Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., May 12, 2022

COVID-19 cases back on the rise in Chautauqua County, and, UPMC Chautauqua is seeing rise in cases and admissions...
The head of UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown says they are seeing an increase in the number of people treated and hospitalized for COVID-19 in recent days.  The latest numbers from the Chautauqua County Health Department back that up... as officials report 11 people currently hospitalized with the virus.  They add the current seven-day infection rate is 11.7%.  UPMC President Brian Durniok says they've been monitoring the situation daily... but, adds this wave has been "managable" because they haven't been seeing the severe cases from several months ago.  Durniok says most cases resemble a serious cold, or have flu-like symptoms.  He says that's quite different from "4 or 5 months ago..." when the area was hit by a wave of cases due to the omicron varient.  He adds that they are trying to be prepared with theraputics and other treatments once we get to the Fall.  Durniok says once people start staying indoors, the virus has tended to be more prevailent.  If it isn't... he says "we'll be thrilled."  COVID cases have been going up steadily in Western New York in recent weeks... fueled mainly by the more contagious BA.2 variant.  However... the newer variant's symptoms have been less severe.


Gillibrand laments Wednesday Senate vote on abortion rights bill...
The votes weren't there... and, the U.S. Senate failed Wednesday afternoon in a test vote to codify abortion rights under the Roe v. Wade decision into federal law.  New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand held a conference call with reporters earlier in the day... and, said she was doubtful there will be enough support.  Gillibrand feels it's a right that should not be taken away... because she feels "this is the law of the land."  In holding the vote... Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said it would get most senators on record about the issue.  The measure was defeated in a near party line, 49-51. 


Trio arrested for Illegal Dumping in Jamestown...
Three people have been arrested on local and state charges for illegally dumping trash in a wooded area on Jamestown's eastside.  City police say they had been alerted to an on-going problem of illegal dumping in the area of Pratt Ave.  Complaints were made to police... who had recently placed a surveillance camera in that area... and, others where illegal dumping had been reported.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says the Pratt Avenue camera recorded an older model pick-up truck pulling a trailer that stopped along the side of the road on Tuesday.  The people then unloaded a mattress and a television.  The video was put out on the police department's Facebook page and within minutes the vehicles location was given to JPD.  Officers found the vehicle on West Seventh Street... and arrested 28 year-old Tamika Elston... 37 year-old Desimon Elston... and, 47 year-old Lawrence White.  All three were charged with illegal dumping... and DEC Officers also charged the trio with illegal disposal of solid waste.  Tamika Elston was also charged with transporting solid waste uncovered. 


Borrello says there will be a special election in 23rd Congressional District, and he may jump in the race...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul will now have to schedule a special election for the 23rd Congressional District, following Tuesday's resignation by long-time Representative Tom Reed.  That from local State Senator George Borrello.... who says New York state lawmakers recently passed a measure that directs the governor to schedule a special election.  Borrello... who is now expressing interest in running for the vacant seat... says county GOP chairmen will get together and make a selection... based on a weighted vote.  He says that gives more weight to more populated areas.  In addition to Borrello... a former staffer of Congressman Reed -- Joe Sempolinski of Steuben County -- declared his candidacy on Twitter Tuesday.  Adding to the chaos is that the person who is elected in the special contest is only filling out the current term.  The office is still up for grabs in November due to redistricting.  Meanwhile, Borrello, who is facing re-election to the State Senate, is also considering a possible run for Congress... saying he'll first see how the new district maps look.  The Sunset Bay Republican says it would be an "honor" to represent the area in Washington.


Judge in redistricting case says no to throwing out NYS Assembly district maps...
A New York judge has refused to throw out new political maps setting the boundaries of state Assembly districts.  In a ruling late Wednesday... Judge Patrick McAllister said even though the maps were drafted improperly, opponents had waited too long to join the lawsuit challenging them in court.  If upheld, the decision by Judge McAllister, would give Democrats a minor victory in the battle over redistricting in New York.  Previous court rulings struck down the party's favored new maps for state Senate and U.S. House districts as unconstitutional.


Nation's casinos report best month ever in March...
Inflation may be soaring, supply chains are snarled and the coronavirus just won't go away.  But... America's casinos are humming right along, recording the best month in their history in March.  The gambling industry's national trade group reported Wednesday that the country's commercial casinos won more than $5.3-billion from gamblers in March.  That's their best single-month total ever.  The previous record month was July 2021 at $4.92 billion.  The numbers don't include tribal casinos.