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Local News Headlines Archives for 2021-01

WJTN News Bulletin for Sat., Jan. 30, 2021

City man pleads guilty to receiving Child Porn as predicate sexual Felon...
A Jamestown man has pleaded guilty in federal court to receiving child pornography as someone previously convicted of aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, or abusive sexual conduct involving a minor.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 50 year-old James Tracy entered the plea today in U.S. District Court in Buffalo.  Prosecutors say that between June and August of 2018... Tracy received three images and 10 videos of a 15 year-old victim.  They say Tracy then solicited the minor victim, who was a relative, to produce some of the images via Facebook.  In December 2018... he told Homeland Security agents that several years prior he had engaged sexual contact with the 15-year-old-minor victim on at least three occasions.  In 1995... Tracy was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse... and, in 2001, he was convicted of first-degree attempted sexual abuse.  He faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, a maximum of 40 years, and $250,000 fine.


Fire destroys two-story garage near Sinclairville...
Combustables to close to a wood stove is the apparent cause of a mid-afternoon fire that has destroyed a two-story garage near the village of Sinclairville.  Chautauqua County fire dispatchers say Sinclairville firefighters were called to the scene on Route 60 about 2 p.m.  They were joined by mutual aid crews from Cassadaga, Gerry, Stockton, Fluvanna, Ashville, and Ellery Center.  Several tanker trucks were also called to the scene.  County fire coordinators and fire police were also called in along with fire investigators.  No injuries were reported.


Villenova house fire under investigation...
Chautauqua County fire investigators are searching for the cause of a structure fire in the town of Villenova that 16 fire companies were called to late Thursday night.  Sheriff's deputies say South Dayton firefighters responded to the scene at 9171 Ball Hill Road shortly before midnight... and, the occupants were able to escape without injury.  Officers say Firefighters also had to battle cold temperatures and lack of water.  Responding departments included Silver Creek, Forestville, Seneca Nation.... Cassadaga, Ellington and Sunset Bay, among others.  Crews were reportedly at the scene until later Friday morning... and, the home appeared to be destroyed.  


Cuomo Administraton confirmes thousands more nursing home resident deaths from COVID...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration confirmed late Thursday that thousands more nursing home residents died of COVID-19 than the state's official tallies had previously acknowledged.  However... the accusation of recovering, COVID-positive residents being transferred from hospitals back to nursing homes remains unanswered.  During his Friday press conference... Cuomo said the report by state Attorney General Letitia James confirmed that the state followed federal guidance.  He says Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said no not-for-profit nursing home was "forced" to take anyone, and if they did take someone they could not care for they violated the law.  The confirmation came as a surprise... and, after months of the state refusing to divulge the true numbers.  The new numbers showed that at least 12,743 long-term care residents died of the virus, far greater than the official tally of 8,505.  The release came after a report by James found the death count could be off by 50-percent because New York is one of the only states to count just those who died on nursing home grounds.  Dr. Zucker said Friday that while the number of COVID deaths among nursing home residents changed... the overall numbers have not.


Sixty-one new COVID-19 cases reported in Chautauqua County Friday...
There are 61 new cases of the COVID-19 virus being reported today in Chautauqua County... but, there were no deaths.  The county's Health Department reports there have now been 6,561 total cases... and, 6,049 have now recovered.  The most new cases were in Dunkirk... which reported 16.  Jamestown had 14.  Health officials say there are now 409 active cases, and 35 of those are now hospitalized. 


County Legislature approves property acquistion for Fieldbrook Foods expansion...
The Chautauqua County Legislature has approved a resolution that will allow an ice cream business in the city of Dunkirk to expand.  Lawmakers this week unanimously okayed the measure allowing Fieldbrook Foods to purchase about 8-acres of land on the former Roblin Steel site on South Roberts Road.  Deputy County Executive for Economic Development, Mark Geise, says the initial agreement was for about 10-acres of land for another company -- Roberts Road Freezer, LLC -- doing business with Fieldbrook.  Geise says they exercised an option to control that property for potential, future expansion.  He would not discuss specifics of what Fieldbrook would use the additional property for... but, did say the company's owner, Wells Enterprises, is embarking on a major expansion project at it's north county location.  He says Roberts Road Freezer, LLC, is using some of the property it acquired for it's 100,000 square foot cold storage facility... but, doesn't need the additional land.  Geise made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Several animals killed in Garage Fire in Busti...
An accidental garage fire in the town of Busti Thursday afternoon killed several animals were killed.  Chautauqua County Fire Investigators report that Busti fire crews were called to the scene on Big Tree Road about 1:30 p.m., and, found several rabbits, and eight goats were killed in the blaze.  No one was hurt.  The cause was listed as combustible materials too close to an unattended wood stove.

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 28, 2021

A town of Chautauqua man has been arrested following a high-speed pursuit along Interstate 90 in Chautauqua County after the man allegedly stole a car from a Jamestown dealership.  Sheriff's officers say 27 year-old Jerome Rogerson allegedly stole the car from Kia of Jamestown on Washington Street... and, he was later found driving the vehicle on Route 60 in the town of Dunkirk.  Deputies say Rogerson tried to evade police by turning onto I-90 eastbound... but, traveling west.  Due to the high risk to public safety, the pursuit was stopped.  A short time later...deputies saw the vehicle speeding west in the westbound lanes.  Officers pursued Rogerson through the towns of Portland, Westfield and Ripley.  In Ripley... Rogerson struck two Sheriff’s vehicles with the car, lost control, and the car crashed down an embankment.  He was arrested by the Sheriff’s K-9 and deputies... and, faces numerous charges including first-degree reckless endangerment, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, DWAI Drugs, and several traffic violations.  Rogerson was held pending arraignement.



The Chautauqua County Legislature has yet to decide on who will be the county's next Democratic Elections Commissioner.  No replacement for Norm Green has been announced since the legislature decided not to vote on the party Committee's appointment of Dunkirk's Luz Torres late last year.  That means Green... who has held the post for the past 22 years... remains the Democratic Commissioner.  Addressing the legislature during the second privledge of the floor at last night's meeting... Green touted his ability to work with his Republican counterpart.

Green says he was told by Legislature Minority Leader Chuck Nazzaro last year that there was no support for him to stay on as Democratic Commissioner.  But, he says he accepted that situation, and continued to do his work over the past year.  Initially... Torres appointment was approved in committee, but, then the action was rescinded after a group of Democrats pushed Loren Kent as Green's replacement.  Lawmakers did not respond to Green's comments.



The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting nine more COVID-19 related deaths Wednesday... bringing the total now to 97.  Officials add the number of new cases spiked upwards to 108... bringing the total since the pandemic began to 6,398.  They say 26 of the new cases were from the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  Officials say 396 cases are now active... and, 38 of those are hospitalized.  The Health Department says 5,905 cases have now recovered.


Chautauqua County's representative in Congress is calling on the federal government to completely take over the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine in New York state.  Corning Republican Tom Reed said yesterday that he is the first House member to make such a call because the state has "dropped the ball" on getting the vaccine into people's arms.  Reed says, while Governor Cuomo has managed some parts well... the state has antiquated software -- and other issues -- in getting the job done.

Reed also says he and other lawmakers recently met with members of the Biden Administration to work on increasing distribution to get to 200-million doses being put out in the administration's first 100-days.  President Biden himself has said they will work initially to do 1.5-millon vaccinations a day.  Reed says doing that would be a great first step towards getting "herd immunity" by June.



Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that New York state is lifting all COVID-19 Orange and Yellow zone restrictions in Erie County.  That will allow restaurants that had been in those areas to reopen for indoor dining, though it will remain at half-capacity.  In addition... Cuomo also announced today that the state is receiving $450-million in Federal Emergency Management Agency funding to help get shots administered.

Cuomo says indoor dining remains banned in all of New York City, but Cuomo promised to come up with a plan by Friday to address how they might reopen, too.  He said the decision to lift the state's orange zone restrictions will protect the economy.


The man who brought holiday joy to thousands with his 'Lights on Winsor' show has died.  John Fuchs was 75.  In an interview last Christmas Eve... Fuchs talked about his love for the holiday. Each year at his home on Winsor Street, Fuchs put up thousands of lights for a display coordinated with music from a low power transmitter.  His efforts won him the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation's Axel W. Carlson award in 2020.  When he spoke on WJTN last month, John acknowledged he was battling lung cancer for a second time.  He had smoked while in college, and quit about 40 years ago... and, encouraged smokers to consider quiting.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 27, 2021

There are 11 new COVID-19 related deaths being reported in Chautauqua County yesterday.  However... the number of new cases has dropped significantly, to 38.  The county's Health Department reports the total number of deaths now stands at 88... and, the total number of cases is now 6,290.  Officials say there are now 406 active cases... and, 40 of those are hospitalized.  Health officials say the most number of new cases, 8, are reported in Dunkirk.  There are now 5,796 cases that have recovered.



Members of the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency have approved another $2.6-million in loans from federal CARES Act stimulus funding for 16 local businesses and organizations adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.  Deputy County Executive for Economic Development, and IDA CEO, Mark Geise, says this is in addition to $5.7-million in loans approved last October.  He says some will go to some key, Jamestown-area manufacturers.

Geise says the loans... which vary in size... were approved at Tuesday's IDA board meeting.  He adds there were other entities including Southern Tier Environments for Living, and the Kosciuszko  Polish Home Association that got funding.  Geise says they've now been able to get $8.3-million into the hands of local businesses in about five-months... which is what the agency that awarded the money to the county -- the U-S Economic Development Administration -- wants them to do.  Geise says the term for all loans is 2.44-percent.  A third round of funding from their $10.5-million allocation is expected in late April.  For more information... call the IDA at 661-8900


The Chautauqua County Health Department has given the okay for moderate and higher-risk sports to proceed beginning on February 1st.  Late Tuesday... the Health Department said in a printed statement that, "after extended internal consultation and discussion among Western New York County Health Officials, it has been determined that higher-risk and moderate risk sports may proceed... according to and in compliance with state guidelines.  Those guidelines were announced by Governor Cuomo last Friday.  The approvals allow non-professional and non-collegiate sports, such as wrestling, ice hockey, basketball, contact lacrosse, and volleyball, to proceed with individual and group training, competitions, and tournaments.


Jamestown City Council members have raised concerns about a decision by the National Comedy Center to no longer host a general election polling site.  Discussion started near the end of Monday night's Council voting session when Democrat Tom Nelson asked what lawmakers may be able to do to keep it there.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist offered to bring officials with the Board of Elections to the panel's next work session.

In a letter to the Chautauqua County Board of Elections last August... Center Vice-President of Finance and Operations Rochelle Mole  noted they were closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the pandemic, and they could accomodate a location.  However... she said it was only a "one-time deal."  Councilwoman Marie Carrubba voiced concern over the fact that millions of federal, taxpayer dollars were used to help renovate the former train station on West Second Street, and the "public area" of that station is to remain for public use. Councilman Jeff Russell echoed those sentiments... adding that the public space there seems to be slowly going away.


The Comedy Center issued a new statement Tuesday afternoon regarding the polling site situation... noting that since they opened in 2018... it's been a polling site for five elections.  They add they have fully-cooperated with the Board of Elections on its needs for that space on election days.  However... they also say that "after numerous discussions with the Election Commission last summer, and with the continued growth of the Comedy Center’s publicly accessible retail venue, it became apparent that the Election Commission’s requirements will significantly compromise retail operations and the revenue it generates to support our non-profit mission.  However... center officials did say they would be open to discussing the matter sometime in the future.


A Lancaster, New York man faces driving while ability impaired by drugs charges following a motor vehicle accident in Ashville last Friday.  State Police were called to the scene on North Maple Street and learned that a northbound van had left the roadway and came to rest on its side.  The driver, and sole occupant of the van was identified as 33 year-old Alex Barnhardt... who was not injured in the crash.  However, Troopers say he was taken into custody after failing several sobriety tests.  A Chautauqua County Drug Recognition Expert determined Barnhardt was allegedly under the influence of Central Nervous System depressants.  He is scheduled to appear in North Harmony Town Court at a later date.



The Fredonia Village Board now has one vacancy remaining after trustees approved the appointment of a former Pomfret Town Council member as a trustee.  During Monday night's meeting, held via video conference, trustees unanimously approved Scott Johnston's appointment.  In nominating Johnston, Trustee James Lynden pointed out that he is the husband of Village Clerk Annemarie Johnston.  However, Lynden says he was confident that Johnston would avoid any conflicts. Johnston was appointed from a list of three candidates. The other candidates included former village Police Chief Brad Meyers and former Trustee Michael Barris. Neither candidate received sufficient support from the board.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 26, 2021

There are two new COVID-19 related deaths... and, 235 new cases of the virus since last Friday in Chautauqua County.  The county's Health Department reports the total number of deaths now stands at 77... and, the number of cases has climbed to 6,253.  Officials say there are now 423 active cases... and, 39 of those are hospitalized.  Health officials say 49 of the new cases are in Jamestown... while there are 45 more in Dunkirk.  There are now 5,753 cases that have recovered.


Despite the on-going COVID-19 pandemic... Jamestown city government was able to begin or complete a number of accomplishments in 2020.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who looked back Monday on a year that was unlike any other in a century.  Sundquist says they made some major moves to resolve what he called Jamestown's ambulance service "mess."
 
In addition... Sundquist touted the city's Department of Development providing $900,000 in business and rental relief through the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency.  He says the city was the first in Western New York to not only establish a fund to help small businesses, but, renters as well to keep a roof over their heads.  Sundquist also reflected on a Summer of social unrest with the reinstitution of the city's Human Rights Commission.  He recorded the 23-minute speech behind a lecturn with the city seal on it... and, it was put on the city's website for residents to view when they were able to.  The website is jamestownny.GOV.

Mayor Sundquist also took a moment at the beginning of his State of the City Address to talk about another aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic -- fear.  Few knew what the new coronavirus was all about when states of emergency were declared in Chautauqua County and Jamestown.  Sundquist read a letter he received from a young girl named "Madaline," who was afraid she might lose loved ones to the pandemic.  He wrote back, telling her he also had fears... but, found a way to face them.

Sundquist says he reflected on what she had said... because swift action had to be taken to protect residents, and city government.  He says that included having to cut about $1.2-million from their budget, and find ways to support a "struggling community."  Sundquist says he not only had fears for the safety of his own family... but, for the city employees who work under his leadership.


A Middlefield, Ohio man died after a tree fell on him during a logging accident in the Town of Ripley last Saturday.  Sheriff's deputies were called to assist the Ripley Fire Department on Klondike Road shortly before 9:30 AM.  Officers say 46 year-old David Byler was about half-a-mile back in a wooded area when the accident occurred.  South Ripley and Chautauqua County EMS were also called in to assist at the scene.  Byler was transported to Westfield Memorial Hospital and later flown to UPMC Hamot Medical Center for treatment.  Deputies say Byler died Sunday afternoon from his injuries.



The city of Jamestown is looking at few options in 2021 when deciding whether to pay out a more than $800,000  arbitration award to rank-and-file police officers.  A panel voted a couple of years ago to approve the award to members of the Jamestown Police Department's Kendall Club-PBA for two-percent wage hikes over a two-year period.  Council President Tony Dolce made the acknowledgment on our Community Spotlight program last weekend.


A state appeals court late last year dismissed the city's appeal of the arbitration panel's decision.  Dolce says lawmakers had been anticipating having to pay out the award... in addition to compounding for the past two years.  However... Dolce says another part of the agreement should keep the award under one-million dollars.  He says the arbitrated award calls for union members to pay more for their health insurance.  While a recent report by City Comptroller Ryan Thompson noted the city may finish 2020 with a one-million dollar deficit... Dolce doesn't believe it will be that high... thanks to better-than-expected sales tax revenues from on-line sales.


The U-S Supreme Court says it won't take up the case of former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who's serving a 6 1/2-year prison sentence after being convicted in a corruption case.  The high court on Monday declined to take up the Democrat's appeal.  Silver once was one of the three most powerful state officials.  He was ousted as speaker in 2015, and convicted later that year.  Silver's original conviction was overturned on appeal, but Silver was convicted again in 2018.  Part of that conviction was then tossed out on another appeal, leading to yet another sentencing in July.  The 76-year-old Silver began serving his sentence in August.



An electrical problem triggered a minor fire late last Saturday afternoon at the Athenex plant in the town of Dunkirk.  Firefighters from East Dunkirk responded to the scene on East Lake Road just after 4:15 PM, and were assisted by crews from Dunkirk and Sheridan, along with Alstar Ambulance and County Emergency Services.  Dunkirk Fire Captain Gary Katta says the fire was located on the third floor of the facility and confined to one room.  No one was hurt.

 

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 25, 2021


A Middlefield, Ohio man died after a tree fell on him during a logging accident in the Town of Ripley last Saturday.  Sheriff's deputies were called to assist the Ripley Fire Department on Klondike Road shortly before 9:30 AM.  Officers say 46 year-old David Byler was about half-a-mile back in a wooded area when the accident occurred.  South Ripley and Chautauqua County EMS were also called in to assist at the scene.  Byler was transported to Westfield Memorial Hospital and later flown to UPMC Hamot Medical Center for treatment.  Deputies say Byler died Sunday afternoon from his injuries.


Fire has destroyed the back third of a two-story apartment house on Jamestown's southside.  City Fire Battalion Chief Brian Acterberg says crews were called to the scene at 114 King Street about 12:15 yesterday afternoon... and, found the back of the house fully-engulfed in flames.

Acterberg says firefighters made a quick stop on the flames... bringing the blaze under control in about 30 minutes.  He says they did find three pets, but, could only save a dog that had to be resuscitated.  A cat perished.  Acterberg says an off-duty shift was called in to assist... and, crews were at the scene just over five hours.  He says no residents nor firefighters were hurt.  The first-floor tenant was home at the time.  Acterberg says the Fire Investigation Team is looking for the cause of the fire.


An electrical fire caused only minor damage late Saturday afternoon at the Athenex plant in the Town of Dunkirk.  Firefighters from East Dunkirk responded to the scene on East Lake Road just after 4:15 PM and were assisted by crews from Dunkirk and Sheridan, along with Alstar Ambulance and County Emergency Services.  Dunkirk Fire Captain Gary Katta says the fire was located on the third floor of the facility and confined to one room.  There were no injuries reported.  Firefighters were on scene for approximately two hours.


The Jamestown City Council will hold it's monthly voting session tonight via Zoom Conferencing due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist will also present his second State of the City Address at the beginning... and, what a difference a year makes.  Sundquist gave a short address last January highlighting what he would like to achieve... but, that was a couple of months before the COVID-19 shut-down.  He recently told us it was a year of change in many regards.

Over the course of 2020... Sundquist had to find a new police chief, and deputy fire chief.  Among the main agenda items tonight is the city's four-year Community Development Block Grant action plan.  The meeting begins at 7:30 PM.


The Winifred Crawford Diebert Boys and Girls Club of Jamestown has ‘reinvented itself’ in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to better serve its members and their families.  Instead of afternoons and evenings, the club is now open Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM to 5:15 PM.  Executive Director Jeff Kroon says young people come to the club and ‘Zoom’ to school.


The Jamestown Public Schools, Chautauqua Striders, the United Way, all the local foundations and many other community partners have contributed money and/or expertise to support the changes.  Assistant Director Diane Woleen says it’s paid off because some parents have told them they would have had to quit jobs to take care of their kids.  The new structure also includes full COVID-19 protocols and a focus on safety… so they can properly serve up to 75 young people a day.  Additional financial support would be welcome… through their website, or mailed directly to the club at 62 Allen Street in Jamestown.


The top-elected official in Chautauqua County says local health officials are not undercounting the number of county residents who have died from the coronavirus.  County Executive P-J Wendel says nursing homes and hospitals are required to file such death notices with New York state, but are not required to file them with the county.  Wendel spoke late Friday after the Health Department reported 23 additional COVID-19 deaths that occurred in long-term care facilities over the last few weeks.

The county's death toll from the pandemic is now at 75.
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Also from late Friday... local health officials say there were 80 new confirmed cases reported... bringing the total number to 6,018.  There are now 475 active cases, and 43 people are hospitalized.  Officials say 27 of the new cases are from Jamestown... and, 18 are from Dunkirk.  Overall, 5,468 cases have now recovered.
 

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News Headlines for Sat. Jan. 23, 2021

County updates COVID-19-related deaths, adding 23 -- mainly from nursing homes and hospitals...
Chautauqua County officials late Friday updated the number of COVID-related deaths to include several from nursing homes and hospitals not previously counted.  Officials say there are 23 new deaths being added... making the number now 75.  They add that these deaths occured over the past few weeks, but, were reported to New York state, not the county.  Health officials say there were 80 new confirmed cases reported Friday... bringing the total number to 6,018.  There are now 475 active cases, and 43 people are hospitalized.  Officials say 27 of the new cases are from Jamestown... and, 18 are from Dunkirk.  Overall, 5,468 cases have now recovered.


Dolce says he's optimistic of better times coming with COVID vaccine, and possibility of more federal aid...
The president of the Jamestown City Council says he's optimistic that we'll begin to see better times in 2021.  Republican Councilman Tony Dolce adds, though, that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the community... both in terms of public and economic health.  Dolce says city lawmakers are doing what they can to help local businesses weather the storm -- especially restaurants.  He says most are at limited seating capacity, and others are still not open.  It's expected that there will be some additional local, state and tribal funding in a new COVID-19 Stimulus bill being discussed now on Capitol Hill.  As for the city... Dolce says they'll likely end 2020 with a deficit... but, not as bad as it could have been because sales tax came in better than expected. 


Borrello critical of Cuomo's state budget proposals...
A state lawmaker from the area is critical of Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed 2021-2022 state budget released earlier this week.  State Senator George Borrello says it lacks a strategy in closing a $15-billion deficit... and very few details.  Borrello says getting businesses back open is the key.  He says the spending plan also includes too much spending... including $26-billion for green energy projects that he call's wasteful" because the state simply doesn't have the money to do them.  Borrello says lawmakers will begin taking a "deep dive" into the budget details in the coming week.  There are actually two budget proposals, and they are heavily dependent on federal aid.  One scenario is for a minimum of $6-billion... and, the other for $15-billion in aid.


Congressional Problems Solvers Caucus adds 16 new members...
The bi-partisan Problem Solver's Caucus has expanded it's membership for the 117th Congress.  In a release from co-chairs, local Representative, Republican Tom Reed, and Democrat Josh Gottheimer, says they have increased their ranks by 16 to 56 members.  Reed says, the past four years "we’ve steadily illustrated the benefits of bipartisan lawmaking and the power of working together to break the gridlock.  Now, we’re ready to build on that progress, help the nation heal, and ensure Washington is finally focused on best serving the needs of the American people."  The caucus now includes 28 Democrats and 28 Republicans.  The new members include Andrew Garbarino of New York... and, Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania.


Three National Guardsmen killed in Rochester-area helicopter crash identified...
A New York State Police officer has been identified as one of the three National Guard Pilots killed in a helicopter training accident in Monroe County on Wednesday.  Troopers report 39 year-old Christian Koch had been a pilot with the State Police since 2016... and, served in the Rochester Aviation Unit.  He was also a Division Unit Trainer, instrumental in conducting pilot training.  Koch was recently honored by the Red Cross of Western New York for his role in rescuing an injured boy in June 2020.   The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle identified 54 year-old Steven Skoda and 30 year-old Daneil Prial, both of Rochester, as the other soldiers killed in the accident.  The victims died when their UH-60 Black Hawk medical evacuation helicopter crashed in a farmer's field in rural Mendon around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.  The cause of the crash remains under investigation.  


Abbate received County Chamber's Pam Lydic Award...
The former plant manager at Cummins Jamestown Engine Plant has been given the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce's annual Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award.  The award was presented at Friday afternoon's joint annual meeting of the chamber... and, the Manufacturer's Association of the Southern Tier... to Mike Abbate.  Chamber President and CEO Todd Tranum says Abbate is being recognized for his efforts to address education, and food resources in the area.  Tranum quoted from United Way of Southern Chautauqua County Director Amy Rohler... who said Abbate played a critical volunteer role in setting up a system of "tracking data, and outcomes for local food pantries and providers in the midst of the COVID crisis."  Abbate said he was "humbled and honored to be this year's recipient..." and praised the chamber on it's 20th anniversary... and, the 120th year of the Manufacturer's Association.  He says "collaborations" are the key in both business, and community service.  Abbate retired from Cummins Engine in 2018.  The keynote speaker for the annual meeting was New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

 

 
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 22, 2021

A Jamestown man has been sentenced to three-years in federal prison afer beng convicted of being a convicted Felon in possession of firearms to sell in the area.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior announced Thursday that 57 year-old Ingvue Buchanan, who had recently been convicted of being a felon-in-possession of a firearm, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank Geraci, Junior.  Prosecutors say that in June 2016, law enforcement officers interviewed Buchanan about what he knew about 97 firearms that had been stolen the previous month from three federal firearms licensees in Pennsylvania.  During the interview, Buchanan consented to a search of his vehicle... which he said he had recently bought from co-defendant Ben McCormack.  During the search, officers recovered of a box containing 20 rounds of .44 caliber ammunition.  Buchanon was on parole at the time following a 2011 manslaughter conviction.  As a result... he was prohibited from possessing any ammunition.  McCormack was recently sentenced in Pennsylvania to 10 years and one-month in prison.


The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting one new death over the past day from the COVID-19 Virus... bringing the local total to 52.  In addition... health officials say there are 64 new cases of the virus being reported... putting the total since the pandemic began to 5,938.  Officials say 16 of the new cases are from the Jamestown zip code area.  There are currently 520 active cases... and, 43 of those are hospitalized.  Officials say 5,366 have now recovered.


Public school aid is among the unknowns in Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2021-22 state budget proposal.  That from New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Bob Schneider... who says, though... that more should become clear in the next month.  Schneider says that's because a new COVID Stimulus Bill will likely include funding for state and local governments.  However... he adds there's also the matter of aid claims the state hasn't made good on yet.

Earlier this week... the governor outlined two scenarios in which the state would receive a minimum of $6-billion, or as much as $15-billion to cover it's deficit.  While that would help this year... Schneider says there is concern about the next two to three years after the stimulus monies are gone.  He says that could lead local districts over a "fiscal cliff."  The state is currently looking at a $15-billion gap this year... but, that balloons to $29-billion over the next four years.


Jamestown School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker is taking a wait and see attitude on Governor Cuomo's 2021-22 budget proposals.  Cuomo presented two budget "scenarios" that are highly dependent on federal aid to help plug a major shortfall.  Dr. Whitaker says -- if the state is able to get the full amount of COVID Relief -- districts should be held harmless.  However... he says it becomes a bit tricker if the state gets $6-billion.

Whitaker also says there is some budgetary "slight of hand" going on because new school aid runs show about $4-billion in COVID Relief that had been withheld previously finally going out to schools.  He says they are also looking at a reduction in School Tax Relief program funding coming back to local districts.  The STAR program began in 1998 under former Governor George Pataki to provide tax relief to New York Seniors.  Dr. Whitaker made his comments during his weekly COVID-School update on WJTN's Dennis Webster Show.



A new blanket of snow covered most of western New York earlier this week... adding a large amount at the Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville.  Director of Marketing Jane Eshbaugh says most of their facility is now open.

Eshbaugh says the skiing has been 'amazing' so far.  She says the resort is also open to other winter activities including snowboarding as well as their terrain park.  Eshbaugh says their "mountain coaster..." and, their kids park is also up and operating.  She says the health and safety of their guests is a priority... which is why they have COVID-19 protocols in place, including a high-standard cleaning regime. Additionally, she says guests are required to wear facial coverings at all times except when going down the slopes and while eating or drinking. More information is available at HolidayValley.com or by calling 699-2345.



The remains of three National Guard members killed in a helicopter training accident in upstate New York have now been recovered.  The victims were transported from the crash site south of Rochester Thursday, escorted by police and fire vehicles.  They died when their UH-60 Black Hawk medical evacuation helicopter crashed in a farmer's field in rural Mendon around 6:30 PM Wednesday.  There were no survivors.  The names of the soldiers have not been released... and, the cause of the crash is under investigation.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 21, 2021

There's been one new death reported from the COVID-19 Virus over the past day in Chautauqua County... bringing the local total to 51 since the pandemic began.  The county's Health Department adds there were 84 new confirmed cases over the past day... and, that brings the total number to 5,875.  The health department reports there are now 489 active cases... but, another 436 have now recovered.  Officials say that total is now 5,335.  The most new cases reported in the past day were 18 in Dunkirk... there were another 17 in Jamestown.


There is increasing frustration is being voiced in Chautauqua County, and other rural parts of New York over the lack of COVID-19 vaccines, and inoculation sites.  Local Congressman Tom Reed is among those... noting that Governor Andrew Cuomo had ample time to institute the state's computer scheduling software... but, didn't do it.  The Corning Republican says the Cuomo administration needs to do it's job.

Reed says he's been able to track COVID vaccines from "Operation Warp Speed..." and says not enough vaccines are getting into resident's arms.  In fact... he says the state's information shows only about 75-percent of the vaccines being given to residents.  Reed says it took "weeks" to get that report from the state after he had requested it.  He says it's good that the Biden Administration is pushing for a stronger rollout using FEMA... but, says the state needs to accept it's role, as well.  With two more companies getting vaccines rolled out soon... there should be enough vaccine shortly.  He made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with regional media.


Congressman Tom Reed was among the federal lawmakers at the scaled-back Inauguration ceremonies that started late Wednesday morning in Washington, D-C.  Reed, and his Problem Solver's Caucus co-chairman, Democrat Josh Gottheimer, issued a joint statement following the inauguration... congratulating President Joe Biden.  They say: "Our nation is at a critical juncture: After a horrific assault on our Capitol, a raging pandemic, and families and small businesses hurting, millions of Americans are looking for our country to come together." Reed and Gottheimer add there's a need to restore faith in our democratic institutions and rebuild the economy.


Jmtn-Dollar Gen. Attempt Robbery-#2  4PM                        1/20

A teenager from Buffalo is accused of trying to hold up the Dollar General Store on Winsor Street in Jamestown Wednesay morning.  City police were called to the scene at 226 Winsor just after 9 AM for an armed robbery in progress.  Officers were told that 18 year-old Lester Santiago was still in the store... and, he was taken into custody without incident.  Police say Santiago allegedly told the clerk at the register that he had a gun, and that he wanted the register opened.  They say the clerk signaled another store employee, and that person called 9-1-1.  No gun was found on Santiago, and no gun was displayed.  The Sheriff's Department K-9 was brought in to assist.  Santiago was jailed pending arraignment on one count of third-degree attempted robbery.



There's still time to register for Spring 2021 classes at Jamestown Community College.  The Director of Admissions, Corrine Case, says the new semester is starting a little later than usual, on Monday, January 25th.  Even with the pandemic... Case says some courses will be taught in the traditional way.


The rest of the classes will either be offered on-line, or a with mix of on-line and in person.  In the midst of this time of COVID-19, Case emphasizes that one part of the JCC experience is unchanged... and, that's the amount of support you'll get from the college that has always been there.  She confirms that tuition at JCC will remain at $5,200 a year through the 2021-22 school year.  



State Senator George Borrello says he's pleased with the chamber's passage Tuesday of legislation that will help protect small businesses from being penalized with higher unemployment insurance premiums due job losses during the COVID-19 shutdown.  Borrello advanced a version of the measure as part of a package of small business relief legislation, and also co-sponsored a stand-alone version of the bill with State Senator Pam Helming.

Borrello spoke during a Senate hearing in October about helping small businesses where he noted that the impending increase in unemployment premiums would likely result in the doubling of premiums in a state where rates are already among the highest in the nation.  The Sunset Bay Republican pushed for the unemployment insurance measure for about 10 months.  He says measure awaits action in the state Assembly.


The new Cockaigne Ski Center near Cherry Creek officially opened yesterday afternoon for the first time since fire destroyed it's lodge almost a decade ago.  According to it's Facebook page... Cockaigne opened at mid-afternoon with several inches of fresh, new snow... and, they anticipate all trails being open.  Operators also say the far side of the Jelly Roll beginners trail will be open, along with their new Terrain Park.  The Snowmobile Park also opened.  For more information...call 287-3223. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 20, 2021

After advocating for nearly 10 months for such a measure, State Senator George Borrello says he is pleased by Tuesday's passage of legislation that will help protect small businesses from being penalized with higher unemployment insurance premiums due the COVID-19 shutdown.  Borrello advanced a version of the measure as part of a package of small business relief legislation and also co-sponsored a stand-alone version of the bill with State Senator Pam Helming.

Borrello spoke during a Senate hearing in October about helping small businesses where he noted that the impending increase in unemployment premiums would likely result in an unprecedented doubling of premiums in a state where rates are already among the highest in the nation.  The measure awaits action in the State Assembly.



New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state may sue if Congress doesn't send $15-billion dollars in unrestricted emergency COVID-19 aid.  Cuomo says the pandemic has changed the fiscal landscape a lot... and, has left that large a hole in the state's budget.  With that... the Democrat Tuesday introduced two different 2021-22 budget proposals, depending on whether Congress provides New York with $6-billion or $15-billion.  If it's the $6-billion, he says drastic measures would still have to be taken.

However... Cuomo says that's still not enough -- even if you increase the top income tax rate by 2-percent.  He says that would only produce $1.5-billion more.  Cuomo says President Joe Biden is proposing a total $350-billion in state, local and tribal aid in his COVID Relief proposal... and, if the state receives 4.3-percent of that funding -- it would total $15-billion.  New York is facing a dramatic loss in both sales and income tax revenue in the wake of sweeping COVID-19 restrictions.


The new Cockaigne Ski Center near Cherry Creek officially opens for the first time since fire destroyed it's lodge almost a decade ago.  According to it's Facebook page... the Cockaigne Resort will open at 3 this afternoon with several inches of fresh, new snow... and, they anticipate all trails being open.  Operators also say the far side of the Jelly Roll beginners trail will be open, along with their new Terrain Park.  Officials add that their Snowmobile Park will also open today at 3 PM.  For more information on hours and COVID-19 protocols... call 287-3223.  We have a call into Ski Center Manager Jason Spann.  They also remind people that January is Learn To Ski Month at Cockaigne.


There were three new COVID-19 related deaths over the three-day, Martin Luther King, Junior holiday weekend in Chautauqua County... bringing the local total to 50.  The county's Health Department reports 373 new cases between last Friday and Monday... with 89 cases in Jamestown, 87 in Dunkirk... and, 37 in Fredonia.  Health officials say there have now been 5,796 cases since the pandemic began... and, 847 are currently active.  Officials say 1,952 people are currently in quarantine... and, 4,899 cases have now recovered.



Local Congressman Tom Reed is among the federal lawmakers attending today' inauguration festivities for President Joe Biden in Washington, D-C.  Reed adds that he will continue to try and work with Democrats to resolve the issues facing the nation.  He also says he remains a proud Republican... but, adds that he continues to work for "common ground."

Reed says he believes Republicans can work with the Biden administration on going to a more FEMA-based approach on COVID-19 vaccine distribution.  The inauguration is being held under unprecidented security... but, the Corning Republican is confident it will be held with few if any problems.  He praised the presence, and work of the National Guard to secure the capitol.  The additional security comes in the wake of ongoing threats of violence during the inauguration after a large number of Trump supporters stormed the capitol on January 6th.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 19, 2020

Firefighters from a handful of local companies made quick work of a trailer fire in the town of Harmony about mid-morning Monday... saving many of the belongings of the family living there.  Assistant Ashville Fire Chief Mike Gleason says crews were called to the scene at 56-66 Diffley Road shortly before 9:30 AM.... and, found the trailer fully-engulfed in flames.  However...he says they were able to bring the blaze under control in about 15 minutes.

Gleason says they had most of the blaze out in about half-an-hour... and, crews moved to an overhaul operation.  However... he says some trucks had trouble getting to the scene initially because about 10 inches of snow had fallen.  Gleason says one truck got stuck, and a plow truck had to be called in.  He says everyone got out safely and no injuries were reported.  Gleason says an issue with a wood stove was the apparent cause of the blaze.

Officials at local ski resorts are welcoming the several new inches of Lake Effect snow... which brought out the skiiers on the Martin Luther King, Junior holiday.  Many resorts are now fully-open.  They include the Peek 'n Peak Resort near Clymer... where Issac Gratto is the new director of Ski Operations.  Gratto says they received about 6 to 8 inches of new snow late Sunday into Monday... and the sking conditions are "great."

Gratto says there are COVID-19 protocols in place... including social distancing... and, masks must be worn at all times unless you are eating in their restaurant.  If you are part of a group... he says you can ride the lift together.  But, if you are alone they will keep you alone on the lift.  Gratto says they're now open seven days a week at The Peak.  He says they're experiencing high call volumes right now... so the best way to get information, or reserve a ski ticket is to go on-line to pknpk.COM.  Otherwise... the phone number is 355-4141.


There have been no official totals released from the Chautauqua County Health Department since last Friday... due in part to the Martin Luther King, Junior Holiday on Monday.  However... the state Health Department is reporting the county's positivity rate from Sunday was 11.3-percent... with 81 confirmed cases out of 716 tests.  In addition... the state adds that the seven-day positivity rate is 10.3-percent.  That's the highest rate in the Western New York region.  The county's latest numbers will be released early this afternoon.


Frustrated by the flow of coronavirus vaccine from the federal government... New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday said is floating the idea of buying shots for residents from one of the vaccine makers.  Cuomo told the media during his press briefing that he had written the head of Pfizer... asking to buy vaccines to meet expected demand.  However... he did say the state had passed a milestone in the effort to vaccinate as many people as possible.

However... asking Pfizer to sell those vaccines is far from a sure bet... with the pharmaceutical giant saying it would need federal approval to sell to state governments.  If that were to happen, the cost and amount have yet to be discussed.  Regardless, Cuomo says he feels compelled to broach the idea because his state, like many others, has far more eligible residents than supply.
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Cuomo Monday also pleaded with federal authorities to block travelers from countries where new variants are spreading.  He cited new versions detected in Britain, South Africa and Brazil.  A vast effort is underway to get Americans vaccinated, but the campaign is off to an uneven start.  The latest federal data shows about 31 million doses of vaccine have been distributed, but fewer than 11-million people have received at least one dose. 

The couple leading the campaign to fund the Star Hospice House in Lakewood has announceed they are very close to the final goal.   Dr. Bert Rappole says COVID-19 led to an increase in the dollars needed to assure completion.  Donations are being accepted at Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care on Fairmount Ave in Lakewood, or on-line at chpc.care. Mary Rappole says they are grateful the fundraising was not deterred by the pandemic.  The Star Hospice House will be a 24-hour, staffed residence for end of life care.  It is expected to open in June.

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan 18, 2021


Two city men face several drug related charges following a weekend traffic stop on Jamestown's southside.  City police say they pulled over the car, driven by 27 year-old Michael Krause, around 2 AM Saturday in the area of Forest and Prather Avenues.  Officers say they found drug paraphernalia, and open containers of alcohol in plain view.  Police say they then searched Krause, and his passenger, 29 year-old Kyle Lewis... and, found more paraphernalia.  They also allegedly found quantities of methamphetamine and fentanyl inside the vehicle, along with scales and packaging material.  Both were taken to the city jail, where Lewis was found with more drugs in his possession.  Krause is charged with two counts of second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia... and numerous traffic violations.  Lewis also faces the possession of drug paraphernalia charges... as well as multiple counts of third, fifth and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.


The federal government has cut the number of weekly dosages New York state is receiving at the very time that millions more New Yorkers are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.  Governor Andrew Cuomo highlighted the issues during his most recent COVID-19 press briefing... where he said the state was to receive 300,000 dosages last week.  However... Cuomo says that was cut by 50,000 because state had already received it's second-dosages.

Cuomo says the administration said New York had already received all the second doses they were getting at this time.  He says... with 7-million New Yorkers now eligible for the first shot...getting fewer dosages is not going to speed up the process.  The newer group of residents eligible for the vaccine is now age 65 and older.
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In addition... there are fewer places to get a vaccination in Western New York.  Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler announced late last week that eligible residents can only use the state's "Am I Eligible?" tool right now to connect with a state vaccination clinic.  Schuyler says the nearest one to us is the south campus at the University at Buffalo.  She says "this change came as a surprise to us."  In addition to the state Health Department's website, she urged seniors 65 and older to contact the Office for the Aging's New York-Connects Helpline at 753-4582... or 661-7582. 

New York state reports it is getting closer to reaching a vital early goal of its coronavirus vaccine campaign: getting a first dose to every nursing home resident.  But... the effort to protect them has unfolded more slowly than some administrators and residents' relatives hoped.  Governor Andrew Cuomo said late last week that 96-percent of the state's nursing homes have been visited by a vaccination team.  Vaccination teams were due to reach the rest by Sunday.  However... the president of a statewide nursing home association says some initially struggled to schedule their first visits with partner pharmacies.


There are six new cases of the COVID-19 virus being reported by the Jamestown Public School district... including four students.  JPS Spokeswoman Cathy Panebianco says the Chautauqua County Health Department reports they include a district employee last at work on January 5th... along with an employee at Bush Elementary School last present on January 11th.  The students include a Lincoln Elementary School student last present January 13th... a Persell Middle School student, and a Jamestown High School student -- both last present in late December... and, a distance-learning only student.  The health department reports there were no in-school close contacts.

With Joe Biden set to be inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States this coming Wedneday... Chautauqua County's representative in Congress says he is trying to do his part to ensure a peaceful transition of power.  In the wake of what he calls the "snap impeachment" of President Donald Trump... Tom Reed says there is a lot of anger and frustration across the country.

Reed... a Republican from Corning... is urging people to "stay calm and be reasoned" in the days leading up to the inauguration.  He warns there is still a lot of anger and frustration being seen in Congress... and, across the country.  Reed was also one of 35 House members and three senators to send a bipartisan letter to the White House, asking Trump to tell the nation that "now is not the time for further violence."  Reed made his comments during his recent conference call with national and regional media.

A man from West Ellicott is accused of driving drunk and fleeing police in his car late last week in the town of North Harmony.  Sheriff's deputies say they tried to stop 55 year-old Charles Foringer on Route 394 shortly before 8 PM last Thursday.  Officers say Foringer failed to comply... and, drove away at a high-rate of speed.  Police say he eventually stopped, and was arrested on several  charges... including DWI, driving with more than point-08 percent blood alcohol level... speeding and unlawfully fleeing police.  Foringer was processed, and released pending a future court appearance in North Harmony Town Court.


Today is Martin Luther King, Junior Day across the nation... and, a number of institutions are closed, including the post office, banks... and, local, state and federal offices.  The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities is also closed today.  The BPU Customer Service Office will reopen for business at 9 AM on Tuesday.  However... officials say that garbage and recycling will be picked up on its regular weekly schedule with no collection changes.
 

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News Headlines for Sat. Jan. 16, 2021

County reports 122 New COVID-19 cases, no deaths, Friday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 122 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus today... bringing the total number now to 5,424.  Health officials say there are 20 cases each in the city of Jamestown and Dunkirk... and, 14 more in Bemus Point.  There are cases in every zip code area with a few exceptions.  The county reports 731 active cases... and, 42 of those are hospitalized.  Officials say 4,646 cases have now recovered.


Cuomo says 74% of vaccines received have been given to state residents...
Dueling numbers tell differing stories about how well New York state has received... and, distributed the COVID-19 Vaccine.  During Friday's COVID-19 press briefing in Albany... Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state has been able to administer about 74% of the dosages received over the first four weeks of innoculations.  Cuomo says that's among the best in the nation.  He says there have been a total of 827,000 doses given out, and that includes 96,000 second doses.  Cuomo says the numbers... which are now up on the state Health Department's website... are the actual numbers from the providers and health care facilities involved.  He says they are submitted under penalty of perjury.  Cuomo says the numbers have been very good in some regions... including Western New York... where 82% of all dosages have been administered.  That includes Chautauqua County... where UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown has administered 98% of the dosages distributed.  Cuomo says there are currently 1,200 vaccine distribution sites in the state.


At the same time, Sen. Borrello says CDC numbers show the percentage to be more like 36%... 
A state lawmaker from Chautauqua County is critical about how New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is handling the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the state.  The Centers for Disease Control website shows today that the state has received about 1.8-million doses while it has distributed about 680,000 -- or about 36%.  State Senator George Borrello says he has heard a lot of the vaccine has been thrown away... and, there have been stories about that happening.  The Sunset Bay Republican says he believes politics has gotten in the way... and, Cuomo says the vaccine needs to be equitable distributed.  Borrello says it needs to be given to people who are at the highest-risk.  The state that has done the best job of getting vaccines into the arms of people has been West Virginia... which has injected 73% of it's vaccines into people's arms.  


Whitaker says it's not clear yet how NYS will deal with a $5-billion dollar deficit in school aid...
Governor Cuomo wrapped up his State of the State messages Thursday... with a number of infrastructure projects highlighted.  Earlier... he said the state faces a $15-billion deficit heading into the new fiscal year beginning Apr. 1.  The deficit for education funding is more than $5-billion.  Jamestown School Superindent Kevin Whitaker says... Cuomo has indicated that without federal help... that 20% reduction will remain.  At the same time... Whitaker says the state has received about $4-billion in federal education aid... and, he's heard that the state is looking at withholding 20% of that funding.  He says he's hopes that's not the case.


Man from West Ellicott arrested in No. Harmony for speeding, DWI...         
A West Ellicott man faces a slew of charges for allegedly driving drunk, and speeding while trying to flee pursuing Sheriff's officers in the town of North Harmony.  Deputies say they tried to stop a car, operated by 55 year-old Charles Foringer, on Route 394 shortly before 8 p.m. last Thursday.  Officers say Foringer failed to comply... and, drove away at a high-rate of speed.  They say the operator eventually stopped, and was arrested on charges including DWI, driving with more than point-08 percent blood alcohol level... speeding and unlawfully fleeing police.  Foringer was processed, and released pending a future court appearance in North Harmony Town Court.


Fisher installed as new Buffalo Catholic Bishop...
Catholic Bishop Michael Fisher has been installed as the 15th bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo during a ceremony this afternoon that was significantly scaled-back due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.  Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, presided over the installation.  During the installation service... a letter of appointment was read that was sent by Pope Francis.  Bishop Fisher was alter escorted by Cardinal Dolan to the bishop’s chair... where he officially assumed leadership of the Diocese of Buffalo.  Fisher replaces interim Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, who served the diocese after the retirement of Bishop Richard Malone.


High School graduation rate in NYS improves slightly despite pandemic, remote learning...
New York's high school graduation rate improved slightly following the shift to remote learning, and cancellation of Regents exams.  State education officials said Thursday the statewide graduation rate for the class of 2020 was 84.8%... up 1.4 percentage points from the previous year.  Among city schools, Buffalo reported the greatest improvement, posting a 76.3% graduation rate, up nearly 12 percentage points over the class of 2019.  New York City's rate improved to 78.8%.  Syracuse, Rochester and Yonkers also reported higher graduation rates than the previous year.  The rates for English language learners and students with disabilities also improved.

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 15, 2021

The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting a 47th COVID-19 related death from Thursday... along with 105 new cases of the virus.  Health officials say there have now been 5,302 confirmed cases... and, 721 are currently active.  They say the new cases include 33 in Jamestown... and, 30 in Dunkirk.  Officials say 42 people are in the hospital... and, 4,534 have now recovered.


There are 30 new cases of COVID-19 being reported in Cattaragus County... and two new deaths over the past day.  The health Department in Olean reports there are now 66 deaths from the pandemic, and 3,211 total cases.  Officials add they currently have 507 active cases, and 47 of those are hospitalized.  In addition... 2,638 cases have now recovered.


Members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force uncovered several drugs, paraphernalia and cash during a raid early Thursday morning. Task Force agents were assisted by Ellicott Town Police, JPD, Jamestown SWAT, the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office and the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force in executing a search warrant at 211 Hazzard Street shortly after 6 AM. Officers say a search of the residence revealed over 8-ounces of powder cocaine… anabolic steroids…  and, a marijuana growing operation.  Agents also found scales and packaging materials… ammunition… a money counter… and, $4,587 in cash. Police say the warrant is a continuation of “Operation Crazy Ivan”, where several raids were conducted last week in Falconer and Jamestown. No charges have been announced, but are expected as the investigation continues. 


Money from the latest COVID-19 Stimulus package is starting to flow for businesses and workers... and, the city of Jamestown is assisting where it can.  That from Development Director Crystal Surdyk... and, Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who responded to some questions about that at this week's City Council work session.  Surdyk says they have links on their page on the city's website, and Facebook page about who's eligible, and how to apply.  Sundquist says applications for the Payroll Protection Program opened up this week for most banks... and, employers should direct those questions to their banking institution.  He says there's also a new loan-grant program for the arts.

In addition... Sundquist says a much needed grant program has opened up to help restaurants.  He says it will provide up to $5,000 for restaurants that have been shuttered... or just partially open.  These programs were all part of the nearly $900-billion COVID-19 stimulus bill approved by Congress and signed by President Trump.


Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone has been working with local police agencies to develop final plans to comply with Governor Andrew Cuomo's executive order creating the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative.  Quattrone updated the planning process Thursday morning... and, how his office is working with the local departments..

Quattrone says they'll have stakeholder agencies on Zoom Conferences which will then be connected to Facebook Live to allow the community to log in and ask questions during each session.  He says several in the south county are planned later this month... including one in the town of Carroll on January 19th... the town of Ellicott on the 20th... and, in the Lakewood-Busti area on January 27th.  In addition... Quattrone says they'll have on-line meetings January 21st for the village of Fredonia... and, January 26th for the city of Dunkirk.



A Silver Creek man is accused of menacing and other charges following an alleged altercation in the north county village this past Tuesday.  Sheriff's deputies were called to an undisclosed location just after 8 PM... and, following an investigation...arrested 21 year-old Draven VanEvery.  In addition to third-degree menacing... VanEvery is charged with two counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief... he was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.

 
Three north county police officers are receiving awards for their steady hand in de-escalatintg a potentially deadly incident near the SUNY College at Fredonia entrance on Temple Street in December of 2019.   Fredonia Police Chief Phil Maslak commended the work of the trio of officers for peacefully ending the situation.

Meslak says the officers... who included SUNY at Fredonia Policeman Ian Hodkin, and, the Fredonia Police Department's Ben Kravitz and Michael Hodkin... were able to get the man involved in the incident the help he needed.


The State University of New York at Fredonia is mourning the loss of a junior men's hockey player who passed away Tuesday from injuries suffered in a skiing accident in Lake Placid.  22-year-old Tanner Kahlau of Mountain Top, Pennsylvania also played junior hockey with the New Jersey Rockets of the U.S. Premier Hockey League before enrolling at Fredonia State in 2018.  Fredonia State Athletics also reports he was majoring in Business Management with a minor in Exercise Science.  Arrangements are being handled by a funeral home in Mountain Top, Pennsylvania.


Chautauqua County's representative in the state Senate is teaming with a New York City Assemblywoman to support creation of a permanent successor to the "Nourish New York" program.  Sunset Bay Republican George Borrello and Democratic Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz recently joined volunteers at the Queens Museum to help distribute food to struggling families.  Since the pandemic hit... the museam has hosted a food pantry that's helped about one-thousand families.  "Nourish New York" began as a stop-gap measure last April to distribute surplus agricultural products to food banks.  A benefitiary of the program is Chautauqua Rural Ministry, which alone has served about 4,000 meals on a weekly basis.

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 14, 2021


Funding from the latest COVID-19 Stimulus package is starting to flow for businesses and workers... and, the city of Jamestown is assisting where it can.  That from Development Director Crystal Surdyk... and, Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who fielded some questions at this week's City Council work session.  Surdyk says they have links on their page on the city's website, and Facebook page about who's eligible, and how to apply.


Sundquist says applications for the Payroll Protection Plan opened up this week for most banks... and, employers should address those questions to their banking institution.  He adds the state has also opened up a program to help restaurants. Sundquist says the city has also been in contact with various arts and cultural entities in the city about the new "Save our Stages" Act that's part of the nearly $900-billion stimulus package.  He says that program should be opening soon.



The State University of New York at Fredonia is mourning the loss of a junior men's hockey player who passed away Tuesday from injuries suffered in a skiing accident in Lake Placid.  22-year-old Tanner Kahlau of Mountain Top, Pennsylvania also played junior hockey with the New Jersey Rockets of the U.S. Premier Hockey League before enrolling at Fredonia State in 2018.  Fredonia State Athletics also reports he was majoring in Business Management with a minor in Exercise Science.



A north county man has been arrested on menacing and other charges following an alleged altercation in the village of Silver Creek this past Tuesday.  Sheriff's officers were called to an undisclosed location just after 8 PM... and, following an investigation... took 21 year-old Draven VanEvery of Silver Creek into custoday.  In addition to third-degree menacing... he's charged with two counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief... he was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.



The bi-partisan group of House and Senate members that helped breakthrough the gridlock on COVID-19 relief, called on President Trump to renounce any further violence at the U-S Capitol.  In response... the president issued a statement Wednesday afternoon in which he urged "NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind" leading up to or during the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

However... majority House Democrats still pushed ahead on voting to impeach the president for an unprecidented second-time in his one and only term.  Reed says... expect for 10 House Republicans... that was a non-starter for the GOP.  The Corning Republican says even the bi-partisan Problem Solver's Caucus could not come to a consensus on how best to deal with President Trump in the wake of last week's mob attack on the Capitol building.  Reed says the 50 members of the caucus could not agree on either impeachment or censure.



Another upstate New York Republican Congressman was among those backing Mr. Trump's impeachment... saying the president incited the riot at the U.S. Capitol last week.  The former federal prosecutor representing central New York said Trump "encouraged this insurrection" on social media ahead of January 6th... and, in his speech that day.  Katko was among hundreds of members of Congress locked down for hours while rioters invaded the Capitol Wednesday.



It's time for New York state to move ahead aggressively on providing it's own green energy for the future.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo... who says that's one of the lessons that's come out of the COVID-19 pandemic and shut-down.  During the third-part of his State of the State message... Cuomo said -- otherwise -- we'll have to depend on others -- many of them overseas.

Cuomo highlighted that as one of four components necessary to get New York fully moving towards clean, renewable energy.  To do that... he outlined an ambitious $26-billion effort to complete more than 100 projects to produce the power, store and transmit it.  He says those projects are projected to eliminate carbon emissions by almost 16-million metric tons a year... and, create more than 17,000 good paying jobs.


There's been a 46th death of a person from COVID-19 related illness in Chautauqua County over the past day.  In addition to the one new death... County Executive P-J Wendel says there are 67 new cases... raising the total to 5,198.  Wendel adds that 695 cases are currently active... and, 42 of those are hospitalized.  He says 4,457 cases have now recovered.
                                    

The Cattaraugus County Health Department is reporting three new COVID-related deaths over the past day.  Officials say that brings the total to 64.  In a printed release from the Public Health Emergency Department... officials say 58 new COVID cases were reported on Tuesday.. bringing the total to 3,181.  There are currently 513 active cases, and 45 people are hospitalized.

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 13, 2021

There's been a 45th death in Chautauqua County from the COVID-19 virus reported today... along with 126 new cases of the virus.  County Executive P-J Wendel says there have now been 5,131 total cases.  Wendel says there are 707 active cases... and, 42 of those are currently hospitalized.  He says there are 28 new cases in Jamestown... and, 20 in Dunkirk.  Officials add that 4,379 cases have now recovered.
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Late Tuesday... Wendel expressed ongoing concern over the recent spike in cases from the recent holiday season.  He says his COVID-19 Response Team is monitoring the situation... and, says for the most part... residents have done a "great job" in adhering to state and CDC guidelines.  However... with this increase in "community spread..." he urged people to continue social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, and avoiding gatherings.

Governor Andrew Cuomo again expanded the vaccine eligibility requirements in New York to include anyone 65 or over.  Cuomo said Tuesday the state's following new federal guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  He says people who are age 75 - and up and a much longer list of workers, including transit employees, grocery clerks, teachers, police officers, firefighters and others became eligible to get the vaccine Monday.

In another development... Cuomo says there appears to be a flattening of the post-holiday spike, something that health experts didn't expect until later in the month. New York is increasing access to an already short supply of doses being distributed through an overtaxed system some users have found time consuming.


There were 50 new cases reported Monday in Cattaraugus County... bringing their total number of cases is now 3,073.  Leaders say there are 451 active cases, and 41 of those are hospitalized.  The county says 61 people have died from COVID-19 related illness... and, 2,561 have now recovered.

Post-COVID-19 reconstruction in New York state will involve the use of rapid testing to allow businesses and the arts to reopen while vaccinations are ramped up.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo during the second-part of his State of the State Address Tuesday in Albany.  Cuomo says the state used a pilot program at last Saturday's Buffalo Bills play-off game.

Cuomo says they plan to work with local realtors to open up additional rapid test centers to allow people can be tested hours before going to patronizing a business, or going to a social event.  He also proposed a New York Arts Revival program with "pop-up" performances around the state beginning February 4th.  Cuomo also noted the need to recognize the "remote economy..." and the need to expand broadband services.  He wants to make the Internet more affordable for poorer New Yorkers. Currently... Cuomo says the average rate for Internet service is more than 50-dollars a month.  He reiterated that 98-percent of New Yorkers have access to the internet.  Cuomo also proposed a Post-COVID Economic Commission to plan for jobs of the future.  

While Governor Cuomo's State of the State message Monday addressed a number of challenges facing New York State, a state lawmaker from the area feels more focus belongs on what he calls the state's culture of overspending.  State Senator George Borrello said Tuesday that, while the the federal government has a role to play when it comes to assisting the state with it's $15-billion deficit... he says the state must cut spending.
Borrello says he is glad to hear the Governor say that the state cannot afford another state-wide shutdown... and, is looking at ways to reopen safely.  However... the Sunset Bay Republican says the damage caused by the state's spring shutdown was "catastrophic" and will take years to recover from.



Gas prices in the Jamestown-area have begun rising to pre-pandemic levels... increasing about six-cents over the past 10 days.  That from the East Central Triple-A's gas report... which says the price has increased from nearly $2.36 a gallon to about $2.42 a gallon.  Triple-A says... at 2-dollars-31 cents... the national gas price to begin the week was the highest in 10 months.  Pump prices have increased despite a drop in demand.  Triple-A says the rising prices can be largely attributed to a tightening supply and rising crude oil prices, which are outweighing decreasing demand.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan 12, 2020


Local Congressman Tom Reed is pushing for alternatives to impeachment, as talk continues to swirl around the nation's capitol about what to do in the wake of last week's riots in Washington.  In an op-ed in the New York Times... Reed calls on congressional leaders and President-elect Biden to "take a moment to consider what is at stake.  Work with us on constitutionally viable alternatives to ensure that no individual is above the law."  Reed says such options include censure, criminal proceedings, and actions under the 14th Amendment, after a complete and thorough investigation into the events leading up to the assault on the Capitol."  He says he and others in the House plan to introduce a censure resolution today to ensure accountability.



Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state will vaccinate millions, and jumpstart its flagging economy in 2021 Monday as part of his annual State of the State Address.  Cuomo spoke to a mainly 'on-line' audience from the capitol's "War Room..." and, says the state of the state is much like the nation and world.

Cuomo spoke mainly in generalities... noting that more details will be provided during the week.  It comes as the state tries to balance re-opening its economy with ending with a pandemic whose death toll is nearing 40,000 people.  He also -- again -- made the case for local and state aid... adding that the state cannot raise the $15-billion to eliminate that deficit.

During the address... Cuomo outlined a seven-point plan... led by beating COVID-19.  He says that includes improving New York's health care delivery system and medical equipment production through legislation.  Today... Cuomo said he's ordered the expansion of places to get the COVID Vaccine.


While Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State message on Monday addressed a number of challenges facing New York State, a state lawmaker from the area feels more focus belongs on what he calls the state's culture of overspending.  State Senator George says the federal government has a role to play when it comes to assisting the state with a $15-billion deficit, but he adds that the state must reduce spending. Borrello says he is glad to hear the Governor say that the state cannot afford another state-wide shutdown, but the Sunset Bay Republican says the damage caused by the state's spring shutdown was "catastrophic" and will take years to recover from.


Last weeks series of community stakeholder meetings on potential police reforms in the city of Jamestown was "very successful."  Those are the feelings of two City Council members who were involved in setting up, and taking part in the sessions.  Vickye James was one of the lawmakers involved in some of the sessions... and, said during last night's work session that some of those involved want to keep meeting.

James adds that she feels the city is in a "good place" to move reform forward.  The other council member involved... Tamu Graham-Reinhardt... was also pleased with how the meetings went, and, discussed the next steps.  She says a final plan now needs to be drafted... and that starts a 30-day comment period on it.  Jamestown Police need to finalize a plan for how police should deal with the community on a number of issues raised during the stakeholder meetings... and, submit those to the state by April 1st.  


Chautauqua County officials are reporting 376 new cases of the COVID-19 Virus since last Friday... and four new deaths.  The county's Health Department says that brings the total number of deaths to 44, and, 5,010 cases since the pandemic began.  County officials say the most cases the past three-days were reported in Dunkirk, which had 95... and, there were 87 in Jamestown.  County Executive P-J Wendel says one of the deaths was a person in their 70s... and, the other three were in their 80s.  He adds there are currently 715 active cases, and 42 people are in the hospital.  Wendel says 4,251 cases have now recovered.

In Cattaraugus County... officials reported 50 new cases yesterday... and the total number of cases is now 3,073.  Leaders say there are 451 active cases, and 41 of those are hospitalized.  The county says 61 people have now died from COVID-19 related illness... and, 2,561 have now recovered.

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 11, 2021

New York state this week will allow a much wider group of people to get the COVID-19 vaccine this week in an effort to get more of them vaccinated.  Due to mounting criticism over the slow pace of the coronavirus vaccine rollout... Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement late last week that would include anyone age 75 or older.  However... will there be enough vaccine available for the people included in Phase-One-B?  Many have aslo asked if there will be "mass innoculation centers" at some point.  During a Zoom Conference with the Western New York Hub members late last week... Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said yes.

Hochul says there are about 1.6-million people... and, realistically... they want to get 1.3-million vaccinated.  Once the vaccine is more readily available... she says places like the Buffalo Convention Center... would be used.  Initially... Governor Cuomo warned that the supply of vaccines available to people other than health care workers and nursing home patients would be very limited.  Others that would be newly-eligible for the vaccine include teachers, and first responders.


UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown has begun treating COVID-19 patients with monoclonal antibodies... laboratory-produced molecules that help a person's own immune system fight viruses.  Director of Surgical Services Trudy Bloomquist says seven patients have received infusions so far.  She adds that these are patients with COVID-19 who are typically at least 65 years old, have a body-mass index of 35 or greater, and have not had the illness for more than 10 days.  Bloomquist says patients have tolerated the treatment well so far.


The long-time police chief in the village of Lakewood and town of Busti will be retiring later this month.  The Lakewood Village Board is slated to act on the pending retirement of Chief John Bentley, Junior at tonight's meeting.  Bentley has been with the department for 45 years... and, is planning to retire on January 17th.  The village board will also act on the promotion of Sergeant Christopher DePonceau as the new police chief beginning that date.  Bentley has recommended DePonceau as his replacement.


An improper wood stove exhaust system is being blamed for an early afternoon fire last Saturday that extensively damaged a home in the town of Clymer.  Sheriff's Department investigators say Findley Lake firefighters were called to the scene at 9734 Route 430 about 12:30 PM... and, were joined by several other departments.  The county's Fire Investigation Team was called in... and, determined the wood stove was the origin of the blaze.  No injuries were reported.


A proposal to legalize recreational marijuana is expected to be part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State message later today.  Local State Senator George Borrello continues to have concerns about the issue, and plans to oppose it.  However... he also has questions whether majority Democrats in both chambers of the legislature can reach agreement on such legislation.

Governor Cuomo has included the proposal in his last two executive budget plans... but, lawmakers have yet to agree on a plan.  Cuomo says they have to "look inward to decide on how they want to handle this... because the issues have not been addressed."  Borrello has had concerns about legalizing marijuana prior to becoming a state lawmaker, when he was Chautauqua County Executive.


State Senator Borrello has been appointed as the ranking Republican member of three senate committees for the 2021 session... Agriculture, Banks, and the newly-created Procurement and Contracts.  Borrello says he's "enthusiastic" about expanded responsibilities... and, affirmed his commitment to effect positive policy changes.  The Sunset Bay Republican says the state is "at a critical juncture as both employers and residents grapple with the economic fallout of the pandemic.  Borrello was also named to several other committees... including Finance and Aging.


Two men from Jamestown were arrested late last week after they were caught in the act of making an illegal drug deal.  City police say members of the Metro Drug Task Force were in the area of East Second Street and Foote Avenue just after 11 AM Friday when they saw the alleged transaction between 29 year-old Devonte Chandler and 25 year-old Donovan Paquette.  Officers say Chandler admitted that he had just sold Fentanyl to Paquette... and, he was also allegedly found with cocaine, hydrocodone pills... and, 43-hundred dollars cash in his possession.  Chandler was charged with three counts of third-degree criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance... while Paquette was charged with seven-degree criminal posession of a controlled substance.  Both were jailed pending arraignment.


The former plant manager at Cummins Jamestown Engine Plant has been named the 2020 recipient of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce's Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award.  In a printed release... the chamber says Michael Abbate "has worked tirelessly for the economic betterment of Chautauqua County and to address the critical issues of education and food resources in our communities."  Abbate says he's "humbled and honored to be this year's recipient."  He started at Cummins Jamestown Engine Plant in 1981, and served in a variety of roles there before being named plant manager in 2013.  Abbate retired in 2018.  The Pam Lydic award will be presented during the joint Chamber-MAST Annual Meeting on-line at Noon on Friday, January 22th.
 

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News Headlines for Sat. Jan. 9, 2021

Dozens of guns seized, drugs and cash during series of raids in Jamestown and Falconer areas...
A more than year-long investigation into the trafficking of several illegal drugs has led to the searches of several homes and businesses in the Jamestown and Falconer-areas.  Local drug agents add several dozen guns... and, several pounds of drugs were seized.  Officials with the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force, the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office, and Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force and state and federal agencies... raided several locations at 6 am this past Wednesday.  Initially... the search warrant for 209 West Ave. in Falconer led to the seizure of several pounds of marihuana, more than $5,000 cash... and, two loaded shotguns.  Police add some 20 firearms were also found, along with several pounds of marijuana and other drugs... at 2585 South Work St. Ext. in Falconer.  Police say a warrant was also obtained for a Kennedy business on Route 394.  They add that several other locations were searched inside the city of Jamestown.... and, the Metro Drug Task Force found 37 firearms and a cache of ammunition that is estimated to be more than 1,000 rounds in total.  The investigation is continuing, and charges will be placed in the future.  


Wendel very concerned about recent rise in COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations...
There's been another, single-day record number of new COVID-19 cases in Chautauqua County the past day... along with a new high number of active cases.  That from county Health officials... who say 266 new cases were reported from Thursday... along with 722 active ones.  County Executive PJ Wendel says we appeared to have the situation somewhat under control until Fall... and, cases have spiked since.  With the vaccine starting to arrive... Wendel says it's more important now than ever to wear masks, and avoid crowds.  Using a boxing analogy, he says "we might be able to withstand one punch from the champ -- maybe two -- but if we're going to keep getting three and four punches (cases)... it's going to hit us and it's going to hit and cripple us."  Wendel says he understands people want to get together for the holidays... and, even this weekend's Buffalo Bills play-off game... but, he says don't.  Wendel says his family significantly scaled-back their holiday due to potential spread... with only immediate family gathered.  There were no additional deaths reported from Thursday... and that number remains 40.  There are now 4,635 total cases so far... and 42 people are hospitalized in the county.  Wendel made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Hochul, officials with WNY Vaccine hub, address rollout and future plans...
There has been much criticism of the federal and state governments over the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines... and, members of the Western New York Regional hub update the media on the where things are.  Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul says the state will be moving to the "1b" portion of vaccinations next Monday.  Hochul says people should sign up when they become eligible... but, adds because the numbers are limited right now... you may have to wait.  She says it's all based on what they receive from the federal government.  Currently... those distribution points are privately through hospitals and pharmacies... and, locally through health departments.  She says the federal government is distributing directly to private entities... while the state is providing it to health departments and others.  However, Hochul says they are in the process of setting up more distribution points.


Griffith to retire as county Emerg. Services Director in March, Guttman appointed as replacement...
A long-time member of the fire service in Chautauqua County... and, most recently the county's Director of Emergency Services has announced his retirement later this year.  County Executive P-J Wendel says today that Director John Griffith will retire from his position effective Mar. 1.  Wendel says Griffith first began his career with the county in April 2012 as a Deputy Fire Coordinator with the Office of Emergency Services.  In October 2017, he was promoted to the positon of Director of the Office of Emergency Services.  During the announcement in Mayville... Wendel also announced Noel Guttman has been appointed to replace Griffith as director on Mar. 1.  He says Guttman has a strong background in emergency services and law enforcement.... and, has been a member of the Mayville Fire Department since 1991.


Borrello and Goodell high-light agenda's for 2021 state legislative session...
The 2021 New York state legislative session got underway in Albany on Wednesday.  The state's economy is one area of concern.  That from local State Senator George Borrello was recently elected to a full two-year term... who says we need to get "New York's economy up and running safely, but, as soon as possible."  Assemblyman Andy Goodell says there are many challenges facing the legislature, including the impact of the pandemic on small businesses.  Goodell says the impact on small businesses, and residents from the loss of jobs is a major issue to him.  Both lawmakers will be following Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State message slated for Monday.


Two men hospitalized withe stab wounds after State Capitol melee...
Two men were hospitalized after being stabbed outside the state Capitol during a melee involving supporters of President Donald Trump and counterprotesters.  The two men, aged 36 and 40, were hospitalized with injuries after the stabbing Wednesday afternoon.  One of them underwent emergency surgery.  State police say 37-year-old Alexander Contompasis of nearby Rensselaer was charged with assault, criminal possession of a weapon and menacing.  He was arraigned Thursday morning in Albany City Court, where a judge set bail at $30,000. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 8, 2021

There's now been a 40th COVID-19 related death in Chautauqua County after one was reported from Wednesday.  The county's Health Department also reports there are 62 new cases being reported yesterday... bringing the local total to 4,371.  Officials say the most cases -- 20 -- were reported in Dunkirk... while 8 were added in Brocton.  Health officials say 645 cases are currently active... and, 43 of those are how hospitalized.  They add that 3,686 cases have now recovered.

There are seven new deaths to report in neighboring Cattaraugus County... bringing that county's total to 60 during the pandemic.  Health officials in Olean say there were 77 new cases reported on Thursday... bringing the total there to 2,888.  Officials say there are current 588 active cases... and, 38 of those are hospitalized.  They add that 2,270 have now recovered.


Wednesday afternoon's storming of the U-S Capitol building in Washington, D-C was "an assault on our Democracy."  Those are the feelings of local Congressman Tom Reed... who delivered a fiery speech on the floor of the House of Representatives last night to certify the Electoral College victory for Democrat Joe Biden.  Reed drew applause from both sides when he said mob rule can never be allowed in America.


Reed got emotional when he said the mob spit upon the blood of my father... that is in the soil of Europe and Korea."  He stood on both sides of the aisle in the House during his speech.  He says he will continue to fight for Republican ideals... but, says it will happen with a new, Democratic president... and, there will be a peaceful transition of power.  Reed joined with his co-chairman of the bi-partisan Problem Solver's Caucus, Democrat Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey... in denouncing the violence seen in Washington, DC yesterday... as thousands of pro-Trump supporters and others... stormed the Capitol building.

There was little question among members of Congress and the Senate that they should further delay the certification of the presidential election after that angry mob stormed the Capitol.  Local Congressman Tom Reed held a press briefing yesterday afternoon... and, described those moments when the capitol building was locked-down.  First, though, Reed expressed his appreciation to fellow lawmakers doing their jobs, and the words later of President-Elect Biden... and, President Trump.


When pro-Trump supporters rushed the Capitol... Reed says he had just finished speaking on the floor, and was in his office across the street when the incident occured.  He says he and some colleagues spoke by phone, and said they need to get back to business once the building had been secured.  Reed stopped short of criticizing those Republicans who still insisted on objecting to the certification of a handful of states.  However... while he didn't name them... he says some admitted that they had "political motives."  Reed says that needs to stop.



The governor of New York has done an about-face and now embraces mobile sports betting as a way to deal with financial losses stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.  Democrat Andrew Cuomo's announcement came as a company that tracks gambling legislation, and performance predicted that revenue from legal sports betting could reach $3.1-billion in 2021 and as much as $10-billion within five years.  Cuomo says, though, they would not have casinos administering the program.

VIXIO GamblingCompliance projects that at least six and as many as 14 additional states will legalize or expand sports betting in 2021.  Cuomo is also calling for the legalization and regulation of marijuana for recreational use by adults, his third attempt in as many years to get the drug fully legalized in the state.  He says he will announce his new proposals during his State of the State Address next Monday.


Two hunters -- one from Falconer -- have been arrested for allegedly "jacklighting" a deer at night last month in the town of Poland.  Ellicott Town Police say they helped state Department of Environmental Conservation officers with the incident... which occured on Sprague Hill Road about 9 PM on December 12th.  Investigators say they found that one of the two men shot a deer -- using a spotlight -- on posted property, and with a rifle equipped with a silencer.  Officers say they found that the rifle and silencer were provided by the other man, who was also at the scene when the deer was shot.  Police say 22 year-old Anthony Genco... and, 22 year-old Calvin Nowicki of Erie, Pennsylvania were ticketed for illegally taking a deer with a light... discharging a firearm from a roadway... using a silencer and trespassing.  A land owner reported blood and drag marks in the snow on his property shortly after the incident.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 7, 2021

Local Congressman Tom Reed was in the capitol building for the certification of the Electoral College vote when dozens of pro-Trump protesters stormed the building.  Reed says he's safe, along with members of his staff.  However... he quickly called for de-escalation of the situation.  The Corning Republican says "we are Americans and do not do this.  My heart breaks for our nation right now.  Our country and its beautiful democracy is better than this.  Our Constitution calls for the civil transition of power and though we may not agree with the election results, we must agree to always act with honor and civility towards all."
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Later... the bi-partisan Problem Solver's Caucus -- which Reed co-chairs -- and a group of Senators they worked with on the recent COVID Stimulus bill released a statement saying -- quote -- "the behavior we witnessed in the U.S. Capitol is entirely un-American. This was not a peaceful protest – this was an insurrection. These individuals should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

 

Members of New York's National Guard are being sent to Washington, D.C., to help "the peaceful transition of presidential power."  Governor Andrew Cuomo says one-thousand troops will be sent for up to two weeks, at the request of U.S. National Guard officials. It comes in the wake of a mob of President Donald Trump's supporters rampaged through the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.


Yesterday's Congressional certification of the the Electoral College vote had been getting extraordinary scrutiny... as one of the final acts of a highly-contested and contentious Presidential election.  The Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown offered several programs on the Electoral College during the fall of 2020.  Center President, Kristan McMahon, says what's happening right now is not ordinary.

There are a few instances in American history when objections have been raised at the time of certification... but, the grounds for those objections is rather narrow.  McMahon says it's "not a referedum on 'are these votes legitimately cast.'"  She believes the relevance and necessity of the Electoral College is something that deserves to be studied, not just because of the 2020 election... but also because it is not the ideal fit when there is a 'third party' candidate running for President.


New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul... herself a former member of Congress from the Buffalo area... also issued a statement late Wednesay.  The Democrat says "it's more than an assault on the Capitol building.  It’s an assault on democracy and America itself.  Domestic terrorists who undermine our free and fair elections and attempt to sabotage the peaceful transfer of power must be brought to justice."


The New York state legislature is back in Albany to get ready for the start of the new legislative session.  Local State Senator George Borrello says there will be a lot of challenges facing legislators... namely an approximately 15-billion dollar deficit.  Borrello says we "have to hit the ground running."  He says one of the challenges is that Governor Andrew Cuomo has too much power.

Borrello says the state and nation is still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic... but, adds "we need to have a government that works cooperatively" to get the state through these difficult public health, and economic times.  Borrello took part in a news conference Republicans held on that issue in Albany on Tuesday.


There are three new deaths from COVID-19 related illness in Chautauqua County... bringing the total to 39.  The county Health Department says there are now a total of 4,309 cases since the start of the pandemic.  Officials say there are 113 new cases of COVID over the past day... and, 42 of those were reported in Jamestown.  County officials say 49 people are hospitalized... and 3,619 have recovered.

There were 53 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Cattaraugus County from yesterday... with 37 now hospitalized.  The Health Department reports there are now 491 active cases... and, a total of 2,753 since the pandemic began.  There have been 53 deaths in Cattaruaugus County... while 2,203 have now recovered.


The Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown is hoping to overcome two major hurdles in the new year... an extended COVID-19 shutdown, and the damage done by a small fire in early December.  CEO Arthur Peason says a financial shot in the arm has come from an anonymous donor.

That challenge was set to expire at the end of 2020, but has now been extended to January 31st.  While insurance will cover much of the fire damage, money is needed to help launch a new strategic plan for the institute.  Pearson says all the money they can raise will help not just help them rebuild... but, move forward in 2021.  Details of that new strategic plan will become public in February.  Donations to support the challenge grant can be made at rtpi.org.

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 6, 2021

A record number of active cases... and, people in the hospital with COVID-19 are being reported in Chautauqua County.  The county's COVID Dashboard Tuesday reported 102 new cases... and, 680 cases are currently active.  There are currently 51 people hospitalized... and, the total number of cases is now 4,199.  Officials say 38 of the new cases are in Dunkirk... and, 21 in Jamestown.  There are now 3,483 cases that have recovered.


COVID-19 is exacting a toll on public health... and, the economy in Chautauqua County.  Todd Tranum, head of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce... and the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier, says the addition of more than 400 new cases over the New Year's weekend is a big cause for concern.


Tranum believes the answers aren't always comfortable... but they aren't hard.  He says where a mask... socially distance... and stay away from large gatherings.  Tranum says Chautauqua County businesses have proven themselves to be resilient many times, and the innovations brought on by the pandemic will strengthen them in the future.  


A bowling alley-restaurant on Jamestown's southside has closed for three-days due to possible COVID-19 exposure.  In a Facebook post Tuesday... the Jamestown Bowling Company and Game-Time Sports Bar and Grill on Foote Avenue announced it will be closed today through this Friday the 8th.  Officials say this is a precautionary measure while some staff await covid-19 test results.  They hope to reopen on Saturday.


Local Congressman Tom Reed is making it clear that he still supports President Donald Trump... but, he will vote today to certify the electoral college vote making Joe Biden the new president of the United States.  Reed announced his decision Tuesday after meeting with members of the GOP Conference, the Problem Solver's Caucus... and, having a teleconference with about 48,000 constituents.  Reed says some leaders on the teleconference wanted him to object to the election.

To date... no major issues have been raised by leaders of the four states where many have questioned the results.  However... the president and his allies have seen about 50 of their lawsuits thrown out, or dismissed.  With that... he told GOP Conference members to do what Ronald Reagan told them to do years ago... and, that's show Americans their ideas are better.  The majority of U-S Senators and House members are expected to vote to certify the election... but, only one member needs to raise an objection... and, that triggers two-hours of debate on the floor.


State Senator George Borrello says he doubts there will be much support... but, says he's still concerned about two bills in the Assembly that have been making a splash on social media.  One would make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory in New York State.  The other bill would give state and county leaders the ability to detain contagious patients during a state of emergency.  Borrello says he's opposed to the bills, calling them unconstitutional. Borrello says the bills, while being reintroduced in the state Assembly, have no companion bills introduced in the state Senate.



An invasive insect that kills ash trees is prompting Cornell University to cut down 1,700 of the trees on its lands in a step it says will visibly alter the appearance of the campus.  The trees infested by the emerald ash borer will be felled between January and the end of March and include trees on and off campus. The invasive species bores under a tree's bark and kills most infested ash trees within four years.  The university says it is felling the trees to manage safety concerns and limit property damage.  It has treated a smaller number of high-value ash trees on its lands with pesticides, and is fundraising to plant replacements for the felled trees.


The Chautauqua County Humane Society is ringing in the New Year with the 2021 "Hot Dogs and Cool Cats" Pet Photo Contest. Humane Society Community Relations Director Brian Papalia says all animal lovers are encouraged to participate.


Papalia says proceeds raised benefit the animals cared for by the humane society... and, those in the future.  He says the 10 photos with the most votes will appear on CCHS Social Media and website.  The winning pet will also receive a $100 Visa gift card, a $100 'Crown and Paw' gift card to have a special item made with their pets photo... and a pet photography session with Panebianco Photography.  The contest runs through January 30th at 9 PM. Again, to enter or vote, visit CHQHumane.org.

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 5, 2021

A dramatic spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases in Chautauqua County over the New Year's holiday weekend is raising concern across the county.  County Executive P-J Wendel expressed that concern during yesterday afternoon's reorganizational meeting of the county legislature via Zoom conferencing.  The county say 418 new cases during the three-day weekend... raising the total number to 4,097.  Wendel says the vaccines are coming in... but, he says people also need to continue following COVID-19 guidelines.

Sadly... Wendel adds that there were four new deaths over the weekend... bringing that number to 36.  County officials says 120 of the new cases were in Jamestown... and, 93 were reported in Dunkirk.  There are currently 604 active cases... and, 3,457 have now recovered.
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The 120 confirmed cases in Jamestown, though, are not impacting the city workforce as much as it was at one point last month.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says, though, there are still some employees in quarantine.  Sundquist says most of their COVID cases have recovered, and are back to work.



County Executive Wendel says the use of regional hubs to control the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines has also become a concern.  Speaking Monday morning... he said there have been issues with the distribution of the vaccines as they become available.

Wendel says they are following the first-phase of vaccine distribution.... where hospital and nursing home workers and residents and patients... are getting the first round of shots.  He says vulnerable residents are also receiving them.  Wendel is continuing to urge local residents to follow the COVID-19 safety protocols, including the use of masks... maintaining social distancing... and, washing your hands regularily.



New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is trying to speed up what has been a sluggish rollout of the coronavirus vaccine by threatening to fine hospitals if they don't finish their first round of inoculations by the end of the week.  Cuomo made the announcement during a press conference... hours before announcing the discovery of the state's first known case a new, more contagious variant of the virus.  Cuomo said later Monday that a man in his 60s who works at a jewelry store in Saratoga Springs tested positive for the variant.  The discovery seemed to underscore the need for more urgency in a vaccination campaign that has, so far, moved at a snail's pace.



The man who has led the Chautauqua County Legislature for the past year has again been elected to that post by fellow lawmakers.  During it's reorganizational meeting via Zoom yesterday afternoon... the legislature unanimously voted Ellery Republican Pierre Chagnon to again be chairman.  Chagnon says it's "an honor" to continue in the post.


Majority and Minority leaders were also announced for the year.  Ashville area Republican, and former legislature chairman, Jay Gould will be majority leader.  Ellicott's Lisa VanStrom will be Assistant Majority Leader.  The Democratic Minority Leader will again be Jamestown's Charles Nazzaro... and, Assistant leader will again be Dunkirk's Bob Bankowski.


Seven on-line stakeholder meetings regarding police reform in the city of Jamestown will be held today through Friday.  That from City Councilwoman Tamu Graham-Reinhardt... who told fellow councilmembers during last night's work session that the sessions are being held in the afternoon and evenings to allow people more times to offer their input.  Graham-Reinhardt says the sessions... which will offer input on a reform plan to be submitted to the state... have gone well so far.

Graham-Reinhardt says, though, that anyone interested needs to register by calling the mayor's office at 483-7600... or by going to the city's website at jamestownny.gov.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says the Zoom conference sessions will be held: Today at 1 PM... Wednesday at 1, 6 or 7 PM... Thursday at 1 or 7 PM... or Friday at 1 PM.  The city must submit a final plan to New York state for police reforms in the wake of the police-involved death of George Floyd by April 1st.



A city man was arrested during a traffic stop for allegedly possessing a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia on Sunday. State Police say they pulled over the vehicle on Route 60… and, reportedly saw a methamphetamine pipe on the passenger’s lap. Troopers identified the man as 45 year-old Philip Reichardt. A further search of the vehicle found a total of four methamphetamine pipes… a bottle containing meth… a black scale with meth residue and several items used for the packaging and sale of narcotics. Reichardt was sent to the County Jail on two-counts of second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia… and, one-count fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.


A popular January event at Jamestown Community College has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions.  That from Heather Morris, Director of Alumni Relations who made the announcement early Monday. 

The mystery is traditionally held the last weekend of January and is a major fund raiser for the JCC Alumni Association.  Morris says other plans are in the works that can be sent out on-line.  The Alumni Association hopes to resume its annual mystery when pandemic conditions ease, and crowds can gather again.

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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 4, 2021

New York state has recorded more than one-million positive COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.  That's according to figures released last Saturday by Governor Andrew Cuomo.  The state's data shows the roughly 15,000 new positive tests reported statewide on Friday bring the total number of cases to over 1-million.  Chautauqua County saw 96 new cases that day... with cases now exceeding 3,700.  The total now is 3,721... and the positivity rate 2.8-percent.


There are 19 new cases of COVID-19 over the past day in Cattaraugus County... bringing the total number there to 2,664 confirmed cases.  Health officials say 42 people are now hospitalized, and the number of COVID-related remain 50.  The total number of active cases is now 477... and 2,135 have now recovered.


A man from Stockton accused of assaulting another person has been arrested during a warrant check at a Dean Road home last Saturday morning.  Sheriff's deputies conducted the check at the town of Stockton home shortly before 9 AM... and found 21 year-old Jordan Hebner.  Hebner was sought on active warrants for second-degree strangulation... and, second-degree assault.  He was arrested, and taken to the county jail pending arraignment.


It was an "unprecidented year" for the United States -- and the city of Jamestown -- in 2020.  However... the first-year City Council President thanked fellow lawmakers and the administration for how they did their business this past year.  Republican Tony Dolce praised them for being effective during a time where they mostly met on-line via Zoom conferencing.  He says that was never more evident than during 2021 budget deliberations.

Dolce praised new Mayor Eddie Sundquist... and several new, and long-time department heads for their efforts during 2020.  Dolce noted there was a new Corporation Counsel, Clerk, Comptroller, Deputy Fire Chief... and, Police Chief-Public Safety Director.  He says he's hopeful that city lawmakers will be able to hold their regular meetings in the Mayor's Conference Room, and Council Chambers sometime soon.  Dolce was also hopeful that they could hold more meetings in the individual wards later in 2021.


Flames on New Year's Day have heavily-damaged a home on Tompkins Road in the town of Ellicott.  The Post-Journal reports Fluvanna firefighters were called to the scene -- near Route 60 -- about 2:30 PM Friday... and, found the stucture "fully engulfed" in fire.  Fluvanna received mutual aid from Falconer, Kennedy, Ashville, Ellery Center, Dewittville, and Sinclairville fire crews.  The county's FAST Team... and Chautauqua County EMS were also called to the scene.  The Post-Journal reports the local Red Cross was called to assist the residents.  The fire was reported under control in about 45 minutes.  No injuries were reported.


CORRECTION...

 

WJTN News originally reported there was only one rate increase for the five divisions of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities in the new year after action was taken by the board late 2020.  However, BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins reports there are no increases in any rates. Robbins says -- at one point -- the BPU thought they might have to increase Waste Water rates, but the managers worked hard to pare down the budget to avert any increases. 

General Manager Dave Leathers says the city has also seen an increase in the number of people and families requesting help in paying their utility bills from the Department of Development's Utility Customer Assistance Program.  Leathers says about 18 applications were on their way to being approved.  He adds that the moratorium on utility turn-offs has been extended through the end of April.  Leathers says -- with the pandemic -- the past year has been "ridiculously challenging."


Police say a state trooper shot and wounded a domestic violence suspect in western New York after the man advanced toward officers with a bow and arrow.  The confrontation happened early Friday in Portville.  Troopers were dispatched to a home by the Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office.  State Police say troopers were speaking to the domestic violence victim when 40 year-old Ryan Ehman moved toward them with a bow and arrow.  Police say a trooper shot the man after he ignored commands to drop the weapon.



The minimum wage is going up in New York in 2021, and a new sick leave law is coming into effect.  Employees at most businesses can start using sick days that the new law allowed them to start accruing in September.  The rate is one hour for every 30 hours worked.  Governor Andrew Cuomo's office says about 1.3-million New Yorkers didn't have access to paid sick leave before the law.  In addition... the hourly minimum wage is now $14-an hour in Long Island and Westchester... and, $12.50 in the rest of the state.

 

A Kiantone man was arrested New Year's Eve night for allegedly trying to break into a home on Kiantone Road.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene at 545 Kiantone Road shortly after 6 PM Thursday... but, found no one when they arrived.  However... deputies did find that the residence had been broken into, and further investigation led to the arrest of 45 year-old David Spunaugle... who is accused of going into the home and taking items from inside.  Spunaugle was taken into custody and charged with third-degree burglary... and, petty larceny.  He was to be arraigned, and released with appearance tickets for Kiantone Town Court.

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News Headlines for Fri., Jan. 1, 2021

                                                       ***Happy New Year!***
Fire destroys autmotive-transmission shop-factory in Jamestown...
A huge New Year's Eve fire on Jamestown's eastside has destroyed a combination automotive-transmission industrial shop.  City firefighters were called to the scene at Transmission Pros/Valpro at 255 Blackstone Ave. shortly after 4 pm Thursday... and, found the structure fully-engulfed in flames.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist was among the officials on scene... and, said some workers called in the alarm. He adds the employees were able to get out before an explosion occured due to a number of flameable materials inside the factor-shop.  Sundquist says firefighters were expected to be at the scene late into the night... because the building has "multiple layers" and it will take some time to make sure the fire is completely out.  An aerial truck at the scene was pouring water on top of the structure some two hours after the initial call to douse hot spots.  The single-story business was gutted, and there was at least a partial roof cave-in.  City fire investigators were called in early last night to look into the cause.  JPD assisted at the scene... and, traffic was closed off in the areas of Blackstone Avenue and Buffalo Street.
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The Board of Public Utilities reported last night that the fire will result in discolored water for BPU water customers on at least the eastside of the city.  Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says hydrants pull water through lines quickly, stirring and discoloring the water.  The water may not be clear until mid-afternoon in some places.


Chautauqua County reports 116 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, and increase in hospitalizations...
There are 116 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in Chautauqua County the past day... and hospitalizations are up to 45.  That from the county Health Department... which reports there are now 3,681 cases to date.  Officials say 32 of the new cases were in Dunkirk... and, the Jamestown 14701 zip code area had 30 others.  Jamestown is closing in one one-thousand cases there alone, with 960 now.  Officials add there are now 534 active cases... and, 3,115 cases have now recovered.


Jamestown cases include four students in city school district...
There are four new cases of COVID-19 being reported among staff and students in the Jamestown Public Schools.  Spokeswoman Cathy Panebianco says they include a Jamestown High School student last present on December 21st.  She adds a Persell Middle School student, who was last in school on December 22nd...  a Love Elementary School student last present December 22nd, and a Fletcher Elementary student who is only distance learning.  Panebianco adds that none of these individuals had any in-school close contacts. 


Cattaraugus County records 50th COVID-related death...
Cattaraugus County has reached a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic... reaching it's 50 COVID-related death Thursday.  The county Health Department reports three new deaths.  They were all men... ages 80, 90 and 57.  Health officials say there were 79 new cases Thursday... bringing the total number of cases to 2,565.  The number of active cases are 504... while 2,011 people have now recovered.


Reed talks stimulus legislation, how businesses can take advantage during Zoom Conference...
The enhanced, $300 federal unemployment benefit should be showing up for laid-off workers in your mailbox or bank account shortly.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who addressed that concern during yesterday's Zoom Conference with business, muncipal... and other leaders Wednesday.  Reed and members of his staff noted that unemployment will be retroactive to Dec. 26th... and will include independent contractors, and people who are self-employed.  One of Reed's staff members noted the benefit will run through Apr. 5, but, people need to apply by March 14.  He was also asked how soon vaccines will be available to schools and for "essential workers."  He says the vaccines, and their mode of travel, have been pre-positioned.  However... while the federal government has handled the distribution of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to the states... Reed says the states each have their own guidelines for who receives the vaccine and when.  Members of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce were among those taking part in Reed's Zoom Conference.


Man from Celoron arrested after police find during traffic stop his license was suspended 17 times...  
A Celoron man whose license had been suspended 17 times has been arrested on several traffic and drug-related charges in the town of Ellery.  Sheriff's officers say they pulled over 44 year-old Walter Whitfield, Junior for a traffic violation on Route 430 just after 12:30 am Thursday.  Deputies say a background check on Whitfield showed the suspensions... and, Sheriff's Office K-9 Link was brought in... and, found narcotics in the vehicle.  Officers say their search uncovered scales, packaging materials, and quantity of methamphetamine.  Whitfield faces charges including seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia... and, second-degree aggravated unlicensed operator.  He was issued appearance tickets for Ellery Town Court.


Visitations at prisons suspended in NYS due to rise in COVID cases...
New York has suspended visits to state prisons because of a rise in coronavirus cases among inmates and staff and in surrounding communities.  The state Department of Corrections first suspended most in-person visits in mid-March.  It reopened prisons to visitors in August.  New York then restricted visits at prisons in designated hot spots starting in October, but most prisons have remained open for visits.  Data reported by the state Department of Corrections show that state prisons have reported the death of three inmates with COVID-19 since mid-December.


 

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Local News

WJTN Headlines for Fri., Feb. 26, 2021

Man suffers fatal gunshot wound overnight on Jamestown's eastside... The investigation is continuing into a fatal,, overnight shooting on Jamestown's eastside that's left one man dead. &n...

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