Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Dec. 8, 2021

Public Health director urges residents to get vaccinated as COVID-19 "rages" in county...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is urging residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and or booster shots because the virus is "raging" locally.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler issued the plea late Tuesday... and, is also urging people to wear a mask in public indoor spaces... and, stay home when you're ill.  County Executive P-J Wendel... in a video message... echoed those thoughts... "strongly encouraging" people to wear a mask at indoor public places, wash your hands frequently, and socially distance.  Schuyler adds that "the threat of COVID-19 infection spread and severity of illness are totally unpredictable... but, the unvaccinated are at such higher risk of severe illness and death.  If you or your loved ones are not vaccinated, please reconsider."  New numbers just released show another 873 new cases of COVID-19 for the week through Dec. 7. 
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Schuyler adds there is another county vaccination clinic set for next Monday, Dec. 13, at Jamestown Community College for first, second and third doses.  That clinic will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Physical Education Building on Curtis Street.  Bring identification, or vaccination card, and wear a mask.  For children... the next vaccination clinic for the pediatric vaccine will take place on Saturday, Dec. 18 at the Chautauqua Lake Central School gymnasium from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  You must pre-register at Chqgov.com/public-health/covid-19-vaccination-clinics.


Cold temperatures persist after foot of Lake Effect snow falls in immediate Jamestown-area...
Cold temperatures overnight may produce some slippery areas this morning in the Jamestown-area after residents spent much of the early part of Tuesday digging out from about a foot of new snow that fell overnight.  We were initially expecting up to 3 to 5 inches at the most during the day Monday.  However... that amount grew as a lake effect snowband set up just the right way to bring us the snow... and, not the traditional snow belt areas.  National Weather Service Forecaster Steve Welch says the larger amounts -- initially -- were to fall to our south.  Welch says the snow band set up further north and into the western Southern Tier.  Here at our Media One Radio Group stations... we recorded a foot of new snow, and there was also a foot reported in the lower parts of the town of Ellicott.  There was about 10 inches of new snow in Lakewood... 9 inches in Falconer... and, 7 inches on West Oak Hill Road outside the city.  Welch says the amounts we were expecting actually fell in the those snow belt areas. 


Beverage truck overturns in slick conditions in town of Poland...
No one was hurt Tuesday morning when a tractor-trailer loaded with beer slipped off of snow-slicked Quaint Road in the town of Poland and overturned.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's deputies and Ellicott Town Police confirmed the accident occured about 4:30 AM at the intersection with Clay Pond Road.  Police say the county's Hazardous Materials Team responded to the scene along with the Kennedy and Falconer Fire Departments.  No charges have been reported, and the beer was off-loaded by hand.


Chautauqua County D.A. reports two sentencings in county court...
Two Chautauqua County men received prison sentences for their convictions earlier this year for robbery... and, attempted burglary.  District Attorney Jason Schmidt says 23 year-old Kevin Philbrick of Jamestown was given a 1 1/3 to four-years indeterminate term in state prison after being convicted of third-degree robbery for an incident last March.  Schmidt adds that Philbrick was also convicted of two counts of second-degree attempted assault.  The incident was investigated by Jamestown Police.
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In addition... Schmidt says 28 year-old Torry Kenny received a four-year determinate term in state prison and five years post-release supervision for his conviction for second-degree attempted burglary.  Schmidt says the incident occured in Westfield in February of this year... and, was investigated by village police.


SWCS residents learn more about proposed, $18.2-million capital project proposal...
Residents of the Southwestern Central School district heard more about a just over $18.2-million capital project proposal during a public hearing Tuesday night.  Officials announced the plan back in mid-October.  It includes more than 30 individual projects, and, involves all three school buildings.  School Superintendent Maureen Donahue says much of the plan deals with upgrading school infrastructure... but, also includes replacing the surface of the football and soccer field.  Donahue says one of the major focuses has been on creating more space... especially in the high school cafeteria.  She says air flow and heating and cooling are also part of the plan.  She says they will use a combination of American Rescue Plan funds... the district's capital reserve fund and state aid to pay most of the cost.  Donahue says the public vote on the capital project will be held next Tuesday, Dec. 14... from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., and 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the multi-purpose room.


Gas prices down slight in Jamestown-area, and nation, to start the week...
The price for a gallon of unleaded, regular gasoline has dropped both in the Jamestown-area... and, nationwide.  AAA East Central's weekly gas price report says the local price fell by about 3-cents from just under $3.60 cents to slightly over $3.56 a gallon.  AAA says the national average price for gasoline dipped 4-cents a gallon to $3.35.  AAA says pump prices continue to decrease Nationwide as fears of a possible COVID-19 global economic slowdown pushed oil prices into the mid-$60s per barrel... which hasn't been seen since August. 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Dec. 7, 2021

Jamestown area receives surprise Lake Effect Snow amounts overnight...
The Greater Jamestown area saw a bit more snow than expected overnight... with up to a foot of lake effect falling in many parts of the region.  That from Forecaster Steve Welch with the National Weather Service... which initially predicted the higher amounts in the traditional snow belt areas.  However... those amounts wound up in and around the city.  For the most part... he says the area received 4 to 7 inches with higher localized amounts.  Here at our Media One Radio Group stations... we recorded a foot of new snow, and there was also a foot reported in the lower parts of the town of Ellicott.  There was about 10 inches of new snow in Lakewood... 9 inches in Falconer... and, 7 inches on West Oak Hill Road outside the city.  Welch says the amounts we were expecting actually fell in the snow belt areas.  There's still the chance of some more snow this afternoon and evening.  However... the weather service expects less than an inch or so in most places.  Temperatures will remain in the upper 20s today.


Snow-slicked conditions cause semi-trailer loaded with beer to overturn in town of Poland...
No injuries were reported early this morning when a semi-truck loaded with beer slipped off the edge of Quaint Road in the town of Poland and overturned.  The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office and Ellicott Town Police confirmed the accident occured about 4:30 a.m. at the intersection with Clay Pond Road.  Police say the county's Hazardous Materials Team responded to the scene along with the Kennedy and Falconer Fire Departments.  No charges have been reported, and the beer was being off-loaded by hand.


Sundquist announces several vetoes in 2022 budget plan approved by City Council...
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist has vetoed five amendments the City Council approved for the 2022 budget plan lawmakers adopted unanimously last week.  In his veto message... Sundquist says one of the biggest items was the $10,000 reduction to the city's Urban Renewal Agency.  Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund told fellow lawmakers at last night's work session that upholding a veto with money attached to it needs to be accounted for.  She says you have to find the money to add for that item -- be it more anticipated funding, or corresponding cuts.  Secondly... Sundquist vetoed a cutting a first time, $6,000 allocation for the city's Human Rights Commission.  A third item vetoed was reducing the mayor's travel, education, and stationary budget... and, a fourth was to put back $10,000 for Tracy Plaza building maintenance.  Ecklund noted that they hope to eliminate that need using American Rescue Plan funds for infrastructure improvements to Tracy Plaza that would cut maintenance costs.  The final item was to restore increase wages for key management employees.  City Council President Tony Dolce has planned a special voting session before next Monday night's work session at 6:30 p.m. to vote on veto overrides.


Fredonia High School resumes regular operations following incident with student with a pocket knife...
Fredonia High School resumed regular activities after police responded to an incident Monday morning involving a student with a knife. Superintendent Brad Zilliox issued a statement on the incident Monday afternoon... noting the incident occured just after 9 a.m., and involved an "unruly student" found with the pocked knife.  He says the situation was defused quickly.  Fredonia Police were assisted by State Police and the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office.  Fredonia Police Chief Phil Maslak praised the district for "phenomenal job" the staff did in handling the situation. 


Ninth-annual "Holiday Haul" set for Dec. 16-18 at Jamestown Cycle Shop parking lot...
The ninth-annual Holiday Haul to benefit the St. Susan's Center in Jamestown is set for three-days at the end of next week.  Northwest Arena Executive Director Keith Martin will head up the effort again this year... and on our Dennis Webster Show Monday morning... he said they're hoping to better last year's haul... when they raised over $20,000 in funding, and six-and-a-half tons of food for the area's largest soup kitchen.  Martin says he'll again be in the parking lot of the Jamestown Cycle Shop on Thursday, Dec. 16 through Saturday, Dec. 18 to receive food and monitary donations for the area's largest soup kitchen.  It will be the first major event for St. Susan's new Executive Director Cherie Rowland... who's been living and working in Erie, Pennsylvania the past 12 years.  Rowland says it's exciting to come back to her hometown area to work with the organization.  Hours for the Holiday Haul will be held from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. both Thursday and Friday, Dec. 16 and 17, and, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18.


COVID-related changes announced for JHS A Cappella Vespers...
The Jamestown High School A Cappella Choir has decided to limit the number of people in the audience for its upcoming Vespers services.  Director Lauren Scharf explains the changes... noting that they are limiting the number of tickets alloted to each student to five.  The services are set for the next two Sundays... Dec. 12 and 19 at First Lutheran Church in Jamestown.  Scharf says while they’d hoped to have the doors wide open, they couldn’t ignore the rising COVID-19 case numbers.  She says they believe this was the "best course of action" so that those attending feel "safe and comfortable" in the audience.  Everyone at the church must be masked and maintain social distance.  To accommodate those unable to attend... the Vespers will be live-streamed for the first time ever…  through the Jamestown Public Schools website at 4 p.m. both Sundays.

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Dec. 6, 2021

Fire on Fluvanna-Townline Road at Ellery-Ellicott town line ruled accidental...
Chautauqua County Fire investigators have determined the cause of Sunday afternoon's house fire on the Fluvanna-Townline Road north of Fluvanna was accidental.  Investigators say Fluvanna firefighters were called to the scene about 1:40 p.m., and, found that State Police had arrived moments earlier and tried to get the flames out with a fire extinguisher.  Mutual aid was called in from Gerry, Ellery Center, Bemus Point, Sinclairville, and Ashville firefighters.  County Emergency Services was also called in to assist.  Crews were still on scene early last evening.  The cause was found to be the natural combustion of oil soaked rags in a bucket.  No injuries were reported.


Garage destroyed, and Barn damaged by Saturday night blaze...         
Firefighters from seven departments battled a blaze that destroyed a garage and damaged a barn Saturday evening in the Town of Villenova.  Crews from South Dayton, Cherry Creek, Forestville, Sunset Bay, Leon, Cassadaga and Sinclairville responded to the scene at 8959 North Hill Rd. shortly after 8 p.m.  Forestville Fire officials say they found a garage that had already burned down prior to this fire.  Due to the wind, the fire had spread to a large barn.  Crews immediately began fire suppression on the barn, and were able to stop the fire from spreading any farther.  The house on the other side of the garage that had already burned down had melted siding but no extension into the house.  There is no word on any injuries.  The cause of the fire has not been determined at this time.


JPD says they have "strong person of interest" in Pacheco homicide case...
Jamestown Police say they now have a person of "strong interest" in the shooting death of a man on Water Street back in mid-October.  City police say they also have reason to believe that the weapon used to shot and kill Angel Pacheco the night of Oct. 19 at 60 Water St. was passed on to others not directly-related to the shooting.  On it's Facebook Page... the department says Pacheco was shot and killed in his front yard after a brief dispute with at least one other subject.  Police are looking for anyone who may have information on the whereabouts of the weapon, and who may have possessed it after the shooting.  All calls and tips are kept strictly confidential and you may be eligible for a reward through Crime Stoppers of Western New York.  You can call JPD at 483-7537... or the anonymous tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


Whitaker says, even with COVID numbers rising in the area, the goal remains keeping students in school...
COVID-19 case numbers have been soaring in recent weeks in Chautauqua County... but, the goal in the Jamestown Public Schools remains staying open.  That from Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker... who says there are only two instances in which they would close... and, go to "all-remote" learning again.  On our Dennis Webster Show recently... Whitaker said the first would be an edict from New York state... where the governor orders them closed.  He says the other instance would be having an unusually high number of teachers, or transporation staff, out due to illness.  Whitaker says local school officials are all concerned about news regarding the Omicorn variant of COVID-19... and, it's something he's watching closely.  Back to potential reasons for going all-remote... he says they have had some instances -- especially regarding transportation -- where they've been close.  Most officials say going "all-remote" learning is a last resort.


SUNY Board standing by Malatras...
Leaders of New York's public college system are standing behind SUNY Chancellor James Malatras.  Malatras is facing calls to resign after the release of text messages showing he mocked one of the women who later accused former Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment.  Malatras issued an apology Friday, which was accepted by the State University of New York Board of Trustees.  Malatras' text messages have prompted calls for his resignation from the SUNY Student Assembly and others.  The woman who was the subject of the exchange, Lindsey Boylan, tweeted late Friday that she's received no apology. 


Wilson Foundation awards significant grants to arts and cultural entities -- including Comedy Center...
The National Comedy Center in Jamestown is one of several arts and cultural entities chosen to receive part of $100-million over the next 10 years from the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation.  The foundation late last week announced the grants... with the largest being $60-million over 10 years to establish an endowment at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.  The National Comedy Center is slated to receive $250,000 of the $3.75-million in annual funding being dedicated to 13 institutions... the largest being $500,000 to the Buffalo AKG Art Museum. 


Jamestown Holiday Parade returns last Saturday night...
Downtown Jamestown was filled with seasonal spirit Saturday night, as the 2021 Holiday Parade marched down 3rd Street.  The musical accompanyment was provided by the Jamestown High School Marching Band... which led off the 70 unit parade with an assemblage of dignitaries.  Patrick Smeraldo was the principal organizer... and, took up the job to ensure the parade would happen this year.  He says it was great to see the tradition continuing after not having a parade due to COVID-19 last year.  Smeraldo is a teacher in the Jamestown Public Schools, and a Toys for Tots Coordinator.  The parade lasted for just under 90 minutes and was followed by fireworks over Tracy Plaza at City Hall.


 

 

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Dec. 3, 2021

City man pleads guilty to being a Felon in possession of handguns...
A Jamestown man who is a convicted Felon has pleaded guilty to being in possession of a gun after he and two others broke into a town of Ellicott home nearly three years ago.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross announced Thursday that 34 year-old Angelo Pollino entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara to being a felon in possession of a firearm, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a quarter of a million dollar fine.  Prosecutors say Pollino and the other two men broke into the house in late January of 2019... and, stole a .380-caliber pistol, a .38-caliber revolver, a Glock pistol, and various bank and credit cards of the victim.  The following day, they say the three used the victim’s bank and credit cards at various locations in New York and Pennsylvania.  Pollino then traded the pistol and revolver for heroin.  He's to be sentenced next March.


Tedesco pleads guilty in Beardsley drug ring case...
A man from Jamestown has pleaded guilty to being involved in a methamphetamine drug trafficking operation... in which he also sold heroin and fentanyl.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross announced Thursday that Tyler Tedesco entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.  Prosecutors say Tedesco was an associate of co-defendant Rocco Beardsley, who led a drug trafficking organization in the Jamestown area.  Tedesco was accused of selling large amounts of the drugs... and, storing them, along with profits, and coordinated with co-conspirators to sell the drugs.  Both men were accused of using Facebook to communicate about their narcotics activities including debts, cash and drug transactions.  Tedesco faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $10-million fine.  Charges are still pending against Beardsley.


Wendel confirms two county hospitals on state lists of reaching 10% to less capacity...
Two of the 37 hospitals in New York state that have reached 10% capacity... or less... are in Chautauqua County.  That as Governor Kathy Hochul's order that would halt non-essential, and non-urgent procedures in those hospitals takes effect tomorrow.  However... County Executive P-J Wendel says mobilizing the National Guard to help at nursing homes with staffing shortages could be a big boost in getting people discharged to those homes or other long-term facilities.  Those state mandates have required nursing home staff and nurses to get one of the three COVID vaccines.  Wendel says using the guard in nursing home facilities should free up acute hospital beds.  The Post-Journal reports all 106 acute care beds at UPMC Chutauqua Hospital... and, 32 of the 35 beds at Brook's Hospital in Dunkirk... were occupied as of Wednesday.  Wendel adds that something like a mask mandate has not been taken off the table if the county's numbers don't get better. 


Hochul says NYS is ready to deal with COVID Omicron variant, now reported in five states...
Health officials say lab testing has confirmed a COVID-19 case involving the omicron variant in five states -- including a man from Minnesota who tested positive after attending an "anime" convention at the Javits Center in New York City.  Governor Kathy Hochul says they have begun contacting people who were at that convention.  However... during a COVID-19 briefing Thursday in New York City... Hochul noted that all attendees were required to be vaccinated, and the man's symptoms have been mild.  She says there is "no cause for alarm" because they knew it would get here at some point.  The state Department of Health says the variant was found during its surveillance program in a specimen from the Minnesota.  State health officials there say the person with the omicron variant is a man who lives in Hennepin County and had been vaccinated.  The person developed mild symptoms on Nov. 22... and, sought COVID-19 testing on Nov. 24. 


Hochul officially introduces Dr. Mary Bassett as new NYS health commissioner...
Governor Kathy Hochul also introduced her new state Health Commissioner during Thursday's press conference.  She says Dr. Mary Bassett has been a doctor, and a "highly-regarded" health official for better than three decades... who was New York City's Health and Mental Health Commissioner for a time.  Bassett told Hochul and the media that she will tell them the truth about what's happening with the pandemic... and, adds that "our knowledge about (the virus) is evolving."  Bassett also praised members of the state Health Department for their hard work, and dedication during the COVID pandemic.  She says they have been monitoring the situation with the new Omicron variant... adding that she's "no stranger to crisis."  Bassett replaces former Health Commissioner Howard Zucker... who had served previously during the administration of former Governor Andrew Cuomo. 


Dunkirk basement fire triggered by dryer fire...
A dryer fire that spread to nearby combustables in a basement triggered flames that damaged the basement of a Dunkirk home just after Noon Wednesday.  That from Fire Chief Mike Edwards Thursday... who says some neighbors noticed smoke coming from a dryer vent at 27 Leming St., and, call the fire department.  Edwards says crews arrived quickly, and had the flames out shortly after arrival.  The fire was confined to the basement area... and there were no injuries.

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Dec. 2, 2021

County monitoring local COVID surge, but, is not supporting a mask mandate... yet...
Members of the Chautauqua County COVID-19 Response Team are continuing to monitor the recent surge in cases... but, do not support a mask mandate -- yet.  The from Executive P.J. Wendel... after the county's Health Department reported 707 new COVID cases over the past week... pushing the local number now past 15,000 total.  Officials say nine people died from virus-related illness this past week... bringing that total to 228.  Wendel says a mandate would be considered as a last resort.  He says the last thing they want to do is declare a state of emergency, or impose an indoor mask mandate.  However, Wendel is not ruling it out.  While there is no mandate at this time... Wendel does say his COVID Response Team "strongly encourages" residents to wear them when in public indoor places.  He is also strongly recommending that residents who are not vaccinated to get the vaccine.  He especially noted that younger people in their 20s and 30s are now being intubated because they are NOT vaccinated.  Meanwhile... the county reports 52 hospitalizations due to COVID, an increase of two from the previous week.  There are now 648 active cases... and 276 of the new cases were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  There have now been 14,721 recovered cases... and, the seven-day infection rate is 11.2%.  Wendel says they are still in a position to handle the increase, but he plans to meet with area hospital administrators late this week to discuss the situation. 


Cattaraugus County reporting 95 New COVID cases Wednesday, as case numbers surpass 10,000...
Just to our east... Cattaraugus County has now surpassed 10-thousand total COVID-19 cases... and, had 95 new cases over the past day.  Health officials in Olean say there have now been 10,275 total cases... and, 597 of those are currently active.  They add that 59 people are hospitalized... and, 176 people have now died.  Officials add that 9,501 cases have now recovered... and, the seven-day rate of infection is now 11.6%.


Michigan man sentenced for high speed pursuit from Lewiston-to-Dunkirk in early March of this year...
A Michigan man convicted of leading police on a high-speed chase from an U.S.-Canadian immigration check-point to Dunkirk earlier this year... has been sentenced to home confinement.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross announced Wendesday that 27 year-old Donyell Williams who was convicted of high-speed flight from an immigration checkpoint, was sentenced to six-months home confinement and two years’ probation by U.S. District Judge John Sinatra, Jr.  Prosecutors say Williams was driving a Jeep vehicle on the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge with a passenger last Mar. 5, but, when he drove to the Lewiston Port of Entry... and, failed to stop for a federal inspection.  They say Williams accelerated through the check point... and, was then pursued by Customs and Border Patrol officers on the State Thruway to Dunkirk at speeds of 95 to 110 miles an hour.  The jeep was later found in the Dunkirk area... and, Williams and 19 year-old Johnny Greer, Jr. were both arrested.  Greer was recently sentenced to six months in prison.


Dunkirk fire crews snuff out basement fire quickly...
Dunkirk city firefighters were able to make a quick stop on a fire that broke out in the basement of a home on Leming Street Wednesday afternoon.  The fire at 27 Leming was first reported shortly after 12 PM... and, firefighters were able to get to the scene quickly.  Fire Chief Mike Edwards says some neighbors noticed smoke coming from a dryer vent and alerted the fire department immediately... and, now says the malfunctioning dryer was the cause.  Edwards says the fire was confined to the basement area.  No injuries were reported. 


Jamestown Holiday Parade set with co-Grand-Marshalls...
Two of Jamestown's finest will be co-Grand Marshalls for this year's annual Jamestown Holiday Parade in the city this Saturday night.  The parade kicks off on West Third Street -- near the bridge -- at 6 p.m.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says both Grand Marshalls went above and beyond the call of duty in saving lives this year.  They are officers Matt Conkin and Jackie Albin, who are both heroes.  He says Conklin rescued a family that was trapped in an upstairs apartment by fire earlier this year... while Albin gave a baby, that had stopped breathing, CPR and revived the child.  Council President Tony Dolce announced the parade taking place at the end of this week's City Council meeting... and says they're pleased to have people in the community taking a big role this year.  Collaborative Children’s Solutions is joining with the city to present the Holiday Parade... which will also include a fun run/walk for the first time.  Mayor Sundquist will kick-off the festivities with the lighting of the city's tree on Tracy Plaza.


Upstate County Executive arrested for allegedly stealing campaign funds to pay personal debts...
A county executive in Eastern New York has been accused of stealing $3,500 in campaign funds to pay off personal debts.  Attorney General Letitia James said Wednesday that Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison if convicted.  James says the Republican could also be removed from office if convicted of the felony charges.  The Democratic attorney general's office says McLaughlin was arrested and indicted Wednesday on a count of third-degree grand larceny.  He was also charged with offering a false instrument for filing.  McLaughlin and his attorney Benjamin Hill didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Dec. 1, 2021

Fredonia police identify victim in fatal car crash Monday night...
The investigation is continuing into a crash in the village of Fredonia that claimed the life of a local resident.  Fredonia Police have released the identity of the victim, 22-year-old Richard Burgstrom III.  Burgstrom was driving a vehicle that went off West Main Street and struck a building near Hamlet Street late Monday night.  Police are still awaiting the results of an autopsy.


Sundquist hints at possible vetoes in 2022 budget approved by City Council...
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist is hinting that there may be some budget vetoes... but, will take the next few days to review the more than 20 changes to the 2022 budget approved by the city council.  Lawmakers approved the approximately $38.3-million spending plan Monday night.  However... Sundquist later voiced disappointment over some of the amendments -- especially three of them.  One was a $6,000 cut to the recently revived Human Rights Commission... which is planning a festival, and other activities in 2022.  He was also surprised to see his office's travel budget cut, due to the need to travel to conference, and other activities that get's the city's name and voice "out there."  The third item was a $10,000 cut to the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency.  Sundquist says he was also disappointed that council did not to act on some 40 American Rescue Plan-related projects that were part of the budget... but, taken out.  He says delaying that for a month could make getting some of them done difficult.  In the end... City Council approved the budget unanimously.  Sundquist has until next Monday to sign, or veto the budget or parts of it.  The spending plan keeps the tax rate flat... and, there is a slight increase in the overall tax levy.


City man accused of assault, and threatening people with shot-gun...
An unidentified, 19 year-old man faces several charges after allegedly assaulting a woman... then threatening people with a shotgun he was loading.  City police were called to the scene on the southside just before 8 p.m. Monday for a domestic incident.  On arrival... they learned the man had gotten into a fight with the woman... who said she was slammed to the floor, and the suspect put his hand over her mouth, and arm on her throat.  The man is also accused of taking the female's cell phone so she couldn't call police.  The man then went into a back bedroom of the house, and began loading the shotgun while holding a five-month old baby.  However, he was later arrested without further incident.  The man faces charges... including third-degree assault... criminal obstruction of breathing and endangering the welfare of a child.  He was jailed pending arraignment.


Gerace approved as new Fredonia police chief...
The Fredonia Village Board has approved the appointment of former Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace as the village's next police chief during their regular meeting Monday night.  The provisional appointment was approved by a 3-1 vote.  Trustee James Lynden, who voted against the appointment, attempted to have the resolution tabled.  Lynden expressed concerns about the selection process that was used in filling the position... saying the board had decided to change the process, and decided to advertise outside the area for the post.  But... Trustee Scott Johnston urged board members to take action... noting that the board has worked for "months going through materials and interviewing candidates" before making their choice.  Gerace, who was elected as Chautauqua County Sheriff for 24 years, will take over the post on Dec. 13. 


Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign off to slow start...
The annual Red Kettle Campaign for the Salvation Army in Jamestown has gotten off to a "very slow" start.  However... the organization's Major Kim Merchant says she remains optimistic they'll reach their goal of $115,000.  Merchant says the slow start is due -- in part -- to COVID-19 quarantines involving staff and others.  She adds that, with that, they have not been able to man the kettles the way they would like to.  Merchant says they're about $1,000 behind last year's effort, and have raised $13,400.  This year's Red Kettle Campaign began shortly before Thanksgiving with one kettle at Tops Market on Washington Street.  They now have kettles up at both of Wal-Mart's entrances in Lakewood...  Brigiotta's market... and the Tops locations in Falconer and Jamestown.  There is also another kettle in Frewsburg that's manned by people there.  Merchant says  the Red Kettle Campaign continues through Christmas Eve at 6 p.m.  If you would like to help ring the bells... or help with their annual Angel Tree Program... contact The Salvation Army at 664-4108. 


CSHOF Class of 2022 announced...
The Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame has announced it's inductees for the Class of 2022... and, they're the same group of inductees announced in late 2020 when the Hall of Fame induction dinner had to be cancelled due to COVID-19.  Hall of Fame President Randy Anderson says the inductees include: Sarah Bogardus-Burnett, Andrew Creager, Christina Kebort, Mike Sirianni, Lewis Mack, Marc Tramuta, and Randall G. Anderson.  The deceased honorees are: George Barone, Jr., Harry Carlson, Larry Rodgers and Richard Shearman.  The annual induction banquet will be held Feb. 21, 2022.  For information about tickets, call Chip Johnson at 485-6991.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Nov. 30, 2021

Fredonia man killed when car hits building in north county village...
A 22-year-old man lost his life after his vehicle struck a building in the village of Fredonia Monday night.  Fredonia Police Chief Phil Maslak says the vehicle was heading west on West Main Street when it left the roadway near Hamlet Street and struck the Pucci Carpet One and Furniture building around 9:20 p.m.  The driver's name is not being released at this time... but, he's from Fredonia.  Maslak says an autopsy has been scheduled at the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo to determine the cause of death.  The building was not damaged in the crash.


Jamestown lawmakers approve amended 2022 budget that keeps tax rate at 2021 levels...
The Jamestown City Council has approved a revised, 2022 budget that reduces more than a dozen lines in the spending plan... and, adds additional sales tax revenues next year.  A series of amendments basically took American Rescue Plan funding out of the general fund budget... and, lawmakers approved the $38.3-million spending plan last night, 9-to-0.  Council President Tony Dolce says the changes reduced the amount the budget would have taken from the fund balance by $643,000 to hold the tax rate at $23.69 per $1,000 full value.  Cuts in the budget totaled nearly $471,000, and $172,000 more in revenues were added to sales tax projections.  Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says the largest line-item cut was $195,000 to ARPA funding in the budget itself.  A couple of amendment votes were close... in particular one to cut $6,000 for contractual services for the Human Rights Commission was approved in a 5-to-4 vote.  There was also a close vote on taking $10,000 away from City Hall building maintenance.  The budget still includes a slight tax levy increase.


City lawmakers table action on "Lost Revenue" ARPA item, approve new City Court Judge...
Lawmakers last night also tabled a measure to allocate $3.7-million in "lost revenue" funding from the American Rescue Plan Act allocation to the city.  Council President Dolce says council decided on the move after hearing from the police and fire department about needs they have in 2022.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist's budget did include a new police cruiser to replace one vehicle in the JPD fleet.  However... Chief Tim Jackson says the department really needs five new vehicles to replace old, high-mileage cars. 
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In addition... a familiar face is returning to the bench on the Jamestown City Court at the beginning of 2022.  The city council last night unanimously approved Mayor Sundquist's appointment of local attorney George Panebianco to the position... replacing Judge Fred Larson, who will retire at the end of 2021 after hitting the mandatory retirement age.  Panebianco said he appreciates the vote of support, and looks forward to begin a judge again.


Fire damages Ripley home...
No injuries have been reported from a mid-day house fire Monday in the town of Ripley.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department dispatchers say Ripley firefighters were called to the scene at 11 Shaver Street just after 2 p.m.  Dispatchers say Ripley received mutual aid from South Ripley, and Westfield fire crews.  The Post-Journal reports one person was taken to the hospital for evaluation.  Crews were at the scene for a few hours.


Hochul announces executive order on hospital capacity...
An executive order being signed by New York Governor Kathy Hochul will put a temporary stop to non-emergency, elective surgeries in hospitals where bed capacity is less than 10%.  Hochul made the announcement during a COVID-19 press briefing in Albany Monday... where she noted the biggest bed losses are in Upstate hospitals, where the Delta Variant, and lower vaccination numbers, remain an issues.  Right now... she says this involves about 32 to 36 hospitals... mainly in Central and Western New York.  However... unlike last week's initial announcement... the governor says once hospitals are able to get their capacity back above 10%, they will come off the list.  She says this is part of the state's so-called "surge flex" planning.  Hochul says that would allow hospitals in the region that have more capacity to be utiliized for lack of it elsewhere.  The order takes effect this Friday, Dec. 3... and, will remain in place until Jan. 15.


Hochul, health official, say Omicron variant has not been found in NYS, yet...
Governor Hochul is also keeping a wary eye on developments regarding the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, which recently emerged in southern Africa.  Hochul spoke via Zoom with an official with New York's Wadsworth Labs that has been on the front-line to finding variants, and other issues with COVID.  The Wadsworth representative noted there have been no cases of the new variant found yet in New York State.  Hochul added, though, that the state is "not defenseless" this time around because there is the vaccine, and newer treatments for people who do get COVID.  She says the good news is there is plenty of vaccine available... and more mass clinics will be scheduled by the state in coming days.  She says the number of people who have received at least one dose of a vaccine has now passed 90%, but, she adds that if you received the Pfizer or Moderna shot, you need to get that second one for the best protection.  So far... Hochul says that state has distributed 2.4-million booster shots.  She adds that you should also get a flu shot this year.

   

 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Nov. 29, 2021

Accidental fire severely damages Lakewood home...
No one was hurt in an accidental overnight fire that heavily-damaged a home in the village of Lakewood.  Lakewood firefighters were called to 19 Owana Way shortly before Midnight Sunday... and, several other departments were also called in to assist.  The Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team was also called in... and found the blaze started when an electrical sub-panel feed wire became compromised, and had an issue causing the fire under the floor space.  The fire then traveled up the wall space to the second floor and into the attic.  The occupant, Jonathan Blasius, was not hurt in the blaze.  There was severe fire and water damage throughout the home.


Wanted Gerry man arrested after vehicle stop...
A Gerry man wanted by Lakewood-Busti Police was arrested early last weekend on a warrant... and for violating an order of protection.  Sheriff's officers say they spotted 29 year-old Jeffrey Holmberg II inside a car on Nobles Road in the town of Gerry.  Deputies knew Holmberg was known to be wanted by Lakewood-Busti Police... and, the vehicle was stopped and Holmberg was arrested.  While speaking with the car's occupants... officers found that one person had an active order of protection against Holmberg.  He was additionally charged with second-degree criminal contempt.


City man arrested on drug, and fugitive from justice charges...         
A Jamestown man has been arrested in the town of Ellicott for allegedly being found in possession of drugs, and as a fugitive from justice from Pennsylvania.  Sheriff's officers say a patrol stopped the vehicle, driven by 39 year-old Christopher Decker, for a traffic violation on Allen Street about 2 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 20.  Deputies say, upon further investigation, that Decker had a suspended license, was in possession of a controlled substance and had a warrant out of Meadville, Pennsylvania.  He was taken to the Sheriff's Office for processing, and was sent to the Chautauqua County Jail pending extradition.


U.S. Surpasses 100,000 opioid drug deaths, and county also seeing record numbers...
The numbers are striking: The number of drug overdose deaths in the United States for the past year ending in April of this year reached 100-thousand for the first time ever.  There have also been increasing numbers in Chautauqua County triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic... and, a more dangerous drug supply.  The latter is most concerning to Steve Kilburn, spokesman for CombatAddictionCHQ.com, who says more and more drugs are being laced with a deadly, synthetic opiod -- Fentanyl.  Kilburn says Fentanyl is a "legal drug" that is used medically... but, is 50 to 100-times more potent that Morphine.  He says a very small amount mixed in with another drug, such as heroin, can kill a person.  While heroin is an illegal drug, though, there are people who are buying what Kilburn calls "one-offs."  That means they appear to be legitimate prescription pills that a dealer may say is hydrocodone, when it may also contain Fentanyl, and the buyer doesn't know that.  Kilburn says help is available through their CombatAddictionCHQ.com website.  He says those include test strips to see if Fentanyl is in your supply.


City Council to act on 2022 budget tonight...
City lawmakers in Jamestown will vote tonight on a $38.9-million, 2022 budget that includes no tax rate increase for property owners.  However... it will likely be changed by lawmakers prior to it's approval.  City Council President Tony Dolce says panel members have been letting Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund know about changes they would like to see made to the spending plan.  Dolce says, though, he doesn't expect major changes.  He adds the biggest challenge facing lawmakers this year has been Mayor Eddie Sundquist's intermingling of American Rescue Plan funds with the general fund budget.  Dolce says they're been busy trying to separate those funds to get a general fund budget in place, and then decide on the ARPA funds.  There is also a resolution regarding the use of $3.7-million of the city's ARPA funding for "lost revenues" in the budget.  That money will mainly be used on just over 40 projects in the budget.  Council must vote on a budget plan... otherwise Mayor Eddie Sundquist's proposal would go into effect on Dec. 1.


Council to also introduce local law to "opt-out" of marijuana dispensaries, and on-site consumption locations...
The City Council will also introduce a local law that would opt Jamestown out of allowing marijuana dispensaries and on-site consumption location in the city.  The voting session's pre-filed resolutions include the local law... which Council President Dolce says will not be voted on tonight.  Dolce says a couple of councilmembers requested it be put on the agenda to initiate discussion and to begin a review so they can act on it before the end of the year.  Tonight's voting session begins at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.


As Winter approaches, Great Lakes remain warmer than usual...
Winter is just around the corner, but experts say the Great Lakes haven't gotten the message.  The Chicago Tribune reports that summer and fall evenings failed to cool down sufficiently.  So, Great Lakes surface temperatures are trending above average.  It's an example of climate change.  Record-or near-record warm spells in Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York and Illinois set up a domino effect.  Warmer lake temperatures can produce more lake effect snow.  Snow diminishes with the onset of ice, which itself is delayed.  Ice helps deter shoreline erosion. 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Nov. 26, 2021

City man arrested on warrants for shooting death of man in Cattaraugus County...
A Jamestown man has been arrested in the city on a second-degree murder warrant from Cattaraugus County.  Sheriff's officers in Little Valley say 50 year-old Theodore Coffie of 221 Cherry St. was recently arrested by Jamestown Police during a raid on the murder charge in the Mar. 24 shooting death of 35 year-old Alexis Figueroa Torres in Olean.  Deputies say Coffie was also wanted on charges including second and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, first-degree reckless endangerment.  The Olean Times-Herald reports Torres was shot multiple times during an apparent confrontation.  Officers say Coffie was arraigned, and sent to the Little Valley Jail on $250,000 bail.


Pair of city men arrested for allegedly burglary and assault...
Two Jamestown men have been arrested following an alleged fight on the city's northside... and, where one suspect allegedly used a stun gun on several people.  City police were called to a West 10th Street location about 3 p.m. Thursday... and found that 38 year-old Marlo Carter had forced his way into the home... and, used the stun gun inside.  They also found that 23 year-old Haley Pearson assaulted a person at the scene who had an order of protection against him.  Peason is also accused of damaging property inside the home... and to a vehicle belonging to the person outside.  Carter faces charges including second-degree burglary, and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  Police say Pearson is charged with aggravated criminal contempt... and, two counts of third-degree criminal mischief and assault.  Both men were jailed pending arraignment.


Jamestown area under Winter Storm Warning through Saturday morning...
Parts of Chautauqua County could wind up with a foot of new snow after a major storm system brings colder air and snow to the region through early Saturday morning.  The National Weather Service in Buffalo has now issued a Lake Effect Storm Warning for all of Chautauqua County through Saturday morning.  Forecaster Bob Hamilton says the change-over to snow came overnight... and, some parts of the area may see up to a foot on the ground by mid-morning Saturday.  Hamilton says a large storm system will make it's way through the area today... with 11 to 12 inches in the area of the Chautauqua Ridge.  He says the big question is how lake effect snow off Lake Huron may enhance local snowfall.  Hamilton says the inland areas will see about 3 to 6 inches of snow by Saturday morning.


Black Friday shopping underway in Chautauqua County...
One year after a scaled-back Black Friday across the United States and Chautauqua County... a full day of activities -- including the return of Santa -- will take place today at the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood.  Mall Manager Julie Biehler says that includes the arrival of Santa Claus at Noon-time.  Biehler says Santa will arrive with Rudolph, and his elves and plenty of holiday cheer.  Following the arrival... Biehler says guests are invited to visit with Santa until 2 p.m., and, photos will be available for purchase.  Entertainment and refreshments will also be provided.  The mall's more than 30 regional and national retail chain stores and other venues will be open today from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and, COVID safety protocols will be followed.   For more information... call 763-9355 or go on-line to Chautauquamall.com.  They're also on Facebook and Instagram.


County reports 663 new confirmed COVID-19 cases the past week...
The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Chautauqua County has doubled over the past week... and risen to levels not seen since last January -- just before the vaccines came out.  In addition... the county's Health Department reports the number of new cases has more than doubled where it was in late October, to 663.  Officials say there have now been 14,890 total cases... and, there were four new deaths.  They say there have now been 219 total deaths... and, there have now been 14,000 recovered cases.  Officials say there are now 671 active cases... with 50 people hospitalized with the virus.  In addition... Public Health Director Christine Schuyler adds the county is seeing the highest infeciton rates among school-aged children to date.  Schuyler says "the Delta strain of the coronavirus is very contagious and is especially making those unvaccinated very, very ill."  She and her staff are "strongly recommending" vaccination, and boosters for everyone eligible and recommend that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask in indoor public settings, wash hands frequently, and stay home and away from others if ill.


Former co-worker with Amy King -- and his beverage cart -- will be on hand for Saturday's Amy King 5K run-walk...
Anyone attending the Amy King 5K Run/Walk Saturday will see one highly unusual entrant.  Retired United Airlines flight attendent Paul Veneto will be pushing an airline beverage cart during the event.  Veneto was a United Airlines flight attendant in 2001 and had worked closely with Celoron's Amy King.  Her flight... United 175... crashed into the World Trade Center on '9/11.'  While he was not in the air that day, the tragedy left Veneto with severe depression and addiction to opioids.  He recovered... and earlier this year pushed his beverage cart from Boston to Gound Zero in time for the 20th anniversary of the attacks.  He did it to raise awareness of the bravery of airline crew members that day... and to raise money for their families.  Veneto says he's honored be part of the event, and says "it's really important that I do this."  Veneto will make a financial contribution, too.  The Amy King 5K starts at 11 a.m. Saturday... kicking off at the Harbor Hotel in Celoron.  


 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Nov. 24, 2021

No one hurt in Harmony trailer fire...
A single-wide trailer in the town of Harmony has been destroyed by an overnight fire.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's investigators say Panama fire crews were called to the scene at 1136 Hoag Rd. shortly before 4 a.m. Wednesday morning.  Officials say the small trailer was completely leveled.  So far... investigators have been able to determine that the fire originated in the back of the home.  At this time... they say the cause is being ruled undetermined pending further interviews and investigation.  No injuries were reported.


City woman sentenced to time served in narcotic trafficking case...
A Jamestown woman convicted of maintaining a drug-involved premises has been sentenced to time served, and three-years probabion in federal court.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross has announced that 30 year-old Chelsey Hunt received the sentence Tuesday from U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara.  Prosecutors say Hunt rented the second-floor of a Linden Avenue home, and lived there with her children between January and December of 2018.  She also allowed co-defendant Douglas Beardsley to live in the attic... where he allegedly ran a methamphetamine and heroin trafficking operation.  Prosecutors add that Hunt also took an active role in the operation, such as helping with Beardsley’s customers and providing information about police activity around the residence.  Hunt also sold small amounts of narcotics for him, and bought narcotics for her own use, as well.  Ross says charges are still pending against Douglas Beardsley.


Sundquist reports city, JCC, have jointly hired new grant writer...
The city of Jamestown and Jamestown Community College now have a grant writer who will help both entities go after state, federal and private funding that's available.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist recently announced the hiring of Paula Piccone to the shared position.  Sundquist says Piccone was hired from a pool of about a dozen applicants... and, says she has a very good record in her previous job with the Seneca Nation of Indians... where she brought in just over $11-million dollars the past year alone.  Late this Summer... Sundquist announced that both the city, and JCC, had begun the search for a grants writer that would be shared because neither could afford to have one person on the payroll.  The mayor says Pichone will be busy soon... because it appears funding from the $1.2-trillion federal infrastructure bill will be doled out through grant awards.  Sundquist says it will be sent out either by direct grant... or through the state.  He says little else has been announced regarding how the infrastructure monies will be sent out.


Sundquist also announces JFD is now able to bill for medical transports...
The city of Jamestown has begun billing insurance for medical transports made by the city's Fire department.  Mayor Sundquist recently told the City Council that they received their first checks back in October... and, through the early part of November... had received about $9,700.  Sundquist says they are not billing individual residents... but, insurance, Medicare or Medicaid for the transports.  He says the most recent delay in getting the program up and running was not being able to get their Medicare and Medicaid billing numbers.  Sundquist expressed his appreciation to U.S. Senator Charles Schumer's office for it's help in getting the matter resolved.


Jamestown woman arrested for allegedly forging checks for more than $700...
A city woman has been arrested for allegedly using three stolen checks to obtain more than $700 in the town of North Harmony.  State Police in Jamestown say they arrested 31 year-old Rebecca Pratt last week after the person she took the checks from reported fraudulent activity on his bank account.  According to troopers... their investigation showed that the three checks... made out for various amounts... had been made out to, and cashed by Pratt.  She was arrested on three counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged Instrument... and, issued appearance tickets for North Harmony Town Court.


Kennedy man arrested in Randolph following DWI accident...
A Kennedy man has been arrested for allegedly driving with more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system when his car left the road and crashed in Randolph.  State Police in Jamestown say they arrested 42 year-old Jeremy Baker this past Sunday after finding his vehicle off Route 394 in the Cattaraugus County town.  Troopers say Baker failed several field sobriety tests, and was taken to the State Police barracks where he provided a breath sample of point-19.  He was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated, and issued appearance tickets for Randolph Town Court.  He was not hurt in the accident.


Fredonia village leaders considering mask mandate at village hall...
A surge in COVID-19 cases in Western New York has prompted the Fredonia Village Board to consider a resolution requiring the use of masks at Village Hall.  Mayor Doug Essek and village trustees discussed the issue during a workshop meeting held Monday night.  Essek became concerned about the situation after hearing about Erie County's decision to issue a mask mandate for all indoor public locations.  After a discussion with their attorney, trustees decided to take action on a resolution during their next regular meeting next Monday, Nov. 29.

 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Nov. 22, 2021

Warren, Pa. man arrested after allegedly firing gunshot towards police... 
There were some tense moments after a Warren, Pa. man fired a gun-shot over the heads of police responding to a call to check on his welfare.  State Police in Warren say Warren City Police were called to the unnamed location to check on 26 year-old Ian Alexander Royo shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday.  Troopers say Royo was finally talked out of the home in about 15 minutes, and he was taken into custody without further incident.  He was charged with one count of aggravated assault on law enforcement, and other charges are pending.  No one was hurt... and, police say there was no further threat to the public.


City woman arrested for allegedly shoplifting more merchandise at Lakewood Wal-Mart...
A woman from Jamestown has been arrested for allegedly stealing more than $170 worth of merchandise from the Lakewood Wal-Mart Supercenter.  Lakewood-Busti Police arrested 33 year-old Cassie Moore last week after an investigation into the incident.  Officers say, because Moore had been convicted of previous crimes at the Fairmount Avenue store, the crime rose to third-degree burglary.  Police also charged her with petty larceny.  Moore was issued appearance tickets for Busti Town Court at a later date.


Borrello praises signing of law making "Nourish NY" program permanent...
A farm-to-foodbank program supported by local State Senator George Borrello has finally been signed into law.  New York Governor Kathy Hochul was in Queens last weekend to sign the Nourish-NY legislation into law at the New York Hall of Science.  Borrello was on hand for the signing ceremony, after sponsoring the measure in the Senate, where it was approved several months ago.  The Sunset Bay Republican was joined by his Democratic counterpart, Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, was also on hand for the signing.  Borrello calls it a "win-win" for the state's food insecure, and New York's farmers.  He adds that "as the grandson of Concord grape farmers, I couldn’t be happier or more proud that Nourish New York is now established as part of state law.  It will ensure surplus food from New York’s farms goes to New Yorkers in need, so they can feed their families."  The law was also adopted unanimously in the Assembly.  Borrello thanked Hochul for signing the bill... noting that "millions of pounds of food shipments were sent to New York City from upstate farms during the pandemic."  For more information about the program... go on-line to agriculture.ny.gov/NourishNY. 


NYS continues to see rise in COVID-19 cases... mainly fueled by increases in Western New York and Finger Lakes region...
New York state data released last weekend shows the state continuing to see an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in November as the holiday season approaches.  Nearly 6,100 people a day are now testing positive for COVID-19 in New York.  That's up 22% from roughly 5,000 for the seven days through Nov. 11.  It's also the highest seven-day average since mid-April.  The vast majority of the state's 62 counties are seeing sharp upticks in new COVID-19 positives: from a 32% increase in cases over the seven days through Thursday on Long Island, to a 37% increase in Niagara County. 


Blue Star Mother's looking to send 1,200 Christmas care packages...
The members of Blue Star Mothers Lake Erie Chapter 4 hope to send out 1,200 ‘Christmas Care Packages’… again this year, and they’re looking for contributions.  One of the organizers, Kathy Collver, says food items that ship well, and are easy to open are one idea.  Collver says anything with a "pop-top" on it -- such as peanuts and trail mixes, or packets of water enhancers.  Small toiletry items are good, too… but no aerosols or flammables can be mailed.  The Blue Star Mother’s Susan Rowley says items are being accepted now at drop boxes throughout the community, and later at the Fluvanna Community Church.  Rowley says donations can be dropped off there on Wed., Dec 8 through Friday, Dec. 10... and, those will be boxed up on Sat., Dec. 11.  Full information on donations and volunteering to pack boxes can be found at bluestarmotherswny.com or on Facebook.  The packages are sent to service people around the world at a cost of $15 per box.  Anyone who’d like to write a check to help pay postage should send it to the Blue Star Mothers, PO Box 22, in Jamestown.


Lakewood celebrates completion of Chautauqua Ave. with grand re-opening Saturday...
Several business owners and residents of Lakewood were on hand for the grand re-opening of Chautauqua Avenue following a multi-year "green infractructure" project.  Mayor Randy Holcomb presided over the ceremony... which kicked off a day of holiday season activities in the village's downtown area.  Holcomb later said it became a challenging project due to the COVID Pandemic, and scarcity and rising costs of materials.  He says there were certainly "many challenges" faces by the board, and the village's contractors.  He says they were able to get new paving bricks put at the intersections of Chautauqua and Summit Avenue, and Second and Third Streets to slow run-off to Chautauqua Lake.  Holcomb and the village board thanked businesses along the street for enduring a project that took longer than expected.  He also thanked village board members, and employees for their efforts... as well as contractors Kingsview Enterprises, B-and-L engineering... and, Reed Sturzenbecker Construction for seeing the project through to completion. 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Sat., Nov. 20, 2021

Ripley man arrested for alleged sex abuse in Sherman...
A Ripley man has been arrested for allegedly having sexual contact with a juvenile victim in the town of Sherman.  Sheriff's officers were called to investigate the matter... and, arrested 20 year-old Patrick How Thursday.  Deputies say How was issued an appearance ticket for endangering the welfare of a child for Sherman Town Court at a later date.


Two teens hurt in single-car accident in Sherman...
Two teenagers were seriously hurt when the car they were riding in crashed in the town of Sherman last Wednesday night.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Titus Road just after 8:30 p.m., and found the 17 year-old male driver, and 18 year-old female passenger injured inside.  The boy was taken by ambulance to UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pa. for treatment.  The woman had to be extricated from the vehicle... and, she was later flown to Hamot for treatment of her injuries.  No names have been released, and the investigation into the accident is continuing.


County lawmakers approve pay increase for managers, and motion to keep Southern Tier Congressional district...
The people who helped Chautauqua County get through the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and saved the count $4-million, are getting a pay raise.  The County Legislature voted 19-0 Wednesday night to increase salaried managers pay by 3%.  Sheridan Republican Terry Niebel says he's been asked why managers deserve a 3% wage hike.  Neibel says there are two reasons: The first being they found significant savings for the county 18 months ago... during the early days of the pandemic.  Jamestown.  Niebel adds the managers also helped the county find savings for the 2022 budget that cuts the full value tax rate from $8.51 per $1,000 to $8.10 per $1,000. 
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In addition... county lawmakers approved a motion urging New York state to continue the "long-standing practice" of putting all Southern Tier counties into one Congressional District.  The measure was approved, 17-2 with Democrats Bob Bankowski and Robert Whitney voting no.  


County reports 436 new confirmed COVID-19 cases the past week...
There have been move than 400 new, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County over the past week for the first time in over a month.  That from the county's Health Department Wednesday... which reported there were 436 new cases... bringing that total to 14,227.  There were also two new deaths.... making that total 216.  Officials say there are currently 475 active cases... and, 23 of those are hospitalized.  The Health Department says 13,536 cases have now recovered.  Of the new cases... 170 were in Jamestown... 57 in Dunkirk... 32 in Fredonia... and 28 in Falconer.  The seven-day infection rate is now 8-percent.


Cattaraugus County sees COVID infection rate jump...
One of the real COVID-19 hot-spots in the region continues to be Cattaraugus County... where the seven-day rate of infection has now climbed from 11 to 12.1-percent.  The Health Department in Olean said Thursday there were 87 new reported the past day to go with 128 the day before.  There are now 655 active cases... and, 49 people are now hospitalized.  Officials say there have now been 9,511 total cases... and, 8,652 have recovered.  The Health Department reports there have now been 165 COVID-related deaths during the pandemic.


Hochul hinting at reinstating COVID restrictions if infection rates don't come down...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul says New Yorkers in upstate communities seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases could again face more pandemic restrictions if infection rates fail to drop.  The Democrat didn't outline any specifics earlier in the week that she could take, or when they could begin.  However... Hochul says she's troubled by vaccine holdouts and signs of rising COVID-19 cases in parts of western and central New York.  By this time, she had hoped to loosen some of the restrictions on mask wearing in school, but, unless the numbers improve, she's going to look at having "stricter measures."  Hochul also said anyone who feels they're at high risk of getting COVID-19 should get a booster shot. 


Jamestown's Christmas Tree now up on Tracy Plaza...
Downtown Jamestown is looking more festive as the city's official Christmas Tree has been put up on Tracy Plaza.  A city crew, headed up by Parks Manager Dan Stone, harvested the Blue Spruce tree from the DeLong family at 265 Prospect St. on the southside Wednesday morning.  Stone says the 40-foot tall tree is the first Blue Spruce they've used in five years because they've become harder to find.  He says disease has take it's toll on those trees in recent years.  The tree is now up and anchored on the northwest side of the plaza, where it's usually put up, and Stone says park's crews will install thousands of Christmas lights between now, and the annual Christmas Parade... this year on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m.  Parks and Public Works crews have been busy in recent days... also putting up street lights and other ornaments in the downtown area.  Stone also thanked Jamestown police for providing an escort to city hall, and closing off East Third in front of city hall so the tree could be put up.  The tree lighting will be on Dec. 4... prior to the parade.


DeJoy approved as new Planning and Development Director in Dunkirk...
The city of Dunkirk has a new Director of Planning and Development.  During Tuesday's Common Council meeting... lawmakers unanimously approved the appointment of Vince DeJoy for the post, which was recently vacated by Jill Meaux.  DeJoy, who had worked in the same capacity in Jamestown, thanked Mayor Willie Rosas and the Common Council for their confidence in him, and says he is ready to get to work.

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Nov. 17, 2021

Hochul urges Western New Yorker's to get COVID-19 booster shot...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul was in Western New York Tuesday to encourage any adult in the region... which now has a high COVID-19 transmission rate... to get their vaccine booster shot as soon as they can.  Hochul was at a community center for a COVID-19 briefing... and says infection rates in the region... as well as the Finger Lakes... are more than 8% -- the highest in the state.  Hochul says there is plenty of supply for people to get the booster, and, they state will help local counties get the vaccine boosters if they need them.  Hochul also expressed disappointment over the fact that only 47% of those 65-years of age, and older have gotten the booster shot so far.  She also encouraged parents to get their children who are ages 5 to 11 to get their first shot of a vaccine. 


Jamestown's City Christmas Tree up on Tracy Plaza...
It's beginning to feel a lot more like Christmas in downtown Jamestown... now that the city's official tree has been put up on Tracy Plaza.  A city crew, headed up by Parks Manager Dan Stone, harvested the Blue Spruce tree from the home at 265 Prospect St. on the southside this morning.  Stone says the DeLong family donated the 40-foot tall Blue Spruce.  He says Lakeshore Paving again provided a flat-bed truck to deliver the tree, and the Board of Public Utilities provided the crane to help get the tree up on the plaza.  The tree was up and anchored on the northwest side of the plaza as usual... where Stone says park's crews will install thousands of Christmas lights between now, and the annual Christmas Parade... this year on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m.  He says crews will start putting more than 4,000 LED lights on the tree later today through tomorrow.  Stone says a new star has been made for the top.  He also thanked the Jamestown Police Department for it's help in providing the escort to city hall, and closing off East Third in front of city hall so the tree could be put up. 


Marvin House Christmas trees on display...
When retired architect Marlin Casker learned the Marvin House in Jamestown wanted to do something special for the Holidays, he had just the answer.  Casker and a late friend had been collecting Christmas ornaments for many years, and they eventually had enough to decorate a dozen treets.  The trees were previewed at an open house on Tuesday evening.  The ornaments, many of which Casker donated, come from Scandinavia, other parts of Europe… China and Mexico, even the Middle East.  He says the one from Egypt is unique because they're all glass and derived from 'Islamic ideas'.  Marvin House President, Rosemary Lombardo, says she’s wanted something like this ever since she took office five years ago.  The trees can be seen every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. right through New Year’s, as part of the regular $10 Marvin House tour. 


Salvation Army's Red Kettle gets underway in Jamestown-area...
The Salvation Army of Jamestown's annual Red Kettle Campaign is officially underway with a goal of 115-thousand dollars to help the needy in the Jamestown-area.  On our Dennis Webster Show Tuesday morning... Major Kim Merchant said they have one of their locations now open... at Tops Market on Washington Street, with more to follow soon.  Merchant says... right now... they can only have one masked person at the Tops on Washington Street.  She says they're talking with Tops about getting those restrictions loosened up.  Merchant says both the Chautauqua Mall and Wal-Mart in Lakewood say families and groups will be allowed to man the kettles.  Residents can sign up to man a kettle for an hour at each location.  For more information on the Red Kettle Campaign... or their Angel Tree program... call The Salvation Army at 664-4108. 


Muldowney calls 2021 campaign a "challenging one" and Bankoski to be minority leader...
A Chautauqua County Legislature Republican from Dunkirk has been re-elected to a fourth term after a close race.  Kevin Muldowney says it was a challenging campaign against Democrat Marcus Buchanon... who ran a "spirited race" that came down to absentee ballots.  Meanwhile, Dunkirk's other county legislator, Bob Bankoski, will become the Chautauqua County Legislature's minority leader in 2022.  Bankoski will replace Jamestown Democrat Charles Nazzaro who will be leaving the legislature at the end of December.  Bankowski has been assistant Minority Leader since he's been on the legislature.  He says, with Nazzaro leaving, they will be big shoes to fill.  Legislator Paul Whitford of Jamestown will replace Bankoski as assistant minority leader.  Republicans will have a 15-to-4 supermajority in the legislature the next two years.


Ethics panel rescinds its approval of Cuomo Book Deal...
Members of New York's ethics commission have voted overwhelmingly to rescind approval of former Governor Andrew Cuomo's $5.1-million book deal.  In July 2020... commission staff granted approval of Cuomo's deal for "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic."  At the time, his special council told the ethics commission he would write the book "entirely on his own time."  But... Cuomo has since acknowledged that state employees "volunteered" with tasks including editing the manuscript.  

 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Nov. 16, 2021

Ecklund would like 2022 general fund budget dealth with separate from Jamestown's ARPA funding...
The head of the Jamestown City Council's Finance Committee says she would like to see a general fund budget that is separate from the city's American Rescue Plan Act funding.  Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says lawmakers are "running out of time" before the budget due date, and she's received little feedback from fellow councilmembers.  Ecklund says she wants any proposals before the budget hearing this Friday night at 6 p.m.  She says she wants feedback by Wednesday, because that way, if a special meeting is needed next Monday night, they can announce it.  Ecklund says members of the committee are also frustrated by the co-mingling of $3-million of "lost revenue" ARPA funding in the 2022 budget plan.  She feels the committee also feels the need to separate the regular budget from the ARPA monies.  Ecklund says she'd like to adopt a general fund budget first... then "dig into" the ARPA funding.  The $38.9-million budget proposed last month by Mayor Eddie Sundquist includes a $130,000 increase in the tax levy... but, no increase in the tax rate.  It also includes seven new positions.  


Sundquist urges Council to get moving on where city's ARPA funding will go...
The mayor of Jamestown did urge city lawmakers to begin looking seriously at moving more of the projects in Jamestown's Master Plan to use American Rescue Plan funding.  Eddie Sundquist reminded lawmakers during last night's work session that they've had the first tranche of money -- just over $14-million -- in the bank for 181 days.  Sundquist says those projects include recovery funds, to help small businesses, and may even be used to protect the Chadakoin River.  He says he understands the diffculty of dealing with both the regular budget... and, the rescue plan funding.  But... he says they are getting calls to start getting the funding "out there."  Sundquist says the city has until only 2024 to commit the funding and the projects must be completed by 2026.  Whatever money is left at that point, had to be returned to the U.S. Treasury Department.


County Bd. of Elections finishes, Jamestown's third-ward race now official pending certification...
The vote count in the Jamestown City Council Ward-Three race is now final... pending certification of the results... which may take place by the end of this week.  That from Chautauqua County Board of Elections GOP Commissioner Brian Abram... who says any challenge to absentee or other ballots needed to take place yesterday.  On election night... Democrat Regina Brackman had an 11-vote lead over Republican challenger Robert Reedy, Jr.  However... the absentee count brought the margin down to two, 173-to-171, with Brackman ahead.  That will be the final result... pending final certification.  That officially means Republicans will have a 7-2 majority on City Council in the coming year. Also in the Jamestown-area... Michael Walker will be the Carroll Town Highway Superintendent after gaining votes in the absentee count, with 521 votes, to James Mitchener III's 494. 


Hochul praises $1-trillion Infrastructure Bill before leaving for signing ceremony in D.C....
New York Governor Kathy Hochul traveled to Washington, DC Monday afternoon for President Joe Biden's signing of the just-over one-trillion dollar "Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act."  Prior to leaving... Hochul praised bi-partisan measure... calling it an "investment in New York..." and, New York's families.  During a press conference at the Albany Airport... she said it means billions of dollars for the state's infrastructure needs... including $14-billion for roads and bridges... $10.5-billion for transit systems... to $100-million for broadband upgrades.  Hochul says, when she was especially traveling the state as Lieutenant Governor, she found a number of rural areas where her cell service dropped out.  She says with the projects will come "thousands of jobs" in New York state.  The measure has been passed a few months ago in the U.S. Senate... and, was recently adopted just over a week ago in the House of Representatives in a 228-to-206 vote. 


NYC Public Advocate, Williams, announcing run for Governor...
New York City's elected public advocate Jumaane Williams is running for New York governor.  The self-described activist is the most progressive candidate in next year's increasingly crowded Democratic primary race... which already features Governor Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James.  Williams is a 45-year-old former New York City councilman who serves as a public ombudsman in his role as the city's public advocate.  He shared his plans with The Associated Press before formally rolling out his campaign announcement Tuesday.


Teachout to run for A-G in 2022...
Law professor Zephyr Teachout has announced she is seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general of New York.  Teachout made the announcement late Monday in Brooklyn.  She had said earlier that she would run for attorney general if incumbent Letitia James announced a run for governor.  James announced her campaign for governor on Oct. 29.  The 50-year-old Teachout is an associate professor of law at Fordham University and a scholar on corruption and anti-trust laws.  Teachout ran for the Democratic nomination for attorney general in 2018... but lost to James.


Man arrested for domestic incident in Ellicott...
A 68 year-old man has been arrested for allegedly hitting another person in the face with an open hand during a domestic incident in the town of Ellicott.  Town police were called to the undisclosed scene about 5 p.m. last Saturday... and, found that Mickey Reagan had hit the person... and, violated an order of protection.  Reagan was arrested for second-degree harassment, and second-degree criminal contempt... and, he was jailed pending arraignment.

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Nov. 12, 2021

(These were not updated for Friday -- 11/12)
Horrigan inducted into NYS Senate's Veterans Hall of Fame...
A retired U-S Air Force Colonel... who also served four years as Chautauqua County Executive... has been inducted into the New York State Senate's Veteran's Hall of Fame.  Bemus Point's Vince Horrigan was nominated by local State Senator George Borrello of Sunset Bay for the honor... and, Borrello recalled the first time he met Horrigan.  He says it was in 2009 right after historic flooding in the village of Silver Creek.  Horrigan was executive director of the local American Red Cross chapter... and one of the first people at the scene.  He says he was very impressed by Horrigan's work during that, then later when they both served on the county legislature.  Borrello then replaced Horrigan as County Executive in 2017 after Horrigan decided not to seek re-election.  Fellow Air Force veteran Greg Carlson is director of the county's Office of Veteran's Services.  He says Horrigan not only flew "top gun" fighter planes... but, also trained the 'best of the best.'  Carlson says he was not just a fighter pilot, but, someone who trained the best to be pilots.  Horrigan says he expected to be drafted... and, wanted to decide early on which branch of the service he wanted to be -- the Air Force.  He also reflected on the death this past Summer of his son-in-law... who was also a veteran who suffered from PTSD.  Thursday's ceremony was held at the county Veteran's Services Office in West Ellicott.


Veterans Day ceremony held at St. Lukes church...
St. Luke’s Church hosted Jamestown’s annual Veterans Day service just after 11 a.m. Thursday.  The speaker for the event was Sean McNally, Firing Squad Commander for the Ira Lou Spring Post American Legion.  He said it’s good to be a veteran, and it means a lot to follow in the footsteps of those who had gone before.  McNally recounted many of the wars and conflicts since the Revolution that Americans have fought in, and added that, through all these ventures, veterans fought with "courage and conviction" for their country.  


Veteran's Park hosts earlier Veteran's Day program...                      
Veteran's Day 2021 in the Jamestown-area began yesterday at Veteran's Park on the city's westside.  A few dozen people, and local elected leaders... gathered around the American Flag memorial circle.  The ceremony... put on by VFW Post #53... included a 21-gun salute, and the playing of Taps.  Post-#53 Commander... Bill Johnston... paid tribute to those who have passed on, and explained the importance of the day to honor the sacrifices of all veterans -- living and deceased.  Other leaders from the VFW, and others placed flowers and flags at the base of the American Flag in the park during the ceremony.  


Fire destroys trailer home in Westfield...
Several fire departments responded to a report of a trailer fire on North Gale Street in Westfield Wednesday afternoon.  The trailer was located near some propane tanks.  Westfield firefighters received mutual aid from Ripley, Portland, Brocton and Chautauqua County Emergency Services in battling the fire shortly after 1 p.m.  County fire police also assisted at the scene.  The Westfield Fire Department stated on it's Facebook page that the trailer was a complete loss.  No word on what caused the fire.


Bentley resigns from county DPF director's post effective Dec. 1...
The man who has headed up the Chautauqua County Department of Public Facilities has announced he is resigning -- effective the end of November.  The surprise announcement was made by Director Brad Bentley during Wednesday's meeting of the legislature's Audit and Control Committee.  Bentley said that he had been asked to tender his resignation by County Executive P-J Wendel.  It was submitted this past Monday.  Bentley he enjoyed his work, and is proud of what he's been able to do.  We caught up with Wendel yesterday morning... and, he indicated that he had not asked Bentley for his resignation.  He added that Bentley was ready to resign late last week... but, he asked the outgoing director to think about it over the weekend.  Wendel says he'll meet next week with DPF managers about going forward... but, says someone who just came the area may have qualifications for the job.  He says Bentley served the community and the county "greatly."  Wendel says a search committee will be formed in the near future, once the paperwork is completed by the Human Resources Department.


City man arrested following domestic incident for being repeat offender...
A Jamestown man previously convicted on domestic violence charges has again been arrested following a domestic incident on the city's southside.  City police say they were called to the unspecified scene about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday... and, later arrested 33 year-old Charles Thielges.  Officers say Thielges allegedly violated an order of protection by being with a woman he was ordered to stay away from.  He was taken into custody without incident... and, charged with second-degree criminal contempt... and, aggravated family offense due to the prior convictions. 

 

  
 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Nov. 15, 2021

Absentee ballot count in Chautauqua County underway... 
The Chautauqua County Board of Elections will begin counting both absentee and affidavit ballots later today to decide several close races in the local elections on November 2nd.  Republican Elections Commissioner Brian Abram says the number of absentees to count this year is much less than a year ago when the presidential race was being decided.  Abram says it appears there will be about 1,500 absentee ballots returned of the just over 2,500 sent out.  He adds they'll also be dealing with whether affidavit ballots made out on Election Day will be counted.  Those are ballots where the voter was not found to be in their system, and they fill those out, and they are put in an envelop and then opened to determine if they were valid.  With the use of two high-speed counters... Abram feels the count will be completed within hours on Monday.  Today's count began about 11 a.m., and should be completed in about four hours.  The closest races locally include the Jamestown City Council's Ward-Three contest... where Democrat Regina Brackman has a slim, 11 vote lead over Republican Robert Reedy, Jr.   Democratic Elections Commissioner Luz Torres also says that military and overseas voters have until today to return their ballots.


Reed sounds off on harsh criticism of his a other GOP votes in favor of Infrastructure bill...
President Joe Biden is expected to sign the recently approved, $1-trillion infrastructure bill later today.  Local Congressman Tom Reed was one of 13 House Republicans who voted for the bi-partisan bill.  He's also now addressing criticism that he and the other Republicans  were essentially "traitors."  An independent media feed last weekend showed Reed addressing that criticism... saying the bill was negotiated in good faith... and, he remains a "proud Republican..." and he knows "proud Democrats" as well.  But, he feels the bill is a win.  The Corning Republican said the final product was "based on compromise."  The measure had already been approved in the Senate with bi-partisan support there as well. 


Medicare Premiums to increase next year by $21.60...
Medicare's ``Part B'' outpatient premium will jump by $21.60 cents next year, one of the largest increases ever.  Officials said Friday a new Alzheimer's drug is responsible for about half of that.  The increase guarantees that health care costs will gobble up a big chunk of the recently announced Social Security cost-of-living allowance, a boost that had worked out to $92 a month for the average retired worker.  The announcement on premiums comes as Congress is considering Democratic legislation that would curb what Medicare pays for medications.  The new Part B premium will be $170.10 a month. 


Missing distraught person in Portland found by K-9 unit...
Local authorities were able to located a despondent person who ran from a home on Route 380 in the town of Portland... and, said they might do harm to themself.  Sheriff's officers received a 911 call shortly before 11 p.m. last Friday night about the person running from the home... and, across Route 380 towards a field, and wooded area.  Deputies say K-9 "Drake" was brought in to assist in the search... and, began tracking the person.  The K-9 found the unidentified person about half-a-mile from the roadway in a brushy area.  Officers say the person was found laying on the ground in clothing not suitable for the conditions.  Deputies requested an ambulance, and Brocton and Portland Fire Departments responded to the scene.  The subject was then taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for further care.


Farm officials voice concerns over 2022...
Farmers in the Chautauqua region had a pretty good crop year in 2021… but, concerns are already emerging for 2022.  Well known crop expert Dan Steward, from the Western New York Crop Management Association, says the cost of fertilizer is surging, and with energy costs going up, nitrogen is going up also.  He adds that fertilizer prices have also nearly doubled.  In addition, the same kind of supply chain issues affecting retail shopping are hitting agriculture, too.  Many commonly used products like Roundup are manufactured overseas, and could be hard to find next year.  So, Steward says farmers are doing what many consumers are… stockpiling what they can now, even at higher prices, to insure they’ll have what they need in the spring.


Rosas confirmes DeJoy is his pick for planning and development director in Dunkirk...
The former director of Development in the city of Jamestown is Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas' choice to be the north county city's next director of Planning and Development.  Vince DeJoy's name appears on a prefiled resolution for Tuesday's Common Council meeting.  DeJoy held the similar post in Jamestown for several years, along with serving as executive director for the Jamestown Local Development Corporation.  Rosas says former Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi was among those giving the candidate a strong recommendation... along with State Senator George Borrello.  Dunkirk's Planning and Development post became vacant last month when Jill Meaux announced her resignation.


Hochul announces Mass Vaccination sites for children...
Governor Kathy Hochul says 10 of New York's mass coronavirus vaccination sites are ready to give shots to children ages 5 to 11 who recently became eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.  More than 50,000 children in the state already have received their first dose of the vaccine, which has been available at doctors' offices, pharmacies and other locations.  Federal officials gave final approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for kids on Nov. 2.

 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Nov. 11, 2021

Ellicott Town Supervisor confirms Target buys former K-Mart store on Fairmount Ave...
A major retail chain has purchased the former K-Mart store, and it's 13-acres of property off Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott.  Ellicott Town Supervisor Pat McLaughlin says the Chautauqua County Clerk's office confirmed for him that a real estate arm of Target bought the property over the past couple of weeks.  However... McLaughlin adds that the company's intentions have not yet been made known, and they have not yet contacted the town about any plans.  He says he's "love" to see Target move into the location.  McLaughlin says this was a "full-sized" K-Mart store location prior to it being closed by the company in October of 2019.  He says the property is already zoned commercial, so Target could reopen it through "Use by Right."  However... he says any significant changes would have to be approved by the town... like an expansion, or alter any of the electrical work inside.  The K-Mart store at 975 Fairmount Ave. was one of 26 "full-sized" K-Mart's the company closed as part of a liquidation in late 2019.  It came not long after K-Mart liquidated it's Sears store holdings.


County DPF Director Bentley Resigns from position, effective Dec. 1...
Chautauqua County is losing it's director of Public Facilities at the end of the month.  That after current director Brad Bentley announced during Wednesday's meeting of the legislature's Audit and Control Committee.  Bentley said that he had been asked to tender his resignation by County Executive P-J Wendel.  It was submitted this past Monday... and, takes effect Dec. 1.  He thanked lawmakers for the opportunity to work with them.  However... we caught up with Wendel this morning... and, he indicated that he had not asked Bentley for his resignation.  Wendel says Bentley was ready to resign late last week... but, he asked the outgoing director to think about it over the weekend.  He says he appreciate's Bentley's service to the county, and add he'll meet with other department managers next week to discuss where they go from here.  Wendel says a search committee will be formed, but, adds he'll be talking with other managers in the DPF to plan for the interim.  He did say that prior to the resignation, they had received word of "some people" who had moved to the area... and, may be qualified for the position. 


Rosas says he has new Planning and Development director ready to fill vacancy...
Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas says he has found a candidate to fill the vacant director of Planning and Development post.  While he did not announce a name, Rosas says he would like to see the Common Council take action on the appointment during next Tuesday's meeting.  He says the candidate has the support of State Senator George Borrello, and former Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi.  Rosas says his candidate has extensive business and development experience... and, is ready to take over the position as soon as Council members confirmed the appointment.  He says the person would be able to come in and help us "immediately..." and adds they have quarterly reports and other activity going on "in that department."  Last month... former director Jill Meaux left the position, citing the stress of the city's political work environment. 


County reports 350 new COVID cases the past week...
The number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Chautauqua County are continuing their upward trend... with 350 new cases over the past week.  The county's Health Department reports there have now been 13,791 total cases... and, 400 of those are currently active.  Officials say there were three new deaths... bringing that total now to 214.  There are 25 people currently hospitalized... and, the rate of infection is now 7%.


Local students taking part in "Taps Across Chautauqua..."
What started last year as a way to give band students 'an authentic music making experience during COVID' is expanding this year.  Instrumental players of all sorts did solo performances of Taps today on Veterans Day.  Persell Middle School Band Director Marc Lentsch helped start the effort in the Jamestown schools, said they learned Taps in school, and got some background on the day.  At 11 a.m., Lentsch says they stepped outside their homes, and play Taps for their neighbhorhood.  He says 'Taps Across Chautauqua' is an ideal way to connect what students learn in school directly to the community.  Band members from the Jamestown schools will participate again this year... along with those from Southwestern, Cassadaga Valley, Brocton, and Chautauqua Lake.  Music students at SUNY Fredonia will be playing along this year, as well. 


CCHS honoring military service members by waiving pet adoption fees through Sunday...
The Chautauqua County Humane Society is honoring our service members this Veterans Day by waiving the adoption fee for all pets for all vets and active military.  Humane Society Partnership Director Brian Papalia says the adoption fee will be waived on any successfully completed adoption to any adopter with valid Military I.D. that submits an application between now and Sunday, Nov. 14.  Papalia says their "Veterans Day adoption special is its way of giving back to those who have served and continue to serve our country.  “It’s a way for us to show our appreciation.  Our veterans are already heroes to this country, and now they can be a hero to a homeless pet in need.”  For more information... visit chqhumane.org, or call 665-2209.

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Nov. 10, 2021

Man in stable condition following stabbing incident in Jamestown...
A 40 year-old man who suffered a stab wound at a home on Jamestown's northside is in stable condition at an Erie, Pennsylvania hospital.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson confirms the incident took place in the 600-block of Prendergast Avenue shortly before 5 a.m.  Samuelson says the man was initially taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital before being transferred to UPMC Hamot in Erie.  He adds the suspect remains at large... and, anyone with information on the incident is asked to call JPD at 483-7537... or their tips line at 483-8477.


Ripley firefighters called back to rekindle of Tuesday afternoon house fire...
Ripley firefighters were called back to a rekindle of a house fire early this morning that destroyed what was left standing from Tuesday afternoon's fire.  Fire crews were called back to the scene at 6277 Barnes Rd. just after 4 a.m., and, had the flames out in short order.  Chautauqua County Fire Dispatchers say Ripley firefighters were initially called to the about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday... and, found the structure was "fully-engulfed" in flames.  They initially called in Westfield for mutual aid... and, later South Ripley and Sherman.  The county's EMS, and Fire Coordinators also responded.  The occupants reportedly got out safely.  The cause remains under investigation.


Jamestown to take part in "Taps Across Chautauqua" on Veteran's Day...
What started last year as a way to give band students 'an authentic music making experience during COVID' is expanding this year.  Instrumental players of all sorts will do solo performances of Taps on Veterans Day.  Band Director Marc Lentsch at Persell Middle School helped start the effort in the Jamestown schools.  Lentsch says the students learn Taps either in class, or private lesson.  Then at 11 a.m. on the 11th of November, they step outside and play.  He says it's an ideal way to connect what students learn in school directly to the community.  Lentsch says they also learn the importance of Veteran's Day, and how it came about.  Band members from the Jamestown schools will participate again this year... along with those from Southwestern, Cassadaga Valley, Brocton, and Chautauqua Lake.  Music students at SUNY Fredonia will be playing along this year, as well. 


Borrello saddened by decision to close more prisons next year in NYS...
The region's State Senator says he's sad to see New York state's decision to close six more prisons in March of next year.  Sunset Bay Republican George Borrello spoke about the decision Tuesday.  Borrello says Governor Kathy Hochul is "following the path" of former Governor Andrew Cuomo.  He says yes... the state's prison population has been declining... but, adds it's not due to less crime.  Borrello says there's been a "huge spike" in crime across the state in the wake of bail reform, which is allowing more criminals to be released onto the streets.  He says bail reform has also led to people charged with crimes not showing up for court dates.  The six facilities slated for closure include... the Southport Correctional Facility, Ogdensburg Correctional Facility, Rochester Correctional Facility, Moriah Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility, Downstate Correctional Facility and Willard Drug Treatment Campus.


Hochul says NYS is prepared to give "kid-sized" COVID-19 vaccinations...
New York state is prepared for the initial wave of 5 to 11 year-old children expected to receive the "kid-sized" COVID-19 vaccine now that approval has been given for emergency use.  Governor Kathy Hochul made the announcement during an appearance at the Mt. Vernon Neighborhood Health Center in Westchester County Tuesday afternoon.  Hochul adds that 75% of all eligible New Yorkers have now had at least one dose of the vaccine... and, she says they'll now focus on where place where the numbers remain low.  Several children were on hand at the Mt. Vernon center to get a vaccine... and, $50 cash afterwards.  They'll also get another $50 when they get the second shot.  Hochul adds there's more: children who get vaccinated will be entered into a contest to win a free college education from either a State University... or City of New York school. 


Bemus Point SD hosting "Drive a Bus" day...
If you've ever wondered what it's like to drive a bus... you can give it a try today from 4 to 6 p.m. at Maple Grove Junior/Senior High School.  The district's Transportation Supervisor, Dwayne Dustin issues the invitation, saying it will give you a chance to get behind the wheel, and see if you would like to try it.  The school is located at the top of Dutch Hollow Road in Ellery.  You must be 21 years of age... and have a valid driver's license.  Dustin adds it's always a little intimidating to get behind the wheel for the first time.  He says those who haven't driven a bus before, but, have driven larger vehicles in the past usually get the hang of it shortly.  Student safety and traffic control are included in the training.  The situation at Bemus Point is similar to districts around the country... all with a great need for more drivers and substitutes.  


First Harmony Express Barbershop concert to be held this Saturday...
The Harmony Express Barbershop Chorus is set come out of its 'pandemic hibernation,' and present a show this weekend.  Chorus President George Jarrell says they'll perform in the Fellowship Room at First Presbyterian Church on Saturday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m.  Jarrell says this year's show theme is "Good Old Songs from the Barbershop."  He says the chorus has not performed for two years but Jarrell says the number of members has remained steady at around two dozen singers.  For their first concert, they'll be doing a lot of traditional barbershop tunes.  Tickets are $10 pre-sale... or by calling the barbershop hotline at 789-5248 or email info@harmonyexpress.com.  The price is $15 at the door.  Masks will be required.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Nov. 9, 2021

City Council talks more on 2022 budget, but, makes no changes yet...
There was some discussion about Mayor Eddie Sundquist's proposed 2022 budget plan during last night's Jamestown City Council meeting... but, no changes have been proposed as yet.  That from Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund, who says there wasn't a full budget meeting because of the absence of some city officials.  There's only one more scheduled work session -- before the vote -- next Monday night.  Council President Tony Dolce says the public hearing is to be held on Friday, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m.  However... he asked it lawmakers wanted to have the hearing on the following Monday, Nov. 22, because there is no work session scheduled due to the Thanksgiving Holiday.  There was no decision on changing the schedule last night.  However... Ecklund says they still want any preliminary amendments by this coming Wednesday the 10th... prior to next week's work session.  The 2022 budget proposal totals $38.9-million, and uses about $3-million from the "lost revenue" catagory of the city's ARPA funding allocation of about $28-million.  The budget includes about a $130,000 increase in the tax levy... but, the tax rate remains $23.69 per $1,000 full value.  The final budget has to be in place by Dec. 1.  


Comptroller reports on another good quarter for Jamestown sales tax revenues...
The city of Jamestown had another strong sales tax report for the third-quarter of this year... and, now has 90% of it's budgeted amount already raised.  That from City Comptroller Ryan Thompson... who reported last night that the city took in $2.25-million in revenues for July through September.  Thompson says that's $271,000 more than last year... and, $327,000 more than in 2019.  With that... Thompson says the city has so far collected $6.1-million in sales tax revenues through the first three months of the year.  The fourth-quarter, with the holiday's approaching, typically is the city's strongest quarter of the year.  The city budgeted $6.7-million in sales tax proceeds for 2021.


Wendel identifying projects that could benefit from federal Infrastructure bill...
With President Joe Biden expected to sign the bi-partisan infrastructure bill into law next week... a top local, elected official is waiting for the details about how the funding can be used for projects in Chautauqua County.  County Executive P.J. Wendel says they have already identified some projects in the county that should benefit from the funding... including Phase-Two of the project to provide sewer service on the western side of Chautauqua Lake.  He adds there are also a couple of north county water projects that stand to benefit.  Wendel hopes that smaller counties don't miss out on the funding.  He fears that counties with larger populations will have the advantage... unless there is "direct funding" to those counties. 


Schumer announces nearly $800,000 in funding for both the Jamestown and Dunkirk Airports...
Chautauqua County's two airports will each receive $790,000 from the $1-trillion infrastructure bill approved by Congress last Friday night.  That from Senior U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York... who announced $937-million will be coming to airports in the state.  The Democratic Majority Leader says both the Jamestown and Dunkirk Airports will receive the nearly $800,000 each from the $25-billion in funding nationally.  Schumer says the largest funding amounts will go to Kennedy and LaGuardia Airports in New York City. 


Wendel looking forward to dealing with economic development, infrastructure needs over next four-years...
Improving Chautauqua County's infrastructure is one of the major goals of County Executive P.J. Wendel over his new. four-year term... which begins next Jan. 1.  The Lakewood Republican talked a little more on our "Community Spotlight" program about meeting with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's staff... and, says they urged them to go back and talk with local leaders about what they need.  He says they have begun talking with those leaders, and says they could spending $100-million "rather quickly."  He says economic development... especially coming out of the COVID Pandemic... is another area he and his administration plan to focus on... along with combating the opioid epidemic.  He says he was "very humbled" by the support he received on Election Day one week ago.  Last year... Wendel received 71% of the vote against Rich Morrisroe, and this year received 72% of the vote to Green's 23%.


Six more state prisons slated for closings in 2022...
Officials say six New York state correctional facilities will close next March in a cost-saving move amid declining inmate populations.  More than 1,700 people work at the six upstate New York facilities, and there are more than 1,400 inmates.  Inmates will be sent to other locations, and no layoffs are expected.  The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said it will work with unions to provide staffers at the facilities with transfer opportunities.  The facilities scheduled for closure March 10th are: Ogdensburg Correctional Facility, Moriah Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility, Willard Drug Treatment Campus, Southport Correctional Facility, Downstate Correctional Facility and Rochester Correctional Facility.


College Bomb Threat in NYS found to be "not credible..."
Officials say multiple bomb threats made over the weekend at Ivy League campuses were not credible.  Cornell, Columbia and Brown universities had alerted students to threats Sunday and deemed campuses safe a few hours later.  Evacuations were ordered in some buildings on the campuses.  Yale reported a bomb threat two days earlier that forced the evacuation of several buildings as well as nearby businesses in New Haven, Connecticut.  The university resumed normal campus activity Friday evening.

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Nov. 8, 2021

Pair of Jamestown residents arrested on drug related charges during traffic stop in Hanover...
Two Jamestown residents face drug-related charges following a traffic stop on Routes 5 and 20 in the town of Hanover late last week.  Sheriff's officers say they stopped 28 year-old Nicholas Evans shortly after 9 P.M.last Thursday for multiple traffic violations.  Deputies say their investigation revealed that Evans, and his passenger, 38 year-old Kathleen Sherwood, were in possession of a quantity of methamphetamine.  Both Evans and Sherwood were taken into custody and later released with appearance tickets. They are scheduled to appear in Hanover Town Court at a later date.


North County man arrested on assault charge...
An Irving man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting and repeatedly kicking another person while they were laying on the ground.  Sheriff's officers were called to an "in-progress" assault at an undisclosed location shortly after Midnight Sunday.  Deputies were joined by Seneca Nation Marshalls and found that 21 year-old Thunderhawk Parker had committed the assault, and kicked the person while they were curled up in a defensive position.  Parker was arrested for third-degree assault and second-degree aggravated harassment.  He was taken to the Chautauqua County Jail pending centralized arraignment.


Reed among the 13 Republicans voting for $1-billion infrastructure bill...
Local Congressman Tom Reed was one of the 13 Republicans late last week who voted in favor of the one-trillion dollar package of road and other infrastructure projects after Democrats resolved a months-long standoff between progressives and moderates.  The vote late Friday gave President Joe Biden and his party a victory it had become increasingly anxious to claim.  The legislation would create legions of jobs and improve broadband, water supplies and other public works.  The 228-206 House vote whisked the measure to the desk of a president whose approval ratings have dropped and whose party was widely rejected in last week's elections.


Head of WNY Crop Mgmt says farmers did well over past growing season...
The growing season is over, and Dan Steward, Consultant for the Western New York Crop Management Association, believes farmers did well, overall.  There was an over abundance of rain at some points in midsummer.  Steward says crops on poorly drained soil were hurt -- especially corn that was planted in early June because of the amount of rain that fell in July.  The ability to make dry hay was also compromised by the rain.  There were not a lot of pest or disease problems of note… except for one highly unusual situation: Fall army worm.  During his 30 years in the profession, he says he's never seen any issues with them... and, some grass fields disappeared.  Steward adds the worms will die off in the winter, and shouldn’t be a problem next year… unless long distance winds should bring them back.


Falconer man arrested for DWI following accident...
A Falconer man faces a drunk driving charge after allegedly being involved in a traffic accident on Route 60... just north of Jamestown.  Sheriff's officers were called to the area of the McDonalds/Mobil station in the town of Ellicott just after 1:30 a.m. Saturday.  Deputies say they found 46 year-old Shane Dalrymple to be driving while intoxicated.  Dalrymple was taken into custody and charged with DWI, and moving from lane unsafely.  He was issued appearance tickets for Ellicott Town Court on a later date.


Mulligan’s on Fairmount cuts ribbon on virtual sports center...
Chautauqua County's newest indoor recreation center... featuring a several virtual sports... is now open on Fairmount Avenue -- just west of Lakewood.  The ribbon was cut last week on 'Mulligan’s on Fairmount' at 4467 Fairmount Ave.  Kyle Crandall and his wife, Emilee, own the location next to the Crosby's convenience store.  Kyle says they've been open about a year... but, are "super excited" to have all three of their virtual rooms now open.  One is digital golf, there's video sharpshooting, and other digital sports, along with video gaming and arcade machines.  Crandall says they're open everyday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Crandall says they charge families and parties of five an hourly rate... and, it's self-service.  He says each room can be used by up to 5 people for $10 a person... or $40 to $45 in many cases -- not including tax.  On hand for the Ribbon Cutting were State Senator George Borrello, and County Executive P-J Wendell... and Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Heitzenrater.  You can learn more about Mulligans at MulligansonFairmount.com... or go to their Facebook page.


County officials pushing to get the White Inn sold to new developer...
Chautauqua County officials hope that a new push to market Fredonia's historic White Inn will lead to a prospective corporate or individual buyer who is interested in restoring the Inn to its original grandeur.  Deputy County Executive for Economic Development and Chief Executive Officer of the county's Industrial Development Agency, Mark Geise, says a new realtor is taking over the effort.  Geise says the same realtor had success with another county project.  Geise says Howard Hannah's Paula Blanchard is the realtor, who also helped get the former Welch's plant sold to a responsible developer.  He says they are hoping to take a different approach in landing a buyer... using a campaign to get out the word that the property is available, and there is a state grant, and federal funding available to redevelop it.  A previous effort to sell the White Inn failed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020.

 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Nov. 5, 2021

Gillibrand touting rural aspects of "Build Back Better" Act...
U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says nearly $1-billion for a program tailored to support rural communities will be included in the framework of President Joe Biden's 'Build Back Better Act.'  Gillibrand spoke about the funding for the Rural Partnership Program during a video conference call this week with statewide media.  The New York Democrat says it will provide funding for rural communities over the next decade... and, help reimaging how the federal government interacts with rural communities.  Gillibrand says $873-million would be used for Rural Prosperity Development Grants.  She says those grants would prioritize micropolitan and high poverty areas, and be used to promote rural development activities and pre-development planning activities... including improving infrastructure and strenghtening internet access.  Gillibrand adds that $97-million would be for Rural Prosperity Innovation Grants.  That funding would be made available to non-profit organizations and institutions of higher education that serve rural areas, and would be used for development and pre-development planning, organizational capacity-building to support rural development, or to support projects funded by Prosperity Development Grants.


Conewango Valley man arrested for falsifying report of shooting...         
A Conewango Valley man has been arrested for allegedly making a false report of a "shots fired" incident about a month ago.  Sheriff's deputies say they were called to the undisclosed scene about 8 p.m. on Oct. 11 on a report of an armed subject firing a rifle in the roadway.  Officers say several units responded... but, further investigation showed the incident never occured.  After an investigation... officers arrested 20 year-old Dominick Brisley... and, charged him with third-degree falsely reporting an incident.  He's to appear in Chautauqua Town Court at a later date.


Wendel signs $278-million, 2022 county budget...
It's official.  For the first time in several years... taxpayers in Chautauqua County will see a reduction in both the tax levy and tax rates in 2022.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who has now signed the $278-million spending plan... which cuts the levy -- or the amount to be raised by taxes -- by $271,000... and, also cuts the tax rate by 41-cents per $1,000 full value.  Wendel says getting "real numbers" in two areas helped reduce those numbers.  One was a substantial reduction in the county's weekly Medicaid payment, and the other was higher sales tax numbers from the third-quarter.  Wendel says the first 13-weeks of Medicaid payments in 2022 will be reduced by $61,000 each week.  He adds the county increased it's anticipated sales tax revenues by $500,000.  Wendel says the Medicaid reduction appears that it won't be just a one-time deal, either.  The county legislature approved the 2022 budget plan at last month's voting session.  Wendel made his comments for this coming weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.  


Many women still missing from the job market...
As the U.S. economy rebounds from the ongoing pandemic, many women are choosing to sit out the labor force.  The pandemic has laid bare the disproportionate burdens many women shoulder in caring for children or aging parents... as well as highlighted the roles they have traditionally played in the labor force. In September... 2.5 million fewer women were employed compared to the same month in 2019, and nearly 3.1 million more women were not in the labor force this past September compared to the number in the same month two years ago.  Even with children back in school, a dramatic influx of women returning to work that some analysts expected has yet to materialize. 


Reinhardt appointed as JPS Coordinator of Student Support Services...
A Jamestown woman has been appointed as the city Public Schools' new Coordinator of Student Support Services.  District Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says Tamu Reinhardt began at her new position back on July 1.  Dr. Whitaker says the Coordinator of Student Support Services is responsible for providing important leadership that includes monitoring and supporting a vision that includes a comprehensive student services plan.  He says she'll be directly responsible, and work with those who work with students on their social and emotional needs, and how that translates to how those children do in school.  Whitaker says "central to this position is the well-being of students."  Reinhardt has also been a staff development specialist with the Erie-2 Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES... a Spanish teacher in the at Falconer Central Schools... an adjunct instructor at Jamestown Community College, and a curriculum and Hispanic Outreach Coordinator at the Jamestown schools.


Absentee ballot count to take place once Military and overseas ballots are received by Nov. 15...
Some important Election Day races in Chautauqua County are coming down to absentee ballots... and, the Board of Elections will be accepting absentees -- post-marked on or before Election Day -- through next Tuesday.  Democratic Elections Commissioner Luz Torres says they sent out 2,516 absentee ballots and "as of today we have 1,462 returned.  Military and overseas voters have until Monday, November 15th to return their ballots."  The big race in the Jamestown area that doesn't have a clear winner is the Third-Ward City Council race between Regina Brackman and Robert Reedy.  Brackman leads by 11 votes with 42 absentees returned.  In the town of Carroll... Highway Superintendent Michael Walker leads James Mitchener III by 20 votes with 28 absentee ballots returned.  Torres says "all countable ballots" will be opened on Monday, Nov. 15 beginning at 11 a.m." 

 

 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Nov. 4, 2021

Mayville man arrested for kidnapping and leading police on high-speed chase...
A wanted Mayvllle man has been arrested for allegedly holding a woman against her will during a high-speed pursuit in the town of Ellicott.  Sheriff's officers were alerted shortly after Midnight Wednesday that 35 year-old Dimas Rios was driving with a female inside the vehicle.  Deputies say Rios was wanted on a Felony warrant for second-degree kidnapping... and, they found his car at a business on Route 60... north of Jamestown.  When trying to make contact... officers say the car drove off at a high rate of speed... and, a pursuit began.  Deputies say the pursuit continued Ellicott and the city of Jamestown, before ending when the vehicle became stuck in a yard on Vinnie Street in Jamestown.  Rios then fled the scene... and, police got the woman out of the car safely.  The Sheriff's Department K-9 was brought in... and, tracked Rios hiding near a home two-blocks away.  Rios was arrested on numerous charges... including first-degree unlawful imprisonment... and reckless endangerment, reckless driving, third-degree unlawfully Fleeing Police Officer in a Motor Vehicle.  He will also be remanded to the county jail on the Felony kidnapping charge.


Weekly COVID numbers in Chautauqua County up, hospitalizations down...
The number of new, confirmed cases of COVID-19 is on the rise in Chautauqua County over the past week... with the highest number reported in about a month.  That from the county's Health Department... which is reporting 313 new cases... as well as five deaths.  Officials say the five deaths brings that total to 211.  They say there have now been 13,441 total cases to date... and, 296 are currently active.  However, hospitalizations are down to 15.  Officials say 102 of those were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.. and, 12,934 cases have now recovered. 


Ribbon cut on The Waterfront Pharmacy in The Chautauqua Center in Jamestown...
The ribbon was cut Wednesday afternoon on the new Waterfront Pharmacy... which was three-years in the making... at The Chautauqua Center in downtown Jamestown.  The pharmacy at the non-profit healthcare facility on Institute Street will allow the center's patients to obtain low cost prescription drugs.  One of the people involved in helping to get the pharmacy open was State Senator George Borrello who says it was important to get "affordable pharmacutial drugs to the community."  Borrello points out the Waterfront Pharmacy is part of the federally-qualified 340-B Program, which keeps costs low for qualified patients.  The Chautauqua Center's Chief Executive Officer Michael Pease says the pharmacy now offers the same prescription service to the community as it provides to TCC patients.  Pease says the Chautauqua Center also plans to open a similar pharmacy at their new facility in the north county city of Dunkirk at 75 East Third St.  The pharmacy distributes about 3,800 prescriptions a month... and, employees about 10 people.  The pharmacy is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Friday hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information... call (716) 483-4334 ext. 1333.


Turn-out for Election in Chautauqua County was 32%...
It appears that turn-out was slightly below projections on election day in Chautauqua County Tuesday.  That from the county's Board of Elections Wednesday... as officials are currently determining which contests could be affected by absentee and affidavit ballots.  Republican Elections Commissioner Brian Abram says he was hoping for more voters... even thought it was an off-presidential and gubernatorial year.  Abram says turn-out appears to be about 32%, but he was hoping for high-30s to low-40s.  He says he and Democratic Elections Commissioner Luz Torres are now reviewing each contest... to see where absentee or affidavit ballots could change the results.  He says there were no major issues at their nearly 50 polling sites across the county on Tuesday.


Sheldon "estatic" with GOP picking up at least two new seats on City Council...
There is no real secret to how Jamestown Republicans were able to pick-up two more seats... and, maybe one more... on the City Council in Tuesday's election.  The GOP unofficially has a 7-to-2 majority after sweeping the three at-large seats... and winning the Ward-6 race with young newcomer, Andrew Faulkner.  Faulkner defeated incumbant Democratic Tom Nelson 305-to-243.  First-Ward Councilman and City GOP Chairman Brent Sheldon was estatic with the results... which he says can be attributed to "hard work."  Sheldon did say there may have been some dissatisfaction with Democrats... and or some of the policies of Democratic Mayor Eddie Sundquist.  He says the one other race they may have won is in Ward-3 where Democrat Regina Brackman leads newcomer Robert Reedy, Jr. by 11 votes... 159-to-148.  Sheldon says that race will likely be decided by absentee ballots.  Republican Randy Daversa won the open at-large seat... joining Kim Ecklund and Jeff Russell.. who were re-elected convincingly.  Incumbant Republicans Sheldon... and City Council President Tony Dolce ran unopposed.        


!!SPORTS... Sabres trade Eichel to Golden Knights...
The Jack Eichel era in Buffalo is over.  The Sabres have ended an eight-month stalemate by trading their former captain and face of the franchise to the Vegas Golden Knights.  The trade ends a bitter feud between Eichel and Buffalo over how to repair a herniated disk in his neck, which has sidelined him since March.  The dispute revolved around the NHL's collective bargaining agreement giving teams the final say over the treatment of injuries.  Eichel is expected to have the disk replacement surgery he preferred, though the recovery timetable means he'll likely miss most if not all of the remainder of the season.  Buffalo acquired forward Alex Tuch, rookie center Peyton Krebs and two draft picks.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Nov. 3, 2021

Wendel scores convincing win in Chautauqua County Exec's race...
It was a big night for Republicans across Chautauqua County... winning the county executive and clerk's races... and, increasing their majority on the county legislature.  Incumbant Republican County Executive PJ Wendel was a big winner Tuesday night... receiving 72% of the vote over Democratic challenger Norm Green... who garnered 23%.  Wendel, whose from Lakewood, says to win again is humbling... and, he says what he's been able to do in two years is a small sample of what he'd like to do the "next four years."  Green, who is also chairman of the county's Democratic Committee, congratulated Wendel on his win.  The former County Elections Commissioner said his campaign got out-worked.  He says they brought up the issues, and believes they got their message out, but, it didn't work out.  Wendel tallied 17,455 votes to Green's 5,516. 
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Republicans also won another seat on the Chautauqua County Legislature by reclaiming the District 11 seat in Jamestown.  Past legislator David Wilfong won big over incumbant Democrat Robert Whitney, 534-to-328.  In District 12... incumbant Republican Elizabeth Rankin doubled the vote against challenger Heather Fagan, a Democrat... 614-to-307.  The GOP now enjoys a 15-to-4 supermajority on the legislature.


Barmore wins third-term as County Clerk...
The other county-wide race found incumbant Chautauqua County Clerk Larry Barmore winning big over Democrat David Salley, 68% to 25%.  Barmore, a Republican, says he worked hard to win a third-term in office... and, campaigned on what he had done, and was planning to do in the next four years.  He says he will continue to find ways to save his office, and it's five departments, money.  Barmore adds he's looking to increase ways to boost revenues in the coming year... especially at the Department of Motor Vehicles by getting more people to renew licenses, and registrations locally.  He wound up 16,505 votes to David Salley's 6,192.  


Jamestown Repubicans add to their majority on the City Council...
The slim Republican majority on the Jamestown City Council just got bigger.  With Tuesday's results... the GOP unofficially has a 7-to-2 majority after sweeping the three at-large seats... and winning the Ward-6 race with a young newcomer.  Andrew Faulkner defeated incumbant Democratic Tom Nelson, 305-to-243.  Republicans could also win the Ward-3 race.  Democrat Regina Brackman holds a slim, 159-to-148 lead over Robert Reedy, Jr.  That race will likely go to absentee ballots.  Republican Randy Daversa won the open at-large seat... joining Kim Ecklund and Jeff Russell.. who were re-elected convincingly.  Incumbant Republicans Brent Sheldon and Tony Dolce ran unopposed.        


City man arrested for illegal gun possession, as well as high-capacity clips...
A Jamestown man was arrested Monday night following a traffic stop in the city's eastside for allegedly being found in possession of guns and narcotic drugs.  City police say a patrolman was in the area of Thayer and Falconer Streets about 9 PM when he stopped a car driven by 33 year-old Steven Mojica-Medina.  Officers say they found Mojica-Medina in possession of a drum-style magazine for a 9-mm pistol in his sweatshirt pocket.  Police then searched the car... and, found a 9-mm Glock pistol... six high-capacity magazines... cocaine packaged for sale, and more than $1,000 in cash.  Officers say the magazines were filled with different amounts of ammunition.  Mojica-Medina was arrested for third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... second-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, possession of a large capacity feeding device.


Two city residents arrested on drug and weapons charges during raid...
Two Jamestown residents face drug and weapons possession charges following a raid on an upstairs apartment on the city's eastside Monday afternoon.  Members of the Jamestown Metro, and Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Forces executed a search warrant about 3:30 p.m. on the apartment at 15 Winsor St. with the help of the JPD SWAT Team.  Police say they took the two residents -- 26 year-old James Eastham and 23 year-old Amber Eaton -- into custody.  Officers found a quantity of Fentanyl, packaging materials, scales, money, brass knuckles, ammunition... along with a loaded shotgun... 22 calibur rifle... 380-calibur pistol... and, 22 calibur handgun.  Police say they believe the shot-gun was used by Eastham to threaten a person outside his apartment earlier in the week.  Both face charges including third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, two counts each of second, and third-degree criminal posession of a weapon.  Eastham is also charged with second-degree menacing.  Both were taken to the city jail pending arraignment.
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Jamestown police say they have been targeting people using violence and intimidation against others in the city... and, during targeted patrols, drug investigaion, and working with other law enforcement partners... have seized 8 handguns... one shotgun and a rifle in the past 10 days.  Officials say their efforts will continue in the wake of recent shooting and other incidents. 


JCC hands out Hamilton Award two long time administrators and instructors...
The Jamestown Community College Foundation has presented its highest award to a couple who together have given 79 years to the college.  Dr. Marilyn Zagora and Robert Oddy received the John D. Hamilton Award in a ceremony Tuesday night.  Oddy is a retired administrator and faculty member at JCC.  Dr. Zagora currently serves as the Vice President of Acadmic Affairs at the school.  She says JCC had been the ideal place for them to be because they could work with students to help them become all they could be.  Also honored at the celebration in Celoron... were three recipients of the Distinguished Alumus Award:  Dr. Eric Arnone of Western New York Urology... Katie Russo, the principal at Lincoln Elementary School... and Christie Brock, an active volunteer and business person in Olean. 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Nov. 2, 2021

County reports steady, but, lower turn-out for early voting this year...
More than 3,000 Chautauqua County residents took part in the nine-day, early voting across the county, which ended on Sunday.  County Republican Elections Commissioner Brian Abram says the number was down from 2019... which was the first year of early voting in New York state.  Abram adds their Dunkirk location at the county fairgrounds was the busiest... of their four locations... and, just over 3,200 people cast ballots.  He says 3,827 people voted early in 2019.  Last year... with the pandemic and a presidential election... the numbers were very high.
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Meanwhile, the Board of Elections geared up Monday for Election Day today.  Voting runs runs now to 9 p.m. tonight.  The major races locally include Chautauqua County Executive.  Republican incumbant PJ Wendel is seeking a full, four-year term after filling out the remainder of the four year term current State Senator George Borrello won in 2017.  Wendel is being opposed by Democratic Party Chairman, and former Elections Commissioner, Norm Green.  Also countywide today... incumbant County Clerk Larry Barmore is seeking a third, four-year term in office.  The Republican is being challenged by Democrat David Salley.
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The entire Chautauqua County Legislature is up for a vote.  However... only eight of the seats are contested.  In Jamestown... they include Democrat Robert Whitney, who is running for re-election in District 11 in a rematch from 2013 against Republican David Wilfong.  In District 12... Republican Elizabeth Rankin is being challenged by Democrat Heather Fagan.  There is a three-way race in District 16... where Republican John Davis is seeking re-election.  He's being challenged by Democrat Dustin Carvella.  The third challenger is Libertarian Gerrit Cain.  And... in District 8... Republican Legislature Chairman Pierre Chagnon is being challenged by Democrat Scott Humble. There's also a rematch of the District 18 GOP Primary between Martin Proctor, who won the primary, over Bill Ward.  However... Ward was cross-endorsed, and will have the Democratic line.  


All nine Jamestown City Council races up for a vote today... some unopposed, though...
The entire Jamestown City Council is up for a vote today... with every at-large seat contested.  The incumbants include Republicans Kim Ecklund and Jeff Russell.  Democratic incumbant Tamu Graham-Reinhardt is not seeking re-election.  The challengers include Democrats Christina Cardinale, Ellen DiTonto, and Alyssa Porter.  The Republican challenger is Randy Daversa.  
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The contested ward races include: Ward-Three... where Democrat Regina Brackman, who replaced the late Vickye James, will face Republican Robert Reedy, Junior.  In the Fourth-Ward... where incumbant Democrat Marie Carrubba is facing Republican Rick Elardo.  In Ward-Six... incumbant Democrat Tom Nelson is being challenged by Republican Andrew Faulkner.  Among those running unopposed is Second-Ward Republican Council President, Tony Dolce.  Incumbant Ward-Five Republican Grant Olson, who recently announced he was not seeking another term, is opposed by Democrat Doug Lawson on the ballot.


Some local races being watched by election observers today...
New Yorkers are set to make important decisions in elections to pick mayors, prosecutors, county leaders and other local positions.  Voters in New York City will pick a new mayor Tuesday.  In Buffalo... a mayoral race between a moderate and self-described socialist has gained attention as the latest fight over how Democrats should best tackle the plight of the poor and working class.  Voters statewide will get to decide whether to tweak the state's constitution to pave the way for election and environmental reforms favored by advocacy groups and the Democratic-led Legislature.


City man sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison for 2019 shooting death in Sherman...
A Jamestown man has been sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide in a 2019 shooting death in Sherman.  The Chautauqua County Court Clerk's office confirmed the sentence for Julio Montanez Monday morning.  Montanez was indicted on charges of second-degree murder and two counts of second-degree attempted murder in the death of 28 year-old Justin Gibbons of Mayville.  Montanez pleaded guilty just before his trial was to begin in September.  Prosecutors say Gibbons was shot multiple times in the area of 114 West Main St. in Sherman on Oct. 6, 2019.  He was taken by ambulance to Westfield Memorial Hospital but later pronounced dead.  The shooting reportedly took place after a narcotics deal in a parking lot when array.


Hochul signs expanded Paid Family Leave bill...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul has signed legislation extending paid family leave coverage to people who provide care for... or assist siblings with things like a pregnancy.  Among those on hand for the bill signing in Albany Monday afternoon... was hand was the head of the non-profit "A Better Balance" program, Deena Bax.  Bax strongly advocated for the bill, which she says will allow siblings, who may be the only close relative someone has, to help them if they have a serious illness.  She also called on the US Senate to approve the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act after it received strong, bi-partisan support in the U-S House of Representatives.  Governor Hochul, who was not afforded Family Leave when she became pregnant for the first time 33 years ago, says it's an issue of fundamental rights.  She says some people only have a sibling to help out with a pregnancy, and immediately after.  There are also cases of where a person only has a sibling to take care of them after a hospitalization.  The initial Paid Family Leave bill was approved in New York in 2016.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Nov. 1, 2021

Jamestown man sentenced for 2019 shooting death in Sherman...
A Jamestown man has been sentenced to one-and-1/3 to 4 years in state prison after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide in a 2019 shooting death in Sherman.  The Chautauqua County Court Clerk's office confirmed the sentence for Julio Montanez this morning... who had been indicted on charges of second-degree murder and two counts of second-degree attempted murder in the death of 28 year-old Justin Gibbons of Mayville.  Montanez pleaded guilty just before a trial was to begin in September.  Prosecutors say Gibbons was shot multiple times in the area of 114 West Main St. in Sherman on October 6th of 2019.  He was taken by ambulance to Westfield Memorial Hospital but later pronounced dead.  The shooting reportedly took place after a narcotics deal in a parking lot when array.


Dunkirk man arrested on several charges after vehicle pursuit and crash in Jamestown...
A vehicle chase that began on Jamestown's southside early Saturday morning ended with the car crashing and rolling over in the downtown area.  City police say they tried to stop the vehicle.... operated by 20 year-old Kayin Odebralski of Dunkirk... in the area of Newland and Forest Avenues about 6 a.m.  However... officers say the driver sped off before crashing on West Third Street at Mechanics Alley.  The car overturned... and, struck several signs, poles and a tree.  Police say they found a loaded handgun, some drugs and cash inside the vehicle.  Odebralski faces several charges... including unlawfully fleeing police, reckless driving, reckless endangerment, and criminal possession of a weapon.


Borrello opposes two propositions on voting, but supports another regarding civil cases in NYC...
Two of the five propositions being voted on during this year's General Election regards elections themselves... including who and how they vote.  Local State Senator George Borrello helped us out recently to know a little more about the propositions... of which #3 would allow for what's called "same-day" voter registration.  The Sunset Bay Republican says he his main issue is that a person can just show up on the day of the election, and say I want to vote with no identification.  He says Proposition #4 would allow for "no-excuse" absentee balloting... and he says the big problem with that is it takes away from people who aren't able to vote -- for legitimate reasons -- on Election Day.  Borrello says the state had problems with it during last year's primaries.  However... he does support Proposition #5, which increases the New York City Civil Court's jurisdiction from $25,000 to $50,000.  In addition... there are just two county-wide contested races in Chautauqua County tomorrow... with both County Executive and County Clerk up for votes.


Jamestown Public Market season comes to an end last Saturday...
The most successful season ever for the Jamestown Public Market drew to a close Saturday.  Market director, Linnea Carlson, believes their move from Cherry Street to West Third helped a lot.  Carlson says they were more visable, and overall sales and sales to Supplimental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients increased.  She's is grateful for the community response.  For the first time... she feels the market is stable, and now it’s just a question of how much bigger it can get.  In the off season... Carlson says she’ll begin work immediately on things for 2022 including expanding the mobile market and ‘increasing advocacy around food systems and agriculture.’   She’s also looking forward to the return of the Grow Jamestown Garden Fair on March 19, 2022…which will be sponsored by the public market.


Jamestown, F2CS Bands compete at NYS competition in Syracuse Sunday...
It wasn't the outcome either school wanted, but both the Jamestown and Falconer-Frewsburg marching bands competed in the state championships at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse Sunday.  The JHS band competes in National, the highest field band class in the competition, and finished 9th out of nine.  The band is directed by Meghan Murray, who says she was not disappointed because they had to overcome the COVID outbreak last month that sidelined the band for about two-weeks.  The F2CS band from Falconer and Frewsburg finished 5th out of six in the Small School 3 class.  Director Alicia Laska was pleased with the performance, and says band members remain enthusiatic about what they do.  The New York State Field Band Conference Championships are held annually, the last Sunday of October.


Cornell names as new marketing director for WNY JDRF...
A Chautauqua County woman has become the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Development Director in Western New York for the Upstate New York Chapter.  Lori Cornell has over 20 years of experience in government and politics and looks forward to working with the leading global funder of Type-1 Diabetes research.  Cornell says she'll be involved with fund-raising and outreach across the region.  Cornell has a firsthand passion to find a cure to Type 1 Diabetes, because it has touched her family.  She says their organizational management and volunteer mobilization is something that she's familiar with after being in politics and government for more than two decades.  The Dunkirk native lives with her husband Chuck and their four sons in Bemus Point. 

 

 

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BLACK FRIDAY THROUGH CHRISTMAS DAY 1340 AM IS PLAYING NOTHING BUT THE CLASSIC CHRISTMAS SONGS YOU GREW UP WITH!  TELL YOUR FRIENDS!