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Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for May 26, 2020

People in more than 100 vehicles came to Lakewood on a mid-Summer-like afternoon Monday to commemoriate Memorial Day in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The "drive-in" program at the Chautauqua Mall was put on the local Blue Star Mothers chapter, and Koinania Church in Frewsburg, and broadcast here on WJTN Radio.  The Keynote address was given by Retired Major Greg Carlson, who is the director of the Veteran's Services Agency in Chautauqua County.  Those attending also heard from County Executive P-J Wendel, Lakewood Mayor Randy Holcomb, State Senator George Borrello, and Assemblyman Andy Goodell.


Governor Andrew Cuomo remembered both the nation's war dead... and, the nearly 100-thousand Americans who have died from COVID-19.  The govenor was joined Monday by daughter, Mariah, to lay a wreath in the waters of New York Harbor from the U-S Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.  Cuomo especially paid tribute to those who were on the front-lines, and died of COVID-19.

Cuomo then said he would be issuing an order that the families of those workers who died in the course of doing their jobs receive full death benefits from the state and local governments.  He says it's a way to honor those front-liners for their sacrifice.  He also called on the federal government to again establish a fund for the families of front-line workers who died of the COVID-19 Virus while performing their job duties.  He added that, the number of people in New York who died from the coronavirus dropped below 100 to 96 on Sunday.


There is one new case of coronavirus in Chautauqua County over the past day... bringing the county's total to 75 confirmed cases.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the new COVID-19 case is a woman in her 30s.  Wendel adds there are now 28 active cases,  with four people hospitalized, and they continue to recover.  He says there are now 43 people who have recovered... while 4 have died.  Wendel says 167 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the number of people responding to the 2020 Census in both Jamestown and New York state.  If you haven't done your part for the Complete Count this year... Mayor Eddie Sundquist says you still have opportunities to do so.  Sundquist says the current response rate in the city is just over 50-percent this year, after being at 64-percent in 2010.

Sundquist says you can still go on-line to "my2020Census.gov" and, follow the instructions to fill out the Census for everyone in your home.  If you don't have the Internet, and haven't received the mail-in form... Sundquist says he can also do it by phone, or wait for a Census taker to come to your home.  However, when and how that will be done has not yet been announced.


COVID-19 has led to the cancellation of another ethnic celebration.  The American Scandinavian Heritage Foundation has decided... no Scandinavian festival this year.  For the first time ever, this year's event was set to be held at the Jamestown arena, July 17th through the 19th.  Speaking for the foundation, Scott Axelson says they may do some kind of smaller 'one day' event in the late summer or fall, depending on how the community recovers from the coronavirus.  The ASHF 'mid-sommer' program on June 13th has also been cancelled.


The annual Allegany Nature Pilgrimage this coming weekend will be different from the 61 that have come before.  Committee member, Ro Woodard of Falconer, says they'll be doing it all 'on line'.  She says it won't be the same as being outside, but will give people the essence of the experience.  The 'on line' program will feature the same top notch nature presenters that have become the hallmark of the Allegany State Park event.  Subjects to be covered by Zoom conference will include birds, bees, astronomy and fungi.  Ro says going virtual has NOT affected attendance, some 800 people have already signed up.  While they may maintain some of the 'virtual' experience in the future, Ro adds they look forward to getting back to Allegany next year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the park.  All of this year's virtual programs are free.  More information at alleganynaturepilgrimage.com.


A woman from Bemus Point woman is accused of making more than 100 harassing 9-1-1 phone calls with no legitimate purpose.  Sheriff's deputies say they were called to Belleview Road in the town of Ellery on a report of aggravated harassment coming from a resident.  Upon further investigation... officers determined that the calls were made by 63 year-old Sally Lawson.  Deputies say Lawson's calls included threats of violence and death towards 9-1-1 dispatchers and responding officers.  She was charged with second-degree aggravated harassment... and, issued an appearance ticket for Ellery Town Court.
 

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News Headlines for Mon., May 25, 2020

"Drive-in" Memorial Day Service in Lakewood getting underway...
The Media One Radio Group is teaming with the local chapter of the Blue Star Mothers to host a "drive-in" Memorial Day Service this afternoon in Lakewood.  The program is being held in the northeast parking lot of the Chautauqua Mall... behind the former Ruby Tuesday's... beginning now -- at 1 p.m.  Vice-President Kathy Collver with the Blue Star Mothers, Lake Erie-Chapter 4... says that's different than the National Day of Prayer program that faced the former Sears Auto Center.  Collver says mall officials felt that would be a better place to hold the service because the lay-out and pavement situation is better.  Collver came up with the idea after attending the National Day of Prayer program... and, says they have been helped in getting today's program together by Koinania Christian Fellowship in Frewsburg.  Chautauqua County Veteran's Services Director Greg Carlson will give the keynote address.  The entire program can be heard on WJTN 1240 AM and 101.3 FM... as well as wjtn.com.


Cuomo honors Memorial Day at USS Intrepid, along with those who died from COVID-19...
Governor Andrew Cuomo took time out late this morning to lay a wreath in the waters of New York Harbor from the U-S Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.  He paid tribute to the nation's war-dead during a time where about 100,000 people in the U-S have died from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Cuomo says they "remember the families of service members, and the pain they went through..." and "we honor their sacrifice."  Cuomo says "we honor" the front-line workers -- especially those in the health care industry -- because they have "risen to the challenge."  He then said he would be issuing an order that the families of those workers who died in the course of doing their jobs receive full death benefits.  Cuomo also called on the federal government to again establish a fund for the families of front-line workers who died of the COVID-19 Virus while performing their job duties.  He added that, for another day, the number of people in New York who died from the coronavirus were less than 100.  A total of 96 people died on Sunday in the state.


Wendel says four weekend case of COVID-19 reported...
For new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Chautauqua County since last Friday... with two added on Saturday and two more on Sunday.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the two newest cases confirmed yesterday are a woman in her 30s... and, a man in his 70s... bringing the total number to 74 in the county.  Wendel adds there are now 27 active cases, including one person who is now hospitalized... and, 43 people have now recovered while four others have died.


Sundquist urges residents to fill out the 2020 Census on-line or mail-in...
The number of people responding to the 2020 Census... as you might expect during the COVID-19 Pandemic is down.  However... if you haven't done your part for the Complete Count this year... you still have opportunities to do so.  Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist says response at this time... compared to the last count in 2010... is down about 10-percent to about 55-percent.  At this time in 2010... Sundquist says there had been a 65-percent participation.  He says... if you haven't received the information in the mail... you can go right on-line to do it at "my2020census.gov."  If you don't have the internet, and haven't received the mail-in form... you can also do it by phone, or wait for a Census taker to come to your home. 


Woman from Bemus Point arrested for allegedly making more than 100 harassing phone calls to Chautauqua County 9-1-1 Center...
A Bemus Point woman has been arrested for allegedly making more than 100 harassing 9-1-1 phone calls with no legitimate purpose.  Sheriff's officers say they were called to Belleview Road in the town of Ellery for a report of aggravated harassment.  Upon further investigation... deputies determined that the calls were made by 63 year-old Sally Lawson.  Officers say Lawson's calls included threats of violence and death towards 9-1-1 dispatchers and responding deputies.  Lawson was issued an appearance ticket for second-degree aggravated harassment for Ellery Town Court at a later date.


 

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News Headlines for Sat., May 23, 2020

City man arrested for alleged possession of "large amount" of Meth, and Fentanyl, along with cash...     
A Jamestown man has been arrested after allegedly being found with a large quantity of drugs and $1,700 in cash in his possession late Friday morning.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force, the State Police K-9 unit and JPD Patrol were in the area of West Cowden Place -- near Charles Street -- just after 11:30 a.m.  Samuelson says officers spotted 36 year-old Walter Duprey driving a car on West Cowden, while being chased by another man yelling for him to stop.  Duprey allegedly saw police, and stopped the car and quickly got out.  Samuelson says he was driving with a suspended license, and did not have permission to drive the car.  Police later found a large amount of methamphetamine, fentanyl, scales, packaging materials and the cash in his possession.  Duprey was arrested on several drug related charges... including two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and jailed pending arraignment.


Chautauqua County has first time double-digit day for COVID-19 Cases...
Chautauqua County has seen a double-digit increase in the number of new, positive cases of COVID-19 for the first time since the outbreak began in mid-March.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says that 10 new people have the Coronavirus... and, says no one age group is impacted.  He says one person is under the age of 18... two young adults... a male and female... and, three people in their 50s are among the confirmed cases.  Wendel adds, though, there are no hospitalizations.  Since last weekend, though, the county has seen 20 new cases of the virus.  As we head into the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend... she urged people to observe 6-feet social distancing, and wear a mask in public.  If you don't... she says you open yourself up to getting the virus... and, having to be quarantined for 14 days.  Schuyler says use "common sense."  With the 10 new positive cases... there are now 70 total confirmed cases.  He says there are now 27 active cases, and those people are recovering under Public Health orders.  He says 39 people have now recovered from the COVID-19 Virus.  There are now 189 people under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.


Cuomo says small gatherings can now be held this Memorial Day Weekend... including churches... but, use social distancing...
The start of the long Memorial Day Weekend brings a warning from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as much of the state reopens from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Stay vigliant.  During his daily press briefing... Cuomo says he's seen reports of a possible second wave of the coronavirus in different areas of the country.  He says he would hate to see the state have to go back to a shut-down.  With that... Cuomo urged New Yorkers to enjoy the weekend -- but, wear a mask in public -- especially if you can't realistically keep a 6-foot "social distance."  He also said the state will be starting up it's own small business loan program to help the majority of the state's businesses from having to close during the pandemic.  Cuomo says more than 100,000 small businesses have closed permanently since the outbreak began.  He says true small businesses have 20 or fewer employees.


Borrello opposes Governor Cuomo's decision to work with Gates Foundation to "Reimagine Education..."
The region's state Senator says he takes issue with Governor Andrew Cuomo's call to "reimagine" education using a greater reliance on computers and distance learning.  Irving Republican George Borrello says he believes the current use of distance learning has not worked out.  Borrello says all the educators and teachers he's talked with have almost been universal in saying that the quality of education during the shut-down has not worked well, despite the best efforts of teachers and administrators.  Borrello says he feels on-line learning does not compare to the quality of the education currently provided by teachers and staff.  He adds that it's essential for students to return to personalized instruction as soon as possible.  The governor recently enlisted the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to work with the state on ways to more incorporate on-line learning into school curriculum.


New York State Police say they'll be cracking down on drunk and impaired driving this Memorial Day Weekend...
As the Memorial Holiday weekend approaches, motorists can expect to see sobriety checkpoints and increased police patrols. That's the word from State Police Superintendent Keith Corlett... who says -- "as we take time this Memorial Day to honor those who died in service to our county, we remind motorists to make safety the top priority. If your holiday plans include alcohol, please arrange for a safe ride home. Driving impaired is a choice that often has serious and even deadly consequences." Troopers will be using both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) vehicles as part of this crackdown in order to more easily identify reckless or impaired drivers. During the 2019 Memorial Day weekend, Troopers arrested 225 people for drinking and driving... and, issued over 13,000 citations. 

 
 

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WJTN News Headlines for May 22, 2020

Two children are among the three new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County... bring the total to 60.  County Executive P-J Wendel said Thursday the other case is a woman in her 30s.  Wendel says there are now 19 active cases... but, no one is hospitalized... and, they continue to recover under orders of the Local Health Director.  In addition... he says there are 209 cases under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.


There will be no in-person Summer School in New York state this year due to ongoing risks for children returning to the classroom.  That Thursday from Governor Andrew Cuomo... who says Summer school will be done as it has been since mid-March -- remotely.  As for the Fall... Cuomo says it's still too early to make a decision... but, he adds the state Education Department will be putting out guidelines to all district's shortly... and, those will have to be returned.

Cuomo says an increasing concern right now is an increase in cases involving a new "Inflammatory Syndrome" that's infected more than 150 children in the state.  He says the Pediatric Inflammatory Syndrome seems to be triggered by COVID-19 or it's anti-bodies, and has killed several children.  In addition... Cuomo says that "contact tracing" is fully underway in the state, and if someone you came in contact with over a two-week period tests positive for COVID-19... expect a call from "NY Contact Tracing."  He says it's an official message that you had a possible exposure to COVID-19.


A third person has tested positive for COVID-19 in Warren County. Officials say the individual is a resident of Warren County and was not tested for the virus at Warren General Hospital, but they are seeking medical treatment at this time. The County Commissioners say the Emergency Management Team is continuing to monitor the situation and provide updates as more information is released. Questions can be directed to the Warren County Department of Public Safety at 814-563-3598. 


The Jamestown Public Schools Board of Education approved an $88.3-million "Pandemic Budget" plan for the 2020-21 school year.  Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic... the district is looking at a drastic reduction in financial aid from the spending plan approved in March. District Superintendent Bret Apthorpe expressed his frustrations during an interview on the Dennis Webster show this morning.

During Tuesday night's school board meeting... Apthorpe presented his "Pandemic Budget" which includes a $2.9-million reduction from the original proposal, conferences and field trips.  However, he says if Governor Andrew Cuomo does come out with a 20-percent reduction in state aid, many student activities would go away, including sports, music and non-essential classes.  The entire presentation is available online at the district's website.... and, a public hearing will be held via video-conferencing June 1st at 6PM, prior to the June 9th vote. 


The success of the National Day of Prayer "drive-in" service in the parking lot of the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood has led to planning for a new, Memorial Day Program that meets COVID-19 safety guidelines.  The Blue Star Mothers, Lake Erie Chapter-#4 will host the ceremony next Monday at 1 PM in the northwest part of the parking lot at the mall off Fairmount Avenue.  Blue Star Mothers Vice-President Kathy Collver says members were meeting on-line about not being able to hold this Saturday's eighth-annual program when an idea came to her.

Collver was among the people who attended the National Day of Prayer program... which brought people in nearly 200 vehicles to the mall to commemorate the day.  Cars will be parked facing the former Ruby Tuesday restaurant for Monday's program... which will feature the keynote address by Chautauqua County Veteran's Services Director Greg Carlson.  The radio broadcast will be available Monday to both people attending... and, the general radio audience on Media One stations WJTN AM and FM beginning at 1PM.

Those businesses that now qualify to reopen under Phase One of the governor’s "NY Forward" initiative are being urged to get their state certification.  With that... the Jamestown Department of Development is hosting a webinar for construction businesses today at 12 Noon.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says businesses that need to get certified need to go on-line to www.forward.ny.gov to see if they qualify.  Sundquist says they must read and affirm the Detailed Industry Guidelines for Reopening, as well as print and fill out a Business Safety Template for all employees.  The safety templates do not need to be submitted to the State to reopen but should be kept on file.  The city's webinar on it is begin done in partnership with the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency, the county's Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Development Center, and the Builder’s Exchange of the Southern Tier.


Seven years after closing its doors... Petri Baking Products will make a return to the village of Silver Creek with plans to acquire its former location at 18 Main Street in order to re-open its soft cookie baking operation.  Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel is pleased with the announcement, saying that he was concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic might derail the project that's been in the works.

Renovations will return the facility to food grade status, and brand new machinery and equipment will be installed, including one new oven, with plans for future growth.  About 40 new jobs are planned when operations begin in early 2021, with over 100 projected during the first three years.  Wendel says the company's former President Anthony Habib will return as President and is currently assembling his leadership team. The county's Industrial Developement Agency, and the Chautauqua Region Economic Development Corporation have been working closely with Habib and Petri's team to bring the project together. 

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WJTN News Headlines for May 21, 2020

A Sherman man has been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing two juveniles over the past two months.  Sheriff's officers were called to investigate a suspicious situation back on May 5th... and, later learned that 20 year-old Trever Kneer of West Main Street had engaged in inappropriate actions with the two juveniles.  Deputies say Kneer was arrested Wednesday for second-degree sexual abuse, and three counts of forcible touching.  He was taken for Centralized Arraignment in Mayville... and, will appear in Sherman Town Court at a later date.

Religious gatherings of up to 10 people may now be held in New York state... provided there is strict social distancing.  That today from Governor Andrew Cuomo as much of the state has begun to reopen at Phase-One levels.  The issue of how soon churches and other religious programming can resume has been much discussed in recent weeks.  During Wednesday's press briefing... Cuomo said he's talked a lot about it with his Interfaith Advisory Council... adding he wants to be cautious.

Cuomo says he understands the religious community wanting to get back to holding in person services, and other programming.  He says churches can also do "drive-in" services with people in their cars using radio frequencies.  Cuomo also says it's important to do it "safely and smartly" with the faith community involved.  New Rochelle is where the COVID-19 outbreak in New York took off in March after several people at a gathering became infected with the virus.  


The state's new mandate requiring nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult day care facilities to test all staff for COVID-19 will begin shortly.  But, New York officials acknowledge that those facilities were having difficulty implementing the new rule due to cost and staffing issues.  Governor Cuomo's Executive secretary, Melissa DeRosa, says they have sent out testing kits to those facilities.

During the Governor's daily press briefing Wednesday... DeRosa said they have sent out 320-thousand kits, and they have arrangements with commercial labs to run the tests.  However... members of the Republican Conference in the State Senate are blasting the new rule.  Local Senator George Borrello of Irving says it's an unfunded mandate... and, providing the initial 320,000 test kits isn't enough.  Borrello and the others are urging the Cuomo administration to go to once-a-week testing as recommended by the Healthcare Association of New York state and the Centers for Disease Control.


There are three new cases of the coronavirus in Chautauqua County, putting the county's total at 57 now since the outbreak began.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the three new cases include two women, one in her 20s, the other in her 70s, as well as a man in his 50s.  Wendel says there are currently 16 active cases, including no hospitalized cases, and who continue to recover.  He says 37 people have now recovered, while 202 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders by the Public Health Director and are being monitored.  In addition, he says there have been 1,894 negative test results to date.

 Chautauqua County's representative in Congress has announced an inter-regional coordination pledge involving health networks and hospitals across three regions of New York State.   Corning Republican Tom Reed says the Western, Finger Lakes, and Southern Tier New York Health Care Network and Hospital Pledge reflects a good-faith effort by medical providers to ensure local hospitals and health care networks are working together during the pandemic.

Reed says the pledge will also help prevent specific localities from unfairly backsliding into additional shutdown orders, which would have devastating impacts on providers and the local economy.  The Corning Republican made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier media.

The United Veterans Council reminds the community there is NO flag placement tonight (Thursday) at Lakeview Cemetery.  The council's secretary, Melodie Paladino, says they are grateful for the large group of volunteers that has gathered in recent years to place flags on veterans' graves.  But the current restrictions on crowd size left the job to be done by around 10 members of the United Veterans Council.  Paladino adds they regret they could not share the work this year, but they do encourage people to visit the cemetery to view the flag display and honor the fallen.  Also, after consultation with the mayor earlier in the spring, the United Veterans Council also decided NOT to hold Monday's Memorial Day parade, and the ceremony that follows at Soldiers Circle. 


The Jamestown School Board has approved a proposed $88.3-million budget for the 2020-21 school year that includes no property tax increases.  However... there would be some significant cuts.  The proposed spending plan will be presented for public vote via absentee ballots, with ballots due back to the District Clerk by June 9th at 5PM -- by mail or in person.  In addition to the School Budget proposition, the absentee ballot will also include a proposition for Prendergast Library Association asking the public to approve a tax levy of $350,000 dollars for the purpose of funding the library.  Three seats are also up for election to the school board... with the three incumbants running.  They are Paul Abbott, Shelly Leathers and Christine Schnars.  The Public Hearing for the Proposed 2020-21 Budget will be on June 1st at 6PM on the district's website JPSny.org.


No one was hurt, but there were some anxious moments in the village of Lakewood late Tuesday afternoon when a sailboat flipped over on Chautauqua Lake.  Lakewood Fire Chief Kurt Hallberg says their rescue crew was called to the area of the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club about 5:30 PM after a man was spotted near the boat in the water.  The male subject was pulled out to safety with no injuries.  

Nine new sex-abuse lawsuits have been filed in upstate New York against three Boy Scout local councils.  Lawyers say the filings Tuesday signal an escalation of efforts to pressure councils nationwide to pay a big share of an eventual settlement in the Boy Scouts' bankruptcy proceedings.  An injunction blocks the lawyers from proceeding with lawsuits against local councils through June 8th.  But, several lawyers say they will press for the injunction to be lifted unless financial information is fully disclosed.  If it's lifted, there could be a wave of new lawsuits in New Jersey, California and the rest of New York. 

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WJTN NEWS FOR MAY 19, 2020

For only the fourth time in history, the Chautauqua County Fair has been cancelled this year.  Fair board President, Dave Wilson, made the announcement Monday night, saying, "It became clear that cancellation was the prudent choice for the fair to do its part to improve community health and safety, and reduce the cycle of infection."  The only other time the fair was cancelled was during World War 2, when the fairgrounds were used as a prisoner of war camp.  In speaking to the impact of the decision, Dave Wilson said, "We are heartbroken for the small businesses, family farms, competitors, exhibitors and everyone who relies on the income and exposure the Chautauqua County Fair brings them."  The fair was set to run July 20th through the 26th at the fairgrounds on Central Avenue in Dunkirk.  


It's official, the Babe Ruth 13-Year-Old World Series that was to be played in Jamestown this summer will now take place in August of 2021. Vice President and Commissioner of Babe Ruth Baseball Robert Faherty says the difficult decision comes due to a number of factors, including the healthy and safety of players and families, travel concerns and the economy. In addition... Jamestown Babe Ruth Committee Vice President and Public Relations Division Director Kim Ecklund says they are fortunate to still be hosting the 40th Anniversary of the 13 year-old World Series at Diethrick Park next year.
In a printed release, Robert Faherty says.... "knowing the people of Jamestown and their sincere dedication to the Babe Ruth League program, we are confident in their commitment to provide the perfect setting for the managers, coaches, players, as well as their families and fans, to enjoy another big-league experience in 2021". More details will be provided in the future.


It's what Western New Yorkers -- including those in Chautauqua County -- have been waiting about two months to hear.  Governor Andrew Cuomo was at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo yesterday morning to say that -- with additional contact tracers now signed up -- the region can reopen today.  Cuomo says those tracers will be trained today, and that allows the region to move to "Phase-One" reopening then. Cuomo also gave the go-ahead for Pro Sports teams to begin their reopening process... including sports teams like the NFL's Buffalo Bills... and, the Sabres of the NHL.


After reporting seven new cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County last weekend... there are no new cases Monday.  County Executive P-J Wendel says that leaves the current total of positive cases at 53... while there are still 14 active cases.  Wendel adds that 35 people have now recovered from the Coronavirus... but, there are now 230 cases under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.  


Now that Western New York is preparing to 'open up' from the Coronavirus shutdown, the focus will switch from meeting seven basic benchmarks to KEEPING them at the right levels.  Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist is a member of the Regional Control Room that will key an eye on the metrics.

Sundquist says if problems come up, the Control Room can put a 'hold' on further phases, but hopefully won't have to reverse any steps.  If that ends up being the case, "it's a problem."  The mayor believes that an increasing number of cases in Chautauqua County does not contradict a re-opening. With the Capital District and Western New York on the way to opening, only downstate areas will remain fully shut down.  

New York's top fiscal watchdog says the state is holding it's own in the wake of the major, economic "earthquake" in mid-March when the Coronavirus shut-down began.  State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli who was a guest during an on-line program hosted by the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Monday afternoon... and, says one of the early effects has been a significant loss in sales tax revenues.

DiNapoli adds sales tax was also down in Cattaraugus County by nearly 24-percent.  He says at the beginning of April... the state had $8.6-billion in the bank.  However... he says they've already begun drawing down on that.  Combined with a slower rate of income tax filing -- because the deadline was extended to July 15th -- will mean a $9-billion reduction over the same period last year.  He says the state has received it's first Coronavirus stimulus check from Washington for $5.1-billion. There was also nearly $2-billion received for public school, and higher education funding.


The Jamestown Public School District has announced the last day of school for the current school year.  JPS Communications Coordinator Cathy Panebianco says in a printed release, all schools will close for the year on Wednesday, June 10th.... except Ring Elementary, which had to close for a day last February due to cleaning from a broken drainpipe.  Ring's last day will be Thursday, June 11th.  In addition, Panebianco says each school principal will notify students and families of end-of-year procedures, including books, sports uniforms and calculator returns.


City Council-Energy Projects-#2  6AM                     5/19

An energy company from Falconer has been approved for a $1.9-million project to install new energy efficient heating and cooling system at Jamestown City Hall.  In addition... Stark ESCo Southern Tier will also put up the new decorative lighting project for different buildings and structures downtown.  The measure was approved unanimously by the City Council last night.  Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says the LED lighting project is part of the city's Downtown Revitalization Initiative program.

Ecklund says the heating and cooling project at City Hall will run about $1.1-million and come from the city's SMART City Capital Investment Program approved last September.  The LED lighting project will run $415,000 while several smaller projects will be using $440,000 from another Capital fund.  Ecklund says the projects should save the city at least $65,000 in costs.  In an e-mail read during the Zoom Conference meeting... resident Doug Champ questioned why the Board of Public Utilities District Heating and Cooling system was not utilized.  However... lawmakers wanted a system that met 2030 renewable energy standards. 


A Jamestown father and son were arrested following a disorderly person complaint at a grocery store parking lot last Saturday night.  City police were called to the scene at 340 Allen Street to investigate a man allegedly throwing rocks at vehicles.  Officers identified the suspect as 18 year-old Daniel Haney. When attempting to take him into custody, Haney reportedly failed to comply and tried to run off, but was apprehended.  Police say his father, 41 year-old Jeremy Haney, came out of his residence and tried to fight a group of people on scene.  He was taken into custody on a outstanding domestic violence warrant.  Jeremy Haney is being held pending arraignment and Daniel Haney was released with an appearance ticket due to the bail reform law.

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WJTN NEWS HEADLINES FOR MAY 18, 2020


There are several new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus being reported from Chautauqua County last weekend.  County Executive P-J Wendel says four new cases were added on Saturday... while three more were added Sunday for a total of 53 in the county.  Wendel says the three new cases are two young adult males, and a woman in her 50s.  He says there are now 14 active cases, with those people now recovering.  Wendel adds there are now 35 people who have recovered... and, there are now 214 cases that are under quarantine or isolation orders and are being monitored. 

Protesters again took to the street on a sunny May afternoon in Jamestown in opposition to the Western New York region remaining under "stay-at-home" orders from Governor Cuomo.  More than 60 people were on hand at Dow Park -- saying that Chautauqua County should be considered separately from the Buffalo-area because the county's numbers are good enough to open.  Many motorists honked their horns as the protestors held signs and flags on the sidewalk.  Organizer Garrit Cain says they were there to give business owners a change to talk about how the shut-down has impacted them.  One was Kya Chadwick from Saphire Salon in Frewsburg... who feels it's more about the goverment having more power.  Saturday's protest was peaceful... and, featured several anti-Cuomo signs, and some pro-Trump signs.  Local and state legislators say Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties should be considered a "sub-region" that could reopen as part of Phase-One because they all meet the criteria.

Western New York may soon begin the planned process of 'opening up' from the coronavirus shutdown.   Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke about it during his Sunday news conference. All that's needed now is to get enough 'contact tracers' in place...if the number of cases begins to surge.  The area had lagged in the categories related to hospital admissions... but those two metrics were met over the weekend.  It's unclear as to exactly what date 'phase one' could start here... but when it does, manufacturing and construction could get underway again.  


As calls grow nationwide for mandatory coronavirus testing in nursing homes, New York facilities are sounding alarms about the state's ambitious new demand to test roughly 185,000 workers twice a week.  Administrators worry there won't be enough test kits.... and, they have also questioned who will cover an expense estimated around $150 per test.  One is Heritage Ministries' Chief Clinical Officer Jeremy Rutter... says there are two issues.  Rutter says the cost for nursing homes... on average... could run between $50,000 and $75,000 a week.  However, the bigger problem is going to be -- if there's an outbreak and several employees go into quarantine, will there be enough staff to cover?  That's why, starting this Wednesday, Heritage is temporarily halting new admissions.  State officials have suggested the homes could send workers to free state testing sites. 

The city of Jamestown has extended it's State of Emergency another 30 days beginning last Saturday... when Mayor Eddie Sundquist's previous state of Emergency expried.  The mayor announced that City Hall remains closed to the the public... public garages will be closed... and, there will be no downtown parking enforcement through at least May 31st.  Monthly alternate parking regulations are still in effect. 


Local Congressman Tom Reed's opponent in the race for New York's 23rd District seat is blasting Reed for the way he is handling the COVID-19 pandemic.  During a conference call with area media... Tracy Mitrano accused Reed of politicizing "a matter of life and death." The Penn Yan Democrat zeroed in on Reed's criticism of Governor Andrew Cuomo's COVID-19 management practices.

During his weekly conference call last week... Reed criticized Cuomo's new guidelines for nursing homes, which now require all staff to be tested twice a week for the virus.  Mitrano says testing in nursing homes would help Western New York get closer to reopening.  She says 55-percent of the deaths in Erie County have been in nursing homes, and she says the governor wants more testing there to better isolate, and get rid of the virus there.  This is the second time Mitrano is running against the Corning Republican who has been a House member since 2010.

 
A man from the Cattaraugus County town of Machia has been arrested for allegedly abandoning three dogs he owned on his property.  Sheriff's deputies in Little Valley say they took 32 year-old Peter Vega, Junior of Brown Road into custody last Saturday in connection with a complaint filed last December 9th.  Vega is accused of animal cruelty... and, was charged with inadequate shelter, failure to provide sustenance, and neglect and failure to license dogs.  He was issued appearance tickets for Machias Town Court, and the dogs were taken to an animal rescue shelter.

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News Headlines for Sat., May 16, 2020

Silver Creek evacuations ordered due to flooding...
There were mandatory evacuations ordered in the Silver Creek area last night due to significant flooding from Friday afternoon's heavy rains.  The Post-Journal reported late Friday that an order, from the Silver Creek disaster coordinator, was for Oliver Street.  In addition... a voluntary evacuation has been issued for residents along Montgomery and Lincoln streets.  A reverse 911 message went out to area residents.


Cuomo lifts Pause NY in Five Regions... but, not WNY...
Five regions of New York state have been given the green light to resume some business activity after being shut-down for several weeks due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  However... the Western New York Region... which includes Chautauqua County... is not one of them.  The Southern Tier Region -- east of Allegany County -- is among those that can reopen under Phase-one.  Cuomo emphasized those five regions have met all seven benchmarks his administration has set.  He said there's no politics or arbitrary nature to those five being able to reopen.  The Western New York region has been unable to meet the hospitalization rate and capacity numbers.  However... Cuomo did say that once a region meets the seven criteria... they can now reopen immediately.  He says that's unlike what some have said that those regions would have to wait two more weeks.  Cuomo says Phase-One allows more construction, manufacturing and curbside retail pickups are being allowed starting Friday in those five regions.


Wendel outlines effort by him, and other local leaders, to have "sub-region" considered for immediate reopening...
There are two new cases of the COVID-19 virus in Chautauqua County... but, overall... the county's numbers would be good enough to put it into Phase-One of Governor Andrew Cuomo's Reopening plan.  However... since the county is part of the Western New York Economic Region with Erie County... that's not happening today.  County Executive P-J Wendel started today's weekly press briefing with the numbers... including the new cases.  He says both are females, one in her 60s the other in her 70s.  Wendel says there are now 46 confirmed positive cases... with nine active cases, while 33 have fully recovered.  He adds there have still beeen four deaths... and, 149 people are under quarantine or isolation orders.  Another 1,656 people have come back negative for COVID-19.  He says it's disappointing that Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties can't reopen because all their benchmark numbers are good.  Wendel says they will continue to push the governor to allow them to reopen... and, they would like all three to be considered a "sub-region" that could be reopened.  Officials from the three counties are also looking to tie the governor's decision to join three other Western New York counties... Wyoming, Genesee and Orleans... which were able to be joined with the Finger Lakes Region.  That region, along with four others, were able to do a Phase-One reopening Friday.  **Another protest at Jamestown's Dow Park was held Saturday afternoon, pushing to have the county reopened to at least Phase-One because the county meets the governor's criteria.  More on that Monday.


Heritage nursing homes to temporarily halt new admissions next Wednesday due to increased COVID testing...
Nursing homes in Chautauqua County -- and the rest of Western New York -- are scrambling to make sure they can deal with the governor's order this week that all nursing home staff must be tested twice weekly.  The new directive takes effect next Wednesday... and, with that... Heritage Ministries will temporarily halt new admissions that day.  Heritage Chief Clinical Officer Jeremy Rutter... says there are two issues... the first is staffing.  Rutter says if they find a number of employees who test positive and are asymptomatic, they would lose those staffers for 14 days, and they need to be able to have enough staff to handle the work.  Rutter says the other issue is that of money to pay for 800 staff between their three facilities to be tested twice a week.  He says, on average, that would cost $50,000 to $75,000 a week to do.  So far... Rutter says they have been testing staff and others who have symptoms of COVID-19.  However... he says they're had no COVID cases among staff or residents. 


40th Annniversary Babe Ruth World Series in Jamestown is cancelled due to COVID outbreak...
There will be no 13-year-old Babe Ruth World Series in Jamestown this August.  Host President, Russ Diethrick, made the official announcement.  Diethrick says they are now revising plans to have the World Series in 2021.  Babe Ruth Baseball has cancelled the world series and regional tournaments for all age ranges, to keep the focus on local games once players can get back on the field.  This year's event in Jamestown would have marked the 40th anniversary of the first-ever 13-year-old World Series... held in Jamestown in 1980. 


Kennedy man arrested for allegedly possessing Child Porn...
A Kennedy man faces ten counts of promoting a sexual performance by a child... after State Police allegedly found him in possession of child pornography.  Troopers out of Jamestown say they received a cyber tipline report that an IP address later determined to be 69 year-old John Lewis... allegedly uploaded images of child porn.  Officers executed a search warrant at Lewis's residence last Saturday, where they allegedly found more photographs.  He was taken into custody and released with an appearance ticket for Poland Town Court at a later date. 


 

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NEWS HEADLINES FOR MAY 15, 2020

A joint investigation by local, state and federal agencies has led to the arrest of a Jamestown man... and, the seizure of more than 100-grams of the deadly narcotic Fentanyl, and $50,000 cash.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force, and State Police initially did a vehicle stop shortly after 3 PM Wednesday on North Main Street at West Oak Hill Road... and arrested 57 year-old Alfredo Diaz.  Samuelson says they found 100-grams of Fentanyl... and, cash.  He says the Fentanyl found is "significant."

Samuelson says police later searched an apartment at 741 East Second Street... which turned up more Fentanyl, prescription medications, and $8,000 in cash.  He says police later searched a storage facility was located at 378 Livingston Avenue... and found more drugs and 44-thousnand dollars in cash.  Samuelson says -- all together -- authorities found just over 101-grams of Fentanyl... 49 suboxone strips, and $52,000 cash.  He says Diaz is jailed without bail on several Felony drug possession charges, and on a State Parole warrant. (** Anyone with information on illegal drug activity in Jamestown can contact the Drug Task Force at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.  You can also contact their Tips 4-1-1 app confidentially.)


A Jamestown man faces third-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child charges stemming from a phsyical domestic situation Thursday night. City police were called to a home on Glenview Avenue shortly after 6PM... and, found 45 year-old John Erickson-junior allegedly damaged a TV and menaced a victim during the incident. Police say their investigation also found Erickson punched a juvenile in the face, causing minor injury.  He was taken to the city jail pending arraignment on additional charges of third-degree criminal mischief and third-degree menacing. 


An employee at a senior living facility in Westfield has reportedly been confirmed to have recently tested positive for the Coronavirus.  The Post-Journal is reporting that a spokesman for Absolut Care of Westfield said the employee, who was not identified, was placed into quarantine in accordance with New York State Department of Health regulations after receiving a positive test for COVID-19.  The spokesman says all residents and their families have been told about the positive case.  In addition, 32 staff who worked closely with the employee were tested... and, found negative.  In addition... every person at the Westfield location was tested today.


State Senator George Borrello is calling on Governor Cuomo to help the state’s nursing homes meet the new requirement to implement twice-weekly COVID-19 testing of their employees.  Borrello says, right now, that testing kit availability at that volume is simply not available in many regions of the state... and, he adds most facilities do not have the resources needed to purchase tests at that scale.  The Irving Republican says everyone supports taking "extra precautions" to protect nursing home residents, and "most facilities have been very diligent throughout this crisis."


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is urging member of Congress to pass the new Coronvavirus stimulus bill known as the HEROES Act.  The House is expected to take up the bill... which was drafted entirely by majority Democrats... and, is expected to cost about $3-trillion.  Cuomo says the bill would restore the State and Local Tax -- or SALT -- deducation that was repealed more than 3 years ago.

During his daily press briefing in Syracuse yesterday... Cuomo said package will provide $500-billion for state and local governments, which he says will benefit the state.  He says it will also fund important COVID-19 testing and tracing in the state.  Cuomo says -- including the state's early deficit of 6-billion dollars... and COVID costs and revenue losses... New York is facing a $61-billion budget gap.


There's a debate among headstrong New Yorkers over just when and where it is necessary to wear a mask in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 Virus.  Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered masks for anyone out in public who can't stay at least 6-feet away from other people.  The past two days... Cuomo urged residents to wear a mask in public to help combat the spread, and protect others who may be vulnerable.

Unfortunately... health care officials say pictures have surfaced in some parts of the country where restrictions have been lifted, and people are out and about in crowded locations without a mask on.  In New York City... Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged to distribute 7.5 million masks.  New York City has seen at least 20,000 people killed by the virus.  But... some city dwellers are adopting their own exceptions to the rule.  It isn't unusual to see people leaving their masks dangling as they squeeze past people on crowded sidewalks or chat with friends.


It's not known if the positive COVID-19 case involving a worker at Absolut of Westfield has been factored into Chautauqua County's tally of positive cases.  However... there is no change from Wednesday's numbers as there are still 44 positive cases in the county... while seven cases are currently active.  County Executive P-J Wendel says 33 people have recovered from the virus... while 142 others are under quarantine or isolation orders. 
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In addition... County Executive Wendel Thursday announced he has extended the county's State of Emergency for up to 30 additional days as of yesterday afternoon.  He says that's due to the continuing novel Coronavirus pandemic.  The extension of the Local State of Emergency helps the County qualify for state and federal assistance related to the County’s response to the pandemic.  Wendel says the Western New York region has "not met the Governor’s metrics test for a Phase 1 re-opening." 

Two of the main elected officials from Chautauqua County have been named to the Western New York Regional "Control Room" that will monitor the reopening of the five-county area.  One of them is Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who calls it an honor to be selected along with several others to serve.  Sundquist says the other county official will be County Executive P-J Wendel.  He says Mayor Byron Brown of Buffalo, and county executives of the other counties will be involved in monitoring the situation once we reopen.

Sundquist says the panel is headed up by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul... who is from the Buffalo-area.  He says the group has already met, and begun discussing what they'll be doing once the region enters the first phase of reopening.  Sundquist says the panel will remain in place through all four of the governor's proposed phases of reopening the state.  So far... only four regions meet all seven of the governor's metrics -- or benchmarks -- to reopen.  Western New York so far has met five of them.

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WJTN NEWS FOR MAY 13, 2020


Hundreds of people across Chautauqua County got to catch a glimpse of a rare sight during the Noon hour Tuesday as three F-35 Air Force fighter planes performed a fly-over, honoring local health care workers and doctors.  They arrived near the Chautauqua Lake Bridge about 12:35 PM... then turned south-east towards Jamestown... and, UPMC Chautauqua Hospital.  Residents used several vantage points to see the F-35s.  The trio of planes from the 914th Air Refueling Wing of the Air Force Reserves at Niagara Falls, along with the Vermont National Guard, had conducted a required aerial refueling training operation.  Following the training... the F-35s flew over parts of Western New York to salute frontline workers during the COVID Outbreak.... as well as graduating high school seniors. 

The Girl Scouts of Western New York announced that all day and resident camps will not open this Summer due to health and safety concerns related to the novel coronavirus. Girl Scouts Chief Executive Officer Alison Wilcox says it was a heartbreaking, but necessary decision.

Wilcox says the Girl Scouts have been monitoring guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Camp Association since the outbreak began in New York state. While the girls won't be able to physically go away to summer camp, they are hoping to facilitate an alternative experience virtually. Wilcox says they are continuing to monitor public health information provided. In addition, the suspension of all in-person Girl Scouts activities is extended until at least June 30th.


Chautauqua County has reported it's first pediatric case of Coronavirus.... bringing the total number of cases to 44.  County Executive PJ Wendel says there are now 8 active cases... while 32 others have now recovered... and 1,451 negative test results reported to date.

It will be up to regional control teams to monitor and gauge how well the Phase-One reopenings go in New York state.  Governor Andrew Cuomo gave the tentative green-light yesterday to three regional zones to begin reopening when New York Pause ends this coming Friday.  During his daily COVID-19 Press Briefing in Binghampton this afternoon... Cuomo said it's up to those regional and local teams to keep an eye on the daily infection and hospital rates to make sure there's not a big outbreak.

Yesterday... Cuomo said the Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley and the Finger Lakes have met all seven benchmarks for opening some business activity and need to work out some logistical details by the end of the week.  


The eastern portion of the 23rd Congressional District appears ready to reopen when Governor Cuomo launches "New York -- Forward" this Friday.  However... Republican Representative Tom Reed says he's disappointed that the western three counties in his district -- including Chautauqua County -- appear not to be ready yet.  Reed says Western New York comes up short on two of the governor's benchmarks for reopening... hospital utilization and capacity.  However... he's been in constant contact with regional hospitals... and, he believes a different approach may work.

However... Reed feels Western New York region may well be able to meet the governor's benchmarks by this Friday.  He's been in contact with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul about the situation involving Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties.  State Senator George Borrello says many essential businesses have successfully reopened, and it's time to reopen more... and, it can be done safely.  


Another Memorial Day Parade has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 Outbreak.  The Village of Falconer and the Henry Mosher American Legion Post 638 "regrettably" announced the decision late Tuesday.  Officials say the "safety of our residents is of the utmost importance.  As a display of honor and remembrance to the men and women lost while in military service for the United States, we encourage our entire community to decorate their homes and businesses with American Flags, large and small." 
 

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WJTN News Headlines for May 12, 2020


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has given the green light to three regions of the upstate area not as severely affected by the coronavirus outbreak to gradually re-start their economies.  During his daily press briefing in Rochester Monday... Cuomo said the Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley, and Finger Lake regions could move to Phase-one on Friday after meeting all seven benchmarks for opening some business activity.  However... he also announced regional "control" or monitoring teams will be put in place to oversee the efforts.

Cuomo says the local and county governments involved need to work out some logistical details by the end of the week.  Some other areas are close behind.  He says New York will reopen certain low-risk business and recreational activities state-wide on May 15th.  Cuomo says those include landscaping and gardening, low-risk outdoor recreational activities -- like tennis -- and drive-in movie theaters.


The Western New York region is moving in the right direction in terms of the metrics being used to when it comes to reopening the economy.  However... Chautauqua County will not be part of that.  Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is overseeing the efforts to reopen our region... which includes Erie County... where some of the highest numbers in the state are found.

Hochul says the key numbers will be daily infection and hospitalization rates... along with testing.  She adds that each region will have a "control group" to oversee the reopening process.  Hochul says she -- and several local leaders and health officials -- will be involved with that on a daily basis.  She reiterated that it's important to her and Governor Cuomo to reopen the economy, but she emphasized that public health is still the number one priority. 

There's one new case of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County over the past day.  County Executive P-J Wendel says that brings the total number to 43.  He says the new case is a woman in her 80s... and, he adds there are now seven active cases, who are recovering.  Wendel says 32 people have now recovered.  In addition... he says there are now 102 cases under quarantine or isolation orders... and, there have now been 1,358 negative test results to date.

Chautauqua County may not be part of the first phase of openings this coming Friday... but, city lawmakers in Jamestown are looking over some possible options to help restaurants and some other businesses open up more soon.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist... after there was word that at least a couple of restaurants are moving towards some outdoor business as the weather gets warmer.  Sundquist says some may need council action first, others may not.

Sundquist says... with some limited hours... some patio or sidewalk serve could be done with no changes to the city code.  However... others may need a local law to change the ordinance.  Meantime... he says city departments are moving ahead on plans to reopen sometime later.  Sundquist says Western New York so far meets five of the governor's seven metrics to go to Phase-one.  He made his comments yesterday morning on WJTN's Dennis Webster Show.


Another major festival in Chautauqua County has fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic and regional shut-down.  The 15th annual Jamestown Regional Celtic Festival has been cancelled this year.  The difficult decision was reached by the festival's committee... led by organizer Doug Clark of the 96th Highlanders Pipe and Drum Corp... late last week.  Clark says the decision was made with the safety of competitors, musicians and spectators first and foremost.  

The festival was to be held this coming August.  Clark says most disappointing is the fact this was shaping up as their best festival yet.  He says they were planning on having at least 80 male and female "heavy" athletes competing... and, a number of musical bands and groups performances.

A U-S Air Force flyover will take place early this afternoon to honor health care workers, first responders, and graduating seniors in Chautauqua County.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the 914th Air Refueling Wing of the Air Force Reserves at Niagara Falls, and the Vermont National Guard will be conducting a required aerial refueling training operation.  Following the training, KC-135s and F-35s will flyover portions of Western New York to salute frontline workers during the COVID Outbreak.  Wendel says three of the F-35s will break away from formation and come into Chautauqua County for a flyover of Chautauqua Lake between 12:15 and 12:30 PM.

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News Headlines for Mon., May 11, 2020

City man arrested on several Felonies after break-in, and brief imprisonment...
A Jamestown man has been arrested on several Felony charges after allegedly holding a woman and her children against their wills for a short time early last weekend.  City police were called to the scene of a domestic violence incident at 2 Stearns Ave. shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday.  Officers were told that 31 year-old Andrew Kiendl had forced his way into the house... violating four orders of protection the victims had against him.  Police forced entry, and arrested Kiendl on charges including second-degree burglary, unlawful imprisonment... and four counts of second-degree criminal contempt.  He was also jailed on five counts of endangering the welfare of a child. 


Cuomo administration officials clarify renewal of State of Emergency until June 7...
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has extended the State of Emergency until June 7.  Under the new order, New York will remain in a state of emergency until that time.  However... the "New York Pause" which has shut-down non-essential business and other activity... remains in place until this Friday, May 15.  The Albany Times-Union reports the order's legal nuances caused confusion even within the administration, as evidenced by an initial statement from a Cuomo spokesman said if they "did nothing, (the pause and the state of emergency) would expire Saturday and everything would be open."  That statement was corrected later in the day by a Tweet from Cuomo's secretary Melissa DeRosa: "NY ON PAUSE was NOT extended to June 6.  The Executive Order extended the underlying legal authority for the (initial) executive order BUT did not change the text of any of the directives in NY ON PAUSE & so the expiration date on May 15th still stands until further notice." 


4-H members, leaders, await word on status of County Fair...
Leaders and members of Four-H are anxiously waiting for word on whether the the Chautauqua County Fair will be held this year.  4-H and Youth Educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension Kate Ewer says she's hopeful it'll happen... but, ready if it doesn't.  She says they have a Plan B and C is necessary... and, they're waiting to hear what the state will allow -- possibly as soon at the end of this week.  4-H has around 250 members in Chautauqua County.  They bring around 150 animals to the Meat Animal Sale, with many other animals and projects on display.  Kate Ewer says Four-H'ers are finding ways to move forward in the midst of the shutdown.  She says some projects are being done by "virtual meetings."  The Chautauqua County Fair is planned for July 20 -- 26 at the fairgrounds in Dunkirk.


State Nursing Homes must now start twice-weekly COVID testing of staff...
New York nursing homes must start twice-weekly coronavirus testing for all staffers, and will no longer be sent COVID-19 patients leaving hospitals.  Governor Cuomo announced the policy Sunday after facing growing criticism over the handling of nursing facility outbreaks.  That requirement changes an earlier recommendation by the state... which Chautauqua County was going to be among the first to receive the testing and Personal Protective Equipment.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler explains testing is now being offered to both residents and staff now.  To this point... Schuyler confirms that there have been no cases of the COVID-19 Virus in any county nursing homes.  Governor Cuomo, earlier in the weekend, came under increasing criticism for his handling of the crisis.  Health care watchdogs and lawmakers cite problems with testing and transparency that have prevented health officials -- and the public -- from grasping the full scale of the problem. 


No new cases of COVID in Chautauqua County over the past weekend...
There were no new case of the COVID-19 virus reported in Chautauqua County over the past weekend... so the number of confirmed cases remains at 42.  County Executive P-J Wendel says there are still six active cases, and those people continue to recover under orders from the Local Health Director.  Wendel adds there are now 32 people who have recovered from COVID-19... and, there are currently 95 cases under quarantine or isolation orders.  He adds 1,335 negative test results have been reported to date.


Borrello among those pushing for all Child Care to NYS to be released...
Child care advocates are accusing Governor Andrew Cuomo of not releasing most of the $160-million New York received from the CARES Act to provide emergency relief for the state’s childcare system.  State Senator George Borrello held a news conference following a "thank you" car parade that started in Jamestown last Friday, and ended at the Lake Shore Family Center in Irving observing Child Care Provider Appreciation Day.  Specifically... Borrello says only $30-million of the $163.4-million sent to the state has been allocated.  Borrello says child care providers are a critical component of the area's frontline workforce... and, he says "adequate" child care is going to be very important once people get back to work.


Comedy Center to celebrate "virtual" birthday party for the late George Carlin Tuesday night... 
An on-line, star-studded event will be held this Tuesday night to help support the National Comedy Center in Jamestown.  The Live Stream Birthday Event will be held tomorrow night, May 12 at 8 p.m. for late, legendary Comedian George Carlin, who would have been 83 on Tuesday.  Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson says the event will feature comedians, comedy writers, producers and friends who will reflect on Carlin’s art and long-standing influence.  It will include conversations with Norman Lear, Sebastian Maniscalco, and George Carlin’s daughter Kelly Carlin.  "Laughing Matters: Carlin’s Legacy” will be live streamed at ComedyCenter.org/Carlin with a simulcast via the National Comedy Center's Facebook page.

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News Headlines for Sat., May 9, 2020

Polar vortex brings rare May snow, low temps to Eastern US, including Chautauqua County...
Mother's Day weekend got off to an unseasonably snowy start in areas of the northeast thanks to the polar vortex.  While most areas received just a trace of snow early Saturday, some higher elevation areas in northern New York and New England reported as much as 9 inches.  The spring snow and accompanying low temperatures came courtesy of the polar vortex, a batch of cold air being pulled down from the north.  Massachusetts hadn't seen measurable snow in May since 2002, while in Manhattan's Central Park, the flakes tied a record set in 1977 for the latest snow.  The Jamestown-area is expecting half an inch to an inch of snow.


Two new cases of COVID-19 reported in the county...
For the second day in a row... there are two new cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County... bringing the local total to 42.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who updated the numbers during his weekly COVID-19 Update Friday afternoon with Public Health Director Christine Schuyler.  Wendel says the new cases are both women, one in their 50s, and another in their 60s.  He says there are now six active cases, and 32 people who have now recovered.  Wendel adds there are now 81 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders from the Public Health Director... and, there have now been 1,266 negative test results to date.


Reed announces Quest Diagnostics to assist in ramping up testing in the 23rd Congressional District...
A significant increase in COVID-19 testing and available testing kits will be coming to the region to help ensure New York meets Gov. Andrew Cuomo's reopening guidelines.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed, who announced Thursday night Quest Diagnostics will provide local healthcare providers in Western New York, the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions with an intial 3,000 tests per day.  Reed says above the existing tests being done currently... this will exceed the re-opening standards covering 3-million residents. The Congressman says -- "this announcement is a critical component of the region's efforts to demonstrate to Albany that we have the resources in place to reopen as soon as possible.  Now that this critical benchmark has been overcome, I truly believe there is no reason why our region should not be opened on May 15."  Quest is set to provide testing as early as May 18.


Cuomo says numbers looking decent for possible reopening of some parts of NYS on May 15th...
If the numbers hold... it's looking promising that parts of Upstate New York will be able to start reopening from the COVID-19 shut-down a week from today.  However... Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo also reiterated during Friday's daily press briefing that the data and numbers will continue to drive that decision.  Cuomo says "I get it.." that people want to get back to some normalcy.  He says he's still looking at opening two "very low risk" areas -- low density manufacturing and construction -- for places where the numbers of cases and hospitalizations are low.  Cuomo also announced that the deadline for victims of child sexual abuse has been extended another five-months through Jan. 14, 2021 because the courts have not be up and running at full-capacity.  On Saturday... Cuomo said a new concern is the number of downstate, COVID-related cases of what appears to be Kawasaki Disease in 73 children ranging from toddlers to elementary school.


Democratic BOE members appealing ruling on holding Presidential Primary next month...
Democratic members of the state's Board of Elections have filed an appeal of a federal judge's reinstatement of the New York presidential primary.  The appeal by board Commissioner Andrew Spano and other members comes a day after the June 23 primary was reinstated by a federal judge in Manhattan, who said canceling it would be unconstitutional and deprive withdrawn presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang of proper representation at the Democratic convention.


Reopen NY Protest held Friday...
A pair of Facebook groups again held a drive-in demonstration Friday in Jamestown to protest New York's Stay-at-Home orders.  One of the organizers... Garrit Cain... says they again used the sidewalk at Dow Park on West Fifth Street to help call on county leaders to begin lifting restrictions that are part of the governor's PAUSE New York.  That order runs through Friday, May 15.  Cain says they wanted demonstrators -- who reportedly numbered about 50 -- to observe social distancing rules, and wear masks. 


National Comedy Center to hold Carlin birthday tribute....
An on-line, star-studded event has been planned for this coming Tuesday to help support the National Comedy Center in Jamestown.  The Live Stream Birthday Event will be held on May 12, at 8 p.m. for late, legendary Comedian George Carlin, at Comedy Center.org/Carlin.  Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson says the event will feature comedians, comedy writers, producers and friends who will reflect on Carlin’s art and long-standing influence.  It will include conversations with Norman Lear, Sebastian Maniscalco, Lewis Black, Jim Norton and George Carlin’s daughter Kelly Carlin.  She says there will also be tributes from Tim Allen, Bill Engvall, George Lopez, and others.  "Laughing Matters: Carlin’s Legacy” will be live streamed at ComedyCenter.org/Carlin with a simulcast via Facebook Live on the National Comedy Center Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/nationalcomedycenter/.

 

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WJTN NEWS HEADLINES FOR MAY 8, 2020

There are two new cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County... bringing the total number of positive case to 40.  

County Executive P-J Wendel adds that one of the two women, who are in their 20s, is the first from Fire Batallion Two -- the northwestern end of the county.  Wendel adds there are now five active cases, while 31 other people have now recovered from the virus.  There have been four deaths.  He says 74 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders from the Public Health Director.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is extending the state's moratorium on outbreak-related housing evictions another two-months.  

The Democrat said Thursday that a moratorium planned through June is now extended until August 20th.  Cuomo also announced the results of a study of 25 health care facilities in the New York City area to check on infection rates of 27,000 workers.  He says they found their rate of infection was no higher than the general public, meaning the use of masks, gloves and gowns work.

In addition, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf also extended that state's moratorium on foreclosures and evictions by another two months.  It was to expire next Monday, but will now run through July 10th.  Back in New York, the state tallied 231 virus-related deaths Wednesday.  Though hospitalizations continued to decrease slowly to under 8,700, the daily death toll has hovered around 230 for four days.

Sheriff Jim Quattrone is recommending that Chautauqua County residents wear face masks or coverings when going out in public.  

While there is no criminal penalty under Governor Andrew Cuomo's executive order, Quattrone says they do receive complaints that are filed through the state.  Many of those complaints have involved individuals who are not wearing masks in stores. And if a store requires the use of masks and a person does not comply, Quattrone says they could face a charge.

As for not wearing a face mask in areas where social distancing is not possible, Quattrone says they are reminding individuals about the executive order.  He says there is no mechanism in place to enforce the executive order.  The governor's order is for people to wear a face mask, or cloth covering when they're in public and, social distancing cannot be observed.


U-S Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer today is calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to immediately send supplies and PPE to upstate facilities, including V-A Hospital in Buffalo.  Schumer says the V-A has moved too slowly in providing protective equipment to frontline healthcare workers. Today's announcement follows a report in March from the V-A's Office of the Inspector General, which found that 21 out of 54 VHA hospitals would run out of PPE in the weeks following the report. 

 
A pair of Facebook groups will again be holding a drive-in demonstration tomorrow in Jamestown to protest New York's Stay-at-Home orders.  

One of the organizers, Garrit Cain, says they'll again be on the sidewalk at Dow Park on West Fifth Street at 3 PM, and will be calling on county leaders to begin lifting restrictions that are part of the governor's PAUSE New York.  That order runs through Friday, May 16th.  Cain says they want demonstrators to observe social distancing rules, and wear masks.  They also say people can circle the park in their vehicles if they don't want to be outside.

 
A large gathering of people in their cars and trucks -- socially distanced -- joined together in the parking lot of the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood Thursday for the annual National Day of Prayer today.  

Dozens of vehicles were parked from the former Sears Auto Center, past the Jo-Ann Fabric Store for the program, put on by a non-denominational group of local clergy.  Koinania Christian Fellowship Pastor Ron Lemon introduced the program and urged people to look to God to protect them, and get them through this COVID-19 Pandemic.

Lemon was joined by local political leaders, including County Executive P-J Wendel and, State Senator George Borrello.  Other clergy members included the Reverend Mel McGinnis of Kiantone Congregational Church and, Pastor William Blair of the New Creation Assembly of God church in Jamestown.
 

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WJTN NEWS HEADLINES MAY 7, 2020


The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office is investigating what appears to be a repeat of a prank letter that was sent to local towns and others in Chautauqua County.  The phony, but, realistic looking letter states that Sheriff Jim Quattrone has declared "martial law..." and, officers will be confiscating any AR-15 semi-automatic rifles.  Quattrone says it's alarming this time around due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

As with the August situation, Quattrone says his office did NOT send out the letter, and what it says is not true.  He says confiscation of firearms is a violation of the second-amendment.  Quattrone says the envelopes and the letterhead look authentic.  He says if you receive such a letter, don't open it, but call the Sheriff's Office at 661-7232.


Jamestown firefighters battled an overnight fire late Tuesday through Wednesday morning that heavily damaged a home on the city's southside.  Fire Battalion Chief Cris Dahlgren says crews were called to 43 Adams Street shortly after 11 PM Tuesday and, found the structure fully-involved on arrival.  Dahlgren says the three occupants were able to get out safely, but their pet cat perished in the blaze.  The fire is believed to have started on the exterior porch, but Dahlgren says investigators are still looking into the cause at this time.  Crews were back in station shortly after 6 AM Wednesday morning. 


Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel says there's been one new case of COVID-19 in the county.  He says it's woman in her 50s, bringing the total number of positive cases county-wide to 38.  Wendel adds that there are now three active cases, who continue to recover under orders of the Public Health Director.  He adds there are now 31 recovered cases, with four deaths.  He says 65 cases under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored, while there have been 1,105 negative test results to date.


Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel says ramping up testing and "contact tracing" of positive cases will play a big role in how soon New York state will allow Chautauqua County -- and others -- reopen.  Wendel says the county meets many of the health numbers that have to be met in Governor Andrew Cuomo's 12-Point Reopen New York plan.  Wendel says the county is already ramping up testing... especially for essential workers -- like health care professionals and day care workers.

Wendel says their "drive-thru" testing will continue tomorrow and Saturday at the Chautauqua Lake Central school bus garage.  He says contact the county's Department of Health and Human Services for more information.  Back to the governor's criteria for opening Wendel says one of the more difficult parts will be testing 30 people per 1,000 every month.  However... he says that testing ratio would be for the entire region.  He adds they also have 57 "contact tracers" ready to go... with another 27 on stand-by.


There will be no Summer Collegiate baseball at Diethrick Park this summer after the Perfect Game League cancelled the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 Outbreak.  This was to be the Jamestown Tarp Skunks inauguaral season... but, General Manager Frank Fanning says the Tarp Skunks orgtanization is "committed to bring you baseball fun and excitement in 2021."  Fanning says -- first and foremost -- “Our thoughts and prayers go out to those whose lives have been devastated from the effects of COVID19."  Field Manager Jordan Basile says he's "disappointed..." but adds they'll be ready to go in 2021.  Team officials say the Tarp Skunks will continue with certain scheduled releases throughout the remainder of 2020, and they hope to attend public appearances whenever it is safe to do so later in the year.


Chautauqua Opportunities, Incorporated is receiving a five-year, $4.7-million grant from the federal government for it's Head Start program.  Local Congressman Tom Reed announced Wednesday that the funds were being provided through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Reed says he wants to make sure "our children are prepared for school and given all the opportunities they need to thrive.  This grant funding will benefit both the children in Head Start and their families by providing a safe and educational environment.”  COI they provide services to more than 440 children under the age of 5 in Chautauqua County.

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WJTN NEWS HEADLINES FOR MAY 6, 2020

No one was hurt, but a pet cat perished in a fully-involved structure fire in the City of Jamestown last night. That from Fire Batallion Chief Chris Dahlgren, who says crews were called to 43 Adams Street shortly after 11 PM... and, found the home engulfed in flames. Dahlgren says the three residents living inside were able to get out safely, but the house was heavily damaged... and, may need to be demolished. Investigators are still searching for a cause, but the Chief says the blaze is believed to have started on the exterior porch. Firefighters were back in station shortly after 6 o'clock this morning. 


Plans are being made by Jamestown city officials so they are ready to reopen local government when New York state gives the okay.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who says they will begin at four-phased reopening once  "New York PAUSE" has been lifted by Governor Andrew Cuomo.  Right now... that date is May 15th... and, Sundquist says they're looking at a 25-percent, 50, 75, and 100-percent opening over a period of time.

Sundquist says city department heads will work out their own plans... with protocols for being able to interact with the public.  He says that also includes places that will have to be disinfected, and how regularily that will have to be done.  Sundquist says department heads will get back to him soon with those plans, and they'll be shared with City Council.


For the second-day in a row... there have been no new positive cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County.  County Executive P-J Wendel also says more than one-thousand people tested have come up negative.  Wendel says there are still 37 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus... while there are four active cases.  He says 29 people have recovered from the virus... while there have been four deaths.  Wendel says there are now 65 cases under quarantine or isolation orders by the Public Health Director and being monitored.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the national debate over when to reopen outbreak-ravaged economies boils down to the value placed on people's lives.  The Democratic governor made the argument as political pressure intensifies to relax restrictions keeping people at home and off the job.  Cuomo Tuesday also defended state's requests to include state and local aid in any new COVID-19 Relief bill.

Cuomo says states will need funding to fully implement efforts to do further diagnostic and anti-body testing... as well as "contact tracing" to locate positive cases who are "asymptomatic."  The New York Democrat also blasted Republicans who contend that stuff aid is a "Blue state bail-out."  Cuomo has opted for a slower approach that will allow parts of the state to phase in economic activity later this month if they meet and maintain benchmarks. Cuomo claims his plan avoids the trade-off between economic and human costs because it will be controlled by officials constantly monitoring fatalities and hospitalizations.


Chautauqua County's Republican Congressman says he has no problem with providing states with the aid they need to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic.  However... Corning's Tom Reed says he also wants to have the money approved for local governments, and school districts, get to them without the state's being able to get their hands on it.  Reed adds it's time for the smaller counties, cities and others to get help.

A number of local mayors, town supervisors and others have expressed concern over whether they'll be receiving any kind of aid to deal with holes in their budgets.  As far as school districts go... Reed says there's a good chance they will get some kind of help in one of the next COVID Relief bills... but, adds that must go directly to the schools.  Public school districts are reportedly looking at state aid cuts of 20 to 50-percent this year.  Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with regional media.


Mayville Mayor Ken Shearer believes tourists will come to Chautauqua County this summer, despite the cancellation of many events.

Shearer says it's important to remember people come to Chautauqua County for more than just the entertainment.  He says there are two big lakes -- Chautauqua and Erie -- and there is plenty of park and forest land... and, trails to enjoy.  Shearer says he's confident public health can be maintained if residents and visitors follow the appropriate protocols.  He also notes that the timing of the virus outbreak has given summer businesses the opportunity to refigure their operations for 2020, saying, "We're not... all of a sudden... waking up on June 28th to find out nobody's coming."


New York state is now reporting more than 1,700 previously undisclosed deaths at nursing homes and adult care facilities as the state faces scrutiny over how it's protected vulnerable residents during the coronavirus pandemic.  At least 4,813 residents with confirmed or presumed cases of COVID-19 have died at 351 of New York's 613 nursing homes since March 1st.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration's new list released late Monday that includes the reported number of both confirmed and presumed deaths as of Sunday evening. 

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WJTN News Headlines for May 5, 2020

A major project to develop more than 100-units of housing in downtown Jamestown may be able to move forward soon now that a task force has been able to negotiate changes to it's plans.  City Development Director Crystal Surdyk updated the City Council during last night's work session on the Gateway Lofts project on Water Street... which has been stalled in the city's Planning Commission most of the year.  Surdyk says the main issue is the inital plan doesn't satisfy the city's Neighborhood Revitalization Plan.

Back in February... Surdyk says the planning commission approved a positive environmental declaration for the $30-plus million project... meaning a full environmental Impact statement would have to be done.  Developers said that could set the project back several months.  However... Surdyk says a task force -- which included representatives for both sides -- agreed to a mitigation plan.  She says the developers will now withdraw their inital plan at the next commission meeting, and replace it with the mitigated proposal.


No new cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Chautauqua County this past day... and, more people have now recovered from it.  County Executive P-J Wendel reported Monday that there are still 37 confirmed cases... but, adds that 29 people have now recovered.  Wendel adds that there are now four active cases... and 75 others that are under quarantine or isolation orders.  There have also been 988 negative test results so far.

The COVID-19 Pandemic will have a major impact on Chautauqua County's summer tourism season, now that Chautauqua Institution's board of trustees voted last Friday to call off all in-person events at the institution.  County Executive P-J Wendel says there was a lot involved in institution's decision.

Wendel says he spoke with Chautauqua President Michael Hill on Saturday when the decision was announced.  The executive says Chautauqua Institution's decision was based on "volumes of data and analysis..." and, more than a month of meetings prior to the decision being made.  


School districts across New York state will be holding school budget votes, and school board elections on Tuesday, June 9th.  However... it will be done by absentee vote due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  That from state School Boards Association Executive Director Robert Schneider, who says the date is part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's order last Friday that cancelled in-person classes through the end of the academic year.  Schneider says their legal team went through the order late Friday.

School votes in the state's approximately 700 districts were to take place later this month... but, were previously postponed by Governor Cuomo.  Schneider says NYSSBA is doing all it can to support district's in any way they can because they're looking at a 20 to 50-percent reduction in state aid due to the pandemic.  He says they are lobbying New York's Congressional delegation for some funding in a fourth COVID-19 Relief bill... if there is one.

Local business owners were encouraged Monday afternoon to put forth a "good faith" effort, and keep close records for their Payroll Protection Program.  That way... they will likely have their loan from the federal government forgiven.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who spoke to a virtual gathering of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce.  Reed says he's already received a number of inquiries about the matter, and has spoken directly with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin about it several times.

Reed says the end of that eight-week period is coming up soon for many... and, he says that 75-percent meant to cover payroll for people who aren't working has to be accounted for.  He also told employers that, under this "good faith" effort, you can use 25-percent for such things as utilities, and rent.  He reminded business leaders that the eight-week program is designed "to cover that payroll exposure." 


A Jamestown woman was arrested two times Sunday afternoon in separate domestic disputes with drugs in her possession.  Just before 2:30 PM.... city police were called to fight-in-progress between two women in the area of English and Allen Streets.  During the investigation, officers say one woman -- 41 year-old Sarah Johnson -- allegedly ran from the scene, leading police on brief foot chase.  She was taken into custody after allegedly resisting arrest, and was released with an appearance ticket.   About an hour later... police responded to Winsor and Chandler Streets for a fight involving a knife... and, determined Sarah Johnson had allegedly chasing a woman through the street with the weapon.  She was found in possession of a suboxone strip out of the prescription container and was again arrested.  Police say Johnson had been released just 13-minutes prior to the second incident occuring.  She's being held pending arraignment. 


The city of Jamestown and it's Board of Public Utilities has announced a decision to open the Yard Waste Site on Monroe Street through May 15th.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he's "thrilled" that they've been able to work with everyone involved to get the site opened in response to many citizen requests.  To avoid overcrowding at the site... Sundquist says the site will be manned by Public Works employees, and open from 7:30 AM to 3 PM Mondays through Fridays.  He says residents will be asked to come to the site on their normal garbage pickup day to prevent overcrowding of the site. 

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WJTN News Headlines for May 4, 2020

Chautauqua County is reporting it's first COVID-19 related death in many days... and, it is from the county's "hot spot" area of Fire Battalion One.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the man... who was in his 60s... died last Saturday afternoon.  Wendel says it's the 37th case in the county since the outbreak began.  In his daily report... he says "our condolences go out to the loved ones of this gentleman."  In addition... Wendel says there are now five active cases, with people recovering from the Coronavirus... while 28 others have now recovered.  The man from Battalion One is the county's fourth death... while 63 other cases are under quarantine or isolation orders by the Public Health Director and being monitored.  Wendel says there have now been 959 negative test results to date.


New York is joining with six nearby states to purchase equipment and supplies that sometimes have been hard to come by during the coronavirus pandemic.  Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that the consortium will create a $5-billion regional supply chain program to obtain masks, gowns, ventilators, and testing supplies.  Cuomo says the most recent method had states bidding against each other to get equipment from producers.

Cuomo says the other states involved include Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.  In addition... New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is praising residents for mostly adhering to coronavirus social distancing rules during the warmest weekend of the spring, with police handing out only a few dozen summonses.


A Jamestown man is possibly the first one in the area to be charged with a crime for trying to infect a police officer during the Coronavirus pandemic.  Lakewood-Busti Police were called to the Wal-Mart SuperCenter on Fairmount Avenue late Saturday afternoon on a report of the shoplifting of a backpack.  Officers say 38 year-old Shawn Garrett of Baker Street had fled the scene, but, he was later found and returned to the store.  Police found that Garrett had been given a trespass warning to stay out of the store, so he was charged with third-degree burglary.  While in custody... he allegedly wiped his sweaty forehead on an officer's bare arm.  Officers then additionally charged him with third-degree menacing.  Garrett was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.


A fully-involved structure fire in the town of Busti late last Saturday night extensively damaged a home... but, no one was hurt in the blaze.  Chautauqua County Fire dispatchers say Busti fire crews were called to the scene at 29-24 Busti-Stillwater Road about 9:45 PM... and, soon after called in mutual aid from Kiantone, Lakewood, Frewsburg, Fluvanna, Celoron, Ashville, and Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania fire companies.  Dispatchers say the last crews cleared the scene at 1:15 AM Sunday.  The county's Fire Investigation Team determined the cause was combustible materials being in too close to an overheated water pump.


There will be a Summer Season... but, it will be held virtually at Chautauqua Institution this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  President Michael Hill announced last weekend that there will be no in-person programming this season. after the Chautauqua Board of Trustees voted late Friday to put the season entirely on-line this year.  He says they made the decision now because you "just can't flip a switch and Chautauqua shows up."

Hill says they consulted with local, state and other officials before making the decision.  He says another challenge has been that things change almost on a "daily basis" with the virus.  He says they may operate a limited range of facilities and services, such as dock installation and service, recreation facilities, and food service for property owners.  He says the board has also decided to invest heavily in on-line platforms for lectures, worship programs and others.  Hill says that many of Chautauqua's traditions -- including the 10:45 AM lecture series -- will take place on line this season.


The region's state Senator is hopeful that Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul considers some of the changes he and Assemblyman Andy Goodell would like to see officials make in re-opening Western New York.  Irving Republican George Borrello and Goodell have developed a plan for reopening this part of the state... and, says this is about treating each county on an indivdual basis as opposed to one big region.

Borrello says they would like to see those lower-risk manufacturing, and construction firms be able to get back operating like many others -- currently considered essential -- are doing now.  He says he's also concerned that state lawmakers have not been back to Albany since early April.  Borrello says they have passed legislation allowing them to vote remotely and the legislators need to get back to work. 

 
Netflix? That's old news.  More people are turning their gaze outside and taking up amateur bird-watching as the pandemic drags on.  Interest in birding has soared in recent weeks as bored Americans notice a fascinating world just outside their door.  Downloads of two of the most popular bird identification apps have spiked, and preliminary numbers show sales of things like binoculars, bird feeders and birdseed have jumped.  That as sales of other nonessential consumer goods are plummeting.  The trend coincides with the peak migratory season and nesting season, giving newfound birders a front-row seat to some of nature's biggest shows.

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WJTN News Bulletin for Sat., May 2, 2020

(**Alert)Chautauqua Institution cancels in-person programming for season, will offer on-line programming in 2020...

For the first time ever... Chautauqua Institution will have no in-person programming on the grounds for the 2020 Summer Season due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Chautauqua President Michael Hill announced this morning that the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to hold no "in-person programming on the grounds."  Hill adds that, depending on changes in government and public health regulations... the Institution may operate a limited range of facilities and services, such as dock installation and service, recreation facilities, and food service, targeted for property owners.  He adds that... as an alternative... Chautauqua will convene "on-line" daily through-out the Summer season... and, present a multi-dimensional online experience in lieu of the on-grounds Summer Assembly as a way to serve their patrons, and fulfill its mission to explore the best in human values and enrichment of life.  Officials say they are offering a full refunds for services, gate passes, Athenaeum Hotel reservations, and single event tickets.  The Chautauqua Ticket Office and Athenaeum Hotel will be reaching out to patrons via email to facilitate the refund process, which will include the option of donating all or a portion of the purchase value back to the Institution. 
 

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WJTN News Headlines for May 1, 2020


After several days with no new cases of the COVID-19 virus... there have been five new ones over the past three days in Chautauqua County.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who reported three new cases Thursday.  They are a woman in her 30s... and, two other women in their 60s.  Wendel says that brings the total of positive cases to 36... with seven active cases.  He says 26 people have now recovered... while 38 others are currently under quarantine or isolation orders by the Public Health Director... and, are being monitored.  So far... there have been 845 negative test results.
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Speaking of testing... Chautauqua County has announced three drive-thru COVID 19 testing clinics will be held next week for essential health care workers and first-responders.  The county's Department of Health and Human Services says EMS, Corrections officers, and child care center staff are also eligible.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says this will be diagnostic testing... with results coming in 24 to 48 hours.  She says the drive-thru testing will take place at the Chautauqua Lake Central School Bus Garage on North Erie Street in Mayville.  The first will be on Tuesday, May 5th from 3 to 7 PM... then Thursday, May 7th from 11 AM to 3 PM... and, Saturday, May 9th from 8 AM to 12 PM.  You must pre-register by calling 753-4491 or 866-604-6789.  You will remain in your car during the testing process.  You will be asked to bring your driver’s license/picture ID, employer ID, and insurance card to your appointment.  Further instructions will be given when preregistering. 

New York has now ramped up daily testing of residents for the COVID-19 Virus... so it's time to take the second step in trying to reopen the state for business.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo during his daily press briefing... who said the state has now boosted testing to 30-thousand a day.  Cuomo says the next step will be implementing a process called "contact tracing" to check on people who came in contact with each of those positive cases the previous two weeks.

Cuomo says if any of the contacts tests positive for the virus... steps would then be taken to isolate that person until they recover.  He says former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has volunteered himself and his organization to begin training a "tracing army" that will do that work.

Otherwise... Cuomo says all the key data numbers continue to drop in New York state.  However... he says there were still nearly 4,700 new positive cases in the state yesterday.  


Jamestown is one of several upstate New York locations where a rally will be held by a group called "Reopen New York..." which is calling for businesses and consumers to have the freedom to reopen and do business.  However... the organizer of the group says they want that done "wisely and responsibly."  The rally will take place at Dow Park at 3 PM today.  The City Council recently discussed the rally.  Public Safety Committee Chairman Brent Sheldon says they want people to be able to express their views... but, do it safely.

In a press release... Organizer Garrit Cain says the demonstration will be "peaceful and respectful" and abide by social distancing standards.  Cain says they are also concerned about the way the shut-down has led to a spike in drug overdoses, domestic violence, and other mental health issues.  He says this is not intended to be a political rally... and, adds participants will either remain in their cars, or walk on the sidewalks around the park while maintaining a proper distance.


The Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood is teaming up with the Chautauqua County Humane Society and the Salvation Army to provide support local families affected by the closings of schools and businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  Mall General Mananger Julie Bihler says their donation drive currently runs through May 16th. She says they are in need of non-perishable food items as well as essentials like pet food, paper products, school supplies and soap.

A complete donation list can be found on the mall's website.... and, all items can be placed in the designated bins outside the main entrance next to Planet Fitness daily from 9 AM to 4 PM. Bihler says they are grateful for the tremendous support they've received from donors so far. She is also encouraging residents to look to the Salvation Army and Humane Society's websites for additional information or volunteer opportunities. 


A Jamestown man faces charges for allegedly choking a woman and damaging property during a domestic dispute Wendesday afternoon. City police were called to Lafayette Street just before 4:30 PM for the incident.... and, took 41 year-old Michael Long into custody. Long is being held pending arraignment for fourth-degree criminal  mischief and criminal obstruction of breathing-blood circulation. 


Due to restrictions in New York State due to the Coronavirus outbreak... the 2020 racing season at Stateline Speedway has been postponed indefinately.  Publicist Jay Pees says the season "must be delayed until New York state lift's its restrictions that are part of "New York Pause."  The governor's order runs until May 15th... and has ordered that "all non-essential businesses statewide be closed, non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason are canceled or postponed at this time."  Pees says Stateline Speedway will continue to monitor the situation.

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 30, 2020

A city man is jailed on a Felony warrant following his arrest early Wedneday morning after the car he was driving got stuck a field at Jamestown's Chadakoin Park.  Officers were called to the scene on Washington Street just after 7 AM... and, found the vehicle behind a parking lot.  City police say 31 year-old Andrew Kiendl (Kin-dihl) fled when he saw officers approaching... and, he ran off through a wooded area.  Police called in three local K-9 units to help with the search... and, K-9 units from the State Police, and Lakewood-Busti Police tracked Kiendl to a Washington Street business.  He was arrested for fourth-degree criminal mischief, and on the Felony warrant.  The warrant includes charges of Aggravated Criminal contempt, second-degree burglary, and third-degree assault. 


The State of Emergency for the city of Jamestown due to the COVID-19 outbreak remains in effect until May 16th... but, there are no changes to current restrictions.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who adds that once the State of Emergency is lifted, there will still likely be no full reopening of businesses and activities.

Speaking to residents during a special conference call Wednesday... Sundquist applauded residents for largely following the stay-at home orders issued by the state and city.  He says there are no new local orders since the city closed it's playgrounds and basketball courts to keep people from gathering in one place.  Sundquist said there are a lot of questions surrounding the state budget, and it's impact on local governments.  He recently told City lawmakers that he and his financial team are projecting a one-million to $4-million shortfall during the 2020 fiscal year. 
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Sundquist will also hold a Facebook Live "virtual" town hall this afternoon at 5 PM.


With the appropriate protocols, Assemblyman Andy Goodell believes some Chautauqua County businesses could open immediately... including manufacturing, low density office, and activities like tennis and golf.  As opposed to Governor Cuomo's plan, Goodell and State Senator George Borello think Chautauqua County could begin to open while Erie county remains closed.  Goodell says people from Buffalo are not likely to come here to watch office or manufacturing employees go to work.  The assemblyman hopes places like the National Comedy Center and Chatauqua Institution can have some activity this summer, but he concedes they will have to wait longer... with an eye on virus rates in a broader region including Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Cleveland.  Andy Goodell says Chautauqua County residents have... for the most part... strictly observed the COVID 19 restrictions, leading to a relatively low infection rate here. 


Chautauqua County is reporting one new case of the Coronavirus since Tuesday afternoon.  County Executive P-J Wendel says a woman in her 60s has become the 33rd case of COVID-19.  Wendel says there are now four active cases of the Coronavirus in the county... while 26 people have now recovered from the illness.  He says 48 cases are now under quarantine or isolation orders by the Public Health Director... and, he adds that there have been 804 negative test results to date.


Many hospitals in the upstate New York region will now be able to resume elective surgeries.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo... who said during his daily press briefing Wednesday that he was issuing an executive order allowing those surgeries... which had been halted during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor says Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties are among the 35 counties where hospitals are now eligible due to their low COVID-19 numbers and potential risk.  However... Erie County, where there have been higher numbers, is not included on the list.


The Lakewood Village Board has unanimously approved a $3.8-million budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year that holds the tax rate flat.  Mayor Randy Holcomb says the board yesterday morning adopted the spending plan... which included nearly three dozen changes in revenues and spending in response to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 shut-down.  Holcomb says the biggest is a new projection of a 50-percent loss in sales tax revenues.

Holcomb says they'll be monitoring the spending plan closely to keep spending and revenues in line.  The first-term Republican also thanked the board for it's hard work on getting the budget in place.  He says the new tax rate will be $7.90 cents per thousand assessed value.  That's up a tick from the current $7.89 per thousand.  The board had to approve the spending plan by this Friday... and, it goes into effect on June 1st.


The Pennsylvania Department of Health reports 479 new COVID-19 deaths, raising the state's overall death toll to more than 2,000  The newly-reported deaths occurred over the past two weeks.  State health officials have been working to reconcile data provided by hospitals, health care systems, county and municipal health departments and long-term care facilities with the department's own records.  That resulted in the upward adjustment.  Pennsylvania's death toll now stands at 2,195.  The health department says more than 1,100 additional people have tested positive for the virus, raising the statewide total to over 44,000.


One of the regions biggest music festivals of the year has announced plans to postpone the event until Summer 2021.  Great Blue Heron Music Festival Organizer Julie Rockcastle says this would have been the 29th year for the Blue Heron... and, it was originally scheduled for July 3rd through-5th.  Rockcastle says the postponement is already causing financial stress.... and, they are accepting donations through their 'Heron Forever Fund.'  Ticketholders also have the option to donate your purchases, keep your ticket for next year's festival or get a refund. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 29, 2020

An apartment house in downtown Jamestown was extensively damaged in a fire last night that originated on the backporch of the home.  City Fire Battalion Chief Roger Sigular says crews were called to the scene at 68 Water Street shortly after 6PM... and found the fire had gotten into the walls of the home.  Sigular says crews made quick work of the blaze... but, an off-duty shift was called in to assist.  The 11 people living there were not hurt... but, a cat perished... and firefighters rescued two dogs.  Firefighters were back in services shortly after 10 PM.  No cause has been released.  Sigular says the house is uninhabitable.  A portion of Water Street between Foote Avenue and King Street was closed to traffic during the incident. 
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In addition.... the Jamestown Fire Department has a new website, which they are using to update residents on the latest information across the city's four fire stations.  It can be found at Local.iAFF.org/Local137

A bi-partisan effort is underway in both the U-S House of Representatives and Senate to craft a fourth, COVID-19 Relief bill that will address local and state costs from the outbreak.  Local Congressman Tom Reed also says the group mindful of making sure that local governments don't lose out when the funding is released.  Reed says it's important that the money allocated to states goes for only COVID-19 related costs.

Reed emphasized that all those involved want to make sure that local governments get the money they need without the state being able to take some of it first.  However... he says there are other lawmakers that don't want that because several governors don't want that aid restricted.  Reed says lawmakers are also working to make sure that when releasing federal aid to states that they are helping to pay for expenses related to the COVID-19 outbreak... and, not shortfalls that were there before the outbreak began.  In addition... he says COVID 4 will likely include infrastructure upgrades... making it at least another 2-trillion dollars in cost.

There's been one new case of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County... bringing the county's total of positive cases to 32.  County Executive P-J Wendel says a woman in her 50s is the latest person to contract Coronavirus... and, she has one of four active cases currently.  Wendel says 25 people have now recovered... while 36 people are under quarantine or isolation orders.  He says 788 negative test results have reported to date... with three deaths.

 
What parts of New York state will reopen soon will be driven by the data.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo Tuesday in Syracuse... which is located in Central New York.  That's one of possible regions that could reopen in mid-May... depending on how well the hospital capacity, and infection rates look.  Cuomo reiterated that he's looking at a phase-one opening in those locations involving small manufacturing, and construction.

Cuomo says whether those areas reopen after May 15th is dependent on two key numbers.  He says one is keeping the local hospitalization rate below 70-percent... and, secondly keeping the COVID-19 infection rate below 1.1.  Cuomo says that means one person has infected more than one other person... which allows the infection rate to grow exponentially.  The governor also announced formation of a special advisory board made up of state-wide business, civic, and academic leaders that will help facilitate the reopening process.  He says they will also be taking a hard look at event attractions that draw huge crowds for a weekend or season. 


The New York Farm Bureau is praising Governor Cuomo's $25-million dollar plan to link upstate farmers with downstate food banks that are in dire need of supplies due to increased demand.  That demand is being driven by people suddenly out of work due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  During his announcement of the plan... called "Nourish New York..." Cuomo also urged the philanthropy community to help out.
Cuomo says... sadly... many upstate dairy farmers have had to "dump" their oversupply of milk because they typically sell to "institutional" businesses... like restaurants and schools that aren't operating -- or are just partially open -- right now. 


A pair of "virtual town halls" have been scheduled for this week by Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundqust... who says he's holding them to give residents a chance to ask questions and voice concerns regarding the Coronavirus shut-down.  Sundquist announced the town halls during last night's City Council voting session.  He says the first one will be held tomorrow via telephone.

Sundquist says to take part in the conference call... you are asked to call 705-5252... then dial 90001 at the Prompt.  He say's residents can "raise their hands" virtually by pressing *5... and, you'll be placed in a queue to ask a question.  Sundquist, again, says he's also hosting a "Facebook Live" town hall this Thursday at 5 PM... and, you can type in @mayoreddiesundquist. The mayor is also encouraging people to submit their questions early via Facebook.  


An evening fire in the town of Harmony has been determined to be accidental by the Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team Monday.  The Sheriff's Office says a passerby called in the blaze on the Blockville-Watts Flats Road just before 8 PM.  Investigators report the fire occurred in the area of an indoor woodstove that was left unattended.  No one was hurt.  Crews were there about an hour.

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 28, 2020

The Jamestown City Council and Mayor Eddie Sundquist recognized three retiring employees at last night's council voting session... including the deputy fire chief.  Mayor Sundquist had three proclamations read into the record... one of which was for Sam Salemme... who has stepped down after 30 years with the Jamestown Fire Department.  City Clerk Jennifer Williams read Salemme's proclamation during Monday's meeting via Zoom teleconferencing.

In addition... Sundquist and Council recognized the retirements of Jamestown Police Detectives David Kianos and, Melody Peach.  Kianos was a 20-year member of the department, while Peach was with JPD for 19 years.
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Later in the meeting... the City Council approved hiring three new police officers... two of whom will replace Kianos and Peach.  City Council Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says the third officer will replace an officer who resigned from the force.  Ecklund says all three positions are funded in the 2020 city budget.

New York's second-in-command is urging local businesses to begin working on re-opening plans... and, getting those to Chautauqua County's executive soon.  Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul says today that they are looking at reopening parts of the state in a phased-in, regional basis as early as May 15th.  Hochul says she's been working with Executive P-J Wendel on the best way to reopen... and, says plans should be forwarded to him.

Hochul is overseeing the reopening of Western New York... and, believes it will accomplished on a regional basis, not county by county.  She says if Chautauqua County opens up outdoor and restaurant businesses, and Erie County does not... that could become a problem.  Hochul says she expects to see a major increase in testing now that the federal government is giving its support to New York State.  She says that should lead to more data about the spread of the virus.

 

A number of health officials are warning about a "second-wave" of the COVID-19 Virus during this Fall's flu season.  With that in mind... New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state will keep some temporary hospitals open through the coming flu season.  During his Monday press briefing... Cuomo said his administration feels it's important to anticipate a combination Flu and COVID-19 season comiing up.  He again thanked federal officials for helping to quickly ramp up the number of hospital beds in New York. Cuomo says he spoke with President Trump Monday morning about keeping some of the temporary hospitals downstate open so the state is ready for any situation in the Fall. 

The news continues to be good in Chautauqua County regarding the COVID-19 Virus... as no new cases were reported Monday.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says the number of cases in the county remains at 31.  He says there are four cases that remain active... while 24 others have now recovered.  Wendel says 36 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders by the Public Health Director, and being monitored.  He adds there have now been 755 negative test results to date.


New York has canceled its Democratic presidential primary that was scheduled for June 23rd amid the coronavirus pandemic.  The Democratic members of the State's Board of Elections voted Monday to nix the primary.  New York will still hold its Congressional and state-level primaries on June 23rd.  Commissioner Andrew Spano said he worried about potentially forcing voters and poll workers to choose between their democratic duty and their health. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 27, 2020

Chautauqua County fire investigators say a grill that was still warm apparently triggered a fire early Sunday morning that destoryed a garage in West Ellicott... just south and west of Jamestown.  County fire officials say Celoron fire crews were called to the scene at 2 High Street about 2:30 AM... and, called in mutual aid for help.  Celoron was joined at the scene by Jamestown, Lakewood, Busti, Kiantone, Panama and Ashville fire crews.  The blaze quickly moved from the garage to some nearby structures... and, it took about an hour to bring the flames under control.  The last crews left the scene about 7:30 AM.  Investigators determined the blaze was accidental... and no one was hurt.


With the number of deaths and hospitalizations reaching their lowest levels in New York state in nearly a month... Governor Andrew Cuomo talked specifics on Sunday about reopening the state.  During his daily press briefing... Cuomo said he's looking at a two-phased approach that will mostly likely start in the upstate region.  He says it would be in two "low-risk" industries... construction and smaller manufacturing. 

Cuomo says he's continuing the current "New York Pause" until May 15th.  However... he did say that areas of New York that see fewer infections over a two-week period may be able to open sooner.  Cuomo also urged business owners to "reimagine" their business... using CDC guidelines on how essential services operate now.  He says safety will be the major issue to be addressed, and he said in downstate New York... that's going to "be more complicated."   
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Also on Sunday... Cuomo reported that 367 more people died from the coronavirus in New York state over the previous day.  He also reported that the number of hospitalizations topped 1,000 on Saturday, but was still falling from the day before.


For the first time ever, each member of the Jamestown High School Senior class has a yard sign to celebrate their graduation.  The 305 signs were unveiled at Persell Middle School Saturday afternoon.  Josie Monfort, a member of the 'After Grad' committee, was a key mover in the project to acknowledge the students in what she called 'an awful time' for them.  Alyssa Holdridge, one the class Vice-Presidents, says the signs are important to the 2020 graduates and they are grateful to the parents, PTA's and businesses and institutions that contributed money for them.  Each sign says "JHS Class of 2020...  the class with vision, but we never saw this coming." JHS principal, Dana Williams, thinks the signs are a good thing in what's supposed to be the 'funnest semester' of a student's education... but for the class of 2020, 'they're missing out'.  JRSC Digital produced the signs, and contributed a banner to the class as well.


Two new cases of the COVID-19 Virus were reported last weekend in Chautauqua County.  County Executive P-J Wendel said Sunday afternoon that there was one new case, a woman in her 60s.  That comes after a man in his 70s was reported with the virus on Saturday... bringing the total in the county to 31.  Wendel says there are current four "active cases" who continue to recover under Health Department orders.  He says 24 people have recovered... while 42 people are under quarantine or isolation orders. 


Some regions of Pennsylvania are tantalizingly close to escaping some pandemic restrictions.  Other parts could have a long way to go before residents and businesses begin getting back to normal.  An analysis by The Associated Press shows how Pennsylvania's sprawling geography and highly variable population density are playing a huge role in determining when to allow a gradual reopening.  Govenor Tom Wolf has said rural northern Pennsylvania is likely to begin moving out from under his shutdown orders on May 8th.  It's a different story in densely populated eastern Pennsylvania, where new virus infections are happening at a much higher rate.


The Bemus Point Central School District begins it's search for a new superintendent in earnest this week with an on-line survey, and futher discussion about what the district is looking for.  School Board President Barry Swanson says the panel has been working with the consulting firm Western New York Educational Services in finding a replacement for Mike Mansfield, who recently took over as superintendent in the Dunkirk School District.
Swanson says the survey is on the district's webpage at bemusptcsd.org and, includes a checklist of attributes parents and residents want in a new superintendent.  He says completed surveys should be submitted by the end of business Wednesday.  He adds that several of the stakeholders will meet Tuesday with the consulting group to get further detail on what residents are looking for in a new superintendent.  The goal is to get the application process started next month... and, ultimately hire a new superindent in time for the start of Fall classes.  In the meantime... Swanson says Michelle Spasiano will be acting superintendent.


Federal prosecutors say a New York retailer has been charged with hoarding disposable masks, surgical gowns and hand sanitizer in a Long Island warehouse and selling the items at huge markups.  Amardeep Singh is the first person to be charged during the coronavirus pandemic with violating the Defense Production Act of 1950.  The law forbids stockpiling and price gouging of scarce medical supplies.  Prosecutors say Singh marketed the items online and disregarded a cease-and-desist letter from the New York Attorney General's Office.

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News Headlines for Sat., Apr. 25, 2020

New York state has lowest daily death toll in several weeks, new infections also down...
New York State has reported its lowest number of daily COVID-19 deaths in weeks... as well as most other numbers.  However... Governor Andrew Cuomo says the figures remain at "an unimaginable level."  During his Friday press briefing... Cuomo said there had been 422 deaths reported the day before... and, he says new infections are down slightly.  However... he says that's still not good news, either.  He says there's basically been a "flat line" with that number being 1,200 on Friday.  The number of deaths in New York are the fewest since March 31st... when there were 391 deaths.  More than 16,000 people have died in the state from the outbreak.  The total number of people hospitalized statewide continues to drop slowly, hitting about 14,000. 


No new COVID cases in Chautauqua County, but, testing is being ramped up...
There will be an expansion of diagnostic testing for the Coronavirus in Chautauqua County starting today as more tests have become available.  However... Public Health Director Christine Schulyer say the county is still asking people to limit their request to if they have COVID-19 symptoms.  Schulyer says there are a number of things to look for.  They include having a fever of 100.4-degrees or higher, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle pain, and a new loss of taste or smell.  Schulyer says the health care provider will determine if there's a need to have a test done.  In addition... she says there is a new testing center that has opened up in Dunkirk at the Well Now Center... which will be doing both diagnostic and anti-body testing.  She made her comments during County Executive P-J Wendel's Friday COVID-19 press briefing.  Wendel says there are still 29 positive case of the Coronavirus after two straight days of one infection each days.  He says there are currently two active cases... while 24 people have now recovered. 


County sees sharp spike in number of drug overdoses since COVID-19 outbreak...
Chautauqua County mental health officials are warning that the number of overdoses are continuing to spike amid the COVID-19 crisis.  With residents forced into social isolation... Department of Mental Hygiene Director Patricia Brinkman says the numbers are striking.  Brinkman says the number of overdoses double, and more calls to 911.  She says this is a nation-wide issue.  But locally.... Health Officials indicate 45 overdoses, including two fatalities, occurred during the month of March.  As of April 22.... 14 overdoses have been reported, including 3 fatalities.  In 2019, the average number of overdoses in one month was 19.  Brinkman says her department was alerted by local law enforcement agencies to a 'bad batch' of fentanyl being sold on the street... and, they are also concerned about that.  There are several locations throughout the county with individualized treatment options for those suffering from substance abuse.  For more information, go on-line to CombatAddictionCHQ.com.   


Goodell, Borrello outline plans to begin reopending NYS to County Chamber...
You have to deal with the present... but, you also have to think about the future.  That's why State Assemblyman Andy Goodell and Senator George Borrello developed plans for the "reopening" of New York state -- including Chautauqua County.  During a "virtual" County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast Friday morning... Goodell said he and Borrello took a lot of heat for what they did.  But, the Jamestown-are Republican says you need to look ahead to be in the best position to start restart the economy.  Goodell says we "can't afford not to talk about it..." but, adds it needs to be done in a way to minimize any negative impacts on health, and employees.  Borrello the shut-down has also put people in stressful situations, as well.  He recalled a recent discussion with County Sheriff Jim Quattrone... who said -- since April 1st -- domestic calls had increased by 75-percent.  He adds drug overdoses have also spiked along with others.  He says this also public heath issue. 


SWCS teachers, students, dealing with isolation, Internet issues...
Five weeks into the COVID-19 shutdown, education continues in the Southwestern Central School district, and Superintendent Maureen Donahue says the faculty and staff are rising to a unique challenge because they're "not designed" to do distance learning.  A lot of their education includes building relationships.  As learning has moved almost entirely on-line, she says they've set up hot-spots in their parking lots so familes came come by and download assignments.  Some people in the district have no internet... others don't have nearly enough because they have Smart TVs, phones, and some appliances connected to the Internet.  Donahue says when she and her staff speak with students, there are poignant moments because the kids often ask difficult questions they don't have answers to.  They include, "When's the next time we'll be together?" and "What's my graduation going to look like?"  


Local man arrested twice in connection with domestic incident...
A Jamestown-area man was arrested in both the city and the town of Ellicott last Thursday night for alleged domestic violence incidents.  Town Police say they were called to a dispute about 11:30 p.m. at an undisclosed location... and, found that 37 year-old Benjamin Ernewein allegedly committed first-degree unlawful imprisonment.  Shortly afterwards... Jamestown police were called to find a Toyota sedan involved in the incident.  City police found Ernewein driving the vehicle on Maple Street near Arnold Street, and found he allegedly assaulted woman inside.  Further investigation revealed he was driving drunk... and, he was also arrested on charges of assault, and criminal mischief.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for May 26, 2020

People in more than 100 vehicles came to Lakewood on a mid-Summer-like afternoon Monday to commemoriate Memorial Day in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The "drive-in" program at the C...

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