Local News Headlines Archives for 2021-05

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.

 


 

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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. 

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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.

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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."
 

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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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