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Local News Headlines Archives for 2020-04

WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 30, 2020

A city man is jailed on a Felony warrant following his arrest early Wedneday morning after the car he was driving got stuck a field at Jamestown's Chadakoin Park.  Officers were called to the scene on Washington Street just after 7 AM... and, found the vehicle behind a parking lot.  City police say 31 year-old Andrew Kiendl (Kin-dihl) fled when he saw officers approaching... and, he ran off through a wooded area.  Police called in three local K-9 units to help with the search... and, K-9 units from the State Police, and Lakewood-Busti Police tracked Kiendl to a Washington Street business.  He was arrested for fourth-degree criminal mischief, and on the Felony warrant.  The warrant includes charges of Aggravated Criminal contempt, second-degree burglary, and third-degree assault. 


The State of Emergency for the city of Jamestown due to the COVID-19 outbreak remains in effect until May 16th... but, there are no changes to current restrictions.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who adds that once the State of Emergency is lifted, there will still likely be no full reopening of businesses and activities.

Speaking to residents during a special conference call Wednesday... Sundquist applauded residents for largely following the stay-at home orders issued by the state and city.  He says there are no new local orders since the city closed it's playgrounds and basketball courts to keep people from gathering in one place.  Sundquist said there are a lot of questions surrounding the state budget, and it's impact on local governments.  He recently told City lawmakers that he and his financial team are projecting a one-million to $4-million shortfall during the 2020 fiscal year. 
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Sundquist will also hold a Facebook Live "virtual" town hall this afternoon at 5 PM.


With the appropriate protocols, Assemblyman Andy Goodell believes some Chautauqua County businesses could open immediately... including manufacturing, low density office, and activities like tennis and golf.  As opposed to Governor Cuomo's plan, Goodell and State Senator George Borello think Chautauqua County could begin to open while Erie county remains closed.  Goodell says people from Buffalo are not likely to come here to watch office or manufacturing employees go to work.  The assemblyman hopes places like the National Comedy Center and Chatauqua Institution can have some activity this summer, but he concedes they will have to wait longer... with an eye on virus rates in a broader region including Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Cleveland.  Andy Goodell says Chautauqua County residents have... for the most part... strictly observed the COVID 19 restrictions, leading to a relatively low infection rate here. 


Chautauqua County is reporting one new case of the Coronavirus since Tuesday afternoon.  County Executive P-J Wendel says a woman in her 60s has become the 33rd case of COVID-19.  Wendel says there are now four active cases of the Coronavirus in the county... while 26 people have now recovered from the illness.  He says 48 cases are now under quarantine or isolation orders by the Public Health Director... and, he adds that there have been 804 negative test results to date.


Many hospitals in the upstate New York region will now be able to resume elective surgeries.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo... who said during his daily press briefing Wednesday that he was issuing an executive order allowing those surgeries... which had been halted during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor says Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties are among the 35 counties where hospitals are now eligible due to their low COVID-19 numbers and potential risk.  However... Erie County, where there have been higher numbers, is not included on the list.


The Lakewood Village Board has unanimously approved a $3.8-million budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year that holds the tax rate flat.  Mayor Randy Holcomb says the board yesterday morning adopted the spending plan... which included nearly three dozen changes in revenues and spending in response to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 shut-down.  Holcomb says the biggest is a new projection of a 50-percent loss in sales tax revenues.

Holcomb says they'll be monitoring the spending plan closely to keep spending and revenues in line.  The first-term Republican also thanked the board for it's hard work on getting the budget in place.  He says the new tax rate will be $7.90 cents per thousand assessed value.  That's up a tick from the current $7.89 per thousand.  The board had to approve the spending plan by this Friday... and, it goes into effect on June 1st.


The Pennsylvania Department of Health reports 479 new COVID-19 deaths, raising the state's overall death toll to more than 2,000  The newly-reported deaths occurred over the past two weeks.  State health officials have been working to reconcile data provided by hospitals, health care systems, county and municipal health departments and long-term care facilities with the department's own records.  That resulted in the upward adjustment.  Pennsylvania's death toll now stands at 2,195.  The health department says more than 1,100 additional people have tested positive for the virus, raising the statewide total to over 44,000.


One of the regions biggest music festivals of the year has announced plans to postpone the event until Summer 2021.  Great Blue Heron Music Festival Organizer Julie Rockcastle says this would have been the 29th year for the Blue Heron... and, it was originally scheduled for July 3rd through-5th.  Rockcastle says the postponement is already causing financial stress.... and, they are accepting donations through their 'Heron Forever Fund.'  Ticketholders also have the option to donate your purchases, keep your ticket for next year's festival or get a refund. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 29, 2020

An apartment house in downtown Jamestown was extensively damaged in a fire last night that originated on the backporch of the home.  City Fire Battalion Chief Roger Sigular says crews were called to the scene at 68 Water Street shortly after 6PM... and found the fire had gotten into the walls of the home.  Sigular says crews made quick work of the blaze... but, an off-duty shift was called in to assist.  The 11 people living there were not hurt... but, a cat perished... and firefighters rescued two dogs.  Firefighters were back in services shortly after 10 PM.  No cause has been released.  Sigular says the house is uninhabitable.  A portion of Water Street between Foote Avenue and King Street was closed to traffic during the incident. 
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In addition.... the Jamestown Fire Department has a new website, which they are using to update residents on the latest information across the city's four fire stations.  It can be found at Local.iAFF.org/Local137

A bi-partisan effort is underway in both the U-S House of Representatives and Senate to craft a fourth, COVID-19 Relief bill that will address local and state costs from the outbreak.  Local Congressman Tom Reed also says the group mindful of making sure that local governments don't lose out when the funding is released.  Reed says it's important that the money allocated to states goes for only COVID-19 related costs.

Reed emphasized that all those involved want to make sure that local governments get the money they need without the state being able to take some of it first.  However... he says there are other lawmakers that don't want that because several governors don't want that aid restricted.  Reed says lawmakers are also working to make sure that when releasing federal aid to states that they are helping to pay for expenses related to the COVID-19 outbreak... and, not shortfalls that were there before the outbreak began.  In addition... he says COVID 4 will likely include infrastructure upgrades... making it at least another 2-trillion dollars in cost.

There's been one new case of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County... bringing the county's total of positive cases to 32.  County Executive P-J Wendel says a woman in her 50s is the latest person to contract Coronavirus... and, she has one of four active cases currently.  Wendel says 25 people have now recovered... while 36 people are under quarantine or isolation orders.  He says 788 negative test results have reported to date... with three deaths.

 
What parts of New York state will reopen soon will be driven by the data.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo Tuesday in Syracuse... which is located in Central New York.  That's one of possible regions that could reopen in mid-May... depending on how well the hospital capacity, and infection rates look.  Cuomo reiterated that he's looking at a phase-one opening in those locations involving small manufacturing, and construction.

Cuomo says whether those areas reopen after May 15th is dependent on two key numbers.  He says one is keeping the local hospitalization rate below 70-percent... and, secondly keeping the COVID-19 infection rate below 1.1.  Cuomo says that means one person has infected more than one other person... which allows the infection rate to grow exponentially.  The governor also announced formation of a special advisory board made up of state-wide business, civic, and academic leaders that will help facilitate the reopening process.  He says they will also be taking a hard look at event attractions that draw huge crowds for a weekend or season. 


The New York Farm Bureau is praising Governor Cuomo's $25-million dollar plan to link upstate farmers with downstate food banks that are in dire need of supplies due to increased demand.  That demand is being driven by people suddenly out of work due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  During his announcement of the plan... called "Nourish New York..." Cuomo also urged the philanthropy community to help out.
Cuomo says... sadly... many upstate dairy farmers have had to "dump" their oversupply of milk because they typically sell to "institutional" businesses... like restaurants and schools that aren't operating -- or are just partially open -- right now. 


A pair of "virtual town halls" have been scheduled for this week by Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundqust... who says he's holding them to give residents a chance to ask questions and voice concerns regarding the Coronavirus shut-down.  Sundquist announced the town halls during last night's City Council voting session.  He says the first one will be held tomorrow via telephone.

Sundquist says to take part in the conference call... you are asked to call 705-5252... then dial 90001 at the Prompt.  He say's residents can "raise their hands" virtually by pressing *5... and, you'll be placed in a queue to ask a question.  Sundquist, again, says he's also hosting a "Facebook Live" town hall this Thursday at 5 PM... and, you can type in @mayoreddiesundquist. The mayor is also encouraging people to submit their questions early via Facebook.  


An evening fire in the town of Harmony has been determined to be accidental by the Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team Monday.  The Sheriff's Office says a passerby called in the blaze on the Blockville-Watts Flats Road just before 8 PM.  Investigators report the fire occurred in the area of an indoor woodstove that was left unattended.  No one was hurt.  Crews were there about an hour.

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 28, 2020

The Jamestown City Council and Mayor Eddie Sundquist recognized three retiring employees at last night's council voting session... including the deputy fire chief.  Mayor Sundquist had three proclamations read into the record... one of which was for Sam Salemme... who has stepped down after 30 years with the Jamestown Fire Department.  City Clerk Jennifer Williams read Salemme's proclamation during Monday's meeting via Zoom teleconferencing.

In addition... Sundquist and Council recognized the retirements of Jamestown Police Detectives David Kianos and, Melody Peach.  Kianos was a 20-year member of the department, while Peach was with JPD for 19 years.
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Later in the meeting... the City Council approved hiring three new police officers... two of whom will replace Kianos and Peach.  City Council Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says the third officer will replace an officer who resigned from the force.  Ecklund says all three positions are funded in the 2020 city budget.

New York's second-in-command is urging local businesses to begin working on re-opening plans... and, getting those to Chautauqua County's executive soon.  Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul says today that they are looking at reopening parts of the state in a phased-in, regional basis as early as May 15th.  Hochul says she's been working with Executive P-J Wendel on the best way to reopen... and, says plans should be forwarded to him.

Hochul is overseeing the reopening of Western New York... and, believes it will accomplished on a regional basis, not county by county.  She says if Chautauqua County opens up outdoor and restaurant businesses, and Erie County does not... that could become a problem.  Hochul says she expects to see a major increase in testing now that the federal government is giving its support to New York State.  She says that should lead to more data about the spread of the virus.

 

A number of health officials are warning about a "second-wave" of the COVID-19 Virus during this Fall's flu season.  With that in mind... New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state will keep some temporary hospitals open through the coming flu season.  During his Monday press briefing... Cuomo said his administration feels it's important to anticipate a combination Flu and COVID-19 season comiing up.  He again thanked federal officials for helping to quickly ramp up the number of hospital beds in New York. Cuomo says he spoke with President Trump Monday morning about keeping some of the temporary hospitals downstate open so the state is ready for any situation in the Fall. 

The news continues to be good in Chautauqua County regarding the COVID-19 Virus... as no new cases were reported Monday.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says the number of cases in the county remains at 31.  He says there are four cases that remain active... while 24 others have now recovered.  Wendel says 36 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders by the Public Health Director, and being monitored.  He adds there have now been 755 negative test results to date.


New York has canceled its Democratic presidential primary that was scheduled for June 23rd amid the coronavirus pandemic.  The Democratic members of the State's Board of Elections voted Monday to nix the primary.  New York will still hold its Congressional and state-level primaries on June 23rd.  Commissioner Andrew Spano said he worried about potentially forcing voters and poll workers to choose between their democratic duty and their health. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 27, 2020

Chautauqua County fire investigators say a grill that was still warm apparently triggered a fire early Sunday morning that destoryed a garage in West Ellicott... just south and west of Jamestown.  County fire officials say Celoron fire crews were called to the scene at 2 High Street about 2:30 AM... and, called in mutual aid for help.  Celoron was joined at the scene by Jamestown, Lakewood, Busti, Kiantone, Panama and Ashville fire crews.  The blaze quickly moved from the garage to some nearby structures... and, it took about an hour to bring the flames under control.  The last crews left the scene about 7:30 AM.  Investigators determined the blaze was accidental... and no one was hurt.


With the number of deaths and hospitalizations reaching their lowest levels in New York state in nearly a month... Governor Andrew Cuomo talked specifics on Sunday about reopening the state.  During his daily press briefing... Cuomo said he's looking at a two-phased approach that will mostly likely start in the upstate region.  He says it would be in two "low-risk" industries... construction and smaller manufacturing. 

Cuomo says he's continuing the current "New York Pause" until May 15th.  However... he did say that areas of New York that see fewer infections over a two-week period may be able to open sooner.  Cuomo also urged business owners to "reimagine" their business... using CDC guidelines on how essential services operate now.  He says safety will be the major issue to be addressed, and he said in downstate New York... that's going to "be more complicated."   
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Also on Sunday... Cuomo reported that 367 more people died from the coronavirus in New York state over the previous day.  He also reported that the number of hospitalizations topped 1,000 on Saturday, but was still falling from the day before.


For the first time ever, each member of the Jamestown High School Senior class has a yard sign to celebrate their graduation.  The 305 signs were unveiled at Persell Middle School Saturday afternoon.  Josie Monfort, a member of the 'After Grad' committee, was a key mover in the project to acknowledge the students in what she called 'an awful time' for them.  Alyssa Holdridge, one the class Vice-Presidents, says the signs are important to the 2020 graduates and they are grateful to the parents, PTA's and businesses and institutions that contributed money for them.  Each sign says "JHS Class of 2020...  the class with vision, but we never saw this coming." JHS principal, Dana Williams, thinks the signs are a good thing in what's supposed to be the 'funnest semester' of a student's education... but for the class of 2020, 'they're missing out'.  JRSC Digital produced the signs, and contributed a banner to the class as well.


Two new cases of the COVID-19 Virus were reported last weekend in Chautauqua County.  County Executive P-J Wendel said Sunday afternoon that there was one new case, a woman in her 60s.  That comes after a man in his 70s was reported with the virus on Saturday... bringing the total in the county to 31.  Wendel says there are current four "active cases" who continue to recover under Health Department orders.  He says 24 people have recovered... while 42 people are under quarantine or isolation orders. 


Some regions of Pennsylvania are tantalizingly close to escaping some pandemic restrictions.  Other parts could have a long way to go before residents and businesses begin getting back to normal.  An analysis by The Associated Press shows how Pennsylvania's sprawling geography and highly variable population density are playing a huge role in determining when to allow a gradual reopening.  Govenor Tom Wolf has said rural northern Pennsylvania is likely to begin moving out from under his shutdown orders on May 8th.  It's a different story in densely populated eastern Pennsylvania, where new virus infections are happening at a much higher rate.


The Bemus Point Central School District begins it's search for a new superintendent in earnest this week with an on-line survey, and futher discussion about what the district is looking for.  School Board President Barry Swanson says the panel has been working with the consulting firm Western New York Educational Services in finding a replacement for Mike Mansfield, who recently took over as superintendent in the Dunkirk School District.
Swanson says the survey is on the district's webpage at bemusptcsd.org and, includes a checklist of attributes parents and residents want in a new superintendent.  He says completed surveys should be submitted by the end of business Wednesday.  He adds that several of the stakeholders will meet Tuesday with the consulting group to get further detail on what residents are looking for in a new superintendent.  The goal is to get the application process started next month... and, ultimately hire a new superindent in time for the start of Fall classes.  In the meantime... Swanson says Michelle Spasiano will be acting superintendent.


Federal prosecutors say a New York retailer has been charged with hoarding disposable masks, surgical gowns and hand sanitizer in a Long Island warehouse and selling the items at huge markups.  Amardeep Singh is the first person to be charged during the coronavirus pandemic with violating the Defense Production Act of 1950.  The law forbids stockpiling and price gouging of scarce medical supplies.  Prosecutors say Singh marketed the items online and disregarded a cease-and-desist letter from the New York Attorney General's Office.

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News Headlines for Sat., Apr. 25, 2020

New York state has lowest daily death toll in several weeks, new infections also down...
New York State has reported its lowest number of daily COVID-19 deaths in weeks... as well as most other numbers.  However... Governor Andrew Cuomo says the figures remain at "an unimaginable level."  During his Friday press briefing... Cuomo said there had been 422 deaths reported the day before... and, he says new infections are down slightly.  However... he says that's still not good news, either.  He says there's basically been a "flat line" with that number being 1,200 on Friday.  The number of deaths in New York are the fewest since March 31st... when there were 391 deaths.  More than 16,000 people have died in the state from the outbreak.  The total number of people hospitalized statewide continues to drop slowly, hitting about 14,000. 


No new COVID cases in Chautauqua County, but, testing is being ramped up...
There will be an expansion of diagnostic testing for the Coronavirus in Chautauqua County starting today as more tests have become available.  However... Public Health Director Christine Schulyer say the county is still asking people to limit their request to if they have COVID-19 symptoms.  Schulyer says there are a number of things to look for.  They include having a fever of 100.4-degrees or higher, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle pain, and a new loss of taste or smell.  Schulyer says the health care provider will determine if there's a need to have a test done.  In addition... she says there is a new testing center that has opened up in Dunkirk at the Well Now Center... which will be doing both diagnostic and anti-body testing.  She made her comments during County Executive P-J Wendel's Friday COVID-19 press briefing.  Wendel says there are still 29 positive case of the Coronavirus after two straight days of one infection each days.  He says there are currently two active cases... while 24 people have now recovered. 


County sees sharp spike in number of drug overdoses since COVID-19 outbreak...
Chautauqua County mental health officials are warning that the number of overdoses are continuing to spike amid the COVID-19 crisis.  With residents forced into social isolation... Department of Mental Hygiene Director Patricia Brinkman says the numbers are striking.  Brinkman says the number of overdoses double, and more calls to 911.  She says this is a nation-wide issue.  But locally.... Health Officials indicate 45 overdoses, including two fatalities, occurred during the month of March.  As of April 22.... 14 overdoses have been reported, including 3 fatalities.  In 2019, the average number of overdoses in one month was 19.  Brinkman says her department was alerted by local law enforcement agencies to a 'bad batch' of fentanyl being sold on the street... and, they are also concerned about that.  There are several locations throughout the county with individualized treatment options for those suffering from substance abuse.  For more information, go on-line to CombatAddictionCHQ.com.   


Goodell, Borrello outline plans to begin reopending NYS to County Chamber...
You have to deal with the present... but, you also have to think about the future.  That's why State Assemblyman Andy Goodell and Senator George Borrello developed plans for the "reopening" of New York state -- including Chautauqua County.  During a "virtual" County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast Friday morning... Goodell said he and Borrello took a lot of heat for what they did.  But, the Jamestown-are Republican says you need to look ahead to be in the best position to start restart the economy.  Goodell says we "can't afford not to talk about it..." but, adds it needs to be done in a way to minimize any negative impacts on health, and employees.  Borrello the shut-down has also put people in stressful situations, as well.  He recalled a recent discussion with County Sheriff Jim Quattrone... who said -- since April 1st -- domestic calls had increased by 75-percent.  He adds drug overdoses have also spiked along with others.  He says this also public heath issue. 


SWCS teachers, students, dealing with isolation, Internet issues...
Five weeks into the COVID-19 shutdown, education continues in the Southwestern Central School district, and Superintendent Maureen Donahue says the faculty and staff are rising to a unique challenge because they're "not designed" to do distance learning.  A lot of their education includes building relationships.  As learning has moved almost entirely on-line, she says they've set up hot-spots in their parking lots so familes came come by and download assignments.  Some people in the district have no internet... others don't have nearly enough because they have Smart TVs, phones, and some appliances connected to the Internet.  Donahue says when she and her staff speak with students, there are poignant moments because the kids often ask difficult questions they don't have answers to.  They include, "When's the next time we'll be together?" and "What's my graduation going to look like?"  


Local man arrested twice in connection with domestic incident...
A Jamestown-area man was arrested in both the city and the town of Ellicott last Thursday night for alleged domestic violence incidents.  Town Police say they were called to a dispute about 11:30 p.m. at an undisclosed location... and, found that 37 year-old Benjamin Ernewein allegedly committed first-degree unlawful imprisonment.  Shortly afterwards... Jamestown police were called to find a Toyota sedan involved in the incident.  City police found Ernewein driving the vehicle on Maple Street near Arnold Street, and found he allegedly assaulted woman inside.  Further investigation revealed he was driving drunk... and, he was also arrested on charges of assault, and criminal mischief.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 24, 2020

Chautauqua County mental health officials are warning that the number of overdoses are continuing to spike amid the COVID-19 crisis. With residents forced into social isolation... Department of Mental Hygiene Director Patricia Brinkman says the numbers are striking.

Brinkman says this is a nation-wide issue. But locally.... Health Officials indicate 45 overdoses, including two fatalities, occurred during the month of March.  As of April 22nd.... 14 overdoses have been reported, including 3 fatalities.  In 2019, the average number of overdoses in one month was 19. Brinkman says her department was alerted by local law enforcement agencies to a 'bad batch' of drugs, including fentanyl, being sold on the street. Brinkman says one overdose death is too many.... and they are encouraging residents to get help through the Now is the Time Campaign. Brinkman says "the risks and dangers of these days are great, but so too are the options for help". Information can be found at CombatAddictionCHQ.com.


A Mayville man has been indicted by a federal Grand Jury for allegedly trafficking significant amounts of methamphetamine in Chautauqua County.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior announced late Thursday that the indictment for possession with intent to distribute 5 games or more of Meth was handed up against 44 year-old Harry Radke.  Prosecutors say back on January 27th of this year... the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office received information that multiple individuals were living in apartments at a residence on South Erie Street in Mayville.  After speaking with the owner of the building... they found that only one apartment should have been occupied.  They later arrested Radke after an investigation turned up Methamphetamine... and, drug paraphernalia was found in one apartment.  He faces up to 40 years in prison, and a $5-million fine.


Chautauqua County has had one new case of the COVID-19 Virus reported... bringing the total in the county to 29.  County Executive P-J Wendel says it's the second day in-a-row in which a positive test for COVID-19 has been reported after none for several days.  Wendel says the new cast is a woman in her 30s... and, she is one of two active cases that are recovering under orders of the Local Health Official.  He says 24 others have now recovered... and, three deaths have been reported.  A total of 51 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders... and, 653 negative test results have been reported to date.

More evidence is emerging that far more New York residents have had the Coronavirus than the number confirmed by laboratory tests.  Governor Andrew Cuomo said during Thursday morning's press briefing in Albany... that the state has already tested 3,000 people in 19 counties... and, found that 13.9-percent had been infected... but, recovered.  As expected... he says most of the positive cases were found in the heavier populated areas.

Cuomo says the early data also shows that men had about a 4-percent higher infection rate then women.  He also cautioned that the data was preliminary.  The governor also announced some new regulations for nursing homes... which have been hard hit by the pandemic nationally.  Cuomo says some are already being used... but, he says if a nursing home can't care for the person, they have to transfer them to somewhere where they can.  Back to testing... Cuomo says people were recruited for the study at shopping centers and grocery stores -- meaning they were healthy enough to be out in public.  More than 263,000 people in the state have tested positive for the virus. 


Residents of northcentral and northwestern Pennsylvania are projected to be the first in the state to be released from Governor Tom Wolf's stay-at-home order, and many retail stores in those areas should be able to reopen by May 8th.  That's according to a statewide reopening plan released Wednesday.  Wolf wants to begin easing some pandemic restrictions in areas of Pennsylvania that have been lightly impacted by the new coronavirus. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 22, 2020

Congress is set to take the Senate's lead in approving the newest economic recovery bill put forth to deal with the national COVID-19 pandemic.  However... a number of lawmakers -- including local Representative Tom Reed -- are expressing frustration over the fact it's taken nearly a week to get to this point.  Congressional leaders finally reached an agreement with the White House on the nearly $500-billion Coronavirus relief bill.  Reed says he hopes the political posturing over the last bill doesn't show up again.

Reed says this measure would add another $300-billion to the Payroll Protection Program... which ran out of money late last week.  It would also provide hospitals with another $75-billion and, support for a nationwide virus testing program governors say is needed to begin reopening the economy.  The president says he'll support the measure if it passes both chambers.


For the third straight day... there have been no new cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says there are still 27 confirmed cases, and two that are "active."  Wendel adds that 22 people have now recovered, and there are 49 cases under quarantine or isolation orders.  Three of the people testing positive have died.  There are now 590 negative test results to date.
 

Jamestown Public School officials are still hoping for the best -- a return to school.  However, they now have a final plan in place if classrooms remain closed for the rest of the school year.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo extended state-wide school closures through May 15th... and, Jamestown School Superintendent Bret Apthorpe says he and his leadership team have developed a plan to provide on-going support to families as they continue distance learning.

Dr. Apthorpe says the principals met with their faculties Tuesday to discuss the "re-boot" teaching and learning plans, which start May 1st.  Looking at the data... he says they may not be coming back to finish the school year out.  He says planning and preparation is key to teaching, and disrupting that in itself makes the situation difficult.  Apthorpe also praised the hard work of the JPS food service workers, who have served over 75,000 meals to students since distance learning began in March.  All JPS updates can be found online at JPSNY.gov. 


There's more talk about the possibility of reopening certain regions of New York state's economy where the COVID-19 virus has not been prevailent.  However... officials say it has to be in a measured way.  During an appearance at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo Tuesday... Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will head up efforts to develop a reopening plan for Western New York.

Cuomo also indicated that Western New York is on a plateau when it comes to COVID-19 cases... but, he says they don't know if the plateau will remain... and, whether the numbers will go down, or back up.  The governor also said that hospitals in parts of New York will be able to conduct outpatient elective surgeries again. 


One of the major early summer festivals in Jamestown will not occur this year due to the COVID-19 Outbreak -- the Yassou Festival.  Alexis Singleton, a member of the Yassou Festival organizing committee at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.  Singleton says the work would have to begin now to be ready by Father's Day weekend.  The decision to cancel the 37th annual festival was not easy, but she says, "we need to be socially responsible to our own community and greater community."  For now, the church will be looking for other ways to reach out this year.  Singleton confirmed the absence of Yassou will have financial consequences, as it is the church's sole fundraiser... aside from the 'generous stewardship of members' at St. Nicholas church.


A  city woman was arrested for drunk driving after allegedly crashing into a creek in the Town of Ellington.  State Police were called to the accident on Waterboro Hill Road last Saturday... and, through investigation, found 49 year-old Teresa Rooney of Jamestown drove off the roadway and entered the creek, causing front-end damage to her vehicle.  Troopers took her into custody, and she provided a breath sample of 0.11.  Rooney was released with an appearance ticket Driving While Intoxicated.   She was not injured during the accident. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr 21, 2020


It's too early to tell... but, the city of Jamestown may be looking at a multi-million dollar gap in the 2020 budget.  And, Mayor Eddie Sundquist says lawmakers may have to take some "very tough and difficult measures" to keep the city above water as a result of the COVID-19 Crisis.  Sundquist says... with businesses and several attractions closed... the news is sobering.

Sundquist says the good news is the city is in good financial shape going into 2020... and, first quarter sales tax are expected to exceed last years amount collected.  He says he, and Comptroller Joe Bellitto and Deputy Comptroller Ryan Johnson will be developing a plan soon to deal with fall-out from the outbreak.

Bellitto earlier reported to City Council that there was good news from 2019, with revenues exceeding expenses by $1.39-million. He says that leaves the city's fund balance at $3.4-million. Sundquist says property tax payments were coming in well before the shut-down occured.  He says sales tax figures from the second quarter will tell a lot.  He also said he wants to avoid any lay-offs... but, added "we can't guarantee that."
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Last night's Council work session was a first for the Jamestown City Council.  The meeting was held remotely on Zoom... and included all council members, and department heads.


New York's Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is expressing doubt as to whether one of Chautauqua County's major summer events can occur this year.  Speaking on Media One station WJTN yesterday morning... Hochul said one of the questions they'll be asking about reopenings will be -- "is it a place where people are likely to gather in crowds.?" She says probably  not. 

Chautauqua Institution is scheduled to open June 27th.  The institution's official website suggests only a couple of 'religious houses' on the grounds have cancelled programming so far.   More information is expected around May 1st.  The Lieutenant Governor also thanked New Yorkers for the extraordinary sacrifices they've made over the last month.

Hochul encouraged everyone to be patient with what will be a 'phased reopening' of activities, saying, "We don't want to have to go through this again."  She says 'wide scale testing' for COVID-19 ... both diagnostic and for antibodies... will be coming to every corner of the state this week.  Regarding the state budget, the Lieutenant Governor says, "we are in trouble..." with New York facing a deficit of at least $15-billion as a result of doing what needed to be done.  
 

County Executive P-J Wendel says he would like Governor Andrew Cuomo to include Chautauqua County in it's new, aggressive antibody testing program for COVID-19.

Wendel says it's important because the county is seeing "very low" numbers of confirmed cases.  There were still 27 as of Monday afternoon.  However... only 636 people had been tested as of last Sunday.  Wendel says they have asked about the testing, but so far have not been included.  Meanwhile, progress is being reported regarding negotiations on another stimulus package.  Wendel says local government like Chautauqua County could use some help from the federal government... but, adds they would appreciate any help that would be effective for them. 


The New York State Department of Labor has launched a new, streamlined application for New Yorkers to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance without having to first apply for unemployment insurance.  Labor Department officials say this "one-stop-shop" for unemployment benefits will connect New Yorkers with the benefits they deserve faster... and, without having to call the Department of Labor.  In conjunction with Monday morning's rollout of the improved application... the labor department has added 400 representatives dedicated to answering unemployment benefit needs seven-days a week.  That brings the number of representatives to 31-hundred.  Prior to this... federal guidelines had required residents to apply for regular Unemployment Insurance and be rejected before applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.  With this new application, which aligns with updated federal policy, New Yorkers will be able to simply fill out one form to get the correct benefits.

 
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo agrees with President Trump that COVID-19 virus testing should be handled by the individual states.  However... Cuomo says there is one area they need the federal government's help on... and, that's getting the supply chains in place so manufacturers can make the necessary kits.  Cuomo says the state has 300 laboratories... but, they need more materials to make the kits.

Cuomos says he has told manufacturers the state would be willing to pay the price for more tests... but, it's not a matter of price.  He says they've said some of those supply issues have to do with China, and if anything is not available... the kits can't be sent out.

Jamestown Community College's Vice-President of Student Affairs Kirk Young says making change in a hurry is not usually 'in the culture' of higher education... but, that's exactly what's happened at JCC over the past month.  The campus fully shut down on March 19th, putting almost every course activity on-line.  Dr. Young says everyone's worked overtime to make it successful, and singled out the efforts of JCC's tech professionals.

Young affirmed the previous announcement that commencement will be on-line in May, but said they hope to add a more traditional ceremony to the schedule at a later date.   As for summer classes, they will be held, and the college expects high demand after the disruptions of the spring.

Dr. Young said they hope to offer the summer classes in the traditional fashion, but are ready to put them on-line if need be. (The JCC Vice-President spoke over the weekend on Media One's High School Bowl program.) 

A Pomfret man has been arrested for first-degree sexual abuse stemming from alleged incidents in the village of Fredonia.  The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office says 36 year-old Scott Davis faces additional charges of second, and third-degree criminal sexual act for incidents allegedly committed in the town of Pomfret in 2010, and 2017.  Deputies say Davis was taken to the County Jail pending arraignment. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 20, 2020

There have been no new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County from the past weekend, while 21 others have now recovered. 

 County Executive P-J Wendel also said late Sunday that there are only three active cases where people are recovering under Health Department orders.  Wendel adds there are 39 cases now under quarantine or isolation orders.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state may be on the "other side of the plateau" in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak but, he says New Yorkers need to remain vigilant to stop the spread.  

During his Sunday briefing on the number of new cases, and hospitalizations, Cuomo said the daily death toll had dropped again -- to 507 from Saturday.  Cuomo says they also saw new hospitalizations fall to 1,300 people after being at 2,000 several days in a row.

As for reopening the state, Cuomo says it will depend on ramping up on two kinds of testing.  He announced the state will begin large-scale anti-body testing of people today.  Cuomo says they'll be testing "thousands" to see if they have had the Coronavirus, recovered from it, and have developed anti-bodies for it.  In addition, Cuomo says diagnostic testing is needed to make sure that people going back to work don't have the virus.  The state's data shows that nearly 14,000 New Yorkers have died since the state's first coronavirus case was reported March 1st.


The U-S Department of Agriculture has put a new, $19-billion program in place to support farmers during the coronavirus crisis.

ocal Congressman Tom Reed says the USDA's Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will provide direct economic assistance to farmers and, includes two main components to the funding.  The first is $16-billion in direct assistance to farmers to address financial losses.  The second, totaling $3-billion, allows the Department of Agriculture to begin the purchasing and distribution of surplus crops, dairy, and meat.

Jamestown's new mayor says there are a number of concerns he has with the just-approved 2020-2021 New York state budget that was approved just after the April 1st deadline.  

Democrat Eddie Sundquist says the first is an on-going concern over several previous administrations and, now his own.  That's the fact that it's been about 35 years since New York State increased funding to local cities to maintain state highways in those municipalities.

In addition, Sundquist says it's a "strange budget" because of the enormous power it gives to the governor, and his budget director, to monitor and, make changes to the spending plan during the new fiscal year due to huge, projected budget shortfalls due to the Coronavirus outbreak.  Sundquist says everything is "up in the air" regarding the $177-billion spending plan, which already faced a $6.1-billion shortfall as the 2019-2020 fiscal year concluded.  He was also pleased to see Consolidated Highway Improvement Program..." or CHIPS funding remain flat for the new year.
         

A city man was arrested for allegedly being found in possession of a significant amount of marijuana last weekend in Mayville after sheriff's officers were called to check on a suspicious person on Route 394.  

Officers were called to the scene about 11:30 PM Saturday and, took 21 year-old Cody Wood into custody.  Deputies say they found Wood with 25 grams of marihuana, and narcotic related paraphernalia in his possession.  Wood was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and, second-degree unlawful possession of marihuana.  Wood was processed and released with appearance tickets for Chautauqua Town Court at a later date.


Two teenagers from Erie, Pennsylvania escaped serious injury last Saturday night in a one-car, rollover accident in the town of Ripley.  

Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene on Station Road about 10 PM on a report of the crash.  Officers say they found the unidentified 19 year-old driver, and 16 year-old passenger with injuries.  Both were taken to UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie for treatment of what were termed "minor injuries."  Officers say the incident is still under investigation and charges are pending.

The despair wrought on nursing homes by the coronavirus was laid bare Friday in a state survey identifying numerous New York facilities where multiple patients have died.  

Nineteen of the state's nursing homes reported 20 or more deaths linked to the pandemic.  One Brooklyn home was listed as having 55 deaths.  The list was far from complete, and was based on a survey sent by the state asking for details.   

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News Headlines for Sun., Apr. 19, 2020

Coronavirus deaths hit two-week low in New York State, some restrictions loosened...
The daily increase in coronavirus deaths in New York state has dropped under 550 for the first time in over two weeks as hospitalizations continue to decline.  But, Governor Andrew Cuomo warned Saturday that the crisis is far from over.  Hospitals are still reporting nearly 2,000 new COVID-19 patients per day.  The state logged 540 deaths Friday from COVID-19, the lowest number since April 1st.  For those looking for something to celebrate, however, the state is untangling some red tape around tying the knot. With many marriage bureaus closed, New Yorkers will now be able to get marriage licenses online and wed via video. 
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On Friday... the governor offered some good news during his daily press conference in Albany, in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak.  Cuomo says that the curve is beginning to trend down.... and, the net change in hospital patients is undeniably on decline.  However, Cuomo says the number of new COVID-cases walking into hospitals to receive treatment remains flat, and testing remains also remains a major challenge and the federal government needs to help.


Borrello offers more information about proposed "UnPause NY...
As the state begins to think about restarting the economy, area State Senator George Borrello has concerns about Governor Andrew Cuomo's decision to keep New York State on pause through the middle of May.  Borrello says a regional approach is needed in reopening the state.  The Sunset Bay Republican, along with Assemblyman Andy Goodell, have advanced a plan that would phase-in the restart.  Borrello says they are not proposing anything that would put public safety in jeopardy.  Borrello says you can't take a "one size fits all" approach when restarting the state.  Borrello says the plan has been sent to the State's Department of Taxation and Finance Commissioner Michael Schmidt who will be part of the governor's team working to restart the economy.


Warren Co., PA extends shut-down of nonessential operations through May 4...
Across the boarder in Pennsylvania, the shutdown of nonessential operations of the Warren County Government has been extended until May 4th.  In a printed release... the Commissioners and their adminstration say most county workers will also continue to be on leave or work from home, provided their is no significant change in the emergency status of the region.  For staff still reporting to their office... officials say they will use masks, install plexiglass shields at areas where meetings with staff take place and extensive cleaning of offices and equipment.  Questions or concerns can be directed to the Warren County Public Safety Department COVID-19 hotline at 1-814-563-3598. 


TRC ramps up making masks and gowns during COVID-19 outbreak...
The Resource Center in Chautauqua County and one of its affiliated corporations are making the facemasks and gowns desparately needed in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.  Community Relations Director, Steve Waterson, says they've been sewing things for more than 30 years at TRC... and, when COVID-19 led to a shortage of personal protective equipment they realized the should adapt more of their sewing operations to make masks and gowns.  'Support Enterprises' is the affiliated corporation that's making masks... which are now mandated in New York State.  To contact Support Enterprises, go to tankbagsusa.com or phone 665-3840.  Masks can be picked up at Support Enterprises on Jones & Gifford Avenue, or delivery can be arranged.  Each mask is $4.75.  Steve Waterson says, "It's nice to help the community by supplying products that are in need right now." 


Gunderson announces virtual, on-line program to provide humor during Coronvirus shut-down...
The National Comedy Center is determined to bring laughter to our community, even if that means taking a virtual approach during the coronavirus outbreak.  Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson says their new on-line platform features exclusive content... including 40 highlight videos of what they have in the center and museum.  Gunderson say during this 'unfortunate temporary closure'.... the museum's mission to celebrate comedy doesn't stop.  She says we need to make sure laughter is part of our every day lives, which can be shared with others through the Anywhere exhibit.  The platform includes a journey through the world of comedy for people of all ages.  However, Gunderson recommends parents watch the material before sharing with children... or, take notice of advisories at the beginning of the exhibits.  More can be found at comedycenter.org/anywhere.

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr 17, 2020

A woman in her 60s is the latest positive case of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County... bringing the county's number of cases to 27.  County Executive P-J Wendel says there are still five "active cases..." and 19 have recovered.  Wendel says three people have died during the pandemic... while 88 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders by the Public Health Director and being monitored.   There have been 493 negative test results to date.  Wendel also reminds residents of Governor Cuomo's executive order requiring all people in New York to wear face coverings in public and in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained, effective today.

The policies are challenging and hard, but social distancing measures are working to slow the spread of the coronavirus. During his Thursday morning press conference... New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the curve of COVID-19 cases continues to flatten, although we are not out of the woods yet.  Cuomo says stay-at-home restrictions will be extended least through May 15th. In the meantime... he says a four-step strategy to "un-pause" New York State, will be implemented when the time is right (details are available at https://www.governor.ny.gov/).

Governor Cuomo says the 'phased in return to business' will be based on a priority scale. However... he says it won't be like a light switch turning on because the workplace must be re-imagined... and, transmission rates still need to be tamed. 


The National Comedy Center is determined to bring laughter to our community, even if that means taking a virtual approach during the coronavirus outbreak.  Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson says their new online platform features exclusive, never-before-seen content.

Gunderson say during this 'unfortunate temporary closure'.... the museum's mission to celebrate comedy doesn't stop.  She says we need to make sure laughter is part of our every day lives, which can be shared with others through the Anywhere exhibit.  The platform includes a journey through the world of comedy for people of all ages.  However, Gunderson recommends parents watch the material before sharing with children... or, take notice of advisories at the beginning of the exhibits.  More can be found at comedycenter.org/anywhere.


Chautauqua County's congressman says he will work across the political aisle with anyone looking to put legislation forward to help small farmers across the region -- and America.  Corning Republican Tom Reed applauded U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York for announcing the "Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act" she says will provide crucial support for small farmers that they aren't getting from the recently approved, $2.2-trillion CARES Act.  Reed says he's been hearing a lot from local farmers.
Reed says what's going on with the nation's farmers is as much a "national security" issue as a food one.  While retails stores have been busy... farmers whose milk products go to restaurants or other institutional needs... is being dumped, or plowed under.  Gillibrand says her legislation would help connect those farmers with food banks, and other places that can use their food products.  Reed says he is also going to push for more farm relief in the fourth-phase of COVID-19 Relief.


The two juveniles who were reported missing from the north county are back home.  Dunkirk Police confirm the youth have been located and are safe.  Dunkirk resident Jessica Santiago had posted on her Facebook page that her two missing children had not been seen since Wednesday evening. 


A Jamestown man was arrested for driving without a license and leading police on foot chase Tuesday evening. City Police say they pulled over a vehicle at West 8th and Monroe Street shortly after 8 PM, for improperly towing another vehicle, after the operator failed to stop at a red light. During the investigation, police say the operator of the vehicle being towed -- 48 year-old Ryan Robertson -- fled on foot. Robertson was taken into custody after a short pursuit on charges included aggravated unlicensed operation, obstruction... and, a city court bench warrant. 


Federal prosecutors say former New York state Senate leader Dean Skelos was likely to be released from prison after testing positive for the coronavirus.  The government notified a Manhattan federal judge Wednesday that it was told earlier in the day that Dean Skelos was in quarantine after testing positive.  It said he has been symptom-free since April 8th.  Prosecutors say the U.S. Bureau of Prisons said Skelos will be approved for furlough and home confinement once his proposed residence has been approved by U.S. Probation Department authorities. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 15, 2020

A Jamestown home was heavily-damaged after a fire broke out on the city's westside early this morning. County Fire Dispatchers confirm the blaze at 205 West 7th Street was called in shortly after 7 AM.  Facebook photos show smoke and fire coming out of the front of the house and side windows.  An off-duty shift was called in to assist. It's unclear if anyone was in the home at the time. Due to firefighters pulling water from hydrants on West 7th and 6th Streets.... the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities says on the water west side of Jamestown moving through West Ellicott, Celoron, Lakewood, Cottage Park and North Harmony will be dicolored for the next 12-to-24 hours.


There are many more people testing negative for the COVID-19 virus in recent days in Chautauqua County... while there are no new cases over the past day.  County Executive P-J Wendel says there are still 24 confirmed cases, with three others that are considered "active" and are recovering.  Wendel says three people have died from the Coronavirus... while 123 others remain under quarantine or isolation orders and being monitored.  There have now been 463 negative test results to date.


In addition...  Wendel has extended the county’s State of Emergency for up to another 30 days due to the ongoing Pandemic.  He says new protocols will go into effect for the public that visit County facilities starting this Thursday, April 16th.  Wendel says "the threat of this virus is still very severe for Chautauqua County.  It is necessary that Chautauqua County remain proactive and fully prepared to deal with its effects, and I ask all County citizens and visitors to venture out only for essential business."  He says the new protocols will involve screening the public for any symptoms of COVID-19 before entering a county facility... and, all county employees who have direct contact with visitors will wear a cloth face covering or face shield.

Government leaders have been debating over when and how best to "reopen" the United States in the coming days.  But... regardless of when and how... the novel Coronavirus will still be here.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who says whether it's the beginning or end of May... the virus will still be with us.  Reed says we won't kill it... but, we need to properly "manage" the situation until a vaccine is found and produced.

Reed says the reopening of business will be tempered with different protocols... and, setting up the nation's health care system to deal with new cases of COVID-19, as well as ramping up testing.  The Corning Republican add that government will also have a role in making sure that everyone is able to deal with the new reality.  Reed says the key will be "seemless" communications, and learning anything new about COVID-19 that can help mitigate it's impact.  He says that will especially be critical in addressing any new hot spots over the next 12 to 18 months. 


A dust-up between President Trump and the leaders of several states appears to be in the rear-view mirror of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo... and, the president himself.  The president said during a press conference Monday night that he would make the call on when the country 'reopens' from the current COVID-19 Shut-down... and, Cuomo called him on it during Tuesday morning TV shows.  But... during yesterday's press briefing in Albany... Cuomo said he's not looking for a fight, and wants to work together with the President to reopen the country at the best time.

Cuomo even acknowledged that he had praised the president for helping to open up the Javits Center in New York City, and bring in the USNS Comfort for temporary hospitals.  During a separate press event at the White House... President Trump backed away from Monday's comments... saying that the reopening of the country would be done in coordination with the states.  While the number of hospitalizations remains flat... Cuomo did say the number of deaths went back up during the past day... to 778. 


Chautauqua County's two airports will receive nearly 100-thousand dollars as part of just over $411-million going to the state's airports hit hard by the Coronavirus outbreak.  U-S Senator Charles Schumer announced the aid from the Cornoavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act will be available as soon as possible.  Schumer and fellow New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand say... in a joint statement... that "the CARES Act provides funds to increase the federal share to 100-percent for the Airport Improvement Program and other grants already planned for fiscal year 2020."  They say the additional funding and elimination of the local share will allow for critical safety and capacity projects to continue as planned.  They say the Jamestown Airport will receive $69,000 while the Dunkirk Airport will get $30,000.


The Salvation Army in Jamestown is feeling the weight of the economic downturn from coronavirus.  Major Kim Merchant says they've seen 'a huge increase in numbers' of people needing their services. She encourages anyone who can contribute financially to do so, as their supplies could run low because the Food Bank of Western New York can't provide everything.  The address to send checks is 83 South Main Street in Jamestown.  In addition, the Major encourages people to use their 'stimulus checks' wisely... especially if they might need help later once evictions and shut-off notices resume.  As with others, the Salvation Army couldn't meet for worship on Easter Sunday, and Major Merchant says that was 'a difficult day'... but they dropped off goodie bags at the homes of local children.

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 14, 2020

New York's lieutenant governor said Monday that the COVID-19 curve is continuing to flatten state-wide.  However... Democrat Kathy Hochul says Western New York needs to prepare should there a 'surge' in this area.

Meanwhile, the state is working on developing a plan for recovery from COVID-19... and, her main focus with the administration is economic development.  However... she says they will not be doing "anything prematurely."  Hochul says the plan is being called "New York Forward."  She says a lot of it will depend on the availability of testing for those who had COVID-19 and whether they are able to re-enter the workforce.

 
There is also good news in Chautauqua County... as no new cases of the COVID-19 Virus were reported yesterday.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says the number of positive cases remains 24 after one was added yesterday.  Wendel adds that there are now just three "active cases..." while there are now 18 people who have recovered from the virus.  There have been three deaths... and, 127 people are under quarantine or isolation orders... and, there have been 427 negative test results so far.  Wendel adds that "rainy quarantine days can help you plan your next grocery list--delivery.   As the stay-at-home COVID-19 suggestions continue, the grocery delivery options expand.   There may be a slight wait for delivery times, so, plan ahead."


Governor Andrew Cuomo says New York's death toll from coronavirus has now topped 10,000 with hospitals still seeing 2,000 new patients a day.  However... during his Monday briefing in Albany, Cuomo said the number of deaths in the state fell below 700 -- to 671 -- for the first time in several days on Sunday.

Cuomo says the reason why New York state -- and, New York City in particular -- are being so hard hit is population density.... and, because COVID-19 is "very contagious..." it spreads very fast.  In addition... New York City's health department says the city is in danger of running out of swabs for COVID-19 tests and should only test hospitalized patients.  An April 11th memo to health care providers said there's -- quote -- ``a real possibility'' of running out of test swabs.  Officials in New York City, and the state, have pleaded for the federal government to provide widespread coronavirus testing. 


Democratic governors in the Northeast and along the West Coast are announcing separate state compacts to coordinate how to begin reopening society amid the coronavirus pandemic.  They did not announce a timeline but said they will consider the health of residents first and will be guided by science.  The Northeast coalition includes New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

New York's junior U-S Senator has announced new legislation designed to provide direct relief to small, and family farms who are suffering even more under the current shut-down.  Democrat Kirsten Gillibran says the "Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act" will provide crucial support for small farmers that they aren't getting from the recently approved CARES Act.  Gillibrand says there are two issues right now... getting farmers places to sell their goods, and secondly, protection for farm workers.

Currently... Gillibrand says farm bankruptcies are at an eight-year high and net farm income has dropped by nearly half since 2013.  She says the financial struggles of more than 30,000 New York farmers has only been exacerbated by the current crisis, which has devastated supply chains, as schools and restaurants have been forced to close.  The Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act will alleviate debt, keep farms open, and fortify the nation’s food supply.  Gillibrand says she's also working to find new places for farmers to send their milk and crops until the nation returns to some normalcy.


Jamestown will be receiving an additional 700-thousand dollars in federal funding to deal with housing and other issues triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says the city received notification recently from the U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development about the funding.  Sundquist says there are a couple of areas the city would like to have the funding used for.

However... Sundquist says they are still waiting for more information on what specifically the money can be used for.  Generally he says the money is to be used for emergency preparations, housing and economic stability.  The money is in addition to the city's annual CDBG and HOME Program allocation of more than $1.1-million.

A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly possessing child pornography last Thursday.  State Police in Jamestown say they received the case from the Troop A Computer Crimes Unit... and, executed  a search warrant at 21 year-old Misael Romero-Vasquez's residence.  Troopers say their investigation revealed five pornographic images of minors on his computer.  Romero-Vasquez was taken into custody on five-counts of Possessing a Sexual Performance by a Child.  He's due to appear in Jamestown City Court next month.  Troopers were assisted by the Department of Homeland Security. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 13, 2020

There are now two-dozen cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County.  County Executive P-J Wendel says there's one new case in the northeast Fire Battalion District of the county... bringing the total to 24 positive cases.  Wendel says the new case -- reported Sunday -- is a man in his 60s.  There were no new cases reported on Saturday.  He says there are currently eight active cases... with 13 now having recovered.  Wendel says there are 125 cases under quarantine/isolation orders by the Public Health Director and being monitored.  He adds there have also been 399 negative test results so far. 


It was not the usual Easter for Christian churches in the area. In the midst of the shutdown, pastors had to use different means to reach the faithful. Bob Hagel of First Presbyterian Church in Jamestown used a low-power FM transmitter to speak to members of his church... and those of First Covenant... assembled in cars in their adjacent parking lots.  Hagel compared the uncertainties of the current moment to those of Easter morning... saying, "This new life is a little scary because we're not in control of the story... of what comes next."  At Hillcrest Baptist Church, Pastor Mark Hinman used Facebook Live to reach members of his congregation. He said Jesus' resurrection proves there is hope, when all hope seems lost.  Other churches met over telephone conference calls, or provided pre-recorded addresses on-line.  


Local businesses and individuals across the nation have been paying tribute to front-line heath care workers, doctors, EMTs and others during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In the Jamestown-area... some have made masks, hand sanitizer and face shields.  Others have been making... and, delivering pizza.  Co-Owners Joe and Alivia Town at Pace's Pizza on West Third Street recently joined with others to make and deliver 210 pies to Jamestown police and firefighters, UPMC Chautauqua Hospital's day-shift, Lakewood-Busti and Ellicott Police.  Joe Town says the community really stepped up to help.

Town says it all started last months when they teamed up with Charles Pringle at Holiday Harbor to make and deliver 60 pizzas for the day-shift at UPMC Chautauqua.  The Towns then decided to expand their program to include the community... and, they developed the "Four-Week Challenge" where they would make and sent out pizzas to a number of local first-responders and health care organizations.  Joe says members of the community bought 110 of the 210 pizzas they delivered, while Town and his wife donated 100. 


Local Congressman Tom Reed is urging farmers and other agribusiness owners to contact his office for help during the COVID-19 outbreak and response.  Reed says he wants "farmers and others involved in agriculture have fair access to the resources and information they need.  Agriculture is an integral part of our lives in this district and across the nation, so it is important that we support them during this time.  Please contact our offices if you need assistance – we are always here for you.”  The Corning Republican's website is providing answers to frequently asked questions pertaining to farmers as well as a collection of online resources.  He says that includes facts on the H-2A program, relief for farmers and their families, farm credit institution information, loan information and more.  For more information... visit Reed.House.gov. 


Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing that Congress look setting up a fund to benefit health care workers and others negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  During last Friday's press conference in Albany... Cuomo noted that the fund would be similar to the "9/11" Heroes fund established after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City.

Cuomo says he is working towards a "COVID-19 Heroes Compensation Fund" for essential workers and their families... but, says it will be critical for the federal government to take the lead on such a program.


Some nurses at an upstate New York hospital who had just been lauded for their work during the coronavirus pandemic ended their overnight shifts to find their tires had been slashed.  New York state police reported that the tires of 22 vehicles were found slashed Friday morning outside New York-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital in Cortlandt.  Police say 29-year-old Daniel Hall has been arrested on charges including criminal mischief and possession of a controlled substance. 

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News Headlines for Sat., Apr. 11, 2020

Chautauqua County has one new positive case of COVID-19, and a third death...
There has been one new case of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County... and, a third person has died from the new virus.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says a woman in her 40s is now the 23rd person to test positive for the virus.  Wendel says a man in his 60s, who tested positive for COVID-19, has now died following a lengthy illness.  Most of the 23 cases so far have been in the northeast Fire Battalion District of the county.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says there may be a couple of reasons for that.  Schuyler says some of those cases have been related to others, and some were traced to travel elsewhere, like Buffalo.  Wendel and Schuyler say there are still eight active cases... and, those people continue to recover.  Another 12 people have now recovered.  They say there are 114 cases under quarantine or isolation orders... and, there have now been 318 negative test results so far.


Cuomo reports another 777 deaths on Friday, but, ICU admissions for COVID-19 into negative numbers...
Governor Andrew Cuomo reported that coronavirus deaths in New York jumped by 777 in one day.  Meanwhile, the number of people hospitalized is growing far less than last week, a possible sign the outbreak in New York is peaking.  New York state is getting help from Google to overhaul a decades-old unemployment benefits system that has left laid-off workers frustrated and awaiting help. Google helped New York design a revamped website that launched Thursday evening.  The state also added 300 workers to its 700-person staff to process unemployment benefit applications.  Cuomo says the state Department of Labor's system crashed because of a record-shattering surge in claims amid outbreak-related layoffs.


Sundquist proud of how Jamestown residents have handled the outbreak...
For the most part... Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he's very pleased with how city residents have handled the Coronavirus outbreak.  However... Sundquist adds that people need to continue adhearing to social distancing guidelines.  He says they had to shut down basketball courts and playgrounds because people were starting to congregate in those places.  Sundquist says police had to break-up a basketball game a couple of times, and the player themselves put the tape back up.  He issued a State of Emergency for the city back on March 16th... and, called on residents to "stop the spread."  He says he's proud of the way people have responded... and, that's resulted in only been a handful of COVID-19 positive cases.  This week... Sundquist issued a new directive to halt "non-essential" construction work in the city.  He says that mainly stops the Department of Development from issuing new building permits -- unless they are essential to public safety.  The city has had a couple of emergency demolitions in recent days... and, Sundquist says the big one of an old commercial building on East Second Street between Spring and Pine Street... is pretty much completed now. 


Head of legal services for domestic violence victims says calls going up during COVID-19...
While stay-at-home measures appear to be slowing the spread of the new coronavirus, they are also leading to an increase in domestic violence.  It’s a worldwide phenomenon.  Where social distancing keeps people in their homes, reports of domestic violence have surged.  In New York City, visits to the city’s domestic violence website more than doubled in the past three weeks.  Although many city and state services have been curtailed by the pandemic, Anna Maria Diamanti – with the legal services organization 'Her Justice' – says courts still are open for virtual appearances in emergency proceedings.  Diamanti says the courts are still running, and agencies are also operating to provide those services.  But, Diamanti notes there are victims who are sheltering or quarantined with their abusers, and who may not able to take advantage of remote access to the courts or other service providers.  She says if it feels unsafe to contact city or legal services, it may be possible to let a family member or neighbor know that help is needed.  For more information... call the New York State Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline at 1-800-942-6906.


Wolf allows early release of 1,800 Inmates in PA prisons...
Governor Tom Wolf has authorized the early release of as many as 1,800 inmates from Pennsylvania state prisons in an effort to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.  The governor's office said Friday that releases to halfway houses or home confinement could start as early as Tuesday.  The plan is similar to what other states and some Pennsylvania counties have undertaken. It allows the release of inmates serving time for nonviolent offenses who are within nine months of scheduled release, or within 12 months for those considered at heightened risk from the virus.


No injuries reported in Ashville rollover crash...
Fire rescuers in the village of Lakewood were called to the scene of a motor vehicle accident early Friday morning.  County Dispatchers say a vehicle rollover was reported shortly before 6:30 AM.... and, the car came to rest in a ditch at 29-11 Route 394, near Chautauqua and Longview Avenues.  No injuries were reported.  Slippery road conditions may have been a factor.


 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 10, 2020

BREAKING - Lakewood Village Medics were called to the scene of a motor vehicle accident early this morning.  County Dispatchers say a vehicle rollover was reported shortly before 6:30 AM.... and, the car came to rest in a ditch at 29-11 Route 394, near Chautauqua and Longview Avenues. No injuries have been reported at this time. Motorists are asked to proceed with caution, as roads may be slick in some spots today.

There's been one new case of Coronavirus in Chautauqua County... bringing the total since the outbreak began to 22.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who said Thursday that this one was again in the "hot zone" of the county... the northeastern Fire Battalion District.  There have NOW been 14 in that area.

There are now 117 people in mandatory isolation or quarantine.  Wendel says there has now been 256 negative test results so far.  Public Health Director Christine Schulyer says officials have been notified of people not heeding the "stay-at-home" orders, and congregating at supermarkets and convenience stores.  Schuyler says only one person should be going out and getting necessary items to limit any potential exposure to the COVID-19 Virus.  She adds that New York state today issued new directives, closing golf courses and boat launches.  She and Wendel both again reminded residents to stay home as much as possible... and, use social distancing if you have to go someplace. 


Residents of Chautauqua County who don't have a primary care doctor, or other medical provider are being urged to contact the Chautauqua Health Network to get one during this time.  The Health Network said Thursday that residents need to do their part by calling their doctor if they are not feeling well instead of going to an emergency room, or urgent care.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says the Chautauqua Center is also involved in the effort.  Schuyler says the doctor will then do an evaluation to see if the patient should be tested for COVID-19.  She says the county has been receiving more testing kits and other items and equipment needed... but, she adds they have no where near enough to test everyone who wants to be.  If you need their help, call 338-0010, or e-mail chautauqua.health.network@CCHN.net, and you will receive a response within 24 hours.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he knows if tough... but, he is pleading with residents to continue following social distancing guidelines to keep pushing down the number of COVID-19 cases.  During his daily press briefing in Albany... Cuomo noted that hospitalizations now number just over 18,000 which is a significant number.  He says the health care system -- while stretched in many places -- is holding up.  Cuomo says much of any increase will completely overwhelm the system.

Cuomo says 799 state residents succumbed to the novel Coronavirus Wednesday, exceeding the 779 from the day before.  That's three straight days of more than 700 deaths.  He says most are people who have been in hospitals longer-term, and were on ventilators.  
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Cuomo also announced yesterday that they were updating the New York State Unemployment Offices software last night to better handle the thousands of calls they've been getting.  Since the outbreak, and it's fall-out... the head of the State Unemployment Office says they have processed 810,000 new applications.  The system was down about two-hours so the state could work with Google to upgrade software to handle the volume after later in the evening.


First responders and city officials in Jamestown saluted local health care workers and doctors for their tireless efforts during the COVID-19 outbreak.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he and other city employees, along with members of the fire and police departments, went to two locations to do a "Heroes for Heroes" salute.

Sundquist says they brought fire and police vehicles to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital... and, the Chautauqua Center in Brooklyn Square... with their sirens going to help show their appreciation.  He says it's important to recognize what local health care workers are doing everyday during the Coronavirus pandemic.  Sundquist made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.

Pennsylvania schools will remain shuttered for the rest of the academic year because of the coronavirus pandemic under a new state order.  Governor Tom Wolf's education secretary signed the closure order Thursday.  The decision affects more than 1.7 million students in public and private K-12 schools.  It means children will spend the rest of the academic year learning remotely.  Wolf had previously closed schools indefinitely.  Pennsylvania has seen more than 18,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections and, 338 deaths.

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 9, 2020

There are two new cases of the COVID-19 Virus reported in Chautauqua County Wednesday... bringing the total since the outbreak began to 21.  

That from County Executive P-J Wendel, who says the new cases are a man and woman, both in their 40s.  Wendel adds that there are now 11 active cases, involving people who continue to recover under orders from local health officials.  He says eight people have now recovered, while two have died.  Wendel says there are now 108 cases under quarantine or isolation orders by the Public Health Director, and are being monitored.  There have also been 229 negative test results so far.


Social Distancing is continuing to work on flattening the curve of COVID-19 cases in New York state, but Governor Andrew Cuomo says it's not time to let off the gas pedel.  

But, while the number of new cases have flattened, the number of deaths is up again to 779 over the past day.  During yesterday's press briefing in Albany, Cuomo urged residents to stay with the program.

The 779 deaths is the highest since yesterday, which was the first day deaths exceeded 700 during the Coronavirus outbreak.  He says the number of deaths appears to be happening after longer hospital stays, and many were on ventilators during that time.  In addition, Cuomo announced today that New York State is extending unemployment to 39 weeks to help put another $600 into the pockets of people who have applied.


Jamestown Public Schools are hoping for the best, but planning for worse in regards to whether or not classrooms will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.  District Superintendent Bret Apthorpe says Governor Cuomo extended state-wide school closures until April 29th.

Apthorpe says schools were originally closed until April 20th.  In the meantime, the leadership team is in a two-week, comprehensive planning phase and, will meet with principals on Tuesday, April 21st, to discuss the details.  During the school board meeting Tuesday night, Apthorpe says they approved a motion to keep Dana Williams as the top adminstrator of Jamestown High School.  He says Williams has been doing a "terrific job" leading the high school during this difficult time, and will be principal during the 2020-21 school year also.  Apthorpe adds that the state education department has announced plans to cancel the June 2020 regents exams.  Students currently in grades 7-12 who would have been scheduled to take a Regents exam, may be exempt.


There are a number of concerns, but also some positives that are coming out of the new, $177-billion New York State budget after both the Senate and Assembly wrapping up voting late last week.  

After the Senate completed the process of approving budget bills, local Senator George Borrello voiced concerns over the 2020-21 spending plan.  A big one, he says is the lack of transparency in the process.  Borrello says state leaders are using the COVID-19 crisis to pass a "lot of things" that will ultimately be damaging to Western New York. However, Borrello did find some positives in the budget, including reforms for Medicaid transportation.  It was an issue the Sunset Bay Republican had pressed to be addressed during the budget making process.

 
An overnight fire Wednesday has heavily-damaged a home in the town of Sherman and, kept several fire companies busy.  

Chautauqua County Fire dispatchers say Sherman firefighters were called to the scene on Route 430 shortly before 1 AM and, they soon after called in mutual aid from Ashville, Chautauqua, Ripley, South Ripley, Westfield and Clymer fire companies.  Dispatchers say many of those call-outs were for tanker trucks.  No one was hurt.  Crews were at the scene until shortly after 5 AM.  The cause is under investigation.  The Red Cross is helping the family.


A Jamestown man faces robbery and assault charges after allegedly stabbing, and stealing property from the victim early Wednesday morning.  

City police were called to the scene at 17 Bush Street just after 4 AM and found the victim with a large cut to their neck.  Officers say they found the suspect, 27 year-old Marquez Davis, trying to flee the scene.  He was arrested on one count each of first-degree robbery, and assault and, criminal possession of stolen property.  Davis was jailed pending arraignment.  Police say the victims wound was not life-theatening.


A Jamestown man was arrested for allegedly injuring a person a domestic incident and fighting with police officers Tuesday night.  

City police responded to a "physical" domestic at a Newland Avenue residence and on arrival, found 47 year-old Robert Barr struck a female in the face several times.  Officers say Barr then proceeded to choke the victim, causing her to lose consciousness and receive facial injuries.  A brief struggle occurred before police took him into custody.  Barr faces several charges including second-degree strangulation and third-degree assault. 


The Dunkirk Common Council and Mayor Willie Rosas continue to be at odds over the removal of two appointed city officials that occurred earlier this year...  
Councilman-at-Large Paul VanDenVouver says a lawsuit has been filed against the Common Council for its decision to remove Human Resources Director Dave Campola and Executive Assistant Vicki Westling back in January.

During Tuesday's meeting, council members voted 4-1 to rescind a 2017 resolution creating the Human Resources Director position.  Rosas told the council that he plans to veto the resolution, stating that the HR Director oversees the majority of personnel costs in the city budget.  He told council members that they were wrong, and "doing a disservice to the taxpayers."  Second Ward Councilman Marty Bamonto cast the lone "no" vote.

 
Pennsylvania emergency management officials will be permitted to commandeer N-95 face masks, ventilators and other crucial medical equipment for use in the fight against COVID-19.  

That comes under an order signed Wednesday by Governor Tom Wolf.  The order mandates that private and public health care facilities, manufacturers and other companies tabulate their supplies of personal protective equipment, drugs and other medical equipment and provide an inventory to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.  PEMA will make the commandeered material available where it is needed.  Several other states, including New York and Minnesota, have issued similar orders.

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 8, 2020

Jamestown Public Schools are hoping for the best, but planning for worse in regards to whether or not classrooms will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. District Superintendent Bret Apthorpe says New York Governor Andrew Cuomo extended state-wide school closures until April 29th.

Dr. Apthorpe says schools were originally closed until April 20th.  In the meantime, the leadership team is in a two-week, comprehensive planning phase.... and, will meet with Principals on Tuesday, April 21st, to discuss the details. During the school board meeting Tuesday night, Apthorpe says they approved a motion to keep Dana Williams as the interim Principal of Jamestown High School.

Apthorpe also announced that the state education department announced plans to cancel the June 2020 regents exams. Students currently in grades 7-thru-12 who would have been scheduled to take a Regents exam, may be exempt.... meaning that they will not need to take the exam in order to graduate. All JPS updates can be found online at JPSNY.gov.

No new cases of the COVID-19 virus were reported Tuesday in Chautauqua County.  But... Public Health officials are still warning residents that the virus is out there, and you should continue "social distancing" of 6-feet from other people.  County Executive P-J Wendel says there are 19 confirmed cases so far... with two deaths reported.  Wendel says the number of "active cases" now totals 9... with 8 people now having recovered.  The Health and Human Services Department says there are 84 people under quarantine or isolation orders... while 204 tests have come back negative.


Chautauqua County is getting tough on anyone who spits... or coughs on a police officer or other first responders during the Coronavirus outbreak.  District Attorney Patrick Swanson says they will be investigating such incidents... and prosecuting them to "the fullest extent of the law."

Swanson says those possible charges include: second-degree attempted assault, third-degree menacing, and second-degree harassment.  He adds "it angers me that anyone would spit or cough at an officer... in an effort to intimidate or threaten them when they are performing their job related responsibilities."  Swanson says the decision to do this stemmed from a reported incident in the city of Dunkirk last weekend.


Small business owners trying to take advantage of the $2.2-trillion CARES Act have "overwhelmed" the system of trying to get loans and grants to keep them afloat.  Local Congressman Tom Reed says they've been fielding a lot of calls regarding the $350-billion Paycheck Protection Program, and not being able to get hold of the agencies they need.  Reed says federal lawmakers are looking at lifting the cap on that program.

Reed says, once you get hold of the bank on the phone, or on-line, it's important to have three items ready:  One is your previous year's tax return on hand... along with your most recent payroll tax return.  He says that's Form-941 from the Internal Revenue Service.  Thirdly... he says go to whoever manages revenues and expenses, and have that documentation ready.  The Corning Republican says his office has all that information on his website as well at  Reed-dot-House.GOV.   He made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media.

There will be no city easter egg hunt at Allen Park this Saturday -- likely the first time that's happened in Jamestown in more than 70 years.  City Parks and Recreation Coordinator Julia Ciesla-Hanley says in 72 years of egg hunts... in all kinds of weather and conditions... they had to call it off for this year.
Ciesla-Hanley says the Parks Department is walking a fine line... encouraging people to get out and use the parks during the virus shutdown, but NOT to gather in groups at playgrounds, basketball courts or other locations.  
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 7, 2020

A second person from Chautauqua County has now died from the COVID-19 Virus.  County Executive P-J Wendel said Monday that the man, who was in his 70s, had recently contracted the virus.  Wendel adds there's also one new case, bringing the total to 19 county-wide.  He says it's important for all county residents to continue to follow all social distancing guidelines.  Wendel says the four new cases Sunday were the largest day-to-day increase in the county since the virus was first detected last month.

Meanwhile, Wendel says they have a better understanding of Governor Andrew Cuomo's executive order directing 20-percent of the unused ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment be moved to New York City, if needed.  So far, there has been no declaration for taking ventilators by force.  Wendel says the new case involves a man in his 40s.  He says that brings the number of active cases to 10 who are now recovering.  Wendel also says seven people have now recovered.  He says 91 people now remain under quarantine or isolation orders.  There have also been 199 negative tests so far.


There has been a slight flattening of the curve of cases of COVID-19 in New York state.  However, Governor Andrew Cuomo says now is not the time to relax.  Cuomo says he is extending his "stay-at-home" restrictions through April 29th and, increase fines for people violating "social distancing" orders to up to $1,000.  Cuomo cited fresh evidence the outbreak-fighting rules could be helping the state avoid a worst-case catastrophe.  But, he says downstate hospitals are still stressed to the breaking point.

Cuomo says there were 599 deaths reported statewide since Sunday afternoon, which is down 30 from the previous day.  However, he says he wants to ramp-up "social distancing" because it's proven to work during the outbreak.  However,he says people got lax, and were "irrresponsible" over the past weekend.  Cuomo says the number of positive cases since the outbreak has exceeded 130,000 in the state, but he adds the number of new people entering hospitals daily has fallen, along with the number of critcally ill patients needing ventilators. 


All construction projects in the city of Jamestown, unless it's a private home owner -- or property owner performing work on their own property -- are to stop immediately.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist, who says in a printed statement that the decision was made by the Department of Development after several days of questions and clarifications from state and federal agencies.  Sundquist says the only exception for construction projects is "only if it would be unsafe to allow it to remain undone and until which time it is deemed safe to shut the site."  For more information, call 483-7541.

There is help available to local businesses in Chautauqua County that have had to close, or severely curtail operations due to the Coronavirus outbreak.  That from Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Tranum, who says there are a pair of programs that have emerged from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Stimulus -- or CARES Act.  Tranum says one is the Paycheck Protection Program, which is managed through a number of banks.  He says the other is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

Tranum says the local center, at Jamestown Community College, can be reached at 338-1024.  Locally, Tranum says the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency has a new loan program to help small businesses.  He says some of that money has already been doled out.  The IDA can be reached at 661-8902.  The 2.2-Trillion dollar CARES Act was approved by Congress... and, signed by President Trump last week.


The local group dedicated to making face masks is taking on a new initiative.  Mary Rappole, one of the organizers, says they'd like to make 500 masks for Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo by the end of this week.  She says, "Many people in our area have used Roswell, and we thought there would be interest."  Design ideas and full information for anyone wanting to help are available at the Facebook page 'Mask Makers of Western New York.'  Finished masks can be dropped off in totes at the Conduit Church on Newland Avenue or First Covenant Church on Fairmount Avenue.  Cash donations for materials will also be accepted. 

Two people from Jamestown have been arrested for allegedly stealing a pick-up truck in Salamanca and leading police on a pursuit with drugs in the vehicle late last Saturday night.  City police say they were patrolling the area of Cherry and West 7th Street when they spotted the stolen 2007 Chevy Silverado.  Officers say they tried to stop the truck, but the driver failed to comply and sped off through the city,going the wrong way on one-way streets and almost hitting several cars. Police say the truck was last seen northbound on Liberty Street -- near Falconer Street -- when it struck a parked car.  The driver, 34 year-old Eric VanGiesen, tried to flee before being arrested.  A search of the vehicle turned up 17-grams of concentrated cannabis and, the passenger -- 48 year-old Christopher Hewitt-- was also arrested.  Van Giesen was also found to operating the vehicle while under the influence of drugs.  Both men were held pending arraignment. 


The demand for gasoline during the Coronvirus outbreak has hit nearly a 30-year low and, that's pushing local prices at the pump closer to the $2.00 mark.  Triple-A East Central's Gas Price Report says the average price in the Jamestown-area has fallen 3-cents to an average of slightly over $2.19 a gallon for regular, unleaded fuel.  Triple-A says the national average is now $1.92 a gallon.  That's 81-cents less than last year at this time.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 6, 2020


Coronavirus deaths in New York state climbed to more than 4,100 on Sunday... but, there is a slight glimmer of hope the spread is slowing.  The state recorded a slight dip in fatalities Sunday compared to the day before.  Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters it was too soon to say whether the pandemic had reached its apex and urged New Yorkers to remain vigilant.  He adds that about three-quarters of those hospitalized, are now coming out.

The state reported 594 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday -- down from 630 new fatalities announced the day before.  Cuomo also says that ICU admissions and intubations were also decreasing slightly.  He says more than 122,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19... and, at least 16,000 people have been hospitalized.  (**In addition... Cuomo's startling plan to force hospitals elsewhere in the state to give spare ventilators to the fight in New York City apparently hasn't yet materialized... a couple of days after he ordered them to surrender 20-percent of any unused supply to the National Guard for temporary redistribution.)


A man from Buffalo was arrested late last week for allegedly being found in possession of cocaine during a traffic stop in Jamestown.  City police say they pulled over a car, driven by 22 year-old Louis Thomas for an alleged infraction on Lafayette Street -- near West Fourth -- Thursday afternoon.  Officers say they found a quantity of cocaine in his possession... and, he was arrested.  Thomas was jailed -- pending arraignment -- on one count of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.


A Jamestown-area man has been arrested following a weekend domestic violence incident in the town of Busti.  Lakewood-Busti Police were called to a home on Mead road late last Saturday night... and, arrested 34 year-old Raymond Hamilton for allegedly hitting a woman in the face multiple times... and, choking her.  Officers charged Hamilton with third-degree assault, and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood flow.  He was sent to the county jail pending arraignment.


The effects of the coronavirus shutdown are hitting Chautauqua County's dairy industry.   Ben Nickerson, one of the owners of the 900 cow 'Nickerson Farm' in Sherman says all this week, the farm will dump about 64,000 pounds of milk a day into a lagoon because there is no market for it.   With restaurants, hotels and the entertainment industry mostly shut down, demand for certain milk products has plummeted. Nickerson does say his co-op, Dairy Farmers of America will pay for the milk NOT shipped.

But, Dick Kimball, President of the Chautauqua County Farm Bureau, says because of the way milk is priced for farmers, when a producer around here has to dump it, all the other farmers in Federal Order One... from Maine to Pennsylvania... will 'take a hit'.  He adds while more milk might be needed in homes right now, dairy products that are processed and packaged for the restaurant industry can't be immediately shifted to retail.  The Farm Bureau leader concluded, "It's not pretty... but, it's not pretty for anybody right at the moment."


The Chautauqua County Crisis Response Fund: COVID-19 has made its first grant.  Tory Irgang, Executive Director of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, says it was $1600 given jointly to Rural Ministries in Dunkirk and St. Susan's Center in Jamestown.

Irgang expects the fund to release several larger grants this week.  The money will go to orgranizations providing services to people in Chautauqua County hard hit by the coronavirus and the shutdown it brought.  So far, the Crisis Response Fund has raised $861,935 of a million dollar goal.  Irgang says the county's community foundations, United Ways, and other foundations are all supporting the fund.   


The regularily-scheduled Jametown City Council work session will not be held tonight due to social distancing guidelines for the Coronavirus outbreak.  Council President Tony Dolce says lawmakers made the decision after last Monday night's voting session was moved to the Police Training Room on the fourth-floor of City Hall.  Dolce says it was looking like a light agenda anyways... and, says that'll give some time to figure out their next steps.

The public was not allowed to attend last Monday night's meeting... but, could watch via Facebook live... and, submit comments before hand.  The next meeting would be held on April 20th... and, Dolce says that will give the city three weeks to decide whether to continue using some kind of on-line service.  He says on possibility is using Zoom... which the Chautauqua County Legislature recently used to meet on-line during the COVID-19 outbreak. 


There has been a major spike in the number of drug overdoses in Chautauqua County over the past month... and health officials are warning there may be a "strong batch of heroin" in the area.  Health and Human Services Director Christine Schuyler says -- between March 29th and 31st alone -- there were two fatal overdoses, and three other non-fatal overdoses reported.  Schulyer says a large cluster has also been reported in the Buffalo-area.  Due to circumstances... she says officials believe this spike is due primarily to street drugs, especially heroin, being laced with fentanyl.

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News Headlines for Sat., Apr. 4, 2020

Chautauqua County reports 13 COVID-19 case, five now released from quarantine...
There is a new case of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County... giving the county 13 positive cases since the outbreak began less than a month ago.  County Executive P-J Wendel says he's also joining with several local and state lawmakers to oppose Governor Cuomo's directive to take ventilators from Upstate New York for use in the heavily-impacted downstate region.  Wendel made his comments during Friday afternoon's press update on the local response to the Coronavirus outbreak.  As for the number of local ventilators, Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says county hospitals have 46 on hand... and, they vary from child uses... to adults.  State Senator George Borrello has already gone on record opposing the move.  Joining him late Friday were State Assemblyman Andy Goodell, Congressman Tom Reed... and, several other upstate Republicans.  While there are now 13 positive cases of the Coronavirus... five have now recovered.


Cuomo announces more than 600 have died state-wide Saturday, the most since pandemic began...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says about 630 people from the state have died over the past 24 hours... bringing the total number to more than 3,500 since the COVID-19 outbreak began.  During today's press briefing... Cuomo also announced the state had been able to get a donation of 1,000 badly needed ventilators for the state, along with another 140 from the state of Oregon.  Cuomo suprised many Friday by announcing that he was signing an executive order that allows the state to take unused ventilators and other badly-needed Personal Protection Equipment from elsewhere in the state to re-deploy in the hard-hit New York City Metro-area.  He also made a promise to hospitals that have them taken away, that they would either get their ventilators back, or be reimbursed for them.  Cuomo says the state's numbers remain on the increase... and the expected apex -- or peak --  is not expected to be reached for another seven to 14 days.


Two people from Jamestown arrested on drug charges following traffic stop Thursday...
Two city residents have been arrested following a traffic stop for allegedly being found in possession of a significant amount of drugs... and a weapon.  Jamestown Police Captain Bob Samuelson says members of the JPD Metro Drug Task Force, and State Police K-9 unit, made the stop on Water Street -- near Foote Avenue -- about Noon Thursday.  Samuelson says they arrested 31 year-old Richard Catanese, Jr., and, 33 year-old Christine Park.  They also seized 14.7-grams of crystal methamphetime... 2.6-grams of Fentanyl... drug paraphernalia... cash... and, an illegal metal knuckle-knife from the vehicle.  Samuelson says Catanese was wanted for absconding while on parole.  He faces Felony drug charges... while Park was also found with a quantity of crystal meth.  Both were jailed pending arraignment.


County officials issue warning after several drug overdoses in the county over past month... 
There has been a major spike in the number of drug overdoses in Chautauqua County over the past month... and health officials are warning there may be a "strong batch of heroin" in the area.  Health and Human Services Director Christine Schuyler says -- between March 29th and 31st alone -- there were two fatal overdoses, and three other non-fatal overdoses reported.  Schulyer says a large cluster has also been reported in the Buffalo-area.  Due to circumstances... she says officials believe this spike is due primarily to street drugs, especially heroin, being laced with fentanyl.  Schuyler adds this is "very scary. On average, 19 overdoses per month were reported in 2019. If you are with someone who experiences an overdose, call 911, and administer naloxone (Narcan) if it is available.”


Goodell says final State Budget in place that grants "exceptional authority" to governor's office...
The New York legislature finished work on the new state budget early Friday morning.  With revenues in flux becuase of COVID-19, Chautauqua County Assemblyman, Republican Andy Goodell, says the plan gives exceptional authority to the office of the governor... and particularly the budget director... to make cuts.  Goodell says they must give notice to the legislature, which will then have the chance to meet, and make any necessary changes.  The balance of income and spending will be monitored monthly.  Goodell adds the state will not be raiding county budgets for medicaid... but up to $50-million in upstate sales tax money will be 'intercepted' to support distressed hospitals.  Foundation aid for public schools is the same as last year, but could be cut by up to 1.8-percent if state coffers run short.  Also, the assemblyman says the state usually budgets $3-billion for unemployment insurance.  This year... he says they've budgeted about $60-billion.  It's anticipated that most of it -- $50-billion worth -- will be funded by the federal government.


UPMC develops COVID Vaccine that's now being tested...
A potential vaccine to combat the Novel Coronavirus created by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is showing 'promising results'.  During a press conference on Thursday... Dr. Louis Falo says they developed a tiny patch called "Microneedle Array... " which is a bandaid like patch.  He says the vaccine is integrated into the needles, which dissolve into the skin when pressed on to it.  He says skin is the first line of defense against disease, and less amounts of the vaccine is needed as opposed to a traditional shot.  Several Medical Doctors and PhD's were part of the research team.  When tested in lab mice... the vaccine produced antibodies specific to COVID-19 at quantities thought to be effective in neutralizing the virus. 

  
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 3, 2020

Two more people have tested positive in Chautauqua County for the COVID-19 Virus, bringing the total to 12 reported since the outbreak began.  

County Executive P-J Wendel says, of the 12 confirmed positive cases, two people have recovered completely and were released from mandatory quarantine.  Wendel says county officials are contacting people who were in close proximity to  the person when they test positive.

Wendel says one person, a man in his 80s, has died and, nine others are continuing to recover under mandatory quarantine.  He adds that 26 individuals are now in Mandatory Quarantine, while 26 others are in Precautionary Quarantine.  Wendel says another 68 people are in Mandatory Isolation because they are symptomatic of COVID-19 and are pending COVID-19 lab test.  In addition,  he says another 156 negative test results have been reported to date.
 
New York officials are beating the bushes for breathing machines as the number of COVID-19 cases in the state continues to rise and, the state's supply could be exhausted in six days.  

Governor Andrew Cuomo made his comments during his daily press briefing in Albany and, says he and Health Commissioner Howard Zucker are working the phones to get as many ventilators as possible.  Cuomo says they're also converting other machines.

On the more positive side, Cuomo he says some 21,000 out-of-state health care workers have now volunteered to help with the dire situation in the New York City Metro area.  He says the number of New Yorkers killed by the virus soared again, to 2,373.  More than 93-thousand people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state.


New York lawmakers have been able to act on just over two-thirds of a new state budget that is expected to cut school aid as the coronavirus outbreak roils the state's economy.  

Lawmakers failed Tuesday night to pass a budget that needed to be in place by Wednesday, the start of the state's fiscal year.  However, State Senator George Borrello was pleased to see one area of concern for him would be reformed in the new spending plan.

Several lawmakers have stressed the importance of timely passing a budget that ensures state government is working amid a crisis that's already cost the state one-billion dollars.  But many details about the magnitude of spending cuts, the governor's authority over adjusting state spending throughout the upcoming year and just what new laws will be included in the budget remain unclear. 

If you are a senior citizen, but did not file income taxes this year, you will still receive a stimulus check from the federal government if you're eligible.  

That from Chautauqua County Office for the Aging Director Mary Ann Spanos, who says her office got new guidance Wednesday night from the Treasury Department about the status of seniors who did not file tax returns.  Spanos adds paperwork is not going to be required.

As with many other circumstances, Spanos says if someone calls up and wants personal information so they can send you your check, don't do it.  Hang up.  There have already been reports of scams cropping up across the country since the $2.2-trillion Cornoavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security -- or CARES Act -- was approved by Congress.


A Jamestown man faces a menacing charge after allegedly destroying items in a southside home and, pinning another person against a wall.  

City police were called to a residence on Barker Street just after 3 PM Monday and, arrested 21 year-old Quincy Styles trying to flee the scene.  Officers say Styles allegedly wouldn't allow the victim to leave, and threatened them.  In addition to second-degree menacing, he was also charged with unlawful imprisonment, criminal mischief, and obstruction.  He was jailed pending arraignment.

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 2, 2020

New York state is projected to reach the apex -- or peak -- of coronavirus cases by the end of April.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo... who says that's what the more accurate models say.  With that... Cuomo says "social distancing" will be needed now more than ever to avoid overwhelming the state's hospital system - especially downstate.  During Wednesday's press briefing... he showed two models -- one using "minimal" social distancing... another with "high-compliance."

Cuomo adds the number of deaths in the state has more than doubled in the past three days to nearly 2,000 with 1,941 reported.  He says the state is using many of the outbreak "models" used nationally.  If there is minimal compliance... he says the number hospitalized could reach that 110,000 bed mark... and, they would need 37,000 ventilators.  The other shows far fewer cases... and, deaths.  As of Wednesday... the state had recorded 83,712 positive cases of COVID-19... with just over 12,000 people now hospitalized.  

   New York lawmakers were preparing to work late to pass a budget that is expected to cut school aid as the coronavirus outbreak roils the state's economy.  Lawmakers failed Tuesday night to pass a budget in place by Wednesday, the start of the state's fiscal year.  Several lawmakers have stressed the importance of timely passing a budget that ensures state government is working amid a crisis that's already cost the state one-billion dollars.  But many details about the magnitude of spending cuts, the governor's authority over adjusting state spending throughout the upcoming year and just what new laws will be included in the budget remain unclear. 


There have been no new cases of COVID-19 reported in Chautauqua County... so the number of positive cases remains at 10 today.  That from County Health and Human Services Director Christine Schuyler... who says two people have now completely recovered from coronavirus... and, have been released from mandatory quarantine.  Schuyler says one person has died... while seven others are continuing to recover under mandatory quarantine.  She says there are now 25 in mandatory quarantine... while 30 others are in precautionary quarantine.  Schulyer says 40 others are in mandatory isolation.


Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has placed all of the state under an order to stay at home, dramatically expanding the geographic footprint of the quarantine as state officials combat the coronavirus pandemic.  Wolf added 34 counties to his stay-home edict. That means residents of all 67 of Pennsylvania's counties must now stay home as much as possible to help slow the spread of COVID-19.  Those new counties include Warren, which had been one of the few in the region affected.  Coronavirus infections are continuing to rise dramatically in the state. 


U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is calling on the Trump administration to release the recently approved $100-billion in aid to hospitals and other health care agencies trying to keep up with the coronavirus outbreak.  The aid is part of the $2.2-trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security -- or CARES Act.  The New York Democrat says the help is needed so health care workers can have the protections they need without having to get into "bidding wars."

With elective and other surgeries called off... Gillibrand says hospitals need the aid to stay afloat.  She adds she had written a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar... who says the money will also help hospitals prepare for the surge in cases expected over the next two weeks to 30 days. 


In the midst of busy time for everyone... Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist is reminding families of one important, little thing they need to accomplish.  Yesterday -- Wednesday, April 1st -- was 2020 Census Day.

The mayor emphasizes that a complete and accurate count helps Jamestown get it's rightful amount of support from the federal and state governments.  Sundquist says the latest figures show the city with a census response rate of 35-percent... which is higher than the state overall.  As for the COVID-19 crisis... the mayor says the city workforce remains healthy, and the populace is... in general... heeding the warnings.

To keep people from congregating, city playgrounds and basketball courts have been shutdown.  Sundquist confirms an employee of a city hall tenant was diagnosed with COVID-19 in the time after the building was closed to the public.  He adds the facility has been thoroughly cleaned and is safe for the relatively few people who need to be there.  Municipal employees are working from home whenever possible. 

Route 394 in Kennedy was closed for a few hours late Tuesday... and, residents were told to "shelter-in-place" after State Police got a report of a suicidal man barracaded in a home.  Troopers in Jamestown confirm the incident was reported shortly after 5 PM Tuesday night.  There were reports the unidentified man had a weapon.  However... police negotiators were eventually able to talk the man out of the residence safely.  Route 394 was then re-opened to traffic.  No one was hurt.

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 1, 2020

The number of coronavirus deaths in New York state has more than doubled in the past three days to nearly 2,000.  Governor Andrew Cuomo also says today that projections show the outbreak worsening through April.  During an early afternoon briefing Wednesday, Cuomo said the number of deaths had climbed to 1,941.  However... Cuomo says "high-compliance" with social distancing directives could help hold down the numbers in hospitals... and, dying.

Cuomo says the state is using many of the outbreak "models" used nationally.  If there is minimal compliance... he says the number hospitalized could reach that 110,000 bed mark... and, the need for 37,000 ventilators.  However... one national model shows some 93,000 with 16,000 of those in New York.  Right now... he says that doesn't make sense because New York is so much higher.  Cuomo says... state officials believe they will reach the outbreak's apex... or peak... by the end of April.  As of today... the state has recorded 83,712 positive cases of COVID-19... with just over 12,000 people now hospitalized.  

There have been no new cases of Coronavirus in Chautauqua County... so the number of positive cases remains at 10 today.  That from County Health and Human Services Director Christine Schuyler... who says two people have now completely recovered from the COVID 19 Virus, and have been released from mandatory quarantine.  Schuyler says one person has died... while seven others are continuing to recover under mandatory quarantine.  She says there are now 25 in mandatory quarantine... while 30 others are in precautionary quarantine.  Schulyer says 40 people are in mandatory isolation because they are symptomatic of COVID-19 and are pending COVID-19 lab test.  She says 101 negative test results have come back to date.


New York's junior U-S Senator is calling on the Trump administration to release the recently approved $100-billion in aid to hospitals and other health care agencies struggling to contain the COVID-19 virus.  The aid is part of the $2.2-trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security -- or CARES Act.  Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand says the help is needed so health care workers can have the protections they need, such as PPEs.

With elective and other surgeries called off... Gillibrand says hospitals need the aid to stay afloat.  She adds she had written a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Gillibrand says some money has been released to hospitals... but, the funding from that $100-billion allocation needs to be dispensed faster.  She made her comments during an afternoon conference call with state-wide media.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has placed all of the state under an order to stay at home, dramatically expanding the geographic footprint of the quarantine as state officials combat the coronavirus pandemic.  Wolf added 34 counties to his stay-home edict. That means residents of all 67 of Pennsylvania's counties must now stay home as much as possible to help slow the spread of COVID-19.  Those new counties include Warren, which had been one of the few in the region affected.  Coronavirus infections are continuing to rise dramatically in the state. 


Governor Cuomo and lawmakers are trying to find their way forward on a state budget despite uncertainty about the size of the financial toll the coronavirus outbreak will take.  The Democratic governor has suggested lawmakers could pass a budget that slashes state spending for now, and gives his administration authority to increase spending later, as federal aid arrives.  Democrats and Republicans have spoken in support of expanding Cuomo's authority on the budget amid the public health emergency.  

The State Legislature has begun to pass some budget bills for the fiscal year that starts today.  Local Assemblyman Andy Goodell is the Minority Floor Manager.  The Jamestown-area Republican says one bill has gotten through his house.

While the bill was approved, Goodell opposed it... saying most of the $6.1-billion in debt the bill makes payments on has not gotten necessary voter approval.  As for the State Senate... he says they passed another measure -- the public protection and general government bill -- which he says has a lot of changes from the Assembly bill. 
   

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News Headlines for Sat., Sept. 19, 2020

Eight new cases of COVID brings Chautauqua Countys' number to more than 600... Chautauqua County has reached another milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic... with the total number of confirmed cases...

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