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Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for July 16, 2020


There has been an eighth death of a Chautauqua County resident from the COVID-19 Virus.  County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says an elderly man succumbed to the disease recently at an out-of-state care facility.  Schuyler says the man had been discharged to a "lower-level" of care facility... and, was initially listed as having recovered.  However... she says that was not the case.  She adds "we are greatly saddened to hear of his passing and our condolences go out to his loved ones."  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says Wednesday's new cases are a person under 18... a woman in her 20s... and, a man in his 40s.  Wendel says there are now 45 active cases... who continue to recover under health department orders.  He says there are now 191 confirmed COVID cases in the county... while 680 cases under quaratine or isolation orders.  He adds that 138 have recovered.


Plain clothes detectives and their supervisors in the Jamestown Police Department may soon be wearing body cameras when they go out in public.  That after retired officer and City Councilman Jeff Russell proposed the move at this week's work session, saying it would make more of the detective bureau's interactions with the public more open and provide protections to them, the department and the city.

Other council members reacted positively to the proposal... among them was Vickeye James... who says more transparency is important.  Acting Police Chief Tim Jackson also said he supports the move... adding that all uniformed officers who are out patroling have to have a body camera on.  Jackson also says he would be able to change the policy as soon as he is able to... but, he first needs to see if it's a point of negotation with the Kendall Club-PBA... which represents rank-and-file JPD officers.  The policy would not apply to undercover drug agents with JPD's Metro Drug Task Force.


Jamestown Police paid tribute yesterday to a four-legged member of the department that recently passed away suddenly.  A noon-hour procession was held at JPD Headquarters to honor K-9 Promber with police, fire department members, and others standing along Second Street.  Acting Police Chief Tim Jackson told City Council members at this week's meeting that the K-9 suddenly passed last Saturday.

Officer Erik Kraft... who is the department's K-9 handler... and, had been matched with Promber from the dog's start at JPD.  Jackson says they have contacted the kennel where Promber came from to see if a new K-9 can be found.  In the meantime... the acting chief says they do have cover from other departments.

Jackson told lawmakers is would likely cost the department $10,000-$20,000 to get a new K-9, and get them properly trained.  However... he also said that Kraft has been through the training as well, and that could save some money down the road.

The Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood will be re-open it's doors to the public starting this morning.  That from Marketing Director Sharon Bennett... who says the mall has "proactively implemented rigorous disinfectant and cleaning practices to provide a safe and enjoyable experience."  Until further notice... Bennett says mall-goers are asked to practice social distancing, wear a face covering and adhere to individual tenant COVID-19 policies.  Not all stores may be open in the mall yet... so Bennett recommends calling ahead and to follow along on their social media sites for more information.  Chautauqua Mall hours will be 11 AM to 7 PM, Monday through Saturday.... and, 11 AM to 6 PM on Sundays. 

A Jamestown-area woman faces a felony drug charge after her car was stopped for a traffic infraction on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott earlier this week.  Ellicott Town Police say a patrol pulled over 43 year-old Lisa Tibbetts shortly before 2 AM Monday... and, she was allegedly found in possession of more than 2-ounces of methamphetamine.  Tibbetts was charged with second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, arraigned.


Five juveniles are in trouble after allegedly leading Dunkirk Police on a pursuit in a stolen vehicle Tuesday afternoon.  Officers located the vehicle near the intersection of Maple Avenue and West Courtney Street at about 4 PM.  Police Chief Dave Ortolano says the vehicle was initially reported as stolen last Thursday.  He says officers tried to pull the vehicle over, but the driver failed to comply.

Ortolano says officers found all the juveniles inside the car... and, all of them will be charged in Family Court. The driver was transported to Dunkirk Police headquarters for further questioning, while the four passengers were turned over to a parent or guardian. Police say one of the juveniles was evaluated for a possible panic attack and was transported to Brooks Memorial Hospital by Dunkirk Fire.

Pennsylvania is imposing broad new statewide restrictions on bars and restaurants and larger indoor gatherings. Gov. Tom Wolf cites an "alarming escalation" in new coronavirus infections in making the announcement Wednesday. The Democratic governor says people who refused to wear a mask or abide by social distancing requirements when patronizing bars and restaurants are responsible for some of the virus's resurgence. 


The 90 year old Bemus Point-Stow Ferry may be running again later this year.... that from Jay Kuntz, Co-President of the Sea Lion Limited Group, owners of the vessel.  Earlier this week the 45 ton ferry was lifted out of the water at Stow, so crews could get to a place on the hull where and 8 by 13 foot section will be replaced.  Kuntz says the ferry will also get a new wooden deck and some cosmetic repairs as well.  He estimates the cost of this year's work at over $160,000... with most of the money coming from donations.  Prior to the Chautauqua Lake Bridge, the ferry was the only way to cross the narrows of the lake. 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 15, 2020

Chautauqua County is quickly closing in on 200 confirmed cases of COVID-19... with nine more being added over the past day.  That from Interim County Executive P-J Wendel... who says that brings the total to 188 cases.  Wendel says they include two people under the age of 18... three people in their 20s... a man in his 30s... a woman in her 40s... a woman in her 50s... and, a man in his 60s.  He says there are now 138 people who have recovered... and, there are now 609 cases under quarantine or isolation orders.  Wendel adds there are now 18,373 negative test results to date.


The shut-down caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is causing budget problems for the city of Jamestown over the first-half of the year... especially on the revenue side.  That from City Comptroller Ryan Thompson... who outlined the issues during last (Monday) night's City Council Work Session.  Thompson says payment-in-lieu-of-tax payments from the Board of Public Utilities are down about 5-percent compared to 2019 at the same time -- or about $100,000.

Thompson adds that second-quarter sales tax revenues will also be down significantly... nearly 13.5-percent.  He says that will put the city about 2.5-percent behind last year at mid-year.  Thompson says their Consolidated Highway Improvement Program... or CHIPS funding... is being cut by 20-percent.  He says they are still awaiting word on General Municipal Aid from the state.  On the expense side... Thompson says the only significant increase was overtime in the fire department, which was up 61-percent due to some added calls.  

Four more states have been added to Governor Cuomo's travel advisory requiring people who have traveled to New York from those states to quarantine for 14 days.  Cuomo says all those states have seen "significant community spread" of COVID-19... and, include Ohio, Minnesota, New Mexico and Wisconsin.  The quarantine applies to anyone arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average... or a state with a 10-percent or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing blistering criticism over a report that found no strong link between a controversial state directive that sent thousands of recovering coronavirus patients into nursing homes... and, some of the nation's deadliest nursing home outbreaks.  Scientists, health care professionals and elected officials assailed the report released last week for failing to address the actual impact of the March 25th order.  Some have accused the state of using the study to absolve Cuomo by reaching the same conclusion he floated for weeks - that infected nursing home employees were the real drivers of the outbreaks. 

Jamestown Public School officials are reviewing the use of 'Red Raiders' as the high school school’s nickname following nationwide calls to remove racist symbols from daily life. JPS Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says the district has formed a committee comprised of students, faculty, coaches and community members to hear feedback on both sides of the conversation. Dr. Whitaker says it's also important to received feedback from Native Americans in our area and he's reached out to Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong-senior, to have that conversation. In the meantime, the Superintendent says the committee is currently in the information-gathering phase. 

Whitaker says the committee will look at what 'Red Raiders' means and if the name and logo can be kept... modified... or changed entirely. He adds that this is not an issue that can be fixed overnight, which is why they hope to utilize the committee format to make sure all feel heard in the process. 

A Jamestown man has been arrested after allegedly being found with quantities of methamphetamine and Fentanyl in his possession while on parole.  City police were called to assist State Parole officials in finding 34 year-old Richard Philbrick about 8 PM Monday night... and, located him at a home on McDaniel Avenue.  Officers say the found Philbrick with the drugs, and supplies for packaging and distributing drugs.  He is charged with two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and one of criminally using drug paraphernalia.  Philbrick was taken to the city jail pending arraignment. 


The city of Jamestown is announcing that part of the Riverwalk will be temporarily closed for construction work between North Main Street and Panzarella Island.  The city's Parks, Recreation & Conservation Department says the project will begin today  and, affect both the north and south sides of the Riverwalk.  Public Works Director Jeff Lehman says there are a number of improvements being made.  Lehman says the projects include the state DEC's rehabilitation of the Warner Dam Rehabilitation over the next several months... and, the ongoing Riverwalk Green Infrastructure and Water Quality Improvements project.

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WJTN News Headlines for July 14, 2020


It appears there are a number of issues that have to be addressed before the Jamestown City Council is ready to approve a proposed pilot program that would allow food trucks and carts in the downtown area.  Lawmakers discussed the proposal... which would include a 125-foot distance that food trucks would have to have between they and an existing restaurant.  Development Director Crystal Surdyk has led a committee that includes three council members looking at the proposal.

Some lawmakers again voiced much concern over such a proposal... including Marie Carrubba... whose family has been in the restaurant business.  Carrubba says most restaurants operate with very thin, 5-percent profit margins.  She says the coronavirus pandemic has especially hurt them because they can't have as many customers inside because of social distancing guidelines.  Councilman Jeff Russell says Gialy's restaurant owner Anthony Cusimano earlier in the day Monday complained to him about proximity of trucks, those vehicles taking up parking spaces downtown, and the fact they don't pay property taxes.

For the first time since the coronavirus outbreak began... an employee of the city of Jamestown has tested positive for COVID-19.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist during his report to the City Council at last night's work session.  Sundquist gave no specifics... but, does say there are working with Chautauqua County on the matter.  He says that person's close contacts have also been tested.

Sundquist says if anyone has to go into quarantine... they will be monitored... and, will have to possibly be tested before they return.  He also noted Governor Cuomo's new order yesterday that people coming to New York from any of the states on the state's quarantine list will have to fill out a form when they arrive, in addition to being in the 14-day quarantine.


Three new cases of the COVID-19 virus have been reported in Chautauqua County the past day... bringing the total to 179.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says they include a person under the age of 18... a man in his 50s, and another man in his 70s.  Wendel says there are now 37 active cases... and they continue to recover under local health department orders.  He says 135 people have now recovered... while 511 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders, and being monitored.  Wendel says there have now been 18,158 negative test results reported to date.


A long-standing store on Jamestown's westside reopened Monday after being closed recently when an employee tested positive for COVID-19.  Brigiotta's Farmland Store's Facebook page says if a person was in their 414 Fairmount Avenue location between Sunday, July 5th and Monday, July 6th... they could have been exposed to the employee.  In the post... Brigiotta's says they "will continue to follow local, state and federal guidelines to ensure the safety of our staff and community."  Prior to today... Brigiotta’s said they were sanitizing daily... but, "out of an abundance of caution" they had closed for continued sanitation, and awaited direction from the Chautauqua County Health Department. 

Public schools in New York state will reopen this Fall... provided they meet two very specific guidelines.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo... who Monday announced the reopening will be done like the economic reopening was.  Cuomo says any of the state's regions that is currently in Phase-Four will be able to open back up... if their COVID infection rate remains 5-percent or lower on average for 14 days.  He says that if the region's infection rate spikes over a week's time, though, districts will have to shut-down.

Cuomo says the state's Education and Health Departments have laid out safety guidelines through his "Reimagine Education Advisory Council."  He says their guidelines include: districts have to be flexible... emphasize safety... maximize available space, and be innovative.  Cuomo says the approach to reopening schools is being driven by the data... not by emotion, or by just saying "all schools are reopening."  As of now... Chautauqua County is in Phase-Four... so if the infection rate remains under 5-percent in Western New York as of the first week of August... schools will be able to reopen.

An Ohio woman accused of enticing a 15 year-old Jamestown boy to have sex with her has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Buffalo.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says today that the panel indicted 37 year-old Priscilla Vogelbacher from Oregon, Ohio on one count of enticement of a minor... and, two counts of interstate travel with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.  The prosecutor says Vogelbacher is accused of beginning an on-line relationship with the boy... and enticed him to engage in sexual activity... between November of 2018 and June of last year.  She is also accused of making two separate trips to Jamestown to have sex with the boy.  Kennedy says the charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $250,000 fine.

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WJTN News Headlines for July 13, 2020


Two boaters are safe after the bass boat they were on capsized on Chautauqua Lake last Saturday afternoon in the Loomis Bay Road area.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's Navigation officers were called to the scene just after 2 PM... and spotted a 'Good Samaritan' vessel towing the capsized fishing boat.  Deputies say the operator was in the water, holding onto the boat, and wearing a life jacket.  The man told deputies that he had a passenger who was able to swim to shore.  Officers secured both the driver, and the passenger on a dock near the accident.  Both were being taken to the launch area of Prendergast Point when the passenger began to show signs of shock, and or hypothermia, and stated he was not feeling well.  Navigation Deputies then stopped at the Long Point Sheriff's station to provide First Aid.  A Bemus Point Fire Department ambulance then took the passenger to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for further treatment.


There are six new confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus in Chautauqua County reported over the past weekend... with 36 cases now active.  The County Health Department reports there were two new cases Sunday... bringing the local total to 176.  Officials say they are a pediatric case, and a woman in her 70s.  There are now 516 cases under quarantine or isolation orders... while 133 have now recovered.  The Health Department now reports 18,005 negative test results.

 Up until the past week... Chautauqua County residents had done a great job, overall, in combating the coronavirus.  However... this past week was a set back after 11 cases one day early last week... and, 16 more on Friday.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says residents need to remain vigliant in taking all the precautions to avoid getting and spreading the COVID-19 Virus.  Public Health Physician Dr. Robert Berke whole-heartedly agreed.

Berke says last week's spike in cases was a "sobering moment..." and, adds that everyone needs to be more disciplined.  He says he's gotten reports about young people being relucant to provide information for contract tracing.  Berke says that needs to stop... because if they can't track down cases... it'll take at least a year to "get out of this."  Wendel says the health department has been working with local businesses to make sure social distancing and mask wearing is being enforced. 

Certain nursing homes in New York can allow visitors with restrictions starting July 15 as the state eases a ban aimed at limiting spread of COVID-19 among vulnerable elderly residents. Only nursing homes and long-term care facilities that have been "without COVID-19" for at least 28 days can allow limited visits, according to state Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker. It was also unclear how many of the state's approximately 600 nursing homes would qualify to open up visitors. 


The Jamestown City Council will take a look at new regulations regarding food trucks and carts... and, establish a pilot program in the downtown area.  Lawmakers will hold their lone work session of the month tonight.. via Zoom Conferencing.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist recently vetoed council's approval of an outdoor dining law, because it's already allowed in the code.  Sundquist says they wanted further review the issue... and find a balance between allowing the trucks, and protecting "brick and mortar" restaurants.

Sundquist says a new pilot program being developed would not involve any downtown restaurant that also decides to have a food truck in that area.  The issue of food trucks, and outdoor dining has been discussed by Jamestown lawmakers for the past couple of months as ways to help local restaurants serve more people due to state restrictions on indoor dining due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Tonight's Council meeting begins at 7:30 PM.

A woman from Sinclairville is charged with burglarizing a town of Gerry home late last May... stealing a number of property items.  Sheriff's officers say they were called to an address on Old Chautauqua Road for a larceny complaint on May 24th.  Deputies say they arrested 30 year-old Toni Long... who was allegedly found in possession of the stolen property.  Long was charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of Stolen Property... and, was issued an appearance ticket for Gerry Town Court.


A man from Cherry Creek was arrested during a traffic stop on Interstate 86 in Cattaraugus County late last week for alleged drug possession.  Sheriff's deputies in Little Valley say they pulled over 38 year-old Gregory Schroeder in Salamanca last Friday night for a traffic violation.  However... they also found Schroeder in possesion of a quantity of Crystal Meth.  He was issued appearance tickets for seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, and second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation.

  
Chautauqua Institution has won USA Today's "Best Small Town Cultural Scene" national contest.  The institution won out over several other locations nominated for it's 10 Best Reader's Choice contest... including Taos, New Mexico... and, Saratoga Springs, New York.  Chautauqua Spokesman Jordan Steves says they never relinquished the number-one spot until the standings were taken off line with a week to go in the voting.  Chautauqua President Michael Hill calls it "a tremendous honor for Chautauqua to win this national contest, especially among such an amazing array of fellow nominees." 

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WJTN Headlines for Sat., July 11, 2020

Wendel and Berke express concerns over COVID-19 case spike, and people in isolation or quarantine...
Chautauqua County officials are expressing serious concerns about a new peak in COVID-19 cases... and, a growing number of people in isolation or quarantine.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says today that there are 16 confirmed cases of the coronavirus Friday... bringing the local number to 170.  Wendel says those case are over a wide range of ages.  They include one pediatric case, two males and females in their teens, six people in their 20s, and five in their 30s.  The oldest person was in their 70s.  Wendel says there are now 35 active cases... but, 364 people are now in quarantine or isolation... and, those people "need to pay heed to their quaratine orders to prevent the spread."  County Physician Dr. Robert Berke called this a "sobering moment" because the county had been doing so well in stopping the spread.  Berke believes what we've been seeing across the country is what's starting to happen here... mainly large gatherings of people on or around Lake Erie, and or Chautauqua Lake.  Wendel says 128 cases have recovered in Chautauqua County... while no one is hospitalized.  He says there are also 17-thousand-801 negative test results to date.  In addition to social distancing, and, wearing a mask in public if you can't socially distance, Dr. Berke says wash your hands frequently... or use hand sanitizer if you can't.  


NYS eases visitor ban aimed at curing virus in nursing homes...

Certain nursing homes in New York can allow visitors with restrictions starting July 15 as the state eases a ban aimed at limiting spread of COVID-19 among vulnerable elderly residents.  Only nursing homes and long-term care facilities that have been "without COVID-19" for at least 28 days can allow limited visits, according to state Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.  It was also unclear how many of the state's approximately 600 nursing homes would qualify to open up visitors.  Roughly 500 nursing homes had reported COVID-19 cases among staffers in June, according to state survey data released this week. 


Current Mayor Sundquist, and retired Mayor Teresi comment on former Judge Alessi's passing...
Retired long-time Jamestown City Court Judge Samuel Alessi is being remembered as an "incredible person... and, a great guy."  Alessi passed away last Sunday at home at the age of 88.  He retired as judge in 1993, after spending 20 years on the bench.  Alessi is being remembered as someone who was involved with the community... and current Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist -- a fellow Democrat -- got to meet the judge the past few years.  Sundquist says he really got to know, and talk with Alessi, during his mayoral campaign.  Many of those conversations... until the Coronavirus shut-down in March... would take place at a local restaurant as part of what has been called the "Breakfast Club..." made up largely of city Democrats.  Sundquist says he was able to do that up until the shut-down.  However... retired Mayor Sam Teresi says the group had just restarted it's informal gatherings... and, they would gather at Judge Alessi's house.  Teresi says he knew Alessi for most of his life... adding that he was a classmate at Jamestown High School with Alessi's daughter, Sue... and, he also worked with Alessi on his County Legislature, and City Court Judge campaigns.


City man arested in Fredonia on Federal Warrant...
A Jamestown man wanted on federal warrants is accused of trying to evade State Police during a traffic stop in village of Fredonia earlier this week.  Troopers in Fredonia say they stopped 22 year-old Omar Velazquez on Route 60 for having an expired inspection sticker this past Tuesday night.  After giving police a fake name and date of birth... troopers say Velazquez attempted to run off through the Wal-mart parking lot where he was quickly apprehended and placed under arrest.  He was taken to State Police headquarters and further investigation revealed that Velazquez was wanted by the U-S Marshals for probation violation.  He was taken to the Chautauqua County Jail, and is being held pending further court action.


Borrello says Cuomo needs to make decision sooner than early August about reopening schools...
The region's State Senator says a decision by Governor Cuomo on the reopening of schools during the first week of August is still not early enough for local school districts.  In addition... 57th District Senator George Borrello says the reopenings should not be a "one-size" fits all matter.  He says urban districts are very different from rural ones... and, everyone can't be held back because of "hot spots."  Borrello also believes that the state legislature needs to be involved in the decision-making process regarding the reopening of schools... and, other aspects of running of state government during the COVID crisis.  Local Congressman Tom Reed also feels there need to be answers from Albany on the matter of reopening schools.  Reed agrees with Borrello that there are a "lot of moving parts" that need to be addressed... including testing teachers and others for COVID, getting PPE, and sanitizing buildings.  Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call.  Borrello says it doesn't matter whether people like the governor or hate him... "we have a system of government" that has an executive and legislative branch. 

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WJTN Headlines for Fri., July 10, 2020

City teen arrested for alleged stabbing...
A teenager has been arrested for allegedly stabbing a 25-year-old man yesterday afternoon at a Jamestown home... but, the victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries.  City police tell the Post-Journal that officers were called to an upper unit at 14 Bishop St. shortly before 3 p.m.  Investigators say the stabbing was the result of an alleged argument over a video game.  The man was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment.  The suspect ran off... but, was taken into custody a short time later.  He is scheduled to be petitioned to county Family Court.


Cherry Creek teen arrested for allegedly burglary in Villanova...         
A Cherry Creek teenager has been arrested for allegedly entering a town of Villanova home illegally... and, damaging property inside.  Sheriff's officers say they were called to the scene on Route 83 just before 7 p.m. Thursday on a report of a fight.  They found the unidentified teen had entered the home illegally... and, she was arrested, and charged with second-degree burglary... and third and fourth-degree criminal mischief.  She was taken to the Chautauqua County Jail pending arraignment.


No heat advisory for Chautauqua County... but, high heat index predicated again for today...
The National Weather Service is expected to issue another Heat Advisory for much of Western New York today -- but, that doesn't include Chautauqua County.   That from Meteorologist Dave Zaff in Buffalo... who says heat and humidity levels will soar again today.  Zaff adds that it will be "very uncomfortable..." with the combination of air temperature and humidity making it feel like about 95.  Zaff says our actual temperature will reach about 90 again today.  It reached 97-degrees at the Weather Service's Buffalo office yesterday afternoon... with heat indexes around 105.  Around here... the heat index was around 95.


BPU prepared to deal with hot and humid conditions to provide electrict and water service...
With heat advisories expected to remain in effect through much of today... that means air conditioners and fans will be working overtime.  The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities reports... while there may be high-loads needed through today... they should not have a problem providing enough electricity.  BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says Summer-time heat is seldom a problem.  Robbins says their biggest issue comes in Winter time, because a lot of their customers who heat with electricity that time of year.  During her 14 years at the BPU... Robbins says they've never had to issue any kind of conservation orders for electricity or water during the Summer.  Tempertures are to get into the low 90s in the area... and, the heat index will be about 95.  A heat warning is in effect for northern parts of the region... which may reach a heat index of 105 today.


Wendel says one new COVID-19 Case added Thursday...
There's one new case of the Coronavirus in Chautauqua County Thursday... and the number of cases under quarantine or isolaton orders has surpassed 300.  That from Interim County Executive P-J Wendel... who says the new case is a teenaged girl...bringing the total to 154.  Wendel adds there are now 19 active cases... and, those people continue to recover under health department orders.  He says 301 cases are now under quarantine or isolation orders... while 128 people have now recovered.  No one is hospitalized... while 17,612 negative test results have been reported to date.


Regional GOP state and federal leaders call for repeal of "Green Light" law...
State and federal Republican representatives opposed to New York state's "Green Light" Law were in Buffalo Thursday morning... calling for the measures full repeal.  The controversial law... which took effect last December... allows undocumented immigrants to get New York state drivers licenses and permits... and, was designed to make the roads safer.  That may have been the intent... but, local State Senator George Borrello says that's not what's happened, and it's posing a "great risk" to citizen's safety.  The Green Light law recently garnered more attention since a new amendment, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, says state officials who share illegal immigrants' driver data with federal immigration enforcement agencies could be charged with a class-E felony.  During a press conference along the Buffalo waterfront... local Assemblyman Andy Goodell said that's outrageous... and unprecidented.  Goodell and Borrello were joined Thursday morning in Buffalo by local Congressman Tom Reed... and, newly installed State Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt of Niagara County. 


Barmore asks for patience when making on-line DMV Appointments...
Chautauqua County Clerk Larry Barmore says he understands people's frustration... but, adds that people looking to make appointments with the Department of Motor Vehicles must do so on-line.  Barmore says he knows "that many people are not happy with the new appointment system at the DMV... but, this was an order from the governor’s office that we must abide by.  We will make adjustments as we see the need to make the system better."  Barmore says they still have a backlog of people since March making appointments now... so the appointment slots went fast.  He adds that it's "imperative" that people spend 10 minutes at www.dmv.ny.gov to find out everything they need for their appointment.

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WJTN Headlines for Thurs., July 9, 2020

BPU says it's ready for Summer peak load during heat advisory...
With Heat Advisories issued for most of Western New York -- including Chautauqua County -- air conditioners and fans will be working overtime today.  The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities reports... while there may be high-loads needed today and tomorrow... they should not have a problem providing enough electricity.  BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says Summer-time heat is seldom a problem.  Robbins says leaders of both the electric and water divisions say there should be no problem.  She says the coldest parts of the Winter can be an issue... and, that's usually where their peaks are.  Tempertures are to get into the low 90s in the area... and, the heat index will be about 95.  A heat warning is in effect for northern parts of the region... which may reach a heat index of 105 today.


Barn extensively damaged in Westfield fire...
The fire was out by mid-morning... and, the investigation is underway into an early morning barn fire on Route 20 in the town of Westfield.  Chautauqua County fire dispatchers say Westield crews were called to the scene... between Pratt and McKinley Roads... just before 4:30 a.m.  Responders reported the barn was fully-engulfed in flames on arrival.  Dispatchers say Portland, Brocton, Sherman and Ripley firefighters were called in to assist.  The blaze was under control by about 6 a.m.  No injuries have been reported.  Route 20 in that area was closed for about two-hours.  The county's Fire Investigation Team is at the scene.


NW Pennsylvania man sought after vehicle chase...
New York and Pennsylvania authorities are looking for the person involved in a car chase that began in Pennsylvania Tuesday night... and, ended with the car crashing into a ditch in the town of Harmony.  Sheriff's officers say the chase began shortly before 7 p.m., and, crossed into New york near Kortwright and Niobe Roads... where the vehicle went into a ditch.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's officers say suspect... identified by Erie News Now as 35 year-old Daniel Heidler of Columbus, Pa.... was being pursued by Pennsylvania troopers after his vehicle was spotted in Freehold Township.  Heidler was wanted for falsely reporting an attempted homicide incident. 


Cuomo announces deadlines for state guidelines on school openings and when plans have to be submitted...
New York state will provide it's final guidance to local school districts next Monday on how... and when to reopen for in school classes in the Fall.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo... who Wednesday announced three dates critical to getting schools back up and running.  Cuomo says state officials are finalizing that guidance... and he says districts will have until the end of July to get their individual plans submitted.  He says, school districts will submit their plans by july 31.  Cuomo says during the first week in August... the state will announce whether those schools reopen because the "facts are changing daily" on COVID-19.  Also... the governor announced that malls in any region that's in Phase-Four of reopening can reopen... if they have a "MERV-13" rated filter system for their air conditioning.  But he says 11 or 12 ratings are acceptable.  Malls were among the entities -- including gyms and movie theaters -- left hanging when the Western New York region moved into the fourth, and final phase of the reopening from the coronavirus shut-down. 


Wendel announces more COVID-19 cases, and adjustments...
There have been a couple of changes to Chautauqua County's number of confirmed coronavirus cases over the past day.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says there are five new cases... but, adds that two previous cases that should have been counted in another county have now been transferred to that county.  That means there are now 153 total confirmed cases in the county.  Wendel says the new cases include a woman in her 30s... and, man and woman in their 40s, a man in his 60s... and, a woman in her 80s.  He says 127 people have now recovered... while 259 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.  Wendel says there have been 17,411 negative test results to date.


Wendel says big confirmed case number Tuesday does not appear related to any "big event..."
Chautauqua County officials don't believe there was any "big event" led to Tuesday's spike in COVID-19 cases.  That from Interim County Executive PJ Wendel... who says county health officials have looked into the now 11 new cases that day.  Some have speculated that events surrounding the Fourth of July had an impact.  Wendel says it's too early for that to show up.  In another development... the executive says he has received a good response to his proposal to included additional phases to New York State's reopening, because some businesses -- including gyms -- had received no guidance. 


Four-H Meat Animal Sale next week to be completely on-line...
The first ever 'virtual' Four-H Meat Animal Sale is just a week away.  Chautauqua County Four-H Youth Educator, Kate Ewer, says the Peterson Auction Service in Frewsburg has helped them organize the event, to run for 24 hours, starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 16.  Ewer says all lots will be available for bid.  Pictures and videos for many of the animals are already available for viewing at petersonauction.com.  It was the cancellation of the Chautauqua County Fair that led to the creation of the 'on-line' meat animal sale. 

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WJTN Headlines for Wed., July 8, 2020

Chautauqua County has biggest one-day number of COVID Cases Tuesday...
There have been a record number of positive cases of the COVID-19 Virus reported in Chautauqua County over the past day... and, a large number of people are in quarantine or isolation.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says there are 13 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus... bringing the local number to 150 cases.  Wendel says there is a pediatric case... along with a girl in her teens... nine women in their 20s... a woman in her 30s and another in her 60s.  Wendel says there are currently 17 active cases... and, they continue to recover.  In addition... 166 people are now under quarantine or isolation orders.  Wendel says no one is hospitalized... and, there have been no new deaths.  He says 17,259 negative test results have now been reported.  The county's Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging people to make good choices.  There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.  That means it is up to all of us to prevent illness by avoiding exposure to the virus. 


Three more states added to NYS COVID-19 Quarantine list...
New York is now requiring people from three additional states to quarantine for 14 days as more individuals are testing positive for COVID-19 nationwide.  Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a Tuesday press release that Delaware, Kansas and Oklahoma now join a total of 19 states that qualify under New York's metrics for community spread.  Cuomo's advisory applies to states with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average, or states with a 10-percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.


City police looking into reported shooting Tuesday...
Jamestown police are looking for two male suspects in connection with a shots fired incident on the city's northside late yesterday afternoon.  City Police confirm the shootings -- with at least one person being struck -- occured in the area of Cherry and West Ninth Streets shortly before 5 p.m.  However... no victims or suspects were found when police arrived on scene.  Anyone with information is asked to contact JPD at 483-7537... or the confidential tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


Samuelson says man arrested in connection with alleged stabbing in downtown area late Monday...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly murdering another city man during a fatal stabbing near the downtown area late Monday night.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says 28 year-old Carl Sorenson is accused of stabbing 23 year-old Brandon Holland during a brief altercation on North Main Street -- near Fourth -- shortly after 10 p.m.  Samuelson says they have been able to find some physical evidence in the case... but, would not say if they had found a weapon.  He says Sorenson was arrested Tuesday on a second-degree murder charge.  He earlier said that this was a "targeted incident."  Samuelson says investigators were also able to get surveillance video from the area... which shows Sorenson going after Holland as he walked on North Main Street.  Samuelson says Holland was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital where he died of injuries.  Sorenson is to be arraigned this morning.


Surveillance cameras important in stabbing arrest...
As with many recent investigations and arrests in downtown Jamestown... surveillance cameras played a major role in the arrest of Carl Sorenson.  JPD Captain Samuelson says the city has put up several for added security the past couple of years... and, many businesses have also.  Samuelson says they were able to use several business cameras on North Main... as well as the public safety camera at Sixth and Main Streets.  Samuelson says there may be further charges placed in the case... in particular regarding the third-party that may have been involved in the first incident. 


Sundquist appoints Interim Police Chief to replace the retiring Snellings...
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist has announced the naming of City Police Lieutenant Timothy Jackson to be Interim Police Chief once current Chief Harry Snellings retires this Friday.  Sundquist says the appointment needs to be approved by the City Council.  He says Jackson has been with JPD since May of 2000. He also is a Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Academy professor and served our country in the U.S. Navy Reserve from 2002 to 2008.  Jackson is a Jamestown resident.  Sundquist says he's excited" to appoint Jackson as Acting Police Chief as we continue our search to fill that position permanently. I’m fully confident in Lieutenant Jackson’s ability to lead the department through this time of transition.”  City Council will act on the appointment at it's July 27 voting session.


Sinclairville toddler drowns in Monday pool accident... 
A 3-year-old toddler from the town of Gerry has died in a tragic drowning in an above-ground swimming pool on Damon Hill Road.  State Police in Jamestown initially responded to a missing child report just before 5 p.m. Monday.  The child was found at the bottom of the pool and unresponsive.  Police say troopers and a Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Deputy tried to save the child, but, were unsuccessful.  The child had no life vest on at the time of the incident.  An autopsy will be performed.


Landlord-tenant dispute leads to alleged shooting...
A Little Valley man is being held on $25,000 bail for allegedly shooting another man in the town of Farmersville.  State Police responded to Route 98 for a male with multiple gunshot wounds last Friday.  Investigation revealed that the landlord of the property, 51 year-old Daniel Langdon-junior, got into a fight with the 40 year-old tenant.  Troopers say during the altercation... Langdon allegedly pulled a legally-owned 9-milimeter pistol and shot the victim multiple times.  The man was flown to the Erie County Medical Center for non-life-threatening injuries.  Langdon was arraigned for felony attempted murder and first-degree assault with intent to cause serious injury with a weapon. 
 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 6, 2020


A city man is jailed after allegedly trying to pull a hand-gun on another person during a fight on Jamestown's southside last Saturday afternoon.  City police were called to the scene at 68 Chambers Street just before 4:30 PM July 4th.  Officers say they learned that 26 year-old Kurry Cordosi had punched another person in the face, and continued to fight when it appeared that he tried to pull a gun out of his pants.  A third person at the scene was allegedly able to disarm Cordosi, and gave the 9-millimeter gun to police.  No one was seriously hurt... but, Cordosi was arrested for third-degree assault, criminal mischief, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.  He was jailed pending arraignment.

A man from Mayville is accused of riding his motorcycle drunk... and, speeding... after his bike collided with another vehicle in Bemus Point early last weekend.  Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene on Main Street just after 6 PM Friday... and, found that 38 year-old Charles Carter was operating the bike while intoxicated.  Carter, and his passenger, 27 year-old Victoria Baran of Bemus Point... were taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.  In addition to DWI and speeding... Carter was also charged with first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, and issued appearance tickets for Ellery Town Court.

In light of the high-number of illegal fireworks calls and arrests made leading up to July 4th... Chautauqua County Interim Executive P-J Wendel says the county may look at opting out of the ability to sell non-aerial fireworks in the future.  Responding to an editorial in The Post-Journal... Wendel said it's worth a look at no longer allowing "sparkler-type" devices to be sold around the fourth to everyday residents.

No serious fireworks incidents were reported either leading up to the fourth or on the fourth... but, there have been dozens of complaints in Jamestown -- mainly on social media -- in recent weeks.  Wendel says officials are looking at some shared services that might allow codes to become more uniform across the county.  He saw this when he was a member of the Lakewood Village Board... and the "pop-up stores" were becoming a problem.  Wendel made his comments for this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


A woman in her 60s is the newest confirmed case of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County... bringing the total number of cases to 137.  County Executive P-J Wendel reports there are now six active cases... and, they are recovering under Health Department orders.  Wendel says 124 others have now recovered from the virus... while there are 100 cases under quarantine or isolation orders.  He adds that 16,596 negative test results have been reported to date.


The new president at the SUNY College at Fredonia will take on his new post in about six weeks.  That from interim President Dennis Hefner... who says he spoke with incoming President Dr. Stephen Kolison, Junior after his appointment was recently approved by the SUNY Board of Trustees.  Hefner says Kolison is wrapping up affairs at his current post, and should be on campus around mid-August.  In the meantime... he says Fredonia has submitted it's reopening plan to the state.

Hefner says students could also begin arriving by mid-August... with first classes taking place on August 24th.  However... Hefner adds this will all depend on a final decision on reopening from Governor Cuomo.  No word on when a such decision is expected.

 
Governor Tom Wolf's more expansive mask order issued this week as the coronavirus shows new signs of life in Pennsylvania is being met with hostility from Republicans.  They are objecting to the Democrat's use of power, to wearing a mask itself and to what they call confusion it's causing.  It is one of many partisan fights over the coronavirus in a premier presidential battleground state where Democrats blame President Donald Trump for the virus' devastation... and, Republicans blame Wolf. 

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WJTN Headlines for Sat., July 4, 2020

Two people hurt in alleged DWI Motorcycle-Car accident in Bemus Point...
A Mayville man has been charged with driving while intoxicated and speeding after his motorcycle collided with another vehicle in Bemus Point early last weekend.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Main Street just after 6 p.m. Friday... and, found that 38 year-old Charles Carter was operating the bike while intoxicated.  Carter, and his passenger, 27 year-old Victoria Baran of Bemus Point... were taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.  In addition to DWI and Speeding... Carter was also charged with first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation.  He will appear in Ellery Town Court at a later date.


Jamestown woman arrested for having children living in deplorable conditions...
A city woman faces four counts of endangering the welfare of a child after Jamestown police found a toddler wandering in the street, and her home in deplorable conditions.  City Police were called to the area of Burtch Street about 3 p.m. Thursday.... and, were advised the 3-year-old had been wandering alone for at least an hour.  The mother was located inside the residence and identified as 27 year-old Linda Troutman.  In addition to the toddler... a 7-year-old and 8-year-old were also found inside the residence, which was allegedly covered in dog feces, soiled diapers, spoiled food and other garbage.  Troutman was taken into custody and was held pending arraignment.  The children were released to a family member. 


In the wake of increases fireworks complaint calles... Quattrone says leave them to the pros...
During the run-up to the Fourth of July holiday... there have been numerous complaints about an increase in the setting off of fireworks -- most of them illegal -- in Jamestown and Chautauqua County.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone says... only sparker devices are legal in New York state -- and are sold here.  Otherwise... Quattrone says leave the fireworks to the professionals.  He says Mayville and Findley Lake will be having some displays for the Fourth... and leave the illegal ones alone.  The illegal kinds of fireworks are sold just over the border in Pennsylvania.  Quattrone says there are two easy ways to determine what's illegal.  Basically... he says if "something flys or goes bang... they're likely illegal."  Recently... an illegal fireworks detail involving Jamestown City Police and State Police announced seven arrests for possesion of illegal fireworks.  Four of those seven people were from Jamestown.  Officials believe the rise in illegal fireworks this year is due to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, and the nice weather.


Sundquist announces need for people who use City Parks to “Carry In, Carry Out" garbage this weekend...
The Jamestown Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department is adopting a “Carry In, Carry Out” garbage disposal policy for the Independence Day holiday weekend in the City Parks system.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says they're "encouraging those who use our parks facilities this long weekend to dispose of garbage at home in an effort to help us keep our parks looking great.”  Trash receptacles are still located in all parks... but, minimal trash services are available.  Restrooms are also closed for the season.  In accordance with State guidelines regarding COVID-19, park users are to limit gathering in groups no larger than 50 people and to have masks available to wear when social distancing is not possible.


Wendel reports four new cases of COVID Friday...
There are four new, confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Chautauqua County reported over the past day... bringing the local total to 135.  County Executive P-J Wendel says there are a man and a woman in their 20s... and, two women in their 30s and 50s.  Wendel says the new cases are among eight active cases in the county... and, they are recovering under Health Department orders.  However... he says no one is hospitalized... while 120 people have now recovered.  Wendel says 95 people are currently under quaratine or isolation orders... and, there have been 16,052 negative test results to date so far.


Laurel Memorial Run to be done virtually this year... 
The COVID-19 Pandemic is not keeping the annual Laurel Memorial Run from taking place this summer... but, this year's event is officially going virtual.  Wayne Hotelling, who founded the race with his wife Elaine, felt it was important keep it going in a safe way without jeopardizing people's health.  Steve Waterson of the Resource Center says anyone can go online and participate now through July 18th... the day the event was originally scheduled for.  Waterson says participants can take part in the 8K run... or the 5K walk...or whatever distance they would like to show support.  You can sign up at www.runsignup.com.  There are also plans for a scaled back relay run from Jamestown to Dunkirk on July 17.

 

 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 3, 2020

A Jamestown woman was arrested on four-counts of child endangerment after city police were called for a child wandering in the street Thursday afternoon. Officers say the investigation occurred in the area of Burtch Street, when multiple people reported the 3-year-old was allegedly wandering alone for at least an hour. Police were able to locate the mother -- 27 year-old Linda Troutman -- insider her residence.... and, found the home in deplorable conditions with dog feces on the ground, soiled diapers, rotten food and other garbage. Besides the toddler, officers found a 7-year-old and 8-year-old in the home. Linda Troutman was taken into custody and is being held pending arraignment. The children were released to a family member. 

A historic hotel along Chautauqua Lake celebrating it's 140th year will be closing for the rest of the summer following the Fourth of July holiday weekend.  Hotel Lenhart Owner Bebe Johnston confirms for Media One Radio that they will be closing for the Summer season on Monday due to COVID-19 restrictions, and a desire to keep employees and visitors safe.  She says it's difficult, with a seasonal operation, to comply with state and federal guidelines.  However... Johnston says they hope to reopen next Summer.  She says they are honoring reservations for this weekend... but, only the bar will remain open... starting next Monday.

The Fourth of July holiday weekend is underway for many... and, as usual... the watchword for the weekend is safety.  That's taken on some added meaning this year with the coronavirus still being around, and causing many issues in the south and western United States.  Otherwise... Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone says they'll again have added patrols on both land and water.

Quattrone says the added patrols will be focusing on "aggressive driving..." along with distracted and impaired driving.  Since the Fourth of July falls on a Saturday... the national holiday observance is today.


A Silver Creek man wanted in Florida for intending to kill someone they assaulted has been arrested by the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department following a stand-off.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone says 38-year-old Timothy Winford was taken into custody after an over two-hour long incident Thursday at 15 Elm Street.

Quattrone says he is pleased that the standoff ended peacefully about 1:30 PM… and, with the number of people, including the department's Crisis Negotiation Team... they were able to de-escalate the situation.  Winford was transported to the Chautauqua County Jail to await extradition to Florida.  A shelter in place was issued for the village while the standoff occurred.

 
Warren County, Pennsylvania announced their first COVID-related death, however officials say the person did not die in the county. The Times-Observor says the P-A Department of Health lists one death among the statistics for Warren, but they are based on a person's residence and not necessarily where they contracted the virus. County Commissioner Ben Kafferlin and County Coroner Melissa Zydonik confirmed the information. Zydonik says she is working with other counties to get more information about the case. The newspaper reports 5 confirmed cases of COVID-19.... 2 probable cases..... and, 719 negative test results as of Thursday. 

A Jamestown woman was charged with three-counts of reckless endangerment for allegedly trying to run a woman over during an overnight domestic dispute. City police were called to the area of Bush and Bowen Streets shortly after 1 AM .... and, stopped the suspect red sedan that was trying to flee the scene. Officers identified the driver as 27 year-old Samantha Gonzalez, who was found to be intoxicated. Further investigation revealed Gonzalez struck two other vehicles with her sedan during the fight. She was taken into custody on additional charges of DWI... endangering the welfare of a child... two-counts of leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident and failure to stop at a stop sign. City police also arrested 33 year-old James Jackson, of Buffalo, for third-degree assault for allegedly striking a female victim. Both are being held pending arraignment.

Chautauqua County entered Phase-Four of New York Reopening from the coronavirus shut-down earlier this week.  But... what of businesses that haven't been allowed to reopen yet?  That question is being raised by Interim County Executive P-J Wendel... who says he has written Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging him to consider a Phase-Five and even Phase-Six if necessary to eventually get a businesses open.  Wendel adds that he also brought up the subject up during Wednesday's meeting of the Western New York Region Control Room.

Cuomo has recently said he wants a further look at air conditioning filtration systems before reopening malls and movie theaters.  He also wants school districts to get their reopening plans together for the Fall.  Wendel says there also remain questions over vistations to hospital, and nursing home facilities... and, those need to be addressed.  Under Phase-Four... low-risk indoor arts and entertainment are being allowed to reopen... including the National Comedy Center, and the Robert H. Jackson Center.  Wendel says those reopenings are good news. 

For the second-day in a row... there have been no new cases of the COVID-19 Virus reported in Chautauqua County yesterday.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the Health Department reports there are still six active cases... with 118 people having now recovered.  Wendel adds there have been 131 confirmed cases in the county... and 100 cases are currently under quaratine or isolation orders.  No one is hospitalized... while 15,262 negative test results have been reported to date.


After having done more than 12,500 coronavirus tests, the Cattaraugus County Health Department is beginning to scale back its COVID-19 operations.  That from Public Health Director Kevin Watkins during his report to the county's Board of Health Wednesday.  On the department's Facebook page... Watkins says the reason is due to a "decreasing interest in testing by the public."  However... he says Olean General Hospital will begin pre-operative testing on July 6th... and, the health department will still conduct other testing.  Watkins also added that local officials are setting their sights on the next wave of COVID-19, which he said was more likely with the explosion of coronavirus in the South and West. 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 2. 2020

A Jamestown woman was charged with three-counts of reckless endangerment for allegedly trying to run a woman over during an overnight domestic dispute. City police were called to the area of Bush and Bowen Streets shortly after 1 AM .... and, stopped the suspect red sedan that was trying to flee the scene. Officers identified the driver as 27 year-old Samantha Gonzalez, who was found to be intoxicated. Further investigation revealed Gonzalez struck two other vehicles with her sedan during the fight. She was taken into custody on additional charges of DWI... endangering the welfare of a child... two-counts of leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident and failure to stop at a stop sign. City police also arrested 33 year-old James Jackson, of Buffalo, for third-degree assault for allegedly striking a female victim. Both are being held pending arraignment. 


There were no positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Chautauqua County over the past day, which means the number of cases remains at 131. That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says there are 6 active cases recovering under orders of the Public Health Director. Wendel adds 117 people are under quarantine or isolation orders and are being monitored. Additionally.... 15,062 negative test results were reported yesterday. 

Flames triggered by a small grease fire in an exhaust duct extensively damaged a restaurant located on Route 20 in the town of Westfield yesterday afternoon.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department dispatchers say Westfield fire crews were called to "KISS Barbecue" -- at the intersection with McKinley Road -- about 1 PM.  Dispatchers say mutual aid was called in from Portland, Hartfield, Mayville, Brocton, Ripley, Sherman, and Ellery Center.  No injuries were reported.  The county's Fire InvestigationTeam found the grease fire spread to combustibles in the building... which was being renovated.  Officials says Route 20 between Felton and Prospect Roads was closed while crews battled the blaze.


The National Comedy Center in Jamestown will reopen for the first time since the coronavirus shut-down this coming Friday... the day before the Fourth of July.  Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson says they'll be opening back up to the public as part of New York State's Phase-Four reopening.  She says... to abide by state health protocols... they'll be limiting attendance at any one time.
Gunderson says they have been consulting with epidemiologists at UPMC in Pittsburgh and Jamestown on the best way to clean, and keep people safe.  She says they have eliminated the use of "touch screens" inside the comedy center... but, you should be able to still get the full experience they hope for.  Gunderson says both staff and visitors will have to wear masks, and have their temperature taken when they come inside.  In addition... she says the Lucy-Desi Museum at Third and Main Streets will also reopen Friday.  Gunderson says they'll conclude training staff today.

The head of the National Comedy Center says they are saddened by the death of a true, all-time comedy legend in Carl Reiner.  Reiner died late Monday of natural causes at his home in Beverly Hills, Califonia at the age of 98.  Center Director Journey Gunderson says he became a big supporter of the Center project four years ago due to it's dedication to preserving, and high-lighting the art of comedy.  She adds that grew into his decision to leave all of his script archives from the "Dick Van Dyke Show" with the center.

Reiner created the "Dick Van Dyke Show" in the 1960s.  He was also the "straight man" to Mel Brooks' ``2000 Year Old Man.'' One of show business' best-liked men, the tall, bald Reiner was a welcome face on the small and silver screens.


Two Chautauqua County parks... Erlandson Overlook near Frewsburg and Luensman Overlook in Portland... remain closed.  The county's Director of Public Facilities, Brad Bentley, says there are two reasons: the need to keep crowds down, and budgetary issues.  Bentley adds the situation will be reviewed later this month, but even when the parks do reopen, operations will be different... gazebos reservations will NOT be taken, and the restrooms may not be open, because of the need for constant cleaning.  Bentley says while the gates to the overlooks are locked, and there is no regular maintenance, people could still hike into them.   Chautauqua County's trails... including the Overland and Waterway trails ARE open. 


As part of the Phase-Four reopening in Western New York... the Robert H. Jackson Center in downtown Jamestown is preparing to open its doors again.  Kristan McMahon, the center's President, says they'll once again offer tours -- beginning next week -- with some restrictions on July 6th... but, tour groups will be small, and include members of the same family.  McMahon says it's best to schedule those tours in advance.  The docents will be back... using small portable sound systems in order to maintain appropriate social distance. 


The Fourth of July Holiday period will be marked by exceptionally good weather across Western New York.  That from Forecaster Heather Kenyon with the National Weather Service in Buffalo... who says a high pressure system is locked in over the area.
Kenyon says a "stubborn low pressure" system over New England has interrupted the usual west to east flow of systems.  One downside, is the absence of any rain over most of the next week... with only some isolated storms predicted for next Monday.  Kenyon says the chance of rain may increase later in the coming week.  Daytime highs will gradually rise to close to 90 by the 4th of July weekend.  

A Level-Three sex offender faces felony charges for allegedly failing to report a personal Facebook account to either the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office or the state Sex Offender Registry.  Sheriff's Officers say they received information Tuesday morning that 60 year-old Michael Partyka allegedly used the social media account to communicate with the caller.  Officers say Partyka was taken into custody and released with an appearance ticket for Chautauqua Town Court at a later date. 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 1, 2020


There are two new cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County... and, they are a man in his 20s and a woman in her 40s.  That from interim County Executive P-J Wendel... who says that brings the local total to 131.  Wendel says there are currently eight active cases... and, they're recovering... while there are 116 people who have recovered.  He says 96 cases are under quaratine or isolation orders... but, no one is hospitalized.  There have now been 14,646 negative test results to date.


There's been increased talk about a fourth, major COVID economic relief bill in Congress with a number of states seeing the number of cases and hospitalizations rising... and, some of them going back to shutting down some businesses.  Local Congressman Tom Reed says that is concerning... because he was hoping to avoid the need for another stimulus bill.  However... Reed says the nation needs to be ready to deal with hot spots when they crop up.

Congressional members were told today by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that the administration wants the next round of economic aid to focus on supporting businesses... like restaurants... that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.  Mnuchin says he is already talking to lawmakers about getting another round of relief approved by the end of July.  He said those discussions included ways to use left-over funds from the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill. 


There is some good economic news today... as the new U-S, Canada, Mexico trade agreement takes effect.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who fought for passage of the bill.  The Corning Republican says it's an improvement in many ways from the former North American Free Trade Agreement.  For the 23rd Congressional District... Reed says it will open up new dairy markets for Class 6 and 7 milk products -- including cheese.

Reed says there are other issues that are being addressed that weren't around when NAFTA was first instituted.  Those include dealing with "digital" trade issues... which are now a huge part of trade.  The new USMCA was part of a 2016 campaign promise by President Trump to negotate a new agreement.  He says it's projected to help major American industries, including adding $226.8-million in total dairy output... and, $683 million in annual investment for the automotive and manufacturing industry.  Reed made his comments during his weekly conference call with Southern Tier media.

The Fenton History Center is preparing to re-open their doors to the public for the first time since mid-March.  Executive Director Noah Goodling says the Center has made adjustments to the space and exhibits with the Fenton Mansion, to ensure the safety of visitors. As soon as they receive full clearance... Goodling says the Fenton will open during regular hours Monday through Friday. However, the Hall House Research Center won't open immediately, but is anticipated to begin the week of July 13th. Goodling says they will take research request by email at "Researcher@FentonHistoryCenter.org" or by calling 664-6256. In addition... the history center is holding a collection drive for historic or current materials devoted to the local LGBTQIA+ community, between now and the end of the year. Goodling says the artifacts will be used to construct an exhibit for early 2021. He says accepted materials will include photographs, poetry, artistic works protests signs and publications. 


There will be no Gerry Rodeo this year.  Spokesman Paul Cooley says the members of the rodeo committee waited as long as they could, in hopes of running the event in early August.  In the end... Cooley says some coronavirus Executive Orders currently in place forced their hand.
After Monday's meeting, rodeo Chairman Tom Atwell called it the toughest decision they've ever made.  The rodeo is a major fundraiser for the Gerry Fire Department.  Paul Cooley says another consideration was the 'Heritage' nursing home facilities in Gerry.  This year's show... August 5th through the 8th... was to have been the 76th consecutive Gerry Rodeo... the longest continuous run for a rodeo east of the Mississippi.  The rodeo committee is planning to offer a 'drive through' version of their famous beef barbeque at a later date.  (The new dates for the rodeo itself are August 4th through the 7th, 2021.)


The $36-million Gatewater Lofts housing project in downtown Jamestown has been given site plan approval by the city's Planning Commission.  Commission member and City Councilman Tom Nelson made the announcement regarding project during Monday night's voting session.  The Gateway Lofts will use just over 100-thousand square feet of space in the current center at 31 Water Street... and, Nelson says a lot of work has gone into getting the project to this point.  He credited Commission Chairman Greg Rabb, and City Development Director Crystal Surdyk for their hard work. 

Fredonia Central School has announced an interim superintendent as it begins the search process for a new superintendent.  Colleen Taggerty will replace former superintendent Jeff Sortisio, who held the post for three years before becoming superintendent at Eden Central.  Taggerty served as the Olean City School District superintendent before retiring in 2017. 

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WJTN News Headlines for June 30, 2020


The Gerry Rodeo has joined the list of major summer events to be postponed this year... because of issues related to the coronavirus.  Rodeo chairman, Tom Atwell, called it the toughest decision they've ever made.  After waiting as long as they could, Atwell said the governor's executive orders limiting crowds to one-third of arena capacity... and 14 day quarantines for people from certain states forced their hand.  The rodeo committee felt the quarantine would keep many competitors from coming to Gerry in August.  Tom Atwell added, there are no guidelines in place as to how to put out the rodeo's popular roast beef dinner... while the cost of beef has skyrocketed.  This year's show... August 5th through the 8th... was to have been the 76th consecutive Gerry Rodeo... the longest continuous run for a rodeo east of the Mississippi.  

The Jamestown City Council has approved a new, three year contract with the 15 employees in the Parks Department.  Lawmakers last night unanimously approved the pact with CSEA Local 1000... one of the three remaining unresolved labor contracts in the city.  Council President Tony Dolce says the contract is retroactive to January of 2019... and, includes a step pay increase for that year... a 2-percent increase for 2020... and, a 2.5-percent wage increase for next year. 


Jamestown City Hall will be reopening to the public this coming Wednesday, July 1st.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who made the announcement Monday afternoon.  Sundquist says all city offices will be open to the public and will accept permits, applications, payments, and so on.  He says the public is still encouraged to continue to use the City payment drop boxes and other methods of payment to reduce contact with other members of the public and staff.  Officials ask that everyone coming into City Hall please where a mask for the safety of their fellow citizens.  City parks and playgrounds continue to remain open, except for park restrooms, which will remain closed until further notice. In an effort to prevent spread of COVID-19 to children, the City Parks Department has started sanitizing playground equipment daily.


A woman in her 20s is the newest case of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County.  County Executive P-J Wendel said Monday that brings the local total of confirmed cases to 129.  Wendel says there are now six active cases... and 116 people have now recovered.  He adds that 105 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders... and, that 14,231 negative test results have been reported to date.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the Western New York Region... which includes Chautauqua County... will enter Phase-Four reopening from the coronavirus shut-down today.  The governor says -- their global experts will take another look at the data -- which right now -- looks good.

In a press release Monday afternoon... County Executive P-J Wendel says "this is great news for our region and Chautauqua County.  This shows we have continued to do our part to limit the spread of the disease.  I am hopeful that other industries that were not able to open would get the guidance to open safely and responsibly.”  Cuomo says malls are not part of reopening right now because of issues with air conditioning systems... and, their ability to filter COVID out.  He says air conditioning filters go by so-called MERV ratings... and, the better ones are able to filter out COVID.  Low-risk indoor and outdoor entertainment and arts are able to reopen under Phase-Four... along with higher education. 

Jamestown police... along with State troopers... conducted a joint Illegal Fireworks Interdiction Detail last Saturday, which resulted in seven arrests.  The arrests come as Governor Cuomo announced the new crackdown Monday after noting an alarming rise in the amount of illegal fireworks being shot-off in New York City.  Cuomo says the problem is New Yorkers bringing the fireworks from states such as Pennsylvania, where they are legal.

In Jamestown... city and State Police say the Saturday arrests were in response to numerous complaints from residents between Noon and 5 PM, resulting in the arrests for allegedly transporting illegal fireworks.  In addition... a large quantity of fireworks were seized.  Troopers say that of the seven people arrested, four were Jamestown residents... two others were from Falconer and one was from out of the area.  All seven were issued appearance tickets for court at a later date... and, the fireworks were destroyed.


A Jamestown man has pleaded guilty to trafficking methamphetamine in federal court in Buffalo.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 40 year-old Terrence McRae entered the plea Monday before U.S. District Judge Lawrence Vilardo to one count of possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine.  Prosecutors say McRae was one of four individuals who allegedly entered the home of Richard Kinsey on Newland Avenue last September 6th -- just prior to a drug raid.  They add they later arrested him... and found nine plastic baggies containing meth, marijuana, pills... and paraphernalia. 

The State University College at Fredonia will have a new president when the fall semester gets underway.  The SUNY Board of Trustees... during a meeting held by video conference on Monday... approved the appointment of Dr. Stephen Kolison, Jr. to become the next president.  Kolison comes from the University of Indianapolis where he has served as Executive Vice President and Provost.  Chancellor Kristina Johnson announced the selection.

Kolison says he looks forward to his new duties and says he will work hard for the students attending the campus... and he urged them to embrace their education at "their university."  The Board of Trustees also approved a Service Commendation for outgoing interim President Dennis Hefner for his work at the university.  Hefner intitially served 16 years as President before retiring in 2012.  


A fire that extensively damaged a garage in the town of Portland Sunday night as been ruled accidental.  Chautauqua County Fire dispatchers say Portland, Brocton, and Westfield crews were called to the scene about 9:30 PM at 86-44 First Street... and, were at the scene until just after midnight.  The Sheriff's Department Fire Investigation Team later determined the fire started in a plastic garbage can due to the combustion of chemically-soaked rags.  No one was hurt, but all contents of the garage were lost.

A Corry, Pennsylvania man is held on $250,000 bail on a felony warrant for attempted homicide following an assault on two women last Saturday. State Police in Warren say 36 year-old Tab Depaul Hunter-junior allegedly strangled a 41 year-old victim at a home on Route 6 in Columbus Township and was on the ground with  her. Troopers say the second victim tried to stop the assault, but Hunter reportedly pulled out a gun and fired several rounds from a pistol at the 36 year-old female. Hunter is also accused of slashing the first victim's tires and shooting several holes into the car's hood... front windshield and roof. He was taken into custody on additional charges of strangulation and aggravated assault. Troopers say this is an on-going investigation pending additional search warrants. 

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WJTN News Headlines for June 29, 2020

Two people from Corry, Pennsylvania were arrested last Saturday after they were allegedly found in possession of drugs during a traffic stop in the town of Clymer.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's officers say they stopped a car, driven by 39 year-old Timothy Cressley, for a traffic violation on Route 76 about 5:30 PM... and, found Pressley in possession of a quantity of methamphetamine and marihuana.  They also accuse his passenger, 26 year-old Mystic Olinger, of being in possession of a controlled substance, marihuana, and drug paraphernalia.  Both were issued appearance tickets for Clymer Town Court at a later date.

A Kiantone man riding his motorcycle early last weekend escaped serious injury... but, had to be flown to a nearby hospital after he was struck by a car in the town of Kiantone.  Sheriff's deputies say 68 year-old James Magee was southbound on Kiantone Road about 7:30 PM Friday when a southbound car came up from behind.  However... officers say the driver of the vehicle, 34 year-old Amy Mahaffey of Russell, Pennsylvania... failed to slow and struck the motorcycle.  Magee crashed... and, was flown via medivac helicopter to a unnamed hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.  Officers say Mahaffey was also taken to a local hospital for treatment.  Mahaffey was issued a traffic ticket for following too closely.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has allowed some of the remaining $133.4-million in federal child care funding to be released.  However... the majority of that money remains in the state's hands.  That after some regional lawmakers -- including Congressman Tom Reed -- recently wrote the governor to release all that funding.  Reed was among those who wrote the governor after learning that only $30-million of the $163.4-million allocated to New York from the CARES Act had been released.  Reed says child care facilities desperately need that money, especially if schools can't open this Fall.

Reed recently visited "A Children's Place" child care facility in Jamestown to talk with local leaders about the issue.  He made these comments during his weekly conference call with regional media.  Child Care Council Director Beth Starks said they were concerned that half of the local facilities may not be able to continue if they don't get that money.


There was one new case of COVID-19 reported in Chautauqua County last weekend... bringing the total to 128.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says a woman in her 20s was reported as the latest confirmed case Sunday.  Wendel adds that there are currently six active cases, and they continue to recover... while 115 people have now recovered.  Wendel says 134 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders... and, there have now been 14,021 negative test results to date.


Chautauqua County Clerk Larry Barmore says the county's three Department of Motor Vehicles offices will be closed all this week to put an on-line appointment system in place.  In a press release late last Friday... Barmore said the decision was not made lightly... but, he adds Governor Cuomo has ordered all DMVs to put an on-line system in place.  In order to do that... Barmore says they need to catch up on all back-logged work and get an online system for booking appointments in place.  He adds they will be doing that this week.  That also means they will not be accepting work via drop box for this week ONLY.  They ask that everyone keep an eye on our website for updated information. Its at chqgov.com/county-clerk/Department-of-Motor-Vehicles.


At Dow Park in Jamestown on Sunday,  The Jamestown Justice Coalition held its final June rally.  The coalition's coordinator, Justin Hubbard, thanked supporters for all the interest shown through the month, and encouraged them to 'get on with the work.'
That work includes attending City Council sessions and communicating with elected officials about social justice issues.
Mayor Eddie Sundquist told the crowd over 78 people have applied for 12 spots on the newly re-invigorated 'Human Rights Commision.'  Once in place, Sundquist says, he'll make sure the commision works 'hand in hand' with all parts of city government.  The mayor also promised community input in the selection of a new police chief.  In addition to addressing 'Black Lives Matter', other speakers touched on issues related to Native Americans and the LGBTQ community.  Around 150 masked supporters attended Sunday's rally.  
 

There has been no dialogue between Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas and the Common Council since the meeting on June 16th when Councilman-at-Large Paul VanDenVouver told the mayor to sign out of the meeting held by video conference.  VanDenVouver says he has not spoken with Rosas since the session...

[CLIP]  VanDenVouver-stands by his decision  "a council meeting...."

VanDenVouver was asked whether Rosas will be attending the next meeting scheduled for July 7th... he says they'll be reviewing that situation with their attorney, Dan Garde (guard).  As for the next meeting, VanDenVouver hopes to be able to hold the session in the courtroom, with department heads on hand.  He doesn't believe they will be able to have the public attend because of social distancing requirements and will continue to accept public comment by email.

 
Health officials are investigating whether someone returning to the New York City area from Florida spread the coronavirus at a high school graduation in suburban Westchester County.  Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the investigation on Saturday after New York, New Jersey and Connecticut enacted 14-day traveler quarantines to try to check the spread of the virus.  A message was left on Saturday seeking comment from school district officials.


Pennsylvania's health secretary is defending her agency's handling of the COVID-19 outbreak inside nursing homes and personal care facilities.  They account for almost 70-percent of the state's nearly 6,600 fatalities.  Criticism has focused on the state's policy that sent recovering patients back to nursing homes after being treated in hospitals.  Levine's agency has said it was following a March directive from the federal government that nursing homes admit anyone they normally would, including patients from hospitals where COVID-19 has been present.

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WJTN Headlines for Sat., June 27, 2020

Kiantone man flown to area hospital after his motorcycle is struck by a car...         
A Kiantone man escaped serious injury... but, had to be flown to a nearby hospital after his motorcycle was struck by a car in the town of Kiantone last night.  Sheriff's officers say 68 year-old James Magee was riding southbound on Kiantone Road on his bike about 7:30 p.m. when a southbound car came up from behind.  However... deputies say the driver of the vehicle, 34 year-old Amy Mahaffey of Russell, Pennsylvania... failed to slow and struck the motorcycle.  Magee crashed... and, was flown via medivac helicopter to a unnamed hospital for non-life threatening injuries.  Officers say Mahaffey was also transported from the scene for non-life threatening injuries.  Mahaffey was issued a traffic ticket for following too closely.


Two family home destroyed in Jamestown fire still under investigation...
Jamestown fire investigators are continuing to look for the cause of an overnight fire Friday that's destroryed a three-story, two family home on the city's northside.  Acting Deputy Fire Chief Matt Coon says crews were called to the scene at 718 Cherry Street just after 12:30 a.m., and, says there was heavy-fire in the back of the structure when firefighters arrived.  Coon says most of the outside of the home was ablaze shortly after they got there.  He says crews attempted an initial interior attack... but, were unsuccessful.  Coon says they went back to an exterior attack before finally getting inside.  He says the home was gutted... but, fortunately, the lone occupant wasn't home.  He says fire damage was extensive to the second and third floors... while there was water and smoke damage on the first-floor.  Coon says the upper floor apartment was not occupied at the time.  He says an off-duty shift was called in to assist with extinguishing flames.  Cherry Street between 7th and 8th Streets was closed for several hours Friday morning.  crews were at the scene about seven hours.  No injuries were reported.


Chautauqua County DMV's to close this week to allow on-line appointment system to be put in...
After much thought... Chautauqua County Clerk Larry Barmore says the county's three Department of Motor Vehicles offices will be closed all next week.  In a press release late this afternoon... Barmore says the decision was not made lightly... but, adds Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered all DMVs to put an on-line appointment system in place.  In order to do that... he says they need to catch up on all back-logged work and get an online system for booking appointments in place.  He adds they will be doing that this coming week.  That also means they will not be accepting work via drop box for this week ONLY.  He says they understand people's frustration... but, they are working with the customer's best interests in mind.  He says there will be additional information about the new on-line appointment system at the beginning of next week.  They ask that everyone keep an eye on their website for updated information. It's at chqgov.com/county-clerk/Department-of-Motor-Vehicles.


Wendel says county sees two new COVID-19 Cases Friday...
There have been two new cases of the COVID-19 Virus reported in Chautauqua County over the past day.  County Executive P-J Wendel says a teenaged girl, and a man in his 20s are the newest cases... bringing the total now to 127 since the outbreak began.  Wendel adds there are currently 10 active cases, and those people continue to recover.  He says there are 110 cases that have now recovered... while 137 others are under quaratine or isolation orders.  Wendel says there have been 13,425 negative test results to date.


Judge blocks NYS order on limiting religous gatherings...
A federal judge has blocked New York state from enforcing coronavirus restrictions limiting indoor religious gatherings to 25-percent capacity when other types of gatherings are limited to 50-percent.  Judge Gary Sharpe acted Friday to enjoin Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Attorney General Letitia James from enforcing some of the capacity restrictions put in place by executive order to contain the spread of the virus.  A spokesperson for Cuomo said the governor's office will review the decision.  A spokesperson for the New York City law department said city lawyers would review the ruling as well.  Some religious leaders from New York City and the upstate region brought the action.


Dolce says Bellitto will be sorely missed as Jamestown's city comptroller...
This is the final week of a more than three decade long career for Jamestown City Comptroller Joe Bellitto.  Bellitto's final council meeting was this past Monday night... after he was first hired to replace the retiring Joe Bzdak by late Mayor Don Ahlstrom in the early 1990s.  City Council President Tony Dolce has worked with Bellitto a lot during that time... and, he says Bellitto has been a fixture at City Hall.  Dolce called Bellitto a "valuable asset" to all the mayor's he served, and he always stayed away from the politics, and just "gave the facts."  Bellitto's replacement was actually hired at the beginning of the year... and, Ryan Thompson has been training under Bellitto's direction for the first six months of the year.  Dolce says, though, Bellitto -- and his experience -- will be "sorely missed."  Dolce says the city created the Deputy Comptroller's position to run through mid-year so Thompson could work with Bellitto.  He says the deputy's position will either be abolished, or left vacant.


 

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WJTN News Headlines for June 26, 2020

The investigation is underway into the cause of a residential fire that destroyed a Jamestown home overnight. According to their Facebook page..... Jamestown Firefighters were called to 718 Cherry Street shortly after 12:30 AM to a fully-involved structure fire. An off-duty shift was called in to assist with extinguishing flames. Cherry Street between 7th and 8th Streets was closed for several hours this morning. No injuries have been reported. 


There have now been 125 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County... after two more people were reported as positive over the past day.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the two new cases are a man in his 40s... and, a woman in her 50s.  Wendel says there are now nine active cases who are recovering under orders of the Local Health Director.... while 107 have now recovered.  He adds 130 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.  Wendel adds that 13,148 negative test results have been reported.


New York was one of five states that failed to follow federal guidelines on how to deal with nursing home residents during the height of the coronavirus outbreak -- and it had disasterous results.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed during testimony in a House Ways and Means subcommittee meeting.  Reed provided a copy Governor Andrew Cuomo's March 25th order... which the Corning Republican says sent hundreds of infected people into nursing homes.

A staff member at a Texas nursing home who came down with COVID was among those who testified.  Reed says Cuomo's executive order was immediately challenged by the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care... and, independent fact checkers.  He called on fellow committee members to develop better policies for nursing homes to keep those people safe... especially if the virus emerges again in the Fall.  Reed says the long-term care society sent a letter to Governor Cuomo... warning that the mandate was "overreaching..." and, not consistant with science.  He adds the organization said it "caused significant risk of fatality to nursing home patients."

A Lakewood woman was arrested for drunk driving over the legal limit following a well-being check in the Village Tuesday morning. Lakewood-Busti Police were called to Chautauqua Avenue shortly before 5 AM to check on a person allegedly slumped over, behind the wheel of a running vehicle with its parking lights on. Investigation revealed Paige Sirwatka was the person in control of the vehicle and to be intoxicated. She was taken into custody and released with an appearance ticket for Busti Town Court.


A city man has been arrested on drug charges following a traffic stop Wednesday afternoon on Jamestown's northside.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force, and the State Police K-9 unit, pulled over 45 year-old Blake Smith on Lakeview Avenue just before 2 PM on numerous traffic and vehicle infractions.  Samuelson says police investigated... and, seized 5.7-grams of marijuana... eight doses of Fentanyl, methamphetamine, and MDMA... along with 61-hundred dollars cash.  Smith was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, second-degree unlawful possession of marijuana... then jailed pending arraignment.

Two Jamestown residents convicted of conspiracy to retaliate against an informant, were sentenced to spend two years and a period of time served of three-months in federal prision. U-S Attorney James Kennedy-junior says in October 2018... 27year-old Bobby Hunt and 31 year-old Amy Dean allegedly conspired to intimidate and/or retaliate against the victim, who they believed was sharing information with investigators regarding drug trafficking activities of Hunt's brother Ramael Fields.  Kennedy says the defendents believed the victim might also share information about Hunt's involvement in a narcotics conspiracy. Fields was previously arrested in connection with a federal investigation of a largescale methamphetamine distribution operation in Jamestown. Kennedy says Hunt posted a series of Facebook messages regarding individuals "snitching" on Fields... and, both defendents reportedly left the victim several threatening Facebook voice messages. 

The Penn Yan woman who is challenging local Congressman Tom Reed in this November's general election had a much smoother time during this year's state primary... because she didn't have to run one.  One challenger early on was unable to muster a campaign... and, Tracy Mitrano was unchallenged to run for the 23rd District seat.  During a first campaign conference call Thursday... she expressed her appreciation for the overwhelming support she's gotten.

In 2018... Mitrano won a hard-fought five-way primary race to get the nomination to run for the seat.  However... she wound up coming up short against Reed.  This year... she's been endorsed by all 12 county Democratic Committees after getting the backing of the Tioga County panel.  Two years ago... Mitrano was left with just $8,000 in the bank to start the campaign with.  She ended up with about $1.5-million in the latter days of the campaign... but, it was too late.  This time around... she says she's got a quarter-of-a million dollars in the bank.  

A Falconer man faces several charges including two counts of endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly violating an order of protection and shooting a gun during a dispute. State Police responded to a residence in the Village on Monday.... and, learned 24 year-old Christian Powell broke several items in the home and punched holes in the walls. Troopers say Powell also shot two-rounds from a rifle while inside. The incident occurred in front of the protected victim and two young children.  Troopers say Powell resisted arrest before taken into custody, where he allegedly struck the drywall in the patrol room causing damage. He was sent to the County Jail on additional charges of reckless endangerment, criminal mischief.... menacing and criminal contempt. 

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WJTN News Headlines for June 25, 2020


A Falconer man faces several charges including two counts of endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly violating an order of protection and shooting a gun during a dispute. State Police responded to a residence in the Village on Monday.... and, learned 24 year-old Christian Powell broke several items in the home and punched holes in the walls. Troopers say Powell also shot two-rounds from a rifle while inside. The incident occurred in front of the protected victim and two young children.  Troopers say Powell resisted arrest before taken into custody, where he allegedly struck the drywall in the patrol room causing damage. He was sent to the County Jail on additional charges of reckless endangerment, criminal mischief.... menacing and criminal contempt. 


The Chautauqua County Legislature has given the go ahead for removing the in-ground fuel system at Dunkirk Airport.  The action was taken during Wednesday evening's meeting held by video conference.  Legislator Bob Bankoski from Dunkirk feels the former fixed based operator should have handled the removal.

Legislators also approved a resolution authorizing landfill renewable natural gas agreements with Chautauqua Green Energy LLC.  And lawmakers passed a motion calling on New York State to release enhanced federal Medicaid matching funds to counties and New York City. 


There are three new cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County today and, all three are in their 20s.  County Executive P-J Wendel says two are women, while the third is a man.  Wendel says that brings the total number since the pandemic began to 123 and nine of those are now active.  He adds that 107 cases have now recovered, while 113 others are under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.  Wendel says there have now been 13,038 negative test results to date.

Local Congressman Tom Reed will be part of a subcommittee hearing tomorrow on the way New York state handled nursing home residents who tested positive for the coronavirus.  Reed adds that he's also appalled that Governor Andrew Cuomo may again have those residents returned to their care facility before they've fully recovered -- if there's a second-wave of COVID.  The Corning Republican says -- during a network news appearance Tuesday -- Cuomo reiterated that he felt he did the right thing.

It's estimated that at least 6,000 nursing home residents in the state died because of that directive.  Reed says the Ways and Means Subcommittee won't just look at New York, though because the problem needs to be addressed.  He says there were some nursing home, and other officials who sounded the alarm over such an order... but, they weren't listened to.  He says it took Cuomo 46 days to reverse course on the nursing home order.  Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone news conference with regional media.

 There is some good news regarding a resident with a "presumptive case" of the COVID-19 virus in one of the Heritage Ministries nursing homes.  Vice-President of Development and Communications, Sallie Williams, says that Heritage Park resident has since tested negative -- twice -- for the virus... and is back in their room, and in the general population.  The presumptive case was announced last week after the most recent COVID testing.  Williams says they have again closed their COVID unit... and, they're next testing of residents will be next Monday, June 29th.

New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will now require visitors from other states with high COVID-19 infection rates to quarantine for 14 days.  New York's Andrew Cuomo announced the ``travel advisory'' Wednesday at a briefing with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont via Zoom conference.  Cuomo says the Democratic governor's have seen their numbers continuing to fall and they want to keep it that way.

Cuomo said visitors from states over a set infection rate will have to quarantine.  As of Wednesday, states over the threshold included Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah and Texas.  Meantime, Cuomo says five regions of the state are ready for Phase-Four reopening on Friday.  However, that will not include malls, gyms and movie theaters, at least for now. Cuomo says Phase-Four will include low-risk outdoor and indoor arts, museums, film and movie production, higher education, and professional sports.

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WJTN News Headlines for June 24, 2020


There are two new cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County... bringing the total as of Tuesday to 120.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says the cases are both men... one in their 30s, and the other in their 60s.  Wendel says there are currently eight active cases... but, no one is hospitalized.  He says 105 people have now recovered... while 116 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders.  Wendel adds that there have now been 12,749 negative test results to date.


County Executive Wendel says work will get underway this week on a proposed 2021 budget, as reopening continues.  Wendel says he is encouraged that the economy will improve... but, he adds that how quickly it does is difficult to say.  He says sales tax revenues have been a concern.  However... he says the numbers have been improving slightly as more businesses open up.

Wendel says those sales tax numbers should continue to improve to as the Western New York region enters Phase 4 -- either late this week -- or early next.  He says his kick-off meeting will be held later this week with department heads.  The executive budget proposal is due by late September.

 
There will be fireworks this July 4th in Chautauqua County... with the Mayville Fourth of July Committee's decision to put on a display.  The commission announced on it's Facebook page Tuesday afternoon that the fireworks will be shot-off at 10 PM from Lakeside Park... which will be closed for the fireworks fall-out.  The committee says "we feel that shooting them from the park over the lake gives more viewing opportunities for everyone."  They also ask that people follow State social distancing guidelines.  The Mayville committee had earlier cancelled the annual parade and activites at Lakeside Park due to the pandemic.


New York's junior U-S Senator says it's time for the federal government to help close a growing digital divide in the country.  Even before the coronavirus pandemic... Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand says the Federal Communications Commission stated that the "broadband gap" was growing, and needed to be addressed.  However... Gillibrand... who says it was to be addressed by the $100-million ReConnect Program that was part of the CARES Act... says it's not, and it's hurting workers and students.

Gillibrand says that she has written a letter urging U-S Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to fully release whats left of that $100-million in rural broadband funding to provide grants to those underserved areas.  She says the FCC report stated more than 25-percent of rural Americans are without access to quality broadband, compared to only 1.7-percent of Americans living in urban areas. 


The village of Falconer and Falconer Central Schools will be holding a "vehicle parade" this Friday night, June 26th, starting on Main Street to honor this year's graduating class.  The parade for the Class of 2020 will begin around 7:30 PM... and, residents are welcome to stand in their driveways and lawns, using safe social distancing practices, as the parade goes by.  Village Clerk Anna Fales says the parade will start at Falconer Central School and proceed West on East Main Street to North Alberta Street... then turn-around and head back to the school where it will end.


Jamestown High School says it's "proud" to announce its 2020 Valedictorian is Abigail Beach and Salutatorian is Ayah Qadri.  JHS Principal Dana Williams says these young women "have challenged themselves with rigorous classes..." and, "will now move on with their education and careers, where we know they will be successful... contributing members of society."  Beach will be attending LeTourneau University with plans to become a professional corporate pilot.  Qadri will be attending Jamestown Community College to major in Math and Science with plans to become a hospital or clinical pharmacist.  Jamestown High School’s 2020 Graduation Ceremony will take place at Strider Field on Thursday, June 25th with a rain date of Friday, June 26th.


The Jamestown City Council got some very good financial news Monday night as the city deals with the aftermath of the COVID-19 shut-down.  Independent Auditor John Trussalo told lawmakers that Jamestown finished 2019 with a $1.4-million surplus, bringing the city's undesignated fund balance to nearly $4-million. Council President Tony Dolce says it was a good year.

Dolce says the additional fund balance will provide the city with at least some buffer for the current year... where Mayor Eddie Sundquist is projecting a $2-million to $4.7-million shortfall. The city has had to claw back from two financial storms over the past two decades: the first was when former Mayor Sam Teresi was first elected, and the city was in a $1.4-million deficit... and, then again during the "Great Recession" in 2008.


A Jamestown woman was arrested for allegedly operating a motorcycle on a suspended license with drugs in her possession Monday afternoon. City Police responded to the area of Fairview and Harding Avenues shortly after 3PM for a motor vehicle accident... and, identified the biker as 24 year-old Brianna Elderkin.  Further investigation revealed Elderkin had an arrest warrant from the Chatuauqua County Sheriff's Office.... a forged registration for the motorcycle she was operating.... and, a quantity of suboxone strips.  Officers say she was taken into custody on several charges and is being held in the city jail pending arraignment. 

A city man is charged with "explosion discharge" for allegedly shooting off fireworks on Jamestown's northside Monday night.  Officers were called to the scene near West 13th and North Main Streets just before 8:30 PM.... and, saw 27 year-old Brandon Dailey discharge aerial fireworks, which exploded over houses in the area.  Police issued Dailey an appearance ticket for city court on a later date. 

Power was restored to a large area of Jamestown's eastside Monday night after an underground cable break occured about 8:45 PM.  The outage interfered briefly with Monday night's Council work session because some city officials -- including Mayor Sundquist -- were at City Hall at the time.  Board of Public Utilities Spokesperson BeckyRobbins says some of the 97 customers were restored about 11:30 last night... while the rest were back on by 1:40 AM Tuesday.
 

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WJTN News Headlines June 23, 2020


A Jamestown woman was arrested for allegedly operating a motorcycle on a suspended license with drugs in her possession Monday afternoon. City Police responded to the area of Fairview and Harding Avenues shortly after 3PM for a motor vehicle accident... and, identified the biker as 24 year-old Brianna Elderkin.  Further investigation revealed Elderkin had an arrest warrant from the Chatuauqua County Sheriff's Office.... a forged registration for the motorcycle she was operating.... and, a quantity of suboxone strips.  Officers say she was taken into custody on several charges and is being held in the city jail pending arraignment. 


City lawmakers will vote next week on the first, specific cuts to the 2020 budget in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  The council's Finance Committee last night reviewed several proposed reductions in revenues, and spending.  Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says they total just over $1.1-million.

Ecklund says the cuts include $157,000 in health insurance... and $141,000 in parks salaries.  The City Council recently approved the "Phase-One" cuts proposed by Mayor Sundquist and Comptroller Joe Bellitto.  


Jamestown Police Chief and Public Safety Director Harry Snellings' last day on the job will be July 10th.  However... a new chief won't be hired by that time... so an acting chief will be named by Mayor Eddie Sundquist.  During last night's Council Work Session... Sundquist noted that they will accept formal applications for the dual post through the month of July.

As for an acting chief... Sundquist says he'll be accepting letters of application from current members of the police department by this Friday.  Snellings recently told Sundquist and council members he was retiring after 24 years with the department.
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Also during last night's meeting... Sundquist reported that all city playgrounds are now open after the city got final guidelines from Governor Andrew Cuomo's office on how to safely reopen. Sundquist says city officials have received numerous calls and correspondences from residents requesting the playgrounds be reopened as soon as possible.  He says they wanted to make sure adequate cleaning protocols were in place first.


With parts of the United States are seeing a surge in the number of cases of coronavirus... there is new concern about the possibility of a second-wave of COVID-19 in the country.  Is Chautauqua County prepared if there is a new wave in the region and or state?  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says we are.  Wendel says the county now has a stockpile of Personal Protective Equipment.

Wendel adds that not only he... but, his COVID-19 Response Team... and, the Western New York Control Room he's part of... now have a lot of combined experience... and, that will help with any new outbreak.

Wendel says there are no new cases Monday... meaning the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county remains 118.  He says there are now seven active cases... and 104 have now recovered from the virus.  Wendel says there are now 82 cases under quarantine or isolation orders... and there have been 12,344 negative test results to date.

 Officials with an Allegany County town have alerted State Senator George Borrello that they've received a request from an out-of-town organization demanding copies of all police personnel files -- dating back to the 1970s.  Borrello says it's an unintended consequence of the state legislature's recent, full repeal of Civil Right's Law 50-a.  He says Cuba Town leaders told him the organization -- called MuckRock -- wants those files, which would contain complaints of misconduct, including accusations that were found to be groundless after investigation.  MuckRock has stated that they have made this request of every policing agency in New York State.  Borrello says it's "outrageous" that local muncipalities struggling to pay regular expenses will now have to devote staff time and taxpayer dollars to full-filling those requests.  He says this will lead to lawsuits by trial lawyers "looking to line their pockets."
 

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WJTN News Headlines for June 22, 2020


A Silver Creek man has been arrested for allegedly operating a methamphetamine lab in the north county village.  Agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force had been investigating 45 year-old Sean O'Connor of 21 Hickory Street the past several months... and, obtained a search warrant.  Task Force members raided the home early Friday morning... and, arrested O'Connor without incident.  They were assisted by the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force in searching the residence... and, discovered multiple meth labs, and other materials used to make the labs.  The State Police C-C-SERT unit was called in to clear the labs and materials from the home... and, the Silver Creek Code enforcement officer condemned the house.  O'Connor was arraigned on one count each of third-degree unlawful manufacturing of methamphetamine, and unlawful disposal of methamphetamine laboratory material.  Sheriff's officers also obtained an arrest warrant for Jennifer O'Connor.  If you have any information on her whereabouts, or other illegal drug activity... contact the Task Force, or the Sheriff's Office Tips line at 664-2420.

A city woman is accused of threatening a man, and trying to attack him with a screwdriver on Jamestown's eastside late last Friday.  City police were called to the scene on East Second Street... and, arrested 59 year-old Patricia Clyde.  Officers say Clyde was charged with second-degree menacing, and jailed pending arraignment.


Local Assemblyman Andy Goodell says he gave "mixed votes" to police reform legislation recently approved by the New York state legislature.  The Jamestown-area Republican says he voted in favor of measures that were fair and balanced to both police and the public.  One of those was the right to record encounters with police... but, not interfere with police doing their jobs.  He also supported use of body-cameras by State Police.

However... Goodell says he did not support a total ban on chokeholds, especially if the officer's life is in danger.  He says police are given "broad discretion to use force as appropriate."  However... he says there are restrictions on that.  Goodell did voted against total repeal of Civil Service Law 50-a.  That would allow disclosure of all complaints and disciplinary actions... including those later found to be untrue.

The legislation was proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in the wake of the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minnesota... and, was later approved by the Democratic-majority in both the State Senate and Assembly.  Goodell made his comments for this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


The Congressional District once represented by Republican Chris Collins is on two separate ballots Tuesday.  They are a special election to fill out the convicted former House member's fourth term... and, in a Republican primary for the GOP line in November's general election.  The unusual situation is part of election season fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.  Governor Andrew Cuomo moved the special election originally scheduled for April to coincide with state and federal primary elections.

Nearly 100-percent of the school budgets that came in under New York state's 2-percent property tax cap were approved by voters last week.  That from State School Boards Association Executive Director Bob Schneider... who says the just under 99-percent total approval numbers was a definate improvement over the previous three years.  Schneider says it's "really good news" given the fact the budget votes were later into June, and all the votes were mail-in due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

However... Schneider says that doesn't mean there is some pain being endured... and, the association is hopeful for some additional federal aid in a fourth stimulus package.  In Jamestown... there were about $3.5-million in cuts made to bring the tax levy down to a no-tax increase budget.  Budgets that stayed within the state's 2-percent property tax cap were approved by 99.2 percent of district voters... while about 70-percent were adopted in the 13 districts that exceeded the cap.

  Three new cases of the COVID-19 Virus were reported last weekend in Chautauqua County... all three on Saturday.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who adds that the number of people who have recovered from it has exceeded 100... with 103 now.  There are 118 confirmed cases.  In addition... Wendel says there are eight active cases, and they continue to recover under orders from the local Health Director.  There are 85 cases are now under quarantine or isolation orders... and, 12,209 negative test results have been reported to date.

What happens to a college town when the college students disappear?  The small upstate New York city of Ithaca is finding out.  Most of the almost 24-thousand students at Cornell University and 6,200 more from Ithaca College effectively vanished in March when the COVID-19 Pandemic struck, leaving behind struggling restaurants and shops.  Cornell students spend an estimated $225-million annually. 

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WJTN Headlines for Sat., June 20, 2020

Five-year-old girl dies in riding mower accident in Cattaraugus County...
A five-year-old girl has died from injuries caused when she was thrown from a riding lawn mower in Cattaraugus County, and was run over by the mower.  State Police in Jamestown said late Friday that troopers were called to the scene on Route 241 in the town of Conewango late Wednesday for a child unresponsive under the mower.  Further investigation revealed the unidentified child was on a riding lawn mower without an adult... and, the five-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.


Wendel praises local residents and businesses in final COVID-19 Response Team press briefing...
Interim Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel held his last, scheduled weekly COVID-19 press briefing Friday... and, praised residents and businesses for their efforts during the pandemic.  However... Wendel also struck a cautious tone as well when noting there were three new cases today.  He says the first was a woman in her 30s, and two men... one in his 20s, and one in his 30s.  He says there are now 10 active cases, and 101 under quaratine or isolation orders, and they continue to be monitored.  Wendel says there are no new hospitalizations for COVID... while 98 people have fully recovered.  He adds there are now a total of 115 confirmed cases in the county... while there have been 11,800 negative tests results returned to date.  Wendel also praised all the members of his COVID-19 Team... which includes Public Health Director Christine Schuyler, Sheriff Jim Quattrone, and Health Physician Dr. Robert Berke.  


Cuomo also holds final scheduled press briefing on COVID...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wrapped up a string of more than 100 daily briefings by declaring the state has "done the impossible" in taming the coronavirus.  Cuomo appeared alone behind his desk during a brief address Friday, a departure from his routine of presenting slides and taking questions from reporters.  He praised New Yorkers for rising to the occasion... and, says beating back the virus "shows there is nothing we can't do."  Otherwise... his message was the same as in recent days.  He said New Yorkers worked together to beat back the virus and now must be on guard for a second wave. 


Northwest PA couple arrested for allegedly leaving dog in hot car...
Two Smethport, Pennsylvania residents were arrested in the Cattaraugus County town of Allegany for allegedly leaving their dog unattended in a hot vehicle earlier this month.  Sheriff's officers in Little Valley say their June 6th investigation found witnesses saw a red pick-up truck in the Home Depot parking lot, not running with the windows closed and a dog inside.  Deputies say with the temperatures reaching above 90-degrees, witnesses tried to find the owners, with no luck.  Officers responded to the scene shortly after with Allegany Police, and found the Cocker Spaniel in distress.  They were able to unlock the truck and remove the dog from the vehicle, and a bystander provided shade and water, until the owners came back.  Deputies say 81 year-old Darell Goodwill and 74 year-old Lynn Goodwill face animal neglect charges and are scheduled to appear in court at a later date.


Ortt elected new Senate Minority Leader in NYS...
Republicans in the New York State Senate have decided on a Western New York lawmakers to be their minority leader.  Lockport Republican Senator Robert Ortt was tapped today by the minority caucus... to succeed John Flanagan who is leaving the Senate later this month for private sector employment.  Local Senator George Borrello says it's a very important leadership position, especially given that the state continues to deal with the COVID crisis, and it's an election year.  Earlier in the day... Borrello said he was not seeking the post, saying that it's his first year in the Senate and he wants serve residents of the 57th Senate District.  He did not announce his choice earlier... but, says he "fully supports" Ortt... adding the new leader has an "extraordinary record as well as the will and ability to be a strong leader."


Barmore says DMV Offices will begin resuming In-Person visits Monday, with limitations...
Chautauqua County's three Department of Motor Vehicles offices will reopen for in-person visits this coming Monday, June 22nd.  County Clerk Larry Barmore says they will only be doing transactions in-person that cannot be done by mail or drop box.  Barmore says several workers are out on voluntary furlough, so they will only be able to serve a few people at a time.  Currently... he says they are planning on servicing three customers at a time in Jamestown, two at a time in Dunkirk and one at a time in Mayville.  Barmore adds that to keep everyone at least 6 feet apart... they will only take a customer at every other window and only those customers being served will be allowed in the building.  All customers will wait their turn in line outdoors.  For more information, contact the Clerk's office at 753-4331.


Little Theater holding Telethon Saturday...
The Lucille Ball Little Theater of Jamestown will have its first ever telethon/fundraiser Saturday from 9 AM to 9 PM on Facebook.  Board member and Public Relations Co-chair, Holly Weston, says some of the theater's 'amazingly talented community members' will be singing, dancing, doing a full reading of the play 'The Importance of Being Earnest'... and presenting some surprises as well. The Little Theater's been hit hard by the coronavirus shutdown.  Weston says, the telethon offers a way for the theater to cover operational expenses and gives their performers a creative outlet that's been taken away from them.  There'll be a 'donate button' on screen throughout the Saturday telethon.


 

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WJTN News Headlines for June 19, 2020


The Chatuauqua County Office for the Aging is holding a Free Mask and Sanitizer Giveaway this morning. Director Mary Ann Spanos says the event runs until Noon today at all three Office for Aging Service's locations... including West Third Street in Jamestown, North Erie Street in Mayville and Cliffstart Court in Dunkirk.  Spanos says older adults in the county can receive resource booklets in addition to personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer. For more information, call 753-4582.

The Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office has released the details of a fatal motor vehicle accident, which claimed the life of a 59 year-old man last Sunday. Deputies say the unidentified man was traveling west on Interstate0-86 in the Town of Coldspring shortly after 10 AM when he lost control of his Ford Explorer.  Police say the SUV travelled off the road and down through a field striking multiple trees.... a chain-link fence... and, a guardrail at the end of Lower Jones Hill Road. After the vehicle struck the guardrail, deputies say it overturned multiple times before coming to rest upside down.  The driver was pronounced dead at the scene by the County Coroner. Crews from the Coldspring and Randolph Fire Departments and Randolph Fire EMS assisted at the scene. 


Two Smethport Pennsylvania residents were arrested in the Town of Allegany for allegedly leaving their dog unattended in a hot vehicle earlier this month. Sheriff's Officers in Little Valley say their June 6th investigation found witnesses saw a red pick-up truck in the Home Depot parking lot, not running with the windows closed and a dog inside. Deputies say with the temperatures reaching above 90-degrees, witnesses attempted to find the owners, with no luck. Officers responded to the scene shortly after with Allegany Police and found the Cocker Spaniel in distress. They were able to unlock the truck and remove the dog from the vehicle. A bystander provided shade and water, until the owners exited the Home Depot. Deputies say 81 year-old Darell Goodwill and 74 year-old Lynn Goodwill face animal neglect charges and are scheduled to appear in court at a later date. The Cocker Spaniel is currently being held by the Dog Control Officer until further proceedings.  

There will be some changes to this year's 24th annual Laurel Memorial Run/Walk in Chautauqua County due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Resource Center's Steve Waterson helps organize the event with creators Wayne and Elain Hotelling of Silver Creek.  The races are held in honor of their oldest daughter.  Waterson says the only actual in-person event this year will be the Jamestown to Dunkirk relay.

Waterson says there will be no events in Silver Creek due to the pandemic.  He says people can still register on-line and they can do a "virtual" 8-K run or 5-K Walk anytime.  Waterson says the relay run will be held on July 17th, but it will again be scaled back from the usual event.  For more information, and to sign up go on-line to runsignup.com/Race/NY/SilverCreek/LaurelMemorialRunWalk.

The Lucille Ball Little Theater of Jamestown will have its first ever telethon/fundraiser Saturday from 9 AM to 9 PM on Facebook.  Board member and Public Relations Co-chair, Holly Weston, says some of the theater's 'amazingly talented community members' will be singing, dancing, doing a full reading of the play 'The Importance of Being Earnest'... and presenting some surprises as well. The Little Theater's been hit hard by the coronavirus shutdown, which took down the play 'Clue... On Stage' in the middle of its run, and led to the cancellation of two musicals, as well.  Weston says, the telethon will show the theater is alive. There'll be a 'donate button' on screen throughout the Saturday telethon.  A preview of scheduled performances will be up on the Little Theater facebook page today (Friday).


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he's issued two new executive orders regarding the COVID-19 reopenings after warning people that social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines will be enforced.  During his next-to-last daily COVID-19 Briefing... Cuomo said he was signing the orders... the first of which allows the State Liquor Authority to shut-down a bar or restaurant and suspend their liquor license immediately for violations.  Cuomo says the other deals with the outside front of those businesses.

Cuomo maintains the state has worked hard to bring the numbers down... and, he wants to see compliance continue.  In addition... Cuomo says he wants public schools, and colleges and universities to begin developing their reopening plans.  He says those need to address reopening, monitoring, containment and shut-down plans -- if needed.  Cuomo also offered an example of contact tracing working in Central New York... where infection numbers went up this week.  He says they traced 34 cases to an Apple processing plant in Oswego County.  

A teenage boy was seriously injured after being struck by a vehicle while crossing the road on his bicycle Wednesday night in the town of Ellicott.  Town Police say Celoron Firefighters were called to 669 Baker Street Extension, near the city line, shortly before 6:30 PM.  The investigation revealed the driver of an eastbound car reportedly did not see the 14 year-old crossing the road on his bike and struck him.  Police say the child was transported to Bergman Park then airlifted to an Erie, Pennsylvania hospital for treatment.  The driver was identified as Maynard Wagner, of Ashville.  Wagner, nor his passenger were injured in the accident. Police say no charges have been filed at this time. 


Local State Senator George Borrello wants Governor Cuomo to immediately release reopening guidelines for colleges and universities.  After Borrello issued his statement... Cuomo did come out with his request for educational entities to start developing plans.  Borrello says college administrators need to make plans for the fall semester... and, students and their parents also need to know.

Borrello is also concerned that students attending public and private campuses in New York State could decide to go other states where reopening plans have been made... and, they will be opening soon.  He's concerned that New York may lose college students to other states.  Reopening of higher education institutions is currently included in Phase-Four of the reopening... which will likely occur in early July for upstate regions and mid-July downstate.

Work is continuing on a possible, fourth federal stimulus bill to help local governments and states still dealing with COVID-19 issues.  During his visit to Chautauqua County this week... local Congressman Tom Reed said there's been talk of a $2-trillion package that would include some direct funding for local governments. Reed believes a package could worked out in July, possibly around the 4th of July.  The Corning Republican says he will work to ensure that local governments get the aid directly, away from state control.

 
The first confirmed case of the COVID-19 Virus in a local nursing home has been reported by Heritage Ministries at one of it's three facilities.  Chief Clinical Officer Jeremy Rutter told our Dennis Webster on WJTN Thursday that the resident recently tested positive... but, was asymptomatic.  Rutter says that person has been isolated, and is doing well.  That person is in a special COVID unit, and his being treated by different staff.  Recently... Governor Cuomo announced that most nursing homes would only have to test staff and personnel once-a-week.  The first case of a staff person getting COVID-19 was reported about a month ago at Absolut of Westfield.

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WJTN News Headlines for June 18, 2020

Jamestown Police are asking for the public's help in finding a person spotted on surveillance video approaching the scene of two early morning fires Wednesday on the eastside... then fleeing the scene.  City police say arson is the cause of the initial blaze on Thayer Street shortly before 2 AM Wednesday.  Fire Battalion Chief Matt Coon says it produced a long night for city firefighters, who battled flames at 31 and 35 Thayer Street and 787 East 2nd Street. 

Coon says an off-duty shift was called in... bringing the number of firefighters on scene to 15.  He says crews were able to make an interior attack at 35 Thayer Street, and put out the blaze.  However... he says they had to make a defensive attack at 787 East Second.  Coon says most of the crew was back in station at 7:30 yesterday morning.  No one was hurt, but two of the homes required emergency demolition.  The video of the suspect is on the JPD Facebook page.  Anyone with information on the case is asked to call police at 483-7537... or the confidential Tips line at 483-TIPS, that's 483-8477.  You can also go to JPD's Tips 4-1-1 app.

A Jamestown man has pleaded guilty to federal charges of trafficking an illegal drug... and, being found in possession of a gun just over a year ago.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 19 year-old Jacob Graham pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara to possessing with intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.  Prosecutors say Graham faces at least 10 years in prison, and a $5-million fine.  


Voters in the Jamestown Public School District have approved an annual budget for upcoming school year 2,430-to-1,112. In addition... a proposition for the Prendergast Library was adopted 1,883 to 1,677. Three School Board members ran opposed for re-election.  

Officials of the James Prendergast Library are overjoyed that the referendum on direct community support has been approved.  Library Director, Annie Green, says she was in disbelief when she got the news yesterday morning.

This is the Prendertgast's third attempt to get direct taxpayer support, but this time the library propostition was included in the school board election... and Annie Green believes the fact that it was entirely a 'mail-in' vote helped tilt it their way.  The final tally was 1,883 in favor and 1,677 against.

The amount of that state aid won't be known for a time.  The library's board will meet soon to begin planning what to do with the additional money.  But, Annie Green says it helps assure they can stay in their historic building on Cherry Street, downtown. 


The man who'll lead the Jamestown Public Schools beginning on July 1st says he's confident schools will open in the fall.  In a Media One interview (on WJTN) Dr. Kevin Whitaker says what is LESS certain is how they will open.

Whitaker adds some sort of a 'hybrid model' may in place in September to help prevent a second wave of COVID-19.  His greatest concern is the threat of mid-year cuts in state aid... and, he's concerned that schools are being used "as a political pawn in a larger play."  Whitaker says he doesn't like how that feels.  He comes to Jamestown from Geneva, NY where he has been an Assistant Superintendent of Schools.


The Jamestown Police Department has responded to more than twice the number of fireworks complaints this month compared to the entire month of June last year.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers responded to 65 complaints in various parts of the city between June 1st and Wednesday.  In June of 2019... Samuelson says they responded to 31 complaints.  He's reminding residents that the use of fireworks is illegal in New York State.  However... sparkler devices are permitted to be sold in Chautauqua County during specific times of the year.  Samuelson says those devices don't rise or fire something into the air... and, do not explode or make such sounds. 


Chautauqua County is reporting two new cases of the coronavirus reported Wednesday in Chautauqua County... bringing the total number since the pandemic began to 112.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the new cases are both women in their 30s.  Wendel says there are seven active cases now, while 98 people have now recovered.  He says 82 are now under quarantine or isolation orders, and one person is hospitalized.  He says there have now been 11,292 negative test results.

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WJTN News Headlines for June 17, 2020

At least two residential properties were damaged in a fully-involved structure fire on the Jamestown Eastside overnight. Reports indicate firefighters were called to the scene about 2 AM in the area of East Second and Thayer Streets.  Photos on Facebook show extensive damage to one house as firefighters extinguish flames.  The fire reportedly spread to a neighboring house. Investigators were called in to determine the cause. No other details were made available. 


School board elections and budget votes have been coming into Media One over the past evening... as mail-in ballots were accepted through early Tuesday evening.  

 -In the Southwestern School District.... voters approved a 2020-21 annual budget 894-to-479.... and, a proposition for school buses and related equipment 877-499. Three at-large vacancies for the school board were also filled for a three-year term, they are Kurt Gustafson, Richard Hartman and Uma Vejendla. 

 - Voters in the Panama School District approved a $12.9-million budget, 382-to-166... as well as a capital reserve fund, 373-174.  Kyle Rhoades won a five-year term on the school board running unopposed.

 - In Bemus Point... the budget was adopted 597-to-368... and, a bus proposition was approved, 627-to-341.  Three school board members ran unopposed for re-election.  They are Benjamin Gerring, Tina Hall, and Bethan Seastrum.

 - Voters in the Pine Valley Central District approved a $15.7-million budget, 383-to-179.  They also approved a transporation proposition, 414-to-146.  Three candidates... incumbants Jeffrey Chase and Christie Lokietek... and, newcomer Kara Frontuto ran unopposed for the school board.

 - Voters in the Brocton School District approved next year's school budget 511-to-130.

*** The results for the Jamestown School District are expected to be released later this evening following a special meeting of the school board. Items listed on the agenda include a canvas of votes on the 2020-21 Budget, a proposition for funding the Prendergast Library up to $350,000. Three board members ran unopposed for re-election. Tonight's meeting will be streamed on the district's website beginning at 6 PM.  

There has been a seventh fatality from the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County reported Tuesday.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the female victim was in her 70s and had underlying health conditions.  Wendel adds "out deepest condolences go out to her loved ones and the Chautauqua County community."  He says there is one new case reported today... a man in his 50s... bringing the number of confirmed cases to 110 in the county.  Wendel says there are now five active cases... while 98 have now recovered.  He adds that there are 109 cases under quaratine or isolation orders... and, there have now been 10,947 negative test results so far.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says hospitals across the state can now allow visitors at their discretion.  Cuomo said Tuesday that hospitals must follow state guidelines, which include time-limited visitors and requiring visitors to wear protective gear.  He says it's always been a balance of public health versus personal relationships, and people wanting to see relatives.  In addition.. he says group homes will soon be able to accept visitors.

Cuomo pointed to signs that the coronavirus is no longer spreading at an overwhelming pace in New York, which saw a peak of over 700 deaths of individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 a day in mid-April.  Cuomo said 25 people who tested positive for COVID-19 died Monday in hospitals and nursing homes.  He also announced that the U-S Open Tennis Championships will be held late August through mid-September in Queens... but, there will be no fans allowed.


One person suffered minor injuries after a jet ski caught fire Tuesday afternoon in Dunkirk Harbor. Dunkirk firefighters responded to the scene at about 3:00 PM and found the jet ski, which was adrift, fully engulfed in fire. Fire Chief Mike Edwards says several extinguishing agents were applied to try to quell the flames, and personnel attached a rope to the jet ski to keep it from drifting into other vessels. Edwards says the operator of the jet ski suffered minor facial burns. The U.S. Coast Guard was notified about the incident.

Two Jamestown men have been arrested following a traffic stop in the city that led to discovery of a small amount of narcotics mixed with Fentanyl.  City Police say members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force along with State Police stopped a car, driven by 43 year-old Joseph Thayer on South Main Street -- near Barker -- just after Noon Monday.  Officers say they found a mix of heroin and Fentanyl... and, another of cocaine and Fentanyl inside a bag the passenger, 26 year-old Justin Yuchnitz, had in his possession.  Police say Thayer also allegedly had some pills in his possession that he did not have a prescription for.  Both men were issued appearance tickets for Jamestown City Court.


A Brocton teenager faces three counts of endangering the welfare of a child following a domestic dispute in the Village of Lakewood Monday night. Lakewood-Busti Police say they responded to the scene with a Sheriff's Deputy... and, learned that a female was allegedly being chased by her boyfriend. Officers say the suspect was attempting to ram her vehicle with his truck. Police were able to locate the truck on East Fairmount Avenue and identify the suspect as 19 year-old Kristian Wright. He was taken into custody on the charges due to three children being in the victim's vehicle at the time of the incident. He's being held in the county jail pending arraignment. 


A man from Lakewood was seriously hurt by a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he allegedly dragged a woman during a domestic incident on the village's westside Monday night.  Lakewood-Busti Police were called to the area of West Fairmount Avenue and Spruce Street shortly after 8 PM... and on arrival, found the man holding a handgun.  Officers say they told the man -- who was not identified -- to drop the gun several times.  However... he reportedly fired one shot into the ground before turning the gun on himself.  The man was rushed to the Lakewood Firemen's Grounds... and, flown to UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie for treatment.  Lakewood-Busti Police Chief John Bentley says the man was later flown to a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania hospital for further treatment.


The COVID-19 Pandemic has created a number of issues for local child care providers... but, the big one right now is money they've been promised through the federal CARES Act is not reaching them.  A handful of local child care leaders met Tuesday afternoon with local Congressman Tom Reed about that at "A Children's Place" in Jamestown.  Reed says he understands that Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing a cash crunch at the state level... but, adds child care programs need that remaining 133.4-million dollars the state got from the federal government.

So far... only $30-million has been released by the state.  "A Children's Place" Director Sara Zampogna (Zam-poh-Nuh) and Chautauqua Child Care Council Director Beth Starks met with Reed for about 45 minutes to discuss their needs... especially to make services more "child centered" so the child doesn't have to be moved from a school to child care setting during the day.

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WJTN News Headlines for July 16, 2020

There has been an eighth death of a Chautauqua County resident from the COVID-19 Virus.  County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says an elderly man succumbed to the disease recently a...

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