Sinclairville Tax Payers Subsidize Sloppy Water Administration

(Second part of the report. Please see first part below.)

SINCLAIRVILLE-Since seven of every ten gallons of potable water are not accounted for, the Village of Sinclairville not only wastes a resource, it also quite literally puts money, in the unrecovered costs of providing sanitary water, down the drain, according to a NY State audit released Friday.

How much money? The auditors can only guess, because there is at present no way to determine how many gallons are delivered to users who aren’t metered and pay only the minimum charge every three months. In it’s response to the audit the  village also admitted there is now no way to account for leaks in the system and how much water is used for flushing the system.

Another unrecovered cost is the estimated nine cents per thousand gallons of water for various chemicals used to treat the 27.3 million gallons that aren’t “sold” each year. Auditors estimate this unreimbursed  amount is $2,500 annually.

Then there are 43 customers who are charged the quarterly minimum of $61.50 although the actual amount of consumption is unknown because their meters don’t work or, in seven cases, there is no meter. Auditors noted the average quarterly charge to metered consumers was about $71, which indicates $1,600 annually is not collected.

One approach is simply to subtract what was collected in the  latest fiscal year,$73,500,from the cost of providing all the water,$80,788, which results in a loss of $7,288.

(Monday we will report on accounts in arrears and Mayor Tami Berg’s response to the audit.)

H2 WHOA! Nearly Three-Fourths Of Sinclairville’s Water “Unaccounted For!”

First of two reports:

SINCLAIRVILLE-Seventy-one per cent of the potable water distributed from June 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014 in the Village of Sinclairville, a total of 27.3 million gallons,  was not accounted for, according to an audit released Friday by the NY State Comptroller’s Office.

Auditors said 38.3 million gallons of water was produced during the 13-month period, but only 11 million gallons was billed. “Village officials have not taken adequate steps to identify and reduce the significant amount of unaccounted-for water occurring within the village’s system,” the comptroller’s office charged. [Read more…]

Swan Family’s Example Is A Blessing

Love, Faith, Courage, Patience, Hope-all of these are demonstrated by Shane, Tara and Kallie Swan as they endure the unendurable: the progression of a disease that so far baffles all efforts to overcome it.

In the midst of adult sorrow, three and a half year-old Kallie is a happy warrior complete with sunglasses and a smile. How, we who are older wonder, would we deal with the fevers, poisonous drugs, interminable hospital stays, all of it?

A visit to the Kallie’s Krusade Facebook page is time well spent. The comments, thousands of them, show the various ways honest people grapple with the problem of evil. Praying, hoping, wondering if a God who allows this can be “good,” or even exist.

An Episcopalian bishop lecturing at Chautauqua said that it’s good to be angry with God, because God can take it. Not a complete answer, but I thought then and since it was an honest one.

Meantime, we all have the magnificent example of this family who has given us the gift of sharing something of their suffering. And in the midst of their dread and pain have started a movement that is helping  those who now and in the future will face the multitude of problems wrought by serious  childhood illness.

Thank you Tara, Shane and Kallie. And yes, we too want a miracle.

Cheers, Love, Prayers For Kallie!

Kallie and Tara Swan-Image provided by Kallie's Krusade.

Kallie and Tara Swan-Image provided by Kallie’s Krusade.

GERRY-Kallie Swan was boisterously and emotionally welcomed by some 200 folks Friday at the four corners here after a trip from Womens and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo.

Held in her Moimagem Tara’s arms Kallie waved from a big red  SUV as her motorcade flanked by police cars and motorcycles moved down the Gerry-Levant Rd.

Kallie Swan Coming Home

3:55 p.m.

3:55 p.m.

Update at 3 p.m. New estimate: 4 p.m.

Update: JPD now reports time change to 3 p.m. We will update as we receive

3:40 p.m.

3:40 p.m.

information from the motorcade making its

Gerry at the four corners about 2:25 p.m.

Gerry at the four corners about 2:25 p.m.

way from Women and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo.

GERRY-Kallie Swan and her Mom and Dad will be at the four corners in Gerry at 4 p.m. TheCAT will cover. Hope to see you there!

Cars Collide On Fifth And Main

No report of injury.

No report of injury.


JPD Arrests Second Suspect For Recent Tech Academy Assault

JAMESTOWN-A second 16 year-old suspect in Monday’s assault on two staff members at Jamestown Tech Academy was arrested Thursday, according  to Jamestown Police.

Police said  the young man fled from the scene Monday before officers arrived. He was found Thursday hiding in a closet at his residence, and charged with 2nd degree assault before being taken to jail, according to JPD.

(Please see related report below.)

Welfare Abuse Push Back Continues; Kennedy Woman Faces Seven Felonies

KENNEDY-Ada Sommers, 54, 678 Rt. 394, was arrested at 2 p.m. Wednesday by Chautauqua County Sheriff’s  deputies and charged in connection with allegedly receiving welfare benefits she was not entitled to for more than a year.

Sommers, according to the sheriff’s office, gave false verbal and written reports which allowed her to receive $3,106 in SNAP food stamp benefits even though she and another member of the household earned income during the period July 1, 2013 and July 31, 2014.

Sommers is charged with welfare fraud and grand larceny, both 3rd degree; misuse of food stamps over $3,000 and four counts of 1st degree filing a false instrument. All of the charges are felonies.

County Crack Down On Welfare Fraud And Abuse Continues

JAMESTOWN-Stephen Abbey, 38, 200 S. Main St., faces four felony charges for allegedly receiving $1,492 worth of food stamps to which he was not entitled from November, 2013 to January, 2014.

Abbey is charged with welfare fraud and grand larceny, both 4th degree; misuse of food stamps and  1st degree offering a false instrument for filing.

According to the Chautauqua County Dept. of Health and Human Services Program Integrity Unit Abbey failed to report employment income he received while taking benefits.


Staff Assaulted At Jamestown Tech Academy

JAMESTOW-Two staff members needed medical treatment after two 16 year-old students assaulted them during the noon hour Tuesday. JPD arrested one of the suspects, and reports the second is on the run, but is known to police.

Both staff members were struck in the face, and one was hit in the head with a clock one of the assailants ripped from a wall, according to the police report. At least one of the victims sustained facial lacerations, police report.

A felonious assault 2nd degree charge was made against the suspect now in county jail, and charges are pending against the fugitive student, according to police.

Please, Pray for Kallie

A Prayer Vigil for Kallie Swan tonight in Kennedy, NY.

Chautauqua Ampitheater: Images Indicate Substantial Repair Underway


Overall perspective shows extent of the repair job. Note at least ten temporary support columns, cuts in the ceiling and excavation work.


Close up of excavation work.


Seats removed in area adjacent to main repair site.

CHAUTAUQUA-Substantial repairs are underway to repair a portion of  the Chautauqua Amphitheater roof that buckled March 11, apparently due to the effects of ice and snow that accumulated during the Past winter.

Barrows St Raid Nets Heroin, Cash, Two Suspects

JAMESTOWN-A pre-dawn raid Monday at 150 Barrows St. netted two suspects, a substantial quantity of Heroin and cash, according to a JPD media release.

Eduardo Rodriguez, 49, and Theresa Lopez, 50, are both charged with 3rd-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of a small child found at the residence.


Eduardo Rodriguez-Image provided by JPD


Theresa Lopez-Image provided by JPD

Police report finding 12 grams of powdered Heroin along with 90 packages of the illegal drug.

Jamestown Metro Drug, NY State Police, Drug Enforcement Agents and members of the JPD SWAT Team conducted the raid.

Fredonia Woman Jailed; Deputies Say She Was Disorderly After DWI Ticket

POMFRET- Brenda Hegner, 39, Porter Road, Fredonia, is in Chautauqua County Jail Sunday facing multiple charges after allegedly becoming disorderly following a DWI ticket.

Deputies report Hegner was found to be intoxicated after a traffic stop prompted by an insufficient tail light about 1:20 a.m. on Rt. 60 in the Town of Pomfret. Following her release to a sober party Hegner threw “items” at deputies and was told she was again under arrest, but resisted, according to the report.

She is charged with DWI, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, harassment and insufficient car lights, and is being held in lieu of bail.

Chief William Ohnmeiss: “Suspect in Possession of Heroin”

Police Offer Conflicting Reports On Falconer Raid

UPDATE at 4:18 p.m. Jamestown Police now report not finding Heroin at 501 Central Avenue nor in a related automobile! This contradicts information given us on video   by Ellicott Chief Ohnmeiss. (That video was posted at 7:40 p.m.) We also were told by Metro Drug Force officers that Friday’s raid resulted from two months of surveillance. We have no explanation for the conflicting reports. We are not trying to embarrass  anyone, but rather to uphold our own reporting integrity.

UPDATE at 3 p.m.- Town of Ellicott Police Chief William L. Ohnmeiss Jr reported finding Heroin in the suspect’s residence as well as his automobile. Also under arrest is a woman who faces two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

FALCONER-501 Central Ave., Falconer, was the target of the Metro Drug Force Friday afternoon. JPD Chief Harry Snellings said, “We executed a search warrant, it was for Heroin.” Under arrest is Johnny Ray. 

The scene at 501 Central Ave., Falconer, Friday afternoon.

The scene at 501 Central Ave., Falconer, Friday afternoon.

Murder in Warren

Nayla Hodnett, A Year Later. No Arrests. Is This How It Happened?

Nayla Hodnett, bottom image shown with her older half-brother Ezra.

Nayla Hodnett, bottom image shown with her older half-brother Ezra.

JAMESTOWN-Nayla Hodnett was murdered one year ago. She, at 16 and a half months old, was brought to WCA Hospital the evening of April 16, and died the following morning at Womens and Childrens Hospital in Buffalo. Her death was quickly attributed to “blunt-force trauma” and ruled a homicide.

Nayla’s mother, Angel, and her boyfriend, Tyler “Cash” Perez were quickly named “persons of interest” by the Jamestown Police Department. Perez was on parole, and when found to have violated a travel restriction, was sent to Pittsburgh, PA., where he remains in Allegheny County Jail. Angel Hodnett resides in Jamestown, and has since had a third child. Neither has been charged with any crime in connection with Nayla’s death.

What story do Angel Hodnett and Tyler Perez tell authorities? Based on interviews with various authorities, all unwilling to go on record, we believe we know the story, and it’s a very simple one.

Suspect x tells investigators he/she went out for  two or three hours leaving the baby in the care of Suspect y. Upon returning y tells x the baby was cranky but is finally asleep. y then goes out leaving x alone with the baby. x may have looked in the darkened bedroom but saw only an apparently sleeping baby well covered. After y returns, one or the other or both discover the horrible truth. The baby has been beaten very badly and needs emergency care. They rush the infant to the hospital.

So it’s not “He said-She said,” but rather “We don’t know. Didn’t see anything. We’re as puzzled as you are.”

Are we absolutely certain this is the story/alibi? No, but certain enough to publish it. Meanwhile, and most unfortunately, Justice for Nayla seems more distant now than after the murder. But we won’t forget her.

Opting Out A Popular Option Across WNY


A portion of the front page of The Buffalo News, April 15, 2015, edition.

It seems doubtful that many western NY school districts had 90 per cent of eligible students take Tuesday’s English standardized test, part of the controversial Common Core learning standards.

In some districts a majority of parents opted out for their children. The Buffalo News in a front page story Wednesday noted that in one district, West Seneca, some 70 per cent of the eligible 3-8 graders were not seated for the test. (See related reports below.)

Video: Some 90 Falconer Students “Opt Out”

“Opt-Out” Reported Widespread On Common Core Tests

CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY-Parents in large numbers choose to “opt out” of Common Core testing for their grammar school children in many county school districts Tuesday, according to both verified and anecdotal reports. (Update at 5:05 p.m.-The Buffalo News reports heavy opt outs in Erie and Niagara Counties. In West Seneca district about 70 per cent of students didn’t take tests, according to the News which reported 50 to 80 per cent opt out rates in other districts.)

Testing today was aimed at determining knowledge of “English Language Arts,” part of Common Core’s national standardized test routine.

Reports from students and parents indicated 23 of 24 third-grade students in the Southwestern district were held back  by parents. At least 40 students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades in the Falconer school district opted out, according to Justin Gould of our news partner Tween Action News.

A reliable source in the Chautauqua Lake District said “about 20 per cent” of eligible students did not take the test.

Anecdotally, various social media is crowded with reports from parents and students about opting out of the standardized testing, part of the controversial Common Core education approach.

Meanwhile, JPS Superintendent Tim Mains said the “overwhelming majority” of students took the test. Mains was interviewed Tuesday afternoon by Jason Sample on WRFA-FM.

Sending Students To Chautauqua Lake Central Saved Ripley Substantial Money

ALBANY-Sending grade 7-12 students to Chautauqua Lake Central School and paying tuition saved the Ripley school district approximately $452,000 during the first two years of the program, according to a NYS Comptroller’s audit made public April 3.

However, the district decided to increase programming options for kindergarten through sixth-grade students, and spent about $264,000 of the savings for a net saving of about $188,000, according to the audit.The Board adopted a budget for 2013-14 that reflected the change in costs due to tuition.

The 2013- 14 budget reflected  the district’s forecasting an operating deficit of $200,000 and need to use available fund balances to pay expenditures. However, the District experienced a $134,600 operating surplus, thus further increasing its fund balance. As a result, as of June 30, 2014, the District’s unrestricted fund balance exceeded the statutory limitation1 by $491,912 or 6 percent, according to the audit.

The audit praised the cost-saving tuition plan, but criticized the district’s lack of a multi-year budget and financial plan, and putting more money aside in reserve than allowed by state statute. A reply from district officials outlined planned remedial action.


Tired Of Lucy? Don’t Look At This…


Sabres Fire Nolan, 3 Asst Coaches

Update: The Sabres confirmed the firings early Sunday evening.

BUFFALO-Numerous reliable sources including the NHL Network report the Buffalo Sabres have fired Head Coach Ted Nolan and three assistant coaches. Goalie Coach Arturs Irby may have survived, according to the same sources.

Buffalo finished dead last for the second consecutive season, and the move was expected.

Heroin, Legal Once; There Were Addicts, But Not Law-Breakers-News/Opinion/Analysis

JPD Capt. Robert Samuelson estimates ninety per cent of local crime is connected in some way to the distribution and use of various illegal drugs, notably Heroin, so-called crystal meth along with cocaine, marijuana and now the marijuana derived “shatter.”

A look at news sources upstate and in many communities across the US indicates our problem with drug-related crime is not unusual. And there’s Mexico, a country where criminal enterprises known as “cartels” have considerable say in ruling the the place.

Our War On Drugs is both a failed and costly set of public policies. (For a detailed critique of the war Google “The War On Drugs Is Lost, National Review, July 2014. Much of this article harkens back to decades-old essays both questioning the drug war and predicting its failure.)

We do not believe decriminalizing Heroin (Crystal Meth should remain illegal, we believe.) would eliminate all of the social ills connected with various forms of addiction. However it would allow a much more rational approach, in our opinion.

Addicts immediately could do two things they can’t do at present: First, they could cheaply obtain the drug, and second, the drug obtained would be without harmful additives and of exact dosage.

The first result would be a very hard punch to the gut of the illegal drug trade, both here and abroad. Economically, it would divert Billions of dollars from criminals to the legitimate market. The second means a substantial drop in both  mortality and morbidity associated with dangerous additives such as fentynal and chronic illnesses spread through contaminated needles.

Another substantial benefit would be a redirection of energy from law enforcement, judicial process, prison time etc. to dealing directly with the problem of addiction.

Remember too that much of the opium used to manufacture Heroin is grown in Afghanistan, and it’s a big cash crop that raised Billions for our terrorist enemies headquartered there.

And no we are not for the use of drugs for recreational purposes, and certainly never for minors. Our point is the current policy is totally irrational and as a practical matter, very largely a failure.

NOTE: We capitalize Heroin because it is a trademarked drug, and spell marijuana both as marijuana and marihuana, depending on its spelling by police and other sources.

Pershing Ave Victim Was A Target In “Operation Horseback”

Joshua Vanord, shown on top row, third from left, on police flow chart used for "Operation Horseback."

Joshua Vanord, shown on top row, third from left, on police flow chart used for “Operation Horseback.”

JAMESTOWN-Joshua Vanord, the victim of home invaders at 76 Pershing Ave. early Friday, was one of more than 40 alleged drug dealers arrested during last summer’s “Operation Horseback,” a large simultaneous series of raids conducted by an estimated 150 police officers in Chautauqua County.

Update on Abduction Alert

“Targeted” Terror On Pershing Ave/Beating, Robbery

Robert Ellsworth-Image provided by JPD.

Robert Ellsworth-Image provided by JPD.

JAMESTOWN-Armed with a machete and a billy club three masked men invaded 76 Pershing Ave. early Friday, severely beating an occupant and making off with a variety of loot.

JPD has arrested two suspects, Robert Ellsworth,22, of Ashville and a 17 year old from Ellicott and are seeking a third. Police say the trio forced entry about 1:35 a.m. and bound the occupant with duct tape before inflicting serious injuries which were initially treated at WCA Hospital and now at Hamot Hospital in Erie.

The gang took valuables from the home including a safe, cash and jewelry, according to police. Ellsworth is charged with robbery and burglary, both in the first degree while the younger suspect is charged with criminal possession of stolen goods, and felony possession of marihuana.Further charges are likely, according to the JPD media release.


Falconer Teachers Unhappy About State Ed Policy Changes

FALCONER–Unionized Falconer teachers marched outside before classes Friday morning  in an effort to spark opposition to portions of the recently passed New York State budget.

Colleen Holsinger, the teacher’s union vice president, said the state budget includes many so-called educational reforms that are “not educationally sound decisions”.


The union believes the changes now in place do not help strengthen the schools but rather undermine the system “where local communities know what is best for their kids,” she said.

“We have a difficult road ahead”,  Holsinger commented,”but we hope to let our community know that we still care about the kids.”

The “Education Transformation Act of 2015″ states that for ineffective teachers local districts will be able to use new expedited removal proceedings. This is widely opposed by teachers unions.

Teachers with two consecutive ineffective ratings could be removed, and removal will be required for teachers with three consecutive ineffective ratings. These ratings are determined by a new Teacher Evaluation System where  students and teachers are evaluated by Student Performance and Teacher Observations.

As for failing schools, they will be required to have a state-approved improvement plan. If no progress is achieved by the end of the year, the school will go into “receivership”. During that time, the Superintendent will be vested with increased power to hire and fire staff and restructure the school. A grant of $75 million will be available to help failing schools improve as well.

Still No Chautauqua Belle Deal learned Friday afternoon that negotiations between the Village of Mayville and the owner of the Chautauqua Belle have not resulted in a lease.

Two months have passed since a village board session where both sides agreed to work toward a deal. We re-post our video from that February meeting:

Our video report originally published on Feb 10, 2015.