Local News Headlines Archives for 2021-10

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Oct. 15, 2021

Weather Service announces slight risk of potentially severe weather later today...
You'll want to keep an eye on the sky later today since most of Western New York is under a slight risk of severe thunderstorms late this afternoon... and, into tonight.  The National Weather Service says the primary threat will be damaging wind gusts, but large hail and even an isolated tornado are also possible.  The Buffalo Office says the storms could come in two rounds, one between 3 to 10 p.m.  Another round is possible late tonight.


Whitaker says COVID cases on decline among JPS Population...
As seen over the past week in Chautauqua County... the Jamestown Public School system is also seeing a "nice" reduction in the number of COVID-19 cases and quarantines in the district.  That from School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker... who says he hopes the trend continues.  Dr. Whitaker says they've been seeing this trend over the past few weeks... and, he "hopes it continues."  Also, he says there's been a "nice decline" in the number of student cases.... and, he urges everyone to keep taking proper precautions to keep kids in school.  Chautauqua County reported Wednesday that there were 433 new COVID cases over the past week... down from 579 the previous week.  However... the most -- 130 -- were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.


BPU officially awarded $3-Million Water Infrastructure grant to replace water mains...
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities has been awarded a $3-million grant from New York state to help install new water mains for it's water customers.  Governor Kathy Hochul today says the grant is part of $44.2-million in Clean Water System and Drinking Water Infrastructure Projects being awarded statewide.  Hochul said Thursday that the funding was approved by the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation... and, include grants, interest-free financing, and low-cost financings, approved by the EFC Board of Directors.  The funding for the BPU project comes specifically from the state's Water Infrastructure Improvement Act.  Four other projects across the state also received funding from the WIIA.


Gillibrand pleased to hear Canadian and Mexican borders will be opening soon...
U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York says she's pleased to finally see movement on getting the United States' land borders with Canada and Mexico reopening... beginning next month.  The White House has told Congressional representatives from New York that the Canadian border will be opening in 'early November..." and the Mexican border will open as well.  The opening will occur in phases.... the first, in November, will allow fully vaccinated Canadians and Mexicans with proper travel documentation to cross U.S. land borders for non-essential reasons.  Gillibrand, a Democrat, says those are people who spend time, and money in New York state, and is "important for our recovery."  Gillibrand says having both border's open again is important to the nation's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Both she, and Senior New York Senator Charles Schumer both pushed the Biden administration and health officials to get those crossings open... because we had people coming in from the E-U, and Asia -- but not Canada.  Gillibrand said "that's absurd."  The administration says there will be no testing requirement for Canadians entering the U-S.  However... Canada does require vaccinated Americans to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of their arrival in Canada. 


Applications up for U.S. Nursing school...
Nurses around the United States are getting burned out by the COVID-19 crisis and quitting... yet, applications to nursing schools are rising, driven by what educators say are young people who see the global emergency as an opportunity and a challenge.   Nationally, enrollment in bachelor's, master's and doctoral nursing programs increased 5.6-percent in 2020 from the year before to just over 250-thousand students.  That from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing... which says the higher enrollment could help ease a nursing shortage that existed even before COVID-19.  But the increase, combined with the departure of too many experienced nurses whose job is to help train students, has left many nursing programs without the ability to expand. 


New dir. of Corporate Communcations names for Heritage Ministries...
Heritage Ministries has announced that it's Marketing manager for the past four-plus years has been promoted to Corporate Director of Communications for the organization.  Heritage President and Chief Executive Officer, Lisa Haglund, says Melissa Anderson of Frewsburg will serve as their "primary communications point of contact for the organization.  She will oversee and develop new strategies to evaluate and continually improve internal and external communications processes, public relations, and media management and relations throughout Heritage senior living communities, nationwide."  Melissa is also a former employee her at Media One Radio Group.  Haglund adds that with her experience... Anderson is "uniquely qualified to serve our staff, residents, and their families."


"I Love Lucy" turns 70 today, and Comedy Center is celebrating...
The National Comedy Center in Jamestown is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the beloved "I Love Lucy" Show today, and all this weekend.  Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson says the show first aired on Friday, Oct. 15, 1951 on CBS... and, soon after became a "cultural phenomenon -- and one of the most popular televisions shows of all time."  Gunderson says they'll have special episode screenings throughout the weekend, enhanced Lucy-Desi exhibits... and, new interactive experiences for fans of the beloved TV series.  The Lucy-Desi Museum will also have special activities and sales during the weekend.  For more information... go on-line to ComedyCenter.org.
 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Oct. 14, 2021

Lakewood woman hurt in motorcycle-deer accident...
A Lakewood woman has to be airlifted to an Erie, Pa. hospital yesterday afternoon after her motorcycle was struck by a deer on Route 394 in the town of Poland.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene... near the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus County line... shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday.  Deputies learned that 67 year-old Patricia Portale was westbound when the deer ran into the roadway and struck her.  Portale... who was the only person involved... was flown by helicopter to the Hamot Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.  No charges have been filed.


County reports 433 new COVID-19 cases over past week...
There has been a drop in the number of weekly, COVID-19 cases being reported the past week in Chautauqua County... with 433 cases reported the past seven days.  The county's weekly COVID-19 Dashboard says there were also three new deaths... bringing that total to 192 during the pandemic.  There have now been 12,612 cases total.  County officials say 331 cases are now active... and, 33 are hospitalized.   There are now 12,013 cases that have recovered.  The most new cases... 130... were reported in Jamestown the past week.  The rate of infection is 7.9%.


Hochul expresses disappointment on federal court ruling on religious exemption...
Governor Kathy Hochul says she's "disappointed" that a federal judge has ruled that New York must continue to allow health care workers to seek exemptions from a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate on religious grounds.  Hochul later made her comments on Tuesday's ruling by a federal judge in Utica... who had issued a temporary restraining order a month ago after 17 doctors, nurses and other health professionals claimed in a lawsuit that their rights would be violated by a mandate that disallowed the exemptions.  Hochul says people going into hospitals or nursing homes need to know they are safe... adding the pandemic has forced the state's hand on this.  Hurd's ruling Tuesday means New York will continue to be barred from enforcing any requirement that employers deny religious exemptions.  Hochul says the state is appealing the decision.


Hochul pleased with news the northern border with Canada will soon be reopended...
Full details are still not available... but, the White House has informed New York Congressional representatives that the Canadian border will be opening in 'early November.'  The Buffalo News adds the Mexican border will open as well.  The paper reports the opening will occur in phases.... the first, in November, will allow fully vaccinated Canadians and Mexicans with proper travel documentation to cross U.S. land borders for nonessential reasons.  It was good news to Governor Kathy Hochul... whose from Western New York.  The Biden Administration says there will be no testing requirement for Canadians entering the U.S.  Canada does require vaccinated Americans to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of their arrival in Canada.  The second phase of the reopening will begin in January 2022, when all travelers across U.S. land borders – even those who are traveling for essential reasons – will be required to be vaccinated. 


Ollie’s Bargain Outlet opens today at Chautauqua Mall...
A well-known close-out retailer is officially opening it's doors at the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood this morning.  Mall officials say they're excited to welcome Ollie's Bargain Outlet to the mall... where it will be located next to JC Penny.  Ollie's will occupy the 32,000 square feet previously occupied by Office Max.  Officials say they'll have the Basil & Bones Food Truck on hand... along with on-premesis food options in that part of the mall including Five Guys, Sakura Buffet and Taco Bell.  Mall Manager Julie Bihler says "our guests are always changing and evolving, and at Chautauqua Mall we want to be able to offer them today’s top trends and shopping destinations."


SUNY JCC holding both in-person, and virtual Open Houses...
Jamestown Community College will offer a series of 'Open Houses' beginning this week, and for the first time since the pandemic began... some of them will be in person.  The Director of Admissions, Corrine Case, says being 'on campus' is an important part of choosing a school and see what they look like, how they feel, and cost.  The Olean campus will have open house this Saturday (10/16) from 10 AM to noon, with the Jamestown event set for Oct. 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  In addition, a series of six virtual open houses is also getting underway.  Today... the 'Society and Human Expression' area will be explored.  The rest of the virtual open houses will be next week.  Each on-line open house starts at 7 p.m.  Registration for all these programs... in person and virtual... is available at sunyjcc.edu.  For those visiting in person, COVID protocols will be in place.       


Ross officially sworn in as Western District U.S. Attorney... 
A western New York woman who is a 1988 graduate of the SUNY College at Fredonia has officially been sworn-in as the new U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York.  Trini Ross was nominated by President Joe Biden this past July 26... and, was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on Sept. 30.  President Biden signed Ross’s commission this past Oct. 5.  The U-S Attorney's Office was given the oath of office by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth Wolford.  Ross says it's "an honor to serve as the U-S Attorney for the Western District of New York." 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Oct. 13, 2021

Biden Admin. expected to detail northern and southern border reopenings today...
Full details are expected later today... but the White House has informed New York representatives that the Canadian border will be opening in 'early November.'  The Mexican border will open as well.  The Buffalo News reports the opening will occur in phases.... the first, in November, will allow fully vaccinated Canadians and Mexicans with proper travel documentation to cross U.S. land borders for nonessential reasons. There will be no testing requirement for Canadians entering the U.S.  Canada does require vaccinated Americans to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of their arrival in Canada.  The second phase of the reopening will begin in January 2022, when all travelers across U.S. land borders – even those who are traveling for essential reasons – will be required to be vaccinated. Currently, business travelers such as truck drivers can drive into the U.S. even if they are not vaccinated because they are considered essential travelers.


Judge says health care workers can continue seeking religious exemptions from COVID shots, for now...
A federal judge has ruled that New York must continue to allow health care workers to seek exemptions from a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate on religious grounds as a lawsuit challenging the requirement proceeds.  Judge David Hurd in Utica had issued a temporary restraining order a month ago after 17 doctors, nurses and other health professionals claimed in a lawsuit that their rights would be violated with a vaccine mandate that disallowed the exemptions.  Hurd's ruling Tuesday means New York will continue to be barred from enforcing any requirement that employers deny religious exemptions. 


Wendel outlines ARPA projects lawmakers are to deal with in October...
Chautauqua County lawmakers are expected to act on multiple resolutions at this month's meeting regarding the county's use of some of the $24.6-million it's receiving from the American Rescue Plan.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says one of the items has to do with studies being done on invasive weeds, and algal bloom growth... and, water quality issues on Chautauqua Lake as part of the Jefferson Project.  The Lakewood Republican says another deals with Information Technology items that need to be dealt with quickly.  Wendel says the county now has it's first "traunch" or payment from the American Rescue Plan in the bank... totaling $12.3-million.  In addition... the county legislature is expected to hold it's required public hearing, and vote, on Wendel's proposed 2022 budget at this month's meeting.  That spending plan includes a 26-cent per $1,000 full value tax rate decrease.  He made his comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group Stations.


Borrello very disappointed that Hochul vetoes measure to forgive Panama school State Ed. penalty... 
The region's State Senator says he's "deeply disappointed" that Governor Kathy Hochul has vetoed legislation that would have forgiven the Panama Central School District's remaining state Education Department penalty.  Sunset Bay Republican George Borrello reacted Tuesday to Hochul's rejection of legislation that would have released the Panama district from paying the remaining 1.9-million dollar penalty levied 16 years ago.  Borrello says "there is zero justification for diverting critically-needed education dollars away from the classroom to pay a bureaucratic fine from almost two decades ago."  He says it's "disappointing that our new governor has chosen to follow the same path as her predecessor..." especially since legislation that would have instituted blanket forgiveness was proposed as part of the budget process... and, was rejected for political reasons.  He says the measure was approved unanimously approved in both the state Senate and Assembly.


Dolce hopeful that city can wrap up contract negotiations with Jamestown unions by end of year...
It's one down... and, five to go in trying to get contract agreements in place between the city of Jamestown and it's employee unions before the end of the year.  The City Council recently approved a new, three-year agreement with clerical workers represented by Civil Service Employees Association Local-#807.  It covers the years 2022 through 2024... and, includes wage increases, but also increases the amount workers have to pay for health insurance.  City Council President Tony Dolce was pleased to have it in place.  He says wage increases are 2.5% for each of the three-years... and, employee health insurance contributions are increased from 19% to 21%.  The city's contract management team is still working on other agreements... not long after reaching retroactive agreements with the city's two largest unions... representing police and fire.  Dolce says he's not sure if the city can get the remaining five contracts in place before the end of the year... but, if not... he believes they can have that completed by early 2022.


Gas prices in Jamestown-area remain high...
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area remain high this week... after jumping about 10-cents a gallon about mid-week last week to just under $3.46 a gallon for regular, unleaded fuel.  AAA's East Central Gas Price Report says the price is now $3.45.6 a gallon... and, the national price is up 8-cents to $3.27 a gallon.  AAA says it's the highest price for gas since October of 2014... and, the key driver is the price of crude oil.  Officials say that acounts for 50 to 60-percent of the price at the pump... and, that's now more than $80 a barrel.  AAA says last week's decision by OPEC and its oil-producing allies to not increase production further only exacerbated the upward momentum for crude oil prices. 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Oct. 12, 2021

Man severly hurt in fall from top-story of Jamestown's Senior High-Rise on West Fifth St...
Jamestown police and fire officials confirm that first-responders were called to the scene of a person falling to the ground from the senior high-rise apartments on West Fifth Street.  City fire officials say the call to 303 West Fifth came in about 9:30 this morning.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says a 32-year-old man apparently fell from the ninth-floor -- the top of the high-rise.  Samuelson says foul play is not suspected.  The victim was initially taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital... then flown to UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pa.  


WNY sees close to record warmth Monday, may also see today...
The western New York region got very close to a record high temperature on Columbus Day Monday... as high pressure remains anchored over the Northeast.  That's brought us unseasonably warm temperatures... including an 81 late yesterday afternoon at the Buffalo-Niagara Airport.  Forecaster Phillip Pandolfo with the National Weather Service Office in Buffalo says the record for Oct. 11 is 82... which was set in 1949.  Pandolfo say this weather pattern will be with us most of the week... including today... which has a record high of 81.  Buffalo is looking at an expected high today of 79-80.  For the rest of the week... Pandolfo says we'll continue to see the 70s through Friday, when a cold front makes it's way here by the weekend... and temperatures fall into the 60s.  This Wednesday is the 15th anniversary of the surprise "Snowtember" storm that brought several inches of snow to the Buffalo-area when most trees were still full of leaves.  Thousands of trees were destroyed.  However... Pandolfo says there's nothing like that in the longer range forecast.


City man arrested following alleged domestic dispute...
A Jamestown man is accused of threatening to hit a woman during a domestic incident on the city's eastside Monday morning.  City police were called to the 100-block of Wescott Street about 8:30 a.m. on a report of a domestic incident... and, spoke with 35 year-old John Yoder and the unidentified woman at the scene.  Officers say they learned that Yoder had threatened the woman, and violated a valid order of protection.  Police arrested him for first-degree criminal contempt, and second-degree harassment... and, Yoder was jailed pending arraignment.


Schumer in Olean Monday to rally with union workers to keep Siemen's Energy open with new ownership...
U-S Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer was in the region today... urging Siemens Energy in Olean to sell it's plant to someone who will keep it -- and it's one-thousand jobs -- in Western New York.  Schumer joined with members of the United Steelworkers local to urge Siemens to keep the plan operating at it's 88-acre manufacturing facility.  The New York Democrat says "a fixture in local manufacturing for generations, Siemens Energy’s decision to close the Olean manufacturing plant will have tremendous ripple effects on everyone from the employees and their families to business owners and local governments... which depend on well-paying and reliable jobs staying in Olean."  Back in February... Siemens Energy announced that it would be cutting jobs across the U.S., including 530 of the 890 total jobs in Olean. 


Sundquist says Jamestown could see significant boost from pot sales, and touts parks upgrades in 2022 budget proposal...
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist is budgeting a 3-percent increase in sales tax revenues for the city in his 2022 budget.  However... he says they could see a significant increase in that amount if city does not opt out of recreational marijuana sales next year.  Sundquist made his comments during last week's budget presentation at City Hall.  He says the city has not acted on that yet... but, he's estimating -- conservatively -- that the city could take in $700,000 to $1-million from cannibis sales, alone.  Sundquist says he and his administration have discussed the matter with city officials in Ithaca to try and project some of the numbers on what pot sales could generate.  He says a lot of the $3-million the city is using in the budget from the American Rescue Plan will go toward new park amenities... including a dog park at Bergman Park, a disc golf course at Allen Park, and, improvements to Diethrick Park.  Three new laborers are also being added to ensure the parks are in good shape.  The $38.9-million spending plan... which includes a zero tax rate increase... now goes to the City Council for deliberations.


Chautauqua County Democrats back Hochul for governor...
The Chautauqua County Democratic Committee has announced that the party’s county executive committee has unanimously endorsed Govvernor Kathy Hochul for re-election in 2022.  County Chairman Norm Green says "Kathy Hochul knows our county and has long been a regular weekend visitor traveling from Buffalo with the state’s first man Bill Hochul.  We all know each other well and she will continue to be an excellent partner for our county electeds as we seek to return to economic prosperity."  Green adds that Hochul has also "demonstrated great leadership already in addressing the Covid-19 crisis, and is working to keep all New Yorkers safe."  


Clinton and Penny wtire novel "State of Terror..."
Hillary Clinton's next book mentions a rising Taliban in Afghanistan... and, a Joint Chiefs of Staff chair who clashes with the president.  The book is a novel, "State of Terror."  It's co-written with crime fiction author Louise Penny, and was conceived well before the latest headlines about Afghanistan or the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Clinton and Penny spoke recently with The A-P about their collaboration and how they came to meet and become friends. 

 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Oct. 11, 2021

City man identified in strong-armed robbery at Dollar General Store in Jamestown...
A Jamestown man has now been identified as the person who committed a strong-armed robbery at the Dollar General Store on Winsor Street last Friday aftenoon.  City police were called to the scene about 2:30 p.m., and, talked with the cashier involved... who said 60 year-old Steven Krause had come into the store, and took two M&M's packages, and put them in his pocket.  Police say Krause then walked up to the cashier, and demanded money from the register.  They say he then fled the store, and headed east on foot to the Winsor Street railroad tracks, where police caught him.  Krause was arrested for third-degree robbery and petty larceny.  He was jailed pending arraignment.


Clymer man arrested for menacing and harassment in French Creek incident...
A Clymer man has been arrested following a fight in the town of French Creek in which he allegedly threatened someone with a dangerous instrument.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Backerink Road about 1 p.m. last Friday... and, found that 23 year-old Jordon Taylor had gotten into a physical altercation with another person... and also threatened that subject with a dangerous instrument.  Taylor was arrested and charged with second-degree menacing... second-degree aggravaed harassment... endangering the welfare of a child... and, second-degree harassment.  He was taken to the county jail pending centralized arraignment.


JPS officials working out logistics for testing unvaccinated employees...
Jamestown Public School officials say they still have some logistics to work out before they begin COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated teachers and staff in each school building.  That from Superintendent Kevin Whitaker... who told us late last week that planning is still underway.  However... Dr. Whitaker says the ultimate goal is being able to keep students in school.  However... he says they need to work out who is tested, and when, so they can do that when someone tests positive.  Whitaker says there are "a lot of ways to end up in quarantine... but, there are few ways to come back."  He says a good example of that is the recent quarantining of the entire JHS Marching Band after four members tested positive for COVID.  He says, depending on the school, and, who may end up testing positive... you may end up losing a number of teachers or staff because everyone in close proximity has to quarantine.  Whitaker says they're working to make sure to work out tests so that significant number of teachers in the same area are not kept out a long period of time.


Wendel says legislature justing eyeing minor changes to 2022 budget proposal...
Just a few minor changes are being considered at this point in Chautauqua County's 2022 budget proposal by Executive P-J Wendel.  Wendel proposed the spending plan... which cuts the full value tax rate by 26-cents per $1,000... late last month.  The Lakewood Republican says the levy is up... but, the $955,000 increase is within the state's 2-percent property tax cap.  He adds that's a "slight increase" when looking at the overall budget plan.  Most of the main, county departments, met with members of the legislature's Audit and Control Committee this past week for the initial review of Wendel's 2022 proposal.  He says he's heard a few concerns... but, mainly regarding items that are over the "long term."  Wendel says they've been taking a long-look at some departmental spending, and future impacts.  He made his comments for this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Cornell Cooperative Extension brings back LEAF program...
Cornell Cooperative Extension is bringing back a popular series of short courses beginning this week.  Educator Kate Ewer explains -- says it's short for "Learn, Empower, Achieve, Farm" which is a short program for beginning farmers, and homesteaders.  Ewer says the classes are low cost... around $10... and usually involve only one session.  They explore a wide variety of topics... starting Tuesday, Oct. 12.  To sign up for tomorrow’s class find Cornell Cooperative Extension on the World Wide Web, or phone 716-664-9502.  Other offerings this fall include: ‘natural pollinators’, beekeeping, introduction to goats and meat marketing.  Kate Ewer says taking a LEAF class is a special experience -- because there's a lot of bonding with others in the programs, and a lot to learn.  The classes will be simultaneously offered in person at JCC in Jamestown and on-line.


One of two Winning Take 5 Tickets sold in Jamestown!...
There were two winning tickets sold for last Friday's New York State Lottery Take 5 Midday drawing... one of those in Jamestown.  Lottery officials announced over the weekend that the ticket... worth $11,187... was sold at the Farm Fresh Foods Store at 703 West Third St.  The other winning ticket, for the same amount, was sold in at a 7-Eleven Store in Flushing, Queens.  The numbers are drawn from a field of one through 39... and, one takes place at mid-day... and, a second one in the evening.  

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Oct. 8, 2021

County Chamber presents annual business Persons of Year awards...
The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce presented two Person of the Year Awards at its annual Awards Banquet Thursday at the SUNY College at Fredonia.  One went to John D’ Agostino. the editor of the Jamestown, Dunkirk and Warren, Pa. newspapers, and also volunteers for the Boys & Girls Club.  D'Agostino is president of that north county division, which he says is growing to help give youth there activities, and tutoring.  The second award was presented to Jamestown's Rochelle Mole.  As Vice President of Finance at the National Comedy Center, she helped guide the organization through the COVID shutdown, and at one point surrendered her salary.  Mole says it was very difficult having to furlough people due to the shut-down.  The Economic Development Award went to Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care for its success in raising money for the ‘Hospice House’ in the midst of the pandemic.  The Jamestown Community chamber honored Lou Deppas for his work on three boards of directors: The YMCA, the Sports Hall of Fame and the Comedy Center.


Health Dept. issues first "Weekly COVID-19 Dashboard" report...
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County has been on the rise in recent weeks... and, for the past week period... rose to 579 between September 26th and October 2nd.  That from the county Health Department's new, Weekly COVID-19 Dashboard... which reported 523 new cases for the previous week.  The Health Department says there were four new deaths during that period... bringing that number to 189.  Officials say there have now been 12,179 total cases... and, 354 of those were active at mid-week.  There were 34 people hospitalized... and, 11,583 cases have now recovered.  The county's COVID-19 Response Team voted to make the change because cases are prevailent just about everywhere... and, to reduce the workload for the Health Department.


Sundquist presents no tax rate increase 2022 budget proposal...
Bolstered by about $3-million in American Rescue Plan funding... Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist has proposed a no tax increase budget for next year.  During a presentation at City Hall Thursday afternoon... Sundquist said the $38.9-million spending plan uses some of the $10-million dollars in ARPA funding designated to cover "lost revenue.  He says they are also getting a boost from increased property values, and sales tax revenues.  Sundquist says as they draw down on that money, they'll be able to do some projects, and hire back some people the city has had to hold off on.  He says the spending plan includes 41 capital projects in 2022 to address a number of issues.  He says... most years... the city had tried to take on about 10 such projects.  Sundquist says while taxable property growth was under 1% for a number of years... he said it was up about 1.9% in 2020... and, 2.8% this year.  He says a payment in lieu of tax agreements expire and other growth occurs... that's expected to rise by 4% next year. 


Mayor outlines new positions in budget...
Jamestown's mayor says some of the seven new job positions he's proposing in the 2022 budget are part of what's called "succession planning" to help replace people who later retire from important positions.  He says that's especially in the area of Tracy Plaza maintenance.  He says they have added a new building maintenance mechanic for City Hall because there's only one right now.  Sundquist is also proposing an assistant Public Works Director... but, for two reasons.  He says the first is to have someone to help coordinate and supervise some of the 41 projects being proposed, and the other is planning for the future.  Sundquist is also proposing restoring the City Ombudsman position that had been eliminated many years ago.  That position would also include human resources and diversity.  


National Fuel Gas alerts customers in WNY of higher Winter gas bills coming...
National Fuel Gas is alerting it's Western New York customers to anticipate higher heating bills this winter season as natural gas commodity prices have risen significantly following years of historic lows.  Company officials say customers may also see an increase in gas usage this winter season as initial weather reports indicate a return-to-normal cold and snowy winter.  Across it's Western New York territory... National Fuel says about 90-percent of residents rely on natural gas to heat their homes and fuel their businesses. The estimated average residential customer’s winter heating bill – November through March – is expected to be $714, which officials say is a 43-percent increase compared to the last winter heating season bill when the typical customer paid $498 during a winter that was about 10-percent warmer than normal. 


Four-H Week highlighted in Chautauqua County...
This is National 4-H Week, and Kate Ewer... the Chautauqua County Four-H Educator... says it's a great time for new members to join.  Four-H is for young people ages 5 to 18.  Chautauqua County has 13 Four-H clubs and offers10 animal projects.  Ewer says 4-H is different because of relationships the youth have with their peers, and the 4-H leaders, who want them "to succeed."  She adds, the Four-H learning model is quite special... and, says "do -- apply -- and reflect" when you take on a project... be it a craft or raising a rabbit.  For more information phone Cornell Cooperative Extension at 664-9502 or find them on the world wide web. 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Oct. 7, 2021

Gasoline prices spike up 10-cent a gallon past two days...
After starting the week slightly lower than last week... gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area have shot-up 10-cents a gallon over the past day.  The AAA East Central Gas Price Report reported a price of $3.35.7 for regular, unleaded gas to begin the week... but, several stations in the area were charging $3.45.9 by the end of the day Wednesday.  No reason has been given for the immediate spike... but, AAA says increased demand with a high price for crude oil is likely fueling the increase.  That price was $73 a barrel to begin the week.  The association also says global economic uncertainty, and supply chain issues are also causing concern.  Nationally... the price of regular, unleaded began the week up two-cents to $3.20 a gallon.


County Clerk candidates tout experience in job, data based managing...
The two candidates running for Chautauqua County Clerk are touting their experience in the job... or their most recent job experience.  Incumbant Republican Larry Barmore is seeking a third-term in the position after replacing long-time Clerk, Sandy Sopak, in 2013.  Barmore owned and operated Gay Mark Tire and Wheel in Cassadaga for four decades prior to running.  Barmore says what he did at Gay Mark was a lot of what the job calls for... this just happens to be government owned.  He says he actually began working with Sopak after being elected to put a new, electronic recording system in place... and, that system was in place his first day in office.  His opponent... Democrat David Salley of Fredonia... recently retired as Data-Based Manager for the Seneca Nation of Indians Medical Center.  He is also college educated in those areas.  Salley says he's also been politically active with north county Democrats, and worked on several campaigns before deciding to run for an office he "feels qualified" to have.  Prior to becoming County Clerk... Barmore was a member of the county legislature, and served as chairman and majority leader for a time.  Both candidates made their comments during recent "Community Spotlight" programs on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Hanover man arrested for contempt, and obstruction of breathing following altercation...
A north county man has been arrested for allegedly getting into a fight, and choking another person who had an order of protection against him.  Sheriff's officers were called to an address on Main Road in the town of Hanover about 9:30 Wednesday morning... and, found that 36 year-old Justin Dunbar had violated a valid order of protection for obstructing the breathing of an individual.  Dunbar was arrested for second-degree criminal contempt... and, Criminal Obstruction of Breathing or Blood.  He was transported to the county jail for centralized arraignment, and issued appearance tickets for Hanover Town Court.


Jackson Center commemorates 90th anniversary of start of Capone's tax evasion trial...
Wednesday marked the 90th anniversary of the start of gangster Al Capone’s tax evasion trial in Chicago... and, at the Robert H. Jackson Center, the real story was told of the man who brought Capone to justice -- Eliot Ness.  Paul Heimel wrote a biography of Ness, and says the TV show and movie characterizations of the Prohibition-era crime fighter are exaggerated.  Heimel says Ness's role was more in putting the legal case together.  He adds that Ness never fired a gun in the line of duty.  However, Heimel does believe Ness deserves to be called a ‘law enforcement hero’, because he was a fearless crime fighter in Chicago when Prohibition agents took bribes, or ran away from any danger.  Heimel is the originator of ‘Eliot Ness Fest’… a celebration of Ness and his era… held in the last town Ness lived in, Coudersport, Pa.  This year’s was cancelled, but they hope to bring it back in July of 2022.  Wednesday’s program at the Jackson Center was jointly organized by Sheriff Jim Quattrone and local attorney, Greg Peterson.


Chautauqua Institution names Moore as permanent Senior VP and Chief Program Officer...
A long-time official at Chautauqua Institution has been appointed as the permanent Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer, responsible for the programmatic life of the Institution.  Chautauqua President Michael Hill has announced that -- effective immediately -- Deborah Sunya Moore will be Chief Program Officer to align staffing and organization with the Institution’s strategic plan... "150 Forward..." which calls for Chautauqua to optimize the Summer Assembly and expand programming beyond the summer months and outside of the grounds of Chautauqua.  Hill says Moore has been Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer in an interim capacity since November 2020... while also fulfilling her responsibilities as Vice President of Performing and Visual Arts.  He says a national search for her successor as in that role is now underway.


Rosas announes major fishing tournament coming to Dunkirk next Summer...
A major Lake Erie fishing tournament will be coming to the city of Dunkirk in the Summer of 2022.  Mayor Willie Rosas made the announcement during Tuesday's Common Council meeting... noting that they'll be hosting the Cabella's -- Bass Pro Shops National Walleye invitational tournament next Aug. 24-26.  Rosas adds the event will be televised nationally... and, will be a great promotional opportunity for the north county city's waterfront area.  He also announced during the Council meeting that the city has picked up more than $103,000 grant for a city broadband and solar powered celluar device charging station project.  The project will establish Wi-Fi hotspots throughout Point Gratiot and Wright Park.

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Oct. 6, 2021

Two sent to the hospital following two-vehicle, rollover accident in Jamestown...
A two-vehicle rollover crash in downtown Jamestown about mid-afternoon Tuesday resulted in two people being taken to the hospital.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office dispatchers say city police were called to the scene at Fourth and Main Streets just before 3:30 p.m.  They add the accident, involving a van and a car, left the van rolled onto it's side.  Dispatchers say the injured parties were taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital.  The accident was still under investigation.


Four children hurt, two critically, in Cattaraugus County pick-up truck-Amish buggy accident... 
Four Amish children were hurt... two critically... after the buggy they were riding in was struck by a pick-up truck in the Cattaraugus County Town of Farmersville.  State Police in Machias were called to the scene at the intersection of County Rt. 80 and Rogers Road about 4 p.m. Monday... and, found that the southbound buggy on Rt. 80 had failed to stop at the intersection... and, was struck by the eastbound truck on Rogers Road.  Troopers say the four children... ages 6, 8, 10 and 13 were taken to Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo... one by Mercy Flight and the other three by ambulance.  Two children remain in critical condition.  The state police Collision Reconstruction Unit, and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation assisted with the ongoing investigation.


City lawmakers looking at possible speed zone changes on Buffalo St. near schools...
The Jamestown City Council is looking at ways to make more "uniform" speed limits on Buffalo Street where two city Public schools are located.  Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Nelson says his panel discussed the matter on that street... which connects the north and east sides of the city.  Nelson says Senior Traffic Engineer Chris Brown stated that the speed limits are "within code..." but, did suggest some additional signage in the form of "rectangular rapid-flashing beacons" to warn motorists.  Nelson says this may be a good place to start, and the city can maybe look at using some American Rescue Plan funding for it.  Fellow lawmakers thought it was a good idea... but, they learned the cost for all schools to get the flashing beacons would cost about $450,000.  Public Works Director Jeff Lehman is to look into possible grant money... even though Nelson hinted at possible use of American Rescue Plan money.  The major issue is the speed limit is 30 mph, but, it drops to 20 in the areas of Ring Elementary and Washington Middle Schools are located.  Police Chief Tim Jackson felt a uniform 20 mph would be best.  The two schools are separated by three blocks of residential area... where the speed limit is 30 mph.

City Council committee approves trick-or-treat hours for Halloween...
The city of Jamestown is setting trick-or-treat hours for Halloween later this month... and, lawmakers are urging parents to use their best judgement for where their children go.  The City Council's Public Safety Committee discussed the matter at Monday night's meeting... and, agreed to set the hours on Sunday, Oct. 31, from 6 to 8 p.m.  Committee Chairman Brent Sheldon says there will be no city-sponsored event again this year due to the pandemic.  Council President Tony Dolce says the COVID-19 numbers... which had been surging in recent weeks... appear to be leveling off.  He says they hope to see the numbers going down, like they have been across the country.  Dolce adds that vaccinations are the big difference between last year, and this year.  


Jamestown man arrested for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender...
A city man has been arrested by police after they were called to a suspicious situation... and, found he was a convicted sex offender who had not notified law enforcement of an address change.  Sheriff's deputies were joined by Jamestown Police and the FBI in being called to the undisclosed scene last July 24.  After investigating... they arrested 37 year-old Andrew Miller on a warrant Monday for being a level three sex offender.  Miller is accused of failing to notify Jamestown Police, and the New York State Sex Offender Registry of his new address.  He also failed to report a vehicle that he registered through the state Department of Motor Vehicles.  He was charged with Failure to Register -- Change of Address. 


Board members reflect on very successful first season for Jamestown Tarp Skunks...
It was a very successful inaugural season for the Jamestown Tarp Skunks Collegiate Baseball team this year... both on and off the field.  Those are the feelings of two of the key people involved with Jamestown Community Baseball, LLC, the team's local ownership group.  Local Attorney, Greg Peterson, is one of them... and, says the Tarp Skunks were a hit in many ways during the Perfect Game League's 2021 season.  Peterson says they doubled team attendance from the past full season in 2019, and merchandise sales increased by 500%... which was much higher than expected.  The regular season for Major League Baseball is over... but, the "hot stove" league is starting to heat up.  One of the unknowns heading into 2022 for Jamestown is who the new business manager will be.  Peterson says the job opening will be posted shortly.  That person will replace Jacob Kindberg... who left the team after the season concluded... for a new opportunity. 
  


 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Oct. 5, 2021

Four Amish children seriously hurt in truck buggy accident in Cattaraugus County... 
Four Amish children were hurt... two seriously... after the buggy they were riding in was struck by a pick-up truck in the Cattaraugus County Town of Farmersville.  State Police in Machias were called to the scene at the intersection of County Route 80 and Rogers Road about 4 p.m. Monday... and found that the southbound buggy failed to stop at the intersection... and, was struck by the eastbound truck on Rogers Road.  Troopers say the four children... ages 6, 8, 10 and 13 were taken to Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo... one by Mercy Flight and the other three by ambulance.  Two children remain in critical condition.  The state police Collision Reconstruction Unit and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation assisted with the ongoing investigation.


Findley Lake man arrested in narcotics bust at hotel with significant amounts of drugs...
A Findley Lake man has been arrested during a drug raid at a Route 426 hotel for allegedly trafficking several drugs... including methamphetamine, cocaine and Fentanyl.  Members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say they arrested 43 year-old Shawn Conway after finding him in a room at the Comfort Inn with 224 grams of meth... 109 grams of fentanyl... nearly 13-grams of cocaine... 29 grams of crack cocaine... 40 dosage units of morphine and a quantity of cash.  Conway was arrested on one count of second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Task Force members say they had been investigating Conway for the past several months.  He was arraigned, and jailed without bail... and police say more charges are pending. 


Jacobs throws his endorsement to Hochul for Gov. in 2022...
The man who leads New York's Democratic Party has thrown his support to current Governor Kathy Hochul for next year's gubernatorial election.  State Chairman Jay Jacobs, who also heads up the Nassau County Committee, announced his backing of the Buffalo-area Democrat during a morning press conference Monday on Long Island.  Jacobs says "we have a governor that has proven she can do the job, and with distinction..." and has "earned our support."  He also made it clear that he was not speaking for the state and county committees that he chairs... noting that a full vote will be taken by them next February.  He also says he's not trying to discourage other potential candidates -- including Attorney General Letitia James.  However... Jacobs says Hochul has done a great job since being elevated to the governor's post following former Governor Andrew Cuomo's resignation amid allegations of sexual harassment.  He says Hochul has also been a good foot soldier... campaigning for many Democratic candidates across the state.  Jacobs says he called several prominent Democrats prior to making the announcement... including former Governor Cuomo.  He says that was strictly a courtesy call to inform Cuomo of his decision.  


K-9s brought in to further investigate town of Portland trail where human remains found...
The investigation is continuing into the two sets of human remains that were found last week in the town of Portland.  The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office and State Police K-9 units conducted a general search of the Rails to Trails system throughout the county Monday.  That from the Sheriff's Office Facebook page.  The remains of the two bodies were located near the hiking trail off Woleben Road.  The remains are currently being analyzed by the Mercyhurst Forensic Anthropology department.  The first remains were found on Sept. 26, and, a search of the area led to a second body. 


Jamestown lawmakers begin looking at mayor's proposal for use of ARPA funds...
The Jamestown City Council has begun discussions on proposed uses for the city's $28-million allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act.  The proposal was reviewed by the Finance Committee last night, and one resident discussed changes to the tentative master plan offered by Mayor Eddie Sundquist.  More money was allocated for a new catagory entitled "Healthy Communities and Neighborhoods."  However... resident Doug Champ questioned why there is no funding for public safety... and called on lawmakers to put 5-percent towards public safety.  Champ did some comparison between the city, and Chautauqua County plans.  He says the county is providing at least four-percent for public safety needs, and is receiving about about $3.5-million dollars less in ARPA funding.  Champ says public safety is one of the key items in the federal legislation... along with public health.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist's revised plan reduces the allocation for Water, Sewer and Broadband from $5-million to $2-million, while Healthy Communities and Neighborhoods is being increased from $2-million to $5-million.  The Finance Committee began discussions on the plan last night.


Saints & Sinners Tours to resume at Lakeview Cemetery this coming weekend...
The Fenton History Center's 16th annual Saints and Sinners Tours at Lakeview Cemetery will get underway this coming weekend.  The President of the Fenton Board of Directors, Rick Lundquist, says both walking and carriage tours will be available.  Lundquist says at least seven stories will be told on each tour using costumed actors about Jamestown, and the cemetery, itself.  The tours run Saturday, Oct 9 and Saturday, Oct. 16. Lundquist says call the Fenton or go to their website for reservations... and do so right away, as the carriage tours for the 16th are already sold out.  The Fenton's mausoleum tours at Lakeview are also back this year, on Sunday, Oct. 17.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Oct. 4, 2021

Missing Warren Co. man found near forest route in Limestone Township...
A missing Tidioute, Pennsylvania man has been found -- dead -- following a three-day search after he went missing late last month.  State Police in Warren say 29 year-old Maxwell Lester had last been seen at his home on Sept. 27... and, was reported missing by family members last Friday afternoon.  Troopers say they located Lester's vehicle on Forest Route 119 in Limestone Township later that day.  Police say they and fire rescue crews searched that are... along the Hickory Creek Wilderness Area of the Alleghany National Forest... but, could not find the missing man.  A State Police K-9 Unit from Harrisburg was brought in... and, Lester was found dead about a mile north of the parking area of Forest Route 119 late Sunday afternoon.  The Warren County Coronor was called in... and Lester's body was taken to a medical examiner in Erie, Pa. for an autopsy.  Howver... foul play is not suspected at this time.


City man pleads guilty to drug trafficking, and providing fatal dose of heroin/fentanyl to another person...
A Jamestown man has pleaded guilty to trafficking heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetime during the Summer months of last year.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. says 26 year-old Brendan Farver entered the plea before Senior U.S. District Judge William Skretny to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, all three narcotic drugs.  Prosecutors say  during the conspiracy, Farver bought and sold the drugs for profit and his own use.  In addition... he brokered deals for other drug dealers in and around the Jamestown area.  They say he used Facebook to conduct his drug trafficking activities, frequently communicating with others to procure and to sell the illegal substances.  In May 2020, police made undercover purchases of heroin from the defendant on two different occasions.  In addition... in July of last year, Farver was accused of bringing a heroin/fentanyl to an associate identified as "K.T." at that person's home on Victoria Avenue in Jamestown.  Both then injected the heroin/fentanyl mix... and, "K.T." was found dead the next morning.  An autopsy concluded that the associate had died due to an "accidental, fatal overdose."  Farver is to be sentenced next May 25.


One person killed in Allegany County House explosion...
State Police say a home in Allegany County has been destroyed by a possible explosion... and, troopers now say the body of a dead person has been found inside.  State Police in Amity say multiple fire departments responded with them shortly after noon Saturday to the home in Alma, near the Pennsylvania border.  Troopers say the house was completely leveled by a possible "fire/explosion" and the state police Bureau of Criminal Investigation is at the scene.  Police say they have no cause yet for the explosion or death at this time.  The body was removed from the scene and sent to the Medical Examiners for identification.


Woman from Warren, Pa. killed in Sugar Grove accident...
A Warren, Pennsylvania woman was killed early last Friday morning in a single car accident at an intersection in the boro of Sugar Grove.  State Police in Warren say 58 year-old Donna Ekstrom, was a passenger in the car when the accident occured at Warren Road and Main Street about 5 AM.  Troopers say the driver of the car... 80 year-old Geraldine Davis of Warren... was northbound on Warren Road... and, failed to stop at the stop sign at Main Street.  Police say the vehicle continued into a concrete wall across Main Street.  Davis was seriously hurt... and, taken to a local hospital.


Women’s March held in Jamestown Saturday is one of more than 600 worldwide...
Women’s marches took place Saturday in over 650 cities worldwide… including Jamestown.  Over 100 people gathered in Dow Park at noon to rally for a woman's choice to end a pregnancy.  Some in the crowd carried placards stating “Hands off my Uterus” and “Get Your Bans off Our Bodies.”  Once they reached Tracy Plaza over a half dozen speakers took the microphone, including Renee Posey, one of the organizers of the event... and, says anyone who can become pregnant has the right to make make the choices that are right for them, and their bodies.  Executive Dir. Amanda Gesing with the Jamestown YWCA, said women need to stand up, and speak out.  The Saturday march was independently organized, with the help of the YWCA and the Jamestown Justice Coalition.


Whitaker says manditory COVID testing come to schools for unvaccinated staff...
Weekly testing will become part of the COVID-19 protocols for local school districts later this month for staff who are not vaccinated.  That from Jamestown School Superindent Kevin Whitaker... who says the state Health Department put the mandate in place shortly after Governor Kathy Hochul took office in August.  Whitaker says the only staff who are fully-vaccinated would not be required to do this on a weekly basis... and, it will "start soon."  He gave no specific date for the testing to start.  However... he says, once they have the testing in place, this will allow the district to offer voluntary testing for any students, and staff who want it done.  He says it will be dependent on the availability of those tests.  

WJTN News Briefs for Sat., Oct. 2, 2021

County reports 62 new COVID cases on Friday, along with one new death...
There are 62 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 being reported in Chautauqua County the past day... and, there was one new death.  The county's Department of Health says 184 people have now succombed to the virus... while there have now been 12,080 total cases.  Officials add that the number of hospitalizations remains 37... and, there are now 448 active cases.  They add that 16 of the new cases were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... and, there are now 11,448 cases have now recovered... and, the seven-day infection rate is now 8.4%
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Also... from the County's COVID-19 Dashboard on Friday... beginning next week, the Chautauqua County Health Department will transition to weekly reporting of COVID-19 cases.  The report on Monday, October 4th will include cases from Friday, October 1st and Saturday, October 2nd.  On Wednesday, October 6th, a preview of the weekly reporting format will be issued, and on Wednesday, October 13, a full case report will be issued for the week of October 3-9.  On each Wednesday moving forward, cases will be reported for the prior calendar week, Sunday-Saturday.  This reporting model is compatible with other counties throughout the WNY region.


Nurses at Buffalo's Mercy Hospital on strike...
About 2,000 nurses and other employees have gone on strike at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo after their union and Catholic Health System failed to reach an agreement.  The Buffalo News reports that hundreds of workers represented by Communications Workers of America Local 1133 picketed outside the hospital as the strike began at 6 a.m. Friday.  The CWA's area director says negotiators made progress in talks overnight but not enough to avoid a walkout.  Mark Sullivan is the president and CEO of Catholic Health. He says the company made ``fair and competitive'' proposals to increase wages and staffing.


SUNY JCC and MAST Kick-Off Manufacturing Day and Month Friday...
Friday begins National Manufacturing Month... and, local officials kicked off the month with a special ceremony yesterday morning at SUNY Jamestown Community College's Manufacturing Technology Institute.  The program was hosted by JCC, and the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier.  MAST's Executive Director Todd Tranum says they're excited to host the local Manufacturing Day celebration.  Tranum says manufacturing is where "idea's come to fruition..." and where ideas and innovation all come together.  Tranum says there are still many manufacturing career opportunities in Jamestown... and, the western Southern Tier of New York state.  Nationwide... there are still many jobs that have been left unfilled in the aftermath of the pandemic... and, this region is no different.  However... Tranum says filling these skilled jobs has been an issue for some time now.  He says there are still good, high-paying jobs available across the sector.  In addition to Tranum, who is also president of the Western New York "Dream It -- Do It" program... the program at the institute will was co-hosted by JCC President Daniel DeMarte.

WJTN News Headlines for Thur., Sept. 30, 2021

Sorry this was not properly uploaded Thursday

Hochul taps Bassett as new Health Commissioner...
Former New York City Health Commissioner Mary Bassett will become the top health official in the state as it seeks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Governor Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday that Bassett will replace outgoing state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, a key figure in former Governor Andrew Cuomo's pandemic response.  Zucker has been criticized over his handling of pandemic, especially in relation to nursing homes.  Hochul recently announced his resignation.  She lauded Bassett's 30 years of experience in the public and private sectors and her devotion to health equity and social justice. 


Chautauqua County reports 102 new COVID cases on Thursday...
There are 102 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 being reported in Chautauqua County over the past day... and, more than half are in the Jamestown-area.  The county's Department of Health says there have now been 11,938 total cases... and, 437 of those are currently active.  Officials add that 33 are hospitalized... and, 52 of the new cases were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  They add that 11,320 cases have now recovered... and, there were no new deaths.  Officials say the seven-day infection rate is 7.6-percent... which remains high.


Cattaraugus County reports 35 new COVID cases Thursday...
In Cattaraugus County... health officials are reporting 35 new cases yesterday... bringing their total to 6,921.  Of those... they say 251 cases are active, and 27 people are hospitalized.  There have now been 120 deaths... and, the number of recovered cases is now 6,541.  The seven-day infection rate is now 5-percent.


BPU approves two new "Flex-Rate" deals with Bush Industries and SKF...
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities has approved a new "flex-rate" agreement with Bush Industries... and, renewed another with SKF USA.  The board approved both agreements at this week's meeting.  Officials say the flex rate programs allow for lower energy costs for companies in the BPU's service area... if those companies commit to having a certain number of workers... and, invest in the capital needs of their facilities.  BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says the first agreement with Bush runs through Oct. 31 of next year.  Leathers adds the deal with SKF is for four additional years... beginning on November 1st of this year through October of 2025.  He says their agreements with SKF date back to 2007.


City Council approves new, voluntary Medicare Advantage program for city retirees...
Retirees from Jamestown city government now have a new Medicare Advantage plan they can sign up for that will be free for the first five-years they are in.  That after City Council voted this week to begin the new plan... which was developed by a Health Insurance Committee... which included At-Large Councilman Jeff Russell.  Russell says enrollment in the new plan by Highmark Western New York is strictly voluntary... giving them another option for health insurance.  He says it could save the city a significant amount of money down the road.  He especially thanked city Insurance Consultant Roy Glosser and City Comptroller Ryan Thompson for their hard work on the matter.  During a recent work session... Glosser clarified a couple of points... one being that the city takes on no risk when a retiree goes onto the Highmark plan.  Russell noted that the city spends about $7-million a year on retiree health insurance... and, they hope to see some savings as city retirees move onto the new, Medicare Advantage program.  The city has been self-insured for many years now.  Monday night's vote was unanimous.

CRCF reports results of Jamestown's ARPA public input sessions...
There were four main areas of discussion that came up during the four public input sessions on the city of Jamestown's $28-million allocation in American Rescue Plan Act funding.  The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation co-hosted the four sessions with the city... and, sifted through the comments to determine the 'final four.'  Foundation Community Impact Officer Elizabeth Jones told City Council members recently that the one generating the most comment was Housing and Neighborhood Stability... with issues ranging from home improvement programs, to receivership, and housing insecurity.  Jones says the second-biggest discussion surrounded economic... and workforce development.  She says that includes the need to better assist minority and women-owned businesses.  The third biggest area of discussion was Residents Health and Well-being.  She says that includes both physical and mental health, and the need for a multi-disciplinary approach.  Jones says the fourth was Recreation and Youth Activites.  The four public input sessions were followed by two additional, more targeted sessions.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist's administration will now draw up a final plan off the recommendations.


Lawyer says Hochul is using God unfairly in Vaccine Fight...
A lawyer for a group trying to preserve a religious exemption for health care workers says New York Governor Kathy Hochul is unjustly using God's name to try to nudge employers into ignoring court orders allowing the exemption.  The attorney made the claim Wednesday during arguments before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  Hochul has encouraged religious-minded people to get a COVID-19 vaccine by saying it is God's will.  An attorney for the state says the Department of Health is in full compliance with court orders.  The mandate took effect Monday and allows employers to suspend or fire healthcare workers who refuse a vaccine.

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