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Local News Headlines Archives for 2020-08

WJTN News Headlines for Aug. 31, 2020

A city woman is jailed after allegedly stabbing another person during a domestic incident last weekend on Jamestown's southside.  City police were called to the scene on Baker Street shortly before Midnight Saturday night, and learned that 21 year-old Kiara Smith-Villa had stabbed the unidentified person with a knife.  Officers also learned that the victim had an order of protection for Smith-Villa to keep away.  The victim's immediate condition was not released.  Smith was sent to the city jail on charges of second-degree assault and aggravated criminal contempt, pending arraignment.


A Jamestown man faces several charges after he was allegedly caught driving nearly 20 miles an hour over the speed limit with three-times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood.  Sheriff's officers say they stopped 35 year-old Jeffrey Bohall on Manchester Road in the town of Kiantone last Friday night for going 54 miles an hour in a 35 mile zone.  Deputies say they found Bohall had two previous DWI convictions, making the new charge a Felony.  He was also charged with consuming an alcoholic beverage while operating a motor vehicle.  One of the conditions placed on his license was that he not operate a motor vehicle without a alcohol interlock device installed... and the car he was driving did not have one.  Officers say Bohall also had a blood alcohol content of 0.26-percent... making this arrest aggravated driving while intoxicated.  He was released to a sober party and will be back in the town of Kiantone Court at a later date.


A statewide event called "Child Care Day of Action..." was held locally late last week in Chautauqua County.  The county's two state lawmakers held a news conference in Irving to call for the release of federal CARES Act funding to local child care providers.  State Senator George Borrello and Assemblyman Andy Goodell say the state received millions of dollars, but has failed to release most of the funding.

The founder and executive director of Chautauqua Lake Child Care Center, Beth Starks, spoke about the challenges child care providers in Chautauqua County are facing because of the pandemic.  Starks says "every single day that we're open, we continue to lose money, and there's very little support."  She says most providers have "only weeks left" before they will have to close their doors.  Starks says child care was in a crisis situation before COVID-19 and in the past four months, the situation has gotten much worse.  Borrello and Goodell were also joined by Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel. 


 Like many other events, the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce will be going virtual when it comes to the 2020 Chamber Awards Banquet.  The event usually attracts more than 300 people... which is too large for an enclosed space.  That from Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Tranum... who says this year's banquet will also be memorable because it will feature keynote speaker Amanda Brinkman of the Small Business Revolution.  Tranum says Brinkman's appearance will serve as a prelude to Small Business Revolution's fifth season featuring the village of Fredonia which is expected to launch in November.  The 2020 Chamber Banquet will be held on Thursday, October 8th.

 Rhetoric at the Republican National Convention claimed chaos in American cities.  President Donald Trump, who delivered his remarks to a crowd gathered at the White House, called for "law and order," and said the country could not allow "mob rule."  But the reality is far more complicated.  Experts point out that violent crime has remained stable and low, although homicides have risen a bit in some cities during the pandemic.  In many major cities... there was looting and property destruction during the height of the George Floyd protests, but order was restored months ago in most places. 

Escape Rooms Jamestown will open in a new location on Wednesday.  Owner, Cathy Johnner, says they'll now be operating downstairs at 100 East Second Street... the same building that houses the Dikeman-Young Gallery... where she and her staff spent the summer rebuilding the space for four escape rooms.  And they'll have a new entry way filled with vintage arcade games that people can play before or after their 'escape' experience.  Because of COVID-19, Johnner has reduced the number of people in each escape to four... and limited the time to 45 minutues.  She thinks that'll allow family and friends who are already socializing to come out and do something fun.  Masks will be required.  The new Escape Rooms' Grand Opening will run for a week, with special pricing each day... including the Labor Day weekend.  More information and reservations are available at escaperoomsjamestown.com.

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WJTN Headlines for Sat. Aug., 29, 2020

Cluster of COVID-19 cases directly linked to Fieldbrook Foods grows to 63...
The COVID-19 cluster of cases reported from the recent outbreak at a Dunkirk food processor has now reached 63.  That Friday from Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler, who addressed the situation during a press conference call with County Executive P-J Wendel.  Schulyer says 49 of the cases are directly linked to workers at Fieldbrook, and 14 others from "close contact" with a positive case.  She made an emotional plea for people to follow social distancing guidelines, and say's she's "hopeful that because of this size of an outbreak... that people are paying attention."  Earlier... Schulyer said the first case involving someone at Fieldbrook Foods was reported on Aug. 16.  However... she says they are still looking into the possibility that "two or three" large gatherings in the Dunkirk area may have also played a role.  Wendel addressed criticism that the county did not notify the public early on regarding Fieldbrook.  He says there were a lot of "moving parts..." and they wanted to make sure they got out the correct information.  Wendel and Schuyler say 393 of Fieldbrook's 650 employees were tested during a mass clinic this past Tuesday, and another is being put on by the state this weekend.  Schuyler says of those tested, only 24 positives were confirmed.  She also says they didn't see the need to close Fieldbrook because of it's stringent screening and cleaning protocols.


Eight new cases of COVID-19 reported Friday in Chautauqua County... 
The impact of the cluster of COVID-19 cases at a Dunkirk food processing plant continues to play a role in the number of new and active cases in Chautauqua County.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says there are now eight new cases of the virus... and, that's increased the number of active cases to 82.  Wendel says the new cases include a young female adult... a man and a woman in their 20s, a man in his 30s, a woman in her 50s, and two men and one woman in their 60s.  He says that brings the number of confirmed cases to 360... while 269 have now recovered.  Wendel says three people are hospitalized... while 304 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders... and, being monitored.  He adds that 535 peope are under the "domestic traveler quarantine" after coming here from a state listed on the New York State travel advisory.  There have now been 32,584 negative test results to date.


Cuomo says colleges that see a 5-percent increase in COVID cases will have to go to remote learning for two weeks...
Governor Andrew Cuomo says New York will require schools and colleges to switch to remote learning for two weeks when cases surge.  Cuomo said he expects campus-based clusters now that many schools have welcomed students back for the fall semester.  Under the new guidance... if colleges have 100 cases or if the number of cases equal 5-percent of their faculty-and-student population, they must go to remote learning for two weeks.  The school's situation will be reassessed at the end of the two weeks.


Students who are also parents facing major stuggles with pandemic...
As the school year begins, parents who also are students face enormous challenges brought on by the pandemic. Student parents were already vulnerable to living in poverty and navigating time constraints, according to Mary Ann DeMario, who runs a program at Monroe Community College in Rochester to support single parent students. As the sixth month of COVID-19 shutdowns begins, she points out that job layoffs, lack of broadband access, and closed child-care centers have piled on even more pressure.  Pre-pandemic, she says they were already "at-risk" for financial poverty, and other issues.  She notes that finding affordable childcare is the most pressing issue among the 2,700 student parents at her school. Nationwide, nearly four million U-S undergraduate students are parents or guardians of children under age 18.  To help students who also are parenting, she says Congress and state lawmakers should continue to provide enhanced funding for emergency grants or other forms of cash assistance.


Roger Tory Peterson's birthday being celebrated at RTPI today...
The Roger Tory Peterson Institute is having a big party today to celebrate the day Peterson was born -- 112 years ago.  Events will run all day, until 4 p.m., at the Peterson Institute on Curtis Street, with music, beverages, a food truck and what Jane Johnson, Director of Museum Operations, calls a unique opportunity to see some of Peterson's work that's not ordinarily on display.  The institute's new Chief Executive Officer, Arthur Pearson... a voice major in college... will lead the singing of 'Happy Birthday' at noon Saturday.  There'll be reduced admission at RTPI all day.  A renowned artist and naturalist... Roger Tory Peterson was born in Jamestown on Aug. 28, 1908.


Barmore warns of DMV on-line scam... 
The Chautauqua County Department of Motor Vehicles is warning residents of several scammer websites that have popped up offering to make people an appointment at one of their DMV offices as early as the next day for a fee.  County Clerk Larry Barmore says these websites are not sanctioned by the DMV... and, they are just trying to scam you out of your money.  Barmore says if you use them you will not have an appointment, and you will have lost the money they charged you.  He says they do not charge you to make an appointment. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Aug 28, 2020

It was a wild weather afternoon Thursday in Jamestown... and, Chautauqua County as a whole.  A number of power outages were reported in the wake of strong winds and heavy rain.  Parts of Lakewood, and much of Frewsburg into Kennedy were without power for some time last night.  A line of severe storms came through the area... downing a number of trees and power lines across the area.  The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office reported some windows were blown out of a building in Jamestown... and, a roof was at least partially blown off a home in the village of Celoron.  

There are 37 new cases of the COVID-19 Virust being reported the past day in Chautauqua County... largely related to the outbreak at Fieldbrook Foods in Dunkirk.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says the new cases include three persons under the age of 18... a young male adult... and, eight men and three women in their 40s.  Wendel says this brings the local total to 352 confirmed cases... while 267 have recovered.  He says there are now 76 active cases... while 236 others are under quarantine or isolation orders.  Wendel says 501 persons are now under the "domestic traveler quarantine."  There have now been 31,990 negative test results to date.

 
New York state health officials are closely monitoring Western New York's COVID-19 rate of infection after getting news the rate has now reached 2-percent.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo... who says that's not good news... and during a conference call with media Thursday... he said the caution flag is "flying a little higher."  Cuomo says they will set up eight test sites in the region... including one in northern Chautauqua County.

Cuomo said that 53 of Chautauqua County's new cases have been tied to the recent COVID outbreak at Fieldbrook Foods in Dunkirk... where the first case was reported on August 16th.  He says the new testing sites will use the Abbott Testing machines... which will provide results in about an hour.  Cuomo says people will have to make an appointment.


Local Congressman Tom Reed says he's "very concerned" in the wake of this week's vandalism at his campaign headquarters in Corning... but, adds that neither he nor his campaign are being deterred from continuing.  A brick was thrown through a front window late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning at that downtown location in the Central New York city.

Reed also stood behind his initial comments about the likelyhood that his "opponents or the far left" were behind it.  In addition to his campaign staff, he is also concerned for his family living in Corning.  Reed criticized his Democratic opponent, Tracy Mitrano, for blasting his comments where he indicated that his "opponents" or those on the "far left" were responsible for what happened.  The Corning Republican says it's "obvious" to him.


Incumbant Congressman Tom Reed's opponent in the November election is condemning the vandalism done to his campaign headquarters last Tuesday night.  However... Penn Yan Democrat Tracy Mitrano says Reed is also jumping to conclusions by saying it was perpetrated by the Republican's "opponents and far left extremists."  Mitrano says there was no justification for throwing a brick through a front window at Reed's campaign headquarters... and, she called for a thorough investigation. Mitrano adds, though, that in his statement Wednesday, Reed was wrong to automatically assume someone on "the left" did this... and says this is "McCarthy-like stuff."  She made her comments during a press call with Southern Tier Media.


  The Chautauqua County Board of Elections has already received more than 4,000 applications for absentee ballots, with about two months to go before Election Day.  That's the word from County Elections Commissioners Norm Green and Brian Abram.  Abram... who is Republican Commissioner, says the number compares to what the county typically handles during a presidential election year.

Abram says ballots will be mailed starting on September 18th.  Because of concerns over mail delivery, Green is advising people not to wait too long before sending their application.  He says the last day to apply is a week before the election... but, with current mail issues... he says that could be a problem.  For an application... go on-line to the Board of Elections website, or call 753-4580. 


The man at the helm of the Jamestown Public School District is blasting Governor Andrew Cuomo over his 'slight-of-hand' in state aid to schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In a recent interview on WJTN, Dr. Kevin Whitaker says the federal government provided $3-million to JPS, however he expressed his frustrations with the state.

Whitaker says while losing 20-percent of aid from the state-level would "survivable" ... the district would have to consider cuts to programs that are not mandated. He says this would be devastating to parents, students and staff.  Dr. Whitaker is encouraging the school community to reach out the federal representatives and ask for their continued support for education. 
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Aug 27, 2020

Local Congressman Tom Reed is calling out "extreme behavior" after someone threw a brick through a front window of his Corning campaign office Tuesday night.  A news report in Central New York has a picture of the broken window, with glass strewn throughout the office.  Reed expressed outrage at the violence... saying that "volunteers are usually sitting right by that window.  I am thankful no one was here when this happened, and no one was hurt.”  

The rate of positive COVID-19 cases in New York state has now been below one-percent for 19 straight days.  On Tuesday... point-79 percent of test results reported in the state were positive.  However... New York state is closely monitoring the recent increase in Western New York's infection rate.  Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters during a conference call Wednesday that Western New York remains under a caution flag, although the infection rate seems to be getting better. Two recent clusters of cases... including one of 22 cases tied to Fieldbrook Foods in Dunkirk... are being blamed for that.

 
A recent network news report shows that funding designed to help farmers get through the COVID-19 crisis mostly benefitted large, industrial farms as opposed to smaller operations.  U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York says she wants answers about what happened with the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program from Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue.

Gillibrand says -- if true -- the numbers show "striking disparities" between what some huge farms received... and what most smaller farms got.  She says nearly 7,000 farms received less than $200 from the program.  

A Cattaraugus man was arrested on charges including third-degree incest and first-degree coercion stemming from an incident in the Town of East Otto. Sheriff's Officers in Little Valley say 42 year-old Michael Kulczyk was arraigned Wednesday afternoon and sent to the Cattaraugus County Jail on $10-thousand dollars cash bail. 

The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy will celebrate it's 30th anniversary during a "virtual" annual meeting tonight... with a talk by a state official headlining the event.  The conservancy was officially launched in 1990 by a group dedicated to protecting the huge watershed area of Chautauqua County... by obtaining land around the lake to use as buffers to filter water going into that and other local lakes.  Executive Director John Jablonski says they'll be joined by State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid (Cool-ih-sayd)...

[CLIP]  Jablonski-30th-#2  "other organizations...."

In addition... Watershed Conservancy Board President Rebecca Nystrom says there will be a business meeting as part of the celebration... and a short question and answer session after Kulleseid's presentation.  She adds they will also elect a new board of directors.  Jablonski says the Zoom Conference anniversary meeting begins at 7 PM.  For more information on their 30th anniversay... he says go to either Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy's website... or their Facebook Page.

Nine new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus have been reported in Chautauqua County over the past day... bringing the local total now to 315 cases.  That from Interim County Executive P-J Wendel... who says there are now 39 active cases -- two of which are hospitalized.  Wendel says 267 people have now recovered from the virus... and 159 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders.  He says 475 people are under the "domestic traveler quarantine" after arriving in the county from a state listed on the New York travel advisory. 

City lawmakers in Jamestown will consider a local law next Monday night to have a 10-year residency requirement for members of the Police Department.  An initial proposal of a five-year requirement was debated for about half-an-hour at Monday's work session... but, it was later changed -- and will be a 10-year measure at Monday's voting session.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says such requirements are legal... but, adds there will be a grace period for new hires to find a house, or apartment.

The local law grew out of discussions about possible police reforms earlier in the year... and, seemed generally supported by council members.  They include retired JPD Officer Jeff Russell... who says employees, who are also residents, means they have a vested interest in what happens in the community they serve.  A couple of council members felt a five-year requirement wasn't enough, so 7 and 10-year swere discussed.  In a statement sent to the Jamestown Post-Journal... the union representing officers, the Kendall Club-PBA, came out in opposition to the proposal.
 

No injuries were reported when flames extensively damaged a garage on Jamestown's northside early Wednesday morning.  City fire officials say crews were called to 120 Fulton Street about 1:30 AM... and found heavy smoke coming from the structure.  Crews knocked down the flames quickly... but, there was heavy fire damage inside.  They say the family got out of the attached home safely... but, a pet bird perished.  An off-duty shift was called in to assist in fighting the blaze... the cause of which is under investigation.

The Chautauqua County Legislature on Wednesday recognized two businesses in the county for exemplary standards in customer safety and service during the COVID-19 pandemic.  During their monthly meeting, legislators announced certificates of recognition for Chautauqua Marina and Big Inlet Brewing, both located in Mayville.  Legislator Bill Ward says the leadership demonstrated by both businesses has contributed to helping the county and New York State "flatten the curve."

Chautauqua Marina and Big Inlet Brewing are the first two businesses to be recognized under the county's Hospitality Business Recognition Program.  Also during Wednesday's meeting, legislators approved resolutions to accept funds from the FAA and New York State DOT for a runway lighting improvement project at the Dunkirk Airport, as well as performance of on-and-off airport obstruction removal at the Jamestown Airport.  Legislator Bob Scudder of Fredonia voted against both resolutions.

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WJTN News Headlines for AUG 26, 2020

A Jamestown woman faces charges for allegedly threatening people with a knife Monday afternoon. City police were called to 11 Water Street for a reported person with a weapon.... and, found a neighbor dispute escalated by 51 year-old Lisa Boutelle damaging a bicycle.  Officers say when Boutelle was confronted, she allegedly lunged at the group with the knife, causing minor injury to one person. She was located a short distance away and taken into custody for felony second-degree assault, second-degree criminal mischief and fourth-degree criminal mischief. 


A southern Erie County student has been identified as the 16-year-old  victim of a fatal falling accident in Zoar Valley.  In a statement posted to the Springville-Griffith Institute Central School District... Superintendent Kimberly Moritz says "we received notification Saturday evening that rising junior, Brooke Walker fell while hiking in Zoar Valley and tragically lost her life." Springville High School Pricipal  James Bialasik said.... "Brooke was an amazing young lady, talented, smart, funny and athletic among countless other positive attributes." The Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office reported the 16 year-old fell off a steep ledge shortly before 6 PM last Saturday.


A local maker of electronic fixtures started in a neighbor's garage in 1985 is still going strong today... even in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Local Congressman Tom Reed was at Falconer Electronics on Everett Street in Falconer this morning to learn more about how the company has been able to shift to selling more of it's product on-line.

Company Owner Roger Hall teamed up with local consultant Curt Anderson to improve his on-line presence after Wal-Mart and other "brick and mortar" operations shifted their emphasis with the increased use of Amazon. In fact... Anderson says Falconer Electronics is the first place that pops up in searches for makers of electric circuit boards, and harnesses.  Roger Hall says they employ 25 people that do the work by hand. Hall says they operate one-shift at their Falconer location... which they've been at since 2000.  He adds they hope to bring more people on as business picks up.


There are five new cases of the COVID-19 Virus being reported in Chautauqua County over the past day... bringing the total number of cases to 306.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says there are 31 active cases, that continue to recover.  He says 266 cases have recovered, and one person is hospitalized.  Wendel says the new cases include a man and woman in their 20s... a woman in her 30s... a male in his 40s... and, a man in his 70s.  He adds there are 150 cases under quarantine or isolation orders... and, 474 people are under the "domestic traveler quarantine."

New York's attorney general added Tuesday to the growing pile of lawsuits seeking to halt disruptions to the U.S. Postal Service, citing substantial delays in mail delivery ahead of November's presidential election - including several communities in her state that have gone some days without mail. Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, said the changes amounted to voter suppression. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy recently announced that he was suspending new operational changes to mail service amid complaints that they had led to delivery slowdowns. He has denied it is part of any attempt to sabotage the election.

Congressman Tom Reed is among those heading up President Donald Trump's campaign in New York state... but, he is only taking part on a limited basis with this week's virtual Republican National Convention.  During his stop yesterday in Falconer... Reed says he enjoyed opening night Monday... especially the speech by U-S Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.  Reed says most of the week will be spent dealing with matters in the 23rd District.

The people closest to President Trump -- his family -- starred on the second night of the RNC Tuesday.  First lady Melania Trump was th featured speaker as the GOP works to reintroduce the president to the American electorate in the midst of the campaign and the pandemic.  She spoke from White House, and the president's younger daughter Tiffany and son Eric will also be featured.  The focus on family comes as the first-term president fights to improve his standing in a 2020 presidential race he is currently losing.

A Bemus Point woman was arrested twice within 24-hours on charges stemming from a domestic violence incident involving a child.  Last Sunday... State Police responded to a home in the village and found 30 year-old Taija Pettit allegedly struck a minor victim about four times and dragged her upstairs by the ear.  Troopers say this happened in the presence of another child.  When a third-party attempted to stop Pettit from abusing the child, troopers say Pettit allegedly struck him multiple times.  Prior to be taken into custody, she is accused of acting disorderly and attempted to flee the scene.  Sheriff's deputies say they were called Monday to a residence on Dutch Hollow Road in the Town of Ellery for a reported fight.... and, found Pettit threw multiple objects and grabbed the throat of a person she had an order of protection with. She is being held pending arraignment. 

A teenager was arrested for allegedly damaging another person's property in front of several minors in the Village of Falconer last Saturday. Ellicott Town Police were called to a fight at 235 North Phetteplace Street -- in the Falconer Park just before 4 PM. Officers say 19 year-old Tina Schroeder was taken into custody on charges including fourth-degree criminal mischief and endangering the welfare of a child. She was issued an appearance ticket for Ellicott Town Court. 


Robert H. Jackson was a Supreme Court Justice... and he came from Frewsburg.  Amy Thompson, a social studies teacher in the Frewsburg district, wants to drive that fact home for today's students.   Thompson was one of this year's Teacher Fellows at the Robert H. Jackson Center.  She is looking to develop a map pointing out important places for Jackson when he lived in the village more than a century ago... including the house he grew up in near "The Igloo."  Thompson believes a lot is known about Jackson's work in Jamestown in the early 20th century... much less about the place he went home to. Her goal is to have a 'Jackson week' in the Frewsburg schools each year, with resources for teachers in every grade.  Amy Thomspson presented her plans at the end of the Teacher Fellow program last last week at the Jackson Center in Jamestown.

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WJTN News Headlines for Aug. 25, 2020

Chautauqua County health officials are currently monitoring an increased number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 among employees at the Fieldbrook Foods in Dunkirk.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says lab results received over the weekend confirmed 15 new COVID-19 cases in Chautauqua County... with 10 of those associated with Fieldbrook Foods.  Wendel adds there are now over 30 active cases in the county... most of those are associated with the food processor.
 
To date... Wendel says a total of 30 positive cases have been associated with Fieldbrook Foods... and, of those, 24 were workers and six were identified close contacts of the workers.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says they received the first positive COVID-19 test result related to Fieldbrook Foods on August 16th... and, "the initial case investigations found several confirmed cases associated with this employer, indicating the potential for a larger outbreak to occur." 
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The 15 new COVID cases brings the county's total number of cases to 301... with 261 now recovered.  Wendel says the largest groups including two men and three women in their 30s... and, another man and two women in their 40s.  He adds 130 cases under quarantine or isolation orders... and, 414 persons are under the "domestic traveler quarantine" after coming here from a state listed on the New York State travel advisory.  There have now been 30,542 negative test results to date.


Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist is urging city residents to remain vigilant against the spread of COVID-19 after learning that a "high number" of the COVID cases at Fieldbrook Foods are workers who live in the Jamestown-area.  Sundquist outlined the concerns during his Mayor's Report at last night's work session at the Board of Public Utilities Office.  Sundquist says he discussed the matter with county officials Monday... and adds the city remains steadfast in enforcing safety protocols in their buildings.

Sundquist calls this a "serious matter..." and he urged anyone who is contacted for tracing to "fully cooperate with the County Health Department" so those cases can be isolated, and prevent the spread to more people.  He says "we're at a crucial juncture with COVID-19, and we need each and every citizen to remain diligent in following health directives.  Governor Cuomo earlier Monday added there was also a cluster of cases in the Buffalo-area they are watching.


A confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus has been found at Jamestown Community College... and, college officials have fully put their protocols in motion.  JCC officials announced Monday morning that a person "associated with the college community" had recently tested positive for the virus.  However... Vice-President of Student Affairs Kirk Young says -- due to privacy laws -- they can't identify the person... nor which campus was involved.  Young says Chautauqua County health officials were notified, and will do contact tracing.  He adds they have check points set up to screen people at each of their buildings.

Based on CDC recommendations -- Young says they developed, and put those protocols in place several months ago to ensure that anyone who had contact with someone who tested positive for the virus would be given information about quarantine measures, and testing.  All students and employees were notified of the COVID case in an e-mail Monday morning.

A man from Dunkirk has now been identified as the person who drowned in an accident in a fishing pond in the town of Dunkirk Sunday afternoon.  Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene off Bennett Road just before 2 PM.  Officers say 47 year-old Cristobal Navarro was found, and pronounced dead at the scene.  Investigators have been in contact with family members and the investigation is ongoing at this time.

An Erie, Pennsylvania woman faces Leandra's Law charges for allegedly driving while intoxicated with a 10 year-old child in the car early yesterday morning.  Sheriff's officers stopped a vehicle on Route 474 in the Town of French Creek just after 1 AM... and, identified the operator as 38 year-old Latasha Myers.  Deputies say Myers was taken into custody on additional charges of unlicensed operator and move from lane unsafely.  The child was returned to family members in Pennsylvania. 


A new market has opened in the village of Sherman at the former location of Mack's Hometown Market... which closed two years ago.  Interim Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel says Graham’s Market has opened at 104 Church Street... the original home of a Quality Markets store in 1969.  The closure of Mack's in 2018 created a “food desert” due to the fact that the closest grocery stores offering fresh produce were approximately 10 miles from Sherman.  Wendel says Sherman's population includes a large number of senior citizens and young families... and, both have limited access to transportation and therefore have limited access to nutritional food choices with no local grocery store. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Aug 24, 2020


Firefighters from the city of Dunkirk and East Dunkirk responded to a report of a possible drowning in a pond in the town of Dunkirk near Main Street Extension Sunday afternoon.  The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office says the call was around 2 PM.  The County Coroner's Office also responded. No further information is available at this time.

 

 
A 16 year-old girl has died after falling from a steep ledge last Saturday in Zoar Valley in the Cattaraugus County town of Otto.  Sheriff's deputies in Little Valley say they and State Police troopers were called to the scene shortly before 6 PM, and found the teen had died from her injuries.  Officers say Otto, and Gowanda Fire and EMS crews responded to the scene, along with State Forest Rangers and Environmental Conservation Police.  The investigation is continuing.

   Chautauqua County residents struggling with mental health and addiction issues are being warned of a recent spike in non-fatal overdoses as well as suspected fatal overdoses.  County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says this may be a sign that there is a dangerous batch of heroin in the community.  Since the beginning of the month... Schuyler says there have been 24 non-fatal overdoses, and 4 suspected fatal overdoses reported.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone says it parallels an increase in calls to his office for mental health, and domestic violence incidents.

Quattrone made his comments for last weekend's Community Spotlight program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.  Schulyer says Narcan was given after at least 19 of the 24 non-fatal overdoses, and at least one of four suspected fatal overdoses.  All four of the recent overdose deaths involved heroin or some other opioid.  Schuyler says the county averaged about 20 overdoses per month in 2019.  Through July 2020... the county has experienced an average of 29 overdoses per month.
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If you are in crisis... and, need help or treatment... you can contact the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County at 661-9044.  Association Director Steven Cobb reminds those struggling with addiction that Fentenyl can be mixed in with other drugs, making it a deadly combination.  County Director of Community Mental Hygiene Services Patricia Brinkman says the county offers a wide range of prevention, treatment, and recovery services.  For more information... go on-line to CombatAddictionCHQ.com....  For local Narcan training and distribution... and the local Syringe Exchange Program, contact Evergreen Health Services by calling 541-0678. 


A Pennsylvania woman faces Leandra's Law charges for allegedly driving while intoxicated with a 10 year-old child in the car early this morning. Chautauqua County Sheriff's Deputies stopped a vehicle on Route 474 in the Town of French Creek just after 1 AM... and, identified the operator as 38 year-old Latasha Myers, of Erie. Officers say Myers was taken into custody on additional charges of unlicensed operator and move from lane unsafely. The child was returned to family members in Pennsylvania.

A man on a unique quest in taking a few days rest in the Jamestown area....Peter Gazzard is traveling the world on his bicycle. 

Gazzard, who goes by 'Gazzie', has ridden over 62 thousand miles across five continents.  He just turned 66-years-old and says he feels pretty good.  The motivation for his journey was simple... he wanted to see the world, and a bicycle was an affordable way to do it.  Gazzard had a career as a computer technician before he sold everything and started to ride.  His next destination is Florida, then  back to Europe, finishing in Africa... over the next 18 months to 2 years.  While in the Jamestown area, Gazzie will rest up and meet with other bicyclists to tell his story. 

New York state will apply for a federal program for unemployment money now that the state won't have to come up with additional funds to cover a portion of what the Trump administration had originally proposed.  President Donald Trump had signed an executive order earlier this month making money available.  It was announced as a $400-per-week benefit, but put the onus on the states to pay $100 a week of that amount.  At the time... Governor Andrew Cuomo called the idea "laughable."  The Labor Department issued guidance last week saying states would not have to contribute.


Chautauqua County is nearing it's 300th positive case of the COVID-19 Virus... as eight more cases were added late last week.  That from Interim County Executive P-J Wendel... who says that brings the total to 286 locally.  Wendel says the new cases include two men in their 20s... a woman in her 30s... a man in his 40s... a male and female in their 50s... a woman in her 60s... and, a man in his 70s.  He says there are currently 19 active cases... while 258 cases have now recovered.  There are 80 cases under quarantine or isolation orders... and, 965 people are under the 14-day, "domestic traveler quarantine."


A man from Westfield was being treated for injuries after suffering a medical issue, and his car left Route 394 in the town of Chautauqua and crashed into a utility pole and ended up in a pond.  Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene -- near Parker Road just before 6 PM last Friday.  Officers say 46 year-old Donald Dipirro was northbound when he had the medical emergency and lost consciousness.  Deputies say Dipirro's car went off the road, and traveled into a pond and became submerged.  Dipirro was treated at the scene, and taken to Westfield Memorial Hospital for evaluation.   Electrical power was disrupted in the area for a short time.


The Fredonia Village Board has given the go-ahead to several contracts for the Fredonia Opera House Improvement Project.  During a recent board meeting held by video conference... trustees approved contracts for general construction, electrical, mechanical and HVAC work.  Consultant Travis Gordon says, they will not be able to replace the windows as part of the $1.3-million project.

Gordon says the project will also involve installation of a new marquee... along with improvements to the public restrooms, heating and air conditioning.  Village officials hope work on the project can get underway soon.


 The State University of New York has appointed a former top advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo as chancellor of the 64-campus public college system.  Jim Malatras  succeeds Kristina Johnson, who takes over as president of Ohio State University on September 1st.  Malatras will be the first SUNY graduate to lead the system.  He was previously vice chancellor and a senior advisor to Chancellor Emeritus Nancy Zimpher... and is now president of SUNY Empire State College.  The appointment comes as a challenging new semester gets under way for SUNY students in the wake of the pandemic.

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WJTN News Headlines for Aug 21, 2020


Two people and 5 dogs were rescued from an early morning trailer fire in the Town of Ripley today. The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office says firefighters from Westfield and Ripley were called to 37 Maple Avenue just after 1 AM.... and, located 65 year-old Michael and 37 year-old Susan Fedorchak unable to leave the trailer due to fire and smoke. A Sheriff's Deputy was able to get the couple out of the structure with help from a Westfield Police Officer. They also assisted firefighters in removing the dogs from the residence. Deputies say the Fedorchaks were sent to the UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie for treatment. Susan was released, but Michael was air-lifted to a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania burn center. The County Fire Investigation Team was later called to the scene... and, determined discarded smoking materials were the cause of the blaze. 


 The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services is warning residents of a new phone scam where callers are posing as COVID-19 Contact Tracers to get financial information from people.  That from Department Commissioner, Christine Schuyler, who is also Public Health Director.  Schuyler says these scammers try to get credit card, or bank account information from their victims.  She says stay alert and do not offer your financial information, or a social security number to anyone claiming to be a contact tracer.  She adds that if you are tested for COVID-19, and your test result comes back positive, a county public health nurse will contact you.  If during the investigation of the positive case, you are named a close contact, a NYS contact tracer will contact you.  However... she says they will identify themselves, tell you where they work, and how they can be reached if you have questions over the course of your quarantine or isolation period. 
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There's one new case of the coronavirus in Chautauqua County today.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says it's a woman in her 20s... and, she is the 278th confirmed case locally.  Wendel says there are now 15 active cases, and 254 cases have now recovered.  He says 113 cases under quarantine or isolation orders... and, 1,132 people are under the "domestic traveler quarantine" after arriving here form a state listed on New York's travel advisory.  Wendel says there have now been 29,331 negative test results to date.

A Jamestown man faces felony charges for allegedly hindering prosecution in connection with a fatal stabbing in the city last month.  JPD Police Captain Bob Samuelson says 41 year-old Jason Talley was taken into custody in Buffalo on Monday afternoon by members of the Violent Fugitive U-S Marshalls Task Force. Talley was later arraigned in Jamestown City Court and sent to the county jail. He is also being held on a Parole Violation warrant.  Samuelson says the July 6th homicide of Brandon Holland remains under investigation... and, additional charges against Talley are pending. On July 7th.... City Police announced the arrest of 28 year-old Carl Sorenson on a charge of second-degree murder following the stabbing. 

The novel coronavirus is complicating re-opening plans for educators nationwide. In the Jamestown Public School District... Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says one of their goals was to get as much parent feedback as possible as they continue to modify and implement changes to their reopening plans.

As the first day of school draws closer, JPS parents are expressing their concerns with sending their children back. Whitaker reiterated that this is a "Re-opening Plan" not a "Forever Plan". The final two public virtual meetings will be held tonight from 6 to 7 PM and Friday from 10 to 11 AM. More information is available on the district's website JPSNY.org.

Chautauqua County government officials have issued approval for all gym and fitness facilities in the county to reopen next Monday, August 24th, after reviewing guidance from New York State.  Local YMCA Chief Executive Officer Mark Eckendorf says they are excited to get the ball rolling.

Eckendorf says they have been working hard to prepare for the re-opening of the facilities and have taken steps to create a safe environment for patrons amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  He says they have spread out their machines to allow people to be socially distanced while using each one.  Shower use will be limited, and each person will get a sanitizing bottle.  Eckendorf adds that indoor group classes will not begin until the following week starting August 31st, but they will be continuing the virtual classes as well. Both the Lakewood and Jamestown YMCA hours will be 7AM to 7PM Monday through Friday for the time being.  More information... call 664-2802.


New York will allow voters to request absentee ballots for the general election because of coronavirus under a new state law signed Thursday.  Lawmakers passed the bill last month, and voting rights groups have been calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign the legislation for weeks.  The governor allowed voters in the June primary to vote by absentee ballots due to fears of spreading the virus at polling sites.  Election officials warn of an even bigger flood of mail-in votes in November than the June primary.

The governor says New York could have seen a "dramatic difference" as it fought the coronavirus this spring if he had required New Yorkers to wear masks earlier. Governor Andrew Cuomo used a Wednesday appearance on public radio to offer the failure of New York to institute a statewide mask mandate earlier as an example of a lesson for other states.  It's a rare admission for a governor who's said he doesn't want to play "the blame game..." but often criticizes the federal government when asked if his administration made any mistakes in its response.


A group of Jamestown-area municipalities that met to discuss sharing services and other collaborations is back after an approximately 20 year hiatis.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says, through, what used to be the "Metro-6" is now the "Metro-7" with the addition of the town of Kiantone.  The old Metro-6 was formed in the mid-1990s... but, disbanded about the early 2000s.  Sundquist says he's excited, and with the difficulties facing local governments, now was the time to get it back in place.

The original Metro-Six included Jamestown... the villages of Falconer, Lakewood and Celoron... and town's of Ellicott and Busti.  Sundquist says they've had their first meeting... and, says they had good discussions about what they have done -- and could do in the future.  In addition... he says the city and it's Board of Public Utilities have also had some very positive, initial conversations with the town of Ellicott about extending city water service out Fluvanna Avenue -- into that part of the town.


Two Ripley residents have been arrested for allegedly being in possession of illegal fireworks and a switchblade... and, damaging property.  Sheriff's deputies were called to a "suspicious situation" on Park Avenue in the town just after 6:30 last Sunday night.  Officers say they found an 18 year-old male in possession of the fireworks and switchblade knife.  They also say the teenager, and 20 year-old Ricky Schrader, damaged other's property.  Officers charged the 18 year-old with third-degree Criminal Mischief... fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and unlawfully possessing or using fireworks.  Schrader charged with third-degree Criminal Mischief.  Both were issued appearance tickets for Ripley Town Court.

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WJTN News Headlines for Aug 20, 2020

Jamestown police are investigating a case of vandalism involving anti-police slogans being painted on the sidewalk in front of a home on Arlington Avenue.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the incidents are believe to have occured sometime between 8 PM Tuesday... and, 8:15 AM Wednesday.  Samuelson says someone used black spray paint to write several anti-law enforcement sentiments onto the walkway of a home that had a Police Flag displayed in the yard... as well as the roadway nearby.  Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call JPD at 483-7537 -- their Tips Line at 483-TIPS -- or via the Tips 411 App. 
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Late Wednesday... Mayor Eddie Sundquist said his office had been made away of "hateful spray paint activity at an Arlington Avenue property..." and adds "we don't condone this type of activity."  He also urged anyone with information to call city police.


A two-car accident at an intersection on Jamestown's westside yesterday morning left a perimeter brick wall rock fixture at the Prendergast Library damaged.  Sheriff's Department dispatchers confirm city police were called to the scene at West Fifth and Washington Streets around 9:45 AM after an SUV and sedan collided near the intersection.  Officers report the SUV also struck the outside wall of the library, knocking a rock fixture off it's stand.  Both vehicles had to be towed from the scene.  No serious injuries were reported. 


The November election is less than 80 days away... and, local State Senator George Borrello says he's written to Governor Andrew Cuomo, urging him not to make any last minute changes to the voting process.  Borrello cited concerns of elections officials who testified during a joint legislative hearing held last week on the June primary... and, discussed the idea of including return 'postage-paid' envelops with each absentee ballot requested.  Borrello says even small changes like that is problematic.  Borrello says he's worried that the general election could be even "more chaotic" with 11th-hour changes.  The Sunset Bay Republican says he has not had a response from Cuomo.

  
Three new cases of cornoavirus were reported Wednesday in Chautauqua County... including a man and woman in their 20s... and, a man in his 50s.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says there are current 14 active cases that continue to recover... and, there have now been 277 confirmed cases.  Wendel says 254 people have now recovered... while one person is hospitalized.  He says 110 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders... and, 1,122 people in "domestic traveler quaratine" after arriving from one of the states on New York's travel advisory. 


Bowling alleys were allowed to reopen on Monday... and the Greater Jamestown-area's largest bowling center will officially reopen today from the COVID-19 shut-down.  However... it's still not known how leagues will be able to resume this Fall.  That from Jamestown Bowling Company owner and proprietor Jim Mee... who says they will open for the first time from Noon to 6 PM today for open bowling.  Mee says they'll be stictly following reopening guidelines set by the state... including sanitizing alley shoes.

JBC's Gametime Sports Bar and Grill has been open for a few weeks now... at 50-percent capacity.  Mee says the big unknown right now is what to do with bowling leagues.  He says if they are limited to people bowling on one lane per pair... large leagues may have to bowl in "shifts."  Mee says he's hoping to get more guidance from the state by later today.


The Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth has completed a year-long process to develop a comprehensive County-wide Economic Development Strategic Plan.  Deputy County Executive for Economic Development, Mark Geise, says more than 115 individual partners were involved in creating the plan... which was presented Wednesday via videoconference.  Geise says it includes "dozens of core strategies and five 'game changing' initiatives."  He says the top priorities include: Preparing adequate sites for development; building new housing units; preparing a skilled workforce; increasing visitation by leveraging tourism assets; and investing in the County's core communities to enhance the tax base.  Geise says the draft document was recently re-worked to include a COVID-19 resiliency framework that the Board and other partners will use to guide the process of economic recovery.  He adds "it's a new way of doing business, and we have a real opportunity to change the trajectory of our county."


The Bemus Point-Stow Ferry has passed a 'major hurdle' on the way to getting the vessel back in the water and carrying traffic once again on Chautauqua Lake.  Co-President Jay Kuntz with the group that owns the vessel, says repair work on an 8-by-13 foot section of the hull got the approval of state inspectors Tuesday.

That major repair led the Sea Lion Limited Group to pull the ferry out of the water earlier this summer at the Stow side of the lake. Kuntz says the ferry will go back in the water right around Labor Day... but additional work and inspections will be needed before the public can be welcomed on board.  He says it's disappointing they won't be opened to the public this year... but, he says with what's been accomplished this year will hopefully lead to a re-start of operations in 2021.  Kuntz adds they need 1,700 pieces of treated lumber... nine tons of it... to rebuild the deck. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Aug. 19, 2020


A city man has been arrested for allegedly being found in possession of a loaded hand-gun, and drugs during a parole check on Jamestown's eastside Monday morning.  City Police assisted the Chautauqua County Sheriff's K-9 unit, and State Parole officials with the check at 18 Hedges Avenue.  During the check... police say they found ammunition and a quantity of marijuana... and called in the Jamestown Metro, and Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Forces.  Police got a search warrant... and, arrested 20 year-old Tajah  Warren and found a .380-calibur handgun, a quantity of cocaine, and drug paraphernalia.  Warren is jailed... pending arraignment... on charges including Felony second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and criminal possession of a controlled substance. 

 
A city woman faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to a federal charge of maintaining a drug-involved premises..  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 24 year-old Brandi Whitford of Jamestown pleaded guilty in U-S District Court Tuesday to the charge.  Prosecutors say that between September and late October of last year, Whitford and co-defendant Richard Kinsey, Junior used a Newland Avenue home to make, distribute, and use methamphetamine.  On September 6th of 2019... investigators raided the home, and recovered four guns... a quantity of meth... and, just over $12,000 in cash.  Kennedy says Whitford also faces a $500,000 fine.  Charges are pending against Kinsey.

A craft brewery and restaurant in Bemus Point will be closed today after an employee tested positive for the COVID-19 Virus.  Operators of Ellicottvile Brewing on Chautauqua says in a Facebook post that the employee worked recently at the restaurant, and they were notified Tuesday by the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services.  In response... they have temporarily closed their Bemus Point operation to do a deep cleaning, and sanitizing of the facility.  They plan to re-open on Thursday August 20th for regular business.  Ellicottville Brewing says "we want to be as transparent and pro-active in our response as possible during these unprecedented times."

It's not uncommon for college students to be handed some 'welcoming gifts' when they get to campus.  Jamestown Community College President Daniel DeMarte says the package at his school will include something different this year -- a PPE Kit.

That's just one of a number of steps the school is taking to make sure everyone is safe... if they are attending classes in person.  But... Dr. DeMarte says not everyone will.  Some classes will be entirely on line.  DeMarte emphasizes JCC will be ready to adapt the schedule if the coronavirus should surge.  The fall semester starts Monday, August 24th.  Registrations are still being accepted.  

 
There are three new cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County... and, there are currently 12 active cases.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says the new cases are a young male adult, a woman in her 20s, and a man in his 30s.  Wendel says that brings the total to 274 confirmed cases... while 253 have now recovered.  He says there are 86 cases under now under quarantine or isolation orders... and, there are 1,141 persons under the "domestic traveler quarantine" after arriving here from a state listed on the New York travel advisory.  There have been 28,979 negative test results.


Nominations are now being accepted for the Resource Center's annual Ability Awareness Awards.  There are eight award categories, but Development and Special Events Coordinator, Vicky Bardo, says there's one general theme, goals and success.  Some of the awards go to people who achieved their goals, while others celebrate those who've helped in the process.  Nominations are due next Monday, August 24th.  Bardo emphasizes the awards are open to anyone in the community... not just the Resource Center.  More information is available at the Resource Center website, or by calling 661-1477.  The program was previously known as the Disability Awareness Awards, but the name was changed in 2019, to be more positive.

A new restaurant is opening in the village of Lakewood... in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Owners Bruce and Laurie Stanton were joined by a number of local officials Tuesday to officially open "Stella's: A Kitchen and Bar" at 60 Chautauqua Avenue.  Both are Chautauqua County natives... and, Bruce says they'll be offering southern cusine, and others five days a week.

Bruce Stanton says those "traditional" dishes will include a Friday Night Fish Fry.  He and his wife have been involved in the food service industry most of their lives.  Stanton says they had hoped to open last April... but, the pandemic hit... and, businesses were shut-down.  He says Stella's is open for dinner Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 9 PM... and, on Friday's and Saturday's from 5 to 9:30 PM.  They'll also be open on Sunday's for brunch from 10 AM to 2 PM. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Aug 18, 2020

A city man has pleaded guilty to trafficking significant amounts of methamphetamine in the city early last year.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior announced Monday that 44 year-old Richard Dean of Jamestown pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Buffalo to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, 500 grams of methamphetamine.  Prosecutors say Dean was a drug trafficking associate of co-defendant Douglas Beardsley.  During the conspiracy, Dean would go to Beardsley’s two homes several times a week and pick up ounces of methamphetamine and grams of heroin to sell for Beardsley.  He was caught by Jamestown Police on January 6th of 2019... and, later pled guilty to local charges in the case.  Kennedy says Dean faces at least 10 years in prison and a $10-million fine when he's sentencing next November.


Governor Andrew Cuomo has given the go-ahead for local gyms and fitness centers in New York state to reopen... beginning next Monday, August 24th.  However... Cuomo says they can only be at 33-percent capacity... and, everyone will have to wear masks.  The Governor outlined his basic guidance during a press briefing in Albany Monday... and, says local health departments will have to sign-off on reopening first.

Cuomo says gyms and fitness centers have a window of two-weeks to get inspected, and then reopen by September 2nd.  He adds they will have to have improved their ventilation systems.  But, he did not give specifics regarding that.  Interim Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel says he's been raising the issue during the Western New York "Control Room" meetings he's been part of because they all believe they are ready. Wendel says he has studied exercise and fitness in college... and, believes the gyms can reopen safely.

 
There are eight new, confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County since last Saturday.  That from Interim County Executive P-J Wendel... who says the new cases include two women and a man in their 20s, a man and woman in their 30s, two men in their 40s, and a woman in her 50s.  Wendel says that brings the local total to 271... and, 252 have now recovered.  He says there are now 10 active cases... but, no one is hospitalized.  Wendel adds there are 84 cases under quarantine or isolation orders... while 1,178 people are under the "domestic traveler quarantine." 


The U.S. Postal Service is expected to play a central role in this year's presidential elections... but, a series of cost-cutting policies at the agency has some staffers worried -- as well as lawmakers.  New York U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says Congress needs to get back to Washington, D-C to find out what the problem is, and provide the funding the Post Office needs to do it's job.  Gillibrand blasted cost-cutting measures at a time when the mail service is more important than it's ever been.

One postal worker on Monday told the A-P that it feels like the agency is being sabotaged as day-old mail piles up in warehouses. Another wondered why mail processing machines were being decommissioned as the Postal Service prepares to handle an unprecedented surge of ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic.  The House of Representatives is in the process of going back to Washington to approve emergency funding for the Post Office to keep service in place.  Gillibrand believes the Postal Service needs at least $10-billion to deal with backlogs, and putting mail boxes and sorting machines back in place.


The Executive Director of the James Prendergast Library believes things are 'looking up.'  Executive Director Annie Green says the library ended its virus shutdown on July 1st, and people are coming back.

The Prendergast is currently open for daytime hours, Monday through Saturday.  Green adds they're hoping to be open a couple of evenings each week once school starts... and, she reminds families their WiFi is available in the parking lot, to connect for homework or assignments.  The lengthly spring shutdown meant no revenue from the book sale or from fines and fees... but, Green is optimistic it'll be all right because their expenses have been low also.  The Prendergast is looking forward to 2021, when revenue from the 'direct support' approved by voters in June will begin to come in. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Aug. 17, 2020


Due to a water main leak last night... the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services is asking all customers of the Village of Mayville water supply to boil all water for drinking and cooking. Officials say service has been restored to the area, but as a precaution, all Mayville residents must bring water to a rolling boil before use or use bottled water. The Village will be flushing water mains and collecting water samples over the next two days.  It is anticipated the order will be lifted sometime this week. For more information, call 716-753-2125.


A Jamestown teenager has been found after she was reported missing back in mid-February. City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says 14 year-old Gianna Coleman was safely returned home last week. She had been considered missing since February 13th. 


There was a series of small, dignified ceremonies Saturday morning at Jamestown Community College. After the spring commencement had to be cancelled because of virus concerns, college President, Dr. Daniel De Marte, and more than a dozen members of the faculty and staff gathered to present degrees to graduates... one at a time... as they drove up to the front door.  DeMarte said it was a way to 'plug the gap' and acknowledge each student.  Among the students who picked up their degrees Saturday was Bethany Hancock of Dewittville, a 'fine arts music' graduate.  She called it 'exciting' to be recognized even though it wasn't the usual commencement.  Jamestown's Ryan Freeman got his psychology degree at the drive-up.  He was happy the college was taking precautions against the coronavirus, but he, too would really love to have a regular ceremony.  A more traditional commencement is tentatively planned for December.  A number of the approximately 400 spring 2020 graduates at JCC chose to get their degrees by mail.

There is ample land and infrastructure in Chautauqua County for a large, or smaller Amazon distribution centers... if the company decides to locate here.  That from State Senator George Borrello... who is among the lawmakers making a push for developers to look primarily at two locations here after they nixed plans for a mega center on Grand Island.  Borrello believes the county has ideal locations.

Borrello says he had heard that Amazon may be willing to now split the project up to "two or three" smaller centers in different locations.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel also says the Industrial Development Agency has been talking with project developers about a site in the town of Ripley... as well as the Mason Industrial Park in the town of Ellicott -- near Jamestown.

One business in downtown Jamestown has received a permit to operate a food truck near it's East Second Street location.  Studio D Catering set up for the first-time Saturday afternoon after receiving a permit under the city's new, Food Truck Pilot Program being offered.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says there are a couple other businesses also looking into the program, as well.  Sundquist says they applaud any businesses that's willing to retool it's efforts to make a go of it, and serve the city.  Studio D... owned and operated by Diana Scott... set up shop Saturday at East Second and Pine Streets for the weekend.  That's just across the street from her "brick-and-mortar" business at 106 East Second.  They will also be open from 11 AM to 2 PM Mondays through Fridays.  Sundquist made his comments for this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Bowling alleys across the state are getting the green light to open again today... and, the state is expected to release guidance today for gymnasiums and fitness center.  Bowling alleys had been left in limbo the past several weeks... while centers were allowed to open on a limited basis elsewhere.  Cuomo says that will be the case in New York state for now where they can open at 50-percent capacity, and patrons must wear a face covering.  Early last weekend... Cuomo told reporters that low-risk, indoor cultural activities including museums, and aquariums can open in New York City, starting August 24th.  Cuomo has not set a date for gyms to reopen. The governor said this administration will release long-awaited reopening guidance Monday for indoor gyms.  But Cuomo has not set a date for gyms to reopen. 


The Jamestown Public School district has released specifics on the learning models it will use to begin the 2020-2021 school year.  Superintendent Kevin Whitaker late last week released the local guidelines... which were determined after they received survey feedback from over 2,500 parents, students and staff.  Whitaker also reminds parents and students of the three "question and answer" sessions being held this week... starting tomorrow (Tuesday) August 18th.

Whitaker says they will begin the school year with a hybrid learning model for grades Universal Pre-K-through 9th... with Pre-K through fourth grade levels receiving more face-to-face instruction through a four day per week AM-PM model.  Whitaker says grades 5-through-9 will meet on alternate days, and a remote learning model will be used for grades 10-through-12.  The district will also offer parents the opportunity to request full-time distance learning as an alternative to hybrid learning for students in grades UPK-9.  Whether attending in person or remotely, all students will begin the first day of school on September 8th.  The virtual Q and A sessions can be accessed via Facebook Live and Zoom.

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WJTN Headlines for Sat. Aug. 15, 2020

Cuomo says Bowling Alleys can open on Monday, he'll also give guidance on opening gyms on Monday...
Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced that bowling alleys will be allowed to reopen on Monday at 50 percent occupancy.  Bowlers must wear masks and every other lane will be closed.  Cuomo says parties must stick to their assigned lanes.  He says if you order food and or drinks, you have to be waited on by workers.  In addition... he says New York City museums and aquariums are getting the green light to open again, while the state will soon release guidance for gymnasiums and fitness centers hoping to reopen one day.  Cuomo told reporters in a Friday conference call that low-risk, indoor cultural activities including museums can open in New York City starting August 24.  The governor said this administration will release long-awaited reopening guidance Monday for indoor gyms.  But Cuomo has not set a date for gyms to reopen. 


Wendel says Chautauqua County is making pitch to Amazon to locate here...
With Amazon officially withdrawing plans for a mega-warehouse project on Grand Island... other areas in Western New York are reaching out to the company in an effort to land the project that could lead to nearly 1,000 new, full-time jobs.  Chautauqua County's top government official says they have submitted a proposal that includes two possible locations.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel one of those locations is in the town of Ripley.  Wendel says he reached out to Industrial Development Agency Director Mark Geise, and the IDA's Rich Dixon to contact the developer about property in the county.  He says county officials actually went to work on a plan a couple of weeks ago, when it first looked like the Grand Island proposal was falling apart.  He says they reached out to the developers yesterday... and, sent an e-mail regarding possibly using sites in Ripley... and, the Mason Industrial Park in the town of Ellicott.  Wendel says he believes both sites would lend themselves to what Amazon is looking for in a location. 


No new cases of COVID-19 reported Friday...
There are no new cases of the coronavirus in Chautauqua County today... and, there are only four active cases at the moment.  Interim County Executive P.J. Wendel says the number of confirmed cases remains 263... while 250 have now recovered.  Wendel says no one is hospitalized... and, 80 cases are currently under quarantine or isolation orders... while 1,194 persons are under the "domestic traveler quarantine" for having arrived here from a state listed on New York's travel advisory.  There have been 27,728 negative cases to date.


Randolph man arrested on Child Porn charges...
A Randolph man has been arrested for allegedly producing child pornography and sexually abusing an 11-year-old child.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy Junior says 27 year-old Alexander Carnahan was arrested Thursday, and charged by criminal complaint with production of child pornography.  Prosecutors accuse Carnahan of living with a family in Jamestown where he allegedly sexually abused an 11 year-old child.  He was then kicked out of the home by the mother after pictures were found on Carnahan's phone.  Prosecutors add Jamestown police later got a warrant to check his phone, and found no images... but ,they were able to get access to his Google Account, and found them there.  He was arrested yesterday at his Randolph home.  Kennedy says charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison... a maximum of 30... and a $250,000 fine. 


Organizers call off Busti Apple Harvest Festival due to COVID-19 concerns...
One of southern Chautauqua County's major Fall time events has now fallen victim to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  The 46th annual Busti Apple Harvest Festival has been postponed until September of 2021 due to state restrictions on large gatherings.  Busti Historical Society Committee member Bob Schultz says they were holding out hope that they could hold this year's event on Sept. 27.  Schultz says they're "disappointed" and would like the pandemic to be over.  He says they have an open house at their 1846 Miller House on the society's grounds in December.  Schultz says they were working with the county's Department of Health and Human Services to help make a decision... but, with a limit of 50 people per gathering... they wouldn't be able to accomodate their nearly 100 vendors and exhibitors.  The Apple Harvest Festival is the society’s biggest fundraiser... and they split the proceeds with the Busti Fire Department.  Schultz says the society also had to cancel their annual Victorian Dinner last Spring due to COVID-19.  For more information on the Busti Historical Society... check out their Facebook page.


Investigation ongoing into Tractor-Trailder rollover on I-86 in Catt. County...
One person was hurt when a tractor-trailer overtuned on Interstate 86 in the Cattaraugus County Town of Allegany early Friday morning.  Dispatchers in Little Valley say fire and rescue crews were called to the scene in the eastbound lanes about 1:15 a.m.  Full details have not been released... but, the driver was taken to Olean General Hospital for treatment.  The eastbound lanes of I-86 were closed about 5-hours while the scene was cleared.

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WJTN Headlines for Fri. August 14, 2020

City man to spend 6 1/2 years in federal prison on drug trafficking charges...
A Jamestown man has been sentenced to six-and-a-half years in federal prison for conspiring to traffic significant amounts of heroin in the city.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 27 year-old Bryan Ferrer-Vazquez... who had been found guilty of conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, was sentenced to 78-months in prison.  Prosecutors say in early 2016, Ferrer-Vazquez distributed heroin and cocaine for a drug trafficking organization led by co-defendant Sigfredo Martinez.  Ferrer-Vazquez was responsible for the “day shift” transactions... while co-defendant, Alex Mercado, was responsible for “night shift” transactions.  Kennedy says Drug Enforcement Administration agents conducted three controlled heroin and cocaine buys from Ferrer-Vazquez... who was arrested in April 2017 at his Buffalo Street home.  Both Martinez and Alex Mercado were both previously convicted and sentenced to serve lengthy prison terms.


Another city man indicted for trafficking Fentanyl and other drugs by federal Grand Jury...
A city man faces a maximum of life in prison after he was indicted by a federal grand jury Thursday on charges of trafficking fentanyl and other drugs.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. says 22 year-old Wade Paulisick, Jr. was indicted for possessing with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of acetyl fentanyl... 40 grams or more of fentanyl...  5-grams or more of methamphetamine, buprenorphine, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking activities.  He is also charged with possession of a stolen firearm.  Prosecutors say Paulisick was arrested last September 26th during a raid at his Tower Street home.  He faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, and a $10-million dollar fine.


Reed frustrated by break-down in fourth COVID Stimulus bill talks...
Local Congressman Tom Reed is expressing frustration over the fact that talks on a fourth, COVID Stimulus package remain at a stalemate... and, both sides are playing the blame game.  The Corning Republican says neither side has made any serious moves to try to break the impasse, and left Washington Thursday.  Reed says... on most items in the relief bill... the two sides aren't really that far apart, and stopping the political games could wrap up talks on a bill quickly.  on several parts.  Reed says he "appreciates" what President Trump did last weekend in moving to provide some unemployment insurance... and payroll tax relief for everyday Americans.  However... he also says it's time for Congress to do it's job.  Reed adds it's time to get people who are serious about making a deal "into the room" to deal with the unemployment, testing, child care, and other matters resolved.


Reed announce Fire Dept. Grants for local companies...
Two Chautauqua County fire departments have been given federal grants totaling $280,000 to help get what they need to fight fires.  Local Congressman Tom Reed says the largest grant... from the Federal Emergency Management Agency... of $155,300... is going to the Dunkirk Fire Department.  The other grant, totaling $125,200 dollars... is going to the Falconer Fire Department.  The other grants are going to the Ithaca, Owego, and Cheshire Departments in Central New York.


Whitaker says JPS is looking at three teaching models for the Fall; state required meetings scheduled...
The Jamestown School District is looking at three instructional models to use for teaching students when school begins next month.  That from School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker... who says two are the so-called "hybrid" models... which include some in-person teaching and some remote.  Dr. Whitaker says one of the hybrids is called the "AM-PM" model where one group goes full-time in the morning, the other in the afternoon.  He says the other model is called "2-1-2"... which would include 'A, B, and C' groups... which would alternate days.  He says they have also developed a completely remote learning model that would be used if there is a COVID-19 outbreak, and they have to do that.  Whitaker says a number of parents would like the remote option for their kids... because they have special needs.  He says the district will hold it's three state-required meetings with parents... via Facebook Live... next week.  The first will be held at next Tuesday, August 18 at Noon... the second will be held at 6 PM Thursday.. and, the third will be held at 10 AM Friday, Aug. 21.  For more information... go to the Jamestown Public School website, or Facebook page.


Cents for St. Susan's effort raises more than $18,000...
The annual Cents for St. Susan's drive has come to an end... but, it still raised more than $18,000 in a campaign limited by COVID-19 restrictions.  That from Jamestown Board of Public Utilities Communications Director Becky Robbins... who helps head up the campaign.  Robbins says their committee held a "virtual" celebration today over the fact they raised $18,399 dollars, which she says was still within about $1,000 of last year's total.  Robbins says some of their major sponsors were able to contribute a little more, and they got some unexpected donations... including $700 from the Jamestown Islamic Society, which decided to give their Ramadam donations to the center.  She adds they did have one canister out in the community.  That had been up at Phil-and-Cindy's Restaurant for about a year.  With the just over $18,000 in donations... Robbins says the 21-year total of funds raised to support the Jamestown-area's largest soup kitchen is just over $253,000.  The Media One Radio Group, and the Jamestown Post-Journal were again media sponsors for the campaign.


One new case of COVID-19 in Chautauqua Co. reported Thursday...
There is one new case of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County over the past day... but, the number of active cases has fallen to six.  That from Interim County Executive P-J Wendel... who says the new case is a woman in her 20s.  He says there have now been 263 confirmed cases... with 248 having now recovered.  Wendel says there are currently 79 cases under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.  He says there are 1,196 persons under the "domestic traveler quarantine" after arriving here from a state listed on the New York State travel advisory.  No one is hospitalized... and there have now been 27,536 negative test results.

 

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WJTN News Headlines for Aug. 13, 2020

 
A city man faces assault and other charges after being accused of punching a woman... and, then stabbling two of the women's relatives during a domestic incident Tuesday night.  Jamestown Police were called to a Johnson Street address shortly before 6 PM... and, found that 29 year-old Demetrius Goldsmith had hit the woman in the nose... triggering a fight between Goldsmith and the two male elatives.  Officers say Goldsmith pulled a knife, and stabbed the two men... injuring both.  Police also found the female victim had a valid order of protection against Goldsmith.  In addition to the three assault charges, he's charged with aggravated criminal contempt, and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

The Jamestown Police Department is welcoming a new K-9 Officer to it's force, following the unexpected passing of K-9 Promber last month.  JPD Canine Handler Officer Erik Kraft says the newest recruit is a German Shepherd named 'K-9 Kal".

Officer Kraft says the 13 month-old shepherd is originally from the Czech Repuplic... and, is mostly all black in color.  He says Kal is named in memory of Kallie Swan, who passed away a few years ago from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.  Kallie was the daughter of City Police Sergeant Shane Swan and his wife, Tara.  He says they were "honored" to have the K-9 given the name.  Kraft says Kallie was a fighter and K-9 Kal has all the drives to be the same way.  Following training... Officers Kraft and K-9 Kal will be on patrol sometime in October or November.  A photo is available on the department's facebook page. 


Two teens suffered minor injuries in a motor vehicle accident involving a Utility-Terrain Vehicle in the Town of Chautauqua Tuesday morning.  Sheriff's officers, county medics, and the Hartfield Fire Department responded to Dean Road shortly after 11:30 AM.  On arrival... officers say the victims -- a male and female -- both 16 -- were evaluated and taken to Brooks Memorial Hospital for treatment.  The male teen was allegedly operating the Artic Cat UTV and was charged with Speeding, Unlicensed Operator and Unregistered Motor Vehicle.  He is to appear in the Town of Chautauqua Court at a later date.


There is one new confirmed case of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County... and it's a woman in her 20s.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel said Wednesday that brings the total number of cases to 262... and, 246 cases have now recovered.  No one is hospitalized... and, seven cases are now active.  Wendel says 97 cases are under local quarantine or isolation orders, and another 1,205 persons are under the "domestic traveler quarantine" for having arrived here from a state listed on New York's travel advisory. 

The process of inteviewing the more than 80 people who have applied to be on the soon-to-be revived Jamestown Human Rights Commission is underway.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who says that got underway yesterday.  Sundquist is looking for a dozen people to serve on the panel... which will work to foster better relations between the city and minority communities.

Sundquist decided to re-start the panel after attending one of June's Black Lives Matter protests in Dow Park.  He says they will proceed slowly and deliberately to bring the commission back on-line.  He adds those members who are affiliated with other groups -- such as the Jamestown Justice Coalition -- will be urged to retain those ties so issues can be brought directly to the commission.  Sundquist and retired Police Chief Harry Snellings were among those people who addressed the protesters at the first gathering held in response to the Police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.  The local protests were organized by the Justice Coalition.  


First responders in the city of Dunkirk are reminding swimmers and kayakers alike to stay away from the cliffs near Point Gratiot and Battery Point.  Fire Chief Mike Edwards says they have seen an increase in calls for assistance... including last Sunday's incident near Point Gratiot.

This summer alone... Edwards says the department has responded to five calls near the Point Gratiot cliffs.  Besides the cliffs... he says there are other trouble spots for swimmers and water craft in the waterfront area... including Battery Point, and Wright Park.  He urges people to stay away from those areas.  Edwards is advising people to swim in designated areas and to never swim alone.

 
New York Attorney General Letitia James charges that one of the country's largest egg producers illegally inflated prices when the pandemic hit New York, charging up to four times more per carton.  James claims that in March and April, Hillandale Farms price gouged more than four million cartons of eggs sold to grocery store chains, U.S. military facilities and wholesale food distributors.  The lawsuit seeks restitution for consumers.  Hillandale says it's prepared to defend against the allegations in court.  The company said the pandemic caused a massive disruption in every sector of the economy, including the egg industry.

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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 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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News Headlines for Sat., Oct. 24, 2020

Man arrested after allegedly striking 2-year-old with car Thursday night... The Jamestown Police Department is investigating a hit-and-run accident involving a young child on the eastside Thursday ni...

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