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WJTN News Headlines for Tues., May 17, 2022

City Council committees seeking more answers to questions about new, proposed public safety hires...
There are still some questions and concerns that need to be addressed before the Jamestown City Council votes on adding three new police officers, and new four firefighters.  Two council committees took up the proposal... recently presented by Mayor Eddie Sundquist and council leaders.  The positions will be funded with American Rescue Plan Act funding.  Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says a key one is how long the city will employ the seven new hires... thought they're only slated to be in place until 2027.  Ecklund says some of that may depend on having to fill positions due to retirements.  The four firefighters would primarily be used to staff a second ambulance that would provide EMS service in the city.  Two of the three police officers would be assigned to gun violence enforcement... with the third to deal with more "nuisance" crimes or violations.  Council President Tony Dolce says the personnel costs are expected to be about $800,000 each year, once the ARPA funding is used up.  However... he wants a breakdown on how EMS billing will help lower the cost for the added firefighters. 


Three city men arrested for being in possession of a hand-gun...
Three men from Jamestown have been arrested following an alleged menacing involving a pistol on the city's westside Sunday afternoon.  Jamestown police say they were called to the scene on Grandin St., where the victim told them the suspects had pointed a gun at him, and that they were traveling in a blue Chevy Cruze last seen going north towards the downtown area.  Officers quickly located the vehicle on West Sixth Street -- at Cherry -- and conducted a traffic stop.  The suspects... 24 year-old Alejandro Ayala... 22 year-old Carlos Rivera... and, 20 year-old Abel Figueroa were found with a loaded .38-Special revolver.  Police say the serial number to the weapon had been defaced... and, it will be forensically examined.  All three suspects were taken to the city jail for arraignment on second and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon charges.  Rivera is also charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle... and, Ayala is additionally charged with endangering the welfare of a child.  All three are being held pending arraignment. 


Man killed in fatal farm tractor-pick-up truck accident in Hanover...
A 76 year-old north county man has died from injuries suffered after his farm tractor was struck from behind by a pick-up truck in the town of Hanover.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Alleghany Road just after 3:30 Sunday afternoon... and, found that the pick-up truck was southbound when it struck the tractor from behind -- and the victim was thrown from the tractor.  Deputies say the man was rushed to Brook's Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk... where he later died.  The 75 year-old operator of the pickup truck suffered minor injuries and was released by medical personnel on scene.  The Sheriff's Department Accident Reconstruction Team was called into to evaluate the scene.  No charges have been filed... but, deputies say the investigation is still on going.


Budget votes underway today across NYS, and Chautauqua County...including SWCS...
Residents from across Chautauqua County are voting today on local school budgets, propositions and school board members.  Southwestern Central School Superintendent Maureen Donahue says voters could go to the polls this morning... or from 2 to 8 p.m. today.  Donahue says spending is down in the $30.8-million budget by 2.38% due to debt service from a previous project being paid off.  With that... some state aid is going, but, she says general purpose aid is up.  She says total revenues are down from the current year... and, adds that inflation and program costs are driving a number of increases in the new spending plan.  Because of that... the district is looking at a 2% increase in the tax levy... which will require a 60% supermajority vote by the public.  Donahue says there will also be a proposition to buy four new buses for 595-thousand dollars.  Three people are also running for two seats on the school board... incumbant Cory Miller... and, two newcomers -- Brenden Carter and Elizabeth Laczi.  


Voters in Jamestown Public School district to vote on no tax increase budget...
Voters in the Jamestown Public School District will decide today on a more than $93-million budget for the 2022-23 school year that includes no tax increase.  The spending plan includes hiring, and measures to help students with learning loss during the COVID pandemic... and, boosts mental health services.  School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says the roughly 45 additional personnel will help deal mainly with those issues... including reading teachers, academic intervention, and five at the high school.  He says the district is receiving about $4-million more in state aid from Albany, and that will mainly deal with student learning loss.  Today's vote at the "president" schools will run from Noon to 9 p.m.  Two school board members... Patrick Slagle and Joe Pawelski... are running unopposed.


Special Master releases draft, Congressional redistricting maps...
A court-appointed expert has released a draft of new congressional maps for New York that are more favorable to Republicans than the original gerrymandered political maps drawn by Democrats.  The draft maps released Monday would help the GOP by creating five districts that lean Republican... and, at least four other districts where Republicans would be competitive.  Maps drawn up by the Democratically-controlled state Legislature would have given Democrats a strong majority in 22 of 26 congressional districts, starting with this year's election.