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Local News Headlines Archives for 2022-05

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., May 31, 2022

Frewsburg man killed in fatal ATV accident...
A man from Frewsburg was killed early Memorial Day morning after his all-terrain vehicle crashed in the town of Carroll.  Sheriff's deputies say 40 year-old Jeremiah Birt was riding the ATV just after 1:30 a.m. Monday on Woodchuck Hill Road when the accident occured.  Officers say county EMS responded quickly... and performed CPR at the scene.  However... Birt could not be revived... and, he died at the scene.


Cherry Creek business sustains minor fire damage in early morning blaze Monday...
Quick work by firefighters early Monday morning prevented serious damage to the Gier's Feed Mill in Cherry Creek.  Cherry Creek firefighters were called to the scene on Southside Avenue about 2 a.m., and, got the flames out quickly.  Fire damage was confined to a wall on the west side of the building.  The Sheriff’s Department Fire Investigation Team was called in to investigate... and, because the damage was minimal... they found the cause.  Investigators say a drywall screw penetrating an electric line caused arcing onto the wall supports.  After substantial time smoldering... fire broke out on the wood sill plate.  Police say a youth passing by observed the fire in its early stages and reported it.  No injuries were reported... and, the business is still operational.


Retired city court judge says he found himself "frazzled" by part of Bail Reform law...
Former city court judge Fred Larson found himself completely 'frazzled' by some aspects of New York's bail reform law.  In an interview with WJTN's Terry Frank and Dennis Webster, Larson recalled three instances in his final year where the law forced him to let people go.  Larson says they each involved use of a gun over three consecutive weeks, and he had to let them go with appearance tickets because judges were allowed no discretion.  Larson spent 7 1/2 years on the bench before retiring at the beginning of the year.  He says some 'bad judges' were the motivation for the 2019 bail reform act.  Larson says some judges would set high bail for a misdemeanor shoplifting case, while others got an appearance ticket.  He says that was especially the case in New York City.  That led the state legislature to create a tight list of crimes for which bail could be set.  Everyone else gets appearance tickets.  While the general public might not be aware of what crimes were on the list, Larson says people with a criminal bent who came before him often knew exactly what acts would and would not get them behind bars.  


Busti Memorial Day Parade and Service return Monday after two year hiatus due to COVID pandemic...
There was a large turn-out for the annual Busti Memorial Day Parade and service Monday morning.  The Southwestern High School Band struck a patriot note for the day's first parade in the Jamestown-area... along with the Middle School Band.  The parade returned after being put on hiatus the past two years due to COVID-19.  The Rev. Roy Ferguson high-lighted a trip he and his wife took to Hawaii earlier this month.  They took time to see the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor... which some 4,000 people visit daily.  Ferguson says he noticed how quiet everyone was on the boat ride to the ship, sunk during the Japanese attack on December 7 of 1941 because they were about to step onto "holy ground" where so many sailors died that day.  The attack ushered America's entrance into World War II.  Ferguson told the story about two men who were there that day.  He says there are only about 75 Pearl Harbor survivors still alive today... and, only two from the attack on the Arizona.  There was also a 21-gun salute... and, the Southwestern High School and Middle School Bands played the national anthem for the program. 


Sunset Cemetery Memorial Day program held...
The joint observance put on by the Celoron and Lakewood American Legion posts returned to Sunset Hill Cemetery Monday.  The speaker was Army Lieutenant Colonel... retired... Paul Fardink, a member of the Post #1286 in Lakewood.  Fardink urged those attending to never lose focus on what Memorial Day means.  He believes Memorial Day is both a remembrance and a celebration..… a tribute to soldiers who fell, and a country which did not. 


Jamestown man arrested for unlawful imprisonment...
A city man is accused of damaging property inside a residence on Jamestown's southside late last Saturday night... and, holding the victim down to prevent her from leaving.  City police were called to the scene for a reported domestic dispute about 11 p.m., and, learned that 33 year-old Nathan Hull held the woman down to the floor after damaging some of her property.  Hull was arrested without further incident on charges of second-degree unlawful imprisonment... and, fourth-degree criminal mischief.  He was taken to the city jail pending arraignment.


City man arrested for harassment and tampering with property...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly tampering with another person's property... and, harassing another person on the city's southside early Sunday morning.  Jamestown police were called to the undisclosed location about 1 a.m. after receiving several complaints regarding the suspect -- identified as 42 year-old Jeremy Snyder.  Snyder is charged with third-degree tampering... and, second-degree harassment.  He was jailed pending arraignment.

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., May 27, 2022

Jamestown-area Memorial Day observances fully back to the most part this weekend...
After having commemoriations cancelled or scaled-back the past two years due to COVID-19... a full slate of Memorial Day Weekend activities are planned this weekend in the Jamestown-area.  It will begin with the Blue Star Mother's annual Gold Star Memorial tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. at Veteran's Memorial Park on Logan Avenue.  Susan Rowley of the Blue Star Mothers says former County Executive, and retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Vince Horrigan will be the keynote speaker.  She says they will remember and honor all the Gold Star Heroes from our area and will name the 21 that have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms since 1985.  
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In addition... Jamestown's annual Memorial Day Parade is back on Monday morning at 10 a.m., with formation at 9 a.m. in Baker Park.  The days events will begin with the traditional Busti Parade through the five-corners at 9 a.m.  Afterwards... there will be a ceremony of rememberance at the gazebo next to the Busti Cemetery.  The annual Southwestern Parade will take place after that.  Falconer's annual parade is also back at 10:15 a.m. Monday.


Triple-A urges motorists to follow NYS "Move Over Law" as we head into Summer driving season...
More than 39-million Americans plan to travel more than 50 miles over the Memorial Day holiday... with many hitting the highways.  Representatives from AAA of Western and Central New York held a video conference with reporters today to discuss highway safety.  Triple-A's Mark Mika says it’s important for drivers to follow the Move Over Law.  It states that you must move over one-lane, or slow down for roadside workers, including tow truck drivers, construction workers and police or firefighters.  There are efforts underway to expand the Move Over Law... according to AAA spokesperson Elizabeth Carey.  Carey says two downstate legislators are drafting that bill... which AAA supports. 


Jamestown pair arrested for allegedly breaking into downtown store early Thursday morning...
Two men from Jamestown have been arrested for allegedly breaking into a store front at 201 Cherry St. early Thursday morning.  City police say they received a 9-1-1 call from a neighboring business about 4:30 a.m. that two subjects were breaking into the store, and were last seen carrying garbage bags inside the store after breaking in.  Officers arrived and encountered the pair... 34 year-old Erik Morrison and 28 year-old Steven Becker... who were inside the building... and ran off west on Second Street.  However... officers caught both men and they were arrested.  City police say Morrison and Becker were jailed pending arraignment on charges of third-degree burglary... third-degree criminal mischief... and, obstructing Governmental administration. 


Silver Creek man charged with illegal gun possession after seen walking in village holding a shotgun...
A Felon from Silver Creek was arrested late Wednesday night for allegedly walking on Porter Street in the north county village holding a shotgun.  Sheriff's deputies say they were called to the scene about 11:30 p.m., and found 49 year-old Francis Kiley lll on a nearby street... and, later found the shotgun.  A background check showed that Kiley is a convicted Felon... and, couldn't possess the gun legally.   He was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, taken into custody.  He was arraigned and released with an appearance ticket for Hanover Town Court.


Sundquist says, in light of increasing workers comp costs in county for 2023, city's looking at other plans...
While the final numbers came in lower than first projected... the city of Jamestown has begun looking for other options for it's Worker's Compensation Program.  The Chautauqua County Legislature Wednesday night approved a local law to change the county's formula for figuring the cost which doesn't use property assessments.  Initially... the city was looking at a $330,000 increase... but, that fell to $157,000 in the approved plan.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says city lawmakers has been apprised... and, they had asked the county to spread out the payment over more time.  However... he says the city is now looking at lower cost options, and he began talking with people at the recent New York State Conference of Mayor's gathering in Albany.  The final plan also increased the cost to the city of Dunkirk by $86,000... and, to Westfield by $7,700.  The changes lower everyone elses costs... including to the county itself.  Legislators say the move will save them up to $700,000 a year.  


Whitaker says Wednesday lock-outs were out of "abundance of caution" given recent events...
Quick actions by staff and others resolved two perceived threats to two Jamestown school buildings Wednesday that resulted in "lock-outs."  School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says one took place at Jamestown High School and was prompted by an observant staff member who saw a "suspicous person" who looked like they had a handgun.  Whitaker says police were called, and flooded the scene... and, they found no immediate threat.  He says the person had gone on their way, but, he adds they and police are checking surveillance video in that area.  Whitaker delined further comment about what could be a 'potentially active investigation.'  A similar 'lock-out' was also called at Washington Middle School for a time Wednesday.  The superintendent said that one was not 'necessary' but was done out of an abundance of caution.  


No charges filed in retired K-9 shooting in Cattaraugus County last month...
The Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office has closed it's investigation into the shooting death of a retired Erie County Sheriff's Office K-9 about a month ago.  Deputies say K-9 "Haso" had gone missing from his owner during the evening hours of April 25... and, it was found that an individual had accidently shot the dog... mistaking it for a wild coyote.  Officers say the person operates a small farm and was acting in defense of their farm animals.  Given the circumstances... no charges have been filed.


 

 

 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., May 26, 2022

Sinclairville home destroyed in accidental fire...
Eight fire departments were called in to battle flames that destroyed a home in the town of Charlotte early this morning.  Chautauqua County fire investigators say the Sinclairville Fire Department was initially called to the scene on Rood Road just before 5 a.m.  Mutual aid was called in from seven other departments... and, the blaze was extinguished shortly after that.  Officials say one occupant and a pet dog were able to escape safely... and, are being helped by the local Red Cross.  Fire investigators have determined the fire originated at floor level behind the dryer due to a faulty electrical cord and outlet. 


Whitaker explains school "Lockouts" on Wednesday...
Two Jamestown schools had brief 'lock outs' Wednesday... endning outdoor activities... after some perceived threats. School Superintendent, Dr. Kevin Whitaker says one of the 'lockouts' was at Jamestown High School and prompted by an observant staff member who said they saw someone outside that looked like they had a gun.  Whitaker says officials then called Jamestown police, who "flooded" the area... but, found no immediate threat.  He says the person seen at the school had left the scene, and they are now checking surveillance video from the area.  Whitaker declined further comment about what could be an 'potentially active investigation.'  A similar 'lock-out' was called at Washington Middle School for a time Wednesday.  The superintendent said that one was not 'necessary' but was done out of an abundance of caution.  As for the news earlier this week from Uvalde, Texas... Whitaker said it was very difficult to hear... and, concluded by saying it was a terrible day for that community and our country.


Hochul meets with Illegal Gun Task Force... and orders State Police to push school safety through end of the school year...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul spoke out Wednesday after the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school that claimed 21 lives, including 19 children.  The shooting came about 10 days after the horrific shooting in Buffalo where 10 were killed.  After attending a meeting of the Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns... Hochul said she also held a meeting with the State Police.  She says she wants them doing "daily check-ins" at districts through the end of the school year.  Hochul also told reporters that she wants to raise the legal age to purchase a gun to 21 in New York State.  She asks "how does an 18 year-old purchase an AR-15...." and she wants to work with the legislature "to change that."  Hochul indicated the seizure of illegal firearms is up 60% in the state since the start of the task force.


Gillibrand proposing "Domestic Terror Prevention Act" to be voted on in Senate today...
New York's junior U-S Senator is urging her colleagues to vote in favor of her proposed "Domestic Terror Prevention Act" in the wake of the recent shootings -- in particular the one on May 14 in Buffalo.  Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand says she's bringing the three-part measure to the floor for a vote today... and, says it would make federal agencies who deal with such matters work together to prevent such acts.  Gillibrand wants those agencies -- such as the FBI, and DHS -- to work together jointly to better track and respond to this "growing threat."  She says she's also sending a letter to the FBI this week... urging it to give making these threat assessment matters their "highest priority."  She says there's also a third part to the measure... her "Data Protection Act" which creates an agency that would hold social media responsible for monitizing hate, and pushing extremist content into people's news feeds.  


County Legislature approves local law changing formula for Workers Compensation program...
The Chautauqua County Legislature has overwhelmingly approved a local law that changes the formula the county uses in determining workers compensation costs for local governments.  Lawmakers voted 16-3 to approve the changes... which would save the county up to $700,000 a year... beginning in 2023.  Sheridan Republican Terry Neibel thanked their finance team -- led by Director Kitty Crow -- for their hard work on the matter.  Crow is also the county's self-insurance plan administrator.  There was an effort to amend... and, then table the law because it would increase workers comp costs for the cities of Jamestown and Dunkirk... and, for Westfield.  While agreeing the change needs to be made... Jamestown Republican Dave Wilfong felt increasing the city's cost by $157,000 over one year is too much.  In addition to Jamestown... Crow said there would be an $86,000 increase in costs for Dunkirk... and, a $7,700 increase for Westfield. 


"Old" human remains found at construction site in Dewittville...
A contractor doing work on a property on Meadows Road in Dewittville has uncovered "very old" human remains at the location.  That from Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department investigators... who were called to the scene late yesterday.. and found the contractor had come across at least two sets of remains while digging with an excavator.  Members of the county's Forensic Investigation team responded to the scene for a preliminary investigation... and, held the scene overnight until members of the Forensic Anthropology program at Mercyhurst College responded to the scene.  The property where they were located Chautauqua County Alms House.  The Alms House or “County Farm” started in the early 1800s and was open in some capacity for over 100 years. Through investigation and research... officials learned that numerous people were buried on the property during that time... and, it's believed that's what they are.

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., May 25, 2022

"Suspicious individual" on JHS school grounds triggers lock-out...
With concern voiced over school safety with the horrific school shooting in Texas... a "suspicious individual" seen outside Jamestown High School triggered a "lock-out" this afternoon.  Jamestown Public Schools Communications Coordinator Cathy Panebianco says the lock-out was precautionary... and, only lasted a short time.  She adds a lock-out was also activated at Washington Middle School as a precaution because city police were looking for a "person of interest" in that area.  Panebianco says a lockout means that no one is allowed entry into the school, outside classes are brought inside, and interior operations continue as normal.  She says JPD responded immediately, flooded the area, and verified there was no immediate threat.  The lockout was lifted prior to dismissal.


Trio of Jamestown residents arrested on drug and weapons possession charges...
Three people face drug, weapons and other charges following a weekend traffic stop on Jamestown's westside.  City police say an officers stopped a vehicle on West Sixth St. -- near North Main St. -- shortly after 1 p.m. Saturday.  Officers found the driver, 35 year-old Katiria Cruz-Torres, had a suspended license... and, was sought by the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office.  They add that a passenger, 37 year-old Joseph Snyder, was sought on a JPD warrant.  They were arrested along with a second-passenger, 53 year-old Matthew Hall, after police found quantities of a heroin/fentanyl compound... cocaine and several "controlled" pills inside the car.  Police say they also found a switchblade, and items used to package and sell drugs.  Torres faces charged including two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, four counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Snyder and Hall also face one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, all three face a criminal possession of a weapon charge.


Eighth Hope and Healing Conference of Western New York set for June 9...
The eighth Hope and Healing Conference of Western New York will be held in early June at the Williams Center on the campus of the State University College at Fredonia.  County officials say this year's conference will focus on "mental health and chemical dependency resources" in Chautauqua County.  Hope Chautauqua Coalition's Kelly Potter says the one-day conference will be held on June 9 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and, this year's conference will return to an in-person format and is open to the public.  Potter says it's an opportunity for all their partners to share their experiences, and resources that have worked in helping people overcome their illness.  She says this year's theme is "Connecting for Hope and Healing."  She says registration is required in advance and the cost to attend is $15 per person.  Registration includes a boxed lunch.  The keynote speaker at 9:15 a.m. will be Dr. Matthew Bellace, who will speak on "Delivering Better Highs and Healthier Lows."  For more information... go on-line to hopeandhealingconference-dot-COM.  You can also call the Prevention Works office at 664-3608 for more event information.


Sundquist announces reduced City Clerk hours, starting next Tuesday...
Due to staffing shortages... the Jamestown City Clerk’s office will now close early three days a week beginning next Tuesday.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist told the city council Monday that they're down two people in that office... and, that's necessitating the temporary change.  Sundquist says part of the problem has been lack of qualified people... and, several retirements.  That includes the loss of an Account Clerk.  With that, they will be closing the office at 3 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  Sundquist adds the Clerk's office regular hours of 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. will remain in place for Mondays and Fridays.  In the meantime... he says they've had some recent retirees come back to help out, and others coming in part-time to help out.  Sundquist adds they've exhausted their civil service list.  The Clerk’s office is hiring an account clerk and is accepting applications.  For more information... call the Clerks office at 483-7612... or by email at clerk@jamestownny.gov.


Man from Angola arrested for allegedly breaking into Villenova home, and attacking homeowners...
An Angola man has been arrested for allegedly breaking into a town of Villanova home... and, damaging the interior before confronting and attacking the homeowners.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Ball Road about 6 a.m. Monday on a report of an unwanted and disorderly person damaging property.  On arrival... deputies located 30 year-old Matthew Kennedy -- still inside the residence -- and he was arrested without further incident.  Officers say their investigation showed that Kennedy allegedly entered the home by breaking in a door and started damaging windows, cabinets and other household items.  Kennedy was then confronted by the homeowners... and, he allegedly kicked both and pushed them to the floor.  Kennedy was charged with second-degree burglary... second-degree criminal mischief... Reckless Endangerment of Property... and, two counts of Harassment.


State History Regents Exam canceled in wake of supermarket shooting in Buffalo...
A state exam for New York high school students on U.S. history and government has been canceled in the wake of the racist shooting at a Buffalo supermarket over concerns that material on the test could "compound student trauma."  The Regents exam was scheduled to be administered on June 1.  But a spokesperson for the state Education Department says after a review following the May 14 shooting, officials determined a question could impact students negatively.  The department refused to give any additional information on the question of concern. 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., May 24, 2022

(Alert!)Missing canoer/kayaker found dead in Conewango Creek...
State Police have now identified an Eastern New York man as the person who died in a canoeing accident last Sunday night in the town of Poland.  Troopers in Jamestown were called to the scene in the Conewango Creek about 7 p.m. on a report that the canoe -- or kayak -- operated by 46 year-old Michael Leary of Pine Plains... was missing and unaccounted for.  The State Police Underwater Recovery Unit... and, the Chautauqua County Water Emergency Team with local fire agencies searched for Leary.  He was found late Monday afternoon among some tree limbs about two-feet under the water.  Troopers say Leary was not wearing a life jacket at the time of the incident... and, an autopsy is underway at the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office.


Man from Celoron arrested for making threats, and being in possession of metal knuckles during arrest...
A Celoron man faces several charges after allegedly making threats and creating a disturbance in front of a home on Jamestown's southside late Monday night.  City police say 24 year-old Allen Gurnari struggled with officers when they apprehended him around 11:15 p.m., and then damaged property inside a police car.  Once in custody Gurnari was found to have a pair of metal knuckles.  He's being held pending arraignment on charges of second-degree harassment, second-degree obstructing governmental administration, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, third-degree criminal mischief and resisting arrest.  


City man arrested in alleged shooting involving a Paintball gun...
Police have arrested a Jamestown man after he allegedly shot another man in the face at point blank range with a paintball gun containing hardened projectiles.  Jamestown officers say the shooting occurred around 2:15 a.m. Monday at a location on West Third Street.  Police say the man arrested was 45-year-old Grant Monroe of Jamestown.  The 46 year-old victim... who was not identified... was seriously injured and taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment.  Monroe is charged with first-degree assault and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.   


City Council approves hiring of three new police officers, and four firefighters...
The Jamestown City Council has unanimously approved the hiring of three new police officers, and four new firefighters to address public safety issues in the city.  Lawmakers last night okayed using $3.2-million in American Rescue Plan Act funding for the new positions.  Council President Tony Dolce says the added officers will deal mainly with reducing gun violence.  Dolce says two will specificially end up as part of a gun violence detail... and the third will deal with noise, and other nuisance "neighborhood" issues.  While current officers will be given the chance to be part of a new "gun violence" unit in the city... the new hires will likely be patrol officers to begin with.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says council's actions are a "step in the right direction" in dealing with the city's "gun violence... and EMS crisises" in Jamestown.  The four additional firefighters will allow the Jamestown Fire Department to staff a second ambulance to deal with a crush of EMS calls during the pandemic, and to deal with the drug overdose issue.  Dolce says the city hopes to bring on the new hires over the next "3 to 6 months." 


City Council meeting brings resumption of security detail at City Hall...
For the first time in a few years... people attending last night's city council meeting had to go through a security check-point before going to council chambers.  Those attending had to go through a metal detector in the lobby of city hall once they entered the building.  Council President Dolce says some lawmakers felt it was needed after one person disrupted last Monday's work session... as well as due to what's been happening at other places in the country.  A man interrupted last week's meeting a couple of times before getting into a brief argument with Dolce... and, he was asked to leave.  The council president says it's a precautionary measure that seemed to be needed with an uptick in public meeting acrimony -- and in some cases violence -- in recent months.  


Wendel says he's not interested in running for Reed's former Congressional seat, but, not endorsing anyone either...
A number of Republicans are expressing interest in the special election for the 23rd Congressional District.  But... one big name is no longer interested.  Because of the change in district boundaries, Congresswoman Claudia Tenney has decided to run for the newly redrawn 24th Congressional District.  One person who is not interested in seeking Tom Reed's former seat is County Executive P.J. Wendel... who says he appreciates that people asked him about a run.  Current Buffalo-area Congressman Chris Jacobs is the latest to declare his candidacy.  Wendel has not yet decided on who to endorse.  He says he's looking for what the person will do for the county... adding that Reed was able to bring back $148-million in federal funding to Chautauqua County.  Governor Kathy Hochul has not yet announced a date for the special election. 

 

Man from Sinclairville arrested for unlawful imprisonment...
A Sinclairville man has been arrested for allegedly getting into an argument with two other people inside a home... and, then pulling a knife and holding it to the throat of one of the victims.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Jamestown Street just after 4 p.m. Sunday, and, learned that 19 year-old Raymond Fuller had left the home... and, then damaged property at a building nearby.  Fuller was located a short distance away and was placed in custody.  Deputies then took him to the Chautauqua County Jail for centralized arraignment... on charges including including first-degree unlawful imprisonment... second-degree menacing... second-degree reckless endangerment... and, two counts of second-degree aggravated harassment.

 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., May 23, 2022

Man from Celoron arrested in Jamestown for illegal drug and weapons possession...
A Celoron man faces drug and weapons possession charges following a traffic stop early Saturday morning on Jamestown's westside.  City police say they pulled over 23 year-old Jonathan DeJesus-Godineaux in the area of West Third and Lafayette Streets shortly after 2 a.m. after he nearly struck a marked JPD Patrol car.  Officers says they initially found that DeJesus-Godineaux was driving without a license... and, then found him in possession of a small amount of methamphetamine.  A further search of the vehicle turned up more than 12 ounces of meth, a digital scale, drug packaging material, and a loaded 9-mm hand-gun, and a set of metal knuckles.  DeJesus-Godineaux is a convicted Felon... and, possessed the gun illegally.  He was arraigned on several charges in City Court... then sent to the county jail pending further court action.  Those charges include second and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and second and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.


Lakewood man arrested in No. Harmony following reckless driving allegations...
A Lakewood man faces a number of charges after allegedly driving recklessly and threating several people and damaging multiple vehicles in the town of North Harmony.  Sheriff's officers responded to a vehicle complaint on Route 394 shortly before 11 p.m. last Friday.  Deputies say 39 year-old Joshua Anderson endangered the people... and, backed into another vehicle "multiple times" during the incident.  Anderson was found to be drunk at the time... and, was arrested on several charges... including second-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree criminal mischief, driving while intoxicated, unsafe backing and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle.  He was taken to the county jail pending centralized arraignment.


AAA expecting more travelers this Memorial Day travel period...
AAA is expecting to see more travelers for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday.  The automobile club is predicting more than 39-million Americans will be taking a trip of at least 50 miles during the extended the weekend.  That from Spokesperson Elizabeth Carey with AAA of Western and Central New York... who says that's up more than 8% more than last year... and, the numbers are getting closer to pre-pandemic levels of 2019.  Carey adds that air travel is continuing to increase as pandemic restrictions ease... with travel expected to increase by 25% over last year.  She says that's the second-largest increase since 2010.  Carey says there's a "pent up" demand for travel and people seem to want to take a bigger vacation. 


Jamestown Memorial Day parade and observance details announced...
Jamestown will have its traditional Memorial Day observance next Monday..… with some changes.  City Council member Kim Eklund has been working with the United Veterans Council and says the Lakeview Cemetery part of the program has been scaled back... adding there will be no formal program at the cemetery's Soldiers Circle.  She says local veteran's groups are working together for a smaller program.  The parade itself will step off at 10 a.m. at Fourth and Washington Streets, and proceed on Fourth to Prendergast Avenue.  Then... at Sixth Street the line of march will go up to Lakeview Avenue and then to the cemetery.  Ecklund says that's a change because veterans will be in cars or trucks... as opposed to floats.  The parade will include the Jamestown High School band, the city's middle school bands, and others.  Any group not yet signed up can email kimberlyeklund@yahoo.com.  Community volunteers are needed to help put flags on the graves of veterans buried at Lakeview Cemetery.  That will take place at 4 p.m. Thursday at Soldier's Circle.


Jamestown man arrested for menacing with a pistol...
A city man has been arrested after allegedly hitting another person with a pistol during an altercation on Jamestown's southside late last week.  City police were called to the scene shortly after 9 p.m. last Thursday... and spoke with several victims.  They told officers that 28 year-old Bless Grant struck the one person with the gun... and, then allegedly pointed the gun in his face -- injuring him as well.  Police later found Grant a short distance from the scene... and, he was arrested without incident.  He's charged with first-degree menacing... and second-degree assault. 


County's COVID-19 community infection rate now in "high" range...
The community level of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County is now reported "high" by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention... and, residents are being urged to take precautions.  Chautauqua County Health and Human Services Epidemiologist Breeanne Agett says the CDC recommends that residents or visitors to counties with this designation take precautions... including wearing a mask in indoor public spaces... stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines... and, get tested if symptoms arise.


Jacobs, Della Pia emerge as front-runners in new, 23rd Congressional District...
The new Congressional district maps in New York state have brought about at least one new candidate for the district... which had been represented by Republican Tom Reed.  Buffalo-area Republican Chris Jacobs will be a candidate for the new 23rd District... and, he's getting the full support of local State Senator George Borrello... who says "during my first year in the State Senate, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with him on issues of critical importance including public safety, economic development, tax relief and infrastructure investment in Western New York... and he's been a tireless advocate for his constituents."  Meantime... Tioga County Democrat Max Della Pia has accepted the nomination by party leaders across the 23rd District to run in the Special Congressional Election.  That election was triggered by the vacancy left when incumbant Republican Tom Reed resigned.  Della Pia is also seeking the new seat.

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., May 20, 2022

City man sentenced to 3 1/2 to 7 years for burglary...
A Jamestown man has been sentenced to 3 1/2 to 7 years in state prison on his conviction for third-degree burglary charge.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt says 27 year-old Brandon Murphy pled guilty back in March to the Felony count.  Schmidt days the incident occured in December of last year... and, he thanked Jamestown Police for their work on the investigation... and, their assistance during the prosecution.


Jamestown man accused of threatening woman, and holding knife to her neck...
A city man has been arrested for allegedly holding a woman against her will by holding a knife to her neck on Jamestown's westside Wednesday afternoon.  City police were called to the undisclosed scene about 4 p.m. for an alleged domestic dispute... and, found that 29 year-old Ismael Cruz-Santiago had threatened the woman.  Cruz-Santiago was taken into custody on charges of second-degree menacing and second-degree unlawful imprisonment.  He was jailed pending arraignment.


Suspect arrested in connection with Dunkirk stabbing...
Dunkirk Police have arrested a woman following an investigation into an early morning stabbing on Webster Street.  Officers responded to the call around 12:30 a.m., where a victim was found with a laceration to her neck.  Police arrested 34-year-old Shauna Moreland... and, charged her with second-degree assault... and, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  Moreland was taken to the Dunkirk city jail, pending arraignment.  Dunkirk fire personnel took the victim to Brooks Memorial Hospital for treatment.


State School Boards Assoc. reports 99% budget approvals in Tuesday's votes...
The head of the New York State School Boards Association says he's pleased that 99% of the public school budgets in the state passed on Tuesday.  In addition... Association Executive Director Bob Schneider he was very pleased that 88% of the budgets that had tax increases exceeding the state's property tax cap were also passed.  Schneider says those districts needed a 60% "supermajority" to pass.  He says that was a record percentage of passage.  Schneider says one of those 17 needing the "supermajority" vote was Southwestern in West Ellicott.  In Cattaraugus County... Ellicottville also needed a supermajority.  For districts that needed just a simple majority vote... he says 99.2% of those budgets were approved.  Schneider says one area of concern was that the number of incumbant school board members who decided not to run again was more than 30%.  He says... in some districts... meetings had become contentious for a variety of issues.  Some of those had to do with the teaching of "critical race theory..." and COVID-19 vaccines and mask mandates.


Whitaker says JPS District will begin process of hiring new personnel for 2022-23 school year...
Jamestown school district voters on Tuesday passed a school budget that included funding for 40 new positions in the district.  Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker says now they have to fill those jobs, and finding those will "be a challenge" giving the current labor shortage.  He adds their intent is to find the absolute best candidate for each job.  Many of the new people will be filling a new role in the schools.  He says the 15 new paraprofessionals will help by being "behavioral first responders" for students having "behavioral or mental health crises."  More information on working for the Jamestown Public Schools can be found on the district website... jpsny.org
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Speaking on WJTN Thursday morning... Whitaker says the number of COVID cases in the city schools has definitely increased.  He says it started about two weeks ago... and, appeared to peak last week.  However... he says it's not been as high as earlier this year.  The surge in January mostly affected students.  Dr. Whitaker says this time, it's been hitting people of all ages.


City man arrested for fleeing police during attempted traffic stop...
A Jamestown man has been arrested after allegedly leading police on a vehicle pursuit when they tried to stop him for having switched license plates.  City police say a patrol tried to stop 24 year-old Joshua Verrett shortly before 10 a.m. Wednesday for having the illegal plates.  Officers say Verrett did not stop... and, he continued through several southside streets before his car drove over a stop sign at the corner of Newland and Colfax Avenues before coming to a stop.  Verrett was taken into custody and is charged with Unlawfully Fleeing a Police Officer and multiple vehicle and traffic charges.  He was arraigned and released pending a future court appearance.


Prendergast Library to hold first-ever "Block Party" Saturday...
The James Prendergast Library in Jamestown will have its first ever 'block party' Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The library's Community Outreach & Program Manager, Jenn Champ, says it's going to be big... so big that Cherry Street will be shut down from Fifth to Sixth Streets.  Champ says 36 community organizations will take part, and they'll have story times, and lawn games -- weather permitting.  She adds, if it should rain... they'll move inside.  Most parts of the block party are free, but there will be some fund raising aspects too... including the second annual Jim Roselle Community Scavenger Hunt.  Roselle was a long-time announcer on WJTN... and a lover of the Prendergast Library.  It costs $20 per team to enter the scavenger hunt.  Teams can be of any size.  


 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., May 19, 2022

Victim in fatal truck-farm tractor accident in Hanover identified...
A Jamestown man has now been identified as the person killed when the farm tractor he was driving in the town of Hanover last Sunday was struck from behind by a pick-up truck.  Sheriff's officers say 76 year-old Samuel Restivo was southbound on Allegheny Road when the accident occured.  Deputies say the driver of the pick-up truck... 75 year-old Arthur Zynda of South Dayton... failed to notice Restivo's blue New holland farm tractor on the on the shoulder of the road.  The truck collided with the rear of the tractor... and, Restivo was ejected from the tractor.  He was rushed to Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk where he later died from his injuries.  Zynda has been charged with unsafe passing.


County fire investigators rule Brocton house fire as accidental...
Chautauqua County fire investigators have determined a house fire in the village of Brocton Wednesday morning was caused by an electrical malfunction.  Brocton firefighters were called to the scene at 25 East Main St. just after 10 a.m., and were later joined by crews from Portland, Westfield, Stockton, Fredonia, and East Dunkirk... along with county Emergency Services.  The fire investigation team later found an accidental malfunction or failure of electrical components in a mini refrigerator unit started the blaze.  No one was injured... and firefighters were able to rescue a dog from inside the burning building.  The local Red Cross is assisting the occupants.


Jamestown reports higher than expected first-quarter sales tax revenues...
The city of Jamestown received significantly more sales tax revenue during the first-quarter of this year compared to both last year... and, 2020.  It also appears the city is on track to at least meet... and, possibly exceed it's 2022 projections.  That from City Comptroller Ryan Thompson... as he provided the facts and figures to the City Council this week.  Thompson says the city received $1.82-million, a nearly 11% increase over the first three-months of 2021.  That's 22.5% of the city's yearly budget projection.  Thompson says that was a 16% higher than what was brought in in 2020.  Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says she was kind of surprised by the total collected... given the current inflation.  Lawmakers generally agreed that on-line sales were a big reason for the increase.


County reporting 10 people in hospital with COVID now... infection rate more than 14%...
Chautauqua County is now seeing "medium" spread of the COVID-19 virus over the past seven-days... with 10 people now hospitalized with the virus.  That's one person less than last week.  The county Health Department's COVID Dashboard reports the seven-day infection rate is now 14.7%.  The New York state COVID Dashboard is showing 66 positive cases reported here on Tuesday.


MAST director pushing NYS to add more time for public comment on Climate Action Council draft scoping plan...
A group that represents manufacturers is pressing for the state to extend the public comment period on New York State's Climate Action Council's draft scoping plan.  Executive Director Todd Tranum with the Manufacturer's Association of the Southern Tier says the 120-day public comment period ends on June 10... and, the current plan -- if approved by Governor Kathy Hochul -- would have wide-ranging ramifications for both homeowners, and manufacutring.  Tranum says the state needs to engage with industry in how to meet timetables they have set.  The proposed goal is for the state to achieve 70-percent renewable energy by 2030... and, 100% zero-emission electricity by 2040.  Tranum says making the switch-over to all electric is not as easy as "flipping a switch."


Sundquist, Leathers also sound off on Climate Action Plan...
Jamestown officials were in Buffalo recently to address state officials during a public hearing on the Climate Action Council's Draft Scoping Plan.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist and Board of Public Utilities General Manager Dave Leathers both emphasized that the city owns and operates it's own electric system... and, made several points during comments.  Sundquist says a big one is the cost to retrofit thousands of city homes where 55% of the housing stock was built before 1939.  He says the scoping document came out with a number of items... including getting rid of gas-powered vehicles... and, electrifying every home by 2040.  Sundquist adds the city's poverty rate is about double the state average about 30%.  Another issue he raised during a recent Community Spotlight program... is workforce availability and readiness... and, how much that's going to cost.  He adds there aren't the people here to put all that in place.  Sundquist adds that the plan's objectives and incentives should prioritize economic development... and migration of people and businesses from the state should be closely monitored.  Leathers spoke about three points... including providing assistance for the local distribution utilities to plan for, and upgrade the neighborhood distribution circuits and system substations needed to support 100% electrification.


Buffalo sports team members visit site of mass shooting...
Dozens of players and staff from professional Buffalo sports teams visited the scene of Saturday's mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket, where they laid flowers, dished out food and handed out groceries.  The first stop was a group visit to a memorial at the edge of the store's parking lot, where several players placed flowers in front of cut-outs of doves, each bearing the name of a victim.  Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox said he's still trying to wrap his head around the attack that left 10 people dead and three wounded. But he says it hits differently, being there.

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., May 18, 2022

Jamestown school district voters approve no tax increase budget, propositions...
Voters in the Jamestown Public School District have approved a new, just over $93-million budget for next school year.  The unofficial vote count Tuesday was 359-53.  The spending plan includes no tax increase.  Voters also approved establishment of two reserve funds... one for capital improvements, 365-44... and, the other for vehicles, machinery and equipment, 373-35.  A proposition to purchase most of a church parking lot on Chandler Street was also approved by a vote of 348-57.  School board members Patrick Slagle and Joe Pawelski were re-elected unopposed.


Voters in SWCS district approve budget with more than supermajority needed...
A supermajority of voters was needed in the Southwestern Central School District to approve the district's 2022-23 school budget Tuesday.  But... in the end, the $30.8-million spending plan was approved comfortably, 254-69.  The budget included a 2-percent tax levy increase because of a loss of building aid.  The increase exceeded the state's property tax cap, and required at least a 60% majority of yes votes.  Superintendent Maureen Donahue says there was concern... but, was thankful voters understood the situation.  Donahue says residents also approved buying four new buses, 246-76.  She says the district put in a "letter of intent" a while back so they should have the buses in time for the new school year.  Those will cost about $595,000.  School Board incumbant Correy Miller was re-elected... and, will be joined by newcomer, Dr. Elizabeth Laczi on the board.  Miller wound up with 196 votes... while Dr. Laczi had 173 votes.  Brendan Carter was third with 139 votes.


All other reporting school districts say their budgets were also adopted...
Falconer School District voters overwhelmingly approved a just over $27-million budget on Tuesday, 110-to-29.  The spending plan included no tax increase... and, Bob Carpenter and Tom Frederes were re-elected to the school board.  In Frewsburg... both the 2022-23 budget, and a bus proposition were approved... but, no final vote tallies were made available.  Corrie Graham, Polly Hanson, and Randy Wiltsie were each elected to the school board.  Voters in the Bemus Point Central School District approved their budget by a nearly 2-to-1 margin... 125-to-64.  School bus purchases were also approved 133-to-56.  Megan Kent and Lauren Ryan were elected to the school board.  The Panama School District saw it's voters approve a $13.5-million budget by a huge margin, 149-to-18.  Greg Bullaro won a school board seat with 130 votes... while Sophie Horner edged out Jeremy Pearson for the other open seat, 97-to-92.  In Sherman... voters approved an $11.1-million budget to 2022-23 by a vote of 343-to-115.  A separate proposition to purchase two buses, and a van for $351,000 was adopted, 356-to-103.  Kristin Irwin won a three-way race for a board seat with 235 votes.  Voters in the Clymer, Brocton, Wesfield, Ripley and Chautauqua Lake Districts also approved their spending plans.


City man arrested during traffic stop on drug and weapons charges...
A Jamestown man has been arrested during a traffic stop on the city's northside after being found in possession of drugs and a handgun.  City police say a K-9 Unit stopped a vehicle on Kingsbury Street -- near Spring Street Extension -- just after 11 a.m. Monday for traffic violations.  Officers sy they found a front seat passenger, Bart Bartlett, was sought on outstand warrants from City Court.  They also found Barlett in possession of a quantity of Fentanyl, a digital scale, and a Smith and Wesson revolver... and, 22-calibur long-rifle bullets.  Police say the gun was reported stolen out of Fredonia.  Bartlett was arresed for second-degree criminal possession of a weapon... fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property... and, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  He was jailed pending arraignment.


Jamestown Area YMCA proposing new facility near Brooklyn Square area...
The Jamestown-area YMCA is proposing a new, 68,000 square foot facility to replace it's current, 100-year-old facility on the city's eastside.  Officials are planning to erect the new, $31-million structure at the former Watson Industries location on Harrison Street.  One of the people involved in the project, Tom Benson, made a power-point presentation to the city council Monday night about their plans.  Benson says Brownfield credits will be obtained because it's a former industrial site... and, that will help offset the cost.  He says the current building is no longer useful to growing "Y" programs... and, it would also replace the Lakewood and Eastside Y facilities... though the Lakewood facility would still be available on a "rental basis."  He says they have about $5-million lined up from local foundations... but, adds they are requesting $2-million in American Rescue Plan Act funding from the city to help kick-start the project.  Benson says the current facility will become "unsustainable" within the next two years.


Gas price jump nearly 20-cents between last week and now...
The price for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline in the Jamestown area was up 19 cents to begin this week... and, has jumped again at mid-week.  That from the AAA East Central Gas Price Report, which said Monday the cost was up to slightly more than $4.58 a gallon.  However... that number -- in many cases -- has now gone to $4.75 a gallon.  AAA says the price of crude oil decreased early last week due to market concerns.  However... prices reversed by the end of the week due to growing concerns over Ukrainian and European Union actions against Russian oil and natural gas companies they say could spark retaliation by Russia... and, that would lead to more market disruption and uncertainty.  There's also the now underway switch-over to "summer blend" gasoline.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., May 17, 2022

City Council committees seeking more answers to questions about new, proposed public safety hires...
There are still some questions and concerns that need to be addressed before the Jamestown City Council votes on adding three new police officers, and new four firefighters.  Two council committees took up the proposal... recently presented by Mayor Eddie Sundquist and council leaders.  The positions will be funded with American Rescue Plan Act funding.  Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says a key one is how long the city will employ the seven new hires... thought they're only slated to be in place until 2027.  Ecklund says some of that may depend on having to fill positions due to retirements.  The four firefighters would primarily be used to staff a second ambulance that would provide EMS service in the city.  Two of the three police officers would be assigned to gun violence enforcement... with the third to deal with more "nuisance" crimes or violations.  Council President Tony Dolce says the personnel costs are expected to be about $800,000 each year, once the ARPA funding is used up.  However... he wants a breakdown on how EMS billing will help lower the cost for the added firefighters. 


Three city men arrested for being in possession of a hand-gun...
Three men from Jamestown have been arrested following an alleged menacing involving a pistol on the city's westside Sunday afternoon.  Jamestown police say they were called to the scene on Grandin St., where the victim told them the suspects had pointed a gun at him, and that they were traveling in a blue Chevy Cruze last seen going north towards the downtown area.  Officers quickly located the vehicle on West Sixth Street -- at Cherry -- and conducted a traffic stop.  The suspects... 24 year-old Alejandro Ayala... 22 year-old Carlos Rivera... and, 20 year-old Abel Figueroa were found with a loaded .38-Special revolver.  Police say the serial number to the weapon had been defaced... and, it will be forensically examined.  All three suspects were taken to the city jail for arraignment on second and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon charges.  Rivera is also charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle... and, Ayala is additionally charged with endangering the welfare of a child.  All three are being held pending arraignment. 


Man killed in fatal farm tractor-pick-up truck accident in Hanover...
A 76 year-old north county man has died from injuries suffered after his farm tractor was struck from behind by a pick-up truck in the town of Hanover.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Alleghany Road just after 3:30 Sunday afternoon... and, found that the pick-up truck was southbound when it struck the tractor from behind -- and the victim was thrown from the tractor.  Deputies say the man was rushed to Brook's Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk... where he later died.  The 75 year-old operator of the pickup truck suffered minor injuries and was released by medical personnel on scene.  The Sheriff's Department Accident Reconstruction Team was called into to evaluate the scene.  No charges have been filed... but, deputies say the investigation is still on going.


Budget votes underway today across NYS, and Chautauqua County...including SWCS...
Residents from across Chautauqua County are voting today on local school budgets, propositions and school board members.  Southwestern Central School Superintendent Maureen Donahue says voters could go to the polls this morning... or from 2 to 8 p.m. today.  Donahue says spending is down in the $30.8-million budget by 2.38% due to debt service from a previous project being paid off.  With that... some state aid is going, but, she says general purpose aid is up.  She says total revenues are down from the current year... and, adds that inflation and program costs are driving a number of increases in the new spending plan.  Because of that... the district is looking at a 2% increase in the tax levy... which will require a 60% supermajority vote by the public.  Donahue says there will also be a proposition to buy four new buses for 595-thousand dollars.  Three people are also running for two seats on the school board... incumbant Cory Miller... and, two newcomers -- Brenden Carter and Elizabeth Laczi.  


Voters in Jamestown Public School district to vote on no tax increase budget...
Voters in the Jamestown Public School District will decide today on a more than $93-million budget for the 2022-23 school year that includes no tax increase.  The spending plan includes hiring, and measures to help students with learning loss during the COVID pandemic... and, boosts mental health services.  School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says the roughly 45 additional personnel will help deal mainly with those issues... including reading teachers, academic intervention, and five at the high school.  He says the district is receiving about $4-million more in state aid from Albany, and that will mainly deal with student learning loss.  Today's vote at the "president" schools will run from Noon to 9 p.m.  Two school board members... Patrick Slagle and Joe Pawelski... are running unopposed.


Special Master releases draft, Congressional redistricting maps...
A court-appointed expert has released a draft of new congressional maps for New York that are more favorable to Republicans than the original gerrymandered political maps drawn by Democrats.  The draft maps released Monday would help the GOP by creating five districts that lean Republican... and, at least four other districts where Republicans would be competitive.  Maps drawn up by the Democratically-controlled state Legislature would have given Democrats a strong majority in 22 of 26 congressional districts, starting with this year's election. 

WJTN News Headlines for Monday, May 16, 2022

North county man killed when pick-up truck hits farm tractor from behind...
A 76 year-old north county man has died from injuries suffered after his farm tractor was struck from behind by a pick-up truck in the town of Hanover.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Alleghany Road just after 3:30 p.m. Sunday, and, found that the pick-up truck was southbound when it struck the tractor from behind -- and the victim was thrown from the tractor.  Deputies say the man was rushed to Brook's Hospital in Dunkirk... where he later died.  The 75 year-old operator of the pickup truck suffered minor injuries and was released by medical personnel on scene.  The Sheriff's Department Accident Reconstruction Team was called into to evaluate the scene.  No charges have been filed... but, deputies say the investigation is still on going.


Forestville man arrested for damaging property with a backhoe...
A north county man is accused of driving a backhoe to another person's home on Hanover Street in the north county village... and, damaging property late last month.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene shortly before 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Apr. 26... on a criminal mischief complaint.  Deputies say their investigation showed that 37 year-old Jason Dolce took the backhoe to the victim's home... and, damaged the property.  Dolce was arrested on a warrant from Hanover Town Court for third-degree criminal mischief... third-degree criminal tampering... and, reckless endangerment of property.  He was taken into custody on the warrant and taken to the county jail pending centralized arraignment.


Investigation continues into horrific Buffalo supermarket shooting...
Law enforcement officials tell the Associated Press that federal agents have interviewed the parents of the white, 18-year-old accused of shooting and killing 10 people at a Buffalo supermarket and served multiple search warrants.  Officials who spoke to the A-P on the condition of anonymity said Payton Gendron's parents were cooperating with investigators.  Federal authorities were still working to confirm the authenticity of a 180-page manifesto that was posted online, which detailed the plot and identified Gendron by name as the gunman, the official said.  Authorities say the shooting was motivated by racial hatred.  Gendron was arraigned late Saturday.


Scaled-down JCC Commencement takes place Sunday with a more "personal" touch...
It was the perfect day for an atypical commencement Sunday at Jamestown Community College.  That from JCC Vice-President of Student Affairs, Kirk Young.  For the second year in a row, students walked one at a time across a small outdoor stage and received their degree directly from college president, Dr. Daniel DeMarte.  Dr. Young says it’s much more personal that a ‘mass commencement' because they're with their family the entire time.  Candice Mozes of Cattaraugus got a nursing degree Sunday, her second from JCC.  She got a degree in December 2019 in psychology... but, was very involved on campus, and decided to get the nursing degree later.  Mozes says many of the nursing grads already have jobs.  She’ll be working at UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown.  The scrapping of the usual JCC commencement was a result of COVID-19.  Dr. Young says they’ll carefully weigh what post-pandemic graduations will be like.


Proposed Falconer school budget includes no tax increase for 2022-23...
Residents of the Falconer Central School District are being asked to approve a budget of just over $27-million Tuesday for the upcoming school year.  School Superintendent, Steve Penhollow, says while spending is up around 7%, taxes won’t be affected.  Penhollow says there is no increase in the tax levy.  Penhollow says much of the increased spending is going to fund a handful of new staff members in the area of ‘social-emotional health.'  He says the pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, and in many cases their students.  An injection of state and federal aid has allowed for the additional personnel.  Penhollow says the school board has worked to insure the positions can remain when the extra aid goes away.  A separate proposition to create a ‘capital reserve fund’ is also on the ballot.  And two current school board members... Tom Frederes and Bob Carpenter... are running unopposed.  Voting will be at the Falconer Middle/High School gym foyer from 2 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.


Annual "Cents For St. Susan's" fund drive underway...
Rising food prices in recent months are making it more difficult for the poor to buy the groceries they need.  That's part of the urgency that this year's 23rd annual "Cents for St. Susan's" fund drive for the Jamestown-areas largest soup kitchen.  The drive is put on by the Board of Public Utilities... and, Communications Coordinator Becky Robbins says St. Susan's dining area at 31 Water St. is again up and operating since COVID-19 is fading.  Robbins says there are a number of ways you can give... including putting loose change into the bright yellow canisters around the city.  She adds that BPU on-line customers can make donations that way... and, their annual hot dog sale to benefit St. Susan's will be held in front of the BPU Customer Service office on June 3.  Robbins adds that the St. Susan's Center is now expecting to help as many people as they were pre-COVID-19.  She says the numbers of people using St. Susan's "drive-thru" window went down during COVID... due at least in part to additional government help with getting food to people. 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., May 12, 2022

COVID-19 cases back on the rise in Chautauqua County, and, UPMC Chautauqua is seeing rise in cases and admissions...
The head of UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown says they are seeing an increase in the number of people treated and hospitalized for COVID-19 in recent days.  The latest numbers from the Chautauqua County Health Department back that up... as officials report 11 people currently hospitalized with the virus.  They add the current seven-day infection rate is 11.7%.  UPMC President Brian Durniok says they've been monitoring the situation daily... but, adds this wave has been "managable" because they haven't been seeing the severe cases from several months ago.  Durniok says most cases resemble a serious cold, or have flu-like symptoms.  He says that's quite different from "4 or 5 months ago..." when the area was hit by a wave of cases due to the omicron varient.  He adds that they are trying to be prepared with theraputics and other treatments once we get to the Fall.  Durniok says once people start staying indoors, the virus has tended to be more prevailent.  If it isn't... he says "we'll be thrilled."  COVID cases have been going up steadily in Western New York in recent weeks... fueled mainly by the more contagious BA.2 variant.  However... the newer variant's symptoms have been less severe.


Gillibrand laments Wednesday Senate vote on abortion rights bill...
The votes weren't there... and, the U.S. Senate failed Wednesday afternoon in a test vote to codify abortion rights under the Roe v. Wade decision into federal law.  New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand held a conference call with reporters earlier in the day... and, said she was doubtful there will be enough support.  Gillibrand feels it's a right that should not be taken away... because she feels "this is the law of the land."  In holding the vote... Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said it would get most senators on record about the issue.  The measure was defeated in a near party line, 49-51. 


Trio arrested for Illegal Dumping in Jamestown...
Three people have been arrested on local and state charges for illegally dumping trash in a wooded area on Jamestown's eastside.  City police say they had been alerted to an on-going problem of illegal dumping in the area of Pratt Ave.  Complaints were made to police... who had recently placed a surveillance camera in that area... and, others where illegal dumping had been reported.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says the Pratt Avenue camera recorded an older model pick-up truck pulling a trailer that stopped along the side of the road on Tuesday.  The people then unloaded a mattress and a television.  The video was put out on the police department's Facebook page and within minutes the vehicles location was given to JPD.  Officers found the vehicle on West Seventh Street... and arrested 28 year-old Tamika Elston... 37 year-old Desimon Elston... and, 47 year-old Lawrence White.  All three were charged with illegal dumping... and DEC Officers also charged the trio with illegal disposal of solid waste.  Tamika Elston was also charged with transporting solid waste uncovered. 


Borrello says there will be a special election in 23rd Congressional District, and he may jump in the race...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul will now have to schedule a special election for the 23rd Congressional District, following Tuesday's resignation by long-time Representative Tom Reed.  That from local State Senator George Borrello.... who says New York state lawmakers recently passed a measure that directs the governor to schedule a special election.  Borrello... who is now expressing interest in running for the vacant seat... says county GOP chairmen will get together and make a selection... based on a weighted vote.  He says that gives more weight to more populated areas.  In addition to Borrello... a former staffer of Congressman Reed -- Joe Sempolinski of Steuben County -- declared his candidacy on Twitter Tuesday.  Adding to the chaos is that the person who is elected in the special contest is only filling out the current term.  The office is still up for grabs in November due to redistricting.  Meanwhile, Borrello, who is facing re-election to the State Senate, is also considering a possible run for Congress... saying he'll first see how the new district maps look.  The Sunset Bay Republican says it would be an "honor" to represent the area in Washington.


Judge in redistricting case says no to throwing out NYS Assembly district maps...
A New York judge has refused to throw out new political maps setting the boundaries of state Assembly districts.  In a ruling late Wednesday... Judge Patrick McAllister said even though the maps were drafted improperly, opponents had waited too long to join the lawsuit challenging them in court.  If upheld, the decision by Judge McAllister, would give Democrats a minor victory in the battle over redistricting in New York.  Previous court rulings struck down the party's favored new maps for state Senate and U.S. House districts as unconstitutional.


Nation's casinos report best month ever in March...
Inflation may be soaring, supply chains are snarled and the coronavirus just won't go away.  But... America's casinos are humming right along, recording the best month in their history in March.  The gambling industry's national trade group reported Wednesday that the country's commercial casinos won more than $5.3-billion from gamblers in March.  That's their best single-month total ever.  The previous record month was July 2021 at $4.92 billion.  The numbers don't include tribal casinos.

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., May 11, 2022

Falconer woman identified as person killed in fatal truck-pedestrian accident...
A Falconer woman has now been identified as the person killed when they were struck by a pick-up truck on West Main Street at North Phetteplace Street Tuesday afternoon.  Ellicott Town Police were called to the scene around 2:30 p.m., and, say 66 year-old Louise Chiazzese was pronounced dead at the scene.  Officers say the driver of the truck, 39 year-old Stephen Fiorella of Celoron, was turning west onto West Main when the vehicle struck the woman.  Ellicott Police issued Fiorella an appearance ticket for town court for failure to yield to a pedestrian.


Reed announces sudden resignation from Congress...
It wasn't an easy decision... but, local Congressman Tom Reed has announced his resignation from office... effective immediately.  Media One was able to get hold of Reed late Tuesday afternoon... after saying in a printed release that he'll be joining Charlie Black at the Prime Policy Group in  Washington, D.C.  Prime Policy is a public relations and public policy group that lobbys lawmakers to work on policy in a bi-partisan manner.  Reed says that's where he wanted to be when he was done with Congress in seven months.  However... he says Black offered the opportunity sooner... and, he was eager to go onto his next chapter.  He adds there was little left on Congress' plate, and it was time to move on.  Reed was into his sixth and final term in office last year when he announced that he would not be running for re-election.  The move came shortly after the Corning Republican was accused of sexual misconduct involving a junior lobbyist in 2017.  He acknowledged that at the time... he had a problem with alcohol... but, had been sober since that time.  In his resignation letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi... Reed said he'll miss working for residents of the 23rd District... but, says the time was right to move on.


Reed's vacant seat to trigger likely Special Election...
Tom Reed's sudden resignation adds another layer of confusion to an already choatic situation for New York's congressional districts.  A story in Wednesday's Buffalo News reports that recent state legislation mandates a special election when a House member resigns.  So, voters in the soon to disappear 23rd Congressional District will go to the polls, probably this summer, to elect someone to serve through December.  The news says two Republicans have expressed interest in running.  One is a longtime associate of Tom Reed's.. Joe Sempolinski of Canisteo in Steuben County.  The other Republican is George Borello, State Senator from Sunset Bay.  Max Della Pia, Democrat from Tioga County, would be the presumed candidate from that party.  All of this occurs  as the districts for the November general election are still not known.  Those lines are being drawn by a court appointed special master, and won't be known until later this month.   


Hochul announces $35-million to support women's reproductive rights in NYS...
Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that New York will make $35-million available to help abortion providers boost services and security if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.  The 1972 decision legalized abortion nationwide.  Hochul, a Democrat, says the state has to get ready for a potential influx of out-of-state patients seeking abortions from states that ban the procedure.  She says that's the reason why they're taking quick action.  Hochul said she'll use emergency health and human services funding to provide grants and reimbursements to abortion providers, including $25 million for increasing access to services.  She says that the other $10 million will be used for security upgrades.  She was joined via Zoom with pro-choice advocates from around the state to make the announcement because she's still isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 last weekend.


Damage to historic Frewsburg home in fatal fire may not allow a cause to be determined...
Chautauqua County fire investigators say they have been unable to determine the cause of Monday's major, fatal fire at an historic apartment house in Frewburg... and, may never find one.  In a printed release Tuesday... members of the Fire Investigation Team say finding the exact cause of the blaze at 83 West Main Street may be impossible due to "the amount of damage the building sustained."  They add that because the medical examiner at the Erie County Medical Center is continuing their investigation... the name of the one victim is not being released.  While unable to determine the cause... investigators say their probe has determined that the cause was not suspicious.  The home was originally that of late former New York Gov. Reuben Fenton.


UPMC Chautauqua Hospital receives "A" rating from third-party watchdog group...
A national watchdog group has given UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown an "A" safety rating for protecting patients from preventable harm and error.  Hospital President Brian Durniok announced Tuesday morning that the hospital had received the rating from :The Leapfrog Group..." and, that it was one of just two given out in all of Western New York.  Durniok says their rating just a few years ago was not one they were happy about... and, a concerted effort was made by everyone at the hospital to change outcomes in 30 different areas regarding things like infections and falls.  Durniok adds they also made a couple of key personnel hires... including a full-time pulminologist in their ICU... and, full-time pharmacy technician in the Emergency Department.  UPMC Chautauqua is one of 17 hospitals in the UPMC system that received the "A" rating for the Spring of 2022. 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Tuesday, May 10, 2022

City officials in Jamestown announce plans to add police and firefighters, and second ambulance...
Jamestown city officials are pledging to spend "millions" of American Rescue Plan Act dollars to boost public safety with additional manpower and equipment.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist was joined by City Council President Tony Dolce, Public Safety Committee members and the police and fire chiefs at city hall in making the announcement Monday night.  Sundquist says he and council members have found "common ground" on a way to make investments into public safety, and providing "adequate emergency care."  Sundquist says they have agreed to hire three new police officers... and, four new firefighters so they can add a second ambulance to the fire department.  He says the new officers will mainly deal with gun violence, which has been on the rise over the past year-and-a-half, along with quality of life issues -- including noise.  Police Chief and Public Safety Director Tim Jackson added, though, that most of the shootings have been "targeted" and not random... and, stem mainly from drug trafficking.  Sundquist says the four additional firefighters will also be available for fire calls so that the city is less dependent on surrounding volunteer companies to assist.  The proposals will be taken up by City Council committees at next Monday night's work session.


Chief Jackson also announced new law enforcement collaborations to deal with gun violence...
It will take several weeks to get the new police and firefighters hired and trained so they can begin active duty.  In the meantime... the Jamestown Police Department has been working on different collaborations to help them not only get guns off the streets... but, those who possess and use those guns off the streets.  Chief Jackson says a lot of this stems from the trafficking of illegal drugs... often by people from out of town.  Those include the recent arrest of 20 year-old Victor Nunez of Hartford, Connecticut... who was seen on police video firing multiple shots into a fleeing car during an incident on Broadhead Avenue. 


Investigation continues into fatal house fire in Frewsburg...
The investigation is continuing into Monday morning's fatal fire that claimed the life of one person living in an apartment unit inside a Frewsburg home.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's investigators say Frewsburg fire crews were called to the scene at 83 West Main St. about 7:30 a.m., and found fire and smoke coming from the structure.  Mutual aid was called in from Kiantone, Falconer, Busti, Lakewood, and county EMS.  Sheriff's officers and Carroll Town Police were also called in.  Four of the five apartment were occupied... and, one person was found deceased... while everyone else escaped safely.  The victim’s name is not being released at this time.  All other occupants are being helped by the local Red Cross.


Local school districts, including SWCS, to hold budget hearings, and meet candidates programs tonight...
Residents of the Southwestern Central School District will get to voice their feelings about the district's proposed 2022-23 budget during tonight's public hearing.  Superintendent Maureen Donahue says their hearing will be held at 6 p.m. in the high school's multi-purpose room.  Donahue says the $30.8-million spending plan is down from last year by just over 2%... due mainly to the fact they have paid off the debt on one building project.  However... that aid is also no longer on the books... and, she says that is necessitating a slight tax levy increase of 2% because they've lost more than 5% of their revenues because there is no more building aid.  Since the 2% levy increase exceeds the state's 2% property tax cap... the budget will need a 60% supermajority vote by the public to be approved.  In addition... Donahue says there will also be a transporation proposition for four new buses... including one 66-passenger bus... at a combined cost of just under $595,000.  There are also three candidates running for two school board seats.  They include incumbant Cory Miller... and, newcomers Brendan Carter, and Elizabeth Laczi.  The public votes take place on Tuesday, May 17.


James joins with lawmakers to announce "Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program..."
Two members of the New York state legislature has announced a measure to establish a state program that would provide financial resources to abortion providers in New York.  State Attorney General Letitia James held a joint announcement late Monday morning with the sponsors of the bill... which she says affirms a woman's right to chose.  James says every person should have "freedom to control their own body, and health care."  Senator Cordell Cleare, and Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas are sponsoring what's called the 'Reproductive Freedom and Equity Program.' 


Gas prices up again in Jamestown-area, and nation...
The cost for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline in the Jamestown-area has risen another 7-cents a gallon this past week to nearly $4.40 a gallon.  The AAA's East Central Gas Price Report says the cost was about $4.33 a gallon for the week of May 2nd.  AAA says the national average for a gallon of gas has gone up 20-cents to $4.32 (now $4.37) to start the week... a penny less than the record high set on March 11 and $1.36 cents more than a year ago.  The increase is primarily due to the high cost of crude oil, which was hovering near $100 a barrel last week... and, is now closing in on $110.  The price last week closed on Friday at $109 a barrel.  Gas prices also trend higher this time of year as refineries make the switch to summer-blend gasoline which is more expensive to make.

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., May 9, 2022

Crews remain at scene of fatal fire in Frewsburg...
One person has been confirmed dead in a large house fire in Frewsburg this morning.  Frewsburg firefighters were called to the historic Fenton home at 83 West Main St. about 7:30 a.m. this morning.  They were joined at the scene by Kiantone, Busti, Falconer and Lakewood firefighters... along with State Police and county Emergency Services.  A county coroner was also called to the scene.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone confirms there was one fatality in the blaze.  More when it becomes available.


Jamestown officials to hold press conference about new, Public Safety "investments..."
City officials in Jamestown will announce later today new investments to combat rising gun violence in the city... and, to address it's EMS crisis.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist announced late last Friday that a press conference will be held n the lobby of City Hall at 6 p.m. tonight.  Sundquist says he'll be joined by City Council President Tony Dolce... members of the Jamestown Public Safety Committee... Police Chief and Public Safety Director Tim Jackson... and, Deputy Fire Chief Matt Coon.  


Hochul has COVID-19, but, not experiencing symptoms...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul says she tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, and will isolate and work remotely this week.  The Democratic governor tweeted that she is not experiencing any symptoms.  She said she's vaccinated and boosted. Hochul's positive test comes amid rising case numbers in New York.  For weeks, much of upstate New York has been in the high-alert orange zone, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designation that reflects serious community spread.  New York City last week crossed the city's threshold for "medium risk," indicating the widening spread of the subvariant knowns as BA.2 that has swept the state's northern reaches. 


Wendel has concerns over Gas Tax Cap as pump prices again spike...
Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel says he has "immense concerns" over the price of gasoline spiking again mid-week last week... and, the gas tax cap taking effect in less than a month.  Wendel says the day after the county legislature approved capping the local tax at $3.00 a gallon on April 27... the price spiked 9-cents a gallon for regular unleaded fuel.  However... by last weekend... it had climbed to $4.40 a gallon.  He says if the price remains the same when the tax holiday comes on June 1, it would provide a savings of about 20-cents... which would put the price where it was just over a week ago.  At this point... Wendel says Chautauqua County is one of 15 counties out of New York's 62 that are also capping the local tax.  He believes the best way to improve the situation is increase production... because prices won't come down until the supply improves.


Man arrested in Jamestown following domestic dispute...
A domestic dispute on Jamestown's southside early yesterday morning led to the arrest of a city man.  Jamestown police were called to the undisclosed scene about 3 a.m., and, when they arrived... they saw a white sports utility vehicle leaving the locaton.  Officers stopped the vehicle a short distance away... and, following a brief investigation... they arrested Tyler Langworthy.  Langworthy was a passenger in the SUV.  He was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief... and, taken into custody without incident, pending arraignment.


JCC getting back to "pre-pandemic" routine, but, still has lower enrollment from COVID-19...
As the spring semester comes to a close, life at Jamestown Community College is getting back to a 'pre-pandemic' routine.  But the school's President, Dr. Daniel DeMarte, says there's still a ways to go.  DeMarte says they're getting closer, but, adds there are "still students who have not returned."  He estimates the college lost 15 to 20 percent of enrollment in the disruption of COVID-19.  The drop has NOT led to cutting any current majors... but the president says they are constantly examining whether they have the right number and mix of programs.  Spring commencement at JCC will be Saturday, May 14, Olean, and Sunday, May 15 in Jamestown.  As with last year it'll be a two part affair.  A virtual commencement will be posted on-line... and students will be given the opportunity to cross a small stage and receive their degrees from the president and other officials. 


County Chamber's Spring Membership Drive underway...
The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce's annual Spring Membership Drive is underway... and, officials are urging non-members in the county to take a look at what they offer.  Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Heitzenrater says their new member discount concluded yesterday... but, adds they have more specials going on through June 9... including a drawing for a free second-year membership, or two free tickets for their annual banquet at the SUNY College at Fredonia.  Again the drive runs through June 9th.  For more information... go on-line to www.chautauquachamber.org... or call 484-1101.


Family DNA Crime Searches halted, at least temporarily...
A New York court is halting the use of a DNA crimefighting tool because state lawmakers never approved the practice.  Familial DNA searching has helped crack cold cases and put murderers behind bars... but, it's also raised concerns about privacy and racial discrimination.  The technique allows law enforcement agencies to search the state's DNA databank for close biological relatives of people who have left traces of genetic material at a crime scene.  A panel of judges on a mid-level appeals court made the ruling Thursday, citing concerns about government separation of powers.  


 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., May 5, 2022

One person suffers burns in fire on Jamestown's southside...
One person suffered burns and had to be taken to the hospital after flames broke out in a second-story bedroom on Jamestown's southside this morning.  City fire officials say crews were called to 41 Linwood Ave. at 8 a.m., and, found the bedroom area fully-engulfed in flames.  However... firefighters had the blaze out fairly quickly with the help of an off-shift.  No one else was hurt in the blaze.  There's no word on the fire victim's condition.  A crew remained at the scene early this afternoon.  The cause remains under investigation.


Several firefighters overcome by some kind of toxic fumes in town of Portland house fire...
The investigation continues into the cause of a house fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon in the Town of Portland.  Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone says State Police are heading up the probe of the fire at 6842 Webster Rd., that put some fire fighters at risk.  Quattrone says investigators are not sure what triggered the fumes.  The residents of the home were not injured... but, we now understand several firefighters were overcome by the unknown fumes coming from the house.


JPD investigating shots fired incident on southside Wednesday afternoon...
Jamestown police are investigating an alleged shooting incident late Wednesday afternoon believed to be the result of an argument that escalated.  City police confirm that officers were called to the 100-block of Broadhead Avenue about 5 p.m. on a report of shots fired.  Police say one round went through the trunk of a car... then went through an empty car seat... and lodged in a rear passenger seat.  A child was reportedly in the passenger seat... but, was not hurt.  


Teen involved in shots-fired incident in Jamestown now charged with stealing the AR-15 rifle used...
A 17 year-old boy accused of shooting off a stolen, AR-15 rifle in Brooklyn Square last weekend now faces a Grand Larceny charge in Lakewood.  Lakewood-Busti Police confirm the teenager was charged after Jamestown police arrested the 17 year-old near the intersection of South Main and Harrison Streets about 11:30 p.m. last Saturday.  Lakewood-Busti Police say the teen was arraigned on one count of fourth-degree Grand Larceny -- a Felony.  The teen was originally arrested in Jamestown for second-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.  No one was hurt in the incident.


Another suspect in Jun Martinez drug trafficking conspiracy in Jamestown pleads guilty...
Another city resident involved in a major, drug traffcking operation in Jamestown has pleaded guilty to being involved in that trafficking operation.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross announced Wednesday that 60 year-old Kevin Hughes entered his plea in U.S. District Court in Buffalo to narcotics conspiracy.  Prosecutors say Hughes assisted co-defendant Jun Martinez in his drug trafficking operation, receiving drug packages in the mail at his home.  He's also accused of often driving Martinez in, and around Jamestown to traffic drugs, help with retrieving money from customers, vacuum sealing the money, and subsequently mailing the money to the source of supply.  In September 2020... during a trip out of state to acquire narcotics from a supplier... an Illinois State Police Trooper stopped Hughes and Martinez... and, a search of the car resulted in the seizure of just over 9,500 grams of methamphetamine, 3,100 grams of fentanyl... over 2,200 grams of cocaine, and marijuana products.  Martinez has been convicted. Hughes faces at least 10 years in prison, and a $10-million fine.


Thompson tells city lawmakers it's too early to tell whether Jamestown's 2022 budget projections were on target...
Some revenue projects are running ahead of projections for the first-quarter of the year in the city of Jamestown... but, it's still too early to tell how 2022 will turn-out.  That from City Comptroller Ryan Thompson... who updated the City Council this week on final, 2021 budget numbers... and, took look at the year to date.  Thompson says Board of Public Utilities Payment-in-lieu-of Tax payments are running ahead of last year... and, if the numbers hold up... they'll see a $100,000 increase.  He adds the city's also received 68% of all last year's revenues from the fire department's EMS service... averaging about 28,000 a month for the first four months of this year.  If the trend continues... Thompson says they'll wind up about $171,000 over budget.  Thompson says upgrading the EMS billing system has had a lot to do with that.  As for concerns... he says one is that parking ramps and lots are not covering operation expenses so far in 2022.  Thompson adds that they are also still awaiting first-quarter sales tax revenues... which will be a big part of the overall picture. 


Judge tells Democrats no to Spring primaries...
A federal judge has refused to order New York to hold its congressional and state Senate primaries this spring using district maps declared unconstitutional by state judges.  The judge said a legal effort by Democrats to revive the maps amounted to a "Hail Mary pass" and would potentially trigger "chaos."  A group of voters filed a lawsuit asking federal judges to intervene in New York's redistricting battle after the state's highest court ruled that district maps crafted by the state Legislature were improperly gerrymandered to favor Democrats.  They argued that redrawing the maps now would cause the state to miss an old, court-ordered deadline to hold its primaries by late June.

 

Happy Cinco De Mayo!
 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., May 4, 2022

City man arrested on drug and weapons charges in Tuesday morning raid...
A Jamestown man was arrested during an early morning drug raid on the city's southside Tuesday.  City police say members of the Jamestown Metro... and, Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Forces executed a search warrant on the upper apartment at 102 Sampson St. just after 6 a.m.  They were assisted by the JPD SWAT Team... and, arrested 51 year-old Ronald Bartlett at the scene.  Drug agents also found a quantity of heroin... nearly 12 ounces of methamphetamine... scales... packaging materials... and, a cane sword.  Bartlett was charged with second and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... third-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia.  He was taken to the city jail pending arraignment.  If you have any information on illegal drug activity in the city... call the anonymous tip line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


Man arrested with "Ghost Gun" in town of Carroll...
A town of Carroll man has been arrested for allegedly being found in possession of a 9-millimeter un-serialized "ghost gun."  State Police in Jamestown say their Bureau of Criminal Investigation arrested 37 year-old John Peterson at his Scott Road home on a warrant during a raid late Monday.  Troopers say that... after consultation with the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office... Peterson was arrested for third-degree criminal possession of a disguised gun... and, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  He was then sent to the county jail on $5,000 cash bail... $10,000 property bond.


Jamestown comptroller reports city, unofficially, finished 2021 with $1.7-million...
The unaudited review of the city of Jamestown's final 2021 budget is showing a significant cash surplus... which is helping the city get closer to it's recommended fund balance.  Comptroller Ryan Thompson presented his department's findings during Monday night's City Council work session... and, says the unofficial surplus is $1.7-million.  Thompson says that was largely because revenues came in much higher than expected to the tune of about $2.2-million.  Thompson says the big reason for that was much higher than expected sales tax revenues... which is says came in $1.2-million more than was projected.  As for other areas... he says salaries were up -- namely up about $300,000 for public safety due to two new contracts going into effect.  Thompson says 2021 was the first year since they city began receiving an additional one-million dollars in state aid that it did not get that aid.  With last year's surplus... he says their total fund balance is $7.7-million... with $5.7-million undesignated for other costs.  Thompson says the recommendation is to have about two-months worth of expenses... or $6.4-million on hand.


Borrello sounds off on Hochul decision to name Delgado as Lt. Gov...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that she is appointing Eastern New York Congressman Antonio Delgado to serve as her new Lieutenant Governor.  Delgado currently represents New York's 19th Congressional District... which includes the Hudson Valley and Catskills.  State Senator George Borrello says he replaces Brian Benjamin... who recently resigned in the wake of a corruption scandal.  Borrello says it's a good change to have a moderate in the office.  Borrello adds that he was disappointed that the Democratic-led State Legislature passed a bill that changes state election law to relax the rules for a candidate to vacate a party ticket.  Benjamin recently resigned from the position after being charged with corruption. 


City teen arrested for allegedly firing off AR-15 in Brooklyn Square Saturday...
Jamestown police have arrested a teenager who allegedly fired off a stolen AR-15 rifle in the Brooklyn Square area last weekend.  City police were called to the area of South Main and Harrison Streets about 11:30 p.m. last Saturday on a report of a person armed with the rifle.  On arrival... police located the male subject running through the parking lot carrying a rifle.  Investigation showed that the 17 year-old had fired the rifle... which was reported stolen in Lakewood... and, he was arrested for second-degree criminal possession of a weapon... and, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. 


Jamestown man arrested for threatening firefighter, officer with handgun...                 
A city man has been arrested for allegedly threatening a Jamestown firefighter with a hand-gun during an incident yesterday afternoon near Station-One.  City police say the firefighter flagged down an officer shortly before 2 p.m. near the police station at 201 East Second St.  The firefighter said a man -- later identified as 64 year-old Peter Ludwig -- had just pointed a gun at them... and, that person then went into the police station.  Officers say Ludwig left the police station and approached an officer outside, and again brandished the gun.  He was quickly arrested... and, charged with second-degree menacing, and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  He was jailed pending arraignment.


Local writer, editor Walt Pickut discusses new book...
Jamestown writer Walt Pickut is the co-author of a new book called "The First Counterspy: Larry Haas, Bell Aircraft, and FBI's Attempt to capture a Soviet Mole."  Pickut says it's a true story from the World War-Two era about a secret project Larry Haas led in Buffalo to develop jet propulsion, which Soviet spys were after in that day.  Pickut says Larry Haas lived 'under the radar' and his story's been buried for 80 years.  "The First Counterspy" is available at local bookstores and online stores such as Amazon. 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., May 3, 2022

Jamestown man arrested for allegedly threatening firefighter, police officer with handgun...                  
A city man has been arrested for allegedly threatening a Jamestown firefighter with a hand-gun during an incident yesterday afternoon near Station-One.  City police say the firefighter flagged down an officer shortly before 2 p.m. near the police station at 201 East Second St.  The firefighter said a man -- later identified as 64 year-old Peter Ludwig -- had just pointed a gun at them... and, that person then went into the police station.  Officers say Ludwig left the police station and approached an officer outside, and again brandished the gun.  He was quickly arrested... and, charged with second-degree menacing, and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  He was jailed pending arraignment.


Woman falls or jumps into river from Third St. Bridge...
Jamestown police are continuing to investigate an incident in which a woman either jumped... or fell from the Third Street Bridge into the Chadakoin River.  Jamestown fire officials and county fire dispatchers confirm the incident occured shortly after 1 p.m. Monday... near Steele Street.  The woman was able to get out of the water, and she was taken to the hospital for an evaluation and treatement.  More when it becomes available.


Hochul names Eastern NY Congressman Delgado as Lt. Gov....
Eastern New York Congressman Antonio Delgado has been chosed by Governor Kathy Hochul to be the state's next lieutenant governor.  Hochul, a Democrat, made the announcement late this morning.  Delgado will take on the largely ceremonial role previously formerly held by Brian Benjamin, who resigned following his arrest for federal corruption charges he denies.  Hochul touted the fellow Democrat's work in Congress on bills to help veterans, small business and those with student loan debt.  It was unclear immediately when Delgado, who was first elected in 2018 to represent the Hudson Valley and the Catskills, would take office. 


Surdyk explains contract work that would be contracted out with ARPA funding...
Jamestown city lawmakers got more information last night on a proposal to use $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to oversee the funding of economic development projects.  City Development Director Crystal Surdyk was on hand during the Council Work Session to explain how contracting with the Jamestown Local Development Corporation, and Urban Renewal Agency would work.  Surdyk says her department is already stretched thin to do it's "day-to-day" work... and, needs the one-and-a-half persons to deal with answering calls, advertising and evaluating grants.  She says they budgeted the work the one and-a-half persons they would hire do over the next four-and-a-half years.  She says they would deal directly with applications for ARPA funding for economic development efforts.  Surdyk says the full-time project manager would cost about $253,000 through the end of 2026... while the part-time manager would be $189,000 during that same time.  Council members rejected the measure during last week's voting session. 


Dunkirk home heavily damaged in Sunday night fire...
Dunkirk city firefighters responded to their second structure within a week, battling a house fire on Lake Shore Drive West Sunday night.  Fire Captain Gary Katta says crews were called out to 363 Lake Shore Drive West about 8 p.m., and says there was heavy smoke and fire coming from the smaller sized house.  Dunkirk crews received assistance from the Battalion One coordinator and Alstar Ambulance at the scene.  East Dunkirk Firefighers were on standby.  Katta says there were no injuries reported.  He says fortunately... none of the residents were home at the time.  The cause of the fire is under investigation, but no believed to be suspicous.


County Chamber kicks off National Small Business Week...
Local elected and business leaders were on hand Monday to recognize the importance of local small businesses during a National Small Business Week kick-off event in Ashville.  The event at the Ashville General Store was put on jointly by the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, and Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College.  Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Heitzenrater says the importance of small businesses was clearly evident during the COVID Pandemic.  He adds that 67-cents of each dollar spent helps the local community, through employment, and what people invest into their businesses, and sports teams they support.  Small Business Development Center Director Courtney Curatolo says they also work with the county chamber to help new businesses get up and running, through "free and confidencial business guidance" in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties. 


CCCC and SBDC hand out awards...
Two small businesses were recognized during the event at Ashville General Store... including The Hot Spot Cafe in the city of Jamestown.  Courtney Curatolo says Owner Hector Alvario started his business on Valentine's Day of 2020... only one month before the COVID Pandemic shut-down.  He was presented the New York State Minority Entrepreneur of the Year award for putting in take-out service, which helped the business to thrive in a difficult time.  In addition... Curatolo says the Ashville General Store... and, Owner Jackie Francis... were also honored with the state SBDC's "Community Business of the Year."  The business started up in 1991 on Route 474... and, provides a unique shopping and restaurant experience for local residents... and, tourists alike.
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In addition... the Small Business Development Center presented a surprise, state award to County Deputy County Executive for Economic Development, Mark Geise, for his and his department's efforts to work with local businesses during the pandemic.  Geise received the SBDC's "Phoenix Award" for outstanding contributions to disaster recovery by a public official.

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., May 2, 2022

JPD on look-out for suspect(s) in connection with weekend shooting death...
The search for the person or persons involved in a fatal shooting incident on Jamestown's eastside last weekend continues today.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers were called to the scene on East Sixth Street -- at American Place -- just before 11:30 p.m. Saturday on a report of multiple shots being fired.  Police were also told that a vehicle had arrived at UPMC Chautauqua Hospital, with a shooting victim inside.  However... they say 37 year-old Shawn Black of Lockport later died at the hospital.  Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call JPD at 483-7537... or the anonymous tipline at 483-Tips... that's 483-8477.  Samuelson says all calls will be kept confidential.


Sunday night fire in Dunkirk causes heavy damage to small residence...
Dunkirk city firefighters responded to their second structure within a week, battling a house fire on Lake Shore Drive West Sunday evening.  Fire Captain Gary Katta says crews were called out to 363 Lake Shore Drive West around 8 p.m. where they found heavy fire both inside and outside.  Katta says they were able to get a hand-line inside the home quickly, though.  Dunkirk received assistance from the Battalion One coordinator and Alstar Ambulance at the scene.  East Dunkirk Fire was on standby. Katta says there were no injuries reported.  He says fortunately... none of the residents were home at the time.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.  Katta says it’s not believed to be of suspicious nature.


County Chamber, SBDC, kick-off Small Business Week in Ashville...
Several local elected and business leaders crowded into the Ashville General Store this morning to kick-off National Small Business Week in the county.  The event was put on jointly by the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, and Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College.  Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Heitzenrater says the importance of small businesses was never more evident than it was during the COVID Pandemic... because it got new interest going in buying and shopping local.  Small Business Development Center Director Courtney Curatolo says they also work with the county chamber to help new businesses get up and running... through "free and confidential business guidance" in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties.  Proclamations for Small Business Week were offered by County Executive P.J. Wendel... and, a representative from State Senator George Borrello's Office.  Nationally... officials say a small business is defined as an "independent" business operation with 500 or fewer employees.  The event also kicked-off the local chamber's Spring Membership Drive.


SBDC Awards go to three during AGS event...
Two small businesses were recognized during the event at Ashville General Store... including The Hot Spot Cafe in the city of Jamestown.  Courtney Curatolo says Owner Hector Alvario started his business on Valentine's Day of 2020... only one month before the COVID Pandemic shut-down.  He was presented the New York State Minority Entrepreneur of the Year award... for his work to keep his business going during that time through a strong take-out business.  In addition... Curatolo says the Ashville General Store... and, Owner Jackie Francis... were also honored with the state SBDC's "Community Business of the Year."  The business started up in 1991 on Route 474... and, provides a unique shopping and restaurant experience for local residents... and, tourists alike.
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In addition... the Small Business Development Center presented a surprise, state award to County Deputy County Executive for Economic Development, Mark Geise, for his and his department's efforts to work with local businesses during the pandemic.  Geise received the SBDC's "Phoenix Award" for outstanding contributions to disaster recovery by a public official.


Wendel says some supervisory personnel being moved, but, not services from Dunkirk...
There will still be social and health services provided by Chautauqua County in the city of Dunkirk... but, there are some staffing moves that are taking place.  That from County Executive P.J. Wendel about the decision to move staff out of the Graf Building... with some going into the A.J. Sam building there.  Wendel says others are coming to Jamestown.  He says it's part of recommended changes from a 2019 study by the Center for Governmental Research, and includes Adult Protective, and Child Protective Services.  Wendel says the moves were to be made during 2020... but, the moves had to go on the back-burner due to COVID-19.  He says about 10 -- mainly supervisors -- are impacted.  Wendel says some services are being moved -- but, will remain in Dunkirk.  He says the Office of Mental Hygiene will soon be moved to the A.J. Sam building... and, adds that county Probation has already been moved there. 


Mayville man arrested for menacing following fight late last week...
A Mayville man has been arrested for allegedly getting into a fight with another person late last week... and, threatening the victim with a "deadly weapon."  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Potter Road just before 3 p.m. last Thursday on a report of a physical altercation.  Deputies found that 27 year-old Alexander Latta had gotten into the fight and threatened the other person before running off on foot.  Officers located Latta a short time later with the help of Sheriff's Office K-9 "Bentley," along with a State Police K-9 unit.  Latta was arrested an charged with second-degree menacing... and, second-degree harassment.  He was also found to have an outstanding warrant for him in Pennsylvania.  The alleged weapon was not identified.  Latta was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.

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