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Local News Headlines

WJTN Headlines for Thurs., Mar. 4, 2021

Local drug agents seize significant amount of drugs and cash during a raid in Jamestown Wednesday morning...
A Jamestown man has been arrested following a drug raid on a home on the city's northside early Wednesday morning.  City police say they and members of the Jamestown Metro... and, the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Forces... executed a search warrant at 11 East 15th St. shortly after 6 a.m.  Inside... investigators found 27 year-old Thomas Levine... and, a woman.  They also found 11.6-grams of methamphetamine... 7.6-grams of psilocybin mushrooms, pills, drug packaging materials and some cash.  Police say they arrested Levine on an outstanding warrant from the Lakewood-Busti Police Department.  City police say the investigation is continuing... and, charges are expected in connection with the raid.


Apartment fire contained in Jamestown... no one is hurt...
An accidental fire in a house on Jamestown's eastside Tuesday afternoon has extensively damaged a small apartment.  City Fire Lieutenant Bruce Sheldon says crews were called to the scene at 221 East Eighth St. 12:13 p.m., and, found smoke coming from the rear apartment.  Sheldon says that was a small, efficiency in the back of the house, which had three apartments.  He says much of the fire was out when they arrived.  Sheldon says the tenant was not home at the time... and, an upstairs tenant, who smelled smoke, called in the alarm.  He says fire investigators found that combustables too close to a portable heater triggered the blaze.  Sheldon says crews were at the scene until about 1:30 p.m.  One off-duty firefighter was called in to assist.  Sheldon says no one in the apartment was hurt... and, there were no firefighter injuries.


Gerry man hurt in single-car crash in Kennedy...
A man from Gerry suffered only minor injuries in a one-car rollover crash on Route 394 in Kennedy early Wednesday morning.  Sheriff's Deputies say they were called to the scene in the town of Poland shortly after 4 a.m., and, say Kennedy rescue crews removed 21 year-old Dakota Peck from the vehicle.  He was then taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment.  Officers say the investigation of the accident is continuing... and, charges are pending.


Cuomo formally apologizes during first press conference since sexual harassment allegations lodged...
A somber New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is issuing his first, in person apology after recent sexual harassment allegations against him.  During yesterday's COVID-19 press update... his first since mid-February... he said he "learned an important lesson" about his own behavior around women, but he said he intended to remain in office.  Cuomo says "I know understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable..." adding it was "unintentional."  He says he feels "awful" and embarrased by it."  Cuomo addressed the matter at the end of his Wednesday press conference... and, says he'll "fully cooperate" with the state attorney general's investigation into sexual harassment allegations.  The Democratic governor, though, maintained he never touched anyone "inappropriately."  Cuomo has been accused of inappropriately touching and acting towards two former women staffers... and, another woman he met at a 2019 wedding.  Attorney General Letitia James is in the process of selecting an outside law firm to conduct an investigation into the allegations and produce a report that will be made publicly. 


Reed expects whoever is GOP candidate for governor in 2022, they'll still face Cuomo...
The governor is facing more calls to resign by some members of his own party as most leading Democrats say they want to wait and see what the A-G's investigation turns up.  However... local Congressman Tom Reed doesn't believe that Cuomo will resign.  Reed reiterated Wednesday that he's seriously investigating a run... and, he's fairly sure that Cuomo will be the Democratic candidate in 2022.  The Corning Republican says the only way that won't happen is if Cuomo is impeached because he remains a political "Goliath."  Reed says he welcomes fellow Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin to the "family" of GOP members who are considering a run in 2022.  However... Zeldin has at times been a polarizing figure in national politics.  Reed says one national political pundit -- NBC's Chuck Todd -- has said that Cuomo may fear facing Reed... and, his track record of bi-partisanship.


Cuomo announces loosening of more COVID-19 restrictions...
Governor Cuomo has announced that the state will loosen restrictions on gatherings at his first news conference since an investigation was announced into sexual harassment allegations against him by three women.  The Democratic governor said Wednesday that that limit for outdoor private gatherings will rise from 10 to 25 starting March 22.  The limit for indoor gatherings in public spaces will go from 50 to 100 and the limit for outdoor public events will go from 50 to 200 on the same date.  


Only 19 new COVID Cases reported in county Wednesday... 
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 19 new cases of the COVID-19 virus in Chautauqua County over the past day... but, no new deaths.  The Health Department reports that 6 of those were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... and, brings the local total to 7,617.  Officials say there are now 116 active cases... and, seven of those are hospitalized.  A total of 7,363 cases have now recovered.


 

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WJTN Headlines for Wed., Mar. 3, 2021

Calls for Cuomo to resign grow; vote to be held later this week on limiting executive powers...
Calls for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign are intensifying now that a third woman has accused him of offensive behavior.  In addition... late Tuesday... Democratic leaders in the state legislature confirmed that they are introducing a bill that will take away some of the governor's executive powers granted during the pandemic.  Local Assemblyman Andy Goodell says he is aware of the new bill... but, has not seen what's in it.  Minority Republicans had been calling for a vote since revelations that the Cuomo administration covered up the actual number of nursing home deaths during the pandemic.  Goodell says the GOP may have forced the Democrats hand by sticking amendments into dozens of Democratic bills.  With that, the Jamestown-area Republican says, the Democrats would have to vote on it.  Since the revelations that were made public by Queens Assemblyman Ronald Kim and others... several Democrats have begun calling for rescinding some of the governor's powers.  The third woman now accusing Cuomo of offensive behavior... Anna Ruch... told The New York Times Monday that Cuomo touched her back and face and asked if he could kiss her moments after they met at a wedding in 2019. 


Cuomo's response to alleged sexual harassment called "tone-deaf" by critics...
Governor Andrew Cuomo's response to accusations that he sexually harassed women on the job is being viewed as a tone-deaf "faux-pology" by critics and victim's advocates.  Cuomo said in a statement that he only meant to joke with staff to add 'levity' to their serious work.  However... at least two women have complained that they were uncomfortable with his alleged sexual advances and were forced to change jobs or leave state government.  Northwestern University law professor Deborah Tuerkheimer says Cuomo in his statement ignores the power imbalance at play.  Meanwhile, State Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou calls sexual harassment at the statehouse rampant.


New COVID-19 Cases fall to single-digits, one new death reported Tuesday...
The number of new COVID-19 cases in Chautauqua County has dropped to single-digits for the first time since early in the pandemic.  The county's Health Department is reporting 8 new confirmed cases the past day... bringing the total to 7,598.  However... officials say there was one new death, bringing that total to 138.  They add there are 116 active cases... and, just seven are hospitalized.  In addition... there have now been 7,344 recovered cases to date.


Chautauqua Works director offers advice if you receive notice of fraudulent unemployment claim...
There have been an increasing number of local residents who have learned that someone has fraudulently filed for unemployment benefits in their name.  It's an unsettling situation that has affected millions already... is is raising alarms at a time where President Joe Biden and Congress look to pour hundreds of billions of dollars into expanded benefits.  A government watchdog agency says that as of December, nearly two dozen states had not started using a key system to block fraud.  With that... the number of fraudulent claims has climbed.  If you find out someone has done that to you, Katie Geise, director of the Chautauqua Workforce Investment Board, says report it on the state Labor Department's website at labor.ny.gov. by filling out the on-line form at "Report UI  Fraud."  Geise says people are typically learning about the fraud when they learn their "unemployment claim" has been approved.  You may also find out through your employer.  In either case... she says you need to fill out the on-line form... and, submit it.  Geise adds that employers are also notified on that website... and, she says the fraud should be reported by both the employee and the employer.  She says if you wind up having someone fraudulently applying for unemployment insurance under your name... check your credit report and see if that's changed.  Geise adds that if you receive a debit card for such benefits... cut it up.


Gowanda man arrested for DWAI Drugs, had 17 previous license suspensions...
A Cattaraugus County man whose license has been suspended 17 times has been arrested again for driving while under the influence of drugs in the town of Hanover.  Sheriff's officers say they found 26 year-old Daryll Bernard of Gowanda was driving on Hanover Road with two flat tires... just after Midnight Monday.  Deputies say Bernard was found to be driving while impaired by drugs and he was taken into custody.  Officers also found that his driving privileges had been suspended 17 times in New York State.  While in custody... Bernard allegedly damaged a Sheriff's Patrol in car camera system, continuously spit in the vehicle... and at deputies... and, he's also accused of throwing an object that struck an officer.  Bernard was issued appearance tickets for second-degree harassment, driving while ability impaired by drugs, third-degree criminal tampering... and other charges.  He's to appear in Hanover Town Court at a later date.


Southern Tier Brewing taking over (716) Food and Sport in Buffalo HarborCenter...
Southern Tier Brewing Company is expanding it's larger market presence to Buffalo as the local company will be converting the (716) Food and Sport into it's newest taproom.  Pegula Sports and Entertainment announced Tuesday afternoon that Southern Tier will be locating in the LECOM HarborCenter.  Pegula Sports & Entertainment President and Chief Executive Officer Kim Pegula says the town of Busti brewery will convert (716) Food and Sport into a showcase of their full line of craft beers, ciders, seltzers and spirits.  She says Southern Tier’s presence will enhance the revitalization of downtown Buffalo.  


Gas prices in Jamestown-area up four more cents a gallon this week...
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area have jumped about 4-cents a gallon this week to just under $2.80 for regular, unleaded fuel.  The AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report this week says the price is up to $2.79.2 a gallon... after being just over $2.75 last week.  AAA says the latest price jumps are a direct result of February’s winter storm that took 26 U-S refineries offline... and, pushed refinery utilization from about 83-percent... down to an atypical low of 68-percent.  The national average is now up 9-cents this week to $2.72.


 

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News Headlines for Tues., Mar. 2, 2021

Pair of city men arrested following alleged incident with hand-gun...
Two Jamestown men have been arrested for allegedly brandishing a gun during an argument about some stolen property early last weekend on the city's eastside.  City police were called to 20 Willis St. about 12:30 a.m. last Saturday after the victim was able to get away, and call officers.  Police say... at one point during the argument... 52 year-old Roberto Morales-Sanchez... pulled a gun and started threatening the victim.  He was helped by 23 year-old Taylor Austin in stealing the victim's phone.  Morales-Sanchez then allegedly forced everyone inside the home to get into a room and be quiet so police wouldn't hear them.  Once the victim called 911, Morales-Sanchez and Austin fled in a car to find the victim, who -- at that point -- was with police.  Officers than got the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force to obtain a search warrant for the house... and, later found nearly $25,000 cash, a .357-magnum revolver, and some drug packaging.  Both Morales-Sanchez and Austin face first-degree robbery, and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon charges.  Morales-Sanchez is also charged with menacing and unlawful imprisonment.


Calls for Cuomo to resign step up as third sexual harassment claims becomes public...
Calls for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign are intensifying now that a third woman has accused him of offensive behavior.  Anna Ruch told The New York Times on Monday that Cuomo touched her back and face and asked if he could kiss her moments after they met at a wedding in 2019.  Her account prompted tweets of support from two former Cuomo aides who say he sexually harassed them.  The governor has denied wrongdoing and said his actions were misinterpreted.  The state's attorney general is hiring a law firm to investigate his conduct. 


Bennett rejects Cuomo's apology...
One of the women who said she was sexually harassed by Governor Cuomo is rejecting his attempt to apologize for his behavior and excuse it as an attempt to be "playful."  Charlotte Bennett said in a statement released Monday that the Democrat had "refused to acknowledge or take responsibility for his predatory behavior."  New York's attorney general said she's moving forward with an investigation into the harassment allegations after receiving a letter from his office Monday authorizing her to take charge of the probe.  Cuomo has said he will cooperate with the investigation.


Borrello says concerns growing on both sides of political aisle about Cuomo's ability to govern in the wake of investigations...
There's growing concern among New York state lawmakers about whether Gov. Cuomo can continue to lead the state with investigations into sexual harassment claims, and the state's handling of nursing homes during the pandemic.  Local State Senator George Borrello says he is glad the Attorney General will conduct an independent investigation into the sexual harassment allegations.  However... Borrello is critical over how Democratic legislators have handled the matters... adding they have taken no action regarding his emergency executive powers he was given during the pandemic.  Borrello... a Republican from Sunset Bay... was also critical of Cuomo's apology.  He says it was only an apology "if people misinterpreted what I was saying or doing."  Many Democratic lawmakers have supported the call for an investigation into the sexual harassment allegations... but nothing has been introduced to remove the Governor's COVID-19 powers. 


County reports 65 new COVID Cases from past weekend...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 65 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus over the past weekend.  However... there was a notable drop in the number of hospitalizations.  The Health Department reports there were 32 cases reported in Jamestown 14701 zip code... making the total now 7,590 during the pandemic.  They say 7,324 cases have now recovered... while 129 are currently active.  Six of those are hospitalized, and there were no new deaths. 


St. Bonaventure, and western New York communities mourning passing of University president... 
The president of St. Bonaventure University in Olean has died from complications from COVID-19.  In a printed statement... the university announced that 62 year-old Dennis DePerro died early Monday morning in a Syracuse Hospital.  DePerro had been admitted back on December 29th after testing positive for the coronavirus on Christmas Eve.  Robert H. Jackson Center President Kristan McMahon is also a member of the St. Bonaventure Board of Trustees, and says it's a "very sad day" for the Bonaventure community and says he made "a number" of changes in curriculum... and, boosted enrollments three years in a row.  McMahon says he "loved St. Bonaventure," and was active in both the college, and Olean communities.  The university says DePerro was put on a ventilator in mid-January.  The university flag will fly at half-staff in his honor through the end of the month.  In addition to being a board member... McMahon was part of the search committee that recommended DePerro be hired... and, says he certainly stood out -- especially as a visionary.  Joseph Zimmer, the provost and vice-president of Academic Affairs, was named acting President last month.


HUD announces CDBG and HOME funding for Jamestown...
The city of Jamestown is receiving just over $1.5-million in federal funding to help with housing, community and economic development issues.  The U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development late Monday announced the city will be receiving it's projected allocation of $1.17-million in Community Development Block Grant funding... and, nearly another $339,000 in HOME Program funding.  For the past 30 years, or so, Jamestown has been an "entitlement community" for CDBG and HOME funding. 


 

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WJTN Headlines for Mon., Mar. 1, 2021

Gerry man arrested for alleged harassment, child endangerment...
A man from Gerry faces harassment and child endangerment charges following a weekend altercation at a home on Route 60 in the town of Gerry.  Sheriff's deputies say they were called to the scene on a report of a disorderly person just before Midnight Saturday.  Officers say they found that 19 year-old Drake Ottaway had struck a juvenile subject during the altercation.  Ottaway was arrested and charged with second-degree harassment, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.  He was sent to the County Jail for Centralized Arraignment.


Cuomo apologizes for any misunderstanding that may have been construed as harassment...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has acknowledged for the first time that some of his behavior with women "may have been insensitive or too personal."  He said Sunday he would cooperate with a sexual harassment investigation led by the state's attorney general.  In a statement released amid mounting criticism from within his own party... the Democrat maintained that he had never inappropriately touched or propositioned anyone.  But he said he had teased people and made jokes about their personal lives in an attempt to be "playful."  He said he now understands that some of his interactions had been "insensitive or too personal."
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The acknowledgement comes after a second former aide has come forward with sexual harassment allegations against the governor.  Cuomo responded Saturday with a statement saying he never made advances toward her and never intended to be inappropriate.  Charlotte Bennett was a health policy adviser in the Democratic governor's administration until November.  She told The New York Times that Cuomo asked her inappropriate questions about her sex life, including whether she had ever had sex with older men. 


Gillibrand says allegations against Cuomo need to be investigated...
New York's junior U-S Senator reacted to the sexual harassment allegations a former aide of Andrew Cuomo has leveled against the Democratic governor.  Lindsey Boylan spelled out her accusations in an article on the website Medium.  Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, who played a role in setting a zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct in the Senate, says the accusations -- including the newest ones -- are serious and deeply concerning.  Gillbrand says the women in this matter need to be heard, and adds the governor should be, as well.  Gillibrand yesterday announced that she would support an investigation by state Attorney General Letitia James.  James later Sunday rejected a plan announced by an aide to Governor Cuomo to team up with the state's chief judge in choosing an independent lawyer to investigate claims of sexual harassment.  Cuomo's special counsel said his administration asked James and Janet DiFiore, chief judge of the Court of Appeals, to jointly select an independent lawyer to review the claims of sexual harassment.  But... James rejected the proposal and said the job should be hers alone.


Goodell says Republican state lawmakers will continue pushing for taking away some of Cuomo's executive powers in connection with nursing home scanda...
Efforts to take away at least some of Governor Andrew Cuomo's executive powers during the pandemic are continuing in Albany.  This past week... those efforts -- mainly by minority Republicans -- were blocked by majority Democrats in the state legislature.  That from local State Assemblyman Andy Goodell... who says bills that would have striped those powers were either not called up, or were "laid aside" on the floor.  However... Goodell says Democrats know that the only way such a measure can be passed is if at least a third of the Democrats side with the GOP.  He says that is a small number of Democrats at this point.  That means that, unless a majority in the Senate and Assembly Democratic Caucuses want a bill brought up... it won't be -- at least not yet.  Goodell says there are still a couple of possible ways to act on such a measure, and that's during the budget process.  However... he says that may trigger a budget battle.  Goodell says they may be concerned because a late budget suspends their pay. 


Reed proposes "Crush the Virus" proposal...
Local Congressman Tom Reed was in minority that voted against the $1.9-trillion, COVID-19 Rescue package approved by House Democrats.  In addition... the Corning Republican introduced his own $163-billion, "targeted" relief package he calls the "Crush the Virus" relief act.  Reed says the stand-alone bill would specifically prioritize the health and safety of the American people by providing direct funds to boost the number of vaccines produced, and distribution of them... as well as boost access to COVID-19 testing nationwide... and, support additional medical research into new emerging variants, among other public health initiatives.  


Four-H Drive-Thru Dinner held Friday is a big success...
Chautauqua County Four-H had a major fundraising event at Harley Davidson of Jamestown on Friday night... and, Four-H Educator Kate Ewer says it went well.  Ewer says they sold nearly 900 chicken and biscuit dinner that was hosted by Three C's Catering.  She told our Dennis Webster at the conclusion of the three-hour dinner that it raised between $4,500 and $5,000 for the local program.  Four-H is trying to stay solvent... despite the COVID related cancellation of this year’s ‘Green Tie Affair…' a highly successful sit-down dinner.  With the money raised Friday... and the proceeds from a Holiday letter campaign, Ewer thinks they’re going to make it in 2021.  Ewer said she is overwhelmed by the support that members, volunteers and the community give to Four-H, a program that benefits several hundred young people throughout the county.

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WJTN News Update for Fri-Sat. Feb. 26-27, 2021

City man killed in shooting incident in Jamestown now identified...
Jamestown Police have now identified the man who was killed in an overnight shooting incident on the city's eastside.  Police were called to the scene at 38 Peach St. shortly after 12 a.m. Friday, and, on arrival, found the victim -- 43 year-old Angel Ortiz Rodrguez -- laying in a side yard with a gunshot wound.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says Rodriguez... who lived at that address... was rushed to the hospital... where he later died from his injuries.  Samuelson says police were able able to obtain a warrant to search the house at that address.  Police have also investigated the area where the man's body was found.  Samuelson says the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Dept. Forensic Investigation Team was brought in... along with Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt.  The suspect remains at large.  No motive has been released.  If you have any information on the homicide... you're asked to call JPD at 483-7537... of their confidential tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.  Samuelson says police have already received several tips in the case.  


Dunkirk man indicted on assault charge for September incident... 
A Dunkirk man is being held in the Chautauqua County Jail on bail after a grand jury indicted him on a charge stemming from an assault case in the city of Dunkirk in September.  Officials say 34-year-old Brian Nowak allegedly struck another person with an ax during the incident on Sept. 12.  Nowak was indicted on first degree assault and was arraigned in Chautauqua County Court on Feb. 11.  He's being held on $25,000 cash, or $50,000 property bond pending a Mar. 15 hearing.


COVID Cases continue downward trend in Chautauqua County...
After a slight increase yesterday... the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Chautauqua County has fallen back to more recently seen numbers.  The county's Health Department reports 13 new cases over the past day... bringing the local total to 7,525.  There are currently 124 active cases... and, just 6 are in the hospital.  The Health Department says there were no new deaths, and the infection rate has dropped to 1.1-percent.  They add the number of recovered cases is now 7,264.

 

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WJTN Headlines for Fri., Feb. 26, 2021

Man suffers fatal gunshot wound overnight on Jamestown's eastside...
The investigation is continuing into a fatal,, overnight shooting on Jamestown's eastside that's left one man dead.  City police were called to the scene at 38 Peach St. shortly after 12 Midnight... and, on arrival, found the victim laying in a side yard with a gunshot wound.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says the 43 year-old man was rushed to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital... where he later died.  The man has not been identified.  Police investigators along with District Attorney Jason Schmidt were on the scene this morning.  The suspect remains at large.  If you have any information on the homicide... you're asked to call JPC at 483-7537... of their confidential tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.  


Jamestown man arrested following vehicle pursuit in city... 
A city man has been arrested for allegedly driving away from a car accident on Jamestown's eastside... and, then leading police on a vehicle pursuit Wednesday night that went down several city streets.  State Police in Jamestown say they -- along with city police -- were called to the scene on Falconer Street where one of the cars was allegedly driving away.  Troopers say the car failed to comply... and, a pursuit began.  Police say the driver, later identified as 37 year-old Manuel Fernandez, then drove down several streets before pulling into a home on Hoyt Alley.  Fernandez was taken into custody without further incident.  He was arraigned... and, issued an appearance ticket, and multiple traffic tickets.  City police also charged Fernandez with Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident.  He's to appear in City Court at a later date.


Large amount of cash, drugs, and a weapon seized during Westfield drug raid...
Several local law enforcement agencies raided a home in the town of Westfield early Thursday morning... and, found large quantities of narcotic drugs and cash.  Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force members, and Chautauqua County Sheriff's deputies, executed a search warrant at 7518 Route 20 just after 6:30 a.m., and, detained three men inside.  Task Force members say investigators found 13-thousand-367-dollars in cash, approximately 226 grams of Psilocybin, just over 11-grams of LSD... and, 170 grams of concentrated cannabis among others.  They also found scales and packaging material.  Police say the raid was the result of a three month investigation into drug sales at the location.  No charges have been filed at this time... but, the investigation is continuing.  They were assisted by K-9 units, and members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force.  If you have any information on illegal drug trafficking in the county... call the Southern Tier Task Force's tip-line at 1-800-344-8702... or 664-2420.


Wendel also talks economic development, and other issues during State of the County Address... 
While delivering his 2021 State of the County address this past Wednesday night... County Executive P-J Wendel didn't just speak about the pandemic.  Wendel also says county officials continue to work on pre-COVID and future economic development projects... including Petri Cookies decision to return to their former location in Silver Creek, and the Spring groundbreaking for the new Love's Travel Center on Shortman Road in Ripley.  He also says he is making changes to help the county's agriculture industry... and, says he's discussed using the county's Food Policy Council to help open up doors to local farmers markets, and get local growers into the wholesale market place.  Wendel delivered his first State of the County Address during the County Legislature's monthly meeting... which was held via Zoom video conference.


Wendel and legislature honor Griffith at monthly meeting...
Chautauqua County's retiring director of Emergency Services was recognized by county lawmakers during their monthly meeting this week.  County Executive P.J. Wendel and Legislature Chairman Pierre Chagnon presented a commendation to John Griffith for his years of service to the county... which culminated with being named director in 2017.  Griffith is retiring effective March 1st... and, Wendel spoke about his contributions... and, about his successor, Noel Guttman, who he says is another "great man" who will fill the role well.  Griffith has been a fire chief... and, started as a deputy fire coordinator.  He wasn't able to receive the commendation in person because he was busy conducting a Chautauqua County Fire Chiefs Association meeting.


County reports 50 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 50 new confirmed cases of COVID-19... pushing that total to more than 75-hundred.  The Health Department says there have now been 7,512 cases.  However... there were no new deaths over the past day.  Officials add there are now 143 active cases... and eight of those are hospitalized.  The seven-day infection rate remains 1.2-percent.  Officials say 7,232 cases have now recovered.


JPS Superintendent high-lights 5-year, $85-Million Capital Improvement Project for schools...
A 5-year, nearly $86-million Capital Improvement Project is being proposed for the Jamestown Public Schools that will impact five of the district's buildings.  That from School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker... who presented the first-phase of the project at this week's school board meeting.  Whitaker says it's made up of three parts... with the first being upgrading classrooms -- especially in the high school.  Secondly, he says it will address safety and security concerns... and, third will be taking care of items needing maintenance work... including HVAC, roofs, and windows.  The school board is expected to act on the proposal at it's Mar. 30 meeting.  Whitaker says 98-percent of the costs will be picked up by New York state, and the district's 2-percent local share will be picked up by it's Capital Reserve fund.  With that... he says there would be no local tax increase for project.  Once approved by the school board... Whitaker says the proposal will go before the voters on May 18.


 
 

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WJTN Headlines for Thurs., Feb. 25, 2021

City man arrested following motor vehicle accident, and pursuit... 
A Jamestown man was arrested following a vehicle pursuit last night that went down several city streets after a car crash on the eastside.  State Police in Jamestown say they -- and city police -- were called to the scene on Falconer Street where one of the cars was allegedly driving away.  Troopers say the car failed to comply... and, a pursuit was started.  Police say the driver, later identified as 37 year-old Manuel Fernandez, then drove down several streets before pulling into a residence on Hoyt Alley.  Fernandez was taken into custody without further incident.  He was arraigned... and, issued an appearance ticket, and multiple traffic tickets.  City police also issued Fernandez a ticket for Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident.  He's to appear in City Court at a later date.


Wendel touts county's response, and belt tightening during pandemic in State of the County Address...
Chautauqua County has been meeting the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic... and, he plans to take the county "to the next level" once it's done.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel during his 2021 State of the County Address last night.  Wendel delivered his message virtually during the County Legislature's monthly meeting.  Wendel says he will continue to push to bring the county to that "next level..." and says the pandemic is merely an "obstacle on our path to success."  Despite the unknowns around the impact of the pandemic, Wendel said preliminary budget figures show that 2020 came in $4.5-million better than expected for the county... which he says was thanks to good sales tax revenue, as well as department heads "holding the line" on their budgets.  Wendel says there have been preliminary talks to establish mass COVID Vaccination sites in Jamestown and Fredonia. 


SUNY College at Fredonia earlier announces new, county-run Mass Vaccination Site...
The SUNY College at Fredonia announced earlier Wednesday that it had entered into the agreement with Chautauqua County to establish a mass vaccination site to serve eligible residents in the region.  Fredonia officials say the vaccination site will be set up in the Ice Arena complex in Steele Hall for use by the health department when COVID-19 vaccine becomes more widely available.  This site would be run by the the county Health Department... which will schedule appointments, and administer the vaccines.  It would not be tied to any federal site that may be located in the county. 


Reed says county now likely to be a federal Mass Vaccination site...
There's been a shift in New York state's stance on whether Chautauqua County will be considered for a mass COVID-19 vaccination site by the federal government.  That's a change from what was in an NBC News story earlier this week.  It reported the Biden Administration wanted to locate one of the Centers for Disease Control's four sites here.  However... it was reportedly nixed by New York state.  Local Congressman Tom Reed says his -- and others -- pushback on the matter, has led state officials to reverse course.  Reed says he was joined by State Senator George Borrello and local Assemblyman Andy Goodell in calling out Governor Andrew Cuomo on the matter.  The Corning Republican says Cuomo's office changed it's stance Tuesday night... when the governor issued a statement saying that he never intended for a vaccination site to be removed.  Reed believes the county site should be one of four along the state Thruway corridor... including Buffalo, Rochester, and Albany.

 

Reed now seriously considering a run for Governor in 2022...
Local Congressman Tom Reed now says that he is "seriously considering" a run for New York governor after dropping several hints over the past couple of weeks.  Reed told Fox News Wednesday morning that he is now fully-weighing a run -- likely against incumbant Democrat Andrew Cuomo -- in 2022.  During his weekly conference call later with regional media... the Corning Republican said yes -- he's looking at it.  He adds that others have urged him to consider it because of his ability to work with both sides of the political aisle.  Reed has been very outspoken in his criticism of Cuomo... especially over the governor's response to reports about his March 2020 order that sent COVID-Positive nursing home patients back to their homes once they became asymptomatic in the hospital.  Reed adds, though, that he needs to talk with his family about it in the wake of a pair of threats they received during last year's election campaign. 


Cuomo now facing detailed sexual harassment accusations...
A former member of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration who previously accused him of sexual harassment has offered new details.  Lindsey Boylan said in a Wednesday post that the Democrat once kissed her on the lips without consent.  During her more than three years in the administration, she said Cuomo "would go out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs," compared her to one of his rumored ex-girlfriends... and, once joked they should play strip poker.  Cuomo previously denied the allegations.


County's number of new COVID cases drops to single-digits Wednesday...
There are just 8 new cases of the COVID-19 virus being reported the past day in Chautauqua County... the first time that number has been in single digits in many months.  However... there was one new death reported in the past day... bringing that number to 137.  The county's Health Department reports there have now been 7,462 confirmed cases to date... and, four of the new cases were in Jamestown.  The number of active cases is down to 111... and, 11 of those are hospitalized.  Health officials say there have now been 7,214 recovered cases.
 

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WJTN Headlines for Wed., Feb. 24, 2021

Ground to be broken in April for new Love's Travel Center in Ripley...
Ground is expected to be broken in April for a new, $12-million travel center project on Shortman Road in the town of Ripley.  Deputy Chautauqua Conty Executive for Economic Development, Mark Geise, says the Industrial Development Agency Tuesday unanimously approved A 20-year payment-in-lieu of tax agreement for the Love's Travel Center project.  Geise says the center will be located on 16-acres of land... just off Interstate 90... and, include a convenience store, fueling stations, a restaurant and other amenities.  He says part of their PILOT program will be a "host agreement with the town of Ripley.  Geise says that will provide Ripley with the resources it needs to make upgrades to it's water and sewer infrastructure.  He adds officials with Love's say it will take about 6 to 8 months to complete the project.  He says it's expected to employ about 40 people once it's open... and, will provide about 100 construction jobs the next several months.  Geise calls it a "great project..." and adds that "this area has been crying out for a project like this, as it replaces the dilapidated Colonial Hotel at the Gateway to our beautiful county and state."


COVID-19 infection rates continue to fall in Chautauqua County...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 14 new cases of the COVID-19 virus Tuesday... and, the infection rate has fallen to 1.3-percent.  The Health Department says there have now been 7,454 confirmed cases so far... and, 2 of the new cases are in Jamestown... and two others in Fredonia.  Ten other communities reported just one each.  Officials say 124 cases are active... and, 10 of those are hospitalized.  There were no new deaths.  There have now been 7,164 recovered cases.


County DOH announces adoption of CDC quarantine recommendations...
Chautauqua County health officials say they are adopting the quarantine recommendations for people who are fully-vaccinated against the COVID-19 Virus.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says the U-S Centers for Disease Control now say people are considered fully-vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.  Schuyler adds that a person who is considered fully-vaccinated may be exempt from quarantine for up to 90 days.  Going forward... she says most fully vaccinated persons who are showing no symptoms of COVID-19 are exempt from quarantine due to close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID... and, travel quarantine requirements.  The quarantine exemption includes fully vaccinated individuals who travel within the U-S because travelers are required to quarantine out of caution that they may unknowingly be a close contact to someone with COVID-19.


Cattaraugus County woman pleads guilty to Child Porn charge...
A Cattaraugus County woman has pleaded guilty to distributing child pornography over a three year period beginning in early 2017.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. Tuesday announced that 46 year-old Melanie Thompson, of Cattaraugus, entered the plea to distribution of child pornography before U-S District Court Judge John Sinatra, Junior.  Prosecutors say between January of 2017 and March of 2020... Thompson took sexually explicit photographs of a minor as part of a plan to impersonate the victim.  Then while impersonating the victim, she engaged in sexual connversations with two minor boys and and one adult.  During those conversations... the defendant solicited a sexually explicit picture from a second victim... she was able to get two sexually explicit images in return from a third victim.  She also engaged in sexual conversations with an adult male over social media, sent him sexually explicit photographs she had taken of the first victim.  She faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 20 years, and a $250,000 fine.


City to begin reviewing draft Police Reform proposal...
A draft police reform plan will be sent out to Jamestown City Council members and stakeholder groups sometime later this week.  That from Public Safety Committee member, Democrat Tamu Graham-Reinhardt, who has been one of the people heading up the effort.  Graham-Reinhardt told fellow councilmembers during Monday night's meeting that once that happens, there will be a final two-week public comment period.  Graham-Reinhardt says... once that time period ends... the committee will make whatever changes need to be made, and lawmakers will begin a final review.  Public Safety Committee Chairman Brent Sheldon says the full council will vote on the plan at it's next voting session on Mar. 29.  The plan needs to be submitted to New York State by April 1st.  Governor Andrew Cuomo put the mandate in place several months ago in the wake of the George Floyd death while in police custody last year.  


County Clerk warns residents of DMV Scams...
Chautauqua County Clerk Larry Barmore is again warning residents of several Department of Motor Vehicle scams that are taking place as the pandemic continues.  Barmore says a big reason is because more and more transactions are being done online, and scammers are taking advantage of the situation.  He says one site called "DMV.org" is offering an insurance discount course that is also being misrepresented as a learners permit course.  Barmore says they charge $60, and, after completing the course the student gets the certificate shown.  However... he says it's not recognized by the state as a learner’s permit test, or an insurance discount test.  Barmore says... unless the website you're dealing with is dmv.ny.gov... it's likely a scam.

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WJTN Headlines for Tues., Feb. 23, 2021

City police seize significant amounts of cash, drugs, and a stolen gun during Sunday raid...                     
Jamestown police say they recovered a significant amount of cash, illegal drugs, and a weapon during a raid last Sunday on the city's westside.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says officers, and, members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at 5 Hammond Street about 4:45 p.m., and, detained several men and women inside.  During a subsequent search... police found $2,279 cash... nearly 32 ounces of cocaine, and 183 bags of Fentanyl, all in individual packages ready for sale.  Samuelson says there was also a separate bag of 5.5-grams of fentanyl not yet packaged.  Along with the drugs... investigators found a 9-millimeter pistol that was previously stolen during a burglary of a gun shop in Pennsylvania.  Samuelson says charges are expected to be placed against all of the individuals who are involved in the trafficking of illegal drugs in the area.  He adds the investigation was assisted by the Sheriff's Department K-9 unit, and JPD SWAT Team.


City lawmakers approve retroactive Jamestown Fire contract for 2016-17 with 2-percent raises...
The Jamestown City Council has approved a two-year, retroactive contract with the city's professional firefighters union to cover years 2016 and 2017.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says his administration team and other parties involved, recently reached the agreement with Jamestown Professional Firefighters Association Local 137... which approved the contract last weekend.  Sundquist says he's "delighted" to announce the agreement... which includes 2-percent wage hikes for each year.  He adds there will be a 2-percent increase in health insurance contributions for the following years, beginning in 2018.  He adds there are other administrative parts of the agreement that includes EMT certification.  In response to a question... City Comptroller Ryan Thompson noted that the city has the $917,000 set aside to pay the agreement.  He says that also includes retirement, and social security.  The agreement comes on the heels of the city agreeing to pay out 2-percent annual wage hikes to the city's Policeman's union for 2016 and 2017 following dismissal of the city's appeal of an arbitration ruling.


City council also agrees to telecommunications contract, new police and fire hires...
The City Council last night also approved a proposal to have a Pennsylvania firm do provide telecommunications audit services for the next year.  Lawmakers unanimously approved having Eric Ryan Corporation of Ellwood City do the work from March 1st through February 28th of 2022.  There is no charge for the service... while the company will receive some of the savings the city receives.  Lawmakers also approved lifting the hiring freeze to hire 4 new firefighters, and one new police officer. 


Wendel preparing State of County address for Wed. night, touts county being in the black for 2020...
Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel is preparing for his State of the County message this coming Wednesday evening.  It's the county executive's first such speech, since he did not deliver one in 2020.  One of the topics will be the county's COVID-19 response and Wendel says the county has been able to keep its spending under control... and, he says they've had to make tough decisions, and it's showing.  He says the county is currently $4.5-million ahead of their 2020 adopted budget.  Wendel says the pandemic has not kept the county from looking at economic development projects.  He says he can't reveal a lot... but, says there are some new opportunities that should come "to fruition" in the next couple of months.  Wendel's address will be presented during the County Legislature's meeting starting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. 


Number of new COVID-19 cases for Friday through Monday totals just 51...
The COVID-19 infection rate in Chautauqua County has again dropped over the past week... and, is now 1.4-percent.  The county Health Department reports that over the past three days... only 51 new cases were reported.  County officials say that brings the local total to 7,441 confirmed cases... and, 141 of those are currently active.  They add that 13 people are hospitalized.  There were no new deaths... and, that number remains 136.  Officials say there have now been 7,164 recovered cases.


Officials upset that Chautauqua County was reportedly bypassed by NYS for COVID Vaccine Site...
Local elected officials are expressing outrage over an NBC News report that says Chautauqua County was denied a federal, COVID-19 vaccination site by New York state.  The report... siting unidentified sources... says when the Biden White House started looking for sites for four small vaccination centers across New York state, federal officials ranked the best spots based on a county-by-county "social vulnerability index" that measures average income, unemployment, race and a dozen other factors.  The data showed that Chautauqua County was a leading candidate to get vaccine shots to the underserved.  However... state officials said no.  They told the White House that there were better places to achieve the goal of vaccinating more Black and brown people.  However... the state pushed back against FEMA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which are expanding the federal footprint in the country's race to vaccinate.  Both Congressman Tom Reed and State Senator George Borrello blasted the move... with Reed saying "people are sick and tired of seeing their leaders play politics during a crisis."  NBC reports the federally supported facilities, scheduled to open the first week of March will be in Buffalo, Rochester, Albany and Yonkers.

 

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WJTN Headlines for Mon., Feb. 22, 2021

New York's COVID positivity rate down for more than a month...
Hospitalizations are on the decline and the rate of New Yorkers testing positive for COVID-19 has fallen to the lowest mark since before Thanksgiving.  That from state officials, who said Saturday that the state's seven-day rolling average positivity rate has fallen 43 straight days.  The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus, meanwhile, fell below 6,000 for the first time since December 14th.  Still, the virus claimed the lives of 97 New Yorkers on Friday.  In Chautauqua County... the state reported 33 new cases on Saturday... but, the seven-day infection rate was down to 1.6-percent.


Heritage Ministries official among those calling for NYS to allow nursing home visitations again...
New York's embattled governor has announced that the Department of Health will soon be allowing nursing home visitations in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control.  Democrat Andrew Cuomo said Friday that the guidelines for visitors will be announced today.  It's good news for local residents and nursing home operators who have been advocating for the move in recent weeks.  Heritage Ministries Chief Clinical Officer Jeremy Rutter says they believe that families will be reassured that their loved ones are in good hands once they get to visit their facilities again.  Rutter says their facilities are cleaned and disinfected regularily, and the staff has been performing their work in a "very heroic way."  Governor Cuomo says the state Department of Health is recommending that visitors take a rapid test before entry into the facility, and the DOH will provide rapid tests to nursing homes at no cost.  Again... Cuomo says their guidance on visitations will be available later today.  Rutter made his comments for last weekend's Community Spotlight program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Cuomo announces sweeping nursing home reforms in wake of pandemic...
New York's governor has also announced sweeping nursing home reform legislation that he's proposing in amendments to the state budget.  During last Friday's COVID-19 press briefing in Albany... Cuomo says his aim is to ensure nursing home operators prioritize patient care over profits, increase staffing and are held accountable for health and safety violations.  He says this is not the first time he's called for such measures... and, he says it's important to know what state funding that goes to nursing homes goes for.  Cuomo again stated that asymptomatic nursing home staff brought the virus into those homes... because early on... they didn't know about asymptomatic carriers, and there was little testing available.  He formalized the reforms he was adding to the 2021-2022 state budget late last week... and, adds that he "will not sign the budget" without that plan in it.  State lawmakers have already introduced a collection of bills addressing some of these nursing home reforms and are expected to pass them in the Senate this coming week.


Fire that destroyed a Dunkirk home last Saturday morning blamed on electrical issue...
An electrical problem in a bathroom wall is the apparent cause of a weekend fire that destroyed a vacant, under construction home in the city of Dunkirk.  No injuries were reported in the blaze.  Dunkirk fire crews were called to 12 East Green St. shortly after 4:30 a.m., Saturday, and, reported heavy fire in the back of the house on the first floor, extending to the second floor.  Captain Gary Katta says the main fire was put out quickly... but, adds extensive overhaul was needed on both floors to locate hidden fire.  Mutual aid was provided by crews from East Dunkirk, Fredonia, and Sheridan.  Firefighters were at the scene for about three hours.


First girl Eagle Scouts recognized by Boy Scouts...
The Boy Scouts of America celebrated a major milestone this past weekend with a virtual event honoring the nearly one-thousand girls and young women who are the first females to attain the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout.  Astronauts, admirals, U.S. senators and one president -- Gerald Ford -- are among the scouts who earned the award in past decades.  Only in 2018 did the Boy Scouts start accepting girls as Cub Scouts.  Older girls were admitted into the flagship scouting program in 2019. 


Penn State University's president to retire in June of 2022...
The president of Penn State University has announced plans to retire at the end of his current contract, which runs through June of next year, and a phased approach to finding his replacement is set to begin this spring.  President Eric Barron announced his plans to university trustees late Friday.  He assumed the office in 2014.  The process of finding a successor will begin in the spring with students, faculty, donors and others asked to weigh in on the qualities and qualifications they want in the next university president. 


Toomey facing censure by Pennsylvania GOP...
Before he became the object of fury of Republicans for voting to convict Donald Trump during the former president's second impeachment trial... U-S Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania was once the insurgent from the right.  But it's now Toomey facing angry GOP rank-and-file committee members and the potential of a censure vote, a symbolic gesture particularly since Toomey isn't seeking re-election next year.  Toomey once endorsed challenges to Republican officeholders who weren't seen as conservative enough.  However... he's now urging Republicans to be tolerant of his position on Trump.


 


 

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WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Feb. 19, 2021

COVID numbers continue downward trend in Chautauqua County...
Chautauqua County's overall COVID-19 numbers continue to trend in the right direction as we end the week.  The number of hospitalizations is down to just 9... and, the infection rate is now under 2... at 1.8-percent.  The county Health Department reported 34 new cases Thursday... and, no new deaths.  In fact... officials say there have been no deaths reported so far this week.  They say there have now been 7,368 total cases... with 19 new ones in Jamestown.  The number of recovered case is now 7,047.


Borrello says several bills are on the table to strip Governor Cuomo of at least some of his emergency powers in wake of COVID nursing home scandal...
A New York state lawmaker from the region says there have been a number of bills introduced to curb Governor Andrew Cuomo's emergency powers, now that there are federal investigations looking into his handling of nursing homes during the pandemic.  State Senator George Borrello says he is glad to see that several Democrats have join the effort... but, he says it remains to be seen what's in the legislation.  While there's been a lot of discussion, he says it still "lacks transparency."  Assembly Republicans are calling for the formation of an impeachment commission.  Borrello says all options should be on the table... and he says a commission may be prudent.  Borrello's comments come at the end of a week in which the embattled governor has been unable to fully address accusations that he misled lawmakers demanding answers about his handling of COVID-19 in the state's nursing homes.  Federal investigations by the Justice Department and US Attorney's Office are now underway.


Reed says at least two federal investigations are now underway in NYS nursing home matter...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is now facing at least two new federal investigations regarding COVID-19 related nursing home deaths in the state.  In addition... local Congressman Tom Reed is also working jointly on a federal complaint surrounding statements made recently by a Cuomo aide to several Democratic state lawmakers about the number of deaths... and potential cover-up.  Reed says he also believes the Cuomo administration lied to federal investigators during two Department of Justice investigations.  He's accusing the administration of "manipulating the numbers, obstruction of justice, and potential outright perjury."  This week... it was revealed that both the FBI... and, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York have begun investigations into the Cuomo administrations' handling of the nursing home situation.  Reed also announced the complaint... as well as pushing for a House Ways and Means Committee investigation.  He says that panel has federal jurisdiction over nursing home matters.  Reed says the DOJ could also launch a civil rights investigation, in addition to it's current look at the governor's Coronavirus Task Force. 


CNN stops Cuomo -- Cuomo interviews... 
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is in the news because of questions about nursing home COVID deaths, but it's not a story you'll hear on his brother Chris' prime time show on CNN.  The network says it has restored a policy preventing Chris Cuomo from interviewing his brother, after notably overlooking that role last spring.  Back then, in the early days of COVID with New York an epicenter and Chris suffering through the disease, the brothers appeared together several times.  But... others on CNN are covering the nursing home story now, and the network's Jake Tapper says Andrew Cuomo has declined dozens of requests to be on his show.  However... the younger Cuomo did comment on the state's situation last night, saying that if the allegations are true, it was "shameful."


Fredonia man arrested in serious assault...
A Fredona man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting another person, and trying to choke them during an altercation in the town of Pomfret Thursday.  Sheriff's deputies were called to a home on Webster Road for report of an assault.  Upon further investigation... officers say they found that 30 year-old Paul Samuelson punched and hit the victim numerous times... causing serious  injuries.  In addition... Samuelson is accused of trying to strangle the other person, and keeping them from calling 9-1-1 for help.  Samuelson was found and taken into custody on charges of second-degree assault... second-degree strangulation... as well as fourth-degree criminal mischief.  He was taken to the county jail in Mayville, pending centralized arraignment.


Gas Prices continue climbing in the region...
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area have risen about six-to-nine cents a gallon for regular, unleaded fuel through the middle of this week.  The AAA's Gas Price Report says the price is now up to between $2.68 to $2.70 a gallon in the area.  Last week... the figure was about $2.60 last week.  AAA says the price was about $2.76 a gallon one year ago... prior to the pandemic.  Officials say prices continue to rise, despite low demand.  AAA says this is the result of increasing oil prices, which settled at $59.47 a barrel at the end of last Friday’s formal trading session.  Crude oil accounts for more than 50 cents of every dollar spent at the pump, and prices have been increasing since the beginning of the year.  Nationally... the average price is now $2.51 a gallon.  


 

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WJTN Headlines for Thurs., Feb. 18, 2021

Cuomo faces mounting leadership challenges regarding COVID in Nursing Homes controversy...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo faces mounting challenges to his leadership on the COVID-19 pandemic as state lawmakers threaten to strip him of the power to issue emergency orders.  In addition... federal investigators are scrutinizing his administration's handling of nursing home data.  The U.S. Justice Department has been looking at the governor's coronavirus task force and trying to determine whether the state intentionally manipulated data regarding deaths in nursing homes.  During a press conference call Wednesday... Cuomo blamed state Republicans... including local Congressman Tom Reed, who has pushed for a Department of Justice investigation.  However... several Democrats have also criticized Cuomo in recent days after one of the governor's aides admitted that the administration had delayed getting deaths in nursing home data to them.  Melissa DeRosa told the Democrats on a Zoom conference that they "froze" after two federal requests were made for the data.  A spokesperson for the governor said the administration was cooperating with the investigation.


Chautauqua County reports just 24 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, as numbers continue to fall...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting just 24 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus the past day... and no new deaths.  In fact... all the key numbers continue to decline in the county... which now has had 7,335 total cases.  Health officials say the most cases -- 10 -- were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  They say the infection rate remains 2-percent... and, the number of active cases has dropped to 181... and, only 13 people are hospitalized.  Officials say there are now 7,019 cases that have recovered.


Two new deaths, 28 new COVID cases in Cattaraugus County...
The Cattaraugus County Health Department is reporting two new deaths of residents over the past day due to COVID-19 related complications.  Officials say the 84th death was a 68-year-old woman who developed respiratory failure and was unable to overcome her illness.  The 85h death was a 62-year-old man who also had developed respiratory failure and couldn't overcome the illness.  Health officials say there were 28 new cases... and there are now 4,170 total cases.  They say 205 cases are currently active... and, 21 are hospitalized.  Cattaraugus is reporting 3,874 recovered cases.


Reed says Problem Solvers Caucus working together to try and get COVID relief bill moving...
A bi-partisan group of members of Congress has begun talking about areas they could agree on in President Biden's $1.9-trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill.  Local Representative Tom Reed says he was on a conference call Monday night with fellow members of the Problem Solver's Caucus that he co-chairs.  The Corning Republican says many of them see the immediate need for one part of the package... the $160-billion allocation for vaccine production and distribution, which he says could be approved early next week if lawmakers could agree to bring it up for a vote.  He also believes there is common ground to be found in other parts of the president's proposal. 


Some places in New York seeing people traveling to get COVID-19 vaccine...
Some New Yorkers are taking hourslong drives to get the COVID-19 vaccine because of a lack of available appointments at a handful of state-run sites.  Residents in Albany and Buffalo in particular have had to sign up for appointments hours away in Utica, Rochester, Binghamton or Syracuse.  The Department of Health did not provide The A--P with the number of appointments made in Albany or Buffalo since Sunday, when several million people with health issues hoped to sign up for vaccination appointments.


National Comedy Center beings "Family Field Trips" today, through end of Spring Break...
School children and teens up to age 17 will have the chance to visit the National Comedy Center in Jamestown for free over the next eight weeks.  Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson says they are starting their new “Family Field Trips” in which all county youths will be admitted free through Spring Break.  Gunderson... who outlined the program at the City Council's recent work session... says it's part of their effort to make the Comedy Center more accessible to local residents.  She adds they will work with local districts -- regardless of their budget situation.  Gunderson says they're already given some tours to Jamestown High School students.  She says -- starting today -- students will be admitted for free at any time with an accompanying adult paying a discounted rate of just $10 -- wich is 60-percent off their regular adult admission price.  Gunderson went before city lawmakers to discuss the use of the center as a polling location for Ward-Three... and, says she hopes the situation will bring more children to the center to enjoy the experience.  She says the "Family Field Trips" program runs through April 11 for up to three children and teens per adult.   She adds that -- due to occupancy limits... advanced reservations are strongly recommended at ComedyCenter.org/Family.


Cuomo administration gives go-ahead for Amusement Parks and Summer Camps opening...
New York is set to let amusement parks open in early April and overnight camps open this summer as long as they submit reopening plans to the state.  Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that arcades and other indoor family entertainment centers can open with 25-percent capacity starting Mar. 26.  Outdoor amusement parks can open with a third of their normal capacity by April 9, while day and overnight camps can start planning for reopening this summer.  New York is seeing a drop in infections statewide, though at a slower pace than the nation. 


 

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

County announces 101 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday, along with one death...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 101 new cases of COVID-19 the past three days... along with one new death.  However... the infection rate continues to go in the right direction, and is now 2-percent.  Officials say there have now been 7,313 total cases, and 135 deaths.  They say there are currently 186 active cases... also the lowest number in many weeks.  Officials say 27 people are hospitalized... and, 6,992 have now recovered.  There were 38 new cases in Jamestown.  


Reed talks COVID Nursing Home issue in NYS, and payroll protection in Dunkirk...
Local Congressman Tom Reed spent much of the day in Chautauqua County Tuesday... touring facilities in both Dunkirk and Jamestown.  While at the STEL Offices on Central Avenue in Dunkirk... Reed reacted to Governor Andrew Cuomo's statements about COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes on Monday.  Reed says, unfortunately, he didn't hear an apology from the governor.  He points out that he, and other Republicans, called on the Governor to rescind the Mar. 25, 2020 order that sent recovering COVID patients into nursing homes.  For 46 days... he says he and others told the governor "don't do this."  He called the order "reckless."  While Reed was at STEL... located in the former Cardinal Mindszenty High School Building... he met with Executive Director Tom Whitney and the staff about how they have handled the COVID pandemic.  He says STEL... which also has facilities in Jamestown... was able to use the federal payroll protection plan to keep staff in place the past year.


Reed says Problem Solvers discuss possibly moving ahead on COVID vaccination and distribution part of $1.9-trillion dollar bill...
A bi-partisan group of members of Congress has begun talking about areas they could agree on in President Biden's $1.9-trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill.  Local Representative Tom Reed says he was on a conference call with fellow members of the Problem Solver's Caucus that he co-chairs.  The Corning Republican says many of them see the immediate need for one part of the package.  That's boosting vaccine development, and distribution with a $160-billion infusion of money.  Reed adds that money could be approved early next week if lawmakers could agree to bring it up for a vote.  He also believes there is common ground to be found in other parts of the president's proposal.  Reed made his comments during a Tuesday visit to the Fenton History Center in Jamestown.


Westfield woman arrested following alleged DWI accident in early February...
A Westfield woman has now been arrested for allegedly driving drunk when her car crashed and rolled over in the town of Westfield earlier this month.  Sheriff's officers were initially called to the scene on Plank Road just before 8 p.m. on Feb. 4, and found 21 year-old Rylee Eggert had been taken to a local hospital for treatment of her injuries.  Further investigation found that Eggert was speeding, and talking on a cell phone.  Through further investigation... deputies found that alcohol contributed to the accident.  Eggert was later arrested and charged with first-degree Aggravated Unlicensed Operation... moved from Lane Unsafely... refusal to take a Breath Test... Operating a mobile device while driving, and speeding.  Eggert was released from the hospital and issued appearance tickets for Westfield Town Court.


Governor Cuomo's office responded to appeal of Small City School District lawsuit...
Jamestown school officials are blasting New York's assertion that services and needs for "small city" school districts are not required under the state constitution.  Legal Counsel for Governor Andrew Cuomo last Thursday argued the state's position in Appellate Court in Albany that smaller class sizes, adequate Academic Intervention Services, more services for English Language Learners and more social workers for at-risk students are not required under Article 9 of the state constitution in the 12-year-long school finance litigation "Maisto vs State of New York."  The Jamestown district is one of eight small city school systems involved in the lawsuit.  The counsel’s argument is in response to an appeal submitted by the small city school districts.  Jamestown superintendent Kevin Whitaker says the time is "long overdue for New York State to recognize the unique and urgent needs of school districts that serve large numbers of students who are living in poverty.  They should acknowledge that these students have just as much right to a good education as other students in the state.  The small cities lawsuit was filed in 2008.


Reed finally gets to see Fenton History Center, including Black History Month exhibit...
Congressman Reed says he's never seen one of the most famous landmarks in the city of Jamestown -- until Tueday.  The Corning Republican took a quick tour of the Fenton History Center on Washington Street yesterday afternoon... especially to see an exhibit on the Underground Railroad.  Reed points out that February is Black History Month... and, he says, through people like Catherine Harris, Jamestown has a prominent place in that history.  Reed says not only were the slaves taking a big risk -- so were local residents.  Catherine Harris helped dozens of slaves from the south on their run to safety in Canada from her home on Seventh Street.  As for Ruben Fenton himself... History Center Director Noah Goodling pointed out that he was a Congressman who was at first a Democrat.  However... he opposed slavery... and, later became a Republican who served as New York Governor... and, later a US Senator.


 

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WJTN Headlines for Tues. Feb. 16, 2021

Warmer temperatures prevent big snowfall from storm in Chautauqua County; colder temperatures and more snow forecast through end of week...
While we didn't see the amount of snow predicted overnight... we're not done with snow today, and for this week.  That from the National Weather Service in Buffalo... which reports we ended up on the warmer side of the system that moved into the region... and, we got less snow, and more sleet and some freezing rain.  Temperatures hovered around the freezing mark this morning... but, have been dropping as the day goes on.  Weather Service Meteorologist Tony Ansuini says we'll see that as we head through the afternoon... as colder air moves in.  Ansuini says that will also bring about 2 to 4 inches of lake effect snow.  The Weather Service said there was more snow as you headed north this morning... with about 9-inches of the white stuff in parts of Niagara County.


Two Olean men arrested on drug and other charges stemming from "suspicious vehicle" investigation in Brocton...         
Two men from Cattaraugus County -- one wanted by police -- were arrested early Monday on several drug charges after a suspicious vehicle was spotted in the village of Brocton.  Sheriff's officers they spotted the car on Fay Street just after 1 a.m., and, found 38 year-old Arthur Link, and 26 year-old Raymond Provorse -- both of Olean -- inside.  Deputies say they found Provorse was wanted on a warrant out of Erie County, NY and he was arrested.  While searching him... he was found to be in possession of methamphetamine.  While searching the vehicle... officers found more meth... leading to the arrest of Link for seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  He was issued an appearance ticket and released.  Provorse was also ticketed, and turned over to the Erie County Sheriff's Department. 


Man from Cassadaga faces numerous drug related charges following traffic stop...
A Cassadaga man faces multiple Felony charges following a traffic stop late last week.  State Police in Jamestown say they pulled over 42 year-old Mark Lemay late last Friday... and, found him in possession of illegal narcotics, drug paraphernalia, and a weapon.  Troopers charged him with three counts of third-degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance... two counts of fifth-degree Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance... and one count of seventh-degree possession.  Lemay also faces two counts of criminally using Drug Paraphernalia... fourth-degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon... and, driving while ability impaired by drugs.


Cuomo admits delay in reporting nursing home deaths, but, says all deaths in homes and hospitals were fully reported...
Under fire over his management of the coronavirus' lethal path through New York's nursing homes... Governor Andrew Cuomo is insisting the state didn't cover up deaths.  However... he acknowledged Monday afternoon that officials should have moved faster to release some information sought by lawmakers, the public and the press.  The Democrat said at a virtual news conference that his administration had to initially respond to a pair of requests for information by the US Department of Justice... and, not the state legislature.  Cuomo says they were also dealing with a number of individual, and press requests for information, as well.  The governor says that left a "void" that produced a lot of misinformation and "conspiracy theories" about what was happening in both public and private nursing homes.  He said deaths in nursing homes and hospitals were always "fully, publicly and accurately reported."  He also said that COVID patients who were well enough to leave the hospital were returned to 365 homes across the state.  However... Cuomo says in 98-percent of those cases... COVID-19 was already present in the home.  Cuomo says he'll propose nursing home and hospital reforms in the upcoming state budget.  


Heritage clinical officer explains nursing home COVID-19 reporting...
One of the key people involved in the reporting of COVID-19 information from nursing homes in Chautauqua County says it's can be a complicated process.  Chief Clinical Officer Jeremy Rutter with Heritage Ministries says they report daily numbers to the state Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.  Rutter says while the numbers remain the same... there may be a lag if there's a death involved that may happen a week later, or three-months later.  Rutter adds their reporting guidance has not changed since last Summer.  He adds it's not just a matter of the nursing home reporting who got COVID... then who died if they wind up in the hospital.  Rutter says if the patient has what's called a "bed hold" the nursing home would report the death.  If not, the hospital would then report it as one of their patients.  Rutter says the reason the count of nursing home deaths are handled that way is so the same person isn't counted twice.


First Five CHQ COVID-19 Heroes recognized...
Five individuals or organizations have been recognized by Chautauqua County's COVID-19 Response team as it's first "COVID-19 Heros."  County Executive PJ Wendel says they were recognized over the past week... and, include Chautauqua County Emergency Services paramedics and EMTs... Roberta Pratt and Karen Samuelson... and, Tammy McCool and the staff at the Chautauqua Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.  Wendel says this gives them community recognition... and, adds that much of this started with local businesses changing product lines to make personal protective gear... or help feed frontline workers and emergency responders.  He says they have already received a number of nominations on-line at chqgov.come/form/COVID-Heroes.  Wendel says you can go there for the nominating form itself. 

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News Headlines for Mon. Feb. 15, 2021

Cause of Feb. 9 house fire in Brocton is accidental...
Chautauqua County fire investigators say the Feb. 9 blaze that destroyed a Brocton apartment house was accidental.  The Fire Investigation Team reports that they had completed witness interviews... and, the fire at 60 East Main Street was caused by an issue around the furnace of the home.  Investigators say the fire then sparked flames in the floor... which then led to the house becoming fully-involved.  Two occupants of the lower apartments were able to get out... one with minor injuries.  Officials say the second-floor apartments were vacant and not rented.  They says due to the extensive damage and partial building collapse, fire investigators were not able to safely enter the building. 


Homeowner killed in fatal house fire in Ripley last weekend, cause still being investigated...
A Ripley man was killed when fire erupted in his house early last Saturday morning on old Route 20.  Sheriff's Department Fire investigators say Ripley firefighters were called to the scene at 9087 Old Route 20 at 5:35 a.m., and, quickly called in Westfield, Sherman, Fuller Hose from Northeast, Pennsylvania... and, Chautauqua County Emergency Services to the scene.  Firefighters and investigators later found the homeowner, 63 year-old Richard McCutcheon, dead inside the structure.  No other details were released.  Officials say the investigation into the fire and McCutcheon's death is continuing.


Winter weather returns to the region tonight with 7 to 14 inches of snow from major storm system...
Winter weather is returning later today... into Tuesday morning and early afternoon with 7 to 14 inches of snow across the region.  That from Forecaster Liz Jurkowski with the National Weather Service in Buffalo... who says there is now a Winter Storm Warning from 7 tonight through 1 p.m. Tuesday.  Jurkowski says two weather systems are in play... with a quick 1 to 3 inches this morning before we get a break during the afternoon.  Snow from the second system will pick-up from about Midnight to 7 a.m. Tuesday.  Jurkowski  says the worst of the snow will be during the overnight hours Monday through early Tuesday.  This will be a general snowfall with the area seeing close to a foot of new snow.  But... she says the Jamestown-area will see at least 10-inches.  Jurkowski says it'll be cold on this President's Day, with highs only about 22 degrees.  There will also be some wind... with blowing and drifting.  However... she says that'll be closer to the Lake Erie shoreline.


Cuomo faces calls for impeachment, striping of executive powers, in connection with nursing home deaths controversy...
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces intensifying accusations that he covered up the true death toll of COVID-19 on nursing home residents.  The attacks challenge the Democrat's reputation for straight-shooting competency, and could cloud his political future.  New details emerged this past week about why certain nursing home data was kept secret.  An aide told Democrat state lawmakers the data was delayed because officials worried the information would be used against them by the Trump administration.  


Buffalo man arrested on warrant, possession of Fentanyl...
A man from Buffalo was arrested late last week for allegedly giving police a false name... and, possessing the deadly drug Fentanyl during a traffic stop in Jamestown.  City police say they stopped a vehicle at the intersection of Allen and Institute Streets shortly after 11 a.m. last Friday... and, while talking to the driver, they say 26 year-old Jaqwan Martin gave them a fake name.  Police ordered Martin out of the car, and soon after determined his identity.  They found that he was wanted for a parole violation, and he was arrested.  However... when they got to the city jail, officers found Martin trying to conceal something in the back seat of the patrol car.  They found Martin had tried to hide about 2.7-grams of Fentanyl.  He now faces charges including third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... criminal impersonation... and, tampering with physical evidence.


Hochul discusses state budget proposal with local leaders...
Chautauqua County officials had the chance late last week to find out more about proposal's in Governor Cuomo's budget plan to address the COVID-19 Pandemic, and rebuild New York's economy.  Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul took part in a video conference, hosted by Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas, where she said she wants to work with local governments to establish 'pop-up' COVID-19 rapid testing sites in an effort to get more people involved in downtown activity.  She also talked about Cuomo's plan to hold 'pop-up' performing arts events statewide to serve as a bridge to the full safe return of live performances.  She noted that she has corresponded with Chautauqua Institution about that, in particular.  Hochul also noted the Athenex pharmacutial plant in Dunkirk is scheduled to begin full production later this year.  She says it's a $1.5-billion investment that will produce 450 local jobs.  Athenex recently begun production at it's location in the town of Dunkirk.  Last week's virtual presentation was also attended by County Executive P.J. Wendel... and, Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist.


Bemus Point man arrested on drug charges following weekend traffic stop...
A Bemus Point man is accused of being in possession of narcotics after being pulled over for having a loud muffler on Lakeside Drive in the town of Ellery last weekend.  Sheriff's officers say they stopped 36 year-old Jeffrey Schermerhorn shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday for the traffic infraction... and, found him in possession of drug paraphernalia and a quantity of methamphetamine.  Officers say Schermerhorn was arrested on charges of seventh-degree criminal possession Controlled Substance... inadequate muffler... and, no left sideview mirror.  He was issued appearance tickets for Ellery Town Court at a later date.


 

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WJTN Headlines Fri., Feb. 12, 2021

A-P finds more than 9,000 recovering COVID patients were released to nursing homes under Cuomo's order...
More than 9,000 recovering coronavirus patients in New York state were released from hospitals into nursing homes under a controversial directive that was scrapped amid criticism it was accelerating outbreaks.  That's according to new records obtained by The A-P.  The new number of over 9,000 recovering COVID-19 patients sent to hundreds of nursing homes is more than 40-percent higher than what had been previously released by the state health department.  And, it raises new questions as to whether Governor Andrew Cuomo's March 25th directive helped spread sickness and death among residents.  That's a charge his administration disputes.


Borrello and other GOP lawmakers continue pressing for full investigation of Nursing Home deaths following controversial statements by Cuomo's secretary...
State Republican lawmakers are continuing to press for an investigation into the Cuomo administration's handling of nursing home deaths during the pandemic.  The New York Post is reporting that the secretary to Governor Cuomo, Melissa DeRosa, admitted to withholding the state's nursing home death data because of concerns over a possible federal investigation. DeRosa has now issued a statement, saying -- quote -- "I was explaining that when we received the DOJ inquiry, we needed to temporarily set aside the Legislature’s request to deal with the federal request first.  We informed the houses of this at the time.  We were comprehensive and transparent in our responses to the DOJ, and then had to immediately focus our resources on the second wave and vaccine rollout."  Republican State Senator, George Borrello of Sunset Bay, is among those pushing for an investigation.. and, had this reaction to the Post's story.  Borrello says some Democrats released the information because they're upset after "covering for the governor" to hear what DeRosa said.  She concluded by saying that "as I said on a call with legislators, we could not fulfill their request as quickly as anyone would have liked.  But we are committed to being better partners going forward."  State Attorney General Letitia James issued a report last month that indicated that the State Department of Health had undercounted the number of nursing home deaths due to COVID by up to 50-percent.


County, city COVID-19 numbers down, Whitaker comments...
Most of the key indicators about the COVID-19 virus continue to trend downward today in Chautauqua County.  The county's Health Department reports 43 new cases today... bringing the total to 7,213.  However... officials say there have been five new deaths, bringing that total to 134.  They add, though, that the seven-day infection rate is now down to 3.2-percent... the lowest in many weeks.  Jamestown School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says it's also good news that the numbers continue to fall in the city... and, says that gets them closer to getting students back in school full-time.  The school district reported two new cases in the past day... and, there were 18 new cases in the city overall Wednesday.  The county reports there are also 229 active cases... and, the number of hospitalizeds remains 27.   There have now been 6,850 cases that have recovered.


COVID numbers in Cattaraugus County also falling...
There is also a downward trend in COVID-19 numbers in Cattaraugus County... though the number of confirmed cases is over 4-thousand now.  The Health Department reports 28 new cases the past day... and, the total is now 4,049.  There were no new deaths, so that total remains 82.  Officials say there are currently 249 active cases, and 24 people are hospitalized. 


Westfield school board member calls on state to loosen school music program restrictions...
The immediate past President of the Westfield School Board says it's time for New York to loosen its restrictions on music programs.  Steve Cockram says "if the state believes you can have high risk sports... you can ease restrictions they put on the music program."  Cockram believes the current '12 foot rule' for music rehearsal and performance is "unworkable" and needs to be shortened to six feet.  He says masks are now available for every musical instrument... making it safe to play together at a reasonable distance, and the same is true for a chorus.  Cockram says there are special masks designed to allow people to sing safely.  With the support of the entire Westfield board and administration... Cockram has written the governor requesting the change.  He wants other districts and school boards to get on the 'band wagon.'


City sees spike in number of Heroin/Fentanyl overdoses, and deaths the past two months...
An alarming increase in the number of drug overdose emergency calls, and deaths is causing concern for both Jamestown police and firefighters.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the problem has mainly been the need by some for pain killers -- mainly heroin -- since people may not be agle to get another prescription.  However... Samuelson says it's being cut with another deadly drug -- Fentanyl.  He says that's accounted for about 99-percent of the problem... but, he adds there are others, too... including crystal methamphetamine.  Samuelson says the overdose issue has been a growing problem fed by a number of factors... including injury, being out of work due to the pandemic, and addiction.  He says the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force, along with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force, are trying to crack-down on the supply coming into the area.  Samuelson says anyone with information on illegal drug trafficking can call their tips line at 483-TIPS, that's 483-8477.  You can also use the Tips 411 app.  For help with drug abuse, contact the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County at 661-9044.  The county has also established a one-stop website at Combataddictionchq.com.


 

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WJTN Headlines for Thurs. Feb. 11, 2021

City man arrested for shooting at wall after dispute with storage tenant on Blackstone Ave...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly firing off several shots from a gun into a wall during a dispute with another man at his storage rental building on Blackstone Ave.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers were called early Wednesay afternoon on a report of "shots fired."  Samuelson says the owner of the building, 60 year-old Michael Carcione, got into an argument with a tenant... and, he fired several shots from a .22-calibur rifle into a wall of the building.  Fortunately... Samuelson says no one was hurt in the incident.  However... he says Carcione was arrested on one charge of Felony reckless endangerment.  Carcione was taken to the city jail pending arraignment.


City police on look-out for man allegedly involved in Home Invasion; drugs and money later found at scene...             Jamestown police say charges are pending after a reported home invasion on the city's westside resulted in the discovery of a large amont of drugs, and cash.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers were called to 118 Bush St. just before 11 a.m. Monday for the reported home invasion.  Samuelson says the alleged suspect fled the scene to another location when police arrived... but, they were unable to find him.  He says police tried to investigate the victim's apartment, which was burglarized.  However... the victim denied them entry and the search warrant was obtained, and executed Tuesday.  Samuelson say they found more than a pound of methamphetime, and more than $6,500 in cash.  He says it's a "sign of the times" because drug trafficking has been on the rise, and people are also selling more meth instead of just using.  Samuelson says investigators with the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force also found drug paraphernalia during the search.  The victim was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of their injuries.


County reports 45 New COVID-19 cases, and one new death...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 45 new cases of the COVID-19 virus the past day... along with one new death.  Health officials say there have now been 7,139 total cases... and, 128 COVID-related deaths.  They add there were 9 new cases reported in Jamestown.  There are 239 active cases now... and, 29 are hospitalized.  Officials say 6,772 cases have now recovered.


Reed disappointed that Democrats now pushing Biden's $1.9-trillion COVID Stimulus without changes...
Local Congressman Tom Reed says he's concerned about Democrats going it alone when it comes to the Biden Administration's $1.9-trillion COVID-19 stimulus package.  The Corning Republican says Democrats are taking a partisan path in getting the package passed, and there's been "no sincere outreach any longer to the Republican side" to create a "more reasonable package."  Reed says he is pleased that the package includes about $350-billion in funding for state and local governments.  However... he is concerned that local governments may still get short changed once they get their checks, and the governor will reduce their aid by corresponding amounts, or more.  Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with regional media Wednesday.


Cuomo announces that stadiums can reopen with restricted capacity on Feb. 23...
Large arenas and stadiums in New York can soon reopen for sports and entertainment at 10-percent of their normal capacity under a plan announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo Wednesday.  Cuomo said that major venues with a capacity of 10,000 or more can reopen starting Feb. 23.  The Barclays Center has already received state approval to reopen Feb. 23 for the Brooklyn Nets home game against the Sacramento Kings.  The governor's announcement comes as the number of COVID-19 infections drops, but remains much higher than last fall or summer. 


Absolut of Westfield announces proposal to build a new, $25-million facility in Lakewood...
The owners of Absolut Care of Westfield are proposing a new, 25-million dollar, 120-bed facility, in the village of Lakewood that would replace the Westfield home.  Business First of Buffalo is reporting that the new facility would be located on 17-acres of land at Fairmount and Lakeview Avenues.  While the new Lakewood facility would eventually replace the one in Westfield... there was no timetable given.  There was also no start date given for the project.  The new facility would provide short-term rehabilitation, and long-term skilled nursing care.  Lakewood Mayor Randy Holcomb says officials have no knowledge of the proposal.  We also have a call into Absolut officials, but have not heard back.


House fire in Brocton leaves one hurt...
One person suffered minor injuries in a fire at an apartment house on East Main Street in Brocton Tuesday night.  Chautauqua County Fire Investigators say Brocton fire crews were called to 60 East Main about 8 p.m., and, found a working structure fire.  They say two occupants of the lower apartments were able to get out... one with minor injuries.  Officials say the second-floor apartments were vacant and not rented.  They say it took the departments nearly three-hours to get the blaze under control.  Due to the extensive damage and partial building collapse, fire investigators were unable to safely enter the building.  The cause remains under investigation.


Federal CBP announces new border surveillance towers for U.S-Canadian border...
U.S. Customs and Border Protection hopes to build eight new video surveillance towers along the U.S.-Canadian border in Vermont and New York.  The federal agency has filed a draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Remote Video Surveillance System for the U.S. Border Patrol's Swanton Sector, which includes Vermont, New Hampshire and a portion of upstate New York.  The proposal would include locations in Champlain, New York and the Vermont communities of Highgate Center, Franklin, Richford, Derby Line and North Troy. 


 

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WJTN Headlines for Tues., Feb. 9, 2021

Chautauqua County reports two COVID-19 related deaths, but, single-day cases fall to 18...
The number of new, confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in Chautauqua County has fallen to it's lowest number in many weeks.  The county Health Department is reporting just 18 cases over the past day... bringing the overall total to 7,099.  There were two new deaths... bringing that number to 127.  Officials say there were 4 new cases in Falconer... and, three each in Jamestown and Fredonia.  There are now 245 active cases, and 28 are now hospitalized.  There have also been 6,727 cases that have recovered.


Reed joins with NYS GOP legislative leaders in on-going push for investigation on NY Nursing Home deaths... 
Republicans on both the state and federal level are calling on the U-S Department of Justice to launch a full investigation on how New York's governor mishandled nursing home patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Local Congressman Tom Reed joined Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay, and GOP Senate Leader Robert Ortt in Albany for a press conference.  Reed and the others reaffirmed their call to provide the public with answers and accountability through a "full, independent, and fair federal investigation."  The Corning Republican says they will push on the Congressional side for a probe that brings accountability.  Reed and other Republicans in New York's Congressional delegation last week sent a letter to the Department of Justice requesting a full investigation of Governor Andrew Cuomo's March 2020 order they say forced COVID-Positive, elderly nursing home patients, to be sent back to their homes once they were well enough.  A recent report by State Attorney General Letitia James found that nearly 15,000 nursing home residents died -- either in a home, or in the hospital.  Initially... the state Department of Health reported 8,500 deaths.


Wendel expresses frustration over no increase in state allotment of COVID Vaccine to counties...
Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state is increasing the allotment of COVID-19 vaccine to local counties by 20 percent.  But... County Executive P.J. Wendel says local counties have not seen any boost in the amount of vaccine coming from the state.  Wendel says it’s difficult to keep up with the demand for the vaccine from county residents who eligible to receive the shots.  He says he has been frustrated over the state's rollout of the vaccine.  He says they are looking at a better way for eligible residents to schedule appointments.  Wendel says they are working with the state Association of Counties to get a phone app to help with that process. 


Gunderson discusses keeping Ward-Three polling site at Comedy Center...
The National Comedy Center is waiting for final word from the state Board of Elections on whether it can again be a polling site in 2021.  However... Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson also discussed several other related matters during an hour-long discussion with lawmakers at last night's City Council work session.  Gunderson says they learned in late January that -- because they have a liquor license on the premisis -- they can't host a voting site any longer.  Since then, she says they've gone back to the state asking for a formal ruling on whether they can host the polling site again this year... provided their don't serve liquor those days.  Gunderson also said they are willing to sit down with the local Board of Elections to work out a solution that works for everything.  She adds that -- given the pending redrawing of ward boundary lines -- she wanted the center to host voting again so residents didn't have to switch sites two years in a row.  Council President Tony Dolce expressed his appreciation to Gunderson for attending last night's Zoom meeting.


New State Education Commissioner approved by Board of Regents...
Interim New York Education Commissioner Betty Rosa has been given the  job permanently.  The policy-making Board of Regents unanimously approved the appointment late Monday.  Rosa has been interim commissioner since August 2020.  The Education Department has been without a permanent chief since MaryEllen Elia stepped down in August 2019.  Rosa is the first Latina woman to serve in the position and has worked in education for more than 30 years. 


RTPI rebuild after Dec. fire underway...
The rebuilding of the fire and water damaged portions of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute is underway today.  Chief Executive Officer Arthur Pearson reports all the ruined material is out, and the building is drying nicely.   None of their archived material was touched by the small electrical fire on Dec. 3, but, the structural damage will take up to three months to repair.  Pearson says when they do reopen, around May 1st, they’ll do so with a new strategic vision… displaying ‘art that matters to the planet’ in the manner of the Peterson Field Guide where Peterson created art that "matters to the planet."  Pearson adds, the driving force behind the new vision is the desire to create a ‘nationally significant museum’ to draw tourists to the area.

   

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WJTN Headlines for Mon., Feb. 8, 2021

Tops, Price Chopper/Market 32 announce merger...
A supermarket chain with several stores in the Jamestown-area has announced it is merging with Price Chopper/Market 32... nearly doubling their "collective footprint" in the northeast.  Price Chopper President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Grimmett will be CEO and serve on the new Board of Directors for the new parent company.  Tops Markets Chairman and CEO Frank Curci will serve on the Board of Directors of the new parent company... and, as a consultant to assist in the transition.  The new parent company will be headquartered in Schenectady.  The Price Chopper/Market 32 and Tops Markets businesses will retain main offices in Schenectady and Williamsville and will continue to be managed locally by their respective leaders.  Tops Markets in Chautauqua County include two in Jamestown, Dunkirk-Fredonia, Falconer, Frewsburg, Westfield, Mayville and Silver Creek.


Ripley man arrested for firing shot-gun towards multiple people...
A Ripley man has been arrested for allegedly firing shots from a long-gun at multiple individuals on Brockway Road in the town of Ripley last Friday night.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene about 9 p.m., and, learned that 31 year-old Patrick Bowman fired two round from a shotgun within close vicinity of multiple victims during a confrontation.  Sheriff's K-9 "Bentley" located a spent ammunition round in the snow where the alleged incident occurred.  Bowman was taken into custody a short time later and charged with two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree reckless endangerment... and, second-degree menacing.  A search warrant was issued... which led to deputies recovering multiple firearms at Bowman's home.  He was jailed pending arraignment.


Woman from Falconer charged after one-car crash in Poland...
A Falconer woman faces a charge of driving without a license following a single-car crash on Sprague Hill Road in the town of Poland late last week.  Sheriff's officers say 56 year-old Patricia Bloomgren was northbound just after 7:30 p.m. Thursday when she abruptly swerved to miss something on the road... and, her vehicle went down an embankment on the westside of the roadway.  Deputies say they found Bloomgren had been driving with a suspended drivers license.  She was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.  Bloomgren was ticketed for second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, and failure to keep right.


Man from Mayville arrested for attacking woman in Westfield with table leg...
A Mayville man has been arrested for allegedly hitting a woman with a wooden table leg during a fight early last weekend.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Barber Road in the town of Westfield just after 9 o'clock last Friday night... and, their investigation found that 32 year-old Tyler Stakelum hit the other person in the head with the table leg... causing a large laceration.  Stakelum resisted arrest initially... but, was later arrested on charges of second-degree assault, and resisting arrest.  He was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.  Officers say the victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment of her injuries.


Reg Lenna Center for the Arts could reopen this Spring...
After being closed for nearly a year, the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts in Jamestown could begin opening its doors again this spring.  The Reg's Director of Marketing and Communication, Len Barry, is watching the situation closely.  Barry says they anticipate opening in the second-quarter if the positivity rate continues to fall... and show some classic films at 25-percent capacity unless the capacity rate changes.  He believes the center will make it through, even though the pandemic shutdown took away over 80-percent of what they anticipated would come in during 2020.  He says government programs have helped, and significant assistance has come locally  Barry says they've received some grant funding from the Lenna and Sheldon Foundations... and, loan monies from the county's Industrial Development Agency to offset their losses.  Renowned pianist and singer Jim Brickman will be presenting a series of virtual concerts over Valentine’s Day weekend.  If you sign up at reglenna.com and use the code ‘LoverL’, the center will receive some of the proceeds.


Chautauqua County one of few in NYS that exceeded projected Sales Tax revenues in 2020...
Chautauqua County is one of a small number of counties in New York state that exceeded it's previous year's sales tax collections in 2020 -- inspite of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued a report on New York's sales tax collections for 2020... and, found that -- overall -- sales tax receipts were down about 10-percent... or $1.8-billion compared to 2019.  In Chautauqua County... DiNapoli's office found Chautauqua County collected $72.2-million in 2020... $1.2-million more than in 2019.  The county got off to a good start in the first-quarter with a 10.6-percent increase.  Chautauqua County saw receipts fall by 12.1-percent in the second quarter -- when there was a full shut-down from COVID-19.  There were then modest increases in the third and fourth-quarters of last year... due mainly to increases in on-line shopping.


WCA Home turning corner on COVID1-9 issues...
An adult home in northern Chautauqua County is turning the corner after getting socked by COVID-19 about three weeks ago.  WCA Home Administrator Tammy McCool says the facility on Temple Street in Fredonia managed to avoid the virus for nearly 10 months.  However... McCool says that changed when a resident became ill about three weeks ago, and it went through the facility.  She says some residents required hospitalization, but the situation is starting to improve.  She says some of the residents are expected to return from the hospital and vaccinations are starting to take place.  McCool believes they'll be able to "breath a sigh of relief" by the end of February.

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WJTN Headlines for Sat., Feb. 6, 2021

Man in Ripley arrested for allegedly firing Long Gun towards multiple people...
A Ripley man has been arrested for allegedly firing shots from a long-gun at multiple individuals on Brockway Road in the town of Ripley last night.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene about 9 p.m., and, learned that 31 year-old Patrick Bowman fired two round from a shotgun within close vicinity of multiple victims during a confrontation.  Sheriff's K-9 "Bentley" located a spent ammunition round in the snow where the alleged incident occurred.  Bowman was taken into custody a short time later and charged with two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree reckless endangerment... and, second-degree menacing.  A search warrant was issued... which led to deputies recovering multiple firearms at Bowman's home.  He was jailed pending arraignment.


Chautauqua County nears 7,000 COVID-19 cases, five more deaths reported Friday...
There are five more deaths from COVID-19-related illness in Chautauqua County being reported today... along with 45 new cases of the virus.  County health officials say the county is nearing 7,000 cases... with 6,961 now.  The number of deaths has now climbed to 122.  Officials say the Jamestown 14701 zip code was the only one in double figures with 14 new cases.  Officials say there are 351 active cases... and, 34 of those are hospitalized.  There have now been 6,488 cases that have recovered.


Cuomo says state will open vaccine eligibility for people with certain health issues Feb. 15...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the state will open up vaccine eligibility by Feb. 15 for people with certain health issues that put them at risk for severe illness from COVID-19.  Cuomo says the state will come up with enough vaccine by reallocating remaining doses set aside for hospital workers.  The Democrat also touted the first step by the U-S Senate to approve President Biden's $1.9-trillion COVID-Relief package... which includes $350-billion for local and state governments.  Cuomo says the big question now is in how that money is allocated.  He says it's "factually inarguable" that New York, New Jersey and Connecticut paid a "higher price for COVID."  Cuomo says there also needs to be fairness to this particular crisis.  He has said that his 2021-2022 budget will depend on federal aid... otherwise there will be spending cuts.  The vaccine announcement comes weeks after he said New York would accept new federal guidance to expand vaccine access to people with certain health problems, including those with weakened immune systems.  But weeks later, cancer patients and others with underlying health problems aren't all eligible for vaccination.


Corrections officer saves county jail inmate from attempted suicide... 
A Chautauqua County jail inmate is recovering from injuries stemming from an attempted suicide Thursday night at the County Jail in Mayville.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone says the corrections officer in charge of the unit made the discovery while he was doing his normal rounds.  Quattrone says "proper protocol" was followed with the Mayville Fire Department responding to the call.  The inmate, who was not identified, was transported to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment, and later returned to the jail.  Quattrone says the medical and mental health teams along with the correction staff at the jail will continue to monitor the inmate to ensure his safety.


Cattaraugus County man arrested for alleged rape, and assault...
A Cattaraugus County man has been arrested in Ohio for allegedly raping another person in the town of New Albion.  Sheriff's officers in Little Valley were called to the scene earlier this week for a reported sexual assault.  Deputies say they later issued a warrant for 42 year-old Steven Remington for first-degree rape, and second-degree assault.  Remington was arrested on the warrant... and, returned to Cattaragus County.  He was taken to the Little Valley Jail pending arraignment.


Tenney wins last undecided, U.S. House seat...
A New York judge ruled Friday that Republican Claudia Tenney defeated U.S. Rep. Anthony Brindisi by 109 votes in the nation's last undecided congressional race.  The ruling by Judge Scott DelConte could clear the way for Tenney to be sworn in as the representative for central New York's 22nd Congressional District, barring emergency intervention by a state appeals court. DelConte's ruling came after he spent three months reviewing ballot challenges and trying to fix a myriad of problems with vote tabulation.  He rejected an argument by Brindisi's lawyers that certification of the election results be delayed until an appeals court had a chance to review the case.


 

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WJTN Headlines for Fri. Feb. 5, 2021

County reports five new deaths, 45 new COVID-19 cases...
There are five more deaths from COVID-19-related illness in Chautauqua County being reported today... bringing the local total to 122.  The county Health Department also reports 45 new cases of the virus today... bringing that total to 6,961.  The Jamestown 14701 zip code was the only one in double figures with 14 new cases.  Officials say there are 351 active cases... and, 34 of those are hospitalized.  There have now been 6,488 cases that have recovered.


Lakeshore Flooding predicted through Saturday afternoon in Dunkirk, snow to the north...
High water levels along the eastern end of Lake Erie are a major concern today.  The National Weather Service has issued a Lakeshore Flood Warning until 4 p.m. Saturday for Chautauqua and Erie counties.  Meteorologist Phillip Pandolfo at the Buffalo Office says there are several locations in the city of Dunkirk that could see flooding... including Lakefront Boulevard, and the Dunkirk Pier.  Pandolfo says the Buffalo metro area is preparing for a major lake effect snow event with the National Weather Service issuing a Lake Effect Snow Warning from this afternoon through Saturday night.  He says some places may get a foot of new snow.  However... Pandolfo says ski country will escape the bulk of the snowfall from this latest storm.  


Reed votes to kick Taylor-Greene off committees in conference, but, votes no on Democratic sponsored measure in full House...
Local Congressman Tom Reed was in the minority Wednesday night... but, he voted to strip a new, controverial House member of her committee assignments.  However, the majority of the GOP House Conference voted to allow her to continue on two committees after expressing regrets about some "words of the past."  However... Georgia's Marjorie Taylor Greene stopped short of apologizing for racist and violent rhetoric.  Reed says he's appalled by comments attributed to Greene.  However... he did not vote for a Democratic measure to take her off the education and budget committees.  Reed says he told both her, and GOP members that he will be watching her "rhetoric closely" in the future.  As for last night's majority vote of the full House on stripping her of committee assignments... Reed says majority Democrats should watch their step... because "when you point your finger at someone... you have three pointing back at you."  There were 11 other Republicans who voted for the Democratic measure.


Williams calls is a "big honor" to be named permanently as JHS Principal...
The new principal at Jamestown High School is a familiar face in the district... and, says he's "very honored" to be named to the post permanently.  The city school board this week approved the appointment of Interim Principal Dana Williams to the position.  He was appointed interim in December of 2019 after serving as an assistant principal at both the high school, and Jefferson Middle School the previous 11 years.  He says it's a "lot of responsibility..." but, adds he "looks forward to it."  Williams says the school has been inched towards normalcy in the COVID-19 pandemic, with sports starting up... as well as student organizations.  Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says Williams has a solid track record... and, knows the school and district well.  He says the new principal also has the "right focus -- on kids."  Most of all... Whitaker says Williams puts a lot of emphasis on relationships... not just with staff and teachers, but, students as well.  Both were interview guests yesterday on our Dennis Webster Show.


No one hurt in Dunkirk vehicle/house fire...
A vehicle fire that spread to a nearby home in the city of Dunkirk early yesterday morning was quickly brought under control by city firefighters.  Fire Chief Mike Edwards tells us that all units responded the blaze at 437 South Roberts Road about 5 a.m., and, says they found the vehicle fully-engulfed in flames -- but, they had begun spreading.  Edwards says, fortunately, no one was hurt.  He says the house was occupied, and everyone got out safely.  Edwards says the people living there are being assisted by the local Red Cross.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.


SBDC to host "Women in Networking" event next Thursday...
The next Women in Networking event put on by the Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College will be Thurs., Feb. 11, at Noon... on Zoom.  The Director of the SBDC, Courtney Curatolo, says it'll be a first for the 13 year old series... a panel discussion.  Curatolo says Patti Centi from the Landmark, and Waterfront Restaurants... and, others from Three C's Catering and, Forte, the restaurant.  Curatolo says the session will focus on an industry hard hit by the pandemic recession, and how they've dealt with it successfully.  The WIN event is free, but you must register by phoning the SBDC at 338-1024.  Courtney Curatolo reminds any small business owner that they can contact the SBDC for full information about government programs designed to assist small businesses through the pandemic.


 

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WJTN Headlines for Thurs., Feb. 4, 2021

Six more COVID-19 related deaths reported in Chautauqua County Thursday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting another six deaths over the past day from COVID-19... along with 95 new cases of the virus.  The Health Department says the the total number of cases since the Pandemic began is now 6,917... with the most cases coming from Dunkirk with 26.  Jamestown is reporting 23 others.  The number of COVID-related deaths is now 117.  The health department says there are 359 active cases... and, 33 are hospitalized.  Offiicals say 6,441 cases have now recovered.


Reed votes to strip Rep. Taylor-Greene of committee assignments in GOP Conference, but, not on House floor...
He was in the minority Wednesday night... but, local Congressman Tom Reed voted to strip a new, controverial House member of her committee assignements.  However, the majority of the GOP House Conference voted to allow her to continue on two committees after stating on the floor that she regrets some "words of the past."  However... Georgia's Marjorie Taylor Greene stopped short of apologizing for racist and violent rhetoric.  Reed says he's appalled by comments attributed to Greene in Facebook posts and others.  He adds that making somethings out, like the "9/11" attacks, out to be not true is "appalling."  However... Reed says he told Greene and fellow GOP members that he will be watching her actions going forward closely.  As for yesterday's majority vote of the full House on stripping her of committee assignments... Reed says majority Democrats should watch their step... because "when you point your finger at someone... you have three pointing back at you."  He says that also goes for GOP members if they reclaim the House Majority in 2022.  Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with regional media.


All "Cathedral Oaks" on W. Third St. in Jamestown have now been taken down...
The final two of 48 'cathedral oak trees' on West Third Street in Jamestown were taken down yesterday... and, it's changed the look of that part of the city for the first time in about a century.  City arborist Dan Stone says told our Dennis Webster Thursday morning... that it's the first time in a century there have been no trees there.  Stone says he was raised on Jamestown's westside, so he enjoyed those oak trees most of his life, and he called a very difficult decision to make.  Last fall... Stone and city leaders determined that the remaining oak trees had to been taken down because of disease and instability.  He says the wood from the trees is not for sale... but, they are willing to barter with "wood turners..." people who make wood bowls, spoons and other items.  He says "make one for us."  Stone says some of the wood will be used for city projects as well.  Anyone interested should contact the parks department.  The number of oak trees along West Third Street from the bridge to Hallock Street once totalled 74.  With help from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, several varieties of new trees will be planted along that same stretch... probably this fall. 


Sheriff's Department, and others warn of new scams in Chautauqua County...
The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office, and local police agencies, say they've seen an increase in scams targeted at local residents.  Officers say the newest scams involve someone asking residents to send out large amounts of Gift Cards.  They say the caller often advises that they are with Law Enforcement, or a Jail, and that a relative has been involved in a crime.  In one recent call, the person told the victim that a car they had been rented under their name was involved in a crime, and the victim needed to send Gift Cards to assist in the investigation.  Often times, the caller will also have a local caller ID, so it appears to be a local call.  No law enforcement agency or jail will ever take Gift Cards as part of an investigation, bail, or to release property.  Police say a similar scam is also taking place via e-mail.  They say, if you get a call or email requesting Gift Cards, do not purchase any cards or give out any personal information to the caller or emailer.


Dunkirk fire crews make quick work of vehicle, house fire...
Dunkirk city firefighters made quick work of a vehicle fire that extended to a nearby home on South Roberts Road early Thursday morning.  Fire Chief Mike Edwards tells us that all units responded the fire at 437 South Roberts about 5 a.m.  He says they found the car fully-engulfed in flames, and they had begun spreading.  Edwards says damage to the house was moderate.  No injuries were reported.  Edwards says there were two adults and four children that occupied the house and they are being assisted by the local Red Cross.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.


Cuomo gives counties the go-ahead to vaccinate restaurant workers, and for-hire drivers...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he is giving county officials the authority to add for-hire drivers and restaurant workers to the list of people eligible for a coronavirus vaccine.  The governor's announcement comes days after the governor slammed elected officials for pushing to vaccinate restaurant workers when supply is limited.  But, Cuomo now says the federal government is signaling that it will send New York more doses in coming weeks. 

 


 

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

Breaking: former Bemus Pt. village clerk arrested for stealing more than $60,000...
The former village clerk in Bemus Point has been arrested for allegedly stealing more than $60,000 in village funds.  State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt, and Sheriff Jim Quattrone today announced the arrest of 38 year-old Jennifer Jaeger, who was employed by the village between 2015 and last November.  DiNapoli says Jaeger, allegeldy wrote village checks to herself forging the signatures of officials, and had village officials sign blank checks which she then cashed.  In addition... Jaeger is accused of using the village bank account to pay for herself and her family’s personal cell phones and car payments, and to purchase Christmas gifts.  Jaeger is charged with second-degree Grand Larceny, and forgery among others.  She's to be arraigned later today on the charges.


Chautauqua County reports 37 New COVID-19 Cases Wednesday... lowest number in several days...
The number of new, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Chautauqua County has dropped again today to 37.  The county's Health Department reports that brings the total number of cases since the Pandemic began to 6,822.  Officials say there are 9 cases each in Jamestown and Fredonia.  The health department says there are 339 active cases... and, 38 are hospitalized.  Officials say there were no new deaths... and, 6,372 cases have now recovered.


Assemblyman Joe Giglio says he also has COVID-19...
Another area lawmaker says he has now contracted the new coronavirus.  Cattaraugus County state Assemblyman Joe Giglio confirmed late Tuesday that both he and his wife have COVID-19.  However... the Gowanda Republican says he has been working remotely for the past several weeks, and not attended any public events.  He says he will continue doing that for the duration of the illness.  The announcement came shortly after Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist said he had tested positive for the COVID-19 Virus.  He says "I will remain in isolation until my doctor says it is safe for me to return to work in-person.  In the meantime, I will continue to work remotely."  He says his symptoms are mild.


NYS Counties can now vaccinate restaurant workers, drivers...
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he is giving county officials the authority to add for-hire drivers and restaurant workers to the list of people eligible for a coronavirus vaccine.  The governor's announcement late Tuesday came days after the governor slammed elected officials for pushing to vaccinate restaurant workers when supply is limited.  But Cuomo now says the federal government is signaling that it will send New York more doses in coming weeks.  The move could affect New York City's 200,000 drivers licensed by its taxi commission and over 800,000 restaurant and food service workers.


Comedy Center Executive Director says they are willing to remain a poll site, if it can be done legally...
The National Comedy Center is willing to continue as a polling site... even with "significant disruption" to their business operations and safety protocols, if state authorities can confirm that this is legal.  That from Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson in a statement issued late Tuesday.  Gunderson says "we received an advisory opinion last week directly from the State Board of Elections that this is legally prohibited because we have a liquor license."  She adds that "since the train station concourse remains fully accessible to the public five days a week, year-round, we believe that we are operating in accordance with all agreements in regard to public access."  Gunderson says she's also asked for the chance to meet with City Council members at next Monday night's work session to try and "resolve this matter amicably and equitably for all parties."


County's Deputy Executive for Eco. Development says Athenex project is moving forward...
The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the full opening of a major pharmacutical plant in the town of Dunkirk... but, preliminary operations are now underway.  The Athenex project was kicked off by an announcement by Governor Andrew Cuomo five years ago... and, the structure is now complete.  Deputy Chautauqua County Executive for Economic Development Mark Geise says there are about two-dozen employees at the plant right now.  Geise says the facility is now in place, but Athenex still needs some U.S. Food and Drug Administration approvals.  The project was expected to be completed by this coming Summer.  However, that may change due to the pandemic.  The company had a bit of a setback with a recent electrical fire at the facility... but, Geise says there was only minor damage to one part of the building.  Athenex is projected to employ about 900 people once fully up and operational.  The project cost is about $35-million.  Geise made his comments for last weekend's Community Spotlight program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Interim Principal at JHS named to post permanently...
The man who has served at Interim Principal at Jamestown High School for the past year and one month has been appointed as permanent principal.  The city School Board last night approved the appointment of Dana Williams to the post.  Prior to being Assistant Principal at JHS... Williams was Assistant Principal at Jefferson Middle School.  He served in those capacities for 11 years before becoming Interim Principal at JHS in December of 2019.

 

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WJTN News Bulletin for Tues., Feb. 2, 2021

Four more COVID-related deaths reported in county, along with 42 new cases...
There have been another four deaths reported from COVID-19-related illness in Chautauqua County.  The county Health Department says that brings the total locally to 111.  Health officials add, though, there were 42 new cases the past day... the lowest number in several days.  The total since the pandemic began is now 6,785.  Officials say there were 14 new cases in the Jamestown 14701 zip code area... and, 6 in Dunkirk.  Officials say there are now 364 active cases... and, 39 of those are hospitalized.  There are now 6,310 recovered cases.


Sundquist reports he has COVID-19...
The mayor of Jamestown has tested positive for the COVID-19 Virus.  Democrat Eddie Sundquist released a statement late this morning... stating that yesterday morning, he woke up with a fever and cough and he immediately scheduled a rapid test... and, he says that came back positive.  He says "I will remain in isolation until my doctor says it is safe for me to return to work in-person.  In the meantime, I will continue to work remotely."  He says his symptoms are mild and he's working with the county health department to identify any individuals that may be deemed a close contact. 


Controversy over Comedy Center decision to not be a county polling site in 2021 continues...
Officials with the National Comedy Center in Jamestown say the state Board of Elections has told them they can no longer serve as a polling site in the city because they have a liquor license.  That appeared to have been somewhat lost during Monday night's City Council work session where lawmakers discussed the center's decision to no longer be a poll site.  However... Corporation Counsel Eliot Raimando says they did have the license when the comedy center was a polling site last year.  Democratic Elections Commissioner Norm Green said there is a matter of interpretation because some VFWs and Legions across the state... which have liquor licenses... are polling locations.  However... they must be in separate areas.  Green says if the state is interpreting it that way, it has to be uniform across New York.  Comedy Center officials, though, say they are going by what the state Board of Elections told them.  In a statement issued late Tuesday morning... the center states the board "advised us last week that due to our liquor license, our entire facility -- including the train station concourse -- is prohibited from being a polling site under New York State law."


Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management group announces $690,000 award from foundations...
The Chautauqua Lake and Watershed Management Alliance has secured nearly $700,000 from three local foundations to implement it's 2021 consolidated work plan for care and maintenance of the lake and it's watershed.  Alliance Executive Director Randall Perry expressed his appreciation to the Lenna... Sheldon... and, Chautauqua Region Community Foundations for their support of the group and it's members.  Perry says the total amount pledged by the foundations is $690,000.  He says the plan will include projects that "balances" a variety of management techniques, stakeholder priorities and lake uses.  Perry says they'll be looking at weed harvesting and chemical use on them, along with dealing with algal bloom issues.  He says work on the consolidated plan with alliance members began when he first came on board last November, and is still being assembled.  


Borrello blasts Cuomo for allowing "pocket veto" of broadband study...
The region's state senator is blasting Governor Andrew Cuomo for his decision not to sign the Comprehensive Broadband Connectivity Act that he co-sponsored.  Sunset Bay Republican George Borrello says the measure would have required the state's Public Service Commission to study the availability, affordability and reliability of high-speed internet in all areas of the state... and, provide a report and detailed map within one year.  Borrello says "it's incredibly disappointing that the Governor has chosen to turn his back on rural New Yorkers and their continuing struggle for high-speed internet access by failing to enact this important measure."  By not signing the measure... it's essentially vetoed.  


Two youngers taken to hospital after Cattaraugus County snowmobile accident...
Two children are being treated for injuries and possible hypothermia after two snowmobiles collided in Cattaraugus County a week ago over a frozen body of water.  Sheriff's officers in Little Valley were called to the scene on Route 241 in the town of Conewango on Jan. 26, and, found the four juveniles involved had been thrown into the water... but, were able to get out and into a nearby home.  Deputies say two children were treated at the scene... while one was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown, and another to Oishei Children's Hospital in Buffalo.  No charges were filed.


Groundhogs disagree on six more weeks of Winter, or early Spring...
The weather prognosticators are out with their predictions on this Ground Hog Day.  The more famous Punxsutawney Phil made his prediction virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  His handlers say Phil did see his shadow and proclaimed six more weeks of winter.  But... locally Dunkirk Dave arrived at a different forecast.  Handler Bob Will says Dave did not see his shadow... and, reached the verdict shortly after awakening from his winter-induced slumber.  Will says he had some food ready for Dave, and he then walked around and was "calm and happy..." but, saw no shadow.  Will says Dunkirk Dave is the second longest predicting groundhog in the world.  This year's prediction was not done in public in an effort to keep Dunkirk Dave safe from the virus.

 

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News Headlines for Mon., Feb. 1, 2021

Jamestown woman arrested for alleged animal abuse...
A city woman is accused of animal cruelty after allegedly beating her dog with a long 2-by-4 piece of wood last weekend.  Jamestown police received a complaint of a woman hitting her dog with a stick on Benedict Avenue about 8 AM Saturday.  Officers spoke with a witness... who said they saw 42-year-old Nancie Gerrish hitting the animal.  Police found Gerrish, and took her into custody without incident.  The dog was also found, and taken to a local vet for evaluation.  Gerrish was charged with overriding... torturing, or injuring an animal. 


Buffalo man arrested on DWI, Leandra's Law violation after car gets stuck in snow in Hanover...         
A Buffalo man faces drunk driving and a Leandra's Law violation after his car went off Routes 5 and 20 in the town of Hanover.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene just before 2 a.m. Sunday... and, found the vehicle stuck in the snow.  Deputies say the driver, 24 year-old Jordan Martinez, also had a 4 year-old passenger in the car with him.  Further investigation found that Martinez was driving while intoxicated, and had a small amount of marihuana in his possession.  Martinez was subsequently charged with DWI, DWI -- Leandra's Law, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, unlawful possession of marihuana, speeding, and moving from Lane unsafely.  Martinez was taken to the county jail for arraignment... and, the 4 year old was safely turned over to family at the scene.


Findley Lake man arrested in sex abuse case as predicate sexual offender...
A man from Findley Lake is accused of forcibly touching another person in a sexual manner late last week.  Sheriff's deputies were called to a Route 426 address in the town of Mina on a sex offense complaint.  Following an investigation... deputies charged 70 year-old Barry Haertel with forcibly touching the person.  Haertel was taken to the county jail pending centralized arraignment.  He will appear in Mina Town Court on a later date.


Cuomo says larger weddings and receptions can be held beginning in mid-March...
Bigger weddings and wedding receptions will be allowed in New York state... beginning Mar. 15... if COVID-19 infection rates continue to drop.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo... who announced the move late last week.  Cuomo says the 50-person cap on wedding receptions will be raised to 150... provided those attending take a COVID rapid test.  Cuomo says the recent successes with two Buffalo Bills play-off games allowing nearly 7,000 fans to attend -- if they got a rapid COVID test -- were the determining factor in the decision.  He adds that are developing more rapid testing ability, as well as putting it on a phone app.  Cuomo also announced that the indoor dining ban at city restaurants that went into effect in mid-December is on track to be partially lifted on Feb. 14 -- Valentine's Day.


Girl Scout Cookie sale fully-underway in the region...
The annual Girl Scout cookie sale is fully underway in our area.  Chief Executive Officer Alison Wilcox with the Girl Scouts of Western New York, says it's easy to buy cookies even in the midst of a pandemic.  Wilcox says, if you know a scout, you can certainly buy from her.  If not, you can call them at 1-888-837-6410, and they'll get you in touch with one.  The girl scouts plan to have some direct sale locations open in March, if COVID conditions permit.  The cookies are $5 a box... and all the profits stay local.  Wilcox says the cookie sale teaches enterprenureal skills, and raises money for their troop.  There's a new cookie this year, the french toast inspired 'Toast-Yay.'  This is the final year for the 'Smores' cookie, so Wilcox encourages fans of that flavor to buy plenty, and freeze them for future use.  You can also go on-line to gswny.com.


New flower and gift shop cuts the ribbon in Lakewood...
For the first time in many years... there is a flower and gift shop open in the village of Lakewood.  The ribbon was cut late Saturday on "Pea Pod and Juniper" at 141 Chautauqua Ave. -- next to the Busti Town Hall.  Owner Kim Carlson says her shop's name comes from the nickname, and first name of her two granddaughters.  Carlson says, when you look at life through the eyes of a youngster, it reminds you that you should do something you love doing.  While Carlson has operated the family business... Robo Car Wash and Gas the past 14 years... she wanted to get back to her first-love... which was making floral arrangements, and running a small shop.  The grand opening was hosted by the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce... and, a number of officials... including County Executive P-J Wendel were on hand.  Wendel says it's great to see another woman-owned, small business open in the county, and in Lakewood.   Pea Pod and Juniper is open Monday through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and, at least part of Sundays.  For more information... call Kim Carlson at 526-1081.  She says they also have a website.

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Local News

WJTN Headlines for Thurs., Mar. 4, 2021

Local drug agents seize significant amount of drugs and cash during a raid in Jamestown Wednesday morning... A Jamestown man has been arrested following a drug raid on a home on the city's norths...

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