Chris Jamele

Weekend program host

Saturday & Sunday 6 a.m. to 12 p.m.

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   Quick work by Grand Island firefighters prevented serious destruction from Friday's fire in Buckhorn State Park. 

The blaze broke out in the afternoon as wind downed a high voltage transmission line. In the path of the blaze were large propane and gasoline tanks along with several construction vehicles. Firefighters battled to prevent an explosion that could have affected the North Grand Island Bridge.

Approximately ten acres were involved in the fire.

    State Senator Mark Grisanti is introducing legislation Saturday that would require prompt public alerts to sewage spills that enter local waterways. 

The "Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act" would be an amendment to the environmental conservation law, requiring sewage treatment plants to notify the public within twenty-four hours of a raw sewage overflow. Grisanti claims that these overflows leach dangerous bacteria, toxins, pathogens and chemicals into recreational and commercial waters and the public has a right to know about them.

File Photo / WBFO News

The Families of Flight 3407 along with members of the general public will participate in a candlelight procession tonight.

This weekend marks the third anniversary of the tragic crash that took the lives of 51 people. Marilyn and John Kausner lost their daughter, Ellie, in the crash. The accident has Kausner urging all consumers to consider a number of factors over and above airfares when they buy airline tickets.

A trio of teens has been arrested in connection with a spree of larcenies on Grand Island.

Three males, one seventeen and two sixteen year olds, face multiple charges. The youths were witnessed rifling through a car when police were called. The group was caught in possession of a number of stolen GPS devices.

Anyone in the Cardinal Lane neighborhood who believes items are missing from their cars or garages should contact the Sheriff's office.

File Photo / WBFO News

Time Warner Cable customers may find themselves missing the rest of Buffalo's hockey season on television.

Fans have already missed most of the Sabres' season due to a dispute over a price increase demanded by the Madison Square Garden Network, or MSG. Network President Michael Bair reports that no end to the dispute appears to be imminent, and with just 27 games left in the Sabres' regular season, cable subscribers could be without the remaining games.

The contractual stalemate is affecting fans of professional sports teams from the New York City region as well.

Members of the school board in LeRoy faced questions from the community during a public meeting on Saturday.

Board members attempted to calm the fears of many that environmental conditions, particularly potential contamination from a chemical spill decades ago, are the cause for Tourette's-like symptoms that have affected at least eighteen students. Schools Superintendent Kim Cox attempted to assure the audience that Studies by the State Department of Health and an independent researcher have cleared the site of chemical contamination.

The LeRoy School District is expected to release a public assessment today on tests that have been performed at the LeRoy High School. The testing was conducted after eighteen students all suffered ticks and Tourette's-like symptoms. The District hired Leader Professional Services. The company will examine the testing and issue recommendations.

The review will be presented to parents from 9 to 10:00 this morning at the high school auditorium.

The proposed clean-up of the toxic spill site in LeRoy, which is at the center of investigations into a strange malady affecting eighteen students at the high school, must clear a hurdle.

Material from the spill site was planned for transfer to the CWM facility in Niagara County. That site is just one mile from the Lewiston-Porter School District.

Senator George Maziarz, Assemblyman John Ceretto and Superintendent Chris Roser have rejected that plan.

WBFO's Chris Jamele and ArtVoice editor Geoff Kelly examine the proposed redistricting plans that have been submitted for both the Senate and the Assembly in New York State.

Kelly explains that the proposals did not meet Governor Andrew Cuomo's expectations.

Chris and Geoff also discuss how a local organization is pushing for small Western New York businesses to anchor the Canal District downtown.

An early morning car accident on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation has taken the life of a fourteen year old girl. Another teenage girl is listed in critical condition at Women and Children's Hospital.

The accident occurred after four AM on Versailles Planks Road, when the vehicle, driven by a nineteen year old male, slid off the road and down a steep embankment. Authorities claim that the cause of the accident remains under investigation.

A number of organizations and experts are examining a strange rash of neurological symptoms that have struck at least fifteen high school girls in LeRoy.

The symptoms include involuntary twitches and verbal outbursts that reflect the symptoms common with Tourett's syndrome.

Environmental activists, including Lois Gibbs and Erin Brockovitch, are investigating a possible connection to a toxic chemical spill in the area in 1970. Brockovitch claims that remediation of the spill was never performed.

Drug testing results that led to severe punishment for 57 prisoners at Attica Correctional Facility have been proven inaccurate.

The tests detected the use of Suboxone, a drug used to treat opiate addiction. Pressure applied by friends and family members forced prison officials to review the tests, and the testing materials were found to be faulty. Peter Cutler, the Director of Public Information for the New York State Department of Corrections, claims many of tested prisoners will be given a reprieve.

Photo from St. Francis High School

A weather related accident in Hamburg on Friday afternoon has taken the life of a popular St. Francis High School employee.

Sixty-three year old Pamela McDonnell was killed when her car spun out of control on Camp Road and veered into oncoming traffic. McDonnell served at the school for more than twenty years, acting as the secretary to the principal.

According to school alum Shawn Connolly, McDonnell's office work did not prevent her from becoming an integral part of the school and its social events.

An altercation between a husband and wife at a local supermarket led to a stabbing.

Buffalo Police were called to the Wegmans on Amherst street Saturday afternoon after a thirty-two year old man stabbed his twenty-six year old wife in the store's lobby. The victim was treated at ECMC and later released. The assailant has been arrested on numerous charges including endangering the welfare of a child.

Store spokesperson Theresa Jackson claims that quick action was taken to resolve the incident.

Friday's weather brought not only the season's first significant snowfall but also a record accumulation for the day.

A Lake Effect Snow Warning will remain in effect into the evening hours tonight for Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties, but Aaron Reynolds, meteorologist at the National Weather Service,  tells WBFO News that the rest of the area will see minimal snows today, and mild weather could be the trend for the near future.

Photo from Morgan Dunbar's Facebook page

The SPCA of Niagara was the scene of a protest on Saturday afternoon.

Better than two hundred animal supporters carried signs and chanted slogans outside of the facility that has been charged with cruel mistreatment of a number of animals along with allegations of unnecessary euthanizations of animals at the shelter.

Morgan Dunbar, who is the founder and the director of Animal Allies of Western New York, claims that the need for change goes beyond the SPCA of Niagara.

News file photo / WBFO

Buffalo Sabres owner and Penn State University alum, Terry Pegula, weighed in on the hiring of a new football coach at the school.

Bill O'Brien, who is currently the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, has accepted the job at Penn State. School icon Joe Paterno was fired in November over allegations of sexual abuse of minors by a member of his coaching staff.

In his statement, Pegula applauds the hiring of O'Brien and offers his support in rebuilding the school's football program.

The Common Council leadership on Friday requested assistance from the State Attorney General's office in resolving the contractual dispute between the MSG Network and Time Warner Cable.

The current contract expired on January first and Sabres games have gone dark for cable subscribers ever since. City lawmakers say this dispute has the potential to cause significant fiscal harm to the City and its taxpayers. Buffalo Common Council President Richard Fontana is hoping the AG can end the dispute.

Outgoing Erie County legislator Daniel Kozub has proposed a local law that would create exclusion zones or prohibitions in employment for people convicted of a sexual offense.

Kozub said he was shocked that convicted sex offenders were running a haunted house in Niagara County at Halloween, and that law enforcement was not able to immediately close down the operation.

WBFO News file photos

As the year end approaches, the time comes to review the headlines from 2011.

On this week's Press Pass, WBFO's Chris Jamele asks ArtVoice editor Geoff Kelly to reflect on what he found to be the significant local stories of the past year.

First, though, there has been a splintering of the Occupy Buffalo movement. That issue begins our Press Pass discussion.

A man on parole is being sought by State Police.

Raymond Gandolfo is the subject of a manhunt across Western New York. Gandolfo was awaiting sentencing on Genesee County for attempted forgery. He is wanted in Cheektowaga for burglary and grand larceny.

Gandolfo is described as a white male in his mid-thirties. He is approximately five foot five inches tall, weighing around 155 pounds.

Crimestoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. Crimestoppers can be reached at 867-6161.

Workers with the SPCA have rescued three dogs from their negligent owner.

Twenty-two year old Marvin Green of Herkimer Street has been charged with three counts of animal cruelty. Three emaciated pit bulls, a mother and two puppies, were found in the home's attic.

The mother was fastened to a short leash and the puppies were locked in a dark closet.

A head-on crash in Hamburg Friday night left two victims in critical condition.

The accident occurred at Route 20 and McKinley Parkway. In all, five people were transported to various hospitals. The identities of those injured have not been released.

Hamburg Police are continuing to investigate the incident, and alcohol is not thought to have been a factor.

A student at Sweet Home High School is behind bars after an arrest for sexual assault.

The identity of the seventeen year old male student is not being released nor is the name of the fifteen year old female victim. A hall monitor alerted staff members that a male student had taken the female student into a secluded area of the school. When the staff investigated, they were able to stop the assault in progress. Lieutenant Eric Davis of the Amherst Police Department commended the staff at the school for their prompt attention to the situation.

Authorities are still seeking clues to the identity of the man killed in Friday night's fire on Sycamore Street.

The building was an abandoned residence and all of the utilities had been disconnected. The cause of the fatal fire is still under investigation. Commissioner of the Buffalo Fire Department, Garnell Whitfield, warns that winter weather drives many people, homeless or otherwise, to use heat sources that might not be all together safe.

A  unity rally was held at Lafayette High School on Saturday in support of the school.

Lafayette has been identified as one of the under-performing schools in the Buffalo District. Students, parents, teachers and community activists all came together to celebrate what is hoped to be a positive future for the school. School Principle Naomi Cerre claims that actions underway are brightening the school's outlook.

Congresswoman Kathy Hochul has introduced legislation that will enhance 9-1-1 communications systems.

The bill is known by the acronym, ALERT ACT, which stands for Allowing Local Emergency Response Technicians to Accept Cellular Texts Act. Hochul's action would require emergency call centers update their handling of emergency text messages and to send an error message if the transmission did not go through.

The FCC would enforce the mandates.

Sheridan Fire Chief Jeffrey Roberts was laid to rest on Saturday morning.

The thirty-three year old volunteer firefighter was killed when he was shot while hunting in Stockton last weekend. Officials have ruled out an accidental shooting and investigators continue to review the case.

Sheriff's Deputies are working to identify the shooter.

Western New York Congresswoman Kathy Hochul spearheaded an opportunity for area small businesses to learn how they can tap into the international marketplace here in this region.

"Canada is such a strong partner of ours, and for an opportunity for our local business to learn how to export into Canada," noted Hochul.

The Small Business Export Forum was held on Saturday at ECC's North Campus. The forum was established as a means for introducing the region's business people to the available resources that will pave the way for broadening the audience for their products.

WBFO News file photo

The tower of the Wheeler Grain Elevator collapsed into the Buffalo River on Friday.

No injuries were reported. Members of the demolition crew, Ontario Specialty Contracting, claim that it was a planned fall. But local preservationist Tim Tielman argues that the incident was an error and blames the city for not better overseeing the work.

A local traffic bridge was closed until the scene was secured.

The city issued an emergency demolition for the structure earlier in the year.