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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
City lawmakers in Jamestown have approved three ordinances and a resolution allowing for more outdoor dining at local restaurants, public markets, and creating a pilot program for "Parklets." During a special meeting last night... the City Council amended the ordinance allowing more outdoor dining to eliminate a part that allowed for food trucks and carts to be operated downtown. Councilwoman Kim Ecklund says she spoke with several business and restaurant operators, who said they feared a big loss of business at a time they can't lose anymore.
Another council member... Jeff Russell... says he spoke with six restaurant owners who opposed to allowing food trucks to be within 100-feet of a standing restaurant. The amendment, and the ordinance, were unanimously approved. On last weekend's Community Spotlight program... Mayor Eddie Sundquist told us the city had already approved it's first Parklet for Pace's Pizza on West Third Street. The City Council also approved a public market ordinance... and, one regarding noise.
Phase-three of the coronavirus reopening begins today in Western New York -- including Chautauqua County. In addition... part of what's allowed under Phase-Three has been changed. That from Governor Andrew Cuomo... who says the state will allow those regions to have gatherings of up to 25 people. That's up from the previous number of 10. Cuomo says a further decline in hospitalizations, and the percentage of new positive cases. However... he says social distancing rules remain in place.
Local State Senator George Borrello says a lot of people he has talked with are looking forward to Phase-Three of reopening... where restaurants will be able to have 50-percent indoor dining... along with other personal services -- like tanning and nail salons. Borrello also urged businesses that are planning to reopen to submit their reopening plan to the state first through it's Forward.NY.GOV website. Cuomo again urged local governments to enforce social distancing rules as videos of socializing New Yorkers failing to wear masks in public or stay 6-feet apart from others over the weekend circulate on social media.
The on-line fundraiser 'Give Big CHQ' wrapped up last Thursday by blasting past all previous records... raising a total of $348,703. Executive Director Tory Irgang with the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, was ecstatic with the outcome.
'Give Big CHQ' is co-sponsored by the Chautauqua Region and Northern Chautauqua Community Foundations, and benefits 96 non-profits in the county. This year's drive was expanded from one day to eleven, but, Irgang says it was the last day that made all the difference. She says they had $20,000 "incentive" dollars over a 12-hour period to reward donors... and, they raised about $200,000 during that period. Despite the economic challenges of the coronavirus, this year's 'Give Big' raised almost three times as much as last year.
Chautauqua County's representatives in the New York State Assembly and Senate are urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to allow unlimited high school graduations... provided they follow social distancing and wear face coverings. Assemblyman Andy Goodell and Senator George Borrello sent letter to the governor last week... making the request. Goodell says high school graduates deserve public recognition with family and relatives. However... he says limiting that to 150 people makes that difficult for many.
Goodell adds they would also have those graduations be held outdoors... with social distancing. He says they've heard from several parents, graduates, and school superintendents... saying they want to do it in a "safe and responsible manner." He says some have questioned not being able to hold an unrestricted outdoor graduation as a time where protests have been allowed... among other activities.
There's been one new case of the COVID-19 Virus reported in Chautauqua County. County Executive P-J Wendel says the new case is a woman in her 80s... bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 109. Wendel says 94 people have now recovered, while 9 cases are active. He says 108 people are under quarantine or isolation orders... and, there have now been 10,602 negative test results to date.
The U-S Supreme Court is ruling that a landmark civil rights law protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment, a resounding victory for LGBT rights from a conservative court. The court decided by a 6-3 vote Monday that a key provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that bars job discrimination because of sex, among other reasons, encompasses bias against gay and lesbian workers. The ruling also covers transgender people. The opinion was written by conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch. It's expected to have a big impact for the estimated 8.1-million LGBT workers across the country because most states don't protect them from workplace discrimination.
As part of the 'New York Forward' reopening, all farms must have a safety plan in place to deal with issues related to the coronavirus. Katelyn Walley-Stoll, Team Leader for the Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Program, says there are no exceptions.
Katelyn adds, compared to other businesses... tracking visitors, and performing daily health screenings are two of the issues that may be harder for farms. She says farmers can reach out to Cooperative Extension for help in writing their plan, or go to the Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development website. The plans do NOT need to be submitted to any state agency, but must be available for inspection by the state or local Department of Health.
A Pennsylvania woman faces Leandra's Law charges for allegedly driving drunk with two children last week. State Police in Jamestown say 35 year-old Megan Fuller - of Erie - was pulled over for traffic violations on Route 426... and, was placed under arrest after failing several sobriety tests. Troopers say Fuller provided a breath sample of 0.16 while in custody. The two children that were in the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop were turned over to a sober third party. Fuller was released with an appearance ticket for Mina Town Court on a later date.
A city woman was arrested for allegedly violating an active order of protection during an argument over a clothesline Sunday night. Jamestown Police were called to 10 Linwood Avenue about 6:30 PM for a harassment complaint.... and, through investigation, learned 60 year-old Penny Nelson violated the order. She is being held pending arraignment for second-degree criminal contempt.
The local stock car racing season got underway at Eriez Speedway Sunday night, with Centerville, Pennsylvania's Max Blair using a pass in the final corner to win the Super Late Model Feature. Bear Lake, Pennsylvania's Chub Frank had led much of the 25-lap race... but, Blair was able to catch him in lapped traffic. Blair also won the Crate Late Model feature over Frank.... while Joel Watson of Conneaut, Ohio won the E-Mod Feature.
A man from Ripley faces charges after allegedly breaking into a town of Westfield home... and, stealing property inside. Sheriff's deputies were called to a home on Pigeon Road shortly before 6 PM Saturday... and, their investigation led to the arrest of 24 year-old Michael Smith. Smith allegedly entered the home without permission, and, took the items. Smith is also accused of being in possesion of a controlled substance. He is charged with second-degree burglary, petty larceny, and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Smith was taken to the county jail... pending arraignment.
A Sinclairville man is accused of hitting one person multiple times in the face... and, then choking the person in the town of Stockton late last week. Sheriff's deputies were called to a reported fight on Cassadaga Road about 4:30 PM Friday... and, learned that 55 year-old Gerald Haley had struck the person, and then locked a second-person inside the home for some time against their will. Haley had fled the scene... but, was later stopped in his car... and, was allegedly found to be impaired by drugs and alcohol. Deputies arrested him for second-degree harassment, criminal obstruction of breathing, and second-degree unlawful imprisonment. Haley also faces a driving while intoxicated charge.. and, was sent to the county jail pending arraignment.
One of the two Congressional candidates for this Fall appeared at the Jamestown Justice Coaltion's third Black Lives Matter rally at Dow Park yesterday (Sunday) afternoon.
Penn Yan Democrat Tracy Mitrano spoke about fighting racism since she became an adult... and, wrote a blog in 2015 regarding the death of 28 year-old Sandra Bland. Bland was a black woman who died of an apparent suicide in Texas after she was pulled over during a traffic stop... and, got into a scuffle with officers.
Mitrano says racism and prejudice has held back too many people for too long... and, urged the approximately 100 people on hand to vote for her because she supports the House Demcratic Majority's "Justice in Policing Act." Mitrano says the bill is designed to "stop structural racism in the United States." Incumbant Republican Tom Reed was unable to be at the rally... but, has stated that he believes the Democrat's bill caters to the party's "extreme left..." and is nothing more than a one-party bill. He says he supports police reforms, and adds he doesn't support "defunding" police.
There were several other speakers during the Jamestown Justice Coaltion rally at Dow Park... including local historian and story teller Paul Leone. Leone said he can't get the image of the Minneapolis Police Officer with his knee on the neck of George Floyd... and, that it should not be forgotten. He also discussed the Dow Park area's place in the history of the Underground Railroad... which helped runaway, black slaves escape to Canada. Leone says one of the most well-known members of the Underground Railroad, Katherine Harris, lived about a block away on what is now Seventh Street. Harris' efforts to help runaway black slaves is memorialized at the Underground Railroad Tableau statue in Dow Park. One of the other speakers at Sunday's rally was Democratic County Executive candidate Richard Morrisroe.
Albany does not have the answers for a couple of pandemic related challenges... at least not yet. During her Jamestown visit late last week (Friday), Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul told reporters how the public schools open in the fall depends on how people behave in the summer.
As for the deficits looming for local governments, the Lieutenant Governor says the Cuomo administration wants to support places like Jamestown and Chautauqua County, but the state needs help too, and it'll have to come from the federal government... just as it would in the case of a natural disaster. Hochul estimates New York state alone is facing a projected deficit of $61 billion over four years.
There were two new cases of the COVID-19 Virus confirmed in Chautauqua County last weekend... one on Saturday and one Sunday. County Executive P-J Wendel says the new case Sunday is a man in his 30s.. bringing the total number of positive cases to 108. Wendel says eight cases are currently active... while 94 people have now recovered. He says 123 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders... and, there have now been 10,417 negative test results for COVID-19.
An inmate at the Brocton Shock Incarceration Facility has died after being found unresponsive on the shower floor in his cell last Monday. The Dunkirk Times-Observer says the state Department of Corrections is now investigating the death of Jamel McIntosh... who was in the Brocton facility's Intensive Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment program. The department says a corrections officer on rounds saw McIntosh unresponsive... and, staff immediately unlocked his cell and checked his condition. He was later taken to Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk, where he was pronounced dead. The Department of Corrections is investigating the death.
A half-a-million dollar grant is being awarded to the city of Dunkirk from New York state to clean up a brownfield site. Mayor Willie Rosas says the grant will be used to clean-up a location on Route 60.
Rosas says Wells Enterprises... the owner of Fieldbrook Foods... at one time had some interest in the property. However, he says they didn't move forward on that interest because of the cost to clean it up. Rosas says he expects to make a formal announcement of the grant some time in the near future.
President Donald Trump highlighted the diversity of West Point's graduating class last Saturday, and appealed to America's newest officers to defend the country's core principles. It's a speech that emphasizes unity at a time when the commander in chief's relationship with military leaders has become strained and questions have arisen about the role of soldiers in a civil society. Trump says in his prepared remark that the new graduates "have come from the farms and the cities, from states big and small, and from every race, religion, color, and creed."
Man arrested for allegedly punching and choking one person, and locking another in a Stockton home...
A Sinclairville man has been arrested for allegedly hitting one person multiple times in the face... and, then choking the person in the town of Stockton. Sheriff's officers were called to a reported fight on Cassadaga Road in the town of Stockton about 4:30 p.m. Friday... and, learned that 55 year-old Gerald Haley had struck the person, and then locked a second-person inside the home for a period of time against their will. Haley had fled the scene... but, was later stopped in his car... and, was allegedly found to be impaired by drugs and alcohol. Deputies arrested him for second-degree harassment, criminal obstruction of breathing, and second-degree unlawful imprisonment. He was also arrested for driving while intoxicated... and, sent to the county jail pending arraignment.
Cuomo signs 10-bill Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative measure...
Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order that all police agencies in New York state develop a plan to address use of force and de-escalating conflicts. During a press conference today... Cuomo announced the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative... which he says will require local governments to sit down and address policing. If they don't do that by next April 1st... the governor says they will get no additional state funding for their programs. Cuomo says they need to sit down with the community, and hash-out a plan for policing their community. He rattled off a list of issues that have to be addressed in the collabortive plan...including use of force, crowd management, community policing, and deescalation of situations. Cuomo later signed a sweeping package of police accountability measures that received new backing following protests of George Floyd's killing. The laws include one allowing the release of officers' long-withheld disciplinary records. Some of the bills had been proposed in years past and failed to win approval, but lawmakers moved with urgency in the wake of nationwide demonstrations.
Borrello votes no on most police reform measures, but, does vote to ban chokeholds...
Local State Senator George Borrello says New York leaders should have let the "wound heal" before taking action on police reform legislation. Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign a 10-bill police reform package that cleared the state Legislature this week. Borrello, who voted against most of the bills, felt the action taken by the legislature was a "knee jerk" response to the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minnesota. He says he's concerned about "making a rush to do something for the sake of doing something." Borrello did vote in favor of one of the bills, a ban on chokeholds. But... he says taking away the civil rights of first-responders in a "knee jerk" fashion is wrong.
Sharp increase in negative COVID-19 cases due to stepped up testing over past week...
There is one new confirmed case of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County over the past day. However... several other numbers continue to trend in the right direction. That from County Executive P-J Wendel during his weekly COVID-19 Press Conference in Mayville... who says the new case is a woman in her 30s, and that brings the total confirmed cases to 106. Wendel says there are now 12 active cases -- down from 22 a week ago. He also says there are 130 people under quarantine or isolation orders... but, he adds there is no one hospitalized at this time. Wendel says that 88 people have now recovered from the COVID-19 Virus... and, there are now 8,427 negative test results to date. Wendel says that's nearly double the number from last week. Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says the huge increase is due to increased testing requirements for nursing home workers... people getting elective surgeries... and other professions where COVID-19 testing is required.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul in Jamestown to check out local businesses reopening from Coronavirus shut-down...
New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul took a whirl-wind tour of some downtown Jamestown businesses Friday morning and found what she called 'resiliency," and, she encouraged people to get out and patronize those businesses. However, she also cautioned people to be safe, and wear their masks. Hochul visited restaurants, a hair solon and a real estate office. During a breezy on-street news conference, she would not speculate on when Phase 3 might start in Western New York. Hochul says she'll leave it to the governor to make that announcement. The Lieutenant Governor emphasized "it's up to the people" as to how well it goes from here, and encouraged people to "keep wearing the masks." Hochul also advised anyone going to a rally or protest to wear a mask... and if they've been to one, get tested for COVID-19.
Sundquist restarts city's former Human Rights Commission...
In the wake of recent peaceful protests in the city of Jamestown over the police-involved death of George Floyd... Mayor Eddie Sundquist is reinstating the citys Human Rights Commission. Sundquist says he will empanel the 12-member group to "bring a better understanding between the diverse people that make up the city." Sundquist says the former commission was disbanded many years ago... but, given current tensions and conflicts nationwide, he felt it was needed to help ease some of the tension in the city, and to find ways to be move inclusive as a city, and city government. Sundquist says bringing the Human Rights Commission back came out of the dialogue between himself, and Police Chief Harry Snellings with many of the protesters at Dow Park. He says he will make appointments to the commission, and they would be approved by the city council. So far... Sundquist says already received over 50 applications. For more information, and to apply for any board... go on-line to jamestownny.gov/boards.
There is good news regarding the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County. There are no new cases... and, County Executive P-J Wendel says nearly 1,400 negative test results came back over the past day. During his Thursday update... Wendel said we remain at 105 positive cases... 12 of which are active... while 87 people have recovered. He says there are 130 people under quarantine or isolation orders... and, 7,898 tests have come back negative for COVID-19.
The first five regions in New York state allowed to begin reopening will be able to move to Phase-Three of reopening tomorrow. Those regions include the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes areas... which will be able to move to indoor dining, food services, and other personal care services. That from Governor Andrew Cuomo during his daily COVID-19 Briefing today... and, says their experts have given the go-ahead.
It's expected that Western New York -- including Chautauqua County -- will move to Phase-Three early next week. Cuomo says he understands that people are anxious -- and many businesses have reportedly jumped the gun on reopening. He says don't do it... because people are "wary" about businesses that are doing that, he adds "the rules are clear." Regarding restaurants... Cuomo warned no indoor service until that region enter's Phase-Three... and, those will be at 50-percent. He says they risk being shut-down, and if they serve alcohol, losing their license.
Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel says he's received clarification from New York State that garage and yard sales are permitted in regions that have entered Phase-2 of Reopening. Wendel says... with many completing their "Spring cleaning..." he's received numerous inquires on whether they can be held. He says they can... but, with "certain requirements." Wendel says whether holding or going to a yard sale... he encourages residents to please take precautions to protect themselves from the coronavirus. He says people need to observe at least six-feet of social distancing... and, no more than 10 people can be in the sale area at any given time. Wendel adds that if you can't observe 6-foot distancing... you must wear a face covering. He adds keep hand santizer available.
In the wake of recent peaceful protests in the city of Jamestown over the police-involved death of George Floyd... Mayor Eddie Sundquist is reinstating the citys Human Rights Commission. Sundquist says he will empanel the 12-member group to "bring a better understanding between the diverse people that make up the city." Sundquist says the former commission was disbanded many years ago... but, given current tensions and conflicts nationwide, he felt it was needed.
Sundquist says bringing the Human Rights Commission back came out of the dialogue between himself, and Police Chief Harry Snellings with many of the protesters at Dow Park -- in particular the first one in late May. He says he will make appointments to the commission, and they would be approved by the city council. So far... he says already received over 50 applications. For more information, and to apply for any board... go on-line to Jamestownny.gov/Boards.
A Jamestown man recently arrested in one drug bust has s been arrested again... along with a female accomplice... after they were allegedly found with a variety of drugs... and, about $39,000 in cash. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force were trying to serve a parole warrant on 48 year-old Luis Martinez... who had been arrested on June 5th during a raid at 64 Water Street. While conducting surveillance at 533 Winsor Street late Wednesday afternoon... police spotted Martinez and another man come out and go to the back of the house. But, Martinez allegedly left a child's backpack he was carrying at the back of the house. Samuleson says the pair then drove away in a car. However... they wre stopped by State Police... and, Martinez was arrested. Police later found the backpack with more than $37,000 inside. Task Force members then got a search warrant for the house... and, found 13.4-grams of crystal methamphetamine... 11.4-ounces of marijuana... along with another $1,600 in cash. Martinez was arrested along with 31 year-old Kanisha Pintagro... who was inside the home. Both are jailed pending arraignment.
Despite the COVID pandemic, the U-S Census is happening right now and advocates for people with disabilities are stressing the importance of being counted. The economic impact of the pandemic could mean sharp budget cuts at city, state and federal levels. Margi Trapani, with the Center for Independence of the Disabled New York, or CIDNY, points out that census figures are used to determine how resources are distributed to states and localities, but people with disabilities often are overlooked.
Everyone should have received a census form in the mail, and this year it is possible to complete the process through the government website at 2020census.gov. Trapani adds that people with disabilities who need assistance completing the census form can get help from CIDNY at www.cidny.org/census.
The city of Jamestown will soon begin looking for a new police chief after current Chief Harry Snellings told officials earlier this week that he'll be retiring next month. Snellings has held the dual roles of Police Chief/Director of Public Safety for the past 10 years... serving most of that time under former Mayor Sam Teresi. Current Mayor Eddie Sundquist says the city will miss Snellings experience and professionalism. Sundquist says he intends to keep both positions combined at this time.
Sundquist says making any change in the titles... including splitting them... would require a change in the City Charter. He adds it would also require a change in the agreement between the city and it's police union. Snellings was first hired by the department as a patrolman in 1996. He rose through the ranks, and was named Chief and Public Safety Director by Mayor Teresi in July of 2010. Snellings also served for a period of time in the U-S Military.
The logjam of DMV transactions in Chautauqua County is about to break up. County Clerk Larry Barmore says he'll soon be calling back all the employees in that division to catch up on work that's been mailed in or dropped off. Once that's done... probably by the end of the month... each of the the three DMV offices will open again, but only for driver's license renewals, CDL testing, Learner's Permit tests, and similar transactions. Things currently being done by mail or drop box will still be done that way for the foreseeable future. Once open, each DMV office will take only 16 to 20 appointments per day. Unlike state run DMV offices, the ones in Chautauqua County did NOT fully close in the virus shutdown.
The New York State Legislature has passed law to allow the attorney general to investigate and prosecute when an individual dies following an encounter with a police officer. The bill strengthens and makes permanent Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2015 executive order that authorized a special prosecutor to investigate the deaths of unarmed people killed by police. Cuomo says there are four parts to what lawmakers are looking at... starting with making police misconduct records public.
The reforms are the latest legislation passed by the Democratic-led Legislature in response to an uproar of calls for police accountability in New York and across the nation in the wake of George Floyd's death. Cuomo has said he'll sign the bills by the end of the week.
While he is condemning the "brutal and unjustified" death of George Floyd... local State Senator George Borrello believes the Democratic Majority is trying to "fix a terrible injustice by opening the door to many more..." Borrello says Floyd's death "has shaken all of us and opened a wound in our nation that demands attention." However... the Sunset Bay Republican says the Senate's Democratic Majority's repeal of Section 50-a of the Civil Rights Law will heighten the already-significant risks our men and women in law enforcement face every day by allowing for the public release of personnel records. He says that would include reports of unfounded complaints.
There's been one new case of the coronavirus in Chautauqua County... but, there's been a big increase in the number of negative cases being reported. That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says the new case is a woman in her 20s... bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 105. Wendel says she is now one of 13 active cases that are recovering under orders of the local Health Director... and, one person is hospitalized. Wendel says there are now 86 people who have recovered... while 139 are under quaratine or isolation orders. There are now just over 65-hundred negative test results to date.
Several local officials were on hand for last weekend's peaceful parade and rally held in the city of Dunkirk to bring attention to the Black Lives Matter movement. It was held to protest the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minnesota. Wendel says he was proud of the organizers of the event, three Dunkirk High School seniors... and, he says reform will come through engagement.
Wendel also spoke about COVID-19 and the impact the pandemic is having on a number of projects in the county... and says several projects have been delayed -- due mainly to lack of clarity on reimbursements. There was a second protest at Dow Park in Jamestown this past weekend that drew between 200 and 250 people.
More than 50 race cars and racing go-carts are expected for the first racing show at the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood in nearly 10 years. The show... featuring local racers at Stateline Speedway... gets underway in the former Sears Store of the Mall at 10 this morning. Beckstrom Motorsports' Randy Beckstrom says they're excited to have a show. While the Mall remains closed... Beckstrom says fans can enter through the outside entrances to Sears.
Beckstrom says the show will continue through Saturday night at 9 PM during regular mall hours. He says there will be some hand-outs, and there will be a fan vote on the best looking cars. Beckstrom says many of the go-carts may leave Friday night so they can be at a "Test N Tune" at Stateline's go-cart track on Saturday. Beckstrom, the Media One Radio Group, Close Racing Supply, and Tobber Chassis are putting on the car show with the mall.
The man who's been Jamestown's police chief for the last decade is retiring. The Post Journal is reporting Harry Snellings will leave his post next month... after a 24 year career with the Jamestown Police Department. Mayor Eddie Sundquist says the process of finding a new chief will get underway very soon.
One person had to be flown to a regional hospital for treatment after being pinned under a tractor in an accident in the Cattaraugus County town of South Valley. Sheriff's deputies in Little Valley were called the the scene at 21-94 Little Bone Run Road, along with Randolph Fire rescue crews, shortly after 5 PM Tuesday... and, found the victim under the tractor. Frewsburg rescue also assisted at the scene.
A bi-partisan group of Congressional lawmakers is standing united in condemning the "unjust and brutal killing" of George Floyd while in police custody. However... Local Congressman Tom Reed says while reforms need to be made to eliminate police brutality, and racism... he says defunding or eliminating police is not the answer. Reed, who co-chairs the Problem Solvers Cauces, says they oppose the "radical legislation" being put forth by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others that would do the latter. Reed says the Problem Solvers Caucus recently had a good, productive meeting with Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass... who also expressed optimism over the meeting.
It's not a matter of scoring political points... but, of trying to bring the Jamestown community together. Those are the feelings of city council members when it comes to supporting local Black Lives Matter protests in Dow Park the past two weeks. One letter read at Monday night's City Council work session questioned why some members were not at one or the other. Councilwoman Vickeye James... who is one of two black women on the panel... says whether she's at a protest or not... she's fought for civil rights since she was a child.
Those sentiments were echoed by the other African-American member of council, Tamu Graham-Reinhardt. New Councilman Jeff Russell was questioned about a post that appeared on his social media page with an AR-15 rifle stating "The answer to why you need an AR-15" regarding the death of a slain, former Police Captain in St. Louis, Missouri. Russell says Democratic State Assembly Candidate Christina Cardinale completely misunderstood what the post was about... he called it unfortunate.
The annual Labor Day Festival in the city of Jamestown has been cancelled for the 2020 year. Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist says "It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform you we will not be having the large festival we all were looking forward to this year". Sundquist says the COVID-19 pandemic and 'large financial strain from lost revenue' were factored into the decision. However... the Mayors says he is determined to celebrate Labor Day with a much smaller and muted ceremony. More details are expected at a later date.
For the first time since 1954, there will be no Jamestown Municipal Band Concerts this summer. The band usually performs at least a half-dozen Wednesdays at the Goranson Bandshell at Allen Park, but director Rick Lundquist says this year's challenges created the 'perfect storm.' Lundquist drew a tentative map of the 50 band members performing a 'socially distant' concert at Allen Park ... and said, "I don't even know if we'd fit in the glen."
A portion of Route 60 in the town of Pomfret was closed for nearly 10 hours because of utility work. Dispatchers say tree or two fell on some powerlines and fiberoptic cables in the area of Route 60 and Spoden Road.... and, National Grid crews began working about 10 PM last night. Route 60 reopened around 8:30 this morning.
Firefighters from four departments, along with Chautauqua County Emergency Services, responded to a garage fire near Sinclairville early this morning. The fire on East Avenue was first reported around 2:30 am according to the County Emergency Dispatch Center. Crews from Sinclairville, were assisted by Gerry, Cassadaga, and Ellington Departments. County fire investigators were sent to the scene to determine a cause.
A Central New York educator who has considerable experience in a school district with high-levels of poverty has been named as the new Superintendent for the Jamestown Public Schools. The board last night confirmed Dr. Kevin Whitaker of Geneva to replace the retiring Bret Apthorpe on July 1st. Board President Paul Abbott says he's "very pleased" with the selection of Whitaker, whose "extensive qualifications and experience will be an asset to our district. We had an extremely deep pool of knowledgeable, accomplished candidates ensuring that we have an exceptional superintendent." Whitaker's education career has spanned 30 years... and, most recently he's been Assistant Superintendent in the Geneva City School District in the Finger Lakes Region.
City lawmakers in Jamestown have unanimously approved making nearly $1.2-million in cuts to the 2020 budget to deal with anticipated losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Eddie Sundquist recently presented a three-phased, COVID-19 Financial Restructuring Plan. During a short special meeting last night... the City Council approved the first-phase of cuts... the biggest coming from the $1.2-million, Public Works Department's Street Program.
Councilman Grant Olson asked when city officials would know they would have to move onto Phase-Two cuts. Sundquist says it depends on how sales tax, and state aid comes in. He says sales tax is expected to fall by 10 to 30-percent... a cut of 20-percent would total about $1.3-million. Sundquist says the city would receive about $6-million total in state aid... but, it's not clear what kind of cut may be in the future. City officials estimate a shortfall of between $2-million and $4.7-million due to the pandemic this year.
An Ashville man was sent to the County Jail following a physical domestic dispute last Saturday at 204 Circle Drive. Lakewood-Busti Police were called to the home shortly after 8 PM... and on arrival, saw 61 year-old Homer Whitton with an article of clothing around the victim's mouth and head. Officers say Whitton was allegedly pulling it tight as he was screaming at the victim. Investigation also revealed he had shoved the unidentified victim through a door prior to their arrival. Whitton was taken into custody for second-degree harassment and criminal obstruction of breathing.
There are two new cases of the COVID-19 Virus reported in Chautauqua County today... bringing the local total of confirmed cases to 103. County Executive P-J Wendel says the new cases are a woman in her 30s, and a man in his 50s. Wendel says there are now 15 active cases, and they continue to recover... while 82 people have now recovered. The number of cases under quarantine or isolation orders is down to 129... while there have been 5,511 negative test results so far.
Some 17 more non-profit organizations are getting money in Chautauqua County to help them reopen, and meet health and safety requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chautauqua County Crisis Response fund has awarded grants... totaling $13,134 to the organizations. Members say the recipients include the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Chautauqua County... the 1891 Fredonia Opera House... Chautauqua Adult Day Care Centers... the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System... Healing Word Ministries Church... Housing Options Made Easy... the Roger Tory Peterson Institute... and YWCA of Westfield. The Crisis Response Fund is now accepting applications for the next round of grants.
Four Jamestown residents were arrested on felony drug and weapons charges late last week during a raid on the city's southside. Jamestown Police Captain Bob Samuelson says city police, and members of the Jamestown Metro, and Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Forces executed a search warrant at an apartment at 64 Water Street last Friday night. Samuelson says officers seized about 14 ounces of methamphetamine... one ounce of cocaine... 3.4-grams of crack cocaine... a loaded 9-millimeter handgun... 35-hundred dollars in cash... and, drug paraphernalia. They arrested 48 year-old Luis Martinez, 38 year-old Sammy McKeithan, 31 year-old Edwin Rosario and 36 year-old Sheila Mendez. Martinez, McKeithan, and Rosario face multiple charges... and, charges are pending against Mendez. Samuelson says the hand-gun had been reported stolen from a city home in 2018.
It's not too late to send in your absentee ballot for local school board elections and budget votes. The deadline initially was they had to be received by the School Clerk by 5 PM today. However... in the case of a mail-in ballot... provided they are in accordance with mail-in provisions... will be accepted until 5 PM on Tuesday, June 16th. Chautauqua County Elections Commissioner Norm Green says no such ballots will be accepted directly by the district clerk, or designee of the trustees or school board after 5 PM today. With that... the ballots are to remain unopened pending delivery of mailed ballots, and shall be removed and canvassed after 5 PM on June 16th.
County leaders from across New York state are now pushing Governor Andrew Cuomo to release their share of $12-billion in federal funding to deal with COVID-19 expenses and revenue losses. Among them is Chautauqua County Interim Executive P-J Wendel... who says a member of Cuomo's administration told a meeting of the state Association of Counties that they hadn't requested the money... and, that's why it hadn't been sent. Wendel says the money includes Medicaid "F-Map" funding the county receives to carry out that program... along with Consolidated Highway Improvement Program -- or CHIPS, and child care funding. He says only a small percentage of that $163-million has been released. Wendel says it's wrong for the state to hold that money when it's clear that it goes to local, county and state government operations.
Arson is the listed cause of a fire that destroyed a three-story, multi-unit apartment house on Jamestown's southside yesterday morning. City Fire Battalion Chief Don Mowery says crews were called to 262 Forest Avenue shortly before 7 AM... and, found the blaze started in the lower parts of the building. Mowery says all the occupants got out safely... but, three pets were killed in the blaze.
Mowery says one person suffered minor injuries and was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment. He says there were 10 people in the house when the blaze broke out... and, are now being helped by the local Red Cross. A firefighter did find and save a kitten from the structure. An off-duty shift was called in to assist. It appears the blaze started in the basement-area. The house was a total loss. The Department of Development ordered the house be demolished, and work began on that shortly before Noon Sunday.
The Jamestown School Board will vote on hiring a new superintendent when it hold's a special meeting tonight on-line. The board's agenda indicates the only item to be acted on is approval of a new superintendent. Current Superintendent Bret Apthorpe has been at the helm the past three years... but, earlier this year... announced that he was going to retired at the end of the school year. But... he's also told the board he'll still be around to help the district and the new superintendent during the transition. Tonight's special meeting begins at 6 PM.
The Jamestown City Council is expected to take action tonight on nearly $1.2-million in a first-phase of cuts because of lost revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Eddie Sundquist and City Comptroller Joe Bellitto recently released their 2020 COVID-19 Financial Restructuring Plan... which includes several across the board cuts. However... Sundquist says it's likely just the start of changes to deal with an expected loss of at least $2-million in revenues and state aid.
Sundquist says the biggest cut in Phase-One is $289,000 to the Public Works Department's Streets Program. He says that's a significant cut to what the DPW was planning this Summer. Sundquist says most of the money is reimbursed to the city by the state for it's street project... but, significant cuts are being forecast. He adds that another $251,000 would be cut to the Parks Program. He says that includes the closing of Diethrick Park for the entire Summer... and cancellation of all festivals, and band concerts. There are no lay-offs in Phase One... which will be voted on at tonight's special on-line meeting at 7 PM.
There were no new cases of COVID-19 reported in Chautauqua County yesterday... but, the county exceeded 100 confirmed cases with two more Saturday. County Executive P-J Wendel says the new cases bring the county's total to 101... and there are now 16 active cases. Wendel says there are now 79 people who have recovered... but, no one is hospitalized with the virus. He adds there are 246 cases under quarantine or isolation orders... and, there have been 5,215 negative test results so far.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is moving faster than expected, allowing him to loosen some restrictions on gatherings in houses of worship. The governor announced last weekend that religious buildings will be allowed to operate with 25-percent of their usual capacity once the region of the state they are in reaches Phase two of his reopening plan.
Two Jamestown-area men wanted in connection with a robbery in the city have been arrested after a traffic stop in the town of Gerry late last week. State Police in Jamestown say they arrested 25 year-old Justin Estus of Kennedy... and, 20 year-old Zachary Estus of Gerry on outstanding warrants. Troopers pulled over Justin Estus on the Gerry-Ellington Road for failing to dim his highbeams. Police say they found that Justin and Zachary were both wanted by the Jamestown Police Department for second-degree robbery. Both were arrested, and to the Jamestown city jail pending arraignment.
Chautauqua County officials are paying attention to other matters while dealing with the Coronavirus. In fact... County Executive P-J Wendel told members of the county's Chamber of Commerce last week that there are still a pair of ongoing projects going on. One is the effort to bring commercial air service to the Jamestown Airport through the Essential Air Service program. He urged local businesses to get behind the effort.
Wendel says the county is also continuing its work with a consultant to develop plans for the reuse of the NRG plant in Dunkirk. The facility has not produced electricity since 2016. He says they received a $60,000 grant to do an environmental assessment, and now a re-use study of the plant. Wendel says there are some environmental challenges related to the plant, and it's proximity to Lake Erie. However... he says he's confident that what they do moving forward with the facility will benefit county residents.
County reaches 99 confirmed COVID-19 Cases, many more tests come back negative...
Chautauqua County is reporting two new cases of the COVID-19 virus... bringing the total now to 99. That from County Executive P-J Wendel during his weekly COVID-19 press briefing Friday... who says the cases are a man and woman -- both in their 20s. Wendel adds there are currently 22 active cases. However... he says there is good news also... with 71 having recovered. Wendel says 269 people are in quarantine or isolation, and are being monitored. The two fatalities reported Thursday are two men in their 80s. That from Public Health Director Christine Schuyler... who says both men had underlying health issues that made them suseptible to the virus. Wendel says there have now been 4,463 negative COVID-19 test results so far... with about 1,700 of those reported this week alone. He says that's good news. However... Schuyler says "we will see further spread of the virus as we reopen and I hope people will continue to take reasonable precautions."
Wendel talks about Phase-Two reopening during County Chamber Webinar Friday...
County Executive Wendel says he is encouraged by the response of county businesses to Phase 2 of New York's reopening. During a webinar with the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Friday morning... Wendel says there was a spike with seven new cases of COVID-19 yesterday... along with two deaths. However... he also indicated that the overall numbers are moving in the right direction. Wendel says "we are moving forward in the second phase, and also reported that businesses in the county are responding to the state's requirement of completing an electronic affirmation before reopening. Wendel says 57 more businesses signed those affirmations Friday... bringing the total since Phase-Two began to nearly 100. He emphasized the importance of businesses completing the electronic affirmation... and having their plans on hand.
Prendergast Library Director reminds residents in Jamestown to vote on library proposition on school ballot...
The Executive Director of the James Prendergast Library is reminding voters in the Jamestown School District to send in their ballots.
Ann Green says they must be in by Tuesday, June 9. The second proposition on the ballot is a proposal to raise $350,000 for the Prendergast, amounting to $11.50 a year for a home assessed at $50,000. Green says the funding line would restore what the library lost when city support was dramatically cut. The first proposition on the ballot is the Jamestown School budget for the coming year.
Two people arrested in Cattaraugus County after Landlord-Tenant dispute becomes violent...
A landlord-tenant dispute has led to the arrest of two Cattaraugus County residents for alleged drug and weapons charges in the town of Machias. State Police in Machias were called to the scene on Route 16 shortly after 11 p.m. Wednesday... and learned the tenant, 39 year-old David Coffey of Delevan, had struck the victim with his pick-up truck. Troopers say Coffey the got out and went into his residence, and allegedly fired a gun before police arrived. They arrested Coffey for second-degree reckless endangerment... third-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and possession of drugs and stolen property. Troopers also arrested 23 year-old Abigail Klink for third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and criminal possession of a controlled substance. She was arraigned and sent to the Cattaraugus County Jail on $2,500 bail... while Coffey was arraigned and jailed without bail.
City of Jamestown receives DOJ Grant...
Jamestown is receving a just-over $58,000 grant under the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program through the Department of Justice. U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. has announced that "these funds will help to ensure that our first responders have the ability to continue to do exactly what they have done throughout the pandemic - keep our communities safe." Jamestown is one of five municipalities to receive funding, as part of a $1.7-million grant dispersed through the Western District of New York. Kennedy says projects or initiatives that the money may be used for include overtime, hiring, training, equipment and supplies.... and, addressing the medical needs of inmates in state, local, and tribal prisons, jails, and detention centers. Jamestown previously received funding awards from the Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Two city residents arrested for shoplifting at Lakewood Wal-Mart...
Two Jamestown residents were arrested for petty larceny following two separate shoplifting complaints at the Lakewood Walmart on Wednesday. Lakewood-Busti Police say 35 year-old Renee Rogers was allegedly seen by asset protection concealing items she did not pay for on her person. She was taken into custody shortly after and released with an appearance ticket. In the second theft... officers say 38 year-old Steven Gaddy was seen opening a speaker package and taking the item out. Gaddy was reportedly seen then hiding the item on his person. He was additionally charged with third-degree burglary.
Norm Lydell retires as Jamestown High School A'cappella choir director...
The conductor of the acclaimed Jamestown High School A'cappella Choir is putting down his baton. Norm Lydell is retiring after 34 years in the Jamestown schools and 17 as the choir's director. Lydell is just the fourth director in the 95 year history of the choir. He says the triumphant 95th anniversary Vespers program in December, and the subsequent performance at Disneyworld gave him the 'sound in his head' he wants to take with him. The virus shutdown meant no 'good-bye concert' for the director. The A'cappella's spring project is a youtube video of its famous 'Kyrie.'
Chautauqua County has seen it's first deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic in many days. County Executive P-J Wendel reports two people have died over the past day... so the county has now had six COVID fatalities. Wendel adds the county is quickly moving toward it's 100th confirmed case of the virus... with seven more cases Thursday. He says there have now been 97 cases. The latest ones are a man and woman in their 80s... a woman in her 70s... two more women in their 40s... woman in her 30s... and, another woman in her 20s. Wendel says one person is hospitalized with COVID... while 71 others have recovered. There are currently 20 active cases... and, they continue to recover under orders from local Health officials.
Different businesses are taking different approaches to reopening across Chautauqua County... with several dozen filing their affirmation plans almost immediately with the state under Phase-Two this week. County Executive P-J Wendel says the county officially moved to the second-phase on Tuesday... and, there was a big response. He says 54 businesses filed within the first 24-hours. However... he says some retailers have been cautious in moving ahead. Wendel says it's each businesses' decision as to when they reopen for business. Beginning Thursday... Governor Andrew Cuomo's Office said that restaurants could open up outdoor dining... with restrictions.
There has been a second case of the COVID-19 Virus in Warren County, Pennsylvania in the past two days... bringing that county's total number of cases to five. However... Public Safety Spokesperson Cecile Stelter says this does not constitute a "spike in cases. No other details have been released. Stelter says their Emergency Management Team will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as any additional information is obtained.
With the state's announcement that restaurants in Phase-Two reopening can have outdoor dining and "sidewalk cafés..." the city of Jamestown is letting those businesses know about the process of getting a sidewalk café permit. Mayor Eddie Sundquist says businesses are encouraged to use private outdoor space, as long as they follow the state's guidelines. However... if you want to use public sidewalks, or other other adjacent public spaces... Sundquist says contact the Department of Development.
Earlier this Spring... the city received a letter from several downtown restaurant owners asking about having more ways to allow outdoor dining. Sundquist says he and his staff have been working out details... and, he hopes to have something to announce at next week's work session. He says his staff is working hard on a pilot project to present to lawmakers... get public input on it... and, have it in place in time for the start of Phase-Three. To contact the city's Department of Development... call 483-7541 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three Dunkirk High School Seniors who have strong feelings about the recent police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis are organizing a peaceful parade and rally that will be held this Saturday, June 6th in Dunkirk. Gabrielle Hart and her two friends Jericha Petrella, and Yuri-beth Castro came up with the idea after hearing about Floyd's death.
Gabrielle says it's important to keep the protest free of violence, so they decided to contact Mayor Wilfred Rosas and Police Chief David Ortolano. Rosas appreciated the move... because they support the city and police department, but, also feel they need to support the peaceful protests taking place. The parade will begin at 11 AM at the Dunkirk City Pier, travel to Washington Park where participants will kneel in respect for the lives lost. A rally will then take place at City Hall where there will be several speakers, including Rosas and Ortolano.
Jamestown is receving a just-over $58,000 grant under the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program through the Department of Justice. U-S Attorney James Kennedy-junior announced yesterday that "these funds will help to ensure that our first responders have the ability to continue to do exactly what they have done throughout the pandemic—keep our communities safe." Jamestown is one of five municipalities to receive funding, as part of a $1.7-million grant dispersed through the Western District of New York. Kennedy says projects or initiatives that the money may be used for include overtime, hiring, training... equipment and supplies.... and, addressing the medical needs of inmates in state, local, and tribal prisons, jails, and detention centers. Jamestown previously received funding awards from the Bureau of Justice Assistance.
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities is warning customers about a new scam that's been reported. BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says in this scam... a customer receives a call, stating it is the BPU calling. The scammer then says that the BPU wants to refund an overpayment... and, asks the person for bank account information from the customer to deposit the refund. Customers are reminded that the BPU does NOT call to request such information over the phone. Customers receiving such scam calls should just hang up.
The Executive Director of the James Prendergast Library reminds voters in the Jamestown School District to send in their ballots.
Ann Green says they must be in by Tuesday, June 9th. The second proposition on the ballot is a proposal to raise $350,000 for the Prendergast, amounting to $11.50 a year for a home assessed at $50,000. Green says the funding line would restore what the library lost when city support was dramatically cut. The first proposition on the ballot is the Jamestown School budget for the coming year.
The conductor of the acclaimed Jamestown High School A'cappella Choir is putting down his baton. Norm Lydell is retiring after 34 years in the Jamestown schools and 17 as the choir's director. Lydell is just the fourth director in the 95 year history of the choir. He says the triumphant 95th anniversary Vespers program in December, and the subsequent performance at Disneyworld gave him the 'sound in his head' he wants to take with him. The virus shutdown meant no 'good-bye concert' for the director. The A'cappella's spring project is a youtube video of its famous 'Kyrie.' Lydell says he intends to find a new way to contribute to the community, while continuing to support the proud legacy of the A'cappella choir.
All regions of New York State that are now in Phase-Two of the COVID-19 reopening can now have outdoor dining at restaurants starting June 4th. Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel says that's exciting news... because the idea had first come up recently during the county's COVID-19 Response Team meetings. Up to now... restaurants were limited to providing take-out or delivery services only, with full restaurant services not being able to open until Phase 3. He says he then brought up the idea to the Western New York Regional Control Room that he's part of.
Wendel adds that the county moved to Phase-Two Reopening Tuesday and, this brings us "one more step forward to safely reopening the economy." He adds, though, that the state also issued directives for outdoor dinning... including keeping a six foot distance between tables, servers wearing masks at all times, and customers wearing them when standing or walking back and forth.
There are now 90 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County... but, the county has also passed 4,000 people testing negative for the virus. That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says there are two new cases reported Wednesday... including a man in his 60s... and, a woman in her 70s. Wendel says there are 15 active cases... and, 71 have now recovered. There are 257 cases under quarantine or isolation orders, and those are being monitored. Wendel says there have now been 4,008 negative test results to date.
Businesses that are part of Phase 2 of the coronavirus reopening can't just open the door and start up again. That from Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Tranum... who says ALL businesses need to go to forward.ny.gov to sign off on certain conditions and file a plan.
In addition... Tranum adds that proprietors and customers should remember it's a new world... and, "we're still in the middle of a pandemic, and we need to take these safety precautions." For more information on how to reopen... go to the county Chamber of Commerce website. The chamber's annual County Executive Breakfast will be held as a webinar on Friday morning at 8:30.
Jamestown lawmakers will be asked to consider just over $1.1-million in a first-phase of cuts due to revenue losses from the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Eddie Sundquist and City Comptroller Joe Bellitto released their 2020 COVID-19 Financial Restructuring Plan late Tuesday... with several across the board cuts. Sundquist says the biggest ones are $289,000 to the Public Works Department's Streets Program... and another $251,000 to the Parks Program. He says that includes closing Diethrick Park for the entire Summer... and cancellation of all festivals, and band concerts. Sundquist says there are no lay-offs in the first Phase of the plan. City Council will consider the Phase-One plan at a Special Meeting called for next Monday night.
New York's governor says he considered activating the National Guard to support New York City Police to deal with another night of protests Tuesday night. However... Cuomo says he didn't see where that needed to be done, as it ended up being a quieter night. However... protests did continue past the city's imposted curfew. Cuomo says his problem with the NYPD was how they were managed and deployed.
Cuomo has been criticized both statewide and nationwide for the decision... and, among the critics has been President Trump. However... during his daily COVID-19 press briefing Tuesday... he defended his decision. Cuomo says the National Guard would be in more of a support-role for the local authorities in such matters. He again stated that he opposed the President's threat to use the military to quell rioting, and restore civil order.
Another much anticipated Summer event in downtown Jamestown has fallen victim to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce and Der Kobblers Automobile Association today "regretfully" announce that Jamestown Cruise-In will not be held this August. Chamber Coordinator Joanna Dahlbeck says the annual event draws thousands to downtown Jamestown... but, with a focus on the health and safety... the decision has been made to cancel this year’s Cruise-In. It has now been scheduled for August of 2021.
A city woman was arrested for allegedly damaging a Jamestown business Tuesday afternoon. City Police were called to investigate the incident at 12-45 East 2nd Street. Officers say 35 year-old Tina Holland shut off power to the business's cooler, which caused the food inside to spoil... and, then be disposed of. Holland was located shortly after and placed into custody for fourth-degree criminal mischief. She was held pending arraignment.
The YMCA's Camp Onyahsa near Dewittville will become a day camp this summer. The camp's director, Jon O'Brian, says they looked carefully at all the possbilities this year, and concluded overnight camp held too high a risk for virus infection. So, the Y is 'pivoting' to a day only operation, which Jon O'Brian believes will help families... by offering three separate socially distant day camps for children age 5 to 13, and weekend retreats for up to six members of a household. In addition, one lakefront cabin will be available for daily rental all summer long. Tiered tuition and scholarships are being offered for the day camp. More information on all the new opportunities can be found at onyahsa.org. The Y says the plans now await health department approval.
The Western New York Region -- including Chautauqua County -- can now officially move to Phase-Two of the COVID-19 reopening today. That from Governor Andrew Cuomo who made the announcement during his daily briefing held in Albany. Cuomo adds that the Capital District -- including Albany -- should follow tomorrow. Phase-Two allows for some professional office, additional retail, and barbers and hair stylists to reopen. Cuomo also says that some Summer camps can open later this month.
Cuomo spent a lot of time during his daily briefing talking about the protests that became violent in New York City. He says it's not just African-Americans who are upset about the killing of George Floyd... but, white Americans as well. Cuomo also reminded the protestors that the pandemic has not ended... but, he says "be responsible" because there is fear there may be a new spike in COVID cases. In speaking about the violence... Cuomo says the vast majority of protestors are peaceful and they are separate and distinct from the criminals.
There is one new case of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County today... bringing the total to 88 since the pandemic began. However... the number of "negative cases" continues to climb. That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says the new case is a man in his 80s. Wendel adds that there are now 15 active cases... and those people continue to recover under public health law. Two people are hospitalized with COVID-19... while 69 have now recovered. Wendel says there have been 3,359 negative test results so far.
Local Congressman Tom Reed says he plans to take part in a peaceful protest later this week in Elmira to condemn the police-involved death of George Floyd. During an appearance at a store in Gerry yesterday, Reed said he understands that people are upset... but, he also condemned those who have taken over those protests at night... and, have been rioting and looting businesses. Reed says... while there are "bad actors..." he fully stands with law enforcement.
Reed says -- as an elected official -- justice needs to be served after a police officer pinned Floyd to the ground with his knee for about nine-minutes during an May 25th incident in Minnesota. President Donald Trump again threatened to invoke federal "Insurrection Act" Tuesday to allow the military to deal with the rioting and looting in several major cities the past week. Reed says he hopes cooler heads prevail before that's needed. He's hoping that all people and law enforcement can come together, and drive solutions to eliminate such incidents.
Chautauqua County's Congressman is co-sponsoring federal legislation that would reward front-line workers across the nation who risked going to work to keep essential services in place during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Using the Country Fair convenience store at the four-corners in Gerry as the backdrop... Corning Republican Tom Reed announced that he and one other Republican and two Democrats, have introduced the Rewarding American Workers Act of 2020.
Reed says the Rewarding workers legislation would be part of a likely fourth, COVID-19 Stimulus package in Congress. He says businesses would be advanced a tax credit to provide a bonus of about 30-percent of wages to workers employed during the national shut-down. Reed says higher earners -- from $55,000-90,000 -- would receive that $600 bonus. He says the legislation would use existing IRS and Treasury authorities because "it's the quickest way to ensure workers get financial relief."
Jamestown High School will hold an "alternative" graduation program for the Class of 2020 due to the on-going shut-down from the COVID-19 pandemic. Final details are still being worked out... but, the program will be held at Strider Field -- near Jefferson Middle School -- on Thursday night, June 25th. JHS Principal Dana Williams says they plan to have the 305 graduates, in their caps and gowns, enter one at a time -- with loved ones -- at each of the field's main gates.
Jamestown typically holds it's graduation ceremonies at the Chautauqua Amphitheater. Williams says graduation activities will actually begin the night of Wednesday, June 24th... with on-line addresses by class leaders. He says the ceremony would adhere to safety requirements... including limits on gatherings of no more than 10 people. He says that may be altered depending on what New York state and it's Education Department will allow at that time. Rain date for graduation will be the following night, Friday, June 26th.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown has imposed a citywide 8 PM curfew for the rest of the week after a New York State Police trooper suffered a broken leg and a shattered pelvis when an SUV barreled through a group of officers. The officers had just charged people protesting George Floyd's death. Another trooper and a Buffalo police officer were treated for minor injuries after being struck by the Ford Explorer when it broke through a blockade at about 10 PM Monday and then sped away as troopers opened fire. The driver and a passenger had non-life threatening gunshot wounds when they were apprehended.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo expects the Western New York region will be able to move into Phase-Two of the reopening process from the state's coronavirus shut-down today. Cuomo said about mid-day yesterday that the numbers looked good for the area... which includes Chautauqua County. During his daily COVID-19 press briefing... Cuomo says he wants the global experts helping them to take one more look at the situation. Phase-Two would allow some professional businesses -- namely barbershops and hair salons -- to reopen following social distancing guidelines.
There are new cases of the coronavirus reported in Chautauqua County... as the number of positive cases increased to 87 Monday. County Executive P-J Wendel says the two new cases are a woman in her 20s... and, a woman in her 70s. Wendel adds that two people are now hospitalized in the county... and, there are 18 active cases. He says they are recovering under Health Department regulations. Wendel says 65 people have now recovered. He says 263 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders... while another 3,210 negative test results have been reported to date.
Governor Andrew Cuomo says he is concerned that mass protests over George Floyd's death could cause a set-back in the long, hard fight to contain the coronavirus pandemic. The Democratic governor said he agreed with demonstrators fighting racism and societal inequality. But... he sounded frustrated about possibly compromising about three months of social and economic sacrifices. Cuomo then urged New Yorkers to be smarter when it comes to protesting Floyd's death.
Cuomo... who is also a former state Attorney General... told those rioting and looting to stop damaging property. He says it's nothing less than "criminality..." and, it gives those who oppose such a movement the abililty to "dismiss the entire effort." New York City is set to begin phasing in economic activity June 8th. Statewide hospitalization rates have been ticking down for weeks and the daily death toll has gone from almost 800 in early April to 54 on Sunday.
Both protesters and police on hand for Sunday afternoon's Black Lives Matter demonstration in Dow Park agree that more training would help police deal with the African-American community better. Members of the Jamestown Police and Chautauqua County Sheriff's Departments go through some training to help defuse tense and volatile situations. However, during a 50-minute long back-and-forth between protesters and city officials... one man whose lived in Jamestown most of his life said the training JPD received... two-times a year for a few hours, is not enough. Police Chief Harry Snellings says he would like to see more training done, but, says the state doesn't require anymore than they receive.
Preliminary plans have been announced for an "in-person" graduation for Jamestown High School's Class of 2020 at Strider Field on Thursday, June 25th. In a printed release Monday... Principal Dana Williams says the ceremony would adhere to safety requirements for social distancing and limits on gatherings of more than 10 people. Williams says they will soon be providing more specific details to students and families about the ceremony... including scheduled times for students and families to go to Strider Field, and get their diploma.
A Panama woman faces Driving While Intoxicated charges following a motor vehicle accident in Ashville last Sunday morning. Sheriff's deputies responded to the scene of property damage accident on Kortwright Road -- between Hoag and Cherry Hill Roads -- about 5:30 AM. On arrival... officers say they found a vehicle on it's side in a ditch with a single occupant. The driver was not hurt, and wasidentifed as 34 year-old Emily Kunselman. She was taken into custody and later released with appearance tickets for Harmony Town Court.
Passions ran high at times... but, overall... some 200 people were at Dow Park in Jamestown yesterday to peacefully protest the police-involved killing of a black man in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Local Activist Shiloh Smith led the chants to protest the death of 45 year-old George Floyd after an officer put his knee into the man's neck for nearly nine-minutes during a recent incident.
Some local ministers and pastors were in the audience, and not all were from the city. Pastor Roy Ferguson from Busti says it's up to white Americans to stand with their African-American neighbors -- and other minorities -- to effect change. Smith, Ferguson and others urged protesters to use their voices to promote change that will lead to more minority police officers, and that the officers would be in the community more to better understand the issues facing them.
Several of the protesters had the change to speak with Jamestown city leaders for nearly 50-minutes during Sunday's protest. Shiloh Smith asked Police Chief Harry Snellings about the filling of three open positions currently open at JPD. Snellings says they are bound by Civil Service requirements to hire off that list. However... he says they more minorities need to apply and take a test. Snellings takes part in the Criminal Justice program at BOCES... and, says he encourages students to take part.
Snellings said there are currently two minority members of JPD's rank-and-file. Mayor Eddie Sundquist was on hand, and said it was "huge" to have so many city officials and others on hand to hear people's concerns... and, begin addressing them. Some city council members -- including Council President Tony Dolce -- were also on hand. Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone also talked with protesters.
There were three new cases of the COVID-19 Virus reported in Chautauqua County over the past weekend... with one added on Sunday. County Executive P-J Wendel says the new case is a man in his 60s... and, that brings the total number of confirmed cases in the county to 85. Of those... Wendel says 21 cases are currently active... and, they continue to recover under orders of the Local Health Director. One person is reported hospitalized... while 60 have now recovered. Wendel says 241 other cases are under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored. He adds that there have now been 3,126 negative test results to date.
A Panama woman was arrested for impaired driving and using a cellphone at the time of a motor vehicle crash in Ashville yesterday. Sheriff's Officers responded to the property damage accident on Kortwright Road -- between Hoag and Cherry Hill Roads -- about 5:30 AM... and on arrival, found a vehicle on it's side in a ditch with a single occupant. Deputies say the driver was uninjured and identifed as 34 year-old Emily Kunselman. She was found to be driving while intoxicated and taken into custody on additional charges of DWI per se and move from lane unsafely. She was later released with appearance tickets for Harmony Town Court.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill granting death benefits to the families of police officers, public health workers and other front-line workers who have died of the coronavirus. The governor signed the bill at his daily briefing on Saturday. The bill passed by state lawmakers provides an accidental death benefit that is more substantial than the regular death benefit that public workers' families receive.
Four dogs were killed in a weekend house fire in the north county town of Dunkirk. Sheriff's deputies say fire crews were called to the scene at 10-789 South Roberts Road shortly after 11 AM Saturday... and found heavy fire coming from inside the home. County Fire Investigators say the blaze originated in an unoccupied bedroom due to an over loaded electrical strip in close proximity to combustible materials. No one was hurt... but, the local Red Cross responded to assist the family.
Fire damage was confined to a back-porch on a house under renovation on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott... near the city line. Celoron Fire Chief Jordan Bailey says crews were called to the scene at 490 Fairmount just before 9 PM Friday, and found the porch on fire. Bailey says they called in Lakewood fire crews to assist, and had the fire out quickly. He says crews were at the scene until about 11 PM. He says the Chautauqua County Fly-Car, Lakewood-Busti and Ellicott Town Police were also called to the scene. The Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team has determined the fire originated on a rear porch due to spontaneous combustion of chemical soaked rags in a tightly confined area.