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Local News Headlines

News Headlines for Sat. Jan. 16, 2021

County reports 122 New COVID-19 cases, no deaths, Friday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 122 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus today... bringing the total number now to 5,424.  Health officials say there are 20 cases each in the city of Jamestown and Dunkirk... and, 14 more in Bemus Point.  There are cases in every zip code area with a few exceptions.  The county reports 731 active cases... and, 42 of those are hospitalized.  Officials say 4,646 cases have now recovered.


Cuomo says 74% of vaccines received have been given to state residents...
Dueling numbers tell differing stories about how well New York state has received... and, distributed the COVID-19 Vaccine.  During Friday's COVID-19 press briefing in Albany... Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state has been able to administer about 74% of the dosages received over the first four weeks of innoculations.  Cuomo says that's among the best in the nation.  He says there have been a total of 827,000 doses given out, and that includes 96,000 second doses.  Cuomo says the numbers... which are now up on the state Health Department's website... are the actual numbers from the providers and health care facilities involved.  He says they are submitted under penalty of perjury.  Cuomo says the numbers have been very good in some regions... including Western New York... where 82% of all dosages have been administered.  That includes Chautauqua County... where UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown has administered 98% of the dosages distributed.  Cuomo says there are currently 1,200 vaccine distribution sites in the state.


At the same time, Sen. Borrello says CDC numbers show the percentage to be more like 36%... 
A state lawmaker from Chautauqua County is critical about how New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is handling the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the state.  The Centers for Disease Control website shows today that the state has received about 1.8-million doses while it has distributed about 680,000 -- or about 36%.  State Senator George Borrello says he has heard a lot of the vaccine has been thrown away... and, there have been stories about that happening.  The Sunset Bay Republican says he believes politics has gotten in the way... and, Cuomo says the vaccine needs to be equitable distributed.  Borrello says it needs to be given to people who are at the highest-risk.  The state that has done the best job of getting vaccines into the arms of people has been West Virginia... which has injected 73% of it's vaccines into people's arms.  


Whitaker says it's not clear yet how NYS will deal with a $5-billion dollar deficit in school aid...
Governor Cuomo wrapped up his State of the State messages Thursday... with a number of infrastructure projects highlighted.  Earlier... he said the state faces a $15-billion deficit heading into the new fiscal year beginning Apr. 1.  The deficit for education funding is more than $5-billion.  Jamestown School Superindent Kevin Whitaker says... Cuomo has indicated that without federal help... that 20% reduction will remain.  At the same time... Whitaker says the state has received about $4-billion in federal education aid... and, he's heard that the state is looking at withholding 20% of that funding.  He says he's hopes that's not the case.


Man from West Ellicott arrested in No. Harmony for speeding, DWI...         
A West Ellicott man faces a slew of charges for allegedly driving drunk, and speeding while trying to flee pursuing Sheriff's officers in the town of North Harmony.  Deputies say they tried to stop a car, operated by 55 year-old Charles Foringer, on Route 394 shortly before 8 p.m. last Thursday.  Officers say Foringer failed to comply... and, drove away at a high-rate of speed.  They say the operator eventually stopped, and was arrested on charges including DWI, driving with more than point-08 percent blood alcohol level... speeding and unlawfully fleeing police.  Foringer was processed, and released pending a future court appearance in North Harmony Town Court.


Fisher installed as new Buffalo Catholic Bishop...
Catholic Bishop Michael Fisher has been installed as the 15th bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo during a ceremony this afternoon that was significantly scaled-back due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.  Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, presided over the installation.  During the installation service... a letter of appointment was read that was sent by Pope Francis.  Bishop Fisher was alter escorted by Cardinal Dolan to the bishop’s chair... where he officially assumed leadership of the Diocese of Buffalo.  Fisher replaces interim Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, who served the diocese after the retirement of Bishop Richard Malone.


High School graduation rate in NYS improves slightly despite pandemic, remote learning...
New York's high school graduation rate improved slightly following the shift to remote learning, and cancellation of Regents exams.  State education officials said Thursday the statewide graduation rate for the class of 2020 was 84.8%... up 1.4 percentage points from the previous year.  Among city schools, Buffalo reported the greatest improvement, posting a 76.3% graduation rate, up nearly 12 percentage points over the class of 2019.  New York City's rate improved to 78.8%.  Syracuse, Rochester and Yonkers also reported higher graduation rates than the previous year.  The rates for English language learners and students with disabilities also improved.

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 15, 2021

The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting a 47th COVID-19 related death from Thursday... along with 105 new cases of the virus.  Health officials say there have now been 5,302 confirmed cases... and, 721 are currently active.  They say the new cases include 33 in Jamestown... and, 30 in Dunkirk.  Officials say 42 people are in the hospital... and, 4,534 have now recovered.


There are 30 new cases of COVID-19 being reported in Cattaragus County... and two new deaths over the past day.  The health Department in Olean reports there are now 66 deaths from the pandemic, and 3,211 total cases.  Officials add they currently have 507 active cases, and 47 of those are hospitalized.  In addition... 2,638 cases have now recovered.


Members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force uncovered several drugs, paraphernalia and cash during a raid early Thursday morning. Task Force agents were assisted by Ellicott Town Police, JPD, Jamestown SWAT, the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office and the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force in executing a search warrant at 211 Hazzard Street shortly after 6 AM. Officers say a search of the residence revealed over 8-ounces of powder cocaine… anabolic steroids…  and, a marijuana growing operation.  Agents also found scales and packaging materials… ammunition… a money counter… and, $4,587 in cash. Police say the warrant is a continuation of “Operation Crazy Ivan”, where several raids were conducted last week in Falconer and Jamestown. No charges have been announced, but are expected as the investigation continues. 


Money from the latest COVID-19 Stimulus package is starting to flow for businesses and workers... and, the city of Jamestown is assisting where it can.  That from Development Director Crystal Surdyk... and, Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who responded to some questions about that at this week's City Council work session.  Surdyk says they have links on their page on the city's website, and Facebook page about who's eligible, and how to apply.  Sundquist says applications for the Payroll Protection Program opened up this week for most banks... and, employers should direct those questions to their banking institution.  He says there's also a new loan-grant program for the arts.

In addition... Sundquist says a much needed grant program has opened up to help restaurants.  He says it will provide up to $5,000 for restaurants that have been shuttered... or just partially open.  These programs were all part of the nearly $900-billion COVID-19 stimulus bill approved by Congress and signed by President Trump.


Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone has been working with local police agencies to develop final plans to comply with Governor Andrew Cuomo's executive order creating the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative.  Quattrone updated the planning process Thursday morning... and, how his office is working with the local departments..

Quattrone says they'll have stakeholder agencies on Zoom Conferences which will then be connected to Facebook Live to allow the community to log in and ask questions during each session.  He says several in the south county are planned later this month... including one in the town of Carroll on January 19th... the town of Ellicott on the 20th... and, in the Lakewood-Busti area on January 27th.  In addition... Quattrone says they'll have on-line meetings January 21st for the village of Fredonia... and, January 26th for the city of Dunkirk.



A Silver Creek man is accused of menacing and other charges following an alleged altercation in the north county village this past Tuesday.  Sheriff's deputies were called to an undisclosed location just after 8 PM... and, following an investigation...arrested 21 year-old Draven VanEvery.  In addition to third-degree menacing... VanEvery is charged with two counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief... he was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.

 
Three north county police officers are receiving awards for their steady hand in de-escalatintg a potentially deadly incident near the SUNY College at Fredonia entrance on Temple Street in December of 2019.   Fredonia Police Chief Phil Maslak commended the work of the trio of officers for peacefully ending the situation.

Meslak says the officers... who included SUNY at Fredonia Policeman Ian Hodkin, and, the Fredonia Police Department's Ben Kravitz and Michael Hodkin... were able to get the man involved in the incident the help he needed.


The State University of New York at Fredonia is mourning the loss of a junior men's hockey player who passed away Tuesday from injuries suffered in a skiing accident in Lake Placid.  22-year-old Tanner Kahlau of Mountain Top, Pennsylvania also played junior hockey with the New Jersey Rockets of the U.S. Premier Hockey League before enrolling at Fredonia State in 2018.  Fredonia State Athletics also reports he was majoring in Business Management with a minor in Exercise Science.  Arrangements are being handled by a funeral home in Mountain Top, Pennsylvania.


Chautauqua County's representative in the state Senate is teaming with a New York City Assemblywoman to support creation of a permanent successor to the "Nourish New York" program.  Sunset Bay Republican George Borrello and Democratic Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz recently joined volunteers at the Queens Museum to help distribute food to struggling families.  Since the pandemic hit... the museam has hosted a food pantry that's helped about one-thousand families.  "Nourish New York" began as a stop-gap measure last April to distribute surplus agricultural products to food banks.  A benefitiary of the program is Chautauqua Rural Ministry, which alone has served about 4,000 meals on a weekly basis.

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 14, 2021


Funding from the latest COVID-19 Stimulus package is starting to flow for businesses and workers... and, the city of Jamestown is assisting where it can.  That from Development Director Crystal Surdyk... and, Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who fielded some questions at this week's City Council work session.  Surdyk says they have links on their page on the city's website, and Facebook page about who's eligible, and how to apply.


Sundquist says applications for the Payroll Protection Plan opened up this week for most banks... and, employers should address those questions to their banking institution.  He adds the state has also opened up a program to help restaurants. Sundquist says the city has also been in contact with various arts and cultural entities in the city about the new "Save our Stages" Act that's part of the nearly $900-billion stimulus package.  He says that program should be opening soon.



The State University of New York at Fredonia is mourning the loss of a junior men's hockey player who passed away Tuesday from injuries suffered in a skiing accident in Lake Placid.  22-year-old Tanner Kahlau of Mountain Top, Pennsylvania also played junior hockey with the New Jersey Rockets of the U.S. Premier Hockey League before enrolling at Fredonia State in 2018.  Fredonia State Athletics also reports he was majoring in Business Management with a minor in Exercise Science.



A north county man has been arrested on menacing and other charges following an alleged altercation in the village of Silver Creek this past Tuesday.  Sheriff's officers were called to an undisclosed location just after 8 PM... and, following an investigation... took 21 year-old Draven VanEvery of Silver Creek into custoday.  In addition to third-degree menacing... he's charged with two counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief... he was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.



The bi-partisan group of House and Senate members that helped breakthrough the gridlock on COVID-19 relief, called on President Trump to renounce any further violence at the U-S Capitol.  In response... the president issued a statement Wednesday afternoon in which he urged "NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind" leading up to or during the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

However... majority House Democrats still pushed ahead on voting to impeach the president for an unprecidented second-time in his one and only term.  Reed says... expect for 10 House Republicans... that was a non-starter for the GOP.  The Corning Republican says even the bi-partisan Problem Solver's Caucus could not come to a consensus on how best to deal with President Trump in the wake of last week's mob attack on the Capitol building.  Reed says the 50 members of the caucus could not agree on either impeachment or censure.



Another upstate New York Republican Congressman was among those backing Mr. Trump's impeachment... saying the president incited the riot at the U.S. Capitol last week.  The former federal prosecutor representing central New York said Trump "encouraged this insurrection" on social media ahead of January 6th... and, in his speech that day.  Katko was among hundreds of members of Congress locked down for hours while rioters invaded the Capitol Wednesday.



It's time for New York state to move ahead aggressively on providing it's own green energy for the future.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo... who says that's one of the lessons that's come out of the COVID-19 pandemic and shut-down.  During the third-part of his State of the State message... Cuomo said -- otherwise -- we'll have to depend on others -- many of them overseas.

Cuomo highlighted that as one of four components necessary to get New York fully moving towards clean, renewable energy.  To do that... he outlined an ambitious $26-billion effort to complete more than 100 projects to produce the power, store and transmit it.  He says those projects are projected to eliminate carbon emissions by almost 16-million metric tons a year... and, create more than 17,000 good paying jobs.


There's been a 46th death of a person from COVID-19 related illness in Chautauqua County over the past day.  In addition to the one new death... County Executive P-J Wendel says there are 67 new cases... raising the total to 5,198.  Wendel adds that 695 cases are currently active... and, 42 of those are hospitalized.  He says 4,457 cases have now recovered.
                                    

The Cattaraugus County Health Department is reporting three new COVID-related deaths over the past day.  Officials say that brings the total to 64.  In a printed release from the Public Health Emergency Department... officials say 58 new COVID cases were reported on Tuesday.. bringing the total to 3,181.  There are currently 513 active cases, and 45 people are hospitalized.

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 13, 2021

There's been a 45th death in Chautauqua County from the COVID-19 virus reported today... along with 126 new cases of the virus.  County Executive P-J Wendel says there have now been 5,131 total cases.  Wendel says there are 707 active cases... and, 42 of those are currently hospitalized.  He says there are 28 new cases in Jamestown... and, 20 in Dunkirk.  Officials add that 4,379 cases have now recovered.
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Late Tuesday... Wendel expressed ongoing concern over the recent spike in cases from the recent holiday season.  He says his COVID-19 Response Team is monitoring the situation... and, says for the most part... residents have done a "great job" in adhering to state and CDC guidelines.  However... with this increase in "community spread..." he urged people to continue social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, and avoiding gatherings.

Governor Andrew Cuomo again expanded the vaccine eligibility requirements in New York to include anyone 65 or over.  Cuomo said Tuesday the state's following new federal guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  He says people who are age 75 - and up and a much longer list of workers, including transit employees, grocery clerks, teachers, police officers, firefighters and others became eligible to get the vaccine Monday.

In another development... Cuomo says there appears to be a flattening of the post-holiday spike, something that health experts didn't expect until later in the month. New York is increasing access to an already short supply of doses being distributed through an overtaxed system some users have found time consuming.


There were 50 new cases reported Monday in Cattaraugus County... bringing their total number of cases is now 3,073.  Leaders say there are 451 active cases, and 41 of those are hospitalized.  The county says 61 people have died from COVID-19 related illness... and, 2,561 have now recovered.

Post-COVID-19 reconstruction in New York state will involve the use of rapid testing to allow businesses and the arts to reopen while vaccinations are ramped up.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo during the second-part of his State of the State Address Tuesday in Albany.  Cuomo says the state used a pilot program at last Saturday's Buffalo Bills play-off game.

Cuomo says they plan to work with local realtors to open up additional rapid test centers to allow people can be tested hours before going to patronizing a business, or going to a social event.  He also proposed a New York Arts Revival program with "pop-up" performances around the state beginning February 4th.  Cuomo also noted the need to recognize the "remote economy..." and the need to expand broadband services.  He wants to make the Internet more affordable for poorer New Yorkers. Currently... Cuomo says the average rate for Internet service is more than 50-dollars a month.  He reiterated that 98-percent of New Yorkers have access to the internet.  Cuomo also proposed a Post-COVID Economic Commission to plan for jobs of the future.  

While Governor Cuomo's State of the State message Monday addressed a number of challenges facing New York State, a state lawmaker from the area feels more focus belongs on what he calls the state's culture of overspending.  State Senator George Borrello said Tuesday that, while the the federal government has a role to play when it comes to assisting the state with it's $15-billion deficit... he says the state must cut spending.
Borrello says he is glad to hear the Governor say that the state cannot afford another state-wide shutdown... and, is looking at ways to reopen safely.  However... the Sunset Bay Republican says the damage caused by the state's spring shutdown was "catastrophic" and will take years to recover from.



Gas prices in the Jamestown-area have begun rising to pre-pandemic levels... increasing about six-cents over the past 10 days.  That from the East Central Triple-A's gas report... which says the price has increased from nearly $2.36 a gallon to about $2.42 a gallon.  Triple-A says... at 2-dollars-31 cents... the national gas price to begin the week was the highest in 10 months.  Pump prices have increased despite a drop in demand.  Triple-A says the rising prices can be largely attributed to a tightening supply and rising crude oil prices, which are outweighing decreasing demand.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan 12, 2020


Local Congressman Tom Reed is pushing for alternatives to impeachment, as talk continues to swirl around the nation's capitol about what to do in the wake of last week's riots in Washington.  In an op-ed in the New York Times... Reed calls on congressional leaders and President-elect Biden to "take a moment to consider what is at stake.  Work with us on constitutionally viable alternatives to ensure that no individual is above the law."  Reed says such options include censure, criminal proceedings, and actions under the 14th Amendment, after a complete and thorough investigation into the events leading up to the assault on the Capitol."  He says he and others in the House plan to introduce a censure resolution today to ensure accountability.



Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state will vaccinate millions, and jumpstart its flagging economy in 2021 Monday as part of his annual State of the State Address.  Cuomo spoke to a mainly 'on-line' audience from the capitol's "War Room..." and, says the state of the state is much like the nation and world.

Cuomo spoke mainly in generalities... noting that more details will be provided during the week.  It comes as the state tries to balance re-opening its economy with ending with a pandemic whose death toll is nearing 40,000 people.  He also -- again -- made the case for local and state aid... adding that the state cannot raise the $15-billion to eliminate that deficit.

During the address... Cuomo outlined a seven-point plan... led by beating COVID-19.  He says that includes improving New York's health care delivery system and medical equipment production through legislation.  Today... Cuomo said he's ordered the expansion of places to get the COVID Vaccine.


While Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State message on Monday addressed a number of challenges facing New York State, a state lawmaker from the area feels more focus belongs on what he calls the state's culture of overspending.  State Senator George says the federal government has a role to play when it comes to assisting the state with a $15-billion deficit, but he adds that the state must reduce spending. Borrello says he is glad to hear the Governor say that the state cannot afford another state-wide shutdown, but the Sunset Bay Republican says the damage caused by the state's spring shutdown was "catastrophic" and will take years to recover from.


Last weeks series of community stakeholder meetings on potential police reforms in the city of Jamestown was "very successful."  Those are the feelings of two City Council members who were involved in setting up, and taking part in the sessions.  Vickye James was one of the lawmakers involved in some of the sessions... and, said during last night's work session that some of those involved want to keep meeting.

James adds that she feels the city is in a "good place" to move reform forward.  The other council member involved... Tamu Graham-Reinhardt... was also pleased with how the meetings went, and, discussed the next steps.  She says a final plan now needs to be drafted... and that starts a 30-day comment period on it.  Jamestown Police need to finalize a plan for how police should deal with the community on a number of issues raised during the stakeholder meetings... and, submit those to the state by April 1st.  


Chautauqua County officials are reporting 376 new cases of the COVID-19 Virus since last Friday... and four new deaths.  The county's Health Department says that brings the total number of deaths to 44, and, 5,010 cases since the pandemic began.  County officials say the most cases the past three-days were reported in Dunkirk, which had 95... and, there were 87 in Jamestown.  County Executive P-J Wendel says one of the deaths was a person in their 70s... and, the other three were in their 80s.  He adds there are currently 715 active cases, and 42 people are in the hospital.  Wendel says 4,251 cases have now recovered.

In Cattaraugus County... officials reported 50 new cases yesterday... and the total number of cases is now 3,073.  Leaders say there are 451 active cases, and 41 of those are hospitalized.  The county says 61 people have now died from COVID-19 related illness... and, 2,561 have now recovered.

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 11, 2021

New York state this week will allow a much wider group of people to get the COVID-19 vaccine this week in an effort to get more of them vaccinated.  Due to mounting criticism over the slow pace of the coronavirus vaccine rollout... Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement late last week that would include anyone age 75 or older.  However... will there be enough vaccine available for the people included in Phase-One-B?  Many have aslo asked if there will be "mass innoculation centers" at some point.  During a Zoom Conference with the Western New York Hub members late last week... Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said yes.

Hochul says there are about 1.6-million people... and, realistically... they want to get 1.3-million vaccinated.  Once the vaccine is more readily available... she says places like the Buffalo Convention Center... would be used.  Initially... Governor Cuomo warned that the supply of vaccines available to people other than health care workers and nursing home patients would be very limited.  Others that would be newly-eligible for the vaccine include teachers, and first responders.


UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown has begun treating COVID-19 patients with monoclonal antibodies... laboratory-produced molecules that help a person's own immune system fight viruses.  Director of Surgical Services Trudy Bloomquist says seven patients have received infusions so far.  She adds that these are patients with COVID-19 who are typically at least 65 years old, have a body-mass index of 35 or greater, and have not had the illness for more than 10 days.  Bloomquist says patients have tolerated the treatment well so far.


The long-time police chief in the village of Lakewood and town of Busti will be retiring later this month.  The Lakewood Village Board is slated to act on the pending retirement of Chief John Bentley, Junior at tonight's meeting.  Bentley has been with the department for 45 years... and, is planning to retire on January 17th.  The village board will also act on the promotion of Sergeant Christopher DePonceau as the new police chief beginning that date.  Bentley has recommended DePonceau as his replacement.


An improper wood stove exhaust system is being blamed for an early afternoon fire last Saturday that extensively damaged a home in the town of Clymer.  Sheriff's Department investigators say Findley Lake firefighters were called to the scene at 9734 Route 430 about 12:30 PM... and, were joined by several other departments.  The county's Fire Investigation Team was called in... and, determined the wood stove was the origin of the blaze.  No injuries were reported.


A proposal to legalize recreational marijuana is expected to be part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State message later today.  Local State Senator George Borrello continues to have concerns about the issue, and plans to oppose it.  However... he also has questions whether majority Democrats in both chambers of the legislature can reach agreement on such legislation.

Governor Cuomo has included the proposal in his last two executive budget plans... but, lawmakers have yet to agree on a plan.  Cuomo says they have to "look inward to decide on how they want to handle this... because the issues have not been addressed."  Borrello has had concerns about legalizing marijuana prior to becoming a state lawmaker, when he was Chautauqua County Executive.


State Senator Borrello has been appointed as the ranking Republican member of three senate committees for the 2021 session... Agriculture, Banks, and the newly-created Procurement and Contracts.  Borrello says he's "enthusiastic" about expanded responsibilities... and, affirmed his commitment to effect positive policy changes.  The Sunset Bay Republican says the state is "at a critical juncture as both employers and residents grapple with the economic fallout of the pandemic.  Borrello was also named to several other committees... including Finance and Aging.


Two men from Jamestown were arrested late last week after they were caught in the act of making an illegal drug deal.  City police say members of the Metro Drug Task Force were in the area of East Second Street and Foote Avenue just after 11 AM Friday when they saw the alleged transaction between 29 year-old Devonte Chandler and 25 year-old Donovan Paquette.  Officers say Chandler admitted that he had just sold Fentanyl to Paquette... and, he was also allegedly found with cocaine, hydrocodone pills... and, 43-hundred dollars cash in his possession.  Chandler was charged with three counts of third-degree criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance... while Paquette was charged with seven-degree criminal posession of a controlled substance.  Both were jailed pending arraignment.


The former plant manager at Cummins Jamestown Engine Plant has been named the 2020 recipient of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce's Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award.  In a printed release... the chamber says Michael Abbate "has worked tirelessly for the economic betterment of Chautauqua County and to address the critical issues of education and food resources in our communities."  Abbate says he's "humbled and honored to be this year's recipient."  He started at Cummins Jamestown Engine Plant in 1981, and served in a variety of roles there before being named plant manager in 2013.  Abbate retired in 2018.  The Pam Lydic award will be presented during the joint Chamber-MAST Annual Meeting on-line at Noon on Friday, January 22th.
 

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News Headlines for Sat. Jan. 9, 2021

Dozens of guns seized, drugs and cash during series of raids in Jamestown and Falconer areas...
A more than year-long investigation into the trafficking of several illegal drugs has led to the searches of several homes and businesses in the Jamestown and Falconer-areas.  Local drug agents add several dozen guns... and, several pounds of drugs were seized.  Officials with the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force, the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office, and Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force and state and federal agencies... raided several locations at 6 am this past Wednesday.  Initially... the search warrant for 209 West Ave. in Falconer led to the seizure of several pounds of marihuana, more than $5,000 cash... and, two loaded shotguns.  Police add some 20 firearms were also found, along with several pounds of marijuana and other drugs... at 2585 South Work St. Ext. in Falconer.  Police say a warrant was also obtained for a Kennedy business on Route 394.  They add that several other locations were searched inside the city of Jamestown.... and, the Metro Drug Task Force found 37 firearms and a cache of ammunition that is estimated to be more than 1,000 rounds in total.  The investigation is continuing, and charges will be placed in the future.  


Wendel very concerned about recent rise in COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations...
There's been another, single-day record number of new COVID-19 cases in Chautauqua County the past day... along with a new high number of active cases.  That from county Health officials... who say 266 new cases were reported from Thursday... along with 722 active ones.  County Executive PJ Wendel says we appeared to have the situation somewhat under control until Fall... and, cases have spiked since.  With the vaccine starting to arrive... Wendel says it's more important now than ever to wear masks, and avoid crowds.  Using a boxing analogy, he says "we might be able to withstand one punch from the champ -- maybe two -- but if we're going to keep getting three and four punches (cases)... it's going to hit us and it's going to hit and cripple us."  Wendel says he understands people want to get together for the holidays... and, even this weekend's Buffalo Bills play-off game... but, he says don't.  Wendel says his family significantly scaled-back their holiday due to potential spread... with only immediate family gathered.  There were no additional deaths reported from Thursday... and that number remains 40.  There are now 4,635 total cases so far... and 42 people are hospitalized in the county.  Wendel made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Hochul, officials with WNY Vaccine hub, address rollout and future plans...
There has been much criticism of the federal and state governments over the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines... and, members of the Western New York Regional hub update the media on the where things are.  Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul says the state will be moving to the "1b" portion of vaccinations next Monday.  Hochul says people should sign up when they become eligible... but, adds because the numbers are limited right now... you may have to wait.  She says it's all based on what they receive from the federal government.  Currently... those distribution points are privately through hospitals and pharmacies... and, locally through health departments.  She says the federal government is distributing directly to private entities... while the state is providing it to health departments and others.  However, Hochul says they are in the process of setting up more distribution points.


Griffith to retire as county Emerg. Services Director in March, Guttman appointed as replacement...
A long-time member of the fire service in Chautauqua County... and, most recently the county's Director of Emergency Services has announced his retirement later this year.  County Executive P-J Wendel says today that Director John Griffith will retire from his position effective Mar. 1.  Wendel says Griffith first began his career with the county in April 2012 as a Deputy Fire Coordinator with the Office of Emergency Services.  In October 2017, he was promoted to the positon of Director of the Office of Emergency Services.  During the announcement in Mayville... Wendel also announced Noel Guttman has been appointed to replace Griffith as director on Mar. 1.  He says Guttman has a strong background in emergency services and law enforcement.... and, has been a member of the Mayville Fire Department since 1991.


Borrello and Goodell high-light agenda's for 2021 state legislative session...
The 2021 New York state legislative session got underway in Albany on Wednesday.  The state's economy is one area of concern.  That from local State Senator George Borrello was recently elected to a full two-year term... who says we need to get "New York's economy up and running safely, but, as soon as possible."  Assemblyman Andy Goodell says there are many challenges facing the legislature, including the impact of the pandemic on small businesses.  Goodell says the impact on small businesses, and residents from the loss of jobs is a major issue to him.  Both lawmakers will be following Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State message slated for Monday.


Two men hospitalized withe stab wounds after State Capitol melee...
Two men were hospitalized after being stabbed outside the state Capitol during a melee involving supporters of President Donald Trump and counterprotesters.  The two men, aged 36 and 40, were hospitalized with injuries after the stabbing Wednesday afternoon.  One of them underwent emergency surgery.  State police say 37-year-old Alexander Contompasis of nearby Rensselaer was charged with assault, criminal possession of a weapon and menacing.  He was arraigned Thursday morning in Albany City Court, where a judge set bail at $30,000. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 8, 2021

There's now been a 40th COVID-19 related death in Chautauqua County after one was reported from Wednesday.  The county's Health Department also reports there are 62 new cases being reported yesterday... bringing the local total to 4,371.  Officials say the most cases -- 20 -- were reported in Dunkirk... while 8 were added in Brocton.  Health officials say 645 cases are currently active... and, 43 of those are how hospitalized.  They add that 3,686 cases have now recovered.

There are seven new deaths to report in neighboring Cattaraugus County... bringing that county's total to 60 during the pandemic.  Health officials in Olean say there were 77 new cases reported on Thursday... bringing the total there to 2,888.  Officials say there are current 588 active cases... and, 38 of those are hospitalized.  They add that 2,270 have now recovered.


Wednesday afternoon's storming of the U-S Capitol building in Washington, D-C was "an assault on our Democracy."  Those are the feelings of local Congressman Tom Reed... who delivered a fiery speech on the floor of the House of Representatives last night to certify the Electoral College victory for Democrat Joe Biden.  Reed drew applause from both sides when he said mob rule can never be allowed in America.


Reed got emotional when he said the mob spit upon the blood of my father... that is in the soil of Europe and Korea."  He stood on both sides of the aisle in the House during his speech.  He says he will continue to fight for Republican ideals... but, says it will happen with a new, Democratic president... and, there will be a peaceful transition of power.  Reed joined with his co-chairman of the bi-partisan Problem Solver's Caucus, Democrat Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey... in denouncing the violence seen in Washington, DC yesterday... as thousands of pro-Trump supporters and others... stormed the Capitol building.

There was little question among members of Congress and the Senate that they should further delay the certification of the presidential election after that angry mob stormed the Capitol.  Local Congressman Tom Reed held a press briefing yesterday afternoon... and, described those moments when the capitol building was locked-down.  First, though, Reed expressed his appreciation to fellow lawmakers doing their jobs, and the words later of President-Elect Biden... and, President Trump.


When pro-Trump supporters rushed the Capitol... Reed says he had just finished speaking on the floor, and was in his office across the street when the incident occured.  He says he and some colleagues spoke by phone, and said they need to get back to business once the building had been secured.  Reed stopped short of criticizing those Republicans who still insisted on objecting to the certification of a handful of states.  However... while he didn't name them... he says some admitted that they had "political motives."  Reed says that needs to stop.



The governor of New York has done an about-face and now embraces mobile sports betting as a way to deal with financial losses stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.  Democrat Andrew Cuomo's announcement came as a company that tracks gambling legislation, and performance predicted that revenue from legal sports betting could reach $3.1-billion in 2021 and as much as $10-billion within five years.  Cuomo says, though, they would not have casinos administering the program.

VIXIO GamblingCompliance projects that at least six and as many as 14 additional states will legalize or expand sports betting in 2021.  Cuomo is also calling for the legalization and regulation of marijuana for recreational use by adults, his third attempt in as many years to get the drug fully legalized in the state.  He says he will announce his new proposals during his State of the State Address next Monday.


Two hunters -- one from Falconer -- have been arrested for allegedly "jacklighting" a deer at night last month in the town of Poland.  Ellicott Town Police say they helped state Department of Environmental Conservation officers with the incident... which occured on Sprague Hill Road about 9 PM on December 12th.  Investigators say they found that one of the two men shot a deer -- using a spotlight -- on posted property, and with a rifle equipped with a silencer.  Officers say they found that the rifle and silencer were provided by the other man, who was also at the scene when the deer was shot.  Police say 22 year-old Anthony Genco... and, 22 year-old Calvin Nowicki of Erie, Pennsylvania were ticketed for illegally taking a deer with a light... discharging a firearm from a roadway... using a silencer and trespassing.  A land owner reported blood and drag marks in the snow on his property shortly after the incident.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 7, 2021

Local Congressman Tom Reed was in the capitol building for the certification of the Electoral College vote when dozens of pro-Trump protesters stormed the building.  Reed says he's safe, along with members of his staff.  However... he quickly called for de-escalation of the situation.  The Corning Republican says "we are Americans and do not do this.  My heart breaks for our nation right now.  Our country and its beautiful democracy is better than this.  Our Constitution calls for the civil transition of power and though we may not agree with the election results, we must agree to always act with honor and civility towards all."
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Later... the bi-partisan Problem Solver's Caucus -- which Reed co-chairs -- and a group of Senators they worked with on the recent COVID Stimulus bill released a statement saying -- quote -- "the behavior we witnessed in the U.S. Capitol is entirely un-American. This was not a peaceful protest – this was an insurrection. These individuals should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

 

Members of New York's National Guard are being sent to Washington, D.C., to help "the peaceful transition of presidential power."  Governor Andrew Cuomo says one-thousand troops will be sent for up to two weeks, at the request of U.S. National Guard officials. It comes in the wake of a mob of President Donald Trump's supporters rampaged through the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.


Yesterday's Congressional certification of the the Electoral College vote had been getting extraordinary scrutiny... as one of the final acts of a highly-contested and contentious Presidential election.  The Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown offered several programs on the Electoral College during the fall of 2020.  Center President, Kristan McMahon, says what's happening right now is not ordinary.

There are a few instances in American history when objections have been raised at the time of certification... but, the grounds for those objections is rather narrow.  McMahon says it's "not a referedum on 'are these votes legitimately cast.'"  She believes the relevance and necessity of the Electoral College is something that deserves to be studied, not just because of the 2020 election... but also because it is not the ideal fit when there is a 'third party' candidate running for President.


New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul... herself a former member of Congress from the Buffalo area... also issued a statement late Wednesay.  The Democrat says "it's more than an assault on the Capitol building.  It’s an assault on democracy and America itself.  Domestic terrorists who undermine our free and fair elections and attempt to sabotage the peaceful transfer of power must be brought to justice."


The New York state legislature is back in Albany to get ready for the start of the new legislative session.  Local State Senator George Borrello says there will be a lot of challenges facing legislators... namely an approximately 15-billion dollar deficit.  Borrello says we "have to hit the ground running."  He says one of the challenges is that Governor Andrew Cuomo has too much power.

Borrello says the state and nation is still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic... but, adds "we need to have a government that works cooperatively" to get the state through these difficult public health, and economic times.  Borrello took part in a news conference Republicans held on that issue in Albany on Tuesday.


There are three new deaths from COVID-19 related illness in Chautauqua County... bringing the total to 39.  The county Health Department says there are now a total of 4,309 cases since the start of the pandemic.  Officials say there are 113 new cases of COVID over the past day... and, 42 of those were reported in Jamestown.  County officials say 49 people are hospitalized... and 3,619 have recovered.

There were 53 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Cattaraugus County from yesterday... with 37 now hospitalized.  The Health Department reports there are now 491 active cases... and, a total of 2,753 since the pandemic began.  There have been 53 deaths in Cattaruaugus County... while 2,203 have now recovered.


The Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown is hoping to overcome two major hurdles in the new year... an extended COVID-19 shutdown, and the damage done by a small fire in early December.  CEO Arthur Peason says a financial shot in the arm has come from an anonymous donor.

That challenge was set to expire at the end of 2020, but has now been extended to January 31st.  While insurance will cover much of the fire damage, money is needed to help launch a new strategic plan for the institute.  Pearson says all the money they can raise will help not just help them rebuild... but, move forward in 2021.  Details of that new strategic plan will become public in February.  Donations to support the challenge grant can be made at rtpi.org.

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 6, 2021

A record number of active cases... and, people in the hospital with COVID-19 are being reported in Chautauqua County.  The county's COVID Dashboard Tuesday reported 102 new cases... and, 680 cases are currently active.  There are currently 51 people hospitalized... and, the total number of cases is now 4,199.  Officials say 38 of the new cases are in Dunkirk... and, 21 in Jamestown.  There are now 3,483 cases that have recovered.


COVID-19 is exacting a toll on public health... and, the economy in Chautauqua County.  Todd Tranum, head of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce... and the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier, says the addition of more than 400 new cases over the New Year's weekend is a big cause for concern.


Tranum believes the answers aren't always comfortable... but they aren't hard.  He says where a mask... socially distance... and stay away from large gatherings.  Tranum says Chautauqua County businesses have proven themselves to be resilient many times, and the innovations brought on by the pandemic will strengthen them in the future.  


A bowling alley-restaurant on Jamestown's southside has closed for three-days due to possible COVID-19 exposure.  In a Facebook post Tuesday... the Jamestown Bowling Company and Game-Time Sports Bar and Grill on Foote Avenue announced it will be closed today through this Friday the 8th.  Officials say this is a precautionary measure while some staff await covid-19 test results.  They hope to reopen on Saturday.


Local Congressman Tom Reed is making it clear that he still supports President Donald Trump... but, he will vote today to certify the electoral college vote making Joe Biden the new president of the United States.  Reed announced his decision Tuesday after meeting with members of the GOP Conference, the Problem Solver's Caucus... and, having a teleconference with about 48,000 constituents.  Reed says some leaders on the teleconference wanted him to object to the election.

To date... no major issues have been raised by leaders of the four states where many have questioned the results.  However... the president and his allies have seen about 50 of their lawsuits thrown out, or dismissed.  With that... he told GOP Conference members to do what Ronald Reagan told them to do years ago... and, that's show Americans their ideas are better.  The majority of U-S Senators and House members are expected to vote to certify the election... but, only one member needs to raise an objection... and, that triggers two-hours of debate on the floor.


State Senator George Borrello says he doubts there will be much support... but, says he's still concerned about two bills in the Assembly that have been making a splash on social media.  One would make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory in New York State.  The other bill would give state and county leaders the ability to detain contagious patients during a state of emergency.  Borrello says he's opposed to the bills, calling them unconstitutional. Borrello says the bills, while being reintroduced in the state Assembly, have no companion bills introduced in the state Senate.



An invasive insect that kills ash trees is prompting Cornell University to cut down 1,700 of the trees on its lands in a step it says will visibly alter the appearance of the campus.  The trees infested by the emerald ash borer will be felled between January and the end of March and include trees on and off campus. The invasive species bores under a tree's bark and kills most infested ash trees within four years.  The university says it is felling the trees to manage safety concerns and limit property damage.  It has treated a smaller number of high-value ash trees on its lands with pesticides, and is fundraising to plant replacements for the felled trees.


The Chautauqua County Humane Society is ringing in the New Year with the 2021 "Hot Dogs and Cool Cats" Pet Photo Contest. Humane Society Community Relations Director Brian Papalia says all animal lovers are encouraged to participate.


Papalia says proceeds raised benefit the animals cared for by the humane society... and, those in the future.  He says the 10 photos with the most votes will appear on CCHS Social Media and website.  The winning pet will also receive a $100 Visa gift card, a $100 'Crown and Paw' gift card to have a special item made with their pets photo... and a pet photography session with Panebianco Photography.  The contest runs through January 30th at 9 PM. Again, to enter or vote, visit CHQHumane.org.

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 5, 2021

A dramatic spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases in Chautauqua County over the New Year's holiday weekend is raising concern across the county.  County Executive P-J Wendel expressed that concern during yesterday afternoon's reorganizational meeting of the county legislature via Zoom conferencing.  The county say 418 new cases during the three-day weekend... raising the total number to 4,097.  Wendel says the vaccines are coming in... but, he says people also need to continue following COVID-19 guidelines.

Sadly... Wendel adds that there were four new deaths over the weekend... bringing that number to 36.  County officials says 120 of the new cases were in Jamestown... and, 93 were reported in Dunkirk.  There are currently 604 active cases... and, 3,457 have now recovered.
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The 120 confirmed cases in Jamestown, though, are not impacting the city workforce as much as it was at one point last month.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says, though, there are still some employees in quarantine.  Sundquist says most of their COVID cases have recovered, and are back to work.



County Executive Wendel says the use of regional hubs to control the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines has also become a concern.  Speaking Monday morning... he said there have been issues with the distribution of the vaccines as they become available.

Wendel says they are following the first-phase of vaccine distribution.... where hospital and nursing home workers and residents and patients... are getting the first round of shots.  He says vulnerable residents are also receiving them.  Wendel is continuing to urge local residents to follow the COVID-19 safety protocols, including the use of masks... maintaining social distancing... and, washing your hands regularily.



New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is trying to speed up what has been a sluggish rollout of the coronavirus vaccine by threatening to fine hospitals if they don't finish their first round of inoculations by the end of the week.  Cuomo made the announcement during a press conference... hours before announcing the discovery of the state's first known case a new, more contagious variant of the virus.  Cuomo said later Monday that a man in his 60s who works at a jewelry store in Saratoga Springs tested positive for the variant.  The discovery seemed to underscore the need for more urgency in a vaccination campaign that has, so far, moved at a snail's pace.



The man who has led the Chautauqua County Legislature for the past year has again been elected to that post by fellow lawmakers.  During it's reorganizational meeting via Zoom yesterday afternoon... the legislature unanimously voted Ellery Republican Pierre Chagnon to again be chairman.  Chagnon says it's "an honor" to continue in the post.


Majority and Minority leaders were also announced for the year.  Ashville area Republican, and former legislature chairman, Jay Gould will be majority leader.  Ellicott's Lisa VanStrom will be Assistant Majority Leader.  The Democratic Minority Leader will again be Jamestown's Charles Nazzaro... and, Assistant leader will again be Dunkirk's Bob Bankowski.


Seven on-line stakeholder meetings regarding police reform in the city of Jamestown will be held today through Friday.  That from City Councilwoman Tamu Graham-Reinhardt... who told fellow councilmembers during last night's work session that the sessions are being held in the afternoon and evenings to allow people more times to offer their input.  Graham-Reinhardt says the sessions... which will offer input on a reform plan to be submitted to the state... have gone well so far.

Graham-Reinhardt says, though, that anyone interested needs to register by calling the mayor's office at 483-7600... or by going to the city's website at jamestownny.gov.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says the Zoom conference sessions will be held: Today at 1 PM... Wednesday at 1, 6 or 7 PM... Thursday at 1 or 7 PM... or Friday at 1 PM.  The city must submit a final plan to New York state for police reforms in the wake of the police-involved death of George Floyd by April 1st.



A city man was arrested during a traffic stop for allegedly possessing a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia on Sunday. State Police say they pulled over the vehicle on Route 60… and, reportedly saw a methamphetamine pipe on the passenger’s lap. Troopers identified the man as 45 year-old Philip Reichardt. A further search of the vehicle found a total of four methamphetamine pipes… a bottle containing meth… a black scale with meth residue and several items used for the packaging and sale of narcotics. Reichardt was sent to the County Jail on two-counts of second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia… and, one-count fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.


A popular January event at Jamestown Community College has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.  That from Heather Morris, Director of Alumni Relations who made the announcement early Monday. 

The mystery is traditionally held the last weekend of January and is a major fund raiser for the JCC Alumni Association.  Morris says other plans are in the works that can be sent out on-line.  The Alumni Association hopes to resume its annual mystery when pandemic conditions ease, and crowds can gather again.

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 4, 2021

New York state has recorded more than one-million positive COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.  That's according to figures released last Saturday by Governor Andrew Cuomo.  The state's data shows the roughly 15,000 new positive tests reported statewide on Friday bring the total number of cases to over 1-million.  Chautauqua County saw 96 new cases that day... with cases now exceeding 3,700.  The total now is 3,721... and the positivity rate 2.8-percent.


There are 19 new cases of COVID-19 over the past day in Cattaraugus County... bringing the total number there to 2,664 confirmed cases.  Health officials say 42 people are now hospitalized, and the number of COVID-related remain 50.  The total number of active cases is now 477... and 2,135 have now recovered.


A man from Stockton accused of assaulting another person has been arrested during a warrant check at a Dean Road home last Saturday morning.  Sheriff's deputies conducted the check at the town of Stockton home shortly before 9 AM... and found 21 year-old Jordan Hebner.  Hebner was sought on active warrants for second-degree strangulation... and, second-degree assault.  He was arrested, and taken to the county jail pending arraignment.


It was an "unprecidented year" for the United States -- and the city of Jamestown -- in 2020.  However... the first-year City Council President thanked fellow lawmakers and the administration for how they did their business this past year.  Republican Tony Dolce praised them for being effective during a time where they mostly met on-line via Zoom conferencing.  He says that was never more evident than during 2021 budget deliberations.

Dolce praised new Mayor Eddie Sundquist... and several new, and long-time department heads for their efforts during 2020.  Dolce noted there was a new Corporation Counsel, Clerk, Comptroller, Deputy Fire Chief... and, Police Chief-Public Safety Director.  He says he's hopeful that city lawmakers will be able to hold their regular meetings in the Mayor's Conference Room, and Council Chambers sometime soon.  Dolce was also hopeful that they could hold more meetings in the individual wards later in 2021.


Flames on New Year's Day have heavily-damaged a home on Tompkins Road in the town of Ellicott.  The Post-Journal reports Fluvanna firefighters were called to the scene -- near Route 60 -- about 2:30 PM Friday... and, found the stucture "fully engulfed" in fire.  Fluvanna received mutual aid from Falconer, Kennedy, Ashville, Ellery Center, Dewittville, and Sinclairville fire crews.  The county's FAST Team... and Chautauqua County EMS were also called to the scene.  The Post-Journal reports the local Red Cross was called to assist the residents.  The fire was reported under control in about 45 minutes.  No injuries were reported.


CORRECTION...

 

WJTN News originally reported there was only one rate increase for the five divisions of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities in the new year after action was taken by the board late 2020.  However, BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins reports there are no increases in any rates. Robbins says -- at one point -- the BPU thought they might have to increase Waste Water rates, but the managers worked hard to pare down the budget to avert any increases. 

General Manager Dave Leathers says the city has also seen an increase in the number of people and families requesting help in paying their utility bills from the Department of Development's Utility Customer Assistance Program.  Leathers says about 18 applications were on their way to being approved.  He adds that the moratorium on utility turn-offs has been extended through the end of April.  Leathers says -- with the pandemic -- the past year has been "ridiculously challenging."


Police say a state trooper shot and wounded a domestic violence suspect in western New York after the man advanced toward officers with a bow and arrow.  The confrontation happened early Friday in Portville.  Troopers were dispatched to a home by the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office.  State Police say troopers were speaking to the domestic violence victim when 40 year-old Ryan Ehman moved toward them with a bow and arrow.  Police say a trooper shot the man after he ignored commands to drop the weapon.



The minimum wage is going up in New York in 2021, and a new sick leave law is coming into effect.  Employees at most businesses can start using sick days that the new law allowed them to start accruing in September.  The rate is one hour for every 30 hours worked.  Governor Andrew Cuomo's office says about 1.3-million New Yorkers didn't have access to paid sick leave before the law.  In addition... the hourly minimum wage is now $14-an hour in Long Island and Westchester... and, $12.50 in the rest of the state.

 

A Kiantone man was arrested New Year's Eve night for allegedly trying to break into a home on Kiantone Road.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene at 545 Kiantone Road shortly after 6 PM Thursday... but, found no one when they arrived.  However... deputies did find that the residence had been broken into, and further investigation led to the arrest of 45 year-old David Spunaugle... who is accused of going into the home and taking items from inside.  Spunaugle was taken into custody and charged with third-degree burglary... and, petty larceny.  He was to be arraigned, and released with appearance tickets for Kiantone Town Court.

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News Headlines for Fri., Jan. 1, 2021

                                                       ***Happy New Year!***
Fire destroys autmotive-transmission shop-factory in Jamestown...
A huge New Year's Eve fire on Jamestown's eastside has destroyed a combination automotive-transmission industrial shop.  City firefighters were called to the scene at Transmission Pros/Valpro at 255 Blackstone Ave. shortly after 4 pm Thursday... and, found the structure fully-engulfed in flames.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist was among the officials on scene... and, said some workers called in the alarm. He adds the employees were able to get out before an explosion occured due to a number of flameable materials inside the factor-shop.  Sundquist says firefighters were expected to be at the scene late into the night... because the building has "multiple layers" and it will take some time to make sure the fire is completely out.  An aerial truck at the scene was pouring water on top of the structure some two hours after the initial call to douse hot spots.  The single-story business was gutted, and there was at least a partial roof cave-in.  City fire investigators were called in early last night to look into the cause.  JPD assisted at the scene... and, traffic was closed off in the areas of Blackstone Avenue and Buffalo Street.
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The Board of Public Utilities reported last night that the fire will result in discolored water for BPU water customers on at least the eastside of the city.  Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says hydrants pull water through lines quickly, stirring and discoloring the water.  The water may not be clear until mid-afternoon in some places.


Chautauqua County reports 116 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, and increase in hospitalizations...
There are 116 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in Chautauqua County the past day... and hospitalizations are up to 45.  That from the county Health Department... which reports there are now 3,681 cases to date.  Officials say 32 of the new cases were in Dunkirk... and, the Jamestown 14701 zip code area had 30 others.  Jamestown is closing in one one-thousand cases there alone, with 960 now.  Officials add there are now 534 active cases... and, 3,115 cases have now recovered.


Jamestown cases include four students in city school district...
There are four new cases of COVID-19 being reported among staff and students in the Jamestown Public Schools.  Spokeswoman Cathy Panebianco says they include a Jamestown High School student last present on December 21st.  She adds a Persell Middle School student, who was last in school on December 22nd...  a Love Elementary School student last present December 22nd, and a Fletcher Elementary student who is only distance learning.  Panebianco adds that none of these individuals had any in-school close contacts. 


Cattaraugus County records 50th COVID-related death...
Cattaraugus County has reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic... reaching it's 50 COVID-related death Thursday.  The county Health Department reports three new deaths.  They were all men... ages 80, 90 and 57.  Health officials say there were 79 new cases Thursday... bringing the total number of cases to 2,565.  The number of active cases are 504... while 2,011 people have now recovered.


Reed talks stimulus legislation, how businesses can take advantage during Zoom Conference...
The enhanced, $300 federal unemployment benefit should be showing up for laid-off workers in your mailbox or bank account shortly.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who addressed that concern during yesterday's Zoom Conference with business, muncipal... and other leaders Wednesday.  Reed and members of his staff noted that unemployment will be retroactive to Dec. 26th... and will include independent contractors, and people who are self-employed.  One of Reed's staff members noted the benefit will run through Apr. 5, but, people need to apply by March 14.  He was also asked how soon vaccines will be available to schools and for "essential workers."  He says the vaccines, and their mode of travel, have been pre-positioned.  However... while the federal government has handled the distribution of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to the states... Reed says the states each have their own guidelines for who receives the vaccine and when.  Members of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce were among those taking part in Reed's Zoom Conference.


Man from Celoron arrested after police find during traffic stop his license was suspended 17 times...  
A Celoron man whose license had been suspended 17 times has been arrested on several traffic and drug-related charges in the town of Ellery.  Sheriff's officers say they pulled over 44 year-old Walter Whitfield, Junior for a traffic violation on Route 430 just after 12:30 am Thursday.  Deputies say a background check on Whitfield showed the suspensions... and, Sheriff's Office K-9 Link was brought in... and, found narcotics in the vehicle.  Officers say their search uncovered scales, packaging materials, and quantity of methamphetamine.  Whitfield faces charges including seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia... and, second-degree aggravated unlicensed operator.  He was issued appearance tickets for Ellery Town Court.


Visitations at prisons suspended in NYS due to rise in COVID cases...
New York has suspended visits to state prisons because of a rise in coronavirus cases among inmates and staff and in surrounding communities.  The state Department of Corrections first suspended most in-person visits in mid-March.  It reopened prisons to visitors in August.  New York then restricted visits at prisons in designated hot spots starting in October, but most prisons have remained open for visits.  Data reported by the state Department of Corrections show that state prisons have reported the death of three inmates with COVID-19 since mid-December.


 

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News Headlines for Thurs., Dec. 31, 2020

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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News Headlines for Wed., Dec.30, 2020

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

  


   

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News Headlines for Tues. Dec. 29, 2020

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


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


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


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


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


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


 

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News Headlines for Tues., Sept. 24, 2019

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


 

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News Headlines for Thurs. Dec. 24, 2020

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Have a Merry Christmas everyone!


 

 

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News Headlines for Wed. Dec. 23, 2020

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


 


 

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News Headlines for Tues., Dec. 22, 2020

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


 

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News Headlines for Mon., Dec. 21, 2020

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 


 

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News Headlines for Sat., Dec. 19, 2020

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


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


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


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


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


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

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec 18, 2020


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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec 17, 2020

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 16, 2020


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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Local News

News Headlines for Sat. Jan. 16, 2021

County reports 122 New COVID-19 cases, no deaths, Friday... The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 122 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus today... bringing the total number now t...

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