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Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Aug 12, 2020

Two teenagers sustained minor injuries in a motor vehicle accident involving a Utility Terrain Vehicle in the Town of Chautauqua yesterday morning. Sheriff's Deputies along side county medics and the Hartfield Fire Department responded to Dean Road shortly after 11:30 AM. On arrival... officers say the victims -- a 16 year-old male and female -- were evaluated and transported to Brooks Memorial Hospital for treatment.  The male teen was allegedly the Artic Cat UTV operator and was ticketed for Speeding, Unlicensed Operator and Unregistered Motor Vehicle. He is to appear in the Town of Chautauqua Court at a later date.

City police are asking the public's help in finding a 14 year-old girl from Jamestown, after being reported missing back in mid-February. Juvenile detectives say Gianna has not been found nor returned home... but, add she has a history of running away.  She's been reported having run away multiple times over the past several years -- including last October.  The missing girl has reportedly been in contact with her family via Social Media... and, she is still believed to be in the area.  Anyone who may know Gianna's whereabouts is asked to call JPD at 483-7537, or an anonymous tip can be left at 483-Tips... that's 483-8477.  You can also contact their Tips 411 App. 


The Jamestown City Council will consider a proposal later this month to buy 20 more body cameras for the police department from the company they bought their original 44 cameras from.  Acting Police Chief Tim Jackson says he's looked into purchasing the cameras from Safety Vision Cameras after seeing the $86,000 cost come in from Panasonic.  Jackson told Public Safety Committee Chairman Brent Sheldon Jackson that Safety Vision's cameras were a good option.

Jackson looked into the additional body cameras after Councilman Jeff Russell -- a retired JPD Officer -- called for body cameras for investigators who aren't working undercover.  Lawmakers asked if there were grants available to help pay for the cameras.  Councilwoman Kim Ecklund says retired Chief Harry Snellings looked into it for the initial purchases... but, there wasn't any.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says there won't be any this year or next, either.  He says they are looking to use contingency funds... or possibly Drug Asset Forefeiture monies. 


Six juveniles were detained early Tuesday morning after the 17 year-old driver from Ohio allegedly led police on a car chase across the north county in a stolen vehicle.  Sheriff's officers say a patrol spotted the speeding vehicle on Routes 5 and 20 in the town of Hanover just before 3 AM... and, attempted to stop it.  Deputies say the car sped off westbound... but, officers were able to check the registration... and, found it had been stolen in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  Deputies say the car continued through the village of Silver Creek and into the town of Westfield where spike strips were deployed to flatten the car's tires.  Deputies found took the six young occupants to the Sheriff's Office where their families were contacted.  The driver was charged with third-degree criminal possession of stolen property.  One of the teens was a 15 year-old girl who was reported as a runaway from Pittsburgh.

The Audubon Community Nature Center, on Riverside Road near Frewsburg, will offer the first in a series of programs about butterflies tonight (Wednesday) at 6 o'clock.  The program will be led by Senior Nature Educator, Jeff Tome. There's a nominal fee for the event.  Tonight's class is a prelude to a week's worth of butterfly related programs at the end of the month.  More information and signups are available at the auduboncnc.org website or by calling 569-2345.

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WJTN News Headlines for Aug. 11, 2020


A city man is jailed after allegedly shooting another man twice during a fight on Jamestown's northside Monday afternoon.  City Police were called to 834 Prendergast Avenue just before 2:30 PM on a report of several shots being fired.  On arrival... officers learned the male victim had been seriously wounded... and, was taken by a private vehicle to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment.  He was later transferred to UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pennsylvania where he underwent surgery.  Investigators say they later found the suspect, 27 year-old Jorge Medina-Tirando, at a Euclid Avenue home... and, he was arrested for first-degree assault, and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  Police say the victim was on the porch at 834 Prendergast when the fight, which involved several people, broke out.  They say Medina-Tirando pulled out a pistol, and fired several rounds with two of them hitting the victim.  Investigators later recovered the handgun..


Jamestown police say a city man turned himself in late Monday for allegedly shooting a gun towards a parked car on the city's southside.  Jamestown Police Captain Bob Samuelson says police used the city's Public Safety Camera at the corner of Forest and Newland Avenues to identify the suspect in last Thursday night's incident.  Samuelson says police identified the man as 49 year-old Chris Freeney... who is charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, and menacing.  He says Freeney was involved in a dispute with several subjects inside the vehicle when he fired the gun.  Samuelson says Freeney is being held pending arraignment.  The investigation is continuing and more charges are expected. 


Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he will soon form a committee to review applications from more than people who have applied to become the city's next Police Chief and Director of Public Safety.  Sundquist updated City Council on the hiring process during last night's work session... and, says the deadline for applications has come and gone.  He says they're now making sure the applicants have the necessary certification and training.

Sundquist did not say who has applied... but, at a previous work session... noted that current Acting Chief Tim Jackson is among those who have applied.  Lawmakers also briefly discussed refilling officers positions with three recent retirements -- including former Chief Harry Snellings and Captain Todd Issacson.  Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says... as officers are promoted... the new hires will start as patrol officers.  Once brought on... the new hires will return the Jamestown Police Department to it's minimum staffing of 60 officers. 


Six new cases of coronavirus have been reported since last Saturday in Chautauqua County.  That from Interim County Executive P-J Wendel... who says the new cases include two people under the age of 18... three women... one in her 20s... one in her 30s... and another in her 40s... and, a man in his 50s.  Wendel says that brings the total number of confirmed cases to 261... and, 16 are currently active.  He says 236 have now recovered... and, 114 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders.  There are also 1,194 people under the "domestic traveler quarantine" after coming here from a state on the New York travel advisory. 


There are 107 school districts in New York state who have not submitted "in-person" learning plans for the coming school year... and, will have to by this Friday if they want to.  A handfull of those districts are in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo... who says that if those districts that haven't submitted plans don't do so by Friday... they will be unable to provide an in-perseon learning this year.  Cuomo also says some other districts submitted "incomplete plans."

Cuomo says the districts that did not submit in-person plans include Pine Valley in Chautauqua County... and, Franklinville, Portville, Salamanca and West Valley in Cattaraugus County.  He also reminded districts they must complete the three to five public sessions with parents and teachers and post their plans for remote learning, testing and tracing on their website by August 21st to be in compliance with state standards.


Even school districts that submitted their full plans for reopening schools this Fall have "work to do" before that time.  That from the head of the New York State School Boards Association... who feels local districts can get that done before they begin classes.  School Boards Association Executive Director Bob Schneider says they are glad Governor Cuomo has given the go-ahead for all those districts to reopen.  But, he says there need to be three meetings that include parents and guardians, so they can have concerns addressed.  Schneider says another session must be held for districts internally.

Schneider adds there are three key areas that must be addressed specifically before a district can open.  One is posting their COVID-19 Reopening plan on the district website, and, show that the Department of Health has approved it.  He says the second is putting COVID-19 testing and tracing protocols in place... and, have back-up plans if a district has to return to on-line learning. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Aug. 10, 2020

A city man has reportedly been killed in a single-car accident on the eastbound on-ramp of Interstate 86 just north of Jamestown.  State Police in Jamestown confirm a passing motorist spotted lights off the road about 5 AM off of North Main Street Extension.  Troopers say they found a smaller sedan on it's side... after going down an embankment.  Police say they found the driver -- and lone occupant -- 40 year-old Jeffrey Baker -- dead inside.  Troopers say Baker apparently got onto the on-ramp at a high rate of speed when the car left the road and traveled down the embankment.  Fire crews from Fluvanna and Falconer were called in along with the county's EMS.  A coroner was later called to the scene.


A man from Westfield has been accused of driving recklessly... and, almost running another vehicle off the road... on Route 20 late last week.  Sheriff's Deputies and Westfield Police were called to the scene in the town of Westfield just after 1 PM Thursday... and their investigation showed that 60 year-old Raymond Near was the driver involved.  Near was stopped... and, charged with second-degree menacing... two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a child... and, reckless driving.  He was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.

One of the most contentious... and important parts of the proposed COVID-19 Relief bill is funding for local and state governments who have seen increased health-related costs, and serious losses of revenue.  New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand believes that... if that can be resolved... a new bill could be agreed upon shortly.  President Trump signed four executive orders last weekend to provide relief to Americans... but, none addressed the local government issue.  Gillibrand says -- if that funding is not provided -- major cuts would have to be made to important services.

Gillibrand made her comments last Friday at Feedmore Western New York's Falconer distribution Center while announcing a proposed expansion and extentions of Supplimental Nutrition Assistance Program and Pandemic EBT benefits.  The president bypassed the nation's lawmakers as he claimed the authority to defer payroll taxes and replace an expired unemployment benefit with a lower amount after negotiations with Congress on a new coronavirus rescue package collapsed.  Trump's orders on Saturday encroached on Congress' control of federal spending and seemed likely to be met with legal challenges.

A Silver Creek man has been arrested after a lengthy investigation for allegedly manufacturing and trafficking methamphetamine in the north county village.  Sheriff's Deputies say members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force made several controlled purchases from 46 year-old Sean O'Connor of Hickory Street over the past several weeks.  Officers say O'Connor was arrested late last Wednesday during a raid at his home on charges of one count of second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and four counts of fifth-degree criminal possession... as well as third-degree unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine.  O’Connor was arraigned and released later in the week.


Jamestown Community College is preparing to welcome over 200 students to its residence halls later this month.  Residence Life Director Tyler Silagyi says the move-in will run from August 20th through the 22nd... and, will provide maximum social distancing and enhanced safety protocols for students and their families in Hillside Suites.  Silagyi says students will be sent their room and suite assignments by email early this week.  He adds "the information will include their assigned move-in day and time."  For more information... call the Residence Life office at 338-1188 or email at residencelife@mail.sunyjcc.edu.

A $1.25 million project to repair the storm ravaged lake wall along Lakefront Boulevard in the city of Dunkirk remains in limbo.  Mayor Willie Rosas says they are still haggling with the Federal Emergency Management Administration over funding for the project.  Rosas updated the project's status late last week. Local Congressman Tom Reed toured the damage in June along with state representatives.  Rosas says they are all going to bat for the city... including New York's Senior U-S Senator... Charles Schumer.  A storm that hit Western New York last Halloween battered the lake wall with high winds and waves.

 

Evictions are still on hold in New York courts as housing advocates worry about the fate of an estimated 14,000 renters who faced eviction before the state's COVID-19 emergency.  Courts spokeswoman Lucian Chalfen said last Friday that the state's stay of evictions is still in effect through a March 16th order signed by the state's chief administrative judge.  The announcement comes as housing advocates including The Legal Aid Society hope New York courts will heed the governor's call for "no evictions" amid the pandemic.


Pennsylvania's governor is recommending that youth sports, including high school sports, be put on hold until January to help prevent COVID-19 infection.  The office of Democratic Governor Tom Wolf said Thursday it wasn't a mandate and that school administrators and locally elected school boards will make the final decisions.  Some schools have already canceled fall sports, and leagues have pushed back start dates.  The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association last week issued a statement noting it followed the governor's guidance to ban spectators.

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WJTN Headlines for Sat., Aug. 8, 2020

Lakewood man arrested on manslaughter charge in DWAI crash last February...
A Lakewood man faces vehicular manslaughter and driving while impaired by drugs charges in connection with a car crash that killed a 7 year-old Cassadaga girl earlier this year.  State Police were called to the scene on Route 60 in the town of Pomfret for a three-vehicle accident on Feb. 24, and, through investigation found a late-model Hyundai operated by 24 year-old Nicholas Mineweaser rear-ended a Kia that was stopped to turn left into a parking lot.  Troopers say the Kia was pushed into the on-coming lane and struck by a Tractor-trailer.  The 35 year-old driver was treated for non-life threatening injuries at Brooks Memorial Hospital. Officers say the 7 year-old passenger, identified as Emmaline Wilcox, was later pronounced dead at the hospital.  The suspect allegedly smelled like marijuana and a Drug Recognition Expert was brought in... and, it was later confirmed at Mineweaser was allegedly intoxicated by drugs.


Seven new cases of COVID-19 reported in Chautauqua County...
Chautauqua County has now exceeded 250 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus with seven new cases reported in the past day.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says, though, of the 23 active cases, only one is hospitalized.  Wendel says there are now 255 cases... and 223 cases have now recovered.  He says there are 126 cases under local quarantine or isolation orders... and, being monitored.  He adds that 1,120 persons are under "domestic traveler quarantine" for having arrived here from a state listed on the New York State travel advisory. 


Gillibrand uses Feedmore WNY in Falconer to push for legislation to extend and expand SNAP and Pandemic EBT programs...
New York's junior U.S. Senator is proposing a measure to  expand both the Supplimental Nutrition Assistance Program... and, the Pandemic EBT Program to help millions of families put food on the table.  Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand announced the move during a press conference at Feedmore Western New York's Chautauqua County headquarters in Falconer.  Gillibrand says the clock has run out on those benefits during the COVID Pandemic... and, it's estimated that 29-millon Americans went hungry last week.  She says food banks like Feedmore WNY have been going above and beyond to help families keep food on the table.  Feedmore's Executive Director, Katherine Sheck, was pleased the senator chose ot make her announcement in Falconer... and, says they have seen a better than 50-percent increase in need across the region... which translates to more than 6.6-million pounds of food distributed across the region... including the Falconer distribution center.  Gillibrand says... with school reopenings in flux... there will likely be millions of children who depend on the federal Free Breakfast and Lunch Program who won't get a meal during the day if they aren't able to go to school.


Cuomo gives green light for schools to open in NYS...
The green light has been given by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to all 749 school districts in the state to reopen.  Cuomo made the announcement during a conference call with statewide media outlets today... and, says the decision was made after reviewing the COVID-19 infection rates in all 10 regions of the state.  Cuomo says every region is "below the threshold that we established."  That threshold was an infection rate of under 5-percent.  A district would have to close for in-person class if the region's infection rate reaches 9-percent.  Regions also had to be in Phase-Four of the reopening in order for schools to open.  Cuomo says individual reopening plans for each district are subject to review by the State Department of Health, which will review them through the weekend... and then notify districts that have incomplete or deficient plans.  In addition... Cuomo says they are requiring all districts to post their remote learning plans and testing/contract tracing plans online, set dates for three to five discussion sessions with parents and their communities before August 21st.  He says they also have to have at least one separate discussion with teachers alone.


Whitaker reacts to Cuomo's announcement...
While Governor Cuomo's announcement clarified that all school districts in New York can reopen next month... some of the guidance has changed... and, districts will now have to make some modifications to their plans.  That from Jamestown School Superintdent Dr. Kevin Whitaker... who says the governor announced "additional requirements and modifications to the previously established guidance from the Department of Health, and State Education Department that we have been operating under since they were released in mid-July."  Whitaker says before they can address those... they need to get some clarification from the state on what needs to be done. 


Scharf to Conduct JHS A Cappella in the new year...
The Jamestown Board of Education has named Lauren Scharf as the next director of the Jamestown High School A Cappella Choir.  She says she's "extremely exicited thrilled and honored to be filling this position."  For the past six years, Scharf has been choral director at Persell Middle School.  She becomes only the fifth director in the 96 year history of the Jamestown High School Choir... at a time when the coronavirus prevents choirs from rehearsing and performing in the usual ways.  Scharf replaces Norm Lydell, who retired earlier this year.   

 
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Aug 7, 2020


A Jamestown man will spend more than 12 years in prison after being sentenced on drug and weapons charges in federal court in Buffalo.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 33 year-old Kyle Kamholtz had earlier been convicted of possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possessing of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  Kennedy says he was sentenced to serve 152 months -- or 12 years and eight-months -- by District Judge Richard Arcara.  Prosecutors say Kamholtz was identified as a meth trafficker... and, was arrested following an investigation that began in November of 2017.  They say undercover agents made several drug buys... and, several vehicle and traffic stops that resulted in Kamholtz’s arrest for possession of meth and a firearm.  Authorities also executed two search warrants at his McKinley Avenue home, and seized a firearm, meth, scales, packaging, and other drug distribution paraphernalia.

A city man has pleaded guilty to trafficking methamphetamine in Jamestown over the course of several months last year.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior has announced that 24-year-old Jacob Komenda of Jamestown admitted to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, five grams or more of methamphetamine.  Prosecutors say members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force raided Komenda's house on Partrige Street in April of 2019, and found meth, and drug paraphernalia inside, along with a 12-gauge shot gun, and a stun gun.  In September... another raid on Fairview Avenue led to Komenda being arrested... after agents found meth and drug paraphernalia... along with nearly $3,200 cash in his possession.  He will be sentenced in November to at least five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years, and a $5-million fine.


The Bemus Point Central School Board believes they have found the "right fit" for the district in appointing Fredonia school administrator Joe Reyda as their new superintendent.  Reyda has been an administrator in the north county district for the past 16 years... most recently as director of Instruction and Human Services.  Board President Barry Swanson says their search consultant brought forth some very good candidates... but, adds Reyda stood out.

Swanson says the Western New York Education Services Council met several times with them, and other stakeholders before presenting finalists.  He says Reyda has a lot of varied experience... his first 13 years in the classroom.  Swanson says Reyda also has a lot of experience with the business side of education, as well as capital projects.  He says Reyda will officially begin his new duties on August 24th.  But, he adds he'll be working with Interim Superintendent Michelle Spasiano (Spa-see-ah-no) a couple of times a week beforehand.  Both worked together earlier in their careers.


Fredonia Central School administrator Joe Reyda's decision to leave the district for the superintedent's post in Bemus Point will be a loss for the Fredonia district.  That from Interim Fredonia Superintendent Colleen Taggerty... whos says Reyda was officially appointed by the Bemus Point District on Wednesday. Taggerty says Reyda is an "amazing educator" who is very good in "managing situations" and astute in Human Resources.  Reyda, who has been with Fredonia for 16 years, begins his new job on August 24th.


Chautauqua County's Division of Public Health says three new cases of the COVID-19 Virus have been reported over the past day.  Officials say the three new cases include a person under the age of 18... a woman in her 40s, and a man in his 40s.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says that brings the number of confirmed cases to 248... and, 218 have now recovered.  Wendel says there are 21 active cases... with one being hospitalized.  He says 138 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.  Another 1,076 people are under the "domestic traveler quarantine" after arriving in the county from a state listed on the New York State travel advisory.  Wendel says 24,354 negative test results have been reported to date. 

The Jamestown Board of Education has named Lauren Scharf as the next director of the Jamestown High School A Cappella Choir.

For the past six years, Scharf has been choral director at Persell Middle School.  She becomes only the fifth director in the 96 year history of the Jamestown High School Choir... at a time when the coronavirus prevents choirs from rehearsing and performing in the usual ways.  The new director says it's unfortunate they won't be able to jump in... in the normal sense... but "they'll do everything in their power to make music together."  The new director says she's committed to continuing the choir's 'holiday vespers services' and other A Cappella traditions.  Lauren Scharf replaces Norm Lydell, who retired earlier this year.   


Chautauqua County -- like most of Upstate New York -- remains in Phase-Four of the reopening from the coronavirus shut-down... but, what of businesses that have not yet reopened?  Those include gyms and fitness clubs... and, bowling alleys.  Many have expressed concern over the long-term health of such businesses... which really have been give no guidance on how to reopen.  Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul... during a recent visit to Jamestown... was unable to shed much more light on the matter.

Hochul says they have been talking with the state's health experts about the situation so those entities can open safely.  Certain parts of the local YMCA's are back operating... such as tennis -- with strict social distancing.  In response to regional protests by local gym owners... Governor Cuomo said late Thursday that gyms are a "high risk" for COVID because of issues with opening some too early in other parst of the country.


The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation is encouraging property owners in any of Jamestown's 'historic districts' to participate in a webinar next Wednesday evening.  Neighborhood Project Coordinator, Mary Maxwell, says help is available for renovations to those properties.

The webinar starts at 6 PM, Wednesday, August 12th and is being put on by 'Preservation Buffalo Niagara.'  Registration is availalble at preservationbuffaloniagara.org or by calling the Renaissance Corporation at 708-6964.  Mary Maxwell adds the state has been responding quickly to requests, and getting projects underway.  Jamestown has two existing 'historic districts'... downtown and Lakeview Avenue... with a third, Forest Heights, expected to come on line in September.  Property owners who are unsure if they're in one of the 'historic districts'  should contact the Renaissance Corporation.  

A Lackawanna man was arrested for allegedly damaging a vehicle in a road rage incident Wednesday on Interstate-86. State Police in Jamestown responded to scene... and, identified the suspect as 41 year-old Ahmed Alqadhi. Troopers says Alqadhi threw a water bottle at a car he was passing on the highway and took off. His vehicle was located soon after the other driver called 9-1-1. Alqadhi was issued an appearance ticket for fourth-degree criminal mischief and is schedule to appear in Ellicott Town Court at a later date. 

As part of 'Speed Awareness Week...' the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office is participating in a state-wide campaign to crackdown on speeding motorists.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone says driving fast translates to death on roadways... putting drivers, their passengers and other drivers at tremendous risk.  The Speed Awareness Week blitz continues through August 12th, during which officers will intensify enforcement of posted speed limits in various communities in Chautauqua County.  Quattrone says this includes Route 60, Route 430, and Route 394, where most of the county's speed-related crashes occur.  He adds that the goal is to save lives and keep motorists alert.... and, "When it comes to speeding, Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine". 

The Chautauqua Lake Twin Tier Antique Boat Society will have its first ever boat parade this Saturday morning (8/8), and President Doug Cornelius, wants the public to come and take a look.  Cornelius says they'll begin in front of the Lawson Center in Bemus Point at 10:30 AM... and proceed around the north basin, then return.  Cornelius says several dozen classic boats will join in. Cornelius says the parade will honor first responders and be led by a boat from the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department.  Dewittville, and other fire department boats will also be included.  The parade should be easily visible from Long Point State Park and Mayville Lakeside Park, among others places.  The boat parade was originally scheduled in July, but was postponed because of poor weather.  

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WJTN News Headlines for Aug. 6, 2020

A woman in her 70s is the latest confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus in Chautauqua County... and, is one of 18 active cases locally.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says there are now 245 confirmed cases... and 218 have recovered.  In addition... Wendel says one person is hospitalized... and, 144 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders.  He adds 1,058 persons are under "domestic traveler quarantine" after traveling here from a state on New York's travel advisory list.  There have also been 24,306 negative test results so far.

A city woman faces charges after she allegedly became enraged, and knocked over a store display when she was told she had to wear a mask inside the 7-Eleven on North Main Street.  Jamestown police were called to the store at 518 North Main Street about 10:30 AM Wednesday on a report of a woman being told she could not buy items there because of the store's COVID-19 policy requiring face coverings.  Officers say 27 year-old Jessica McAdoo (Mac-Ah-doo) "became enraged, and yelled for the clerk to "'fight her.'"  After knocking over the display... McAdoo fled... but, was later arrested for third-degree criminal trespass and criminal mischief.  She's being held pending arraignment.


A teenager from Cherry Creek faces several charges following a domestic incident involving a shotgun and a sledgehammer last Sunday night into Monday morning.  State Police in Jamestown say what started as an argument quickly became physical about 9 PM Sunday.... and, Troopers say 19 year-old Joseph Chadwick began threatening his father and brother with an unloaded shotgun.  Chadwick fled the scene twice before a search ensued, but the teen couldn't be found. Troopers say Chadwick then returned about 1AM Monday... and, he began hitting his father's vehicle with a sledgehammer... and, smashed out all the windows.  He then entered the home and another fight began before he tried to break into a safe to get a firearm, but, he was unsuccessful so he took the safe from the home.  When Police arrived later, they found the safe and all it's contents.  Troopers later contacted Chadwick... and, he turned himself in early Tuesday morning.

The third and fourth-floors of The Resource Center's Allied Industries on Jones and Gifford Avenue are closed through the end of the week after a case of COVID-19 was reported.  Center Spokesman Steve Waterson says the employee... who was not identified... began having COVID symptoms after returning home last Tuesday... and was later tested.  Waterson say the positive test was returned on Sunday... and, the decision was made to close the upper floors of the Michael J. Raymond Center at 75 Jones and Gifford, where Allied Industries is located, out of an "abundance of caution."  No other cases have been reported.  Waterson says a crew is busy "deep clearning" those areas... and, they expect to reopen next Monday.


Local Congressman Tom Reed says he believes there will be an agreement reached on a fourth, COVID-19 Stimulus bill by the end of the week... and, that votes can be taken early next week.  The Corning Republican was in Washington, DC Monday night through Tuesday... and, talked with Congressional leaders about the status of talks.  Reed says it appears that aid to local governments -- including counties -- will be included in the final package.

Reed says he's pleased to see both Senate Republicans, and House Democrats -- along with White House negotiators -- agreeing to some concessions in a new bill.  One of the most contentious items has been whether to continue the "expanded unemployment" benefit of 600-dollars a week.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has backed off on that.  Reed says there are now discussions about a "two-month transition" to get to a percentage -- possibly 70-percent of wages lost -- until the person returns to the workforce.  Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier media.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is blasting Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for "dragging his heels" on negotiating a new COVID-19 stimulus bill.  Gillibrand says.. while the House passed the HEROS Act more than two months ago... McConnell let the clock run out on benefits that are keeping families and the economy afloat.  Gillibrand says he failed to present any comprehension legislation until earlier this week... but, she says some parts of a final bill are coming together.

Gillibrand adds that local governments are also hurting... and, she and New York's Senior U-S Senator, Chuck Schumer, have proposed the "Direct Support to Communities" Act... which would not be part of the money that would be sent directly to states like New York.  Local Congressman Tom Reed also supports direct payment to local governments with populations up to half-a-million people.  Gillibrand is also calling on extending a nationwide moratorium on evictions.  She made her comments during a Zoom Press Conference with New York media. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is poised to lead the group representing the nation's governors, which has played a pivotal role in pushing the Trump administration about state needs during the coronavirus pandemic.  As head of the bipartisan National Governors Association... Cuomo will have to walk a fine line between his naturally combative style, and a more deferential approach to the White House favored by Republicans.  As perhaps the nation's most recognizable governor, Cuomo's elevated profile could help the governors association become more influential as it lobbies for increased aid for the states.


A Dunkirk woman was pulled over for speeding... and, later arrested for allegedly driving drunk with a child in the car early this morning. Sheriff's Deputies say  they conducted a traffic stop in the Village of Silver Creek at midnight and identified the driver as 47 year-old Lisa Faison.  Officers say an eight year old child was also in the vehicle. Faison was charged with DWI, Felony DWI Leandra's Law, Unlicensed Operator, Failure to Stop at Stop Sign, Speed in Zone, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.


A teenager was arrested for allegedly threatening a juvenile with a weapon late last month in the Village of Falconer.  Ellicott Town Police say the incident occurred shortly before 5 AM on July 22nd... and, the investigation revealed 18 year-old Dakota Martin threatened the unidentified victim with a long gun in the presence of another juvenile.  Martin was taken into custody on two-counts of endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree menacing. He is to appear in Ellicott Town Court at a later date. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Aug. 5, 2020

A Cherry Creek teenager faces several charges following a domestic incident involving a shotgun and a sledgehammer Sunday evening into early Monday morning. State Police say what started as a verbal altercation quickly became physical at 9 PM Sunday.... and 19 year-old Joseph Chadwick began threatening his father and brother with an unloaded shotgun. Chadwick fled the scene twice before a search ensued, but the teen couldn't be found. Troopers say Chadwick then returned about 1AM Monday morning... and, began to vandalize his father's vehicle with a sledgehammer and smashed all the windows. He then entered the undisclosed residence and another physical altercation began. He attempted to break into a safe in order to obtain a firearm, but was unsuccessful so he removed the safe from the home. When Police arrived for the second time, they found the safe with all its contents still inside. Chadwick was located following a search of the area and contact was made via telephone. He turned himself in early Tuesday morning and was sent to the County Jail pending arraignment. 

A Dunkirk woman was pulled over for speeding... and, later arrested for allegedly driving drunk with a child in the car early this morning. Sheriff's Deputies say  they conducted a traffic stop in the Village of Silver Creek at midnight and identified the driver as 47 year-old Lisa Faison.  Officers say an eight year old child was also in the vehicle. Faison was charged with DWI, Felony DWI Leandra's Law, Unlicensed Operator, Failure to Stop at Stop Sign, Speed in Zone, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.


A Jamestown man has now been formally indicted for second-degree murder in the death of another city man early last month.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson says the grand jury handed up the indictment this week against 28 year-old Carl Sorenson... who allegedly stabbed 23 year-old Brandon Holland in the chest the night of July 7th on North Main Street.

Jamestown Police Captain Bob Samuelson says Sorenson and Holland had gotten into a brief altercation on North Main Street -- near Fourth Street -- shortly after 10 PM... and, Holland was stabbed in what police called a "targeted incident."  Holland later died at UPMC Chautauqua Hospital. 


A Jamestown woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to trafficking methamphetamine in the area over a one-and-a-half year period ending in early 2019.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 38 year-old Tracey Wynn entered the plea before U-S District Judge Richard Arcara to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.  Prosecutors say... between September 2018 and January 2019... Wynn was a drug trafficking associate of Douglas Beardsley, and sold meth supplied by Beardsley.  Wynn typically received methamphetamine from Beardsley to sell... and sold it to undercover drug agents four times.  The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison... and, up to a $10-million fine.  Charges are pending against Beardsley.


Four new cases of the COVID-19 Virus have been reported in Chautauqua County... with 18 active cases currently.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says the new cases are a person under the age of 18... two men in their 50’s.. and, a woman in her 60’s.  Wendel says there are 121 cases under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.  In addition... there are 1,053 persons under the "domestic traveler quarantine" for having arrived here from a state listed on the New York travel advisory.  There are now 244 confirmed cases... while 217 have now recovered.  Wendel adds there have now been 24,113 negative test results to date.

School districts across New York state are continuing to work out details of what will mainly be "hybrid" learning plans to begin the new school year next month.  But... if the coronavirus spikes again later in the school year... they feel better prepared to deal with going to 100-percent distance learning again.  State School Boards Association Director Bob Schneider says school board members they recently surveyed gave mixed reviews to how the state and federal governments have responded to their need for more financial and other resources.

Schneider says the U-S Department of Education did provide some grant money to help with the effort to make classrooms safer... but, adds it's not enough.  He adds -- though -- most everyone would like to have students back in the classroom... but, he says health and safety have to be considered along with education.  Most districts are looking at a hybrid model of some classroom and some on-line learning to begin the school year.

There will be no 'What's New Fair' this November.  Mary Lee Talbot, a long-time co-chair of the event, says the American Association of University Women gave thoughtful consideration to what would have been the 65th annual fair. In recent years the 'What's New Fair' has been held at Jamestown Community College and attracted more than 50 vendors and hundreds of holiday shoppers.  The proceeds went to scholarships for women graduating from JCC.  Talbot says the AAUW hopes to continue the scholarships, even without their major fundraiser.  And, while the fair will not be held this year, the AAUW remains a force in the community. Talbot adds, the AAUW will take this 'off year' to evaluate the 'What's New Fair' and determine the best way forward for next year and beyond.  

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WJTN News Headlines for Aug. 4, 2020


A Westfield man was killed yesterday afternoon in an accident at the Chautauqua County Landfill in Ellery.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone confirmed the accident Monday afternoon... which was reported about 1:30 PM.  Fire rescue crews from Sinclairville were called to the landfill... and, found 56 year-old Scott Deming with serious injuries.  Deming later died after being struck by a bulldozer pushing garbage into a pit.  A coroner was called to the scene.  Deming was an independent garbage hauler.

The man who has headed up both the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, and Manufacturer's Association of the Southern Tier will be transitioning out of those roles over the next year.  In a joint statement by MAST and the Chamber... officials said Todd Tranum will remain on with both organizations... as well as the "Dream It Do It Western New York" program... through July 31st of 2021.  Tranum says he's looking at some new endeavors... but, adds he appreciates both organizations.

Tranum has been involved with MAST since 1999... and, became head of both organizations after the county Chamber's first director, Pam Lydic, passed away in 2012.  He didn't provide details... but says his new endeavor has to do with his love for music.  Chamber Chairman Fred Johnson and MAST Board President Rhonda Johnson issued a joint statement... saying that both organizations "remain committed to serving the needs of businesses in the region."  They also said they are "very grateful" for Tranum's 21 years of "dedicated and well-considered leadership and service."

Nine new cases of the COVID-19 Virus have been reported in Chautauqua County... and, 15 cases are currently active.  County Executive P-J Wendel says there have now been 240 confirmed cases, and 216 have now recovered from the virus.  Wendel says the new cases include a person under the age of 18... a young female adult... a man and woman in their 20s... and a man and woman in their 40’s.  Wendel says 102 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders... while one-thousand-21 people are under the "domestic traveler quarantine" for having come here from a state listed on the New York travel advisory. 


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says it's crucial that parents and teachers feel comfortable for schools in the state to open successfully this fall.  Local districts were required to submit their reopening plans to the state Friday, and initial decisions on the plans were expected from the state this week.  But... the Democratic governor stressed Monday that there needs to be a "full conversation" that answers parents' questions about reopening.
New York has managed to contain the virus recently, even as it surges in other parts of the country.  The state recorded three new deaths on Saturday and 556 people hospitalized, a decrease of 25 patients from the previous day.


Despite the challenges of the moment, the effort to collect funds to build a 'Hospice House' for Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care is moving forward.  The drive is being chaired by Mary and Dr. Bert Rappole.  So far, $1.1-million has been raised, with just under $1 million to go. Mary Rappole says the home... to be located next to the Hospice offices in Lakewood... will fill a paticular niche  in end of life care.

Bert Rappole adds the coronavirus shutdown has made the effort more difficult in a couple of ways... the first being the stock market free fall after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic... and, secondly the inability of talking to people "face to face."  The Rappoles want to connect with anyone interested in learning more about the 'Hospice House' project.  Contact them through Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care at 338-0033. 


New York state lawmakers recently wrapped up their 2020 session... but, will likely be back in Albany soon to deal with COVID-19-related budget issues.  That from State Senator George Borrello... who says the current pandemic... and, some other more "political" and policy items were dealt with by lawmakers.  One more local item... says Borrello... is that the state was able to restore some funding for Chautauqua Lake to form more collaborations deal with invasive weeds... and, algal blooms.

On the political front... Borrello says he was most concerned about Majority Democrats moving to not have an independent panel deal with re-drawing legislative district boundary lines.  He says one of the Senate's top Democratic leaders said they want to control the redrawing of lines to redistrict Republicans "out of existance."  Not too many years ago... Republicans in the Senate were accused of doing the same thing.  Otherwise... Borrello says lawmakers did make a few changes to the recently enacted Bail Reform Law.  However... the Sunset Bay Republican believes they were more for political expediency as opposed to good policy.

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WJTN Headlines for Mon., Aug. 3, 2020

Connecticut man arrested on gun and drug charges after being clocked at nearly 90 mph on I-86...
A Connecticut man was arrested on drug and weapons charges last weekend after his car was stopped for traveling nearly 90 miles an hour in a 65 mph zone on Interstate 86 in the Kennedy-area.  State Police in Jamestown say they clocked 23 year-old Don Harris of New Haven going 89 miles an hour last Saturday.  While speaking with Harris... troopers say they smelled marijuana inside the vehicle... and, a search revealed a loaded, 9-millimeter handgun, which Harris did not have a New York State Permit for.  He also had bags containing more than two ounces of marijuana.  Harris was arrested... and, taken to the Chautauqua County Jail, pending arraignment.


Man from Ohio arrested during I-86 traffic stop as a fugitive... 
An Ohio man wanted for burglary has been arrested during a traffic stop on Interstate 86 near Stow.  State Police in Jamestown say they pulled over 22 year-old Carlos DeJesus-Godineaux of Akron, Ohio late last week for allegedly using his cell phone while driving... and, a license check turned up a warrant from the Medina County Ohio Sheriff's Office.  Troopers say DeJesus-Godineaux was arrested as a Fugitive From Justice... and, taken to the County Jail pending arraignment.


Jamestown's Development Director says CDBG grants for businesses and renters being scooped up quickly...
The COVID-19 grants available to both small business and renters in the city of Jamestown have proven so popular... the fund is pretty much depleted now.  That from City Development Director Crystal Surdyk... who says her department had already allocated nearly 470-thousand dollars... with most going to nearly 20 businesses.  By Friday... she said they still had several other applications being reviewed.  Surdyk says a number are "in the queue" and pending approval once their documentation is finalized.  He says those 18 businesses include The Pub, The Landmark restaurant, Escape Rooms Jamestown, Mouveau and Panache Salon and Day Spas, The Cherry Lounge, and the Tarp Skunks baseball team.  She says a total of $417,000 had been allocated to them... while $52,000 had been allocated to more than two-dozen renters in the city.  Jamestown received an additional $704,000 Community Development Block Grant allocations from the federal CARES Act, which was approved by Congress last Spring.


Hochul says schools in the region will reopen in the Fall is COVID Numbers remain low...
School districts across the state had their re-opening plans submitted on-line to Albany by the end of the day last Friday.  Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to make a decision sometime this week on the reopening of schools... and, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul says she is encouraged by the covid-19 numbers in Western New York... because the state's infection rate -- and, Western New York's -- is well below 5-percent.  Earlier in July... Cuomo said there were two basic criteria for reopening schools.  One was the infection rate had to be 5-percent or less in that particular region... and, that region had to be in Phase-Four of the reopening.


Dunkirk's full school reopening plan to be released in about two weeks...
Friday was the last day for school districts across New York state to submit their reopening plans to Albany.  But... not all districts announced their plans last week.  In Dunkirk... School Superintendent Mike Mansfield says his district has been busy working on the plan for the past two weeks.  That’s when the New York State Department of Education first issued it's guidance... and, Mansfield says the state only wanted assurances that what needed to be in place would be.  He expects the district to release details by mid-August on the "hybrid" plan they'll use for both in-person, and remote learning.  He says their final plan is about two weeks away.  Meanwhile, some districts have already released their plans, including neighboring Fredonia Central, which has posted its plan on the district's website.


Other Jamestown-area districts also release reopening plans...
For the most part... school district's in the Jamestown-area will be using some kind of hybrid model with some in-person classroom teaching... and, some distance learning.  The Southwestern Central School District developed three scenarios for instruction in 2020-21... but, the district's website says "due to social distancing requirements, the district has determined the use of a hybrid model (partial in-person learning, partial remote learning) is the best option for the start of the school year, with a hope to increase student capacity at a future date by utilizing physical barriers."

In Falconer... the district says students in all grade levels have been split into two cohorts... Blue and Gold, and will attend on alternating days during the Hybrid Learning Plan.  While in school, students will attend their classes in their eight-period schedule. Throughout the school day, students will remain in groups for the majority of the day to reduce mixing of student populations when feasible.

At Pine Valley... All students in elementary and junior and senior high school will attend school Monday-through-Thursday of each week.  Officials say Friday will be a day to deep clean the buildings and allow teachers time to prepare more effective remote models should the need arise.


Cuomo sounds opposition to raising taxes on wealthy to deal with budget woes...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he opposes raising taxes on the wealthy to help the state weather the coronavirus economic crisis, though its clear federal aid alone won't solve the state's fiscal woes.  COVID-19 shutdowns have decimated consumer spending and tourism in New York and observers warn of a slow recovery. Cuomo's administration is projecting a $13-billion drop in tax revenues through next April. 

 

 

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WJTN Headlines for Sat., Aug. 1, 2020

City man arrested for having loaded pistol and drugs in his possession...
Jamestown police arrested a Buffalo man after finding marijuana and a loaded handgun during a traffic stop early Friday morning.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers pulled over a vehicle in the Rite Aid parking lot on South Main Street about 4 a.m., and, identified the driver as 23 year-old Dayrone Ferguson.  Samuelson says a search of the vehicle revealed the loaded pistol, which Ferguson did not have permit for.  Ferguson was sent to the city jail pending arraignment on charges including failure to maintain lane, second-degree unlawful possession of marijuana and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. 


Whitaker says JPS will start with "hybrid" reopening, and hope to go more classroom later in school year...
The Jamestown Public School District has announced their tentative re-opening plans for the 2020-21 school year, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.  That from Superintendent Kevin Whitaker... who says, with the help of a 50-person committee... they are looking at a "hybrid model."  Whitaker says they will emphasize "more school days" for younger children, and those with special needs, and English As a Second Language students.  He says the district currently does not anticipate the 'hybrid concept' continuing throughout the school year.  However, this is how schools in Jamestown will tentatively re-open in September.  He says they want to try to have the elementary and possibly middle school students attend in-person.  Whitaker says they believe high schoolers can navigate on-line better than the younger students right now.  He adds a detailed summary of the Jamestown Public Schools re-opening plan is now available at jps.org/reopening. 


Two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in the county Friday....
There are two new cases of the coronavirus being reported in Chautauqua County the past day, and 13 cases are active.  That from County Executive P.J. Wendel... who says the two new cases are a man in his 20s... and, a woman in her 50s.  Wendel says two people are now hospitalized... while 157 are under local quarantine or isolation orders, and being monitored.  In addition... he says 998 persons are under "domestic traveler quarantine" for having arrived in the county from a state listed on the New York travel advisory.  Wendel says there are now 231 cases... while 209 have now recovered.  The total number of negative test results now total 23,385 negative test results.


Surdyk reports most additional CARES Act, CDBG funding has been doled out...
Nearly 20 business and several renters in Jamestown have been given grants though $704,000 in added federal funding to help them stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.  However... City Development Director Crystal Surdyk says they are nearly out of money.  Surdyk announced Thursday that the city had doled out nearly $470,000 in funding from the Community Development Block Grant program... with most going to help businesses.  Surdyk says about $417,000 of that has gone to several small businesses, and more is being approved.  She says the remaining $52,000 was distributed to a number of renters... but, she says that number is quickly growing.  Since the funds are rapidly being distributed... she says you'll want to apply as soon as possible on the city's website at jamestownny.gov.  She says there is a link under "Restart Jamestown" and the links to apply are there... and, it's a "quick application."  Surdyk says their Economic Development Coordinator Stephanie Wright is screening the applications as they come in.  The additional CDBG funding is being provided through the federal CARES Act approved back in the Spring by Congress.


Cuomo opposing raising taxes on the wealthy to help NYS budget woes...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he opposes raising taxes on the wealthy to help the state weather the coronavirus economic crisis, though its clear federal aid alone won't solve the state's fiscal woes.  COVID-19 shutdowns have decimated consumer spending and tourism in New York and observers warn of a slow recovery. Cuomo's administration is projecting a $13-billion drop in tax revenues through next April.  Democrats and liberal groups including VOCAL-NY say tax hikes on the wealthy for years will help balance New York's devastated economy.  Cuomo argues any tax hikes in the high-taxed state could drive away wealthy New Yorkers in a pandemic and jeopardize sorely needed revenue.


Borrello pushes for Cuomo to repeal order suspending Prompt Payment Law...
It's time for the state to make good on it's contract payments to local non-profit organizations that have been suspended during New York's COVID-19 shut-down.  That from State Senator George Borrello, who has written Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging him to repeal his executive order that stopped those payments due to the state's fiscal woes.  Borrello says, the problem is, some of those payments are several months late, and those organizations are struggling.  In fact... he says some payments date back to last year... and, yet there is still plenty of wasteful spending going on.  Borrello says he appreciates the state's having a difficult time fiscally... but, adds the wasteful spending being shown in places like New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority is frustrating.  He adds there's also a new, 2,000 acre solar farm being proposed in Chautauqua County that will cost the state "millions of dollars."  Borrello says a lot of those non... and, not-for-profits do the front-line work in dealing with issues such as mental health, homelessness, and others. 


    
 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 31 2020

 
Negotiations over another COVID-19 economic stimulus bill have reportedly stalled in Washington, D-C.  New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, a former Congresswoman, says state and local governments need federal assistance.

Hochul, a Buffalo-area Democrat, is urging Republicans in Congress to step in... including local Congressman Tom Reed.  She's asking him to use his "influence" to help get money for the state and localities since New York has been one of the hardest hit states in the country.  Hochul made her comments following her visit to Jamestown to talk with local tourism officials about how they have been dealing with life in a world heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

There's been one new case of the coronavirus in Chautauqua County... and, there are nearly one-thousand people now in "domestic traveler quarantine."  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says there are now 229 confirmed cases of the coronavirus... and, 11 are currently active, and continue to recover.  Wendel says the new case is a man in his 20s.  He says there are now 209 cases that have recovered... and, 146 that are under local quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.  Wendel says there have now been 22-thousand-850 negative test results so far.

The majority of public school board members in New York state say they want in-person classes this Fall... and, agree they are needed to help with childhood development.  However... how to do that safely in the era of COVID-19 is proving to be tricky for local districts.  That from School Boards Association Director Bob Schneider... who says state and federal funding will be a key because, it all comes with a price tag.

The need for funding for those items was the major concern expressed by board members -- if the state wants some kind of in-person instruction this year.  Schneider says they asked districts three questions regarding reopening... and, the majority said they were looking at some kind of "hybrid" model... which would include two or three days of classes... and, the rest will be on-line.  However... he says they also want younger, elementary school students to have more classroom time -- if possible. 

The New York State Field Band Conference has decided there'll be no competitions for high school marching bands this year.  Meghan Murray, Director of the Jamestown High School marching band, says she was not surprised with this week's annoucement.

Using on-line resources, the JHS band members have been meeting through July and preparing a show... as best they can. Ideally, Murray hopes the band will be able to perform for local audiences this fall... in a parade or at schools in the district.  Much of that hinges on rules still being formulated for the fall reopening.  The statewide cancellation of competitions means there'll be no Fall Festival of Bands at Strider Field in September.  

   
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the new Jamestown Community College budget a "particularily challenging" spending plan to put together.  That from JCC President Daniel DeMarte... who says the Board of Trustees approved the 2020-21 spending plan this week.  DeMarte says "given the continued economic uncertainty in our state, country, and throughout the world, this was a difficult budget to create."  DeMarte says the $31.4-million budget reflects a 20-percent reduction in state aid per full-time equivalent student, a 10-percent cut in FTE projections, and reduced occupancy of residence halls.  He adds there were also about $1.7-million in personnel custs in the budget. 

Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas says the city's Streets Department Facility on Lucas Avenue will remain closed until further notice after an employee underwent a test for COVID-19... and, had come in contact with other workers.  Rosas says the employee has been put in quarantine, and they are awaiting results.

Rosas says the action was taken after the city's Public Works Director was notified that the employee may have contracted the virus after being in close proxmity to someone who had COVID-19.


Local law enforcement agencies around Chatuauqua County have released their results from the state-wide Stop-DWI Crackdown during the Fourth of July weekend.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone says his deputies, municipal police departments.... and, the New York State Police took part in the initiative, which resulted in 41 vehicle stops, arrests and summonses.  Sheriff Quattrone says  the agencies work together to reduce the number of impaired driving injuries and deaths.  The statewide event is funded by a grant from the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee. 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 30, 2020

New York state is continuing it's crackdown on places and gatherings that are violating COVID-19 restrictions... and here in Chautauqua County... the biggest concern is large gatherings.  That from Sheriff Jim Quattrone, who says a party last weekend in the town of Harmony involving "several hundred" people -- many under the age of 21 -- caught their attention.  Quattrone says keep any gatherings small.

It's recklessness... say officials... that allows much of the community spread of the novel coronavirus in large gatherings.  Quattrone says the large party on Goshen Road Saturday led to charges being filed against a Panama man... and, there were other concerning issues beside the potential for a coronavirus outbreak.  He says those gatherings often involve alcohol and other possibly "disasterous decisions."  Quattrone says local law enforcement continues to respond to complaints that are received on a daily basis.


U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to include enhanced unemployment benefits in any new COVID Stimulus bill.  During a video press conference yesterday afternoon... the Democrat said those benefits -- which include a $600/week check -- have kept millions of people out of poverty.  Gillibrand adds they've been using most of that for necessities, including bills and utilities.

Gillibrand also blasted the Republican talking point that the check's disincentivize work.  She says it's unfounded for two reasons... one is a recent Yale study found no evidence that those receiving the more generous benefit were not returning to work.  Gillibrand adds that there "aren't millions of open jobs for these people to return to."  Until that happens, she says the temporary benefit is needed... not the smaller 200-dollars a week the GOP is talking about.  She also blasted the Republicans for waiting until the late minute to finally propose a bill.


There are two new cases of COVID-19 being reported the past day in Chautauqua County... and, more than 11-hundred people under local, or domestic traveler quarantine.  That from Interim County Executive P-J Wendel... who says the new cases are both men, one in their 30s and the other in their 40s.  Wendel says there have now been 228 confirmed cases, while 207 have now recovered.  Wendel says there have now been 22,347 negative test results to date.

The regional American Red Cross is reporting shortages in all donor areas... including the need for convalescent plasma with the number of COVID-19 cases surging across the U-S.  That is blood that is collected from people who have recovered from the coronavirus, and have antibodies that might help patients currently fighting it.  Western New York Red Cross Spokesperson Katie Potter says there are some additional criteria for being able to give the plasma for COVID patients.

Potter says... so far... more than 1,000 plasma products have been collected and distributed in the state.  However... she says there are shortages now because of the surge in cases and hospitalizations.  In addition... Potter says they also have a general shortage of blood in the region... and, they need donors for that.  For more information on donating convalescent plasma... go on-line to Redcrossblood-dot-ORG/plasma4covid... and, fill out the form.  Potter says a Red Cross representative will call you back.  For regular donations... you can make an appointment at Redcrossblood.org and, enter your zip code.


Civil liberties groups are asking a state court to block New York election officials from enforcing a requirement that voters register 25 days before an election.  Representatives of the New York Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday that they have filed a request for a preliminary injunction in their ongoing lawsuit first filed in November 2018 against the New York state Board of Elections.  The group argues that the 25-day cut-off left about 93,000 New Yorkers unable to vote in the 2016 presidential election because they registered after the deadline.  The Democratic-led Legislature and voting rights groups are pushing to make it easier for New Yorkers to vote in November. 


Local Congressman Tom Reed has some fond memories of late House member John Lewis... who is being recognized as a moral force for the nation.  Lewis was eulogized during a memorial service in the Capitol Rotunda... where his body lay in state until earlier today  The Georgia Congressman was lauded as "the conscience of Congress... and called a model of courage.  Reed recalled taking visitors around the capitol... and, introducing them to Lewis.

Reed says he had known Lewis since he was first elected to Congress 10 years ago and both were members of the House Ways and Means Committee.  In fact... the Corning Republican says late Congressman Amo Houghton told him to surround himself with good people in Washington... and, that included Lewis.  Congressman Lewis was born to sharecroppers during 'Jim Crow' segregation, beaten by Alabama state troopers during the civil rights movement and awarded the Medal of Freedom in 2011.

Pennsylvania is reporting more than 800 new coronavirus cases, as the state Department of Transportation extended the expiration dates for driver licenses, identification cards and learner's permits to August 31st.  The grace period applies to cards that expired after March 16th.  The grace period had been scheduled to end this Friday.  Meanwhile, the state Department of Health on Wednesday reported 834 additional cases and 16 new deaths. 

Chautauqua County's two parks will reopen to the public, starting next Monday.  County Public Facilities Director Brad Bentley says they are: the Luensman Overview Park, which is located on Thayer Road in the Town of Portland... and, the Erlandson Overview Park, which is located on Oak Hill Road in the Town of Carroll.  Bentley says both parks will be open from 8:30 AM to dusk from August 3rd through November 1st of this year.  However... they will not have any restroom facilities open, and no large gatherings or organized events will be permitted until further notice at either park.  For more information... call 661-8417.

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WJTN News Headlines for JUL 29, 2020

         
A man from Panama faces two charges after allegedly hosting a large party with 'several hundred people' in attendance last weekend in the town of Harmony.  Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene on Goshen Road last Saturday... and, found that many of those attending were under tha age of 21.  Officers say 27 year-old Eli Miller was charged with first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child... and, second-degree criminal nuisance.  He was issued appearance tickets for Harmony Town Court at a later date.


There are three new cases of the COVID-19 Virus being reported in Chautauqua County the past day... bringing the local total to 226.  That from Interim County Executive P-J Wendel... who says the new cases are women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s.  Wendel adds there are now 10 active cases... with one person hospitalized.  He says 204 cases under local quarantine or isolation orders... and, another 844 persons are under the "domestic traveler quarantine" for having arrived here from a state listed on New York's travel advisory.  He adds that 207 people have now recovered from the virus.


Travelers from 34 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, must now quarantine for 14 days when they travel to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.  Governors of New York and New Jersey announced Tuesday that Illinois, Minnesota, Puerto Rico and D.C. are now now on the list of states that face quarantine restrictions under a joint travel advisory issued last month.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has expressed worry for weeks that infection rates in hard-hit New York could once again rise because of travel from high-risk states. 


New York's Lieutenant Governor says she was happy to be back in Chautauqua County Tuesday to put a spotlight on, and learn ways local tourist attractions have been dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Kathy Hochul took part in a tourism--staycation roundable at the National Comedy Center in Jamestown.  The Buffalo-area Democrat says she loves coming here for some "R-and-R..." and, wanted to make this the second stop of her tour after going to Niagara Falls.

Hochul says she was pleased to see how entities, such as the Comedy Center, Chautauqua Institution, Panama Rocks, and others have quickly adapted to what they can, and cannot do during the pandemic.  The institution has put it's entire 2020 season on-line as part of what President Michael Hill calls "CHQ Assembly."

Hill says the on-line platforms have provided some "great, free advertising" for the institution... and, he believes that when they can resume in-person programming on the grounds, they will attract more people from around the world.  Hochul later spoke during one of those programs on the 100th anniversary of Women's right to vote.

A man from Stockton is accused of sexually abusing a minor earlier this month.  The Sheriff's Department's Criminal Investigation Division conducted the investigation into 30 year-old Carl Silsby on July 11th regarding an incident that occurred in the town.  Officers say Silsby was charged with third-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child... and issued appearance tickets for Stockton Town Court at a later date.

Chautauqua County's Congressman feels a fourth, COVID-19 Stimulus bill will be approved by federal lawmakers in a week to 10 days... inspite of current political posturing.  Majority Republicans in the U-S Senate proposed their one-trillion dollar SMART Act bill Monday... but, it does not include some items that Corning Republican Tom Reed would like in it -- mainly local government aid.  However... Reed feels there are enough lawmakers of like mind that it will be in the final package.

In addition to local muncipal aid... Reed says he also wants a revised unemployment benefit that helps people during the shut-down, but, also includes an incentive to return to work.  The third main item he says needs to be in the bill is funding for child care programs.  Reed says he's been working with Senate Republican Joni Ernst and others on a $10-billion package... that would involve direct aid to those programs.  Reed says he believes the final bill will be about $1.5-trillion. He made his comments for his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media.

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WJTN News Headlines for July 28, 2020


Ten people... five of them from Jamestown... have pleaded guilty to trafficking large amounts of methamphetaime in the area three years ago.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says the five from Jamestown are: 31 year-old Jacob Motherwell... 36 year-old Michael Davis... 29 year-old Jamell Trapp -- also known as "KS..."  42 year-old Henry Stovall, Junior... and, 47 year-old Danny Michael-the-third.  Two people from Randolph also pled guilty to charges of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, five grams or more of methamphetamine.  The three others were from outside the area.  In addition... Davis and Trapp also pled guilty to possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.  Six others in the case pleaded guilty earlier in the case.  The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years, and a $5-million fine.


City lawmakers in Jamestown have agreed to move forward with a Mobile Food Truck Pilot program and put a fee structure in place.  The City Council voted 7-to-2 last night to move the program forward after two months of debate and discussion.  Councilman Tom Nelson says he wanted to go forward with the program in hopes of bringing more business and people to the downtown area... and, the fact the city can control the situation.

Some councilmembers expressed some reluctance over moving foward.  One of them was Council President Tony Dolce, who said -- this late in the Summer -- it was worth a try.  Councilman Grant Olson liked charging outside vendors $300 to put a truck at least 125 feet from an existing restaurant.  Currently... he says the situation can hurt those stores right now because they can pay a $500 peddlers fee, and set up whereever they want.  For a downtown business... the cost to have a truck would be $150.  While several residents called on council to approve the program... a long list of current restaurants called on lawmakers to hold off.  Republican Councilmembers Kim Ecklund, and Jeff Russell voted against the measure.


There have been no new cases of the COVID-19 Virus reported in Chautauqua County today... and, only one person is hospitalized.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says there are still 223 total cases so far... and, 203 of those have now recovered.  Wendel says there are 11 active cases... and, there are 204 cases that are under local quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.  Wendel says 796 persons are under "domestic traveler quarantine" for having arrived here from a state listed on the New York travel advisory.  There have now been 21,894 negative test results to date.


Interim Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel says he is encouraged by the latest sales tax collection figures... which show an increase in June of 13.2-percent over June of 2019.  State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office reported June's numbers late last week after rough numbers in April and May.  Wendel says he has guarded optimism for the summer... but, the results have been mixed.

Hurting out-of-state travel to the area has been New York's travel advisory... which puts visitors from 31 states where infection rates have been growing... in quarantine for 14-days after arriving here.  However... Wendel says, while the local economy is showing signs of rebounding, local governments are in need of some stimulus funding. 


No people were hurt... but a horse was hurt in an Amish buggy roll-over crash in the Town of Harmony early Sunday morning.  Sheriff's officers say they saw the buggy allegedly go through a stop sign at the corner of Goshen and Rock Hill Roads just after 1 AM... when the operator attempted to turn onto Rock Hill at an excessive speed causing the roll-over.  Deputies say the passengers were thrown onto the street and the horse was hurt.  They identified the operator as 18 year-old Adam Byler, and he was also found to be intoxicated.  Further investigation found one of the passengers in the buggy was under the age of 17.  Deputies say Byler was issued an appearance ticket for Harmony Town Court on four-counts of reckless endangerment... endangering the welfare of a child and over-driving/torturing an animal.  

A Mayville man faces several charges for allegedly acting disorderly after being asked to put a face covering on in the Key Bank in the Village of Lakewood last Wendesday.  Lakewood-Busti Police were called to the scene shortly before 2 PM... and on arrival, found Gerald Hewes-junior allegedly holding a bank employee up against a glass cubicle.  Officers say Hewes continually interfered with their investigation and was placed into custody after resisting arrest.  Futher investigation found the incident started when Hewes entered the building without a face mask. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, employees advised he would need to put one on or leave the building.  Police say this led to Hewes screaming obscenities at the bankers and becoming physical with them.  He was released with an appearance ticket for Busti Town Court on charges including obstruction, resisting arrest, second-degree harrassment and disorderly conduct. 


Advocates for people with disabilities are both celebrating a landmark in the fight for civil rights... and, still waiting for its promise to be fully realized.  The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law 30 years ago -- on July 26th of 1990.  It was the world's first declaration of equality for people with disabilities.  The head of the Center for Independence of the Disabled New York, Susan Dooha says it opened new doors for people with disabilities in transportation, housing accessibility, employment, education and public accommodations.

Dooha notes that despite the protections enumerated in the law and years of litigation over its implementation, people with disabilities still face widespread discrimination.  County Executive P-J Wendel was at a 30th Anniversary Celebration of the ADA Monday afternoon at the Southwestern Indepdenent Living Center in Jamestown.


The Lucille Ball Little Theater of Jamestown will take a bold step forward a week from today, over the internet.

That's the word from Adam Owens, who will, on Tuesday, August 4th, direct 'She Kills Monsters... Virtual Realm'.  Owens directed the stage version of the play at Jamestown Community College in the spring of 2019.  'She Kills Monsters' is the story of a young woman who looks into her recently deceased sister's fascination with the game 'Dungeons and Dragons'.  Alivia Roehrig and Alex Connor will return to their roles as the sisters, along with most of the rest of the original JCC cast.  There will only be one on-line performance of 'She Kills Monsters... Virtual Edition', next Tuesday at 7 PM.  Tickets are just $10... through the Little Theater website or Facebook page.  The show will be free for Little Theater season ticket holders. 

There'll be no Gerry Rodeo in early August... but, the fire department's rodeo chairman, Tom Atwell, says you can still get a roast beef dinner.

They'll be offering the full dinner for $15, cash or credit card... drive thru only from 4 to 7 PM on Saturday the 8th and Noon 'til sold out on Sunday the 9th.  Anyone wanting more than 10 dinners should phone 985-4847 in advance.  The rodeo was postponed because of issues related to COVID-19, but the work of the department goes on, and they need to offset their costs.  Atwell reminds fans the 'postponed' 76th rodeo will take place in August 2021.  More information is available at gerryrodeo.org.

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WJTN News Headlines for July 27, 2020

A total of five new cases of the coronavirus were reported last weekend in Chautauqua County... along with a new death last Saturday.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says there were two new cases Sunday... and they include a woman in her 50s, and one man in his 60s.  Three new cases were reported Saturday... so there have now been 223 confirmed cases.  Wendel says the death was a man in his 70s with severe underlying medical conditions... and, was newly-diagnosed.  It's the county's ninth COVID death.  Wendel says there are now 11 active cases... and, and 203 cases have now recovered.  Wendel says there are 204 cases under quarantine or isolation orders... while one person is hospitalized... and, there are 701 persons are under the 'domestic traveler quarantine." He adds there have now been 21,692 negative test results to date.


A woman from Jamestown who was reported lost while hiking in the Hannum Road Gorge area of Chautauqua County was found and is safe after being treated for minor injuries.  Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene about 9:30 PM last Thursday... and, the K-9 unit deployed K-9 Bentley to look for 27 year-old Kathleen Johnston.  Officers were able to find her in the creek bed of the gorge... but, she was unable to walk out on her own.  Erie County Sheriff's Office Air-One was called in... and, tried to land to extricate Johnston.. but, was unable to.  The county's Tech Rescue Team was brought in... and, was able to get her out of the gorge.  Johnston was treated for minor injuries.  State Forest Rangers, Mayville Fire Dept and Chautauqua Fire dept assisted on scene with the rescue.


Local Congressman Tom Reed says there will be plenty of time for televised debates... but, adds now is not the time to be talking about them.  The Incumbant Republican from Corning is responding to calls from Democratic challenger Tracy Mitrano to have five TV debates in various parts of the Southern Tier District that will allow more people to see and hear the candidates before the November election.  Reed says he's been talking with an meeting people... even with the coronavirus pandemic.

Reed says it seems like Mitrano is trying to "pacify" her ego... and, the debates are more about herself.  He says he's focusing his attention on dealing with the virus, and it's fall-out, including businesses being shut-down, and many that have reopened struggling.  Mitrano... who's from Penn Yan... says the debates could be held at times that agree with Reed's schedule, in various parts of the massive 23rd Congressional district.  Both candidates now agree there were three scheduled debates in 2018.  However... Mitrano says only one of them was shown in its entirety.


New York's quest to keep voters safe from COVID-19 by letting them vote by mail in the June primary has led to big delays in tabulating results, concerns about disenfranchisement -- and questions about whether there will be an even bigger mess in the fall.  Election officials say it'll take until early August to finish counting a tidal wave of absentee ballots that overwhelmed a system typically handling only around 5-percent of the vote.  About 1.8 million New Yorkers requested mail-in ballots for June's primary.  Candidates and good-government activists say a bigger problem is that thousands of votes cast in good faith are getting invalidated during the counting process.


Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for federal probes into New York's ejection from trusted traveler security programs.  The Democratic governor's call comes a day after Republican President Donald Trump's administration reversed itself and told a court it had misrepresented the facts in a lawsuit over the programs that allow vetted travelers to avoid long security lines at airports.  On Friday... Cuomo called it an illegal act of political abuse by Trump administration officials. 


A new fire truck has been put into service in the city of Dunkirk.  A dedication ceremony was held last week for the Dunkirk Fire Department's new, Sutphen SPH-100 aerial tower ladder truck at Dunkirk Fire headquarters on Eagle Street.  City Fire Chief Mike Edwards says the process of obtaining the new truck began about three years ago with assistance from Mayor Willie Rosas and the previous Common Council.

Edwards says the $1.2 million ladder truck is a major upgrade from the city's previous emergency ladder truck that had been in service for more than 30 years.  He says they're "very happy with all the versatility" the new truck gives them.  Edwards says the ladder truck comes at no cost to city taxpayers, and will be paid using the Fire Department's ambulance transfer revenues.

 Two Chautauqua County men have been arrested on drug-related charges after the car they were riding in was stopped for a traffic violation in the town of Portland.  Sheriff's deputies say they stopped the vehicle last Friday night on Lake Avenue... and, found the driver, 28 year-old Leroy Stepp of Westfield, in possession of quantity of methamphetamine, and he was driving with a suspended license.  Officers say his passenger, 37 year-old Paul Dunn of Brocton, was also found in possession of a quantity of meth.  Both men were charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... while Stepp was also charged with second-degree unlicensed operation.  Stepp and Dunn were issued appearance tickets for Portland Town Court.

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WJTN Headlines for Sat. July 25, 2020

Sinclairville man pleads guilty to federal drug conspiracy charges...
A Sinclairville man has pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiring to traffic amounts of acetyl fentanyl, fentanyl, and crack cocaine.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. announced Friday that 38 year-old Tracy Griffin entered the pleas before U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, acetyl fentanyl, fentanyl, and crack cocaine.  Kennedy says prosecutors found that Griffin and co-defendent Brandon Blackshear conspired to sell the drugs to undercover agents with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force on two occasions in January of 2019.  He says charges are pending against Blackshear.  Kennedy says the charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and a one-million dollar fine.  Sentencing will be held in October.


City woman rescued from gorge after getting lost while hiking...
A Jamestown woman reported lost while hiking in the Hannum Road Gorge area of the county was found and is safe after being treated for minor injuries.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene about 9:30 p.m. Thursday... and, the K-9 unit deployed K-9 Bentley to look for 27 year-old Kathleen Johnston.  Deputies say she was found in the creek bed of the gorge... but, she was unable to walk out on her own.  Erie County Sheriff's Office Air-One was requested and attempted to land to extricate Johnston.. but, was unable to.  The Chautauqua County Tech Rescue Team arrived on scene and was able to get her out of the gorge.  Johnston was treated at the scene for minor injuries.  State Forest Rangers, Mayville Fire Dept and Chautauqua Fire dept assisted on scene with the rescue.


Two more COVID-19 cases confirmed in Chautauqua County on Friday...
Two more cases of the coronavirus have been reported today by Chautauqua County officials... while one other has been transferred to the appropriate county.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says the two new cases are a woman in her 30s... and, a man in his 60s.  The transferred case is a man in his 20s.  Wendel says there have now been 218 confirmed cases... while the number of active cases has fallen to 16.  One person is hospitalized.  He says 194 people have now recovered... while 210 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.  Wendel says 778 people under the "domestic traveler quarantine" for having  in the county a state listed on the New York travel advisory... and, there have now been 21,528 negative test results.


While there may be a lot of "sound and fury" in coming week, Reed says there will be a fourth stimulus bill...
It appears that lawmakers -- right now -- are far apart on a fourth COVID-19 Stimulus bill and what should be in it.  The House Democratic Majority is touting it's $3-trillion package... while the GOP-led Senate is looking more at a $1-trillion package that helps local governments, and extends some unemployment benefits.  Local Congressman Tom Reed says he still believes a bill will be approved before lawmakers have their August break... according to discussions he's been part of.  As for direct local aid... Reed says that would not pass through states... but, go directly to local communities of less than half-a-million people to help cover their COVID-related expenses.  The Corning Republican says he also wants child care issues addressed before school resumes in person or on-line in the Fall.  While some lawmakers want to continue with $600 a week unemployment benefits... others want the amount cut because for many workers, there's little incentive to go back to work.  Reed says he would rather see a sliding scale of unemployment based on the workers actual pay.  He made his comments during his weekly conference call with Southern Tier Media.


Cuomo calls for probe into NYS ban from Trusted Traveler programs...
Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for federal probes into New York's ejection from trusted traveler security programs.  The Democratic governor's call comes a day after Republican President Donald Trump's administration reversed itself and told a court it had misrepresented the facts in a lawsuit over the programs that allow vetted travelers to avoid long security lines at airports.  On Friday... Cuomo called it an illegal act of political abuse by Trump administration officials.  Cuomo called for investigations by Attorney General William Barr and congressional Democrats.


State Legislature wraps up legislative session with flurry of bill approvals...
State lawmakers have wrapped up work on bills ranging from automatic voter registration to two new public holidays celebrating Juneteenth and Abolition Commemoration Day.  The state Senate and Assembly worked into the evening Thursday on bills addressing calls for a reckoning on the nation's history of slavery and racism, a law shielding nursing homes from lawsuits amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and efforts to make it easier to vote in the November election.  Several bills, including a moratorium on facial recognition programs at schools, will eventually head to the desk of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who then faces a 10-day deadline to act.


Man arrested for burglary in Mayville...         
A Mayville man has been arrested for allegedly burglarizing a home in the village earlier this month.  Sheriff's officers say they investigated the break-in at an undisclosed location on July 8... and, it led to the arrest of 30 year-old Eric Courtier.  Courtier was issued appearance tickets for third-degree burglary, fourth-degree Grand Larceny, criminal possession of Stolen Property... and, third-degree criminal mischief in Chautauqua Town Court at a later time.

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WJTN News Headlines for July 24, 2020

There are two new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County Thursday.  However... the number of active cases and those in local quarantine or isolation is dropping.  That from Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says the new cases are a young adult and a man in his 20s... and, they bring the total number to 217.  He adds there are now 19 active cases... while 190 have now recovered.  Wendel says 325 are under local quarantine or isolation orders, while 779 persons are under "domestic traveler quarantine" after arriving here from a state listed on the state's travel advisory.  There have now been 20,798 negative test results to date.


While most of the COVID numbers in New York continue to trend in the right direction... there is a new concern among young adults in the state.  Governor Andrew Cuomo Thursday says his administration is seeing an alarming uptick in the number of people ages 21-to-30 getting infected with the COVID-19 Virus.  During a briefing in New York City... Cuomo noted that young adults have seen a 4-percent jump the past week to 13.2-percent of all cases.  He says they're not invincable.

Cuomo says while young people feel they "have a right to party..." they also need to be smart.  To drive home the message to the 21 to 30 year-old age group... he unveiled a new ad campaign that will begin airing soon.  Cuomo adds that it's also up to local law enforcement to make sure the state rules and guidelines are followed.  He recently signed a new order that bars and restaurants cannot serve just alcohol.  Patrons must also have food as part of their order.


A Lakewood man faces charges in a domestic violence incident after suffering a self-inflicted gunshot wound and allegedly dragging a woman around a yard on the village's westside in June.  Lakewood-Busti Police were called to the area of West Fairmount Avenue and Spruce Street shortly after 8 PM on June 15th... and on arrival, came into contact with Christopher Butts, who was holding a pistol.  Officers say they told the 55 year-old Butts to drop the gun, but he reportedly fired one shot into the driveway before turning the gun on himself.  He was rushed by ambulance to the Firemen's Grounds... and, flown to UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie for treatment.  In a printed release... Lakewood-Busti Police say the investigation revealed Butts was telling the victim he was going to kill her while dragging her by the hair.  Officers issued an arrest warrant and Butts turned himself in yesterday.  He was issued an appearance ticket for two felony-counts of menacing a police officer and first-degree reckless endangerment... in addition to charges including third-degree menacing.


A city man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend earlier in the month... and, then breaking into her house and refusing to leave early Wednesday morning.  Jamestown Police say the victim came to JPD headquarters just after 11 AM Wednesday, stating that Julio Echevarria-Cosme had returned after he had assaulted her earlier in the month.  The woman told investigators that she ended her relationship with Echevarria-Cosme at that time.  However... he returned to the location at 194 Fairmount Avenue about 1 AM Wednesday... and, refused to leave.  A relative took her to see police.  Officers later arrested Echevarria-Cosme on charges including criminal trespass, third-degree assault, and second-degree unlawful imprisonment... and, he was held pending arraignment.


The Chautauqua County Humane Society has found 75 cats living in a condemned apartment in the city of Dunkirk.  Humane Society officials say they've been dealing with the matter since July 8th, after a neighbor contacted the Dunkirk Dog Control Officer, Denise Zentz, who later reached out to CCHS.  Humane Society Community Relations Director Brian Papalia says the cats were left behind when their owner was hospitalized.

Papalia says the Humane Society is getting help from two other groups -- the Lakeshore Humane Society in Dunkirk and the Erie County SPCA.  He says Lakeshore -- in particular -- has helped them track the cats over a two-week period.  Brian says some of the cats are now available for adoption, while others need more time and care.  He says they range from litters of very young kittens to adults.


Three students are raising concerns about the SUNY College at Fredonia's reopening plans and have put together an open letter to the SUNY Administration and Governor Andrew Cuomo.  Ava Knapp says their main concern is the lack of COVID-19 testing, something that is in direct opposition to the Recommended Best Practice from the New York State Reopening Higher Education Guidelines.  Knapp says the decision also opposes guidelines from the United University Professions, the union which represents faculty members.

The Administration at the university released a statement saying that Fredonia is following current guidelines to make returning to Fredonia as safe as possible.  Officials say "current CDC guidelines state "testing of all students, faculty and staff for COVID-19 before allowing campus entry (entry testing) has not been systematically studied.... Also, a SUNY task force composed of medical experts from four of SUNY's medical campuses also advised against testing all returning students, faculty, and staff."

A Buffalo man faces drug possession and unlawful dealing with fireworks charges following a narcotics investigation in the town of Ellicott Tuesday night.  Sheriff's deputies say Southern Tier Regional and Jamestown Metro Task Force agents were called to assist a State Police K-9 Unit with a traffic stop on Route 60.  Officers say 23 year-old Dante Fryer was allegedly found in possession of various illegal drugs and fireworks.  All items were seized...  and, Fryer was issued appearance tickets for Ellicott Town Court at a later date. 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 23, 2020


There are five new confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been reported the past day in Chautauqua County... bringing the local total to 215.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says they are: a person under the age of 18, a woman in her 30s, a woman in her 50s, and a man and woman in their 60s.  Wendel says there are 23 active cases... and, 184 cases that have now recovered.  He says 362 are under local quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored... while 714 people are under "domestic traveler quarantine" for having arrived to Chautauqua County from a state listed on New York's travel advisory.  There have now been 20,440 negative test results to date.


Chautauqua County lawmakers have unanimously approved a resolution asking New York state to continue the county's added one-percent sales tax for the next three-years.  During last night's Zoom Conference meeting... the legislature approved the measure to keep the sales tax at the current 8-percent, 18-to-nothing.  Jamestown Democrat Chuck Nazzaro says the measure helps bring in -- during a normal year -- another $15.2-million to county coffers.

Overall... Nazzaro says -- before the COVID-19 shut-down -- the county budget projected $42-million in revenues from sales tax in Chautauqua County.  Lawmakers agreed that the county will need to keep all possible revenues intact through 2020.  Jamestown Republican Elisabeth Rankin... adds that -- as important -- is the department heads working hard to cut, and save money where they can this year. 


Eligible voters in Chautauqua County can now apply for absentee ballots for the November 3rd general election.  That from Democratic Elections Commissioner Norm Green, and Republican Commissioner Brian Abram.  Green says it's "not too early to apply for an absentee ballot for any allowed reason."  He says one of those... due to the COVID-19 pandemic... is apply under the "temporary illness" status.
Green urges anyone looking to vote by absentee get their application in soon.  He says they are preparing for a much-larger than usual absentee count -- as many as 35,000-- this year.  There are about 77,000 registered voters in the county.  Green says they are making sure to at least have enough absentees on hand in case everyone has to vote that way.  He says ballots will be mailed in Chautauqua County starting on Friday, September 18th.  He says the period to apply for an Absentee Ballot with a U-S Postal Service postmark is now through October 27th.

The fall semester at Jamestown Community College will start on Monday, August 24th.  College President, Dr. Daniel DeMarte, says they want to make student life as normal as possible...  but going to class will be different.

COVID-19 numbers will play a role in determining how those 'flex' courses will be taught... as well as some other things the college can't control, including what happens with the public schools and the availability of childcare in the community.  Masks and social distancing will be required at JCC with up to one-third of the student body allowed on campus at any one time.  Dr. DeMarte says they hope to bring staff members who've bee working from home back to their offices over the next month.  'Boxed meals' will be available from the cafeteria. Dorms will be open for up to 250 students... a smaller number than usual.  The bookstore will be open, operating under a new cooperative agreement with Barnes & Noble.  

State Senator George Borrello has been appointed as the Ranking Member of the Senate’s Agriculture and Markets Committee.  Borrello's appointment was announced by State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt... who was prior ranking member on the committee.  He says Borrello "will undoubtedly be a voice for our Upstate farmers."  Borrello says he's grateful for the opportunity to serve in a position to work on critical agriculture issues.

Local Congressman Tom Reed has joined a bi-partisan effort to protect law enforcement and stand against the "Defund Police" movement.  Reed is co-sponsoring what's called the "Defund Cities that Defund the Police Act..." joined with two other Republicans and two Democrats in backing the measure.  The Corning Republican says it would prevent those communities that defund police from receiving certain federal grants, and stop other specific federal dollars from supporting them.

The two Democrats who support the measure are Anthony Brindisi of the Binghampton-area, and Maine's Jared Golden.  Reed says he believes more Democrats will sign-on because the more moderate, practical members have taken this position.  More liberal Democrats have called for "defunding police..." even though the term seems to mean different things to different people.  Many have said they want some money taken, and used for programs such as enhanced community or mental health services.  Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 22, 2020

There are eight new cases of the coronavirus in Chautauqua County today... and, there are more than 600 domestic travelers who are self-quarantining in the county.  That from Public Health Director Christine Schulyer... who says the eight cases brings the local total to 210 cases.  Schuyler says 23 cases remain active... while two people are hospitalized.  She says 179 people have now recovered.  There are 541 local cases that are in quarantine or isolation... and, there are 669 travelers who are under the "domestic traveler quarantine" status.  They are from 31 states where COVID cases have been surging... and, must quarantine for 14-days when they arrive in New York state.  Schuyler says there have now been 20,278 negative test results to date.

Jamestown fire officials say a vacant, two-story house on the city's eastside was damaged... but, not seriously... during an overnight fire Monday.  Acting Deputy Fire Chief Matt Coon says crews were called to the scene at 132 Barrows Street about 11:30 PM Monday... and, found fire on the back of the second-floor, and it was starting to move into the attic and roof.

Coon says the home was being renovated... and, apparently some discarded wood stain-soaked rags and brushes were put in a plastic bucket... and, they caught fire.  He says investigators determined the cause was accidental.  Coon says an off-duty shift was called in to assist... and, no one was hurt.  Firefighters were on the scene just over an hour and a half.  Fire investigators arrived at the scene later in the morning... and, determined the cause.


The driver of a dump truck is being treated for serious facial injuries after his truck crashed and overturned on Thornton Road in the town of Cherry Creek yesterday afternoon.  Sheriff's deputies say the tires of the truck, operated by 66 year-old Donald Blair, left the roadway about 1:40 PM... and, due to the uneven ground... Blair lost control.  Deputies say the truck climbed a dirt embankment and rolled over before coming to rest on the driver's side in a ditch.  Blair was flown by MedEvac helicopter to UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pennsylvania for treatment of facial injuries.


A committee of stakholders should be created to determine how best to resume in-person school this Fall in New York state and Chautauqua County.  That from Democratic State Assembly challenger Christina Cardinale of Jamestown... who says she's talked with a number of parents, teachers and others about the situation.  Governor Andrew Cuomo recently ordered schools to submit their plans to reopen by the end of the month.

Incumbant Republican Assemblyman Andy Goodell says he and Senator George Borrello have introduced legislation that would put the power to reopen schools back into the hands of the state Board of Regents, and ultimately, local school boards.  Governor Cuomo recently provided his two main guidelines for reopening:  The region must be in Phase-Four of the coronavirus reopening... and, the infection rate cannot be higher than 5-percent on a rolling, two-week average.


A north county man lost his life in a motorcycle accident on the Fredonia-Stockton Road in the town of Pomfret last Saturday afternoon.  The Dunkirk Times-Observer says State Police report that 31-year-old Timothy Vogt was following three friends on motorcycles when he apparently lost control of the bike he was riding, crossed the center line and struck a trailer that was being towed by a pick-up truck.  The paper says State Troopers indicated the motorcycle was traveling around 40 mph at the time of the crash, and that no alcohol was involved.


COVID-19 and the related shutdown have had far-reaching effects on New York agriculture.  The state Farm Bureau today revealed the results of a survey of over 500 farms throughout the state.  On a Zoom conference call, The Farm Bureau's Director of Public Policy, Jeff Williams, talked about the degree of disruption. Those effects include loss of markets... and early on... the throwing out of milk, produce and flowers.  Other farms reported difficulty in getting machinery parts, and enforcing new COVID protocols.  Another farmer spoke to the challenge of getting farmers to stay home when they are sick.  He says their instinct is to 'go to work and tough it out.'

A seven-month investigation in the Town of Ellicott led to grand larceny charges against a 21 year-old Jamestown-area man.  Early Tuesday... Ellicott Town Police say $5,000 worth of property was stolen from a vehicle back on January 8th... and, they were able to locate and return it to the owner.  Officers also accuse Randall Mesler-junior of taking property belonging to another person with a value of $3,000 in a separate incident.  He was issued an appearance ticket for a later date. 


Democratic Congressional challenger Tracy Mitrano is challenging incumbant Republican Tom Reed to five live televised debates spread across New York's huge 23rd district.  In a printed release today... Mitrano said "campaigning during this pandemic, our top concerns should be the health and safety of the voters and getting them the information they need to pick the best candidate.  These whould be civil, productive debates on the many issues affecting voters, and they should be carried live on television with recordings available online through election day."  The Penn Yan resident is calling on debates to be held in Binghamton, Elmira-Corning, Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester.  The two only debated twice when Mitrano ran against Reed in 2018. 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 21, 2020


Jamestown Firefighters made quick work of a structure fire at 132 Barrows Street last night. According to their Facebook page... crews were called to the scene about 11:30 PM to the vacant home. No cause has been announced. More details are expected to be released later today. 


A city man has now been identified as the boater reported missing on Chautauqua Lake... who was found dead from an apparent drowing just before Noon Monday.  The Chautauqua County Water Emergency Team was assisted by the State Police Underwater Recovery Team in finding the victim, 46 year-old Brian Twardeski, using sonar in the area where he went missing about 2:30 PM Sunday in the town of North Harmony.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone says Twardeski's family had been swimming off the boat when a storm came up.

Quattrone says the Sheriff's Department Navigation Team was called to the scene... but, the weather and water conditions forced them to call off the search about 5 PM Sunday.  A woman and three children were able to get back to the boat safely.  In addition to the police rescue teams... the Bemus Point, Ashville and Lakewood Fire Department water rescue teams assisted at the scene.


A bank customer helped turn-back a would be robber late Monday morning at the Community Bank branch on East Main Street in Falconer.  Ellicott Town Police were called to the scene at 1982 East Main shortly before 12 Noon on a report of a man trying to hold-up the bank.  Officers say the suspect... 38 year-old Jason Maisonet... reportedly told bank employees to open the safe several times... but, the unidentified customer in the lobby intervened, and told Maisonet to leave.  He refused... and, the customer then took control of Maisonet, and took him out the front door.  He was arrested by officers once they arrived.  Maisonet was charged with third-degree robbery, and was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for an evaluation.

A Fredonia man lost his life in a motorcycle crash on Fredonia-Stockton Road in the town of Pomfret Saturday afternoon. According to the Observer, an investigation by the State Police indicated that 31-year-old Timothy Vogt was following three friends on motorcycles when he apparently lost control of the motorcycle he was riding, crossed the center line and struck a trailer that was being towed by a pick-up truck. The newspaper says State Troopers indicated the motorcycle was traveling around 40 mph at the time of the crash and that no alcohol was involved.


Two new cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Chautauqua County over the past day... bringing the local total to 202.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says they are a woman in her 30s... and, a woman in her 60s.  He says there are now 19 active cases... with two hospitalized.  Wendel says 175 cases have now recovered... while 738 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders and are being monitored.  He says there have now been 20,120 negative test results to date.


A new executive order from Governor Cuomo directing that all restaurants and bars across the state can only serve alcohol to people who are ordering and eating food is already having an impact on some local businesses.  Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek says the directive is apparently effecting some of the establishments that serve alcohol in the village. Essek did not indicate any specific businesses... but, he says some afraid of being shut-down again.  The mayor also reiterated the importance of following social distancing guidelines. 


Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been sentenced to 6.5- years in prison.  The sentencing Monday by U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni came after she insisted that the 76-year-old Democrat come to court rather than appear remotely.  In a handwritten letter to the judge... Silver had asked that he be spared a prison term that would cause him to die in prison.  Prosecutors had urged that he go to prison for seven years for his bribery and extortion conviction.  A 2015 conviction was overturned on appeal.. but, Silver was convicted again in 2018.


The first-ever 'virtual' Four-H meat animal sale in Chautauqua County turned out pretty well for most of the young people involved.  The 24-hour event wrapped up at 6 PM last Friday.  Cornell Cooperative Extension Four-H and Youth Educator, Kate Ewer, says some species did better than others.

The sale went on-line after the Chautauqua County Fair was cancelled because of COVID-19.  That reduced the number of animals up for bid as well.  One highlight, according to Kate Ewer, was the hog raised by Levi Overend, a second year member from the Levant Livewires club.  It sold for more than $2,000 after getting numerous bids.  Levi had put together a slick video to help market his animal.  Ewer says they may find a way to include videos and some on-line bidding for future sales.  But, otherwise, they look forward to having a live auction next year, if circumstances will allow.


A Portville man has been arrested for allegedly kidnapping a child from a home in the Cattaraugus County village last week.  State Police in Olean say they arrested 18 year-old Devonte Connor for allegedly taking the child to a home in Salamanca without the permission or knowledge of the child's parent.  Troopers charged Connor with second-degree kidnapping... and, second-degree burglary in the case.  He was arraigned in Portville Village Court... then sent to the county jail without bail.

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WJTN News Headlines for JULY 20, 2020


A city man has died from injuries suffered in a weekend canoeing accident on the Conewango Creek in the town of Poland.  State Police in Jamestown tell Erie News Now the 35 year-old man -- who has not been identified -- was riding in the canoe near Kennedy just after 6 PM Saturday when it overturned, and he fell overboard.  Troopers say the victim was in the front seat when the accident occured.  The vcitim was pulled from the water by his friend, who was in the second-seat of the canoe.  He was given first aid and rushed to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown for treatment... then transferred to UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he later died.  No other details have been released.


The search continues this morning for a man reported missing on Chautauqua Lake prior to the beginning of an afternoon storm on Sunday. The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Navigation Unit was called to the scene for a male overboard shortly before 2:30 PM. Deputies say the County Water Emergency Team assisted in the search along with Bemus Point, Ashville and Lakewood Fire Departments. The search was stopped last night due to weather, but resumes today. 

There are no new cases of the coronavirus reported in Chautauqua County over the past day for the first time in several days.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says the total number of confirmed cases remains at 200 after four added last Saturday.  Wendel adds there are 27 active cases... with three of those hospitalized... and, 165 people have now recovered.  There are now 745 cases under quarantine or islotation orders... and, there have been 19,747 negative test results to date.


The two men representing Chautauqua County in the New York state legislature have introduced legislation giving the Board of Regents -- not Governor Cuomo -- the final say on how schools will reopen in the Fall.  State Assemblyman Andy Goodell says he and State Senator George Borrello recently introduced the measure, giving the authority back to the regents... which would then provide the guidelines to the local school boards.  Goodell says the state may be able to provide COVID guidelines... but, local districts should be able to decide what works best for them.

Goodell says he's talked with some local education leaders about the situation... and, he says they've already been looking at ways to keep students, teachers and staff safe.  The governor has provided two basic guidelines for schools to reopen...  an infection rate of 5-percent or under, and, that the districts be in a region that's in Phase-Four of reopening.  Schools are required to submit their plans to reopen to the state by the end of the month.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says the number of people hospitalized in New York with the coronavirus continued to drop to one of the lowest levels since the pandemic began.  Cuomo says there were at least 720 people hospitalized in the state, the lowest since March 18th and down slightly from Saturday.  The number of deaths in the state rose slightly to 13.  Daily statewide statistics show New York with more than 500 newly confirmed cases, representing about one-percent of all tests performed.  New York, once a pandemic hotspot, has so far avoided a surge in new cases like those plaguing other states in the South and West.


New York State's second-in-command says Chautauqua County's recent surge in the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases is concerning.  However... Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul says she does not anticipate a rollback in Western New York's regional reopening process.  Hochul says with more people getting outside now, there will be infections, but the key is containing the spread.

Hochul says the availability of more testing is one reason why she does not believe the region will go backwards.  He says they can also identify the people those positive cases came in contact with, and get them to quarantine.  However... Hochul does say that -- quote -- "if people start getting complacent... then we're going to be in trouble."  Chautauqua County has now seen it's 200th confirmed case last weekend, and there have been 63 new COVID-19 cases over the past 12 days.


Two people from Cattaraugus County face drug and other charges in Salamanca after police found two active "one-pot" methamphetamine labs inside their car.  Sheriff's deputies in Little Valley say they pulled over 20 year-old Olivia Marsh of Delevan on Washington Street late last week... and, during a search of the car they allegedly found several items used in making meth.  Officers say they were assisted by members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force, and the Salamanca Police Department in the investigation.  The passenger, 26 year-old Preston Quinn of Salamanca, is charged with Felony third-degree unlawful manufacturing of methamphetamine.  Police add that Marsh faces several traffic charges, including aggravated unlicensed operation.  More charges are pending.

Pennsylvania's unemployment slid a bit down in June after hitting a pandemic peak in April, but it was well above the national rate even as payrolls rebounded by more 230,000.  The state Department of Labor and Industry reported Friday that Pennsylvania's unemployment rate was 13-percent in June, down four-tenths of a percentage point from May's adjusted rate.  The state's rate went over 16-percent in April, the highest rate in over four decades of record-keeping. 

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WJTN Headlines for Sat., July 18, 2020

National Weather Service confirms tornado touchdown in town of Portland...
The National Weather Service is confirming a small tornado touched down... and, may have destroyed a barn in the town of Portland early Thursday evening.  It was a wild weather day in the county... with severe thunderstorms producing gusty winds and torrential rains during the late afternoon and evening hours.  The weather service reported widespread damage throughout the county, and Forecaster Liz Jurkowski says they have officially confirmed a small tornado in the Town of Portland... along with some severe wind damage in parts of Cattaraugus County -- including Salamanca.  There were also reports of flash flooding, causing some roads to be washed out.  Many locations in Chautauqua County received 1-2 inches of rainfall.


Chautauqua County reports three new case of COVID-19, county nearing 200 cases total...
There are three new confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus reported in Chautauqua County... today as the total nudges towards 200 overall.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says the three new cases include a man in his 20s... a woman in her 40s... and, a man in his 60s.  Wendel says they are among 44 active cases... all of whom are now recovering.  He adds there are three hospitalizations... and, there are now 196 total cases.  Wendel says there are now 775 cases under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.  There have now been 19,329 negative test results to date.


Cardinale blasts Goodell for "not doing his job" during coronavirus shut-down and reopening...
The Democratic challenger for the 150th State Assembly seat is going on the offensive Friday... saying incumbant Andy Goodell hasn't been "doing his job" during the coronavirus crisis.  Jamestown's Christina Cardinale says small businesses are hurting... and, she's talked to parents concerned about sending their children to school this fall.  Cardinale says "Mr. Goodell should be sitting down and talking with... small business owners and talking with constitutents he represents" about their needs during this time... including access to the federal Payroll Protection Plan.  Cardinale says Goodell's "radio silence" is deafening... and, cited two examples... the first being the closing of a long-standing restaurant in downtown Jamestown... Forte... where he boyfriend was a chef for five-years.  She questioned where the help was to allow them to keep open.  Cardinale also criticized Goodell's recent Facebook post about the removal of confederate statues... but, noted no one is removing statues in the 150th District.  Cardinale made her comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group Stations.


Goodell replies that he has been "doing his job," and has been very involved in working to get businesses back up and operating...
Incumbant State Assemblyman Andy Goodell says both he and his staff have been "quite busy" since the COVID-19 shut-down began to help businesses get back up and running.  Goodell responded to criticism from opponent Christina Cardinale by saying that he worked with local State Senator George Borrello to work on a "phased-in reopening" plan similar to the one later adopted by Governor Andrew Cuomo.  The Jamestown-area Republican says there was more... as they worked up a more detailed analysis that laid out criteria on how quickly some businesses can reopen.  He credited Gov. Cuomo for "considering our suggestion."  Goodell and Borrello submitted the initial proposal because, while New York City at the time was not anywhere near being able to reopen... Western New York -- including Chautauqua County -- would be at some point.  He says he has also co-sponsored new legislation to help people and businesses... including repurposing capital programs -- such as Start Up New York, and reducing some regulations to help start ups more. 


Dunkirk firefighters battle business blaze early Friday...
Dunkirk firefighters were called out to a blaze early Friday morning at a business in the city.  Fire Chief Mike Edwards says crews responded to the Refresco plant on Cliffstar Drive at about 4:40 a.m., found the blaze in the ceiling above the second floor advancing into a third-floor storage area.  Edwards says they found fire in the ceiling area...and, the sprinkler system helped contain the fire.  He says investigators determined the cause of the fire to be accidental, started by electrical wiring.  One firefighter was evaluated for a minor injury but remained on duty.

 

 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 17, 2020

There was some significant wind damage in northern Chautauqua County... and, parts of Cattaraugus County yesterday afternoon when a strong line of storms came through the area.  Forecaster Jim Mitchell with the National Weather Service says they received some video of a possible funnel cloud in the Silver Creek-Forestville area... but, nothing touched down.  Mitchell says they'll work to confirm that later today.  Mitchell also noted that winds... estimated at times to be about 60 MPH... destroyed a barn in Brocton... and, caused a lot of tree damage in Salamanca and Napoli in Cattaraugus County. 

There are two new, confirmed case of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County over the past day... and, the county is reporting the most hospitalizations for the virus in some time.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the Health Department reports the two cases are a person under the age of 18... and, a woman in her 40s.  Wendel says there are three people hospitalized as of July 14th... while 46 total cases are "active."  Wendel says there are now 193 confirmed cases of COVID... while 139 people have recovered.  He says there are 765 cases under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored... and there have been 18,792 negative test results to date.

Federal lawmakers are expected to return to Capitol Hill next week... and, among the items they'll be working on is a fourth, $1.5-trillion CARES Act stimulus bill.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who says a key part of that will likely be an extention of the extended unemployment benefit that runs out at the end of the month.  Reed says he would like to see a "flex benefit" up to the current $600 a week.  However.. he says Senate Republicans are looking at less.

However... Reed says federal unemployment officials say a "flex" plan that would be based on income would be a difficult... if not impossible lift.  He says the problem is -- in New York State -- some people would make 72-thousand dollars if the $600 benefit is drawn out over a year.  As for COVID-19 itself... the Corning Republican says...have a "healthy respect for this virus as we reopen."  However... he says the region has been fortunate. Reed made his comments during the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce's annual Congressional Breakfast meeting... which was held on-line Thursday morning.

Both candidates seeking to win the 23rd Congressional District seat this Fall should have ample funding to get their messages out this year.  Incumbant Republican Tom Reed and his Democratic challenger... Penn Yan's Tracy Mitrano... have released their second-quarter fund-raising reports... and, Reed reported just over one-million dollars being raised.  Reed, who is from Corning, says he's pleased with how his effort has gone... and, credited his supporters and volunteers for their hard work.

However... while Reed had a huge fund-raising advantage at the start of the campaign in 2016... Mitrano has made up some ground as the campaigns move into high-gear.  This time around says says her campaign brought in $266,000 during the second-quarter.  She now has $341,000 cash-on-hand.  She adds that she's proud of her efforts because 93-percent of what she raised last quarter was from "individuals from across the district."  She adds only 35-percent of the donations Reed received between March and June came from individual donors.

A Jamestown man arrested for trafficking crack-cocaine while on parole has pleaded guilty in federal court to intentionally selling the illegal narcotic.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says that 28 year-old Earl Stone, Junior -- also known as "Ooh Wop" -- pled guilty before U-S District Judge Richard Arcara to possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.  Prosecutors say Stone -- along with another parolee -- were arrested for violating terms of their release.  Both were found in the upstairs bedroom of a residence on West 7th Street... and, Stone had what appeared to be floor insulation from the attic all over his clothing.  During a search of the home... suspected crack cocaine was located in the attic on top of floor insulation consistent with what was on the defendant's clothing.  A digital scale with white residue and three cellular telephones were also seized.  Stone faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and $1-million fine when he is sentenced in October.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has voted to delay the official start of the Fall 2020 sports season... and, has cancelled the Fall regional and state championships.  In addition... Association President Paul Harrica says... they are also preparing to implement a condensed season schedule in January 2021 -- if high school sports remain prohibited throughout 2020 due to COVID-19.  Harrica says the decision comes at the recommendation of the association's COVID-19 Task Force.  Harrica adds that "as the state considers reopening, it is unrealistic to believe athletic seasons can start on August 24th as originally scheduled... so the start date has been moved to September 21st.

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WJTN News Headlines for July 16, 2020


There has been an eighth death of a Chautauqua County resident from the COVID-19 Virus.  County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says an elderly man succumbed to the disease recently at an out-of-state care facility.  Schuyler says the man had been discharged to a "lower-level" of care facility... and, was initially listed as having recovered.  However... she says that was not the case.  She adds "we are greatly saddened to hear of his passing and our condolences go out to his loved ones."  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says Wednesday's new cases are a person under 18... a woman in her 20s... and, a man in his 40s.  Wendel says there are now 45 active cases... who continue to recover under health department orders.  He says there are now 191 confirmed COVID cases in the county... while 680 cases under quaratine or isolation orders.  He adds that 138 have recovered.


Plain clothes detectives and their supervisors in the Jamestown Police Department may soon be wearing body cameras when they go out in public.  That after retired officer and City Councilman Jeff Russell proposed the move at this week's work session, saying it would make more of the detective bureau's interactions with the public more open and provide protections to them, the department and the city.

Other council members reacted positively to the proposal... among them was Vickeye James... who says more transparency is important.  Acting Police Chief Tim Jackson also said he supports the move... adding that all uniformed officers who are out patroling have to have a body camera on.  Jackson also says he would be able to change the policy as soon as he is able to... but, he first needs to see if it's a point of negotation with the Kendall Club-PBA... which represents rank-and-file JPD officers.  The policy would not apply to undercover drug agents with JPD's Metro Drug Task Force.


Jamestown Police paid tribute yesterday to a four-legged member of the department that recently passed away suddenly.  A noon-hour procession was held at JPD Headquarters to honor K-9 Promber with police, fire department members, and others standing along Second Street.  Acting Police Chief Tim Jackson told City Council members at this week's meeting that the K-9 suddenly passed last Saturday.

Officer Erik Kraft... who is the department's K-9 handler... and, had been matched with Promber from the dog's start at JPD.  Jackson says they have contacted the kennel where Promber came from to see if a new K-9 can be found.  In the meantime... the acting chief says they do have cover from other departments.

Jackson told lawmakers is would likely cost the department $10,000-$20,000 to get a new K-9, and get them properly trained.  However... he also said that Kraft has been through the training as well, and that could save some money down the road.

The Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood will be re-open it's doors to the public starting this morning.  That from Marketing Director Sharon Bennett... who says the mall has "proactively implemented rigorous disinfectant and cleaning practices to provide a safe and enjoyable experience."  Until further notice... Bennett says mall-goers are asked to practice social distancing, wear a face covering and adhere to individual tenant COVID-19 policies.  Not all stores may be open in the mall yet... so Bennett recommends calling ahead and to follow along on their social media sites for more information.  Chautauqua Mall hours will be 11 AM to 7 PM, Monday through Saturday.... and, 11 AM to 6 PM on Sundays. 

A Jamestown-area woman faces a felony drug charge after her car was stopped for a traffic infraction on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott earlier this week.  Ellicott Town Police say a patrol pulled over 43 year-old Lisa Tibbetts shortly before 2 AM Monday... and, she was allegedly found in possession of more than 2-ounces of methamphetamine.  Tibbetts was charged with second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, arraigned.


Five juveniles are in trouble after allegedly leading Dunkirk Police on a pursuit in a stolen vehicle Tuesday afternoon.  Officers located the vehicle near the intersection of Maple Avenue and West Courtney Street at about 4 PM.  Police Chief Dave Ortolano says the vehicle was initially reported as stolen last Thursday.  He says officers tried to pull the vehicle over, but the driver failed to comply.

Ortolano says officers found all the juveniles inside the car... and, all of them will be charged in Family Court. The driver was transported to Dunkirk Police headquarters for further questioning, while the four passengers were turned over to a parent or guardian. Police say one of the juveniles was evaluated for a possible panic attack and was transported to Brooks Memorial Hospital by Dunkirk Fire.

Pennsylvania is imposing broad new statewide restrictions on bars and restaurants and larger indoor gatherings. Gov. Tom Wolf cites an "alarming escalation" in new coronavirus infections in making the announcement Wednesday. The Democratic governor says people who refused to wear a mask or abide by social distancing requirements when patronizing bars and restaurants are responsible for some of the virus's resurgence. 


The 90 year old Bemus Point-Stow Ferry may be running again later this year.... that from Jay Kuntz, Co-President of the Sea Lion Limited Group, owners of the vessel.  Earlier this week the 45 ton ferry was lifted out of the water at Stow, so crews could get to a place on the hull where and 8 by 13 foot section will be replaced.  Kuntz says the ferry will also get a new wooden deck and some cosmetic repairs as well.  He estimates the cost of this year's work at over $160,000... with most of the money coming from donations.  Prior to the Chautauqua Lake Bridge, the ferry was the only way to cross the narrows of the lake. 

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WJTN News Headlines for July 15, 2020

Chautauqua County is quickly closing in on 200 confirmed cases of COVID-19... with nine more being added over the past day.  That from Interim County Executive P-J Wendel... who says that brings the total to 188 cases.  Wendel says they include two people under the age of 18... three people in their 20s... a man in his 30s... a woman in her 40s... a woman in her 50s... and, a man in his 60s.  He says there are now 138 people who have recovered... and, there are now 609 cases under quarantine or isolation orders.  Wendel adds there are now 18,373 negative test results to date.


The shut-down caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is causing budget problems for the city of Jamestown over the first-half of the year... especially on the revenue side.  That from City Comptroller Ryan Thompson... who outlined the issues during last (Monday) night's City Council Work Session.  Thompson says payment-in-lieu-of-tax payments from the Board of Public Utilities are down about 5-percent compared to 2019 at the same time -- or about $100,000.

Thompson adds that second-quarter sales tax revenues will also be down significantly... nearly 13.5-percent.  He says that will put the city about 2.5-percent behind last year at mid-year.  Thompson says their Consolidated Highway Improvement Program... or CHIPS funding... is being cut by 20-percent.  He says they are still awaiting word on General Municipal Aid from the state.  On the expense side... Thompson says the only significant increase was overtime in the fire department, which was up 61-percent due to some added calls.  

Four more states have been added to Governor Cuomo's travel advisory requiring people who have traveled to New York from those states to quarantine for 14 days.  Cuomo says all those states have seen "significant community spread" of COVID-19... and, include Ohio, Minnesota, New Mexico and Wisconsin.  The quarantine applies to anyone arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average... or a state with a 10-percent or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing blistering criticism over a report that found no strong link between a controversial state directive that sent thousands of recovering coronavirus patients into nursing homes... and, some of the nation's deadliest nursing home outbreaks.  Scientists, health care professionals and elected officials assailed the report released last week for failing to address the actual impact of the March 25th order.  Some have accused the state of using the study to absolve Cuomo by reaching the same conclusion he floated for weeks - that infected nursing home employees were the real drivers of the outbreaks. 

Jamestown Public School officials are reviewing the use of 'Red Raiders' as the high school school’s nickname following nationwide calls to remove racist symbols from daily life. JPS Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says the district has formed a committee comprised of students, faculty, coaches and community members to hear feedback on both sides of the conversation. Dr. Whitaker says it's also important to received feedback from Native Americans in our area and he's reached out to Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong-senior, to have that conversation. In the meantime, the Superintendent says the committee is currently in the information-gathering phase. 

Whitaker says the committee will look at what 'Red Raiders' means and if the name and logo can be kept... modified... or changed entirely. He adds that this is not an issue that can be fixed overnight, which is why they hope to utilize the committee format to make sure all feel heard in the process. 

A Jamestown man has been arrested after allegedly being found with quantities of methamphetamine and Fentanyl in his possession while on parole.  City police were called to assist State Parole officials in finding 34 year-old Richard Philbrick about 8 PM Monday night... and, located him at a home on McDaniel Avenue.  Officers say the found Philbrick with the drugs, and supplies for packaging and distributing drugs.  He is charged with two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and one of criminally using drug paraphernalia.  Philbrick was taken to the city jail pending arraignment. 


The city of Jamestown is announcing that part of the Riverwalk will be temporarily closed for construction work between North Main Street and Panzarella Island.  The city's Parks, Recreation & Conservation Department says the project will begin today  and, affect both the north and south sides of the Riverwalk.  Public Works Director Jeff Lehman says there are a number of improvements being made.  Lehman says the projects include the state DEC's rehabilitation of the Warner Dam Rehabilitation over the next several months... and, the ongoing Riverwalk Green Infrastructure and Water Quality Improvements project.

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WJTN News Headlines for Aug 12, 2020

Two teenagers sustained minor injuries in a motor vehicle accident involving a Utility Terrain Vehicle in the Town of Chautauqua yesterday morning. Sheriff's Deputies along side county medics and ...

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