Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Nov. 30, 2021

Fredonia man killed when car hits building in north county village...
A 22-year-old man lost his life after his vehicle struck a building in the village of Fredonia Monday night.  Fredonia Police Chief Phil Maslak says the vehicle was heading west on West Main Street when it left the roadway near Hamlet Street and struck the Pucci Carpet One and Furniture building around 9:20 p.m.  The driver's name is not being released at this time... but, he's from Fredonia.  Maslak says an autopsy has been scheduled at the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo to determine the cause of death.  The building was not damaged in the crash.


Jamestown lawmakers approve amended 2022 budget that keeps tax rate at 2021 levels...
The Jamestown City Council has approved a revised, 2022 budget that reduces more than a dozen lines in the spending plan... and, adds additional sales tax revenues next year.  A series of amendments basically took American Rescue Plan funding out of the general fund budget... and, lawmakers approved the $38.3-million spending plan last night, 9-to-0.  Council President Tony Dolce says the changes reduced the amount the budget would have taken from the fund balance by $643,000 to hold the tax rate at $23.69 per $1,000 full value.  Cuts in the budget totaled nearly $471,000, and $172,000 more in revenues were added to sales tax projections.  Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says the largest line-item cut was $195,000 to ARPA funding in the budget itself.  A couple of amendment votes were close... in particular one to cut $6,000 for contractual services for the Human Rights Commission was approved in a 5-to-4 vote.  There was also a close vote on taking $10,000 away from City Hall building maintenance.  The budget still includes a slight tax levy increase.


City lawmakers table action on "Lost Revenue" ARPA item, approve new City Court Judge...
Lawmakers last night also tabled a measure to allocate $3.7-million in "lost revenue" funding from the American Rescue Plan Act allocation to the city.  Council President Dolce says council decided on the move after hearing from the police and fire department about needs they have in 2022.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist's budget did include a new police cruiser to replace one vehicle in the JPD fleet.  However... Chief Tim Jackson says the department really needs five new vehicles to replace old, high-mileage cars. 
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In addition... a familiar face is returning to the bench on the Jamestown City Court at the beginning of 2022.  The city council last night unanimously approved Mayor Sundquist's appointment of local attorney George Panebianco to the position... replacing Judge Fred Larson, who will retire at the end of 2021 after hitting the mandatory retirement age.  Panebianco said he appreciates the vote of support, and looks forward to begin a judge again.


Fire damages Ripley home...
No injuries have been reported from a mid-day house fire Monday in the town of Ripley.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department dispatchers say Ripley firefighters were called to the scene at 11 Shaver Street just after 2 p.m.  Dispatchers say Ripley received mutual aid from South Ripley, and Westfield fire crews.  The Post-Journal reports one person was taken to the hospital for evaluation.  Crews were at the scene for a few hours.


Hochul announces executive order on hospital capacity...
An executive order being signed by New York Governor Kathy Hochul will put a temporary stop to non-emergency, elective surgeries in hospitals where bed capacity is less than 10%.  Hochul made the announcement during a COVID-19 press briefing in Albany Monday... where she noted the biggest bed losses are in Upstate hospitals, where the Delta Variant, and lower vaccination numbers, remain an issues.  Right now... she says this involves about 32 to 36 hospitals... mainly in Central and Western New York.  However... unlike last week's initial announcement... the governor says once hospitals are able to get their capacity back above 10%, they will come off the list.  She says this is part of the state's so-called "surge flex" planning.  Hochul says that would allow hospitals in the region that have more capacity to be utiliized for lack of it elsewhere.  The order takes effect this Friday, Dec. 3... and, will remain in place until Jan. 15.


Hochul, health official, say Omicron variant has not been found in NYS, yet...
Governor Hochul is also keeping a wary eye on developments regarding the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, which recently emerged in southern Africa.  Hochul spoke via Zoom with an official with New York's Wadsworth Labs that has been on the front-line to finding variants, and other issues with COVID.  The Wadsworth representative noted there have been no cases of the new variant found yet in New York State.  Hochul added, though, that the state is "not defenseless" this time around because there is the vaccine, and newer treatments for people who do get COVID.  She says the good news is there is plenty of vaccine available... and more mass clinics will be scheduled by the state in coming days.  She says the number of people who have received at least one dose of a vaccine has now passed 90%, but, she adds that if you received the Pfizer or Moderna shot, you need to get that second one for the best protection.  So far... Hochul says that state has distributed 2.4-million booster shots.  She adds that you should also get a flu shot this year.

   

 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Nov. 29, 2021

Accidental fire severely damages Lakewood home...
No one was hurt in an accidental overnight fire that heavily-damaged a home in the village of Lakewood.  Lakewood firefighters were called to 19 Owana Way shortly before Midnight Sunday... and, several other departments were also called in to assist.  The Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team was also called in... and found the blaze started when an electrical sub-panel feed wire became compromised, and had an issue causing the fire under the floor space.  The fire then traveled up the wall space to the second floor and into the attic.  The occupant, Jonathan Blasius, was not hurt in the blaze.  There was severe fire and water damage throughout the home.


Wanted Gerry man arrested after vehicle stop...
A Gerry man wanted by Lakewood-Busti Police was arrested early last weekend on a warrant... and for violating an order of protection.  Sheriff's officers say they spotted 29 year-old Jeffrey Holmberg II inside a car on Nobles Road in the town of Gerry.  Deputies knew Holmberg was known to be wanted by Lakewood-Busti Police... and, the vehicle was stopped and Holmberg was arrested.  While speaking with the car's occupants... officers found that one person had an active order of protection against Holmberg.  He was additionally charged with second-degree criminal contempt.


City man arrested on drug, and fugitive from justice charges...         
A Jamestown man has been arrested in the town of Ellicott for allegedly being found in possession of drugs, and as a fugitive from justice from Pennsylvania.  Sheriff's officers say a patrol stopped the vehicle, driven by 39 year-old Christopher Decker, for a traffic violation on Allen Street about 2 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 20.  Deputies say, upon further investigation, that Decker had a suspended license, was in possession of a controlled substance and had a warrant out of Meadville, Pennsylvania.  He was taken to the Sheriff's Office for processing, and was sent to the Chautauqua County Jail pending extradition.


U.S. Surpasses 100,000 opioid drug deaths, and county also seeing record numbers...
The numbers are striking: The number of drug overdose deaths in the United States for the past year ending in April of this year reached 100-thousand for the first time ever.  There have also been increasing numbers in Chautauqua County triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic... and, a more dangerous drug supply.  The latter is most concerning to Steve Kilburn, spokesman for CombatAddictionCHQ.com, who says more and more drugs are being laced with a deadly, synthetic opiod -- Fentanyl.  Kilburn says Fentanyl is a "legal drug" that is used medically... but, is 50 to 100-times more potent that Morphine.  He says a very small amount mixed in with another drug, such as heroin, can kill a person.  While heroin is an illegal drug, though, there are people who are buying what Kilburn calls "one-offs."  That means they appear to be legitimate prescription pills that a dealer may say is hydrocodone, when it may also contain Fentanyl, and the buyer doesn't know that.  Kilburn says help is available through their CombatAddictionCHQ.com website.  He says those include test strips to see if Fentanyl is in your supply.


City Council to act on 2022 budget tonight...
City lawmakers in Jamestown will vote tonight on a $38.9-million, 2022 budget that includes no tax rate increase for property owners.  However... it will likely be changed by lawmakers prior to it's approval.  City Council President Tony Dolce says panel members have been letting Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund know about changes they would like to see made to the spending plan.  Dolce says, though, he doesn't expect major changes.  He adds the biggest challenge facing lawmakers this year has been Mayor Eddie Sundquist's intermingling of American Rescue Plan funds with the general fund budget.  Dolce says they're been busy trying to separate those funds to get a general fund budget in place, and then decide on the ARPA funds.  There is also a resolution regarding the use of $3.7-million of the city's ARPA funding for "lost revenues" in the budget.  That money will mainly be used on just over 40 projects in the budget.  Council must vote on a budget plan... otherwise Mayor Eddie Sundquist's proposal would go into effect on Dec. 1.


Council to also introduce local law to "opt-out" of marijuana dispensaries, and on-site consumption locations...
The City Council will also introduce a local law that would opt Jamestown out of allowing marijuana dispensaries and on-site consumption location in the city.  The voting session's pre-filed resolutions include the local law... which Council President Dolce says will not be voted on tonight.  Dolce says a couple of councilmembers requested it be put on the agenda to initiate discussion and to begin a review so they can act on it before the end of the year.  Tonight's voting session begins at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.


As Winter approaches, Great Lakes remain warmer than usual...
Winter is just around the corner, but experts say the Great Lakes haven't gotten the message.  The Chicago Tribune reports that summer and fall evenings failed to cool down sufficiently.  So, Great Lakes surface temperatures are trending above average.  It's an example of climate change.  Record-or near-record warm spells in Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York and Illinois set up a domino effect.  Warmer lake temperatures can produce more lake effect snow.  Snow diminishes with the onset of ice, which itself is delayed.  Ice helps deter shoreline erosion. 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Nov. 26, 2021

City man arrested on warrants for shooting death of man in Cattaraugus County...
A Jamestown man has been arrested in the city on a second-degree murder warrant from Cattaraugus County.  Sheriff's officers in Little Valley say 50 year-old Theodore Coffie of 221 Cherry St. was recently arrested by Jamestown Police during a raid on the murder charge in the Mar. 24 shooting death of 35 year-old Alexis Figueroa Torres in Olean.  Deputies say Coffie was also wanted on charges including second and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, first-degree reckless endangerment.  The Olean Times-Herald reports Torres was shot multiple times during an apparent confrontation.  Officers say Coffie was arraigned, and sent to the Little Valley Jail on $250,000 bail.


Pair of city men arrested for allegedly burglary and assault...
Two Jamestown men have been arrested following an alleged fight on the city's northside... and, where one suspect allegedly used a stun gun on several people.  City police were called to a West 10th Street location about 3 p.m. Thursday... and found that 38 year-old Marlo Carter had forced his way into the home... and, used the stun gun inside.  They also found that 23 year-old Haley Pearson assaulted a person at the scene who had an order of protection against him.  Peason is also accused of damaging property inside the home... and to a vehicle belonging to the person outside.  Carter faces charges including second-degree burglary, and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  Police say Pearson is charged with aggravated criminal contempt... and, two counts of third-degree criminal mischief and assault.  Both men were jailed pending arraignment.


Jamestown area under Winter Storm Warning through Saturday morning...
Parts of Chautauqua County could wind up with a foot of new snow after a major storm system brings colder air and snow to the region through early Saturday morning.  The National Weather Service in Buffalo has now issued a Lake Effect Storm Warning for all of Chautauqua County through Saturday morning.  Forecaster Bob Hamilton says the change-over to snow came overnight... and, some parts of the area may see up to a foot on the ground by mid-morning Saturday.  Hamilton says a large storm system will make it's way through the area today... with 11 to 12 inches in the area of the Chautauqua Ridge.  He says the big question is how lake effect snow off Lake Huron may enhance local snowfall.  Hamilton says the inland areas will see about 3 to 6 inches of snow by Saturday morning.


Black Friday shopping underway in Chautauqua County...
One year after a scaled-back Black Friday across the United States and Chautauqua County... a full day of activities -- including the return of Santa -- will take place today at the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood.  Mall Manager Julie Biehler says that includes the arrival of Santa Claus at Noon-time.  Biehler says Santa will arrive with Rudolph, and his elves and plenty of holiday cheer.  Following the arrival... Biehler says guests are invited to visit with Santa until 2 p.m., and, photos will be available for purchase.  Entertainment and refreshments will also be provided.  The mall's more than 30 regional and national retail chain stores and other venues will be open today from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and, COVID safety protocols will be followed.   For more information... call 763-9355 or go on-line to Chautauquamall.com.  They're also on Facebook and Instagram.


County reports 663 new confirmed COVID-19 cases the past week...
The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Chautauqua County has doubled over the past week... and risen to levels not seen since last January -- just before the vaccines came out.  In addition... the county's Health Department reports the number of new cases has more than doubled where it was in late October, to 663.  Officials say there have now been 14,890 total cases... and, there were four new deaths.  They say there have now been 219 total deaths... and, there have now been 14,000 recovered cases.  Officials say there are now 671 active cases... with 50 people hospitalized with the virus.  In addition... Public Health Director Christine Schuyler adds the county is seeing the highest infeciton rates among school-aged children to date.  Schuyler says "the Delta strain of the coronavirus is very contagious and is especially making those unvaccinated very, very ill."  She and her staff are "strongly recommending" vaccination, and boosters for everyone eligible and recommend that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask in indoor public settings, wash hands frequently, and stay home and away from others if ill.


Former co-worker with Amy King -- and his beverage cart -- will be on hand for Saturday's Amy King 5K run-walk...
Anyone attending the Amy King 5K Run/Walk Saturday will see one highly unusual entrant.  Retired United Airlines flight attendent Paul Veneto will be pushing an airline beverage cart during the event.  Veneto was a United Airlines flight attendant in 2001 and had worked closely with Celoron's Amy King.  Her flight... United 175... crashed into the World Trade Center on '9/11.'  While he was not in the air that day, the tragedy left Veneto with severe depression and addiction to opioids.  He recovered... and earlier this year pushed his beverage cart from Boston to Gound Zero in time for the 20th anniversary of the attacks.  He did it to raise awareness of the bravery of airline crew members that day... and to raise money for their families.  Veneto says he's honored be part of the event, and says "it's really important that I do this."  Veneto will make a financial contribution, too.  The Amy King 5K starts at 11 a.m. Saturday... kicking off at the Harbor Hotel in Celoron.  


 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Nov. 24, 2021

No one hurt in Harmony trailer fire...
A single-wide trailer in the town of Harmony has been destroyed by an overnight fire.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's investigators say Panama fire crews were called to the scene at 1136 Hoag Rd. shortly before 4 a.m. Wednesday morning.  Officials say the small trailer was completely leveled.  So far... investigators have been able to determine that the fire originated in the back of the home.  At this time... they say the cause is being ruled undetermined pending further interviews and investigation.  No injuries were reported.


City woman sentenced to time served in narcotic trafficking case...
A Jamestown woman convicted of maintaining a drug-involved premises has been sentenced to time served, and three-years probabion in federal court.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross has announced that 30 year-old Chelsey Hunt received the sentence Tuesday from U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara.  Prosecutors say Hunt rented the second-floor of a Linden Avenue home, and lived there with her children between January and December of 2018.  She also allowed co-defendant Douglas Beardsley to live in the attic... where he allegedly ran a methamphetamine and heroin trafficking operation.  Prosecutors add that Hunt also took an active role in the operation, such as helping with Beardsley’s customers and providing information about police activity around the residence.  Hunt also sold small amounts of narcotics for him, and bought narcotics for her own use, as well.  Ross says charges are still pending against Douglas Beardsley.


Sundquist reports city, JCC, have jointly hired new grant writer...
The city of Jamestown and Jamestown Community College now have a grant writer who will help both entities go after state, federal and private funding that's available.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist recently announced the hiring of Paula Piccone to the shared position.  Sundquist says Piccone was hired from a pool of about a dozen applicants... and, says she has a very good record in her previous job with the Seneca Nation of Indians... where she brought in just over $11-million dollars the past year alone.  Late this Summer... Sundquist announced that both the city, and JCC, had begun the search for a grants writer that would be shared because neither could afford to have one person on the payroll.  The mayor says Pichone will be busy soon... because it appears funding from the $1.2-trillion federal infrastructure bill will be doled out through grant awards.  Sundquist says it will be sent out either by direct grant... or through the state.  He says little else has been announced regarding how the infrastructure monies will be sent out.


Sundquist also announces JFD is now able to bill for medical transports...
The city of Jamestown has begun billing insurance for medical transports made by the city's Fire department.  Mayor Sundquist recently told the City Council that they received their first checks back in October... and, through the early part of November... had received about $9,700.  Sundquist says they are not billing individual residents... but, insurance, Medicare or Medicaid for the transports.  He says the most recent delay in getting the program up and running was not being able to get their Medicare and Medicaid billing numbers.  Sundquist expressed his appreciation to U.S. Senator Charles Schumer's office for it's help in getting the matter resolved.


Jamestown woman arrested for allegedly forging checks for more than $700...
A city woman has been arrested for allegedly using three stolen checks to obtain more than $700 in the town of North Harmony.  State Police in Jamestown say they arrested 31 year-old Rebecca Pratt last week after the person she took the checks from reported fraudulent activity on his bank account.  According to troopers... their investigation showed that the three checks... made out for various amounts... had been made out to, and cashed by Pratt.  She was arrested on three counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged Instrument... and, issued appearance tickets for North Harmony Town Court.


Kennedy man arrested in Randolph following DWI accident...
A Kennedy man has been arrested for allegedly driving with more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system when his car left the road and crashed in Randolph.  State Police in Jamestown say they arrested 42 year-old Jeremy Baker this past Sunday after finding his vehicle off Route 394 in the Cattaraugus County town.  Troopers say Baker failed several field sobriety tests, and was taken to the State Police barracks where he provided a breath sample of point-19.  He was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated, and issued appearance tickets for Randolph Town Court.  He was not hurt in the accident.


Fredonia village leaders considering mask mandate at village hall...
A surge in COVID-19 cases in Western New York has prompted the Fredonia Village Board to consider a resolution requiring the use of masks at Village Hall.  Mayor Doug Essek and village trustees discussed the issue during a workshop meeting held Monday night.  Essek became concerned about the situation after hearing about Erie County's decision to issue a mask mandate for all indoor public locations.  After a discussion with their attorney, trustees decided to take action on a resolution during their next regular meeting next Monday, Nov. 29.

 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Nov. 22, 2021

Warren, Pa. man arrested after allegedly firing gunshot towards police... 
There were some tense moments after a Warren, Pa. man fired a gun-shot over the heads of police responding to a call to check on his welfare.  State Police in Warren say Warren City Police were called to the unnamed location to check on 26 year-old Ian Alexander Royo shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday.  Troopers say Royo was finally talked out of the home in about 15 minutes, and he was taken into custody without further incident.  He was charged with one count of aggravated assault on law enforcement, and other charges are pending.  No one was hurt... and, police say there was no further threat to the public.


City woman arrested for allegedly shoplifting more merchandise at Lakewood Wal-Mart...
A woman from Jamestown has been arrested for allegedly stealing more than $170 worth of merchandise from the Lakewood Wal-Mart Supercenter.  Lakewood-Busti Police arrested 33 year-old Cassie Moore last week after an investigation into the incident.  Officers say, because Moore had been convicted of previous crimes at the Fairmount Avenue store, the crime rose to third-degree burglary.  Police also charged her with petty larceny.  Moore was issued appearance tickets for Busti Town Court at a later date.


Borrello praises signing of law making "Nourish NY" program permanent...
A farm-to-foodbank program supported by local State Senator George Borrello has finally been signed into law.  New York Governor Kathy Hochul was in Queens last weekend to sign the Nourish-NY legislation into law at the New York Hall of Science.  Borrello was on hand for the signing ceremony, after sponsoring the measure in the Senate, where it was approved several months ago.  The Sunset Bay Republican was joined by his Democratic counterpart, Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, was also on hand for the signing.  Borrello calls it a "win-win" for the state's food insecure, and New York's farmers.  He adds that "as the grandson of Concord grape farmers, I couldn’t be happier or more proud that Nourish New York is now established as part of state law.  It will ensure surplus food from New York’s farms goes to New Yorkers in need, so they can feed their families."  The law was also adopted unanimously in the Assembly.  Borrello thanked Hochul for signing the bill... noting that "millions of pounds of food shipments were sent to New York City from upstate farms during the pandemic."  For more information about the program... go on-line to agriculture.ny.gov/NourishNY. 


NYS continues to see rise in COVID-19 cases... mainly fueled by increases in Western New York and Finger Lakes region...
New York state data released last weekend shows the state continuing to see an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in November as the holiday season approaches.  Nearly 6,100 people a day are now testing positive for COVID-19 in New York.  That's up 22% from roughly 5,000 for the seven days through Nov. 11.  It's also the highest seven-day average since mid-April.  The vast majority of the state's 62 counties are seeing sharp upticks in new COVID-19 positives: from a 32% increase in cases over the seven days through Thursday on Long Island, to a 37% increase in Niagara County. 


Blue Star Mother's looking to send 1,200 Christmas care packages...
The members of Blue Star Mothers Lake Erie Chapter 4 hope to send out 1,200 ‘Christmas Care Packages’… again this year, and they’re looking for contributions.  One of the organizers, Kathy Collver, says food items that ship well, and are easy to open are one idea.  Collver says anything with a "pop-top" on it -- such as peanuts and trail mixes, or packets of water enhancers.  Small toiletry items are good, too… but no aerosols or flammables can be mailed.  The Blue Star Mother’s Susan Rowley says items are being accepted now at drop boxes throughout the community, and later at the Fluvanna Community Church.  Rowley says donations can be dropped off there on Wed., Dec 8 through Friday, Dec. 10... and, those will be boxed up on Sat., Dec. 11.  Full information on donations and volunteering to pack boxes can be found at bluestarmotherswny.com or on Facebook.  The packages are sent to service people around the world at a cost of $15 per box.  Anyone who’d like to write a check to help pay postage should send it to the Blue Star Mothers, PO Box 22, in Jamestown.


Lakewood celebrates completion of Chautauqua Ave. with grand re-opening Saturday...
Several business owners and residents of Lakewood were on hand for the grand re-opening of Chautauqua Avenue following a multi-year "green infractructure" project.  Mayor Randy Holcomb presided over the ceremony... which kicked off a day of holiday season activities in the village's downtown area.  Holcomb later said it became a challenging project due to the COVID Pandemic, and scarcity and rising costs of materials.  He says there were certainly "many challenges" faces by the board, and the village's contractors.  He says they were able to get new paving bricks put at the intersections of Chautauqua and Summit Avenue, and Second and Third Streets to slow run-off to Chautauqua Lake.  Holcomb and the village board thanked businesses along the street for enduring a project that took longer than expected.  He also thanked village board members, and employees for their efforts... as well as contractors Kingsview Enterprises, B-and-L engineering... and, Reed Sturzenbecker Construction for seeing the project through to completion. 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Sat., Nov. 20, 2021

Ripley man arrested for alleged sex abuse in Sherman...
A Ripley man has been arrested for allegedly having sexual contact with a juvenile victim in the town of Sherman.  Sheriff's officers were called to investigate the matter... and, arrested 20 year-old Patrick How Thursday.  Deputies say How was issued an appearance ticket for endangering the welfare of a child for Sherman Town Court at a later date.


Two teens hurt in single-car accident in Sherman...
Two teenagers were seriously hurt when the car they were riding in crashed in the town of Sherman last Wednesday night.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Titus Road just after 8:30 p.m., and found the 17 year-old male driver, and 18 year-old female passenger injured inside.  The boy was taken by ambulance to UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pa. for treatment.  The woman had to be extricated from the vehicle... and, she was later flown to Hamot for treatment of her injuries.  No names have been released, and the investigation into the accident is continuing.


County lawmakers approve pay increase for managers, and motion to keep Southern Tier Congressional district...
The people who helped Chautauqua County get through the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and saved the count $4-million, are getting a pay raise.  The County Legislature voted 19-0 Wednesday night to increase salaried managers pay by 3%.  Sheridan Republican Terry Niebel says he's been asked why managers deserve a 3% wage hike.  Neibel says there are two reasons: The first being they found significant savings for the county 18 months ago... during the early days of the pandemic.  Jamestown.  Niebel adds the managers also helped the county find savings for the 2022 budget that cuts the full value tax rate from $8.51 per $1,000 to $8.10 per $1,000. 
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In addition... county lawmakers approved a motion urging New York state to continue the "long-standing practice" of putting all Southern Tier counties into one Congressional District.  The measure was approved, 17-2 with Democrats Bob Bankowski and Robert Whitney voting no.  


County reports 436 new confirmed COVID-19 cases the past week...
There have been move than 400 new, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County over the past week for the first time in over a month.  That from the county's Health Department Wednesday... which reported there were 436 new cases... bringing that total to 14,227.  There were also two new deaths.... making that total 216.  Officials say there are currently 475 active cases... and, 23 of those are hospitalized.  The Health Department says 13,536 cases have now recovered.  Of the new cases... 170 were in Jamestown... 57 in Dunkirk... 32 in Fredonia... and 28 in Falconer.  The seven-day infection rate is now 8-percent.


Cattaraugus County sees COVID infection rate jump...
One of the real COVID-19 hot-spots in the region continues to be Cattaraugus County... where the seven-day rate of infection has now climbed from 11 to 12.1-percent.  The Health Department in Olean said Thursday there were 87 new reported the past day to go with 128 the day before.  There are now 655 active cases... and, 49 people are now hospitalized.  Officials say there have now been 9,511 total cases... and, 8,652 have recovered.  The Health Department reports there have now been 165 COVID-related deaths during the pandemic.


Hochul hinting at reinstating COVID restrictions if infection rates don't come down...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul says New Yorkers in upstate communities seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases could again face more pandemic restrictions if infection rates fail to drop.  The Democrat didn't outline any specifics earlier in the week that she could take, or when they could begin.  However... Hochul says she's troubled by vaccine holdouts and signs of rising COVID-19 cases in parts of western and central New York.  By this time, she had hoped to loosen some of the restrictions on mask wearing in school, but, unless the numbers improve, she's going to look at having "stricter measures."  Hochul also said anyone who feels they're at high risk of getting COVID-19 should get a booster shot. 


Jamestown's Christmas Tree now up on Tracy Plaza...
Downtown Jamestown is looking more festive as the city's official Christmas Tree has been put up on Tracy Plaza.  A city crew, headed up by Parks Manager Dan Stone, harvested the Blue Spruce tree from the DeLong family at 265 Prospect St. on the southside Wednesday morning.  Stone says the 40-foot tall tree is the first Blue Spruce they've used in five years because they've become harder to find.  He says disease has take it's toll on those trees in recent years.  The tree is now up and anchored on the northwest side of the plaza, where it's usually put up, and Stone says park's crews will install thousands of Christmas lights between now, and the annual Christmas Parade... this year on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m.  Parks and Public Works crews have been busy in recent days... also putting up street lights and other ornaments in the downtown area.  Stone also thanked Jamestown police for providing an escort to city hall, and closing off East Third in front of city hall so the tree could be put up.  The tree lighting will be on Dec. 4... prior to the parade.


DeJoy approved as new Planning and Development Director in Dunkirk...
The city of Dunkirk has a new Director of Planning and Development.  During Tuesday's Common Council meeting... lawmakers unanimously approved the appointment of Vince DeJoy for the post, which was recently vacated by Jill Meaux.  DeJoy, who had worked in the same capacity in Jamestown, thanked Mayor Willie Rosas and the Common Council for their confidence in him, and says he is ready to get to work.

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Nov. 17, 2021

Hochul urges Western New Yorker's to get COVID-19 booster shot...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul was in Western New York Tuesday to encourage any adult in the region... which now has a high COVID-19 transmission rate... to get their vaccine booster shot as soon as they can.  Hochul was at a community center for a COVID-19 briefing... and says infection rates in the region... as well as the Finger Lakes... are more than 8% -- the highest in the state.  Hochul says there is plenty of supply for people to get the booster, and, they state will help local counties get the vaccine boosters if they need them.  Hochul also expressed disappointment over the fact that only 47% of those 65-years of age, and older have gotten the booster shot so far.  She also encouraged parents to get their children who are ages 5 to 11 to get their first shot of a vaccine. 


Jamestown's City Christmas Tree up on Tracy Plaza...
It's beginning to feel a lot more like Christmas in downtown Jamestown... now that the city's official tree has been put up on Tracy Plaza.  A city crew, headed up by Parks Manager Dan Stone, harvested the Blue Spruce tree from the home at 265 Prospect St. on the southside this morning.  Stone says the DeLong family donated the 40-foot tall Blue Spruce.  He says Lakeshore Paving again provided a flat-bed truck to deliver the tree, and the Board of Public Utilities provided the crane to help get the tree up on the plaza.  The tree was up and anchored on the northwest side of the plaza as usual... where Stone says park's crews will install thousands of Christmas lights between now, and the annual Christmas Parade... this year on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m.  He says crews will start putting more than 4,000 LED lights on the tree later today through tomorrow.  Stone says a new star has been made for the top.  He also thanked the Jamestown Police Department for it's help in providing the escort to city hall, and closing off East Third in front of city hall so the tree could be put up. 


Marvin House Christmas trees on display...
When retired architect Marlin Casker learned the Marvin House in Jamestown wanted to do something special for the Holidays, he had just the answer.  Casker and a late friend had been collecting Christmas ornaments for many years, and they eventually had enough to decorate a dozen treets.  The trees were previewed at an open house on Tuesday evening.  The ornaments, many of which Casker donated, come from Scandinavia, other parts of Europe… China and Mexico, even the Middle East.  He says the one from Egypt is unique because they're all glass and derived from 'Islamic ideas'.  Marvin House President, Rosemary Lombardo, says she’s wanted something like this ever since she took office five years ago.  The trees can be seen every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. right through New Year’s, as part of the regular $10 Marvin House tour. 


Salvation Army's Red Kettle gets underway in Jamestown-area...
The Salvation Army of Jamestown's annual Red Kettle Campaign is officially underway with a goal of 115-thousand dollars to help the needy in the Jamestown-area.  On our Dennis Webster Show Tuesday morning... Major Kim Merchant said they have one of their locations now open... at Tops Market on Washington Street, with more to follow soon.  Merchant says... right now... they can only have one masked person at the Tops on Washington Street.  She says they're talking with Tops about getting those restrictions loosened up.  Merchant says both the Chautauqua Mall and Wal-Mart in Lakewood say families and groups will be allowed to man the kettles.  Residents can sign up to man a kettle for an hour at each location.  For more information on the Red Kettle Campaign... or their Angel Tree program... call The Salvation Army at 664-4108. 


Muldowney calls 2021 campaign a "challenging one" and Bankoski to be minority leader...
A Chautauqua County Legislature Republican from Dunkirk has been re-elected to a fourth term after a close race.  Kevin Muldowney says it was a challenging campaign against Democrat Marcus Buchanon... who ran a "spirited race" that came down to absentee ballots.  Meanwhile, Dunkirk's other county legislator, Bob Bankoski, will become the Chautauqua County Legislature's minority leader in 2022.  Bankoski will replace Jamestown Democrat Charles Nazzaro who will be leaving the legislature at the end of December.  Bankowski has been assistant Minority Leader since he's been on the legislature.  He says, with Nazzaro leaving, they will be big shoes to fill.  Legislator Paul Whitford of Jamestown will replace Bankoski as assistant minority leader.  Republicans will have a 15-to-4 supermajority in the legislature the next two years.


Ethics panel rescinds its approval of Cuomo Book Deal...
Members of New York's ethics commission have voted overwhelmingly to rescind approval of former Governor Andrew Cuomo's $5.1-million book deal.  In July 2020... commission staff granted approval of Cuomo's deal for "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic."  At the time, his special council told the ethics commission he would write the book "entirely on his own time."  But... Cuomo has since acknowledged that state employees "volunteered" with tasks including editing the manuscript.  

 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Nov. 16, 2021

Ecklund would like 2022 general fund budget dealth with separate from Jamestown's ARPA funding...
The head of the Jamestown City Council's Finance Committee says she would like to see a general fund budget that is separate from the city's American Rescue Plan Act funding.  Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says lawmakers are "running out of time" before the budget due date, and she's received little feedback from fellow councilmembers.  Ecklund says she wants any proposals before the budget hearing this Friday night at 6 p.m.  She says she wants feedback by Wednesday, because that way, if a special meeting is needed next Monday night, they can announce it.  Ecklund says members of the committee are also frustrated by the co-mingling of $3-million of "lost revenue" ARPA funding in the 2022 budget plan.  She feels the committee also feels the need to separate the regular budget from the ARPA monies.  Ecklund says she'd like to adopt a general fund budget first... then "dig into" the ARPA funding.  The $38.9-million budget proposed last month by Mayor Eddie Sundquist includes a $130,000 increase in the tax levy... but, no increase in the tax rate.  It also includes seven new positions.  


Sundquist urges Council to get moving on where city's ARPA funding will go...
The mayor of Jamestown did urge city lawmakers to begin looking seriously at moving more of the projects in Jamestown's Master Plan to use American Rescue Plan funding.  Eddie Sundquist reminded lawmakers during last night's work session that they've had the first tranche of money -- just over $14-million -- in the bank for 181 days.  Sundquist says those projects include recovery funds, to help small businesses, and may even be used to protect the Chadakoin River.  He says he understands the diffculty of dealing with both the regular budget... and, the rescue plan funding.  But... he says they are getting calls to start getting the funding "out there."  Sundquist says the city has until only 2024 to commit the funding and the projects must be completed by 2026.  Whatever money is left at that point, had to be returned to the U.S. Treasury Department.


County Bd. of Elections finishes, Jamestown's third-ward race now official pending certification...
The vote count in the Jamestown City Council Ward-Three race is now final... pending certification of the results... which may take place by the end of this week.  That from Chautauqua County Board of Elections GOP Commissioner Brian Abram... who says any challenge to absentee or other ballots needed to take place yesterday.  On election night... Democrat Regina Brackman had an 11-vote lead over Republican challenger Robert Reedy, Jr.  However... the absentee count brought the margin down to two, 173-to-171, with Brackman ahead.  That will be the final result... pending final certification.  That officially means Republicans will have a 7-2 majority on City Council in the coming year. Also in the Jamestown-area... Michael Walker will be the Carroll Town Highway Superintendent after gaining votes in the absentee count, with 521 votes, to James Mitchener III's 494. 


Hochul praises $1-trillion Infrastructure Bill before leaving for signing ceremony in D.C....
New York Governor Kathy Hochul traveled to Washington, DC Monday afternoon for President Joe Biden's signing of the just-over one-trillion dollar "Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act."  Prior to leaving... Hochul praised bi-partisan measure... calling it an "investment in New York..." and, New York's families.  During a press conference at the Albany Airport... she said it means billions of dollars for the state's infrastructure needs... including $14-billion for roads and bridges... $10.5-billion for transit systems... to $100-million for broadband upgrades.  Hochul says, when she was especially traveling the state as Lieutenant Governor, she found a number of rural areas where her cell service dropped out.  She says with the projects will come "thousands of jobs" in New York state.  The measure has been passed a few months ago in the U.S. Senate... and, was recently adopted just over a week ago in the House of Representatives in a 228-to-206 vote. 


NYC Public Advocate, Williams, announcing run for Governor...
New York City's elected public advocate Jumaane Williams is running for New York governor.  The self-described activist is the most progressive candidate in next year's increasingly crowded Democratic primary race... which already features Governor Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James.  Williams is a 45-year-old former New York City councilman who serves as a public ombudsman in his role as the city's public advocate.  He shared his plans with The Associated Press before formally rolling out his campaign announcement Tuesday.


Teachout to run for A-G in 2022...
Law professor Zephyr Teachout has announced she is seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general of New York.  Teachout made the announcement late Monday in Brooklyn.  She had said earlier that she would run for attorney general if incumbent Letitia James announced a run for governor.  James announced her campaign for governor on Oct. 29.  The 50-year-old Teachout is an associate professor of law at Fordham University and a scholar on corruption and anti-trust laws.  Teachout ran for the Democratic nomination for attorney general in 2018... but lost to James.


Man arrested for domestic incident in Ellicott...
A 68 year-old man has been arrested for allegedly hitting another person in the face with an open hand during a domestic incident in the town of Ellicott.  Town police were called to the undisclosed scene about 5 p.m. last Saturday... and, found that Mickey Reagan had hit the person... and, violated an order of protection.  Reagan was arrested for second-degree harassment, and second-degree criminal contempt... and, he was jailed pending arraignment.

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Nov. 12, 2021

(These were not updated for Friday -- 11/12)
Horrigan inducted into NYS Senate's Veterans Hall of Fame...
A retired U-S Air Force Colonel... who also served four years as Chautauqua County Executive... has been inducted into the New York State Senate's Veteran's Hall of Fame.  Bemus Point's Vince Horrigan was nominated by local State Senator George Borrello of Sunset Bay for the honor... and, Borrello recalled the first time he met Horrigan.  He says it was in 2009 right after historic flooding in the village of Silver Creek.  Horrigan was executive director of the local American Red Cross chapter... and one of the first people at the scene.  He says he was very impressed by Horrigan's work during that, then later when they both served on the county legislature.  Borrello then replaced Horrigan as County Executive in 2017 after Horrigan decided not to seek re-election.  Fellow Air Force veteran Greg Carlson is director of the county's Office of Veteran's Services.  He says Horrigan not only flew "top gun" fighter planes... but, also trained the 'best of the best.'  Carlson says he was not just a fighter pilot, but, someone who trained the best to be pilots.  Horrigan says he expected to be drafted... and, wanted to decide early on which branch of the service he wanted to be -- the Air Force.  He also reflected on the death this past Summer of his son-in-law... who was also a veteran who suffered from PTSD.  Thursday's ceremony was held at the county Veteran's Services Office in West Ellicott.


Veterans Day ceremony held at St. Lukes church...
St. Luke’s Church hosted Jamestown’s annual Veterans Day service just after 11 a.m. Thursday.  The speaker for the event was Sean McNally, Firing Squad Commander for the Ira Lou Spring Post American Legion.  He said it’s good to be a veteran, and it means a lot to follow in the footsteps of those who had gone before.  McNally recounted many of the wars and conflicts since the Revolution that Americans have fought in, and added that, through all these ventures, veterans fought with "courage and conviction" for their country.  


Veteran's Park hosts earlier Veteran's Day program...                      
Veteran's Day 2021 in the Jamestown-area began yesterday at Veteran's Park on the city's westside.  A few dozen people, and local elected leaders... gathered around the American Flag memorial circle.  The ceremony... put on by VFW Post #53... included a 21-gun salute, and the playing of Taps.  Post-#53 Commander... Bill Johnston... paid tribute to those who have passed on, and explained the importance of the day to honor the sacrifices of all veterans -- living and deceased.  Other leaders from the VFW, and others placed flowers and flags at the base of the American Flag in the park during the ceremony.  


Fire destroys trailer home in Westfield...
Several fire departments responded to a report of a trailer fire on North Gale Street in Westfield Wednesday afternoon.  The trailer was located near some propane tanks.  Westfield firefighters received mutual aid from Ripley, Portland, Brocton and Chautauqua County Emergency Services in battling the fire shortly after 1 p.m.  County fire police also assisted at the scene.  The Westfield Fire Department stated on it's Facebook page that the trailer was a complete loss.  No word on what caused the fire.


Bentley resigns from county DPF director's post effective Dec. 1...
The man who has headed up the Chautauqua County Department of Public Facilities has announced he is resigning -- effective the end of November.  The surprise announcement was made by Director Brad Bentley during Wednesday's meeting of the legislature's Audit and Control Committee.  Bentley said that he had been asked to tender his resignation by County Executive P-J Wendel.  It was submitted this past Monday.  Bentley he enjoyed his work, and is proud of what he's been able to do.  We caught up with Wendel yesterday morning... and, he indicated that he had not asked Bentley for his resignation.  He added that Bentley was ready to resign late last week... but, he asked the outgoing director to think about it over the weekend.  Wendel says he'll meet next week with DPF managers about going forward... but, says someone who just came the area may have qualifications for the job.  He says Bentley served the community and the county "greatly."  Wendel says a search committee will be formed in the near future, once the paperwork is completed by the Human Resources Department.


City man arrested following domestic incident for being repeat offender...
A Jamestown man previously convicted on domestic violence charges has again been arrested following a domestic incident on the city's southside.  City police say they were called to the unspecified scene about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday... and, later arrested 33 year-old Charles Thielges.  Officers say Thielges allegedly violated an order of protection by being with a woman he was ordered to stay away from.  He was taken into custody without incident... and, charged with second-degree criminal contempt... and, aggravated family offense due to the prior convictions. 

 

  
 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Nov. 15, 2021

Absentee ballot count in Chautauqua County underway... 
The Chautauqua County Board of Elections will begin counting both absentee and affidavit ballots later today to decide several close races in the local elections on November 2nd.  Republican Elections Commissioner Brian Abram says the number of absentees to count this year is much less than a year ago when the presidential race was being decided.  Abram says it appears there will be about 1,500 absentee ballots returned of the just over 2,500 sent out.  He adds they'll also be dealing with whether affidavit ballots made out on Election Day will be counted.  Those are ballots where the voter was not found to be in their system, and they fill those out, and they are put in an envelop and then opened to determine if they were valid.  With the use of two high-speed counters... Abram feels the count will be completed within hours on Monday.  Today's count began about 11 a.m., and should be completed in about four hours.  The closest races locally include the Jamestown City Council's Ward-Three contest... where Democrat Regina Brackman has a slim, 11 vote lead over Republican Robert Reedy, Jr.   Democratic Elections Commissioner Luz Torres also says that military and overseas voters have until today to return their ballots.


Reed sounds off on harsh criticism of his a other GOP votes in favor of Infrastructure bill...
President Joe Biden is expected to sign the recently approved, $1-trillion infrastructure bill later today.  Local Congressman Tom Reed was one of 13 House Republicans who voted for the bi-partisan bill.  He's also now addressing criticism that he and the other Republicans  were essentially "traitors."  An independent media feed last weekend showed Reed addressing that criticism... saying the bill was negotiated in good faith... and, he remains a "proud Republican..." and he knows "proud Democrats" as well.  But, he feels the bill is a win.  The Corning Republican said the final product was "based on compromise."  The measure had already been approved in the Senate with bi-partisan support there as well. 


Medicare Premiums to increase next year by $21.60...
Medicare's ``Part B'' outpatient premium will jump by $21.60 cents next year, one of the largest increases ever.  Officials said Friday a new Alzheimer's drug is responsible for about half of that.  The increase guarantees that health care costs will gobble up a big chunk of the recently announced Social Security cost-of-living allowance, a boost that had worked out to $92 a month for the average retired worker.  The announcement on premiums comes as Congress is considering Democratic legislation that would curb what Medicare pays for medications.  The new Part B premium will be $170.10 a month. 


Missing distraught person in Portland found by K-9 unit...
Local authorities were able to located a despondent person who ran from a home on Route 380 in the town of Portland... and, said they might do harm to themself.  Sheriff's officers received a 911 call shortly before 11 p.m. last Friday night about the person running from the home... and, across Route 380 towards a field, and wooded area.  Deputies say K-9 "Drake" was brought in to assist in the search... and, began tracking the person.  The K-9 found the unidentified person about half-a-mile from the roadway in a brushy area.  Officers say the person was found laying on the ground in clothing not suitable for the conditions.  Deputies requested an ambulance, and Brocton and Portland Fire Departments responded to the scene.  The subject was then taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for further care.


Farm officials voice concerns over 2022...
Farmers in the Chautauqua region had a pretty good crop year in 2021… but, concerns are already emerging for 2022.  Well known crop expert Dan Steward, from the Western New York Crop Management Association, says the cost of fertilizer is surging, and with energy costs going up, nitrogen is going up also.  He adds that fertilizer prices have also nearly doubled.  In addition, the same kind of supply chain issues affecting retail shopping are hitting agriculture, too.  Many commonly used products like Roundup are manufactured overseas, and could be hard to find next year.  So, Steward says farmers are doing what many consumers are… stockpiling what they can now, even at higher prices, to insure they’ll have what they need in the spring.


Rosas confirmes DeJoy is his pick for planning and development director in Dunkirk...
The former director of Development in the city of Jamestown is Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas' choice to be the north county city's next director of Planning and Development.  Vince DeJoy's name appears on a prefiled resolution for Tuesday's Common Council meeting.  DeJoy held the similar post in Jamestown for several years, along with serving as executive director for the Jamestown Local Development Corporation.  Rosas says former Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi was among those giving the candidate a strong recommendation... along with State Senator George Borrello.  Dunkirk's Planning and Development post became vacant last month when Jill Meaux announced her resignation.


Hochul announces Mass Vaccination sites for children...
Governor Kathy Hochul says 10 of New York's mass coronavirus vaccination sites are ready to give shots to children ages 5 to 11 who recently became eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.  More than 50,000 children in the state already have received their first dose of the vaccine, which has been available at doctors' offices, pharmacies and other locations.  Federal officials gave final approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for kids on Nov. 2.

 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Nov. 11, 2021

Ellicott Town Supervisor confirms Target buys former K-Mart store on Fairmount Ave...
A major retail chain has purchased the former K-Mart store, and it's 13-acres of property off Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott.  Ellicott Town Supervisor Pat McLaughlin says the Chautauqua County Clerk's office confirmed for him that a real estate arm of Target bought the property over the past couple of weeks.  However... McLaughlin adds that the company's intentions have not yet been made known, and they have not yet contacted the town about any plans.  He says he's "love" to see Target move into the location.  McLaughlin says this was a "full-sized" K-Mart store location prior to it being closed by the company in October of 2019.  He says the property is already zoned commercial, so Target could reopen it through "Use by Right."  However... he says any significant changes would have to be approved by the town... like an expansion, or alter any of the electrical work inside.  The K-Mart store at 975 Fairmount Ave. was one of 26 "full-sized" K-Mart's the company closed as part of a liquidation in late 2019.  It came not long after K-Mart liquidated it's Sears store holdings.


County DPF Director Bentley Resigns from position, effective Dec. 1...
Chautauqua County is losing it's director of Public Facilities at the end of the month.  That after current director Brad Bentley announced during Wednesday's meeting of the legislature's Audit and Control Committee.  Bentley said that he had been asked to tender his resignation by County Executive P-J Wendel.  It was submitted this past Monday... and, takes effect Dec. 1.  He thanked lawmakers for the opportunity to work with them.  However... we caught up with Wendel this morning... and, he indicated that he had not asked Bentley for his resignation.  Wendel says Bentley was ready to resign late last week... but, he asked the outgoing director to think about it over the weekend.  He says he appreciate's Bentley's service to the county, and add he'll meet with other department managers next week to discuss where they go from here.  Wendel says a search committee will be formed, but, adds he'll be talking with other managers in the DPF to plan for the interim.  He did say that prior to the resignation, they had received word of "some people" who had moved to the area... and, may be qualified for the position. 


Rosas says he has new Planning and Development director ready to fill vacancy...
Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas says he has found a candidate to fill the vacant director of Planning and Development post.  While he did not announce a name, Rosas says he would like to see the Common Council take action on the appointment during next Tuesday's meeting.  He says the candidate has the support of State Senator George Borrello, and former Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi.  Rosas says his candidate has extensive business and development experience... and, is ready to take over the position as soon as Council members confirmed the appointment.  He says the person would be able to come in and help us "immediately..." and adds they have quarterly reports and other activity going on "in that department."  Last month... former director Jill Meaux left the position, citing the stress of the city's political work environment. 


County reports 350 new COVID cases the past week...
The number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Chautauqua County are continuing their upward trend... with 350 new cases over the past week.  The county's Health Department reports there have now been 13,791 total cases... and, 400 of those are currently active.  Officials say there were three new deaths... bringing that total now to 214.  There are 25 people currently hospitalized... and, the rate of infection is now 7%.


Local students taking part in "Taps Across Chautauqua..."
What started last year as a way to give band students 'an authentic music making experience during COVID' is expanding this year.  Instrumental players of all sorts did solo performances of Taps today on Veterans Day.  Persell Middle School Band Director Marc Lentsch helped start the effort in the Jamestown schools, said they learned Taps in school, and got some background on the day.  At 11 a.m., Lentsch says they stepped outside their homes, and play Taps for their neighbhorhood.  He says 'Taps Across Chautauqua' is an ideal way to connect what students learn in school directly to the community.  Band members from the Jamestown schools will participate again this year... along with those from Southwestern, Cassadaga Valley, Brocton, and Chautauqua Lake.  Music students at SUNY Fredonia will be playing along this year, as well. 


CCHS honoring military service members by waiving pet adoption fees through Sunday...
The Chautauqua County Humane Society is honoring our service members this Veterans Day by waiving the adoption fee for all pets for all vets and active military.  Humane Society Partnership Director Brian Papalia says the adoption fee will be waived on any successfully completed adoption to any adopter with valid Military I.D. that submits an application between now and Sunday, Nov. 14.  Papalia says their "Veterans Day adoption special is its way of giving back to those who have served and continue to serve our country.  “It’s a way for us to show our appreciation.  Our veterans are already heroes to this country, and now they can be a hero to a homeless pet in need.”  For more information... visit chqhumane.org, or call 665-2209.

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Nov. 10, 2021

Man in stable condition following stabbing incident in Jamestown...
A 40 year-old man who suffered a stab wound at a home on Jamestown's northside is in stable condition at an Erie, Pennsylvania hospital.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson confirms the incident took place in the 600-block of Prendergast Avenue shortly before 5 a.m.  Samuelson says the man was initially taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital before being transferred to UPMC Hamot in Erie.  He adds the suspect remains at large... and, anyone with information on the incident is asked to call JPD at 483-7537... or their tips line at 483-8477.


Ripley firefighters called back to rekindle of Tuesday afternoon house fire...
Ripley firefighters were called back to a rekindle of a house fire early this morning that destroyed what was left standing from Tuesday afternoon's fire.  Fire crews were called back to the scene at 6277 Barnes Rd. just after 4 a.m., and, had the flames out in short order.  Chautauqua County Fire Dispatchers say Ripley firefighters were initially called to the about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday... and, found the structure was "fully-engulfed" in flames.  They initially called in Westfield for mutual aid... and, later South Ripley and Sherman.  The county's EMS, and Fire Coordinators also responded.  The occupants reportedly got out safely.  The cause remains under investigation.


Jamestown to take part in "Taps Across Chautauqua" on Veteran's Day...
What started last year as a way to give band students 'an authentic music making experience during COVID' is expanding this year.  Instrumental players of all sorts will do solo performances of Taps on Veterans Day.  Band Director Marc Lentsch at Persell Middle School helped start the effort in the Jamestown schools.  Lentsch says the students learn Taps either in class, or private lesson.  Then at 11 a.m. on the 11th of November, they step outside and play.  He says it's an ideal way to connect what students learn in school directly to the community.  Lentsch says they also learn the importance of Veteran's Day, and how it came about.  Band members from the Jamestown schools will participate again this year... along with those from Southwestern, Cassadaga Valley, Brocton, and Chautauqua Lake.  Music students at SUNY Fredonia will be playing along this year, as well. 


Borrello saddened by decision to close more prisons next year in NYS...
The region's State Senator says he's sad to see New York state's decision to close six more prisons in March of next year.  Sunset Bay Republican George Borrello spoke about the decision Tuesday.  Borrello says Governor Kathy Hochul is "following the path" of former Governor Andrew Cuomo.  He says yes... the state's prison population has been declining... but, adds it's not due to less crime.  Borrello says there's been a "huge spike" in crime across the state in the wake of bail reform, which is allowing more criminals to be released onto the streets.  He says bail reform has also led to people charged with crimes not showing up for court dates.  The six facilities slated for closure include... the Southport Correctional Facility, Ogdensburg Correctional Facility, Rochester Correctional Facility, Moriah Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility, Downstate Correctional Facility and Willard Drug Treatment Campus.


Hochul says NYS is prepared to give "kid-sized" COVID-19 vaccinations...
New York state is prepared for the initial wave of 5 to 11 year-old children expected to receive the "kid-sized" COVID-19 vaccine now that approval has been given for emergency use.  Governor Kathy Hochul made the announcement during an appearance at the Mt. Vernon Neighborhood Health Center in Westchester County Tuesday afternoon.  Hochul adds that 75% of all eligible New Yorkers have now had at least one dose of the vaccine... and, she says they'll now focus on where place where the numbers remain low.  Several children were on hand at the Mt. Vernon center to get a vaccine... and, $50 cash afterwards.  They'll also get another $50 when they get the second shot.  Hochul adds there's more: children who get vaccinated will be entered into a contest to win a free college education from either a State University... or City of New York school. 


Bemus Point SD hosting "Drive a Bus" day...
If you've ever wondered what it's like to drive a bus... you can give it a try today from 4 to 6 p.m. at Maple Grove Junior/Senior High School.  The district's Transportation Supervisor, Dwayne Dustin issues the invitation, saying it will give you a chance to get behind the wheel, and see if you would like to try it.  The school is located at the top of Dutch Hollow Road in Ellery.  You must be 21 years of age... and have a valid driver's license.  Dustin adds it's always a little intimidating to get behind the wheel for the first time.  He says those who haven't driven a bus before, but, have driven larger vehicles in the past usually get the hang of it shortly.  Student safety and traffic control are included in the training.  The situation at Bemus Point is similar to districts around the country... all with a great need for more drivers and substitutes.  


First Harmony Express Barbershop concert to be held this Saturday...
The Harmony Express Barbershop Chorus is set come out of its 'pandemic hibernation,' and present a show this weekend.  Chorus President George Jarrell says they'll perform in the Fellowship Room at First Presbyterian Church on Saturday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m.  Jarrell says this year's show theme is "Good Old Songs from the Barbershop."  He says the chorus has not performed for two years but Jarrell says the number of members has remained steady at around two dozen singers.  For their first concert, they'll be doing a lot of traditional barbershop tunes.  Tickets are $10 pre-sale... or by calling the barbershop hotline at 789-5248 or email info@harmonyexpress.com.  The price is $15 at the door.  Masks will be required.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Nov. 9, 2021

City Council talks more on 2022 budget, but, makes no changes yet...
There was some discussion about Mayor Eddie Sundquist's proposed 2022 budget plan during last night's Jamestown City Council meeting... but, no changes have been proposed as yet.  That from Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund, who says there wasn't a full budget meeting because of the absence of some city officials.  There's only one more scheduled work session -- before the vote -- next Monday night.  Council President Tony Dolce says the public hearing is to be held on Friday, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m.  However... he asked it lawmakers wanted to have the hearing on the following Monday, Nov. 22, because there is no work session scheduled due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.  There was no decision on changing the schedule last night.  However... Ecklund says they still want any preliminary amendments by this coming Wednesday the 10th... prior to next week's work session.  The 2022 budget proposal totals $38.9-million, and uses about $3-million from the "lost revenue" catagory of the city's ARPA funding allocation of about $28-million.  The budget includes about a $130,000 increase in the tax levy... but, the tax rate remains $23.69 per $1,000 full value.  The final budget has to be in place by Dec. 1.  


Comptroller reports on another good quarter for Jamestown sales tax revenues...
The city of Jamestown had another strong sales tax report for the third-quarter of this year... and, now has 90% of it's budgeted amount already raised.  That from City Comptroller Ryan Thompson... who reported last night that the city took in $2.25-million in revenues for July through September.  Thompson says that's $271,000 more than last year... and, $327,000 more than in 2019.  With that... Thompson says the city has so far collected $6.1-million in sales tax revenues through the first three months of the year.  The fourth-quarter, with the holiday's approaching, typically is the city's strongest quarter of the year.  The city budgeted $6.7-million in sales tax proceeds for 2021.


Wendel identifying projects that could benefit from federal Infrastructure bill...
With President Joe Biden expected to sign the bi-partisan infrastructure bill into law next week... a top local, elected official is waiting for the details about how the funding can be used for projects in Chautauqua County.  County Executive P.J. Wendel says they have already identified some projects in the county that should benefit from the funding... including Phase-Two of the project to provide sewer service on the western side of Chautauqua Lake.  He adds there are also a couple of north county water projects that stand to benefit.  Wendel hopes that smaller counties don't miss out on the funding.  He fears that counties with larger populations will have the advantage... unless there is "direct funding" to those counties. 


Schumer announces nearly $800,000 in funding for both the Jamestown and Dunkirk Airports...
Chautauqua County's two airports will each receive $790,000 from the $1-trillion infrastructure bill approved by Congress last Friday night.  That from Senior U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York... who announced $937-million will be coming to airports in the state.  The Democratic Majority Leader says both the Jamestown and Dunkirk Airports will receive the nearly $800,000 each from the $25-billion in funding nationally.  Schumer says the largest funding amounts will go to Kennedy and LaGuardia Airports in New York City. 


Wendel looking forward to dealing with economic development, infrastructure needs over next four-years...
Improving Chautauqua County's infrastructure is one of the major goals of County Executive P.J. Wendel over his new. four-year term... which begins next Jan. 1.  The Lakewood Republican talked a little more on our "Community Spotlight" program about meeting with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's staff... and, says they urged them to go back and talk with local leaders about what they need.  He says they have begun talking with those leaders, and says they could spending $100-million "rather quickly."  He says economic development... especially coming out of the COVID Pandemic... is another area he and his administration plan to focus on... along with combating the opioid epidemic.  He says he was "very humbled" by the support he received on Election Day one week ago.  Last year... Wendel received 71% of the vote against Rich Morrisroe, and this year received 72% of the vote to Green's 23%.


Six more state prisons slated for closings in 2022...
Officials say six New York state correctional facilities will close next March in a cost-saving move amid declining inmate populations.  More than 1,700 people work at the six upstate New York facilities, and there are more than 1,400 inmates.  Inmates will be sent to other locations, and no layoffs are expected.  The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said it will work with unions to provide staffers at the facilities with transfer opportunities.  The facilities scheduled for closure March 10th are: Ogdensburg Correctional Facility, Moriah Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility, Willard Drug Treatment Campus, Southport Correctional Facility, Downstate Correctional Facility and Rochester Correctional Facility.


College Bomb Threat in NYS found to be "not credible..."
Officials say multiple bomb threats made over the weekend at Ivy League campuses were not credible.  Cornell, Columbia and Brown universities had alerted students to threats Sunday and deemed campuses safe a few hours later.  Evacuations were ordered in some buildings on the campuses.  Yale reported a bomb threat two days earlier that forced the evacuation of several buildings as well as nearby businesses in New Haven, Connecticut.  The university resumed normal campus activity Friday evening.

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Nov. 8, 2021

Pair of Jamestown residents arrested on drug related charges during traffic stop in Hanover...
Two Jamestown residents face drug-related charges following a traffic stop on Routes 5 and 20 in the town of Hanover late last week.  Sheriff's officers say they stopped 28 year-old Nicholas Evans shortly after 9 P.M.last Thursday for multiple traffic violations.  Deputies say their investigation revealed that Evans, and his passenger, 38 year-old Kathleen Sherwood, were in possession of a quantity of methamphetamine.  Both Evans and Sherwood were taken into custody and later released with appearance tickets. They are scheduled to appear in Hanover Town Court at a later date.


North County man arrested on assault charge...
An Irving man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting and repeatedly kicking another person while they were laying on the ground.  Sheriff's officers were called to an "in-progress" assault at an undisclosed location shortly after Midnight Sunday.  Deputies were joined by Seneca Nation Marshalls and found that 21 year-old Thunderhawk Parker had committed the assault, and kicked the person while they were curled up in a defensive position.  Parker was arrested for third-degree assault and second-degree aggravated harassment.  He was taken to the Chautauqua County Jail pending centralized arraignment.


Reed among the 13 Republicans voting for $1-billion infrastructure bill...
Local Congressman Tom Reed was one of the 13 Republicans late last week who voted in favor of the one-trillion dollar package of road and other infrastructure projects after Democrats resolved a months-long standoff between progressives and moderates.  The vote late Friday gave President Joe Biden and his party a victory it had become increasingly anxious to claim.  The legislation would create legions of jobs and improve broadband, water supplies and other public works.  The 228-206 House vote whisked the measure to the desk of a president whose approval ratings have dropped and whose party was widely rejected in last week's elections.


Head of WNY Crop Mgmt says farmers did well over past growing season...
The growing season is over, and Dan Steward, Consultant for the Western New York Crop Management Association, believes farmers did well, overall.  There was an over abundance of rain at some points in midsummer.  Steward says crops on poorly drained soil were hurt -- especially corn that was planted in early June because of the amount of rain that fell in July.  The ability to make dry hay was also compromised by the rain.  There were not a lot of pest or disease problems of note… except for one highly unusual situation: Fall army worm.  During his 30 years in the profession, he says he's never seen any issues with them... and, some grass fields disappeared.  Steward adds the worms will die off in the winter, and shouldn’t be a problem next year… unless long distance winds should bring them back.


Falconer man arrested for DWI following accident...
A Falconer man faces a drunk driving charge after allegedly being involved in a traffic accident on Route 60... just north of Jamestown.  Sheriff's officers were called to the area of the McDonalds/Mobil station in the town of Ellicott just after 1:30 a.m. Saturday.  Deputies say they found 46 year-old Shane Dalrymple to be driving while intoxicated.  Dalrymple was taken into custody and charged with DWI, and moving from lane unsafely.  He was issued appearance tickets for Ellicott Town Court on a later date.


Mulligan’s on Fairmount cuts ribbon on virtual sports center...
Chautauqua County's newest indoor recreation center... featuring a several virtual sports... is now open on Fairmount Avenue -- just west of Lakewood.  The ribbon was cut last week on 'Mulligan’s on Fairmount' at 4467 Fairmount Ave.  Kyle Crandall and his wife, Emilee, own the location next to the Crosby's convenience store.  Kyle says they've been open about a year... but, are "super excited" to have all three of their virtual rooms now open.  One is digital golf, there's video sharpshooting, and other digital sports, along with video gaming and arcade machines.  Crandall says they're open everyday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Crandall says they charge families and parties of five an hourly rate... and, it's self-service.  He says each room can be used by up to 5 people for $10 a person... or $40 to $45 in many cases -- not including tax.  On hand for the Ribbon Cutting were State Senator George Borrello, and County Executive P-J Wendell... and Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Heitzenrater.  You can learn more about Mulligans at MulligansonFairmount.com... or go to their Facebook page.


County officials pushing to get the White Inn sold to new developer...
Chautauqua County officials hope that a new push to market Fredonia's historic White Inn will lead to a prospective corporate or individual buyer who is interested in restoring the Inn to its original grandeur.  Deputy County Executive for Economic Development and Chief Executive Officer of the county's Industrial Development Agency, Mark Geise, says a new realtor is taking over the effort.  Geise says the same realtor had success with another county project.  Geise says Howard Hannah's Paula Blanchard is the realtor, who also helped get the former Welch's plant sold to a responsible developer.  He says they are hoping to take a different approach in landing a buyer... using a campaign to get out the word that the property is available, and there is a state grant, and federal funding available to redevelop it.  A previous effort to sell the White Inn failed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020.

 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Nov. 5, 2021

Gillibrand touting rural aspects of "Build Back Better" Act...
U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says nearly $1-billion for a program tailored to support rural communities will be included in the framework of President Joe Biden's 'Build Back Better Act.'  Gillibrand spoke about the funding for the Rural Partnership Program during a video conference call this week with statewide media.  The New York Democrat says it will provide funding for rural communities over the next decade... and, help reimaging how the federal government interacts with rural communities.  Gillibrand says $873-million would be used for Rural Prosperity Development Grants.  She says those grants would prioritize micropolitan and high poverty areas, and be used to promote rural development activities and pre-development planning activities... including improving infrastructure and strenghtening internet access.  Gillibrand adds that $97-million would be for Rural Prosperity Innovation Grants.  That funding would be made available to non-profit organizations and institutions of higher education that serve rural areas, and would be used for development and pre-development planning, organizational capacity-building to support rural development, or to support projects funded by Prosperity Development Grants.


Conewango Valley man arrested for falsifying report of shooting...         
A Conewango Valley man has been arrested for allegedly making a false report of a "shots fired" incident about a month ago.  Sheriff's deputies say they were called to the undisclosed scene about 8 p.m. on Oct. 11 on a report of an armed subject firing a rifle in the roadway.  Officers say several units responded... but, further investigation showed the incident never occured.  After an investigation... officers arrested 20 year-old Dominick Brisley... and, charged him with third-degree falsely reporting an incident.  He's to appear in Chautauqua Town Court at a later date.


Wendel signs $278-million, 2022 county budget...
It's official.  For the first time in several years... taxpayers in Chautauqua County will see a reduction in both the tax levy and tax rates in 2022.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who has now signed the $278-million spending plan... which cuts the levy -- or the amount to be raised by taxes -- by $271,000... and, also cuts the tax rate by 41-cents per $1,000 full value.  Wendel says getting "real numbers" in two areas helped reduce those numbers.  One was a substantial reduction in the county's weekly Medicaid payment, and the other was higher sales tax numbers from the third-quarter.  Wendel says the first 13-weeks of Medicaid payments in 2022 will be reduced by $61,000 each week.  He adds the county increased it's anticipated sales tax revenues by $500,000.  Wendel says the Medicaid reduction appears that it won't be just a one-time deal, either.  The county legislature approved the 2022 budget plan at last month's voting session.  Wendel made his comments for this coming weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.  


Many women still missing from the job market...
As the U.S. economy rebounds from the ongoing pandemic, many women are choosing to sit out the labor force.  The pandemic has laid bare the disproportionate burdens many women shoulder in caring for children or aging parents... as well as highlighted the roles they have traditionally played in the labor force. In September... 2.5 million fewer women were employed compared to the same month in 2019, and nearly 3.1 million more women were not in the labor force this past September compared to the number in the same month two years ago.  Even with children back in school, a dramatic influx of women returning to work that some analysts expected has yet to materialize. 


Reinhardt appointed as JPS Coordinator of Student Support Services...
A Jamestown woman has been appointed as the city Public Schools' new Coordinator of Student Support Services.  District Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says Tamu Reinhardt began at her new position back on July 1.  Dr. Whitaker says the Coordinator of Student Support Services is responsible for providing important leadership that includes monitoring and supporting a vision that includes a comprehensive student services plan.  He says she'll be directly responsible, and work with those who work with students on their social and emotional needs, and how that translates to how those children do in school.  Whitaker says "central to this position is the well-being of students."  Reinhardt has also been a staff development specialist with the Erie-2 Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES... a Spanish teacher in the at Falconer Central Schools... an adjunct instructor at Jamestown Community College, and a curriculum and Hispanic Outreach Coordinator at the Jamestown schools.


Absentee ballot count to take place once Military and overseas ballots are received by Nov. 15...
Some important Election Day races in Chautauqua County are coming down to absentee ballots... and, the Board of Elections will be accepting absentees -- post-marked on or before Election Day -- through next Tuesday.  Democratic Elections Commissioner Luz Torres says they sent out 2,516 absentee ballots and "as of today we have 1,462 returned.  Military and overseas voters have until Monday, November 15th to return their ballots."  The big race in the Jamestown area that doesn't have a clear winner is the Third-Ward City Council race between Regina Brackman and Robert Reedy.  Brackman leads by 11 votes with 42 absentees returned.  In the town of Carroll... Highway Superintendent Michael Walker leads James Mitchener III by 20 votes with 28 absentee ballots returned.  Torres says "all countable ballots" will be opened on Monday, Nov. 15 beginning at 11 a.m." 

 

 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Nov. 4, 2021

Mayville man arrested for kidnapping and leading police on high-speed chase...
A wanted Mayvllle man has been arrested for allegedly holding a woman against her will during a high-speed pursuit in the town of Ellicott.  Sheriff's officers were alerted shortly after Midnight Wednesday that 35 year-old Dimas Rios was driving with a female inside the vehicle.  Deputies say Rios was wanted on a Felony warrant for second-degree kidnapping... and, they found his car at a business on Route 60... north of Jamestown.  When trying to make contact... officers say the car drove off at a high rate of speed... and, a pursuit began.  Deputies say the pursuit continued Ellicott and the city of Jamestown, before ending when the vehicle became stuck in a yard on Vinnie Street in Jamestown.  Rios then fled the scene... and, police got the woman out of the car safely.  The Sheriff's Department K-9 was brought in... and, tracked Rios hiding near a home two-blocks away.  Rios was arrested on numerous charges... including first-degree unlawful imprisonment... and reckless endangerment, reckless driving, third-degree unlawfully Fleeing Police Officer in a Motor Vehicle.  He will also be remanded to the county jail on the Felony kidnapping charge.


Weekly COVID numbers in Chautauqua County up, hospitalizations down...
The number of new, confirmed cases of COVID-19 is on the rise in Chautauqua County over the past week... with the highest number reported in about a month.  That from the county's Health Department... which is reporting 313 new cases... as well as five deaths.  Officials say the five deaths brings that total to 211.  They say there have now been 13,441 total cases to date... and, 296 are currently active.  However, hospitalizations are down to 15.  Officials say 102 of those were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.. and, 12,934 cases have now recovered. 


Ribbon cut on The Waterfront Pharmacy in The Chautauqua Center in Jamestown...
The ribbon was cut Wednesday afternoon on the new Waterfront Pharmacy... which was three-years in the making... at The Chautauqua Center in downtown Jamestown.  The pharmacy at the non-profit healthcare facility on Institute Street will allow the center's patients to obtain low cost prescription drugs.  One of the people involved in helping to get the pharmacy open was State Senator George Borrello who says it was important to get "affordable pharmacutial drugs to the community."  Borrello points out the Waterfront Pharmacy is part of the federally-qualified 340-B Program, which keeps costs low for qualified patients.  The Chautauqua Center's Chief Executive Officer Michael Pease says the pharmacy now offers the same prescription service to the community as it provides to TCC patients.  Pease says the Chautauqua Center also plans to open a similar pharmacy at their new facility in the north county city of Dunkirk at 75 East Third St.  The pharmacy distributes about 3,800 prescriptions a month... and, employees about 10 people.  The pharmacy is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Friday hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information... call (716) 483-4334 ext. 1333.


Turn-out for Election in Chautauqua County was 32%...
It appears that turn-out was slightly below projections on election day in Chautauqua County Tuesday.  That from the county's Board of Elections Wednesday... as officials are currently determining which contests could be affected by absentee and affidavit ballots.  Republican Elections Commissioner Brian Abram says he was hoping for more voters... even thought it was an off-presidential and gubernatorial year.  Abram says turn-out appears to be about 32%, but he was hoping for high-30s to low-40s.  He says he and Democratic Elections Commissioner Luz Torres are now reviewing each contest... to see where absentee or affidavit ballots could change the results.  He says there were no major issues at their nearly 50 polling sites across the county on Tuesday.


Sheldon "estatic" with GOP picking up at least two new seats on City Council...
There is no real secret to how Jamestown Republicans were able to pick-up two more seats... and, maybe one more... on the City Council in Tuesday's election.  The GOP unofficially has a 7-to-2 majority after sweeping the three at-large seats... and winning the Ward-6 race with young newcomer, Andrew Faulkner.  Faulkner defeated incumbant Democratic Tom Nelson 305-to-243.  First-Ward Councilman and City GOP Chairman Brent Sheldon was estatic with the results... which he says can be attributed to "hard work."  Sheldon did say there may have been some dissatisfaction with Democrats... and or some of the policies of Democratic Mayor Eddie Sundquist.  He says the one other race they may have won is in Ward-3 where Democrat Regina Brackman leads newcomer Robert Reedy, Jr. by 11 votes... 159-to-148.  Sheldon says that race will likely be decided by absentee ballots.  Republican Randy Daversa won the open at-large seat... joining Kim Ecklund and Jeff Russell.. who were re-elected convincingly.  Incumbant Republicans Sheldon... and City Council President Tony Dolce ran unopposed.        


!!SPORTS... Sabres trade Eichel to Golden Knights...
The Jack Eichel era in Buffalo is over.  The Sabres have ended an eight-month stalemate by trading their former captain and face of the franchise to the Vegas Golden Knights.  The trade ends a bitter feud between Eichel and Buffalo over how to repair a herniated disk in his neck, which has sidelined him since March.  The dispute revolved around the NHL's collective bargaining agreement giving teams the final say over the treatment of injuries.  Eichel is expected to have the disk replacement surgery he preferred, though the recovery timetable means he'll likely miss most if not all of the remainder of the season.  Buffalo acquired forward Alex Tuch, rookie center Peyton Krebs and two draft picks.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Nov. 3, 2021

Wendel scores convincing win in Chautauqua County Exec's race...
It was a big night for Republicans across Chautauqua County... winning the county executive and clerk's races... and, increasing their majority on the county legislature.  Incumbant Republican County Executive PJ Wendel was a big winner Tuesday night... receiving 72% of the vote over Democratic challenger Norm Green... who garnered 23%.  Wendel, whose from Lakewood, says to win again is humbling... and, he says what he's been able to do in two years is a small sample of what he'd like to do the "next four years."  Green, who is also chairman of the county's Democratic Committee, congratulated Wendel on his win.  The former County Elections Commissioner said his campaign got out-worked.  He says they brought up the issues, and believes they got their message out, but, it didn't work out.  Wendel tallied 17,455 votes to Green's 5,516. 
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Republicans also won another seat on the Chautauqua County Legislature by reclaiming the District 11 seat in Jamestown.  Past legislator David Wilfong won big over incumbant Democrat Robert Whitney, 534-to-328.  In District 12... incumbant Republican Elizabeth Rankin doubled the vote against challenger Heather Fagan, a Democrat... 614-to-307.  The GOP now enjoys a 15-to-4 supermajority on the legislature.


Barmore wins third-term as County Clerk...
The other county-wide race found incumbant Chautauqua County Clerk Larry Barmore winning big over Democrat David Salley, 68% to 25%.  Barmore, a Republican, says he worked hard to win a third-term in office... and, campaigned on what he had done, and was planning to do in the next four years.  He says he will continue to find ways to save his office, and it's five departments, money.  Barmore adds he's looking to increase ways to boost revenues in the coming year... especially at the Department of Motor Vehicles by getting more people to renew licenses, and registrations locally.  He wound up 16,505 votes to David Salley's 6,192.  


Jamestown Repubicans add to their majority on the City Council...
The slim Republican majority on the Jamestown City Council just got bigger.  With Tuesday's results... the GOP unofficially has a 7-to-2 majority after sweeping the three at-large seats... and winning the Ward-6 race with a young newcomer.  Andrew Faulkner defeated incumbant Democratic Tom Nelson, 305-to-243.  Republicans could also win the Ward-3 race.  Democrat Regina Brackman holds a slim, 159-to-148 lead over Robert Reedy, Jr.  That race will likely go to absentee ballots.  Republican Randy Daversa won the open at-large seat... joining Kim Ecklund and Jeff Russell.. who were re-elected convincingly.  Incumbant Republicans Brent Sheldon and Tony Dolce ran unopposed.        


City man arrested for illegal gun possession, as well as high-capacity clips...
A Jamestown man was arrested Monday night following a traffic stop in the city's eastside for allegedly being found in possession of guns and narcotic drugs.  City police say a patrolman was in the area of Thayer and Falconer Streets about 9 PM when he stopped a car driven by 33 year-old Steven Mojica-Medina.  Officers say they found Mojica-Medina in possession of a drum-style magazine for a 9-mm pistol in his sweatshirt pocket.  Police then searched the car... and, found a 9-mm Glock pistol... six high-capacity magazines... cocaine packaged for sale, and more than $1,000 in cash.  Officers say the magazines were filled with different amounts of ammunition.  Mojica-Medina was arrested for third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... second-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, possession of a large capacity feeding device.


Two city residents arrested on drug and weapons charges during raid...
Two Jamestown residents face drug and weapons possession charges following a raid on an upstairs apartment on the city's eastside Monday afternoon.  Members of the Jamestown Metro, and Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Forces executed a search warrant about 3:30 p.m. on the apartment at 15 Winsor St. with the help of the JPD SWAT Team.  Police say they took the two residents -- 26 year-old James Eastham and 23 year-old Amber Eaton -- into custody.  Officers found a quantity of Fentanyl, packaging materials, scales, money, brass knuckles, ammunition... along with a loaded shotgun... 22 calibur rifle... 380-calibur pistol... and, 22 calibur handgun.  Police say they believe the shot-gun was used by Eastham to threaten a person outside his apartment earlier in the week.  Both face charges including third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, two counts each of second, and third-degree criminal posession of a weapon.  Eastham is also charged with second-degree menacing.  Both were taken to the city jail pending arraignment.
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Jamestown police say they have been targeting people using violence and intimidation against others in the city... and, during targeted patrols, drug investigaion, and working with other law enforcement partners... have seized 8 handguns... one shotgun and a rifle in the past 10 days.  Officials say their efforts will continue in the wake of recent shooting and other incidents. 


JCC hands out Hamilton Award two long time administrators and instructors...
The Jamestown Community College Foundation has presented its highest award to a couple who together have given 79 years to the college.  Dr. Marilyn Zagora and Robert Oddy received the John D. Hamilton Award in a ceremony Tuesday night.  Oddy is a retired administrator and faculty member at JCC.  Dr. Zagora currently serves as the Vice President of Acadmic Affairs at the school.  She says JCC had been the ideal place for them to be because they could work with students to help them become all they could be.  Also honored at the celebration in Celoron... were three recipients of the Distinguished Alumus Award:  Dr. Eric Arnone of Western New York Urology... Katie Russo, the principal at Lincoln Elementary School... and Christie Brock, an active volunteer and business person in Olean. 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Nov. 2, 2021

County reports steady, but, lower turn-out for early voting this year...
More than 3,000 Chautauqua County residents took part in the nine-day, early voting across the county, which ended on Sunday.  County Republican Elections Commissioner Brian Abram says the number was down from 2019... which was the first year of early voting in New York state.  Abram adds their Dunkirk location at the county fairgrounds was the busiest... of their four locations... and, just over 3,200 people cast ballots.  He says 3,827 people voted early in 2019.  Last year... with the pandemic and a presidential election... the numbers were very high.
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Meanwhile, the Board of Elections geared up Monday for Election Day today.  Voting runs runs now to 9 p.m. tonight.  The major races locally include Chautauqua County Executive.  Republican incumbant PJ Wendel is seeking a full, four-year term after filling out the remainder of the four year term current State Senator George Borrello won in 2017.  Wendel is being opposed by Democratic Party Chairman, and former Elections Commissioner, Norm Green.  Also countywide today... incumbant County Clerk Larry Barmore is seeking a third, four-year term in office.  The Republican is being challenged by Democrat David Salley.
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The entire Chautauqua County Legislature is up for a vote.  However... only eight of the seats are contested.  In Jamestown... they include Democrat Robert Whitney, who is running for re-election in District 11 in a rematch from 2013 against Republican David Wilfong.  In District 12... Republican Elizabeth Rankin is being challenged by Democrat Heather Fagan.  There is a three-way race in District 16... where Republican John Davis is seeking re-election.  He's being challenged by Democrat Dustin Carvella.  The third challenger is Libertarian Gerrit Cain.  And... in District 8... Republican Legislature Chairman Pierre Chagnon is being challenged by Democrat Scott Humble. There's also a rematch of the District 18 GOP Primary between Martin Proctor, who won the primary, over Bill Ward.  However... Ward was cross-endorsed, and will have the Democratic line.  


All nine Jamestown City Council races up for a vote today... some unopposed, though...
The entire Jamestown City Council is up for a vote today... with every at-large seat contested.  The incumbants include Republicans Kim Ecklund and Jeff Russell.  Democratic incumbant Tamu Graham-Reinhardt is not seeking re-election.  The challengers include Democrats Christina Cardinale, Ellen DiTonto, and Alyssa Porter.  The Republican challenger is Randy Daversa.  
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The contested ward races include: Ward-Three... where Democrat Regina Brackman, who replaced the late Vickye James, will face Republican Robert Reedy, Junior.  In the Fourth-Ward... where incumbant Democrat Marie Carrubba is facing Republican Rick Elardo.  In Ward-Six... incumbant Democrat Tom Nelson is being challenged by Republican Andrew Faulkner.  Among those running unopposed is Second-Ward Republican Council President, Tony Dolce.  Incumbant Ward-Five Republican Grant Olson, who recently announced he was not seeking another term, is opposed by Democrat Doug Lawson on the ballot.


Some local races being watched by election observers today...
New Yorkers are set to make important decisions in elections to pick mayors, prosecutors, county leaders and other local positions.  Voters in New York City will pick a new mayor Tuesday.  In Buffalo... a mayoral race between a moderate and self-described socialist has gained attention as the latest fight over how Democrats should best tackle the plight of the poor and working class.  Voters statewide will get to decide whether to tweak the state's constitution to pave the way for election and environmental reforms favored by advocacy groups and the Democratic-led Legislature.


City man sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison for 2019 shooting death in Sherman...
A Jamestown man has been sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide in a 2019 shooting death in Sherman.  The Chautauqua County Court Clerk's office confirmed the sentence for Julio Montanez Monday morning.  Montanez was indicted on charges of second-degree murder and two counts of second-degree attempted murder in the death of 28 year-old Justin Gibbons of Mayville.  Montanez pleaded guilty just before his trial was to begin in September.  Prosecutors say Gibbons was shot multiple times in the area of 114 West Main St. in Sherman on Oct. 6, 2019.  He was taken by ambulance to Westfield Memorial Hospital but later pronounced dead.  The shooting reportedly took place after a narcotics deal in a parking lot when array.


Hochul signs expanded Paid Family Leave bill...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul has signed legislation extending paid family leave coverage to people who provide care for... or assist siblings with things like a pregnancy.  Among those on hand for the bill signing in Albany Monday afternoon... was hand was the head of the non-profit "A Better Balance" program, Deena Bax.  Bax strongly advocated for the bill, which she says will allow siblings, who may be the only close relative someone has, to help them if they have a serious illness.  She also called on the US Senate to approve the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act after it received strong, bi-partisan support in the U-S House of Representatives.  Governor Hochul, who was not afforded Family Leave when she became pregnant for the first time 33 years ago, says it's an issue of fundamental rights.  She says some people only have a sibling to help out with a pregnancy, and immediately after.  There are also cases of where a person only has a sibling to take care of them after a hospitalization.  The initial Paid Family Leave bill was approved in New York in 2016.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Nov. 1, 2021

Jamestown man sentenced for 2019 shooting death in Sherman...
A Jamestown man has been sentenced to one-and-1/3 to 4 years in state prison after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide in a 2019 shooting death in Sherman.  The Chautauqua County Court Clerk's office confirmed the sentence for Julio Montanez this morning... who had been indicted on charges of second-degree murder and two counts of second-degree attempted murder in the death of 28 year-old Justin Gibbons of Mayville.  Montanez pleaded guilty just before a trial was to begin in September.  Prosecutors say Gibbons was shot multiple times in the area of 114 West Main St. in Sherman on October 6th of 2019.  He was taken by ambulance to Westfield Memorial Hospital but later pronounced dead.  The shooting reportedly took place after a narcotics deal in a parking lot when array.


Dunkirk man arrested on several charges after vehicle pursuit and crash in Jamestown...
A vehicle chase that began on Jamestown's southside early Saturday morning ended with the car crashing and rolling over in the downtown area.  City police say they tried to stop the vehicle.... operated by 20 year-old Kayin Odebralski of Dunkirk... in the area of Newland and Forest Avenues about 6 a.m.  However... officers say the driver sped off before crashing on West Third Street at Mechanics Alley.  The car overturned... and, struck several signs, poles and a tree.  Police say they found a loaded handgun, some drugs and cash inside the vehicle.  Odebralski faces several charges... including unlawfully fleeing police, reckless driving, reckless endangerment, and criminal possession of a weapon.


Borrello opposes two propositions on voting, but supports another regarding civil cases in NYC...
Two of the five propositions being voted on during this year's General Election regards elections themselves... including who and how they vote.  Local State Senator George Borrello helped us out recently to know a little more about the propositions... of which #3 would allow for what's called "same-day" voter registration.  The Sunset Bay Republican says he his main issue is that a person can just show up on the day of the election, and say I want to vote with no identification.  He says Proposition #4 would allow for "no-excuse" absentee balloting... and he says the big problem with that is it takes away from people who aren't able to vote -- for legitimate reasons -- on Election Day.  Borrello says the state had problems with it during last year's primaries.  However... he does support Proposition #5, which increases the New York City Civil Court's jurisdiction from $25,000 to $50,000.  In addition... there are just two county-wide contested races in Chautauqua County tomorrow... with both County Executive and County Clerk up for votes.


Jamestown Public Market season comes to an end last Saturday...
The most successful season ever for the Jamestown Public Market drew to a close Saturday.  Market director, Linnea Carlson, believes their move from Cherry Street to West Third helped a lot.  Carlson says they were more visable, and overall sales and sales to Supplimental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients increased.  She's is grateful for the community response.  For the first time... she feels the market is stable, and now it’s just a question of how much bigger it can get.  In the off season... Carlson says she’ll begin work immediately on things for 2022 including expanding the mobile market and ‘increasing advocacy around food systems and agriculture.’   She’s also looking forward to the return of the Grow Jamestown Garden Fair on March 19, 2022…which will be sponsored by the public market.


Jamestown, F2CS Bands compete at NYS competition in Syracuse Sunday...
It wasn't the outcome either school wanted, but both the Jamestown and Falconer-Frewsburg marching bands competed in the state championships at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse Sunday.  The JHS band competes in National, the highest field band class in the competition, and finished 9th out of nine.  The band is directed by Meghan Murray, who says she was not disappointed because they had to overcome the COVID outbreak last month that sidelined the band for about two-weeks.  The F2CS band from Falconer and Frewsburg finished 5th out of six in the Small School 3 class.  Director Alicia Laska was pleased with the performance, and says band members remain enthusiatic about what they do.  The New York State Field Band Conference Championships are held annually, the last Sunday of October.


Cornell names as new marketing director for WNY JDRF...
A Chautauqua County woman has become the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Development Director in Western New York for the Upstate New York Chapter.  Lori Cornell has over 20 years of experience in government and politics and looks forward to working with the leading global funder of Type-1 Diabetes research.  Cornell says she'll be involved with fund-raising and outreach across the region.  Cornell has a firsthand passion to find a cure to Type 1 Diabetes, because it has touched her family.  She says their organizational management and volunteer mobilization is something that she's familiar with after being in politics and government for more than two decades.  The Dunkirk native lives with her husband Chuck and their four sons in Bemus Point. 

 

 

WJTN News Update for Fri., Oct. 29, 2021

City police investigate shots fired incident...
Jamestown police are searching for two people who reportedly fired shots at each other on the city's eastside early this afternoon.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers responded to a report of "multiple shots" being fire in the area of Dover and Bowen Streets just before 1:30 p.m.  Samuelson says both shooters fled the scene on foot before police arrived.  Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call JPD at 483-7537... or the anonymous tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


(Correction-Update) Randolph woman faces drunk driving charge after minivan goes into Cassadaga Creek in Falconer...
A Randolph woman faces a drunk driving charge after her minivan went off Water Street in Falconer and into the Cassadaga Creek.  Ellicott Town Police were called to the scene about 7:30 a.m., and found the lone occupant of the vehicle, 28 year-old Nicole Reynolds, and the vehicle in the water.  Officers say Reynolds was able to get out before the van became fully submerged in the water.  She was checked-over by Falconer fire rescuers.. but, was found to be drunk.  Police arrested Reynolds for DWI, and issued appearance tickets for Ellicott Town Court.  Police say her van could not be recovered at this time due to high water currents... and, the Chautauqua County Dive Team will try to recover the vehicle at a later date.
 

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Oct. 29, 2021

Man escapes minivan after it's goes into creek in Falconer...
No one was hurt this morning when a minivan drove into Cassadaga Creek off Water Street in the village of Falconer.  Ellicott Town Police say they were called to the scene about 7:30 a.m., and, soon after called in the Chautauqua County Dive Team after the vehicle became submerged in the water.  The lone occupant was able to get out and was not hurt.  Town Police were also joined by the Falconer Fire Department at the scene.  Full details are expected later today.


Erie County, Pa fugitive found in town of Chautauqua...
A man from Erie County, Pa. man has now been found... and, arrested... for allegedly burglarizing a hunting camp in the town of Westfield Wednesday.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's deputies say they located 39 year-old James Gnacinski of Girard about 3:20 p.m. Thursday in the town of Chautauqua.  Gnacinski was accused of breaking into the camp on Route 394 location just before 2:15 p.m. Wednesday... but, fled before police arrived.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone says the suspect stole a shotgun from the home before running into a wooded area.  Quattrone says prior to getting to the wooded area... the suspect dropped the gun, and it was recovered by the owner.  He adds that Gnacinski is wanted in Erie County, Pa. on other felony charges.  However... he will face burglary charges locally.  Gnacinski was arrested... without incident... during a search with multiple K-9 units involved.  Police say he'll be held until he's extradicted to Pennsylvania to face charges there.


Portland man arrested for sex abuse of a minor...
A town of Portland man has been arrested for allegedly exposing a juvenile victim to sexual abuse on multiple occasions.  Sheriff's officers say they arrested 37 year-old Charles Fitch on a Portland Town Court warrant after an investigation.  Deputies say Fitch faces three counts of third-degree sexual abuse... and, endangering the welfare of a child.  He was arrested on Wednesday... and, taken to the county jail pending centralized arraignment.


Borrello sounds off on propositions on ballot Nov. 2nd...
Politicians and good government groups are urging residents to take a closer look at the five state-wide propositions that are on the ballot this Fall.  State Senator George Borrello recent spoke out about all five... including the first one... which is receiving some bi-partisan criticism.  That measure makes changes to the redistricting process... which Borrello says diminishes the role of the Independent Redistricting Commission... which was formed seven years ago.  He says this would take the redistricting process behind closed doors, and not in the open the way "the people of New York wanted."  Borrello feels it's also a "power grab" on the part of Democrats... who currently lead the legislature and the governor's office.  He says the second proposition creates a "state constitutional right" to clean air and water... as well as a "healthful environment."  Borrello says it gives the right to a person to sue an entity for interfering with that right.  He adds it would be a boom for trial lawyers.  The other three measures include two regarding voter registration and "no-excuse" absentee voting.  The Sunset Bay Republican opposes the first four measures... However... he does back a fifth which increases the New York City Civil Court's jurisdiction from civil cases involving $25,000 $50,000.


Criminal complaint filed against Cuomo for sexual harassment...
A criminal complaint filed by a police investigator with a court in Albany has accused former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of committing a misdemeanor sex crime.  However... there are reports that the document might have been submitted in error.  The brief complaint accused Cuomo of putting his hand under a woman's shirt on Dec. 7, 2020.  The document didn't name the woman but Cuomo had been publicly accused of groping aide Brittany Commisso at the executive mansion in Albany last year.  The Albany County district attorney's office and Albany County Sheriff did not immediately return messages. 


County lawmakers approve "constitutional county" motion...
Chautauqua County legislators passed a motion during Wednesday night's meeting that calls for local, state and federal officials to follow the constitution.  The motion does not go as far as a measure the measure approved by the Cattaraugus County Legislature last August declaring the county a "Constitutional Sanctuary."  Frewsburg Republican John Davis and Sinclairville Republican Dan Pavlock prepared the motion with assistance from County Executive P.J. Wendel.  Davis says it’s a reminder about the oath they have taken.  He says it's his opinion that there are some state and federal officials who have used the pandemic to achieve their own policy objectives.  The vote was 13-6.  County lawmakers also approved a motion calling on state elected officials to consider alternatives to vaccination mandates for health care workers.  The motion passed, 17-2.


South county man sentenced to up to 3 years in prison for burglary... 
A Jamestown-area man has been sentenced to 1 to 3 years in state prison after pleading guilty to two counts of third-degree burglary.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt says the sentence was handed down to 27 year-old James Rairden late Wednesday by Judge David Foley.  Schmidt says Fairden pled guilty last September 7th to an incident that occurred in July of this year. 


Jamestown native returns to city to head up WCA Foundation...
A Jamestown native whose family was very involved with the former WCA Hospital has returned to the city to become the new executive director of the WCA Foundation.  A reception was held at the Northwest Arena last night for Kristen Melville, who took over the position on Oct. 11.  Melville has about 25 years of experience leading philanthropy and fundraising efforts for a several entities in the state of Maine.  However, she says it was time for her and her husband to return to the area... because they have three grandchildren and other family members in the area. 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Oct. 28, 2021

County Legislature approves $278-million budget that cuts both tax levy and rate...
The Chautauqua County Legislature has unanimously passed the county's tentative, 2022 budget.  During Wednesday's monthly meeting in Mayville... lawmakers approved the spending plan that lowers the county's tax levy by $271,000, and cuts the full value property tax rate by 41-cents per $1,000.  Jamestown Democrat Charles Nazzaro says it's a structurally sound spending plan that will provide tax relief to county residents... adding there's no use of fund balance, and brings back the contingency account for emergencies.  Sheridan Republican Terry Niebel did express some concern regarding the creation of 42 new state-or federally-funded positions, but he called it a reasonable and fair budget.  Niebel feels that in "2 or 3 years, we're going to have to decide how we're going to fund these positions, or whether we're going to fund these positions at all."  The spending plan now goes to Executive P.J. Wendel for his signature.


Sheriff's Dept. on look-out for alleged burglar in Westfield area...
Members of the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department are looking for a man who broke into a hunting camp in the town of Westfield yesterday afternoon... and is stll at-large.  Deputies were called to the scene on Route 394 just after 2 p.m., and say the suspect fled the home just prior to their arrival.  A search was conducted of a very large "vast wooded area..." but the subject was not found.  During the search procedure... officers say a men's coat was found by a Sheriff K-9 that contained a man's Pennsylvania Drivers License.  A short time later a vehicle was found stuck on a well road nearby the house involved... and, the car was registered to the same man on the driver's license found.  The name of the suspect is being withheld due to it being an active investigation.  Deputies believe the suspect is not threat to the public... but, they believe he could be looking for a vehicle to steal while trying to leave the area.  The public is encouraged to lock their cars, and homes.  If you see any suspicious activity... call the Sheriff's Office at 753-2131.


Olean man pleads guilty to viewing child porn after being convicted previously...
A convicted child predator from Cattaragus County has now pleaded guilty to a new charge of viewing pornography after being convicted on similar charges.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross has announced that 48 year-old James Arthur Morey of Olean entered the plea Wednesday before Federal Judge Richard Arcara to access with intent to view child pornography following a prior conviction.  Prosecutors say Morey, who was s convicted in a state court in 1999 of first-degree sexual abuse with a minor, was also sentenced to serve 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to a federal charge of possession of child pornography in March of 2010.  However... during a May 2019 home inspection by a Probation Officer, Morey admitted to renting a laptop computer to view child pornography over the Internet... and, the laptop was analyzed.  The new charge carries a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, a maximum of 20 years, and a fine of $250,000.


County reports 288 new COVID cases the past week, Hochul says overall state numbers coming down...
Chautauqua County has hit and exceeded another milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic this week... surpassing the 13,000 case number.  The county's Department of Health reported Wednesday 288 new confirmed cases the past week... bringing the local total to 13,129.  Officials say there were also six new deaths... and that total is now 206.  Governor Kathy Hochul, though, says -- overall -- the numbers after a recent surge have fallen off... and, "we're making good progress."  However... Hochul again warned that Halloween is coming... and, that's when the numbers began spiking last year... through New Year's Day.  At the same time... she says millions of New Yorkers have now been vaccinated.  Back to Chautauqua County... officials say there are currently 252 active case... and, 21 of those are hospitalized.  There were 94 new cases in the Jamestown 14701 zip code the part week.  The health department says 12,671 cases have now recovered... and, the infection rate is up to 5.8-percent.


Lutterloh discusses NYS plan for distributing "Kid-sized" COVID vaccines...
Pending final approvals next week... kid-sized doses of Pfizeer's COVID-19 vaccine could be available by late next week.  Governor Hochul says that's good news because many parents have been anxiously awaiting the approvals.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a recommendation Tuesday to vaccinate children ages 5 to 11.  Hochul's point person for those vaccinations... Dr. Emily Lutterloh... is the state Director of Epidemiology.  Lutterloh they will adjust their initiatives to include the younger age group after launching their "Vax to School" campaign, which will be expanded to the lower age group.  Lutterloh says 1.5-million children will be eligible once the Centers for Disease Control gets out it's recommendations.  Young kids would get just one-third of the dose given to teens and adults. 


Sources say A.G. James will run for Governor...
New York Attorney General Letitia James plans to run for governor, according to three people directly familiar with her plans who were not authorized to speak publicly.  James will enter the race as a formidable candidate for the Democratic nomination just months after issuing a damning report that drove Andrew Cuomo from office in a sexual harassment scandal.  James is also known for her frequent legal tussles with former President Donald Trump.  She is the first woman elected as New York's attorney general and the first Black person to serve in the role. 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Oct. 26, 2021

Buffalo area man arrested following abduction of woman in Erie Co., then brief stand-off in Falconer...
A man from the Buffalo area has been arrested after allegedly forcing a late model Jeep vehicle off the road in Erie County, NY... and, abducting one of the three passengers before driving off to the Jamestown-area.  Ellicott Town Police say they were told that 43 year-old Jason Talley was possibly heading towards Falconer.  They say... just after 3 a.m. Monday... officers located the vehicle behind 7 Richard Ave. in the village.  Police say they saw the man open the back door of the home then slam it shut.  Police then set up a perimeter around the house with the help of Jamestown police... and, the Chautauqua County Sheriff's office.  They soon after got the four people inside to come out.  A woman was taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries... and, police took Talley and two others -- Zaid Mendoza and Desiray Corrigan -- into custody.  Talley is charged with second-degree menacing, third-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment.  He was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.  Mendoza and Corrigan were found to be wanted in Cattaraugus County... and, they were sent to Little Valley for processing.


City man pleads guilty in 2020 stabbing death...
A Jamestown man has pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in connection with a fatal stabbing that occurred in the city back in July of 2020.  A Chautauqua County Court Clerk confirms that 30-year-old Carl Sorenson entered the guilty plea in County Court last Friday.  Sorenson was facing a second-degree murder charge for the stabbing death of 23-year-old Brandon Holland on July 6 of 2020.  Sentencing for Sorenson is scheduled for Dec. 20. 


City Council approves new labor contract with public works and parks workers represented by AFSCME...
City lawmakers in Jamestown have approved a new, three-year contract with it's unionized public works and parks employees.  The City Council voted 7-to-0 last night to approve the agreement with members of AFSCME, Council 66, Local #418.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says there are salary increases for each of the three years... 2022 through 2025.  They're 2.5% the first two years... and, 2.75% the last year in 2025.  Sundquist says it also standardizes overtime and sick leave, to ensure they are able to get manpower in for emergencies, such as weather issues.  He adds there will be some givebacks on the part of the union... including higher health insurance contributions up to 24%, then 25%.  He adds his negotiating team is still working on the four remaining contracts... which include the city and fire departments.  Last month... Jamestown lawmakers approved the first of the new contracts with the city's clerical workers.  


City lawmakers conclude initial round of 2022 budget deliberations...
The initial round of the Jamestown City Council's budget review has been completed... and, members will now review the 2022 spending plan and look at possible changes.  Council President Tony Dolce says they wanted to finish up looking at the agencies they fund, and smaller offices -- like the Corporation Counsel last night.  Dolce says his biggest concern is how the city's American Rescue Plan funds are "co-mingled" with the budget.  He says they also want to take a closer look at replacing more than one police car, and they're looking at using more Asset Forfeiture Money to get a second car in addition to the one in the budget.  Dolce says they may also try to put one or two more cars in the final budget.  Police Chief Tim Jackson told lawmakers last week that all nine of the department's patrol cars have reached high-mileage... with one over 160,000 miles.  He says they'll all need to be replaced sometime soon.  Dolce adds that public safety was a big concern voiced at a recent "town hall" style meeting he co-hosted with county legislator Elizabeth Rankin.  Council's next work session is Monday, Nov. 8... and, amendments are due two days later.  The $38.9-million budget includes a slight increase in the tax levy... but, no increase in the tax rate.


Hochul still has not signed Nourish NY legislation...
A local group that has been using Nourish-NY funding to help local families facing food insecurity is concerned that the program may not be renewed.  Kathy Peterson of Chautauqua County Rural Ministry says they are moving ahead with two food distributions this week, but are still awaiting word of a contract with the state.  Peterson says the program ends on Dec. 31 of this year... but, adds they are going to stay in the program and hope the measure is signed soon.  Local State Senator George Borrello sponsored the measure in the Senate... and, says they are still pushing Governor Kathy Hochul to sign the measure.  Borrello says some minor changes have been requested.  The bill was approved unanimously by both the Senate and Assembly.


Hochul and de Blasio get COVID booster shots...
Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio separately received COVID-19 booster shots Monday.  The two Democrats received their shots at separate events Monday.  They were eligible because they had each received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine earlier this year.  De Blasio got a booster shot of the Moderna vaccine from city Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi during the mayor's regular on-line news briefing.  Hochul got her booster at public ribbon cutting in Johnson City, near Binghamton.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Oct. 25, 2021

Two city men arrested on weapon's charges following shooting incident on Jamestown's northside...
Two Jamestown men have been arrested for allegedly firing gunshots toward another person after city police responded to a report of a disturbance on the northside last weekend.  Officers were called to the scene in the area of 518 No. Main St. shortly before 3 a.m. last Saturday, and heard multiple gun shots when they arrived.  Police found three individuals running from the area... and, one was detained, but, the other two continued running.  The pair... 21 year-old Stephon Thomas, and 19 year-old Xavier Ramos... were later stopped and arrested.  Thomas was found with a 45-calibur revolver in his backpark... and, Ramos did not have a gun.  However... they later found his 9-mil. pistol -- which had a 30-round high capacity magazine on it -- in some brush.  The Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force... and, Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department K-9 unit assisted at the scene.  Both men were found to have fired the guns... and, are charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  Ramos is also charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, and unlawful possession of a high-capacity feeding device.  The third person was not charged.  No one was hurt in the incident.


Georgia woman indicted for fatal, wrong-way crash on I-86 last July...
A Chautauqua County grand jury recently indicted a Georgia woman on charges stemming from a fatal wrong-way, head-on crash on Interstate 86 in the town of North Harmony last July.  A court clerk confirms that 32-year-old Heather Capell was arraigned in County Court last Tuesday on charges of second degree vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter-reckless and Driving while under the influence of drugs.  The crash claimed the life of Bradley Wakefield of Cattaraugus.  Capell is being held in the County Jail on $50,000 bail.


Borrello confirms "gifting" of marijuana issue in NYS...
There's still no legal way to buy recreational marijuana yet in New York state... however... there are ways to obtain pot using current "gray area" in the law approved a year-and-a-half ago.  That from State Senator George Borrello... who confirmed for us that people are being "gifted" certain amounts of marijuana in certain places when they purchase something else.  That's reportedly been happening on indian reservations across the region, now that marijuana possession is no longer illegal.  He says he's heard about people selling T-shirts for $50, and then they are "gifted" a certain amount of marijuana with that T-Shirt.  Borrello says the "gap" between marijuana being legalized... and, establishment of places to legally buy pot has allowed growth of what he calls a "black market" situation that's been seen in other states where recreational marijuana is now legal.  The Sunset Bay Republican says there were 15 other states that New York could have observed and learned from their mistakes.  However... he says the push to legalize pot quickly was too great.  Borrello made his comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


State Police pot plant seizures plummet in past year...
New York State Police seizures of marijuana plants have plunged this year.  The Albany Times-Union reports this has happened as the state legalized possession of small amounts of pot... and, some local law enforcement agencies backed off efforts to root out marijuana crops.  For years, state police have deployed helicopters to help local police and sheriff's departments spot and seize pot grown in large quantities. The Times Union reported Friday that state police aviation unit has seized 1,628 plants and made four arrests in the first nearly 10 months of this year.  That compares to 4,242 plants and 152 arrests last year.  The state police say they will keep working to eradicate large, illegal marijuana-growing operations.


Two city men arrested in separate Child Porn cases...
Two Jamestown men were arrested recently for allegedly possessing child pornography.  State Police in Jamestown say they arrested 53 year-old Kevin Caffoe for allegedly uploading eight images of child porno to his Skype account.  Troopers obtained a search warrant for Caffoe's home... and, seized several pieces of evidence.  Police say he also allegedly discussed the images with an underage girl.  He faces eight counts of possessing an Obscene Sexual Performance by a Child.  Late last month... troopers arrested 42 year-old Amos Wright after getting information that he had uploaded thousands of images and videos of child porn.  He was taken into custody, and charged with 15 counts of Possessing an Obscene Sexual Performance by a Child.  Both men were issued appearance tickets for Jamestown City Court.


City of Dunkirk looking for new dir. of Planning and Development...
City of Dunkirk Planning and Development Director Jill Meaux has left her position... effective the end of last week.  During this past week's Common Council meeting... Mayor Willie Rosas announced that Meaux was resigning from the position.  According to Rosas... Meaux stated in her resignation letter that the stress of the city's politics is more than she can deal with... and, it was causing her more stress than she "wanted to shoulder."  Rosas says Meaux has done an "excellent job" working for the city.  She also said in her letter that she has been offered another opportunity elsewhere that she has accepted.  She was appointed as interim Planning and Development Director in January, and was later approved by the Common Council as full-time in May.  Rosas says the city has already begun the process of finding a new planning and development director.

 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Oct. 21, 2021

City police continue investigation into fatal shooting on Water Street...
Jamestown police are continuing to investigate the fatal shooting of a 46 year-old man who died from a gun-shot wound during an incident on the city's eastside Monday night.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says officers were called to the scene at 60 Water St. shortly after 8:30 p.m., and, found the unresponsive man -- now identified as Angel Pacheco -- outside, on the front yard -- with a single gun-shot wound.  Pacheco was rushed to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital, where he later died.  Samuelson says investigators have spoken with potential witnesses.  However... he says the fact Water Street doesn't have much traffic on it has limited the amount of information they've been able to get.  Samuelson says he's hoping someone will come forward with information... and, adds they have no motive right now.  He adds that if you have any information on the incident, or may have heard something that could help the investigation, call JPD at 483-7537... or call their anonymous tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477. 


County records 200th COVID-related fatality over the past week...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting the county has now reached 200 COVID-19-related deaths since the pandemic began in March of 2020.  Officials say there were 8 new deaths over the past week in their weekly COVID Dashboard report.  They add there were 236 total cases... which is the lowest number in several weeks.  That brings the county's total number of cases to 12,843... and 255 are currently active.  Officials say 25 people are hospitalized, and 12,388 have now recovered.  The seven-day infection rate is now 5.1-percent.


Gillibrand pushing for more Low-Income HEAP Funding for state residents...
New York's junior U-S Senator is calling for more help for the state's lower-income residents as colder weather is right around the corner.  Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand add that, with home heating prices expected to soar this Winter, a "robust" response is needed now.  Gillibrand has written to the director of the Department of Health and Human Services calling for more utilization of the state's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.  Gillibrand says, on average, New Yorkers will pay at least 21-percent more to heat this Fall and Winter.  She adds that more than a million households in New York collectively owe $1.5-billion in back payments.  Gillibrand also says the ongoing economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented financial burdens on low-income families, and seniors... and, rising heating costs will only add to this strain.  Gillibrand adds that "during long New York winters, LIHEAP is a critical lifeline for seniors and low-income workers in need of assistance to stay safe and warm."


Gillibrand backs idea of tapping nation's oil reserves to help stabilize, or lower gasoline prices...
There's been little change to gasoline prices from the middle of last week through today.  However... the price for regular, unleaded gas remains about $1.20 above last year at this time in the Jamestown-area to just under $3.56 a gallon.  That from AAA's East Central Gas Price Report... which showed that 10-cent jump about a week ago.  During that time... the national average increased by 5-cents a gallon to $3.32 a gallon.  Should strategic oil reserves be tapped as a short-term solution.  Senator Gillibrand says she would support that.  AAA says the primary driver of this surge remains the cost of crude oil, which is now closing daily above $80 a barrel.  In August... the price was in the low $60s per barrel.  The Energy Information Administration says last week's total domestic gasoline supply fell by 2 million barrels to 223.1 million barrels.  Gasoline demand also fell from 9.43 million barrels per day to 9.19 million barrels per day, but the agency calculates it is still some 610,000 barrels per day above last year. 


Council Finance Committee wants more information on Jamestown's ARPA proposals...
There's been no action taken yet on four resolutions regarding the city of Jamestown's American Rescue Plan Act funds as lawmakers seek more information on the city's plans.  The City Council's Finance Committee delayed action on the resolutions Monday night, and requested more information from Mayor Eddie Sundquist on what the funding will be used for.  Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund feels it's important to have the detail to keep use of the funding transparent.  Ecklund says the biggest frustration is the fact that some of the city's $28-million in ARPA funding is "co-mingled" with Sundquist's 2022 budget proposal.  Sundquist says he understands the desire for more detail... but, adds they need to get plans in place to make sure they can do the projects before the 2026 deadline for the money to be used. 


Gill speaks about Democracy in Germany, America, at Jackson Center...
The Nuremberg War Crimes Trials… 75 years ago… helped pave the way for a successful democracy in Germany.  Those are the thoughts of David Gill, the Consul General of Germany in New York.  Gill says German's learned about democracy from those trials, and the rule of law in "our daily lives."  He spoke to reporters yesterday at the Robert H. Jackson Center in advance of a major presentation Thursday.  Gill believes the U.S. helped teach Germany how to be ‘democratic’ and he’s saddened to see such deep divisions in America now... and, he hopes politicians can find a way to "talk to each other again."  Gill is one of a number of panelists in today’s program entitled ‘Cold War Secrets Revealed.’

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BLACK FRIDAY THROUGH CHRISTMAS DAY 1340 AM IS PLAYING NOTHING BUT THE CLASSIC CHRISTMAS SONGS YOU GREW UP WITH!  TELL YOUR FRIENDS!