Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Jan. 21, 2022

Sundquist urges residents to be careful with frigid wind chills through Saturday morning...
The city of Jamestown is urging residents to be careful today through tomorrow morning as temperatures fall to zero to -10 below zero... and the winds chills making it feel like -15 below.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says... "while we deal with cold temperatures frequently, do not underestimate the effects that extreme cold can have on the body."  He adds it "can generate a significant decrease in body temperature, and induce frostbite damage to exposed skin and other tissue over an accelerated period of time."  Sundquist urges people to wear layers and if you go outside, let someone know that you are leaving and when you make it to your destination.  If you need help or resources... he says call 2-1-1 to connect with agencies that provide help with food, shelter and closing... and other needs.  


Wendel believes county is moving to other side of COVID omicron peak...
Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel says he believes that the county has passed its peak winter surge of COVID-19.  Wendel spoke after the county reported a slight decline in the number of new COVID cases for the week of Jan. 9-16.  The Lakewood Republican says the county's COVID numbers are following a similar pattern compared to one year ago... where there was a decline between Thanksgiving and Christmas... and, then again after New Years.  Wendel also pointed to the county's significant decline in the number of active cases over the past week.  The county had 339 new active cases of the virus as of Saturday, which is 75.5% lower than a week ago... when there were just over 1,300 cases... that's a drop of about 1,000 cases.  Wendel believes that the drastic reduction in that number is due to the required quarantine period being shortened to five days.


Two arrested after alleged overnight fight in Jamestown early Wednesday...
Two people from Jamestown are accused of fighting a man... and, damaging his cellphone and then trying to push him into oncoming traffic on the city's westside.  City police were called to the undisclosed scene shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday... and spoke to the victim.  Officers say he told them that 19 year-old Ray Babyak had punched him in the face... and, threw his cellphone to the ground so he couldn't call 9-1-1.  They add 52 year-old Heather Babyak then allegedly tried to push him into on-coming traffic.  Both suspects left the scene before police arrived... but, they were found at a nearby address.  Ray Babyak is charged with second-degree harassment and fourth-degree criminal mischief... while Heather Babyak is charged with second-degree reckless endangerment.


Whitaker says it's "fantastic news" that Hochul's budget fully funds Foundation Aid for schools...
Jamestown School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says it's "fantastic" news that Governor Kathy Hochul is proposing to fully-fund Foundation Aid in her New York state budget proposal.  Hochul Tuesday announced increased spending in several areas... but, added she wanted to put a record $31-billion into funding for the state's public schools.  Whitaker says that would satisfy local districts... who have clamored for two decades... to have fair funding.  He says that funding would go to three areas... student education and socio-emotional support, and for building and facility maintenance upkeep.  Up to this point... Dr. Whitaker says the state has not lived up to it's end of the bargain regarding this 'basic' aid.  Foundation Aid is doled out through a special formula to each district in the state.  Historically... the Jamestown Public Schools have received state aid totaling about 75% of it's budget.  Governor Hochul presented her $216-billion budget plan this past Tuesday.  The legislature must approve a final spending plan by Apr. 1.


Whitaker talks sidewalk snow removal with Jamestown mayor...
There was no school Monday when the region was hit by a nor-easter on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day... which was good news.  However... there were still problems outside some of the Jamestown district's schools when students returned to class Tuesday morning.  Parents complained on social media about sidewalks not being cleared... and, children having to walk in the street.  Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says he spoke with Mayor Eddie Sundquist on Wednesday... about future planning with more emphasis around an in school zone areas.  Whitaker says the city has certain snow-removal responsibilities... but, property owners are expected to keep the sidewalks clear in front of their property.  Therefore... he agrees the district is responsible for clearing the sidewalks.  However... outside the school zones... there's a "patchwork" of responsible people clearing their sidewalk... but, others are not.


Hochul leads NYS gubernatorial field in fundraising...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul has raised nearly $22-million for her election campaign, a huge sum that gives her a dominating advantage over a narrowing field of opponents in the Democratic primary.  Hochul's haul dwarfs her closest competitors among both Democrats and Republicans, according to campaign finance filings Tuesday.  Democratic Congressman Tom Suozzi of Long Island reported $5.4-million in campaign cash for a run against Hochul.  On the Republican side... Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin reported $5.6-million for his campaign.

 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Jan. 20, 2022

City man sentenced to 10 years in prison for trafficking Fentanyl...
A Jamestown man has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison after being convicted of possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of acetyl Fentanyl.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross announced Wednesday that 25 year-old Wade Paulisick received the 120 month sentence from U.S. District Judge Lawrence Vilardo.  Prosecutors say that in September of 2019... a search warrant was executed at Paulisick’s residence on Tower Street... and they found and seized quantities of narcotics including quantities of acetyl fentanyl, fentanyl and methamphetamine, and a stolen handgun.  He was then arrested on the federal charge. 


County reports number of new COVID-19 cases totalled 1,743 for previous week; number is lower, but, still considered high...
While the state-wide trend has been going downward... Chautauqua County's COVID-19 numbers remain high this week.  However... the number of new cases is down slightly from Jan. 9--16, with 1,743 new cases.  The Health Department reports that 339 of those are currently active... and, 31 of those are hospitalized.  This brings the total number of cases to 22,878... while 22,249 have now recovered.  Health officials say four people died over that week period... bringing that total to 290.  The daily average of cases is 249... and, the seven-day infection rate fell about 3-points to 17.3-percent. 


Reed expresses concern over Hochul's first budget proposal, but, also offers praise of new governor...
Governor Kathy Hochul's first budget presentation shows how things have changed in a year.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who restarted his weekly telephone conference calls Wednesday... and, commented on the $216-billion spending plan.  Reed says just over a year ago... New York was facing major budget deficits until the American Rescue Plan was adopted.  However... he reiterated that state government also had a spending problem... and that led a few years back to a $10-billion to $14-billion budget deficit.  Reed says he hopes the state doesn't "squander-away" the added revenue... and, find itself back in a deficit situation again.  As for Hochul as governor... the Corning Republican says he was pleased in the beginning to see her work in a bi-partsian manner with the state's Congressional Delegation.  However... he says in the past two months or so... Hochul has held a conference call and meeting with only Democratic members of the delegation.  He called that "very problematic..." and, that it didn't sit well with him and other GOP members of Congress from New York.


Reed critical of Biden's inability to bring unity on one-year anniversary of his inauguration...
President Joe Biden is making his first-year anniversary in office... and, it's been a difficult year for the nation's 46th president.  There have been a number of missteps... but, local Congressman Tom Reed says he thinks the biggest is Biden's inability to unite the country after campaigning that he would.  In fact... Reed says if the president had taken his original path on the infrastructure bill... it would have been in place sooner.  However, after meeting with Congressional Democrats, he decided to tie the bill with his "Build Back Better" legislation.  Reed says... if Biden continues to pander to the far-left of the party... there will be more congressional gridlock.  The President hosted his first stand-alone press conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss a wide range of issues... including dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic... and economic challenges -- including supply chain issues.  


Mayor Sundquist talks about city's response to nor'easter, and sidewalk issues...
Removing snow from sidewalks in Jamestown is still the responsibility of property owners... but Mayor Eddie Sundquist says the city is looking at more ways to help.  Sundquist told our Dennis Webster Wednesday that the plows the city uses to clear sidewalks are specialized... and, unfortunately break down easily.  The mayor says they are looking at purchasing some additional equipment, but, adds the Public Works Dept. has recently been hit by several absences due to COVID.  Sundquist says clearing streets and highways is the first priority for city crews following a major storm.  Sundquist also suggested that Jamestown is considering a system to directly communicate urgent information to residents in critical situations.  Sundquist says residents would be able to sign-up to receive the alerts for such things as weather-related issues... or closings.  The mayor praised the response of city crews to the storm, but said the number of available workers continues to be depleted by COVID-19.


Swanson named new head of Jamestown Community Chamber...
The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce has announced a local woman has been named as the new coordinator and office administrator for the Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce.  County Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Heitzenrater says Carrie Swanson has been hired to the position... after being employed at Wegmans Food Markets for many years where she had managed several departments including Meat, Produce, and the Deli.  Heitzenrater says she's also completed the Dale Carnegie Course Skills for Success, and served as a job coach mentor for the Wegmans Management Intern Program.  Swanson was also a United Way Co-Chair. 


Former WJTN "Italian Hour" host passes away...
A former member of the Media One -- James Broadcasting family has died.  Jim Conti hosted WJTN's "Italian Hour" for many years... and, was a supervisor for the Chautauqua County Highway Department.  He was 84.  Our condolences to his family and friends.  Riccardi's Hubert Funeral Home is handling arrangements for Jim Conti. 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Jan. 19, 2022

Hochul proposes $216-billion, 2022-23 budget that increases spending on pandemic relief, infrastructure and education...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul is proposing a $216-billion budget for 2022-2023 that includes a middle class tax cut... and, includes investments in pandemic relief, infrastructure, and education.  However... Hochul Tuesday also said her spending plan is balanced this year... and, for several more to come.  She says the budget includes historic investments in a number of areas... thanks to a number of factors... including federal pandemic relief.  Hochul says there are also more tax revenues, and a "thriving stock market."  Hochul says the COVID-19 pandemic has laid a number of issues bare that New Yorkers have struggled with the past two-years... and, some more recently.  She says her budget includes a significant amount in additional recovery funds... totaling $2-billion to help landlords and tenants, and hard hit small businesses.  Hochul adds that the $1.2-billion tax cut that she proposed in her State of the State Address will put the money back into the pockets of 6-million middle class New Yorkers.  She says there will also be a $2-billion tax rebate for more than 2-million middle class home owners.  As for education... Hochul says she's proposing a record $31-billion in total state aid for schools in New York state.  The legislature must approve a budget by Apr. 1.


Borrello calls Hochul's budget message "encouraging..." but, still concerned about spending...
The region's state Senator says he's "encouraged" that Governor Hochul's proposed budget doesn’t rely on new taxes or fees and includes some initiatives that would benefit middle-class taxpayers.  Sunset Bay Republican George Borrello he's also pleased to see that she will accelerate the income tax cuts authored a few years ago by the former Senate GOP majority... and will now begin next year.  However, Borrello says he would like to see some of the mandates put on county governments relaxed.  He adds that small businesses are continuing to stuggle to recover.  He says while Hochul has proposed modest small business relief, the best way the state can help is by directing billions in unspent federal aid to ease the crushing unemployment insurance tax rates the state has levied on small employers to replenish the depleted fund. 


Hochul says COVID-19 numbers starting to trend in right direction, with omicron effect waning...
Governor Kathy Hochul says the trends of recent days look positive that New York may soon be able to "close the book" on the Winter Surge of COVID-19 cases... fueled by the omicron variant.  As she began her budget presentation Tuesday morning... Hochul noted that the number of new cases over the past 11 days had fallen from just over 90,000 on Jan. 7, to 22,312 on Monday.  She says that's a 75% drop... which she called "incredible."  She adds the positivity rate is now down to just over 12%... an 11-point drop in the seven-day infection rate from the Winter high reported on Jan. 2.  Chautauqua County will release it's weekly COVID numbers today.  Last week... the county reported it's highest figures of the pandemic with 1,855 cases reported from Jan. 2-8.


Jamestown-area gasoline prices remain steady past week... 
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area remain stable this week... though the price of regular, unleaded fuel rose a penny over the past week.  The AAA East Central's Gas Price Report says this weeks local price remains $3.53 a gallon, which is $1.03 more than last year at this time.  Nationally... AAA says prices increased by a penny to $3.31 per gallon, driven primarily by the cost of crude oil which has vaulted over $80-dollars a barrel.  Officials say the main reason for that increase is the perception that the COVID-19 omicron variant may ebb... allowing the world’s economic engines to kick into high gear.  The potential increase in oil demand, coupled with lagging crude production, will only increase prices.  Since the price of oil accounts for roughly half of what consumers pay at the pump... this will likely result in higher gas prices.


NYS appears ready to pass New Jersey as number one in mobile sports betting...
New York likely surpassed New Jersey for the top spot in the U.S. sports betting market during the first two weekends mobile bets were offered.  That's according to a company that most of the legal U.S. sports betting industry uses to verify that its customers are where they say they are.  GeoComply Solutions recorded 17.9 million transactions last weekend in New York, up from 17.2 million the weekend before.  The data records the amount of times the company was called on to verify a customer's location.  It's considered a good indicator for at least a minimum level of sports betting activity.  New Jersey's level of activity also increased over that same period, but trailed New York.


DiBlasio not running for governor...
Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will not be running for governor.  On Tuesday, he ended months of speculation by announcing he would not enter the Democratic primary in which Governor Kathy Hochul already has a commanding start, having locked up endorsements and fundraising.  De Blasio left office at the end of 2021 after eight years of mayor of the largest city in the country.  He had been hinting for months about a 2022 run for governor... but, said on Twitter that he would instead devote himself to fighting inequality in New York. 


  


 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Jan. 18, 2022

Rolison indicted on three additional charges of Felony weapons possession...
The investigation into the fatal, New Year's Eve hit and run accident on Jamestown's northside has resulted in additional charges against the driver.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says 58 year-old Randal Rolison of Jamestown has been additionally charged with three counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon after he was found to have three unregistered handguns in a storage unit in the town of Busti.  A Chautauqua County Grand Jury handed up the indictments... and, Rolison was arraigned this morning in county court.  With the help of the District Attorney's office... JPD investigators got a search warrant for the storage unit on Jan. 7, and, executed that warrant later that day with the assistance of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force, the county Sheriff’s Department, Lakewood-Busti Police, and the FBI.  During the search, the three handguns were found.  The investigation is continuing and additional charges are possible pending additional follow-up.  Rolison is accused of hitting and killing 15 year-old Alexis Hughan with his 18 wheel car carrier... at West Sixth and Washington Streets -- and, driving off from the scene.


Jamestown area receives about a foot of snow from nor'easter; northern parts of WNY get the most...
The National Weather Service kept a Winter Weather Advisory in effect for much of Western New York -- including Chautauqua County -- until late this morning.  That after parts of the region reported upwards of two-feet of snow since late Sunday night.  The highest totals were to the north of Buffalo... with a report of 22 inches in Lockport.  However... there were some pretty impressive amounts in the Jamestown-area as of 5 p.m. last night.  Jamestown reported 10 inches of snow... while Falconer had 10.3-inches.  Ashville reported 11-and-a-half inches.  The highest total in the county was in Silver Creek... which reported 15.5-inches of the white stuff.


Wendel takes part in Lakewood Polar Plunge to raise money for veteran's Dwyer program...
On the coldest day of the season so far... several community leaders were among those who took page in a polar plunge held at Lakewood Beach on Chautauqua Lake last Saturday.  County Executive P.J. Wendel was among those who participated in the fundraiser for the Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Program.  Wendel says it was the first time he took part in such an event.  But, he says organizer Brad Barmore encouraged him to take part and he says it was a "great event."  More than $6,000 was raised by the effort.  About 300 jackets and other winter gear were collected for Community Helping Hands. 


Whitaker says JPS in "pretty good shape" right now for COVID testing kits...
The Jamestown Public Schools are in "pretty good shape" right now with COVID-19 test kits for students and others in the district who may need one to stay in school, or be put into quarantine.  That from School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker... who recently told our Dennis Webster that the district recently received it's first shipment of those tests from New York state.  Whitaker urges parents who need those "at-home" tests to get them at your child's school, and the other is to be able to continue in school testing, they need the parents to grant them consent.  Whitaker says there is a written consent form that parents can fill out... and, then return to school for officials to sign-off on.  He says that allows what's called "bi-nax to stay..." where a student may have COVID like syptoms, and needs to be tested to stay.  Whitaker says that's not what's been called "test to stay."  In that case... the student would have to have been a "close contact" to someone with COVID in school... but, is asymptomatic.  Under "test to stay..." if the student tests positive for COVID... they would then have to stay away from school for five days.  They would then have to have a negative COVID test on the fifth-day in order to return to class.  For more information... contact your child's school.


Two men arrested for alleged break-in at Cassadaga business last Sunday...
Two Buffalo-area men have been arrested for allegedly breaking into a Cassadaga business early last Sunday morning.  Sheriff's officers say they responded to an alarm at the 8038 Rt. 60 location just before 1 a.m., and, found the business had been broken into on arrival.  A storm time later... deputies say Fredonia police made a traffic stop on a vehicle... and, their investigation showed those inside the vehicle were involved in the burglary.  Officers charged 22 year-old Damion Hill of Buffalo... and, 24 year-old Mackenzie Briggs of Tonawanda with third-degree burglary... second-degree criminal mischief... and, petty larceny.  Both men were taken to the Chautauqua County Jail for Centralized Arraignment.


Ewer announces she's leaving Chautauqua County 4-H at end of the month...
Cornell Cooperative Extension in Chautauqua County will soon be looking for a new Four-H educator.  Kate Ewer, who's held that position for the last six years, will leave at the end of January.  Ewer is recently married, and has relocated to Pittsfield, Pa., and the commute makes the job difficult.  She adds that it's also time for a change for the organization.  Having grown up in Four-H, Ewer says it's not an easy organization to leave with all the friendships and other relationships she's had through the job.  She'll be taking a job with Northern Pennsylvania Regional College.  The search for a new Four-H Educator for Chautauqua County will begin soon.  Extension's Executive Director, Emily Reynolds, a former Four-H educator, will fill in in the meantime.

 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Jan. 17, 2022

WNY -- including Chautauqua County -- remain under Winter Storm Warning until 10 p.m. tonight...
All of Western New York -- including Chautauqua County -- remain under a Winter Storm Warning through 10 p.m. tonight after a nor-easter brought high winds and ice.  The National Weather Service says we are under that warning until 10 o'clock tonight and the immediate Jamestown-area was looking for at least a foot of the white stuff before easing up later this morning.  That from Forecaster David Thomas with the weather service's Buffalo office... who says the higher totals will be off to the north and west.  He says the immediate Jamestown-area is looking at between 15 and 18 inches of snow.  Thomas says snow from this nor-easter was more granular... and, accumulates quickly.  He says we could see several inches of lake effect tonight into Tuesday from Lakes Erie and Huron.  Thomas says temperatures will remain below freezing... and, the winds will be enough to cause blowing and drifting snow.  


City officer hurt during struggle with "out of control" patient at UPMC Chautauqua...
A Jamestown police officer had to be treated for serious injuries after police were called to deal with an "out-of-control" patient at Jamestown's UPMC Chautauqua Hospital last Friday night.  City police were called to the scene shortly before 6 p.m., and, tried to de-escalate the situation by talking to the unidentified subject.  However... the patient tried to punch one officer in the face... and, a struggle ensued.  During that time... an officer was hurt and had to receive immediate medical treatment.  The policeman was treated and later released.  The suspect faces charges of second-degree assault, and second-degree obstruction of governmental administration.


City police arrest man involved in domestic scuffle in front of JPD Station...
A city man had to be restrained... then arrested last Friday following a disturbance in front of the Jamestown Police Station on East Second Street.  City police were alerted by one of the victim's children when they came in to the headquarter's reception area shortly before 5 p.m.  Officers responded... and, found several people holding back 30 year-old Roy Mitchell, Jr., who was trying to get at a female victim at the scene.  Police say the situation began at a southside home when the woman and her four children tried to get out of the house.  Officers say Mitchell then climbed into the woman's car.. and, continued the argument until the victim drove to -- and stopped in front of the police station.  He is charged with four counts of endangering the welfare of a child.


County officials "very optimistic" about ImmunityBio's move into Athenex facility...
Chautauqua County officials say they're "very optimistic" about ImmunityBio's takeover of the Athenex facility in the town of Dunkirk after having conversations with company officials last week.  That from County Executive P.J. Wendel, who was on the call with the California-based immunotherapy company, regarding it's acquisition of the facility on Route 5.  Wendel says ImmunityBio will honor and take on every commitment that Athenex made with the community and New York State.  He says prospects moving forward look very promising.  Wendel also says the county does not see any issues with the takeover, noting that New York state would likely have been notified of any changes in stipulations.  Athenex originally had commited to having the facility up and running with several hundred employees once operations were fully-underway.  ImmunityBio announced the acquisition of the Athenex plant last Wednesday.


Omicron numbers rising in NYS, and U.S. nursing homes...
COVID-19 infections are soaring again at U.S. nursing homes because of the omicron wave... and, deaths are climbing too.  That's leading to new restrictions on family visits... and, a renewed push to get more residents and staff members vaccinated and boosted. Nursing homes were the lethal epicenter of the pandemic early on, before the advent of the vaccines allowed many of them to reopen and welcome visitors again.  Now the highly contagious variant has dealt them a setback.  Nursing homes reported about 32,000 COVID-19 cases among residents in the week ending Jan. 9... a nearly seven-fold increase from about a month ago.  A total of 645 COVID-19-related deaths were reported during the same week, a 47% increase from a month earlier.


Man from Brocton arrested for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle...
A Brocton man is accused of taking another person's car in the village... while they were sleeping... early last Friday night.  Sheriff's officers say 40 year-old Edward Tirado, Jr. drove off with the vehicle shortly before 6 p.m., and, the vehicle was spotted on Lake Avenue a short time later.  Deputies conducted a traffic stop... and, arrested Tirado for third-degree unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.  He was issued appearance tickets for Portland Town Court at a later date.


Challenges to 2020 U.S. Census figures now being accepted...
The U.S. Census Bureau has begun accepting challenges from states, cities and tribal nations that want to contest the results of the 2020 census.  The count was one of the most difficult in recent memory due to the pandemic, political interference from the Trump administration, hurricanes and wildfires.  Governors, mayors and tribal leaders can ask the agency to review the people and housing unit counts in their jurisdictions for possible mistakes under the Count Question Resolution program.  The Census Bureau started accepting applications at the beginning of the new year.  Leaders have through June 2023 to file an application.

WJTN News Headlines from Fri., Jan. 14, 2022

UPDATE: Jamestown-area to get foot of snow from nor-easter Sunday night into Monday morning...
After this past Friday and Saturday's blast of sup-zero wind chills... a second weather threat moves in tonight.  Forecaster David Thomas with the National Weather Service says a nor'easter will be moving in from the south... and, the precise track will bring a general snowfall of 10 to 18 inches of snow in the Jamestown-area.  In addition, another 4 to 8 inches could fall Monday night at Lake Effect returns to the region.  All said... Thomas says some places in the region may wind up with about two feet of snow by Tuesday morning.


County Epidemiologist urges residents to stay vigliant, and contact trace if you get a positive COVID-19 test...
Since the Chautauqua County Health Department is no longer providing contact tracing... it's up to local residents who test positive for COVID-19 to follow the guidelines.  That from Epidemiologist Bree Agett with the County Health Department... who says once you find out you have tested positive, contact any close contacts about getting tested.  Governor Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday that the state will leave it up to counties whether to do contact tracing... due to the dramatic spike in case numbers.  Hochul says those have been averaging 12,000 a day in recent days state-wide.  Agett says with the local surge in cases, she's encouraging both the unvaccinated and vaccinated, to take precautions... including getting vaccinated and boosted... staying at home if you are sick.  You should also wear a mask when in public, indoor places, and avoid large, close gatherings.  The county reported over 1,800 new cases of the virus during the week of January 2-8... and the seven day rate of infection jumped to 20.5%.


BPU dealing with lack of compliance with garbage collection rules, and some being left at the curb...
A "perfect storm" of sorts has caused some beginning-of-the-year problems for garbage collection by the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities.  Dr. James Scarpino says it's been a major topic of conversation at his dental practice lately... especially with the BPU now enforcing it's rules of using their containers... and, making sure the container lids are closed.  During this week's city council meeting... Scarpino told lawmakers that a lot of trash has not been picked up since the start of the new year.  Scarpino says he estimates that about 30% to 40% of containers in the city were not taken because the lid didn't shut completely.  BPU and city officials say customers whose trash was not collected were to have gotten a sticker that explained why their garbage was not collected... and, how to get it collected going forward.  BPU General Manager Dave Leathers did apologize for any confusion caused by the change... but, did point out that the move had been in the works for a while now.  Leathers says it's in the city code... and, adds the big reason is employee safety... because there are often sharp objects inside those bags.  He says the need for people to put their garbage bags in the BPU containers was first high-lighted during their container distribution last May and June.  For more information... check your latest BPU Newsletter... or call the BPU's garbage hot-line.


Chautauqua County receives $2-million HUD grant...
Chautauqua County is receiving a $2-million federal grant to help protect children and families from home health hazards... including lead.  The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Thursday announced it has awarded just under $105-million to 60 non-profit organizations, and state and local government agencies located in 29 states.  In New York state... HUD also awarded a $1.6-million grant to the Seneca Nation of Indians.  The department says the grants will protect children and families with incomes at or below 80-percent of the area median income level by targeting significant lead and health hazards in over 7,400 low-income homes for which other resources are not available.  HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge says "by providing these grants, HUD makes it clear that ensuring healthy and safe homes for communities across our nation is a priority."


NYSDOT official makes Route 60 project presentation...
North county residents got a chance on Wednesday to learn about the New York State Department of Transportation's proposed highway improvement project for a stretch of Route 60 in the Town of Pomfret.  DOT Regional Spokesperson Susan Surdej spoke at an informational meeting held at the Fredonia Opera House.  Surdej says the $5.4-million project will involve the widening of Route 60 between Routes 83 and 20... and installing a center left-turn lane in an attempt to reduce the number of accidents there.  Surdej says it should allow "thru-traffic" to flow better in both directions in that area.  Surdej says the project will also involve drainage improvements, lengthening culverts, and adding sidewalk near the roundabout at Route 20.  The project is currently in the preliminary design stage, with approval anticipated in February. 


  

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Jan. 13, 2022

No one hurt in Ripley house fire overnight...
Firefighters from multiple departments were called out to a house fire in Ripley early Thursday morning.  The fire on Loomis Street was first reported around 2:30 a.m.  Chautauqua County Emergency Dispatchers say Ripley received mutual aid from Westfield, Sherman and Crescent Hose Company from North East, Pennsylvania.  There were no injuries were reported.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.


County epidemiologist reports sharp spike in new COVID-19 cases...
The Chautauqua County Health Department's epidemiologist says we have never seen case rates this high since the start of the pandemic.  That from Bree Agatt who says the previous peak occurred in early Jan. 2021... at which time they were seeing 124 cases per day on average.  This past week, it was 265 cases per day.  There were 1,855 new cases reported for the period Jan. 2-8.  While 1,384 were currently active... she adds that only 28 people were hospitalized locally.  Agatt says the county has not received any official word about the Omicron variant, but people should assume its here.  She says, based on the local case numbers, people should understand it's here.  While she "doesn't have a crystal ball..." Agatt feels the county is not near the peak and the numbers will continue to climb.  She encourages residents to wash their hands, wear a well-fitting mask and to get vaccinated and boosted.


Pediatric COVID Cases jump, in part due to low vaccination rates...
Distrust, misinformation and other factors have combined to produce what authorities say are alarmingly low COVID-19 vaccination rates in U.S. children ages 5 to 11.  As of Tuesday... just over 17% of these youngsters were fully vaccinated, more than two months after shots for them became available.  There was a pre-holiday surge after the shots were introduced last fall, but the numbers have crept up slowly since then, and omicron's out-of-control spread appears to have had little effect.  One doctor says the low rates and rising hospitalizations among children are a "gut punch."


County officials hope to learn more today on Athenex plant acquistion by ImmunityBio...
Local officials hope to learn more soon about a Los Angeles, CA-area company's acquisition of global pharmaceutical company Athenex's Dunkirk plant in the coming days.  ImmunityBio, Inc. announced the agreement to lease the 409-thousand square foot biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility located in the town of Dunkirk Wednesday.  Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel says there will be a conference call today with company officials.  Wendel says "on the surface, it looks like a great opportunity."  Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas also believes the acquisition will benefit the local area... and will have a positive regional impact as well.  In making the announcement... ImmunityBio expects the transaction to close in the first quarter of this year.  Preliminary plans call for the company to produce COVID-19 vaccines.


City man escapes serious injury after being hit by car...
A Jamestown man escaped serious injury after he walked in front of a car in the downtown area... and, was struck early Tuesday night.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Harrison Street shortly after 6 p.m., and, spoke with the driver of the vehicle -- 27 year-old Heather Chamberlin of Jamestown -- who said she was traveling on Harrison when the man walked out in front of her.  The man, identified as 53 year old Michael Szczepanski, was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.  Chamberlin was not charged.


JPD now believes missing man's disappearance resulted from foul play, more reward money put up to find Kevin Hornburg...
A $2,500 reward is now being offered for information about a Jamestown man who's been missing since just before Thanksgiving of last year.  The reward is being announced by Crimestoppers of Western New York for 57 year-old Kevin Hornburg... who was last seen leaving his home at 629 Prendergast Ave. about 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 21 of 2021.  Police also say that foul play is suspected in Hornburg's disappearance.  Kevin Hornburg is a white male... about 5-foot-8 inches tall and weighs about 150 pounds.  Family and friends have been circulating a poster with his photo around the area... and, they are also offering a reward.  Anyone with information on Kevin Hornburg's whereabouts or knows who's responsible for his disappearance can contact the Jamestown Police Department at 716-483-7537.  You can also leave an anonymous tip on the JPD Anonymous Tip Line at 716-483-Tips... that's 483-8477. 

 


 

 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Jan. 12, 2022

One-year-old Sherman child dies in fatal, overnight house fire in Sherman...          
A fatal house fire in the village of Sherman has claimed the life of a one-year old toddler.  Chautauqua County fire investigators say the blaze, at 157 West Main St., broke out shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday... and Sherman fire crews were called to the scene, along with several other mutual aid companies.  Investigators say two other children were taken to UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie, PA for treatment of burns.  Fire investigators say the blaze remains under investigation.  It was the second fatal house fire in Chautauqua County within the past day.


Fredonia woman identified as victim in Tuesday fatal house fire...
A Fredonia woman died in Tuesday morning's serious fire that destroyed an apartment house in the village of Fredonia.  Fredonia firefighters were joined by several other departments at the scene at 111 Center St. in the village.  Acting Fire Chief Kurt Maytum says the house was fully-engulfed in flames when crews reached the scene around 6 a.m., and, adds they had water issues due to the frigid temperatures.  Maytum says all the hydrants in the immediate area were frozen... so tankers were called in from several mutual aid companies.  He says the upstairs tenants were able to escape safely.  However... one of the downstairs occupants... 70 year-old Patricia Ulkins... was unable to get out of the house.  Fire officials say the other downstairs occupant was able to escape with minor injuries.  They add it appears the fire originated on the first floor near the center of the house.  No cause has been determined... but, investigators say it appears accidental.


Green retiring as Chautauqua County Democratic Chairman...
The man who has led the Chautauqua County Democratic Party for nearly the past decade has decided to retire.  DeWittville's Norm Green... who has been involved in party politics for several decades... was most recently the party's candidate for County Executive.  However... it was a tough year for county Democrats.  Green says it's become more difficult for Democrats to win races in rural areas... while mainly urban areas are "blue."  Green did talk about the successes of the past decade... noting that about four dozen Democrats have been elected during that time in the county... including Mayor's Willie Rosas in Dunkirk, and Eddie Sundquist in Jamestown.  He adds that Doug Essek was recently elected in the village of Fredonia.  However... both Green and County Clerk candidate David Salley were soundly defeated in last November's elections.  Mayor Rosas, the Executive Committee's vice chair, will become acting chairman.


County reports highest weekly total yet of COVID-19 cases...
As with the rest of the nation and New York State... Chautauqua County saw record number of new COVID-19 cases during the week of January 2--8.  The county's Health Department reports 1,855 cases during that time period... but, there are still a relatively small number of hospitalizations.  Officials say... of the 1,384 active cases... only 28 were hospitalized.  They say there were three deaths... bringing that total to 286 since the pandemic began.  The Health Department says the most new cases were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code...with 449.  There are now 19,465 recovered cases... and, the seven-day rate of infection is 20.5 percent.


Bassett says local health departments no longer need to contact trace...
State health officials say New York will no longer require local health departments to conduct contact tracing for people who test positive for COVID-19.  Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said Tuesday the shift will help public health staff across New York focus on testing and vaccination.  Bassett says it's a change towards "self-management."  Bassett says "clear guidance" was forthcoming.  She says the information on what to do if you find out you were a close contact with a positive case... they have a website -- starting today -- at ny.gov/isolation.  They also have another at ny.gov/quarantine.    Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul added that the spike in COVID-19 cases complicates contact tracing. 


Salvation Army of Jamestown reports Red Kettle success...
The Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign in Jamestown exceeded its goal for 2021.  Major Kim Merchant announced the total yesterday morning on WJTN.  She says they received nearly $134,000 and their goal was $115,000.  Merchant says it was a "nail-bitting season for us" because some big donors helped much at the end.  She say COVID-19 and fewer bell ringers made it a 'foreboding' task.  She says the Shults Auto Group donated $10,000... and other organizations also increased their giving.  In addition... she also expressed appreciation to two anonymous donors who put up a $40,000 match early on in the campaign. 


State to end eviction moratorium at end of this week...
New York state will let its eviction and foreclosure moratorium expire at the end of the week, but will once again let people apply for eviction protection and rent relief.  Governor Kathy Hochul also said at Tuesday's press conference that she's having conversations with the Legislature on what to do once the eviction ban ends Saturday.  In addition... New Yorkers can now again apply for rental relief and temporary protection from eviction.  That's even as the state doesn't have enough money to help them, absent more federal aid.  Applicants get protection from eviction while the state reviews their application. 
 

WJTN News for Tues., Jan. 11, 2022

One person unaccounted for in early morning house fire in Fredonia...
All but one person has been accounted for after a fully-involved blaze destroyed a house in the village of Fredonia.  Firefighters from Fredonia and several other departments responded to the fire at 111 Center St. in the village about 6 a.m.  Acting Fire Chief Kurt Maytum says the house was fully-engulfed in flames when crews reached the scene... and, adds that crews were hampered by frozen hydrants, and several surrounding departments responded with tankers.  Maytum says they were awaiting confirmation that there may have been a fatality involved.  The Chautauqua County Fire Investigation team was assisting at the scene.  Fredonia received mutual aid from the city of Dunkirk, Brocton, East and West Dunkirk, Sheridan, Stockton, Chautauqua County EMS and the rehab trailer from Ellery Center. 


Sundquist announces city COVID-19 test kit distributions...
Jamestown residents will have access to 500 free COVID-19 test kits that will be distributed starting this Wednesday afternoon at five different locations.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist announced the distribution during last night's City Council work session... noting the kits are being provided through Chautauqua County.  Sundquist says the county has received the rapid test kits from the New York state Department of Homeland Security.  He adds the the school district, congregate settings and others have already received some allotments.  Sundquist says residents can walk, or drive up to each of the five distribution sites... which will start off at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Prendergast Library.  He says the second will be at Jamestown Community College from Wednesday from 3 to 4 p.m., and, the third will be at Persell Middle School at the Baker Street Bus Loop from 5 to 6 p.m.  On Thursday... Christ First United Methodist Church will have one from 3 to 4 p.m., and, the last will be at the former Allen Park Ice Rink from 5 to 6 p.m.


COVID-19 having staffing impact on city government and services...
The omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly through-out the Jamestown-area... and, is also affecting many areas of city government.  That from Mayor Sundquist... who says three departments in particular are struggling to have enough staff on duty.  They include: the Public Works department... and, the police and fire departments.  Public Safety Committee Chairman Brent Sheldon says the police department already had four vacant positions... and, six members are out with COVID.  Sheldon says JPD Chief Tim Jackson is looking hard for candidates.  Sheldon says there are two that live in the city they believe will pan out... and, there are others in the list, but, it's unclear if they've attended the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Academy.  Sundquist says the city is doing it's best to make sure shifts are covered... and, some overtime is being expended.  


City Council Finance Committee approves five new projects, purchases with $605,000 in ARPA funds...
City lawmakers will vote later this month on just over 600-thousand dollars more in American Rescue Plan Act funds for city projects and equipment.  Council Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says her panel approved five resolutions... including using $110,000 to put a new roof on Jamestown Fire Station-#4 at 110 Allen St.  Ecklund says another is for $210,000 to buy 60 new, portable radios for the police department.  Ecklund says the largest amount to be used with this batch of projects is $237,000 to put a new roof on the Parks Department's Building at 115 East Fairmount Ave.  In addition... $48,000 will be used for repairs to Russell E. Diethrick Park... and $10,000 will be used to purchase new Knox Boxes for the fire department. 


Fredonia mayor says Price has the right experience to lead police department...
Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek says the village's new police chief brings a wealth of knowledge to the position.  Last week... village trustees rescinded the appointment of Joe Gerace as police chief, before appointing Sgt. David Price to the position.  Essek says Gerace was a provisional appointment by the previous board, and had not taken the Civil Service exam.  He says Price was on the current civil service list, and the new board wanted to go with someone "from within."  Essek says Price is a veteran of the department and should do well in his new role.  He says Price was an officer and sergeant with Fredonia Police for 29 years... and, was also a member of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task for a time.  The village board includes four new trustees.


Borrello disappointed with vote by IRC on new redistricting maps...
The New York State Independent Redistricting Commission was unable to come to a final agreement on a single set of redrawn congressional and legislative redistricting maps.  Last week's 5-to-5 vote along party lines means that the State Legislature will vote on two different sets of maps.  State Senator George Borrello says he is disappointed in the vote, which he believes was "orchestrated."  Borrello says the two maps, at least, don't differ too much on how they deal with the Southern Tier region.  If the legislature cannot approve a plan... the IRC can present new maps for a vote.  Borrello says if the second vote fails, then the Democratic-controlled legislature can draw its own maps due to a measure that was signed into law last year.

WJTN News Headlines for Mon. Jan. 10, 2022

Two arrested by Jamestown police on gun and drug charges during traffic stop...
Two people -- one from Jamestown -- have been arrested for allegedly being found in possesion of a loaded handgun and drugs during a weekend traffic stop.  Jamestown Police conducted the traffic stop in the area of Allen and Scioto Streets just after 5 p.m. Saturday for a number of infractions.  Officers say further investigation found the passenger, identified as 38 year-old Desiray Corrigan, was wanted on several city court warrants.  She was also allegedly found in possession of a quantity of Fentanyl, and was arrested without incident.  Police say the driver, 44 year-old Abubaker Osmun of Buffalo, was found in possession of the 9-millimeter handgun.  Osmun is charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and aggravated unlicensed operation... while Corrigan is charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Both were jailed pending arraignment.


Sheriff's Department warns about new telephone scam...
The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office is warning residents about a recent telephone scam in which a caller identifies themself as a Medicare employee... and, says they are seeking to upgrade your Medicare card.  The department says do not entertain any calls of this nature as its a type of phone solicitation and potential fraud or scam.  If you should get one of these calls hang up and don't entertain the call.  There is no reason to immediately call the authorities upon getting one of these calls as there is nothing the police can do.  However... Sheriff's officials say if you are a victim of such a call, and suffered a theft then please report that to your local police.


Whitaker says JPS District likely to see post Holiday COVID uptick this week; test kits now in the hands of student families...
The full impact of the COVID-19 Omicron variant during the Christmas-New Year's holiday period is likely to be seen this week in the Jamestown Public Schools.  That from School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker... who says the district began distributing test kits containing two tests each this past week.  Whitaker says -- initially -- they hoped to have the kits in parents' hands before returning from the break.  Now... there are two instances where they should be tested.  One is if their child is sick and or showing symptoms.  He adds that if a positive result comes back, contact those people who were in close contact so they can be tested and follow proper protocols.  Whitaker says that allows those close contacts to also be tested.  He says the other variable is the "test to stay" initiative recently announced by Governor Kathy Hochul that would allow close contacts to be tested immediately in school.  However... Whitaker says they need more test kits to do that... and, said late last week that they had not seen a spike in cases in students or staff when they returned to school a week ago. 


Hochul says NYS will be requiring health care workers get COVID Booster shots...
New York is joining a handful of states in requiring health care workers to get a COVID-19 booster shot.  Governor Kathy Hochul said last Friday that she was expanding on a vaccine mandate she instituted last fall requiring health care workers to get vaccinated because too many breakthrough infections were being reported among health care workers.  Hochul says those workers need "the best fortification they possibly can" while taking care of vulnerable people and that means having a booster shot.  She said under the new order, health care workers will be required to get their shots within two weeks of becoming eligible for a booster.


Hochul addressed population loss in NYS during State of State Address...
Governor Kathy Hochul is acknowledging that New York lost 300,000 residents over the past year... and, is offering several proposals geared toward stemming the migration from the state.  During her first State of the State Address last week... Hochul spoke about the population loss... and, urged those who have left to return for the renaissance.  She also pledged to make New York the most "business and worker-friendly state" in the U.S., including for farms and other agri-businesses... including a tax credit for overtime hours they are paying, and the extension and doubling of the Farm Credit Workforce Retention Act.  Hochul also outlined measures to help small businesses... in particular restaurants... which have been hard hit by the pandemic.  She says her plan to "redefine ourselves" will involve the use of the State University... and, City University of New York to prepare the workforce of tomorrow.  Her 35-minute address has been generally well-received... but, criticized for lack of specifics.


City pleads guilty to federal drug charges...
A Jamestown man faces up to life in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring and trafficking drugs... including Fentanyl... in the area.  U-S Attorney Trini Ross announced late Friday that 28 year-old Jun Martinez pled guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 100 grams or more of acetyl fentanyl; 400 grams or more of fentanyl; 50 grams or more of methamphetamine; and 500 grams or more of cocaine.  During a trip in September of 2020 to acquire more drugs... Ross says Martinez’s vehicle was stopped by an Illinois State Police Trooper.  She says a search of the vehicle resulted in the seizure of approximately 9,589 grams of methamphetamine, 3,157 grams of fentanyl, 2,241 grams of cocaine, and marijuana products.  The following month... police also found meth, a drug ledger, and large amount of cash during a raid on Martinez’s Wescott Street home.

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Jan. 7, 2022

Structure fire in North Harmony blamed on ceiling fan overheating... 
Several fire departments were called to the scene of a major fire in a large residential building in the town of North Harmony late this morning.  Chautauqua County Fire dispatchers say Ashville firefighers were called to the scene on Old Bridge Rd. -- near the Bemus Point-Stow Ferry -- just before 10 a.m.  They were joined at the scene by Bemus Point, Chautauqua, Lakewood, and Sherman Firefighters.  No injuries were reported.  County fire investigators say the blaze originated in the bathroom ceiling due to an overheated exhaust fan and heater.  The residence was unoccupied at the time of the fire.


Reed in Falconer touts $1.2-trillion Infrastructure Bill...
Final passage of the $1.2-trillion federal infrastructure bill was the culminiation of 10 years of work for local Congressman Tom Reed.  Reed held a press conference with county and local officials in Falconer Thursday morning to tout the bi-partisan measure that he supported... even though he says his support was opposed by some of his own constituents.  Reed says he was "very proud" of the final product... and, says we'll see results here in Chautauqua County.  The Corning Republican says the bi-partisan measure will provide real relief for rural areas like Chautauqua County.  County Executive P.J. Wendel expressed his appreciation to Reed for passing a measure that will help rebuild local roads, bridges and culverts.  He says another key aspect will be funding to help complete sewer and water projects around Chautauqua Lake... allowing for new development of hotels, conference centers and others.  Reed says New York state is receiving $170-billion of the infrastructure funding.  He especially cited the efforts of U-S Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia for helping to make sure that monies go to rural areas across the country.


Reed says he still has serious concerns about the country on anniversary of Jan. 6th Capitol riots...
Chautauqua County's congressman says he's still concerned about a "deeply divided country" as the nation remembers the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol.  The attempted insurrection by pro-Trump supporters and right-wing group members shattered the sense of security that many had long felt at the Capitol as rioters forcefully delayed the certification of President Joe Biden's election victory.  Reed called it the "darkest day" of his Congressional career.  He says to "see fellow citizens feel it was appropriate to do (what they did) was just deplorable, and it's something I strongly condemn."  Reed was not inside the Capitol at the time... but, was with staff in his office across the street.  Later that night... after the attacks... Congress voted to certify the election... and, Reed and Problem Solver's Caucus Co-Chair, Democrat Josh Gottheimer... spoke to bring some unity and civility to the chamber.  He emphasized using "this one year anniversary to recommit to that message of unifying our country and healing the wounds of divisiveness.  We must reject extremism on both sides because we are a stronger country when we work together and celebrate our common bonds." 


Borrello says Hochul's State of the State Address was good and to the point, but lacking in specifics....
A state lawmaker from Chautauqua County believes Governor Kathy Hochul's State of the State Address did not include enough specifics.  Reacting to Hochul's speech on Wednesday... State Senator George Borrello says he liked some of the concepts she presented, but said there were "very little" specifics.  Borrello says she talked about improving workforce development, and public safety... and, helping small businesses and farmers. He says Hochul's plan to increase the state's health care workforce by 20% over five years is a "lofty goal," but believes it won't be achieved unless previously enacted policies, such as the state's vaccine mandate for health care workers, are reversed... including getting people getting licensed in the state.  He says costs have also been an issue.  Borrello adds, "What I largely heard were plans to continue the same approach -- appeasing special interests while overlooking the need to restore public safety -- support our overburdened middle class and build a stronger economy."


While Albany County DA wants case dismissed, Cuomo will have to appear virtually in court today...
Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will be required to appear virtually for a court session Friday as a judge considers a prosecutor's request to dismiss a fondling case against him.  Albany County District Attorney David Soares asked Judge Holly Trexler on Tuesday to dismiss the misdemeanor complaint, just three days before Cuomo's scheduled arraignment.  Trexler notified prosecution and defense lawyers Thursday they will be required to appear virtually on Friday, along with Cuomo.  Cuomo has denied the charge.


Four north county districts close Thursday, and again today, along with a few in Jamestown-area...
Several Jamestown-area schools are closed today as Lake Effect Snow hits the region today, through tomorrow morning.  Yesterday... four northern Chautauqua County district's closed due to staffing shortages due to COVID... and, heavy lake effect snow along the Lake Erie shoreline into Buffalo.  Two of those were the Dunkirk City Schools, and Fredonia Central School... which cancelled school... along with Northern Chautauqua Catholic School.  Dunkirk School Superintendent Mike Mansfield they were initially looking to stay open... but, added they had some workers who live in the area that was hit hard, and they decided to close.  In addition... the Silver Creek and Lakeshore Central Districts were also closed Thursday.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Jan. 6, 2022

Charge upgraded against driver of car hauler that struck and killed Jamestown teen...
The driver of the 18-wheel car carrier that struck and killed a Jamestown teenager early last Friday afternoon has now been charged with leaving the scene of an incident involving a death.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says additional information was obtained in the on-going investigation that led to the new, and upgraded charge... which is a Class-D Felony.  Samuelson says JPD worked with the Chautauqua County District Attorney's Office in determining the new charge against 58 year-old Randall Rolison of Jamestown.  Rolison also faces a charge of driving while ability impaired by drugs after his hauler struck and killed 15 year-old Alexis Hughan at the intersection of West Sixth and Washington Streets.  A preliminary hearing was held Wednesday in City Court... where Rolison was ordered to be held over for Grand Jury action.  He was returned to the county jail without bail.


County Health Department reports sharp increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases for week ending Jan. 1...
The number of new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in Chautauqua County jumped by over 300 for the past week -- ending on New Year's Day last Saturday.  However... because of the holiday weekend, those numbers are expected to continue climbing.  That from Public Health Director Christine Schuyler as the Health Department reported 852 new cases Wednesday... bringing the total to 19,280 cases during the pandemic.  Schuyler implored residents to self-isolate if they find they have the virus for at least five days... and, adds that they will continue to do case investigations "to the best of our ability."  However... Schuyler says they can't get to all of them quickly.  She says if you are found to have the virus... self-isolate for five days.  If your symptoms self-resolve by that time... you can go out into public -- but wear a mask.  She adds you should also socially distance.  The only exception is if you've been fully-vaccinated and boosted.  In that case... you can go about your business... but, wear a mask for 10 days.
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The Health Department is also reporting that there were 12 new deaths the week leading up to New Years... bringing that total to 283.  Officials say 887 cases are currently active... but the number of hospitalizations is down to 24.  There are now 18,110 cases that have recovered. 


Former Westfield health care manager sentenced to jail time, and restitution for stealing nearly $800,000 from local agency... 
A Westfield woman has been sentenced to 18-months in federal prison, and 18 months home detention after being convicted of stealing nearly $800,000 from a local health care agency.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross says 44 year-old Alicia Raynor received the sentence Wednesday in U.S. District Court.  She was also ordered to pay back the money she took while she was business manager for Compassion at Home.  Prosecutors say Raynor opened an account with Intuit... a payroll and payment processing service located outside of New York... and used the accounting software package 'Quickbooks' to make payments into the Intuit account.  Raynor then diverted money from Compassion at Home’s bank accounts to accounts that she controlled.  Between August 2015 and June 2016... they say Raynor fraudulently diverted nearly $239,000 from the company’s bank account.  In addition... for the tax years 2013 through 2016... Raynor received $1.2-million in payments from the agency that she did not report as income on her tax returns.  The Internal Revenue Service estimates tax owed for these tax years is $370,000.


Hochul outlines priorities for 2022 during historic State of State Address...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul gave an historic... first State of the State Address Wednesday afternoon... outlining an agenda for an economic comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic and new government investments in health care, housing and renewable energy.  Hochul gave the 35-minute address before a limited, socially distant audience in the Assembly chamber at the state Capitol in Albany.  She says she was "well aware of the significance of this moment.... but, I didn't come here to make history, I came to make a difference."  Among her initiatives, Hochul is proposing a $10-billion plan to grow the state's understaffed health care workforce by 20-percent over the next five years, saying the pandemic worsened long-simmering staffing problems.  With inflation becoming more of a problem... Hochul also proposed speeding up a $1.2-billion dollar, middle-class tax cut that will help get more money in the pockets of 6-million residents.  Hochul's proposals will be put into sharper focus later this month when she presents her first budget.  She became became the state's first female governor when Andrew Cuomo resigned last August. 


Reed applauds panel for calling out Canada breach of USMCA...
Local Congressman Tom Reed is applauding the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement panel's decision to hold Canada accountable to the therms of the USMCA.  The Corning Republican says the panel found that Canada, by administering unfair dairy tariff-rate quotas, breached their commitments under the USMCA.  Reed says "we welcome the decision made by the USMCA panel. We care about our dairy farmers and it is only fair that Canada is held to the full terms of the USMCA trade agreement.  We will always do everything we can to make sure our dairy farmers are treated fairly."  The panel agreed with the U-S that Canada breached the agreement by reserving most of the 'in-quota' quantity in its dairy tariff-rate quotas for the exclusive use of Canadian processors. 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Jan. 4, 2022

City Council President Dolce again elected to head the panel in 2022...
The Jamestown City Council has again named long-time Republican lawmaker Tony Dolce to be council president for the next year.  Lawmakers unanimously approved the Second-Ward representative during last night's re-organizational meeting at City Hall.  Dolce said he was both "honored and humbled" by the selection... and laid out a number of agenda items for 2022.  Topping the list was moving ahead aggressively on use of the city's more than $28-million in American Rescue Plan Act funds... and, focus on the "most important needs we have."  So far... council has only appropriated about $437,000 of those dollars.  However... after dealing with the COVID-19 crisis the past two years... Dolce said they're ready to move forward.  He praised current and past council members for their work during the pandemic by helping struggling, local businesses, enact the state-mandated Police Reform Initiative, and enacted two very difficult budgets.  Dolce says other agenda items include having the Housing Committee move ahead on getting code enforcement and housing court fully back underway... and the Finance Committee working with the City Comptroller to make sure budget, and ARPA funding, is used wisely and prudently.


Dolce announces committee assignments for 2022...
Council President Dolce Monday night also named lawmakers to the council's handful of committees... with one of the new members taking on one chairman's position.  Dolce says he went with both interest and experience in naming At-Large Republican Randy Daversa to head up the Public Works Committee... because he has many years of working with the New York State Department of Transportation.  Daversa will replace outgoing Councilman Tom Nelson as chair of that committee.  The other newcomer, Sixth-Ward Republican Andrew Faulkner, will also be on the Public Works Committee.  Most other committee assignments remain the same:  Republican Kim Ecklund will chair the Finance Committee... Democrat Marie Carrubba will chair the Housing Committee... and, Republican Brent Sheldon will head up the Public Safety Committee.


Sheldon says no decision made yet on filling vacant, Ward-Five seat...
There's still been no decision over how the city council's fifth-ward seat will be filled... but, lawmakers may have a better idea by the end of the week.  City Councilman, and City Republican Chairman Brent Sheldon says the incumbant -- Republican Grant Olson -- had five days to sign his oath of office before the seat would be vacated.  At that point... Sheldon says they can begin looking for someone to fill out 2022.  The committee would then make the recommendation to Mayor Eddie Sundquist, and he would make the appointment.  It would have to be another Republican since Olson won re-election to the seat last November. 


Chagnon again elected as County Legislature chairman...
The man who has led the Chautauqua County Legislature the past two years will again chair the body in the new year.  At Monday's legislature organizational meeting... the panel voted unanimously to elect Ellery Republican Pierre Chagnon as the chairman of the legislature.  Chagnon says it's an honor to again have his fellow lawmakers confidence... and, he says he will continue to do his best to "provide servant leadership."  He also welcomed back two new legislators who served a short time back -- David Wilfong and Martin Proctor.  Both Proctor and Wilfong are Republicans.  Chagnon also noted that there are two new legislators joining the panel... Democrats Susan Parker and Billy Torres.


Erie man wanted for attempted homicide stopped, and arrested in Jamestown...
An Erie, Pennsylvania man has been arrested as a fugitive from justice following a weekend traffic stop in the city of Jamestown.  City Police say they stopped 23 year-old Deshaun Jordan shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday to an alleged violation at Kingbury Street and Hillside Terrace.  Officers say Jordan drove off as they approached... but, he was stopped following a short pursuit at Buffalo Street and Prendergast Avenue when the car went up an over the curb.  Jordan and a passenger then tried to flee on foot... but, they were able to nab Jordan.  He was found to be wanted in Erie for attempted homicide.  The passenger eluded police.  Jordan also faces second-degree obstruction of governmental administration and several traffic violation charges.  He was jailed pending arraignment.


Hochul lays out Winter Surge Plan 2.0... 
Mask requirements are returning in some New York school districts that had dropped them... while some are planning to vastly ramp up COVID-19 testing among students and staff.  In addition... the state has received 5.2-million test kits -- mainly for school districts -- in an effort to keep kids in class as the number of new cases surge.  During a news conference in Rochester Monday morning... Governor Kathy Hochul says she's implemented the state's Winter Surge Plan 2.0... which will involve masking, testing, and increase vaccinations.  Hochul says another 3.7-million kits are on the way to New York right now.  While the number of cases has skyrocketed to 335 per 100,000 people... the governor also wants a more accurate reading of how many people are hospitalized for COVID... or happened to be in the hospital for something else, and during routine testing were found to have it. 


     
 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Jan. 3, 2021

Jamestown teen dies after being struck by car carrier...
A 15 year-old Jamestown school student has been identified as the girl killed when she was struck by an 18-wheel car carrier at a busy intersection on the city's westside.  Jamestown Police were called to the scene at West Sixth and Washington Streets shortly before 12:30 p.m. last Friday after the carrier struck Alexis Hughan as she was crossing West Sith Street.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says the driver of the carrier, 58 year-old Randall Rolison of Jamestown, allegedly drove off from the scene without stopping.  He was later stopped by Lakewood-Busti Police on Fairmount Avenue in Lakewood after a description was broadcast.  Rolison was later charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident.  He was arraigned in city court, and released per New York State Bail Reform statutes.


Fire destroys Ellery barn, but, animals are saved...
Several animals were saved late Sunday morning when fire engulfed a small barn in the town of Ellery.  Ellery Center firefighters were called to the scene on Ellery-Centrailia Road just before 11:30 a.m., and, found heavy fire when they arrived.  However... the owners and some neighbors stopped to successfully get several goats and chickens out from inside.  Ellery Center was joined at the scene by Fluvanna, Sinclairville, Maple Springs, Bemus Point, Gerry, Stockton, Ashville and DeWittville firefighters... and, Chautauqua County EMS.  The county's fire investigation team determined an electrical issue caused the blaze.  No human injuries were reported.


City Council to hold re-organizational meeting tonight...
While the Jamestown City Council's reorganizational meeting will be held tonight at City Hall... two outgoing members bid farewell to the panel at last week's year-end meeting.  Sixth Ward Democrat Tom Nelson was defeated in last November's race by Republican Andrew Faulkner... and, he admitted it was a "tough loss."  However... Nelson says his time on the panel -- overall -- was a positive experience.  He says it's made him more appreciative of what elected, and department leaders deal with every day, and year.  Nelson had chaired the council's Public Works Committee during his time on council.  Also not returning is at-large Democrat Tamu Graham-Reinhardt... who decided not to run for re-election.  She thanked at-large Republican Kim Ecklund for helping her during meetings... and, said it's not an easy job.  Graham-Reinhardt says it requires a lot of communication with fellow leaders, and constituents.  Reinhardt will be replaced on the panel by Republican Randy Daversa... who was elected last November.  Still in question is what will happen with the Ward-Five seat.  Republican Grant Olson was re-elected... but, had announced that he would not serve again shortly before the election because of business commitments.  It's not known who will replace him.  Tonight's reorganizational meeting begins at 7 p.m. 


Sundquist hoping to wrap up union contract negotiations this month...
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist had hoped to have all six of the city's employee unions under contract by the end of his first year in office.  That didn't happen... but, Sundquist is hoping to begin 2022 with all collective bargaining agreements in place.  There was still some unfinished business regarding a new Jamestown City Administrative Association contract... which was approved by the City Council December 27th... because it also had to be acted on by the city's Urban Renewal Agency.  While it's the same agreement, he says they are concurrent employees of JURA.  The JCAA Contract will run from January 1st of 2022 through December of 2025.  It represents about 30 city clerical and administrative employee, along with JURA employees.  City Council tabled action on a new fire contract at that meeting... but, Sundquist is hopeful that -- and a new police contract -- can be acted on later this month.  He says negotiations are ongoing with the Kendall Club-PBA.  City Council members said they wanted more time to review the agreement with the Jamestown Professional Firefighters Local #137... which would add four new firefighters to the department -- mainly to handle EMS duties, and a second ambulance.  It would also realign staffing for the department.


Warren, PA man arrested for alleged sexual assaults in town of Poland, Falconer, and Warren County...
A Warren, Pennsylvania man accused of sexually abusing an 11 year-old in Chautauqua County has been arrested on a multiple-count indictment.  Ellicott Town Police say the county Grand Jury handed up the indictment, and a warrant was issued on December 23rd for 25 year-old Joshua Erhard.  Erhard was accused last March for sexually assaulting the child in Falconer dating back to 2015.  
Erhard is accused of assaulting the child in the town of Poland, village of Falconer, and later Warren County through 2020.  He was arrested in Warren on charges of one count each of predatory sexual assault against a child, and first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child... and, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.  Erhard was taken to the Warren County Jail pending extradiction to Chautauqua County.


Waterford, PA woman killed in SUV crash with tractor-trailer...
An Erie, PA area woman was killed when her sports utility vehicle crashed into a tractor-trailer Friday afternoon on Route 5 in the town of Westfield.  State Police in Fredonia were called to the scene just after 1:30 p.m., and, found that the driver of the GMC was westbound when the vehicle cross the center line, and struck the Peterbuilt tractor-trailer.  The driver of the GMC, 45 year-old Jessica Swan of Waterford, PA, was pronounced dead at the scene.  The truck driver was not hurt, and the investigation is continuing.
 

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Dec. 31, 2021 Happy New Year!

Erie, PA area woman killed in tractor-trailer, SUV crash on Route 5 in Westfield...
An Erie, PA-area woman was killed when her sports utility vehicle crashed into a tractor-trailer yesterday afternoon on Route 5 in the town of Westfield.  State Police in Fredonia were called to the scene just after 1:30 p.m., and, found that the driver of the GMC was westbound when the vehicle cross the center line, and struck the Peterbuilt tractor-trailer.  The driver of the GMC, 45 year-old Jessica Swan of Waterford, PA, was pronounced dead at the scene.  The truck driver was not hurt, and the investigation is continuing.


Quattrone urges party-goers on New Year's Eve to have a designated driver, or get cab or uber...
The statewide crackdown continues on drunk and drugged-driving during the New Year's Day holiday weekend in New York.  Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone says local police agencies will be taking part in the crackdown... along with state and federal authorities.  Quattrone says the local numbers have been troubling in recent years... and, their most recent report shows such crashes now outnumber the county's "Part-One crimes."  He recently offered some safety tips concerning the holiday weekend.  He encourages people to plan ahead... if they're going to be out drinking.  Quattrone says, have a designated driver, or use a ride-sharing or taxi service.  The statewide safety campaign continues through Saturday, New Year's Day.


Forestville man arrested for DWI after car crashes into house...
A man from the Buffalo-area is charged with driving while intoxicated following a crash into a house on Center Street in the village of Forestville.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene shortly before Midnight Wednesday night... and found the driver, 32 year-old Matthew Logel of Eden... was operating the vehicle while drunk.  Deputies took Logel into custody on charges of DWI... speed not reasonable and prudent... and, Failure to Keep Right.  Logel was issued appearance tickets for Hanover Town Court at a later date.  There were no injuries as a result of this accident... and, only minor damage to the house.


Former JPS Superintendent, Tim Mains, passes suddenly in downstate New York...
A former Jamestown Public School's superintendent, who most recently headed up a Hudson Valley district, has died suddenly at the age of 72.  The North Orange Daily News reports that Pine Bush District Superintendent Tim Mains had a sudden medical emergency Thursday... and, later died despite efforts to save his life.  Mains became Jamestown superintendent in August of 2013... and, served until February of 2017 when he was named superintendent at Pine Bush in northern Orange County, NY.  Jamestown School Board President Paul Abbott... in a release from the district said he was "deeply saddened" to hear of Main's passing. 

 

WJTN News Headlines from Wed., Dec. 29, 2021

**Sorry, due to tech issue, these were not put in Wed, our apologies...

 

County DOH reports 544 New COVID cases through Christmas Day, and 14 new deaths...
The number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County continued their downward trend this past week... but, it's still high and there's little change in the number of new deaths and hospitalizations.  The county's Health Department reported Tuesday there were 544 new cases through Christmas Day... with 131 of those in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  However... there were 14 new deaths.  That brings that total to 271... and, there are now 39 people hospitalized.  There have now been 18,428 total cases... and, 17,687 have recovered.  There are currently 470 active cases in the county... and, the seven-day infection rate is now 9.5-percent.


BPU transformer failure in West Ellicott leads to nearly 500 power outages... 
Electric power was cut last night for about two-hours to Board of Public Utilities customers in part of West Ellicott last night when a pole transformer failed.  BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says power was cut just after 9:30 p.m. when a fuse cut-out failed, causing a pole-mount transformer to fail in front of Dunn Tire at the Fairmount Plaza.  Robbins says BPU employees restored power within approximately two hours.  The outage affected about 466 electric customers in the area.


Sundquist reiterates disappointment that more ARPA projects have not been approved yet...
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he's happy to finally see some projects in his Master Plan for American Rescue Plan Act funding moving forward.  However... as the year ends... Sundquist adds he's still disappointed that more projects haven't been adopted by lawmakers.  He says he's pleased to see the overall plan with five catagories adopted... but, adds lawmakers have had that in their hands since last June.  Sundquist says he's "very disheartend" that of the $3.5-million in projects he says are ready to go, only $437,000 has been allocated so far.  There was $3.1-million in projects included in the 2022 budget... but, several council members pushed to have the projects acted on separately -- outside of the general spending plan.  Sundquist adds that department heads have had their projects in place since October.  Sundquist says he hopes to see many more projects approved in January because of the lead-time for ordering parts, and materials... and, because the money has a deadline in which to be spent.


Buffalo woman arrested for alleged road rage incident on Christmas Day in Jamestown...
A Buffalo woman faces charges after an alleged road rage incident that occured on Christmas Day on Jamestown's eastside.  City police say they were called to the area of Winsor and Harrison Streets just before Noon on a harassment complaint.  Officers say they found that 34 year-old Cherish Woods grabbed the victim's hair through her car window... and, punched her in the face several times.  The allegations stemmed from an incident in which Wood's accused the victim of stopping too long at a red light after it had turned green.  The incident occured with the victim's 2 year-old and 6 year-old children in the car.  Police also found that Woods was wanted on warrants out of City Court.  She was arrested for second-degree harassment, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.


DOT to hold information meeting on planned improvements to Route 60 between Routes 83 and 20...
The New York state Department of Transportation will hold a public information meeting next month on proposed improvements to Route 60 from Route 83 to Route 20 in the town of Pomfret.  Pomfret Town Supervisor Dan Pacos says the project, which includes a center turning lane, should help improve safety.  Pacos says there have been a number of serious accidents on that stretch, especially with people turning left and someone not paying attention.  But... Pacos says the town would like to see other improvements included, including a traffic light at the intersection of Route 60 and Lakeview Avenue.  He says the DOT said that's "not in the works right now..." but, adds that people should go to the meeting and voice those concerns.  Pacos is hoping the DOT will reconsider.  The meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 12 from 4 to 6 pm at the Fredonia Opera House.


Cuomo will not be charged in two cases of alleged, unwanted kissing of two women...
Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo won't face criminal charges stemming from allegations of unwanted kissing by two women... one of them a state trooper assigned to his detail.  Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah says while there was evidence to conclude the conduct the women described did occur, it not merit charges.  The alleged incident involving the trooper occurred at Cuomo's home in Mount Kisco.  In the other incident... Cuomo allegedly greeted the woman by grabbing her arm, pulling her toward him and kissing her on the cheek while the two were at an event at White Plains High School.

 


  

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Dec. 30, 2021

Buffalo-area man arrested in DWI accident in Forestville...
A man from the Buffalo-area is charged with driving while intoxicated following a crash into a house on Center Street in the village of Forestville.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene shortly before Midnight last night... and found the driver, 32 year-old Matthew Logel of Eden... was operating the vehicle while drunk.  Deputies took Logel into custody on charges of DWI... speed not reasonable and prudent... and, Failure to Keep Right.  Logel was issued appearance tickets for Hanover Town Court at a later date.  There were no injuries as a result of this accident... and, only minor damage to the house.


Quattrone says state-wide crackdown on impaired driving crackdown continues through Saturday night...
A statewide crackdown continues on impaired driving during the New Year's Day holiday weekend in New York.  Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone says local police agencies will be taking part in the crackdown... and, they'll be working with local, state and federal authorities on that.  Quattrone recently offered some safety tips concerning the holiday weekend.  He encourages people to plan ahead... and, have a designated driver... and utilize uber, or whatever services may be out there.  The statewide safety campaign continues through Saturday, New Year's Day.


WNY Missing and Unidentified Persons Network conducts search for missing Jamestown man...
An all-volunteer organization dedicated to helping find missing persons in the region held another search for a missing Jamestown man.  Merry Williams, who heads up the Western New York Missing and Unidentified Persons Network, says they searched the 800 through 1000 block of Prendergast Ave. this morning for clues into the whereabouts of 56 year-old Kevin Hornburg, who has not been seen or heard from since Nov. 22.  Williams says Hornburg was looking at moving right before he went missing near his Prendergast Avenue home... and, says they're hoping he just wandered away.  However, this is the first time he's ever missed Thanksgiving and Christmas with his family.  Williams says if you're unable to help with their searches... they do accept help with getting flyers put out.  She says the family is offering a $1,000 reward for information on his whereabouts.  If you have information... call Jamestown Police at 483-7536.  She says you can contact her on her personal facebook page... or the Western New York Missing and Unidentified Persons Network.


Sinclairville man arrested for allegedly stealing several guns from home...
A man from Sinclairville has been arrested for allegedly steaing several guns from a home in the village late this past September.  Sheriff's deputies say they arrested 26 year-old Austin Schwab of Jamestown Street late Monday following a lengthy investigation into the theft.  Officers took Schwab into custody on charges of fourth-degree grand larceny... and, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  He was taken to the county jail pending arraignment... and, will appear in Gerry Town Court at a later date.


Wendel voices concerns over latest COVID-19-related death numbers...
Chautauqua County's COVID-19 case numbers have been going down for three consecutive weeks... but, County Executive P.J. Wendel says he is concerned about the county's number of deaths from the virus.  On Tuesday... the county's Health Department reported 14 new deaths for the week of Dec. 19-25 to bring its total number of deaths to 271 since the beginning of the pandemic.  Wendel says it is unknown at this time how many of those deaths were unvaccinated people... he says that's also a growing concern.  He says the county is following the same trend as one year ago, when there was a decrease in cases in December, followed by an increase in early January.  He says next week will tell the tale of whether there will be more cases due to the holidays.  The county had 544 new cases of COVID-19 last week, which is 37.6% lower than its peak case number during the week ending Dec. 4.  Meanwhile, Wendel adds that county labs are not sequencing for the Omicron variant, but county officials are assuming that it is here.


Man arrested in Falconer for failing to register as a Sex Offender at last three addresses... 
A Falconer man has been arrested for being a sex offender who failed to register at his new address within 10 days under New York's Sex Offender Registry.  Ellicott Town Police say they took 40 year-old James Wall into custody Tuesday for allegedly failing to register his last three addresses within the required 10 days.  Wall was located, and arrested... and, taken to the county jail pending further court action.


Times Square New Year's show will go on despite virus surge, mayor says...
Mayor Bill de Blasio says New York City will ring in 2022 in Times Square as planned despite record numbers of COVID-19 infections in the city and around the nation.  De Blasio said on NBC's "Today" show on Thursday that he wants to show the world that the city is "fighting our way through this."  After banning revelers from Times Square a year ago due to the pandemic, city officials announced plans previously for a scaled-back New Year's bash with smaller crowds and vaccinations required.  The city's next mayor, Eric Adams, will take the oath of office in Times Square shortly after the ball drops.

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Dec. 28, 2021

City Council approves first two ARPA projects...
The Jamestown City Council has approved the first two projects that'll be funded by the city's just over 28-million dollars in American Rescue Plan Act funds.  Lawmakers voted unanimously last night on the five main catagories the money will be put into.  Council also approved the purchase of four new police cars at a cost of $160,000.  Lawmakers have been criticized by Mayor Eddie Sundquist -- and others -- for not moving sooner on his proposed Master Plan.  However... Council Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says it took time to review the proposal, and separate it from budget discussions.  Ecklund says it took lawmakers time to listen to department heads, and others about what the needs "in this city."  Council also approved $277,000 for the first-phase of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy's Chadakoin River Stabilization Project.  This first-phase will include removal of debris from the river east of the South Main Street Bridge to the Falconer village line.  The four new police cars are in addition to the one that's being purchased in the city's 2022 budget plan. 


City Council approves JCAA contract, but, tables new proposed contract with city firefighters...
City lawmakers last night also approved one new employee contract... and, tabled another.  The tabled contract was with the Jamestown Professional Firefighters Local-#137... which was tabled to give the council more time to review and discuss the proposal.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he understands the reasoning for tabling the measure, because -- once approved -- he believes it will be a "game-changer" for the city.  Sundquist says, in addition to having a "current contract," which also bargains out health insurance for employees for the first time in 35 years.  The contract would add four new firefighters... and, a second ambulance... which Sundquist says is "critical" for public safety in the city.  He says the city is changing the department's staffing model to allow for more EMS service... so there is no "sunset" date for the new positions.  The contract that was approved last night is for the Jamestown City Administrative Association for the period of Jan. 1, 2022 through December of 2025.  That union represents just over 30 city clerical, management, and Urban Renewal Agency employees.


Gerry man arrested for allegedly shooting off shot-gun during Christmas night altercation...
A Gerry man has been arrested for allegedly firing a shot-gun in the vicinity of another person while fighting that person Christmas night.  Sheriff's officers say they were called to a location in the town of Gerry about 9:30 p.m., and found that 45 year-old Rudy Ryen engaged in the physical altercation with another man.  It was then that he pulled the shot-gun and fired it.  Ryen was arrested for first-degree reckless endangerment, and second-degree menacing.  He was then taken to the county jail pending arraignment.

Couple arrested for allegedly allowing 15 year-old Randolph Academy student access to loaded guns... 
A parent and her boyfriend have been arrested following a complaint that the women's 15 year-old son threatened a teacher at the Randolph Academy... and, was later seen on video holding two semi-automatic hand guns.  Ellicott Town Police say they got a call from the school back on Nov. 29 that the student allegedly told the teacher -- quote -- "you're not bullet proof."  Police found the student lived on Park Avenue in Falconer... and, they immediately investigated.  However... the child's mother, 35 year-old Jennifer Jackson, and her boyfriend -- who owned the guns -- 33 year-old Tyler Walters, denied having any weapons other than a hunting rifle that was secured.  They also claimed to understand the severity of the incident.  However... police say the Sheriff's Office notified them of the video with the boy holding the guns Monday morning... which were loaded and unsecured.  An additional shotgun was also taken from the house.  Both Jackson and Walters were arrested for endangering the welfare of a child... and, issued appearance tickets for Ellicott Town Court.


Hochul says deaths and hospitalizations up due to COVID in NYS...
New York officials are continuing to track a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the state.  During a COVID briefing in Albany Monday... Governor Kathy Hochul reported that deaths and hospitalizations continue to rise.  She says there were 165 deaths each of the previous two days.  In addition... Hochul says they are sending millions of test kits to school districts across the state.  The governor made it clear that she wants to see kids back school after the holidays.  Hochul says that position may change depending on how circumstance change.  However... she says she wants to get children back in school.  Hochul plans to hold a conference call with school superintendents across the state on Tuesday to discuss plans for the return to school next week.


EPA may end Buffalo River clean-up by 2025...
The lengthy effort to clean up the Buffalo River could pay off in the next few years.  The Buffalo News reports the federal Environmental Protection Agency has told a local Congressman that the winding waterway could lose its status as an environmental danger zone, or "area of concern," by 2025.  The river suffered heavy industrial pollution for decades, and even caught on fire in 1968.  Helped by $100-million from the Obama administration, part of a nearly $4 billion Great Lakes restoration initiative, cleanup efforts have helped turn part of the river into a recreational area with waterfront apartments and bars near downtown Buffalo. 

 

 

  

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Dec. 27, 2021

Alabama woman killed in fatal ATV accident in town of Harmony...
A woman from Alabama has been identified as the woman killed in an all-terrain vehicle accident on Washington Street in the town of Harmony late Christmas night.  Sheriff's officers say 58 year-old Donna Phelps of Dothan, Alabama was a passenger on the ATV... which went into the creek about 11:45 p.m.  Deputies say "multiple people" were on the vehicle went it went from a field into the water suddenly.  Officers say the ATV overturned... and, Phelps went missing in the water.  The operator was able to make it to the creek bank and get out of the water.  Deputies and fire rescuers arrived on scene and found Phelps in the water... and, began efforts to resusitate her.  However... she was later pronounced dead at UPMC Chautauqua Hospital.  The operator was treated for hypothermia.  Deputies say the incident remains under investigation.


Gerry woman arrested in connection with series of storage facility break-ins in the region...
A Gerry woman sought on several warrants in New York and Ohio has been arrested in connection with a series of storage facility break-ins across Chautauqua County.  Sheriff's officers say a targeted patrol vehicle was parked at the back of a facility on Dutch Hollow Road in Ellery Center when a car entered about 5 a.m. Christmas morning.  Deputies say the car then immediately fled... and, they pursued.  However... the driver, later identified as 35 year-old Amanda Sendall, continued to speed off before she stopped on Salisbury Road in the town of Ellery.  Deputies say they found Sendall was wanted on warrants from seven police agencies... and bolt-cutters and other burglar's tools.  She was arrested on the active warrants... and also charged with possession of burglar's tools, second-degree aggravated unlicensed operator... and, failure to comply with lawful police order.  Sendall was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.


Hochul takes on critics, omicron variant during Christmas weekend news conference...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul went on a Christmas Eve offensive against her coronavirus critics.  Hochul insisted at a news conference Friday that the state acted early... and has done everything it can against the rapid spread of the omicron variant.  Hochul was asked about the possibility of students and staff in local school districts will have to be vaccinated at some point.  She would only say it remains an option because the legislature would have to approve it as part of a list, and it would only take effect in the Fall.  She concluded by saying "let's see what happens with this."  There is also news that vaccinations may be required of everyone attending Buffalo Bills or Sabres games.  That would include children.  However... Hochul said the state is shortening the amount of time essential workers must stay home after testing positive.  Fully vaccinated people in health care, and other frontline fields can return to work after five days instead of 10 if they're not showing symptoms or the symptoms are resolving.  They must also wear masks on the job. 


Transient man arrested for allegedly breaking into Brooklyn Square Tim Horton's...
A 63 year-old transient man has been arrested for allegedly breaking into the Tim Horton's restaurant in Jamestown's Brooklyn Square, and stealing 367-dollars and merchandise from the store.  City Police responded to an alarm at the 21 South Main St. location about 1:40 a.m. Christmas Day... and, found someone had broken into the store, damaging it.  Officers say they found Paul Kitchen in the area with the money, merchandise, and shards of glass on him.  Police say store staff responded, and accessed camera's that found Kitchen inside the building.  He was arrested for third-degree burglary, third-degree criminal mischief, and petty larceny.  Kitchen was jailed pending arraignment.


Enrollment for affordable health care insurance ends in NYS this Friday...
New Yorkers have until this Friday to get health insurance coverage that begins Jan. 1 on the health insurance marketplaces through the Affordable Care Act.  AARP New York is encouraging anyone who is uninsured, especially New Yorkers in their 50s and early 60s who are not yet eligible for Medicare, to enroll in a plan before the signup period ends.  Erin Mitchell with A-A-R-P New York says many folks can qualify for low, or no-cost health insurance through the Open Enrollment Period with New York State of Health.  Mitchell says among uninsured New Yorkers, there are significant disparities among minority communities.  The federal American Rescue Plan enacted last March is still providing the additional financial aid to lower the monthly health-insurance premiums.  Mitchell says access to affordable plans helps improve people's quality of life because they can get timely and affordable health care to maintain a good quality of life.  AARP says the 2019 uninsured rate for New York Latino, Black, Indigenous, and Asian American adults ages 50 to 64 was two to three times higher than for white adults.  For more information about the plans available, and their cost... call 855-355-5777 – or go online at ‘nystateofhealth.ny.gov.’


Judge orders Times to turnover confidential legal memos obtained from Project Veritas, and it's lawyer...
A New York judge has ordered The New York Times to relinquish confidential legal memos it obtained between conservative group Project Veritas and its lawyer.  State Supreme Court Justice Charles Wood in Westchester County upheld his earlier order preventing the Times from further publishing the memos written by attorney Benjamin Barr.  The ruling released late Friday came in a defamation lawsuit Project Veritas filed against the Times in 2020.  The newspaper says it'll appeal the ruling and seek a stay.  Publisher A.G. Sulzberger decried it as an attack on press freedoms. 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Dec. 23, 2021

City couple arrested for allegedly providing Fentanyl to person who later died from overdose...
A man and woman from Jamestown have been indicted by a federal grand jury for selling drugs laced with Fentanyl that resulted in another person's death.  U-S Attorney Trini Ross announced Wednesday that the indictments were handed up charging 29 year-old Garson Butcher, and, 26 year-old Alisha Centi, with distribution of fentanyl causing death, narcotics conspiracy, and using and maintaining a drug-involved premises.  Prosecutors say between March of 2020 and June of 2021... Butcher and Centi conspired with others to possess and sell heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine.  On March 29, 2020... they're accused of selling fentanyl which resulted in the death of an individual identified as 'T.R.'  In addition, Butcher and Centi allegedly used residences on Fairview Avenue and Roland Road to manufacture and distribute heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine.  Ross says the charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life.


Hochul says federal help to deal with COVID "Winter Surge" is on the way...
New York state is receiving "all the resources" it needs to deal with the 'Winter Surge' of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 Virus.  That from Governor Kathy Hochul during a press briefing Wednesday afternoon at the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo.  Hochul says the federal help from the Biden Administration will allow a "multi-faceted" approach to get faster testing... and, help at front-line hospitals.  She says there will be 12 new mobile testing sites in the Buffalo-area along... and, up to 200 statewide.  She says they're also going to be getting help for veteran's organizations and other for testing.  Hochul says the state is expected to receive about 37-million new COVID testing kits that will be used at various state and county locations, and schools.  She says they also plan to have them at various veteran's organizations.  Hochul says an initial allotment of 5-million tests are coming by New Year's Eve... with 2-million of those going to schools.  She says the in-school tests will allow for more testing of students who may have come in close contact with a positive case... but, aren't showing symptoms.  If that student tests negative... they can go back into the classroom.  


Number of new, COVID-19 cases in the county falls to 689... but, 13 new deaths reported...
There are still high-numbers of new COVID-19 cases being reported the past week in Chautauqua County... but, the number of deaths continues to climb.  The county's Health Department today reports 689 new cases... which is down from last week.  However... there were 13 new deaths... bringing that total now to 257.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler adds there have now been 17,884 total cases... and, 602 of those are currently active.  The number of hospitalizations remains 41.  The number of recovered cases has now exceeded 17,000 to 17,025. 


AAA reports Holiday travel to return to near pre-pandemic levels...
The Omicron variant of COVID-19 may be surging across the nation... but, AAA expects travel to bounce back during the holidays.  Spokeswoman Elizabeth Carey of AAA of Western and Central New York says roads and airports will be busier this holiday season than in 2020... with more than 109-million people traveling 50 miles or more from home.  Carey says that's about a 34% increase over last year.  She says that's a "dramatic bound-back" for travel compared to 2020... when there were nearly 28-million fewer travelers.  She says people planning to travel should follow COVID-19 guidelines from the CDC.  Carey says Thursday is expected to be the busiest travel day during the period that runs from Dec. 23 through Jan. 2. 


Sundquist announces new, four-year agreement with Jamestown's unionized firefighters...
The Sundquist administration and the Jamestown firefighters' union have reached a new, tentative, four-year contract and staffing agreement.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says the contract with Jamestown Professional Firefighters Association, Local #137 will run the current year through 2024.  In a printed release... he said the union approved the contract earlier this month.  Sundquist says - quote - "After much negotiation, I am proud the union and management team have been able to come to a deal."  He adds that they will also deploy a second ambulance... something sorely needed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.  Sundquist added that wage increases of 2.5% are included for 2021-2023... and, 2.75% increase in 2024.  The agreement also includes percentage increases to the city's health insurance plan by union members, along with the end lifetime health insurance for all newly hired firefighters.


Former Bemus Pt. clerk-treasurer pleads guilty to taking $58,000 in village funds...
The former Bemus Point village clerk arrested last year for allegedly stealing more than $58,000 in village funds has now pled guilty to petty larceny.  State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli made the announcement jointly Wednesday with Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt... and, Sheriff Jim Quattrone that 39 year-old Jennifer Jaeger entered the plea in county court.  With that... DiNapoli says she agreed to repay the money to the village.  He says Jaeger admitted writting village checks to herself, using forged signatures of officials and had village leaders sign blank checks from 2015 to 2020.  She then later cashed them for her own personal use.


County announces Fresh Express salad products recall...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is advising local residents of a recall of Fresh Express fresh salad because of potential Listeria contamination.  Health officials say the products are sold in Chautauqua County stores, and residents are urged to check for and dispose of recalled products in their refrigerators.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports Fresh Express is recalling certain varieties of its branded, and private label salad products produced at the company’s Streamwood, Illinois facility, because the product has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.  They say that organism can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.  For more information, call Fresh Express Consumer Response Center at 1-800-242-5472 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.


 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Dec. 22, 2021

County reports slight decrease in COVID-19 cases... but another 13 deaths in past week...
There are still high-numbers of new COVID-19 cases being reported the past week in Chautauqua County... but, the number of deaths continues to climb.  The Chautauqua County Health Department today reports 689 new cases... which is down from last week.  However... there were 13 new deaths... bringing that total now to 257.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler adds there have now been 17,884 total cases... and, 602 of those are currently active.  The number of hospitalizations remains 41.  The number of recovered cases has now exceeded 17,000... at 17,025.  The seven-day infection rate is now 10.4%.  Schuyler says there is still concern for lagging vaccination rates... and, serious illness in those not vaccinated against COVID-19.  She says 40% of the eligible population in the county has not been vaccinated... and, "the unvaccinated account for nearly 70% of people hospitalized with COVID-19."


Berke urges public to be responsible on getting COVID-19 vaccination...
With Chautauqua County just recently hitting a 60% vaccination rate... a key member of the County's COVID-19 task force is speaking out on the effort to combat the virus.  Long-time Chautauqua County Physician Dr. Robert Berke has posted a video about COVID-19 on the Chautauqua County Health Department's Facebook page.  Dr. Berke equates the process of slowing the spread of COVID-19 to being at war.  He says it's "nothing to do with your right to do anything you want."  Berke adds "we are at war."  Meanwhile... Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Monday that the state set a new daily record for COVID-19 cases with 23,391 on Sunday. 


County to distribute cloth face masks to local houses of worship...
Chautauqua County officials say they recently secured a stockpile of cloth facemasks... which will be allocated to houses of worship to help curb the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday season.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the effort to get the facemasks to churches and other houses of worship was a result of recent discussions between Wendel, County Legislator Terry Niebel, Public Health Director Christine Schuyler, and Office of Emergency Services Director Noel Guttman.  Wendel says they "want to make masks available in areas that are easily accessible to the public and houses of worship are one of the best places to reach a majority of our residents."  He says they still encourage all residents to mask while in public... and, for more information... call the executive's office at 716-753-4211.


Falconer man faces federal pornography, stalking and harassment charges...
A Falconer man accused of human trafficking has been arrested for allegedly stalking, harassing and threatening several underaged girls.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross says 22 year-old Yusef Malik-Myrick was arrested early Tuesday morning during a raid at a Delaware Avenue home for production, receipt and distribution of child pornography.  Prosecutors accuse Myrick of having both on-line and sexual relationships with the girls.  When the relationships ended... they say Myrick cyberstalked, harassed, and threatened the minor females, and their families.  Prosecutors say Myrick communicated with and sexually exploited at least seven victims primarily through Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram.  Ross commended law enforcement for "tracking down this defendant, who is accused of engaging in a pattern of threatening behavior to numerous minor victims and taking him into custody."  She also encouraged other victims to come forward.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, county Sheriff's Office, and Ellicott Town Police took part in the raid.  The charges carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


McLaughlin confirms approvals for new Evans Discount Wines and Liquors to be at former Alfie's location...
Site plan approval has now been given for construction of a new, and expanded liquor store on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott.  The town's planning and zoning boards recently gave approval to the plans for Evan's Discount Wines and Liquors, which would be located at the former Alfie's Restaurant location at 986 East Fairmount.  The restaurant, owned by Dan Evans, was closed in 2019.  Town Supervisor Pat McLaughlin says prep work is underway... and, won't be completed quickly.  McLaughlin says construction will likey begin in the early Spring of 2022... and, it should be open by mid to late Summer.  McLaughlin says the actual construction could be done by late Summer or early Fall if all goes as planned.  He says Evan's business at his current location -- just west of the former restaurant -- is cramped for space.  McLaughlin adds the new building for Evans will be set well-back off of Fairmount Avenue to allow parking in the front. 


Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign in Jamestown builds momentum, but, still has a ways to go to $115,000 goal...
The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign in Jamestown has made significant progress over the last week, but there's still a substantial amount of money to raise by this Friday -- Christmas Eve.  Salvation Army Major Kim Merchant says they've now reached $97,000 raised so far.  Merchant says they got a major boost came when the kettle total reached $40,000... enabling a match of that amount from two local, anonymous donors.  That brought the total to $80,000... and, that's now been exceeded by $17,000.  She's hoping they can continue the momentum.  There are a number of open kettle slots for those who would like to ring the bell for the Salvation Army between now and Friday.  Phone 716-664-4108 to sign up.  Checks can be mailed anytime between now and the end of the year to Salvation Army, 83 South Main St., Jamestown. 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Dec. 21, 2021

(**Breaking)Alleged human trafficker arrested in Falconer...
An unidentified Falconer man has been arrested following a several-month-long investigation into alleged human trafficking.  Ellicott Town Police say they assisted the U-S Department of Homeland Security, and the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office in a raid at a Delaware Avenue home about 6 this morning.  Officials say the man was taken into custody on a federal warrant without incident.  Police say the man was processed at Ellicott Police headquarters, and taken to the county jail in Mayville pending further court action.  More information is expected on the arrest later today.   

Sugar Grove man now identified as person killed in fatal crash last Thursday...
A Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania man has died from injuries suffered in the recent, two-car crash on Jackson Run Road at Teal Hill Road last Thursday morning.  State Police in Warren say 24 year-old Dillon Edwards was eastbound about 5 a.m. on Teal Hill when he failed to stop at the stop sign with Jackson Run.  Troopers say Edwards' car struck a southbound car on Jackson Run.  Police say he was rushed to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown where he later died.  Edwards' passenger, 24 year-old Erin Groves, was flown to UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie for treatment.  The driver of the other vehicle suffered only minor injuries, and not transported.  Emergy Care, the Sugar Grove, Lander and Busti Fire Departments all assisted at the scene.


NYS to ramp up COVID-19 testing in wake of latest surge, fueled by Omicron variant... 
New York State is boosting it's testing efforts across the state after a third-straight day Sunday of more than 20,000 new COVID-19 cases.  Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel says the county will be receiving a share of the test kits from Albany... a total of 5,000 boxes with two at-home kits in each.  Wendel says they are awaiting those kits... and, word on how they can be used.  He says those kits are en route to the county, and they'll then get instructions on where to send them.  Initially... Wendel says they were told the kits can be used at "the county's discretion."  However... there's now word a certain number should go to schools.  Meanwhile... Wendel continues to encourage county residents to get vaccinated and boosted... and, wear masks when in public, indoor places.


Reed says recently approved Infrastructure Bill a "major victory," in light of lack of support for "Build Back Better..."
U-S Senator Joe Manchin's decision to not support President Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" program is underscoring that the bi-partisan Infrastructure Bill was a "major victory" for the country.  That from Southern Tier Congressman Tom Reed... who was one of 13 House Republicans that supported the Infrastructure Bill because it includes the "important investments" needed for the country.  The Corning Republican says - "In total... New York State will receive upwards of $170-Billion for infrastructure projects to improve our roads, bridges, airports, mass transit, water systems, broadband access, and more."  Reed adds that "unlike the political talking points, the two were never linked." 


County's community foundations, United Ways, honored with Pam Lydic Award from county Chamber...
A special fund established by Chautauqua County's two community foundations, and two United Ways shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began to help local non-profits and other organizations has been given special recognition.  During the county Chamber of Commerce's recent Annual Luncheon and Meeting... they were presented with the Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award for creating the "Chautauqua County COVID Response Fund.  Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation Executive Director Diane Hannum called it an honor, and that they are "humbled" by the award.  Hannum says she and many others knew Lydic, who worked to create the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce.  In addition to the north county foundation... the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation... and, the United Way's of Southern and Northern Chautauqua County were all recognized.  The chamber's annual meeting was held at the Harbor Hotel in Celoron. 


Spanos named as new president of USAging Board...
Chautauqua County's Director of Aging Services has been formally appointed as the new president for the USAging Board of Directors.  During the organization's annual Conference and Tradeshow... Mary Ann Spanos was sworn in for a two-year term.  She first joined the USAging Board of Directors in 2010 as an Alternate... and, became the delegate for Region-Two, representing New York and New Jersey, in 2016.  USAging represents and supports the national network of Area Agencies on Aging and advocates for the Title-9 Native American Aging Programs that provide critical services, and supports that enable older adults and people with disabilities throughout the United States to live with optimal health, well-being, independence and dignity in their homes and communities.  Dr. Spanos calls it "an honor" to be named.


Outgoing SUNY at Oswego president named interim SUNY Chancellor...
The State University of New York has announced the appointment of outgoing SUNY College at Oswego President Deborah Stanley as interim chancellor for the SUNY System.  The announcement was made by the SUNY Board of Trustees... and, SUNY Oswego this morning.  Stanley had been Oswego's president for the past 25 years... and, worked in the SUNY system for 45 years.  She will begin serving as interim chancellor on January 15th.  She replaces James Malatras... who recently stepped down from the position.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Dec. 20, 2021

Tower St. home destroyed by "incindiary" fire early Sunday morning...
A fire, believed to have been incindiary in nature, has destroyed a vacant house on Jamestown's eastside.  Battalion Fire Chief Don Mowery says crews found the structure at 112 Tower St. fully-engulfed in flames when they arrived shortly after 12:30 AM Sunday... and, an off-duty shift was called in to help battle the flames.  Mowery says it took some time to bring the blaze under control.  Mowery says the last crew left the scene just after 10 a.m. Sunday.  He adds the cause remains under investigation... and no decision has been made on tearing down the building.


City woman arrested for drunk driving after one-car crash blamed on DWI...
A Jamestown woman escaped serious injury in a single-car, drunk driving accident on the city's northside last weekend.  City police were called to the scene shortly after Midnight Saturday... and found a vehicle disabled on the terrace.  Officers say they then found the driver, 39 year-old Tanya Pazcasanova, in the area of the car... and, appearing to be under the influence of alcohol.  Police say they was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of her injuries.  She was then taken to the city jail pending arraignment on several charges... including driving while intoxicated.


Dolce says city council will act on budget change, doling out some ARPA funding, at Dec. 27 meeting...
The Jamestown City Council held it's first, in-depth discussion about how lawmakers want to allocate the city's just over $28-million in American Rescue Plan Act funds this past week.  One of the key topic was whether the city had the ability to move money around after designating specific amounts to "lost revenue" "housing" and other general catagories.  That from City Council President Tony Dolce... who says they want to begin moving forward on projects and purchases at the Dec. 27 voting session.  Dolce says part of the reason is there's a long wait time on vehicles, and parts because lawmakers are currently looking to order up to five new police cars... in addition to the one purchased in the 2022 budget.  However... Police Chief Tim Jackson says it's taking about a year to year-and-a-half to get a vehicle delivered once it's ordered.  Lawmakers did separate out ARPA items from the $38.3-million spending plan... but, Dolce says they've been able to minimize the impact on the city's undesignated fund balance... or 'rainy day fund.'  He says council will have to vote to move about $36,000 from fund balance to those items vetoed by Mayor Eddie Sundquist that were upheld by lawmakers. 


NYS records highest number of new, COVID-19 cases Saturday...
Soaring COVID-19 case numbers... long testing lines and event cancellations might feel a bit like déjà vu, but so far New York City hospitals aren't seeing a repeat of the surges that swamped emergency rooms early in the pandemic.  The state reported Saturday that nearly 22,000 people had tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday -- eclipsing the previous day's mark for the highest single-day total for new cases since testing became widely available.  More than half of the positive results were in the city.  But new hospitalizations and deaths so far are averaging well below their spring 2020 peak and even where they were this time last year.


Ninth-annual Holiday Haul a record-breaking success...
The ninth-annual Holiday Haul for St. Susan’s Center broke records again this year.  Organizer Keith Martin summarized the contributions... saying they received 6-and-a-half tons of food and supplies... along with $24,000 in cash for the Jamestown-area's largest soup kitchen.  Martin recounted the words of one man, who contributed both cash and supplies, and said he used to go to St. Susan's... but, adding he's "doing much better now," and he wanted to give back.  He says that one story encapsulates the reason for the Holiday Haul.  The three day event started Thursday in front of the Jamestown Cycle Shop in Brooklyn Square and wrapped up Saturday afternoon.  Martin is the Executive Director of the Northwest Arena in Jamestown.


One-year-old in Jamestown taken from home with deplorable conditions...
A Jamestown couple face charges after a call for an unresponsive person revealed a one-year-old child living in deplorable conditions.  City police were called to the scene of a domestic dispute on Water Street shortly after 5 a.m. last Tuesday... and, upon further investigation... they found multiple hazards to the child inside.  Officers arrested 38 year-old Travis Wilder at the scene... and, a warrant was later issued for 21 year-old Halie Lendhard.  Each is charged with one count each of endangering the welfare of a child.  Wilder was taken to the city jail pending arraignment.


Woman arrested as fugitive from justice from Missouri...
A woman living in the town of Ellery has been arrested fon a number of charges for being a fugitive from justice in the state of Missouri.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's officers say they were given information from Missouri officials late last week about 40 year-old Brouk Jansen... and conducted a warrant check at a home on Mahanna Road.  Deputies say Jansen is wanted for failure to appear, non-support, driving while suspended/revoked and tampering with a motor vehicle.  Since she was wanted outside of New York state... she was charged with being a fugitive from justice.  She was also allegedly found to be in possession of a stolen motor vehicle... and, was also charged with felony fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Dec. 16, 2021

County Legislature approves increases in Sheriff's Office salary ranges...
Chautauqua County lawmakers last night approved a local law increasing the salary range for a number of officers and employees of the Sheriff's Office.  During the legislature's monthly meeting in Mayville... the panel voted 18-0 to amend an existing local law to raise the salary ranges for the positions of undersheriff, captain, warden, and corrections lieutenant.  Legislator Terry Niebel of Sheridan, who sponsored the measure, says the increases by "2 to 3 ranges" are warranted.  Niebel says county officials made comparisons to 32 other counties when the local law was first proposed, and the adjustments would put Chautauqua County in the middle of that pack.  He says the Sheriff and Human Resources Department reviewed and compared those salaries.  The increases will take effect on Jan. 1.
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Also during Wednesday's meeting, lawmakers unanimously backed several resolutions amending the 2022 county budget to implement projects that will be funded by the American Rescue Plan.  Jamestown Democrat Charles Nazzaro lawmakers are closing in on having approved half the amount they are getting.  Nazzaro says the county is receiving $24.6-million in ARPA Funding, and they have now approved $10.2-million in projects.  The county has received just over $12-million in funding so far.  All the funding for the projects will have to be spent and projects completed within five years.

Number of new COVID-19 cases in Chautauqua County down for past week, but, COVID-related deaths increase...
The number of new COVID-19 cases the past week in Chautauqua County are down.... but, the number of deaths reached double figures for the first time in several weeks.  The county's Health Department reports there were 11 new deaths between Dec. 5 and 11, bringing that total to 244.  Officials say there were 726 new cases... bringing that total now to 17,195.  There are now 41 people hospitalized... which is down 10 from last week.  There are 658 active cases... and, 16,293 have now recovered.  Of the new cases... 243 were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... the only one in triple-figures in recent weeks.  Dunkirk was next with 77 new cases.  The seven-day infection rate is now 10.2%.


Wendel gets some bi-partisan support for position on not enforcing NYS mask mandate...
Two Chautauqua County legislators from the north county area say they support County Executive P.J. Wendel's position that the county will not be enforcing New York's new mask mandate.  Republican Kevin Muldowney of Dunkirk says he supports the mandate, but says enforcement will be difficult.  Muldowney says he understands that localities should not have to enforce a mandate.  Democrat Robert Bankoski of Dunkirk also supports Lakewood Republican's position.  However... both county lawmakers are encouraging local residents who are unvaccinated to get their vaccinations and those who are vaccinated to get their boosters. 


Ripley woman faces up to 9 years in prison on Arson conviction...
A woman from Ripley will spend the next 3 to 9 years in state prison after being convicted of setting a fire in the town of Ripley this past August.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt says 53 year-old Melissa Bridges was convicted earlier this Fall of third-degree arson -- a Class D Felony.  The sentence was handed down Wednesday by Chautauqua County Court Judge David Foley.  Bridges is accused of setting the fire on Main Street the morning of Aug. 5.  Schmidt says the conviction was the result of an investigation by the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office.


Watershed Conservancy official outlines issue with eastern part of Chadakoin River in Jamestown...
There are a number of challenges on the eastern end of the Chadakoin River in the city of Jamestown... which is now suffering mainly from neglect.  That from Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy Ecological Restoration Manager Twan Leenders... who made a power-point presentation about those challenges to City Council this week.  Leenders there's a 3-and-a-half mile stretch of the river that is seeing severe bank erosion... even to retaining walls like one behind The Chautauqua Center.  He says just in a matter of a few months, the higher water had broken the wall in two.  Leenders recently took some council members on a tour of the river to the Falconer village line... and, says the water has been high this Fall... and, that's furthering bank erosion.  Leenders says another issue is that trees have fallen into the river... and, that's diverting the flow in places and causing more erosion.  He says another issue is that the high water at times promotes an environment for invasive species to enter the river area.  Leenders says they're looking at an initial investment of nearly $634,000 to clean-up the waterway, and shore up banking where necessary.  City Council will look at possibly using some American Rescue Plan funding for that.


Several U.S. Colleges starting to require vaccines, have mask mandates, and on-line instruction in wake of spiking COVID cases...
Colleges across the U.S. are starting to require booster shots, extend mask mandates and in some cases revert to online classes as they brace for the new omicron variant.  More than 20 colleges have said they will require boosters, including Boston University and Notre Dame.  Others are extending mask mandates into next year, including Penn State.  Still others are planning to start next term online to prevent outbreaks after the holidays.  Some 272 students at Cornell University in Ithaca tested positive for COVID after returning from Thanksgiving break. 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Dec. 15, 2021

County reports drop in number of new COVID cases, but, increase in deaths...
The number of new COVID-19 cases the past week in Chautauqua County are down.... but, the number of deaths reached double figures for the first time in several weeks.  The county's Health Department reports there were 11 new deaths between December 5 and 11... bringing that total to 244.  Officials say there were 726 new cases... bringing that total now to 17,195.  There are now 41 people hospitalized... which is down 10 from last week.  There are 658 active cases... and, 16,293 have now recovered.  Of the new cases... 243 were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... the only one in triple-figures in recent weeks.  Dunkirk was next with 77 new cases.  The seven-day infection rate is now 10.2-percent.


Hochul defends need for Mask mandate as case numbers and hospitalizations spike after Thanksgiving...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul says an "alarming" increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases... and, hospitalizations since Thanksgiving... led to impose a new mask mandate state-wide.  During a COVID Press Briefing Tuesday... Hochul reiterated that -- as of Monday -- people had to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status, in all indoor public places.  However... she says if that public place or shop had a vaccination requirement in place... masks were not needed.  She says case numbers have increased by 58% since Thanksgiving... but, adds hospitalizations are up more.  Hochul says those have been up 70%... and, 29% in the short time before she issued the mandate last Friday.  Hochul says she spoke with a number of local officials... county executives and the state Association of Counties... before implementing the mandate... which runs until Jan. 15.  Hochul says the main idea is to reduce the number of cases, and hospitalizations, during and after the holidays because hospitals are full now as it is. 


JPD makes two arrested in local connection with "Texas Temp Tags" forgeries...
Jamestown police have arrested two people for allegedly taking part in a vehicle registration forgery scheme known as "Texas Temp Tags."  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers recently arrested 22 year-old Jonathan Camacho-Monge, and 30 year-old Cheyanna Wright in separate incidents for allegedly driving cars that have the illegal, temporary tags on them.  Samuelson says JPD was advised of multiple vehicles in the area that had the phony tags back in mid-October.  He says JPD has seized a 2016 Buick Verano... and, are looking for a black, 2005 infinity G-35... and, black 2006 BMW.  If you've seen them... he says call police at 483-7537... or their tips line at 483-8477.  Samuelson says there are a number of "small, and ficticious" dealerships in Texas that sell thousands of those tags nationwide... but, in some cases -- the dealership ends up being nothing more than a small building with nothing on the lot.  Samuelson says the cars sometimes aren't safe... or, could be stolen.  Samuelson says both Monge and Wright are charged with second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument... and, 25 year-old Cassandra Wright is charged with obstruction for trying to keep police from arresting Cheyanna Wright.


Persell student suffers minor injuries after being hit by car...
A Persell Middle School student was evaluated at UPMC Chautauqua Hospital after being struck by a car as students were arriving at school Tuesday morning.  Jamestown school officials report the accident occured on Hazeltine Avenue -- near Baker Street.  Officials say Jamestown Police and Emergency Medical Services responded quickly to the incident.... and, the student was taken to the hospital as "a precautionary measure" and the parents were notified.  Spokesperson Cathy Panebianco adds the district is taking a number of steps to review and reinforce traffic safety procedures.  They will also increase supervision and monitoring during arrival and dismissal.  They'll also remind students to only cross the street in designated crosswalks.


SWCS residents approve $18.2-million dollar capital improvement projects...
Voters in the Southwestern Central School District have approved an $18.2-million capital improvements project by a better than two-to-one margin.  District officials say Tuesday's vote was 166-to-70 for the plan... which involves just over 30 individual projects through the district.  School Superintendant Maureen Donahue says two of the biggest are replacement of the tuft at the football and soccer field... and, expanding the size of the high school cafeteria.  Donahue says about 84-percent of the costs would be covered by state aid.  Another $1.2-million would be covered by the district's Capital Improvements Reserve Fund... and, other district funds would cover $800,000 of the cost.


Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign still lagging... but, nearing $40,000 level -- and matching grant...
The Salvation Army Kettle Campaign in Jamestown has only ten days left to reach its goal of $115,000 for the year.   Contributions are lagging behind last year's pace, but with $38,000 in hand so far, Major Kim Merchant is hopeful because they have a matching grant of $40,000 -- once they reach that amount.  The $40,000 is being supplied by two anonymous, local donors.  Signups to ring the bell for the kettle campaign have improved as well, but there are still spots open.  Phone the Salvation Army at 716-664-4108 for the latest availabilties. 


 

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