Local News Headlines

WJTN Headlines for Thurs., Apr. 22, 2021

City firefighters able to confine fire on Myrtle St. to one room...
Quick work by Jamestown firefighters prevented serious damage to a one-family home on the city's southside... just a few blocks away from Tuesday afternoon's fire.  City Fire Lieutenant Shawn Shilling says crews were called to the scene at 62 Myrtle Street shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday... and, found fire coming from one room of the house.  Shilling says the lone occupant had returned home, and smelled smoke inside.  No one was hurt.  Shilling says the fire was knocked down within 20 minutes... and, crews were at the scene about an hour.  The cause is under investigation.  The scene was just a few blocks away from the call at 33 Myrtle St. on Tuesday.


Gillibrand says Chauvin verdict can be a turning point for racial justice...
New York's junior U.S. Senator says the guilty verdicts in the Derek Chauvin trial can be a turning point for racial justice in the United States.  During a Zoom conference with media from across the state Wednesday afternoon... Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand the fact what happened was caught on video tape made it unmistakable what happened to George Floyd last May in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  She says that trial represented a lot of "hope, fear and anxiety for the whole country..." and the jury verdict provided a small measure of justice and accountability.  Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts he had been charged with by the jury in the case.  However... while strides have been made in the past few decades... Gillibrand says there's still a long way to go.  She says this is "just the beginning of a very long march."


Head of Jackson Center weighs in on verdict in Chauvin trial...
A sense of relief is palpable across the United States after a jury found former Minnesota Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in killing George Floyd.  But... when it comes to what's next, the reaction is more hesitant.  The exective director of the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown -- Kristan McMahon -- agrees this can be a first step in accountability.  McMahon says that's important, and was key to the Nuremburg War Crimes trials after World War II.  She says the system of policing in the nation that needs "serious consideration and serious review."  Some say they are "hopeful," pointing to the protests and sustained outcry as signs of change to come, in policing and otherwise.  Others are more circumspect, wondering if the one longed-for outcome will really be the start of something better in a country fraught with a history of racial injustice, especially when it comes to the treatment of Black people at the hands of law enforcement.


Justice Coalition working behind the scenes with local officials, and police...
The work of the Jamestown Justice Coalition has continued... often behind the scenes... since it was formed after the George Floyd murder nearly a year ago.  Coalition coordinator, Justin Hubbard, says the local effort has been marked by cooperation... not confrontation.  Hubbard says "we're all one community, we're all Jamestown... we're all Chautauqua County."  Hubbard is proud that no coalition events or rallies have degenerated into violence, vandolism, destruction or looting.  One of the main areas of focus today for the justice coalition involves the Jamestown Public Schools, and getting the Red Raider mascot changed in deferance to Native Americans.  Hubbard says that issue was brought before the city's new Human Rights Commission just last week.


Gillibrand introduces "End Outsourcing Act..."
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has introduced legislation she says would use the U.S. tax code and federal grants, loans and contracts to stop companies from sending jobs overseas.  The Democrat announced Wednesday afternoon her "End Outsourcing Act..." which has also been introduced in the House of Representatives.  Gillibrand used the example of several companies... including one in the Southern Tier -- Siemens -- which is closing it's Olean plant and moving jobs or eliminating 500 jobs.  She says her plan would incentivize manufacturers to either keep jobs here... or move them back to the U.S.  She says the government would have to prioritize awarding federal grants and loans to companies that employ American workers.  Gillibrand adds the legislation would also require companies that have outsourced jobs within a five-year period to pay back federal tax incentives and grants from facilities closed due to outsourcing.  One reporter, though, questioned how the legislation would help, because many companies say they are having trouble attracting workers back because of how much they receiving on unemployment.  Gillibrand says she has heard that concern... and says she's "look into it."


Chautauqua County sees 26 New COVID-19 cases reported Wednesday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 26 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the past day... but, officials say the number of active cases has fallen.  They say the new cases brings the total to 8,783... while the most cases reported Wednesday was seven in Fredonia.  Officials say there are now 188 active cases... and, 12 are hospitalized.  Officials say 8,449 cases have now recovered.  The number of deaths remains 146.

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News Bulletin for Wed., Apr. 21, 2021

Measurable snow reported on April 21st in WNY, and Chautauqua County...
The overnight snow storm that moved through western New York and Chautauqua County didn't produce as much snow as predicted... but, did force one school district to close today.  That was in Silver Creek... where just over 2-and-a-half inches of the white stuff fell.  That was the most in the county... while there was an inch-and-a-half reported in both Gerry and Fredonia.  The most snowfall in the region was in Williamsville -- near Buffalo -- which reported 5 inches of snow.


McMahon says verdict in Chauvin trial is good first step in accountability...
A sense of relief is palpable across the United States after a jury found former Minnesota Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in killing George Floyd.  But... when it comes to what's next, the reaction is more hesitant.  The exective director of the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown -- Kristan McMahon -- agrees this can be a first step in accountability.  McMahon says that was the major underpinning of the Nuremburg War Crimes trials after World War II.  However... she also feels there's a "long way to go."  McMahon says the system of policing in the nation that needs "serious consideration and serious review."  Some say they are "hopeful," pointing to the protests and sustained outcry as signs of change to come, in policing and otherwise.  


Head of Jamestown Justice Coalition agrees verdict is a step forward...
The coordinator of the Jamestown Justice Coalition, Justin Hubbard, was ‘filled with emotion’ as the verdicts were announced Tuesday in trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer, Derek Chauvin.  Hubbard says when you go through a year like we saw, there are a "lot of emotions connected to it."  The death of George Floyd in May of 2020 led to the creation of the local justice coalition... and, a series of rallies at Dow Park downtown.  Hubbard emphasizes that the jury’s decision in the Chauvin trial is just a single step forward... because it's up against dozens and hundreds of other names that did not see justice. 


Two new COVID deaths, 13 new cases reported in county Tuesday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting a drop in the number of new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus... but, also report two new deaths over the past day.  Health officials say that brings the number since last Friday to 4 after going several weeks without any.  There have now been 146 total fatalities from the virus.  Seven of the new cases are from Jamestown... and, there are now a total of 8,757.  Officials say there are 192 active cases, and 12 are hospitalized.  They add there have now been 8,419 recovered cases.


Child Care entities hoping federal funding comes quickly to help keep them going... 
The availability of affordable child care has been severely impacted by the pandemic, but federal funds will be directed through the new state budget to help address the issue.  Beth Starks, Early Childhood Education Coordinator in Chautauqua County, says the funding will help in a couple of ways.  Starks says families will be able to obtain the child care credit to help them find, and afford the care.  Starks, an assistant Professor at Jamestown Community College, says that some of the funding is also being directed for child care facilities, many that were adversely affected by the pandemic.  She says the industry wasn't that well funded before the pandemic.  State officials say the new budget will be directing more than $2-billion in federal child care resources to expand availability, quality and affordability of child care across New York.


Two treated for smoke inhalation after Myrtle Street fire in Jamestown...
An apartment house fire on Jamestown's southside Tuesday afternoon extensively damaged the structure... and, sent two residents to the hospital.  City Fire Battalion Chief Roger Sigular says crews were called to the multi-unit home at 33 Myrtle St. about 12:15 p.m.  On arrival... he says firefighters had to rescue an occupant from the second-floor apartment... and, two others on the first-floor needed to go to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of some smoke inhalation.  Sigular says there were a number of items that hampered firefighters from finding the door to the basement.  But... he says they got the blaze knocked down fairly quickly once they did.  An off-duty shift was called in to assist... and, crews were at the scene until about 3 p.m.  No firefighter injuries were reported.  The cause was a malfunctioning gas heater in the home's basement.


City of Jamestown now looking at budget surplus...
After staring at a potential $1-million shortfall for nearly a year... the city of Jamestown is now looking at a nearly $1-million budget surplus.  That from City Comptroller Ryan Thompson... who told City Council Monday that Jamestown took in nearly $607,000 less in revenues in 2020.  However... Thompson says they also saved $1.6-million in expenses.  He says one exception, though, was in salaries for the city's two biggest departments -- police and fire.  Until approval of the federal American Rescue Plan... the city was looking at a 20-percent loss of state aid.  However... with funding coming to New York state... local governments have now been made whole on their aid payments.  Thompson says the city was also helped by $310,000 more than was anticipated in sales tax revenues.  Spending in city government was cut about $1.1-million early last year when the COVID-19 shut-down began.  The unaudited surplus is $975,000.

 

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WJTN Headlines for Tues., Apr. 20, 2021

Western New York under Winter Weather Advisory starting late tonight...
There could be some significant snowfall in Chautauqua County from late night through mid-day tomorrow as a late April storm system makes it's way north and east.  That from Forecaster Aaron Reynolds from the National Weather Service in Buffalo... who says we're under a Winter Weather Advisory, starting at Midnight tonight.  Reynolds says low pressure is moving in, and that will push colder air into our area, and change the rain we've been receiving to all snow.  He says that advisory will continue through 2 p.m. tomorrow... and we will see the most snow of anyone in the region -- some 3 to 6 inches.  Reynolds says most of the snow should taper off by 11 a.m.  The expected high tomorrow will only be 35-degrees.  However... there will still likely be some snow falling through mid-day Thursday.  The complete forecast follows our News.


Brackman confirmed, sworn-in as new member of City Council...
A long-time member of the Jamestown Planning Commission has been sworn-in to represent Ward-Three on the City Council.  Democrat Regina Brackman was given the official oath of office by City Clerk, Jennifer Williams after Council voted unanimously to confirm her appointment.  After taking her oath, Brackman was welcomed by council members.  She was appointed by Mayor Eddie Sundquist, to fill the vacancy left by the untimely death of third-term Councilwoman Vickye James.  James died suddenly at her home late last month.  Brackman will also fill James' seat on the Council's Housing Committee, which will now be chaired by Councilwoman Marie Carrubba.


County reports 93 New confirmed cases of COVID-19 from last weekend...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 93 new cases of the COVID-19 virus over the past three-days... along with two deaths.  Those deaths are the first in the county in several weeks.  With the new cases... officials say there have now been a total of 8,744 cases... and, 144 deaths.  The health department reports there were 36 confirmed cases in Jamestown, and 10 others in Dunkirk.  There are currently 209 active cases... and, 12 of those are hospitalized.  There have now been 8,391 cases that have recovered... and the infection rate is up to 2.4-percent.


Cuomo points out that Western New York has highest COVID rate in the state...
Western New York has had the highest overall infection rate over the past few weeks in the state... and, the start to this week is no different.  While Chautauqua County is still under 2.5-percent... the region's rate is 4.78-percent.  That drew the scrutiny of Governor Andrew Cuomo during today's COVID-19 update.  Cuomo says there's a simple answer to why... and, that is individuals not following protocols and health guidelines.  Cuomo noted that while Western New York's infection rate is 4.78 percent... next door... the Southern Tier counties are at .86%.  He says indivdual, family, and community infection rates are all intertwined... and, will impact local infecton rates.  In addition... with the state-wide COVID Infection rate below 3-percent now... Governor Cuomo has announced the further reopening of a number of venues in the near future.  During his COVID Press briefing... Cuomo said the biggest is the further reopening of two different entities... one being museums and the other, zoos... opening at 50-percent beginning next Monday.  He says they also plan to allow movie theaters to reopen at 33-percent starting next Monday, Apr. 26.  He says large indoor sports arenas can reopen to 25-percent starting on May 19.


DiNapoli's office calls for Cuomo book deal investigation...
New York's comptroller has asked the state attorney general's office to launch a criminal investigation into whether the governor used state resources to write and promote his book on leadership in the COVID-19 pandemic.  State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office released Monday the April 13th letter, which authorized State Attorney General Letitia James to investigate whether the process of writing and promoting the book violated state laws.  James' office said it received the referral letter from the state comptroller but didn't comment further.  The governor said Monday that he asked some people who he mentioned in the book to ``review'' it.


Dunkirk fire, and police respond to natural gas leak late Monday morning...
Dunkirk fire crews, with the help of local police, responded to a report of a large natural gas link leak in the area of Brigham Road and Veterans Drive late Monday morning.  Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano says Dunkirk High School and several nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution after the call came in about 11 a.m.  Orolano praised the teamwork involved with police, fire, the Public Works Department, National Fuel, and the school district.  National Fuel Gas crews were able to shut off the break, and made repairs.  Fire officials say a third-party contractor hit the line while digging.  There were no injuries.  Brigham Road between Lucas Avenue and West 6th Street was closed several hours while repair work was completed.

 

 

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WJTN Headlines for Mon., Apr. 19, 2021

Clymer man faces DWI charges following head-on crash in town of Clymer...
A Clymer man faces drunk driving charges following a two-car, head-on crash late last Friday night at an intersection in the town of Clymer.  Sheriff's officers say they were called to the scene at the intersection of Routes 426 and 474 shortly before 11 p.m.  Deputies say they interviewed all the occupants... and, found one passenger involved had minor injuries.  She was taken to Corry Memorial Hospital for treatment.  Officers say they found that 25 year-old Zane Tucker -- one of the drivers involved -- was intoxicated.  Tucker was arrested on charges including Aggravated DWI, DWI, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle.... and, failure to stop at a stop sign.  He was later released with appearance tickets for Mina Town Court at a later date.


City woman arrested for alleged Meth possession during traffic stop...
A woman from Jamestown is accused of being in possession of methamphetamine following a traffic stop on Lakeview Ave. last week.  State Police in Jamestown say 29 year-old Sarah Fowler was a passenger in the car, which was pulled over last Wednesday.  Troopers say they found a container of meth in Fowler's possession, along with tin foil with burnt meth on it, and a scale that had white powder residue.  Fowler was issued appearance tickets for City Court on charges of seventh-degree criminal possession of a Controlled Substance... and, second-degree criminally using Drug Paraphernalia.


Cuomo highlights legislation providing low, and no-cost Internet access to low-income New Yorkers...
The "Connect New York" bill signed late last week by Governor Andrew Cuomo is designed to bridge the digital divide for New York's poor families.  During a signing ceremony in Buffalo Friday... Cuomo said those families, who are receiving some form of public assistance, will be able to get Internet service for $15 a month from their provider.  The governor says the legislation covers all providers doing business in the state... including Spectrum, Windstream, and Verizon, to name a few.  Cuomo announced that the COVID-19 Pandemic had revealed how many families are unable to obtain broadband internet service for school, telemedicine... or finding a job.  He also announced a public private partnership that will allow families that can't afford the $15 monthly cost to get it free.  Cuomo says up to 50,000 students and their families will be eligible for the free Internet... which will be funded through Schmidt Futures and the Ford Foundation.  Cuomo also announced Friday that he was appointing a commission to study places where lack of broadband is a problem.


Friday's signing ceremony in Buffalo Cuomo's latest with no press allowed...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has lately shied away from coming face to face with reporters as sexual harassment allegations against him have mounted.  The Democratic governor gained national attention last spring for televised news briefings at which he answered barrages of questions from journalists.  But... the Democrat hasn't had an in-person news conference since December.  That's when he switched to interacting with the media only via telephone and Zoom conference calls.  The governor's sudden refusal to allow reporters to freely question him has rankled media outlets.  The governor says it is a needed pandemic safety precaution.


Fredonia man announces his candidacy for Chautauqua County Clerk...
A political newcomer from Fredonia has announced that he is running for Chautauqua County Clerk this Fall as a Democrat.  David Salley is a computer science professional... who says he has the skill and experience to work with current employees to meet customer demands at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Mayville, Jamestown and Dunkirk... direct efficiencies at the County Court House... and, work with the Department of Weights and Measures.  Salley says "it's all about the employees we have working now and me providing full time support and leadership so they can each deliver the best services possible."  He says he's done a wide variety of programming applications... and, started with "Y2K" programming for Plantrol Systems of Westfield and, most recently, database report writing for the Seneca Nation Medical Center. 


County's Office for Aging goes through name change, getting back to more normal operations during COVID...
The Chautauqua County Office for the Aging had to curtail it's programming for local seniors during the pandemic... but, beginning to do more as people get vaccinated.  The department also has a new name: the Office for Aging Services.  Director Mary Ann Spanos says it better fits their mission.  Spanos says they didn't want to change the name too much, but, it emphasizes the fact that they and their partner agencies provide services to the county's aging population.  During the height of the pandemic... Spanos says a number of activites... including Chautauqua Adult Day Services had to shut-down.  They also worked with Meals on Wheels of the Jamestown area to put protocols in place to allow meals to be delivered to shut-ins.  Spanos made her comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Prude Grand Jury told by expert that officers didn't do anything wrong...
Newly released transcripts show that prosecutors overseeing a grand jury investigation into the death of Daniel Prude last year in Rochester, undercut the case for criminal charges with testimony from a medical expert who said police officers who held Prude to the ground didn't do anything wrong.  The grand jury voted 15-to-5 not to charge the three officers involved in Prude's restraint.  Prude stopped breathing as officers held him down with a hood over his face.  New York Attorney General Letitia James had said in February, in announcing the grand jury's decision, that the state had put on the best case it could.


 

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WJTN Headlines for Fri., Apr. 16, 2021

City parolee arrested after allegedly firing shot-gun inside apartment...     
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly firing off a gunshot inside his eastside apartment, and the round went through the floor into another apartment.  Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers were called to 509 East Fifth St. about 10:30 a.m.  Wednesday for a gunshot complaint.  Police say they called 37 year-old Anthony Camarata, a New York State Parolee, out of his apartment, and a search warrant was obtained by police, and the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force.  Police began searching for the shot-gun involved... and, used surveillance video in the area to locate the weapon on a neighbor's porch.  Camarata was arrested for first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and third-degree criminal mischief.  He was take to the city jail pending arraignment. 


Washington Middle School student being evaluated after "despondent student" incident...
No one was hurt during a "despondent student" situation at Jamestown's Washington Middle School yesterday morning.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson confirms that officers were called to the scene on Buffalo Street just after 9 a.m., and, located the troubled student.  Samuelson says no one was hurt... and, officers were able to secure the student safely.  Jamestown School officials say the situation was under control by shortly before 10 a.m.  Samuelson says the student was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for a mental health evaluation.  He says the school district notified parents and staff about the incident.


Wendel addressed vaccine hesitancy in the wake of COVID case uptick...
There appears to still be come hesitancy about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in Chautauqua County.  County Executive P-J Wendel was recently asked about the issue... and, he confirmed there are some groups that are resistant to getting the vaccine.  With that, Wendel says they are stepping up their outreach into those communities.  He says some people may be waiting for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, but that version remains on pause.  The county official says Moderna has been in greater use in Chautauqua County than the other vaccines.  The county Health Department says there were 49 new, confirmed cases of the virus over the past day... with 19 of those in Jamestown.  That brings the local total number to 8,621.  Officials say 212 cases are now active... and, 13 are hospitalized.  The infection rate is now at 2.3-percent.


Cuomo says bars and restaurants will be able to stay open until Midnight, starting next Monday...
Governor Andrew Cuomo says New York will push back closing time at bars and restaurants an extra hour to midnight... starting next Monday.  It's the latest change as the state continues to relax coronavirus-related restrictions.  The governor also announced during a telephone briefing Wednesday that auto and horse racing events will be able to accommodate spectators at 20-percent capacity starting April 22.  Restaurants had pleaded for the 11 p.m. curfew to be lifted, saying that pandemic restrictions were hurting their business. 


JCC's Workforce Development Program gets $541,000 grant to boost advanced manufacturing training...
The Jamestown Community College Foundation is one of four not-for-profit organizations to receive funding from the third round of the Western New York Workforce Development Challenge.  Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office says the grant will be administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.  Cuomo says the $541,000 award will fund SUNY JCC's short-term advanced manufacturing training program to prepare individuals for jobs in advanced manufacturing.  The Vice-President of JCC's Workforce Readiness Program, Holgar Ekanger, says the focus will be on two programs.  The first is CNC Machining, and the other is Maintenance for middle-skill/technician.  Ekanger adds the program will also provide for transporation, and child care... if the students need it.  The programs are being offered in Chautauqua, Cattaragus and Allegany Counties.  Ekanger says the 8-to-10 week programs will being shortly... and, include immersive training and trainee supports, preparing individuals for immediate entry into the workforce.  Empire State Development and the Ralph Wilson Foundation are also involved in the workforce challenge.


Jamestown receiving additional $1.22-million in HOME Funding from HUD to help deal with affordable housing, and homeless issues... 
The city of Jamestown will be receiving $1.22-million dollars from the American Rescue Plan to help increase affordable housing... and, address homelessness.  The U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development announced late Thursday afternoon that the city would be getting that money from New York's allocation of $464-million.  HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge says this supplimental funding... known as HOME-ARP... will be provided through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program to 651 grantees, including states, insular areas, and local governments.  The largest entity in New York state receiving funding is New York City at just under $270-million.  Nationally... nearly $5-billion is being allocated.


Marvin House in Jamestown reopening...
Jamestown’s historic Marvin House is re-emerging from the pandemic shutdown.  For the first time in over a year, several dozen people gathered for a ‘COVID safe’ lunch at the house Thursday.  They heard about new, original research into the Marvin family, and their home done during the ‘hibernation’ period by architect Marlin Casker.  That information’s been digitally recorded and will be accessible by ‘QR code’ for self tours of the house.  Marvin House member Dottie Maitland… a tour professional… says that kind of event, in a small community, is what tour operators are looking for right now.  The Marvin House will preview the new experience on Saturdays, beginning May 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at $10 per person.

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WJTN Headlines for Thurs., Apr. 15, 2021

"Despondent" student removed from Washington Middle School...
No one was hurt during a "despondent student" situation at Jamestown's Washington Middle School this morning.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson confirms that officers were called to the scene on Buffalo Street just after 9 a.m., and, located the troubled student.  Samuelson says no one was hurt... and, officers were able to secure the student safely.  Jamestown School officials say the situation was under control by shortly before 10 a.m.  Samuelson says the student was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for a mental health evaluation.  He says the school district notified parents and staff about the incident.


Jamestown teen arrested for allegedly setting fires at city restaurant, behind JHS...
A city teen has been arrested for allegedly starting fires inside a northside restaurant... and, behind Jamestown High School last weekend.  City police and fire investigators were called to Fifties Grill and Dairy at 1514 Washington St. this past Sunday night for a fire that started in a bathroom, and partially burned a wall.  Investigators found an incindiary device, and reviewed surveillance video, and identified the suspect as 19 year-old Xavier Guadarrma.  Investigators are also probing a separate incident where a similar device was found on the lawn behind the high school.  Police believe it was left there between last Friday and Monday morning.  That fire caused minor damage to the outside of the building, and a grassy area behind the school.  Guadarrma was also captured on surveillance video during that incident.  He was arrested Tuesday afternoon for first, third and fifth degree arson.  More charges are pending.


Uncle of Jamestown drug trafficking kingpin pleads guilty to helping nephew...
A relative of a known Jamestown drug-trafficking ring-leader has pled guilty to charges for helping his nephew sell large amounts of methamphetamine, and other drugs, in the area.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. Wednesday announced that 53 year-old Garland, also known as "Charlie" Beardsley, entered the plea to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine in Federal Court in Buffalo.  Prosecutors say Charlie Beardsley is the uncle of Rocco Beardsley... and the older Beardsley was an "associate" of his nephew in trafficking meth, heroin, fentanyl, crack cocaine, cocaine, and hydrocodone in the Jamestown area from 2018 through last October.  They add that Rocco Beardsley stored, distributed, and made meth... as well as dealing heroin-and-fentanyl, and other controlled substances at the defendant’s Newland Avenue home.  Earlier this year... a person working with federal investigators bought crystal meth from Rocco Beardsley at the defendant’s residence.  Charges are pending against Rocco Beardsley. 


City officials discuss NYS Recreational Marijuana program, legislation...
City lawmakers in Jamestown will have to decide by the end of the year whether to opt out of New York state's new Cannibus Distribution legislation.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist discussed the new law approved as part of the state's recent budget agreement.  Sundquist says... if the city decides to allow for dispenseries and on-site consumption establishments... they wouldn't have to do anything.  He says if lawmakers decide to opt-out, they would then have to hold a public, permissive referendum before the end of the year as well.  Sundquist says he's already received multiple inquiries about the city opting in or out of the recreational marijuana program.  However... Councilwoman Marie Carrubba warns that setting up dispensaries is not a small proposition.  Police Chief Timothy Jackson says their big concern is people driving while high on marijuana.  Jackson says JPD currently has one officer who is a trained "Drug Recognition Expert..." and they plan on training another person soon.  Under the legislation... Sundquist says marijuana sales would be taxed at 13-percent... with 9-percent going to the state.  He says the municipality involved would receive 3-percent, and the county, one-percent.


NYSUT weighs in on state's new guidance on 6 to 3-feet social distancing...
New York state's largest teachers union is now weighing in on new social distancing guidelines approved for use by the state Health Department.  In March, the Centers for Disease Control revised its federal pandemic guidelines... and, now New York’s Department of Health has clarified how those guidelines should be applied in the state.  While the C-D-C recommends reducing social distancing requirements from 6 feet to 3 feet in classrooms, the new state guidance specifies circumstances when six feet of distance should be used.  New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta adds the new state guidance goes a step further... in mandating the wearing of masks.  Pallotta says, before, it was only a guideline.  While NYSUT is supportive of the new guidance... Pallotta believes the state should do more to help control outbreaks and identify students and staff who may be infected but asymptomatic.  He believes the best way to do that is with a stringent testing requirement, which is not being done right now.  Pallotta says only 57 of the 700 districts in the state are doing any kind of COVID testing program.  He emphasizes teachers and school staff agree with parents that the best place for students to learn is in the classroom.


 

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WJTN Headlines for Tues., Apr. 13, 2021

City Council briefed on resolution to purchase new body cameras for JPD...
The Jamestown City Council will vote in two weeks on an agreement with a new company to provide 63 new body cameras for the police department.  City Information Technology Director Mark Dean outlined the proposal to have Axon Enterprise of Scottsdale, Arizona, provide the cameras to replace the current ones... which are 3-years old.  Dean says many of the current ones have failed, and officers are sometimes having to share cameras.  He says they agreement will also allow them to store the video and information in Axon's cloud services.  Dean says the five-year agreement will allow them to have two spare body cameras... and, he says the turn-around time on repairs with Axon is much quicker than the current provider.  He says he's heard good reviews from another local agency that uses the Axon cameras -- the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office.  Dean and Chief Timothy Jackson noted that the $70,000 cost is for each of the next five years... so the total would be $350,000.


Brackman named to replace the late Vickye James as Ward-Three Councilwoman...
A good friend of the late Vickye James has been chosen to take her seat on the Jamestown City Council.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist Monday announced the appointment of Regina Brackman to fill the remainder of James' term.  Sundquist says her resume is impressive... and, she is "no stranger to the work that we do here in the city of Jamestown."  He says she's been a member of the city's Planning Commission for more than 20 years.  Brackman is a lifelong resident of Jamestown, and has been employed by Truck-lite for 37 years.  She has also been active with Blackwell Chapel AME Zion Church, the YWCA and the Child Advocacy Program.  Sundquist told City Council members last night that he will put Brackman's name up for a vote at a special council meeting April 19th at 7 p.m.  He says that would only take a few minutes, then they could move right into their work session.  Brackman has also agreed to run for the Third-Ward council seat in November.


County reports 86 new COVID Cases from past weekend...
There's been a small spike in the COVID-19 infection rate in Chautauqua County over the past week.  That as 86 new cases were reported last weekend... bringing the total number to 8,520.  The county Health Department reports the most cases... 23... were reported in Jamestown.  There were 19 in Fredonia.  Officials say there are currently 159 actives cases, and hospitalizations are up to 7.  There are now 8,219 cases that have recovered... and, the infection rate is now 2.6-percent.


Primary Election Day set for June 22 in Chautauqua County...
The Chautauqua County Board of Elections is gearing up for Primary Day on June 22.  While there will not be any county-wide contests... Republican Elections Commissioner Brian Abram says there are a handful of local contests, including two county legislature contests.  Abram says there will be a Republican primary for the race in District 18, and a Democratic primary in District 4.  He says there are also some contests in three towns... including a GOP Supervisor's race in the town of Carroll between incumbant Russ Payne, and Laura Smith.  Abram says the board is planning for in-person voting, similar to how the general election was handled in November.  He says they will do "everything" to make for a safe experience using masks and social distancing.


Concern voiced over lower than usual Chautauqua Lake levels...
The owner of Shore Acres Boat Yard near Bemus Point, Dick Sparling, says he has a problem with Chautauqua Lake -- namely that the lake level is at least a foot lower than it should be.  Sparling adds that he's concerned it's going to be low all summer.  While a light snow pack and scarce spring rains have contributed to the problem right now, Sparling says the ‘low level lake’ has been causing issues for his business for a long time.  He says they're having boaters go elsewhere to launch their boats.  Sparling believes the complicated formula used to regulate how high the water is needs to be looked at anew.  Doug Conroe, Executive Director of the Chautauqua Lake Association, agrees because the current plan is 40 years old.  Conroe believes different weather patterns have changed and we are getting fewer storms that produce the water needed, and that's changed water runoff patterns.  That 40 year old plan dictates how much water flows through the Warner Dam in the Chadakoin River in Jamestown.  County Executive PJ Wendel is looking into the problem. 

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WJTN Headlines for Wed., Apr. 14, 2021

Uncle of Jamestown drug trafficking pleads guilty in case against his nephew...
The uncle of a Jamestown drug-trafficking ring-leader has admitted to helping his nephew with selling large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs in the area.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. Wednesday announced that 53 year-old Garland, also known as "Charlie" Beardsley, pled guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.  Prosecutors say Charlie Beardsley is the uncle of Rocco Beardsley... and the older Beardsley was an "associate" of his nephew in trafficking methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, crack cocaine, cocaine, and hydrocodone in the Jamestown-area from 2018 through last October.  They add that Rocco Beardsley stored, distributed, and made methamphetamine, heroin-and-fentanyl, and other controlled substances at the defendant’s Newland Avenue home.  Earlier this year... a person working with federal investigators bought crystal meth from Rocco Beardsley at the uncle's residence.  Kennedy says charges are pending against Rocco Beardsley.  Sentencing will be held at a later date.


City man accused of sex trafficking arrested on federal charges...
A Jamestown man has been arrested by federal agents on sex trafficking charges in connection with forcing two girls into prostitution in exchange for drugs earlier this year.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. says 30 year-old Anthony Burris was charged by criminal complaint with sex trafficking and enticing travel to engage in sexual activity.  Prosecutors say back in January... a mother contacted the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office about the possible sex trafficking of her daughter... and, that her daughter was getting drugs in return for being a prostitute.  She claimed Burris was also physically abusing her daughter... and, the daughter was taken for medical treatment to a clinic in Erie, Pennsylvania.  An undercover agent was brought in and set up a "car date" through Burris, with the victim.  Police then moved in and Burris was arrested... and, they seized a number of items including just over $2,200 in cash.  He was later released... but, then caught again in a similar operation involving a second victim.  Burris faces a minimum of 15 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.


JPS Board approves 2021-22 budget plan to be voted on next month...
The Jamestown School Board has approved an $89.8-million, 2021-22 budget for the public to vote on May 18.  School Board President Paul Abbott says it will also include no tax increase... and, adds "critical positions that will directly help our students’ and their families’ social and emotional needs during this difficult time, especially as students start to transition back to attending school in person.  I am proud of the efforts and thankful to the JPS administrative team and the Board of Education Budget and Finance Committee, who put our students’ and families’ needs first and foremost.”  Abbott says the proposed budget includes a new Community Navigator... two new school psychologists... an increase in contracted social workers, music and athletic equipment upgrades, and technology equipment. 


County has 52 new COVID Cases the past two days...
After reporting a decrease in the COVID-19 infection rate Tuesday in Chautauqua County... the health department is reporting a slight increase today.  Health officials report 32 new cases Wednesday, after 20 new ones Tuesday.  They say there are now 180 active cases, and 12 people are hospitalized.  The Health Department says there have now been 8,572 total cases.  The seven-day infection rate is now 2.4-percent.


County officials closely following J&J Vaccine situation... 
Elected and health officials are closely following developments after the Centers for Disease Control and the FDA issued a statement recommending a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, after a small number of people developed blood clots shortly after receiving their shots.  Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel was asked if this might have an impact on local COVID-19 vaccination clinics.  However... he says they haven't seen a lot of places using the J&J Vaccine.  As for vaccine hesitancy, Wendel says there had been some of that in certain populations.  He says he's hoping to have 50-percent of the county's population vaccinated by May 1.  
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Late Tuesday... County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler said the county has "received and administered 807 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  Of those doses, 135 have been administered since Mar. 23.  We do not have access to data from other vaccine providers but encourage anyone who has received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the last 3 weeks and develops the (troubling) symptoms to contact their health care provider.”  She adds that the county Health Department is holding COVID-19 vaccination clinics this week with the Moderna vaccine at the SUNY College at Fredonia. 


Memorial Day ceremonies and services to be scaled-back in Jamestown this year...
There will be a couple of Memorial Day ceremonies in the city of Jamestown... but, there won't be a parade again this year due to the COVID Pandemic.  City officials responded during Monday night's Council work session to a constituent question about that situation asked by Councilman Tom Nelson.  Council President Tony Dolce says it's the city's Veterans Commission, and Veteran's Council that makes the call on the parade.  Dolce adds the city does permit the parade for those groups.  Parks Manager Dan Stone says the ceremony at Soldier's Circle in Lakeview Cemetery would also have COVID restrictions.  Stone adds the Blue Star Mothers will also have a scaled-back ceremony the Saturday prior to Memorial Day.  He says they'll build in some "social distancing" for that event.  That Blue Star Mother's ceremony at Veteran's Park off West Third Street has become an annual part of Memorial Day Weekend. 

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WJTN Headlines for Mon., Apr. 12, 2021

Man armed with Machete arrested following alleged domestic incident...
A Jamestown man police say was armed with a machete has been arrested following a domestic incident on the city's southside early Sunday morning.  City police were called to the scene at 111 Barrett Ave. just after 4 a.m., and, the door was answered by Angel Figueroa.  Officers say Figueroa had a confirmed order of protection to stay away from the home, and the victim inside.  Police say he had the machete with him, and wouldn't allow anyone else to go to the door.  Figueroa was arrested for second-degree criminal contempt, and second-degree unlawful imprisonment.  He was taken to the city jail pending arraignment.


County Court Sentencings reported...
A Jamestown man has received 2 to 6 years in state prison after pleading guilty to third-degree burglary.  District Attorney Jason Schmidt's Office says Benjamin Catalino received the sentence from Acting County Court Judge John Lamancuso.  Schmidt says his office was assisted by Jamestown police in the investigation.  In addition... a Salamanca man has been sentenced to one-and-a-third to 4 years in jail for second-degree attempted assault.  The Chautauqua County District Attorney's office reports that 35 year-old Brennin Reynold received the term from Acting County Court Judge Stephen Cass.  Reynolds pled guilty to the charge.  He has previously been arrested for third-degree assault in another case in the city of Salamanca back in January of last year. 


NYS okays easing social distancing requirements in schools...
New York state is easing reopening restrictions on schools to allow most students to sit closer together, as long as they continue to wear masks.  The change released late last week is expected to allow schools to bring more students back in to buildings, and reduce their reliance on distance learning.  That's good news for local districts, who were waiting on the state to clarify what needed to be in place before allowing the decreasing their distancing from 6 to 3 feet.  Jamestown Superintendent Kevin Whitaker recently said that conflicting infection rates was the big issue because the coding was different between the federal and state governments.  President Joe Biden has made it a priority to full reopen Kindergarten through 8th grade schools by the end of April.  However... superintendents in New York had been frustrated by the state's delay in acting on revised federal CDC guidelines that say students wearing masks can safely sit just 3-feet apart in the classroom instead of 6 feet.


Reed, Gaetz both subjects of new House Ethics probes...
The House Ethics Committee is investigating sexual misconduct allegations involving two Republican members... and, one of them is local Representative Tom Reed.  The A-P and other news outlets reported confirmation of the probes late Friday into allegations against Reed, and Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz.  Reed was accused of being drunk when he rubbed a female lobbyist's back and unhooking her bra without her consent at a networking event in a Minneapolis pub in 2017.  The Corning Republican apologized to the lobbyist, Nicolette Davis, shortly after the story became public.  He said the incident occurred "at a time in my life in which I was struggling."  A spokesperson for Reed said in a brief statement that he was cooperating with the investigation.  Reed also recently stepped down from his position as Co-Chairman of the bi-partisan Problem Solver's Caucus.  Gaetz has denied any wrong-doing after the New York Times reported he was the subject of a federal investigation.  That investigation centers around whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him.  The Times also reports that investigators are looking into whether Gaetz violated sex trafficking laws.  He has not been charged with a crime.


NYS Legislature approves legislation requiring Nursing Homes to spend more on patient, resident care...
After a deadly year in New York's nursing homes, state lawmakers have passed legislation that could potentially force facility owners to spend more on patient care.  Rules passed in recent days as part of a state budget deal would require for-profit homes to spend at least 70-percent of their revenue on direct patient care.  Home operators will also face limits on their profit margins.  The nursing home industry has blasted the new revenue requirements. 


Jamestown City Parks opening this week...
The city of Jamestown's parks system has been getting some early use with the nice weather... but, they were to officially open this Friday.  The parks were essentially shut-down last year due to the pandemic.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who says they have added the necessary Summer help to open the parks up... and, he says they are ready to go -- without a playground program this year.  Sundquist says there wasn't enough time to get a playground program in place for the Summer... so that won't take place again until 2022.  If you are planning a group outing or activity... Sundquist says contact the Parks and Recreation Department first to obtain a permit to hold an event or tournament. 


New Parks Manager busy with crews working to get parks open...
It’s been a busy first six weeks for the Jamestown’s new Parks Manager, Dan Stone.  A fast breaking spring has lead to the early opening of all the city’s parks.  Stone is happy to give the opportunity to people who’ve been penned up in the pandemic.  He says people should still wear masks and socially distance outside their own family unit, and they will keep "things as clean as possible on our end."  Stone adds the city is renting pavilions this year, and they are filling up quickly. 

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WJTN Headlines for Fri., Apr. 9, 2021

Sherman woman killled in train-pedestrian accident in Westfield...
A fatal train-pedestrian accident in Westfield has claimed the life of a Sherman woman.  Westfield Village Police say they were called to the CSX crossing at North Gale Street about 3:15 p.m. Thursday on a report of a person being stuck.  Officers say they found 62 year-old Dixie Smith of Osbourne Street dead under the train.  Witnesses tell police they had seen her talking north across the tracks a short time before she was struck by the eastbound train... which was headed to Buffalo.  Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.  Police say the investigation into the accident is continuing.


Overnight house fire reported in town of Portland...
Several fire departments responded to an early morning house fire in the town of Portland. The fire on Ellicott Road was first reported shortly before 3:30 this morning.  That from the Chautauqua County Emergency Dispatch Center... which reported there were no injuries.  Brocton firefighters had assistance from a number of surrounding departments.  Chautauqua County fire investigators will be sent to the scene to determine the cause of the blaze.


Two men involved in Cattaraugus County Plane Crash identified...
The Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Department has now identified the two men on board the plane that crashed yesterday afternoon north of Salamanca.  However... they are not identifying which was the pilot.  Deputies say the man killed was 80-year-old William Mandelare of Brockport... while the man seriously hurt was 72-year-old Raymond Groetsch... also of Brockport.  The crash occured as the plane had a problem on take-off from the Great Valley Airport shortly before 2:30 p.m.  The cause of the crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board... and, the FAA.  An NTSB investigator was expected on site today of where the Cessna 177 plane crashed.


Buffalo among NYS cities that beat record high temperatures Thursday...
It was a day of record warm temperatures for April 8th... as the record high was smashed at the Buffalo Airport Thursday afternoon.  As of 4 p.m., the National Weather Service reported 84-degrees -- smashing the previous high of 75 set in 1921 and 1971.  The Dunkirk Airport reached 79 by 11 a.m., and, the Jamestown Airport had 78 at 4 p.m.  Forecaster Bob Hamilton at the National Weather Service's Buffalo office expected several locations to easily exceed their record highs... especially across the Lake Erie plain.  Along with the unseasonably warm weather, there's been a lack of rainfall in recent weeks.  Hamilton says the dry conditions in Western New York were not helped by below normal snowfall. NOAA's National Integrated Drought Information System has placed nearly all of Western New York... including Chautauqua County... under a moderate drought.  The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office warned Thursday that the dry conditions were helping to spark brush fires in the area.  They said an open burn ban remains in effect until May.


New confirmed number of COVID-19 cases Thursday total 17...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 17 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the county... with most of those -- 10 -- being reported in Jamestown.  Health officials say there have now been 8,411 total cases... and 155 of those are currently active.  They say there are 6 people hospitalized.  Officials say 8,114 cases have now recovered.


Goodell says new state budget includes "massive increase" in spending and taxes...
New York state will be spending billions of dollars in federal funds over the next year on schools and relief for struggling businesses, tenants and landlords under the new $212-billion 2021-22 budget.  The State Assembly held a marathon session Wednesday that ended about Midnight Wednesday night.  Local Assemblyman Andy Goodell says the big take-away from this spending plan is it's "massive increase" in spending and taxes... totalling nearly $20-billion.  Goodell adds income taxes will be going up by about 4-billion dollars.  Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he'll sign the budget.  Goodell says Cuomo did have some "moderating" influence this year because his operations budget was "very tight" and modest.  However... Goodell says Cuomo basically "threw in the towel" on other bills due to all the scandals he's facing.  In past years... Cuomo helped moderate the budget because he would press for no spending increases above the state's 2-percent property tax cap.  The state Senate passed the budget legislation Wednesday morning.  Goodell says he voted for some bills... and, against others... during their session. 


Memorial service to honor late City Councilwoman Vickye James held at her home church...
There was a small, private gathering for a memorial service to remember the late Vickye James in Jamestown Wednesday night... but, hundreds of others watched on-line.  The service was held at the Emmanuel Baptist Church... the long-tme church home of the late Third-Ward City Councilwoman.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist was among those attending in person... and, he says the number of people on line was not surprising.  James died unexpectely at her home on Saturday night, March 27.  It was just two days before the Council's voting session, that was held out of necessity.  Sundquist was joined Wednesday night by several City Council members, and former Mayor Sam Teresi, who knew James for better than 30 years.  Sundquist says he will make a decision soon on who he'll appoint to replace James... and, city's Democratic Committee will decide on someone to run in this November's election.


 


 

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WJTN Headlines for Wed., Apr. 7, 2021

Mayville man dies in fatal car crash in the town of Ellery...
A 21-year-old Mayville man lost his life in a single car crash on Interstate 86 Tuesday afternoon.  The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department says Joseph Zatyko was eastbound on the road when his vehicle veered off the south shoulder and struck the bridge of the Westman Road overpass.  When officers investigated, they found Zatyko had succumbed to the injuries suffered as a result of the impact.  The man was the lone occupant of the vehicle.  The accident occurred around 3:10 p.m.


State Budget agreement reached late Tuesday... budget bills acted on today...
The late New York State budget will probably be finished before tomorrow.  Chautauqua County Assemblyman, Andy Goodell, says that chamber was in session until 2 this morning, and will resume working on the remaining four bills sometime today.  According to the Goodell, the budget increases education aid for the whole state by a record $6-billion, with half of that coming from the federal government.  He says Chautauqua County schools will receive another $24-million in state funds... and, $66-million from the federal government.  Goodell says there are other increases as well... including $100-million more for Consolidated Highway Improvement Program -- or CHIPS funding.  Goodell, who is the 'floor leader' for the minority Republicans in the Assembly, decried what he called 'huge increases in taxes and debt' in the new budget.  He believes the tax increases, aimed at the highest earning New Yorkers, will drive rich people out of the state and eventually lead to higher taxes for everyone. 


Fredonia man receives 12 year sentence for trafficking crack cocaine...
A Fredonia man has been sentenced to 12 years in federal prison following his conviction for possessing with intent to distribute, and distributing, 28 grams or more of crack cocaine.  The U.S. Attorney's Office says prosecutors say the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration began investigating the drug trafficking activities of 47 year-old Nathaniel Gates, Junior in April of 2015.  During the investigation... investigators made three controlled purchases of narcotics from Gates. Investigators also executed a search warrant at the defendant’s Brigham Road apartment in Fredonia and recovered illegal narcotics and items commonly used in drug distribution.  The 84-month sentence was handed up today in U-S District Court in Buffalo.


Parolee arrested following Vehicle Pursuit, crash in Jamestown...
A Jamestown man on parole faces several charges following a high speed chase, and later an accident, on the city's westside and downtown areas.  City police say officers tried to stop a car, driven by 40 year-old Michael Newman, shortly before 10 p.m. last Friday night in the area of West Eighth and Washington Streets.  However... they say Newman drove off on West Eighth before turning onto Locust Alley.  Police say Newman struck a parked vehicle before the car eventually went behind several businesses around West Third and Clinton Streets.  It then went down a steep embankment between Second and Third Streets... and, crashed onto the railroad tracks.  Officers say Newman then led police on a short foot chase before he was arrested.  Newman was arraigned on several charges... including third-degree unlawfully fleeing police in a motor vehicle... obstruction... criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, speeding.  He was held pending arraignment.


County's Office for Aging Services joins with Rite Aid to provide COVID Vaccines at senior housing facilities...
The Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services has partnered with local Rite Aid pharmacies to help senior housing residents in Jamestown get their COVID-19 vaccines.  Office for the Aging Director Mary Ann Spanos says "while all pharmacies have been focused on vaccinating seniors over the last few months, on-site clinics like these bring vaccines to people who need it most, where they are."  County Executive P-J Wendel says they were excited to hold the clinic... adding that "these residents are a priority, because of transportation and computer issues and shared spaces in these buildings."  Nearly 200 people were vaccinated during the first, on-site clinic at Covenant Manor on West Third Street.  Another one will be held at Covenant Manor on Apr. 9 for those getting their second dose.


Cuomo opens up vaccine eligiblity to residents 16 years of age and older...
New Yorkers aged 16 and older are now able to make appointments for getting a COVID-19 vaccine.  However... Governor Andrew Cuomo is concerned about rising positivity rates -- especially in Western New York -- where the positivity rate reached 4.72-percent last Sunday.  He attributes it to people letting their guard down, and engaging in "bad behavior."  Chautauqua County's positivity rate was 1.9-percent on Sunday, but that's lower that the Western New York average.  Cuomo expanded eligibility to 30 and over last week and announced that people aged 16 to 29 would be eligible starting Tuesday. 
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The county Health Department reported only 9 new COVID cases on Tuesday... bringing the local total to 8,373.  The most cases was two each in Silver Creek, Stocton, and Frewsburg.  However... the county's Health Department reports 165 active cases, and three are hospitalized.  


Schumer high-lights Infrastructure Bill during Jamestown visit...
Democrat lawmakers on the federal level are now beginning to focus on a "big and bold" infrastructure bill recently laid out by President Joe Biden.  U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer visited the National Comedy Center in Jamestown yesterday to tout several parts of the American Rescue Plan.  However... he also talked about the approxmiately $2-trillion infrastructure proposal.  Schumer says there are two key parts to that bill... one is rebuilding our infrastructure, and he says it will provide thousands of new jobs in the county.

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WJTN Headlines for Tues., Apr. 6, 2021

Green confirms run for Chautauqua County Executive...
The long-time chairman of the Chautauqua County Democratic Committee says he plans to formally announce later this week that he's running for county executive.  Norm Green says he has the management experience that's necessary to run the office... with 40 years of experience with Brand Names, and, he was County Democratic Elections Commissioner for 22 years.  However... he admits to having some challenges with a party that's split over who will replace him as commissioner.  Green says he's been supported by his fellow officers, and some of the committee in general.  He hopes to bring the committee together to support his run.  On the race itself... Green says he questions the management of the county, especially in the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic.  He says the handling of the outbreak at Fieldbrook Foods... and, lack of weekend reporting are troubling.  Green recently resigned from his position as Elections Commissioner after that break in the party on who should replace him became public. 


Chautauqua County says there were 119 new confirmed cases of COVID from Easter weekend...Chautauqua County recorded 119 new confirmed COVID-19 cases over the Easter holiday.  In its first report since last Thursday... the county's Health Department announced 46 newly diagnosed cases in Jamestown and 15 in Fredonia.  There are currently 168 active cases, with five people in the hospital.  The total number of deaths from the disease remains at 142.  The seven day positivity rate is 1.5-percent.  Vaccine eligibility in New York expands to everyone 16 and over starting today.


Jackals set to begin the season -- with no place to call home... 
The Jamestown Jackals are set to begin their sixth season of professional basketball… with no place to call home.  Team owner, Kayla Crosby, says COVID related issues mean no gym in the Jamestown area is available to rent right now.  The Jackals have been practicing at the newly-constructed gym at Park United Methodist Church in Sinclairville… and will play their first two games this weekend at the YMCA in Warren, Pennsylvania.  Beyond that... Crosby says they only have one more home weekend set -- possibly in Erie, Pa for week-two.  After that, the schedule is open.  This weekend’s games will be Friday at 7 p.m. against the Tri-State Admirals from New Jersey, and Saturday at 5 p.m. versus the Syracuse Stallions.  Two-hundred tickets are on sale for each of this weekend’s contests in Warren at $10 apiece through jamestownjackals.com.  Five of the twelve roster players have been with the Jackals before.  Their new coach is Brandon Lesovsky, who has coached in the Jackal’s league previously, as well as the Canadian Basketball League.  


NYS has only recovered just under half the jobs it lost during the COVID-19 shut-down...
New York State has recovered less than half of the 2-million jobs that evaporated when the coronavirus pandemic hit just over a year ago.  Statistics from the State Labor Department, released Monday morning by Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli show only 3,700 non-farm jobs added in February, down dramatically from 45,300 jobs added in January.  Overall, the 'leisure and hospitality'  sector has added back the most jobs since May of 2020... some 260,000.  'Construction' is getting healthier, regaining 74-percent of the jobs lost from February to April last year.  The areas of 'educational services', 'government', and 'financial activities' have all continued to lose jobs, despite the recovery in other sectors.  


Schumer says independent art venues can now apply for PPP, and "Save Our Stages" funding...
"Help is on the way...." and it's coming in many forms from the new, federal American Rescue Plan.  That from New York's Senior U-S Senator Charles Schumer... who was at the National Comedy Center in Jamestown Monday to tout areas that will help Chautauqua County coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Schumer says the "Save Our Stages" program will help non-profit arts-related businesses, in addition to the extended Payroll Protection Program.  He says you can apply for PPP through June, and can also apply to "Stages" through September.  Schumer says the Small Business Administration will begin accepting applications for that program this year.  The New York City Democrat also promoted other, lesser known parts of the $1.9-trillion program, including the Child and Income Tax Credit programs, which are designed to help lift children out of poverty.  He says eligible families will receive 250-dollars a month for each child per month for a year... starting in July.  Monday's visit to the county by Schumer was his first since being named Majority Leader.


City man arrested for DWAI-Drugs after driving more than 100 mph, and crashing stolen car...         
A Jamestown man faces several charges his car was clocked at more than than 100 miles an hour, and crashed on Interstate 86 in the town of Sherman late last week.  Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene about 10:30 p.m. last Thursday... and, say they also found that 21 year-old Johnathan DeJesus-Godineaux was under the influence of drugs.  Officers accuse DeJesus-Godineaux of intentionally veering off the roadway after telling his two passengers that he was going to kill them.  Deputies say they found the car he was driving had been stolen from a Jamestown dealership earlier that evening.  DeJesus-Godineaux was also found to be in possession of other items stolen from the dealership.  Deputies say he, and his two passengers were taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown for treatment of minor injuries.  DeJesus-Godineaux faces charges including two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, and second-degree criminal possession of stolen property.  He was jailed pending arraignment.

 
 

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WJTN Headlines for Mon., Apr. 5, 2021

Schumer touts federal American Rescue Plan during visit to National Comedy Center in Jamestown...
New York's Senior U-S Senator was in Chautauqua County today for the first time since being named Majority Leader to tout the many parts of the American Rescue Plan.  That's the $1.9-trillion COVID Relief bill recently approved by federal lawmakers... and, signed by President Biden.  At the National Comedy Center this morning... Schumer proclaimed that "help is on the way" in the way of $1,400 stimulus checks to most residents of the county, more vaccines, and to help get schools opened "quickly and safely."  In fact...Schumer says there is about $75-million in total going to Chautauqua County from the ARP... including funding for non-profit arts-related venues... like the Comedy Center.  He says he worked hard to include the "Save Our Stages" program... which willbenefit the Comedy Center, Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, and Chautauqua Institution to name a few.  Schumer says the American Rescue Plan is providing more than $100-billion to all of New York state.  Schumer also detailed the expansion of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit.  He was joined by Comedy Center Director Journey Gunderson... and, Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist, and Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas during this morning's visit.


Clarendon, PA woman arrested for speeding, DWAI-Drugs...
A Warren County, Pennsylvania woman is accused of being under the influence of drugs while driving at a high rate of speed last Friday afternoon in the town of Kiantone.  Sheriff's officers say they spotted the car, driven by 28 year-old Donna Burton of Clarendon, shortly after 3 p.m. on Route 62... and performed a traffic stop.  After an investigation... they found that Burton was operating the vehicle in an impaired state.  She was arrested fro driving while ability impaired by drugs... and, traveling more than 55 miles an hour in a speed zone.  Officers say Burton issued appearance tickets for Kiantone Town Court at a later date.


Frewsburg man arrested following domestic dispute...
A man from Frewsburg is accused of getting into a verbal altercation with another person while his three children were present last Saturday morning.  Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene on Frew Run Street in the town of Carroll for a reported domestic dispute about 10:30 a.m.  Officers say 33 year-old Edwin Clover-the-second created an unsafe environment for his children when he got into the altercation in their presence.  Clover was arrested on three counts of endangering the welfare of a child... and, taken to the County Jail pending centralized arraignment.


Jamestown DPW employee honored by city for saving two residents from burning building...
The Public Works employee that rescued two people from the second-floor of a burning building on Jamestown's northside has been given special recognition by the city.  The City Council last Monday night approved a commendation for Joe Pollino... a 15-year veteran of the DPW.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says Pollino was driving his dump truck the morning of March 23rd... when he saw the fire at 703 Washington St. and, calls for help..  Sundquist says Pollino helped them jump from a second-story window safely, and get away from the fire.  When each jumped, both they and Pollino fell to the ground.  However... no one was seriously hurt.  Pollino calls what happened a "life-changing" experience.  He says he was happy he was in the right place at the right time.  When city firefighters first arrived... they were told someone was still upstairs... but, they later learned that everyone had gotten out safely.  The March 23 fire heavily-damaged the two-story apartment building.  Officials say the first-floor apartment at the back of the building was fully-engulfed in flames when they arrived.


Vaccine Passports latest controversial item being looked at...
Vaccine passports being developed to verify COVID-19 immunization status have become the latest flash point in America's perpetual political wars.  Supporters say the passports would allow inoculated people to more freely travel, shop and dine.  But Republicans portray them as a heavy-handed intrusion into personal freedom and private health choices.  Vaccine passports currently exist in only one state - a limited government partnership in New York with a private company.  But that hasn't stopped GOP lawmakers in a handful of states from rushing out legislative proposals to ban their use as a tool to restrict what people may do.


County Farmers urged to look out for invasive weed this year...
Farmers are being asked to keep a close eye out for an agressive, herbicide resistant weed called ‘Palmer amaranth.’  Josh Putman, the Field Crop Specialist for the Southwestern New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops program says while it looks like many other common pigweeds, it can grow up to three-quarters of an inch a day… even in a dry July.  Palmer amaranth is most likely to affect dry beans and soybeans, but can hurt corn and other crops.  While it’s only been found in Steuben, Wayne and Seneca Counties in New York so far, it is in many Northern Pennsylvania counties and likely to creep north.   If farmers think they see Palmer amaranth this growing season, they’re urged to send a picture to swnyteam@cornell.edu for confirmation.  


Lakewood man found with several hypodermic instruments during trespass arrest...
A Lakewood man sought on Felony warrants by multiple police agencies in the area has been arrested following a trespassing call in the village last weekend.  Lakewood-Busti Police were called to a location on East Summit Avenue about 12:40 a.m. Saturday... but, the suspect, 24 year-old Braxton Achterberg, had fled the scene.  Police say they found Achterberg on the back porch of a different residence, and he was found in possession of eight hypodermic instruments.  He was also found to be wanted by Lakewood-Busti and other agencies.


 

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WJTN Headlines for Fri., Apr. 2, 2021

Embattled Chautauqua County Democratic Elections Commissioner Green resigns...
Embroiled in controversy over who his successor will be... Chautauqua County Democratic Elections Commissioner Norm Green... has announced his resignation.  Green announced late Thursday that it was his last day on the job... but, did not say what led to his decision.  The move also leaves in question who his successor will be.  The county legislature's Democratic Minority members recently put the name of Loren Kent up to replace Green as commissioner.  The legislature approved that recommendation, 16-to-3.  However... Green continues to support his Deputy Commissioner, Luz Torres, for the position.  The matter is slated to go to court on Apr. 26.  Green insists that the county's Democratic committee voted by majority rule to name Torres to the position.  However... the legislature never took a vote on Torres last October because Democratic legislators asked that it be withdrawn.  Green had served in the position the past 22 years.


Prowler arrested in Jamestown Thursday...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly breaking into a home on the city's southside early Thursday morning.  City police were called to the scene on South Main Street shortly before 7 a.m. on a report of a prowler in the area.  Officers say they spotted the man, later identified at 27 year-old Torry Kenny, crawling out of the window of the home involved.  Police took Kenny into custody quick... and, he was also found in possession of property belonging to the homeowner.  He was jailed pending arraignment on charges of second-degree burglary, and petty larceny.


Borrello says it's better to have a "responsible" state budget, even if late... 
New York State won't have an on-time budget this year.  The April 1st deadline arrived... and went with still no agreement on a final spending plan.  However... local State Senator George Borrello says he feels what's in the budget is more important than making the deadline.  Borrello says "having a responsible budget is more important."  Since the budget deadline was missed, state lawmakers will not be getting paid until they approve a new spending plan.  Borrello says he doesn't agree with this approach... because some legislators may make bad decisions in an effort to keepin getting their paycheck. 


Chautauqua County reports 26 New COVID-19 cases Thursday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 26 new cases of the COVID-19 virus over the past day... while the number of hospitalizations remains the same.  Health officials say this brings the total number of cases to 8,261.  They include 6 new cases in Fredonia... 5 in Jamestown... and, four in Silver Creek.  Officials say there have now been 7,976 recovered cases.  There are 143 active cases... and, five are hospitalized.  Officials say there have been no new deaths... and, seven-day positivity rate is 1.3-percent.


Whitaker says Jamestown Public Schools should be in good shape with state aid to be reinstated...
There will be no tax increase in the Jamestown Public School district budget for the 2021-2022 school year.  School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says that's the one, sure piece of news he can give district residents.  The state legislature is continuing final negotiations on a new budget... but, Dr. Whitaker says it appears that what aid was going to be taken away from the district in the spending plan will be reinstated.  He says they not only expect all aid to be restored... but, some additional items removed from Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal appear to be put back in both the Assembly and Senate budget plans.  They include about $700,000 in "Services Aid..." which goes towards BOCES and other outside service costs... and others amounting to about $3-million.  Whitaker says they latest draft of the Jamestown school budget is being developed... using the most recent numbers.  The public vote on the 2021-22 budget will be held on Tuesday, May 18. 


State Troopers to begin wearing body cameras this month...
Some New York state troopers will begin wearing body cameras on patrol.  Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that body-worn cameras will be introduced to Troop G in the Albany area this month... and, expand on a rolling basis with statewide deployment expected by the end of the year.  The rollout of 3,000 cameras at a cost of over $7-million a year is the result of a law signed in June.  An A-P survey in 2019 found New York State Police were the largest primary state law enforcement agency not equipped with body or dashboard cameras at that time.


Jamestown Easter "Eggstravaganza" set for Saturday at Allen Park...
The City of Jamestown will offer a 'drive-through' "Easter Eggstravaganza" this Saturday... in place of the usual Allen Park egg hunt.  The annual hunt was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.  City Parks Manager Dan Stone says it'll start at 10 a.m.  Stone says participants can drive up Martin Rd. on the southside, and drive into the park off side streets Springdale, Fairdale or Allendale.  He says they'll be handing candy and other items for the kids.  The Easter Bunny, a fire truck, and the Tarp Skunks mascot 'Whiffy' will be there to greet the children.  Many people and groups have stepped up over the last couple of weeks to make the event possible... including city and Board of Public Utilities unions.  The Frewsburg Soccer team has helped bag the candies.  Stone adds there'll be no particular age limit for the Saturday drive-through.  He says they have about two carloads of candy to give away... and, they'll be giving out the candy until it's all gone.

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News Headlines for Thurs., Apr. 1, 2021

Erie man arrested for alleged shooting death in Waterford, PA...
An Erie County, Pennsylvania man has been arrested in Ripley for allegedly shooting and killing another man during an incident early yesterday morning in Waterford Township.  State Police in Erie say 43 year-old William Concini of Erie was arrested... with the help of Chautauqua County Sheriff's officers... shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday.  Troopers say Concini allegedly shot the victim at 12508 West Drive about 6:30 a.m. and fled the scene.  The car was found about 10 a.m. in Ripley.  State Police say anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call state Police in Erie at (814)-898-1641. 


City woman accused of vehicular assault after drunk driving accident...
A Jamestown woman is accused of vehicular assault after allegedly driving drunk in a single-car crash in the village of Brocton Tuesday night.  State Police in Fredonia say they arrested 25 year-old Victoria Bradberry after investigating the accident on Old Mill Road... which was reported just after 7 p.m.  Troopers say they saw Bradberry, showing obvious signs of impairment and admitted to drinking alcohol before driving.  Bradberry was taken to Westfield Memorial Hospital... while two passengers -- one an 11 year-old child -- were taken by Mercyflight to other area hospitals.  Police have charged her with two counts of second-degree vehicular assualt... endangering the welfare of a child... and, other vehicle and traffic violations.  Bradberry was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.


Juvenile arrested for alleged stabbing in Dunkirk...
A stabbing that occured on Central Avenue in Dunkirk late Tuesday evening remains under investigation.  Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano says the lone victim in the 9:30 p.m. incident had to be flown to UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pennsylvania for treatment.  The suspect, who is under the age of 18, has been petition to Youth Part of Chautauqua County Court on a charge of first degree assault.


Goodell says budget work is moving foward, but, slowly...
New York state lawmakers are now fully-focusing their efforts on trying to get a new, 2021-2022 budget plan in place.  The deadline is Midnight Wednesday... but, it will likely be early next week before final votes are taken on all 12 of those bills.  Those are the feelings of local Assemblyman Andy Goodell... who told us Wednesday morning that only one bill has been brought forward.  However... it isn't considered a "live bill" until later today.  Goodell says lawmakers will remain in Albany until they finish the budget, possibly early next week.  Goodell says... given the state receiving just under $13-billion from the $1.9-trillion American Rescue Plan... the state should be in pretty good shape for the next fiscal year.  The new spending plan is expected to increase the budget to around $200-billion.  However... the Jamestown-area Republican says he's concerned about a huge budget deficit for 2022-23.


Borrello, Goodell vote against legalizing marijuana bill approved by the legislature...
Governor Andrew Cuomo has now signed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act just hours after the state legislature approved it.   The Senate... and, then the Assembly passed the measure late Tuesday.  Sunset Bay Republican Senator George Borrello was among 23 Senators voting against the legislation.  Borrello says it's not responsible legislation because it handcuffs police from being able to prove someone is driving while under the influence.  He says... for the most part... the bill takes away most "probable cause" aspects of the law, including marijuana being found in plain sight.  Goodell opposed it in the Assembly, where all Republicans and about a dozen Democrats voted against it.  Borrello says it also fails "miserably" to protect the health and safety of New Yorkers.  The bill establishes the Office of Cannabis Management, and expands the state's existing medical marijuana and cannabinoid hemp programs.  


County reports 15 New COVID-19 cases Thursday...
There are only 15 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus being reported in Chautauqua County over the past day... but, hospitalizations are up to five.  The county's Health Department reports seven of the new cases are from the Jamestown 14701 zip code... and, that brings the total number to 8,235.  The number of recovered cases is now nearly 8-thousand... at 7,931.  Officials say there are 162 active cases.  There were no new deaths.  The seven-day positivity rate is 1.2-percent.


Jamestown School Board approves just over $86-million Capital Improvement Project...
The Jamestown School Board has approved putting a five-year, $86.5-million Capital Improvement Project up for a public vote on Tuesday, May 18.  The board Tuesday night approved the project... which would be reimbursed at a rate of 98-percent by New York state.  Board President Paul Abbott says the district has saved the remaining 2-percent needed to fund the local share, so there would be no local tax impact.  Abbott says there are three goals for the project; modernizing classrooms and student spaces, improving safety and security, and maintaining our investment in our school buildings.  He says the board "understands the importance of being forward-thinking in ensuring that our district's buildings and infrastructure stay up-to-date but that we also do it in the most cost-effective way for our community."  Abbott says the project will start with work on six schools... including JHS, Persell Middle School, Fletcher Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary School, Ring Elementary School, and the Tech Academy.

 


  

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WJTN Headlines for Wed., Mar. 31, 2021

State Legislature approves pot legalization, still working on getting budget bills out...
Both chambers of the New York state legislature have now approved legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana and eventually allow marijuana sales to people over the age of 21.  The measure was first approved in a party-line vote in the State Senate... then later by the Assembly late Tuesday.  However... local Assemblyman Andy Goodell says it will still be another year to two before administrative guidelines and rules and regulations are set forth.  Legislative leaders will now send the bill to Governor Andrew Cuomo.... who has 10 days to approve or veto a bill once it lands on his desk, otherwise, the bill becomes law.  He has said he will sign it.  Goodell voted against the measure... due to it's potential impacts on youth, and because it does little to address the potential problems with driving while under the influence.  As for the new budget... the Jamestown-area Republican says it's no likely going to be on-time... but, it should be completed by next week.  No deal has been announced on a spending plan by either the governor or state legislature leaders.  The 2021-2022 spending plan is due by Midnight tonight.  Governor Cuomo has said much of what the budget looks like will be dictated by federal COVID Stimulus aid.


JPS Board approved $86-million capital improvement project...
The Jamestown School Board has approved putting a five-year, $86.5-million Capital Improvement Project up for a public vote on Tuesday, May 18.  The board last night approved the project... which would be reimbursed at a rate of 98-percent by New York state.  Board President Paul Abbott says the district has saved the remaining 2-percent needed to fund the local share, there would be no local tax impact.  Abbott says there are three goals for the project; modernizing classrooms and student spaces, improving safety and security, and maintaining our investment in our school buildings.  He says the board "understands the importance of being forward-thinking in ensuring that our district's buildings and infrastructure stay up-to-date but that we also do it in the most cost-effective way for our community."  


City Council agrees to new, three-year contract with JPD officers...
The Jamestown City Council has approved a tentative, three-year contract with the union representing rank-and-file police officers.  Lawmakers voted 7-0 Monday night, with Councilman Jeff Russell recusing himself, to approve the agreement.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he's "estatic" to have the contract worked out with the Kendall Club-PBA.  Sundquist says union members will receive 2-percent wage hikes for each year, 2018 through 2020.  However, they will pay more for their health insurance.  He says their contributions would increase from 19-to-21 percent... but, there will be no retroactive payments.  Sundquist says there will also be a change for new hires in the Jamestown Police Department... and, they will go under the city's new "hybrid" health plan which has lower premiums, and higher deductables.  He did caution, though, that his administration still has a lot of work yet to be done on a 2021 contract with the police union.  Councilman Russell resuced himself from Monday night's vote because he is a recently retired JPD officer.


Westfield area woman praised for helping save man who fell into Barcelona Harbor Monday night...
A Westfield area resident is being credited for taking quick action to save the life of an elderly man who fell into the frigid waters of Lake Erie near Barcelona Harbor Monday night.  The Westfield Fire Department responded to the call around 6:15 p.m., and Fire Chief Chris Reese says the man was feeding the ducks when he slipped and fell into the water.  Reese says the man was in obvious trouble, and Mia Goot jumped in to bring him to the surface and yell for some help.  Jamie Jaynes, Captain of the Fire Department's Rescue Squad, says Goot reacted quickly and jumped into the bone-chilling water.  He says the man was just moments away from either drowning or dying from hypothermia.  Alissa Carter, who was visiting the pier from Mayville, was able to call 911 and first responders came to the scene.  The man was transported to Westfield Memorial Hospital for evaluation and was later released.  
 

Nearly one-third of County adults have had at least one COVID19 vaccine shot...
Nearly one-third of all Chautauqua County adults have received at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.  However... there were still 38 new cases of the coronavirus over the past day.  That from the county's Health Department... which says 12 of those cases were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  Officials say there have now been 8,220 confirmed cases... and, 7,917 have now recovered.  They add there are 161 active cases, and two remain hospitalized.  Health officials say 34,528 adults have now received the first dose of the vaccine... while 18,268 are now "fully vaccinated." 


Teresi remembers Vickye James as administrative team member, city council member...
The late Vickye James was one of the first persons appointed to former Mayor Sam Teresi's administration after he was elected in 1999.  Teresi says the news of James passing last Saturday night was "devastating news" that's left a "hole in my heart."  He says he first really got to know Vickye James in the early 1990s when he was city Development Director... and, she headed up the Jamestown Community Schools Program.  Teresi was so impressed by James' work with children and the community he asked her to become his Youth Services Director. 

 

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WJTN Headlines for Tues., Mar. 30, 2021

City Council carries on after death of sitting member Saturday night...
Despite heavy hearts... the Jamestown City Council held it's monthly voting session last night to act on a number of important matters.  The meeting began with a moment of silence in honor of Third-Ward Councilwoman Vickye James... who died suddenly last Saturday night.  Some councilmembers eulogized James at the end of the meeting.  At-Large Councilwoman Kim Ecklund knew James before both served on council with youth programming..  Ecklund says there was "never been a doubt about her commitment to youth, and Jamestown as a whole.  She believed in people in Jamestown when others didn't."  Fourth-Ward Councilwoman Marie Carrubba sat next to James at council voting sessions.  Carrubba noted an irony about James' passing, and the earlier passing of another Third-Ward icon, Lula Taylor.  She says Taylor, a former Chautauqua County Legislator -- and mentor to James -- died three years earlier to the day.  Carrubba says James' mother recently died... and, Vickye told her that her mother was a Christian, and, was not afraid to die.  She says Vickye was also a woman of faith, and that led her in how she represented her constituents.  


Sundquist calls James passing a "somber moment" for the city...
Earlier in the day... Mayor Eddie Sundquist call Vickye James' passing a "somber moment" for the city.  Sundquist had a personal connection with James long before he became mayor.  He says it was James who got him involved in the Youth Services Bureau she headed up for many years when he was in high school... and, tapped him to be a member of the city's Youth Services Board at that time.  Sundquist called her "an incredible person."  He remembers James as being a very caring person, who had a "big personality."  While she was known most for her work in the city's Third-Ward... and, the black community... he says she worked for everyone in the community so that their voices were heard, and that people felt safe in the community.  James was first-elected to the city council in 2015. 


Chautauqua County Executive expresses condolences to James' family on her death...
County Executive PJ Wendel is also extending his thoughts and prayers to the family of Vickye James... noting that he was a county legislator when she was on the panel.  Wendel says she was on the legislature from January of 2006 to December of 2013.  He adds "I had the pleasure of working with Vickye when I first became a county legislator, and she represented her residents well as she always took their concerns to heart and led in a way that was best for her community.  It is with deep sorrow that we mourn the loss of a great civic leader and public servant, who has been influential to so many people across Chautauqua County and the Jamestown community."


Council approves Police Reform, and three-year contract measures...
The City Council unanimously approved Jamestown's Police Reform and Reinvention Plan... and, dedicated it in honor of Vickye James... who was involved in developing it.  The action was moved by Public Safety Committee Chairman Brent Sheldon.  Committee member Tamu Graham-Reinhardt expressed her appreciation for all the work residents, and city officials put into the final product... and said she was glad they were able to "get it done, on Zoom, during this pandemic."  Councilwoman Marie Carrubba says James "contributed a lot and spoke from her heart" in getting that document completed.  The Police Reform and Reinvention Plans were mandated by Governor Andrew Cuomo of police departments in response to the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minnesota last May. 
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In addition... city lawmakers approved a tentative three-year agreement with the Kendall Club-Police Benevolent Association.  The agreement also includes an increase in rank-and-file police contributions towards their health insurance.  The measure covers the years 2018 through 2020. 


County reports 63 New COVID-19 cases from weekend...
There are 63 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County from the past weekend... but, hospitalizations are down significantly.  The county's Health Department reports the new cases include 21 in Jamestown... and, 11 in Fredonia.  There are now 8,182 total cases since last March... and, 7,889 have recovered.  Health officials say 151 cases are active... while two are hospitalized.  There were no new deaths... and, the infection rate is now 1.2-percent.


Cuomo announces, starting today, people 30 and over can get COVID-19 Vaccine...
Governor Andrew Cuomo says New York state residents over 30 will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations starting today... and, everyone over 16 will be eligible starting Apr. 6.  Vaccine eligibility in the state had previously been restricted to people over 50, people in certain job categories and those with certain health conditions.  The Democratic governor called the expanded eligibility "a monumental step forward in the fight to beat COVID" and well ahead of the timetable set by the White House.  


JCC's Addictions Counseling program receives award...
Jamestown Community College’s Addictions Counseling Certificate program has been rated as one of the best in the country.  Dr. Morgan Phillips helps direct the program.  He says the recognition comes from ‘Value Colleges,' which is an independent agency that saw the value of what they teach their students.  Phillips says the award is gratifying, considering the program is just in its third year.  It is taught on-line, and directed toward individuals who already hold a degree in one of the ‘helping professions’.  JCC offers an Associate’s Degree Program in Addictions Counseling as well.  A ‘virtual’ open house on these and all the programs in the area of ‘Public and Professionals Services’ will be held tonight at 7 p.m.

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WJTN Headlines for Mon., Mar. 29, 2021

Home in Kiantone heavily damaged in fire...
A home in the town of Kiantone has been extensively damaged after fire broke out early this morning.  Chautauqua County fire dispatchers say Kiantone firefighters were called to the scene at 105 Sturdevant Rd. shortly before 2 a.m., and, found the home fully-engulfed in flames.  Mutual aid was called in from Busti, Frewsburg, Lakewood, Gerry and County Emergency Services... and, Russell's ambulance was on stand-by.  No injuries were reported, though.  Kiantone fire crews were at the scene until 6:30 this morning.  The county's Fire Investigation Team is looking into the cause.


Long-time City Council member, Youth Services Director, Vickye James, remembered for her passion, work for people's rights...
A long-time member of the Jamestown City Council, and former city Youth Services Director, has died.  Vickye James' sudden passing was announced Sunday afternoon in a joint statement issued by Mayor Eddie Sundquist, and Council President Tony Dolce.  Both expressed their shock and sadness over James' sudden passing last Saturday night.  Sundquist says "I share in our collective sadness as we mourn the loss of an icon for Jamestown."  Dolce is in his second-year as Council President... and, says one of her passions was starting, and chairing the Housing Committee.  He says she always had an interest in housing, and neighborhood matters.  Sundquist added that James' "decades of public service have made an impact on countless individuals that will continue well into the future."  He says James actually got him interested in politics when she headed up the city's Youth Bureau.  She was first elected to the City Council in 2015.  Lawmakers are to meet for their monthly voting session tonight... and, Dolce says at this point... that meeting will go on because a number of resolutions need to be dealt with before the end of the month. 


Wendel expresses sorrow on Vickye James passing...
County Executive P-J Wendel is also extending his thoughts and prayers to the family of Vickye James... noting that he was a county legislator when she was on the panel.  Wendel says she was on the legislature from January of 2006 to December of 2013.  He adds "I had the pleasure of working with Vickye when I first became a county legislator, and she represented her residents well as she always took their concerns to heart and led in a way that was best for her community.  It is with deep sorrow that we mourn the loss of a great civic leader and public servant, who has been influential to so many people across Chautauqua County and the Jamestown community."


Council to meet tonight, act on Police Reform, and tentative Police union contract...
At last word... the city council will meet as scheduled tonight on Jamestown's final, proposed Police Reform and Reinvention Initiative Plan.  The plan was discussed at length by the council's Public Safety Committee last week... and, the panel agreed to move it forward for a final vote.  Councilwoman James was very much involved in that work.  Committee member Tamu Graham-Reinhardt says one area she would like see is more of an on-line presence that includes not just Facebook... but, Twitter and Instagram, as well.  Graham-Reinhardt says it's a good way to update the community on what JPD is doing.  The city's Police Reform plan addresses an number of areas of policing... from interactions with the public, to command structure, and dealing with sensitive matters... such as domestic calls. 
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In addition... city lawmakers will vote on a tentative agreement with the Kendall Club-Police Benevolent Association on a three-year contract.  A prefiled resolution says it will cover the years 2018, 2019 and 2020.  The city recently agreed to an arbitration panel's decision on fiscal years 2016 and 2017 for two-percent raises.  Tonight's Zoom meeting begins at 7:30 p.m.


Chautauqua Center in Dunkirk to receive federal funding...
A Community Health Center with facilities in Jamestown and Dunkirk is receiving just over 1.8-million dollars in emergency funding from the recently approved American Rescue Plan.  U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced that the Chautauqua Center in Dunkirk is receiving $1.89-million of the nearly $400-million in funding coming to 63 centers in New York state.  They say it will give local centers the support needed to expand COVID-19 vaccination, testing, and treatment for underserved populations. 


State Legislature Democrats reach agreement on legalizing recreational marijuana...
Majority Democrats in the New York state legislature say they have finalized an agreement to legalize recreational marijuana sales to adults over the age of 21.  The state has come close to passing marijuana legislation in the past... but, until now could not finalize a deal.  Once legislation is approved... New York would join at least 14 other states that allow residents to buy recreational marijuana.  Local State Senator George Borrello opposes the legislation... noting that the state's 55,000 officers aren't yet ready to deal with an increase in driving while under the influence cases... and, he says they are all trained to identify drivers operating under the influence of alcohol.  Borrello says... only 350 officers across the state are trained Drug-Recognition Experts.


Wendel announces re-election campaign kick-off...
Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel has officially kicked off his re-election campaign this week by filing petitions with the Board of Elections.  The Lakewood Republican won last year's election to fill the remaining year of the term vacated by current State Senator George Borrello last year with 67 percent of the vote.  Wendel says "I am humbled by the support I continue to see throughout our community.  To file our county-wide petitions with over 1,500 signatures shows the energy around my campaign, and is a vote of confidence for the job I am doing as County Executive."  To learn more about Wendel's campaign go on-line to pjwendel.com.  

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WJTN News Bulletin for Sun., Mar. 28, 2021

Long-time City Council member, Christian community activist, Vickye James, has died...
Saturday night... Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist and City Councilmembers were made aware that council member Victoria “Vickye” James passed away suddenly.  Sundquist and Council President Tony Dolce issued the following statement:  “Last night was a shock to our entire community with the loss of Vickye James. I share in our collective sadness as we mourn the loss of an icon for Jamestown.  She was a councilmember who loved her community and fiercely advocated for our residents. Her decades of public service have made an impact on countless individuals that will continue well into the future.” Council President Tony Dolce said on the loss, “I am saddened by the sudden loss of our fellow councilmember Vickye James. Having served side by side with her for so
many years, she was a rock in our community and fought tirelessly to represent every voice. Her loss leaves a giant hole in the fabric of our Council; however, her activism and passion will continue to live on. As one council, we all grieve and mourn the loss of our sitting councilmember.” The City will work with the family to honor Councilmember James during this time and will provide additional details as they become available."

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WJTN Headlines for Fri., Mar. 26, 2021

High Wind Warning in effect for Chautauqua County, and most of WNY through late afternoon...
Expect more damaging winds to hit the area through late this afternoon in the area... with wind gusts reaching 60 miles an hour at times.  There have already been a number of power outages... most having to do with winds knocked down power lines.  A High Wind Warning remains in effect until 4 p.m. today.  That from Meteorologist Heather Kenyon with the National Weather Service in Buffalo... who says some winds may pull down power lines, or trees onto power lines.  Kenyon adds that high-profile vehicles may have a difficult time traveling on the New York state Thruway.  She adds there is also a Lakeshore Flood Warning the Lake Erie shoreline of Chautauqua and Erie counties.  About mid-morning... the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities reported an electric circuit had opened in the BPU service are due to a National Grid line being blown down on Swanson Road.  That interrupted their system, causing a power outage in the Swanson Roard, Willard, and Camp Streets area.  it took crews about an hour to fix the problem.  National Grid is reporting several outages... mainly west of Jamestown, and along the Lake Erie shoreline around Dunkirk and Fredonia. 


Chautauqua County reports 40 new case of COVID-19 Thursday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting an uptick in the number of new, confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past day.  Health officials say there were 40 cases reported over the past day... bringing the local number to 8,094.  They say the most cases -- 10 -- were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  Officials say there are now 171 active cases... and, 4 of those are hospitalized.  There were no new deaths.  Officials say there have now been 7,781 recovered cases... and, the seven-day infection rate is 1.5%.


Whitaker says state budget situation looks much better, JPS District should get all of it's state aid now...
It appears the Jamestown school district will be made completely whole with recent news about a state budget surplus... and, new federal aid coming in.  That from School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker, who says the district was anticipating another 20-percent reduction in it's latest state aid payment.  However... Whitaker told our Dennis Webster Thursday morning that State Budget Director Robert Mujica said this week they will get their aid -- in full -- because the state now has a $5-billion surplus.  He says there would be no 20-percent cut, nor any cuts.  Whitaker says the state collected more sales and income taxes than expected in recent months.  As for federal aid... he says they've heard very little about what they may be getting from the American Rescue Plan.  Whitaker says it's good news as the district begins finalizing work on it's 2021-22 budget plan.  That spending plan will run about $90-million, and will be up for a public vote on May 18.


Green says County Legislature acted illegally on appointment of Kent as Dem. Elections Commissioner...
Current Chautauqua County Democratic Elections Commissioner Norm Green says the county legislature was wrong to vote on a name not submitted by the Democratic committee as his replacement.  During Wednesday night's legislature meeting... lawmakers approved Loren Kent as the new commissioner.  Green says the legislature can't do that legally.  The lawsuit filed by Green prior to Wednesday night's vote makes clear the divisions in the party.  He says he's also taken some heat from Democrats over the lawsuit... saying privately that "he's costing them money."  Green disagrees because some in the membership are costing the committee money.  He emphasizes that state elections law is clear... the name has to be approved by, then submitted by the party committee.  In this case... that person was his Deputy Commissioner Luz Torres.  Green also says it was all done legally -- in their lawyer's office.  Green says the meeting was held on Facebook live due to the pandemic... and, was agreed to by "everyone." 


Borrello opposes legalization of recreational marijuana... especially given new provisions -- one of which would legalize growing up to five plants...
There are reports that a deal has been reached by state leaders in Albany to legalize recreational marijuana in New York.  Local State Senator George Borrello says he disturbed by what he hears about the legislation.  One of the Sunset Bay Republican's concerns is people will be able to grow it in the own homes.  Borrello says, if that's the case, it undermines the idea of collecting revenue off of pot sales.  He says he's been urging supporters to include enough funding to train all police officers to become drug recognition experts.  He says Majority Democrats have agreed to put funding into train DREs... but, adds it's not going to be enough.  Borrello says he intends to vote against the deal.


Upstate NY city of Ithaca looking to eliminate police, replace with "less militarized" department...
The nationwide reexamination of policing after the killing of George Floyd has led an Ivy League town in upstate New York to consider an ambitious and contentious plan to remake its force.  A proposal would replace the 63-officer Ithaca Police Department with a new Department of Community Solutions and Public Safety.  It would comprise both armed officers as well as unarmed responders to handle non-violent calls like petty thefts.  The mayor argues that dramatic change is needed to make law enforcement less militarized and more effective.  Police denounce it as a radical idea that could threaten safety in the city that is home to Cornell University.

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WJTN Headlines for Wed., Mar. 24, 2021

**Sorry these were not posted Wednesday, operator error...

Jamestown Republicans announce candidates for City Council and County Legislature...
Republicans in the city of Jamestown have endorsed a full slate of candidates for City Council... and, three county legislature for this Fall's elections.  GOP Chairman Brent Sheldon says he's "excited..." to have a "full-slate of candidates "for the first time in 20 years."  Sheldon himself is seeking re-election to his First-Ward seat... while Council President Tony Dolce is running again in Ward-Two.  He says newcomer Robert Reedy, the owner of Elite Kreations and an Air Force veteran, is running in Ward-Three.  Another newcomer, Richard Elardo, an employee of the Jamestown Housing Authority, is seeking election in Ward-Four... while incumbant Grant Olson is running in Ward-Five.  In the Sixth-Ward... Sheldon says newcomer Andrew Faulkner, a journeyman electrician, is running.  For at-large... incumbants Kim Ecklund... and, Jeff Russell are running again... along with newcomer Randall Daversa, who is a retired equipment operator for the state DOT.  Three Chautauqua County Legislature candidates have been endorsed... including incumbant Elisabeth Rankin in District 12... former legislator David Wilfong in District 11... and, Kenneth Lawson... who was appointed to finish out the term in District 10.  Sheldon says they hope to build on their slim majority on the City Council.


Combustables too close to heat source is reported cause of Washington St. fire...
Jamestown fire officials say combustables too close to a heating source is the cause of an early morning fire Tuesday at an apartment house on the city's northside.  City Fire Battalion Chief Brian Achterberg says crews were called to the scene at 703 Washington St. just after 6:30 a.m., and, found the back apartment on the first-floor of the house fully-involved in fire.  Achterberg says they also learned that someone may have still been inside.  He says crews attacked the fire with a hand-line, which the aerial truck crew looked for possible victims trapped on the second floor.  However... Achterberg says they soon found out the missing person had gotten safely out of the house.  He says it took about an hour to bring the blaze under control.  The Post-Journal is reporting this morning that a city Public Works employee helped two people who were trapped on the second-floor jump to safety.  Achterberg says the first floor apartment was gutted... and, there was fire damage on the second-floor and attic areas.  Crews were at the scene until about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.  Washington Street -- at Seventh -- was closed off while crews battle the flames.


Two north county men sentenced to prison time in County Court sentencings... 
Two north county men have been sentenced in Chautauqua County Court in separate burglary and arson cases.  District Attorney Jason Schmidt's office says Justin Baez of Dunkirk was sentenced by Judge David Foley Tuesday to seven-years in state prison after pleading guilty to second-degree burglary.  In addition... Schmidt says Baez will serve five-years post-release supervision.  The case was investigated by the Dunkirk Police Department.  Earlier this year... Schmidt says Jason Maisonet of Fredonia was sentenced by Foley to a term of 1 to 3 years in state prison for third-degree arson.  Maisonet plead to the charge... which was lodged by the Fredonia Police Department.


Candidates for two JPS Board seats can now begin circulating petitions...
Petitions for candidates seeking to run for two seats on the Jamestown School Board this May are now available at the superintendent's office on Martin Road.  District Spokeswoman Cathy Panebianco says candidates must submit a completed petition with the names of 50 or more qualified voters in the district to be eligible to run in the May 18 election.  Those must be turned into the superintendent's office by 5 p.m. on Wed. Apr. 28.  Panebianco says if you have questions... contact Jaunita Walter at 483-4420... or e-mail her at jaunita.m.walter@jpsny.org.  The two seats are currently held by Dan Johnson and Nina Karbacka.  The proposed budget will be available to view before the May 18 vote at jamestownpublic schools.org... at the superintendent's office... or at the Prendergast Library beginning on May 12.  The public hearing on the budget will be held on Tuesday, May 11 at 6 p.m. at Persell Middle School.


Gowanda man arrested for public lewdness...
A Cattaraugus County man has been arrested for public lewdness following an investigation into a recent incident in the town of Perrysburg.  Sheriff's officers in Little Valley say they obtained a warrant for 32 year-old Edwin Cmielewski of Perrysburg... and, he was arrested about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.  Cmielewski is also charged with second-degree harassment.  He was arraigned, and released on ihs own recognizance.


Fredonia's 2021 budget proposal includes huge tax rate hike... 
Fredonia Village Mayor Doug Essek has released a proposed $10.8-million budget that includes a whopping 17-percent hike in the tax rate.  In delivering his budget message during Monday night's Village Board meeting... Essek said there's a huge budget deficit of $1.4-million.  When he started, Essek says they have a very severe deficit.  The budget proposal would increase the village tax rate by $6.10 per $1,000 assessed value.  Trustee Jim Lynden called the proposed budget "misguided" and questioned the big change in finances.  Trustees have scheduled a public hearing on the budget proposal for Monday, April 5.


 

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WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Mar. 25, 2021

County Legislature approves Kent as new Democratic Elections Commissioner in spite of lawsuit...
The Chautauqua County Legislature has approved a new Democratic Elections commissioner... pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed to stop that action.  Lawmakers voted 16-3 in favor of making Loren Kent the new commissioner, over Luz Torres, who had been recommended by outgoing commissioner Norm Green.  Democratic Minority Leader, Chuck Nazzaro, says the resolution allows the court case to be heard April 26 before it's officially filed with the county clerk's office.  However... the three legislators who voted no wanted to make it clear they weren't supporting one candidate over the other.  They were unhappy with the process.  Fredonia Republican Bob Scudder says, in his 12 years on the legislature, he's never seen party split on this kind of matter.  Earlier this year... Green who is to retire, submitted Torres' name after a vote by the Democratic Committee, which he also chairs.  However... some Democrats were critical of the process, and wanted Kent appointed to the post.  Nazzaro says the legislature's Democratic caucus is unanimous in it's support of Kent. 


County lawmakers also approved Sheriff's Departments Police Reform and Reinvention plan...
County lawmakers also approved the Sheriff's Departments Police Reform and Reinvention Initiative program to be submitted to New York state.  The legislature approved the plan... put forward by Sheriff Jim Quattrone... unanimously during last night's Zoom meeting.  Quattrone says their work actually began before Governor Andrew Cuomo's order last Spring that all police departments in the state had to submit a plan.  He says they have been attending, and hosting, a number of meetings with stakeholder groups, and others to see how their policing efforts could improve.  Quattrone was among the police officials who attended some of the protests in Jamestown and elsewhere to hear what people were saying.  He felt the process was good.  However... Republican Legislator Terry Neibel of Sheridan took issue with the order's inference of "systematic racism" in police agencies.  Neibel says 91-percent of the people arrested here are white... while the county's population is 92-percent white or caucasan.  The county's comprehensive police reform plan will now be completed and sent to the state for approval.  Governor Cuomo says all plans need to be submitted by April 1.


County reports 21 new cases of COVID-19 in county... Cuomo reports 8-million vaccine doses now administered...
There are now just a handful of COVID-19 positive patients in the hospital in Chautauqua County... as the number of new cases remains relatively low.  The county's Health Department reports 21 new cases over the past day... and no new deaths.  The most cases -- 8 -- were in Fredonia.  Officials say that brings the local total to 8,054... and, 154 of those are active.  Four people are now hospitalized... and, 7,758 cases have now recovered.  In addition... Governor Andrew Cuomo says more people are getting vaccinate.  During a press conference in Albany Wednesday... he said 8-million vaccinations have been put into people's arms.  He says there are no 15-million state residents now eligible to get the vaccine.  He says nearly 3-million have been fully vaccinated.  However... Cuomo says there's still a long-ways to go to make sure everyone who needs a vaccination can get one.  In Chautauqua County... nearly 30,000 people have had at least one dose of the three vaccines that are available.


Cuomo says Heastie's case of COVID may slow down budget talks...
It's crunch time for the New York state budget... and, one of the key legislative leaders involved in the process has been sidelined by the COVID-19 virus.  Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie was one of two lawmakers who said they tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, though both Democrats said they were experiencing only mild symptoms.  Heastie... who received his first vaccine dose on March 6th... says he'll be working from his Albany residence.  Governor Cuomo is hopeful they can meet the April 1 deadline.  Cuomo says he's confident the speaker will recover fine.  However... he says with quarantining of staff in his office, that may slow the process.  Cuomo says negotiations leading up to an agreement often involve dozens of negotiating sessions with several people in a room.  He says that's not going to happen this year... but, he's hopeful he and the legislature will reach an agreement.


City man arrested on Violent Felony warrant...
A Jamestown man sought on a Violent Felony warrant for first-degree robbery was arrested early yesterday morning during a street check by city police.  Officers say they were patrolling the area of Chandler and Franklin Streets just before 3 a.m. when they spotted Kevin Philbrick.  Police say Philbrick began to flee... and, they chased him to the city's train tracks where they caught him.  Officers took Philbrick into custody on the warrant... which also charges second-degree menacing.  He was also charged with second-degree obstruction, and is jailed pending arraignment.


Jamestown residents can pick-up petitions now to run for school board...
Petitions for candidates seeking to run for two seats on the Jamestown School Board this May are now available at the superintendent's office on Martin Road.  District Spokeswoman Cathy Panebianco says candidates must submit a completed petition with the names of 50 or more qualified voters in the district to be eligible to run in the May 18 election and budget vote.  Those must be turned into the superintendent's office by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28.  Panebianco says if you have questions... contact Jaunita Walter at 483-4420... or e-mail her at jaunita.m.walter@jpsny.org.  The two seats are currently held by Dan Johnson and Nina Karbacka.

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WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Mar. 23, 2021

Investigation continues into apartment house fire on Jamestown's northside...
An early morning fire today has heavily-damaged a large, two story apartment house on Jamestown's northside.  City Fire Battalion Chief Brian Acterberg says crews were called to the scene at 703 Washington St. just after 6:30 a.m., and, found heavy fire coming from the back apartment in the structure.  Acterberg says there are four apartments inside the building.  He says it took about an hour to bring the blaze under control... partly because some firefighters had to get a look inside the back apartment after getting word that someone may not have gotten out of the house.  However... that unaccounted for person was later found outside and safe.  Acterberg says there was extensive damage... with fire extension outside the apartment -- which was heavily damaged.  He says no one was hurt... the on-coming shift, and five more off-shift firefighters were also called to the scene.  Celoron's ambulance was also called in to stand-by.  Crews were still at the scene dousing hot-spots late this morning.  The cause is under investigation.


City man arrested on drug and weapons charges after being found with stolen bicycle...
A man accused of stealing a bicycle in Jamestown late Sunday night is also charged with being in possession of a loaded handgun and drugs.  City Police say officers saw 51 year-old Aaron Davis walking a bike in the 500-block of North Main Street about 11:30 p.m. that matched the description of the stolen bike.  Officers say their investigation found it was the stolen bicycle... and, they also found Davis in possession of the gun, and a small quantity of drugs.  Davis was arrested on charges including second-degree criminal possesion of a weapon... fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, third-degree criminal possession of stolen property.  He was jailed pending arraignment.


Jamestown City Council's Public Safety Committee reviews draft Police Reform plan...
City lawmakers in Jamestown say, if the process of developing the city's Police Reform and Reinvention Initiative Plan is any indication, it will be a success.  That from some of the city council members as the Public Safety Committee last night signed off on the multi-faceted plan during it's meeting.  Councilwoman Vickeye James... who is not a member of the committee... was still heavily involved in the process.  She says the interactions between police officials and members of the stakeholder groups was helpful.  James praised Chief Tim Jackson and Captain Scott Forester for their help in the process.  The plan addresses an number of areas of policing... from interactions with the public, to command structure, and dealing with sensitive matters... such as domestics and undercover drug investigations.  That latter situation came up when discussing upgrades to the department's body cameras... and, was addressed by Councilman Jeff Russell, a retired city police officer.  New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an order last year... after the police-involved death of George Floyd... that mandated all communities that have police forces put together such plans.  Those had to be submitted by Thursday, Apr 1.


Schuyler pleased to see COVID-19 numbers staying relatively low in county...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting another 71 confirmed cases of COVID-19 last weekend... putting the local total to more than 8,000 now.  That's a big number... considering there were just under 1,500 at the end of November.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says no one really expected the pandemic to have the impact it has on not just people's general health, but, mental health, and socialization.  She says pretty much every aspect of our lives have been "touched by this."  Schuyler made her comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations on a look back on the pandemic a year later.  County Health officials say the total number of cases in the county now totals 8,019 since last March.  Officials say there were 21 new cases in Fredonia the past three days... and, 18 in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  There were no new deaths... but, 173 cases are now active, and 9 of those are hospitalized.  The Health Department reports that 7,705 cases have recovered.


Cuomo says people 50 and over now can schedule appointments for COVID Vaccine...
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that the state is expanding eligibility for the coronavirus vaccine to everyone age 50 and older.  The governor said newly eligible people can now start signing up for vaccines.  Previously, everyone age 60 and older could get vaccinated, as well as certain essential workers and people with select health conditions.  Cuomo said the state can expand eligibility because of promises from the federal government that vaccine supplies will keep increasing.  It's unclear how many people are now eligible for vaccines in New York.


Wendel says he's "disappointed" by Reed's actions, and decision not to run again...
Chautauqua County's top elected official is reacting to Congressman Tom Reed's decision not to run for re-election in the House or for any other elective office in 2022.  That follows a sexual misconduct allegation by a junior lobbiest from 2017.  County Executive P.J. Wendel was disappointed by the announcement... but, says Reed has done a lot for the county... especially in dealing with the COVID stimulus and relief packages.  He feels that Reed should be able to fill out the remainder of his term and continue to do his job. 

 

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WJTN Headlines for Mon., Mar. 22, 2021

Reed apologizes for 2017 incident with Davis, announces he won't seek election for any office in 2022...
With accusations now swirling about alleged sexual misconduct... local Congressman Tom Reed has announced that he will not be seeking any public office next year.  In a printed statement released late Sunday... the six-term Republican from Corning first apologized to Nicolette Davis, who's allegations about a networking trip she and Reed attended in 2017, were the focus of a Washington Post story late last week.  He says "I hear her voice and will not dismiss her.  In reflection, my personal depiction of this event is irrelevant.  Simply put, my behavior caused her pain, showed her disrespect and was unprofessional. I was wrong, I am sorry, and I take full responsibility."  He also apologized to his family, and, the people of the 23rd District, my colleagues, and those who have supported me."  In addition... Reed called it a time in his life in which he was "struggling.  Upon entering treatment in 2017... I recognized that I am powerless over alcohol."  He says he's been sober for nearly four years now... but, adds that journey is "day-by-day..." but, this is in no way an excuse for anything I’ve done."  Thirdly... Reed says he plans to make amends for his past actions.... and apologize to those "I have impacted, including Ms. Davis."


Fire at Ellicott Shores Apts. in Celoron blamed on discarded cigarette...
No one was hurt in a weekend fire in the village of Celoron.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department fire investigators say Celoron crews were called to the Ellicott Shore Apartments at 75 Marine Dr. shorly before 5 p.m. Saturday... and, put out the blaze.  Fire investigators were later called in... and, determined the fire originated on a second floor porch, due to a disregarded cigarette. 


Dunkirk man arrested for convenience store robbery...
A Dunkirk man was arrested following a robbery at a convenience store in the north county city last Saturday.  Dunkirk Police were called to Crosby's at 106 Central Ave. at about 1:45 p.m. on a report of a possible robbery in progress... and, were able to obtain a description of the subject, who had fled the scene with an undetermined amount of cash.  Officers say within seconds, the suspect, identified as 40-year-old John Tenamore, was located a short distance away and in possession of items stolen.  Tenamore was arraigned in Dunkirk City Court on charges of third-degree robbery and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, then was remanded to the county jail in lieu of cash bail.


Barmore says you can now make appointments at county DMVs...
If you need an appointment for an in-person transaction at the Chautauqua County Department of Motor Vehicles... it shouldn’t be too hard to get one now in Jamestown, Dunkirk or Mayville.  County Clerk, Larry Barmore, though, says ‘be flexible.’  He says you should be able to get an appointment within a couple of days, but, check on what's available at each office.  Barmore says learner’s permit and CDL tests… state-to-state transfers, and license upgrades have to be done in person.  Obtaining license plates and renewing driver’s licenses can be done on-line... but, Barmore says it goes better if you do those in person, too.  Appointments must be made on-line at chqgov.com.   All other transactions must be done by mail or drop box, for now.  The clerk expects to be fully open for walk-in business again later this spring, but because of an expected backlog of learner’s permit requests, all tests will remain ‘by appointment only.’  Doing business by appointment has been popular with some people… so the DMV will continue to offer that service even after the ‘full’ reopening. 


Portville man arrested for menacing incident... 
A Cattaraugus County man has been arrested for allegedly threatening three people with a weapon during an incident late last week in the town of Portville.  Sheriff's officers say they arrested 26 year-old Dominic Puccinelli of Portville after obtaining an arrest warrant late Friday on one count of second-degree menacing, and three counts of criminal possession of a weapon.  Puccinelli was arraigned in Portville Town Court, and issued appearance tickets for a later date.


Nothing turned up during Allegheny River weekend search for two missing people...
Warren City Police conducted a search of the Allegheny River last Saturday for two persons reported missing over the past month and a half.  The Warren Times-Observer says John Christopher Nelson was last seen on Feb. 5... and, Nicole Lee Font was last seen this past week, on Mar. 14.  City police focused on the area between Point Park and Mead Island.  Police say the cases appear to be unrelated... and, believe no foul play occured.  The Saturday police statement noted that Saturday’s activity was a continuation of a search started on Friday.


Tax filing deadline delayed in NYS to May 17...
New York state residents are getting an extra month to file their state income taxes.  State Budget Director Robert Mujica says the filing deadline will move from April 15 to May 17.  That matches a move from the federal government.  The Internal Revenue Service announced on Wednesday that it was pushing back the deadline for filing and paying taxes to May as a way to help people during the pandemic.  Mujica says pushing the tax filing deadline back would move about $6 billion of revenue from April to May for New York.  


 

 
 

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WJTN Headlines for Fri., Mar. 19, 2021

WAPO story says Reed is accused of sexual misconduct in 2017 incident...
A Washington Post story today is reporting that a former junior lobbyist for an insurance company has accused local Congressman Tom Reed to sexual misconduct during a gathering in 2017.  The Post reports that Nicolette Davis was 25 at the time... and, was with Reed at an Irish pub in Minneapolis, Minnesota after a day of ice fishing.  Davis says she texted a friend saying "A drunk Congressman is rubbing my back."  She then later texted "HELP HELP.”  Reed is then accused of putting his hand outside her blouse, and moving his hand to her thigh.  The Corning Republican refused to be interviewed for the story... but, did issue a statement through his chief of staff, saying "this account of my actions is not accurate.  I stand by my record."  Reed has been in the spotlight recently because he is considering a possible run for New York governor.


Carl Reiner's professional, personal archives being given to the National Comedy Center...
The National Comedy Center in Jamestown has announced that it will soon be the new home of late comedic legend Carl Reiner’s personal and professional archives.  Reiner's son, Rob, announced on NBC's Today Show today that his family is donating the archives to the Center.  Rob Reiner says the Comedy Center will get his fathers rare creative papers, scripts and artifacts spanning Carl Reiner’s seven-decade career in comedy as a writer, director, and performer will be preserved.  He says his emmys, scripts, and other items are being given for a new wing of the center.  The younger Reiner says "it's very exciting."  Comedy Center officials will formally name its ongoing work to preserve comedy’s heritage in honor of Reiner, who was a founding Advisory Board member for the Comedy Center.  The Carl Reiner Department of Archives and Preservation will serve as the central hub for all archival and preservation work within the Comedy Center, as it continues its mission to present the history of comedy and preserve comedy’s heritage for future generations.  Carl Reiner passed away last June at the age of 98.


Comedy Center says it will again be a Ward-Three polling site in 2021...
The National Comedy Center in Jamestown has announced that it's reached an agreement with the Chautauqua County Board of Elections to again be a polling site this year.  In a statement issued this afternoon... center officials said "we are pleased to have reached an agreement so that the National Comedy Center can serve as a polling site for Ward 3 in 2021.  We appreciate the spirit with which this has been resolved, and the Board of Election's understanding of the challenges for the center’s business operations during voting days."  They add the board addressed their concerns regarding the state law on polling sites with a liquor license, and will use its best efforts to adhere to all Comedy Center “LaughSafe” health and safety protocols while those precautions remain in place.  The center has been a Ward-Three polling site since it opened in August of 2018.


Democratic City Council candidates announced during Zoom video conference...
There are seven Democrats running for seats on the Jamestown City Council this Fall... and, four are newcomers.  However... one incumbant will not be seeking re-election.  During the city Democratic Committee's Zoom announcements Thursday night... it was revealed that at-large Councilwoman Tamu Graham-Reinhardt will not seek another term.  She says she's been able to do what she wanted to get done... and, it's time for someone else with new ideas to run.  Three newcomers are seeking at-large seats... including Alyssa Porter... who is Youth and Family Programs Director at Chautauqua Institution.  The other two newcomers running at-large are long-time Jamestown resident, Ellen DiTonto... and former State Assembly candidate, Christina Cardinale.  DiTonto is currently the executive director of the Jamestown Community College Faculty-Student Association.  There are three veteran lawmakers running for ward seats... including Ward-Four incumbant Marie Carrubba.  Carrubba feels being part of several community boards and committees helps keep her finger on the pulse of the community.  She says they include being a member of the Board of Public Utilities.  She is the director at Southern Tier Environments for Living.  The other ward candidates including Third-Ward incumbant Vickye James... newcomer Doug Lawson in Ward-Five... and, in the Sixth-Ward, incumbant Tom Nelson.


Green confirms that incumbant County Legislature Minority Leader, Chuck Nazzaro, is not seeking re-election...
The Zoom announcement last night also revealed the names of four Chautauqua County Legislature candidates.  But... one of them is not a long-time member who has most recently been Minority Leader.  County Democratic Chairman Norm Green did confirm that Jamestown's Chuck Nazzaro is not seeking another term.  In his place... Green says local community activist, Billy Torres, is running for that seat.  The other candidates include newcomer Heather Fagan... and incumbants Bob Whitney and Paul Whitford.


County reports 42 New COVID Cases, one death on Thursday...
There was an uptick in the number of daily coronavirus cases in Chautauqua County the past day... with 42 new confirmed cases Wednesday.  There are now 7,902 total cases to date... with 7,611 recovered.  There was also one new death the past day... increasing that number to 141.  The county's Health Department reports the most cases... 12... were reported in Dunkirk.  Falconer had 8 and Jamestown 7.  Officials say there are now 150 active cases... and nine of those are hospitalized.  The local infection rate is back up to one-percent.


 

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