closure to them....  

Chief Brad Meyers also took part in last Friday afternoon's news conference at the Opera House.  Meyers says it’s been a difficult ordeal for everyone involved, he adds that officers did not expect what they found at 76 Liberty Street that day. 

Meyers and D-A Swanson both indicated that the use of a body cam video played an important role in the case.   It captured nearly all of the incident, including when the four shots were fired.


A Jamestown man has been arrested following a routine traffic stop in Lakewood and, being found in possession of alcohol, marijuana and cocaine.... 

Sheriff's officers say a patrol pulled over the car, operated by 22 year-old Wyatt Mann, on Sessions Avenue just before 2 AM Saturday for a traffic violation.  Deputies found Mann had a suspended license and, was drinking alcohol while driving.  They later allegedly found him in possession of a quantity of cocaine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.  Officers say he faces a number of charges, including driving while intoxicated, seventh-degree criminal possession controlled substance and, unlawful possession of marijuana.  Mann was issued appearance tickets for Busti Town Court at a later date.


It appears the Chautauqua County Office for the Aging will see a significant increase in funding under the State Budget approved in Albany earlier this week.....  

That's the word from the County's OFA Director Dr. Mary Ann Spanos, who tells us today that the budget contained a boost in funding for the State Office for the Aging and the increased funding is targeted for high need counties.

Dr. Spanos says at one point, the wait list for services had reached 450 people.  She says county seniors were a big help in getting Albany's attention through their letters that told Albany officials what the local office does.  Spanos says that brought another $15-million in funding to the state Office for the Aging.  The Chautauqua County Office s OFA  hasn't seen an increase in funding from the state since 2010. 


A state audit says food safety inspectors in New York state failed to take action in response to hundreds of serious health violations.....  

The audit published Friday by Democratic Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli analyzed records of more than 400,000 inspections between 2014 and September 2017.  Inspectors identified 984 Class I violations, the most serious type.  Yet 73 percent of the violations resulted in no enforcement action.  Enforcement actions can include fines or even closure.  Auditors also found problems in how the data is reported.  Inspections are carried out by a mix of state and local health agencies.  Auditors recommended tougher responses to serious violations and improvements in record keeping.  In their response, state health officials agreed to review inspection policies but noted violations are often remedied at the time of the inspection.


Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf says he'll allow his administration to formally study a petition that calls for the state to impose a cap-and-trade program to make Pennsylvania carbon neutral by 2052.... 

Friday's statement by Wolf's office, however, says the Democrat isn't taking a position on the petition itself.  The roughly 400-page petition is scheduled for a preliminary vote April 16th before a 20-member environmental rulemaking board that includes several Wolf appointees.  A positive vote would allow Wolf's Department of Environmental Protection to study it and decide whether to recommend it for a rulemaking process, which requires another vote.  A coalition of business associations is urging board members to take no action until they've studied its implications for Pennsylvania's economy.  The petition seeks to require polluters to buy permits for each ton of carbon they release.

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News Headlines for Sat., Apr. 6, 2019

Officer involved in fatal shooting incident in Fredonia last Dec. will not be charged... 
Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson held a news conference in Fredonia Friday afternoon to update the investigation into last December's police-involved shooting in the village.  Swanson announced that charges will not be filed against police officer Nathan Scriven who fatally shot 23-year-old George Penev.  The findings come after a four-month investigation into the shooting incident that occurred December 10 at 76 Liberty St.  Swanson says his "ethical obligations prohibit me from filing charges where there are no probable cause to support them."  He says Officer Scriven's actions were bth "lawful and appropriate."  Penev was found to have a quantity of illegal drugs in his system.  The investigation also led to the arrest of a college student from Erie County named Amanda Bridges.  The 21-year-old Bridges allegedly sold Penev LSD and was charged this morning with criminal sale of a controlled substance.  Bridges was transported to the Chautauqua County Jail for arraignment.


Driver involved in fatal, one-car crash in Pomfret is identified...
The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office has now identified the man killed in a single-car crash on Ellicott Road in the town of Pomfret late last Thursday night.  Deputies say they were called to the scene just before 10:30 p.m., and, determined that the driver, 28 year-old Philip Cunningham of Fredonia... had lost control of the vehicle and it went down a ravine. The Fredonia Fire Department assisted at the scene. 


City man arrested following domestic incident on Jamestown's southside...
A Jamestown man was arrested early Friday morning following a domestic assault.  City police responded to a Broadhead Avenue residence shortly after 1 a.m. for the incident... and, made contact with some of the occupants outside.  Officers say 40 year-old Thomas Salverson refused to let police and the occupants back inside... and, a brief struggle ensued with Salverson.  Police say all this occurred in front of a 10 year-old child.  Salverson was taken into custody on charges of endangering the welfare of a child... obstruction and resisting arrest. He's being held pending arraignment. 


Green says decision from Cuomo on Special Senate Election could come next week...
Chautauqua County elections officials say it appears that Governor Andrew Cuomo will decide sometime next week if there will be a special election in June for the 57th State Senate seat... formerly held by Cathy Young.  That from Democratic Election's Commissioner Norm Green... who says that's the time-frame for when Cuomo will have to make a decision in order to hold it on Primary Day.  Green says they don't know if there will be a special vote or not.  If there is one... the four GOP and Democratic Committees will have to meet again, and select their candidate.  We have learned that Allegany County Legislature Chairman Kurt Crandall has announced he has filed petitions with the State Board of Elections in Albany for the GOP line in the June 25th primary.  Green has also heard that Crandall and Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello were able to file petitions prior to the Thursday’s deadline... and, says the filings will trigger a primary -- unless there is a special election.  Borrello announced earlier this week that he filed double the required number of signatures... and, Crandall says he got the required number of signatures by a "wide margin."


State Audit shows food safety inspectors failed to act on nearly 1,000 health violations between 2014-17...
A state audit says food safety inspectors in New York state failed to take action in response to hundreds of serious health violations.  The audit published Friday by Democratic Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli analyzed records of more than 400,000 inspections between 2014 and September 2017.  Inspectors identified 984 Class I violations, the most serious type.  Yet 73 percent of the violations resulted in no enforcement action.  Enforcement actions can include fines or even closure.  Auditors also found problems in how the data is reported.  Inspections are carried out by a mix of state and local health agencies.


State lawmakers to introduce legislation to also outlaw plastic take-out bags for restaurants...
A state lawmaker wants to expand New York's plastic bag ban to include the sacks used for restaurant take-out and leftovers.  Democratic Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, of Albany, has announced legislation that would eliminate an exemption for restaurants in the new law banning single-use shopping bags beginning next March.  She says restaurants provide too many plastic bags to be left out of the law.  Lawmakers passed the bag ban earlier this week as part of a new state budget.  Under the new law, local counties can also impose a 5-cent fee on paper bags.  The county could keep a portion of the proceeds, with the rest going to state environmental programs. 


Quattrone discusses Criminal Justice Reforms...
Law enforcement officials in Chautauqua County are still diving into the details of the criminal justice reforms that were included in new state budget.  Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone says many of the changes don't take effect until January of 2020, including the elimination of cash bail.  Quattrone says he has mixed reaction over the changes... especially when it comes to cash bail because it will lower the number of inmates in the jail, and may speed up court action.  However, he says there is an obvious concern about "protecting our communities."  Quattrone says, though, there may be some cases where cash bail may still apply... such as when a suspect threatens someone with bodily harm.  Other criminal justice reforms that are part of the budget include a requirement for courts to reduce unnecessary delays and to overhaul the state's discovery process.  

 

 
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 5, 2019

An unidentified man sustained fatal injuries in a motor vehicle accident in the Town of Pomfret yesterday evening....

 

Chautauqua County Sheriff's Officers and the Fredonia Fire Department responded to the scene on Ellicott Road just before 10:30 PM.  Through investigation.... Deputies determined the operator had lost control and traveled down a ravine. The investigation is still on-going,  further details will be released at a later time. 

 

 

The Chautauqua Lake Association was hoping to get $150,00 in the new state budget for lake maintenance, the same as last year..... 

 

But, they got nothing.  CLA Executive Director, Doug Conroe, says that money about 20 percent of their annual budget,  guaranteed they could put three crews on the lake for weed cutting and debris maintenance.  Conroe says they are now looking closely at every expense and 'no stone will be unturned' in the search for extra money.  It will another month before they know what they'll be able to do, but at this point he believes it'll be a stretch to get one crew on the water this year. 

 

 

Chautauqua Institution officials have become the first to sign onto the new Memorandum of Agreement for the Chautauqua Lake Weed Management Consensus Strategy..... 

 

The strategy, championed by County Executive George Borrello, seeks to bring together lake agencies and organizations, as well as the municipalities located around Chautauqua Lake to work more effectively to deal with lake issues,  such as managing invasive aquatic plants, nuisance native vegetation, and hazardous algal blooms in the lake, while considering the lake and its watershed’s economic, recreational and ecological significance.  Chautauqua Institution President Michael Hill, who signed the agrement says he "proudly signed" the memorandum, "because it represents the comprehensive and scientifically sound approach for Chautauqua Lake conservation that we’ve been advocating for many years."  The deadline for groups and municipalities to sign on to the agreement is April 17th.

 

 

A recently formed agency is investigating long-term maintenance solutions for Chautauqua Lake and, how to pay for them.... 

 

That sparked some discussion during the agency's meeting Wednesday night in Mayville.  Chairman Pierre Chagnon says the nine-member panel has met a handful of times since it was formed by the county legislature last year but, is still looking at all possible ways to deal with invasive weeds, algal blooms, and water quality.

 

Chagnon says -- at first -- the agency discussed a possible "taxing district" where property owners on the lake would be taxed at one amount, while others living in the watershed would be charged a lower amount.  Ellicott Town Supervisor Pat McLaughlin, who is also an agency members, Wednesday night suggested the entire county be charged a tax to spread out the cost.  However... Chagnon emphasized that they are looking at a number of potential sources of funding, including the state, and the entire county.  He says agency members were given a number of assignments before they meet again in early June. 

 

 

The woman who has been the president of the State Unversity College at Fredonia for the past seven years is announcing her retirement at the end of the current academic year...... 

 

In a press release from the SUNY Office this morning, Chancellor Kristina Johnson says Dr. Virginia Horvath is retiring after more than 40 years of service and leadership in public higher education.  Johnson says Horvath... who became Fredonia's 13th president in 2012, plans to step down at the end of the Spring semester on July 1st. Johnson says she truly appreciate's "Dr. Horvath’s enthusiasm and commitment to providing the highest quality education for our students and leading a dedicated and stellar team of faculty and staff."  More on this story later.

 

 

Chautauqua County's Congressman is sharing the concern of many others about the fact that New York state will likely lose at least one seat in the House of Representatives -- and possibly two -- after the next Census.... 

 

Corning Republican Tom Reed says the exodus from New York is continuing, not because of the weather, but, taxing and other policies out of Albany.  Reed says it's frustrating because when the state loses Congressional members,  it loses another voice in Washington.

Reed and other members of the New York, and other Great Lake state delegations, were recently able to talk the Trump Administration out of cutting a huge amount of funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for a second-year in a row.  He's hopeful that state lawmakers will realize the need for shift in policies to keep people and businesses here.  State officials are also again pushing another "Complete Count" effort to make sure all New Yorkers are counted during the 2020 Census.

 

 

New York State Police have released additional details of last Wednesday's stabbing incident in the Village of  Sinclairville,  involving a Lakewood man, Frewsburg woman and a teenager...... 

 

Troopers and the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office responded to a residence on Kent Street and, found that the suspects involved fled the scene.  Officers say they later stopped the vehicle on Route 60 in Jamestown and, found drug paraphernalia where 23 year-old Kylah Seiberg was sitting.  Troopers also found the weapon used in the stabbing, methamphetamine, and, a hypodermic needle in the center console.  Seiberg allegedly provided Troopers with a false name during the investigation and was subsequently charged with False Personation.  Police say 39 year-old Jeffery Shriver was transported to the Chautauqua County Jail, while Seiberg and the teenager were turned over to Sheriff's Deputies in regards to the stabbing incident.

 

 

The Democrat-controlled New York state Legislature has approved a change in a property tax credit benefit program..... 

 

The new state budget lawmakers worked out last weekend with Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo and approved on Monday makes changes to the School Tax Relief -- or STAR Program.  Starting in 2016, homeowners eligible for the program started receiving their rebates in a check rather than having the savings included directly in their school tax bills.  According to Lohud.com, starting this fall, all property owners earning between $250,000 and $500,000 a year will receive a check for their STAR rebates.  Property owners earning less than $250,000 who bought their homes prior to mid-2015 will get the STAR rebate in their tax bills.  The STAR benefit program provides more than $3 billion dollars in property tax relief each year.

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr 4, 2019

President Trump has come around to now endorsing the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative after originally proposing major cuts to the program......  

That from local Congressman Tom Reed, who says pressure from himself and other Great Lakes region lawmakers helped turn the president around on the matter.  Reed says several of them met with administration officials after Trump's initial budget plan called for cutting 90-percent to the program.

Reed expects there will likely be an ongoing fight to keep the funding where it has been but, adds it should be easier from this point because the President has now endorsed the initiative.  The Corning Republican says the initiative encompasses a number of issues surrounding the Great Lakes, including dealing with invasive species, and habitat restoration.  County Executive George Borrello was pleased to hear the news because residents are "so fortunate to have the single largest source of freshwater in the world right here at our doorstep.  Protecting and enhancing that precious recourse is vital to our future here in Chautauqua County.  Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with regional media.


If and when Governor Andrew Cuomo calls a special election to fill the region's vacant State Senate seat, Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello is set to be the Republican candidate....  

Borrello says he's "very pleased" with how his petitioning process has gone, given the fact it was only two-weeks long, due mainly to the timing of Senator Cathy Young's resignation in early March.  Borrello says his campaign was able to get double the signatures needed to be on the ballot.

Borrello says -- if there is a special election and, he has competition for the seat, the chairmen of the four county committees that make up the 57th Senate District would have to take a more formal vote on who they will support.  Allegheny County Legislature Chairman Kurt Crandall has also expressed interest in the seat but, Borrello is confident he would get the nod if the chairpersons have to decide for a Special Election.  He says there would be no primary in that situation.  On our Dennis Webster Show Wednesday, Assemblyman Andy Goodell said that Governor Cuomo is expected to decide in the next two to three weeks if there will be a special election. 


The new 'bag ban' enacted as part of the state budget has some consumers and retailers wondering what will be legal and when....  

Chautauqua County Assemblyman Andy Goodell says the ban does not go into effect for a year and primarily affects 'single use' bags.  Garbage bags and drum liners would not be affected.  The law includes an option for counties to charge most customers a nickel for paper bags.  Three cents would go to the state Environmental Protection Fund.  Two cents would come back to the county to help low income shoppers get reuseable bags.  As currently written, Goodell says there's an odd quirk in the law, in that the heavy duty reuseable bags already used by many shoppers couldn't be sold anymore, if they are plastic.  The Assemblyman says the 'bag ban' originated with New York City legislators worried about enormous quantities of litter.


State forest rangers are reminding area residents that a statewide burning ban is in effect....  

A homeowner in the town of Arkwright apparently learned that lesson the hard way recently.  The homeowner, who was not identified, had started a brush pile fire and the flames spread to an adjacent field last Thursday around 4:30 PM.  Rangers say the fire burned nearly 1/2 an acre of land.  Cassadaga firefighters responded to the blaze and quelled the flames.  The forest rangers issued a ticket to the homeowner for illegal burning during the burning ban.  The statewide burning ban continues until May 14th.


A Jamestown woman was arrested for allegedly shoplifting from the Wegman's grocery store with a hypodermic needle in her possession..... 

Ellicott Town Police say the March 25th incident occurred shortly after 5PM when Assest Protection reported several people inside the store taking items without paying.  Officers arrived to the Fairmount Avenue store as employees identified two suspects walking away.  Wegmans advised that the female had been seen concealing items.  She was taken into custody and allegedly gave police a false name.  She was later identified as 26 year-old Caitlin Arnold, who has two active felony warrants from the Chatuauqua County Sheriff's Department.  Arnold is being held in the County Jail pending arraignment. 


Computer-based standardized testing will resume for New York students, two days after technical problems disrupted the mandatory assessments across the state....

Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia says she'll hold test vendor Questar Assessment financially accountable for failing to fully deliver on its contract.  Elia told reporters Wednesday that high usage caused problems that prevented some students from logging in and submitting the English language tests online Tuesday.  Testing will be staggered when it starts up again Thursday to avoid another crash.  Of the 93,000 students that started the test, about 93 percent were able to submit it.  All of the state's 1 million third- through eighth-grade students are required to take the annual two-day tests.  About a quarter take them by computer.  Math testing is scheduled for May.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 3, 2019

Two Jamestown men are accused of trafficking methamphetimine and heroin following a raid on the city's westside late Monday morning.... 

Jamestown Police Captain Bob Samuelson says members of the Jamestown Metro, and Southern Tier Region Drug Task Forces executed a search warrant at 135 Sprague Street shortly after 11 AM and, arrested 39 year-old Richard Brown, and 30 year-old Timothy Blakeslee inside.  Samuelson says they also found 2.1-ounces of crystal meth and, several bags of heroin, along with $1,300 in drug proceeds.  He says Brown faces second and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance counts, as well as criminally using drug paraphernalia.  Blakelsee is charged with criminal nuisance.  The state Police K-9 Unit assisted.  Both men are being held pending arraignment.

 
State Assemblyman Andrew Goodell is now sounding off on the just-approved, 2019-2020 state budget....  

The Jamestown-area Republican calls Governor Andrew Cuomo's $175.5-billion spending plan, adopted by the legislature, a "mixed bag."  Goodell says one of the positives is a nearly $7-million increase in education aid for Chautauqua County schools.

Goodell says another positive included restoration of library funding to last year's levels.  Meanwhile, he was critical of Cuomo's criminal justice reforms.  In fact, Goodell says he was debated on the Assembly floor over one of the reforms that he opposed.  He says it amends the state penal law to reduce the number of days you have to serve the maximum for a Class-A Misdemeanor.  Goodell says, cutting that by one day, will help illegal immigrants avoid deportation.  Goodell also criticized an election reform that provides for an expansion of paid time off from work for voters, calling it a "huge new burden" on all employers across the state.


There's not as much state aid as they had hoped for in New York's 2019-2020 budget but, there are new resources to help districts save money in the coming year.... 

 Those are the feelings of New York State School Board's Association Executive Director Tim Kreamer, who says -- overall -- the state's public schools are actually receiving less funding than last year.  Kreamer says there's a realization the state doesn't have as much money to go around this year.

Kreamer says there are a handful of areas where schools will be able to save money, including the ability to "piggyback" on other districts contracts that have better deals for transportation costs.  Back to the school aid picture, he says the poorer or "high needs" district -- like Jamestown -- did better when it comes to Foundation Aid.  Kreamer says the school board's association isn't happy about the Governor and legislature's decision to make the 2-percent property tax cap permanent.  However, he adds they never thought it was going away, either.


Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello has received double the number of signatures on petitions to run for the state Senate on the Republican, Conservative and Independence Party line.....  

Borrello says a "major outpouring of support from residents across the Southern Tier and Western New York" allowed him to submit double the number of mandatory petitions to the New York State Board of Elections.  The second-year county executive says "I would like to thank each and every person who signed.  I'm honored to have received double the required amount of signatures from voters in the Republican, Conservative and Independence parties and I'm truly encouraged by this strong start to my campaign."


The changes in New York State election law continue to stream out of Albany with the passage of a new budget......  

Chautauqua County Election Commissioners Norm Green and Brian Abram are keeping track of the sweeping changes.  Among the reforms, is expanding paid time off from work for voters.

Another major change, is the use of electronic poll books for early voting to better track people during the process, to make sure they don't try to vote again.  Green says the changes also include uniform statewide 6 AM to 9 PM polling hours for all primaries statewide starting in 2020 and mandated online voter registration by 2021 on all County Board of Elections websites.

 
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area are on the upswing, having increased by 4-cents a gallon for regular, unleaded fuel to begin the week... 

 

However, some places in the area have seen another increase over the past day of about six-cents a gallon.  On Monday, the Triple-A's Gas Price Report said the cost was just under $2.70 a gallon.  However, the price at some locations has now jumped to about $2.76 a gallon.  Triple-A says that's due to a decrease in national gasoline stocks, and prices have begun spiking with the Summer driving season not far away.  Nationally, the average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded is up seven-cents to $2.69. 

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**News Bulletin for Tues., April 2, 2019

BPU Outage reported in Celoron...
Approximately 500 electric customers in the village of Celoron are without power due to a contractor working on a demolition in the Village.  Board of Public Utilities Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says  BPU linemen are at the scene and expect to repair the situation in the near future.

 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 2, 2019

State lawmakers are wrapping work in Albany on passing budget bills and, reaction has been mixed over the new spending plan for New York.....

The $175-billion spending plan includes nearly $1-billion in additional school aid and, makes the 2 percent property tax cap permanent.  It also includes criminal justice reforms, including the elimination of cash bail.  Governor Andrew Cuomo says the budget really grapples with the tough issues that have been facing the state for a long time.

Not everything in the budget pleases local officials, including Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello.  He's concerned about how Aid and Incentives for Municipalities will be funded.  Borrello says the budget does not include that but, aid will now come from sales tax allocations.  Borrello says it "robs from Peter to pay Paul."  Borrello also has concerns about the impact the criminal justice reforms will have on local law enforcement officials and district attorneys across the state.   Besides eliminating cash bail, the budget includes measures that would restore speedy trials and transform the discovery process in criminal trials.

 
New York State released details of its $175.5-billion dollar spending plan Monday morning and, Jamestown School District Superintendent Bret Apthorpe says Western New York schools got the "short end of the stick" again this year, including Jamestown....

Based on the proposed budget for the 2019-2020 school year, Dr. Apthorpe says Jamestown is looking to receive $51.5-million dollars in state aid.  With that... he says student attendance is a main priority.  He says they have 17-hundred children that aren't attending school on a regular basis.  With that, some teachers will be reassigned to the new "Success Academy" slated to open at the former Rogers Elementary School in the coming school year.  With 4,800 students enrolled, that's nearly 35-percent of students not regularly attending.  Apthorpe says the Success Academy will work to improve student wellness, in addition to supplementing course curriculums for grades 5-12.  The Jamestown School Board will vote on the proposed $89.6-million budget on Tuesday, April 16th.


A Chautauqua County Jail inmate has now been charged with criminal mischief after allegedly damaging a commissary kiosk, resulting in about $1,000 in damages....  
Sheriff's officers say their investigation into the March 15th incident has resulted in the arrest of 18 year-old Jordan Klein.  Klein was arraigned on one count of third-degree criminal mischief, and returned to the county jail on $20,000 cash bail.


Two people were hurt -- but not seriously -- when the car they were riding in struck another vehicle head-on on Route 426 in the town of French Creek last Friday night....  

Sheriff's officers were called to the scene shortly after 5 PM and, found that 29 year-old Jennifer Barton of Erie, Pennsylvania was making a left turn off 426 but, went into the path of the oncoming vehicle.  Barton and her passenger were taken to UPMC Hamot in Erie for treatment of minor injuries.  Deputies say the driver of the other car was not hurt.  Barton was charged with Failure to Yield Right of Way and, will appear in French Creek Town Court at a later date.


An accidental fire on Jamestown's southside Sunday night destroyed a car, and extensively damaged the garage it was in.....

City Fire Battalion Chief Don Mowery says crews were called to the scene at 100 Willard Street about 7:45 PM and, found fire and smoke coming from the structure.  However, Mowery says firefighters had the blaze out in about 5 to 10 minutes.  He says one firefighter and one civilian suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene.  In addition to the car and garage, Mowery says the nearby house sustained some heat damage to the siding.  He says the cause was accidental and, crews were at the scene until just after 10 PM.  An off-duty shift was called in to assist.


Five-term Congressman Tom Reed says he is running for re-election in 2020....  

There was no formal announcement but, the Corning Republican says he was answering a question about his re-election during an interview about a week ago.  Reed says he still enjoys the job and, adds the job is not finished in Washington, D-C.
Reed says he will continue to get his "message out there..." and let the people decide in next year's election.  The former Corning Mayor has represented the Southern Tier Region since 2010, when he won a special election to replace Democrat Eric Massa.  The Southern Tier District changed several years ago with re-apportionment, and Chautauqua County was put back into the Southern Tier region.  As of now, Reed already has one possible opponent, the one he defeated last year.  Democrat Tracy Mitrano announced late last year that she intends to seek the party's endorsement to run again in 2020.

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 1, 2019

Governor Andrew Cuomo and fellow Democrats who control the New York Legislature say they've reached an agreement on a $175.5-billion state budget a day before the spending plan deadline....

Cuomo and legislative leaders Andrea Stewart-Cousins of the Senate and Carl Heastie of the Assembly announced the agreement in a statement at 12:30 AM Sunday.  Lawmakers began passing budget bills Sunday during what's expected to be an all-day session.  The spending plan is for the 2019-2020 state fiscal year that starts today.  Agreed-to items in the budget include a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, closing up to three yet-to-be-determined state prisons and congestion tolls for traffic below 60th Street in Manhattan.  Major issues that didn't make it into the spending plan include legalization of recreational marijuana.


Garage Fire in Jamestown....

Sparce details were made available, but the Jamestown fire department made quick work of putting out a garage fire Sunday evening. The Post-Journal reports crews were called to 100 Willard Street about 7:45 PM and heavy smoke was seen coming from the structure. The paper says firefighters doused the fire in five minutes. The cause is unknown at this time.


Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Tranum says the business group is keeping a close eye on the on-going state budget deliberations....  

Tranum said late last week that there are a number of concerns and positives they are hoping to have resolved in the final, $175-billion spending plan.  Tranum says they one key item they're looking at is continued economic development support for the upstate region.

Governor Cuomo recently said that he would not sign-off on a budget that doesn't include making the 2-percent property tax cap permanent.  Tranum adds it's hard to tell what impact a proposed plastic bag ban will have on local businesses, namely grocery and other retail stores.  The budget was due by Midnight Sunday night, Midnight Monday starts the state's new fiscal year.


A new law will affect the types of smoke detectors on sale in New York..... 

Starting today, all new or replacement smoke detectors sold in the state must either be powered by a non-removable battery good for at least 10 years or be made to be hard-wired to buildings.  State officials say these types of smoke detectors can be safer because they do not require periodic battery replacements, reducing the chances of human error.  The law does not require the replacement of any existing smoke detectors powered by replaceable, removable batteries.  Retailers also will be able to sell remaining residential smoke detectors with removable batteries that were ordered before April 1st.


Car-versus-Pedestrian Accident in Lakewood...

A unidentified male was taken to UPMC Chautauqua with serious injuries after being struck by a car in front of the Fifties Restaraunt in Lakewood last Friday night.  Lakewood-Busti police report the incident happened just after 8:30 PM at the West Fairmount Avenue restaraunt.  Witnesses say the male ran out in front of an East bound vehicle and was struck.  The investigation is still on going at this time.  

Three Dunkirk residents have been arrested for allegedly trafficking drugs following a "several month" investigation in the north county city....   

Dunkirk Police and members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force had been investigating the alleged sale and distribution of illegal narcotics from a home at 49 East Second Street and, obtained arrest warrants for all three.  Law enforcement also obtained a search warrant and, raided the residence shortly before 8 PM last Friday.  They arrested 45 year-old Jose Rodriquez, Junior, 35 year-old Aixmary Rodriguez-Rosa, and 29 year-old Christian Manuel Padilla-Rivera on multiple counts of criminal possession and sale of a controlled substance.  Police say they also seized a "large amount" of money from inside the home.  All three were taken into custody, pending arraignment.  If you have any information on illegal drug activity, call the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force at 1-800-344-8702.


The lastest effort by the Trump Administration to finishing dismantling the Affordable Care Act through a recent court challenge is being met with skepicism by local Congressman Tom Reed....  

The Corning Republican, who has voted several times to eliminiate the ACA, says he would rather see lawmaker in Washington work to improve what's also referred to as "Obamacare."  Reed made his comments after the president this past week against voiced his desire to completely elminate the law.

Trump, through the Department of Justice, is again asking a court to throw out major elements of the ACA, including hugely popular provisions that protect sick people from being denied health insurance or charged higher rates.  The administration was successful in getting the individual mandate, which called for every American to have health insurance, struck down.  However, there is much concern among more moderate GOP members of Congress that getting rid of provisions covering pre-existing conditions will turn voters against them.


A Jamestown woman is accused of being in possession of a small amount of Heroin -- with Fentanyl mixed in -- during a traffic stop in the city earlier this week.... 
Officers pulled over 34 year-old Jacqueline Delo shortly before 3 AM Monday at the intersection of Cherry and West Fourth Streets and, she allegedly gave police a false name.  She was later identified as Delo and, that she had a suspended driver's license.  Officers say she was also wanted on a warrant issued from Erie, Pennsylvania.  She was arrested on a Felony charge of Fugitive from Justice and, criminal impersonation and, criminal possession of a controlled substance.

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News Headlines for Sat., Mar. 30, 2019

Man seriously hurt after being struck by car in Lakewood...
A unidentified male was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital with serious injuries after being struck by a car in front of the Fifties Restaraunt in Lakewood Friday evening.  Lakewood-Busti police report the incident happened just after 8:30 pm at the West Fairmount Avenue restauraunt.  Witnesses say the male ran out in front of an eastbound vehicle and was struck.  The investigation is still on going at this time.  


Goodell says work still continuing on final state budget, though bills are being passed...
The state legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo will continue work into the weekend in an effort to reach a budget agreement by Sunday night.  The Albany Times-Union reported a tentative deal was reached among leadership late Thursday night... and, it includes a statewide ban on many single-use plastic bags that would take effect next March.  Local Assemblyman Andy Goodell says details are still coming out on the agreement.  Goodell says state lawmakers passed the debt service bill earlier this week... and, more bills are on the way.  He says the governor will likely issue a statement of necessity to allow those and other bills being printed to be approved.  Goodell says he voted against the debt service bill... which was for more than $50-billion.  However... the state constitution says voters need to approve the state taking on the debt, and that's only been done on about $2.5-billion of that debt.  The rest was obtained through other means, including authorities. 


County Chamber head, Todd Tranum, following state budget developments...
The head of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce says business leaders will be following developments concerning the budget very closely.  Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Tranum says it’s hard to tell what impact the plastic bag ban will have on local businesses... such as grocery and other stores.  Tranum says the chamber continues to push for tax relief for businesses, including legislation that would make the Tax Cap permanent for local governments and school districts.  He also would like to see the Regional Economic Development Program continue... since it has benefitted a number of projects in the county.


President of JCC also watching what's going on in Albany...
Community colleges across New York state are asking lawmakers in Albany for some predictability when it comes to their share of funding in the new budget.  That from Jamestown Community College President Daniel DeMarte... who says he hasn't heard a lot about the new spending plan the legislature and Governor Cuomo are trying to hammer out this weekend.  DeMarte says they want a new model that includes a funding "floor" as opposed to the current one based on incoming enrollment numbers -- which have dropped pretty much everywhere -- including JCC.  DeMarte says the situation in New York is not different from other community colleges in other states.  His message to state lawmakers is simple -- "Fund us at the formula."  That formula for many years called on New York state to fund 40-percent of the costs for each full-time equivalent student.  Dr. DeMarte made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program to be heard on all six Media One Radio Group stations.


Eight arrested as part of alleged thefts of children's ID in Buffalo-area...
Authorities say a New York based identity theft ring targeted children's Social Security numbers throughout the country.  Following a 16-month investigation by the New York State Police and Social Security Administration, eight people from Buffalo and Amherst are charged with identity theft.  Authorities say the suspects were using Social Security numbers stolen from children as young as 11.  Investigators say a 2017 suspicious activity report from the State Intelligence Center about Social Security numbers being used by different assigned names launched the initial investigation.


Collins named as UPMC Chautauqua's Physician of the Year...
A primary care doctor who has spent the past three-decades-plus in Jamestown has been named 2018's Physican of the Year at UPMC Chautauqua Hospital.  The award was given to Dr. Patrick Collins during Friday afternoon's annual Doctor's Day Luncheon at the hospital.  Collins says he's both "honored and humbled" to receive the award... and, says he loves his work at UPMC Chautauqua... and, at Jamestown Family Practice.  He says "we have wonderful doctors, and wonderful support staff" here, and they all work together well.  Collins and his wife, Karen, have lived in Jamestown since they first came here in 1986.  Collins tells us that after he and his wife got their degrees, they spent five years in Ithaca, where his wife got her graduate degree.  


Chautauqua County Humane Society...
If making a difference in an animal's life holds a soft-spot in your heart... you're asked to consider a new opportunity to experience the love and compassion of having a dog with the Chautauqua County Humane Society.  Humane Society Volunteer Coordinator Rachel Johnson says they are the first shelter in New York state to participate in the "Expawditions" study.  She says they're allowing people to take the dogs out for 2 to 4 hours to help reduce theirs, and the dog's stress levels.  Johnson says the program begins Monday, April 1... and, is headlined by assistant Virginia Tech University Professor Dr. Erica Feuerbacher in collaboration with Arizona State University.  Feuerbacher says the research originates in studying animal welfare of dogs in shelters.  Anyone interested in taking part is asked to stop by the Humane Society or Contact Rachel Johnson at 665-2209 ext. 210.  Details are also available at spcapets.com. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Mar. 29, 2019

The jury in the second-degree murder trial of Jamestown's David Waggoner has found him guilty in last July's shooting death of another man during an argument on the city's westside.....  

Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson says the 12-member panel returned the verdict after about an hour-and-a-half's deliberation Thursday morning in Mayville.  Swanson says the jury fully considered the evidence, even though the defense tried to make the case that Waggoner acted in self-defense against 30 year-old William Mishishima.

Swanson says the jury deliberated for about two-hours Wednesday after he and Public Defender Ned Barone made their closing arguments.  The incident occured in front of 114 Livingston Avenue about 9 AM last July 24th.  Mischishima died the next day in an Erie, Pennsylvania hospital.  Swanson says Waggoner faces a determinate sentence of 15 years to life, to 25 years to life in state prison.  The jury also considered a lesser charge of second-degree manslaughter.  He says he'll press for the maximum when Waggoner is sentenced in County Court next June 10th.


A Jamestown man -- found in possession of two weapons and drugs this past Tuesday -- is now facing another felony charge......  

Chautauqua County Sheriff's Officers were called to a location in Mayville Tuesday evening and, found that 19 year-old Randall Mesler, Junior was in possession of an illegal stun gun.  Deputies say Mesler was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and is being held pending arraignment.  Mesler was arrested by Jamestown Police earlier in the day near Columbia Avenue and Myrtle Street with a CO2 BB-Gun, switchblade knife, heroin in individual packages, 1.6-grams of methamphetamine and, drug paraphernalia.  


Chautauqua County's Congressman feels that President Trump has been "completely exonerated" in the final report on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential Election....  

At the same time, Corning Republican Tom Reed believes that as much of the final report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller should be released as possible.  Reed also feels that it's time for Democrats to "move on..." and, start dealing with the real issues that face America.

While several Republicans have said the Special Counsel's report fully exonerates Trump on the issue of Russian collusion and obstruction of justice, many Democrats have said "hold on..." we want to see the final report.  Reed was among the members of Congress who recently voted to release as much of the Special Counsel's report as possible.  But, he also says Congress should look more closely at what triggered the two-year investigation to begin with.  Some Republicans have called for investigating and prosecuting anyone involved in starting and continuing the probe.  Reed says he would only like to see what originated the Special Counsel's probe.


The perennial debate over how much New York spends on public schools has returned to Albany as lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo work to craft a new state budget before Monday's deadline.... 

Several Democratic lawmakers joined dozens of parents and education advocates Thursday for an education finance protest outside Cuomo's office.  Cuomo has proposed $956-million in new education funding for a total of $27.7-billion.  Those at Thursday's protest want an additional $1.2-billion in order to comply with court rulings that found the state was underfunding public schools.  Education spending makes up the largest share of the budget and is often among the thorniest issues to resolve in the budget.  Other items considered for the budget include new vehicle tolls in Manhattan and a statewide plastic bag ban.


Chautauqua County lawmakers by a 12-4 vote approved a resolution Wednesday night that allows the county shell out $20,000 to help pay for a feasibility study on a hops and barley economic development project....  

Legislators John Hemmer, John Davis, Frank Gould and Daniel Pavlock all voted against the measure.  County Executive George Borrello says the study will determine if the project can move forward.

A developer has agreed to fund half of the study with other funding coming from several foundations.
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The county legislature also joined County Executive George Borrello in signing the Memorandum of Agreement for a Chautauqua Lake Weed Management Consensus Strategy. Legislators approved an emergency resolution, 16-to-nothing, backing the agreement that was unveiled earlier on Wednesday.  Borrello is pleased to the have the legislature on board and says he is getting some positive feedback about the weed management plan.

The plan, released during a news conference on Wednesday, includes 24 tenets for dealing with everything from limited use of herbicides to protecting fish habitats and drinking water.  Borrello hopes that all lake agencies and organizations, as well as the municipalities located around Chautauqua Lake also back the plan.


New York is suing the billionaire family behind OxyContin, alleging the drugmaker fueled the opioid crisis by putting hunger for profits over patient safety.....  

The state on Thursday amended a pending lawsuit against Purdue Pharma to add members of its controlling Sackler family as defendants.  Attorney General Letitia James also expanded the lawsuit to include five other companies that produce opioid painkillers and four distributors.  New York's announcement comes two days after Purdue and the Sacklers agreed to pay $270 million to Oklahoma, the first settlement stemming from a wave of nearly 2,000 lawsuits that the company says could push it into bankruptcy.  New York seeks penalties and damages that could total tens of millions of dollars.  It wants the defendants to endow a fund to curb the epidemic.  Purdue has denied any wrongdoing.


There may be some discolored water in the village of Lakewood and west today after the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities Water Division had to repair a main break on Brook Street late yesterday afternoon...  

BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says the break occured between Summit Avenue and Erie Street.  She says water was shut-down until early evening.  Robbins says village customers, and further west, may see discolored water through late morning or afternoon.  She says don't do laundry until your water appears clear.

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**WJTN NEWS BULLETIN FOR MAR. 28, 2019

Jury delivers guilty verdict in David Waggoner murder trial... 

The jury has come back with a guilty verdict in the second-degree murder trial of Jamestown's David Waggoner. Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson tells Media One Group news that jury deliberations wrapped up in Mayville today. Waggoner faces at least 15 years to life for the fatal shooting of 30 year-old William Mischishima last July 24th in front of the home at 114 Livingston Avenue.  Mischishima died the next day in an Erie, Pennsylvania hospital.  
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Mar. 28, 2019

Chautauqua County lawmakers have now joined County Executive George Borrello in signing the Memorandum of Agreement for Chautauqua Lake Weed Management Consensus Strategy.....  

Legislators by a 16-0 vote Wednesday night, approved an emergency resolution backing the agreement that was unveiled earlier on Wednesday.  Borrello is pleased to the have the legislature on board.

The plan, released during a news conference on Wednesday, includes 24 tenets for dealing with everything from limited use of herbicides to protecting fish habitats and drinking water.  Borrello hopes that all lake agencies and organizations, as well as the municipalities located around Chautauqua Lake also back the plan.

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In other business, county lawmakers by a 12-4 vote approved a resolution that allows the county shell out $20,000 to help pay for a feasibility study on a hops and barley economic development project.  Legislators John Hemmer, John Davis, Frank Gould and Daniel Pavlock all voted against the measure.  Borrello says a developer has agreed to fund half of the study with other funding coming from several foundations. The County Legislature approved a resolution accepting a $15.5 million grant from the state Office of Indigent Legal Services.  The grant is expected to help cover the costs associated with representing indigents through March of 2023.


Two people from Jamestown have been arrested for allegedly breaking into a Sinclairville home and, stabbing the woman living there before fleeing the scene.... 

Sheriff's officers say they were called to the scene on Kent Street shortly before 1 PM Wednesday... and, were told by the unidentified victim that the pair had run off.  Deputies say they later stopped the vehicle on Route 60 in the town of Ellicott and, arrested 23 year-old Kylah Seiberg, and 18 yer-old Jacob Graham.  Officers say both are charged with one Felony burglary count and two counts each of third-degree criminal mischief.  Seiberg is also charged with second-degree assault.  Both were taken to the county jail pending arraignment.  State Police assisted and, they detained an another man on charges unrelated to this incident.


A several-month effort to develop a "consensus agreement" to manage issues facing Chautauqua Lake with input from more than a dozen lake groups and governments has been rolled out by Chautauqua County...  

County Executive George Borrello presented the Chautauqua Lake Weed Management Consensus Strategy "Memorandum of Agreement" during a press conference yesterday morning in Mayville.  Borrello says the plan will help them get the money they need to implement it.

There is also an incentive for local groups, municipalities, as well as Chautauqua Institution, to sign onto the plan.  Borrello made it clear during the press conference that if groups wanted the resources to impliment the plan -- namely funding -- they better be part of the effort.  He says they need to be accountable for use of that money.  Borrello says the plan, which includes 24 tenats for dealing with everything from limited use of herbicides, to protecting fish habitats, and drinking water, is comprehensive.  He adds it ties together many of the efforts by various lake groups to deal with invasive weeds and algal blooms.  Borrello says because they want to implement the plan by May 1st.


County Executive George Borrello and other officials also presented a new pilot program that deals more intensely with the major weed problem in Burtis Bay in the town of Ellicott.  The shoreline of the bay was beset with a "weed mass" late last Fal, that left huge weed piles and, killed off hundreds of fish.  Borrello says the Lake and Watershed Management Alliance plans to deal with it in two ways.

Borrello says this is really the first time ever that weed harvesting and herbicides will have been used "in concert" to deal with a particular weed issue in one part of the lake.  He says the state Department of Environmental Conservation has been involved in discussions about this and other aspects of the Consensus Strategy.


The Jamestown school board got a look at the first draft of the proposed budget for the 2019-2020 school year.....  

During a work session held Tuesday night, District Superintendent Bret Apthorpe and Chief Operating Officer Lisa Almasi announced the $89.7-million spending plan is just over 4-percent higher than last year's $86.2-million budget.  The 2019-2020 draft also includes no increase in the tax levy.  The final budget proposal will be presented to Board members on April 16th for a vote.  Additionally, petitions for the Jamestown school board election on May 21st will be available to the public next Monday.  There will be two JPS board seats on the ballot, each for a three-year term.  More information is available on the district's website at JPSNY.org.


A Jamestown woman faces drug possession charges after city police received a call for a person with a weapon... 

Officers responded to the area of East 2nd and Winsor Streets just before Midnight Wednesday and, located a female matching the description.  She was identified as 41 year-old Christina Estus.  Officers say a search of her person allegedly revealed a quantity of methamphetamine.  Estus was taken into custody and is being held pending arraignment.

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Local News

WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 19, 2019

Jamestown police are asking for the public's help in finding a smaller-sized sports utility vehicle that was involved in an alleged hit-and-run accident in front of UPMC Chautauqua Hospital last T...

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