Local News Headlines Archives for 2021-05

WJTN Headlines for Sun., May 30, 2021

Blue Star Mothers resuming holding Gold Star Memorial Day ceremony...
The region's war dead were remembered during the eighth Gold Star family rememberance at Jamestown's Veterans Memorial Park this past Saturday... of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  In addition to the Pledge of Allegiance... the National Anthem was sung by those in attendance for the Blue Star Mothers Lake Erie Chapter 4's annual service last Saturday morning.  Several dignitaries were on hand... including former State Senator Cathy Young, who helped secure a major state grant to develop the park.  She focused on what Memorial Day is all about.  Young says the pain and loss "never goes away" for the families, and Memorial Day is "all about remembering, honoring, hope and healing."  The Keynote Speaker for this year's program was Holly Baker, the mother of late Army Sergeant Brian Baker, who was killed in Iraq.  Mrs. Baker is past-President, and current Vice-President, of the American Gold Star Mothers of New York state.  The Springville resident says this is a difficult weekend for them.  Several other elected officials from the region were on hand... including Congressman Tom Reed, State Senator George Borrello, Assemblyman Andy Goodell, Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel, and Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist.


Bemus Pt.-Stow Ferry back in operation after rededication...
The weather was harsh, but spirits were high Friday afternoon as the Bemus Point-Stow Ferry was officially re-dedicated.  It’s now crossing the narrows of Chautauqua Lake for the first time since it failed inspection in 2018.  One of the ferry’s Co-Presidents, Jay Kuntz, was grateful for the money raised and work done.  Kuntz says "never underestimate what a group of dedicated volunteers can do."  One of the board members, Mary Margaret Wagner…  who is also a ferry pilot… stood at the Stow landing, in driving wind and rain to give a blessing.  In addition to the $200,000 in work done to make it seaworthy, Jay Kuntz says there’s one other new addition to the ferry... a plaque honoring the late John Cheney.  Cheney, who was from the Bemus area, worked for decades to keep the ferry operating.  At noon Monday... there’ll be a special presentation from the middle of the lake for Memorial Day.  Following that the ferry will take passengers through 5 p.m.  The Bemus Point-Stow Ferry is set to run weekends through the summer.  The cost is just a donation.


JPS, and seven others successful in winning appeal in Small Cities lawsuit...
The Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court has unanimously reversed a lower court ruling that dismissed the Small Cities School District lawsuit against the state.  The Jamestown Public Schools... which is one of the the eight districts involved in the suit... issued a statement from the Small Cities organization this morning.  Officials say the case has now been sent back to the Trial Court "with the direction that the State of New York must craft an appropriate plan to remedy this situation, and such plan will be subject to further judicial review."  The districts... led initially by Jamestown... first sued the state 12 years ago... claiming that those district's "were not able to provide services such as guidance counselors, social workers, English language teachers, tutorial programs, and school buildings that their (at-risk) students required."  The Appellate Court agreed the eight districts need an additional, combined $1.1-billion in state aid.


Jamestown Babe Ruth WS Committee confirms 13 year-old World Series is a go...
It's official:  The 40th anniversary 13 year-old Babe Ruth World Series is set for Jamestown's Diethrick Park this coming Aug. 14-21.  Public Relations Division Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says they are "proud" to be able to hold the event after a one-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Ecklund says this will be the 18th World Series that has been held in Jamestown since 1980.  At that time... Babe Ruth Baseball held it's first-ever 13 year-old series in Jamestown.  The Babe Ruth Board of Directors are in the process of finalizing all the plans for the event and will be looking for the help of the community. 


Ribbon cut on new business in Mayville involving Webb and Pucci families...
Two Chautauqua County families who have run long-time business have joined forces for create a new, and unique business in the former bowling alley at Webb's Captains Table in Mayville.  The ribbon was cut this afternoon on the new Webb's Captain's Table Cafe and Cottage by Pucci.  The Webb's had already been using some of the former Cottage Collection location on West Lake Road for a new carry-out service during the pandemic.  Owner Ben Webb says he had known Fredonia's Todd Schaffer -- who run's Pucci's Furniture in Fredonia -- for many years and discussing sharing that space.  Webb says they're worked "really well together" in making the new business work on a "handshake deal."  Shaffer's wife is the former Katie Pucci.  Her family started Pucci's Furniture 49 years ago.  Among the dignitarites on hand for the ribbon cutting and grand opening was Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel... who talked about the space being used.  It's the old bowling alley part of the Webb's complex. 

WJTN Headlines for Fri., May 28, 2021

City man pleads guilty to federal drug and weapons charges...
A Jamestown man has pleaded guilty to federal drug and firearms charges after being arrested for allegedly trafficking methamphetamine from a home more than a year ago.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. announced Thursday that 36 year-old Richard Kinsey, Jr. entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Buffalo to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.  Prosecutors say in September of 2019, investigators raided a Newland Avenue home Kinsey shared with co-defendent Brandi Whitford.  During the search, three guns were recovered... and, a fourth was thrown from inside the home.  In addition, investigators recovered about 159 grams of methamphetamine... just over $12,000 in cash... ammunition, and drug paraphernalia.  Kinsey was later arrested on federal warrants in February of 2020 as he tried to flee a home on Hedges Avenue.  Investigators recovered a quantity of meth, a digital scale, paraphernalia, brass knuckles, and a loaded handgun.  Kennedy says the charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, and a maximum of life.


Sheriff says "Stop-DWI" campaign underway for Memorial Day Weekend...
With the holiday weekend approaching... Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone has announced the "STOP-DWI High Visibility Engagement Campaign" for Memorial Day and Weekend.  Quattrone says it get's underway Friday and will run through Tuesday, June 1.  He recently spoke about plans about a crackdown on impaired driving... and, says they'll have extra patrols and details out working with other local and state agencies.  AAA expects travel this Memorial Day weekend to be up 60-percent over last year.  Quattrone says it's important for motorists to keep safety in mind... by leaving your cell phone alone, and keep your speeds down.  He's also announced that the STOP-DWI Foundation has created a new mobile app, “Have A Plan” that is available as a free download for smart phones to help find safe rides home no matter where you may be celebrating.


The 40th anniversary 13 year-old Babe Ruth World Series officially a go for this August in Jamestown...
It's official:  The 40th anniversary 13 year-old Babe Ruth World Series is set for Jamestown's Diethrick Park this coming August 14-21.  Public Relations Division Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says they are "proud" to be able to hold the event after a one-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Ecklund says this will be the 18th World Series that has been held in Jamestown since 1980.  At that time... Babe Ruth Baseball held it's first-ever 13 year-old series in Jamestown.  The Babe Ruth Board of Directors are in the process of finalizing all the plans for the event.


County Legislature approved Young Hunters pilot program for 12 and 13 year-olds...
A local law allowing Chautauqua County to take part in a pilot program that allows for a 'youth deer hunting' program for 12 and 13 year-olds has been approved by the legislature.  Lawmakers voted 18-1 Wednesday night in favor of the proposal... which requires the youth to be licensed, and they must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or mentor while hunting.  Jamestown Republican Elizabeth Rankin believes the measure takes safety into full account.  District 14 Republican Dan Pavlock says he likes the law because it promotes family activity, safety and education.  District 16 Republican John Davis... a teacher himself... says he sees the importance of teaching safety -- especially to young hunters.  The new law is within provisions of New York's Enviromental Conservation Law... and, allows the young hunters to use a crossbow... rifle... shotgun or muzzle-loading rifle.  The only 'no' vote was cast by Jamestown Democrat Bob Whitney.


JHS will be able to hold two graduation ceremonies at Chautauqua Institution with up to 500 people attending...
The way has been cleared for Jamestown High School to have two graduation ceremonies at Chautauqua Institution next month.  Jamestown School Superintendent, Kevin Whitaker, says the district got the official word from the New York State Health Department in Albany late Wednesday.  Whitaker says they were approved for up to 500 people in the outdoor venue and they don't have to give their COVID vaccine or test status to attend.  The new rules... which apply to all Chautauqua County schools... also increase the indoor limit to 250 people.  Dr. Whitaker says JHS will actually hold two ceremonies on June 25th.  The district late Thursday said the ceremonies will be at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.  Up to 150 graduates will take part in each... and, they'll initially be able to invite three people to the ceremony.  Additional details will follow at the JHS graduation webpage... jpsny.org/2021.


Cook named as new Superintendent for Randolph Academy... 
The middle and high school principal for the Panama Central School District has been named as the new superintendent for the Randolph Academy Union Free School district.  The Randolph school board approved the appointment of Danielle Cook during this week's meeting.  School officials say Cook... whose career in education spans over 15 years... will begin her new duties on July 1st.  Cook has been principal at Panama since 2017... and prior to her current role, she served for three years as school psychologist for the Panama and Clymer Central School districts.

 

WJTN Headlines for Thurs., May 27, 2021

JPS Superintendent says state has okayed moving ahead with graduation at the Chautauqua Amphitheater with 500 people for two ceremonies...
The way has been cleared for Jamestown High School to have commencement at Chautauqua Institution next month.  Jamestown School Superintendent, Dr. Kevin Whitaker, says the district got the official word from state Health Department in Albany late Wednesday.  Whitaker says those 500 people attending each ceremony would not have to provide proof of vaccination, nor a COVID-19 test.  He says that changes the situation "significantly."  The new rules which apply to all Chautauqua County schools also increase the indoor limit to 250 people.  JHS will have actually do the same graduation twice... on the same day.  He says the times will be announced, but, both will take place on Friday, June 25.  Additional details will follow at the JHS graduation web page... jpsny.org/2021.


Luz Torres approved unanimously by legislature as new Democratic Elections commissioner...
After several months of division within the Chautauqua County Democratic Committee... party members on the county legislature are supporting the committee's choice for elections commissioner.  The full legislature last nigth unanimously approved the appointment of Dunkirk's Luz Torres to the post.  Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Nazzaro says, while the caucus disagrees with a recent court ruling paving the way for Torres to be approved, they disagree with the process.  Nazzaro adds they feel it's "time to move on because there are other important issues, like beginning work on the 2022 budget, that need attention.  All five members of the Democratic Caucus spoke prior to the vote.  Fellow Jamestown lawmaker Bob Whitney echoed Nazzaro's sentiments.  Former Elections Commissioner Norm Green, who also chairs the county Democratic Committee, had forwarded Torres' name after a "weighted vote" of the committee.  However... several members balked at the process, and pushed for Loren Kent to be named.  The legislature went along with the move earlier this year.  But... a State Supreme Court Judge ruled that they had to approve the person approved by the committee.


Coleman sentenced to 30 Months in federal prison in drug case...
A Jamestown who was on parole is going back to prison after being convicted of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine in early 2019.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. announced Wednesday that 28 year-old Shaquelle Coleman was sentenced in federal court in Buffalo to 30 months in federal prison.  Prosecutors say Coleman was arrested with another parolee, Earl Stone, in January of 2019 for violating terms of their parole.  Both men were found in an upstairs bedroom on West Seventh Street... where police seized $1,400 in cash... a quantity of suspected crack cocaine, a digital scale with white residue, and three cell phones.  Stone has already been sentenced to 32 months in prison.


Post pleads guilty to child pornography, and is indicted on child sexual abuse, and rape...
A man from northern Chautauqua County has been formally indicted by the county Grand Jury on a dozen Felony counts for sexually abusing several young girls.  In addition... federal authorities say 25 year-old Dustin Post has also pleaded guilty to several child pornography charges in connection with the case.  District Attorney Jason Schmidt announced the indictments during a Wednesday morning press conference in Mayville.  Schmidt says seven different children, ages 1 to 12, were allegedly involved.  He says the victims were mainly from the Fredonia and Silver Creek areas.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. of Buffalo was also at the press conference... and, says the investigation began in 2019 after the mother of an 8 year-old victim filed a complaint with State Police.  Kennedy says the child was interviewed... and, later Post was also interviewed and they seized a number of electronic devices.  Post pled guilty to five federal counts of production, and possession of child pornography for video taping several of the incidents, and posting them on the Internet.  When sentenced in October... Kennedy says Post faces a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison... a maximum of 50... and, a $250,000 fine.  He's currently jailed on $1-million cash bail.


City man arrested for violent domestic incident...
A Jamestown man is accused of holding a woman down on the ground, and choking her during a domestic violence incident on the city's westside Tuesday night.  City police were called to a Baker Street location about 8 p.m., and, learned that 34 year-old Steven Bates  held the unidentified woman on the ground -- by the neck -- making it difficult to breath.  Bates was also found inside the home... and, he was arrested after initially pulling away from officers.  He's charged with criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, second-degree unlawful imprisonment, second degree obstruction, and endangering the welfare of a child.  Bates was jailed pending arraignment.


Borrello applauds Assembly passage of Nourish NY program, urges Cuomo to sign it...
The New York State Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed a companion bill to legislation that was approved by the State Senate in March that would establish the food-to-farm bank initiative -- Nourish New York -- as a permanent state program.  Senator George Borrello, who co-sponsored the Senate bill, says Nourish NY has quickly become a lifeline for food insecure New Yorkers, as well as struggling farmers.  Borrello says the program has helped more than 4,000 New York farms and provided New York-produced food to over 1.3-million households in need.  The Sunset Bay Republican added that "it was one of the silver linings of this crisis and the advocacy for its continuation has come from all corners." 

 


 

WJTN Headlines for Wed., May 26, 2021

North county man pleds guilty to federal Child Porn charges, faces 24 local charges for allegedly raping seven young girls...
A north county man convicted on child pornography charges also faces life in prison for allegedly sexually abusing and raping seven young girls in the Fredonia and Silver Creek areas.  During a press conference in Mayville this morning... Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt said 25 year-old Dustin Post was indicted by the county Grand Jury earlier this week on 24 Felony state and local charges.  He says they include 11 of predatory sexual assault against a child, 9 of first-degree criminal sexual act, and four of first-degree rape.  Schmidt says the victims were between the ages of 1 and 12... and, were all from the north county area.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior was also at the press conference... and, says the investigation began in 2019 after the mother of an 8 year-old victim filed a complaint with State Police.  Kennedy says the child was interviewed two days later, and detailed the encounters with Post.  He adds that Post pled guilty to five federal counts of production, and possession of child pornography for video taping several of the incidents, and posting them on the Internet.  When sentenced in October... Kennedy says Post faces a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison... a maximum of 50... and, a $250,000 fine.  He's currently jailed on $1-million cash bail.
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District Attorney Jason Schmidt says Post is going to trial locally in about six-months.  In the meantime... he says his office want's to hear from other alleged victims.  Schmidt says it's likely there may be more they are not aware of.  To contact the D-A's Office... call 753-4241.


City man arrested following violent Domestic Incident...
A Jamestown man is accused of holding a woman down on the ground, and choking her during a domestic violence incident on the city's westside last night.  City police were called to a Baker Street location about 8 p.m., and, learned that 34 year-old Steven Bates  held the unidentified woman on the ground -- by the neck -- making it difficult to breath.  Bates was also found inside the home... and, he was arrested after initially pulling away from officers.  He's charged with criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, second-degree unlawful imprisonment, second degree obstruction, and endangering the welfare of a child.  Bates was jailed pending arraignment.


Two detained following drug raid on Jamestown home...
Jamestown police have detained two people after they were found during a drug raid at a northside home Monday afternoon.  City police say members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force raided the home at 35 Stowe St. about 2:20 p.m., and, detained the two unidentified occupants.  They also found a quantity of Fentanyl, digital scales, packaging materials, and cash.  Officers say the investigation is continuing... and, charges are pending.  The Task Force was assisted by the JPD K-9 Unit... the county's K-9... Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force... Ellicott Town Police and the JPD SWAT Team.  Anyone with information on illegal drug activity in the city is urged to call the JPD Tip line at 483-8477.


Lakewood resident arrested for harassment, child endangerment...
A resident of the village of Lakewood has been arrested on charges of harassment and child endangerment stemming from the alleged assault of a 14 year-old back on May 1.  Lakewood-Busti Police were called to the scene in the village... and, found the incident was captured on a property owner's Ring Door camera system.  Officers recently obtained an arrest warrant for 52 year-old Karan Chopra, who was issued appearance tickets for Busti Town Court.  Police were assisted by the Chautauqua County Child Protective Services, and the Child Advocacy Program of Chautauqua County.


Teenager shot and killed during incident near Governor's Mansion in Albany...
Police say a 15-year-old girl was fatally shot in Albany after a group meeting arranged on social media ended with a confrontation.  Police say Destiny Greene of Latham was at the meeting in the area of Wilbur Street at about 9:30 p.m. Monday with two adults and another minor.  Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins says some kind of confrontation broke out between Greene's group and two or three young men.  Shortly after shots were fired, a staff member at Albany Memorial Hospital told police Greene had been brought to the emergency room... but, later died at the hospital.


County Health Dept. reports 20 new COVID-19 cases and one new death...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 20 new confirmed cases of COVID-19... and, one new death.  Officials say a spike of 14 cases in the Mayville area fueled the increase.  They say there have now been a total of 9,222 cases... and, the one death brings that number to 154.  Officials add that 9,005 cases have now recovered.  In addition... 63 cases are currently active, and three of those are hospitalized.  The infection rate is now 1.1-percent.


Long-time SUNY Fredona coach and administrator Patrick Damore passes at age 90...
While he was a long-time Fredonia State athletics coach, administrator and former conference commissioner, Dr. Patrick Damore also played a big role in village government in Fredonia.  Dr. Damore passed away last Sunday at the age of 90.  Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek was asked about Damore's contribution to the community-at-large, including his tenure on the village board  Essek says it's very sad to hear about his passing.  He says Damore also worked a lot with their Recreation Dept. as well.  Essek says he was also devoted to keeping the village trolley on the road. 


 

WJTN Headlines for Tues., May 25, 2021

City announces legal action beginning against 12 Zombie properties...
The city of Jamestown is taking legal action to take title to about one-dozen abandoned or Zombie properties so they can be fixed, and sold to new owners.  The announcement was made this morning by Mayor Eddie Sundquist in front of an long-abandoned home on Catlin Ave. on the westside.... calling it a "more aggressive and proactive approach" to the issue.  Efforts to deal with Zombie properties that are in the foreclosure process -- and abandoned by banks -- began under former Mayor Sam Teresi's administration.  However... Sundquist says they have been working with community partners to file what are called "19-A" lawsuits in State Supreme Court.  He says they've also filed New York State Zombie property actions to bring back homes abandoned by banks.  The property at 18 Catlin Ave. is among those properties that legal action has been taken on by Associate Corporation Counsel Ben Haskins.  Sundquist and Development Director Crystal Surdyk says federal money has been made available to acquire the properties, and make needed repairs, and sell them to them to new owners.  


Jamestown City Council holds first public, 'in-person' voting session in 15 months...
The Jamestown City Council met -- in person and in public -- for the first time in 15 months for last night's monthly voting session.  The decision was made after the state guidelines allowed for vaccinated people to be in public togther.  Council President Tony Dolce reminded lawmakers the late time they met -- in public -- was in late February of last year.  Since then... council most often met via Zoom... which Dolce says created some issues with people getting "frozen" on screen, or forgetting to unmute themselves.  He says the in-person meetings go "so much smoother."  Dolce also expressed his appreciation for everyone at City Hall's efforts during the pandemic. 


City lawmakers approve home rule legislation to move School Speed Limit Zone program forward...
Jamestown lawmakers have approved the next step in getting home rule legislation that would allow the city to put up electronic speed zone monitoring in school zones.  The City Council okayed the measure, authorizing Mayor Eddie Sundquist to formally request the legislature, during last night's voting session.  It now goes to State Senator George Borrello and Assemblyman Andy Goodell to formalize the legislation.  Council President Tony Dolce says this will free up city police for other duties... when they are needed.  Once the state finalizes the language... it will be returned to the city for final approval.  Resident Doug Champ spoke on the issue... and urged lawmakers to look closer at Buffalo Street... where Washington Middle and Ring Elementary Schools are near each other, and the speed limit changes.  He says you go from a 30... to a 20... a 25... and another 20.  Champ also called on the city to start cracking down on run-down homes in school zones, because they can be a danger to school kids as well.


County reports 19 new COVID-19 cases last weekend...
The COVID-19 infection rate in Chautauqua County continues to drop... with only 19 new cases over the past weekend reported.  The county's Department of Health reports the most cases -- five -- were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  Officials say there have now been 9,202 total cases during the pandemic... and, 68 are currently active.  The number of people hospitalized is down to three... and, the number of recovered cases is now 8,981. 


Cuomo unveils "Shot in the Park" incentive for residents to get COVID vaccinations...
Users of the New York state park system have a special opportunity this week to get a free pass to any of New York's 16 parks.  The free pass is the latest incentive being offered by Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration to get residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine.  Cuomo was at Jones Beach on Long Island Monday morning to announce what he called a "Shot in the Park."  He says you can even go to one of the parks themselves this week, and get a shot at a vaccine center there.  Cuomo adds that if a resident gets a shot anywhere this week... they will receive a two-day, family pass for any of the state parks.


NYSUT supports Cuomo's call for 5 day a week school beginning in the Fall...
With the announcement by Governor Andrew Cuomo about schools reopening this Fall for in person instruction five-days a week... the state's largest teachers union is voicing it's support.  New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta issued the following statement Monday: “Educators know that being in person is the best way for students to learn and for teachers to teach. We support offering full-time in-person instruction five days a week and await formal guidance for the fall on how districts, working with educators and parents, should craft their plans to bring all students back to the classroom.” 


Wendel says county now working on plan to use nearly $25-million in American Rescue Plan funds...
Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel says the county is now working on a plan on how to utilize funding from the American Rescue Plan.  The county is slated to receive about $24.6 million, according to a major announcement made by the U.S. Treasury Department earlier this month.  Wendel says he has two teams reviewing the information, and making a determination on where the funding should go.  He says the COVID Finance Team, and a special Rescue Plan panel are both looking at it. 

WJTN Headlines for Mon., May 24, 2021

Investigation continues into blaze that destroyed home in the town of Poland...
The investigation is continuing into an early Saturday morning fire that destroyed a home in the town of Poland.  Chautauqua County fire dispatchers say Kennedy fire crews were called to the scene at 615 Eccles Rd. shortly after 2 a.m., and found heavy fire in the front of the home.  They were joined at the scene by crews from Falconer, Frewsburg, Kiantone, Randolph and Ellington in battling the flames... which soon after fully-engulfed the house.  The family living there got out safely. 


Five arrested in Cattaraugus County drug bust Saturday...
Five people -- one from Chautauqua County -- were arrested last weekend during a raid at a home in the Cattaraugus County Town of Machias.  Sheriff's officers in Little Valley say they and members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at 3506 Roszyk Road about 10 a.m. last Saturday.  Deputies say they found 1.25-ounces of crystal methamphetamine, suboxone, scales, packaging materials and paraphernalia.  The five people... 25 year-old Brian McGonagle of Cherry Creek, 25 year-old Vincent Schaub of Arcade, 32 year-old Samuel McCaslin of Machias, 23 year-old Meghan Kulczyk of Franklinville, and 23 year-old Brandon Bain of Cattaraugus, are charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substane with intent to sell.  McGonagale was later taken to the Salamanca Police Department on a bench warrant.  The others were issued appearance tickets for a later date.


The Gerry Rodeo appears to be a "go" for this August...
The full Gerry Fire Department membership will make the final decision in early June... but, it appears the annual Gerry Rodeo is a "go" this coming August.  Spokeman Paul Cooley says the rodeo committee has been meeting regularly and concluded they can pull it off.  Cooley says they don't see any reason not to do it.  If current regulations remain in place... he says there will be some changes in the arena at Gerry for the four nights, Wednesday, August 4--7.  Cooley says they will have to have full sections for people who are vaccinated, and another for unvaccinated.  He adds there may be some changes to the presentation of the rodeo's beef barbeque... depending on what restrictions are in place in August.  Last year's rodeo had to be postponed because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.


JPS working towards reopending, and allowing more people for graduation...
Three groups of community members are working on ways the Jamestown Public Schools can fully-reopen safely... possibly later this Spring -- but, more likely next Fall.  School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says the three subcommittees -- which include between 45 and 50 community members -- have been working about a month on the matter.  Dr. Whitaker says it's been challenging work... especially for the parents who are part of them.  He says they've been surprised to see the regulations, and the added difficulty larger districts have in meeting them.  Whitaker says the big challenge right now is looking for a way to have an outdoor graduation ceremony that allows more than what current restrictions include.  Currently... the state is only allowing 200 people can gather outdoors, and 100 people indoors.  Beyond that... all attendees would have to show proof of vaccination or of a negative COVID-19 test.  Whitaker says the district has written to the state Department of Health to allow what sporting events are allowed to have.  Those activites can have up to 500 unvaccinated or untested spectators outside and 250 unvaccinated or untested spectators inside. 


Bemus Pt.-Stow Ferry repairs completed, operations to resume this Friday...
After three years out of operation... and over $200,000 in repairs... the Bemus-Point Stow Ferry will be running again, starting Memorial Day weekend.  Jay Kuntz, one of the Co-Presidents of the organization that operates the ferry, says his group feels a deep sense of fulfillment... in reaching this point.  In the spring of 2018, state inspectors determined the ferry was not seaworthy, and work began immediately to get it back in shape, culminating with major hull repairs last year while in drydock at Stow.  At 4 p.m. Friday afternoon on the Stow side, there'll be a re-dedication with a ribbon cutting, and flag raising.  The ferry will take passengers until 9 p.m. on Friday... and then 11 to 9 Saturday and Sunday... Noon to 5 on Monday.  There's no set charge to ride from one side to the other, but donations are gratefully accepted, as there's still over $20,000 to pay off from the rehabilitation.  A chicken barbeque will be held noontime Sunday on the Stow side, and a Memorial Day Tribute from the center of the lake at will occur at noon on Monday.  More information on the schedule is available at bemuspointstowferry.org.


Movie about Stateline Speedway's winningest Late Model racer premier's Sunday night...
The movie showcasing the career of Ashville's Dick Barton, the winningest super late model driver in the history of Stateline Speedway, had its premiere outside the National Comedy Center last night.  Over 150 fans and friends gathered for the unique showing on the Comedy Center's big screens.  Dick Barton was fine with it, so long as his whole team got the recognition.  Well-known local attorney and interviewer, Greg Peterson, did all the interviewing for the two-and-a-half hour film. He says there is something special about how Barton managed the car, and the people behind it.  'TEAM: The Dick Barton Story' is a production of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame and are available for purchase at the Hall of Fame.  

WJTN News Bulletin for Fri., May 21, 2021

Motorcyclist killed in town of Charlotte crash...
A Sinclairville man has died in a motorcycle accident on Rood Road in the town of Charlotte.  Sheriff's officers say they were called to the scene shortly before 2 p.m. Friday, and, found the operator, 45 year-old Edward McAlister, had suffered serious injuries in the crash.  Deputies say they and local EMS rendered medical aid to McAlister, but he was later pronounced deceased on scene.  Officers say their investigation revealed that the southbound motorcycle left the west side of Rood Road, causing the motorcycle to crash.  No charges are expected to be filed as a result of this investigation.

WJTN Headlines for Fri., May 21, 2021

JPD announces results of two drug investigations...
One person has been arrested... and, two others detained... following a two drug-related investigations over the past two days.  City police say members of the Jamestown Metro, and Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Forces raided an apartment at Covenant Manor at 23 West Third St. shortly after Noon Thursday... and found quantities of methamphetamine, and crack-cocaine.  A man and a woman were detained... and, charges are pending.  city Task Force members this morning assisted State Parole with a home visit to 41 year-old Larry Hicks on Fairmount Avenue.  Police say they found 15-grams of cocaine, a scale, packaging materials, and money in Hicks' posession.  He was arrested for Felony third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, and criminally using drug paraphernalia.  Hicks was arrainged and sent to the county jail pending further court action.


Cuomo announces $250-million in competitive funding made available for 24 upstate airports -- including Jamestown...
The Chautauqua County Airport near Jamestown is among the upstate airports eligible for funding from a quarter-of a billion dollar initiative to revitalize and develop those facilities.  Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement this afternoon that the airport... along with 23 other public use facilities... are eligible for modernization funding.  Cuomo is urging those airports eligible should "think big" and lay out a vision for those facilities.  Cuomo says the program includes $230-million through the new, Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition, for projects that promote and accelerate improvements at upstate commercial passenger service airports.  He says another $20-million will be allocated through his Aviation Capital Grant Program to support safety, infrastructure, and economic development projects at smaller airports. 


City fire investigators still looking into cause of fire at 85 Prospect St. Thursday morning...
The investigation is continuing into an overnight fire Thursday that extensively damaged a one-family apartment house on Jamestown's southside.  City Fire Battalion Chief Brian Aceterberg says crews were called to the scene at 85 Prospect Street shortly after 1 a.m., and, found a lot of fire and smoke on the first floor.  However... he says all six occupants had all gotten out safely by the time they arrived.  Aceterberg says they did have to search for a pair of dogs.  One was later found deceased... while the other was recuscitated at the scene.  He says it took firefighters about an hour-and-a-half to bring the blaze under control.  Acterberg says an off-duty shift of 12 firefighters was called in.  No firefighters were hurt.  Crews were at the scene about six hours.


Reed is among 35 Republican House members to vote in favor of Jan. 6th Capitol Riot Commission...
Local Congressman Tom Reed was among the 35 Republicans who voted with Democrats to create an independent commission on the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.  However... the legislation has a much less certain future in the Senate as Republican leaders work to stop a bi-partisan investigation that is opposed by former President Donald Trump.  The bill passed the House 252-175 on Wednesday.  The 35 Republicans voting with Democrats in support of the commission are defying Trump and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy.  Reed says "we as Americans should be united to ensure what happened on January 6th never occurs again."  The legislation is modeled after the investigation into the September 11th, 2001, attacks... and, would establish an independent, 10-member commission that would make recommendations by the end of the year. 


State School Board's chief very happy with Tuesday's school budget approvals...
The high number of voter-approved public school district budgets across New York state possibly set a new record this past Tuesday.  That from state School Boards Association Executive Director Bob Schneider, who was still tallying numbers today.  Initially... NYSBBA reported 99.2-percent of all budgets passed on Tuesday... but, says that number has since grown.  Schneider calls it "great news" for local districts.  He says that's up significantly from last year's 98.4-percent approval number.  He says the current percentage ties the highest number ever recorded by NYSBBA.  In addition... Schneider says 21 of the budgets required a 60-percent supermajority to exceed the state's 2-percent property tax cap... and, 18 of those did pass on Tuesday.  He says that's about 85-percent... much higher than the near 60-percent of the past nine years.  Schneider says only five budgets statewide were defeated last Tuesday... and, most of those were on Long Island.  He says increased state and federal aid were the obvious key factors in lowering taxes for property owners.  All budgets in Chautauqua County were approved this week.  


Whitaker says community sent a "great message" of support in budget and capital projects votes...
Jamestown School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says district officials got a "great message" from the public in Tuesday's budget and capital improvement project votes.  Whitaker thanked the community for turning out... and, strongly supporting the $89.9-million budget for next year... and, the $86-million capital improvement project.  Whitaker says they have an architect for the projects lined up... and, are now seeking request for proposals for their construction manager.  He says the school board Wednesday night also approved hiring Young and Wright to be their project architects.  During an interview on our Dennis Webster Show Thursday... Whitaker also congratulated school board incumbant Nina Karbacka was overwhelmingly re-elected... and, newcomer Frank Galeazzo who was elected over two other newcomers. 

WJTN Headlines for Thurs., May 20, 2021

Fire heavily damages Prospect St. home in Jamestown...
Flames have extensively damaged a one-family apartment house on the city of Jamestown's southside.  City Fire Battalion Chief Brian Aceterberg says crews were called to the scene at 85 Prospect St. shortly after 1 a.m., and, found heavy fire and smoke coming from the first floor.  However... Acterberg says the six occupants inside had all gotten out safely.  He says they did have to search for a pair of dogs.  One was later found deceased... while the other was rescued and given oxygen at the scene.  Acterberg says it took firefighters about one-and-a-half hours to bring the blaze under control.  He says they did have to chase some hot spots inside the building.  Acterberg says an off-duty shift of 12 firefighters was called in.  No firefighters were injured... and crews were at the scene until about 7:15 this morning.  The cause remains under investigation.


Two people from NW Pennsylvania have been charged in connect with Capital Riot of Jan. 6...
A woman and a man from Northwestern Pennsylvania are some of the latest people to be charged in connection with the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol.  Pauline Bauer from Kane was heard to shout, "Bring Nancy Pelosi out" on bodycam audio during the Jan. 6 riot.  Bauer appeared in a contentious online court hearing Wednesday with a federal judge and was charged with obstructing Congress and disorderly conduct.  William Blauser, Jr. of Ludlow also appeared on charges of illegally entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct.  Both were released on bond.  Also on Wednesday, five people from Western New York... most from around Buffalo... were charged with various crimes related to the attempted insurrection.  


Schneider very pleased with outcome of this week's school budget votes in NYS...
The high number of voter-approved public school district budgets across New York state possibly set a new record this past Tuesday.  That from NYS School Boards Association Executive Director Bob Schneider, who was still tallying numbers today.  Initially... NYSBBA reported 99.2-percent of all budgets passed on Tuesday... but, says that number has since grown.  Schneider is estatic about the results... and, says it's great news for those districts.  He says the 99.3-percent eclipses last year's 98.4-percent.  Schneider says the current percentage ties the highest number ever recorded by NYSBBA.  In addition... Schneider says 21 of the budgets required a 60-percent supermajority to exceed the state's 2-percent property tax cap... and, 18 of those did pass on Tuesday.  He says that's about 85-percent... much higher than the near 60-percent average of the past nine years.  Schneider says only five budgets statewide were defeated last Tuesday... and, most of those were on Long Island.  He says increased state and federal aid were the obvious key factors in lowering taxes for property owners.  All budgets in Chautauqua County were approved this week.  


Woman from Sinclairville faces Felony charges in domestic incident...
A Sinclairville woman faces Felony charges following a domestic incident with her husband.  State Police in Fredonia were called to the scene about 4:30 yesterday afternoon... and, arrested 30 year-old Shaina Love for third-degree criminal mischief... and, first-degree criminal contempt.  Troopers say they responded to a 911 complaint about a domestic dispute in progress... and, found that Love had thrown an object at the front kitchen window, causing it to shatter, during an argument.  Further investigation revealed an active ‘refrain from’ Order of Protection was in place, and that Love’s husband was the protected party.  Felony charges were placed due to the amount of damage.  She was arraigned at the County Jail, and later released with appearance tickets.


A dozen new COVID-19 cases reported on Tuesday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department reports the area's COVID-19 infection rate has fallen again... and, the number of recovered cases has now grown to nearly 9,000.  Officials say there were 12 new cases of the virus the past day... and, there have now been a total of 9,164 cases.  They say 64 cases are now active, and three people are hospitalized.  The infection rate has fallen to 1.3-percent... and, 8,947 cases have now recovered.


Local JDRF Walk scheduled for this Saturday...
Young people with Type 1 Diabetes are encouraging everyone to come to Bemus Point this Saturday to support the ‘Walk for a Cure.’ It'll be held at 2:45 p.m., beginning at the Bemus Point Golf Club and going through the heart of the village.  Two mothers of Type 1 diabetics, Traci Thompson and Lori Cornell, worked to put the local walk together after the large one in Buffalo, sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, was cancelled due to COVID-19.  Maple Grove sophomore, Ben Cornell, one of the Type 1 Diabetics who will participate Saturday, is looking forward to seeing a lot of people Saturday.  Another Type 1 diabetic, Bryce Steffens, has volunteered his family’s business, The Bemus Point Golf Course and Tap House, to be the headquarters for the walk.  Donation canisters will be placed throughout the village.  All the money collected will go to turn 'type one' into 'type none.'


Rudy Guiliani's son, Andrew, announces his candidacy for governor...
A third candidate... Andrew Giuliani... says he is seeking the Republican nomination for governor of New York.  That could set up a battle with third-term incumbent Democrat Andrew Cuomo.  The 35-year-old son of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani announced his campaign in an interview with the New York Post.  Giuliani served as a White House aide under former President Donald Trump and has more recently been a commentator for the conservative network Newsmax.  He has never before run for public office.

  

WJTN Headlines for Wed., May 19, 2021

Voters in JPS district approve new budget, capital project propositions big...
Jamestown Public School District voters have overwhelmingly approved an $89.9-million budget... and, $86-million capital improvement project.  The district reports the no tax increase budget was adopted by a better than 6-to-1 margin... 585-to-92.  The five-year capital improvement project... which needed 60-percent approval... was approved, 588-to-85.  School board incumbant Nina Karbacka was re-elected with 504 votes... and, Frank Galeazzo was unofficially second with 348. 


All other Chautauqua County budgets get approved on Tuesday...
Budgets for all other Chautauqua County School districts were also approved on Tuesday... and, 99-percent of those voted on across New York State.  In the Southwestern Central School District, voters overwhelmingly approved a $31.6-million budget for next year, 190-to-59.  The proposition to buy three new, full-sized buses for 426-thousand dollars was approved, 195-to-54.  Incumbant School Board members Jim Butler, Lisa Yaggie and Edward Brooks ran unopposed.
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In Brocton... voters approved their new spending plan, 115-to-38.  Two school board seats were up for a vote among three people.  They were won by Michael Riforgiato, who had 94 votes... and, Rosanne Chesbro, with 78.  Nicole Klinger received 54 tallies.
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In Bemus Point... voters approved a $15.5-million budget by a nearly 3-to-1 margin that increases taxes by one-percent.  The vote was 307-to-110.  A proposition to purchase two new buses was approved 333-to-90... and, another to establish a new Capital Reserve Fund was okayed, 318-to-106.  The three school board seats go to Margaret Spence... Shawn Hricko... and Beth Olson.
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Frewsburg Central School district voters have approved an $18.9-million 2021-22 budget by about a 2-to-1 margin.  The vote was 112-to-59 for the spending plan.  A $7-million capital improvement project, and two other propositions were also approved.  Incumbant school board members Chad Chitester, and Larry Lodestro were re-elected with 144 and 127 votes respectively.  
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Falconer Central School District voters approved a $25.2-million budget for next year overwhelmingly Tuesday, 99-to-16.  The spending plan includes no tax increase.  Krissta Swanson was elected to a five-year term on the school board.
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Voters in the Panama Central School District approved a $12.9-million budget for the 2021-22 school year, 123-to-20.  Katie Braun was elected to a five-year term on the school board with 83 votes.... and, Steven Morgan unofficially won a three-year seat with 70 votes.  Incumbant Donald Butler received 68 votes... and, Summer Wolcott got 50 votes.
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In the Chautauqua Lake Central School District... voters approved a $23.6-million budget for next year that includes a 1.7-percent tax levy increase.  Officials say the spending plan received 78-percent approval.  Michael Ludwig and current School Board President Amy Webb were each elected to three-year terms.
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Cassadaga Valley school district voters have approved a new, $24.7-million budget, 87-to-29.  A $377,000 transporation proposition was also adopted, 87-to-28.  Diane Ellsworth and Marcus Clark were unopposed for two school board seats.


Wendel excited about COVID changes taking effect today, including dropping mask mandate for vaccinated people...
Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel says he's excited about the changes that will be going into effect on today in the county... and, all of New York.  Wendel says newer capacities were also to be announced today... so he's pleased with the new.  In addition... Wendel says he has been keeping in touch with summer venues such as Chautauqua Institution, and is leaving what they do in their hands.  He says county officials are waiting for more details, but he feels the changes announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo will mean more freedom for local businesses.  Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that... beginning Wednesday.... New Yorkers who are vaccinated no longer need to wear their masks in public.  However... immunocompromised people and unvaccinated people still do.  Masks and social distancing will still be required on public transportation, hospitals and health care clinics, correctional facilities and long-term care facilities.


County's COVID numbers for Tuesday show ongoing trend of going down...
Chautauqua County has recorded 5 new cases of COVID-19, to bring the total current number of active infections in the county to 65.  There have now been 9,152 total cases... and, 8,934 have now recovered.  The Health Department reports that three people are currently in the hospital with the virus. 


County Fair in Dunkirk still a no-go despite restriction changes...
Governor Cuomo came out Monday with some recommendations for the resumption of county fairs across New York this summer.  However... for Dave Wilson, President of the Chautauqua County Fair Board of Directors, it was 'too little... too late."  Wilson says they need to have most of their sponsorships, and other business aspects in place by April.  The Dunkirk fair is traditionally one of the earliest county fairs in the region, running the third week in July.  This year's event was cancelled earlier this month, and Wilson says finding the resources to reverse that decision is not possible now, because a lot of the sponsorships usually need to be in place by April.  He says hiring people to run the fair, and vendors to fill it would also be substantial challenges in the current pandemic employment market.  


CSHOF Film about Dick Barton to be shown this weeked on big, outdoor screens at National Comedy Center...
In one of the first major outdoor entertainment events in downtown Jamestown for many months, the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame will premiere its new movie, "TEAM: The Dick Barton Story" in a most unique way this weekend.  Randy Anderson is President of the Sports Hall of Fame, and says the showing will begin at 6 p.m. this Sunday night on the twin big screens at the National Comedy Center.  Anderson adds it will be free and open to the general public."  Barton has the record for most Super Late Model wins in the history of Stateline Speedway. 
 

News Bulletin for Mon, May 17, 2021

A Cattaraugus County man has been sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for receiving pictures of naked girls through Instagram nearly five years ago.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 30 year-old Shane Guay of Olean was given the sentence after being convicted of receiving child pornography... along with 10 years supervised release in federal court in Buffalo.  Prosecutors say Guay solicited minor girls through Instagram to produce images of child porn in Novmember of 2016.  He received images from a 12 year-old and 13 year-old girl.  During the investigation... law enforcement officers recovered 154 images and five videos of child pornography on electronic devices seized from Guay.  Some of the images included prepubescent children, as well as depictions of violence.

 

The Roger Tory Peterson Institute is offering free bird walks every Wednesday morning at 9 AM at its Curtis Street location.  They are led by Craig Thompson of Falconer… Vice Chair of the Audubon Council of New York State.  Thompson says seasonal migrations are reaching a peak, so this is the ideal time to go out.  He believes taking a bird walk can open the door to many other things.   This week’s walk will focus on nests and nesting behaviors.  While the Wednesday walks are free, reservations are needed.  Phone or email the Peterson Institute by 5 PM on Tuesday.

 

An Olean man is safe after being reported as missing for thirteen days.  Cole Geise, was found over the weekend behind the 500 block of a Family Dollar store near Boardman Park in the Cattaraugus County city.  Police, friends and family had put out special alerts across the Southern Tier communities via social media looking for the 21 year old autistic man.  Geise was uninjured and reunited with his family late Saturday night.

 

A portion of Route 60 was closed to traffic on Saturday as a result of a rollover crash.  The accident happened around 3:30 between Eagle Street and Lakeview Avenue where two vehicles had collided.   Eye witnesses said one of the cars went airborne and rolled over numerous times before finally resting on its roof.  Two medevac helicopters were called to the scene and were assisted by New York State Police, Altar EMS, Dunkirk and Cassadaga fire departments. As of Sunday afternoon there was no report on the health status of those injured.  

 

Just a few hours later in the Town of Westfield emergency personal responded to a one-vehicle rollover crash on I-90.  According to New York State Police 36 year old Ropi Ma of Buffalo attempted to change lanes and did not see a vehicle which caused Ma to lose control and roll into a ditch.  Ma was transported by MedEvac to Hamot Medical Center in Erie where he was being treated for head injuries.  The passenger in the car was uninjured.

 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to say whether he'll change his state's mask or social distancing rules in light of new federal guidance that eases rules for fully vaccinated people.  Cuomo said Thursday that the state's mask mandate is still in place as his administration reviews the new federal guidance and consults with health officials in neighboring states.  His office said there's no immediate update Friday.  In April 2020... the governor first required all people in New York over age 2 to wear a mask when out in public or unable to distance themselves from others.

 

The Jamestown City Council will hold a special work session-retreat tonight... touring both the National Comedy Center and the new addition to the nearby Northwest Arena.  Lawmakers will meet at 6:30... and, begin by doing a walkthrough of the three-story addition to the arena before a discussion is held on the project, and the history of the train station renovation and the comedy center's development.  After that... Mayor Eddie Sundquist says they'll then tour the comedy center.   Sundquist says center officials believe it's important to have a conversation with council members after the controversy earlier this year over the center's initial decision not to host a polling site in 2021.  After some discussion... the center agreed to do that again this year.  However... it's anticipated the site may be different in 2022.  Sundquist made his comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.

 

Jamestown High School will hold a Senior Prom on Saturday, June 5th, at Jefferson School's Athletic Complex.  Jamestown Principle Dana Williams says they are excited to see the seniors able to have a prom with everything they've had to go through over the past year.  Williams adds, "The health and safety of our students is always our number one priority and we are confident we can hold a prom for our seniors that is fun, but also safe.” Students will need to sign up in groups of 10 which will become their dancing and table group for the entire event.

 

A unique bakery that serves a variety of items from cream puffs, to cheesecake, sugar cookies and scones has opened in the main concourse area of the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood.  Mall officials welcomed Sweets Pastry and Fudge, which opened early last weekend.  Officials say Founder Jaycee Moore is also offering 52 flavors of fudge.  Moore is currently working on obtaining her associates degree in Baking and Pastry Arts at Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts... and, it's brought her a great deal of knowledge and experience, especially in French inspired techniques and specialty products.  Sweets Pastry and Fudge will be located  in the center of the mall near Kay Jewelers.  In addition to fresh baked goods and fudge, Sweets Pastry and Fudge will serve regular and specialty flavored coffees.  The bakery’s hours of operation will be Monday through Saturday from 9:30 AM to 7 PM... and, Sundays from 9:30 AM to 6 PM.

 

SUNY Jamestown Community College graduates received their diplomas in person on Saturday at the Cattaraugus County Campus and on Sunday at the Jamestown Campus.  Donning caps and gowns, graduates accompanied by their families lined the college’s two campuses to receive their degrees and certificates in-person after an academic year of mostly hybrid instruction.  Seventy-eight graduates from the Cattaraugus County Campus were recognized while 232 were recognized on the Jamestown Campus. The college’s virtual ceremony debuted on Friday evening, honoring a total of 1,114 students who completed their degree as far back as the summer of 2019.  Catharine Young, former state senator representing Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, and parts of Livingston counties, likened the graduates to a “beautiful phoenix rising from the ashes” for completing their coursework amid the COVID-19 pandemic during the keynote address.

WJTN Headlines for Fri., May 14, 2021

This is commencement weekend at Jamestown Community College, and Dr. Kirk Young, Vice-President of Student Affairs, says they've put together an extraordinary 'virtual' ceremony' that will go on-line at 6 o'clock tonight.  On Saturday in Olean... and Sunday in Jamestown... students will have the opportunity to walk across temporary stages set up outdoors at both campuses.  All of this year's, and last year's graduates are being recognized this spring... so 1,154 names will be read in the virtual ceremony.  Several hundred have opted to join the in person degree presentations.

The Jamestown High School graduation is six weeks away and Superintendent, Dr. Kevin Whitaker, hopes the traditional JHS ceremony can occur.  Current rules for New York schools limit indoor events to 100 people and outdoor programs to 200.  Dr. Whitaker would like to see those restrictions relaxed.  Then, even if Chautauqua didn't work out, something big could be done locally.  If the rules don't change, the district could be left with the option of a series of  private degree presentations... similar to what was done for the class of 2020.

New York State is reportedly 'reviewing' the updated recommendations announced yesterday by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the revised mask-wearing guidance.  The CDC now says that fully vaccinated people don't have to wear them in uncrowded situations indoors or outside at all, even at a crowded event.  Pennsylvania has adopted new, relaxed federal guidance on mask-wearing for people who are vaccinated but the mandate is still in place for unvaccinated people.

The Chautauqua County Department of Health's online dashboard reports there are 11 new cases of Covid-19 today, bringing the total current number of active cases to 77.   Currently one person is hospitalized and one new death has been announced.  That brings the total number of positive caes to 9,121 during the pandemic.  The seven-day infection rate remains at 1.4 percent.

Children between the ages of 12 and 15 can get vaccinated in New York effective immediately. Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Wednesday after the state's vaccine advisory task force and CDC's vaccine advisory committee formally recommend the Pfizer vaccine for that age group.  Chautauqua County Health Director Christine Schuyler says she will be working with local districts in setting up clinics directly in school buildings, but says if parents show interest, they can start the process now by going to CHQGov.com and looking for available clinics.

State Senator George Borrello says he's irritated after the effort to get Panama and other schools 'off the hook' for 'nuisance fines' failed in the recent state budget negotiations.  In the final negotiations, only five districts got their fines erased.  Now, a stand alone bill is moving through both the Senate and Assembly to get Panama's $2 million penalty forgiven.  Borrello, a Republican, says it'll likely pass in both houses, and then be vetoed by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo.  If that happens, he would like the legislature to assert itself with an override.  Borello says that 'failure to override' by majority Democrats is one of the most frustrating parts of his short term as a state legislator.

 

 

The issue of having reliable, long-term power capacity has come to the forefront in recent months... but, electric customers in the Greater Jamestown-area don't have to worry.  The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities is set to get 90-percent of it's power needs from the New York Power Authority for the next 19 years.  BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says the utility wrapped up negotiations a short time back for more hydropower.  That contract will take the BPU through the year 2040 with power supplied by the Niagara Hydropower Project in Niagara Falls.  Leathers adds their supplimental power will continue to be provided by the gas turbine purchased more than 20 years ago that, with regular maintenance, should last for another 15 years.

This year's Pennies for Paws campaign at the Chautauqua County Humane Society was an extraordinary success.  Brian Papalia, the Partnership Director for the Humane Society, says the original goal for this year was a million pennies... or $10,000.  The $17,000 plus dollars will help support the fundamental work of the  Humane Society, according to Papalia who credits the success to the many school teachers and students who got involved.  This year's Pennies for Paws total was nearly three times the pandemic reduced total in 2020.

Chautauqua Institution has announced the appointment of Mark Wenzler as the director of the newly launched Chautauqua Climate Change Initiative.  As part of the Institution’s longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability, the initiative elevates climate change as a key issue that Chautauqua is uniquely positioned to address through intergenerational and multidisciplinary experiences and programs. It also represents Chautauqua’s first major initiative that was conceived and created not only as a program that comes to life during its traditional Summer Assembly, but also that operates year-round  — delivering on a strategic vision to expand and deepen the impact of Chautauqua’s mission both during and beyond the Summer Assembly.  Wenzler currently serves as senior vice president for conservation programs at the National Parks Conservation Association, where he has created and managed multiple programs focused on addressing climate change.

News Headlines for Thurs., May 13, 2021

A city man has been indicted by a federal Grand Jury on several charges for allegedly running a drug trafficking operation with his girlfriend at her home on Wescott Street.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior announced Wednesday the charges against 28 year-old Jun Martinez for narcotics conspiracy, possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine, maintaining a premises for drug use and distribution, and possessing with intent to distribute meth on premises where an individual under 18 was present and resided.  Agents with the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force raided the home last October 16th... and, seized drugs and about 62-thousand dollars cash.  The charges carry at least 10 years in prison... and, a $10-million dollar fine.

 

Chautauqua County Sheriff Deputies were called to West Main Street in the Village of Frewsburg Wednesday evening in response to a request to assist the Frewsburg Volunteer Fire Department.  Upon arrival and after an investigation it was found that Sharon J. Torrey had struck another individual with a sharp object causing serious physical injury. This incident occurred while a child was present in the home. The individual was transported to UPMC WCA for treatment of injuries. Sharon was transported to the Chautauqua County Jail for centralized arraignment on the charges of Assault in the 2nd degree, Reckless Endangerment in the 2nd degree and Endangering the welfare of a child.

 

A lawsuit has been filed against Chautauqua County following the death of a Westfield man last year.  56 year old Scott Deming was killed on August 3rd after being struck by a bulldozer in the town of Ellery landfill as he emptied garbage from his truck.    According to the bulldozer operator he had "no idea" that Deming was behind a pile of debris that he was pushing into a pit.  Attorney Michael D. Hollenbeck of Buffalo, who is representing the estate of Deming, alleges that the death was the result of negligence by the operator of the bulldozer as well as the county who he says violated state labor law and federal OSHA safety guidelines. 

 

The number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Chautauqua County remains low... and, the number of hospitalizations is at two.  The county's Department of Health reports there are 14 new cases as of this morning, and that brings the total to 9,110 during the pandemic.  Officials add that 85 cases are now active... and, 8,873 cases have recovered.  The seven-day infection rate is at 1.4 percent.

 

Jamestown Police Officers responded to an area of the Hampton Inn in Jamestown early this morning on a report of subjects possibly breaking glass in the nearby wooded area of the North Main Street hotel.  Upon arrival, a broken window and unsecured door led officers to believe that there were individuals inside a residence.  43 year old David Hanley of Jamestown was found inside and was placed into custody with incident.  Hanley was transported to the city jail and is charged with Burglary in the 2nd Degree, Criminal Mischief in the 4th Degree and Obstruction Government Administration.

 

The annual Fourth of July parade in the Chautauqua County capital of Mayville has been canceled for the second year in a row.  The announcement was made by Village Mayor Ken Shearer at Tuesday’s Village Board meeting.  Shearer said although the parade will not be happening the fireworks will be launched.   They will be monitoring the New York State guidelines regarding attendance policies before they make further announcements regarding parking and spectator size limits. 

 

After being forced to cancel the Jamestown Pride Fest last year due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Jamestown Pride Planning Group has announced their inaugural Pride Fest will be on Saturday, June 12th in conjunction with the Jamestown Public Market. The day will begin with a Pride Flag Raising ceremony at Tracy Plaza and continue with activities at the Wintergarden Plaza such as free yoga and Zumba classes, live music and a free performance by RuPaul’s Drag Race Star and Jamestown native Pandora Boxx.  Details about Jamestown Pride can be found on their Facebook page.

 

The Dunkirk City School District will be moving forward with a plan to relocate students in several grade levels, beginning in September.  The school board this week approved a resolution to relocate 7th- and 8th-grade students to the high school building, 3rd-through 5th-grade students to the middle school building, and kindergarten through 2nd-grade to Schools 3, 5 and 7.  One board member voted against the resolution.  Vice-President Claudia Szczerbacki (Sir-bockie) said she supports the plan, but feels that this Fall may be too soon... and, is not the right time to implement it. 

 

The long-time superintendent at the Randolph Academy Union Free School District has announced that she is retiring at the end of the current school year.  Lori DeCarlo has been superintendent for the past 15 years... and, has served in the district for 36 years total.  The district says the school board is currently reviewing applications and expects to appoint a new superintendent on or about June 1st.  Since 2006... DeCarlo has led the 200-student, two-campus district which supports, empowers and educates children with emotional and mental health disabilities.  District officials say the new superintendent will assume his or her duties on or about July 1st.

WJTN Headlines for Wed., May 12, 2021

Mayville's Boil Water Advisory continues as pump is being installed...
A boil water advisory is in place for customers of the Mayville water system until further notice.  The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services says the advisory is needed because of work being completed on the village’s new water well.  Village Public Works crews began installing a permanent water pump in new Well #4 to replace the temporary pump installed in December during a water emergency.  Once work is completed... the well will be disinfected, and then turned back on to supply the village.   Anytime this kind of work is done, water samples must be collected to ensure there were no harmful bacteria or microbes introduced into the well.  Since the well is critical to providing water... it must be turned on before water sample results are available from the lab, prompting this boil water advisory.  For more information... call 269-4801, or 753-4481. 


BPU begins distributing new Garbage Containers to Solid Waste customers...
Customers of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities' Solid Waste Division have each begun receiving one of the 14,000 brand new garbage containers.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says the move has been several years in the making... and, will allow for easier and safer collection of garbage.  Sundquist says it will help residents meet city code by putting their garbage in a container with a lid on it.  He says the new containers will hopefully improve the look of neighborhoods on trash day... and solid waste employees can just wheel them to the trucks, which will have automated tipping machines to get the trash.  BPU General Manager Dave Leathers recently noted that a large number of customers either didn't put their garbage in a container that had a lid on it... or they didn't use a container at all.  There have been some concerns expressed by some about the elderly, and the disabled being able to get a 96-gallon container to the street.  Sundquist says the BPU also has a smaller, 37-gallon container that can be used.  He says contact the BPU about that... or it's "Porter Service" for the elderly and disabled.  For more information... contact the Garbage Hotline at 661-1651.


Chautauqua County officials re-evaluating next step after most recent rejection of EAS status for Jamestown Airport...
Chautauqua County officials are re-evaluating their application to get Essential Air Service back to the County Airport near Jamestown.  County Executive P.J. Wendel says they are disappointed in last December's decision by the U.S. Department of Transporation.  However... Wendel says they've received some good feedback from the DOT about what they need to do to get commercial air service back.  He says he and Airport Mgr. Ron Almeter and the airport commission and stakeholders will look at what needs to be done.  Chautauqua County had been working with regional carrier, Boutique Air, to develop a plan that would get DOT approval.  Wendel adds that he's optimistic that, due to changes in air travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, the county will be successful next time around.  He says there's more regional air travel going on now due to the pandemic.  The Jamestown Airport has been without a commercial air carrier since December of 2017, when the U-S DOT terminated Essential Air Service eligibility for Jamestown because the local airport wasn’t meeting the federal standard of 10 passengers a day... nor the $200 per rider subsidy cap.


County reports only five new COVID cases on Tuesday...
There are just a handful of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County over the past day... and, the number of active and hospitalized cases remains low.  The county's Health Department is reporting 5 new cases... bringing the local total to 9,080.  There are now 72 active cases... seven of which are hospitalized.  Officials say there are now 8,856 cases that have recovered... and, there were no new deaths.


NYS Nursing Home vaccinations lag, infections still being reported...
Despite a big vaccination campaign... New York nursing homes are still reporting hundreds of infections a week as some residents and staff have skipped getting the shots.  Nursing facilities reported 782 infections among staff and residents in the 14 days ending April 25.  State records show that nearly five months since the vaccination campaign launched, only 55% of staff at New York's nursing homes are fully vaccinated. Rates among patients are better: 79% of residents have gotten a shot. But some areas lag behind. Only 40% of the staff and 63 percent of residents at nursing homes in Brooklyn are fully vaccinated.


Former County Executive Astorino announces second run for NYS Governor...
Former Westcester County executive Rob Astorino says he'll run for governor in 2022 in what would be his second bid to unseat Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo.  Astorino is a Republican former radio industry professional and two-term Westchester County executive.  He promised to release an agenda to address New York's steep job loss stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic on top of government corruption and the state's high taxes and cost of living.  Astorino was the Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2014 and lost to Cuomo by 54-percent to 40-percent.  Congressman Lee Zeldin of Long Island announced last month that he is seeking the Republican nomination for governor. 


 

WJTN Headlines for Tues., May 11, 2021

City man arrested following two-hour stand-off in Jamestown...     
A Jamestown man wanted by city police on Felony charges was arrested following a two-hour long stand-off with officers last night.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers were conducting a warrant check at 15 West Cowden Pl. just before 4:30 p.m. Monday for 34 year-old "Silk" Spencer.  Samuelson says officers found that Spencer fled through the house, and into the basement.  Spencer then told police he was armed and was going to start shooting... and, that he was going to kill officers.  Police set up a perimeter... and, began negotiating with Spencer to get him to peacefully surrender.  However... Spencer refused and continued to shout threats towards officers.  Police continued trying to talk with Spencer from the basement stairway, and additional officers and units arrived to assist.  Just before 6:30 p.m., Spencer surrendered without incident, and was not found to have any weapons in his possession.  He was jailed pending arraignment on charges including Felony Assault from a stabbing... two counts of Aggravated Family Offense... and, one count of second-degree robbery.  JPD was assisted by State Police, the JPD SWAT Team, UPMC Paramedics, and the Jamestown Police Crisis Resolution Team. 


State Supreme Court judge rules County Legislature cannot name, and then confirm a new Democratic Elections Commissioner...
A State Supreme Court Judge has ruled that the Chautauqua County Legislature and it's Democratic Minority do not have the ability to nominate, and vote on a new Elections Commissioner.  Judge Lynn Keane issued the ruling in Mayville after both sides argued their cases in late April.  Former Democratic Elections Commissioner Norm Green says Keane simply upheld the law... which says the Democratic Committee -- which Green chairs -- makes the selection... not the legislature.  Green says, unfortunately, the legislature has not allowed an up or down vote on anyone for the post.  The Democratic Committee -- which Green chairs -- did put up the name of Deputy Commissioner Luz Torres.  However... that was pulled by the legislature's Administrative Services Committee earlier this year after a group of Democratic Committee members protested, saying that Green changed the rules, and they wanted Loren Kent named to the post.  The legislature then voted in favor of Kent during it's March meeting.  With the court's ruling... Green says Torres remains Acting Democratic Elections Commissioner. 


City police now looking for pick-up truck that may have been involved in stealing Underground Railroad Tableau statue...
Jamestown Police say they are now looking for an older model pick-up truck with wood tail gate in connection with the weekend theft of one of the three Down Park statues.  Those statues make up what's called the "Underground Railroad Tableau."  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the wooden tail gate is described as a "a 2 x 10 across the back acting as the tailgate."  The person giving the tip, however, did not have a plate or a color only remembered the wood tailgate and seeing what he believes was the missing statue in the back of the truck.  The copper statue was reported missing Monday morning by a city Parks Department worker who was checking on the park... and, discovered it was missing.  Police say the 500 to 600-pound statue was taken sometime between last Thursday, and Monday morning.  Samuelson says the statute -- worth upwards of $2,000 -- was re-installed by a Parks crew last Thursday.  Police are continuing to check video in that area, and are asking for anyone who may have information on the statue's wherebaouts to call them at 483-7537... or their anonymous tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


NYS weighing mandate for SUNY and CUNY students to have COVID vaccine before returning for in-person classes in the Fall...
Governor Andrew Cuomo says his administration is trying a mix of mandates and incentives to overcome vaccine hesitancy in New York state.  That includes plans to mandate vaccinations for all public college students to get them... and, offer a week of free train rides to people who get shots at walk-in clinics set up in New York City subway stations.  On the first item... Cuomo says they're just waiting for final approval from the federal government.  If the final approval is given... Cuomo says students attending class in-person will have to be vaccinated.  He adds that they will also urge private colleges and universities to do the same. 


County reports 44 New COVID-19 cases Monday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 44 new cases of COVID-19 over the past weekend... but, say infection rate, number of active cases, and people hospitalized continued to go in the right direction.  Health officials say the new cases include 12 in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... and, brings the total to 9,075 cases.  Officials say there are now 73 active cases... and, seven of those are hospitalized.  There were no new deaths. 


Sundquist and Lehman announce Jamestown's 2021 Streets Program...
A significant increase in aid from New York state is allowing the city of Jamestown to undertake nearly 150 street projects this construction season.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist and Public Works Director Jeff Lehman released the city's 2021 Streets Program Monday... and, Sundquist says they plan to engage in an "aggressive and expanded" program this year, that includes a couple of total reconstructions, filling cracks, curbing, mill and overlay.  Sundquist says some projects are already underway in the city.  He says the complete street reconstruction projects include one on part of Kidder Street, and the other will be on Jefferson.  A detailed map of the projects can be found on line at JamestownNY.gov/2021Streets.

WJTN Headlines for Mon., Dec. 10, 2021

22 year-old skateboarder killed in town of Ellery....
A 22 year-old Bemus Point man was killed after he was struck by a car while riding his skateboard on Route 430 in the town of Ellery last night.  State Police in Jamestown were called to the scene just after 9 p.m., and, found the late model sedan, operated by a 19 year-old, was westbound when it struck Bannon Eimiller.  Troopers say Troopers attempted CPR and used an AED until paramedics arrivedon the scene.  Eimiller was later pronounced dead at the scene.  The State Police Collision reconstruction unit and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation assisted in this investigation... which is ongoing.


Clymer man arrested for brandishing a shotgun during domestic incident...         
A Clymer man has been arrested for allegedly pulling a shotgun on the residents in a house early Sunday morning... and, preventing anyone from leaving during a domestic incident.  Sheriff's Officers were called to the scene in the town of Clymer about 1:30 a.m., and arrested 25 year-old Tyler Lindemuth for second-degree menacing, and second-degree unlawful imprisonment.  Lindemuth was taken to the county jail pending centralized arraignment.


Borrello pleased to see Comptroller's Office investigating state's unemployment system...
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli recently confirmed that he is leading an audit of the state's unemployment system.  That's good news to Chautauqua County's representative in the New York State Senate... George Borrello.  Borrello says he and others have been pressing for information regarding how much money in fraudulent unemployment claims has been paid out by the state.  He says the Department of Labor and Governor Andrew Cuomo have refused to provide such data... and, he feels DiNapoli believes there needs to be transparency.  Borrello says a combination of "extremely bad policy" and a lack of transparency have created what he calls a massive gap in the state's unemployment insurance fund... the Sunset Bay Republican adds that it is hurting businesses across the state... because they pay for the program.  The review is expected to take about 6 to 12 months... but, Borrello does not expect a cooperative situation between the Comptroller's Office and Cuomo's administration.


Cuomo sexual harassment investigation now looking into allegations about "vaccine czar..."
Investigators looking into sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo interviewed county officials about his "vaccine czar" calling them to assess their support for the embattled governor.  The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that investigators with the state attorney general's office interviewed at least three Democratic county executives who say Larry Schwartz called to gauge their loyalty to the governor and whether they would call for him to resign.  Schwartz has acknowledged making calls to county executives but denied discussing vaccines and said he "did nothing wrong."  The state attorney general's office declined comment.


County residents will soon be able to do "in-person" transactions again at local DMVs...
Chautauqua County residents will soon be able to again do all their transactions at the Department of Motor Vehicles Offices in person.  That from County Clerk Larry Barmore... who says that will resume on Monday, May 17.  Barmore adds that persons requiring permit or CDL testing will no longer have to make an appointment.  He says a number of rules remain in effect:  All persons will wait outside of the office until instructed to enter... you must social distance and wear a mask at all times.  They add that only the person making the transaction is allowed in the building... and, no children are allowed in the building other than for permit testing.  In that case, a parent may accompany a child taking a permit test as required by the state.  Barmore says many people liked the appointment system, so one representative at each office will be available to take appointments for any transaction.  The appointment system will be ready for use a week from today, on Friday, May 14.


Wendel touts economic development efforts and projects during pandemic...
There's been encouraging news about development, even during the COVID pandemic, in recent days in Chautauqua County.  A couple in particular have been very encouraging.  One has to do with the long vacant Silver Creek Elementary School on Main Street in the north county village.  County Executive P.J. Wendel says it's part of an effort to get vacant buildings back in use... and, back on the tax rolls.  Wendel says UAW Region 9 is a development group that will be converting the building into about four dozen apartments for people aged 55 and older.  There's also the emergence of the former Castelli Cheese facility in Blockville from bankruptcy... and, it's pending purchase by another cheese producer.  He says there will also be a spin-off effect there for more locally produced milk.  Wendel says there are others that the county's Department of Economic Development is still working on... but, they aren't ready to announce them yet.  The Vittoria Dairy group is moving forward with plans for the former Castelli Cheese location. 


Sundquist presides over new Skatepark ground-breaking...
With a number of contractors already committed to other jobs during the Summer months... there's no timetable in place yet for completion of the first-phase of Jamestown's new skatepark.  A number of public and private entities involved with the fund-raising effort broke ground on the location at the former Trolley Mechanics Shop -- near McCrea Point -- late last week.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says the public will be updated on when a dedication will be held.  Among those involved with the fund-raising effort is Pete Scheira from Jamestown Skate Shop... and the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.  The project is estimated to cost about $500,000.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., May 7, 2021

One person reportedly hurt in car-pedestrian accident in Jamestown...
Details are sketchy... but, Jamestown police responded to a reported car-pedestrian accident Thursday evening on the city's southside.  County Fire Dispatchers and the city Fire Department confirm the call to the intersection of Foote and Cole Avenues occured about 7 p.m.  A medivac helicopter was called in... but, no other information has been released at this time.  Efforts to reach JPD have been unsuccessful.


Jamestown woman pleads guilty to allowing home to be used for drug trafficking...
A Jamestown woman has pleaded guilty to allowing a known-drug trafficker to use her home to deal heroin and methamphetamine from three-years ago.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 29 year-old Chelsey Hunt entered the plea to maintaining a drug-involved premisis before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Schroeder, Junior.  Prosecutors say between January and February of 2018... Hunt was accused of letting Douglas Beardsley live in her attic... and, he used it to traffic drugs.  They add that Hunt took an active role in assisting with the operation, including helping Beardsley’s customers and telling them about any police activity in the area.  She's also accused of sellng small amounts of narcotics for Beardsley, and purchased narcotics for her personal use.  Charges are pending against Beardsley.  Hunt faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and $500,000 fine.


City man sentenced for burglary... 
A Jamestown man will spend 2 1/2 to 5 years in state prison for third-degree burglary.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt's office reports that Mark Barnhart received the sentence this week in County Court.  Schmidt says the Jamestown Police Department made the arrest, and assisted with the investigation.


Wendel touts new Chautauqua Lake MOU for simpler approach to lake issues...
Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel and members of his staff have unveiled a new Chautauqua Lake Memorandum of Understanding for all lake stakeholders groups.  Wendel says the previous, 2-year Memorandum of Agreement expired last month... and, a new agreement was needed.  However... the Lakewood Republican says this one is more simple... and, says the groups will work together... and, will not attack or sue others who are part of the MOU.  However... he says the right to sue cannot be taken away from anyone.  Wendel says the MOU does not address the typically contentious use of herbicides to knock down invasive weeds in the lake.  He says the state Department of Environmental Conservation has the final say, and juridiction over use of herbicides.  Wendel says he's hopeful the vast majority of stakeholders sign the MOU by the end of the month.


Wendel expresses disappointment over decision to cancel Chautauqua County Fair for 2021...
It's both disappointing and frustrating to see the Chautauqua County Fair cancelled for another year due to COVID restrictions.  However... County Executive P.J. Wendel is hoping to see some kind of change in the next few days that may allow some kind of activity at the Dunkirk Fairgrounds this year.  Wendel is reacting to the Fair Board's announcement earlier this week to call off the week-long event in late July.  He hopes there may be some reconsideration of the decision because the nation may see some "dramatic change" in the COVID situation in the next month.  Wendel says, after learning about the decision, he spoke with both Fair Board President Dave Wilson... and, officials with the Western New York COVID-19 control room.  He says he was surprised the state did issue guidance for the State Fair in Syracuse... but, nothing for county fairs.  Wendel says he plans to bring up the matter at the next control room meeting... because the county fair is one of the most anticipated Summertime events in the county.  He made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the Media One Radio Grouip stations.


County reports 14 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday...
There are 14 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County over the past day... and the number of active cases has again dropped.  The county Health Department reports that five of the new cases were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... and there have now been 9,022 total cases.  Officials say nine people are currently hospitalized... but, there were no new deaths.  A total of 8,763 cases have now recovered.


County announces Water Restrictions for Mayville Water System due to upgrades to new well...
A mandatory water conservation order has been issued by Chautauqua County for all users of the Mayville Village Water System now through May 13.  The county's Department of Health issued the order Thursday... and, urged residents to cut their water usage by 50-percent.  Officials say this will allow the village to complete critical upgrades to their new well, which is the only well now in use.  The village began installation of a permanent water pump for Well-#4 Tuesday to replace a temporary one installed last December during a water emergency.  During the replacement process... if the water in the village storage tank falls below a safe level, the village will be forced to use one of the PFNA-contaminated wells to supply emergency water to the system.  If that happens... officials say a “Do Not Drink Order” will be required.  If you have any questions about the order... call the Mayville Public Works Superintendent at 269-4801... or the County Health Department at 753-4481. 


 
 

WJTN Headlines for Thurs., May 6, 2021

Fire destroyed garage in Kennedy...
Flames have destroyed a garage in an overnight fire on Page Road in the town of Poland.  Chautauqua County fire dispatchers say Kennedy fire crews were called to the scene about 1 a.m., and, they were joined by firefighters from Frewsburgh, Falconer, Kiantone and Ellington at the scene.  Officials say crews reported heavy smoke and fire on arrival.  In addition... crews reported a nearby home sustained some exposure damage to one side.  No one was hurt.  Crews were at the scene until about 4:30 this morning... and, county fire investigators are at the scene looking for the cause.


Investigation continues into fatal car crashed in West Ellicott...
The investigation is continuing into what ended up being a fatal, one-car crash on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott Tuesday night.  Ellicott Town Police say witnesses told them the vehicle appeared to cut across a couple of parking lots -- including the one for Brigiotta's Farmland Store -- near the city line -- just before 7 p.m.  Officers say the car, driven by a 65 year-old man from Lakewood, then crossed Fairmount and struck the parked vehicle.  Police say Fairmount from Chicago Avenue to the city line was closed for about two hours while the scene was cleared and investigated.  No one else was hurt in the incident.  The identity of the person is being withheld pending notification of family.


Jamestown woman indicted on drug trafficking charges...
A city woman faces at least 10 years in prison and a $10-million fine after being indicted on federal charges for allegedly trafficking methamphetamine from her home when three small children were present.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says a federal grand jury handed up the indictment against 28 year-old Antasia Babcock Wednesday for narcotics conspiracy...  possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine... maintaining a premises for drug use and distribution, and possessing with intent to distribute meth on premises where an individual under 18 was present and resided.  Prosecutors say the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force raided Babcock's home on Wescott Street last year and found her, with the children... and seized one pound of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride, drug paraphernalia, and approximately $62,000 in cash. 


Vaccinations still increasing, but, officials would like them to improve more...
The number of COVID-19 infections in Chautauqua County and New York State as a whole, continue to improve.  However... officials are still pushing to get more adults vaccinated.  There were 13 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county over the past day... putting the total since the pandemic began to over 9,000 to 9,008 cases.  However... there were no new deaths.  Statewide... Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the infection rate dropped to 1.4-percent for the first time since last October.  Cuomo says the vaccines are helping... but, more people need to walk-in to a local clinic or pharmacy and get one.  He says all adults can now go to any mass vaccination site and get the shot.  Cuomo says about 45-percent of the eligible population is now fully-vaccinated... while 58-percent have had at least the first shot.  In Chautauqua County... the Health Department reports just over 47,000 adults... or 45-percent of those eligible... have received at least one dose of the vaccine.  Just over 40,000... 38-percent... are now completely vaccinated.


Cuomo announces 100-percent MLB stadium capacity in NYS for people who are vaccinated...
The Toronto Blue Jays are returning to their home away from home -- in Buffalo -- starting in June.  However... this time they'll have a limited number of fans in attendance.  Forced from Canada by that government's coronavirus travel restrictions, the Blue Jays will be back at Sahlen Field, the regular home of the Blue Jays' AAA farm team.  The announcement comes on the same day that Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the lifting of the 6-foot social distancing requirement at Yankees and Mets games where everyone has been vaccinated.  Cuomo says there will be special seating for those people.  Where people are unvaccinated... Cuomo says the 6-foot distancing requirement remains in place.  As for Buffalo... which is a smaller stadium, officials said yesterday that -- with the 6-foot distancing requirement -- they can hold 24-percent of their capacity.  Toronto will play it's first three homestands at it's spring training ballpark in Dunedin, Florida... then come north to Buffalo.


Rosas disappointed there will be no Chautauqua County Fair this year...
The mayor of Dunkirk is expressing his disappointment over the decision to cancel this year's Chautauqua County Fair.  It's the second straight year the fair has been called off due to COVID-19 restrictions.  Mayor Willie Rosas adds, though, that he understands why it was being postponed.  Rosas says the event takes a lot of planning, and coordination with vendors, acts, and groups like 4-H.  Meanwhile... Rosas says the city is moving ahead with plans for several summer events, including the Fourth of July fireworks display.  He says it will all depend on the state.... and what's allowed at that time.  Rosas is also encouraging area residents to get their COVID-19 vaccinations.


North County man arrested for alleged robbery... 
A Fredonia man is facing charges after a robbery occurred on Howard Street in the north county village late Tuesday night.  Fredonia Police say that 28-year-old Philip Whitfield allegedly confronted two men while they were walking on Howard Street around 11:30 p.m.  Police says Whitfield reportedly made demands, and a brief struggle occured.  However... one of the victims was able to call 911.  After an investigation... police charged Whitfield with second-degree robbery... second-degree menacing... and, fourth-degree grand larceny.  He was arraigned and is being held in the Chautauqua County Jail.

 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., May 5, 2021

Man dies in car crash in West Ellicott...
Ellicott Town Police are still trying to determine why a car cut through a pair of parking lots near the city line... crossed Fairmount Avenue...and, struck a parked car last night.  The driver, identified only as a 65-year-old man from Lakewood, was pronounced dead at the scene.  Town Police were called to the scene in West Ellicott shortly before 7 p.m., and, Fairmount from Chicago Avenue to the city line was closed for about two hours.  Officers says witnesses told them the car had "cut across" a couple of parking lots... including the one for Brigiotta's Farmland Store before hitting the parked vehicle.  No one else was hurt.  The identity of the person is being withheld pending notification of family.


Borrello says state GOP lawmakers still pushing for complete repeal of Cuomo's emergency powers...
Republicans in the New York State Legislature continue to push for a clean repeal of Governor Andrew Cuomo's emergency powers.  State Senator George Borrello says the latest move by Cuomo to ease COVID-19 restrictions is another example.  The Sunset Bay Republican says the changes in the capacities of various businesses is leaving many people confused.  Borrello says we're nearing the start of the Summer tourism season, and there's not enough clarity in what the changes mean.  Cuomo announced the changes slated for May 19 during a news briefing on Monday... but, he indicated that six-foot social distancing requirements will remain unless people are vaccinated or undergo testing.


Former Assembly Speaker Silver released on Furlough...
Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been released from a federal prison on furlough, while he awaits potential placement to home confinement.  That's according to a person familiar with the matter... who spoke with The Associated Press on Tuesday.  Silver was serving his more than six-year sentence at a federal prison in Otisville, New York, in a corruption case.  The person says he's been released on furlough while awaiting potential placement to home confinement to serve his sentence at home.  The 77-year-old Silver began serving his sentence in August after years of fending off going behind bars.  Prosecutors say they opposed the furlough.


Chautauqua County 4-H looking at alternatives now that County Fair has been cancelled again this year...
Chautauqua County Four-H is looking at the cancellation of this year's county fair as 'a unique opportunity' to consider hosting their own event.  Kate Ewer is the Four-H Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension.  Ewer says they are working out plans to hold an event where their youth members can show their livestock, and celebrate their projects.  She says the event could well happen sometime this summer at the Dunkirk Fairgrounds, but would most likely be closed to all but Four-H members and their families.   The cancellation of last year's fair took down nearly all summer Four-H activities, and leaders are anxious to do something this year.  Still in limbo is this year's 'Meat Animal Sale'... a traditional feature on Friday of fair week.  Last year's sale was held exclusively on-line.  


County reports 17 New COVID-19 cases Tuesday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 17 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county over the past day... but, no new deaths.  Health officials say 5 of the new cases were in Brocton... and, 4 in Jamestown.  There are now 8,995 total cases... and, 111 are active.  Officials say 10 people are hospitalized... and, 8,732 cases have now recovered.  The Health Department says the seven-day infection rate is now 2.1-percent. 


Cattaraugus County reports 100th COVID-19 related death...
A 91-year-old woman has become the 100th person to die in Cattaraugus County from the COVID-19 pandemic.  County health officials say the woman developed respiratory failure and could not overcome the virus.  Officials extended their "deepest condolences" to the woman's family.  Health officials add there were 13 new COVID cases reported yesterday... bringing Cattaraugus's total to 5,443.  There are 153 active cases... and, 18 of those are hospitalized.  Officials say 5,183 cases have now recovered... and, the seven-day infection rate is 3.5-percent.


Four people file necessary petitions to run for Jamestown School Board on May 18...
One incumbant... and three newcomers... have filed the necessary petitions to run for the two Jamestown School Board seats up for a vote on May 18.  The Jamestown High School Parent-Teacher-Student Association will hold a "Meet the Candidates Night" on Thursday, May 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the Board of Education Room at the Administration Building on Martin Rd.  Spokeswoman Cathy Panebianco says the forum will be live streamed at jpsny.org/election.  The candidates include incumbant Nina Karbacka... and, newcomers Frank Galeazzo... Gina Sink... and, Krysta Rives.  If a community member would like to attend the forum in person, due to COVID-19 restrictions, they should reserve a space with School District Clerk, Jaunita Walter at 483-4420 or jaunita.m.walter@jpsny.org by noon on May 13.


Former State Sen. Cathy Young will be JCC's graduation speaker...
Former State Senator Cathy Young will present the keynote address during SUNY Jamestown Community College's virtual commencement on May 14.  Young retired from the Senate in early 2019 after accepting the position of executive director for the New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech.  The Olean native was raised on a family farm in Cattaraugus County... and, has been a long-time champion of agriculture and economic development. 

News Bulletin for Tues., May 4, 2021

(Bulletin) Fair Board decides to postpone Chautauqua County Fair again for 2021...
The Chautauqua County Fair will not be held this July for the second straight year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Fair Board of Directors announced Monday night that the fair "is postponed until July 18th through the 24th, 2022."  Fair Board President, Dave Wilson, says they held the decision off for a month in hopes of more information from Governor Andrew Cuomo... but, none has come forth.  Wilson says the governor outlined perameters for the State Fair, and outdoor amusements... but nothing for local fairs or festivals.  He adds the fair board is heartbroken for all the people who rely on the fair for income and exposure.  He says they can't put together a respectable fair for residents, and "time is running out" to get one together.  The only other time the fair has not been held since it began in 1881 was during World War Two, when they took three years off while the fairgrounds were being used to house prisoners.

WJTN Headlines for Tues., May 4, 2021

Dunkirk man killed after Train slams into his truck...
A Dunkirk man has now been identified as the person killed in a collision between a CSX Train and pick-up truck in the town of Dunkirk late yesterday morning.  State Police in Fredonia were called to the scene shortly before Noon on a report of a collision on Temple Rd. between Route 5 and Willow Rd.  Authorities found the pick-up driver, 63 year-old William Miller, dead inside the vehicle.  A Chautauqua County Coroner was called to the scene... along with the State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit.  The investigation is continuing.


County reports 40 New COVID-19 cases, and three deaths Monday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 40 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 from the past weekend... and three new deaths.  The Health Department reports the most new cases in one community was 11 in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  There have now been a total of 8,978 confirmed cases... and, 112 are now active.  Officials add that 10 are hospitalized... and, 8,714 have now recovered. 

Cuomo announces NYS reopening on May 19...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says capacity restrictions for most types of businesses will end statewide in mid-May as COVID-19 infection rates continues to decline.  The Democratic governor made the announcement yesterday... noting that the state's "Smart Reopening" is being coordinated with neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut.  However... Cuomo added one caveat... the 6-foot social distancing requirement remains in place.  He says retail stores, food services, gyms and fitness centers, family entertainment, and offices can all open with no capacity limits on May 19.  Many restaurants in New York City are fairly small... and, social distancing will be an issue.  But, Cuomo says until the Centers for Disease Control changes it's 6-foot guidance, the state will continue to keep that in place.  However... a waiver can be issued if those events and places require proof of either a vaccination, or negative COVID test.  A number of capacity changes... announced last week by Cuomo... take effect either May 17 or May 31.  The outdoor food and drink curfew will be lifted on the 17th... while indoor restrictions will be lifted on the 31st.


Jamestown receiving more road and street repair funding from NYS... announcement on projects coming...
The city of Jamestown is in line for a significant increase in the amount of funding it receives from New York state for road and street projects this Summer.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist told lawmakers during last night's City Council work session that he and Public Works Director Jeff Lehman will announce their list of projects either later this week or next what those projects will include.  Sundquist says they're getting the bulk of the money from three sources.  He says their Consolidated Highway Improvement Program -- or CHIPS funding -- is up 23-percent, while the Extreme Winter Recovery funding is up 53-percent, and PAVE-New York funding will be up 49-percent.  In addition... Sundquist says there is a fourth source this year -- the "State Touring Routes" fund -- to help improve roadways designated for dual use by bicycles. 


NJ woman receives five-year sentence for Meth Trafficking in Jamestown...
A New Jersey woman found to have been part of a drug trafficking ring in Jamestown has been sentenced to five-years in federal prison.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. Monday announced that 26 year-old Alexis Hall of Harrison, NJ received the sentence from District Court Judge Lawrence Vilardo for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, five grams or more of methamphetamine.  Prosecutors say that, between March of 2017 and October of 2018, Hall conspired with 15 other co-defendants to operate a drug trafficking organization, primarily involving the distribution of meth in the Jamestown area.  During raids... law enforcement officers recovered 10 firearms and multiple rounds of ammunition, over 20 cellphones, drug paraphernalia, and cash.  Kennedy says all 16 defendants charged in this case have been convicted. 


Ellington will have scaled-back Picnic this year...
It'll be scaled back, but the 108th Ellington Town Picnic will take place on Friday, August 6th through Sunday, August 8th at the Town Square in Ellington.  Some events are already in place, according to President Mat Pickup of the Town Picnic Association.  Pickup says they'll have music each night, and the fire department will host it's chicken barbecue.  The group 'Happy Days' will perform Friday night.  'Country Memories' will be onstage on Saturday.  Pickup adds, some of the regular features will NOT take place... namely rides because they would have to be wiped down constantly.  The horseshoe pitching contest and the baby show are also not likely for this year's picnic.  Other parts of the schedule are still being firmed up.  Pickup emphsizes they will follow all COVID guidelines in place when picnic time comes in August.


Borrello names former Reed staffer as new Chief of Staff...
A long-time staff member for local Congressman Tom Reed has been named as State Senator George Borrello's new Chief of Staff.  Borrello Monday announced that Alison Hunt... who most recently had been Reed's District Director... succeeds Michael Ellison, who served in the role since Borrello won a special election for the seat in 2019.  Borrello says Hunt "brings a wealth of governmental experience to the Chief of Staff role after serving for the past 10 years on the district staff of Congressman Tom Reed, the last six as his District Director."
 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., May 3, 2021

City man arrested twice over the past weekend now arrested 11 times since start of 2021...
A Jamestown man has now been arrested 11 times in 2021 -- nine times in April -- following a pair of arrests over the past weekend.  In the first instance... city police were initially called to the CVS Store on South Main Street about 7:30 last Friday night for a disorderly person.  Officers say Patrick Blakemore was causing a disturbance inside the Brooklyn Square location... and, told to leave.  However... he returned less than 10 minutes later, and again caused a disturbance.  Police say Blakemore resisted as they tried to arrest him... but, he was taken into custody for trespassing, obstruction... and, resisting arrest.  After being released due to bail reform... Blakemore then allegedly shoplifted merchandise at the 7-Eleven store on North Main Street.  Police were called to the scene about 6 p.m. Saturday... and, arrested Blakemore for petty larceny.  He was held pending arraignment.


Jamestown man arrested following Domestic Violence incident...
A city man has been arrested for allegedly pinning a woman down in a bed and holding her against her will during a domestic violence incident.  City Police say they were called to location on Jamestown's westside last week... and, on arrival spoke with the victim.  Officers later found the suspect, Christopher Toole, and he was taken into custody.  Police later found the victim had an order of protection against Toole and there was to be no physical contact with her.  He was jailed pending arraignment on charges of first-degree criminal contempt, second-degree unlawful imprisonment, and aggravate Family Offense.


Corry, PA man convicted of trafficking Methamphetamine gets 10 years in prison...
A Corry, PA man will spend the next 10 years in federal prison following his conviction for trafficking 50 grams or more of methamphetamine in Chautauqua County.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Junior announced late last week that 43 year-old Jerry Roneker, Junior received the sentence in federal court in Buffalo.  Prosecutors say Roneker was pulled over by a sheriff's deputy in the town of Chautauqua on March 9, 2019 for a traffic infraction.  They add that they spotted a smoking pipe, and when they asked Roneker to get out of the car... they noticed two large chunks of suspected methamphetamine.  Officers also found a loaded 9-millimeter handgun in his possession.  They then searched the vehicle... and, found just over $10,000 cash... ecstasy pills, packaging materials, a digital scale, drug paraphernalia, Xanax pills, MDMA pills, Suboxone strips, and two hypodermic needles.


City Council okays shared serviced agreement with JCC for a grants writer...
The city of Jamestown and Jamestown Community College have joined forces to create a shared Grant Writer position.  The City Council has now approved creation of the position, which will be funded equally by the college and city.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says consolidating the position would allow both entities to go after grants with someone experienced... and, knowledgeable of how to do it.  Sundquist says they're finding many of their departments are having to spend extra time writing grant applications -- in addition to their regular day-to-day operations.  JCC Foundation Director Maria Kindberg says the college has been in the same boat... and, has looked for a grants writer... but, can't offer what other entities do.  Sundquist says a joint City-and-College Committee will go through a search for candidates, do interviews... and, make a recommendation to both entities. 


Week 12 Chautauqua County COVID-19 Heroes named...
One group of employees and seven other individuals have been recognized by the Chautauqua County COVID-19 Response Team as COVID-19 Heroes.  County Executive P-J Wendel announced the Week 12 nominees for April 26--30... which include the Lutheran Nursing Home staff... which he says had worked hard to keep their residents safe during the pandemic.  In addition... Tamara Racino of GX Warehouse Fitness and Wellness was also recognized.  Brooks Hospital Registered Nurse Kenneth Long-the-second was recogized for his work with COVID Patients at the north county location.  Others include Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services Director Mary Ann Spanos... and Stephanie Kelly and Charlene Burch... who both work at Heritage Village Nursing facility in Gerry.  Also being honored were Rosie Digirolamo, and Brigid Wonderly.  Wendel says "our heroes this week continue to reflect the important theme of those caring for the wellbeing of others."


Village of Lakewood calls off July 4th Summerfest due to COVID pandemic...
The Fourth of July is still a couple of months away... but, officials in Lakewood have decided to pull the plug on the annual Summerfest for a second straight year due to the COVID pandemic.  The village board recently decided to cancel the event... but, held off on opening Lakewood Beach.  Mayor Randy Holcomb says it's a disappointment... but, having so many people in one place is still an issue.  Holcomb says they remain hopeful of having the event back -- as it would normally be held -- in 2022.  Summerfest has been an annual event on the Fourth of July in Lakewood... and, features a 10-K Firecracker Run... music, games and food... and concludes with a huge fireworks display.  Holcomb made his comments for this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.

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BLACK FRIDAY THROUGH CHRISTMAS DAY 1340 AM IS PLAYING NOTHING BUT THE CLASSIC CHRISTMAS SONGS YOU GREW UP WITH!  TELL YOUR FRIENDS!