Local News Headlines Archives for 2021-09

WJTN News Headlines for Sept. 17, 2021

County officials again urge vaccinations as COVID-19 cases, and hospitalizations remain high...
Chautauqua County officials are keeping a close eye on the rising COVID-19 numbers in the county.  On Wednesday... the County Health Department reported 36 hospitalizations due to virus, an increase from 31 on Monday.  However... that number has returned the past day to 31.  County Executive P.J. Wendel says he has been in touch with local hospital officials... and, adds many of the hospitalizations involve individuals who are unvaccinated.  He says one hospital administrator noted that 70% to 90% of their admissions have not been vaccinated.  Wendel did indicate that some of the hospitalizations did involve break-through cases, but most were people with comorbidities.  He says the county has been staying in touch with local hospitals.  Over the past day... the Health Department reports 71 new confirmed cases of the virus... but, no new deaths.  There are now 424 active cases right now.... and, there are now 10,989 total cases.  Officials say 10,396 cases have now recovered. 


WCA Home administrator responds to Hochul comments on vaccine mandate...
The WCA Home is taking issue with comments made by Governor Kathy Hochul that the facility should have plans in place to address the loss of staff due to the state's vaccine mandate for health care workers.  The Fredonia adult home could lose a third of its staff due to the mandate.  WCA Home Administrator Tammy McKool takes issue with the New York governor's comments that the facility should still have plans from last year that would allow the facility to increase resident capacity.  McKool says, being an assisted living facility, they are only licensed for 42 beds... adding they are "not a hospital."  She says the mandate should also include the option of testing for employees who don't want to get vaccinated. 


Hochul stands firm on Health Care worker vaccine mandate...
Governor Hochul says she is sticking with New York state's mandate that hospital and other health care workers get the COVID-19 vaccine.  Hochul made the comments in response to reporter's questions about looming staffing shortages due to the mandate.  One of those locations could be the WCA Home... which announced last week that it was facing that loss of one-third of it's staff.  That mandate is already being challenged in court.  Hochul says they'll continue to stand-by the mandates leading up to an initial court date of Sept. 27.  Hochul says the announcement was "anticipatory" with the requirement going into effect in a couple of weeks.  She says her administration will "be on it.  I’m not going to let this be a problem for the state of New York..." adding that they are required to have temporary staffing plans."  She added that if facilities have an issue, she and the state Health Department will help them.  Last month... former Gov. Andrew Cuomo mandated that all hospital care workers get their first dose of the vaccine by Sept. 27.  All other health care facilities — including diagnostic and treatment centers -- must have workers vaccinated by Oct. 7.  


Olson decided aainst running for second-term on City Council...
The first-term representative in Jamestown's fifth-ward on the City Council says circumstances have changed... and, because of that, he's not running again.  Republican Grant Olson announced in a press release yesterday morning that he's not seeking another term because "things are looking a bit more optimistic these days."  Olson says when he first ran... the city was potentially months away from a control board... and, the administration at the time had become stagnant."  He said he was "ready and willing" to make some difficult decisions to move the city forward.  However... he says the current administration has "not only managed to weather a global pandemic... but, also bring about a feeling of change about what goes on (at City Hall).  He adds his work, and being a father is also taking up more of his time.


City woman arrested for alleged assault...
A Jamestown woman has been arrested for allegedly assaulting another woman on the city's southside Wednesday morning.  City police were called to the undisclosed address about 8:30 a.m., and, spoke to the victim, and a witness.  The victim told officers that 26 year-old Halli Buchanan confronted her inside the woman's home... and, grabbed her by the hair.  She adds Buchanan then twisted her head... injuring her.  Police then took Buchanan, who was still at the scene, into custody... and, took her to the city jail pending arraignment on a third-degree assault charge.


Meyers hired as new JPS School Safety Advisor...
A retired, 35 year member of law enforcement who retired earlier this year has been hired by the Jamestown Public Schools as the district's new School Safety Advisor.  School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says Brad Meyers retired as Fredonia Village Police Chief earlier this year.  Before that, he was a Sergeant and police officer with the Jamestown Police.  Whitaker says Meyers' job will have two parts... the first being supervisory.  The other part will be to review and update the district’s annual safety plan.  Jamestown High School has a School Resource Officer... who is a city Police Officer.  Whitaker adds that Meyers will coordinate all safety training, use of educational materials and provide guidance in promoting awareness on a variety of safety issues and promoting prevention programs.  Meyers will supervise the district's "Red Shirt" security in each of the schools. 


 

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

Chautauqua County reports another uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations, and two more deaths...
The uptick in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise the past day in Chautauqua County... as 115 new cases were reported.  The county's Department of Health also reports 36 people are now hospitalized, along with two new deaths.  Deaths now number 169.  The number of hospitalizations is concerning locally, and statewide.  However... Governor Kathy Hochul said Wednesday that New York is in a much better place than it was a year ago.  Hochul says each hospital has plans in place to add 50-percent surge capacity if they need to.  Hochul says... for the most part... the people who are being hospitalized... and, are dying have not been fully-vaccinated.  She says if you're not vaccinated, you are 10 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID, and 11-times more likely to die.  The county Health Department is reporting there have now been 10,921 total cases... and, 405 of those are currently active.  There were 57 of the new cases reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... and, there have now been 10,347 cases that have recovered.  The seven-day infection rate did drop slightly over the past day from 10 to 9.7-percent.


State Judge temporarily blocks vaccine mandate for medical workers...
A federal judge has temporarily blocked New York state from forcing medical workers to be vaccinated after a group of health care workers sued, saying their Constitutional rights were violated.  Judge David Hurd in Utica issued the order Tuesday after 17 health professionals, including doctors and nurses, claimed the vaccine mandate violated their rights because it disallows religious exemptions.  The judge gave New York state until Sept. 22 to respond to the lawsuit.  The state issued the order Aug. 28, requiring at least a first shot for health care workers at hospitals and nursing homes by Sept. 27.  The state says it's considering all legal options.


Hochul issues new mask mandate Wednesday...
While the judge rendered the decision to block the state's orders that health care workers be vaccinated... Governor Kathy Hochul issued new mask mandates for child care and day care center workers Wednesday.  Hochul says the measure is necessary to protect children under the age of 12 who can't get a vaccination.  She says the number of children getting COVID now is scary, and adds they can't get vaccinated yet.  Hochul adds they also want to make sure that people in the state's Congregate Facilities... along with Mental Health and substance abuse facilities are keeping patients safe.  She says a masking mandate there took effect today.  A few school districts in New York have announced lawsuits against the school mask mandate... with one on Long Island saying that Hochul and state health commissioner Howard Zucker lack the legal authority to mandate masks.


Republicans and Democrats on IRC submit competing redistricting maps...   
Republicans and Democrats on an independent commission tasked with drawing new political maps have instead drawn criticism by releasing competing versions.  The state's loss of a congressional seat based on the most recent census date means a district will disappear.  The release Wednesday of competing maps by the Independent Redistricting Commission means that the bulk of the work on redistricting may fall later this year entirely to the Legislature. It is controlled by Democrats.


TRC present "Everyday Hero" awards...
The Resource Center took time Wednesday to recognize Direct Support Professionals… employees who work every day with persons with disabilitites. One of the seven DSP’s honored as an ‘Everyday Hero’ was Sabrina Avery.  She done the job for 22 years, and works at both the Raymond Center and some group homes, and she loves her clients, and thinks of them as family.  Assistant Director of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at TRC, Joanne Bevan, says DSP's make sure the people they serve get the medical care, and daily skills they need... as well as being a friend.  She adds, "Without the DSP’s, the Resource Center couldn’t operate."  Many more Direct Support Professionals are needed.  A statewide recruitment effort is set for a week from today, Thursday, Sept. 23.


Latest nominees for Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester announced...
Cabbage Patch Kids touched off the first big holiday toy craze nearly 40 years ago.  Now the dolls are among 12 finalists vying for induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame.  The finalists were announced Wednesday at The Strong museum in Rochester, which houses the hall.  The finalists also include five games: Battleship, Risk, The Settlers of Catan, Mahjong and billiards.  Rounding out the list are the pinata, sand, toy fire truck, American Girl Dolls, Masters of the Universe and Fisher-Price Corn Popper.  Three will be inducted in November.  Fans are invited to weigh in as part of a "Player's Choice" ballot that closes Sept. 22.  


 

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

County reports 49 New COVID Cases on Tuesday, 115 already on Wednesday with two deaths....
There was a slight decrease in the COVID-19 infection rate in Chautauqua County reported over the past two days.  However there were two new deaths over the past day.  The County Health Department is also reporting another increase in hospitalizations.  Officials say there were 115 new cases reported late Wednesday morning... and, 405 are now active.  Officials say there are now 36 people hospitalized with the virus, and the new deaths brings that total to 169.  There have now been 10,921 total cases, and 10,347 have now recovered.  There were 57 new cases in the Jamestown 14701 zip codes.


City gets "clean bill" of financial health in 2020 Audit...
The city of Jamestown has received a "clean" bill of financial health from audit on it's 2020 budget from it's new, third-party auditor.  The City Council received details of the audit during Monday night's work session.  Partner Carl Widmer with Dresser & Malecki, praised city officials for helping to make their first year "pretty painless."  Widmer says the city's finances a very "fairly stated" and accurate... and showed a just over $1-million surplus in 2020.  He says they also did well with their state and federal funding awards... and, gave the city a "clean" audit there.  Widmer says the surplus came despite 2020 being a "pandemic year..." and says this brings the city's undesignated fund balance to $4.6-million.  He says that's about 12.4-percent of the city's total budget.  Widmer says they tell the more than 100 municipalities they audit that they should have at least two-months of funding available for emergencies.  He says that amount should be 16.7-percent.  Widmer says they included some recommendations in their report... including the need to implement a policy for the city's undesignated fund balance.


Haines receive's George Ritzer Labor Award...
A long-time member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local is recipient of this year's George Ritzer Labor Award.  The award was presented to Mike Haines during last night's program at the Northwest Arena in Jamestown after the annual Labor Day Festival was cancelled for the second straight year due to the pandemic.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist worked with Jamestown Area Labor Council President Dave Wilkinson to make sure the award was given out this year.  Last year, they gave the award to "essential workers... but, were happy to be able to present it to a single person this year.  Wilkinson, who is stepping down as Labor Council President after this year, says it's great to present the award to a fellow member of the IBEW because Haines has been a loyal member, and done a lot of good work.  In recent years... Haines has been the IBEW's Membership Development Organizer... and, thanked Wilkinson and Dave Painter for taking him under their wing to build membership, and to get jobs for their union. 


Cassadaga man arrested for criminal contempt...
A Cassadaga man has been arrested for allegedly going to a town of Charlotte home he had a court-order to stay away from.  Sheriff's officers say they responded to a 9-1-1 call just before 3 a.m. Tuesday... and, after investigating, arrested 41 year-old Michael Austin for second-degree criminal contempt.  Austin was then taken to the County Jail for centralized arraignment.


GoFundMe page started to raise money for new van for retired brass teacher Bill Knight...
A renowned music teacher in the Jamestown area is in need of a new wheel chair accessible van… and some of his friends have put up a ‘Go Fund Me’ page to help. The teacher is Bill Knight, who’s taught brass instrument students for fifty years. Speaking for his friends is brass player and choir director, Norm Lydell, who says “It’s hard to describe just how special Bill Knight is as a teacher.”  Lydell says Knight also took an interest in his students personally.  Knight is a quadriplegic and needs the van so he can be driven to the store and to doctors.  His current vehicle is 15 years old.  Anyone can contribute by Googling ‘Go Fund Me Bill Knight.’  The group has raised about half of its $60,000 goal, so far.


NYS hands down new Athletic Quarantine rules...
The 'rules of the game' regarding COVID-19 and high shcool sports have changed... with the potential to take a number of athletes off the field... and games off the schedule.  The Jamestown Public School's Athletic Director, Ben Drake, says the detailed 'contact tracing' used last year for any virus outbreak was replaced a few weeks ago.  Drake says contact tracing is no longer being used.  He says the upshot is... healthy athletes are at home -- in quarantine -- instead of on the field because they are "deemed as a close contact."  The new rules have put two Jamestown teams on 'pause'... the boy's soccer team and Freshman football team. 


Gas prices in Jamestown-area increase 5-cents a gallon...
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area began the new week 5-cents a gallon higher than last week... due mainly to a drop in gas supplies nationwide.  The AAA's East Central Gas Price Report shows the average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded gas locally went from $3.29.8 to $3.34.8 this week.  Some places are now at about $3.36 a gallon.  With the height of the Summer driving season behind us... AAA says motorists are seeing some relief at the pump, as the national gas price average dropped by a penny this week to $3.17. 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Sept. 14, 2021

County reports 170 new COVID-19 cases Monday, one new death...
There are 170 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 being reported in Chautauqua County from the past weekend... along with one new death.  In addition... the county's Health Department is reporting hospitalizations have increased from 24 to 27.  The number of deaths is now 167... and, the total number of cases during the pandemic is now up to 10,757.  Officials say 381 of those cases are currently active, and 62 were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  There have now been 10,209 cases have recovered... and, the seven day infection rate is up to 11.2-percent.


City Comptroller reports "really great" second-quarter sales tax figures to City Council...
On-line retail and gasoline sales were two big reasons why the city of Jamestown's second-quarter sales tax revenues came in higher than expected.  That from City Comptroller Ryan Thompson... who says they received $2.16-million between April and June... which was $690,000 above the second-quarter of 2020.  Thompson says that was also a nearly $462,000 increase over 2019 -- before the pandemic.  He says that's 57% of the total, budgeted sales tax figure of $6.7-million.  Thompson told lawmakers at last night's City Council work session the second quarter sales tax amount was nearly 47% above the figure from last year... and, 27% above 2019.  Thompson says the city expects to receive it's third-quarter sales tax payment on... or around Nov. 1.  After property taxes... sale tax revenues is among the city's largest revenue lines.


Sundquist expects to present final plans for American Rescue Plan funding next week...
The Jamestown City Council will receive a final report with recommendations on how to use just over $28-million in American Rescue Plan Act funding during next week's work session.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says two additional listening sessions with various groups in the city were held... and, the input will be used to make final determinations of where money will go.  Sundquist notes that a couple of areas will likely end up with more funding... those being neighborhood improvement, and mental health.  He says, though, that those are just two areas that will be addressed by the ARPA plan to help keep people healthy during the pandemic... among others.  Sundquist says $10-million will go for improving economic development and housing in the city.  Initially... Sundquist's Master Plan proposal allocated $1.4-million towards housing issues.  However... that amount is expected to be increased.  He initially hosted four public input sessions to get ideas about where to focus the money.  The city has already received $14-million of the funding so far.  A second tranche will come next year.  Sundquist had hoped to have a presentation at last night's meeting... but, it will take place next week.


Borrello introduces proposed delay in Cannibis Opt-Out for localities...
Given the delays in the rollout of New York State’s new law allowing the use and sale of recreational marijuana... the area's state senator wants to allow localities another year to opt out of allow retail dispensaries.  Sunset Bay Republican George Borrello says he's introducting the legislation following a roundtable he hosted in the district where he received "overwhelming feedback" about the lack of information on what a "legalized market" would look like.  Borrello adds that local elected officials are being asked to "make important decisions with zero information.  It is unfair of the state to maintain the original deadline when implementation of the law is at least six months behind.”  When former Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law last March 31st... certain provisions took effect immediately, including legalization of the possession of up to three ounces of marijuana, or 24 grams of concentrated cannabis.  Localities cannot opt out of adult-use legalization, but, they can opt out of allowing brick-and-mortar dispensaries to sell marijuana products... as well as ‘lounges’ where cannabis could be consumed, on-site.
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All regulations governing how the industry will operate including regulation of sales, and licensing, are to be developed by the Cannabis Control Board, and the new state Office of Cannabis Management.  However... only four appointments have been made so far to the panel.  They are former Brooklyn Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright as chair of the Cannabis Control Board and Christopher Alexander, a former policy coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance.  He would be director of the Office of Cannabis Management.  Two others have been appointed by legislative leaders.  Two more need to be selected by the governor.


Ritzer Labor Award to be presented tonight at NW Arena...
While there was no Labor Day Festival at Jamestown's Bergman Park this month... one of the big parts of the annual event will be held tonight.  The city will present the annual George Ritzer Labor Award during a ceremony at the Northwest Arena on West Third Street.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist made the announcement at last night's Council meeting... adding that the ceremony begins at 6 p.m.  The Ritzer Labor Award is named after one of the Jamestown area's biggest advocates of labor down through the years.  It's typically presented during the Labor Day Festival to someone who has done a lot for the local labor movement... and, the community at-large.

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Sept. 13, 2021

SWCS school bus struck from behind in parking lot...
No one was hurt this morning after a Sports Utility Vehicle struck the back of a Southwestern Central School Bus that had no students on board.  Ellicott Town Police say the accident occured after the bus driver had stopped on the school driveway before turning onto Southwestern Drive.  Officers say the driver of the SUV said her foot slipped off the brake pedal about 7:30 a.m., and, slammed into the back to the bus.  The unidentified driver was not hurt... but, her vehicle stained major front end damage.  The bus received minimal damage, and was able to be driven from the scene.  No charges have been filed... but, the accident remains under investigation.


Sherman man seriously hurt in Lawn Tractor accident in Mayville...
A Sherman man was seriously hurt last Saturday afternoon when he lost control of his lawn tractor in the village of Mayville and it crashed in the area of West Marvin and Valley Streets.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene about 5:45 p.m., and, found that 47 year-old James Eastham had suffered serious injuries in the accident... and, was flown by medivac helicopter to the UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pa.  Deputies say the accident is under investigation... and, further information will follow once available. 


Two hurt, one seriously, in one-car crash in Ashville last Friday...
Two people were hurt... one seriously... in a single-car accident last Friday afternoon near the intersection of Route 474 and Maple and Church Streets in Ashville.  Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene shortly after 3 p.m., and, found the driver, 44 year-old Ron Johnson of Ashville, lost control of the vehicle, and went off the roadway.  Officers say the car struck several large boulders... crossed a ditch... and, came to rest.  Johnson was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.  His passenger, 65 year-old Walter Abbott of Panama, was flown to UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pennsylvania with serious injuries.  The investigation is ongoing. 


County hosts 20th anniversary commemoration of "9/11" attacks...
The 20th anniversary of the "9/11" attacks was both emotional and somber... with several calls for unity in the wake of current circumstances.  In front of the Chautauqua County Courthouse in Mayville Saturday... the near-hour-long program began with County Legislator and well-known, local musician Bill Ward, singing the National Anthem.  One of the featured speakers, county Veteran's Services Agency Director Greg Carlson, served in Afghanistan for several of his 15 years of active service.  Carlson remembered the heros of that day... including the 412 first responders who died that day who were running up to help and rescue people in the upper floors of the Twin Towers in NYC.  He says they are what heroes "truly look like."  County Executive P.J. Wendel was a life-long friend and classmate of Chautauqua County's lone casualty that day, Celoron's Amy King.  He got emotional in telling the story of getting an e-mail Saturday morning from Amy's sister, Kelly, asking if it would be "okay" for she and her mother, Sue to attend.  He used the moment as a call for unity, and embrace our fellow Americans.  Several others also spoke during the nearly hour-long program... including local Blue Star Mothers President Sue Rowley... and, State Senator George Borrello.


Amy King's sister, Kelly, looks back on forward on "9/11" 20th Anniversary...
One of Amy King's sisters says while there will always be her personal sense of loss... she's more focused on what we went through as a nation on September 11, 2001.  Amy King was a Southwestern Central School graduate who was a flight attendant on board United Flight 175 was one of two planes terrorist hijackers flew into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.  Following Saturday's program in Mayville... Kelly King spoke about her sister, and why it's important to 'never forget."  King says she understand now about how "average people" who may not have lost anybody that day, felt.  She says we "can't ever let anything like that happen again."  King says the need for people to "Never Forget" is why she brought her 15 year-old step-son to last Saturday's program so he could hear the stories, and how the attacks impacted not just their family, but, everyone.


Fredonia woman reported missing over weekend...
A Fredonia women with dementia has been reported missing after being last seen at a location on Route 20 in the north county village last Friday afternoon.  The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office says 58 year-old Laura Wilcox was last seen at 4 p.m. Friday... and, is believed to be on foot.  Authorites also believe she may need medical attention.  They say she is white female, 5' 4" inches tall, and weighs about 155 pounds.  Laura was last seen wearing a blue T-shirt, grey hooded sweatshirt, tied around her waist, and had blue floral pants on.  If you have seen her or know of her whereabouts, you're asked to call 9-1-1, or the Sheriff's Office at 753-2131.


No one hurt in North Harmony house fire...
No one was hurt in a house fire late last Friday night in the town of North Harmony.  Sheriff's officers say Ashville fire crews were called to the scene on Hoag Road about 10:30 p.m., and county Fire Investigators responded a short time later.  Investigators found the blaze originated in the second floor wall due to an electrical issue.   Officials says the two residents living there got out of the home without injury.

WJTN News Alert for Sat., Sept. 11, 2021

County and BPU left Boil Water Advisory from Ashville to Stow...

The Boil Water Advisory for Jamestown Board of Public Utilities customers along the Route 394 corridor from Ashville to Stow has been lifted.  BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says the advisory had been in place since last Wednesday, September 8th... after a water main broke just north of Smith Boys Marina.  The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services lifted the advisory after water samples collected on Thursday and Friday from the affected areas showed the water is safe to drink.  For further information... call 753-4481 or go on-line to chqgov-dot-COM.

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Sept. 10, 2021

County reports 112 new confirmed COVID-19 cases after 87 were reported Thursday; hospitalizations double...
There's been another spike in the number of new, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County over the past day... and, the number of hospitalizations has doubled since Wednesday.  The county Health Department says there are 199 new cases over the past two days... bringing the local total during the pandemic to 10,589.  Officials say 336 cases are now active... and, 24 people are now hospitalized after being at 12 at mid-week.  The good news is the county added 121 recovered cases the past day... and, that number is now over 10,000 at 10,087.  The seven-day infection rate remains 9.1%... which the CDC says is "high."


Wendel lays out proposal for county's $24.6-million in ARPA funding...
Chautauqua County Legislators heard details this week about Executive P.J. Wendel's plan to use $24.6-million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.  Wendel told lawmakers the plan, which includes 41 projects, was developed by an ARPA committee that has been meeting since last Spring.  He says they focused on six different areas.  Wendel says he and the committee placed special emphasis on a number of areas that included public health, infrastructure, work force development, economic development, clean water and public safety.  He says funding for larger projects will come from the second tranche of funding set for 2022... including a sewer project, water project and one for broadband.  However... he adds a federal infrastructure bill may cover those.  County legislators are expected to take action on the plan during their monthly meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 22.


JPS officials preparing for new COVID-19 requirement...
No effective date has been set... but, the Jamestown Public Schools are preparing for a new COVID-19 requirement for staff in the district.  Superintendent Kevin Whitaker told our Dennis Webster Thursday that the impetus comes from new Governor Kathy Hochul, who says the state is moving to mandate staff be vaccinated, or to have the unvaccinated tested at least once a week.  Dr. Whitaker says the directive will ultimately come from the state Department of Health.  He believes that most employees of the Jamestown Public Schools have been vaccinated.  Bringing testing to teachers and staff, however, may create an opportunity for some others in the district as well -- namely students who may be ill, or whose parents want them tested.  While aware of the recent increases in COVID case numbers and the positivity rate, Dr. Whitaker says 'thusfar we are fortunate that we don't have to make any changes' in the fall program for the Jamestown schools.  He also says the district has worked very hard since the spring to fill open positions... and has hired over 30 new people.  But there are still openings across the board, particularly for bus drivers.  


United Way of Southern Chautauqua County kicks-off 2021 general campaign...
The 2021 campaign for the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County is underway.  It started with an outdoor "block party" at the United Way’s Pine Street office Thursday afternoon.  The theme this year is ‘Help Today Gives Hope Tomorrow’ and the goal is $1.3-million.  The husband and wife team of Christine and Mark Tarbrake will co-chair the effort.  Christine is confident… even in the face of the pandemic.  She says the people of Chautauqua County are "so compassionate and so generous..." and they step up in tough times.  United Way Executive Director Amy Rohler says there’s a new way to ‘text’ a gift to the campaign... by texting "UWHope" to 91999.  The local United Way helps to fund 43 programs at 28 member agencies.  The Thursday kickoff was held jointly with the United Way of Northern Chautauqua.  The campaign will run through the end of the year.  For more information... call 483-1561.


Westfield Board approves sale of former Welch's Building to developers for housing, and commercial use...
A development team from the midwest, and western New York has joined together to purchase the former Welch's Building in Westfield for housing and commercial space.  A spokeswoman for St. Louis, Missouri-based RANT, LLC, and Buffalo-based Savarino Companies says they have "re-imagined the future" of the historic Welch’s building.  Officials say they are planning 24 one-and two- bedroom apartments between 500 and 1,200 square feet, occupying four floors, and geared to the lifestyle of young professionals.  They add that the 10 to 12-thousand square foot commercial space on the first floor will ideally become a year-round entertainment venue complemented by other amenities.  The project took a step forward Wednesday night when it was approved by the Westfield Town Board.


Benjamin sworn-in as new Lt. Governor...
New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin thanked Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul for choosing him as he was sworn in to join her two-week-old administration.  Benjamin took the oath of office on Thursday in Hochul's New York City office.  Hochul took over as governor on Aug. 24, following Andrew Cuomo's resignation over sexual harassment allegations.  Hochul is the state's first woman governor and a Democrat from western New York.  She had pledged to choose someone from New York City to be her lieutenant governor.  Benjamin has served as a state senator representing Harlem. 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Sept. 9,2021

Long-time priest in Jamestown, Father Dennis Mende, passes away...
The long-time pastor at Holy Apostles Parish in Jamestown has passed away... a short time after taking on a second Catholic parish in the city.  In a Facebook post this morning... St. James Church announced the passing of the Reverend Dennis Mende Wednesday night.  The churches both announced Mende's death, at the age of 74.  Mende, who graduated from Kenmore East High School, was ordained in 1983.  Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist attends St. James... and, says Father Mende's death has been a shock to everyone... because he was a "rock" to his lead parish, and was becoming one for St. James.  Mende had just taken over as priest at St. James earlier this Summer.  During an interview with our Dennis Webster... he learned about the change just after Memorial Day... when former pastor, Father Gerald Duffy, was re-assigned to the parish in Hamburg.  In their Facebook post this morning... St. James stated "we are are saddened by our loss but rejoice for him as he is with his God whom he loved and served so faithfully."  Funeral arrangements for Father Dennis Mende will be announced.


No one hurt in boat fire on Chautauqua Lake, near Vukote...
No one was hurt... but, there were some anxious moments for six people on board a boat that caught fire on Chautauqua Lake near Vukote in the town of Busti early Labor Day evening.  Sheriff's officers and members of the Marine Division responded to the call just after 6:30 p.m. Monday.  Upon arrival... deputies assisted the operator with extinguishing the fire that was located in the engine compartment of the vessel.  Officers helped in removing the occupants from the burning vessel onto the Sheriff's vessel, including two young children.  The passengers were taken to shore, and there were no injuries.  The Lakewood and Bemus Point Fire Departments assisted at the scene.


Hochul says, COVID Uptick is continuing, but, hospital capacity is holding up for now...
Hospitalizations state-wide in New York for COVID-19 have been on the increase in recent weeks... but, there's enough currently to deal with the recent surge in cases.  However... officials are keeping an eye on that number.  Governor Kathy Hochul says hospitals currently have 36-percent capacity available... and, 25-percent in their Intensive Care Units.  Hochul also said Wednesday that 81-percent of eligible adults had received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.  That's good... but, she adds people also need to get the second one -- unless it's the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.  She says it's not "one and done..." so complete the vaccination process by getting "that second dose done."  Hochul adds that New York state will be putting up $65-million dollars in funding to help local governments get the vaccines out there.  
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In Chautauqua County... the Health Department reports 66 new confirmed cases of COVID over the past day... along with one new death.  Health officials say there have now been 166 deaths among the 10,392 cases so far.  Officials say there are 336 active cases... and, 12 are hospitalized.  There are 9,890 cases that have recovered.


City Council's Public Safety Committee approves several stipulations for Los Contrinconte's Car Show at Bergman Park on Sept. 18...
The Jamestown City Council's Public Safety has agreed to nine additional stipulations on a car show scheduled for later this month at Bergman Park.  Public Safety Committee Chairman Brent Sheldon says the panel met again with the head of the Los Contrincantes Car Club late Tuesday afternoon to iron out details for the program on Saturday, Sept. 18.  Sheldon says they have been working with Jose Sanchez to flesh out everything before the event takes place.  Among the new stipulations is changing the show hours to conclude at an earlier hour... 7 p.m. versus 8 PM... because there's less daylight now.  Sheldon says another is the car club agreeing to pay for two Jamestown Police officers to be on hand for the entire event... including the overtime cost.  Other police and club security will also be on hand that day.  Sheldon says another condition for the September 18th show is that there would be no more than 900 cars and vehicles allowed inside the park for the event.  Sheldon says the club itself will keep track of the numbers.  


Wendel appoints Hernandez as new director of Mental Hygiene...
A man from downstate New York who has a "diverse background" in mental health services has been appointed as the new director of the Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene.  County Executive P-J Wendel late Wednesday announced that Carmelo Hernandez began his new position on Tuesday, replacing Patricia Brinkman, who retired last April.  Wendel says Hernandez previously served as a lead therapist at Alssaro Counseling Services in New Rochelle, New York... and, was a mental health consultant at WestCOP in Westchester.  Prior to that... he served as a program manager for Wediko Children’s Services and a combat stress recovery specialist for the Wounded Warrior Project. 


Conviction of former aide to former Gov. Andrew Cuomo is affirmed...
A federal appeals court has affirmed the conviction of one of ex-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's top aides for fraud and accepting bribes.  The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the case of Joseph Percoco on Wednesday.  A three-judge panel wrote that the public corruption case required it to again consider the reach of federal fraud and bribery laws.  Percoco was a longtime friend and top aide to Cuomo, who recently resigned as governor amid sexual harassment allegations.  Percoco was sentenced to six years in prison.
 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Sept. 8, 2021

County reports 153 New COVID-19 cases over Labor Day Holiday Weekend...
The surge in COVID-19 numbers in Chautauqua County continued through the long, Labor Day Holiday weekend.  The county's Health Department reports 153 new confirmed cases since last Friday... with 52 of those being reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  Fredonia was next with 22 cases.  Officials say that brings the total number during the pandemic to 10,326... and, 302 of those are currently active.  The health department says 12 people are hospitalized... and, there were no new deaths.  Officials say 9,859 cases have now recovered.  The seven-day infection rate is 8.7%.


Cattaraugus County reports another 35 new COVID cases from Monday...
There has also been a significant uptick in new confirmed COVID cases in neighboring Cattaraugus County... where there were 35 new cases over the past day.  Health officials in Olean say there have been 6,366 total cases... and, 248 are currently active.  They add that 17 people are currently hospitalized with the virus.  The health department says there have been 113 deaths... and, the number of recovered cases is now 6,005.  The seven-day infection rate in Cattaraugus is now 7.2%.


Wendel pleased to see ground-broken for S&CCLSD Westside sewer extension project... 
Ground has been broken on the $16.8-million Westside Sewer Extention Project for the South and Center Chautauqua Lake Sewer Districts.  The ground-breaking took place on the lawn next to the Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES’ Hewes Center in Ashville... where the first pump station will be erected for the project.  County Executive P.J. Wendel says it was a eight-year effort to get the project to this point.  Wendel praised late North Harmony Town Supervisor Sally Carlson for her push to get the project going.  He says it should take about two years to complete.  Wendel says it was former County Executive Vince Horrigan's vision to have an integrated sewer management plan to complete public sewers around the lake.  State funding has been obtained for Phase-One of the project, which will bring services to the unsewered properties on the west side of Chautauqua Lake along the Route 394 corridor -- through Stow.  Wendel says there are a couple of potential sources of funding for the rest of the project.  One is the American Rescue Plan allocation the county is receiving... and, there could also be funding in a new infrastructure bill. 


Dunkirk police use taser to stop man trying to attack with a knife...
Police used a taser after a Dunkirk man threatened officers with a large knife during a foot pursuit late Saturday afternoon.  Dunkirk Police Chief Dave Ortolano says 35-year-old Juan Resto, Jr. was wanted on two outstanding warrants and had thrown his bicycle at a patrol car.  During a foot chase with police... Resto allegedly displayed the knife... and threatened officers with it.  Ortolano says officers successfully deployed the taser, and no one was hurt in the incident.  Resto, Jr. is facing charges of menacing a police officer, criminal possession of a weapon, resisting arrest, and criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument.


Fugitive from Pa. caught in Jamestown...
A Jamestown man sought by police in Warren County, Pennsylvania has been arrested after trying to hide out from city police.  Officers were patrolling the area of Charles Street and Newland Avenue about 5 p.m. Monday... when they spotted 31 year-old Justin Anderson, who was wanted on an active warrant in Pennsylvania.  City police tried to stop Anderson when he ran into a nearby house.  Officers say they found him hiding in a bathroom, and he was arrested without further incident as a fugitive from justice.  He's been held pending arraignment in City Court.


NAMI schedules programs to help youth intervene for people contemplating suicide...
September is Suicide Prevention Month... and New Yorkers are being asked to make use of training sessions that are available on how to respond to emotional crises, especially as the pandemic continues to affect mental health.  At the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Rochester... Samantha Colson says the state has worked the past few years to fund "Mental Health First Aid" sessions, allowing them to be offered at low-or no-cost to the public, and in schools.  She thinks it’s imperative that young people get this kind of training, that will help them offer support, and to get them to a skilled adult that can help them.  The National Institute of Mental Health says suicide is among the top causes of death among people ages 10 to 34 – second only to unintentional injury.  Find Mental Health First Aid training on the Mental Health Association in New York State website, 'mhanys.org.'  Colson adds phone hotlines, like 2-1-1 or 3-1-1, can directly connect New Yorkers to mental-health care, and the national crisis helpline is at 800-273-TALK.

 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Sept. 7, 2021

Two injured in town of Dunkirk when car crashes into house...
Chautauqua County Sheriff's officers are investigating an accident involving a car crashing into a house on West Tenny St. in the town of Dunkirk early Monday morning.  Deputies were called to the scene just after 5:30 a.m., and, found both the vehicle and house with heavy damage.  Officers say there were two injured parties that were treated at the scene by Emergency Medical Service personnel.  Deputies say one person was taken by Alstar ambulance to Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk... and, the other person was flown by STAT MedEvac Helicopter to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo for treatment of their injuries.  No names have been released. 


Second single-car accident in Portland Sunday morning sends two others to hospital...
Two people were hurt -- one seriously -- in a single-car accident on Route 5 in the town of Portland early Sunday morning.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene... near Van Buren Road... just after 3:30 a.m.  Deputies found the heavily-damaged vehicle in the ditch with two victims.  Both were treated on scene by ambulance crews... and, one was taken by Alstar Ambulance to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo.  The other was flown to the UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pa.  Officers say they are still investigating the crash... and, more information will be released when it's available.  No names have been released.  Portland and Brocton fire rescuers also responded to the scene.


Sunday afternoon accident on Routes 5 and 20 send two people to the hospital...
A single-car accident on Routes 5 and 20 in the village of Silver Creek Sunday afternoon sent two women the hospital... one with serious injuries.  Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene about 2:30 p.m., and spoke with one of the occupants, 17 year-old Katrina Haskins of Silver Creek.  Officers say Haskins was taken to Brooks Memorial Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.  The other person, 55 year-old Francine Torres of Silver Creek, had to be flown to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo.  Deputies say the investigation is ongoing, and charges are pending.


Hochul signs series of bills to boost worker protections in NYS...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul returned to Buffalo on Labor Day to sign five bills approved by the state legislature earlier in the year she says will strengthen worker protections.  During an outdoor ceremony Monday... Hochul signed a measure introduced by a Buffalo area state senator designed to make highway work zones safer.  That measure was sponsored by State Senator Tim Kennedy of Buffalo.  Hochul says another key measure will help to fight wage theft especially regarding subcontractors.  She also signed a shared work benefits bill for people who lost work during the pandemic, and could only return to part-time work.  However... they lost all their unemployment benefits.  A fourth measure institutes a prevailing wage measure for building service employees at condominums and coops in New York City... and, a fifth formalizes the HERO's Act that helps front-line, pandemic workers.


NY and NJ officials agree that infrastructure needs to be improved - quickly - in the wake of Ida...
The destruction left by the remnants of Hurricane Ida have officials and experts agreeing that infrastructure including roads, sewers and housing in New York and New Jersey must be quickly improved.  The Northeast is still recovering from torrential rains that brought about deadly flooding on Wednesday and Thursday.  New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says the world is changing with ever more frequent and intense storms and the playbook needs to change, too.  New York Governor Kathy Hochul says it's clear that some streets can't sustain flash flooding.  She pledged to find new answers.


Wendel pleased to hear Hochul will work with local governments to deal with COVID-19 surge...
Chautauqua County's top-elected official says he's happy to hear new Governor Kathy Hochul say that she won't "micromanage" the response to the surge in COVID-19 cases.  County Executive P-J Wendel was on hand for a press event in Buffalo last week addressed by Hochul... who had headed up the Western New York Control Room dealing with COVID since March of last year.  Wendel says... while he's concerned about about a mask mandate for schools, Hochul has indicated it won't stay that way -- depending on the numbers.  Wendel says the county's numbers are considered "high" again by the CDC.  He adds there needs to be cooperation between the state and local governments because the Delta Variant has been impacting different regions of the state differently.  Wendel says they've also seen an increase in vaccinations since the Pfizer vaccine was approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.  He made his comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Trump backing of Parnell not setting him apart in PA U.S. Senate Race - yet...
The most sought-after endorsement in Pennsylvania's wide-open Republican primary for U.S. Senate went early to Sean Parnell.  But... the backing of former President Donald Trump isn't clearing the field for Parnell and it's yet to be seen whether Trump will campaign for or help him raise money.  Trump's endorsement, issued last week, came early in the race, nearly nine months before next May's primary in what is expected to be one of the nation's most competitive Senate contests next year.  No poll shows Parnell has established substantial name recognition with voters. 

WJTN News Bulletin for Sat. Sept. 4, 2021

County Health Dept. lifts Dunkirk boil and water conservation orders... 
The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services has announced that the boil water order and conservation order in effect since last Tuesday, Aug. 31, for water customers served by the City of Dunkirk including customers of the CBI-North Chautauqua County Water District is now lifted.  This includes the city of Dunkirk and CBI water customers in the towns of Dunkirk, Pomfret, Portland, Sheridan and the Village of Brocton.  Water samples collected on Sept. 2 and 3, show that the water is safe to drink and use for all other purposes.  County and water district officials are thannking all impacted water customers for their cooperation and patience during this unprecedented water emergency.  For more information... go on-line to chqgov.com/
 

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Sept. 3, 2021

Goodell says extending Eviction Moratorium may lead to abandoned properties, and housing shortage...
Several housing related moratoriums were extended by the New York State legislature in its special sesssion on Wednesday.  That from State Assemblyman Andy Goodell, who says they include: tax, mortgage, and rent, and all were extended.  Goodell... who says it was close... passing by a mere six votes in the Assembly.  With the moratorium extended to Jan. 15 of next year, Goodell points out that some landlords will have received no rent for 21 months.  He says those who have received no money over that period of time, may wind up in foreclosure, and the properties could be "zombies" and create a low to middle-income housing shortage.  The Jamestown-area Republican, believes relief could come to landlords and renters if the tenants would apply for a federal program that's been grossly underused in New York so far.  He says there's a lot of federal money available, and if they apply for it, those eligible would be able to get the funding.  Goodell, who voted against the legislation,  believes there will be another attempt to extend the moratoriums in January of next year.  


Whitaker says first day-and-a-half of school went well for JPS district...
It was a "very happy" first day-and a half of school in the Jamestown Public School district.  Those are the feelings of School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker... who says he spend most of Wednesday's half-day checking on the elementary schools.  Dr. Whitaker says it was both a "nervous and exciting" time for both the students and parents.  He says he spent a lot of time at Bush Elementary School, and says the first day of school is "always energizing."  Whitaker says a lot of the nervousness likely comes from the fact the nation is dealing with a resurgence of COVID-19... fueled by the Delta Variant.  He says they are in close contact with the Chautauqua County Health Department on that front.  As for the half-day yesterday... a full-day today... and, then off for four-days... Whitaker says it's a combination of factors.  However... he says it worked out to give students a chance to get used to COVID protocols and begin back in class again.  Whitaker says his administration is looking at the COVID numbers each day.  He says their biggest concern is if the city's rate of infection exceeds 25 to 27-percent of the total number of cases. 


Dunkirk home extensively damaged in Thursday fire...
Chautauqua County fire investigators are looking into the cause of a fire that extensively damaged a house in the City of Dunkirk late Thursday morning.  City firefighters responded to 65 East 6th Street shortly before 12 p.m.  Dunkirk Fire Captain Gary Katta says firefighters saw heavy fire on the outside of the two-and-a-half-story structure on arrival, and also saw fire in the second floor and attic.  Katta says it took about 20 minutes to knock the fire down, and another hour-and-a-half to do overhaul work on the building.  He says firefighters from four departments provided mutual aid at the scene, with the city still recovering from a major water main break that occurred on Tuesday.  He says they had automatic responses with water from the East Dunkirk and Fredonia Fire Department tanker trucks.  Katta says the house was unoccupied and under renovation at the time of the fire.  There were no injuries reported.


Chautauqua Co. Jail inmate charged after attack on corrections officer...
A Chautauqua County Jail inmate faces a pair of charges after allegedly attacking a corrections officer... and, preventing the officer from doing his job.  Corrections officials say 24 year-old Brennen Smith allegedly obstructed and attacked the officer last Sunday at the Mayville jail... and, he was taken into custody.  Smith was charged with second-degree harassment, and third-degree menacing... and, was held pending arraignment.


County reports 40 new COVID cases Thursday, and one new death...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 40 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 the past day... along with one new death.  Health officials say there have now been 165 COVID-related deaths reported... and, 10,117 total cases.  They say there are now 260 active cases... and, eight people are hospitalized.  The Health Department says 9,692 cases have now recovered... and, the seven-day infection rate is now 8.9-percent.


Limosine operator pleads guilty in fatal crash case in Schoharie County...
The operator of a limousine company has pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and will avoid prison time in a 2018 crash that killed 20 people in upstate New York.  Nauman Hussain is to be sentenced to five years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service under a plea deal approved Thursday.  The former operator of Prestige Limousine was also originally charged with 20 counts each of second-degree manslaughter.  The stretch limo crashed after its brakes failed on a hill and it reached speeds of more than 100 miles per hour.  Seventeen family members and friends celebrating a birthday were killed.  So were the driver and two bystanders.

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Sept. 2, 2021

Man arrested for allegedly holding up victim in Falconer, and taking wallet...
An early morning robbery in the village of Falconer has led to the arrest of a man who allegedly pulled a knife, and took a man's wallet.  Ellicott Town Police sere called to 215 So. Everett St. shortly after 5 this morning... and, were told by the victim that he had been held up a knife-point, and his wallet -- containing $300 -- had been taken.  The man told officers that 31 year-old Robert Arguelles had threatened him, and grabbed the wallet before running off.  Police found Arguelles a short distance away... and, he was arrested.  He was taken to the county jail pending arraigned on charges of first-degree robbery, and second-degree menacing.


Jamestown Police looking for jeep allegedly involved in hitting hydrant, and driving off...
City police are trying to locate at hit-and-run jeep vehicle that struck a fire hydrant on West Third Street -- at Main -- this past Saturday, Aug. 28, just after 1 a.m.  Officers say the vehicle is a black, 4-door Jeep Wrangler with black rims and a hard top.  Police say anyone who may know the identity of the owner/operator is asked to contact them at 483-7537... or, an anonymous tip can be left at the Tips Line 483-TIPs... that's 483-8477.


County reports 32 new COVID-19 cases reported on final day of August... bringing monthly total to 733...
There are 32 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 being reported today in Chautauqua County... but, no new deaths.  The county's Health Department reports there were 733 total cases reported in the month of August... the most in several months due to the Delta Variant of the virus.  Health officials say there there have now been 10,077 cases reported... and, 256 of those are currently active.  Officials say eight people remain hospitalized... and, 9,657 have recovered.  The seven-day infection rate is up slightly to 8.8%... which remains high.


Project to replace Co. Bridge 151 in Busti completed by DPF...
The Chautauqua County Department of Public Facilities has completed a significant bridge project on Southwestern Drive in the town of Busti on schedule.  Public Facilities Director Brad Bentley says the detour signs between Hunt Road and Baker Street Extension came down earlier today allowing thru-traffic for the first time in two months.  Bentley says there is now a completely new County Bridge 151.  He says their crews completedly replaced the box culvert, which was old and quite deteriorated.  Bentley says the replacement was done during July and August so it would be least disruptive to traffic... and, be open in time for the start of the school year for the Southwestern District.  Bentley says the heavy rains this Summer... in particular in July... were a concern.  However... he says they are finishing up all their Summer projects with little disruption.  Bentley says they have had to divert crews a few times this Summer because of rain in particular areas.  He says they will typically do about 8 to 12 bridge projects during the construction season.  He says this new span should be good for more than 75 years.


School Board's Association director says "COVID Slide" and student's mental health big concerns for districts as they open...
Public School teachers and administrators will have to address two key issues as students return to the classroom this week and next.  One is learning loss after spending much of the past year-and-a-half out of the classroom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  That from New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Bob Schneider... who says the biggest way schools plan to deal with the so-called "COVID Slide" is what's called "High-Dosage Tutoring."  Schneider says that's where teachers instruct in smaller groups with students for about 70-hours.  He says McKinsey and Company analyzed student learning loss at the end of the 2020-21 school year... and, on average, found students were five-months behind in mathmatics, and four months behind in reading.  The other major issue... he says... is student's "well being."  Schneider noted that... during the pandemic... there was a "large increase" in emergency room admissions for students with mental health issues.  However... he says superintendents say that was becoming a major issue before the pandemic.  Schneider says there are several ways to determine a student's "socio-emotional" well-being. 


JPS announces two new, Career Development-Community Navigators hired for the Fall...
The Jamestown Public Schools are beginning the new school year today with two new Career Development--Community Navigators to work with Hispanic and Latino community on college and career opportunities.  School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says Max Martin and Carmen Perez are both bilingual educators... who will also work to "foster a strong connection" between the schools and the Hispanic and Latino communities.  Martin is currently the President and CEO of the Hispanic Community Council of Chautauqua County.  Perez has worked in the district for 14 years... and, most recently was a Career Development Liason to Hispanic and Latino students and families.


State legislature approves extending eviction moratorium until mid-January...
The state Legislature voted Wednesday to extend an eviction moratorium for tenants who fell behind on their rent because of hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  New York's previous eviction moratorium expired Tuesday.  In an Aug. 12 ruling... the U.S. Supreme Court nixed part of the moratorium that allowed tenants to pause eviction proceedings simply by filing a form declaring they'd had a pandemic-related hardship. Gov. Kathy Hochul said the legislation will stand up to legal scrutiny.  Local Assemblyman Andy Goodell, and State Senator George Borrello voted against the measure.
 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Sept. 1, 2021

Hochul: local and regional governments will have more say in dealing with rise of COVID-19 guidance...
New New York Governor Kathy Hochul is making it clear that local and regional governments will have a say in what is done to stem the rise of the COVID-19 Delta Variant.  During a press event with many members of the Western New York Control Room she has headed through much of the pandemic... Hochul pointed out that local governments know and understand what's happening in their communities better than the state.  She paraphrased Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel in doing so; "Let us do this.  This is the Super Bowl for our health care workers.  They know how to manage this."  She says she will not "be micromanaging, but giving guidance based on your input."  At the same time... Hochul said she won't hesitate to do what she finds to be best for the people of the state.  That goes for mask mandates for public schools.  While it's controversial... Hochul says it's imperative to keep children safe... and, adds they will adapt.  She's seen it with her children.  Hochul says it's equally important to get "more people vaccinated..." noting that 76-percent of New Yorkers have now received at least one dose of one of the vaccines.  
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There were 38 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in Chautauqua County over the past day... along with one new death.  The county Health Department says that brings the total number of cases to 10,045... and, deaths to 164.  Officials say there are currently 272 active cases... and, eight are hospitalized. 


Wolf says masks will be required in all K-12 PA schools beginning next week...
Governor Tom Wolf says that masks will be required in all Pennsylvania K-12 schools, starting next week.  The Department of Health order will take effect Tuesday, Sept. 7.  It will require students, teachers and staff to wear masks when inside, regardless of vaccination status.  The order will not apply to student athletes while they're playing.  Wolf and administration officials made the announcement Tuesday afternoon.  The state is taking action amid a statewide resurgence of COVID-19 that is filling hospital beds just as students return to class.


NYS already agreeing to pay up to $9.5-million in legal costs for Cuomo investigations...
Resigning from office probably didn't end former Governor Andrew Cuomo's legal problems, and no matter what happens next, taxpayers are likely to wind up with a hefty bill.  The state has already agreed to pay up to $9.5-million to lawyers representing, and investigating Cuomo and his administration over sexual harassment allegations and other matters.  That figure represents the maximum amount that could be spent, not actual bills submitted so far.  It includes up to $5 million for lawyers who have represented Cuomo's office, but not the legal fees of Cuomo's private attorney.  Her bills are being paid by his campaign committee.


Water is back running in Dunkirk... but, Water Emergency still in place...
The city of Dunkirk remains under a water emergency and a boil water order until further notice.  Mayor Willie Rosas says a water main break occurred near the intersection of Lake Shore Drive and Deer Street early Tuesday morning.  Rosas says it's one of the main water mains for the city's system.  Dunkirk officials said last evening that they were still hoping to get water restored.  Rosas says the city was also working with the Chautauqua County Health Department on obtaining bottled water for city residents.  All the water on hand was dispersed by last night... and more will be made available today.  


Two city women arrested after fight, and alleged assault...
Two Jamestown woman have been arrested following an alleged assault that occured yesterday morning on the city's eastside.  Jamestown police were called to the scene in the 200-block of East Second Street shortly before 9 a.m. for a fight involving two neighbors.  Officers say 32 year-old Jaquetta Albino-Gonzalez and 36 year-old Nicole Allison had gotten into an altercation... and, Gonzalez pulled a knife, and cut Allison in the face.  Police say Allison came back and smashed a back window in Gonzalez's back door.  Officers arrested Gonzalez for second-degree assault... and, Allison for fourth-degree criminal mischief.  Both were held pending arraignment.


Borrello and Serino calling on Aging Committee chair to subpoena Zucker on COVID death count...
Local State Senator George Borrello is one of two members of that chamber calling on the chairwoman of the Aging Committee to subpoena New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.  In a printed release... Borrello and Sue Serino say the want Zucker to provide answers to why there was an undercount of 12-thousand COVID deaths in the state.  The undercount was recently verified by new Governor Kathy Hochul... who updated the state's death toll during the pandemic to 55,400 people.  That's in line with data submitted to the U-S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 


Kick-off today for Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month...
September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month... and the City of Jamestown will participate with a proclamation and flag raising at Tracy Plaza this afternoon.  Tara Swan, Vice President of Kallies Krusade, says the event will begin at 3:30 p.m.  Swan says they'll also have "block party" type event to recognize families dealing with childhood cancers.  Swan says after focusing on fundraising over the last handful of years, which has raised more than $200,000 to be donated to various organizations and families, her focus is now shifting to pushing state lawmakers to put more money towards research into childhood cancer. 
 

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