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Local News Headlines Archives for 2022-01

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Jan. 31, 2022

Dunkirk man killed in snowmobile accident in town of Chautauqua...
A north county man was killed in a snowmobile accident that occured late last night on a trail in the town of Chautauqua.  Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene -- off Bloomer Road -- shortly after 10 p.m., along with a number of other rescue crews.  Officers say they found 37 year-old Thomas Allen of Dunkirk... at the crash site... and, he was given emergency treatment.  However... he later died at the scene.  At this time the cause of the accident is under investigation.


One person seriously hurt when his car slams into back of parked tractor-trailer in No. Harmony...       A 21 year-old man has been seriously hurt after his car struck the back of a parked tractor-trailer on Interstate 86 in the town of North Harmony early Monday morning.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene... and, found the big rig -- operated by Rakhimov Dilshodjon of West Park, Florida -- was pulled over on the shoulder.  Deputies say the unidentified driver of the car struck the parked tractor-trailer shortly after 2:30 a.m.   Officers say he was the only occupant of the car, and was flown to UPMC Hamot Medical Center for treatment of his injuries.  His name is not being released pending notification of relatives.  The investigation is continuing... and charges are pending.


Borrello disappointed commission recommends changing farm labor OT threshold from 60 to 40 hrs...
New York state is looking at lowering the farm worker overtime threshold from 60 hours a week to 40 hours.  That after a state board voted late Friday to recommend to the Labor Commissioner that a 40-hour overtime rule for farm workers phased in over the next 10 years.  The news is disappointing to State Senator George Borrello... who says not only will the new threshold hurt farmers... it will also harm farm workers.  Borrello says many have already spoken at public hearings that the measure will hurt their ability to make money and provide for their families.  If the recommendation is approved by the labor commissioner... New York would join California and Washington state in phasing in an overtime threshold common in other industries.  Borrello says Governor Kathy Hochul is also proposing a new tax credit to help farmers in the state.  It's one of several issues the Sunset Bay Republican is dealing with as he continues at the Ranking GOP Member of the senate Agriculture committee.


Erie, PA woman arrested following DWI crash in French Creek...
An Erie, Pennsylvania woman has been arrested following a single-car accident in the town of French Creek blamed on drunk driving.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Mann Rd. just after 8:30 p.m. Friday... and, found the driver -- 21 year-old Haley Pernesky -- was driving while intoxicated.  Deputies say Pernesky was taken to the Clymer Sub-station for processing on the DWI charge.  She was later released with tickets to appear in Mina Town Court at a later date.  No injuries were reported in the accident.


SUNY JCC extends deadline for applications for Nursing program...
Students interested in studying nursing at Jamestown Community College this fall will have a little longer than usual to file their applications.  The college’s Director of Nursing, Dr. Heather Burrell, says the usual Feb. 1 deadline is being set aside this year because they haven't had as many applicants up to this point.  Burrell believes the disruption of the pandemic may be influencing the application rate.  At the same time... the COVID-19 era has led to increased need for nurses… who can be hired for $25 to $35-dollars an hour.  Burrell says their graduates are pretty much guaranteed a job somewhere because "the demand is extremely high."  The application period for the JCC nursing program will remain open until all spots are filled.  More information is available by calling JCC or going to the college’s website.


Falconer woman arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle illegal drugs into County Jail...         
A Falconer woman is accused of trying to smuggle illegal drugs into the Chautauqua County Jail as she was being secured into the facility.  Sheriff's officers say a corrections officer searched 34 year-old Elizabeth Seice Jan. 16, and, found a small quantity of suspected methamphetamine.  Deputies say an investigation by the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force found that Seice had been in possession of the methamphetamine while being booked.  Officers obtained an arrest warrant from Chautauqua Town Court and, it was turned over to the County Jail where Seice is currently being held on unrelated charges. 


Girl Scout cookies now on sale...
Girl Scout cookies are now for sale across the area.  And Laura Fakharzadeh, Product Program Manager for the Girl Scouts of Western New York, says the fastest way to get some is to contact any girl scout... and do it on-line.  That way... Fakharzadeh says you can have them in your hands in about 10 days.  Some shipping fees apply.  Cookies are $5 a box.  Girls are also taking orders on the traditional ‘order card’… and they’ll be selling cookies at booths beginning March 5th.  The scouts are offering a new flavor this year… the ‘adventurefuls’... which is a brownie inspired cookie.  Fakharzadeh says some areas of the country are short on the new ‘adventurefuls,’ there will be plenty in Western New York.  More information on all the ways to buy Girl Scout cookies is available at gswny.org.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Jan. 28, 2022

Hochul extends mask mandate in NYS to Feb. 10...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul says the state's mask mandate will be extended until at least Feb. 10.  Hochul announced the extension late Friday for the mandate that requires face coverings in all indoor public places unless the businesses or venues require COVID-19 vaccinations.  The mandate was first announced on Dec. 10.  Hochul said it has been "a critical tool" in driving COVID-19 numbers down.  Coronavirus infections spiked in New York around Christmas, thanks to the emergence of the highly infectious omicron variant.  But infections have declined in recent weeks. Hochul said the mask mandate could be lifted after Feb. 10 if case counts keep declining.


Chautauqua County under Wind Chill Advisory starting at Midnight tonight...
Some of the coldest air of the Winter will arrive in Western New York late tonight into late morning tomorrow.  The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Advisory from Midnight tonight through 11 a.m. Saturday.  Forecaster Liz Jurkowski with the Weather Service's Buffalo office... says the air temperature will drop in most places to about 2-below zero.  Jurkowski says people will want to layer on clothing if you have to venture outside.  She says those wind chill values could be as low as 15-below zero.  The northeast is bracing for another nor-easter... but, she says -- aside from the wind -- we won't be affected by that because the storm system will stay far to our east.  Tomorrow's high will be 13... but, wind chills will again make the "real feel" temperature about 15-below.  We will see a gradual warm up next week.


Whitaker among school officials awaiting Appellate Court ruling on mask mandate...
New York state's Appellate Court could decide as early as today on an appeal of a State Supreme Court ruling on Governor Kathy Hochul's mask mandate.  The Appellate court judge involved issued a stay in the case until the court hears the Hochul administration's appeal.  The lower court ruling on Long Island stated the administration lacked the constitutional authority to order people to wear face coverings.  Jamestown School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says school districts are hoping for a quick resolution.  While a ruling against Hochul would end the mask mandate... Whitaker says it may also impact how many days a student has to stay away from school because of a positive test... or being close to someone who tested positive.  He says if the mandate is thrown out... and, students have the option, they would not be able to have an early 5-day return to the classroom because they have to wear a mask for that.  The attorney who challenged the mandate on behalf of a group of parents says he will continue to fight.  Whitaker made his comments Thursday on our Dennis Webster Show.


Borrello introduces measure to eliminate "Duty to Retreat" clause in state's "self-defense" statues...
Local State Senator George Borrello has introduced legislation to eliminate the "duty to retreat" clause from New York 'self-defense' statutes to give law-abiding citizens the right to defend themselves -- regardless of where they are when in imminent danger.  In announcing the legislation... Borrello said every "one of us has a fundamental right to self-defense.  But in practice, the right to self-defense is limited to our homes."  The Sunset Bay Republican says, especially in light of the "more dangerous environment we live in," he hopes the law passes.  Borrello says the ‘duty to retreat’ clause, requires New Yorkers to retreat from a violent aggressor when in public before they can defend themselves and their loved ones. He says that doesn't make sense.  He adds that those found justified in using deadly force to defend themselves would also be immune from civil liability... because even if found not guilty in a criminal trial... you could still be liable in a "wrongful death" lawsuit.  Borrello says residents "have a right to use firearms to defend ourselves... and, that right doesn’t end the minute we leave our homes."


City man arrested for third straight day for public lewdness...
A Jamestown man has now been arrested a third time in as many days after allegedly exposing himself to several people in the waiting room at UPMC Chautauqua Hospital.  City police were called to the hospital on Foote Avenue for the second time in two days about 6 PM Thursday to arrest 39 year-old Kenneth Trask.  Officers say it's the second consecutive time they're responded to a call regarding Trask.  He was taken into custody on one count of first-degree public lewdness... and, is being held pending arraignment.  Trask has been released the previous two times as required under the state's bail reform laws.


County Jail inmate arrested for promoting prison contraband...
A Chautauqua County Jail inmate is charged with promoting prison contraband after he allegedly tried to sneak a small quantity of heroin inside a pair of jail-issued socks.  Corrections officers at the jail say they found the heroin the morning of Jan. 5.  They called in the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force... which found that 19 year-old Devon Smith was the person who put the heroin in the socks.  Officers say an arrest warrant was obtained from Chautauqua Town Court... and, given to jail officials.  Smith was being held on unrelated charges.  Smith was returned to the jail pending arraignment on the first-degree promoting prison contraband charge... and, for seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Jan. 27, 2022

County Legislature fails to act on motion that was focus of discussion at Wed. meeting...
There was not enough support to bring a motion to the floor of the Chautauqua County Legislature last night supporting the Health Department's efforts to control the spread and severity of COVID-19.  However... the measure was the main focus of last night's one-hour and a half-long meeting.  First-term Fredonia Democrat Susan Parker sponsored the motion... and, called the lack of action a "missed opportunity" for the legislature to whole-heartedly endorse the legitimacy of all the health department's continuing work in our community..." as well as support health care workers "treating sick and dying residents."  Only four legislators signed onto the motion... but, 10 were needed to bring it to the floor.  Jamestown Republican Elizabeth Rankin later pointed out that the legislature has not contradicted what the Health Department recommends when it comes to wearing masks and getting vaccinated.  Rankin says the Board of Health, of which she's a member, urge residents "to take personal responsibility, and chose wisely."  She noted that she has chosen to get vaccinated due to health concerns... and, she wears a mask indoors where it's requested.  Sheridan Republican Terry Neibel says there were parts of the motion that he could agree with... but, others that he could not.  Those were namely having children 5 and up get vaccinated, and those 2 years and older wear a mask.
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The number of new cases of COVID-19 continue to fall in Chautauqua County over the past week.  However... that drop has been slow.  The Health Department Wednesday reported another 1,653 cases for the week ending last Saturday... and, there were five new deaths.  Officials say there are now 24,531 total cases... and, 24,044 have now recovered.  There was no figure given for active cases.  The five new deaths brings that total to 295... and, 33 people are now hospitalized. 


Three men arrested during raid at town of Ellicott hotel on attemped homicide charges...
Three men from out-of-state wanted for attempted homicide were arrested during a raid on a room at the Clarion Pointe Hotel just north of Jamestown.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's officers say members of the Jamestown Metro, and Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Forces, executed a search warrant shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday at the 2800 North Main St. location.  The warrant accuses 18 year-old Sammy Carrasquillo, Jr. of Cleveland, Ohio, 32 year-old Mark Smith of Albion, Pa., and, 28 year-old James Terrell of Erie, Pa., of the attempted criminal homicide in Northeast, Pennsylvania.  Deputies say one of the suspects was taken into custody in the parking lot... and, the other two were arrested in the hotel room.  Drug agents then obtained a search warrant for the room... and, found 22 ounces of methamphetamine, about 7 grams of fentanyl, one-gram of cocaine and $600 cash.  All three suspects were charged as fugitives from Justice for the attempted criminal homicide warrants.  They were also charged with second-degree criminal possession of a Controlled Substance... two counts each of third-degree criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance... and, second-degree Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia.  All three suspects were taken to the county jail for Centralized Arraignment.


Hochul appoints gun violence czar...
New York's governor has appointed an administrator with a background in anti-poverty efforts and public health as the head of a new state agency that will try to curb gun violence.  Democrat Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday that Calliana Thomas will direct the state's Office of Gun Violence Prevention.  Thomas previously worked on gun violence prevention programs during seven years with New York City's health department... and. also worked for an institute affiliated with the Harlem Children's Zone, a youth development group.  The new state agency is within the state's health department.  Hochul said it will examine the drivers and effects of gun violence.


Reed sounds off on Russia-Ukraine tensions...
Local Congressman Tom Reed says he's pleased to see the United States and NATO being unified in standing up to Russia as tensions remain high along with border with Ukraine.  The Biden administration and NATO members told Russia Wednesday there will be no U.S., or allied concessions on Moscow's main demands to resolve the crisis over Ukraine.  Reed says he was concerned about the "conflicting messages" last week from the administration... and, "we are united -- I believe as a nation -- that the aggression of Russia into Ukraine, needs to be held in check because our allies are watching us closely."  He also believes that China is as well because of their tensions with Taiwan.  In separate written responses delivered to the Russians, the U.S. and NATO held firm to the alliance's open-door policy for membership.  That includes rejecting a demand to permanently ban Ukraine from joining, and said they will not negotiate allied deployments of troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe.  The responses were not unexpected.


Unemployment insurance increase passes Senate... vote pending in Assembly...
New York state could boost weekly benefits for laid-off workers and delay unemployment tax hikes for employers under a bill that passed the Senate this week.  The state Senate unanimously voted Tuesday to pass the legislation sponsored by state Senator Anna Kaplan, a Democrat from Long Island.  The bill now awaits a vote in the Assembly.  The office of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, didn't immediately respond to request for comment Wednesday.  State lawmakers hope to help an economy that's rebounding but at a slower pace than the nation.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Jan. 26, 2022

County IDA approves incentive package for South Ripley Solar Project...
The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency's board of directors has approved incentives for ConnectGen Chautauqua County, LLC's South Ripley Solar Project.  Deputy County Executive for Economic Development... and IDA Chief Executive Officer Mark Geise says the 270 megawatt large-scale solar project that will be located in South Ripley will have a lot of benefits... including $30-million in payment to local landowners, and $800,000 a year in tax revenues to the town of Ripley each year for the 30-year life of a payment-in-lieu of tax agreement.  In addition... Geise says the incentives include sales tax abatements, and a mortgage recording tax abatement for the project.  He says there are still some environmental reviews yet to be done.  He says the state's review will take about a year... so the project will likely begin in early or mid-2023.  Officials say the project is expected to produce more than 200 family-wage jobs during the construction process.


Dahlstrom Rollform completes move into new facility in Falconer...
A Jamestown-area manufacturer has completed a four-month move into a new facility in the village of Falconer.  Dahlstrom Rollform is now in a new facility with D.C. Rollform at 221 Lister Ave.  Dahlstrom Rollform President Rob White says they're pleased to be in the new location... and, says they performed most of the move internally... moving each of their 15 rollforming machines in two week increments.  He says they did buffer runs of inventory to make sure they had supply ready for customers before moving a particular line.  White says the new location is ideal because it mainly has a concrete floor with higher ceilings... and no interior walls.  He adds they're able to move raw materials in at one end... and push finished product out the other.  White adds the move should also help with customer relationships through increased reliability, and response time.  White says their loyal customers actually helped them outgrow their old facility.  He made his comments in a special, YouTube video.


Borrello happy to see NYS Supreme Court judge rule Hochul's mask mandate unconstitutional...
A local New York state lawmaker says he's pleased that a State Supreme Court judge from Long Island has ruled that the mask mandate imposed by Governor Kathy Hochul last month is unconstitutional.  State Senator George Borrello says he has been a strong opponent to such measures... and, calls it another situation where those mandates have been struck down.  The State Department of Education says it will still require masks for students in schools while the decision is appealed, but Borrello says that is causing confusion.  He says the state Health Department is also continuing that requirement.  In a statement issued last night... Hochul said her administration "strongly" disagrees with the ruling and will pursue every option to have it reversed.


Dunkirk man sentenced to two-years in prison for rape...
A Dunkirk man faces two-years in state prison... and, 10 years post-release supervision after pleading guilty to a third-degree rape charge.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt says 66 year-old James Miller entered the plea before County Court Judge David Foley Tuesday.  Schmidt says Miller was arrested in July of last year in connection with the May 2021 incident.  Schmidt and Assistant D.A. Tracey Brunecz thanked the Dunkirk Police Department for their work on the investigation, and their assistance in prosecuting the case.


Administrators of SAT say test is going digital...
The administrators of the SAT say the exam will move from paper and pencil to a digital format.  They say the shift will boost the test's relevancy in an increasingly test-optional college admissions landscape. Test-takers will be able to use their own laptops. But they will still have to take the test at a monitored site or in school. The format change is scheduled to roll out internationally next year and in the U.S. in 2024.


United Way of So. Chautauqua County makes 2021 General Campaign goal...
Tuesday's "Campaign Celebration Day" was topped off in a big way for the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County.   The annual general campaign celebration was held yesterday afternoon virtually... and 2021 Campaign Co-Chair Christine Tarbrake announced the final results of the effort... which had a goal of $1.3-million.  She said they raised $1.314-million.  Chris Tarbrake and her husband, Mark, co-chaired the campaign.  Mark Tarbrake praised the work of United Way staff... and, especially volunteers for their efforts during a difficult year.  United Way Executive Director Amy Rohler told us earlier that "pandemic fatigue" made this year's fund raising more difficult than last year.  Rohler believes everyone in the community is touched by at least one of the 43 programs supported by the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County.  


Tickets still available for Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame induction dinner...
Tickets are still available for the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame Induction Dinner at the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club on President's Day, Feb. 21.  This year's class is a 'holdover' group from last year when the banquet could not be held.  Despite that, Hall of Fame President, Randy Anderson, says the inductees will be well represented at the event.  Anderson says only one family will not be able to attend.  Tickets are $50 each and available at the Sports Hall of Fame, the Jamestown Cycle Shop or from Banquet Chairman Chip Johnson.  For the dinner, COVID protocols will be in effect.

 


 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Jan. 25, 2022

City Council to consider another $1.2-million in ARPA purchases for parks and public works departments...
The Jamestown City Council will look next week at buying $1.26-million worth of Public Works and Parks Department vehicles and equipment using American Rescue Plan Act funds.  Lawmakers got an in-depth presentation by City Fleet Manager Pat Monaghan during last night's work session on the proposals.  Monaghan says one of the key Parks vehicles would replace a 22 year-old bucket truck... which has to be inspected yearly.  The past couple of years, he says their inspection firm has advised them that they will have to do extensive work and refurbishing of the bucket and truck totaling $30,0000 to $40,000.  Monaghan says a new bucket truck will cost $180,000.  The total amount of Parks purchases totalled $370,000.  Monaghan says one of the key items for the DPW is the need to replace a 1996 combination snow plow and dump truck... which he says they can't find parts for anymore.  Because of that... he says they can't use the truck for snow removal any more.  He says the new truck would cost $225,000... while the highest priced item would be a $275,000 street sweeper.  The DPW equipment purchases total $890,000.... but, they would exceed $1-million if council decided on an additional purchase of a new sidewalk plow to replace a 43-year-old model that's impossible to get parts for now.  That would cost $154,000. 


Council also learns Housing Court has reopened...
City lawmakers last night also learned that Housing Court reopening last Friday after being closed for many months due to the pandemic.  Development Director Crystal Surdyk addressed that matter... and, council also heard more about the hiring of a new School Resource Officers for the Jamestown Public Schools.  Police Chief Tim Jackson says the new SRO would be in the middle schools.


Former Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver, dies in prison...
Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has died while serving a prison sentence in a corruption case.  Silver died Monday, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.  The person could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to A-P on condition of anonymity.  Silver was 77.  The Democrat was one of the most powerful figures in state government for two decades before his conviction on corruption charges.  He had been sentenced to more than six years in prison for using his clout in state government to benefit real estate developers. 


State judge overturns mask mandate, but, it remains in effect until appeal is heard...
A state judge late Monday ruled that New York's mask mandate can't be enforced.  The mandate was reinstituted by Governor Kathy Hochul over concerns about a winter surge of coronavirus cases.  The state health department has said the mandate would be in place until Feb. 1.  State Supreme Court Judge Thomas Rademaker said in his decision that the state Department of Health didn't have the legal authority to implement the mandate.  In a statement... Hochul says her administration disagrees with the ruling and is "pursuing every option to reverse this immediately."


Wendel believes mask mandate should be lifted, or at least expire on Feb. 1...
With COVID-19 positivity rates across New York state continuing to trend downward... Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel feels the mask mandate for indoor public venues should be lifted.  Wendel said earlier Monday that many feel that Governor Kathy Hochul will probably lift the mandate on Feb. 1... and, several others agree.  However... he says if you still feel the need to mask up when going into a public place, by all means, do it.  Meanwhile.... Wendel says it’s important for county residents to continue to follow the COVID-19 guidelines.  He says wear the mask, and get vaccinated and boosted.  Hochul said last Friday during a COVID-19 briefing that she did not expect to announce a decision regarding the mask mandate until Jan. 31.


NYS Congressional redistricting appears to be headed to legislature...
Democratic members of New York's redistricting commission threw up their hands Monday... a day before the panel was to submit redrawn congressional boundaries to state lawmakers.  That means the Legislature, which is overwhelmingly controlled by Democrats, can now seize control over a reapportionment process voters hoped would minimize gerrymandering.  Local Congressman Tom Reed is not surprised... saying this is what Democrats wanted because they want to reduce the number of "strong" Republican districts to three, if possible.  However... Reed also believes his Southern Tier District will be left largely intact... and become what's being referred to as a "super GOP District."  However... he says there would be fewer of them.  The state is losing one congressional seat after the 2020 U.S. Census.  The redistricting commission had been mired in partisanship, and many had lost hope that the commission could come up with a unified proposal in its first outing since New York voters established it in 2014.  How the state carves out its congressional districts could influence the balance of power in Washington. 


Cattaraugus County man arrested for sex offense...
A Cattaraugus County man has been arrested for an alleged sex offense in the town of Napoli last weekend.  Sheriff's deputies in Little Valley say the unidentified man, who's 45 year-olds and from Napoli, was arrested for the offense.  The incident allegedly occured on Fuss Rd. Jan. 14.  Officers charged the man with third-degree sexual abuse and forcible touching.  He was issued appearance tickets for Napoli Town Court at a later date.

 

 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Jan. 24, 2022

Space heater blamed for house fire in town of Pomfret...
No one was hurt in a house fire in the town of Pomfret last Friday night reportedly caused by a propane space heater.  Chautauqua County Fire investigators say Fredonia crews were called to the scene on Kelly Hill Road about 9:30 p.m., and, mutual aid was called in from Stockton, Cassadaga, and Brocton.  They found the space heater was in close proximity to debris and a propane tank inside a mobile home... and, started the blaze on the floor of the residence.  Two parked recreational vehicles were also involved.  


Fredonia crews respond to apartment house fire Monday morning...
Fredonia firefighters responded to a report of a fire in an apartment on Cleveland Avenue this morning.  Crews were sent to the scene around 7:15 a.m., and, Chautauqua County Emergency Dispatchers say firefighters were able to knock down the fire.  Fredonia Police also assisted at the scene.

 
Jamestown woman arrested for shoplifting and assault...
A Jamestown woman has been arrested for allegedly shoplifting several items from the Dollar General store on Winsor Street... and, then punching and biting an employee while trying to flee.  City police were called to the scene about 3 PM last Friday on a complaint of a shoplifter.  Upon arrival... officers spoke with the employee who confronted the shoplifter... 30 year-old Victoria Bentley.  The employee said an altercation occurred in the parking lot where Bentley allegedly punched and bit the employee prior to police arriving.  Officers took Bentley into custody after a short struggle... and, she was taken to the City Jail pending arraignment on charges of third-degree assault, and petty larceny.


Sundquist explains new citizen BPU appointments...
City lawmakers will vote next week on two new citizen members of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities appointed by Mayor Eddie Sundquist.  Sundquist's decision to not reappoint former City Councilman Greg Rabb and Jim Olson has stirred some controversy.  He did publicly thank both men for their service... but, had decided to name Shawn Connor and Sabrina Gustafson to be on the panel.  Sundquist says Connor comes from a banking background... and, Gustafson is a former social welfare examiner for the county... who now owns a translation business.  He says she has a good perspective on minority communities in the city.  With future changes in the energy industry likely... and, moves towards climate policy... Sundquist believes having diversity is important.  The appointments were tabled at the City Council's reorganizational meeting earlier this month.  They'll be voted on at the Jan. 31 meeting.  The City Council holds a work session tonight at 7:30 p.m.  Sundquist made his comments for a recent "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Wendel says county leaders across NYS feel positive about dialogue with Hochul...
Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel says county leaders statewide are generally positive about Governor Kathy Hochul's first few months in office... as well as her 2022-23 budget proposal.  Wendel took part in a conference call with members of the New York State Association of counties late last week to mainly discuss the 216-billion dollar spending plan.  He says Hochul has been hearing county leaders... and, they will be getting more infrastructure money under the proposed spending plan.  Wendel says it's the first time since he's been in office where the counties feel they have a good working relationship with executive branch.  He says what has helped the state is the influx of federal funding... that has wiped out what was looking initially like a multi-year, $69-billion deficit.  He says that is now going to become a surplus -- thanks in large part to COVID relief aid from the federal government.  Last week... Hochul also said that higher than expected tax revenues have helped, as well.


Reed feels Biden's "Build Back Better" legislation is dead...
It appears President Joe Biden's proposed $1.7-trillion "Build Back Better" legislation is dead in the water... at least in it's current form.  Some members of Congress have suggested pulling some items -- like the child tax credit -- out and voting on separate bills may garner some bi-partisan support.  However... local Congressman Tom Reed isn't sure about that.  That's even though his former co-chair on the Problem Solver's Caucus -- New Jersey Democrat Josh Gottheimer -- believes it can be.  Reed says he feels, though, it would have to be presented apart from the "Build Back Better" framework.  The Corning Republican says the way the Biden Administration tied the legislation to the infrastructure bill wound up slowing progress on the 1.2-trillion dollar infrastructure measure.  He says the eventual separating of the two allowed some Republican members to also support the "road and bridges" measure.  Reed hopes the administration learns from what's happened.  During his first telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media in several months... Reed touted what's in the Infrastructure Bill that will benefit the 23rd Congressional District.  


Senior scammer snagged on Long Island after trying to scam retired police dispatcher...
A Long Island woman is being praised by police after she helped them catch an alleged scammer seeking to prey on the elderly.  Newsday reports the 73-year-old woman received a call last Thursday from a man pretending to be her grandson and saying he'd been charged with driving under the influence and needed cash to post bail.  The woman, a retired police dispatcher, knew it was a scam since her grandchildren are too young to drive, but she played along with the ruse and contacted Nassau County police.  They arrived and hid inside, and when a man arrived to collect the money, they tackled him in her front yard and arrested him. 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Jan. 21, 2022

Sundquist urges residents to be careful with frigid wind chills through Saturday morning...
The city of Jamestown is urging residents to be careful today through tomorrow morning as temperatures fall to zero to -10 below zero... and the winds chills making it feel like -15 below.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says... "while we deal with cold temperatures frequently, do not underestimate the effects that extreme cold can have on the body."  He adds it "can generate a significant decrease in body temperature, and induce frostbite damage to exposed skin and other tissue over an accelerated period of time."  Sundquist urges people to wear layers and if you go outside, let someone know that you are leaving and when you make it to your destination.  If you need help or resources... he says call 2-1-1 to connect with agencies that provide help with food, shelter and closing... and other needs.  


Wendel believes county is moving to other side of COVID omicron peak...
Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel says he believes that the county has passed its peak winter surge of COVID-19.  Wendel spoke after the county reported a slight decline in the number of new COVID cases for the week of Jan. 9-16.  The Lakewood Republican says the county's COVID numbers are following a similar pattern compared to one year ago... where there was a decline between Thanksgiving and Christmas... and, then again after New Years.  Wendel also pointed to the county's significant decline in the number of active cases over the past week.  The county had 339 new active cases of the virus as of Saturday, which is 75.5% lower than a week ago... when there were just over 1,300 cases... that's a drop of about 1,000 cases.  Wendel believes that the drastic reduction in that number is due to the required quarantine period being shortened to five days.


Two arrested after alleged overnight fight in Jamestown early Wednesday...
Two people from Jamestown are accused of fighting a man... and, damaging his cellphone and then trying to push him into oncoming traffic on the city's westside.  City police were called to the undisclosed scene shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday... and spoke to the victim.  Officers say he told them that 19 year-old Ray Babyak had punched him in the face... and, threw his cellphone to the ground so he couldn't call 9-1-1.  They add 52 year-old Heather Babyak then allegedly tried to push him into on-coming traffic.  Both suspects left the scene before police arrived... but, they were found at a nearby address.  Ray Babyak is charged with second-degree harassment and fourth-degree criminal mischief... while Heather Babyak is charged with second-degree reckless endangerment.


Whitaker says it's "fantastic news" that Hochul's budget fully funds Foundation Aid for schools...
Jamestown School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says it's "fantastic" news that Governor Kathy Hochul is proposing to fully-fund Foundation Aid in her New York state budget proposal.  Hochul Tuesday announced increased spending in several areas... but, added she wanted to put a record $31-billion into funding for the state's public schools.  Whitaker says that would satisfy local districts... who have clamored for two decades... to have fair funding.  He says that funding would go to three areas... student education and socio-emotional support, and for building and facility maintenance upkeep.  Up to this point... Dr. Whitaker says the state has not lived up to it's end of the bargain regarding this 'basic' aid.  Foundation Aid is doled out through a special formula to each district in the state.  Historically... the Jamestown Public Schools have received state aid totaling about 75% of it's budget.  Governor Hochul presented her $216-billion budget plan this past Tuesday.  The legislature must approve a final spending plan by Apr. 1.


Whitaker talks sidewalk snow removal with Jamestown mayor...
There was no school Monday when the region was hit by a nor-easter on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day... which was good news.  However... there were still problems outside some of the Jamestown district's schools when students returned to class Tuesday morning.  Parents complained on social media about sidewalks not being cleared... and, children having to walk in the street.  Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says he spoke with Mayor Eddie Sundquist on Wednesday... about future planning with more emphasis around an in school zone areas.  Whitaker says the city has certain snow-removal responsibilities... but, property owners are expected to keep the sidewalks clear in front of their property.  Therefore... he agrees the district is responsible for clearing the sidewalks.  However... outside the school zones... there's a "patchwork" of responsible people clearing their sidewalk... but, others are not.


Hochul leads NYS gubernatorial field in fundraising...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul has raised nearly $22-million for her election campaign, a huge sum that gives her a dominating advantage over a narrowing field of opponents in the Democratic primary.  Hochul's haul dwarfs her closest competitors among both Democrats and Republicans, according to campaign finance filings Tuesday.  Democratic Congressman Tom Suozzi of Long Island reported $5.4-million in campaign cash for a run against Hochul.  On the Republican side... Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin reported $5.6-million for his campaign.

 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Jan. 20, 2022

City man sentenced to 10 years in prison for trafficking Fentanyl...
A Jamestown man has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison after being convicted of possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of acetyl Fentanyl.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross announced Wednesday that 25 year-old Wade Paulisick received the 120 month sentence from U.S. District Judge Lawrence Vilardo.  Prosecutors say that in September of 2019... a search warrant was executed at Paulisick’s residence on Tower Street... and they found and seized quantities of narcotics including quantities of acetyl fentanyl, fentanyl and methamphetamine, and a stolen handgun.  He was then arrested on the federal charge. 


County reports number of new COVID-19 cases totalled 1,743 for previous week; number is lower, but, still considered high...
While the state-wide trend has been going downward... Chautauqua County's COVID-19 numbers remain high this week.  However... the number of new cases is down slightly from Jan. 9--16, with 1,743 new cases.  The Health Department reports that 339 of those are currently active... and, 31 of those are hospitalized.  This brings the total number of cases to 22,878... while 22,249 have now recovered.  Health officials say four people died over that week period... bringing that total to 290.  The daily average of cases is 249... and, the seven-day infection rate fell about 3-points to 17.3-percent. 


Reed expresses concern over Hochul's first budget proposal, but, also offers praise of new governor...
Governor Kathy Hochul's first budget presentation shows how things have changed in a year.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who restarted his weekly telephone conference calls Wednesday... and, commented on the $216-billion spending plan.  Reed says just over a year ago... New York was facing major budget deficits until the American Rescue Plan was adopted.  However... he reiterated that state government also had a spending problem... and that led a few years back to a $10-billion to $14-billion budget deficit.  Reed says he hopes the state doesn't "squander-away" the added revenue... and, find itself back in a deficit situation again.  As for Hochul as governor... the Corning Republican says he was pleased in the beginning to see her work in a bi-partsian manner with the state's Congressional Delegation.  However... he says in the past two months or so... Hochul has held a conference call and meeting with only Democratic members of the delegation.  He called that "very problematic..." and, that it didn't sit well with him and other GOP members of Congress from New York.


Reed critical of Biden's inability to bring unity on one-year anniversary of his inauguration...
President Joe Biden is making his first-year anniversary in office... and, it's been a difficult year for the nation's 46th president.  There have been a number of missteps... but, local Congressman Tom Reed says he thinks the biggest is Biden's inability to unite the country after campaigning that he would.  In fact... Reed says if the president had taken his original path on the infrastructure bill... it would have been in place sooner.  However, after meeting with Congressional Democrats, he decided to tie the bill with his "Build Back Better" legislation.  Reed says... if Biden continues to pander to the far-left of the party... there will be more congressional gridlock.  The President hosted his first stand-alone press conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss a wide range of issues... including dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic... and economic challenges -- including supply chain issues.  


Mayor Sundquist talks about city's response to nor'easter, and sidewalk issues...
Removing snow from sidewalks in Jamestown is still the responsibility of property owners... but Mayor Eddie Sundquist says the city is looking at more ways to help.  Sundquist told our Dennis Webster Wednesday that the plows the city uses to clear sidewalks are specialized... and, unfortunately break down easily.  The mayor says they are looking at purchasing some additional equipment, but, adds the Public Works Dept. has recently been hit by several absences due to COVID.  Sundquist says clearing streets and highways is the first priority for city crews following a major storm.  Sundquist also suggested that Jamestown is considering a system to directly communicate urgent information to residents in critical situations.  Sundquist says residents would be able to sign-up to receive the alerts for such things as weather-related issues... or closings.  The mayor praised the response of city crews to the storm, but said the number of available workers continues to be depleted by COVID-19.


Swanson named new head of Jamestown Community Chamber...
The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce has announced a local woman has been named as the new coordinator and office administrator for the Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce.  County Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Heitzenrater says Carrie Swanson has been hired to the position... after being employed at Wegmans Food Markets for many years where she had managed several departments including Meat, Produce, and the Deli.  Heitzenrater says she's also completed the Dale Carnegie Course Skills for Success, and served as a job coach mentor for the Wegmans Management Intern Program.  Swanson was also a United Way Co-Chair. 


Former WJTN "Italian Hour" host passes away...
A former member of the Media One -- James Broadcasting family has died.  Jim Conti hosted WJTN's "Italian Hour" for many years... and, was a supervisor for the Chautauqua County Highway Department.  He was 84.  Our condolences to his family and friends.  Riccardi's Hubert Funeral Home is handling arrangements for Jim Conti. 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Jan. 19, 2022

Hochul proposes $216-billion, 2022-23 budget that increases spending on pandemic relief, infrastructure and education...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul is proposing a $216-billion budget for 2022-2023 that includes a middle class tax cut... and, includes investments in pandemic relief, infrastructure, and education.  However... Hochul Tuesday also said her spending plan is balanced this year... and, for several more to come.  She says the budget includes historic investments in a number of areas... thanks to a number of factors... including federal pandemic relief.  Hochul says there are also more tax revenues, and a "thriving stock market."  Hochul says the COVID-19 pandemic has laid a number of issues bare that New Yorkers have struggled with the past two-years... and, some more recently.  She says her budget includes a significant amount in additional recovery funds... totaling $2-billion to help landlords and tenants, and hard hit small businesses.  Hochul adds that the $1.2-billion tax cut that she proposed in her State of the State Address will put the money back into the pockets of 6-million middle class New Yorkers.  She says there will also be a $2-billion tax rebate for more than 2-million middle class home owners.  As for education... Hochul says she's proposing a record $31-billion in total state aid for schools in New York state.  The legislature must approve a budget by Apr. 1.


Borrello calls Hochul's budget message "encouraging..." but, still concerned about spending...
The region's state Senator says he's "encouraged" that Governor Hochul's proposed budget doesn’t rely on new taxes or fees and includes some initiatives that would benefit middle-class taxpayers.  Sunset Bay Republican George Borrello he's also pleased to see that she will accelerate the income tax cuts authored a few years ago by the former Senate GOP majority... and will now begin next year.  However, Borrello says he would like to see some of the mandates put on county governments relaxed.  He adds that small businesses are continuing to stuggle to recover.  He says while Hochul has proposed modest small business relief, the best way the state can help is by directing billions in unspent federal aid to ease the crushing unemployment insurance tax rates the state has levied on small employers to replenish the depleted fund. 


Hochul says COVID-19 numbers starting to trend in right direction, with omicron effect waning...
Governor Kathy Hochul says the trends of recent days look positive that New York may soon be able to "close the book" on the Winter Surge of COVID-19 cases... fueled by the omicron variant.  As she began her budget presentation Tuesday morning... Hochul noted that the number of new cases over the past 11 days had fallen from just over 90,000 on Jan. 7, to 22,312 on Monday.  She says that's a 75% drop... which she called "incredible."  She adds the positivity rate is now down to just over 12%... an 11-point drop in the seven-day infection rate from the Winter high reported on Jan. 2.  Chautauqua County will release it's weekly COVID numbers today.  Last week... the county reported it's highest figures of the pandemic with 1,855 cases reported from Jan. 2-8.


Jamestown-area gasoline prices remain steady past week... 
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area remain stable this week... though the price of regular, unleaded fuel rose a penny over the past week.  The AAA East Central's Gas Price Report says this weeks local price remains $3.53 a gallon, which is $1.03 more than last year at this time.  Nationally... AAA says prices increased by a penny to $3.31 per gallon, driven primarily by the cost of crude oil which has vaulted over $80-dollars a barrel.  Officials say the main reason for that increase is the perception that the COVID-19 omicron variant may ebb... allowing the world’s economic engines to kick into high gear.  The potential increase in oil demand, coupled with lagging crude production, will only increase prices.  Since the price of oil accounts for roughly half of what consumers pay at the pump... this will likely result in higher gas prices.


NYS appears ready to pass New Jersey as number one in mobile sports betting...
New York likely surpassed New Jersey for the top spot in the U.S. sports betting market during the first two weekends mobile bets were offered.  That's according to a company that most of the legal U.S. sports betting industry uses to verify that its customers are where they say they are.  GeoComply Solutions recorded 17.9 million transactions last weekend in New York, up from 17.2 million the weekend before.  The data records the amount of times the company was called on to verify a customer's location.  It's considered a good indicator for at least a minimum level of sports betting activity.  New Jersey's level of activity also increased over that same period, but trailed New York.


DiBlasio not running for governor...
Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will not be running for governor.  On Tuesday, he ended months of speculation by announcing he would not enter the Democratic primary in which Governor Kathy Hochul already has a commanding start, having locked up endorsements and fundraising.  De Blasio left office at the end of 2021 after eight years of mayor of the largest city in the country.  He had been hinting for months about a 2022 run for governor... but, said on Twitter that he would instead devote himself to fighting inequality in New York. 


  


 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Jan. 18, 2022

Rolison indicted on three additional charges of Felony weapons possession...
The investigation into the fatal, New Year's Eve hit and run accident on Jamestown's northside has resulted in additional charges against the driver.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says 58 year-old Randal Rolison of Jamestown has been additionally charged with three counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon after he was found to have three unregistered handguns in a storage unit in the town of Busti.  A Chautauqua County Grand Jury handed up the indictments... and, Rolison was arraigned this morning in county court.  With the help of the District Attorney's office... JPD investigators got a search warrant for the storage unit on Jan. 7, and, executed that warrant later that day with the assistance of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force, the county Sheriff’s Department, Lakewood-Busti Police, and the FBI.  During the search, the three handguns were found.  The investigation is continuing and additional charges are possible pending additional follow-up.  Rolison is accused of hitting and killing 15 year-old Alexis Hughan with his 18 wheel car carrier... at West Sixth and Washington Streets -- and, driving off from the scene.


Jamestown area receives about a foot of snow from nor'easter; northern parts of WNY get the most...
The National Weather Service kept a Winter Weather Advisory in effect for much of Western New York -- including Chautauqua County -- until late this morning.  That after parts of the region reported upwards of two-feet of snow since late Sunday night.  The highest totals were to the north of Buffalo... with a report of 22 inches in Lockport.  However... there were some pretty impressive amounts in the Jamestown-area as of 5 p.m. last night.  Jamestown reported 10 inches of snow... while Falconer had 10.3-inches.  Ashville reported 11-and-a-half inches.  The highest total in the county was in Silver Creek... which reported 15.5-inches of the white stuff.


Wendel takes part in Lakewood Polar Plunge to raise money for veteran's Dwyer program...
On the coldest day of the season so far... several community leaders were among those who took page in a polar plunge held at Lakewood Beach on Chautauqua Lake last Saturday.  County Executive P.J. Wendel was among those who participated in the fundraiser for the Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Program.  Wendel says it was the first time he took part in such an event.  But, he says organizer Brad Barmore encouraged him to take part and he says it was a "great event."  More than $6,000 was raised by the effort.  About 300 jackets and other winter gear were collected for Community Helping Hands. 


Whitaker says JPS in "pretty good shape" right now for COVID testing kits...
The Jamestown Public Schools are in "pretty good shape" right now with COVID-19 test kits for students and others in the district who may need one to stay in school, or be put into quarantine.  That from School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker... who recently told our Dennis Webster that the district recently received it's first shipment of those tests from New York state.  Whitaker urges parents who need those "at-home" tests to get them at your child's school, and the other is to be able to continue in school testing, they need the parents to grant them consent.  Whitaker says there is a written consent form that parents can fill out... and, then return to school for officials to sign-off on.  He says that allows what's called "bi-nax to stay..." where a student may have COVID like syptoms, and needs to be tested to stay.  Whitaker says that's not what's been called "test to stay."  In that case... the student would have to have been a "close contact" to someone with COVID in school... but, is asymptomatic.  Under "test to stay..." if the student tests positive for COVID... they would then have to stay away from school for five days.  They would then have to have a negative COVID test on the fifth-day in order to return to class.  For more information... contact your child's school.


Two men arrested for alleged break-in at Cassadaga business last Sunday...
Two Buffalo-area men have been arrested for allegedly breaking into a Cassadaga business early last Sunday morning.  Sheriff's officers say they responded to an alarm at the 8038 Rt. 60 location just before 1 a.m., and, found the business had been broken into on arrival.  A storm time later... deputies say Fredonia police made a traffic stop on a vehicle... and, their investigation showed those inside the vehicle were involved in the burglary.  Officers charged 22 year-old Damion Hill of Buffalo... and, 24 year-old Mackenzie Briggs of Tonawanda with third-degree burglary... second-degree criminal mischief... and, petty larceny.  Both men were taken to the Chautauqua County Jail for Centralized Arraignment.


Ewer announces she's leaving Chautauqua County 4-H at end of the month...
Cornell Cooperative Extension in Chautauqua County will soon be looking for a new Four-H educator.  Kate Ewer, who's held that position for the last six years, will leave at the end of January.  Ewer is recently married, and has relocated to Pittsfield, Pa., and the commute makes the job difficult.  She adds that it's also time for a change for the organization.  Having grown up in Four-H, Ewer says it's not an easy organization to leave with all the friendships and other relationships she's had through the job.  She'll be taking a job with Northern Pennsylvania Regional College.  The search for a new Four-H Educator for Chautauqua County will begin soon.  Extension's Executive Director, Emily Reynolds, a former Four-H educator, will fill in in the meantime.

 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Jan. 17, 2022

WNY -- including Chautauqua County -- remain under Winter Storm Warning until 10 p.m. tonight...
All of Western New York -- including Chautauqua County -- remain under a Winter Storm Warning through 10 p.m. tonight after a nor-easter brought high winds and ice.  The National Weather Service says we are under that warning until 10 o'clock tonight and the immediate Jamestown-area was looking for at least a foot of the white stuff before easing up later this morning.  That from Forecaster David Thomas with the weather service's Buffalo office... who says the higher totals will be off to the north and west.  He says the immediate Jamestown-area is looking at between 15 and 18 inches of snow.  Thomas says snow from this nor-easter was more granular... and, accumulates quickly.  He says we could see several inches of lake effect tonight into Tuesday from Lakes Erie and Huron.  Thomas says temperatures will remain below freezing... and, the winds will be enough to cause blowing and drifting snow.  


City officer hurt during struggle with "out of control" patient at UPMC Chautauqua...
A Jamestown police officer had to be treated for serious injuries after police were called to deal with an "out-of-control" patient at Jamestown's UPMC Chautauqua Hospital last Friday night.  City police were called to the scene shortly before 6 p.m., and, tried to de-escalate the situation by talking to the unidentified subject.  However... the patient tried to punch one officer in the face... and, a struggle ensued.  During that time... an officer was hurt and had to receive immediate medical treatment.  The policeman was treated and later released.  The suspect faces charges of second-degree assault, and second-degree obstruction of governmental administration.


City police arrest man involved in domestic scuffle in front of JPD Station...
A city man had to be restrained... then arrested last Friday following a disturbance in front of the Jamestown Police Station on East Second Street.  City police were alerted by one of the victim's children when they came in to the headquarter's reception area shortly before 5 p.m.  Officers responded... and, found several people holding back 30 year-old Roy Mitchell, Jr., who was trying to get at a female victim at the scene.  Police say the situation began at a southside home when the woman and her four children tried to get out of the house.  Officers say Mitchell then climbed into the woman's car.. and, continued the argument until the victim drove to -- and stopped in front of the police station.  He is charged with four counts of endangering the welfare of a child.


County officials "very optimistic" about ImmunityBio's move into Athenex facility...
Chautauqua County officials say they're "very optimistic" about ImmunityBio's takeover of the Athenex facility in the town of Dunkirk after having conversations with company officials last week.  That from County Executive P.J. Wendel, who was on the call with the California-based immunotherapy company, regarding it's acquisition of the facility on Route 5.  Wendel says ImmunityBio will honor and take on every commitment that Athenex made with the community and New York State.  He says prospects moving forward look very promising.  Wendel also says the county does not see any issues with the takeover, noting that New York state would likely have been notified of any changes in stipulations.  Athenex originally had commited to having the facility up and running with several hundred employees once operations were fully-underway.  ImmunityBio announced the acquisition of the Athenex plant last Wednesday.


Omicron numbers rising in NYS, and U.S. nursing homes...
COVID-19 infections are soaring again at U.S. nursing homes because of the omicron wave... and, deaths are climbing too.  That's leading to new restrictions on family visits... and, a renewed push to get more residents and staff members vaccinated and boosted. Nursing homes were the lethal epicenter of the pandemic early on, before the advent of the vaccines allowed many of them to reopen and welcome visitors again.  Now the highly contagious variant has dealt them a setback.  Nursing homes reported about 32,000 COVID-19 cases among residents in the week ending Jan. 9... a nearly seven-fold increase from about a month ago.  A total of 645 COVID-19-related deaths were reported during the same week, a 47% increase from a month earlier.


Man from Brocton arrested for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle...
A Brocton man is accused of taking another person's car in the village... while they were sleeping... early last Friday night.  Sheriff's officers say 40 year-old Edward Tirado, Jr. drove off with the vehicle shortly before 6 p.m., and, the vehicle was spotted on Lake Avenue a short time later.  Deputies conducted a traffic stop... and, arrested Tirado for third-degree unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.  He was issued appearance tickets for Portland Town Court at a later date.


Challenges to 2020 U.S. Census figures now being accepted...
The U.S. Census Bureau has begun accepting challenges from states, cities and tribal nations that want to contest the results of the 2020 census.  The count was one of the most difficult in recent memory due to the pandemic, political interference from the Trump administration, hurricanes and wildfires.  Governors, mayors and tribal leaders can ask the agency to review the people and housing unit counts in their jurisdictions for possible mistakes under the Count Question Resolution program.  The Census Bureau started accepting applications at the beginning of the new year.  Leaders have through June 2023 to file an application.

WJTN News Headlines from Fri., Jan. 14, 2022

UPDATE: Jamestown-area to get foot of snow from nor-easter Sunday night into Monday morning...
After this past Friday and Saturday's blast of sup-zero wind chills... a second weather threat moves in tonight.  Forecaster David Thomas with the National Weather Service says a nor'easter will be moving in from the south... and, the precise track will bring a general snowfall of 10 to 18 inches of snow in the Jamestown-area.  In addition, another 4 to 8 inches could fall Monday night at Lake Effect returns to the region.  All said... Thomas says some places in the region may wind up with about two feet of snow by Tuesday morning.


County Epidemiologist urges residents to stay vigliant, and contact trace if you get a positive COVID-19 test...
Since the Chautauqua County Health Department is no longer providing contact tracing... it's up to local residents who test positive for COVID-19 to follow the guidelines.  That from Epidemiologist Bree Agett with the County Health Department... who says once you find out you have tested positive, contact any close contacts about getting tested.  Governor Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday that the state will leave it up to counties whether to do contact tracing... due to the dramatic spike in case numbers.  Hochul says those have been averaging 12,000 a day in recent days state-wide.  Agett says with the local surge in cases, she's encouraging both the unvaccinated and vaccinated, to take precautions... including getting vaccinated and boosted... staying at home if you are sick.  You should also wear a mask when in public, indoor places, and avoid large, close gatherings.  The county reported over 1,800 new cases of the virus during the week of January 2-8... and the seven day rate of infection jumped to 20.5%.


BPU dealing with lack of compliance with garbage collection rules, and some being left at the curb...
A "perfect storm" of sorts has caused some beginning-of-the-year problems for garbage collection by the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities.  Dr. James Scarpino says it's been a major topic of conversation at his dental practice lately... especially with the BPU now enforcing it's rules of using their containers... and, making sure the container lids are closed.  During this week's city council meeting... Scarpino told lawmakers that a lot of trash has not been picked up since the start of the new year.  Scarpino says he estimates that about 30% to 40% of containers in the city were not taken because the lid didn't shut completely.  BPU and city officials say customers whose trash was not collected were to have gotten a sticker that explained why their garbage was not collected... and, how to get it collected going forward.  BPU General Manager Dave Leathers did apologize for any confusion caused by the change... but, did point out that the move had been in the works for a while now.  Leathers says it's in the city code... and, adds the big reason is employee safety... because there are often sharp objects inside those bags.  He says the need for people to put their garbage bags in the BPU containers was first high-lighted during their container distribution last May and June.  For more information... check your latest BPU Newsletter... or call the BPU's garbage hot-line.


Chautauqua County receives $2-million HUD grant...
Chautauqua County is receiving a $2-million federal grant to help protect children and families from home health hazards... including lead.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Thursday announced it has awarded just under $105-million to 60 non-profit organizations, and state and local government agencies located in 29 states.  In New York state... HUD also awarded a $1.6-million grant to the Seneca Nation of Indians.  The department says the grants will protect children and families with incomes at or below 80-percent of the area median income level by targeting significant lead and health hazards in over 7,400 low-income homes for which other resources are not available.  HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge says "by providing these grants, HUD makes it clear that ensuring healthy and safe homes for communities across our nation is a priority."


NYSDOT official makes Route 60 project presentation...
North county residents got a chance on Wednesday to learn about the New York State Department of Transportation's proposed highway improvement project for a stretch of Route 60 in the Town of Pomfret.  DOT Regional Spokesperson Susan Surdej spoke at an informational meeting held at the Fredonia Opera House.  Surdej says the $5.4-million project will involve the widening of Route 60 between Routes 83 and 20... and installing a center left-turn lane in an attempt to reduce the number of accidents there.  Surdej says it should allow "thru-traffic" to flow better in both directions in that area.  Surdej says the project will also involve drainage improvements, lengthening culverts, and adding sidewalk near the roundabout at Route 20.  The project is currently in the preliminary design stage, with approval anticipated in February. 


  

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Jan. 13, 2022

No one hurt in Ripley house fire overnight...
Firefighters from multiple departments were called out to a house fire in Ripley early Thursday morning.  The fire on Loomis Street was first reported around 2:30 a.m.  Chautauqua County Emergency Dispatchers say Ripley received mutual aid from Westfield, Sherman and Crescent Hose Company from North East, Pennsylvania.  There were no injuries were reported.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.


County epidemiologist reports sharp spike in new COVID-19 cases...
The Chautauqua County Health Department's epidemiologist says we have never seen case rates this high since the start of the pandemic.  That from Bree Agatt who says the previous peak occurred in early Jan. 2021... at which time they were seeing 124 cases per day on average.  This past week, it was 265 cases per day.  There were 1,855 new cases reported for the period Jan. 2-8.  While 1,384 were currently active... she adds that only 28 people were hospitalized locally.  Agatt says the county has not received any official word about the Omicron variant, but people should assume its here.  She says, based on the local case numbers, people should understand it's here.  While she "doesn't have a crystal ball..." Agatt feels the county is not near the peak and the numbers will continue to climb.  She encourages residents to wash their hands, wear a well-fitting mask and to get vaccinated and boosted.


Pediatric COVID Cases jump, in part due to low vaccination rates...
Distrust, misinformation and other factors have combined to produce what authorities say are alarmingly low COVID-19 vaccination rates in U.S. children ages 5 to 11.  As of Tuesday... just over 17% of these youngsters were fully vaccinated, more than two months after shots for them became available.  There was a pre-holiday surge after the shots were introduced last fall, but the numbers have crept up slowly since then, and omicron's out-of-control spread appears to have had little effect.  One doctor says the low rates and rising hospitalizations among children are a "gut punch."


County officials hope to learn more today on Athenex plant acquistion by ImmunityBio...
Local officials hope to learn more soon about a Los Angeles, CA-area company's acquisition of global pharmaceutical company Athenex's Dunkirk plant in the coming days.  ImmunityBio, Inc. announced the agreement to lease the 409-thousand square foot biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility located in the town of Dunkirk Wednesday.  Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel says there will be a conference call today with company officials.  Wendel says "on the surface, it looks like a great opportunity."  Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas also believes the acquisition will benefit the local area... and will have a positive regional impact as well.  In making the announcement... ImmunityBio expects the transaction to close in the first quarter of this year.  Preliminary plans call for the company to produce COVID-19 vaccines.


City man escapes serious injury after being hit by car...
A Jamestown man escaped serious injury after he walked in front of a car in the downtown area... and, was struck early Tuesday night.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Harrison Street shortly after 6 p.m., and, spoke with the driver of the vehicle -- 27 year-old Heather Chamberlin of Jamestown -- who said she was traveling on Harrison when the man walked out in front of her.  The man, identified as 53 year old Michael Szczepanski, was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.  Chamberlin was not charged.


JPD now believes missing man's disappearance resulted from foul play, more reward money put up to find Kevin Hornburg...
A $2,500 reward is now being offered for information about a Jamestown man who's been missing since just before Thanksgiving of last year.  The reward is being announced by Crimestoppers of Western New York for 57 year-old Kevin Hornburg... who was last seen leaving his home at 629 Prendergast Ave. about 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 21 of 2021.  Police also say that foul play is suspected in Hornburg's disappearance.  Kevin Hornburg is a white male... about 5-foot-8 inches tall and weighs about 150 pounds.  Family and friends have been circulating a poster with his photo around the area... and, they are also offering a reward.  Anyone with information on Kevin Hornburg's whereabouts or knows who's responsible for his disappearance can contact the Jamestown Police Department at 716-483-7537.  You can also leave an anonymous tip on the JPD Anonymous Tip Line at 716-483-Tips... that's 483-8477. 

 


 

 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Jan. 12, 2022

One-year-old Sherman child dies in fatal, overnight house fire in Sherman...          
A fatal house fire in the village of Sherman has claimed the life of a one-year old toddler.  Chautauqua County fire investigators say the blaze, at 157 West Main St., broke out shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday... and Sherman fire crews were called to the scene, along with several other mutual aid companies.  Investigators say two other children were taken to UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie, PA for treatment of burns.  Fire investigators say the blaze remains under investigation.  It was the second fatal house fire in Chautauqua County within the past day.


Fredonia woman identified as victim in Tuesday fatal house fire...
A Fredonia woman died in Tuesday morning's serious fire that destroyed an apartment house in the village of Fredonia.  Fredonia firefighters were joined by several other departments at the scene at 111 Center St. in the village.  Acting Fire Chief Kurt Maytum says the house was fully-engulfed in flames when crews reached the scene around 6 a.m., and, adds they had water issues due to the frigid temperatures.  Maytum says all the hydrants in the immediate area were frozen... so tankers were called in from several mutual aid companies.  He says the upstairs tenants were able to escape safely.  However... one of the downstairs occupants... 70 year-old Patricia Ulkins... was unable to get out of the house.  Fire officials say the other downstairs occupant was able to escape with minor injuries.  They add it appears the fire originated on the first floor near the center of the house.  No cause has been determined... but, investigators say it appears accidental.


Green retiring as Chautauqua County Democratic Chairman...
The man who has led the Chautauqua County Democratic Party for nearly the past decade has decided to retire.  DeWittville's Norm Green... who has been involved in party politics for several decades... was most recently the party's candidate for County Executive.  However... it was a tough year for county Democrats.  Green says it's become more difficult for Democrats to win races in rural areas... while mainly urban areas are "blue."  Green did talk about the successes of the past decade... noting that about four dozen Democrats have been elected during that time in the county... including Mayor's Willie Rosas in Dunkirk, and Eddie Sundquist in Jamestown.  He adds that Doug Essek was recently elected in the village of Fredonia.  However... both Green and County Clerk candidate David Salley were soundly defeated in last November's elections.  Mayor Rosas, the Executive Committee's vice chair, will become acting chairman.


County reports highest weekly total yet of COVID-19 cases...
As with the rest of the nation and New York State... Chautauqua County saw record number of new COVID-19 cases during the week of January 2--8.  The county's Health Department reports 1,855 cases during that time period... but, there are still a relatively small number of hospitalizations.  Officials say... of the 1,384 active cases... only 28 were hospitalized.  They say there were three deaths... bringing that total to 286 since the pandemic began.  The Health Department says the most new cases were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code...with 449.  There are now 19,465 recovered cases... and, the seven-day rate of infection is 20.5 percent.


Bassett says local health departments no longer need to contact trace...
State health officials say New York will no longer require local health departments to conduct contact tracing for people who test positive for COVID-19.  Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said Tuesday the shift will help public health staff across New York focus on testing and vaccination.  Bassett says it's a change towards "self-management."  Bassett says "clear guidance" was forthcoming.  She says the information on what to do if you find out you were a close contact with a positive case... they have a website -- starting today -- at ny.gov/isolation.  They also have another at ny.gov/quarantine.    Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul added that the spike in COVID-19 cases complicates contact tracing. 


Salvation Army of Jamestown reports Red Kettle success...
The Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign in Jamestown exceeded its goal for 2021.  Major Kim Merchant announced the total yesterday morning on WJTN.  She says they received nearly $134,000 and their goal was $115,000.  Merchant says it was a "nail-bitting season for us" because some big donors helped much at the end.  She say COVID-19 and fewer bell ringers made it a 'foreboding' task.  She says the Shults Auto Group donated $10,000... and other organizations also increased their giving.  In addition... she also expressed appreciation to two anonymous donors who put up a $40,000 match early on in the campaign. 


State to end eviction moratorium at end of this week...
New York state will let its eviction and foreclosure moratorium expire at the end of the week, but will once again let people apply for eviction protection and rent relief.  Governor Kathy Hochul also said at Tuesday's press conference that she's having conversations with the Legislature on what to do once the eviction ban ends Saturday.  In addition... New Yorkers can now again apply for rental relief and temporary protection from eviction.  That's even as the state doesn't have enough money to help them, absent more federal aid.  Applicants get protection from eviction while the state reviews their application. 
 

WJTN News for Tues., Jan. 11, 2022

One person unaccounted for in early morning house fire in Fredonia...
All but one person has been accounted for after a fully-involved blaze destroyed a house in the village of Fredonia.  Firefighters from Fredonia and several other departments responded to the fire at 111 Center St. in the village about 6 a.m.  Acting Fire Chief Kurt Maytum says the house was fully-engulfed in flames when crews reached the scene... and, adds that crews were hampered by frozen hydrants, and several surrounding departments responded with tankers.  Maytum says they were awaiting confirmation that there may have been a fatality involved.  The Chautauqua County Fire Investigation team was assisting at the scene.  Fredonia received mutual aid from the city of Dunkirk, Brocton, East and West Dunkirk, Sheridan, Stockton, Chautauqua County EMS and the rehab trailer from Ellery Center. 


Sundquist announces city COVID-19 test kit distributions...
Jamestown residents will have access to 500 free COVID-19 test kits that will be distributed starting this Wednesday afternoon at five different locations.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist announced the distribution during last night's City Council work session... noting the kits are being provided through Chautauqua County.  Sundquist says the county has received the rapid test kits from the New York state Department of Homeland Security.  He adds the the school district, congregate settings and others have already received some allotments.  Sundquist says residents can walk, or drive up to each of the five distribution sites... which will start off at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Prendergast Library.  He says the second will be at Jamestown Community College from Wednesday from 3 to 4 p.m., and, the third will be at Persell Middle School at the Baker Street Bus Loop from 5 to 6 p.m.  On Thursday... Christ First United Methodist Church will have one from 3 to 4 p.m., and, the last will be at the former Allen Park Ice Rink from 5 to 6 p.m.


COVID-19 having staffing impact on city government and services...
The omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly through-out the Jamestown-area... and, is also affecting many areas of city government.  That from Mayor Sundquist... who says three departments in particular are struggling to have enough staff on duty.  They include: the Public Works department... and, the police and fire departments.  Public Safety Committee Chairman Brent Sheldon says the police department already had four vacant positions... and, six members are out with COVID.  Sheldon says JPD Chief Tim Jackson is looking hard for candidates.  Sheldon says there are two that live in the city they believe will pan out... and, there are others in the list, but, it's unclear if they've attended the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Academy.  Sundquist says the city is doing it's best to make sure shifts are covered... and, some overtime is being expended.  


City Council Finance Committee approves five new projects, purchases with $605,000 in ARPA funds...
City lawmakers will vote later this month on just over 600-thousand dollars more in American Rescue Plan Act funds for city projects and equipment.  Council Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says her panel approved five resolutions... including using $110,000 to put a new roof on Jamestown Fire Station-#4 at 110 Allen St.  Ecklund says another is for $210,000 to buy 60 new, portable radios for the police department.  Ecklund says the largest amount to be used with this batch of projects is $237,000 to put a new roof on the Parks Department's Building at 115 East Fairmount Ave.  In addition... $48,000 will be used for repairs to Russell E. Diethrick Park... and $10,000 will be used to purchase new Knox Boxes for the fire department. 


Fredonia mayor says Price has the right experience to lead police department...
Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek says the village's new police chief brings a wealth of knowledge to the position.  Last week... village trustees rescinded the appointment of Joe Gerace as police chief, before appointing Sgt. David Price to the position.  Essek says Gerace was a provisional appointment by the previous board, and had not taken the Civil Service exam.  He says Price was on the current civil service list, and the new board wanted to go with someone "from within."  Essek says Price is a veteran of the department and should do well in his new role.  He says Price was an officer and sergeant with Fredonia Police for 29 years... and, was also a member of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task for a time.  The village board includes four new trustees.


Borrello disappointed with vote by IRC on new redistricting maps...
The New York State Independent Redistricting Commission was unable to come to a final agreement on a single set of redrawn congressional and legislative redistricting maps.  Last week's 5-to-5 vote along party lines means that the State Legislature will vote on two different sets of maps.  State Senator George Borrello says he is disappointed in the vote, which he believes was "orchestrated."  Borrello says the two maps, at least, don't differ too much on how they deal with the Southern Tier region.  If the legislature cannot approve a plan... the IRC can present new maps for a vote.  Borrello says if the second vote fails, then the Democratic-controlled legislature can draw its own maps due to a measure that was signed into law last year.

WJTN News Headlines for Mon. Jan. 10, 2022

Two arrested by Jamestown police on gun and drug charges during traffic stop...
Two people -- one from Jamestown -- have been arrested for allegedly being found in possesion of a loaded handgun and drugs during a weekend traffic stop.  Jamestown Police conducted the traffic stop in the area of Allen and Scioto Streets just after 5 p.m. Saturday for a number of infractions.  Officers say further investigation found the passenger, identified as 38 year-old Desiray Corrigan, was wanted on several city court warrants.  She was also allegedly found in possession of a quantity of Fentanyl, and was arrested without incident.  Police say the driver, 44 year-old Abubaker Osmun of Buffalo, was found in possession of the 9-millimeter handgun.  Osmun is charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and aggravated unlicensed operation... while Corrigan is charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Both were jailed pending arraignment.


Sheriff's Department warns about new telephone scam...
The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office is warning residents about a recent telephone scam in which a caller identifies themself as a Medicare employee... and, says they are seeking to upgrade your Medicare card.  The department says do not entertain any calls of this nature as its a type of phone solicitation and potential fraud or scam.  If you should get one of these calls hang up and don't entertain the call.  There is no reason to immediately call the authorities upon getting one of these calls as there is nothing the police can do.  However... Sheriff's officials say if you are a victim of such a call, and suffered a theft then please report that to your local police.


Whitaker says JPS District likely to see post Holiday COVID uptick this week; test kits now in the hands of student families...
The full impact of the COVID-19 Omicron variant during the Christmas-New Year's holiday period is likely to be seen this week in the Jamestown Public Schools.  That from School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker... who says the district began distributing test kits containing two tests each this past week.  Whitaker says -- initially -- they hoped to have the kits in parents' hands before returning from the break.  Now... there are two instances where they should be tested.  One is if their child is sick and or showing symptoms.  He adds that if a positive result comes back, contact those people who were in close contact so they can be tested and follow proper protocols.  Whitaker says that allows those close contacts to also be tested.  He says the other variable is the "test to stay" initiative recently announced by Governor Kathy Hochul that would allow close contacts to be tested immediately in school.  However... Whitaker says they need more test kits to do that... and, said late last week that they had not seen a spike in cases in students or staff when they returned to school a week ago. 


Hochul says NYS will be requiring health care workers get COVID Booster shots...
New York is joining a handful of states in requiring health care workers to get a COVID-19 booster shot.  Governor Kathy Hochul said last Friday that she was expanding on a vaccine mandate she instituted last fall requiring health care workers to get vaccinated because too many breakthrough infections were being reported among health care workers.  Hochul says those workers need "the best fortification they possibly can" while taking care of vulnerable people and that means having a booster shot.  She said under the new order, health care workers will be required to get their shots within two weeks of becoming eligible for a booster.


Hochul addressed population loss in NYS during State of State Address...
Governor Kathy Hochul is acknowledging that New York lost 300,000 residents over the past year... and, is offering several proposals geared toward stemming the migration from the state.  During her first State of the State Address last week... Hochul spoke about the population loss... and, urged those who have left to return for the renaissance.  She also pledged to make New York the most "business and worker-friendly state" in the U.S., including for farms and other agri-businesses... including a tax credit for overtime hours they are paying, and the extension and doubling of the Farm Credit Workforce Retention Act.  Hochul also outlined measures to help small businesses... in particular restaurants... which have been hard hit by the pandemic.  She says her plan to "redefine ourselves" will involve the use of the State University... and, City University of New York to prepare the workforce of tomorrow.  Her 35-minute address has been generally well-received... but, criticized for lack of specifics.


City pleads guilty to federal drug charges...
A Jamestown man faces up to life in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring and trafficking drugs... including Fentanyl... in the area.  U-S Attorney Trini Ross announced late Friday that 28 year-old Jun Martinez pled guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 100 grams or more of acetyl fentanyl; 400 grams or more of fentanyl; 50 grams or more of methamphetamine; and 500 grams or more of cocaine.  During a trip in September of 2020 to acquire more drugs... Ross says Martinez’s vehicle was stopped by an Illinois State Police Trooper.  She says a search of the vehicle resulted in the seizure of approximately 9,589 grams of methamphetamine, 3,157 grams of fentanyl, 2,241 grams of cocaine, and marijuana products.  The following month... police also found meth, a drug ledger, and large amount of cash during a raid on Martinez’s Wescott Street home.

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Jan. 7, 2022

Structure fire in North Harmony blamed on ceiling fan overheating... 
Several fire departments were called to the scene of a major fire in a large residential building in the town of North Harmony late this morning.  Chautauqua County Fire dispatchers say Ashville firefighers were called to the scene on Old Bridge Rd. -- near the Bemus Point-Stow Ferry -- just before 10 a.m.  They were joined at the scene by Bemus Point, Chautauqua, Lakewood, and Sherman Firefighters.  No injuries were reported.  County fire investigators say the blaze originated in the bathroom ceiling due to an overheated exhaust fan and heater.  The residence was unoccupied at the time of the fire.


Reed in Falconer touts $1.2-trillion Infrastructure Bill...
Final passage of the $1.2-trillion federal infrastructure bill was the culminiation of 10 years of work for local Congressman Tom Reed.  Reed held a press conference with county and local officials in Falconer Thursday morning to tout the bi-partisan measure that he supported... even though he says his support was opposed by some of his own constituents.  Reed says he was "very proud" of the final product... and, says we'll see results here in Chautauqua County.  The Corning Republican says the bi-partisan measure will provide real relief for rural areas like Chautauqua County.  County Executive P.J. Wendel expressed his appreciation to Reed for passing a measure that will help rebuild local roads, bridges and culverts.  He says another key aspect will be funding to help complete sewer and water projects around Chautauqua Lake... allowing for new development of hotels, conference centers and others.  Reed says New York state is receiving $170-billion of the infrastructure funding.  He especially cited the efforts of U-S Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia for helping to make sure that monies go to rural areas across the country.


Reed says he still has serious concerns about the country on anniversary of Jan. 6th Capitol riots...
Chautauqua County's congressman says he's still concerned about a "deeply divided country" as the nation remembers the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol.  The attempted insurrection by pro-Trump supporters and right-wing group members shattered the sense of security that many had long felt at the Capitol as rioters forcefully delayed the certification of President Joe Biden's election victory.  Reed called it the "darkest day" of his Congressional career.  He says to "see fellow citizens feel it was appropriate to do (what they did) was just deplorable, and it's something I strongly condemn."  Reed was not inside the Capitol at the time... but, was with staff in his office across the street.  Later that night... after the attacks... Congress voted to certify the election... and, Reed and Problem Solver's Caucus Co-Chair, Democrat Josh Gottheimer... spoke to bring some unity and civility to the chamber.  He emphasized using "this one year anniversary to recommit to that message of unifying our country and healing the wounds of divisiveness.  We must reject extremism on both sides because we are a stronger country when we work together and celebrate our common bonds." 


Borrello says Hochul's State of the State Address was good and to the point, but lacking in specifics....
A state lawmaker from Chautauqua County believes Governor Kathy Hochul's State of the State Address did not include enough specifics.  Reacting to Hochul's speech on Wednesday... State Senator George Borrello says he liked some of the concepts she presented, but said there were "very little" specifics.  Borrello says she talked about improving workforce development, and public safety... and, helping small businesses and farmers. He says Hochul's plan to increase the state's health care workforce by 20% over five years is a "lofty goal," but believes it won't be achieved unless previously enacted policies, such as the state's vaccine mandate for health care workers, are reversed... including getting people getting licensed in the state.  He says costs have also been an issue.  Borrello adds, "What I largely heard were plans to continue the same approach -- appeasing special interests while overlooking the need to restore public safety -- support our overburdened middle class and build a stronger economy."


While Albany County DA wants case dismissed, Cuomo will have to appear virtually in court today...
Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will be required to appear virtually for a court session Friday as a judge considers a prosecutor's request to dismiss a fondling case against him.  Albany County District Attorney David Soares asked Judge Holly Trexler on Tuesday to dismiss the misdemeanor complaint, just three days before Cuomo's scheduled arraignment.  Trexler notified prosecution and defense lawyers Thursday they will be required to appear virtually on Friday, along with Cuomo.  Cuomo has denied the charge.


Four north county districts close Thursday, and again today, along with a few in Jamestown-area...
Several Jamestown-area schools are closed today as Lake Effect Snow hits the region today, through tomorrow morning.  Yesterday... four northern Chautauqua County district's closed due to staffing shortages due to COVID... and, heavy lake effect snow along the Lake Erie shoreline into Buffalo.  Two of those were the Dunkirk City Schools, and Fredonia Central School... which cancelled school... along with Northern Chautauqua Catholic School.  Dunkirk School Superintendent Mike Mansfield they were initially looking to stay open... but, added they had some workers who live in the area that was hit hard, and they decided to close.  In addition... the Silver Creek and Lakeshore Central Districts were also closed Thursday.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Jan. 6, 2022

Charge upgraded against driver of car hauler that struck and killed Jamestown teen...
The driver of the 18-wheel car carrier that struck and killed a Jamestown teenager early last Friday afternoon has now been charged with leaving the scene of an incident involving a death.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says additional information was obtained in the on-going investigation that led to the new, and upgraded charge... which is a Class-D Felony.  Samuelson says JPD worked with the Chautauqua County District Attorney's Office in determining the new charge against 58 year-old Randall Rolison of Jamestown.  Rolison also faces a charge of driving while ability impaired by drugs after his hauler struck and killed 15 year-old Alexis Hughan at the intersection of West Sixth and Washington Streets.  A preliminary hearing was held Wednesday in City Court... where Rolison was ordered to be held over for Grand Jury action.  He was returned to the county jail without bail.


County Health Department reports sharp increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases for week ending Jan. 1...
The number of new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in Chautauqua County jumped by over 300 for the past week -- ending on New Year's Day last Saturday.  However... because of the holiday weekend, those numbers are expected to continue climbing.  That from Public Health Director Christine Schuyler as the Health Department reported 852 new cases Wednesday... bringing the total to 19,280 cases during the pandemic.  Schuyler implored residents to self-isolate if they find they have the virus for at least five days... and, adds that they will continue to do case investigations "to the best of our ability."  However... Schuyler says they can't get to all of them quickly.  She says if you are found to have the virus... self-isolate for five days.  If your symptoms self-resolve by that time... you can go out into public -- but wear a mask.  She adds you should also socially distance.  The only exception is if you've been fully-vaccinated and boosted.  In that case... you can go about your business... but, wear a mask for 10 days.
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The Health Department is also reporting that there were 12 new deaths the week leading up to New Years... bringing that total to 283.  Officials say 887 cases are currently active... but the number of hospitalizations is down to 24.  There are now 18,110 cases that have recovered. 


Former Westfield health care manager sentenced to jail time, and restitution for stealing nearly $800,000 from local agency... 
A Westfield woman has been sentenced to 18-months in federal prison, and 18 months home detention after being convicted of stealing nearly $800,000 from a local health care agency.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross says 44 year-old Alicia Raynor received the sentence Wednesday in U.S. District Court.  She was also ordered to pay back the money she took while she was business manager for Compassion at Home.  Prosecutors say Raynor opened an account with Intuit... a payroll and payment processing service located outside of New York... and used the accounting software package 'Quickbooks' to make payments into the Intuit account.  Raynor then diverted money from Compassion at Home’s bank accounts to accounts that she controlled.  Between August 2015 and June 2016... they say Raynor fraudulently diverted nearly $239,000 from the company’s bank account.  In addition... for the tax years 2013 through 2016... Raynor received $1.2-million in payments from the agency that she did not report as income on her tax returns.  The Internal Revenue Service estimates tax owed for these tax years is $370,000.


Hochul outlines priorities for 2022 during historic State of State Address...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul gave an historic... first State of the State Address Wednesday afternoon... outlining an agenda for an economic comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic and new government investments in health care, housing and renewable energy.  Hochul gave the 35-minute address before a limited, socially distant audience in the Assembly chamber at the state Capitol in Albany.  She says she was "well aware of the significance of this moment.... but, I didn't come here to make history, I came to make a difference."  Among her initiatives, Hochul is proposing a $10-billion plan to grow the state's understaffed health care workforce by 20-percent over the next five years, saying the pandemic worsened long-simmering staffing problems.  With inflation becoming more of a problem... Hochul also proposed speeding up a $1.2-billion dollar, middle-class tax cut that will help get more money in the pockets of 6-million residents.  Hochul's proposals will be put into sharper focus later this month when she presents her first budget.  She became became the state's first female governor when Andrew Cuomo resigned last August. 


Reed applauds panel for calling out Canada breach of USMCA...
Local Congressman Tom Reed is applauding the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement panel's decision to hold Canada accountable to the therms of the USMCA.  The Corning Republican says the panel found that Canada, by administering unfair dairy tariff-rate quotas, breached their commitments under the USMCA.  Reed says "we welcome the decision made by the USMCA panel. We care about our dairy farmers and it is only fair that Canada is held to the full terms of the USMCA trade agreement.  We will always do everything we can to make sure our dairy farmers are treated fairly."  The panel agreed with the U-S that Canada breached the agreement by reserving most of the 'in-quota' quantity in its dairy tariff-rate quotas for the exclusive use of Canadian processors. 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Jan. 4, 2022

City Council President Dolce again elected to head the panel in 2022...
The Jamestown City Council has again named long-time Republican lawmaker Tony Dolce to be council president for the next year.  Lawmakers unanimously approved the Second-Ward representative during last night's re-organizational meeting at City Hall.  Dolce said he was both "honored and humbled" by the selection... and laid out a number of agenda items for 2022.  Topping the list was moving ahead aggressively on use of the city's more than $28-million in American Rescue Plan Act funds... and, focus on the "most important needs we have."  So far... council has only appropriated about $437,000 of those dollars.  However... after dealing with the COVID-19 crisis the past two years... Dolce said they're ready to move forward.  He praised current and past council members for their work during the pandemic by helping struggling, local businesses, enact the state-mandated Police Reform Initiative, and enacted two very difficult budgets.  Dolce says other agenda items include having the Housing Committee move ahead on getting code enforcement and housing court fully back underway... and the Finance Committee working with the City Comptroller to make sure budget, and ARPA funding, is used wisely and prudently.


Dolce announces committee assignments for 2022...
Council President Dolce Monday night also named lawmakers to the council's handful of committees... with one of the new members taking on one chairman's position.  Dolce says he went with both interest and experience in naming At-Large Republican Randy Daversa to head up the Public Works Committee... because he has many years of working with the New York State Department of Transportation.  Daversa will replace outgoing Councilman Tom Nelson as chair of that committee.  The other newcomer, Sixth-Ward Republican Andrew Faulkner, will also be on the Public Works Committee.  Most other committee assignments remain the same:  Republican Kim Ecklund will chair the Finance Committee... Democrat Marie Carrubba will chair the Housing Committee... and, Republican Brent Sheldon will head up the Public Safety Committee.


Sheldon says no decision made yet on filling vacant, Ward-Five seat...
There's still been no decision over how the city council's fifth-ward seat will be filled... but, lawmakers may have a better idea by the end of the week.  City Councilman, and City Republican Chairman Brent Sheldon says the incumbant -- Republican Grant Olson -- had five days to sign his oath of office before the seat would be vacated.  At that point... Sheldon says they can begin looking for someone to fill out 2022.  The committee would then make the recommendation to Mayor Eddie Sundquist, and he would make the appointment.  It would have to be another Republican since Olson won re-election to the seat last November. 


Chagnon again elected as County Legislature chairman...
The man who has led the Chautauqua County Legislature the past two years will again chair the body in the new year.  At Monday's legislature organizational meeting... the panel voted unanimously to elect Ellery Republican Pierre Chagnon as the chairman of the legislature.  Chagnon says it's an honor to again have his fellow lawmakers confidence... and, he says he will continue to do his best to "provide servant leadership."  He also welcomed back two new legislators who served a short time back -- David Wilfong and Martin Proctor.  Both Proctor and Wilfong are Republicans.  Chagnon also noted that there are two new legislators joining the panel... Democrats Susan Parker and Billy Torres.


Erie man wanted for attempted homicide stopped, and arrested in Jamestown...
An Erie, Pennsylvania man has been arrested as a fugitive from justice following a weekend traffic stop in the city of Jamestown.  City Police say they stopped 23 year-old Deshaun Jordan shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday to an alleged violation at Kingbury Street and Hillside Terrace.  Officers say Jordan drove off as they approached... but, he was stopped following a short pursuit at Buffalo Street and Prendergast Avenue when the car went up an over the curb.  Jordan and a passenger then tried to flee on foot... but, they were able to nab Jordan.  He was found to be wanted in Erie for attempted homicide.  The passenger eluded police.  Jordan also faces second-degree obstruction of governmental administration and several traffic violation charges.  He was jailed pending arraignment.


Hochul lays out Winter Surge Plan 2.0... 
Mask requirements are returning in some New York school districts that had dropped them... while some are planning to vastly ramp up COVID-19 testing among students and staff.  In addition... the state has received 5.2-million test kits -- mainly for school districts -- in an effort to keep kids in class as the number of new cases surge.  During a news conference in Rochester Monday morning... Governor Kathy Hochul says she's implemented the state's Winter Surge Plan 2.0... which will involve masking, testing, and increase vaccinations.  Hochul says another 3.7-million kits are on the way to New York right now.  While the number of cases has skyrocketed to 335 per 100,000 people... the governor also wants a more accurate reading of how many people are hospitalized for COVID... or happened to be in the hospital for something else, and during routine testing were found to have it. 


     
 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Jan. 3, 2021

Jamestown teen dies after being struck by car carrier...
A 15 year-old Jamestown school student has been identified as the girl killed when she was struck by an 18-wheel car carrier at a busy intersection on the city's westside.  Jamestown Police were called to the scene at West Sixth and Washington Streets shortly before 12:30 p.m. last Friday after the carrier struck Alexis Hughan as she was crossing West Sith Street.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says the driver of the carrier, 58 year-old Randall Rolison of Jamestown, allegedly drove off from the scene without stopping.  He was later stopped by Lakewood-Busti Police on Fairmount Avenue in Lakewood after a description was broadcast.  Rolison was later charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident.  He was arraigned in city court, and released per New York State Bail Reform statutes.


Fire destroys Ellery barn, but, animals are saved...
Several animals were saved late Sunday morning when fire engulfed a small barn in the town of Ellery.  Ellery Center firefighters were called to the scene on Ellery-Centrailia Road just before 11:30 a.m., and, found heavy fire when they arrived.  However... the owners and some neighbors stopped to successfully get several goats and chickens out from inside.  Ellery Center was joined at the scene by Fluvanna, Sinclairville, Maple Springs, Bemus Point, Gerry, Stockton, Ashville and DeWittville firefighters... and, Chautauqua County EMS.  The county's fire investigation team determined an electrical issue caused the blaze.  No human injuries were reported.


City Council to hold re-organizational meeting tonight...
While the Jamestown City Council's reorganizational meeting will be held tonight at City Hall... two outgoing members bid farewell to the panel at last week's year-end meeting.  Sixth Ward Democrat Tom Nelson was defeated in last November's race by Republican Andrew Faulkner... and, he admitted it was a "tough loss."  However... Nelson says his time on the panel -- overall -- was a positive experience.  He says it's made him more appreciative of what elected, and department leaders deal with every day, and year.  Nelson had chaired the council's Public Works Committee during his time on council.  Also not returning is at-large Democrat Tamu Graham-Reinhardt... who decided not to run for re-election.  She thanked at-large Republican Kim Ecklund for helping her during meetings... and, said it's not an easy job.  Graham-Reinhardt says it requires a lot of communication with fellow leaders, and constituents.  Reinhardt will be replaced on the panel by Republican Randy Daversa... who was elected last November.  Still in question is what will happen with the Ward-Five seat.  Republican Grant Olson was re-elected... but, had announced that he would not serve again shortly before the election because of business commitments.  It's not known who will replace him.  Tonight's reorganizational meeting begins at 7 p.m. 


Sundquist hoping to wrap up union contract negotiations this month...
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist had hoped to have all six of the city's employee unions under contract by the end of his first year in office.  That didn't happen... but, Sundquist is hoping to begin 2022 with all collective bargaining agreements in place.  There was still some unfinished business regarding a new Jamestown City Administrative Association contract... which was approved by the City Council December 27th... because it also had to be acted on by the city's Urban Renewal Agency.  While it's the same agreement, he says they are concurrent employees of JURA.  The JCAA Contract will run from January 1st of 2022 through December of 2025.  It represents about 30 city clerical and administrative employee, along with JURA employees.  City Council tabled action on a new fire contract at that meeting... but, Sundquist is hopeful that -- and a new police contract -- can be acted on later this month.  He says negotiations are ongoing with the Kendall Club-PBA.  City Council members said they wanted more time to review the agreement with the Jamestown Professional Firefighters Local #137... which would add four new firefighters to the department -- mainly to handle EMS duties, and a second ambulance.  It would also realign staffing for the department.


Warren, PA man arrested for alleged sexual assaults in town of Poland, Falconer, and Warren County...
A Warren, Pennsylvania man accused of sexually abusing an 11 year-old in Chautauqua County has been arrested on a multiple-count indictment.  Ellicott Town Police say the county Grand Jury handed up the indictment, and a warrant was issued on December 23rd for 25 year-old Joshua Erhard.  Erhard was accused last March for sexually assaulting the child in Falconer dating back to 2015.  
Erhard is accused of assaulting the child in the town of Poland, village of Falconer, and later Warren County through 2020.  He was arrested in Warren on charges of one count each of predatory sexual assault against a child, and first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child... and, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.  Erhard was taken to the Warren County Jail pending extradiction to Chautauqua County.


Waterford, PA woman killed in SUV crash with tractor-trailer...
An Erie, PA area woman was killed when her sports utility vehicle crashed into a tractor-trailer Friday afternoon on Route 5 in the town of Westfield.  State Police in Fredonia were called to the scene just after 1:30 p.m., and, found that the driver of the GMC was westbound when the vehicle cross the center line, and struck the Peterbuilt tractor-trailer.  The driver of the GMC, 45 year-old Jessica Swan of Waterford, PA, was pronounced dead at the scene.  The truck driver was not hurt, and the investigation is continuing.
 

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