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Local News Headlines Archives for 2020-07

WJTN News Headlines for July 31 2020

 
Negotiations over another COVID-19 economic stimulus bill have reportedly stalled in Washington, D-C.  New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, a former Congresswoman, says state and local governments need federal assistance.

Hochul, a Buffalo-area Democrat, is urging Republicans in Congress to step in... including local Congressman Tom Reed.  She's asking him to use his "influence" to help get money for the state and localities since New York has been one of the hardest hit states in the country.  Hochul made her comments following her visit to Jamestown to talk with local tourism officials about how they have been dealing with life in a world heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

There's been one new case of the coronavirus in Chautauqua County... and, there are nearly one-thousand people now in "domestic traveler quarantine."  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says there are now 229 confirmed cases of the coronavirus... and, 11 are currently active, and continue to recover.  Wendel says the new case is a man in his 20s.  He says there are now 209 cases that have recovered... and, 146 that are under local quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.  Wendel says there have now been 22-thousand-850 negative test results so far.

The majority of public school board members in New York state say they want in-person classes this Fall... and, agree they are needed to help with childhood development.  However... how to do that safely in the era of COVID-19 is proving to be tricky for local districts.  That from School Boards Association Director Bob Schneider... who says state and federal funding will be a key because, it all comes with a price tag.

The need for funding for those items was the major concern expressed by board members -- if the state wants some kind of in-person instruction this year.  Schneider says they asked districts three questions regarding reopening... and, the majority said they were looking at some kind of "hybrid" model... which would include two or three days of classes... and, the rest will be on-line.  However... he says they also want younger, elementary school students to have more classroom time -- if possible. 

The New York State Field Band Conference has decided there'll be no competitions for high school marching bands this year.  Meghan Murray, Director of the Jamestown High School marching band, says she was not surprised with this week's annoucement.

Using on-line resources, the JHS band members have been meeting through July and preparing a show... as best they can. Ideally, Murray hopes the band will be able to perform for local audiences this fall... in a parade or at schools in the district.  Much of that hinges on rules still being formulated for the fall reopening.  The statewide cancellation of competitions means there'll be no Fall Festival of Bands at Strider Field in September.  

   
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the new Jamestown Community College budget a "particularily challenging" spending plan to put together.  That from JCC President Daniel DeMarte... who says the Board of Trustees approved the 2020-21 spending plan this week.  DeMarte says "given the continued economic uncertainty in our state, country, and throughout the world, this was a difficult budget to create."  DeMarte says the $31.4-million budget reflects a 20-percent reduction in state aid per full-time equivalent student, a 10-percent cut in FTE projections, and reduced occupancy of residence halls.  He adds there were also about $1.7-million in personnel custs in the budget. 

Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas says the city's Streets Department Facility on Lucas Avenue will remain closed until further notice after an employee underwent a test for COVID-19... and, had come in contact with other workers.  Rosas says the employee has been put in quarantine, and they are awaiting results.

Rosas says the action was taken after the city's Public Works Director was notified that the employee may have contracted the virus after being in close proxmity to someone who had COVID-19.


Local law enforcement agencies around Chatuauqua County have released their results from the state-wide Stop-DWI Crackdown during the Fourth of July weekend.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone says his deputies, municipal police departments.... and, the New York State Police took part in the initiative, which resulted in 41 vehicle stops, arrests and summonses.  Sheriff Quattrone says  the agencies work together to reduce the number of impaired driving injuries and deaths.  The statewide event is funded by a grant from the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee. 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 30, 2020

New York state is continuing it's crackdown on places and gatherings that are violating COVID-19 restrictions... and here in Chautauqua County... the biggest concern is large gatherings.  That from Sheriff Jim Quattrone, who says a party last weekend in the town of Harmony involving "several hundred" people -- many under the age of 21 -- caught their attention.  Quattrone says keep any gatherings small.

It's recklessness... say officials... that allows much of the community spread of the novel coronavirus in large gatherings.  Quattrone says the large party on Goshen Road Saturday led to charges being filed against a Panama man... and, there were other concerning issues beside the potential for a coronavirus outbreak.  He says those gatherings often involve alcohol and other possibly "disasterous decisions."  Quattrone says local law enforcement continues to respond to complaints that are received on a daily basis.


U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to include enhanced unemployment benefits in any new COVID Stimulus bill.  During a video press conference yesterday afternoon... the Democrat said those benefits -- which include a $600/week check -- have kept millions of people out of poverty.  Gillibrand adds they've been using most of that for necessities, including bills and utilities.

Gillibrand also blasted the Republican talking point that the check's disincentivize work.  She says it's unfounded for two reasons... one is a recent Yale study found no evidence that those receiving the more generous benefit were not returning to work.  Gillibrand adds that there "aren't millions of open jobs for these people to return to."  Until that happens, she says the temporary benefit is needed... not the smaller 200-dollars a week the GOP is talking about.  She also blasted the Republicans for waiting until the late minute to finally propose a bill.


There are two new cases of COVID-19 being reported the past day in Chautauqua County... and, more than 11-hundred people under local, or domestic traveler quarantine.  That from Interim County Executive P-J Wendel... who says the new cases are both men, one in their 30s and the other in their 40s.  Wendel says there have now been 228 confirmed cases, while 207 have now recovered.  Wendel says there have now been 22,347 negative test results to date.

The regional American Red Cross is reporting shortages in all donor areas... including the need for convalescent plasma with the number of COVID-19 cases surging across the U-S.  That is blood that is collected from people who have recovered from the coronavirus, and have antibodies that might help patients currently fighting it.  Western New York Red Cross Spokesperson Katie Potter says there are some additional criteria for being able to give the plasma for COVID patients.

Potter says... so far... more than 1,000 plasma products have been collected and distributed in the state.  However... she says there are shortages now because of the surge in cases and hospitalizations.  In addition... Potter says they also have a general shortage of blood in the region... and, they need donors for that.  For more information on donating convalescent plasma... go on-line to Redcrossblood-dot-ORG/plasma4covid... and, fill out the form.  Potter says a Red Cross representative will call you back.  For regular donations... you can make an appointment at Redcrossblood.org and, enter your zip code.


Civil liberties groups are asking a state court to block New York election officials from enforcing a requirement that voters register 25 days before an election.  Representatives of the New York Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday that they have filed a request for a preliminary injunction in their ongoing lawsuit first filed in November 2018 against the New York state Board of Elections.  The group argues that the 25-day cut-off left about 93,000 New Yorkers unable to vote in the 2016 presidential election because they registered after the deadline.  The Democratic-led Legislature and voting rights groups are pushing to make it easier for New Yorkers to vote in November. 


Local Congressman Tom Reed has some fond memories of late House member John Lewis... who is being recognized as a moral force for the nation.  Lewis was eulogized during a memorial service in the Capitol Rotunda... where his body lay in state until earlier today  The Georgia Congressman was lauded as "the conscience of Congress... and called a model of courage.  Reed recalled taking visitors around the capitol... and, introducing them to Lewis.

Reed says he had known Lewis since he was first elected to Congress 10 years ago and both were members of the House Ways and Means Committee.  In fact... the Corning Republican says late Congressman Amo Houghton told him to surround himself with good people in Washington... and, that included Lewis.  Congressman Lewis was born to sharecroppers during 'Jim Crow' segregation, beaten by Alabama state troopers during the civil rights movement and awarded the Medal of Freedom in 2011.

Pennsylvania is reporting more than 800 new coronavirus cases, as the state Department of Transportation extended the expiration dates for driver licenses, identification cards and learner's permits to August 31st.  The grace period applies to cards that expired after March 16th.  The grace period had been scheduled to end this Friday.  Meanwhile, the state Department of Health on Wednesday reported 834 additional cases and 16 new deaths. 

Chautauqua County's two parks will reopen to the public, starting next Monday.  County Public Facilities Director Brad Bentley says they are: the Luensman Overview Park, which is located on Thayer Road in the Town of Portland... and, the Erlandson Overview Park, which is located on Oak Hill Road in the Town of Carroll.  Bentley says both parks will be open from 8:30 AM to dusk from August 3rd through November 1st of this year.  However... they will not have any restroom facilities open, and no large gatherings or organized events will be permitted until further notice at either park.  For more information... call 661-8417.

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WJTN News Headlines for JUL 29, 2020

         
A man from Panama faces two charges after allegedly hosting a large party with 'several hundred people' in attendance last weekend in the town of Harmony.  Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene on Goshen Road last Saturday... and, found that many of those attending were under tha age of 21.  Officers say 27 year-old Eli Miller was charged with first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child... and, second-degree criminal nuisance.  He was issued appearance tickets for Harmony Town Court at a later date.


There are three new cases of the COVID-19 Virus being reported in Chautauqua County the past day... bringing the local total to 226.  That from Interim County Executive P-J Wendel... who says the new cases are women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.  Wendel adds there are now 10 active cases... with one person hospitalized.  He says 204 cases under local quarantine or isolation orders... and, another 844 persons are under the "domestic traveler quarantine" for having arrived here from a state listed on New York's travel advisory.  He adds that 207 people have now recovered from the virus.


Travelers from 34 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, must now quarantine for 14 days when they travel to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.  Governors of New York and New Jersey announced Tuesday that Illinois, Minnesota, Puerto Rico and D.C. are now now on the list of states that face quarantine restrictions under a joint travel advisory issued last month.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has expressed worry for weeks that infection rates in hard-hit New York could once again rise because of travel from high-risk states. 


New York's Lieutenant Governor says she was happy to be back in Chautauqua County Tuesday to put a spotlight on, and learn ways local tourist attractions have been dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Kathy Hochul took part in a tourism--staycation roundable at the National Comedy Center in Jamestown.  The Buffalo-area Democrat says she loves coming here for some "R-and-R..." and, wanted to make this the second stop of her tour after going to Niagara Falls.

Hochul says she was pleased to see how entities, such as the Comedy Center, Chautauqua Institution, Panama Rocks, and others have quickly adapted to what they can, and cannot do during the pandemic.  The institution has put it's entire 2020 season on-line as part of what President Michael Hill calls "CHQ Assembly."

Hill says the on-line platforms have provided some "great, free advertising" for the institution... and, he believes that when they can resume in-person programming on the grounds, they will attract more people from around the world.  Hochul later spoke during one of those programs on the 100th anniversary of Women's right to vote.

A man from Stockton is accused of sexually abusing a minor earlier this month.  The Sheriff's Department's Criminal Investigation Division conducted the investigation into 30 year-old Carl Silsby on July 11th regarding an incident that occurred in the town.  Officers say Silsby was charged with third-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child... and issued appearance tickets for Stockton Town Court at a later date.

Chautauqua County's Congressman feels a fourth, COVID-19 Stimulus bill will be approved by federal lawmakers in a week to 10 days... inspite of current political posturing.  Majority Republicans in the U-S Senate proposed their one-trillion dollar SMART Act bill Monday... but, it does not include some items that Corning Republican Tom Reed would like in it -- mainly local government aid.  However... Reed feels there are enough lawmakers of like mind that it will be in the final package.

In addition to local muncipal aid... Reed says he also wants a revised unemployment benefit that helps people during the shut-down, but, also includes an incentive to return to work.  The third main item he says needs to be in the bill is funding for child care programs.  Reed says he's been working with Senate Republican Joni Ernst and others on a $10-billion package... that would involve direct aid to those programs.  Reed says he believes the final bill will be about $1.5-trillion. He made his comments for his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media.

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WJTN News Headlines for July 28, 2020


Ten people... five of them from Jamestown... have pleaded guilty to trafficking large amounts of methamphetaime in the area three years ago.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says the five from Jamestown are: 31 year-old Jacob Motherwell... 36 year-old Michael Davis... 29 year-old Jamell Trapp -- also known as "KS..."  42 year-old Henry Stovall, Junior... and, 47 year-old Danny Michael-the-third.  Two people from Randolph also pled guilty to charges of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, five grams or more of methamphetamine.  The three others were from outside the area.  In addition... Davis and Trapp also pled guilty to possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.  Six others in the case pleaded guilty earlier in the case.  The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years, and a $5-million fine.


City lawmakers in Jamestown have agreed to move forward with a Mobile Food Truck Pilot program and put a fee structure in place.  The City Council voted 7-to-2 last night to move the program forward after two months of debate and discussion.  Councilman Tom Nelson says he wanted to go forward with the program in hopes of bringing more business and people to the downtown area... and, the fact the city can control the situation.

Some councilmembers expressed some reluctance over moving foward.  One of them was Council President Tony Dolce, who said -- this late in the Summer -- it was worth a try.  Councilman Grant Olson liked charging outside vendors $300 to put a truck at least 125 feet from an existing restaurant.  Currently... he says the situation can hurt those stores right now because they can pay a $500 peddlers fee, and set up whereever they want.  For a downtown business... the cost to have a truck would be $150.  While several residents called on council to approve the program... a long list of current restaurants called on lawmakers to hold off.  Republican Councilmembers Kim Ecklund, and Jeff Russell voted against the measure.


There have been no new cases of the COVID-19 Virus reported in Chautauqua County today... and, only one person is hospitalized.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says there are still 223 total cases so far... and, 203 of those have now recovered.  Wendel says there are 11 active cases... and, there are 204 cases that are under local quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.  Wendel says 796 persons are under "domestic traveler quarantine" for having arrived here from a state listed on the New York travel advisory.  There have now been 21,894 negative test results to date.


Interim Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel says he is encouraged by the latest sales tax collection figures... which show an increase in June of 13.2-percent over June of 2019.  State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office reported June's numbers late last week after rough numbers in April and May.  Wendel says he has guarded optimism for the summer... but, the results have been mixed.

Hurting out-of-state travel to the area has been New York's travel advisory... which puts visitors from 31 states where infection rates have been growing... in quarantine for 14-days after arriving here.  However... Wendel says, while the local economy is showing signs of rebounding, local governments are in need of some stimulus funding. 


No people were hurt... but a horse was hurt in an Amish buggy roll-over crash in the Town of Harmony early Sunday morning.  Sheriff's officers say they saw the buggy allegedly go through a stop sign at the corner of Goshen and Rock Hill Roads just after 1 AM... when the operator attempted to turn onto Rock Hill at an excessive speed causing the roll-over.  Deputies say the passengers were thrown onto the street and the horse was hurt.  They identified the operator as 18 year-old Adam Byler, and he was also found to be intoxicated.  Further investigation found one of the passengers in the buggy was under the age of 17.  Deputies say Byler was issued an appearance ticket for Harmony Town Court on four-counts of reckless endangerment... endangering the welfare of a child and over-driving/torturing an animal.  

A Mayville man faces several charges for allegedly acting disorderly after being asked to put a face covering on in the Key Bank in the Village of Lakewood last Wendesday.  Lakewood-Busti Police were called to the scene shortly before 2 PM... and on arrival, found Gerald Hewes-junior allegedly holding a bank employee up against a glass cubicle.  Officers say Hewes continually interfered with their investigation and was placed into custody after resisting arrest.  Futher investigation found the incident started when Hewes entered the building without a face mask. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, employees advised he would need to put one on or leave the building.  Police say this led to Hewes screaming obscenities at the bankers and becoming physical with them.  He was released with an appearance ticket for Busti Town Court on charges including obstruction, resisting arrest, second-degree harrassment and disorderly conduct. 


Advocates for people with disabilities are both celebrating a landmark in the fight for civil rights... and, still waiting for its promise to be fully realized.  The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law 30 years ago -- on July 26th of 1990.  It was the world's first declaration of equality for people with disabilities.  The head of the Center for Independence of the Disabled New York, Susan Dooha says it opened new doors for people with disabilities in transportation, housing accessibility, employment, education and public accommodations.

Dooha notes that despite the protections enumerated in the law and years of litigation over its implementation, people with disabilities still face widespread discrimination.  County Executive P-J Wendel was at a 30th Anniversary Celebration of the ADA Monday afternoon at the Southwestern Indepdenent Living Center in Jamestown.


The Lucille Ball Little Theater of Jamestown will take a bold step forward a week from today, over the internet.

That's the word from Adam Owens, who will, on Tuesday, August 4th, direct 'She Kills Monsters... Virtual Realm'.  Owens directed the stage version of the play at Jamestown Community College in the spring of 2019.  'She Kills Monsters' is the story of a young woman who looks into her recently deceased sister's fascination with the game 'Dungeons and Dragons'.  Alivia Roehrig and Alex Connor will return to their roles as the sisters, along with most of the rest of the original JCC cast.  There will only be one on-line performance of 'She Kills Monsters... Virtual Edition', next Tuesday at 7 PM.  Tickets are just $10... through the Little Theater website or Facebook page.  The show will be free for Little Theater season ticket holders. 

There'll be no Gerry Rodeo in early August... but, the fire department's rodeo chairman, Tom Atwell, says you can still get a roast beef dinner.

They'll be offering the full dinner for $15, cash or credit card... drive thru only from 4 to 7 PM on Saturday the 8th and Noon 'til sold out on Sunday the 9th.  Anyone wanting more than 10 dinners should phone 985-4847 in advance.  The rodeo was postponed because of issues related to COVID-19, but the work of the department goes on, and they need to offset their costs.  Atwell reminds fans the 'postponed' 76th rodeo will take place in August 2021.  More information is available at gerryrodeo.org.

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WJTN News Headlines for July 27, 2020

A total of five new cases of the coronavirus were reported last weekend in Chautauqua County... along with a new death last Saturday.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says there were two new cases Sunday... and they include a woman in her 50s, and one man in his 60s.  Three new cases were reported Saturday... so there have now been 223 confirmed cases.  Wendel says the death was a man in his 70s with severe underlying medical conditions... and, was newly-diagnosed.  It's the county's ninth COVID death.  Wendel says there are now 11 active cases... and, and 203 cases have now recovered.  Wendel says there are 204 cases under quarantine or isolation orders... while one person is hospitalized... and, there are 701 persons are under the 'domestic traveler quarantine." He adds there have now been 21,692 negative test results to date.


A woman from Jamestown who was reported lost while hiking in the Hannum Road Gorge area of Chautauqua County was found and is safe after being treated for minor injuries.  Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene about 9:30 PM last Thursday... and, the K-9 unit deployed K-9 Bentley to look for 27 year-old Kathleen Johnston.  Officers were able to find her in the creek bed of the gorge... but, she was unable to walk out on her own.  Erie County Sheriff's Office Air-One was called in... and, tried to land to extricate Johnston.. but, was unable to.  The county's Tech Rescue Team was brought in... and, was able to get her out of the gorge.  Johnston was treated for minor injuries.  State Forest Rangers, Mayville Fire Dept and Chautauqua Fire dept assisted on scene with the rescue.


Local Congressman Tom Reed says there will be plenty of time for televised debates... but, adds now is not the time to be talking about them.  The Incumbant Republican from Corning is responding to calls from Democratic challenger Tracy Mitrano to have five TV debates in various parts of the Southern Tier District that will allow more people to see and hear the candidates before the November election.  Reed says he's been talking with an meeting people... even with the coronavirus pandemic.

Reed says it seems like Mitrano is trying to "pacify" her ego... and, the debates are more about herself.  He says he's focusing his attention on dealing with the virus, and it's fall-out, including businesses being shut-down, and many that have reopened struggling.  Mitrano... who's from Penn Yan... says the debates could be held at times that agree with Reed's schedule, in various parts of the massive 23rd Congressional district.  Both candidates now agree there were three scheduled debates in 2018.  However... Mitrano says only one of them was shown in its entirety.


New York's quest to keep voters safe from COVID-19 by letting them vote by mail in the June primary has led to big delays in tabulating results, concerns about disenfranchisement -- and questions about whether there will be an even bigger mess in the fall.  Election officials say it'll take until early August to finish counting a tidal wave of absentee ballots that overwhelmed a system typically handling only around 5-percent of the vote.  About 1.8 million New Yorkers requested mail-in ballots for June's primary.  Candidates and good-government activists say a bigger problem is that thousands of votes cast in good faith are getting invalidated during the counting process.


Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for federal probes into New York's ejection from trusted traveler security programs.  The Democratic governor's call comes a day after Republican President Donald Trump's administration reversed itself and told a court it had misrepresented the facts in a lawsuit over the programs that allow vetted travelers to avoid long security lines at airports.  On Friday... Cuomo called it an illegal act of political abuse by Trump administration officials. 


A new fire truck has been put into service in the city of Dunkirk.  A dedication ceremony was held last week for the Dunkirk Fire Department's new, Sutphen SPH-100 aerial tower ladder truck at Dunkirk Fire headquarters on Eagle Street.  City Fire Chief Mike Edwards says the process of obtaining the new truck began about three years ago with assistance from Mayor Willie Rosas and the previous Common Council.

Edwards says the $1.2 million ladder truck is a major upgrade from the city's previous emergency ladder truck that had been in service for more than 30 years.  He says they're "very happy with all the versatility" the new truck gives them.  Edwards says the ladder truck comes at no cost to city taxpayers, and will be paid using the Fire Department's ambulance transfer revenues.

 Two Chautauqua County men have been arrested on drug-related charges after the car they were riding in was stopped for a traffic violation in the town of Portland.  Sheriff's deputies say they stopped the vehicle last Friday night on Lake Avenue... and, found the driver, 28 year-old Leroy Stepp of Westfield, in possession of quantity of methamphetamine, and he was driving with a suspended license.  Officers say his passenger, 37 year-old Paul Dunn of Brocton, was also found in possession of a quantity of meth.  Both men were charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... while Stepp was also charged with second-degree unlicensed operation.  Stepp and Dunn were issued appearance tickets for Portland Town Court.

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WJTN Headlines for Sat. July 25, 2020

Sinclairville man pleads guilty to federal drug conspiracy charges...
A Sinclairville man has pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiring to traffic amounts of acetyl fentanyl, fentanyl, and crack cocaine.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. announced Friday that 38 year-old Tracy Griffin entered the pleas before U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, acetyl fentanyl, fentanyl, and crack cocaine.  Kennedy says prosecutors found that Griffin and co-defendent Brandon Blackshear conspired to sell the drugs to undercover agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force on two occasions in January of 2019.  He says charges are pending against Blackshear.  Kennedy says the charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and a one-million dollar fine.  Sentencing will be held in October.


City woman rescued from gorge after getting lost while hiking...
A Jamestown woman reported lost while hiking in the Hannum Road Gorge area of the county was found and is safe after being treated for minor injuries.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene about 9:30 p.m. Thursday... and, the K-9 unit deployed K-9 Bentley to look for 27 year-old Kathleen Johnston.  Deputies say she was found in the creek bed of the gorge... but, she was unable to walk out on her own.  Erie County Sheriff's Office Air-One was requested and attempted to land to extricate Johnston.. but, was unable to.  The Chautauqua County Tech Rescue Team arrived on scene and was able to get her out of the gorge.  Johnston was treated at the scene for minor injuries.  State Forest Rangers, Mayville Fire Dept and Chautauqua Fire dept assisted on scene with the rescue.


Two more COVID-19 cases confirmed in Chautauqua County on Friday...
Two more cases of the coronavirus have been reported today by Chautauqua County officials... while one other has been transferred to the appropriate county.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says the two new cases are a woman in her 30s... and, a man in his 60s.  The transferred case is a man in his 20s.  Wendel says there have now been 218 confirmed cases... while the number of active cases has fallen to 16.  One person is hospitalized.  He says 194 people have now recovered... while 210 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.  Wendel says 778 people under the "domestic traveler quarantine" for having  in the county a state listed on the New York travel advisory... and, there have now been 21,528 negative test results.


While there may be a lot of "sound and fury" in coming week, Reed says there will be a fourth stimulus bill...
It appears that lawmakers -- right now -- are far apart on a fourth COVID-19 Stimulus bill and what should be in it.  The House Democratic Majority is touting it's $3-trillion package... while the GOP-led Senate is looking more at a $1-trillion package that helps local governments, and extends some unemployment benefits.  Local Congressman Tom Reed says he still believes a bill will be approved before lawmakers have their August break... according to discussions he's been part of.  As for direct local aid... Reed says that would not pass through states... but, go directly to local communities of less than half-a-million people to help cover their COVID-related expenses.  The Corning Republican says he also wants child care issues addressed before school resumes in person or on-line in the Fall.  While some lawmakers want to continue with $600 a week unemployment benefits... others want the amount cut because for many workers, there's little incentive to go back to work.  Reed says he would rather see a sliding scale of unemployment based on the workers actual pay.  He made his comments during his weekly conference call with Southern Tier Media.


Cuomo calls for probe into NYS ban from Trusted Traveler programs...
Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for federal probes into New York's ejection from trusted traveler security programs.  The Democratic governor's call comes a day after Republican President Donald Trump's administration reversed itself and told a court it had misrepresented the facts in a lawsuit over the programs that allow vetted travelers to avoid long security lines at airports.  On Friday... Cuomo called it an illegal act of political abuse by Trump administration officials.  Cuomo called for investigations by Attorney General William Barr and congressional Democrats.


State Legislature wraps up legislative session with flurry of bill approvals...
State lawmakers have wrapped up work on bills ranging from automatic voter registration to two new public holidays celebrating Juneteenth and Abolition Commemoration Day.  The state Senate and Assembly worked into the evening Thursday on bills addressing calls for a reckoning on the nation's history of slavery and racism, a law shielding nursing homes from lawsuits amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and efforts to make it easier to vote in the November election.  Several bills, including a moratorium on facial recognition programs at schools, will eventually head to the desk of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who then faces a 10-day deadline to act.


Man arrested for burglary in Mayville...         
A Mayville man has been arrested for allegedly burglarizing a home in the village earlier this month.  Sheriff's officers say they investigated the break-in at an undisclosed location on July 8... and, it led to the arrest of 30 year-old Eric Courtier.  Courtier was issued appearance tickets for third-degree burglary, fourth-degree Grand Larceny, criminal possession of Stolen Property... and, third-degree criminal mischief in Chautauqua Town Court at a later time.

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WJTN News Headlines for July 24, 2020

There are two new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County Thursday.  However... the number of active cases and those in local quarantine or isolation is dropping.  That from Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says the new cases are a young adult and a man in his 20s... and, they bring the total number to 217.  He adds there are now 19 active cases... while 190 have now recovered.  Wendel says 325 are under local quarantine or isolation orders, while 779 persons are under "domestic traveler quarantine" after arriving here from a state listed on the state's travel advisory.  There have now been 20,798 negative test results to date.


While most of the COVID numbers in New York continue to trend in the right direction... there is a new concern among young adults in the state.  Governor Andrew Cuomo Thursday says his administration is seeing an alarming uptick in the number of people ages 21-to-30 getting infected with the COVID-19 Virus.  During a briefing in New York City... Cuomo noted that young adults have seen a 4-percent jump the past week to 13.2-percent of all cases.  He says they're not invincable.

Cuomo says while young people feel they "have a right to party..." they also need to be smart.  To drive home the message to the 21 to 30 year-old age group... he unveiled a new ad campaign that will begin airing soon.  Cuomo adds that it's also up to local law enforcement to make sure the state rules and guidelines are followed.  He recently signed a new order that bars and restaurants cannot serve just alcohol.  Patrons must also have food as part of their order.


A Lakewood man faces charges in a domestic violence incident after suffering a self-inflicted gunshot wound and allegedly dragging a woman around a yard on the village's westside in June.  Lakewood-Busti Police were called to the area of West Fairmount Avenue and Spruce Street shortly after 8 PM on June 15th... and on arrival, came into contact with Christopher Butts, who was holding a pistol.  Officers say they told the 55 year-old Butts to drop the gun, but he reportedly fired one shot into the driveway before turning the gun on himself.  He was rushed by ambulance to the Firemen's Grounds... and, flown to UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie for treatment.  In a printed release... Lakewood-Busti Police say the investigation revealed Butts was telling the victim he was going to kill her while dragging her by the hair.  Officers issued an arrest warrant and Butts turned himself in yesterday.  He was issued an appearance ticket for two felony-counts of menacing a police officer and first-degree reckless endangerment... in addition to charges including third-degree menacing.


A city man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend earlier in the month... and, then breaking into her house and refusing to leave early Wednesday morning.  Jamestown Police say the victim came to JPD headquarters just after 11 AM Wednesday, stating that Julio Echevarria-Cosme had returned after he had assaulted her earlier in the month.  The woman told investigators that she ended her relationship with Echevarria-Cosme at that time.  However... he returned to the location at 194 Fairmount Avenue about 1 AM Wednesday... and, refused to leave.  A relative took her to see police.  Officers later arrested Echevarria-Cosme on charges including criminal trespass, third-degree assault, and second-degree unlawful imprisonment... and, he was held pending arraignment.


The Chautauqua County Humane Society has found 75 cats living in a condemned apartment in the city of Dunkirk.  Humane Society officials say they've been dealing with the matter since July 8th, after a neighbor contacted the Dunkirk Dog Control Officer, Denise Zentz, who later reached out to CCHS.  Humane Society Community Relations Director Brian Papalia says the cats were left behind when their owner was hospitalized.

Papalia says the Humane Society is getting help from two other groups -- the Lakeshore Humane Society in Dunkirk and the Erie County SPCA.  He says Lakeshore -- in particular -- has helped them track the cats over a two-week period.  Brian says some of the cats are now available for adoption, while others need more time and care.  He says they range from litters of very young kittens to adults.


Three students are raising concerns about the SUNY College at Fredonia's reopening plans and have put together an open letter to the SUNY Administration and Governor Andrew Cuomo.  Ava Knapp says their main concern is the lack of COVID-19 testing, something that is in direct opposition to the Recommended Best Practice from the New York State Reopening Higher Education Guidelines.  Knapp says the decision also opposes guidelines from the United University Professions, the union which represents faculty members.

The Administration at the university released a statement saying that Fredonia is following current guidelines to make returning to Fredonia as safe as possible.  Officials say "current CDC guidelines state "testing of all students, faculty and staff for COVID-19 before allowing campus entry (entry testing) has not been systematically studied.... Also, a SUNY task force composed of medical experts from four of SUNY's medical campuses also advised against testing all returning students, faculty, and staff."

A Buffalo man faces drug possession and unlawful dealing with fireworks charges following a narcotics investigation in the town of Ellicott Tuesday night.  Sheriff's deputies say Southern Tier Regional and Jamestown Metro Task Force agents were called to assist a State Police K-9 Unit with a traffic stop on Route 60.  Officers say 23 year-old Dante Fryer was allegedly found in possession of various illegal drugs and fireworks.  All items were seized...  and, Fryer was issued appearance tickets for Ellicott Town Court at a later date. 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 23, 2020


There are five new confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been reported the past day in Chautauqua County... bringing the local total to 215.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says they are: a person under the age of 18, a woman in her 30s, a woman in her 50s, and a man and woman in their 60s.  Wendel says there are 23 active cases... and, 184 cases that have now recovered.  He says 362 are under local quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored... while 714 people are under "domestic traveler quarantine" for having arrived to Chautauqua County from a state listed on New York's travel advisory.  There have now been 20,440 negative test results to date.


Chautauqua County lawmakers have unanimously approved a resolution asking New York state to continue the county's added one-percent sales tax for the next three-years.  During last night's Zoom Conference meeting... the legislature approved the measure to keep the sales tax at the current 8-percent, 18-to-nothing.  Jamestown Democrat Chuck Nazzaro says the measure helps bring in -- during a normal year -- another $15.2-million to county coffers.

Overall... Nazzaro says -- before the COVID-19 shut-down -- the county budget projected $42-million in revenues from sales tax in Chautauqua County.  Lawmakers agreed that the county will need to keep all possible revenues intact through 2020.  Jamestown Republican Elisabeth Rankin... adds that -- as important -- is the department heads working hard to cut, and save money where they can this year. 


Eligible voters in Chautauqua County can now apply for absentee ballots for the November 3rd general election.  That from Democratic Elections Commissioner Norm Green, and Republican Commissioner Brian Abram.  Green says it's "not too early to apply for an absentee ballot for any allowed reason."  He says one of those... due to the COVID-19 pandemic... is apply under the "temporary illness" status.
Green urges anyone looking to vote by absentee get their application in soon.  He says they are preparing for a much-larger than usual absentee count -- as many as 35,000-- this year.  There are about 77,000 registered voters in the county.  Green says they are making sure to at least have enough absentees on hand in case everyone has to vote that way.  He says ballots will be mailed in Chautauqua County starting on Friday, September 18th.  He says the period to apply for an Absentee Ballot with a U-S Postal Service postmark is now through October 27th.

The fall semester at Jamestown Community College will start on Monday, August 24th.  College President, Dr. Daniel DeMarte, says they want to make student life as normal as possible...  but going to class will be different.

COVID-19 numbers will play a role in determining how those 'flex' courses will be taught... as well as some other things the college can't control, including what happens with the public schools and the availability of childcare in the community.  Masks and social distancing will be required at JCC with up to one-third of the student body allowed on campus at any one time.  Dr. DeMarte says they hope to bring staff members who've bee working from home back to their offices over the next month.  'Boxed meals' will be available from the cafeteria. Dorms will be open for up to 250 students... a smaller number than usual.  The bookstore will be open, operating under a new cooperative agreement with Barnes & Noble.  

State Senator George Borrello has been appointed as the Ranking Member of the Senate’s Agriculture and Markets Committee.  Borrello's appointment was announced by State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt... who was prior ranking member on the committee.  He says Borrello "will undoubtedly be a voice for our Upstate farmers."  Borrello says he's grateful for the opportunity to serve in a position to work on critical agriculture issues.

Local Congressman Tom Reed has joined a bi-partisan effort to protect law enforcement and stand against the "Defund Police" movement.  Reed is co-sponsoring what's called the "Defund Cities that Defund the Police Act..." joined with two other Republicans and two Democrats in backing the measure.  The Corning Republican says it would prevent those communities that defund police from receiving certain federal grants, and stop other specific federal dollars from supporting them.

The two Democrats who support the measure are Anthony Brindisi of the Binghampton-area, and Maine's Jared Golden.  Reed says he believes more Democrats will sign-on because the more moderate, practical members have taken this position.  More liberal Democrats have called for "defunding police..." even though the term seems to mean different things to different people.  Many have said they want some money taken, and used for programs such as enhanced community or mental health services.  Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 22, 2020

There are eight new cases of the coronavirus in Chautauqua County today... and, there are more than 600 domestic travelers who are self-quarantining in the county.  That from Public Health Director Christine Schulyer... who says the eight cases brings the local total to 210 cases.  Schuyler says 23 cases remain active... while two people are hospitalized.  She says 179 people have now recovered.  There are 541 local cases that are in quarantine or isolation... and, there are 669 travelers who are under the "domestic traveler quarantine" status.  They are from 31 states where COVID cases have been surging... and, must quarantine for 14-days when they arrive in New York state.  Schuyler says there have now been 20,278 negative test results to date.

Jamestown fire officials say a vacant, two-story house on the city's eastside was damaged... but, not seriously... during an overnight fire Monday.  Acting Deputy Fire Chief Matt Coon says crews were called to the scene at 132 Barrows Street about 11:30 PM Monday... and, found fire on the back of the second-floor, and it was starting to move into the attic and roof.

Coon says the home was being renovated... and, apparently some discarded wood stain-soaked rags and brushes were put in a plastic bucket... and, they caught fire.  He says investigators determined the cause was accidental.  Coon says an off-duty shift was called in to assist... and, no one was hurt.  Firefighters were on the scene just over an hour and a half.  Fire investigators arrived at the scene later in the morning... and, determined the cause.


The driver of a dump truck is being treated for serious facial injuries after his truck crashed and overturned on Thornton Road in the town of Cherry Creek yesterday afternoon.  Sheriff's deputies say the tires of the truck, operated by 66 year-old Donald Blair, left the roadway about 1:40 PM... and, due to the uneven ground... Blair lost control.  Deputies say the truck climbed a dirt embankment and rolled over before coming to rest on the driver's side in a ditch.  Blair was flown by MedEvac helicopter to UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pennsylvania for treatment of facial injuries.


A committee of stakholders should be created to determine how best to resume in-person school this Fall in New York state and Chautauqua County.  That from Democratic State Assembly challenger Christina Cardinale of Jamestown... who says she's talked with a number of parents, teachers and others about the situation.  Governor Andrew Cuomo recently ordered schools to submit their plans to reopen by the end of the month.

Incumbant Republican Assemblyman Andy Goodell says he and Senator George Borrello have introduced legislation that would put the power to reopen schools back into the hands of the state Board of Regents, and ultimately, local school boards.  Governor Cuomo recently provided his two main guidelines for reopening:  The region must be in Phase-Four of the coronavirus reopening... and, the infection rate cannot be higher than 5-percent on a rolling, two-week average.


A north county man lost his life in a motorcycle accident on the Fredonia-Stockton Road in the town of Pomfret last Saturday afternoon.  The Dunkirk Times-Observer says State Police report that 31-year-old Timothy Vogt was following three friends on motorcycles when he apparently lost control of the bike he was riding, crossed the center line and struck a trailer that was being towed by a pick-up truck.  The paper says State Troopers indicated the motorcycle was traveling around 40 mph at the time of the crash, and that no alcohol was involved.


COVID-19 and the related shutdown have had far-reaching effects on New York agriculture.  The state Farm Bureau today revealed the results of a survey of over 500 farms throughout the state.  On a Zoom conference call, The Farm Bureau's Director of Public Policy, Jeff Williams, talked about the degree of disruption. Those effects include loss of markets... and early on... the throwing out of milk, produce and flowers.  Other farms reported difficulty in getting machinery parts, and enforcing new COVID protocols.  Another farmer spoke to the challenge of getting farmers to stay home when they are sick.  He says their instinct is to 'go to work and tough it out.'

A seven-month investigation in the Town of Ellicott led to grand larceny charges against a 21 year-old Jamestown-area man.  Early Tuesday... Ellicott Town Police say $5,000 worth of property was stolen from a vehicle back on January 8th... and, they were able to locate and return it to the owner.  Officers also accuse Randall Mesler-junior of taking property belonging to another person with a value of $3,000 in a separate incident.  He was issued an appearance ticket for a later date. 


Democratic Congressional challenger Tracy Mitrano is challenging incumbant Republican Tom Reed to five live televised debates spread across New York's huge 23rd district.  In a printed release today... Mitrano said "campaigning during this pandemic, our top concerns should be the health and safety of the voters and getting them the information they need to pick the best candidate.  These whould be civil, productive debates on the many issues affecting voters, and they should be carried live on television with recordings available online through election day."  The Penn Yan resident is calling on debates to be held in Binghamton, Elmira-Corning, Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester.  The two only debated twice when Mitrano ran against Reed in 2018. 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 21, 2020


Jamestown Firefighters made quick work of a structure fire at 132 Barrows Street last night. According to their Facebook page... crews were called to the scene about 11:30 PM to the vacant home. No cause has been announced. More details are expected to be released later today. 


A city man has now been identified as the boater reported missing on Chautauqua Lake... who was found dead from an apparent drowing just before Noon Monday.  The Chautauqua County Water Emergency Team was assisted by the State Police Underwater Recovery Team in finding the victim, 46 year-old Brian Twardeski, using sonar in the area where he went missing about 2:30 PM Sunday in the town of North Harmony.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone says Twardeski's family had been swimming off the boat when a storm came up.

Quattrone says the Sheriff's Department Navigation Team was called to the scene... but, the weather and water conditions forced them to call off the search about 5 PM Sunday.  A woman and three children were able to get back to the boat safely.  In addition to the police rescue teams... the Bemus Point, Ashville and Lakewood Fire Department water rescue teams assisted at the scene.


A bank customer helped turn-back a would be robber late Monday morning at the Community Bank branch on East Main Street in Falconer.  Ellicott Town Police were called to the scene at 1982 East Main shortly before 12 Noon on a report of a man trying to hold-up the bank.  Officers say the suspect... 38 year-old Jason Maisonet... reportedly told bank employees to open the safe several times... but, the unidentified customer in the lobby intervened, and told Maisonet to leave.  He refused... and, the customer then took control of Maisonet, and took him out the front door.  He was arrested by officers once they arrived.  Maisonet was charged with third-degree robbery, and was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for an evaluation.

A Fredonia man lost his life in a motorcycle crash on Fredonia-Stockton Road in the town of Pomfret Saturday afternoon. According to the Observer, an investigation by the State Police indicated that 31-year-old Timothy Vogt was following three friends on motorcycles when he apparently lost control of the motorcycle he was riding, crossed the center line and struck a trailer that was being towed by a pick-up truck. The newspaper says State Troopers indicated the motorcycle was traveling around 40 mph at the time of the crash and that no alcohol was involved.


Two new cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Chautauqua County over the past day... bringing the local total to 202.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says they are a woman in her 30s... and, a woman in her 60s.  He says there are now 19 active cases... with two hospitalized.  Wendel says 175 cases have now recovered... while 738 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders and are being monitored.  He says there have now been 20,120 negative test results to date.


A new executive order from Governor Cuomo directing that all restaurants and bars across the state can only serve alcohol to people who are ordering and eating food is already having an impact on some local businesses.  Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek says the directive is apparently effecting some of the establishments that serve alcohol in the village. Essek did not indicate any specific businesses... but, he says some afraid of being shut-down again.  The mayor also reiterated the importance of following social distancing guidelines. 


Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been sentenced to 6.5- years in prison.  The sentencing Monday by U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni came after she insisted that the 76-year-old Democrat come to court rather than appear remotely.  In a handwritten letter to the judge... Silver had asked that he be spared a prison term that would cause him to die in prison.  Prosecutors had urged that he go to prison for seven years for his bribery and extortion conviction.  A 2015 conviction was overturned on appeal.. but, Silver was convicted again in 2018.


The first-ever 'virtual' Four-H meat animal sale in Chautauqua County turned out pretty well for most of the young people involved.  The 24-hour event wrapped up at 6 PM last Friday.  Cornell Cooperative Extension Four-H and Youth Educator, Kate Ewer, says some species did better than others.

The sale went on-line after the Chautauqua County Fair was cancelled because of COVID-19.  That reduced the number of animals up for bid as well.  One highlight, according to Kate Ewer, was the hog raised by Levi Overend, a second year member from the Levant Livewires club.  It sold for more than $2,000 after getting numerous bids.  Levi had put together a slick video to help market his animal.  Ewer says they may find a way to include videos and some on-line bidding for future sales.  But, otherwise, they look forward to having a live auction next year, if circumstances will allow.


A Portville man has been arrested for allegedly kidnapping a child from a home in the Cattaraugus County village last week.  State Police in Olean say they arrested 18 year-old Devonte Connor for allegedly taking the child to a home in Salamanca without the permission or knowledge of the child's parent.  Troopers charged Connor with second-degree kidnapping... and, second-degree burglary in the case.  He was arraigned in Portville Village Court... then sent to the county jail without bail.

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WJTN News Headlines for JULY 20, 2020


A city man has died from injuries suffered in a weekend canoeing accident on the Conewango Creek in the town of Poland.  State Police in Jamestown tell Erie News Now the 35 year-old man -- who has not been identified -- was riding in the canoe near Kennedy just after 6 PM Saturday when it overturned, and he fell overboard.  Troopers say the victim was in the front seat when the accident occured.  The vcitim was pulled from the water by his friend, who was in the second-seat of the canoe.  He was given first aid and rushed to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown for treatment... then transferred to UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he later died.  No other details have been released.


The search continues this morning for a man reported missing on Chautauqua Lake prior to the beginning of an afternoon storm on Sunday. The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Navigation Unit was called to the scene for a male overboard shortly before 2:30 PM. Deputies say the County Water Emergency Team assisted in the search along with Bemus Point, Ashville and Lakewood Fire Departments. The search was stopped last night due to weather, but resumes today. 

There are no new cases of the coronavirus reported in Chautauqua County over the past day for the first time in several days.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says the total number of confirmed cases remains at 200 after four added last Saturday.  Wendel adds there are 27 active cases... with three of those hospitalized... and, 165 people have now recovered.  There are now 745 cases under quarantine or islotation orders... and, there have been 19,747 negative test results to date.


The two men representing Chautauqua County in the New York state legislature have introduced legislation giving the Board of Regents -- not Governor Cuomo -- the final say on how schools will reopen in the Fall.  State Assemblyman Andy Goodell says he and State Senator George Borrello recently introduced the measure, giving the authority back to the regents... which would then provide the guidelines to the local school boards.  Goodell says the state may be able to provide COVID guidelines... but, local districts should be able to decide what works best for them.

Goodell says he's talked with some local education leaders about the situation... and, he says they've already been looking at ways to keep students, teachers and staff safe.  The governor has provided two basic guidelines for schools to reopen...  an infection rate of 5-percent or under, and, that the districts be in a region that's in Phase-Four of reopening.  Schools are required to submit their plans to reopen to the state by the end of the month.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says the number of people hospitalized in New York with the coronavirus continued to drop to one of the lowest levels since the pandemic began.  Cuomo says there were at least 720 people hospitalized in the state, the lowest since March 18th and down slightly from Saturday.  The number of deaths in the state rose slightly to 13.  Daily statewide statistics show New York with more than 500 newly confirmed cases, representing about one-percent of all tests performed.  New York, once a pandemic hotspot, has so far avoided a surge in new cases like those plaguing other states in the South and West.


New York State's second-in-command says Chautauqua County's recent surge in the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases is concerning.  However... Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul says she does not anticipate a rollback in Western New York's regional reopening process.  Hochul says with more people getting outside now, there will be infections, but the key is containing the spread.

Hochul says the availability of more testing is one reason why she does not believe the region will go backwards.  He says they can also identify the people those positive cases came in contact with, and get them to quarantine.  However... Hochul does say that -- quote -- "if people start getting complacent... then we're going to be in trouble."  Chautauqua County has now seen it's 200th confirmed case last weekend, and there have been 63 new COVID-19 cases over the past 12 days.


Two people from Cattaraugus County face drug and other charges in Salamanca after police found two active "one-pot" methamphetamine labs inside their car.  Sheriff's deputies in Little Valley say they pulled over 20 year-old Olivia Marsh of Delevan on Washington Street late last week... and, during a search of the car they allegedly found several items used in making meth.  Officers say they were assisted by members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force, and the Salamanca Police Department in the investigation.  The passenger, 26 year-old Preston Quinn of Salamanca, is charged with Felony third-degree unlawful manufacturing of methamphetamine.  Police add that Marsh faces several traffic charges, including aggravated unlicensed operation.  More charges are pending.

Pennsylvania's unemployment slid a bit down in June after hitting a pandemic peak in April, but it was well above the national rate even as payrolls rebounded by more 230,000.  The state Department of Labor and Industry reported Friday that Pennsylvania's unemployment rate was 13-percent in June, down four-tenths of a percentage point from May's adjusted rate.  The state's rate went over 16-percent in April, the highest rate in over four decades of record-keeping. 

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WJTN Headlines for Sat., July 18, 2020

National Weather Service confirms tornado touchdown in town of Portland...
The National Weather Service is confirming a small tornado touched down... and, may have destroyed a barn in the town of Portland early Thursday evening.  It was a wild weather day in the county... with severe thunderstorms producing gusty winds and torrential rains during the late afternoon and evening hours.  The weather service reported widespread damage throughout the county, and Forecaster Liz Jurkowski says they have officially confirmed a small tornado in the Town of Portland... along with some severe wind damage in parts of Cattaraugus County -- including Salamanca.  There were also reports of flash flooding, causing some roads to be washed out.  Many locations in Chautauqua County received 1-2 inches of rainfall.


Chautauqua County reports three new case of COVID-19, county nearing 200 cases total...
There are three new confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus reported in Chautauqua County... today as the total nudges towards 200 overall.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says the three new cases include a man in his 20s... a woman in her 40s... and, a man in his 60s.  Wendel says they are among 44 active cases... all of whom are now recovering.  He adds there are three hospitalizations... and, there are now 196 total cases.  Wendel says there are now 775 cases under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.  There have now been 19,329 negative test results to date.


Cardinale blasts Goodell for "not doing his job" during coronavirus shut-down and reopening...
The Democratic challenger for the 150th State Assembly seat is going on the offensive Friday... saying incumbant Andy Goodell hasn't been "doing his job" during the coronavirus crisis.  Jamestown's Christina Cardinale says small businesses are hurting... and, she's talked to parents concerned about sending their children to school this fall.  Cardinale says "Mr. Goodell should be sitting down and talking with... small business owners and talking with constitutents he represents" about their needs during this time... including access to the federal Payroll Protection Plan.  Cardinale says Goodell's "radio silence" is deafening... and, cited two examples... the first being the closing of a long-standing restaurant in downtown Jamestown... Forte... where he boyfriend was a chef for five-years.  She questioned where the help was to allow them to keep open.  Cardinale also criticized Goodell's recent Facebook post about the removal of confederate statues... but, noted no one is removing statues in the 150th District.  Cardinale made her comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group Stations.


Goodell replies that he has been "doing his job," and has been very involved in working to get businesses back up and operating...
Incumbant State Assemblyman Andy Goodell says both he and his staff have been "quite busy" since the COVID-19 shut-down began to help businesses get back up and running.  Goodell responded to criticism from opponent Christina Cardinale by saying that he worked with local State Senator George Borrello to work on a "phased-in reopening" plan similar to the one later adopted by Governor Andrew Cuomo.  The Jamestown-area Republican says there was more... as they worked up a more detailed analysis that laid out criteria on how quickly some businesses can reopen.  He credited Gov. Cuomo for "considering our suggestion."  Goodell and Borrello submitted the initial proposal because, while New York City at the time was not anywhere near being able to reopen... Western New York -- including Chautauqua County -- would be at some point.  He says he has also co-sponsored new legislation to help people and businesses... including repurposing capital programs -- such as Start Up New York, and reducing some regulations to help start ups more. 


Dunkirk firefighters battle business blaze early Friday...
Dunkirk firefighters were called out to a blaze early Friday morning at a business in the city.  Fire Chief Mike Edwards says crews responded to the Refresco plant on Cliffstar Drive at about 4:40 a.m., found the blaze in the ceiling above the second floor advancing into a third-floor storage area.  Edwards says they found fire in the ceiling area...and, the sprinkler system helped contain the fire.  He says investigators determined the cause of the fire to be accidental, started by electrical wiring.  One firefighter was evaluated for a minor injury but remained on duty.

 

 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 17, 2020

There was some significant wind damage in northern Chautauqua County... and, parts of Cattaraugus County yesterday afternoon when a strong line of storms came through the area.  Forecaster Jim Mitchell with the National Weather Service says they received some video of a possible funnel cloud in the Silver Creek-Forestville area... but, nothing touched down.  Mitchell says they'll work to confirm that later today.  Mitchell also noted that winds... estimated at times to be about 60 MPH... destroyed a barn in Brocton... and, caused a lot of tree damage in Salamanca and Napoli in Cattaraugus County. 

There are two new, confirmed case of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County over the past day... and, the county is reporting the most hospitalizations for the virus in some time.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the Health Department reports the two cases are a person under the age of 18... and, a woman in her 40s.  Wendel says there are three people hospitalized as of July 14th... while 46 total cases are "active."  Wendel says there are now 193 confirmed cases of COVID... while 139 people have recovered.  He says there are 765 cases under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored... and there have been 18,792 negative test results to date.

Federal lawmakers are expected to return to Capitol Hill next week... and, among the items they'll be working on is a fourth, $1.5-trillion CARES Act stimulus bill.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who says a key part of that will likely be an extention of the extended unemployment benefit that runs out at the end of the month.  Reed says he would like to see a "flex benefit" up to the current $600 a week.  However.. he says Senate Republicans are looking at less.

However... Reed says federal unemployment officials say a "flex" plan that would be based on income would be a difficult... if not impossible lift.  He says the problem is -- in New York State -- some people would make 72-thousand dollars if the $600 benefit is drawn out over a year.  As for COVID-19 itself... the Corning Republican says...have a "healthy respect for this virus as we reopen."  However... he says the region has been fortunate. Reed made his comments during the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce's annual Congressional Breakfast meeting... which was held on-line Thursday morning.

Both candidates seeking to win the 23rd Congressional District seat this Fall should have ample funding to get their messages out this year.  Incumbant Republican Tom Reed and his Democratic challenger... Penn Yan's Tracy Mitrano... have released their second-quarter fund-raising reports... and, Reed reported just over one-million dollars being raised.  Reed, who is from Corning, says he's pleased with how his effort has gone... and, credited his supporters and volunteers for their hard work.

However... while Reed had a huge fund-raising advantage at the start of the campaign in 2016... Mitrano has made up some ground as the campaigns move into high-gear.  This time around says says her campaign brought in $266,000 during the second-quarter.  She now has $341,000 cash-on-hand.  She adds that she's proud of her efforts because 93-percent of what she raised last quarter was from "individuals from across the district."  She adds only 35-percent of the donations Reed received between March and June came from individual donors.

A Jamestown man arrested for trafficking crack-cocaine while on parole has pleaded guilty in federal court to intentionally selling the illegal narcotic.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says that 28 year-old Earl Stone, Junior -- also known as "Ooh Wop" -- pled guilty before U-S District Judge Richard Arcara to possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.  Prosecutors say Stone -- along with another parolee -- were arrested for violating terms of their release.  Both were found in the upstairs bedroom of a residence on West 7th Street... and, Stone had what appeared to be floor insulation from the attic all over his clothing.  During a search of the home... suspected crack cocaine was located in the attic on top of floor insulation consistent with what was on the defendant's clothing.  A digital scale with white residue and three cellular telephones were also seized.  Stone faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and $1-million fine when he is sentenced in October.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has voted to delay the official start of the Fall 2020 sports season... and, has cancelled the Fall regional and state championships.  In addition... Association President Paul Harrica says... they are also preparing to implement a condensed season schedule in January 2021 -- if high school sports remain prohibited throughout 2020 due to COVID-19.  Harrica says the decision comes at the recommendation of the association's COVID-19 Task Force.  Harrica adds that "as the state considers reopening, it is unrealistic to believe athletic seasons can start on August 24th as originally scheduled... so the start date has been moved to September 21st.

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WJTN News Headlines for July 16, 2020


There has been an eighth death of a Chautauqua County resident from the COVID-19 Virus.  County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says an elderly man succumbed to the disease recently at an out-of-state care facility.  Schuyler says the man had been discharged to a "lower-level" of care facility... and, was initially listed as having recovered.  However... she says that was not the case.  She adds "we are greatly saddened to hear of his passing and our condolences go out to his loved ones."  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says Wednesday's new cases are a person under 18... a woman in her 20s... and, a man in his 40s.  Wendel says there are now 45 active cases... who continue to recover under health department orders.  He says there are now 191 confirmed COVID cases in the county... while 680 cases under quaratine or isolation orders.  He adds that 138 have recovered.


Plain clothes detectives and their supervisors in the Jamestown Police Department may soon be wearing body cameras when they go out in public.  That after retired officer and City Councilman Jeff Russell proposed the move at this week's work session, saying it would make more of the detective bureau's interactions with the public more open and provide protections to them, the department and the city.

Other council members reacted positively to the proposal... among them was Vickeye James... who says more transparency is important.  Acting Police Chief Tim Jackson also said he supports the move... adding that all uniformed officers who are out patroling have to have a body camera on.  Jackson also says he would be able to change the policy as soon as he is able to... but, he first needs to see if it's a point of negotation with the Kendall Club-PBA... which represents rank-and-file JPD officers.  The policy would not apply to undercover drug agents with JPD's Metro Drug Task Force.


Jamestown Police paid tribute yesterday to a four-legged member of the department that recently passed away suddenly.  A noon-hour procession was held at JPD Headquarters to honor K-9 Promber with police, fire department members, and others standing along Second Street.  Acting Police Chief Tim Jackson told City Council members at this week's meeting that the K-9 suddenly passed last Saturday.

Officer Erik Kraft... who is the department's K-9 handler... and, had been matched with Promber from the dog's start at JPD.  Jackson says they have contacted the kennel where Promber came from to see if a new K-9 can be found.  In the meantime... the acting chief says they do have cover from other departments.

Jackson told lawmakers is would likely cost the department $10,000-$20,000 to get a new K-9, and get them properly trained.  However... he also said that Kraft has been through the training as well, and that could save some money down the road.

The Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood will be re-open it's doors to the public starting this morning.  That from Marketing Director Sharon Bennett... who says the mall has "proactively implemented rigorous disinfectant and cleaning practices to provide a safe and enjoyable experience."  Until further notice... Bennett says mall-goers are asked to practice social distancing, wear a face covering and adhere to individual tenant COVID-19 policies.  Not all stores may be open in the mall yet... so Bennett recommends calling ahead and to follow along on their social media sites for more information.  Chautauqua Mall hours will be 11 AM to 7 PM, Monday through Saturday.... and, 11 AM to 6 PM on Sundays. 

A Jamestown-area woman faces a felony drug charge after her car was stopped for a traffic infraction on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott earlier this week.  Ellicott Town Police say a patrol pulled over 43 year-old Lisa Tibbetts shortly before 2 AM Monday... and, she was allegedly found in possession of more than 2-ounces of methamphetamine.  Tibbetts was charged with second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, arraigned.


Five juveniles are in trouble after allegedly leading Dunkirk Police on a pursuit in a stolen vehicle Tuesday afternoon.  Officers located the vehicle near the intersection of Maple Avenue and West Courtney Street at about 4 PM.  Police Chief Dave Ortolano says the vehicle was initially reported as stolen last Thursday.  He says officers tried to pull the vehicle over, but the driver failed to comply.

Ortolano says officers found all the juveniles inside the car... and, all of them will be charged in Family Court. The driver was transported to Dunkirk Police headquarters for further questioning, while the four passengers were turned over to a parent or guardian. Police say one of the juveniles was evaluated for a possible panic attack and was transported to Brooks Memorial Hospital by Dunkirk Fire.

Pennsylvania is imposing broad new statewide restrictions on bars and restaurants and larger indoor gatherings. Gov. Tom Wolf cites an "alarming escalation" in new coronavirus infections in making the announcement Wednesday. The Democratic governor says people who refused to wear a mask or abide by social distancing requirements when patronizing bars and restaurants are responsible for some of the virus's resurgence. 


The 90 year old Bemus Point-Stow Ferry may be running again later this year.... that from Jay Kuntz, Co-President of the Sea Lion Limited Group, owners of the vessel.  Earlier this week the 45 ton ferry was lifted out of the water at Stow, so crews could get to a place on the hull where and 8 by 13 foot section will be replaced.  Kuntz says the ferry will also get a new wooden deck and some cosmetic repairs as well.  He estimates the cost of this year's work at over $160,000... with most of the money coming from donations.  Prior to the Chautauqua Lake Bridge, the ferry was the only way to cross the narrows of the lake. 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 15, 2020

Chautauqua County is quickly closing in on 200 confirmed cases of COVID-19... with nine more being added over the past day.  That from Interim County Executive P-J Wendel... who says that brings the total to 188 cases.  Wendel says they include two people under the age of 18... three people in their 20s... a man in his 30s... a woman in her 40s... a woman in her 50s... and, a man in his 60s.  He says there are now 138 people who have recovered... and, there are now 609 cases under quarantine or isolation orders.  Wendel adds there are now 18,373 negative test results to date.


The shut-down caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is causing budget problems for the city of Jamestown over the first-half of the year... especially on the revenue side.  That from City Comptroller Ryan Thompson... who outlined the issues during last (Monday) night's City Council Work Session.  Thompson says payment-in-lieu-of-tax payments from the Board of Public Utilities are down about 5-percent compared to 2019 at the same time -- or about $100,000.

Thompson adds that second-quarter sales tax revenues will also be down significantly... nearly 13.5-percent.  He says that will put the city about 2.5-percent behind last year at mid-year.  Thompson says their Consolidated Highway Improvement Program... or CHIPS funding... is being cut by 20-percent.  He says they are still awaiting word on General Municipal Aid from the state.  On the expense side... Thompson says the only significant increase was overtime in the fire department, which was up 61-percent due to some added calls.  

Four more states have been added to Governor Cuomo's travel advisory requiring people who have traveled to New York from those states to quarantine for 14 days.  Cuomo says all those states have seen "significant community spread" of COVID-19... and, include Ohio, Minnesota, New Mexico and Wisconsin.  The quarantine applies to anyone arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average... or a state with a 10-percent or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing blistering criticism over a report that found no strong link between a controversial state directive that sent thousands of recovering coronavirus patients into nursing homes... and, some of the nation's deadliest nursing home outbreaks.  Scientists, health care professionals and elected officials assailed the report released last week for failing to address the actual impact of the March 25th order.  Some have accused the state of using the study to absolve Cuomo by reaching the same conclusion he floated for weeks - that infected nursing home employees were the real drivers of the outbreaks. 

Jamestown Public School officials are reviewing the use of 'Red Raiders' as the high school school’s nickname following nationwide calls to remove racist symbols from daily life. JPS Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says the district has formed a committee comprised of students, faculty, coaches and community members to hear feedback on both sides of the conversation. Dr. Whitaker says it's also important to received feedback from Native Americans in our area and he's reached out to Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong-senior, to have that conversation. In the meantime, the Superintendent says the committee is currently in the information-gathering phase. 

Whitaker says the committee will look at what 'Red Raiders' means and if the name and logo can be kept... modified... or changed entirely. He adds that this is not an issue that can be fixed overnight, which is why they hope to utilize the committee format to make sure all feel heard in the process. 

A Jamestown man has been arrested after allegedly being found with quantities of methamphetamine and Fentanyl in his possession while on parole.  City police were called to assist State Parole officials in finding 34 year-old Richard Philbrick about 8 PM Monday night... and, located him at a home on McDaniel Avenue.  Officers say the found Philbrick with the drugs, and supplies for packaging and distributing drugs.  He is charged with two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and one of criminally using drug paraphernalia.  Philbrick was taken to the city jail pending arraignment. 


The city of Jamestown is announcing that part of the Riverwalk will be temporarily closed for construction work between North Main Street and Panzarella Island.  The city's Parks, Recreation & Conservation Department says the project will begin today  and, affect both the north and south sides of the Riverwalk.  Public Works Director Jeff Lehman says there are a number of improvements being made.  Lehman says the projects include the state DEC's rehabilitation of the Warner Dam Rehabilitation over the next several months... and, the ongoing Riverwalk Green Infrastructure and Water Quality Improvements project.

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WJTN News Headlines for July 14, 2020


It appears there are a number of issues that have to be addressed before the Jamestown City Council is ready to approve a proposed pilot program that would allow food trucks and carts in the downtown area.  Lawmakers discussed the proposal... which would include a 125-foot distance that food trucks would have to have between they and an existing restaurant.  Development Director Crystal Surdyk has led a committee that includes three council members looking at the proposal.

Some lawmakers again voiced much concern over such a proposal... including Marie Carrubba... whose family has been in the restaurant business.  Carrubba says most restaurants operate with very thin, 5-percent profit margins.  She says the coronavirus pandemic has especially hurt them because they can't have as many customers inside because of social distancing guidelines.  Councilman Jeff Russell says Gialy's restaurant owner Anthony Cusimano earlier in the day Monday complained to him about proximity of trucks, those vehicles taking up parking spaces downtown, and the fact they don't pay property taxes.

For the first time since the coronavirus outbreak began... an employee of the city of Jamestown has tested positive for COVID-19.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist during his report to the City Council at last night's work session.  Sundquist gave no specifics... but, does say there are working with Chautauqua County on the matter.  He says that person's close contacts have also been tested.

Sundquist says if anyone has to go into quarantine... they will be monitored... and, will have to possibly be tested before they return.  He also noted Governor Cuomo's new order yesterday that people coming to New York from any of the states on the state's quarantine list will have to fill out a form when they arrive, in addition to being in the 14-day quarantine.


Three new cases of the COVID-19 virus have been reported in Chautauqua County the past day... bringing the total to 179.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says they include a person under the age of 18... a man in his 50s, and another man in his 70s.  Wendel says there are now 37 active cases... and they continue to recover under local health department orders.  He says 135 people have now recovered... while 511 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders, and being monitored.  Wendel says there have now been 18,158 negative test results reported to date.


A long-standing store on Jamestown's westside reopened Monday after being closed recently when an employee tested positive for COVID-19.  Brigiotta's Farmland Store's Facebook page says if a person was in their 414 Fairmount Avenue location between Sunday, July 5th and Monday, July 6th... they could have been exposed to the employee.  In the post... Brigiotta's says they "will continue to follow local, state and federal guidelines to ensure the safety of our staff and community."  Prior to today... Brigiotta’s said they were sanitizing daily... but, "out of an abundance of caution" they had closed for continued sanitation, and awaited direction from the Chautauqua County Health Department. 

Public schools in New York state will reopen this Fall... provided they meet two very specific guidelines.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo... who Monday announced the reopening will be done like the economic reopening was.  Cuomo says any of the state's regions that is currently in Phase-Four will be able to open back up... if their COVID infection rate remains 5-percent or lower on average for 14 days.  He says that if the region's infection rate spikes over a week's time, though, districts will have to shut-down.

Cuomo says the state's Education and Health Departments have laid out safety guidelines through his "Reimagine Education Advisory Council."  He says their guidelines include: districts have to be flexible... emphasize safety... maximize available space, and be innovative.  Cuomo says the approach to reopening schools is being driven by the data... not by emotion, or by just saying "all schools are reopening."  As of now... Chautauqua County is in Phase-Four... so if the infection rate remains under 5-percent in Western New York as of the first week of August... schools will be able to reopen.

An Ohio woman accused of enticing a 15 year-old Jamestown boy to have sex with her has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Buffalo.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says today that the panel indicted 37 year-old Priscilla Vogelbacher from Oregon, Ohio on one count of enticement of a minor... and, two counts of interstate travel with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.  The prosecutor says Vogelbacher is accused of beginning an on-line relationship with the boy... and enticed him to engage in sexual activity... between November of 2018 and June of last year.  She is also accused of making two separate trips to Jamestown to have sex with the boy.  Kennedy says the charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $250,000 fine.

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WJTN News Headlines for July 13, 2020


Two boaters are safe after the bass boat they were on capsized on Chautauqua Lake last Saturday afternoon in the Loomis Bay Road area.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's Navigation officers were called to the scene just after 2 PM... and spotted a 'Good Samaritan' vessel towing the capsized fishing boat.  Deputies say the operator was in the water, holding onto the boat, and wearing a life jacket.  The man told deputies that he had a passenger who was able to swim to shore.  Officers secured both the driver, and the passenger on a dock near the accident.  Both were being taken to the launch area of Prendergast Point when the passenger began to show signs of shock, and or hypothermia, and stated he was not feeling well.  Navigation Deputies then stopped at the Long Point Sheriff's station to provide First Aid.  A Bemus Point Fire Department ambulance then took the passenger to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for further treatment.


There are six new confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus in Chautauqua County reported over the past weekend... with 36 cases now active.  The County Health Department reports there were two new cases Sunday... bringing the local total to 176.  Officials say they are a pediatric case, and a woman in her 70s.  There are now 516 cases under quarantine or isolation orders... while 133 have now recovered.  The Health Department now reports 18,005 negative test results.

 Up until the past week... Chautauqua County residents had done a great job, overall, in combating the coronavirus.  However... this past week was a set back after 11 cases one day early last week... and, 16 more on Friday.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says residents need to remain vigliant in taking all the precautions to avoid getting and spreading the COVID-19 Virus.  Public Health Physician Dr. Robert Berke whole-heartedly agreed.

Berke says last week's spike in cases was a "sobering moment..." and, adds that everyone needs to be more disciplined.  He says he's gotten reports about young people being relucant to provide information for contract tracing.  Berke says that needs to stop... because if they can't track down cases... it'll take at least a year to "get out of this."  Wendel says the health department has been working with local businesses to make sure social distancing and mask wearing is being enforced. 

Certain nursing homes in New York can allow visitors with restrictions starting July 15 as the state eases a ban aimed at limiting spread of COVID-19 among vulnerable elderly residents. Only nursing homes and long-term care facilities that have been "without COVID-19" for at least 28 days can allow limited visits, according to state Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker. It was also unclear how many of the state's approximately 600 nursing homes would qualify to open up visitors. 


The Jamestown City Council will take a look at new regulations regarding food trucks and carts... and, establish a pilot program in the downtown area.  Lawmakers will hold their lone work session of the month tonight.. via Zoom Conferencing.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist recently vetoed council's approval of an outdoor dining law, because it's already allowed in the code.  Sundquist says they wanted further review the issue... and find a balance between allowing the trucks, and protecting "brick and mortar" restaurants.

Sundquist says a new pilot program being developed would not involve any downtown restaurant that also decides to have a food truck in that area.  The issue of food trucks, and outdoor dining has been discussed by Jamestown lawmakers for the past couple of months as ways to help local restaurants serve more people due to state restrictions on indoor dining due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Tonight's Council meeting begins at 7:30 PM.

A woman from Sinclairville is charged with burglarizing a town of Gerry home late last May... stealing a number of property items.  Sheriff's officers say they were called to an address on Old Chautauqua Road for a larceny complaint on May 24th.  Deputies say they arrested 30 year-old Toni Long... who was allegedly found in possession of the stolen property.  Long was charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of Stolen Property... and, was issued an appearance ticket for Gerry Town Court.


A man from Cherry Creek was arrested during a traffic stop on Interstate 86 in Cattaraugus County late last week for alleged drug possession.  Sheriff's deputies in Little Valley say they pulled over 38 year-old Gregory Schroeder in Salamanca last Friday night for a traffic violation.  However... they also found Schroeder in possesion of a quantity of Crystal Meth.  He was issued appearance tickets for seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, and second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation.

  
Chautauqua Institution has won USA Today's "Best Small Town Cultural Scene" national contest.  The institution won out over several other locations nominated for it's 10 Best Reader's Choice contest... including Taos, New Mexico... and, Saratoga Springs, New York.  Chautauqua Spokesman Jordan Steves says they never relinquished the number-one spot until the standings were taken off line with a week to go in the voting.  Chautauqua President Michael Hill calls it "a tremendous honor for Chautauqua to win this national contest, especially among such an amazing array of fellow nominees." 

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WJTN Headlines for Sat., July 11, 2020

Wendel and Berke express concerns over COVID-19 case spike, and people in isolation or quarantine...
Chautauqua County officials are expressing serious concerns about a new peak in COVID-19 cases... and, a growing number of people in isolation or quarantine.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says today that there are 16 confirmed cases of the coronavirus Friday... bringing the local number to 170.  Wendel says those case are over a wide range of ages.  They include one pediatric case, two males and females in their teens, six people in their 20s, and five in their 30s.  The oldest person was in their 70s.  Wendel says there are now 35 active cases... but, 364 people are now in quarantine or isolation... and, those people "need to pay heed to their quaratine orders to prevent the spread."  County Physician Dr. Robert Berke called this a "sobering moment" because the county had been doing so well in stopping the spread.  Berke believes what we've been seeing across the country is what's starting to happen here... mainly large gatherings of people on or around Lake Erie, and or Chautauqua Lake.  Wendel says 128 cases have recovered in Chautauqua County... while no one is hospitalized.  He says there are also 17-thousand-801 negative test results to date.  In addition to social distancing, and, wearing a mask in public if you can't socially distance, Dr. Berke says wash your hands frequently... or use hand sanitizer if you can't.  


NYS eases visitor ban aimed at curing virus in nursing homes...

Certain nursing homes in New York can allow visitors with restrictions starting July 15 as the state eases a ban aimed at limiting spread of COVID-19 among vulnerable elderly residents.  Only nursing homes and long-term care facilities that have been "without COVID-19" for at least 28 days can allow limited visits, according to state Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.  It was also unclear how many of the state's approximately 600 nursing homes would qualify to open up visitors.  Roughly 500 nursing homes had reported COVID-19 cases among staffers in June, according to state survey data released this week. 


Current Mayor Sundquist, and retired Mayor Teresi comment on former Judge Alessi's passing...
Retired long-time Jamestown City Court Judge Samuel Alessi is being remembered as an "incredible person... and, a great guy."  Alessi passed away last Sunday at home at the age of 88.  He retired as judge in 1993, after spending 20 years on the bench.  Alessi is being remembered as someone who was involved with the community... and current Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist -- a fellow Democrat -- got to meet the judge the past few years.  Sundquist says he really got to know, and talk with Alessi, during his mayoral campaign.  Many of those conversations... until the Coronavirus shut-down in March... would take place at a local restaurant as part of what has been called the "Breakfast Club..." made up largely of city Democrats.  Sundquist says he was able to do that up until the shut-down.  However... retired Mayor Sam Teresi says the group had just restarted it's informal gatherings... and, they would gather at Judge Alessi's house.  Teresi says he knew Alessi for most of his life... adding that he was a classmate at Jamestown High School with Alessi's daughter, Sue... and, he also worked with Alessi on his County Legislature, and City Court Judge campaigns.


City man arested in Fredonia on Federal Warrant...
A Jamestown man wanted on federal warrants is accused of trying to evade State Police during a traffic stop in village of Fredonia earlier this week.  Troopers in Fredonia say they stopped 22 year-old Omar Velazquez on Route 60 for having an expired inspection sticker this past Tuesday night.  After giving police a fake name and date of birth... troopers say Velazquez attempted to run off through the Wal-mart parking lot where he was quickly apprehended and placed under arrest.  He was taken to State Police headquarters and further investigation revealed that Velazquez was wanted by the U-S Marshals for probation violation.  He was taken to the Chautauqua County Jail, and is being held pending further court action.


Borrello says Cuomo needs to make decision sooner than early August about reopening schools...
The region's State Senator says a decision by Governor Cuomo on the reopening of schools during the first week of August is still not early enough for local school districts.  In addition... 57th District Senator George Borrello says the reopenings should not be a "one-size" fits all matter.  He says urban districts are very different from rural ones... and, everyone can't be held back because of "hot spots."  Borrello also believes that the state legislature needs to be involved in the decision-making process regarding the reopening of schools... and, other aspects of running of state government during the COVID crisis.  Local Congressman Tom Reed also feels there need to be answers from Albany on the matter of reopening schools.  Reed agrees with Borrello that there are a "lot of moving parts" that need to be addressed... including testing teachers and others for COVID, getting PPE, and sanitizing buildings.  Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call.  Borrello says it doesn't matter whether people like the governor or hate him... "we have a system of government" that has an executive and legislative branch. 

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WJTN Headlines for Fri., July 10, 2020

City teen arrested for alleged stabbing...
A teenager has been arrested for allegedly stabbing a 25-year-old man yesterday afternoon at a Jamestown home... but, the victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries.  City police tell the Post-Journal that officers were called to an upper unit at 14 Bishop St. shortly before 3 p.m.  Investigators say the stabbing was the result of an alleged argument over a video game.  The man was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment.  The suspect ran off... but, was taken into custody a short time later.  He is scheduled to be petitioned to county Family Court.


Cherry Creek teen arrested for allegedly burglary in Villanova...         
A Cherry Creek teenager has been arrested for allegedly entering a town of Villanova home illegally... and, damaging property inside.  Sheriff's officers say they were called to the scene on Route 83 just before 7 p.m. Thursday on a report of a fight.  They found the unidentified teen had entered the home illegally... and, she was arrested, and charged with second-degree burglary... and third and fourth-degree criminal mischief.  She was taken to the Chautauqua County Jail pending arraignment.


No heat advisory for Chautauqua County... but, high heat index predicated again for today...
The National Weather Service is expected to issue another Heat Advisory for much of Western New York today -- but, that doesn't include Chautauqua County.   That from Meteorologist Dave Zaff in Buffalo... who says heat and humidity levels will soar again today.  Zaff adds that it will be "very uncomfortable..." with the combination of air temperature and humidity making it feel like about 95.  Zaff says our actual temperature will reach about 90 again today.  It reached 97-degrees at the Weather Service's Buffalo office yesterday afternoon... with heat indexes around 105.  Around here... the heat index was around 95.


BPU prepared to deal with hot and humid conditions to provide electrict and water service...
With heat advisories expected to remain in effect through much of today... that means air conditioners and fans will be working overtime.  The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities reports... while there may be high-loads needed through today... they should not have a problem providing enough electricity.  BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says Summer-time heat is seldom a problem.  Robbins says their biggest issue comes in Winter time, because a lot of their customers who heat with electricity that time of year.  During her 14 years at the BPU... Robbins says they've never had to issue any kind of conservation orders for electricity or water during the Summer.  Tempertures are to get into the low 90s in the area... and, the heat index will be about 95.  A heat warning is in effect for northern parts of the region... which may reach a heat index of 105 today.


Wendel says one new COVID-19 Case added Thursday...
There's one new case of the Coronavirus in Chautauqua County Thursday... and the number of cases under quarantine or isolaton orders has surpassed 300.  That from Interim County Executive P-J Wendel... who says the new case is a teenaged girl...bringing the total to 154.  Wendel adds there are now 19 active cases... and, those people continue to recover under health department orders.  He says 301 cases are now under quarantine or isolation orders... while 128 people have now recovered.  No one is hospitalized... while 17,612 negative test results have been reported to date.


Regional GOP state and federal leaders call for repeal of "Green Light" law...
State and federal Republican representatives opposed to New York state's "Green Light" Law were in Buffalo Thursday morning... calling for the measures full repeal.  The controversial law... which took effect last December... allows undocumented immigrants to get New York state drivers licenses and permits... and, was designed to make the roads safer.  That may have been the intent... but, local State Senator George Borrello says that's not what's happened, and it's posing a "great risk" to citizen's safety.  The Green Light law recently garnered more attention since a new amendment, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, says state officials who share illegal immigrants' driver data with federal immigration enforcement agencies could be charged with a class-E felony.  During a press conference along the Buffalo waterfront... local Assemblyman Andy Goodell said that's outrageous... and unprecidented.  Goodell and Borrello were joined Thursday morning in Buffalo by local Congressman Tom Reed... and, newly installed State Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt of Niagara County. 


Barmore asks for patience when making on-line DMV Appointments...
Chautauqua County Clerk Larry Barmore says he understands people's frustration... but, adds that people looking to make appointments with the Department of Motor Vehicles must do so on-line.  Barmore says he knows "that many people are not happy with the new appointment system at the DMV... but, this was an order from the governor’s office that we must abide by.  We will make adjustments as we see the need to make the system better."  Barmore says they still have a backlog of people since March making appointments now... so the appointment slots went fast.  He adds that it's "imperative" that people spend 10 minutes at www.dmv.ny.gov to find out everything they need for their appointment.

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WJTN Headlines for Thurs., July 9, 2020

BPU says it's ready for Summer peak load during heat advisory...
With Heat Advisories issued for most of Western New York -- including Chautauqua County -- air conditioners and fans will be working overtime today.  The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities reports... while there may be high-loads needed today and tomorrow... they should not have a problem providing enough electricity.  BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says Summer-time heat is seldom a problem.  Robbins says leaders of both the electric and water divisions say there should be no problem.  She says the coldest parts of the Winter can be an issue... and, that's usually where their peaks are.  Tempertures are to get into the low 90s in the area... and, the heat index will be about 95.  A heat warning is in effect for northern parts of the region... which may reach a heat index of 105 today.


Barn extensively damaged in Westfield fire...
The fire was out by mid-morning... and, the investigation is underway into an early morning barn fire on Route 20 in the town of Westfield.  Chautauqua County fire dispatchers say Westield crews were called to the scene... between Pratt and McKinley Roads... just before 4:30 a.m.  Responders reported the barn was fully-engulfed in flames on arrival.  Dispatchers say Portland, Brocton, Sherman and Ripley firefighters were called in to assist.  The blaze was under control by about 6 a.m.  No injuries have been reported.  Route 20 in that area was closed for about two-hours.  The county's Fire Investigation Team is at the scene.


NW Pennsylvania man sought after vehicle chase...
New York and Pennsylvania authorities are looking for the person involved in a car chase that began in Pennsylvania Tuesday night... and, ended with the car crashing into a ditch in the town of Harmony.  Sheriff's officers say the chase began shortly before 7 p.m., and, crossed into New york near Kortwright and Niobe Roads... where the vehicle went into a ditch.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's officers say suspect... identified by Erie News Now as 35 year-old Daniel Heidler of Columbus, Pa.... was being pursued by Pennsylvania troopers after his vehicle was spotted in Freehold Township.  Heidler was wanted for falsely reporting an attempted homicide incident. 


Cuomo announces deadlines for state guidelines on school openings and when plans have to be submitted...
New York state will provide it's final guidance to local school districts next Monday on how... and when to reopen for in school classes in the Fall.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo... who Wednesday announced three dates critical to getting schools back up and running.  Cuomo says state officials are finalizing that guidance... and he says districts will have until the end of July to get their individual plans submitted.  He says, school districts will submit their plans by july 31.  Cuomo says during the first week in August... the state will announce whether those schools reopen because the "facts are changing daily" on COVID-19.  Also... the governor announced that malls in any region that's in Phase-Four of reopening can reopen... if they have a "MERV-13" rated filter system for their air conditioning.  But he says 11 or 12 ratings are acceptable.  Malls were among the entities -- including gyms and movie theaters -- left hanging when the Western New York region moved into the fourth, and final phase of the reopening from the coronavirus shut-down. 


Wendel announces more COVID-19 cases, and adjustments...
There have been a couple of changes to Chautauqua County's number of confirmed coronavirus cases over the past day.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says there are five new cases... but, adds that two previous cases that should have been counted in another county have now been transferred to that county.  That means there are now 153 total confirmed cases in the county.  Wendel says the new cases include a woman in her 30s... and, man and woman in their 40s, a man in his 60s... and, a woman in her 80s.  He says 127 people have now recovered... while 259 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.  Wendel says there have been 17,411 negative test results to date.


Wendel says big confirmed case number Tuesday does not appear related to any "big event..."
Chautauqua County officials don't believe there was any "big event" led to Tuesday's spike in COVID-19 cases.  That from Interim County Executive PJ Wendel... who says county health officials have looked into the now 11 new cases that day.  Some have speculated that events surrounding the Fourth of July had an impact.  Wendel says it's too early for that to show up.  In another development... the executive says he has received a good response to his proposal to included additional phases to New York State's reopening, because some businesses -- including gyms -- had received no guidance. 


Four-H Meat Animal Sale next week to be completely on-line...
The first ever 'virtual' Four-H Meat Animal Sale is just a week away.  Chautauqua County Four-H Youth Educator, Kate Ewer, says the Peterson Auction Service in Frewsburg has helped them organize the event, to run for 24 hours, starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 16.  Ewer says all lots will be available for bid.  Pictures and videos for many of the animals are already available for viewing at petersonauction.com.  It was the cancellation of the Chautauqua County Fair that led to the creation of the 'on-line' meat animal sale. 

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WJTN Headlines for Wed., July 8, 2020

Chautauqua County has biggest one-day number of COVID Cases Tuesday...
There have been a record number of positive cases of the COVID-19 Virus reported in Chautauqua County over the past day... and, a large number of people are in quarantine or isolation.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says there are 13 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus... bringing the local number to 150 cases.  Wendel says there is a pediatric case... along with a girl in her teens... nine women in their 20s... a woman in her 30s and another in her 60s.  Wendel says there are currently 17 active cases... and, they continue to recover.  In addition... 166 people are now under quarantine or isolation orders.  Wendel says no one is hospitalized... and, there have been no new deaths.  He says 17,259 negative test results have now been reported.  The county's Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging people to make good choices.  There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.  That means it is up to all of us to prevent illness by avoiding exposure to the virus. 


Three more states added to NYS COVID-19 Quarantine list...
New York is now requiring people from three additional states to quarantine for 14 days as more individuals are testing positive for COVID-19 nationwide.  Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a Tuesday press release that Delaware, Kansas and Oklahoma now join a total of 19 states that qualify under New York's metrics for community spread.  Cuomo's advisory applies to states with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average, or states with a 10-percent or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.


City police looking into reported shooting Tuesday...
Jamestown police are looking for two male suspects in connection with a shots fired incident on the city's northside late yesterday afternoon.  City Police confirm the shootings -- with at least one person being struck -- occured in the area of Cherry and West Ninth Streets shortly before 5 p.m.  However... no victims or suspects were found when police arrived on scene.  Anyone with information is asked to contact JPD at 483-7537... or the confidential tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


Samuelson says man arrested in connection with alleged stabbing in downtown area late Monday...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly murdering another city man during a fatal stabbing near the downtown area late Monday night.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says 28 year-old Carl Sorenson is accused of stabbing 23 year-old Brandon Holland during a brief altercation on North Main Street -- near Fourth -- shortly after 10 p.m.  Samuelson says they have been able to find some physical evidence in the case... but, would not say if they had found a weapon.  He says Sorenson was arrested Tuesday on a second-degree murder charge.  He earlier said that this was a "targeted incident."  Samuelson says investigators were also able to get surveillance video from the area... which shows Sorenson going after Holland as he walked on North Main Street.  Samuelson says Holland was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital where he died of injuries.  Sorenson is to be arraigned this morning.


Surveillance cameras important in stabbing arrest...
As with many recent investigations and arrests in downtown Jamestown... surveillance cameras played a major role in the arrest of Carl Sorenson.  JPD Captain Samuelson says the city has put up several for added security the past couple of years... and, many businesses have also.  Samuelson says they were able to use several business cameras on North Main... as well as the public safety camera at Sixth and Main Streets.  Samuelson says there may be further charges placed in the case... in particular regarding the third-party that may have been involved in the first incident. 


Sundquist appoints Interim Police Chief to replace the retiring Snellings...
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist has announced the naming of City Police Lieutenant Timothy Jackson to be Interim Police Chief once current Chief Harry Snellings retires this Friday.  Sundquist says the appointment needs to be approved by the City Council.  He says Jackson has been with JPD since May of 2000. He also is a Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Academy professor and served our country in the U.S. Navy Reserve from 2002 to 2008.  Jackson is a Jamestown resident.  Sundquist says he's excited" to appoint Jackson as Acting Police Chief as we continue our search to fill that position permanently. I’m fully confident in Lieutenant Jackson’s ability to lead the department through this time of transition.”  City Council will act on the appointment at it's July 27 voting session.


Sinclairville toddler drowns in Monday pool accident... 
A 3-year-old toddler from the town of Gerry has died in a tragic drowning in an above-ground swimming pool on Damon Hill Road.  State Police in Jamestown initially responded to a missing child report just before 5 p.m. Monday.  The child was found at the bottom of the pool and unresponsive.  Police say troopers and a Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Deputy tried to save the child, but, were unsuccessful.  The child had no life vest on at the time of the incident.  An autopsy will be performed.


Landlord-tenant dispute leads to alleged shooting...
A Little Valley man is being held on $25,000 bail for allegedly shooting another man in the town of Farmersville.  State Police responded to Route 98 for a male with multiple gunshot wounds last Friday.  Investigation revealed that the landlord of the property, 51 year-old Daniel Langdon-junior, got into a fight with the 40 year-old tenant.  Troopers say during the altercation... Langdon allegedly pulled a legally-owned 9-milimeter pistol and shot the victim multiple times.  The man was flown to the Erie County Medical Center for non-life-threatening injuries.  Langdon was arraigned for felony attempted murder and first-degree assault with intent to cause serious injury with a weapon. 
 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 6, 2020


A city man is jailed after allegedly trying to pull a hand-gun on another person during a fight on Jamestown's southside last Saturday afternoon.  City police were called to the scene at 68 Chambers Street just before 4:30 PM July 4th.  Officers say they learned that 26 year-old Kurry Cordosi had punched another person in the face, and continued to fight when it appeared that he tried to pull a gun out of his pants.  A third person at the scene was allegedly able to disarm Cordosi, and gave the 9-millimeter gun to police.  No one was seriously hurt... but, Cordosi was arrested for third-degree assault, criminal mischief, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.  He was jailed pending arraignment.

A man from Mayville is accused of riding his motorcycle drunk... and, speeding... after his bike collided with another vehicle in Bemus Point early last weekend.  Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene on Main Street just after 6 PM Friday... and, found that 38 year-old Charles Carter was operating the bike while intoxicated.  Carter, and his passenger, 27 year-old Victoria Baran of Bemus Point... were taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.  In addition to DWI and speeding... Carter was also charged with first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, and issued appearance tickets for Ellery Town Court.

In light of the high-number of illegal fireworks calls and arrests made leading up to July 4th... Chautauqua County Interim Executive P-J Wendel says the county may look at opting out of the ability to sell non-aerial fireworks in the future.  Responding to an editorial in The Post-Journal... Wendel said it's worth a look at no longer allowing "sparkler-type" devices to be sold around the fourth to everyday residents.

No serious fireworks incidents were reported either leading up to the fourth or on the fourth... but, there have been dozens of complaints in Jamestown -- mainly on social media -- in recent weeks.  Wendel says officials are looking at some shared services that might allow codes to become more uniform across the county.  He saw this when he was a member of the Lakewood Village Board... and the "pop-up stores" were becoming a problem.  Wendel made his comments for this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


A woman in her 60s is the newest confirmed case of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County... bringing the total number of cases to 137.  County Executive P-J Wendel reports there are now six active cases... and, they are recovering under Health Department orders.  Wendel says 124 others have now recovered from the virus... while there are 100 cases under quarantine or isolation orders.  He adds that 16,596 negative test results have been reported to date.


The new president at the SUNY College at Fredonia will take on his new post in about six weeks.  That from interim President Dennis Hefner... who says he spoke with incoming President Dr. Stephen Kolison, Junior after his appointment was recently approved by the SUNY Board of Trustees.  Hefner says Kolison is wrapping up affairs at his current post, and should be on campus around mid-August.  In the meantime... he says Fredonia has submitted it's reopening plan to the state.

Hefner says students could also begin arriving by mid-August... with first classes taking place on August 24th.  However... Hefner adds this will all depend on a final decision on reopening from Governor Cuomo.  No word on when a such decision is expected.

 
Governor Tom Wolf's more expansive mask order issued this week as the coronavirus shows new signs of life in Pennsylvania is being met with hostility from Republicans.  They are objecting to the Democrat's use of power, to wearing a mask itself and to what they call confusion it's causing.  It is one of many partisan fights over the coronavirus in a premier presidential battleground state where Democrats blame President Donald Trump for the virus' devastation... and, Republicans blame Wolf. 

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WJTN Headlines for Sat., July 4, 2020

Two people hurt in alleged DWI Motorcycle-Car accident in Bemus Point...
A Mayville man has been charged with driving while intoxicated and speeding after his motorcycle collided with another vehicle in Bemus Point early last weekend.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Main Street just after 6 p.m. Friday... and, found that 38 year-old Charles Carter was operating the bike while intoxicated.  Carter, and his passenger, 27 year-old Victoria Baran of Bemus Point... were taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.  In addition to DWI and Speeding... Carter was also charged with first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation.  He will appear in Ellery Town Court at a later date.


Jamestown woman arrested for having children living in deplorable conditions...
A city woman faces four counts of endangering the welfare of a child after Jamestown police found a toddler wandering in the street, and her home in deplorable conditions.  City Police were called to the area of Burtch Street about 3 p.m. Thursday.... and, were advised the 3-year-old had been wandering alone for at least an hour.  The mother was located inside the residence and identified as 27 year-old Linda Troutman.  In addition to the toddler... a 7-year-old and 8-year-old were also found inside the residence, which was allegedly covered in dog feces, soiled diapers, spoiled food and other garbage.  Troutman was taken into custody and was held pending arraignment.  The children were released to a family member. 


In the wake of increases fireworks complaint calles... Quattrone says leave them to the pros...
During the run-up to the Fourth of July holiday... there have been numerous complaints about an increase in the setting off of fireworks -- most of them illegal -- in Jamestown and Chautauqua County.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone says... only sparker devices are legal in New York state -- and are sold here.  Otherwise... Quattrone says leave the fireworks to the professionals.  He says Mayville and Findley Lake will be having some displays for the Fourth... and leave the illegal ones alone.  The illegal kinds of fireworks are sold just over the border in Pennsylvania.  Quattrone says there are two easy ways to determine what's illegal.  Basically... he says if "something flys or goes bang... they're likely illegal."  Recently... an illegal fireworks detail involving Jamestown City Police and State Police announced seven arrests for possesion of illegal fireworks.  Four of those seven people were from Jamestown.  Officials believe the rise in illegal fireworks this year is due to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, and the nice weather.


Sundquist announces need for people who use City Parks to “Carry In, Carry Out" garbage this weekend...
The Jamestown Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department is adopting a “Carry In, Carry Out” garbage disposal policy for the Independence Day holiday weekend in the City Parks system.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says they're "encouraging those who use our parks facilities this long weekend to dispose of garbage at home in an effort to help us keep our parks looking great.”  Trash receptacles are still located in all parks... but, minimal trash services are available.  Restrooms are also closed for the season.  In accordance with State guidelines regarding COVID-19, park users are to limit gathering in groups no larger than 50 people and to have masks available to wear when social distancing is not possible.


Wendel reports four new cases of COVID Friday...
There are four new, confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Chautauqua County reported over the past day... bringing the local total to 135.  County Executive P-J Wendel says there are a man and a woman in their 20s... and, two women in their 30s and 50s.  Wendel says the new cases are among eight active cases in the county... and, they are recovering under Health Department orders.  However... he says no one is hospitalized... while 120 people have now recovered.  Wendel says 95 people are currently under quaratine or isolation orders... and, there have been 16,052 negative test results to date so far.


Laurel Memorial Run to be done virtually this year... 
The COVID-19 Pandemic is not keeping the annual Laurel Memorial Run from taking place this summer... but, this year's event is officially going virtual.  Wayne Hotelling, who founded the race with his wife Elaine, felt it was important keep it going in a safe way without jeopardizing people's health.  Steve Waterson of the Resource Center says anyone can go online and participate now through July 18th... the day the event was originally scheduled for.  Waterson says participants can take part in the 8K run... or the 5K walk...or whatever distance they would like to show support.  You can sign up at www.runsignup.com.  There are also plans for a scaled back relay run from Jamestown to Dunkirk on July 17.

 

 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 3, 2020

A Jamestown woman was arrested on four-counts of child endangerment after city police were called for a child wandering in the street Thursday afternoon. Officers say the investigation occurred in the area of Burtch Street, when multiple people reported the 3-year-old was allegedly wandering alone for at least an hour. Police were able to locate the mother -- 27 year-old Linda Troutman -- insider her residence.... and, found the home in deplorable conditions with dog feces on the ground, soiled diapers, rotten food and other garbage. Besides the toddler, officers found a 7-year-old and 8-year-old in the home. Linda Troutman was taken into custody and is being held pending arraignment. The children were released to a family member. 

A historic hotel along Chautauqua Lake celebrating it's 140th year will be closing for the rest of the summer following the Fourth of July holiday weekend.  Hotel Lenhart Owner Bebe Johnston confirms for Media One Radio that they will be closing for the Summer season on Monday due to COVID-19 restrictions, and a desire to keep employees and visitors safe.  She says it's difficult, with a seasonal operation, to comply with state and federal guidelines.  However... Johnston says they hope to reopen next Summer.  She says they are honoring reservations for this weekend... but, only the bar will remain open... starting next Monday.

The Fourth of July holiday weekend is underway for many... and, as usual... the watchword for the weekend is safety.  That's taken on some added meaning this year with the coronavirus still being around, and causing many issues in the south and western United States.  Otherwise... Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone says they'll again have added patrols on both land and water.

Quattrone says the added patrols will be focusing on "aggressive driving..." along with distracted and impaired driving.  Since the Fourth of July falls on a Saturday... the national holiday observance is today.


A Silver Creek man wanted in Florida for intending to kill someone they assaulted has been arrested by the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department following a stand-off.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone says 38-year-old Timothy Winford was taken into custody after an over two-hour long incident Thursday at 15 Elm Street.

Quattrone says he is pleased that the standoff ended peacefully about 1:30 PM… and, with the number of people, including the department's Crisis Negotiation Team... they were able to de-escalate the situation.  Winford was transported to the Chautauqua County Jail to await extradition to Florida.  A shelter in place was issued for the village while the standoff occurred.

 
Warren County, Pennsylvania announced their first COVID-related death, however officials say the person did not die in the county. The Times-Observor says the P-A Department of Health lists one death among the statistics for Warren, but they are based on a person's residence and not necessarily where they contracted the virus. County Commissioner Ben Kafferlin and County Coroner Melissa Zydonik confirmed the information. Zydonik says she is working with other counties to get more information about the case. The newspaper reports 5 confirmed cases of COVID-19.... 2 probable cases..... and, 719 negative test results as of Thursday. 

A Jamestown woman was charged with three-counts of reckless endangerment for allegedly trying to run a woman over during an overnight domestic dispute. City police were called to the area of Bush and Bowen Streets shortly after 1 AM .... and, stopped the suspect red sedan that was trying to flee the scene. Officers identified the driver as 27 year-old Samantha Gonzalez, who was found to be intoxicated. Further investigation revealed Gonzalez struck two other vehicles with her sedan during the fight. She was taken into custody on additional charges of DWI... endangering the welfare of a child... two-counts of leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident and failure to stop at a stop sign. City police also arrested 33 year-old James Jackson, of Buffalo, for third-degree assault for allegedly striking a female victim. Both are being held pending arraignment.

Chautauqua County entered Phase-Four of New York Reopening from the coronavirus shut-down earlier this week.  But... what of businesses that haven't been allowed to reopen yet?  That question is being raised by Interim County Executive P-J Wendel... who says he has written Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging him to consider a Phase-Five and even Phase-Six if necessary to eventually get a businesses open.  Wendel adds that he also brought up the subject up during Wednesday's meeting of the Western New York Region Control Room.

Cuomo has recently said he wants a further look at air conditioning filtration systems before reopening malls and movie theaters.  He also wants school districts to get their reopening plans together for the Fall.  Wendel says there also remain questions over vistations to hospital, and nursing home facilities... and, those need to be addressed.  Under Phase-Four... low-risk indoor arts and entertainment are being allowed to reopen... including the National Comedy Center, and the Robert H. Jackson Center.  Wendel says those reopenings are good news. 

For the second-day in a row... there have been no new cases of the COVID-19 Virus reported in Chautauqua County yesterday.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the Health Department reports there are still six active cases... with 118 people having now recovered.  Wendel adds there have been 131 confirmed cases in the county... and 100 cases are currently under quaratine or isolation orders.  No one is hospitalized... while 15,262 negative test results have been reported to date.


After having done more than 12,500 coronavirus tests, the Cattaraugus County Health Department is beginning to scale back its COVID-19 operations.  That from Public Health Director Kevin Watkins during his report to the county's Board of Health Wednesday.  On the department's Facebook page... Watkins says the reason is due to a "decreasing interest in testing by the public."  However... he says Olean General Hospital will begin pre-operative testing on July 6th... and, the health department will still conduct other testing.  Watkins also added that local officials are setting their sights on the next wave of COVID-19, which he said was more likely with the explosion of coronavirus in the South and West. 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 2. 2020

A Jamestown woman was charged with three-counts of reckless endangerment for allegedly trying to run a woman over during an overnight domestic dispute. City police were called to the area of Bush and Bowen Streets shortly after 1 AM .... and, stopped the suspect red sedan that was trying to flee the scene. Officers identified the driver as 27 year-old Samantha Gonzalez, who was found to be intoxicated. Further investigation revealed Gonzalez struck two other vehicles with her sedan during the fight. She was taken into custody on additional charges of DWI... endangering the welfare of a child... two-counts of leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident and failure to stop at a stop sign. City police also arrested 33 year-old James Jackson, of Buffalo, for third-degree assault for allegedly striking a female victim. Both are being held pending arraignment. 


There were no positive cases of COVID-19 reported in Chautauqua County over the past day, which means the number of cases remains at 131. That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says there are 6 active cases recovering under orders of the Public Health Director. Wendel adds 117 people are under quarantine or isolation orders and are being monitored. Additionally.... 15,062 negative test results were reported yesterday. 

Flames triggered by a small grease fire in an exhaust duct extensively damaged a restaurant located on Route 20 in the town of Westfield yesterday afternoon.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department dispatchers say Westfield fire crews were called to "KISS Barbecue" -- at the intersection with McKinley Road -- about 1 PM.  Dispatchers say mutual aid was called in from Portland, Hartfield, Mayville, Brocton, Ripley, Sherman, and Ellery Center.  No injuries were reported.  The county's Fire InvestigationTeam found the grease fire spread to combustibles in the building... which was being renovated.  Officials says Route 20 between Felton and Prospect Roads was closed while crews battled the blaze.


The National Comedy Center in Jamestown will reopen for the first time since the coronavirus shut-down this coming Friday... the day before the Fourth of July.  Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson says they'll be opening back up to the public as part of New York State's Phase-Four reopening.  She says... to abide by state health protocols... they'll be limiting attendance at any one time.
Gunderson says they have been consulting with epidemiologists at UPMC in Pittsburgh and Jamestown on the best way to clean, and keep people safe.  She says they have eliminated the use of "touch screens" inside the comedy center... but, you should be able to still get the full experience they hope for.  Gunderson says both staff and visitors will have to wear masks, and have their temperature taken when they come inside.  In addition... she says the Lucy-Desi Museum at Third and Main Streets will also reopen Friday.  Gunderson says they'll conclude training staff today.

The head of the National Comedy Center says they are saddened by the death of a true, all-time comedy legend in Carl Reiner.  Reiner died late Monday of natural causes at his home in Beverly Hills, Califonia at the age of 98.  Center Director Journey Gunderson says he became a big supporter of the Center project four years ago due to it's dedication to preserving, and high-lighting the art of comedy.  She adds that grew into his decision to leave all of his script archives from the "Dick Van Dyke Show" with the center.

Reiner created the "Dick Van Dyke Show" in the 1960s.  He was also the "straight man" to Mel Brooks' ``2000 Year Old Man.'' One of show business' best-liked men, the tall, bald Reiner was a welcome face on the small and silver screens.


Two Chautauqua County parks... Erlandson Overlook near Frewsburg and Luensman Overlook in Portland... remain closed.  The county's Director of Public Facilities, Brad Bentley, says there are two reasons: the need to keep crowds down, and budgetary issues.  Bentley adds the situation will be reviewed later this month, but even when the parks do reopen, operations will be different... gazebos reservations will NOT be taken, and the restrooms may not be open, because of the need for constant cleaning.  Bentley says while the gates to the overlooks are locked, and there is no regular maintenance, people could still hike into them.   Chautauqua County's trails... including the Overland and Waterway trails ARE open. 


As part of the Phase-Four reopening in Western New York... the Robert H. Jackson Center in downtown Jamestown is preparing to open its doors again.  Kristan McMahon, the center's President, says they'll once again offer tours -- beginning next week -- with some restrictions on July 6th... but, tour groups will be small, and include members of the same family.  McMahon says it's best to schedule those tours in advance.  The docents will be back... using small portable sound systems in order to maintain appropriate social distance. 


The Fourth of July Holiday period will be marked by exceptionally good weather across Western New York.  That from Forecaster Heather Kenyon with the National Weather Service in Buffalo... who says a high pressure system is locked in over the area.
Kenyon says a "stubborn low pressure" system over New England has interrupted the usual west to east flow of systems.  One downside, is the absence of any rain over most of the next week... with only some isolated storms predicted for next Monday.  Kenyon says the chance of rain may increase later in the coming week.  Daytime highs will gradually rise to close to 90 by the 4th of July weekend.  

A Level-Three sex offender faces felony charges for allegedly failing to report a personal Facebook account to either the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office or the state Sex Offender Registry.  Sheriff's Officers say they received information Tuesday morning that 60 year-old Michael Partyka allegedly used the social media account to communicate with the caller.  Officers say Partyka was taken into custody and released with an appearance ticket for Chautauqua Town Court at a later date. 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 1, 2020


There are two new cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County... and, they are a man in his 20s and a woman in her 40s.  That from interim County Executive P-J Wendel... who says that brings the local total to 131.  Wendel says there are currently eight active cases... and, they're recovering... while there are 116 people who have recovered.  He says 96 cases are under quaratine or isolation orders... but, no one is hospitalized.  There have now been 14,646 negative test results to date.


There's been increased talk about a fourth, major COVID economic relief bill in Congress with a number of states seeing the number of cases and hospitalizations rising... and, some of them going back to shutting down some businesses.  Local Congressman Tom Reed says that is concerning... because he was hoping to avoid the need for another stimulus bill.  However... Reed says the nation needs to be ready to deal with hot spots when they crop up.

Congressional members were told today by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that the administration wants the next round of economic aid to focus on supporting businesses... like restaurants... that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.  Mnuchin says he is already talking to lawmakers about getting another round of relief approved by the end of July.  He said those discussions included ways to use left-over funds from the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill. 


There is some good economic news today... as the new U-S, Canada, Mexico trade agreement takes effect.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who fought for passage of the bill.  The Corning Republican says it's an improvement in many ways from the former North American Free Trade Agreement.  For the 23rd Congressional District... Reed says it will open up new dairy markets for Class 6 and 7 milk products -- including cheese.

Reed says there are other issues that are being addressed that weren't around when NAFTA was first instituted.  Those include dealing with "digital" trade issues... which are now a huge part of trade.  The new USMCA was part of a 2016 campaign promise by President Trump to negotate a new agreement.  He says it's projected to help major American industries, including adding $226.8-million in total dairy output... and, $683 million in annual investment for the automotive and manufacturing industry.  Reed made his comments during his weekly conference call with Southern Tier media.

The Fenton History Center is preparing to re-open their doors to the public for the first time since mid-March.  Executive Director Noah Goodling says the Center has made adjustments to the space and exhibits with the Fenton Mansion, to ensure the safety of visitors. As soon as they receive full clearance... Goodling says the Fenton will open during regular hours Monday through Friday. However, the Hall House Research Center won't open immediately, but is anticipated to begin the week of July 13th. Goodling says they will take research request by email at "Researcher@FentonHistoryCenter.org" or by calling 664-6256. In addition... the history center is holding a collection drive for historic or current materials devoted to the local LGBTQIA+ community, between now and the end of the year. Goodling says the artifacts will be used to construct an exhibit for early 2021. He says accepted materials will include photographs, poetry, artistic works protests signs and publications. 


There will be no Gerry Rodeo this year.  Spokesman Paul Cooley says the members of the rodeo committee waited as long as they could, in hopes of running the event in early August.  In the end... Cooley says some coronavirus Executive Orders currently in place forced their hand.
After Monday's meeting, rodeo Chairman Tom Atwell called it the toughest decision they've ever made.  The rodeo is a major fundraiser for the Gerry Fire Department.  Paul Cooley says another consideration was the 'Heritage' nursing home facilities in Gerry.  This year's show... August 5th through the 8th... was to have been the 76th consecutive Gerry Rodeo... the longest continuous run for a rodeo east of the Mississippi.  The rodeo committee is planning to offer a 'drive through' version of their famous beef barbeque at a later date.  (The new dates for the rodeo itself are August 4th through the 7th, 2021.)


The $36-million Gatewater Lofts housing project in downtown Jamestown has been given site plan approval by the city's Planning Commission.  Commission member and City Councilman Tom Nelson made the announcement regarding project during Monday night's voting session.  The Gateway Lofts will use just over 100-thousand square feet of space in the current center at 31 Water Street... and, Nelson says a lot of work has gone into getting the project to this point.  He credited Commission Chairman Greg Rabb, and City Development Director Crystal Surdyk for their hard work. 

Fredonia Central School has announced an interim superintendent as it begins the search process for a new superintendent.  Colleen Taggerty will replace former superintendent Jeff Sortisio, who held the post for three years before becoming superintendent at Eden Central.  Taggerty served as the Olean City School District superintendent before retiring in 2017. 

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