Local News Headlines Archives for 2020-12

News Headlines for Thurs., Dec. 31, 2020

County set's new daily highs for deaths and hospitalizations Wednesday...
Chautauqua County has set new daily highs during the COVID-19 pandemic with three new deaths... and, the most hospitalizations reported in one day.  The county's Health Department reported Wednesday the new deaths are a person in their 40s... and, two others who are 70 and older.  That brings the total during the pandemic to 32.  Officials say there are 70 new cases of the coronavirus... bringing the local total to 3,566.  There are 17 new cases in Dunkirk, and 14 in Jamestown.  Officials add there are now 457 active cases... and, 43 of those are now hospitalized.  In addition... there are now 3,077 cases that have recovered.


Cattaraugus County reports 80 new cases, two deaths from COVID...
There are two new deaths to report in Cattaraugus County over the past day from COVID-19.  The health department in Olean says they are a 70 year-old woman, and a 75 year-old man.  That brings that county's total to 47 deaths.  Officials say there were 80 new cases on Wednesday... bringing the local number to 2,486.  There are now 497 active cases... and, 46 are hospitalized.  One-thousand-936 have now recovered.


Reed discusses recently approved COVID-19 Relief bill with business, education other leaders...
Regional business and other leaders have gotten more details about what's in the nearly $900-billion COVID-19 Relief bill recently approved by Congress, and signed by President Trump.  Local Congressman Tom Reed held a Zoom conference Wednesday morning to high-light what's in the massive bill.  The Corning Republican also talked about what's not in the bill... but, will likely be on the horizon.  One of those items is local, state and tribal relief.  Reed says the legislative text has been put together, and has bi-partisan support.  He says he anticipates that part of the legislation to be looked at when the new Congress convenes after the beginning of the year... along with liability for businesses concerned about possible lawsuits.  The Congressman also talked a lot about the $284-billion dollar Payroll Protection Program part of the legislation... which he says will help both workers... and, businesses.  Reed says that's especially the case for restaurants.  Members of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce were among those on Reed's Zoom Conference call.


Borrello discusses legislative goals for 2021...
Chautauqua County's representative in the New York State Senate says 2021 will be a very challenging year.  But... Republican George Borrello says getting the 57th District... and, the state as a whole... back on track will be a major priority.  Borrello says he's optimistic now that a vaccine for COVID-19 is now being made, and distributed.  He says that's especially for Chautauqua County and the entire district.  The Sunset Bay Republican says the re-election of Senator Rob Ortt of Niagara Falls as Senate minority leader is a positive.  Borrello says he's pleased with the leadership of the conference... which he says has a strong "Upstate New York" presence.  Borrello was recently elected to his first, full, two-year term in the State Senate.


NYS says COVID exposed, asymtomatic individuals can spend less time in quarantine...
Asymptomatic individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 can now end their quarantine after 10 days in New York under new guidance the governor announced Tuesday.  That's down from the 14-day period recommended since the pandemic began.  New York and other states have eased their guidance in light of guidance released earlier this month by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Governor Andrew Cuomo said individuals exposed to the virus can now end their quarantine after 10 days without a test as along as they experienced no symptoms during the quarantine period.


Wolf to allow some restrictions expire in COVID-19 lock-down...
Pennsylvania's governor is letting additional restrictions that were imposed almost three weeks ago to combat the pandemic expire as expected on Monday morning.  Democratic Governor Tom Wolf on Wednesday announced the end of the temporary measures during an afternoon news conference.  As of Dec. 12, Wolf temporarily halted school sports and other extracurricular activities, closed gyms, theaters and casinos, and banned indoor dining at restaurants in response to the worsening pandemic.  Other pandemic mitigation restrictions remain in place.


Fugitive arrested in Falconer...
A man sought by the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force and Ellicott Town Police is under arrest after begin found at a location on West Main Street in Falconer.  City Police say Bobby Hunt was wanted by the U-S Marshals Fugitive Task Force on a charge of violating his Federal Supervised Release.  Police got a tip that Hunt was believed to be in the Jamestown, and Chautauqua County areas earlier this week, and he was arrested Tuesday afternoon.


Former principal Clark, Barone, pass away... 
The man credited with turning a 'raucous' inner city high school, and a prison into model institutions has died.  Former Eastside High School Principal Joe Clark was credited for the 180-degree turn at the New Jersey school.  Clark had died at age 82.  He addressed a President's Roundtable at Jamestown Community College in 2004... and, talked about his upbringing, military career, and then a seven-year stint at Eastside... a school ravaged by drugs and violence.  He admitted to us it wasn't easy, but, believes he was destined to turn the school around.  Clark became controversial after he expelled 300 students for different violations during his first week.  He also was known for carrying a bat and bullhorn with him. 
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Also... a long-time friend of the Media One Group stations... retired Lakewood-area pharmacist... Tony Barone has passed away at the age of 86.  Tony was a long-time friend of late WJTN morning man, Jim Roselle.  He was known for dropping in on Jim's "Dew Drop Inn" part of his show.  Arrangements are being handled by the Lind Funeral Home.

News Headlines for Wed., Dec.30, 2020

UPMC Chautauqua has administered more than 250 COVID-19 Vaccines now...
More doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are being administered at UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown in the effort to get all front-line workers, and the vulnerable, vaccinated.  That from the hospital's Vice-President of Operations, Cecil Miller, who says they got the inital shipment of 900 doses about a week ago.  Miller said Tuesday they had already given about 250 initial doses so far.  He says they've given out 219 doses to front-line nurses and doctors, and 21 others in Alster EMS.  More doses were given to eligible community members starting yesterday.  Miller adds that, unless you are an employee of UPMC Chautauqua, you will have to set up and appointment to get the second dose in about four weeks.  The employees will be scheduled internally.  Several other locations... including the Heritage Ministries skilled nursing facilities... and, Lutheran have also been administering shots.  Miller says there have been no bad reactions reported from the shots.


Chautauqua County reports 81 new COVID cases on Tuesday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 81 new cases of COVID-19 over the past day... bringing the total locally to nearly 3,500.  Officials say there have been 3,496 cases to date... and, 441 of those are currently active.  There are 23 new cases in Dunkirk... and, 19 in Jamestown.  Officials say 38 people are currently hospitalized... and, 3,026 have now recovered.


Cattaraugus County reports 68 new COVID cases... 
There are 68 new cases of COVID-19 in Cattaraugus County from Tuesday.  The county Health Department reports there are now 2,407 total cases so far... and, 455 are now active.  There are 37 people hospitalized... and, 45 deaths so far.  Cattaraugus also reports 1,905 have now recovered from COVID-19.


Cuomo announces new guidance reducing time in quarantine...
Asymptomatic individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 can now end their quarantine after 10 days in New York under new guidance the governor announced Tuesday.  That's down from the 14-day period recommended since the pandemic began.  New York and other states have eased their guidance in light of guidance released earlier this month by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Governor Andrew Cuomo said individuals exposed to the virus can now end their quarantine after 10 days without a test as along as they experienced no symptoms during the quarantine period.


Salvation Army Kettle Campaign raises nearly $150,000...
The Salvation Army of Jamestown will be well positioned to help those in need in 2021.  On Tuesday... Major Kim Merchant told our Dennis Webster and Russ Diethrick the 'Red Kettle Campaign' greatly exceeded its goal of $115,000... raising just over $149,000.  In addition, the Jamestown effort will benefit from an unknown benefactor, who will be doubling the money raised from kettle campaigns throughout the Northeast.  Major Merchant believes the extra money will allow the Salvation Army to help people weather the pandemic and get back on their feet.  She says that will take time... especially for people who live paycheck to paycheck.  Major Kim, and her husband... Major John Merchant... expressed deep thanks to all the people in the community who pitched in to make the kettle campaign such a great success.  


Jamestown looking at $1-Million shortfall in 2020...
The city of Jamestown is on-track to end fiscal year 2020 with a $1-million deficit.  That from Comptroller Ryan Thompson... who says if the city doesn't not receive it's additional $1-million dollars in general state aid... that shortfall could be higher.  Members of the City Council were briefed prior to Monday night's voting session on the city's "over and under" for the year.  Thompson says he's already anticipating a reduction in state aid for the year... and, says that includes an anticipated 20-percent cut in the $1-million in additional aid.  He told lawmakers the biggest area they were "over" on was city employee salaries.  He adds that this also includes the $1.15-million reduction in expenses the City Council approved earlier this year... due to expected losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Once the year is complete... Thompson and the city's new third-party auditor will review the final figures.


Borrello votes no to Eviction and Foreclosure Act after amendment fails...
Local state legislature representatives voted against the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act after trying to amend the measure.  That from State Senator George Borrello... who says "as currently written, this legislation is so deeply flawed, I had no alternative other than to vote no."  Borrello says the measure would cause further financial damage by denying revenue to property owners without even requiring a tenant to provide some kind of proof of financial difficulty."  The change proposed would add provisions... includling one to require a tenant to meet a hardship income threshold, similar to what is in place in California... and, require a tenant to make smaller rent payments each month.  The legislation was approved in both the Senate and Assembly.  Local Assemblyman Andy Goodell also voted no on the measure.


Two escape serious injury in Conewango rollover accident...
Two people had to be rescued from their partially submerged car after it crashed into a ditch in Cattaraugus County... and, rolled onto it's side.  Sheriff's Deputies in Little Valley were called to the scene on Route 62 in Conewango shortly before 6 pm last Saturday... and, found both occupants inside the vehicle.  Officers and local rescue crews freed the pair from the vehicle, and they were evaluated at the scene.  Deputies say both signed off on any further treatment.  Neither occupant was identified, and no charges were filed. 

  


   

News Headlines for Tues. Dec. 29, 2020

County reports 293 new COVID-19 cases from long Christmas Holiday weekend...
There are nearly 300 new cases of the COVID-19 Virus reported in Chautauqua County since Christmas Eve... with 293 total during the four-day period.  The county Health Department said Monday that brings the total number of confirmed cases since the pandemic began to 3,415.  Officials say there were 75 new cases reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  There were 39 reported in Dunkirk... and, 35 in Frewsburg.  In addition... there were 19 in Fredonia... 18 in Lakewood... 14 in Ripley... and, 11 in Forestville.  Health officials add there were two new deaths during the time period... bring the local number to 29.  There are now 399 active cases... with 35 people hospitalized.  There are now 2,987 cases that have recovered.


Cuomo says more COVID vaccines to be administered this week, and announces order regarding vaccine fraud...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a crackdown on potential vaccine fraud as his state hopes to provide an initial vaccine dose to nearly 400,000 people by the week's end.  Cuomo has touted his state's vaccination efforts... even as the nation as a whole is short of reaching the federal government's goal of injecting 20-million Americans with the first dose by the end of December.  So far... the Democrat says 140,000 doses have been administered in the state.  He says there will be another 259,000 doses administered by the end of the week.  Cuomo says the new batches of the vaccine will be given out according to how many people are eligible during this phase in each region.  He says that would allow distribution of 64,500 vaccines in Western New York.  In addition... Cuomo said providers who engage in fraud to obtain vaccines could face up to $1-million fine and the loss of all state licenses under an executive order he planned to sign Monday.


City Council approved recycling changes eliminating glass, and changing time items can be left for pick-up...
The Jamestown City Council has approved a local ordinance amending the city's code to stop recycling glass... and, changing the time recyclables can be put curbside.  During their final voting session of the year last night... lawmakers approved the changes 8-to-1 with Democrat Tamu Graham-Reinhardt casting the lone "no" vote.  Graham-Reinhardt says she's "very disappointed" the Board of Public Utilities Solid Waste Division will no longer pick up glass... but, adds she understands it's a cost issue.  Graham-Reinhardt also urged residents to take glass to the county's transfer stations... one of which is in Falconer.  The price for recycling glass has spiked downward... due in part to China no longer taking the recyclable.  The BPU recently made the decision... but, council also had to act on it.  Democrat Marie Carrubba thanked the BPU, and Mayor Eddie Sundquist, for allowing recyclables to be put out starting at 4 pm.  Carrubba says it will help older residents not have to worry about putting items out curbside after dark. 


Jamestown unveils new program allowing residents to pay taxes on-line...
The city of Jamestown has officially unveiled a new way for taxpayers to pay property taxes in the new year -- in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says property owners may now go online to pay taxes... in addition to paying in person at the Municipal Building, or mailing in tax payments.  Sundquist says they have an agreement with 'MuniciPAY' which allows for the third-party processing of credit card and eCheck payments.  He says the service comes at no cost to the City.  He says "we wanted to give a contactless way during the pandemic for property owners to pay their tax bill."  Sundquist adds there is a 2.65-percent credit card fee... and, the eCheck option will cost a flat $1.50 fee.  He says they're hoping to add more features to the program so others... like dog licenses... can be renewed or applied for on-line.  For more information... call the city treasurer's office at 483-7512.


State legislature approves Eviction freeze...
New York will freeze evictions and certain foreclosures for two months under a bill the governor said Monday he plans to sign.  Renters who are facing pending evictions or who face evictions in the next 30 days... would be protected from eviction for at least 60 days.  The law would also suspend evictions until May 1st for anyone who submits signed paperwork stating they've faced hardship amid the coronavirus pandemic.  It would also make it harder for banks to foreclose on smaller landlords who say they are facing similar hardships.


Fredonia man pleds guilty to federal drug charge...
A north county man has admitted to a federal charge of trafficking crack-cocaine in the Dunkirk-Fredonia area.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 47 year-old Nathaniel Gates of Fredonia entered the plea before U-S District Court Judge John Sinatra, Junior to one count of possessing with intent to distribute, and distributing, 28 grams or more of crack cocaine.  Prosecutors say the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force... and, federal DEA... began investigating Gates in April of 2015.  They later made three controlled purchases of narcotics from Gates... who was later arrested during a raid.  Kennedy says the charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum of 40 years in prison.


 

News Headlines for Tues., Sept. 24, 2019

Watch for slippery roads in some places this morning...
Watch for slippery road conditions this morning if you are traveling to work or shop.  There are a number of mainly elevation-sensative slick road conditions caused by ice on roads, and some overnight rain and drizzle.  The Chautauqua County Sheriff's office is reporting some cars sliding off the roads in spots.  One of those locations is Southwestern Road in West Ellicott near the intersection with Hunt Road. 


NY Forward reports at least 75 new COVID Cases in Chautauqua County since Christmas Day...
There are at least 75 new cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County since Christmas Day being reported.  That from the state's New York-Forward website... which reported last night the county has now had 3,175 cases of COVID.  At last word... there were a total of 26 COVID-related deaths in the county.  In Cattaraugus County... there were 32 new cases Sunday... with 2,296 total so far.  The county is now reporting several new deaths since Christmas Eve.  That number increase from 38 to 45.  Cattaraugus now had 536 active cases... while 1,715 have now recovered.


JPS confirms Seven New Cases of COVID in the district...
The Jamestown Public Schools are reporting seven new COVID-19 cases over the holiday period... but, none are believed to be related.  Spokeswoman Cathy Panebianco says the new cases include a student at Fletcher Elementary School, two staff members at Fletcher... two staff members at Ring Elementary School... a student at Jefferson Middle School, and a staff member at Jefferson.  Panebianco says any in-school close contacts have been notified. 


Reed, Problem Solvers, express relief after President signs COVID-19, omnibus spending bills...
Members of the bi-partisan Congressional Problem Solver's Caucus... co-chaired by local Congressman Tom Reed... are expressing relief over President's Trump's signing of the emergency COVID-19 Relief, and emergency spending bill.  Reed and fellow co-chair Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey... say "help will finally get to millions of struggling American families, small businesses, and communities. We are proud of the critical role that the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus played, working alongside our Senate partners, to help make this possible."  That group has formed the new bi-partisan, bicameral group that provided the framework for the nearly $900-billion COVID-19 Relief bill signed by the president last night.  In addition to Reed and Gottheimer... Senators Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, and Dick Durban are part of the "908 Coaltion."


Reed highlights issued with COVID, and spending bills to end confusion...
Chautauqua County's Congressman is emphasizing that the nearly $900-billion COVID Relief Bill and the $1.4-trillion Omnibus Spending Bill are two different bills that were acted on at one time last week.  There's been outrage among many that that foreign spending is included in what's been described as "the COVID Bill."  Corning Republican Tom Reed says this was all part of the negotiations involving the Trump Administration, and Republican and Democratic leaders.  He says Democrats pushed the foreign spending items.  During an interview late last week on CNN... Reed and fellow Problem Solver's Caucus co-chair Josh Gottheimer said they were "blindsided" by President Trump's threatened veto of the nearly 5,600 page legislation.


"Lights on Winsor" originator John Fuchs says this might be the displays final year, receives Carlson Award...
The his could be the final week for the annual holiday show 'Lights On Winsor.'  John Fuchs, creator of the show, says the lights will be on every night through this Friday.  Fuch says he's now 75 years-old, and revealed that -- a few years ago -- he decided this would be the last year for the show.  Because of some health issues, Fuchs got help from his son Christopher in putting up the lights this year.  That could mean the program will go on in future years, but it's not certain.  The show, in the 600 block of Winsor Street in Jamestown runs beginning around 4:30 pm to 11 pm.  It involves music from a low power FM transmitter and thousands of computer controlled lights on John's home that's all syncronized.  Fuchs won the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation's Axel Carlson Award earlier this year... and there's been heavy traffic ever since.  


Honest John's set to open new location on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott...
The Pizza Hut franchise closed all of it's Jamestown-area restaurants as the COVID-19 pandemic was hitting... but, the former location in West Ellicott will be getting a new pizzeria soon.  Ellicott Town Supervisor Pat McLaughlin says he's pleased to see Honest John's opening a new, second location at 995 East Fairmount Ave.  McLaughlin says that will replace the Pizza Hut location... and, adds they welcome Owner John Raymond "with open arms."  Raymond opened Honest John's at 1245 East Second St. in Jamestown about four decades ago... and, has had a very successful business there.  Earlier this month on Facebook... Raymond announced he was opening the new location with Austin Alonge as his General Manager there.  A January opening is anticipated.


Fredonia Home damaged in Christmas Eve fire is demolished...
A home that was heavily-damaged by fire in the village of Fredonia last Thursday morning was condemned and demolished because it's "structural integrity" was compromised.  Fredonia firefighters were called to the scene at 14 Forest Place just before 4:30 am, and found everyone had been safely evacuated from the building.  County fire Investigators determined the blaze was caused by an unmaintained electric multi-strip covered with debris in the home's kitchen.


 

News Headlines for Thurs. Dec. 24, 2020

Mayville water customers can drink their water again...
There's good news on this Christmas Eve for customers of the village of Mayville's Public water system.  The Do Not Drink Advisory has now been discontinued.  Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says this morning that the water can now be used for drinking, food preparation and all household uses.  Schuyler says through coordination between the village, county and state Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health, they've been able to ensure a new water source for the Village -- Well #4.  That's now on-line and providing clean water to Village residents.  She says water testing has confirmed Well #4 has no detectable levels of the contaminant PFNA.  The village residents and water customers are commended for their cooperation during this emergency.


"Very Changeable" weather during next day for Chautauqua County and Western NY...
The weather will be "very changable" over the next day or so across Chautauqua County... especially in the north county area.  We are under a Winter Storm Warning beginning at 7 o'clock tonight through 7 pm Saturday.  Forecaster Jon Hitchcock with the National Weather Service in Buffalo says we'll see rain and wind first with a high near 50 this afternoon.  Hitchcock says a cold front will move through the area beginning later in the afternoon... bringing rain, snow and possibly freezing rain through mid evening.  That will change to all snow overnight, with most places will seeing 4 to 6 inches of general snow before Lake Effect moves in.  He adds that many places will see several more inches of snow through Saturday night.  Hitchcock says the Lake Effect Snow will probably begin to taper down about mid-afternoon Saturday... and, should wrap up by about mid-evening Saturday.


House fire in Fredonia under investigation...
Three fire departments were called to the scene of a house fire in the village of Fredonia early this morning.  The fire on Forest Place near West Main Street was first reported around 4:30 am.  Everyone was reported out of the structure when they arrived.  That from Chautauqua County Emergency Dispatchers... who say firefighters from East Dunkirk and Sheridan assisted Fredonia.  Chautauqua County Emergency Services was also called in... along with fire investigators late this morning.


AAA has safety tips for people traveling during the Christmas Pandemic-period...
Nearly 85-million Americans are expected to travel between now and January 3rd.  That's down 30 percent from last year, but much higher than expected.  AAA of Western and Central New York is offering tips for those who have chosen to travel during the pandemic.  Brian Murray says when flying, make sure to bring the hand sanitizer with you.  Murray says hand sanitizer is allowed on planes, and you should wipe down common areas you'll be using as you are seated.  More travelers are expected to hit the highway during the holidays.  April Engram recommends planning ahead, and says if you travel by car, check restrictions in different states you may be stopped in.  Those making road trips will enjoy gas prices that are down about 19 percent from 2019.


Chautauqua County reports 54 new COVID Cases on Wednesday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 54 new cases of the COVID-19 virus in Chautauqua County over the past day... and, three duplicate cases have now been removed.  Health officials say there are now 3,058 confirmed cases... and, there are still a total of 26 deaths with one new death over the past day.  County officials say 22 of the new cases are in Jamestown... but, no other zip code area was in double figures.  There are now 377 active cases... and, 2,655 have now recovered.  Officials add that 37 people are now hospitalized.


Fund raising continues for new Hospice House in Lakewood...
They have exceeded their initial campaign goal... but, Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care still needs donations for the Star Hospice House.  Campaign Co-Chairs... Bert and Mary Rappole... spoke about the need Wednesday.  Bert Rappole says the pandemic is having an impact on building costs... driving those up.  Rappole says materials have seen a 30-percent increase in price during COVID-19.  Mary Rappole says "every dollar really has value" in a fund-raiser like this.  She says people have been giving large, and smaller amounts.  The Star Hospice House, which is taking shape on West Fairmount Avenue in Lakewood, honors legacy gift donors Stanley and Elizabeth Star.


NYS looking at allowing 6,700 fans attend a Bills home play-off game...
The New York health commissioner is considering whether to allow 6,700 fans to attend a Buffalo Bills home playoff game if all attendees are tested for the coronavirus beforehand.  But... Governor Andrew Cuomo and a spokesperson for the Bills say nothing has been finalized yet.  The playoffs begin the weekend of January 9th... but, the date of the game isn't set.  Health Commissioner Howard Zucker says he's worried about encouraging post-game and pre-game events that could cause COVID-19 spikes of their own.  And the idea is getting pushback in a region hit hard by an uptick in recent months.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!


 

 

News Headlines for Wed. Dec. 23, 2020

One new death, 65 new cases of COVID reported in Chautauqua County...
There's a new death to report the past day in Chautauqua County from the COVID-19 Virus... bringing the local number to 26.  The county's Health Department also reports 65 new cases... putting the total since the pandemic began... to 3,007.  County officials say 20 of those cases are in Jamestown... and, 10 are in Dunkirk.  There are now 382 active cases... while 2,599 have now recovered.  Officials add that 35 people are now hospitalized.


Twenty-six new COVID cases reported in Cattaraugus County...
There are 26 new cases of COVID-19 in Cattaraugus County... putting that county's total to more than 2,100 now.  Health officials say there are now 2,108 confirmed cases... and, 35 people are currently hospitalized with the virus.  There are 467 active cases... and, 1,603 have now recovered.


COVID-19 Relief package not perfect... but, Reed says passage in Congress is good news...
Several of local Congressman Tom Reed's main priorities are addressed in the nearly $900-billion federal COVID Relief package  approved late Monday night by the House and Senate.  During his weekly conference call with regional media... Reed sounded tired... but, pleased with the effort to get the massive bill to the finish line.  One of his major priorities was to get the 325-billion dollars in Payroll Protection... and, small business support.  He says PPP is receiving $284-billion alone to help those industries most hard hit by the virus.  Among those businesses that would qualify for that money are restaurants... many of which are barely holding on due to shut-downs... and, limited seating.  Reed says he's also pleased to have $82-billion allocated to help schools.  He says K-12 Schools will get $65-billion... with higher education getting the rest.  He adds $5-billion will come to New York schools.


UPMC announces closing of Hillman Cancer Center in Jamestown...
The UPMC Hillman Cancer Center radiology oncology practice at UPMC Chautauqua at 51 Glasgow Ave. in Jamestown has closed... and, will no longer see patients.  In a printed press release... UPMC officials would only say patients can continue to receive care at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Erie, Pennsylvania.  Officials say the closest non-UPMC radiation oncology center is Cancer Care of Western New York at 117 Foote Ave. in Jamestown.  Patients with questions about these changes should call UPMC at 664-8670.


Borrello, other lawmakers, hold press conference calling on Gov. to keep Gowanda Correctional Facility open...
A group of state and local officials, along with union representatives, held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to reverse New York State's decision to close the Gowanda Correctional Facility in 2021.  State Senator George Borrello, one of the participants, says Cuomo still has time to reverse the decision on the closing, which is slated to take place by the end of March.  Borrello says crime has been spiking, and violence in prisons has increased.  The Sunset Bay Republican adds that the closing will have a major impact on the local economy, including the loss of more than 600 jobs.  State Senate Republican Leader Robert Ortt of Niagara County... Assemblyman Joe Giglio of Gowanda... and State Senator Patrick Gallivan of Erie County were also among those in attendance.


Winter Storm Watch to take effect Christmas Eve night...
It'll be somewhat last minute, but a 'very white' Christmas is headed for Chautauqua County.  The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch starting 7 pm on Christmas Eve.  Meteorologist Dave Zaff with the Buffalo office says rain will change to snow late in the day Thursday.  Zaff says they're now looking initially at 1 to 4 inches of snow, and we'll transition to more Lake Effect Snow later into Christmas Day.  After that first burst... Zaff says the accumulation prediction is less certain... but, it could be anywhere between 7 and 12 inches more of snow.  The 'Winter Storm Watch' will end on Saturday at 1 pm, but Zaff believes the lake effect could linger into Sunday.  Driving caution is advised throughout the Christmas period.  


The Salvation Army of Jamestown now just $10,000 short of Red Kettle Campaign goal...
Major Kim Merchant of the Salvation Army in Jamestown says this year's Kettle Campaign is a 'Christmas Miracle."  She says they have now made $105,000 of their $115-thousand goal with just over a day left.  Merchant says the drive started out slowly... but, has seen a surge in donations just over the past week... a few large ones, and many smaller ones.  She says people are feeling generosity because of the urgent situation.  Merchant says bell ringers are still needed... and, you can phone 664-4108 to learn what kettle stands remain open.  Checks can also be sent to the Salvation Army, 83 South Main Street, Jamestown.  She says the 'territory wide' match remains in place after a generous donor pledged to double all money contributed to kettle campaigns throughout the Northeast.  


 


 

News Headlines for Tues., Dec. 22, 2020

Overnight snow causes slick roads, accident on I-86...
Some tricky road conditions are being reported this morning in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Warren Counties.  We've received about two-inches of wet snow here in West Ellicott.  State Police have responded to a traffic accident that's blocked part of the eastbound lanes on Interstate 86 near the Panama exit.  That was reported about 7:45 this morning.  Police are urging driving caution with temperatures around the freezing mark this morning.


County Health Department reports 199 new COVID-19 cases between Saturday and Monday...
There's been a siginificant spike in new cases of the COVID-19 virus the past three days in Chautauqua County.  Health Department officials say there have been 199 new cases since last Saturday... bringing the local total to 2, 946 cases since the pandemic began.  The most new cases were in Jamestown... which had 48... and, Fredonia had the second most with 22.  Others in double figures include: Brocton with 18... Forestville with 17... Frewsburg 12 and Bemus Point with 11.  Health officials say there are currently 452 actives cases... and 33 people are hospitalized.  They add there have now been 2,469 recovered cases. 


Sundquist says city employees among those part of COVID spike in Jamestown...
Some of those 48 new cases in Jamestown are among workers at City Hall.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist told City Council members during last night's work session -- via Zoom -- that there has been a spike in COVID cases in the workforce at City Hall.  However... Sundquist says the numbers are down after the past weekend.  He says there are three confirmed cases now... but, 14 others are in quarantine and awaiting test results.  Sundquist stressed the need to talk with constituents about the need to social distance, wear masks in public, and only go out when necessary.  He says this recent outbreak has affected all city departments.  He says there is good news as some employees have been able to return to a number of city departments.  Sundquist adds his administration is considering making any city hall visitations next week by appointment only.  Sundquist adds they will only be open a couple of days, anyway.  He says they are continuing to monitor the situation. 


County says new COVID-19 Rapid Testing clinics will be held in Jamestown and Dunkirk starting today...
The Chautauqua County Health Department says there are more free COVID-19 rapid testing in the cities of Dunkirk and Jamestown over the next two weeks.  Officials say testing will be done at the Murphy Training Center at the Dunkirk Fairgrounds today and next Tuesday, Dec. 29th from 9 am to 2 pm.  Testing in Jamestown will be held at the Taylor Training Center at 240 Harrison St. this Wednesday, Dec. 23, and, a week from Wednesday, Dec. 30 from 9 am to 2 pm.  They say the testing is free, and available for Chautauqua County residents.  They encourage individuals who have been exposed and/or those who have symptoms to schedule an appointment.  Appointments are required; walk-in testing is not available.  For more information, and to schedule an appointment... go on-line to chqgov.com/public-health/covid-19-testing-sites... or call 1-866-604-6789.


United Way of Southern Chautauqua County at 83-percent...
The United Way of Southern Chautauqua County is now at 83-percent of it's $1.2-million goal for the 2020 general campaign.  That from United Way Executive Director Amy Rohler... who updated the campaign over the weekend.  Rohler says they are at just under one-million dollars raised.  She says the 28 member agency programs they support are needed now more than ever.  Rohler says children need all the support they can get during a time of on-line, or hybrid learning.  Rohler says they also have programs at the United Way itself that are helped by the campaign.  For more information on making a pledge... she says call 483-1561... text WERISE to 91999... or go on-line to uwayscc.org.


Little Theater to do radio version of "It's a Wonderful Life" on WJTN Christmas Eve...
This Christmas Eve the Lucille Ball Little Theater of Jamestown will present a radio version of "It's a Wonderful Life" on WJTN.  The theater's board president, Jim Foley, says it gives their talented actors a way to perform in the midst of the pandemic... that's shut down all the usual shows.  In addition, radio performances help to keep the public aware of the theater and its needs at a time of no income from ticket sales... and, they've had to rely exclusively, on donations.  The program begins at 7 pm.  Foley adds they've cut expenses everyway they can... and are looking for financial support to help them reopen when the times permit.  Donations can be made through their website or Facebook page.  


Sinclairville woman sentenced to time-served on drug conviction...
A Sinclairville woman has been sentenced to time-served... and, two years supervised release in federal court for trafficking drugs... including Fentanyl. U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. said Monday that 38 year-old Tracy Griffin was convicted recently of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, acetyl fentanyl, fentanyl, and crack cocaine.  She was sentenced by U-S District Judge Richard Arcara.  Prosecutors say that in January of 2019... Griffin and co-defendant Brandon Blackshear conspired to sell those drugs... and, members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force made undercover purchases of crack cocaine twice that month from Griffin and Blackshear.  Blackshear was previously convicted and is awaiting sentencing.  


 

News Headlines for Mon., Dec. 21, 2020

Flames heavily damage house in town of Portland... 
Firefighters from 10 area departments spent several hours battling a blaze that extensively damaged a house in Portland on Saturday.  Portland firefighters responded to the scene at 8644 Church Street shortly after 3 p.m., and were later assisted by crews from Brocton, Westfield, Chautauqua, Dewittville, Fredonia, West Dunkirk, Stockton, Mayville and Ripley, as well as Emergency Services. There were no reports of any injuries, and the Red Cross was called in to assist the residents of the home.  Firefighters were on scene for more than five hours.  County fire investigators are looking into the cause.


City firefighters make quick work of fire on Baker Street last Saturday morning...
Quick work by Jamestown firefighters prevented a kitchen fire on the city's southside from spreading early last Saturday morning... and, causing a lot of damage.  City Fire Battalion Chief Brian Acterberg confirms fire crews were called to 75 Baker St. shortly before 5 a.m., and got the blaze under control fairly quickly.  Crews were at the scene about two-hours.  No one was hurt.  There was no word on extent of damage, and the cause is under investigation.


Chautauqua County nears 2,800 cases of COVID-19... Catt. Co. reports 38th COVID death...
There were 99 new cases of the COVID-19 virus being reported in Chautauqua County last Friday... and another 50 on Saturday.  Unofficially... that brings the number locally to 2,798 confirmed cases.  On Friday... the county Health Department reported that nearly half of the 99 from Jamestown.  The county Health Department reports that 41 were in the 14701 zip code area... and, no other location had double-figures.  Clymer was second with five cases, and several others had four.  Officials say nearly 23-hundred cases have now recovered.  In Cattaraugus County... there is a new COVID-19 related death to report.  The county Health Department says that's the 38th death since the pandemic began.  Public Health officials say there were 18 new cases Sunday... bringing their total to 2,028.  There have now been 1,371 cases that have recovered, and 35 people are currently hospitalized.


County officials warn of COVID-19 Vaccine scams...
Chautauqua County officials are warning the public about a potential scam related to the new COVID-19 Vaccines.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says as the vaccine is rolled out... scammers are acting quickly to get personal and financial information from unsuspecting victims.  Schuyler says the vaccine is being rolled out in phases, and you "cannot pay to get your name on a list to receive the vaccine and you cannot pay for early access."  She adds that they will not be contacting individuals, nor will Medicare, or their insurance company to request information such as their social security number in order to sign them up to receive the vaccine.  She adds that "if an individual contacts you making these promises or requesting this information, stop- it is a scam!"  If you receive such a call... you are encouraged to report it to your local police agency, NY Connects Helpline at 753-4582... you can also contact the Federal Trade Commission reportfraud.ftc.gov/ .


Problem Solvers issue statement on Congressional leadership okay of COVID Relief bill...
Leaders of the Congressional, bi-partisan Problem Solvers Caucus, are looking forward to voting today on the massive, $900-billion  COVID Relief bill.  Co-Chairmen Republican Tom Reed, and Democrat Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, issued a statement late last night stating "what started months ago as bipartisan, bicameral negotiations led by the Problem Solvers Caucus and our Senate partners will now be heading to the House floor.  For the American people, this deal means there’s now some hope on the horizon.”


Reed urges fellow Republicans to recognize "President-Elect" Biden...
Local Congressman Tom Reed is calling on members of his own party to recognize the results of the Presidential election last November 3rd... and, approve the Electoral College vote for Joe Biden as president.  Congress will meet on January 6th to sign off on the results... but, more than 100 Republican lawmakers recently said they would fight the results in Congress.  Reed says he's "very concerned" if these unfounded accusations of voter fraud continues.  He says American has been able "for 200-plus years that we have a transition of power, and we decide settle our disputes at the ballot box."  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recognized Biden as President-Elect after the Electoral College met... and, Biden received 306 votes.  President Trump has continued to push his contention that he won the election... but, Reed says the president has exhausted his legal avenues, and it's time to move on.  He says our constitutional transition of power has to take place.  He adds he supported, and campaigned for President Trump.  However... the Corning Republican adds that we settle things at the ballot box...and we "do not resort to rebellion... we do not resort to insurrection." 


Dunkirk man arrested on drug charges in Pomfret traffic stop...
A north county man faces drug possession charges after he was allegedly found with illegal narcotics during a traffic stop on Route 20 in the town of Pomfret.  Sheriff's officers say they stopped 37 year-old Ezequiel Torres of Dunkirk last week.  Deputies say... while interviewing Torres... they saw a small amount of marihuana in plain view.  Upon further investigation... officers say they also found Torres was in possession of a small quantity of cocaine.  He was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree unlawful possession of marihuana... along with having no headlights nor taillights.  Torres was issued appearance tickets for Pomfret Town Court at a later date.

 


 

News Headlines for Sat., Dec. 19, 2020

City firefighters called to kitchen fire on Baker St. Saturday morning...
Quick work by Jamestown firefighters prevented a kitchen fire on the city's southside from spreading Saturday morning... and, causing a lot of damage.  City Fire Battalion Chief Brian Acterberg confirms fire crews were called to 75 Baker Street shortly before 5 a.m., and got the blaze under control fairly quickly.  Crews were at the scene about two-hours.  No one was hurt.  There was no word on extent of damage, and the cause is under investigation.


County has 99 new COVID cases; 41 in Jamestown...
There are 99 new cases of the COVID-19 virus being reported in Chautauqua County the past day... with nearly half of them coming from Jamestown.  The county Health Department reports that 41 of the cases were in the 14701 zip code area... and no other location had double-figures.  Clymer was second with five cases.  Officials say that brings the number of total cases to 2,748... and, 433 of those are active.  The health department says 31 people are hospitalized... and, 2,290 cases have now recovered.


Borrello voices opposition to state moving fowards on $15 an hour minimum wage...
Reacting to this week's decision by the State Department of Labor to continue the state's $15 per hour minimum wage phase-in... regional State Senator George Borrello believes it will harm Western New York's economy, already struggling from the pandemic.  Borrello said Friday that he "can't think of a worse time as during this pandemic when we see small businesses closing all around us... this is a bad time to be raising the minimum wage."  Borrello also spoke about the increase during an appearance on Fox News Channel early Friday morning on "Fox and Friends First" at 4:20 a.m.


Chautauqua Inst. Board approves plan for "in-person" programing in Summer of 2021...
The Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees has approved a plan for an 'In-Person Experience' in the 2021 summer assembly season.  In a printed release, Institution President Michael Hill says, "this working plan is the result of our team having spent the entire fall consulting experts, learning from the experience of industry colleagues, and observing and analyzing government regulations concerning entities with operations similar to Chautauqua's."  Pending guidance and regulations from state, federal and local government officials... Chautauqua Institution plans to use the open-air Amphitheater as its primary programming venue for all major programs... with reduced capacity if necessary.  More information in expected to follow. 


AAA says Christmas Holiday travel is expected to be down by nearly 30-percent... 
AAA is predicting a 29-percent drop in year-end holiday travel this year... due to public health concerns and travel guidance.  During a video conference late this week... Spokeswoman Elizabeth Carey with AAA of Western and Central New York says they expect the vast majority of Americans to stay home for the holidays... or take a road trip by car.  She says that'll be the "most popular form of travel.  She says it offers people the most convenience, and if they don't feel well or safe in going somewhere, they don't have to.  Carey says the decline is the first time in 11 years -- since 2008 -- that that's happened.  She adds that AAA expects at least 34-million fewer travelers compared to last year's holiday season.  Carey says that would be the lowest travel volume since 2002.  While holiday travel is expected to be down... she says as many as 84.5-million Americans may still travel. 


Upstate NY reports more than 3-feet of snow in some areas from Nor'easter...
The northeastern United States is digging out after a whopper of a storm buried some areas under more than 3 feet of snow. The storm that ended Thursday broke records and left plow drivers struggling to clear the roads as snow fell fast.  Suburban Albany, New York, got 30 inches between 1 and 6 a.m.  Binghamton, New York, got a record 42 inches of snow.  Much of Pennsylvania saw accumulations in the double digits... and, New York City got more from this storm than it did all last winter. 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Dec 18, 2020


A 25th COVID-19 related death has been reported the past day in Chautauqua County... along with 71 new cases of the virus.  That from the county's Health Department... which reports 23 of those were in Mayville... and, 17 in Jamestown.  Health officials say that brings the local total to 2,649... and, 391 are currently active.  The number of people hospitalized has fallen by 2 to 34, and 2,233 have now recovered.
----

The 23 new COVID-19 cases in Mayville are from the County Jail... where a second round of testing was done on Wednesday.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone says... in a press release... that the 23 positive tests came out of 129 tests.  Quattrone adds that their testing... conducted by the county Health Department, and Emergency Services staff... also resulted in one new positive among 23 staff members tested.  Since the first positive case just over three weeks ago... Quattrone says a total of 88 inmates have tested positive... along with 14 correction staff members.


Work is continuing on hammering out the final details of a new, $890-billion to $900-billion, COVID Relief bill that would include direct relief to millions of struggling Americans.  Local Congressman Tom Reed says he's optimistic now that two of the biggest obstacles to approval have been removed, a final bill can be adopted by the end of the weekend.  Reed says that would include more payroll protection... added 300-dollar a week unemployment benefits... and 600-dollar stimulus checks.  He adds there's also money to distribute vaccines.

Reed says the two controversial measures were local and state relief, and some limited liability protection for businesses.  He co-chairs the Problem Solver's Caucus... which intially got stalled talks going earlier this month with a bi-partisan group of Senators... on a $908-billion package.  That proposal was broken into two... with most of the relief in a $748-billion package.  Reed says that was the framework used for the bill now being considered.  He made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with regional media.


The on-going wrangling over whether to include federal aid for local and state government in the next COVID Relief bill has been set aside for the moment.  However... it has drawn the ire of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.  During a recent press briefing in Albany Wednesday... Cuomo called it a "major problem and a disgrace."  The Democrat says with a large-scale vaccination program to be put in place... states need the funding to administer it.  Cuomo has blamed Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for saying there would be no local or state aid in the new stimulus bill because the Democratic states have been mismanaged.  However... the governor says some Republican states were not hard hit like New York when the first wave of COVID-19 began in March.  He says many GOP-led states received a lot of money in the CARES Act... but, needed to get more flexibility to spend it.  He says hard-hit states have run out of money. 


The New York state Court of Appeals has denied a motion by the city of Jamestown seeking to appeal an arbitration panel's ruling giving police officers back wages of more than $800,000.  However... once compounded by time... it could cost the city more than one-million dollars.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who says the motion was denied by the court on Wednesday... and, was announced earlier Thursday.

In April of 2019... the City Council approved the appeal of a 2018 arbitration panel’s decision in favor of the Kendall Club-Police Benevolent Association.  Sundquist says he will talk with the City Council soon about what options are left... if any.  If that's not the case, the officers will get what's been "awarded to them."  The arbitration panel’s split decision called for a retroactive 2-percent pay increase for the police department employees for calendar years 2016 and 2017.  The state's Fourth Department Appellate Division upheld the decision this year, leading to the city filing a motion with the Court of Appeals. 


The attorney representing the Dunkirk Common Council is looking into whether city lawmakers can ban Mayor Willie Rosas from attending future meetings.  That from Councilman-at-Large Paul VanDenVouver.... who commented on the matter after a report that he had banned Rosas from attending all council meetings in 2021. Rosas was removed from Tuesday's meeting, the second time in six months.  The first time happened in a council meeting held on Zoom this past June after a series of heated arguments.

 Add snow days to the list of things that coronavirus has stolen from some children.  Many school systems have said that they intend to have kids continue to learn remotely during big snowstorms this year, robbing kids of those magical days when bad weather granted them an unexpected holiday.  Already the idea of cancelling school in bad weather has been under threat as districts have assigned students their own iPads and laptops that let them do lessons at home.  Now that the pandemic has pushed the practice to a nationwide scale, snow days' days may be numbered.

WJTN News Headlines for Dec 17, 2020

There's been one new death being reported due to COVID-19-related illness in Chautauqua County... along with 43 new cases of the virus the past day.  The county Health Department says that brings the number of deaths to 24... and, the number of total cases to 2,578.  Officials say there are now 385 active cases... and, the number of hospitalizations over the past day have increased by 11 to 36.  Health officials say 2,169 cases have now recovered... and, the seven-day positivity rate is up to 9-percent.

The last part of the first batch of about 87,000 COVID-19 vaccines is being distributed around New York state -- first to front-line doctors and nurses who have been dealing with the pandemic.  During a press conference in Albany Wednesday... Governor Andrew Cuomo gave an update on that... and, noted another 80-thousand are on the way that will go to nursing home residents.  He says the state is providing the vaccine "proportionally" to each region.

In the meantime,  Cuomo says there is still concern over a potential spike in cases over the Christmas and New Year's Holidays.  He says the good news is the positivity and hospitalization rates have fallen in most regions... namely here in Western New York... where the hospitalization rate has fallen to point-04-percent.  Cuomo says the state is working with the various regions in the state to establish "Regional Vaccination Hubs" to get the vaccines distributed.  He emphasized that the shots will be provided by the state at no charge to residents.


The Chautauqua County Legislature has passed a local law that will increase the management salary ranges for county officers and employees by 1.5% in 2021.  The measure passed by an 11-8 vote during Wednesday's monthly meeting, which was held via Zoom.  Legislator Kenneth Lawton of Lakewood says it is a "conservative, prudent" increase that is aimed to stay in line with inflation.  Dunkirk's Robert Bankoski, one of the eight legislators who voted against the measure, says there are too many uncertainties that warrant any raises. The local law will take effect on January 1st.


City police have recovered a pair of illegally possessed hand-guns, and illegal drugs during a pair of early morning raids on Jamestown's eastside Wednesday.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force... and, JPD SWAT Team... executed search warrants at 28 Euclid Avenue, and 8 Pullman Street shortly before 7 AM.  Six people were home at the two locations... but, no arrests have been announced.  However... Samuelson says the two 380-calibur handguns... and, quantities of cocaine... and a heroin/Fentanyl mix were seized.  He says the investigation is continuing... and, charges are expected.


The Red Kettle Campaign for The Salvation Army of Jamestown has nearly reached the half-way point in it's annual drive for this year.  However... Major Kim Merchant says more bell ringers are needed.  Merchant says they are pleased that -- even in a difficult time -- they've been able to fill the majority of their time slots where their stands are located.  Merchant says, in some cases, they just need someone for an hour.  If you don't want to drop some money in the kettle... she says you can also donate with your Smartphone.

Major Merchant tells our Dennis Webster and Russ Diethrick that they are closing in on the amount they need to have to trigger a regional match of one-half of their goal.  So far they have raised nearly $50,000 of their $115,000 goal.  The campaign runs through Christmas Eve.  For more information on the Red Kettle Campaign... call 664-4108.

Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas got kicked out of Tuesday's Common Council meeting -- the second time he has been asked to leave a council meeting this year.  The incident happened during a discussion between council members and Fiscal Affairs Officer Marsha Beach over line items in the 2021 city budget.  Councilman-at-Large Paul VanDenVouver asked Rosas to leave the meeting after he tried to speak up without having permission.  Rosas was removed from a Zoom meeting in June after a series of heated arguments.  In addition... at Tuesday's meeting, council members passed a resolution by a 4-0 vote to override the Mayor's vetoes of four changes that were made to the 2021 budget. 

A Falconer man faces charges for allegedly stalking a person in the Town of Ellery on Tuesday.  Sheriff's Officers were called to investigate at a Beck Road address, and found 46 year-old Steven Michelson allegedly followed the individual to their home.  Deputies say Michelson is accused of following the victim for months for no apparent reason... and, also has a full stay away order of protection against him.  He was taken into custody and released with an appearance ticket for second-degree criminal contempt and fourth-degree stalking. 

WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 16, 2020


While the number of COVID-19 cases continues to spike upward... there is good news this week.  Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says the "emergency approval of a vaccine has instilled hope in many who desperately need to see a light at the end of this pandemic tunnel.”  Schuyler says there will be five-phases to vaccine distribution in the county... and, the rest of New York state.  She says Phase-one will include healthcare workers and Emergency Medical Services personnel in patient care settings... along with Long-term care facility workers and patients.  She says the second-phase will include first responders... teachers and school staff... child care providers... and, essential frontline workers who regularly interact with the public... or maintain critical infrastructure.  Schuyler says people 65 and older are in Phase-three.  Phase-four will will include other workers... and, healthy adults and children are in Phase-five.

There are 59 new cases of the COVID-19 Virus being reported the past day in Chautauqua County... and, two more hospitalizations.  The county's Health Department says there are now 2,536 confirmed cases being reported... and, 433 are active.  Officials say the number of hospitalizations are up from 23 to 25.  The Health Department says now 2,080 cases that have recovered... and, among the new cases... 13 are in Jamestown... and, 11 are in Dunkirk.


There are three more people in the Jamestown Public School district who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus... after four were announced to begin the week.  The district reports the Chautauqua County Health Department said one was a Persell Middle School student who was last in school December 11th.  The second was a Jefferson Middle School student last present on December 7th... and, the third was a High School student last in school on December 8th.  Officials say any close contacts have been alerted.  This comes after four positive cases were reported Monday.  They include a student and staff member at Fletcher Elementary School... a staff member at JHS... and, a district employee last present on December 4th.  None of these cases are related to each other and there were no in-school close contacts.

Jamestown work crews have begun taking down the tall "Cathedral Oak" trees that line West Third Street... a project that may take a couple of weeks to complete.  City Parks and Public Works crews took down some of the "stand-alone" trees Monday... and, nearly 40 more remain.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says there will be some full and partial street closures when workers are taking down the trees.

Sundquist says the weather will be a factor, along with the availability of equipment.  Due to their size... he says it's quite a project to take down one of the oaks.  Sundquist says it won't been until well into 2021 that the city will begin looking at planting new trees. Sundquist thanked the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation for agreeing to help the city buy new trees for the West Third Street corridor.  He says they'll be looking for trees that can hold up in the ground after the oaks are gone -- mainly because of certain secretions that come from the oaks.  Anyone interested in taking wood from the Cathedral Oaks is asked to call City Arborist Dan Stone at 483-7554.

 
The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency has approved a $382,000 loan to the former Rand Machine Products in Falconer for a nearly one-million dollar expansion.  IDA Chief Executive Officer Mark Geise says Premier Precision Machining acquired Rand in October of 2017... and, since then has been growing steadily.  In order to continue their expansion... Geise says Premier has improved and reconfigured their current, 7,000 square foot facility, to the extent possible, to increase both capacity and efficiency.  However... he says they have run out of space and need to expand.  Geise says Premier has increased it's number of jobs from 45 to 126.  Company President Kurt Grimm says the Al Tech Loan will help them with a $953,000 project to also bridge the current main building with a 5-thousand square foot outbuilding on their property.

Fredonia village trustees fill one vacancy on the board... burt, another trustee is leaving her post.  Trustee Kara Christina tendered her resignation to the board during last Monday night's meeting... with the correspondence being read by Village Clerk Annmarie Johnston. Meanwhile, trustees by a 2 to 1 vote approved a resolution filling the vacancy created by last month's unexpected death of Trustee Roger Pacos.  Trustee Roger Britz sponsored the resolution. Trustee Jim Lynden, who presided over last night's meeting, cast the lone vote.  The board also received word of Village Attorney Dan Gard's resignation at the end of the month.

 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has denied a former aide's allegations over the weekend that he sexually harassed her by making inappropriate comments about her appearance.  Cuomo, a Democrat, told reporters the claims former economic adviser Lindsey Boylan made in a series of tweets Sunday were "not true."  In his first comments on the allegations, he said: "I fought for and I believe, a woman has the right to come forward and express her opinion and express issues and concerns that she has.  But it's just not true."  Boylan, who is running for Manhattan borough president, tweeted that Cuomo "sexually harassed me for years."  She added that "many saw it, and watched."

WJTN News Headlines for Dec 15, 2020


Members of the Jamestown City Council have overwhelmingly overriden two vetoes by Mayor Eddie Sundquist in the 2021 budget.  That means the full-time Parks and Recreation Coordinator's position has been eliminated for the coming year.  Lawmakers voted... via Zoom Conferencing... to override Sundquist's veto to bring back the position, 8-to-1.  Only Councilman Brent Sheldon voted "no" on the move.  Council Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says, once the city can begin safely hosting sports, music and other activites again, the position will be brought back.

Ecklund says a big reason why lawmakers decided to furlough the position in the coming year is because Sundquist's budget is assuming little or no parks activity again in 2021.  Council President Tony Dolce also reiterated that, once it's safe to schedule those activites, the position will be brought back.  Council also voted 9-to-nothing to override the veto of the change to the undesignated fund balance... increasing the amount out taken to balance nex year's budget. 


One new COVID-19 related death has been reported from over the past weekend in Chautauqua County... in addition to 174 new cases of the virus.   The county's Health Department says there have now been 23 deaths from the virus... while there are now 2,477 total cases.  Health officials say there are 441 active cases... while 2,013 have now recovered.  The new cases include 43 in Jamestown... 21 in Fredonia... 13 in Frewsburg and 10 in Silver Creek.  Officials say there are 23 people now hospitalized.

The first COVID-19 vaccinations in New York state took place Monday morning in the start of the largest vaccination campaign evef in the U.S.  Health care workers received the first shots.  "Relieved" is the reaction of a critical care nurse who got the first vaccination at a Queens hospital.  I-C-U Nurse Sandra Lindsey received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Northwell's Long Island Jewish Medical Center during a ZOOM conference event hosted by Governor Andrew Cuomo.  Cuomo noted that Northwell was among the hospital's on the front-lines last Spring.

Cuomo also praised Northwell's administration and staff for the work they've done during the pandemic.  The hospital was among those on the front line in treating and helping develop therapies to use on COVID-19 patients.  The quick roll-out of the vaccine was the product of several months of work and research, and the federal government's "Operation Warp Speed."


A bipartisan group of lawmakers has unveiled a formal proposal for COVID-19 relief as Congress searches for a final agreement.  The proposal unveiled Monday includes one bill for $748-billion for small businesses, the unemployed and for schools, along with money for vaccine distribution.  The House Problem Solver's Caucus... co-chaired by local Congressman Tom Reed... had a major hand in crafting the bill.  Reed says a second bill... for $160-billion would go to state and local governments.

The bills also include provisions shielding businesses from lawsuits related to the virus.  However... the path forward is unclear.  Congressional leaders and Trump administration officials are trying to negotiate a final solution to virus relief, and government funding. There's a hoped-for deadline of midnight this Friday to deliver a completed package to President Donald Trump. 

A city man faces a number of charges after allegedly breaking into a home on Jamestown's eastside... and, stealing a number of items inside.  City police were called to a location on Winsor Street about 6 PM Sunday... and, found that 30 year-old Mark Barnhart had broken into the home, stole the property, and fled the scene.  Officers later found Barnhart at a nearby location... and, found a number of the items taken from the Winsor Street address.  They also found a "large amount" of stolen property stashed at another home close by.  Barnhart was arrsted without incident on several charges... including second-degree burglary... fourth-degree Grand Larceny... and, fourth and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.  He was jailed pending arraignment.

More water distributions have been scheduled for customers of the village of Mayville's Water System due to the "Do Not Drink" order due to PFNA contamination.  Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says the next distributions will take place today, December 15th, through Friday, December 18th from 10:30 AM to Noon... and, 4:30 to 6:30 pm at the Town of Chautauqua Public Works Garage at 50 Patterson Street.  Schuyler says an update for the weekend will be developed and announced later this week.  Schuyler says any persons in Isolation or Quarantine for COVID-19 should NOT leave their homes to pick up water.  If there is no one available to bring water to you... she says please call the Health Department at 753-4491.

WJTN News Headlines for Dec 14, 2020

More water distribution has been scheduled for customers of the village of Mayville's Water System today due to the "Do Not Drink" order due to contamination.  Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says that distribution will be held at the Top's Market on South Erie Street from 2:30 PM to 6:30 PM.  Schuyler says Top's has generously donated bottled water for residents... and, it will be available for pick-up in the store's parking lot.  The State Health Department's Dr. Gary Ginsberg says the PFNA found in the water supply is an 'emerging contaminant' that is still being studied.  Ginsburg adds their research shows the contaminant could impact the liver, thyroid and cause developmental delays. Schuyler says any persons in Isolation or Quarantine for COVID-19 should NOT leave their homes to pick up water.  If there is no one available to bring water to you... she says please call the Health Department at 753-4491.  Schuyler adds that all COVID-19 precautions will be taken at the distribution including masking and social distancing. 


Few details were available... but, at last word over the weekend... Chautauqua County's number of COVID-19 cases climbed to 2,323 as of Sunday morning.  In Cattaraugus County... the Health Department reports the 33rd COVID-related death of a resident.  Officials say he was a 24-year-old man who experienced a cardiac event and was unable to overcome his illness despite aggressive medical treatment.


A Jamestown woman faces numerous charges for allegedly driving drunk with four-times the legal limit of alcohol in a property damage accident in the town of Gerry.  Sheriff's officers received a report of a vehicle traveling on Route 60 that had gone off the road... through a lawn -- causing damage... and leaving the scene just after 6 PM last Thursday.  Deputies found the vehicle a short time later, and saw the driver commit numerous additional traffic infractions.  Officers pulled over 45 year-old Bethany Johnson, and arrested her.  Johnson submitted to a chemical breath test which showed her level of intoxication.  She was charged with DWI, Aggravated DWI, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, and numerous other charges.  Johnson was issued appearance tickets for Gerry Town Court at a later date.

Two Wyoming County residents were arrested late last week during a traffic stop in Cattaraugus County for being in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.  Sheriff's officers in Little Valley say they stopped 36 year-old Jennifer Barber of Arcade in the town of Allegany last Friday... and, called they called in the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force to assist.  They found a total of three grams of meth, and the paraphernalia.  Deputies also arrested the passenger, 20 year-old Louis Szabo -- also of Arcade.  Both were issued appearance tickets for fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, second-degree criminal use of drug paraphernalia.  Barber was taken to the Wyoming County Jail on a warrant issued there.

The COVID-19 Protocols put in place by the National Comedy Center in Jamestown have helped to keep the center open... and, the vast majority of visitors say they've felt "safe or very safe."  That from Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson... who also says the head of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center told The Buffalo News they fully-endorsed their "Laugh Safe" protocols.

Gunderson says the Laugh Safe protocols involve taking away the need to touch screens with your fingers.  She adds they also urge visitors to make reservations to tour the Comedy Center so they can safely socially-distance.  Gunderson says their Comedy Shop is also open selling a number of items -- on line or at the store itself -- to make people laugh. In addition... Gunderson also announced a special "Holiday Admission" rate -- beginnnig today -- for Chautauqua County residents.  She says now through January 3rd local residents get 40-percent off the regular admission price.  She says that makes the price about 15-dollars a person.  Gunderson says the Comedy Center... and, "The Comedy Shop" are both open Thursdays through Mondays from 10 AM to 5 PM each day.  For more information on the National Comedy Center... go on-line to comedycenter.org.


New York's Electoral College electors are still set to meet in person despite a surge in COVID-19 cases.  Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that the law requires an in-person meeting and that extra precautions such as testing, masks and social distancing are being taken to prevent the spread of the virus.  President-elect Joe Biden won New York and the state's electors are a group of prominent state Democrats that includes Cuomo, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Letitia James.  Electors will be tested for the virus before convening in the state Assembly chamber at the State Capitol in Albany.  Cuomo said state officials decided against holding the Electoral College meeting virtually because they didn't want to risk the chance of yet more election-related litigation.

Moderate Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney of New York is about to take over the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  And even many progressives say they're ready to give him a chance.  Maloney and his Democratic colleagues face a possible precipice.  Their House majority will be extremely narrow next year... and, they're divided over why they lost seats in last month's elections.  The 54-year-old Maloney will lead their campaign operations in the 2022 elections.  He's an analytical, openly gay moderate who's been an attorney and a businessman.  And he's a five-time winner in a congressional district Donald Trump narrowly carried in 2016 that's north of New York City.

A man who's been essential in the founding and development of the Robert H. Jackson Center is leaving its board of directors. Greg Peterson will step down today. The organization was started 20 years ago today (December 14th) at a meeting in Peterson's law office at Phillips Lytle in Jamestown.  Along with building the center, Greg dedicated himself to capturing the stories of those who'd worked with Robert Jackson at the Supreme Court and the War Crimes Trials following World War Two. Peterson's quick to add he still has projects he wants to complete at the Jackson Center, as he continues to practice law in the Jamestown area. (Robert H. Jackson...  a local native... was a Supreme Court Justice, and Chief Prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.  He died in 1954.)

News Headlines for Sat., Dec. 12, 2020

Chautauqua County sets new record with 110 new COVID-19 cases in past 24-hours...
Chautauqua County has set a new, one-day record for number of COVID-19 cases over the past day with 110.  That from the county's Health Department... which reports that the most cases -- 28 -- were reported in Jamestown.  The new figure also includes the 27 new cases reported at the Chautauqua County Jail.  Officials say 10 were reported in Lakewood... while 8 were reported in Clymer.  There are now 2,303 total confirmed COVID cases in the county... and, 441 are currently active.  Health officials add that 1,840 cases have now recovered... while 23 people are now hospitalized.


Experts discuss issues with PFNA in Mayville Water System... 
Local and state officials took part in a Town Hall meeting the Chautauqua County Health Department held Friday on the 'do not drink' water advisory issued for the village of Mayville water system.  Dr. Gary Ginsberg with the State Department of Health, one of the participants, says PFNA is an emerging contaminant that is still being studied.  Ginsberg says it's being studied in both humans and animals.  But... he also says there is research that shows the contaminant could impact the liver, thyroid and cause developmental delays.   Meanwhile, the State Department of Environmental Conservation's George Heitzman says his agency will be leading the effort to track down the source of PFNA.  That will mainly involve monitoring the system's wells to see if the contaminant is move prevailent in one place over the others.  Until mitigation of PFNA can take place... water customers should not use water for drinking, cooking, food preparation, tooth brushing, or for animal consumption.  PFNA is among the chemicals regulated under new state water standards that were enacted in July.


Fatal House fire in town of Otto blamed on wood stove issue...
One person has died... and, three others were hurt in a fatal house fire in the Cattaraugus County town of Otto Thursday morning.  WKBW-TV reports that Otto firefighters were called to the scene on North Otto Road just before 3 a.m., and, called in mutual aid from several other departments.  Firefighters confirmed a woman was found dead inside the home just after 8 a.m.  The Otto fire chief told Channel 7 that one of the people hospitalized was taken to the Erie County Medical Center... and, two children were taken to Oishei Children's Hospital.  Investigators believe the fire was caused by a wood stove in the home.  The house is a total loss. Two adjacent houses sustained minimal damage.  The fire was brough under control by 5:20 a.m. 


Co-Founder Greg Peterson retiring from RHJ Board...
One of the original co-founders of the Robert H. Jackson Center is retiring from the center's Board of Directors next Monday.  The Jackson Center is announcing this afternoon that Greg Peterson is stepping down after 20 years of "leadership and service."  Peterson is recognized for co-founding the center in 2001... with Elizabeth Lenna and Carl Cappa.  Current Jackson Center President Kristan McMahon says "we are grateful for Greg's leadership and legacy of outstanding community service.  I want to publicly thank Greg for his Board service and for his dedication to Robert H. Jackson and his legacy."  McMahon says they plan to honor Peterson for his work in the new year.


The Comedy Shop opens in past month at National Comedy Center, selling funny merchandise...
"Laughter is more important than ever...." and, with that... the National Comedy Center has launched it's new national hub for comedy-themed products and gifts.  The center opened up "The Comedy Shop" in late November as both an on-line, and "brick and mortar operation.  Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson says they have "all kinds of gifts" to make you laugh... and, are offering "deep discounts" on many items store-wide.  She says if you order by Dec. 18, the products will get to their destination by Christmas.  In addition... Gunderson says all proceeds from sales at The Comedy Shop support the non-profit mission and operations of the National Comedy Center and its museums.  The hours for the National Comedy Center... and, The Comedy Shop at 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day Thursday through Monday.  Gunderson says they are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  For more information on the store... go on line to www.ComedyShop.com.


Fredonia Village Hall closed through Dec. 18 due to COVID-19 case... 
Due to COVID-19... the Fredonia Village Hall will remain closed through next Friday, Dec. 18.  Residents are being asked to utilize the drop box on the Church Street entrance for any payments that need to be made.  The building was closed earlier this week after a village employee tested positive for the virus.

Maple Grove Robotics Team hosting second-annual Holiday Lights Competition...
The Maple Grove Red Dragon Robotics Team is helping county residents get into the seasonal spirit with the second annual Holiday Lights Competition. Maple Grove Computer Science and Technology Teacher Marcus Clark says it's a great way for families and businesses to highlight their holiday lights and decorations.  Clark says we "need some holiday cheer, definately."  Clark says the Holiday Lights Competition was originally started as a fundraiser for the Robotics Club to travel to competitions. However, with COVID-restrictions in place, they are inviting all to join in on the fun. All entries can be emailed to Marcus Clark at mclark@bemusptcsd.org or Mark Dollard at mdollard@bemusptcsd.org. Clark says a winner will be selected on Christmas Day, Dec. 25.

 

 

 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 10,2020


Jamestown Community College officials have announced that all operations are going to a remote format -- starting yesterday -- in order to keep low levels of COVID-19 infections.  With recommendations from JCC's health services team, Officials say the SUNY college is suspending on-campus instruction and campus operations through Wednesday, December 23rd.  Essential personnel will be allowed on campus... and, JCC Support Services including tutoring, academic advising and library services will also be available to students.  College President Daniel DeMarte says "Since cases of COVID-19 are predicted to continue to climb during the holidays, we are doing all we can to protect students and employees."  The SUNY Coronavirus Tracker reports JCC has administered 1,146 tests with two positive test results to date. 


New York's governor said the state could receive its first deliveries of COVID-19 vaccine in the coming days as the pandemic is landing more patients into hospitals across the state, including on Staten Island. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state's eagerly awaiting a vaccine, one of which - the Pfizer vaccine - could receive federal emergency authorization as soon as Thursday. Cuomo described the vaccine as "the weapon that will win the war." Still, he said the general public won't have access to the vaccine immediately. He said the state hopes to use the initial delivery of doses to cover nursing home residents and then staffers.


A new poll shows low-income Americans overwhelmingly support government programs that could end poverty and hunger. Pollsters spoke with more than 800 adults earning less than $50,000  a year, and found those living near or below the poverty line face multiple barriers to getting ahead – barriers made worse by the economic impact of COVID-19. According to Joel Berg, C-E-O of Hunger Free America, more than half of the people polled faced three or more such barriers, and said they want to see government policies that would make it possible to thrive. Berg notes the Heroes Act would provide relief, including raising SNAP benefits. It was passed by the House in May, but hasn't yet made it to the Senate floor for consideration. U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand points out that with so many businesses closed by the coronavirus, thousands more New Yorkers are now lining up at soup kitchens and food pantries to get enough to eat. Gillibrand has joined with Representative Joseph Morelle in introducing the HOPE Act, a bill she says would modernize and streamline access to benefits and services.

The annual drive to make sure Jamestown's largest soup kitchen has enough money, food and supplies for the holiday season will be held late next week.  The seventh-annual Holiday Haul for the St. Susan's Center is being put on by Northwest Arena Executive Director Keith Martin... who says he'll be at the Jamestown Cycle Shop in Brooklyn Square Thursday, December 17th through Saturday, December 19th.  Martin says they'll be observing full COVID-19 protocols during the event.

Martin says they hope to do better than last year... when they raised $12,000 and 5.5 tons of food for St. Susan's.  The Center's Executive Director, Bonnie Scott-Sleight, says this year's fund-raiser is even more than ever. Scott-Sleight, who is in her third-year running the center, says they are current providing 150 to 200 bagged meals a day for local people in need at St. Susan's.  Martin urges people to stop by and make a donation on December 17th and 18th from 6 AM to 6 PM.  On Saturday, December 19th, the hours will be 8 AM to 3 PM.  

A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly violating an order of protection by sneaking his way into her home on the city's southside.  City police were called to a home on Broadhead Avenue about 4:30 PM Monday... and, the unidentified woman said she believed 23 year-old Joshua Verrett was inside.  Jamestown officers were assisted by state Troopers, and found Verrett hiding in an attic crawl space.  He was arrested for second-degree criminal contempt... and, on a warrant for another similar charge.  Verrett was held pending arraignment.

 
Pennsylvania's Secretary of Health is requiring that travelers over the age of 11 entering Pennsylvania from locations outside the Commonwealth, as well as Pennsylvanians who are returning home from locations outside the Commonwealth, produce evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or place themselves in quarantine for 10 days without testing or a 7-day quarantine with a negative test on or after day 5 of quarantine. The state's Department of Health outlined the latest guidance... saying that it does not apply to those traveling to and from Pennsylvania for work... medical reasons, including individuals providing comfort and support to a patient.... and, military personnel. Returning individuals who have traveled outside of the Commonwealth for less than 24 hours are also exempt from the Order. More information is available at Health.PA.gov. 


There won't be a butter sculpture at next month's annual Pennsylvania Farm Show, which had previously been converted to an all-virtual format because of the coronavirus pandemic.  Organizers say that COVID-19 makes the event too risky for the sculptors, the Farm Show staff, and those involved in recording and broadcasting the event.  State officials announced in August that the Farm Show won't be an in-person event, a disappointment for the hundreds of thousands who usually attend the weeklong fair.  The January 9-15th event will be virtual, with the theme of "cultivating tomorrow."  The Farm Show claims - in normal times - to be the country's largest agricultural exposition under a single roof.

WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 9, 2020


The latest death from COVID-19 related illness is being reported... along with 39 new cases... Tuesday by the Chautauqua County Health Department.  The department's COVID-19 Dashboard says the death is the 21st reported so far... and, the additional cases bring the total number to 2,075.  Officials say 13 of the new cases were in Jamestown... and, 6 were reported in Lakewood.  The Health Department says there are currently 320 active cases, and 18 of those are hospitalized.  Officials say 1,734 cases have now recovered.  

State officials are concerned about the surge in COVID-19 cases in Western New York, including Chautauqua County.  That from Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday... and, she says everyone has a role to play in reducing the spread. Governor Andrew Cuomo Monday directed that hospitals increase their bed capacity by 25-percent.  Hochul says they will be watching the hospitalization rates across the state.  She says -- if it appears an area will be at full-capacity within three weeks -- it may have to be shut-down.  Meanwhile... Hochul says she has done more than 500 interviews about the pandemic, and the response to it, since March.  She says it's been a way to keep the public informed about what the Cuomo administration has done.


It's been a difficult school year... but, even with all the upheaval caused by the pandemic... the opening of schools in New York state has gone fairly well this Fall.  At the same time, though, there are still plenty of issues to be addressed.  The first, according to state School Board's Association Director Bob Schneider, is the need for a new federal COVID-19 stimulus bill.  Schneider says the bi-partisan, $908-billion bill being considered, includes 85-billion dollars for schools.  He says they also need money to cover transportation costs that would normally not be covered.

Schneider says there's also the need to address the "digital divide" that's made it difficult for about a quarter of all students to do work remotely.  He says that's especially a problem in underserved, rural areas that don't have broadband capability.  In many cases... schools have had to set up "Wi-Fi" hot spots on campus so children can access the Internet from a parking lot or elsewhere.  Schneider adds that the state is still withholding about 20-percent of each district's state aid because of budget constraints.

The Warren County School District will go to full remote learning -- starting today -- due to increasing cases of COVID-19.  In a video on the district's Facebook page... Superintendent Amy Stewart announced it's "not be because kids are becoming sick... it’s a matter of not having enough staff."  Stewart says kids should have received all the necessary supplies for virtual learning.

The city of Jamestown's arborist says the decision to take down 43 of the "Cathedral Oak Trees" on West Third Street is the hardest decision he's had to make.  Dan Stone went before the City Council Monday night to address his decision to take down all but three of the trees due to safety concerns.  Stone says... when crews had to recently take down three of the older trees... the root system had deteriorated significantly.

Stone adds that they've also seen discolored soil just beneath the surface... indicating rotting in the trunks.  He says work will begin to take down the trees... either late this week or early next.  Stone says they have already received input on what to do with the wood... and, funding for replacement trees. Stone detailed the situation for city lawmakers last night after discussing the matter with the city's Parks, Recreation and Conservation Commission during a special meeting last Thursday.     

The State Department of Transportation has made it official, that major construction has been completed on the $3.7-million roundabout project at the intersection of Routes 20 and 60 in the town of Pomfret.  State DOT Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez yesterday announced the completion of the project, which features a new two-lane roundabout, designed to accommodate large trucks. 

WJTN News Headlines for Dec 8, 2020

There are now more than 2-thousand confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in Chautauqua County after another 153 people tested positive the past three days.  The county Health Department's COVID-19 Dashboard shows there have now been 2,036 cases since the pandemic began... and, there are currently 326 active cases.  Officials say there are currently 17 people hospitalized... and, 1,387 people are under quarantine.  The Health Department reports 1,690 cases have now recovered.  There are still 20 deaths being reported.


Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered hospitals across New York state to increase their bed capacity by 25-percent... and, warns he will curtail indoor dining if hospitalization keeps going up.  Cuomo told reporters in Albany today (Monday) that over 46-hundred COVID-19 patients are now hospitalized statewide... and, that's double the amount reported November 18th.  In addition... Cuomo is asking health care retirees to come out of retirement to relieve the load on doctors, and nurses.

While the state isn't at a "critical" level of COVID-19 patients yet... Cuomo says the continued growth is concerning.  He also announced a new "Surge-Flex" plan to move patients to less crowded hospitals when others reach capacity.  Cuomo is announcing the moves before an expected surge in COVID-19 cases during the holiday season.

 
Chautauqua County's representative in the New York State Senate has tested positive for COVID-19, along with his wife.  Sunset Bay Republican George Borrello says he and his wife, Kelly, were tested on Sunday, and learned they have the virus.  Borrello did not disclose how they got the virus, but, did say "as an elected official whose schedule often involves public interaction, I have made it a point to get tested for COVID-19 as a precautionary measure."  Borrello says "thankfully, we both feel well, we are following the recommendations of our doctors and will be self-isolating at home for 10 days."  He also says that while he did attend public events in the days before learning his status "the the risk of any inadvertent transmission to others is very low, as I was masked and followed social-distancing guidelines.”


Members of the Jamestown City Council are defending their decision furlough the Parks and Recreation Coordinator in the 2021 budget due to COVID-related financial constraints.  That from Council Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund... who says the problem is there will likely be no activities to coordinate -- possibly through 2021 -- due to the pandemic.  Ecklund responded to several letters and other correspondences read at the beginning of last night's work session... supporting keeping the position, and the person in that position -- Julia Ciesla-Hanley.

Ecklund adds that very little money was even budgeted for events the coordinator would be involved in scheduling.  The comments also come a short time after Mayor Eddie Sundquist announced that he had vetoed the elimination of the position.  He said that -- if a vaccine was effective -- events may be able to resume as they would in a normal year."  However... Council President Tony Dolce sounded pessimistic due to the recent spike in cases... and more likely coming. Sundquist also vetoed the amendment to take $436,000 from the undesignated fund balance because the position would be added back to the budget.  Council will have to hold a special meeting for any override vote by December 15th.  A two-thirds majority vote would be needed to override the vetoes.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is warning that the state's hospitals are at risk of being overrun with COVID-19 patients and might have to begin rationing medical care if the rate of spread does not slow.  Wolf says additional pandemic mitigation measures are under consideration, because the ones now in place have not worked.  He did not say what his administration is considering, but the Democrat all but ruled out a return to the kinds of restrictions imposed last spring.

WJTN News Headlines for Dec 7, 2020

Jamestown firefighters were able to make fairly quick work of a fire on the second-floor of a vacant, three-story house on the city's eastside late Sunday afternoon.  City Fire Battalion Chief Don Mowery says crews were called to the scene at 168-and-a-half Chandler Street around 4:30 PM... and, found flames coming from the second-floor of the home.  Mowery says they knocked the bulk of the blaze down within several minutes... and, moved inside to attack what was left. Mowery says no injuries were reported among firefighters... and, an off-duty shift was called in.  The cause is under investigation.


No one was hurt... but, several people had to be evacuated when fire broke out last Saturday afternoon at an Ashville home.  Ashville and other fire companies were called to the scene in Hadley Bay on Route 394 just after 4 PM... and, found that everyone was safely out of the home.  Sheriff's deputies say no one living there, nor firefighters were hurt.  Officers say Chautauqua County fire investigators were called to the scene... and, determined an electrical issue started the fire in the ceiling of the building's basement.


Today is the last day that Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist can veto or sign the 2021 budget adopted last Monday by the City Council.  Sundquist says he's weighing possible vetoes of some of the 16 amendments made by lawmakers to the $34.8-million spending plan.  Sundquist says he could sign the budget... veto it entirely... or veto parts of it.  Sundquist says though, he will allow the main change, which keeps retirees 65 and over on the city's self-insured health care coverage.

Sundquist says his proposal to go with a plan for United Health would save the city $1.1-million. However... the city unions balked at the move, saying it should be negotiated as part of their contracts.  Sundquist also agrees that employees need to be educated on the proposal... and, it should be negotiated.  However... he says couple of the personnel changes were surprising... including elimination of the City Parks and Recreation coordinator's position.


Since last Friday's 90 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Chautauqua County, Health Department Officials offered no updates on any coronavirus information through the weekend. However, according to the "NY Forward Dashboard", 52 cases were confirmed in the County on Sunday. Test results indicate 683 people were tested yesterday. The seven-day positive average is currently 5.3-percent. More information is expected later today. 


With the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and illness in the county... the Health Department has scheduled more free COVID-19 testing in both Dunkirk and Jamestown through this month.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says the Dunkirk Fire Training Grounds will host two clinics, on Tuesday, December 8th and 15th... from 9 AM to 2 PM.  In Jamestown... Schuyler says clinics will be held at the Taylor Fire Training Grounds on Harrison Street from 9 AM to 2 PM on Thursday, December 10th and the 17th.  She says COVID-19 testing is available to any county resident who wants to be tested, and is free.  But... Schuyler adds that appointments are  necessary, and walk-in testing is not available.  Registration will open on Monday of each week at 9 AM... and, to register on line... go to chqgov.com/public-health/covid-19-testing-sites... or call 1-866-604-6789.

Four local hunters had to be rescued from Chautauqua Lake after their boat capsized near Bemus Point early last Saturday morning.  Sheriff's deputies say they received a 9-1-1 call for a distressed vessel near Lakeside Drive about 6 AM.  Officers and members of county's Wet Emergency Team arrived on scene within 5 minutes.  They found the 15-foot boat used for hunting waterfoul had overturned... and, left the four men in the water for about 30 minutes.  Officers got two of the men, while the other two were brought to shore by fire rescuers.  The four men... 39 year-old Daniel Auria of Panama... 31 year-old Jonathan Bellardo of Frewsburg... and, 30 year-old Matthew Calimeri and 39 year-old Howard Talbot -- both of Jamestown -- were taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of hypothermia... and, are expected to recover fully.

A Salamanca man has been arrested for allegedly trying to have sex with a 14-year-old girl earlier this Fall.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 36 year-old Richard Buffalo has been formally charged with enticement and attempted enticement of a minor and attempted transfer of obscene matter to a person under the age of 16.  Prosecutors say... last October... Buffalo began communicating with the girl on Snapchat.  The girl later told Buffalo she was 14... but, he persisted... and, when federal agents were alerted... the put an undercover officer in to pose as the victim.  She then communicated with Buffalo, and he asked to have sex with him, and allegedly asked her to send nude photographs of herself.  He then sent nude pictures of himself to her.  They then agreed to a meeting, and when Buffalo arrived, he was arrested. 


A solid line of cars streamed across 3rd Street in Jamestown for close to two hours Friday night for the 'reverse parade.'  The people came to view stationary floats or displays with holiday themes set up by a dozen stores, businesses and organizations. So many cars came, the event was lengthened an extra half-hour.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist was thrilled with the response.

That backup proved to be a problem for some.  Social media postings following the parade suggested some people waited over an hour... but never got through.  Earlier in the evening, Mayor Sundquist and three young people lit the city's Christmas tree on Tracy Plaza... in a quieter than usual ceremony, because of the coronavirus. And the Jamestown Tarp Skunks baseball team introduced their new mascot.  It is a skunk.  The team's Director of Business and Sales Operations, Jacob Kindberg, announced his name is "Whiffy."  That's spelled w-h-i-f-f-y.
 

News Headlines for Sat., Dec. 5, 2020

County sets new single-day record with 90 new COVID-19 Cases...
Chautauqua County has reached another milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic... with 90 new cases... putting the county over 18-hundred confirmed cases.  The county's Health Department reports the new cases include 23 in the city of Jamestown... 14 in Mayville... and, 12 in Fredonia.  Officials say there are currently 263 active cases... and, 1,883 total.  They add that 1,600 have now recovered... and 15 are hospitalized. 


Due to sharp increase in COVID numbers, county has scheduled more testing clinics...
With the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and illness in the county... the Health Department has scheduled more free COVID-19 testing in both Dunkirk and Jamestown throughout the month of December.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says the Dunkirk Fire Training Grounds will host two clinics... the first is next Tues. Dec. 9 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m... and, the second during the same hours on Tues. Dec. 15.  In Jamestown... Schuyler says clinics will be held at the Taylor Fire Training Grounds on Harrison St. from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  She says COVID-19 testing is available to any Chautauqua County resident who wants to be tested and is free.  But... Schuyler adds that appointments are required, and, walk-in testing is not available.  Registration will open on Monday of each week at 9 a.m.  She says visit the Chautauqua County Health Department website to access the online registration links chqgov.com/public-health/covid-19-testing-sites... or call 1-866-604-6789.


Four men rescued from Chautauqua Lake early Sat. morning after boat overturns...
Four local hunters had to be rescued from Chautauqua Lake after their boat capsized on Chautauqua Lake early this morning near Bemus Point.  Sheriff's officers say they received a 911 call of distress near Lakeside Drive about 6 a.m.  Deputies and members of the county's Wet Emergency Team arrived on scene within 5 minutes.  They found the 15-foot boat used for hunting waterfoul had overturned... and, left the four men in the water for about 30 minutes.  However... only one has a life jacket on, and all four were experiencing hypothermia.  Officers were able to swim out and bring in two men, and, local fire rescuers were able to rescue the remaining two subjects.  The four men... 39 year-old Daniel Auria of Panama... 31 year-old Jonathan Bellardo of Frewsburg... 30 year-old Matthew Calimeri of Jamestown and 39 year-old Howard Talbot of Jamestown... were taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment... and, are expected to recover fully.


City hold's socially-distanced tree lighting, "reverse parade..."
There was a much smaller crowd than usual, due to COVID-19 restrictions -- but, the 40-foot tall Christmas Tree at Jamestown's Tracy Plaza was officially lighted shortly before 5:30 Friday afternoon.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist was joined by three young children to count it down, and pull the candy-cane lever.  The tree lighting was broadcast on the city's website... with a small but enthusiastic gathering.  Sundquist says -- especially this year -- this is needed.  The reverse parade... dubbed the "Jamestown Holiday Cruise..." is taking a unique tact this year.  Spectators were able to drive through the downtown to see the lights and holiday displays to Tracy Plaza.  Several people said on-line that they were turned away at 8 p.m. because the parade was over.  It lasted half-an-hour longer than was scheduled.


Jamestown's arborist, mayor, say city's "Oak Tree Canopy" will have to taken down due to safety concerns...             Some 43 remaining Oak Trees that are part of the city of Jamestown's "tree canopy" on West Third Street will be coming down because their condition has deteriorated.  City Arborist Dan Stone made the announcement during Thursday's special meeting of the City's Parks and Recreation Commission.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist confirmed the news Friday... noting that the huge trees no longer have roots that can support them.  Sundquist says it was a "very difficult decision" and that it was no made lightly.  During the November 15th wind storm in the area... two oaks on West Third Street were knocked down.  Stone says the remaining trees will be taken down starting next week, and he'll b making a full presentation to city lawmakers are Monday night's work session... and, that will include proposed replacement trees.


City woman arrested for alleged Sex Trafficking of two girls...
A Jamestown woman has been arrested on federal sex trafficking charges for allegedly forcing two minor girls to have sex for money here and in Buffalo.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior announced today that 23 year-old Jasmin Osteen was arrested and charged with two counts of sex trafficking of a minor.  Prosecutors say back on Sept. 23, the first victim's mother and grandmother contacted the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, and expressed concern because the girl was involved in prostitution and using drugs.  They were also concerned that Osteen may have been trafficking the girl for sexual exploitation... and, provided messages between Osteen and the victim.  The minor also allegedly traveled to Buffalo, and says -- during one of those trips -- a second minor victim was also forced to engage in sexual activity.  The first victim said Osteen threatened to harm her if she talked about the situation.  The second victim then told investigators that Osteen also drove her and the first victim to a Buffalo hotel, gave them alcohol, and forced them to have sex for money.  Kennedy says the charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, and a maximum of life.


Allegany man faces Felony Rape charge...
A Cattaraugus County man faces felony charges following a sex crimes investigation late last month.  State Police in Olean say the Bureau of Criminal Investigations received a complaint of possible sexual misconduct involving minors on Nov. 20.  Further investigation revealed 40 year-old Nathan Rhodes of Allegany allegedly had a sexual relationship with an underaged female victim over the course of several years. Troopers say Rhodes was arraigned on charges of third-degree rape and criminal sex act.

WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 4 2020

Quick work by Jamestown firefighters -- and a working sprinkler system -- prevented major fire damage at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute in late yesterday morning.  It also appears that all art work and artifacts were saved.  That from City Fire Battalion Chief Brian Acterberg... who says crews were called to the Curtis Street location shortly before 10:30 AM.  Acterberg says the fire in a second-floor maintenance room... was accidental.

Acterberg says the spinkler system was already engaged when they arrived... and, the flames were confined to that second-floor room.  An off-duty shift was called in to assist... and, he says firefighters assisted RTPI personnel in covering artwork... or moving them out to keep water from damaging them.  Acterberg says crews were at the scene until just after 3 PM.  He says no injuries were reported.

A town of Portland man suffered burns to his arms and hands in a house fire in the town early Thursday morning that destroyed his home.  Sheriff's Department dispatchers say Portland fire crews were called to the scene at 8206 Campbell Road about 1:45 AM... and, were joined by six mutual aid companies... including Brocton, Westfield, Ripley, and Stockton... as well as county Emergency Services.  Officials say the occupant -- 53 year-old Timothy Coughlin -- was able to escape, but sustained those burns.  Coughlin was taken to Westfield Memorial Hospital before being transferred to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo for treatment.  The county's fire investigation team is looking into the cause.

There have been 32 new cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County over the past day... as it edges toward 18-hundred total cases of the virus.  That from the county's Department of Health and Human Services... which is no longer sending out daily press statements late in the afternoon as of this past Monday.  County Executive P-J Wendel says people should be able to get the information they need from the department's new "dashboard."

The new reporting does include the zip codes for new cases, and infection rates.  It also gives the number of people quarantined or in isolation.  However... there is no narrative as there had been with the previous reporting.  Wendel says the lone outbreak they are dealing with is at the county jail in Mayville... where there are now 38 inmates who have tested positive, along with eight staff members.  Wendel says there are now 1,793 total cases... while 1,574 have now recovered.  Health officials say there are 199 active cases... and, 14 people are hospitalized. 


A number of House and Senate members are coming on board in support of the Congressional Problem Solver's Caucuses' $908-billion COVID-19 Stimulus bill.  Member of the caucus -- including local Congressman Tom Reed -- held a press conference Thursday to announce that support... and urge others to join them.  Reed... the Republican Co-Chairman... expressed his appreciation to the other 49, bi-partisan caucus members.
The Problem Solver's proposal... offered earlier in the week... has led Congressional leaders to talk about COVID-19 relief for the first time in a month.   The phone call between Pelosi and McConnell -- who are frequent rivals but proven dealmakers -- came the day after the Democratic speaker signaled a willingness to make major concessions in search of a COVID rescue package. 

A late November traffic stop has led to felony charges against a Jamestown man for allegedly possessing a switchblade knife and marijuana.  Sheriff officers say they stopped to check a parked vehicle on Route 60 in the Town of Kiantone... and, a male passenger identified himself as 43 year-old John Ferguson.  Ferguson was reportedly found in possession of the knife and cannabis.  Deputies say previous felony convictions on Ferguson's criminal record made the possession of the knife a "Class-D Felony."  He was issued an appearance ticket then released. 


The pandemic has taken a toll on a near century tradition for Jamestown High School. The A Cappella Choir will not be able to perform its annual Vespers services at First Lutheran Church.  The new director of the choir, Lauren Scharf, made the announcement yesterday. While it was a necessary decision, Scharf says it was not an easy one. In lieu of the live programs, the choir will present two alternatives.  One is a recorded performance of some the traditional Vepsers tunes which will available on the district's website and Facebook starting December 21st.  WJTN radio will present Vespers broadcasts... taking material from past years... at 4 PM on Sunday, December 13th and 20th.  The current and past directors will provide comment for those shows.

WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 3 2020


There are 57 new cases of the COVID-19 Virus being reported in Chautauqua County... with 27 of those in Mayville.  Most -- if not all -- are related to the outbreak at the County Jail.  The Health Department says this brings the total number since the pandemic began to 1,761... and, 189 of those are currently active.  The city of Jamestown had the next highest number with 9 new cases.  The Health Department says 14 people are currently hospitalized... while 1,552 cases have now recovered.  The infection rate over the past seven-days has been 4-percent.

 
New York plans to prioritize nursing home residents and staff members when it begins distributing the first doses of coronavirus vaccine, hopefully this month.  Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that the state expects to receive 170,000 doses of Pfizer's vaccine by December 15th.  That's if the pharmaceutical company gets the federal government's OK to make it available to the public on an emergency basis.  After nursing home staff and patients... doses could then go to New York's next priority, which is health care workers.

There are now three new COVID-19 relief bills being proposed in Washington ranging from just over half-a-trillion to $1.3-Trillion would provide relief to individuals, and small businesses.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who is part of a bi-partisan group of House and Senate members who proposed a $908-billion package Tuesday.  During a Tuesday morning press conference... Reed -- who co-chairs the Problem Solver's Caucus -- says there's also a significant amount included to help local, state and tribal governments.

Reed says the biggest difference between the bills that state, local and tribal government relief.  A smaller proposal by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not include that money... and totals up to $700-billion. The White House reportedly supports that measure.  However... Reed says his office has also been in contact with them... and, would also support the bi-partisan measure. The third proposal by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is for $1.3-trillion and, also includes the state and local aid.  The bi-partisan plan would cover the next four-months... and, includes what Reed calls "common sense" measures.  He made his comments during his weekly conference call with regional media.


The measure regarding local government aid is something that would be a major benefit to communities in Congressman Tom Reed's district.  The city of Jamestown is the largest of those cities... with a population of about 30-thousand.  Reed says this proposal would truly help "smaller governments." Reed says that part of the plan would cover a loss of revenue... comparing pre-COVID 2019 revenues compared to the rest of this year.  He says there would be "dedicated money" going to those local governments.  Reed made his comments during his weekly conference call with regional media.

 
A city man has pled guilty to federal charges for receiving naked pictures of two young girls on social media four years ago.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior announced Wednesday that 30 year-old Shane Guay (Gway) pleaded guilty in U-S District Court in Buffalo to receipt of child pornography.  Prosecutors say Guay was accused of soliciting the minor victims through Instagram to produce images of child porn in November of 2016.  That month... he received an image of a 12 year-old victim... and, a couple of days later... received two images of a 13 year-old victim.  Police say they found 587 images, and five videos of child porn on electronic devices seized from Guay.  Kennedy says the charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison... and, a quarter of a million dollar fine.


The City of Dunkirk's proposed 2021 budget has been passed, but with a number of changes.  During Tuesday's Common Council meeting... lawmakers unanimously passed a 'walk-in' resolution that made 12 changes to Mayor Willie Rosas' spending plan, which totals nearly $24.5-million. When reached after the meeting... Rosas said he plans to veto four of those changes. First-Ward Councilman Don Williams says that the council intends to override the Mayor's vetoes. Among the changes the Mayor says he will veto are a $25,000 reduction in the City Attorney's salary, the elimination of part-time seasonal workers in the Department of Development, and the hiring of an attorney by the council.  The Common Council has until December 15th to override the veto.

 
An Ohio man was injured in an accident when he lost control of the tractor trailer he was driving on Interstate-86 yesterday morning. The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office says 36 year-old Sandeep Singh was traveling on I-86 in the Town of Ellery when the big rig struck a guide rail and overturned in the median.  Deputies says Singh suffered minor injuries, but declined medical treatment.  County Hazmat crews responded to the scene to clean up a diesel fuel spill.  Officers say Singh was charged with speeding.  Bemus Point firefighters and State Police assisted at the scene.  The westbound lanes of I-86 between Exit 10 to Exit 9 were closed for a time after the accident.


A Jamestown man was arrested for allegedly stealing items from a warehouse on Allen Street Tuesday evening.  City police were called to the unidentified business for a reported burglary... and, located the suspect inside the warehouse.  Officers identified him as 25 year-old Braedon Jim... and, he was allegedly found in possession of the property he took from the building.  Jim was transported to the city jail pending arraignment for Fourth-degree grand larceny and Third-degree burglary. 

WJTN News Headlines for Dec 2, 2020

There's been another COVID-19-related fatality reported yesterday in Chautauqua County -- the 20th death in the county from the coronavirus since March.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says no other information has been released on the victim... but, adds there are 29 new... increasing the county’s total confirmed case count to 1,704 since a pandemic was declared in mid-March.  There are 171 active cases and 13 hospitalizations.

There has been an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Chautauqua County Jail in Mayville.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone says they are working closely with the Health Department after four inmates with symptoms tested positive Tuesday morning.  Following that... all inmates in the jail were tested, along with corrections staff.  Quattrone says out of 48 inmates tested... there were 26 positive tests... and, one of the seven corrections staff came back positive.  Disease investigation and contact tracing is underway by public health staff.  Due to concern over spread of the virus... Quattrone says facility-wide testing will be conducted today.  Inmates who tested positive have been isolated, and those who tested negative have been quarantined.  More information will be released as soon as it is available.


Members of the Congressional Problem Solver's Caucus, and a bi-partsian group of U-S Senators announced a four-month bipartisan, COVID-19 emergency relief package to help individuals, small businesses, and workers during the pandemic.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who co-chairs the Problem Solver's group.  During a Tuesday morning press conference... Reed says the relief package totals $908-billion and, also urged fellow lawmakers to consider, and pass the bill before the end of the year.

Reed says the four-month package gets the nation through the first-quarter of next year with what he calls "common sense" measures.  He says the American people are "suffering" and need results.  The package includes $288-billion for small businesses that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 guidelines and partial shut-downs in recent months.  Reed says another $180-billion would go to enhanced unemployment insurance... and, another $160-billion will go to help states, local, and tribal governments.

The man who has headed up the Jamestown Police Department the past five months on an acting basis has now been permanently named to the position.  The City Council last night unanimously approved the appointment of Timothy Jackson to replace Harry Snellings... who retired earlier this year.  Council President Tony Dolce was part of the search committee... and, says Jackson stood out during the process, and for his handling of the department.

Prior to the vote... Mayor Eddie Sundquist touted his choice of Jackson... who has served during a difficult time in the city... and, nation.  Sundquist says Jackson has been very important in putting together a police reform program that's being required by Governor Andrew Cuomo... and has a good history of serving his community, and the military.  Jackson was previously a lieutenant in the department.  Later in the meeting... council tabled a local law that would decouple the Police and Fire Chief positions from being under "Public Safety Director."  Once approved, there would be separate chiefs again in the city.

The Diocese of Buffalo's new Bishop held a Zoom meeting with Western New York media Tuesday.  Bishop Michael Fisher says he looks forward to visiting the diocese before his permanent move to Western New York.  Bishop Fisher becomes the 15th Bishop of the Diocese and faces many challenges.  He was asked by reporters about the sex abuse scandal facing the diocese, and the recent lawsuit that was filed by State Attorney General Latitia James.  Fisher says he's looking to rebuild trust and transparency. Bishop Fisher also pledged to work with the Diocesan Renewal Task Force.

News Bulletin for Tues., Dec. 1, 2020

(*Bulletin)COVID-19 outbreak reported at Chautauqua Co. Jail...

The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak in the county jail in Mayville.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone says they are working closely with the Health Department after four inmates with symptoms tested positive Tuesday morning.  Following that... all inmates in the housing unit were tested.  Quattrone say corrections officers were also tested.  He says out of 48 inmates tested... there were 26 positive tests... and, one of the seven corrections staff came back positive.  Disease investigation and contact tracing is underway by public health staff.  Due to concern over spread of the virus... facility-wide testing will be conducted today.  Inmates who tested positive have been isolated, and those who tested negative have been quarantined.  The Health Department has also appropriately isolated correctional staff who tested positive.  More information will be released as soon as it is available.

WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 1, 2020


Taxes will remain flat in the city of Jamestown next year after the City Council unanimously approved a $34.8-million dollar budget that restores one-million dollars to the spending plan.  It eliminates Mayor Eddie Sundquist's original proposal to go with a new health insurance plan for retirees that may have saved just over a-million dollars.  Council President Tony Dolce commended Sundquist for his efforts to try and find savings in the budget.

That process included acting on 17 amendments... 16 of which was approved.  Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund called it the "most difficult budget" she's worked on in her time on council, and says even restoring the insurance money and using rainy day funds is "very concerning." The budget does include an additional $200,000 and between the contingency account and undesignated fund balance... lawmakers put just over $636,000 back into the general fund.  The spending plan did eliminate the Recreation Coordinator's position... a savings of $53,000.  It also keeps a maintenance mechanic position part-time... a savings of 37-thousand dollars.  The budget had to be approved by Midnight last night.

The first major winter storm of the season has moved into the area.  Forecaster Tony Ansuini of the National Weather Service in Buffalo says the storm moved up the Appalachian Mountains Monday... and, once it moves off to the north... temperatures will drop and snow will begin falling.  Ansuini says the snow will continue through Wednesday.  Once the storm passes, he says there will be some 'lake enhancement,' with total accumlations depending on where you live.  Ansuini says Jamestown could see 6 to 10 inches of snow by later Wednesday.  The Winter Storm Warning runs through 1 PM Wednesday for Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties.  Warren County has a Winter Weather Advisory. 


There are 69 new cases of the COVID-19 virus being reported in Chautauqua County the past day... and, one new death.  County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says the death was a person in their 70s who died due to complications from COVID-19... and, their "sincere condolences go out to their loved ones."  Schuyler says this is the county's 19th death from the virus.  She adds there have now been 111 new cases of COVID reported the past three days... and, 162 cases are now active.  Schuyler says 23 of those cases were in Jamestown... while there were 16 in Dunkirk... and, 15 in Fredonia.  There are eight reported in Bemus Point.  She says there are now 1,675 total cases... and, 13 are hospitalized.  Schuyler says 1,494 cases have recovered.


The COVID-19 pandemic has altered a lot of plans for the holiday season... and, Jamestown's annual Christmas Parade and Holiday Celebration is one of them.  City officials and local merchants organizations have now planned a "reverse" Holiday parade downtown for this Friday night.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he's been working with the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation and Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce on what's being called the "Jamestown Holiday Cruise."  Sundquist says spectators will be able to see everything from the safety of their cars.

Sundquist says merchants who border Third Street between Washington Street and Prendergast Avenue are being encouraged to decorate their store-fronts... or nearby parking spaces.  He says the holiday tree at Tracy Plaza will be lit earlier -- and can be seen virtually.  The Jamestown Holiday Cruise will run from 6 to 7:30 PM Friday... and, public safety will direct cars to enter eastbound off Washington Street, and they'll continue to Prendergast.  He says if you have toys to leave for Toys for Tots... you'll be able to that at the end of the parade route.

Three Jamestown residents were arrested for allegedly burglarizing a home in the town of Stockton last Saturday morning.  Sheriff's Officers responded to a burglary-in-progress on Route 380 and found that the homeowner and another family member blocked in a vehicle belonging to the suspects to keep them from leaving.  Deputies say 53 year-old Alfred Kohl.... 41 year-old Lisa Hayes.... and 33 year-old Brooke Amatuzzo are accused of stealing several items from the home, and trying to steal others, including firearms. Each faces charges including two counts each of fourth-degree grand larceny, and two-counts second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  Deputies say Amatuzzo was also found in possession of a small quantity of methamphetamine and a hypodermic instrument and subsequently charged.  All three were sent to the county jail pending arraignment. 

A man from the Jamestown-area has been accused of stealing a car in the village of Celoron last week... and, was arrested after the vehicle was found in the city.  Ellicott Town Police say they got a complaint last Saturday about the vehicle being taken without the owner's permission.  It was later found to have allegedly been stolen by 25 year-old Robbie Stearns.  Stearns was found, and arrested for fourth-degree Grand Larceny... and, issued an appearance ticket for Ellicott Town Court at a later date.

The eleven newest inductees to the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame have been announced... and, they represent a number of sports... from little league coaching to swimming and karate.  Hall of Fame President Randy Anderson says the living inductees are long-time Lakewood area baseball coach and manager George Barone, Junior... swimmers Sarah Bogardus-Burnett, and, Andrew Creager... Karate Black-Belt Christina Kebort... Football stand-out and Coach Michael Sirianni... former basketball star and coach Lewis Mack, baseball stand-out Marc Tramuta, and -- Randy Anderson himself.  Anderson is a long-time sports historian, coach, and member of fellow Hall of Famer Dick Barton's pit crew.  The deceased honorees are Harry Carlson, Larry Rodgers and Richard Shearman.  Randy Anderson says the 11 new inductees will be formally inducted at a later time, due to current New York State Covid-19 restrictions that won't allow an induction banquet in February 2021. 

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