Three business cited for selling tobacco to minors

Three businesses in Chautauqua County have been fined for selling tobacco to underage people.

During a recent Board of Health meeting, it was announced that Alec Witkowski with Wit’s Convenience, LLC of Cassadaga and Barry Neckers with Neckers Company of Clymer had both been cited and pleaded guilty to violating the state’s Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act, for selling tobacco products to an individual under 21 years of age.

In addition, Subrey Elbanech with Cloudz of Lakewood was charged with violating the state tobacco law as well.

Environmental Health Director Jessica Wuerstle said Cloudz pleaded not guilty and requested a hearing be held.

A hearing was held on Jan. 29 before Hon. Betsy Steger. According to court records, Elbanech appeared without legal counsel, representing herself. Attorney Kristy Martin represented the county.

At the hearing the defendant pleaded guilty.

All three businesses were fined $300 plus a $250 surcharge. All three businesses were also issued two points for being first-time violators. If a business gets four points in three years, they can be suspended from selling tobacco or lottery tickets for one year.

Wuerstle said they are required by the state to send in underage people to attempt to buy tobacco at every business in the county over a period of time. If the business refuses, they are fine; if they sell tobacco to the individual, then the business is cited.

Board of Health members said they want to consider increasing the fines for businesses that go to a hearing and are found guilty, since it creates an additional cost for the county. A final decision on increasing fines was not made but is expected to be discussed at a future meeting.

In other business there were eight violations of the state Public Water Supply. Most of those were due to not filing reports on time. Those cited included: Sherri Swan with Maplehurst Country Club, Bemus 16, LLC with Chautauqua Lake Motel and Apartments, Bemus Point Elementary School, Maple Grove High School, Pine Valley Central Schools, and Kris Kane with Olde Chautauqua Vineyards.

Board members noted there were schools cited as well, but Wuerstle said they, too, are responsible for turning in the required monitoring reports for their public water supply.


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