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Local News Headlines Archives for 2022-02

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Feb. 28, 2022

Hochul announces mask mandate in schools will end on Mar. 2...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that the statewide masking requirement in schools will be lifted by March 2nd.  In a Sunday briefing... the Democrat cited declining COVID-19 cases and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  She said counties and cities could keep their own mandates in place, and parents could still choose to send their kids to school in masks.  The new rules effective Wednesday apply to children 2 years and older in childcare facilities.  New York State has 2.7-million schoolchildren, including about one-million in New York City.


Two arrested on drug and domestic charges during Jamesotwn traffic stop...
Two people have been arrested on drug and domestic charges following a traffic stop on Jamestown's westside late last Saturday night.  City Police say a patrol stopped the car, driven by 40 year-old Chantilly Southwick of Frewsburg, just after 10 p.m. on Jones and Gifford Ave. at Lister St.  Officers say Southwick made an improper turn off West Eighth Street onto Jones and Gifford.  During the stop... police spotted a quantity of methamphetaminein the vehicle.  Their investigation led to the arrest of a passenger, 50 year-old Christopher Howie of Jamestown.  Howie was also found to have violationed an order of protection because he was supposed to stay away from another passenger.  He's jailed pending arraignment on charges including third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... second-degree criminal contempt... and Aggravated Family Offense.  Southwick was also allegeldy found with meth in her possession... and, faces charged including seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.


City Council to vote on proposed reval tonight...
The Jamestown City Council tonight will decide on whether to use $285,000 in American Rescue Plan funding to do a revaluation of properties in the city.  Lawmakers will also decide on hiring the firm that performed the last revaluation 15 years ago.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says revals should be done more frequently than that.  Sundquist adds the city would also get it done at a much lower cost this time around... because last time the city had it done, it cost just over $1-million.  GAR Associates did that last reval, and would perform this one if the resolutions are approved.  However... the city has done some of the early leg-work and that's helping to cut the cost.  One of the biggest concerns is sticker shock because home purchases in many cases have turned into bidding wars.  Sundquist says the understand that concern... but, he says GAR will consider a number of factors in assessing properties... including what homes are selling for in a "wider area."  Tonight's meeting begins at 7:30 p.m.


City lawmakers to also act on hiring four new firefighters, and one Parks laborer...
City lawmakers will also act tonight on two resolutions to lift the hiring freeze and hire four new firefighters, and a new Parks Department laborer.  During their last work session... council members learned more about the need for the firefighters.  Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says these will fill vacancies due to retirements.  One of those occured in April of last year... the others will occur this Spring and Summer.  Those new firefighters will have to go through training before they can go on duty.  Ecklund says the vacancy in the Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department has also been created due to a retirement.


Westfield woman arrested for domestic assault...
A Westfield woman was arrested early last weekend after she allegedly assaulted another person during a domestic incident in the town of Westfield.  Sheriff's officers and members of the Westfield Police Department responded to the undisclosed address just before 5 p.m. last Friday.  They say the investigation determined that 18 year-old Sydney Switzer had assaulted the victim... causing facial lacerations... and, that person had to be treated by medical personnel.  Deputies say Switzer was arrested for third-degree assault for causing injury to another person.  She was processed, and taken to the county jail for centralized arraignment.  She was issued appearance tickets for Westfield Town Court. 


City domestic incident leads to man's arrest...
A Jamestown man has been arrested after allegedly fleeing the scene of a domestic incident late last week.  City police were called to the scene on the city's southside late last Thursday night on a report of a domestic involving 34 year-old Silk Spencer.  Officers searched the area, along with Sheriff's deputies, and located Spencer at a different location.  Police ordered Spencer to stop... but, he continued to walk away.  He was then positively identified, and arrested for second-degree criminal contempt, and obstruction.  He was jailed pending arraignment in city court.


Reed blasts Biden for not sanctioning Russian oil and gas production and sales...
Local Congressman Tom Reed is blasting President Joe Biden for not sanctioning Russia's oil and gas production and sales as a deterant against aggression in Ukraine.  Reed says "President Biden has shown his true alliance with Putin when he specifically promised, under the announced ‘sanctions package,’ that the U-S will continue to pay (President) Putin and his oligarch friends billions of dollars for oil and gas production and sales."  The Corning Republican says the U-S has the resources to "knock Russia out of the oil and gas market entirely" because it's a source of money for Putin's operations. 

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Feb. 25, 2022

JPD asking public's help in search for stolen car and occupants...
Jamestown police are looking for the driver of a stolen car that officers pulled over on the city's westside Thursday afternoon... that then sped off.  City police say a patrol stopped the 2019 Mazda CX 5 on West Sixth Street -- at Clinton -- about 1:40 p.m.  Officers say there were two men inside the black-colored vehicle.  Police say the driver refused to roll down his window and cooperate with the stop... and, drove off.  (**UPDATE: JPD is now identifying the man as 21 year-old Joseph Marcov of Brooklyn.. and, say the car was stolen Monday from an address in Staten Island about 10:30 p.m. Monday from the victim's driveway).  Police say the vehicle was last seen traveling at a very high rate of speed southbound on Foote Avenue to Ivy Street before turning west onto Cole Avenue.  The car was reported stolen from Staten Island in New York City... and, did have the plate number NY JMH 7363.  Anyone with information on the vehicle can call JPD at 483-7537 or the Anonymous Tip at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.  


Woman from Frewsburg arrested with stolen vehicle...
A Frewsburg woman has been arrested in Jamestown for allegedly stealing truck later found in the city of Jamestown.  State Police in Jamestown say they were investigating the theft, which was reported this past Tuesday, when they found the vehicle.  Troopers say they arrested 40 year-old Deborah Leroy for third-degree unauthorized use of a Motor Vehicle.  She was arraigned in Carroll Town Court, and issued an appearance ticket for a later date.


Wendel outlines rebranding of CARTS in State of County Address...
Expanding public transportation and economic development are among the top priorities of Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel who delivered his State of the County message Wednesday evening in Mayville.  Among the goals, the rebranding of the Chautauqua Area Regional Transportation System -- or CARTS.  Wendel spoke about a new logo and a new name... which will be "CHQTransit."  He says a transportation hub will be constructed in Jamestown, along with other enhancements.  Those will include three new trolleys for the fleet.  Wendel also announced some county Industrial Development Agency projects, including the acquisition of large parcels of land for future development.  He says they're also targeting large commercial and other buildings for reuse... including Jamestown's Furniture Mart Building... the former Silver Creek School, and the former NRG Power Plant.  Wendel did not give a lot of specifics about the projects, but expressed the need for economic growth in the county.


Hochul keeping timeline in place for decision on dropping mask mandates for schools...
There is no change in New York Governor Kathy Hochul's timeline for deciding whether to drop the current mask mandate in the state's public schools.  While encouraged by the ongoing fall in COVID-19 numbers... Hochul says she wants to see where the numbers are once students return from the Winter break.  She says it will be drive "by the data that's in front of us."  During a winter storm briefing held in Westchester County Thursday... Hochul gave the COVID-19 updating... adding that her administration is asking parents to test their kids on Monday morning following the winter break.  She says there should be enough kits to test them again in a couple of days in case they were exposed to a positive case.


Reed and Hochul say New Yorkers should be ready to welcome Ukrainian refugees...
The start of a full-scale invasion by Russian troops into Ukraine is adding to concern that there could be at least 1-million to 5-million refugees fleeing the eastern European country.  Some news reports indicate that many of those may go into neighboring Poland.  Residents of the 23rd Congressional District should be welcoming to those refugees... if they ultimately wind up in the United States.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who says he's ready to help assist those refugees.  Reed says he is encouraging those groups who will be involved in resettling refugees fleeing Ukraine to look at the Southern Tier as a place that would welcome those people with open arms.  
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Governor Kathy Hochul today is standing with the people of Ukraine... and, says New York "stands ready to welcome Ukrainian refugees" if they decide to come to America.  Hochul says New Yorkers are "watching the situation in Ukraine with fear and outrage.  New York is proudly home to the largest Ukrainian population in the United States.  We condemn the unjustified violence and we are grateful to President Biden for his leadership in this moment of global crisis."  


Two people arrested during burglary in Lakewood...
A man and woman have been arrested for allegedly breaking in to a home in the village of Lakewood home early Wednesday morning.  Lakewood-Busti Police were called to a "burglary-in-progress" about 2 a.m., and, both suspects were still inside then they arrived.  Officers say Brent Robbins and Chasity Anderson tried to flee, but, were taken into custody while trying to run off.  Police say Robbins and Anderson were both charged with third-degree burglary and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.  Officers say Anderson was also charged with false personation when she lied to police about her name.  Both were taken to the county jail pending centrailized arraignment.  Sheriff's officers and Ellicott Town Police assisted with the arrests.

 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Feb. 22, 2022

Dewey Place home in Jamestown damaged by basement fire...
Jamestown firefighters made fairly quick work of a basement fire at a home on the city's northside very early this morning.  City Fire Battalion Chief Brian Acterberg says crews were called to 15 Dewey Pl. about Midnight... and, attacked the fire with an extinguisher.  Acterberg says they performed an overhaul on the house.  However... he says the building had a working smoke detector, and that alerted the family to get out.  Acterberg says no one was hurt.  Damage was mainly confined to the basement... and, he says the blaze apparently originated in an electric panel in the basement area.  Firefighters were at the scene until about 2:30 Tuesday morning.  


Man from Westfield arrested during drug raid Monday morning...
A Westfield man has been arrested on numerous drug-related charges following an early morning raid at his apartment on North Portage Street.  Sheriff's officers say members of the county SWAT Team... Southern Tier Regional and Jamestown Metro Drug Task Forces... Westfield Police... and, members of Sheriff’s Department Road Patrol executed a Search Warrant at 154 North Portage just after 6 a.m. Monday.  They arrested 49 year-old Louis Dros for seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia.  He was taken to the county jail for Centralized Arraignment Program.  Anyone with information on suspicous or narcotics related activity in their area... call the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force Tipline at 1-800-344-8702 or 664-2420... the Jamestown Police Tipline call 716-483-8477... or Dunkirk Police Department Tipline call 363-0313.


Quattrone says marijuana-related crashes not increasing at this point with marijuana legalization...
Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone is continuing to follow developments as the legalization of marijuana continues to move slowly forward in New York State.  Quattrone says there doesn't seem to be an increase in marijuana-related crashes so far, but no dispensaries have been approved in the county at this point.  He says there are currently some dispensaries on the local indian reservations... but, nothing anywhere else.  Quattrone is concerned about THC levels in the marijuana that is legally sold.  He says it's something the State's Cannabis Management Board will try to regulate.  He says one of the big reasons for legalization in New York is so we know what's in the marijuana.  However... Quattrone says that's been difficult to control.  Nine local governments will allow dispensaries in Chautauqua County... including the cities of Dunkirk and Jamestown.  That's according to the latest from the Rockefeller Institute of Government's Opt Out tracker.


Three county residents arrested on weapons and other charges...
Three Chautauqua County men were arrested on weapons and other charges following a raid on a home in the town of Gerry late last week.  Sheriff's deputies say they were joined by the county's SWAT Team... and, the Southern Tier Regional, and Jamestown Metro Drug Task Forces in executing a search warrant at 4183 Route 380 late last Friday.  Officers say they arrested 28 year-old Wayne Wright III of Sinclairville for fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon after being found with multiple illegal firearms.  Their investigation also led to the arrest of 23 year-old Jonathan Camacho-Monge, and 37 year-old Dustin Clifton -- both of Jamestown -- who were wanted on warrants out of Meadville, Pennsylvania.  Clifton and Camacho were taken to the county jail as fugitives from justice.  Officers also took Wright to the county jail pending arraignment... and more charges are pending.


Gerace Office Bldg in Mayville reopens today...
Chautauqua County's Gerace Office Building has reopened for business after being closed late last week due to an electrical malfunction in the building that triggered a power outage.  County Executive P.J. Wendel says water from last week's rain and flooding issues got into the basement area of the building... triggering the malfunction on an electric panel.  The outage occured late last Thursday and the building was closed through President's Day on Monday.  Wendel says county staff worked over the weekend to take care of the situation... and, he thanked "the dedicated professionals who work for the county's Department of Public Facilities... and, Information Technology Departments.


Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2022 honored during Induction Dinner Monday night...
It took more than a year... but, the 11 newest members of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame were officially inducted during last night's banquet in Lakewood.  The Class of 2021 became the Class of 2022... and, included a wide range of sports being represented.  Among them were Washington-&-Jefferson University Football Coach Mike Sirianni... whose family name is very familiar to the area.  Sirianni starred at Southwestern High School, then later at Mount Union in Ohio.  Sirianni called it an outstanding honor from the place he grew up in.  Sirianni became head coach at Washington-&-Jefferson in 2003... and, has a winning record of 156-36.  Fredonia's Marc Tramuta made his name in baseball... and, has been a Major League Baseball scout since 2003.  He says it's "nice to be honored" as well.  Deceased inductees were also honored... among them Jamestown native Richard Shearman... who was involved in speed skating and sail boat racing.  His daughter, Mary, from Westfield remembered him doing a lot of travel for his sports teams, and others.  Other inductees on hand at the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club included Fredonia and Daemen College sports stand-out Sara Bogardus-Burnett... swimmer Andrew Creager...martial arts competitor Christina Kebort...  basketball stand-out Lewis Mack... and Randy Anderson.  Other deceased inductees included George Barone... Harry Carlson... and, Larry Rodgers.
 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Feb. 21, 2022

Overnight fire destroys home in Sugar Grove, Pa...
About a half-dozen fire departments -- including two from Chautauqua County -- were called to help battle a house fire in Sugar Grove, Pa. early this morning.  Warren County fire dispathers says Sugar Grove firefighters were initially called to the scene at 215 Main St. just after 1:30 a.m., and, found heavy fire on arrival.  Several fire departments provided mutual aid... including Busti and Kiantone from Chautauqua County.  Lakewood was on stand-by.  The home was destroyed by the flames.  The last crew left about 8 a.m., and, fire investigators were at the scene a short time later.  No injuries were reported... and, no cause has yet been determined.


Police find two loaded hand-guns during Saturday traffic stop...
Three people were arrested early last Saturday morning during a traffic stop in Jamestown for allegedly being found in possession of two loaded pistols.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the car, driven by 41 year-old Erin Olmstead, was pulled over shortly after 2 a.m. on The Arterial at Institute Street after the vehicle was observed without it's headlights on.  Officers say Olmstead appeared drunk... and, they allegedly found a handgun in plain view on the floor of the back seat near the rear passenger.  Police later patted down the front seat passenger... and, an additional handgun was found.  The two passengers, 20 year-old Joel Coleman, Junior and 23 year-old Allen Jackson -- both of Buffalo -- were charged with Felony second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  Olmstead was charged with Aggravated driving while intoxicated... operating without headlights... and, having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle.  Olmstead was processed and released... while Coleman and Jackson were pending arraignment.


Celoron man arrested for allegedly holding person against their will in parked car at Lakewood Wal-Mart...
A Celoron man was arrested early last weekend after allegedly holding a person against their will with a gun inside a vehicle in the parking lot of the Lakewood Wal-Mart SuperCenter.  Lakewood-Busti Police were called to the scene at 350 East Fairmount Ave. just after 1 p.m. Satuday for a domestic incident.  They learned that 41 year-old Scott Merritt was armed, and would not let the victim leave.  Police began communicating with Merritt who eventually let the victim leave, and he was taken into custody without incident.  He's charged with first-degree unlawful imprisonment, reckless endangerment... second-degree menacing... and, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  He was taken to the county jail pending further court action.


Mayville-Chautauqua Chamber head pleased with Winter Festival...
This year's renewal of the annual President's Day Weekend Winter Festival in Mayville was a big success.  People were still in line for carriage rides, to get kettle corn... and, get another look at the ice castle as the two-and-a-half day event at Lakeside Park.  There was also music... and a sledding hill.  After no festival last February due to the COVID-19 pandemic... the festival was back this year.  It was put on by the Mayville-Chautauqua Chamber of Commerce.  Chamber President Sareena Gilkinson says... aside from a couple of minor issues on Friday... it all came off very well.  Gilkinson says they worked through a "couple of hiccups" at the beginning, but everything went well, and they had "a wonderful turn-out."  There was some concern about the castle during last weeks' two-day warm-up.  However... Gilkinson says their crew did a great job keeping it cold.  Friday night's castle lighting was one of the high-lights of the weekend... along with Saturday night's fireworks display at Lakeside Park.


Ice Castle lit to start Festival Friday night...   
Both the temperature and the wind speed were in the teens last Friday night as the ice castle was lit.  Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer, Dan Heitzenrater, led a shivering crowd of around 100 in a countdown.  However... the group had to wait another half minute.  Then the lights came on, and the newly-completed ice castle was brilliantly illuminated in a rainbow of color.  It took two weeks and 1,000 blocks of ice to build the 12 foot tall castle.  Veteran crew chief Nick Andriaccio considered the work ‘therapeutic’ this year because there was no castle in 2021.  Following the lighting... Noel and Gen Guttman of the Mayville Fire Department were named crowned Winter Festival king and queen in recognition of their ‘selfless community minded attitude.’


Leathers says issues smoothing out for BPU garbage collection...
There are still some issues the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities is working through... but, it appears that garbage collection is going better than it was last month.  That's when the BPU began enforcing it's rules about how trash should be left out for crews to pick-up.  General Manager Dave Leathers says a lot of people were "caught off-guard" with the change... which requires all garbage to be put in the new BPU containers... and, the lid be shut on them.  Leathers says they were initially working through those issues when two significant snowfalls hit the area.  He says the BPU had been working for the past five to seven years to move the program to where it follows what's in the city code.  The problems recently have come with the trash being left where it shouldn't be... and, the container lids not being shut.  Leathers noted that the city code states that garbage cannot be left out in garbage bags only... and, must be in containers they distributed last year.  Leathers made his comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations. 

 

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Feb. 18, 2022

Warm-up gives way to rain, then snow and bitter cold...
It was the most difficult commute in some time for some drivers in the Jamestown-area this morning after our weather went from the mid-50s with rain... to ice, snow sub-freezing temperatures.  Our brief February thaw came to an end overnight... with rain changing over to mixed precipitation, then snow.  The National Weather Service in Buffalo is continuing a Flood Warning until 8 o'clock tonight after high water and flooding was still reported in the region today.  Forecasters say a rain-snow mix turned to all snow in the early morning hours today.  Forestville reported the most new snow, 7-inches in the region overnight.  Route 60 south of Jamestown from Kimball Stand to Frewsburg was closed due to flood waters and ice this morning.


Wendel announces Gerace Office Building and Courthouse closed due to electrical issues from flooding...
Chautauqua County's Office Building is closed today... temporarily... due to an electrical problem caused by flooding in the lower part of the building yesterday afternoon.  That from County Executive P.J. Wendel... who issued the temporary closing late Thursday... after the water got into a major electrical panel.  Wendel says they're on generator power today to keep phones and Internet up and running.  In addition... Wendel says the County Courthouse next door will also be closed today.  He says all other county locations will be open and operational as normal.


Gas prices continue upward trend, fueled in recent days by ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine...
The on-going tensions between Russia and Ukraine are among a number of factors that continue to push the cost of gasoline upward in the United States.  That from AAA East Central... and, local Congressman Tom Reed.  During his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier Media this week... Reed noted that -- since Russia is a major player in the world oil markets -- what happens there influences the price.  He says it's important to keep the pressure on Russian President Vladimer Putin to get him to back off.  Reed says there need to be consequences if Putin does further invade Ukraine.  Rising demand... with a drop in total domestic gasoline stocks last week... continued to push prices up.  Locally... AAA says the cost of a gallon of regular, unleaded gas in the Jamestown area has reached $3.70.  That's a five-cent increase.  Nationally... AAA says the high cost of crude oil is the main culprit in the national price rising four-cents to $3.48 a gallon.  The cost per barrel of crude oil is now just over $93 a barrel.  


North County man arrested for alleged two-year old sex offense...         
A Fredonia man has been arrested for allegedly having sex with a juvenile victim back in 2020.  Sheriff's officers along with Fredonia Village Police say they arrested 23 year-old Jay Cerrie of Wilson Blvd. after a lengthy investigation into the case.  Deputies say a warrant was issued for Cerrie's arrest, and he was taken into custody this past Tuesday on one count each of third-degree rape... and, endangering the welfare of a child... and, two counts of third-degree criminal sex act.  Cerrie was arraigned... and, will appear in court at a later date.


Local schools head into Winter Break anticipating governor's potential move on mask mandate...
Local school districts head into the February Winter break waiting to see what Governor Kathy Hochul does regarding mask mandates once students get back into class.  There are currently at least two lawsuits -- one in the Buffalo area and the other on Long Island -- where citizens and parents are suing the governor and other state officials because they believe the mandates are "unconstitutional."  Jamestown School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says there are two questions right now... the first being if the mandate is dropped... then do decisions fall on local school boards... or the local Health Department.  Whitaker says school boards have a lot of experience in dealing with school matters... but, they aren't "health experts."  He says the other is what protocals remain in place for such areas as social distancing... where masks should still be used... and, quarantining.  Governor Hochul has also said she wants students tested for the virus before returning to school at the end of the break.  She says that's another metric officials will look at.


Winter Festival's ice castle survives warm-up... activites begin tonight...
After no event last year because of COVID restrictions... the Mayville Winter Festival is returning to Lakeside Park this weekend.  Festival spokesman, Brian Pender expects up to 10,000 people to 'bundle up' and come on out for the festivities.  Pender says their local Mayville-Chautauqua Chamber of Commerce, of which he's a board member, is putting on the festival.  He says crews were able to bury the castle in snow, and keep a tarp on it to keep the ice from melting.  The castle will be lit at 6 p.m. tonight... with events all day Saturday and a few more on Sunday.  Brian Pender has more than a casual interest in the festival because his grandfather, Don Hogan, who was one of the people who started up the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau.  Hogan was also involved in the ice castle program.  Pender says tourism has been important to his family.  Again... this is the 36th Mayville Winter Festival.  A full schedule is available on their Facebook page.

 

 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Feb. 16, 2022

Overall crime down in Jamestown in 2021, but, shootings and gun seizures were up...
The number of number of shooting incidents and seized guns increased in 2021 over the year before in the city of Jamestown.  However... overall crime numbers are down from 2020.  That from City Police Chief Tim Jackson... who reported the numbers during Monday night's City Council work session.  Jackson says the number of violent crimes fell from 8.6 per 1,000 people to 8.4 per 1,000 people... and, there was a drop in property crimes.  He believes a lot of that was due to more community policing, and an increase in beat patrols.  Jackson says they held 370 community service details, and 1,145 beat patrols... which he says is a "lot of walking the beat."  However... he says they also saw the number of shooting incidents increase last year from 12 in 2020... to 19 last year... and, the number of guns seized increased from 17 to 55.  He adds that the number of drug seizures were up in almost all catagories... led by cocaine seizures.  Those numbers were 594.4 in 2020... to 1565.9 in 2021.  Jackson adds that Fentanyl was up from 292 grams seized in 2020... to 835 last year.  He says methamphetamine seizures also increased significantly... more than doubling.  Jackson says all the work was accomplished by his officers, "working through a pandemic."  He applauded "their excellent work."


Jamestown sees record amout of sales tax revenues in 2021...
City Council members in Jamestown received some very good news about sales tax revenues for 2021 Monday night... as the city surpassed the $7-million mark for the first time ever.  That from City Comptroller Ryan Thompson... who says they had budgeted $6.7-million for the year... and, ended up with just over $7.9-million.  Thompson says they had another big quarterly total for the final quarter of last year... totaling $1.89-million.  That's $113,000 more than the fourth-quarter of 2020.  He says two factors -- one being inflation -- drove the final numbers for the fourth-quarter.  He says the city brought in just over $1.1-million more in sales tax than in 2020.  During the year... Thompson and other city leaders noted that a much of the yearly jump in sales tax revenues were also driven by major increases in on-line retail shopping.


Three people from Bronx arrested following traffic stop in Dunkirk... 
Three people from the Bronx have been arrested following a traffic stop on Waldorf Road in the city of Dunkirk.  State Police in Fredonia say they pulled over the car, driven by 20 year-old Alsney Barry, back on Feb. 7 for a traffic violation.  Troopers say they found that Barry was driving with a suspended license... and, that the vehicle was not registered or insured.  While trying to have the vehicle towed... Barry and his passengers, 19 year-old Ali Cisse and 21 year-old Fahruk Babalola, refused to get out of the vehicle.  They are also accused of continuing to physically interfere with the Troopers’ duties.  All three were arrested for second-degree obstruction... and, were issued appearance tickets for Dunkirk City Court.


Gillibrand says she's endorsing Hochul for Governor...
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is backing Kathy Hochul in the New York governor's race.  It's the highest-profile endorsement so far of Hochul's candidacy as she looks to secure her party's nomination, and win the governorship in her own right.  She was initially expected to face a tough battle for the Democratic nomination.  But months ahead of the June primary... Hochul has solidified her position as the front-runner, amassing campaign donations and endorsements.  She's being challenged by U.S. Congressman Tom Suozzi... a Long Island Democrat.  A third candidate, New York City public advocate Jumaane Williams, is the most progressive candidate in the race.  


Another House Democrat from NYS to retire...
Congresswoman Kathleen Rice says she will not seek reelection this Fall.  The New Yorker's decision makes her the 30th Democrat to announce they're leaving the House before November elections when Republicans are making a strong push to win the majority.  So far... 13 GOP House members have said they are leaving the chamber.  One of them is local Congressman Tom Reed.  Rice revealed her plans on her 57th birthday.  She didn't specify why she was leaving.  But her two-paragraph statement says lawmakers "must give all we have, and then know when it is time to allow others to serve."  Rice has represented the Long Island district for four terms.


ImmunityBio closes on "leasehold" deal for Athenex plant in Dunkirk...
Athenex has announced that it has closed on the sale of it's 'leasehold interest' in the manufacturing facility in the town of Dunkirk to ImmunityBio, Inc. for about $40-million.  Local officials are excited about the announcement, including County Executive P.J. Wendel... he says the head of ImmunityBio has been vocal in his desire to get production moving, and has even talked about expansion.  Not only is ImmunityBio looking to get the plant operating... but, Wendel says the California-based immunotherapy company is looking to acquire more property for expansion.  He says they've brought a "lot of excitement and experience" to the table to get operations up and running.  The 409,000 square-foot biopharmaceutical manufacturing facility is located near Route 5, just east of the city of Dunkirk.

 

 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Feb. 15, 2022

City man and woman arrested for weapon's possession following traffic stop in Jamestown...
A man and woman are jailed after a loaded hand-gun was found inside their vehicle during a traffic stop on Barrett Avenue Monday afternoon.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says a patrol pulled over a car on Barrett Avenue about 1:30 p.m., and, further investigation led to discovery of a loaded gun inside the vehicle.  Samuelson says both occupants -- 18 year-old Raven Medina, and 20 year-old Jamere Maisonet, were charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  They were being held pending arraignment.  Raven Medina is also being charged with failure to signal a turn and unlicensed operation. 


Resident, police union chief, and city council discuss need for action against Jamestown's gun violence spate...
The Jamestown City Council is being pushed on a number of fronts to hire more police officers in the wake of the recent spike in gun violence in the city.  During Monday night's work session... resident Doug Champ brought the issue forward... and referenced the latest federal guidance on use of American Rescue Plan Act funding.  Champ says the Treasury Department says ARPA funds can be used specifically for getting more cops on the street to deal with guns.  He says the number of uses in the text includes hiring additional police officers -- even above pre-pandemic levels -- to deal with crime surges.  Champ says the city has just over $28-million in ARPA funding... so the money is there to be used.  He and Kendall Club-Police Benevolent Association President Lt. Sam Piazza cited an on-line Erie story about them hiring 21 more officers to deal with gun violence there.  Piazza says they're only asking for "a couple" at this point.  The most recent shooting involved a man being hit by two shots during a private event at the former "Q" nightclub location on Cherry Street early Sunday morning.


City man wanted on warrants arrested after vehicle pursuit from Jamestown into Warren Co., Pa...
A wanted Jamestown man has been arrested in Warren County, Pennsylvania after leading city police on a vehicle pursuit to the state line Sunday morning.  City police say they tried to stop a car, driven by 28 year-old Brandon Philbrick, for a traffic violation at the intersection of East Fourth Street and Prendergast Avenue shortly before 8 a.m.  However... they say the driver stopped a let a women get out through a rear door before pulling away.  Police say they followed the vehicle south... and, out of the city to Warren Road in the town of Kiantone.  Officers broke off the pursuit when Philbrick went into Pennsylvania.  However... Pennsylvania State Police then found the vehicle, and stopped Philbrick.  He's been held on several warrants out of New York and Pennsylvania.  He also faces charges of third-degree unlawfully fleeing an officer, and reckless driving in Jamestown.


Sundquist wrapping up NYCOM Legislative session...
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist wrapped-up two-and-a-half days of meetings with mayors from across New York state... and, lobbying state lawmakers in Albany Monday.  Sundquist took part in the annual New York Conference of Mayor's Winter Session... where they discuss their plans for the new year.  One key issue... says Sundquist... is to push for an increase in annual Aid and Incentives to Municipalities -- or AIM payments to cities -- which he says have been cut in recent years.  He says another major issue is bail reform... and the need to change it... because it's been costly to cities.  Sundquist adds there have been a number of 'heinous' crimes committed in Jamestown where the suspect is arraigned... and is released with nothing more than an appearance ticket.  He cited one particular example from last year when a man was arrested a dozen times within a short period of time... and, because of bail reform... was issued appearance tickets and released.  Sundquist made his comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


1891 Fredonia Opera House to resume major fundraiser this April...
A major fundraiser for the 1891 Fredonia Opera House Performing Arts Center will be returning in April.  That from Executive Director Rick Davis... who says the '1891 Run' is scheduled for Sunday, Apr. 24.  Davis says, for the first time in two-years, the run-walk will return to a completely in-person form.  He says it will begin that day at 9 a.m. and registration is now open.  Meanwhile... Davis says masks will still be required for events being held at the Opera House... and, he says that will remain the policy through the end of February.  Davis says they'll revisit that at the end of the month.  He says the Opera House is continuing the requirement since the county remains under a 'high transmission rate'... according to the CDC. 


Gillibrand endorses Hochul for Governor in New York...
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is backing Kathy Hochul in the New York governor's race.  It's the highest-profile endorsement so far of Hochul's candidacy as she looks to secure her party's nomination, and win the governorship in her own right.  She was initially expected to face a tough battle for the Democratic nomination.  But months ahead of the June primary... Hochul has solidified her position as the front-runner, amassing campaign donations and endorsements.  She's being challenged by U.S. Congressman Tom Suozzi... a Long Island Democrat.  A third candidate, New York City public advocate Jumaane Williams, is the most progressive candidate in the race.  

 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Feb. 14, 2022

One person hospitalized following shooting at private party in Jamestown...
One person suffered multiple gunshot wounds during an incident that occured early Sunday morning during a private event in downtown Jamestown.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers were called to the former "Q" nightclub at 201 Cherry St. just after 1:30 a.m. on a report of multiple shots being fired inside the building.  On arrival... officers learned that a man inside had been shot.  However... due to the large number of people on hand... it took police some time to get to the victim, and provide first aid.  Samuelson says officers applied a tourniquet to the man, who sustained multiple shots to the lower extremities... and, got him outside and into an ambulance.  The man was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital... and, later transferred to UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pennsylvania where he underwent surgery.  The wounds do not appear life-threatening.  However... JPD says he has not been cooperative with the investigation.  Anyone who may have info this incident is asked to contact the Jamestown Police at 483-7537.... or the anonymous tip line at 483-Tips... that's 483-8477.  All calls and tips will be kept confidential.
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Police add that one person was arrested at the scene after he entered the location... and, tried to take items from the scene after being told not to.  Officer say 36 year-old Dajuan Hollingsworth has been charged with one count of Obstructing Governmental Administration. 


Jamestown woman arrested during vehicle stop for drug and weapons possession...
A city woman faces drug and weapons charges following a late night vehicle stop Saturday in the area of Bergman Park on Jamestown's southside.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says officers stopped the car for a traffic violation on Baker St. -- near the intersection with Orr Street -- shortly before 11:30 p.m.  Samuelson says police found the driver, 31 year-old Marshall Robbins, had a suspended license... and, a passenger -- 41 year-old Alisha Klinger -- had a loaded 9-mm. handgun and a quantity of crystal methamphetamine.  Robbins, Klinger, and a second passenger, 35 year-old Anthony Conti, were all arrested.  Samuelson says Conti was found to be in possession of quantities of suboxone, and just under a gram of Fentanyl.  He says Robbins was charged with multiple vehicle and traffic charges and released.  Klinger faces charges including second-degree criminal possession of a weapon... criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument... and, criminal possession of a controlled substance.  She was arraigned... and sent to the county jail.  


Car lost in Chadakoin River last Fall is found by police...
The car lost in the Chadakoin River in Falconer last Fall after an accident in which the car went into the water off Water Street has now been found.  Sheriff's officers say members of the county's WET Team were called to assist Ellicott Town Police and the Falconer Fire Department retrieve the vehicle last week.  First responding units were able to determine that the vehicle had been in the river since the fall of 2021 when it was involved in an accident. During that accident the driver was able to escape the vehicle and made it to shore safely.  The vehicle was not able to be recovered immediately following the original incident due to high water conditions.  The water in the river had reseeded and the current of the river was low which allowed for members of the WET to safely recover the vehicle.  The vehicle was taken from the water, and turned over to the Ellicott Police for further investigation.


Borrello, Goodell, introduce measures to repeal, change Bail Reform...
Chautauqua County's two representatives in the New York state legislature are pushing two bills that would eliminate bail reform... but, also includes more review of cases so people accused of minor offenses aren't left languishing in jail needlessly.  State Senator George Borrello discussed the proposals by he and Assemblyman Andy Goodell during a press conference late last week... and, says the one bill allows judges to determine whether bail should be set.  Borrello says restoring judicial descretion is important for each individual case.  He says the second part pushes district attorneys and others to periodically review cases so someone isn't kept in jail for long periods for minor offenses.  Local police say it's no surprise that offenders keep re-offending.  Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano says the criminals know all they'll get most of the time is an appearance ticket.  Due to that... Ortolano says there's no longer respect for victims, the police or the law. 


Jackals back in Jamestown for 2022 season...
After playing all of last year's home games out of state, the Jamestown Jackals will be back in New York this season... with the bulk of their home contests at Jamestown Community College.  Owner Kayla Crosby says they’ll start with a pre-season game at Cassadaga Valley on Thursday, Feb. 24... and, she says admission for that game will be free.  The ‘regular season’ will begin a week later at JCC.  Four other home games will be played at Frewsburg Central School on dates when the college is unavailable.  Game tickets will be $10... $5 for students, seniors and veterans.  Several well known players will be back with the Jackals including Raheem ‘Radio’ Singleton.  He’ll be coaching the team this season.  More information is available at jamestownjackals.com


 

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Feb. 11, 2022

Wendel welcome's Hochul's decision on lifting mask mandate in most public places...
Chautauqua County's top-elected official says there will be no local mask mandate going forward in the county.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel in response to Governor Kathy Hochul's announcement that New York State's mask mandate for most public, indoor places has now ended.  Wendel announced late Wednesday that the county will not implement a local mandate.  Hochul stated during her briefing in New York City that counties can still choose to require masks.  Wendel says he welcomes Hochul's decision regarding the mandates... and, says she's been very thoughtful in looking at the data and making decisions.  Meanwhile, Wendel says he is thankful that Hochul did announce guidance for schools... which will still require masks.  That guidance will be reassessed in early March... once students return from the February Winter break.  Wendel says masks will still be required in areas controlled by the Office of Court Administration in the Gerace Office Building, as mandated by the state. 


Whitaker pleased the Hochul is taking thoughtful approach to lifting mask mandates in schools...
School superintendents around the region are happy to see New York state beginning to develop a plan allowing students to go about their day without a mask on.  Jamestown Public School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker is among them... because unlike private businesses, and most other public places... eliminating the mandate is more complicated for schools.  Dr. Whitaker made his comments on our Dennis Webster Show Thursday morning... and says that goes for riding buses, breakfast and lunches, and dealing with positive cases.  He says all those protocals are based on wearing a mask.  Dr. Whitaker adds that local Health Departments will be heavily-involved in the effort to allow students to go about without masks, and limit potential COVID exposures.  Another variable... he says... is the fact that while a number of district's will drop the mandate... some won't -- at least immediately.  Whitaker says it may end up being a "patchwork" of rules.  As with the region... Whitaker says the number of cases in the Jamestown district have fallen dramatically in the past few weeks.  Governor Kathy Hochul says the mask mandate will remain in place until students return from the February Winter Break... and, she sees where the numbers are.
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Chautauqua County saw the number of new cases fall the past week to 652... but, 203 of those were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.


Gas prices in Jamestown-area jump 16-cents a gallon over past two weeks...
The price of gasoline in the Jamestown-area over the past nearly two weeks has jumped by 16 cents a gallon.  The AAA's East Central Gas Price reports the cost of a gallon of regular, unleaded gas... began last week at $3.50 a gallon.  At many filling stations in the area... the price is now just under $3.66 a gallon.  AAA cites a number of factors in the increases... including blustery Winter weather, increasing demand for heating oil... and geopolitical tensions involving Ukraine and Russia.  There is concern world-wide that Russia will react to potential western sanctions by withholding crude oil from the already tight global market... and, that's putting heavy upward pressure on prices.  The national average for a gallon of gas surged to $3.44 to begin the week.  The price of oil is now moving towards $100 a barrel.


Reed agrees federal STOCK Act needs to be updated and reformed...
There are serious discussions underway in Washington, D.C. about how federal lawmakers can either reform... or outright ban members of Congress from owning stocks.  There has been talk about updating the STOCK Act, which regulates lawmakers ability to own and trade stocks.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is against any changes... but, local Congressman Tom Reed sees the need to eliminate potential "insider trading" by members.  At the same time... he says it's a complicated issue because family members are often involved... and, transparency is the best way to handle many of the issues.  Currently... Reed says it gets murky when family members get involved in buying and trading stocks... where some family members end up involved, but, they're not elected officials.  The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 is an Act of Congress designed to combat insider trading.  It was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2012.  The insider trading issue came to the forefront in Western New York a few years ago in the case of former Congressman Chris Collins and members of his family.


Congress gives final approval to Sex Harassment bill...
Congress has given final approval to legislation guaranteeing that people who experience sexual harassment at work can seek recourse in the courts.  It's a milestone for the  'MeToo' movement that prompted a national reckoning on the way sexual misconduct claims are handled in the United States.  The measure is expected to be signed by President Joe Biden.  It bars employment contracts from forcing people to settle sexual assault or harassment cases through arbitration rather than in court.  Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York spearheaded the legislation... and, calls it "one of the most significant workplace reforms in American history." 


18 year-old arrested for sexual misconduct in Kennedy...
An 18 year-old man has been arrested for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a juvenile victim in Kennedy.  Sheriff's officers say the unidentified teen was taken into custody Wednesday on one count of sexual misconduct in connection with a "suspicous incident" in late January.  He'll appear in Poland Town Court at a later date.

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Feb. 10, 2022

City police say man shot during allegedly home invasion-robbery has been released from hospital; search for suspects continues...
The man who was shot in last night's reported home invasion-robbery on Jamestown's southside has now been released from an Erie, PA hospital.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the victim was flown to UPMC Hamot Medical Center after being shot in the back during the incident... which occured at 3 No. Cowden Place... shortly before 8 p.m.  Late Wednesday... Samuelson reported they are looking for a late model Ford Fusion that may have been the get-away car... and, that a third suspect... the driver, is also being sought.  He says police are still looking for the two men involved.  He says investigators believe the incident was drug-related.  Samuelson says several police agencies responded.  They reported two male suspects fled in a car after the shooting occured.  Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call City Police at 483-7536... or their tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


Hochul lifting one of two mask mandates in NYS...
New York's governor and health officials have decided to lift one of the state's two COVID-19 mask mandates.  The mandate being lifted Thursday deals with most public indoor settings -- including restaurants.  However... Governor Kathy Hochul says the one requiring face coverings in schools, and health care settings remains in place for now.  Hochul says she wants students tested before returning to school following the February-Presidents Day break, and a determination will be made then.  She also said she wants more kids to get vaccinated before she drops rules requiring masks in classrooms. 


Three arrested in drug bust in city of Dunkirk... 
A several-month long investigation into the sale of crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana by Dunkirk Police detectives and agents from the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force, led to three arrests early Tuesday morning at 69 East Sixth St.  Police say 40-year-old Leovijildo Lorenzo of the Bronx, 44-year-old Angela Rak of Dunkirk, and a juvenile who was not identified, were arrested after a search warrant was executed by Dunkirk SRT, the Chautauqua County SWAT team, Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force and Jamestown Police K-9 unit.  A quantity of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and cash were located and seized during the raid. Lorenzo, Rak and the juvenile were charged with two counts each of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, second-degree criminal nuisance.


City Council discusses need for private plow drivers to stop adding to already high snowbanks in city...
Two recent major snowfalls have created a problem in Jamestown not seen in a couple of years: too much snow on the side of streets and on sidewalks.  Second-Ward City Councilwoman Marie Carrubba brought up the issue during Monday night's work session... noting that one private plowing contractor had left a 10-foot tall snowbank at the corner of Prendergast and Sixth Streets.  Carrubba says it's a public safety concern for children walking to school, or people walking to stores or neighbors.  She adds that drivers often can't see around banks for oncoming traffic.  Public Works Director Jeff Lehman says his department has been in contact with that contractor and others about the situation... but, he says -- as with the city itself -- they are running out of places to put the snow.  Lehman says they want to go to where the city dumps it's snow... but, he says space is low right now.  Council members discussed the matter... with some saying they understand the contractors dilemna.  Carrubba wondered if there was some way to make contractors not leave huge snowbanks like the one she was talking about.  


Jamestown Assessor make presentation to council about proposed revaluation...
Jamestown city lawmakers need to make a decision soon on whether the city should go through it's first full property revaluation in 15 years.  Some city leaders believe it's time to bring property valuations up to date... but, there is some reluctance on the part of city council members to have one done.  City Assessor Lisa Volpe went before lawmakers to discuss using $285,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to have GAR Associates do a revaluation... beginning Mar. 1.  Volpe says they looked to begin the process last month... but, the Mar. 1 timeline means they only have two-months to get the complete reval done.  If that doesn't happen... she says they'll have to wait until January of 2023.  With that... Volpe says the new property values would not take effect until 2024.  She says some of the work has already been done with the city's appraiser taking exterior pictures of all 15-thousand properties.  GAR Associates is well-known to the city because they did the last reval in 2006. That reval 15 years ago cost one-million dollars.  At-Large Councilman Jeff Russell asked Volpe why the city doesn't do all the work in-house.  She says the don't have enough personnel to do it within the state's required four-month time period. 


Good government groups want allegation's Cuomo accepted free help to defend him against sex harassment charges investigated...
Good government groups say New York's ethics commission should investigate whether former Governor Andrew Cuomo broke the law by accepting free help from former aides who worked to defend him against sexual harassment allegations.  New York ethics law bans public officials from accepting gifts worth more than $15 from lobbyists and companies that do business with the state.  Several former Cuomo aides who worked for such companies provided the Democrat with strategic advice and public relations help after multiple women accused him of misconduct. 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Feb. 9, 2022

City police say man shot during allegedly home invasion-robbery has been released from hospital; search for suspects continues...
The man who was shot in last night's reported home invasion-robbery on Jamestown's southside has now been released from an Erie, PA hospital.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the victim was flown to UPMC Hamot Medical Center after being shot in the back during the incident... which occured at 3 No. Cowden Place... shortly before 8 p.m.  Late Wednesday... Samuelson reported they are looking for a late model Ford Fusion that may have been the get-away car... and, that a third suspect... the driver, is also being sought.  He says police are still looking for the two men involved.  He says investigators believe the incident was drug-related.  Samuelson says several police agencies responded.  They reported two male suspects fled in a car after the shooting occured.  Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call City Police at 483-7536... or their tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


Hochul lifting one of two mask mandates in NYS...
New York's governor and health officials have decided to lift one of the state's two COVID-19 mask mandates.  The mandate being lifted Thursday deals with most public indoor settings -- including restaurants.  However... Governor Kathy Hochul says the one requiring face coverings in schools, and health care settings remains in place for now.  Hochul says she wants students tested before returning to school following the February-Presidents Day break, and a determination will be made then.  She also said she wants more kids to get vaccinated before she drops rules requiring masks in classrooms. 


Three arrested in drug bust in city of Dunkirk... 
A several-month long investigation into the sale of crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana by Dunkirk Police detectives and agents from the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force, led to three arrests early Tuesday morning at 69 East Sixth St.  Police say 40-year-old Leovijildo Lorenzo of the Bronx, 44-year-old Angela Rak of Dunkirk, and a juvenile who was not identified, were arrested after a search warrant was executed by Dunkirk SRT, the Chautauqua County SWAT team, Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force and Jamestown Police K-9 unit.  A quantity of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and cash were located and seized during the raid. Lorenzo, Rak and the juvenile were charged with two counts each of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, second-degree criminal nuisance.


City Council discusses need for private plow drivers to stop adding to already high snowbanks in city...
Two recent major snowfalls have created a problem in Jamestown not seen in a couple of years: too much snow on the side of streets and on sidewalks.  Second-Ward City Councilwoman Marie Carrubba brought up the issue during Monday night's work session... noting that one private plowing contractor had left a 10-foot tall snowbank at the corner of Prendergast and Sixth Streets.  Carrubba says it's a public safety concern for children walking to school, or people walking to stores or neighbors.  She adds that drivers often can't see around banks for oncoming traffic.  Public Works Director Jeff Lehman says his department has been in contact with that contractor and others about the situation... but, he says -- as with the city itself -- they are running out of places to put the snow.  Lehman says they want to go to where the city dumps it's snow... but, he says space is low right now.  Council members discussed the matter... with some saying they understand the contractors dilemna.  Carrubba wondered if there was some way to make contractors not leave huge snowbanks like the one she was talking about.  


Jamestown Assessor make presentation to council about proposed revaluation...
Jamestown city lawmakers need to make a decision soon on whether the city should go through it's first full property revaluation in 15 years.  Some city leaders believe it's time to bring property valuations up to date... but, there is some reluctance on the part of city council members to have one done.  City Assessor Lisa Volpe went before lawmakers to discuss using $285,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to have GAR Associates do a revaluation... beginning Mar. 1.  Volpe says they looked to begin the process last month... but, the Mar. 1 timeline means they only have two-months to get the complete reval done.  If that doesn't happen... she says they'll have to wait until January of 2023.  With that... Volpe says the new property values would not take effect until 2024.  She says some of the work has already been done with the city's appraiser taking exterior pictures of all 15-thousand properties.  GAR Associates is well-known to the city because they did the last reval in 2006. That reval 15 years ago cost one-million dollars.  At-Large Councilman Jeff Russell asked Volpe why the city doesn't do all the work in-house.  She says the don't have enough personnel to do it within the state's required four-month time period. 


Good government groups want allegation's Cuomo accepted free help to defend him against sex harassment charges investigated...
Good government groups say New York's ethics commission should investigate whether former Governor Andrew Cuomo broke the law by accepting free help from former aides who worked to defend him against sexual harassment allegations.  New York ethics law bans public officials from accepting gifts worth more than $15 from lobbyists and companies that do business with the state.  Several former Cuomo aides who worked for such companies provided the Democrat with strategic advice and public relations help after multiple women accused him of misconduct. 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Feb. 8, 2022

Girl being evaluated after bringing gun to staff member at Jamestown's Fletcher Elementary School...
No one was hurt... but, there were some tense moments at Jamestown's Fletcher Elementary School Monday afternoon during dismissal when a 12 year-old girl requested help from a staff member.  The Jamestown schools -- on their Facebook page -- said the girl was from another school... and, approached the staff person outside the entrance and said she had a handgun in her possession.  Officials say the principal was immediately notified... and called 911.  The principal had all students who were still inside the building put in a safe location... and, the student was put into a location away from students and staff.  Several law enforcement agencies responded... and the student surrendered the weapon to Jamestown police, and it was secured.  City police transported the girl from the scene.  She was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for an evaluaton... and, district officials expressed their appreciation for the immediate response of law enforcement.


City Council lauds fire, police officers, for responses during "rough weekend" in Jamestown...
Jamestown firefighters and police were praised during last night's city council work session for their heroic actions in trying to save life and property over the past weekend.  Lawmakers lauded members of both departments -- especially in rescuing a 3 year-old boy and 19 year-old man from a burning house on Kidder St. last Friday afternoon.  Unfortunately... the 19 year-old later died.  At-Large Councilman Jeff Russell... a retired JPD officer... especially noted the quick efforts of Police Chief Tim Jackson, Patrolman Matthew Reinhart, and a medic they got the 3-year quickly to the hospital.  Russell says the child was initially rushed to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital... then taken to UPMC Hamot in Erie before being transferred to Oishei Children's Hospital in Buffalo.  He's in serious, but, stable condition.  Public Safety Committee Chairman Brent Sheldon called it a "rough weekend" for the fire department with two structure fires, and a couple of vehicle fires.  Aside from the blaze at 109 Kidder St., no one was hurt in any of the other fires.


Fire destroys garage-type structure in town of Portland...
Several fire departments responded to a fire in a garage-type structure on Plank Road in the town of Portland Monday afternoon.  The Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team reports that Portland, and several other departments were called to the scene around 12:30 p.m., and, found the building heavily-involved in flames.  County Fire dispatchers say no injuries were reported.  Fire investigators say the blaze started where an exhaust pipe from a pellet stove met the exterior of the garage.  The entire garage was lost as a the result of the fire. 


North county man receives 50 years in prison for child pornography...
A Fredonia man has been sentenced to 50 years in federal prison for his conviction on production and possession of child pornography.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross announced Monday that 26 year-old Dustin Post received the sentence in federal cour from U.S. District Court in Buffalo.  Prosecutors say State Police in Fredonia began investigating Post in the Summer of 2019 after receiving a complaint from a parent about a possible sex offender against a minor. During that time... Post video-recorded his sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl.  In November of 2019... investigators removed a cellular telephone, a laptop computer, and four flash drives from Post’s home.  The say a forensic analysis of the electronic devices recovered multiple images and videos of child pornography.  During the course of the investigation, a total of nine girls and one adult female were identified as victims of Post.


Reynolds confirmed as new, Ward-Five Jamestown Councilmember...
During last night's special meeting... the city council last night approved Mayor Eddie Sundquist's appointment of Bill Reynolds the third as new fifth-ward councilman.  Sundquist and City Council President Tony Dolce announced Reynold's appointment last Friday to replace Grant Olson... who withdrew from the seat due to family business obligations.  The seat had been open since late last year.  Olson had withdrawn from the council race... but, was still on the ballot and was re-elected.  Reynolds is a Republican... and, a former North Harmony Town Supervisor.  He served from 1989 to 2004.  He's also a retired Jamestown Police Detective.... serving from 1984 until 2004.


Retired City Historian honored...
City lawmakers in Jamestown recognized former City Historian B. Delores Thompson during during a recent Council voting session for her 41 years of serve to the community.  Thompson retired in 2019... and, members of the Historical Marker Committee, and current Historian, Ashley Senke, were on hand to praise her work during that time.  Senske mainly read comments by others... including Historic Marker Committe member, Tracy Langworthy... who said "because of Delores, more people not only know more about Jamestown's history, they also appreciate the diversity of individuals who made that history so rich."  Thompson researched and implemented more than 40 historic markers in the downtown and other areas of the city to "help honor the enduring legacy" of the city.  Former City Council President Greg Rabb was also on hand... and, praised Thompson for her work, and recalled her always making sure at budget time that their $1,500 was in the annual budget plan.  Also on hand for the recognition ceremony was long-time Historic Marker Committee member Art Osterdahl.  Thompson was unable to attend the program in person... but, was able to watch it on-line.


 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Feb. 7, 2022

Fredonia man sentenced to 50 years in prison on Child Porn conviction...
A Fredonia man has been sentenced to 50 years in federal prison for his conviction on production and possession of child pornography.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross announced today that 26 year-old Dustin Post received the sentence in federal court from U.S. District Judge Lawrence Vilardo.  Prosecutors say State Police in Fredonia began investigating Post in the Summer of 2019 after receiving a complaint from a parent about a possible sex offender against a minor. During that time... Post video-recorded his sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl.  In November of 2019... investigators removed a cellphone, a laptop computer, and four flash drives from Post’s home.  The say a forensic analysis of the electronic devices recovered multiple images and videos of child pornography.  During the course of the investigation, a total of nine girls and one adult female were identified as victims of Post.


Jamestown police update condition of 3-year-old in fatal fire, with name of deceased victim...
The 3-year-old child rescued along with a 19 year-old man who later died in the aftermath of last Friday afternoon's house fire in Jamestown is now in stable condition.  City Police said in a Facebook post last weekend that the youngster was transferred to Oishei Children's Hospital in Buffalo for further treatment.  JPD identified the 19 year-old man who died as a result of the blaze at 109 Kidder St. as Jacob Rishel Harrison.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says Harrison died shortly before 6 p.m. at UPMC Chautauqua Hospital.  The fire broke out shortly before 2 p.m., and, Fire Battalion Chief Roger Sigular says crews were also told on arrival that people were trapped inside.  Sigular says there was fire on the first-floor that had already begun spreading to the second floor.  He says two male victims were rescued from the house, while two others were able to escape on their own.  Samuelson says one firefighter did sustain a burn injury... and, was also taken to the hospital.  The cause of the blaze is under investigation.


Retired JPD K-9 "Mitchell" dies after battling cancer...
The Jamestown Police Department is mourning the loss of retired K-9 "Mitchell" who died from cancer at the age of 12.  Officials say "Mitchell" was Officer Erik Kraft’s first K-9 as a new handler.  They say "Mitchell" was everything an officer could ask for in a K-9 partner; "loyal, brave, disciplined, and intelligent."  His detection work was unprecedented and led to numerous arrests and drug seizures in his career.  Mitchell and his handler, Erik Kraft, were honored as Grand Marshal of the 2016 Jamestown Christmas Parade after Mitchell was stabbed and critically wounded by a homicide suspect.  He recovered and returned to full duty.  Mitchell's selfless actions earned him the Police Cross Medal and the Medal of Valor. 


Borrello blasts redistricting maps as blatently political...
Calling the redrawn lines "egregiously political..." local State Senator George Borrello says he voted against both the congressional and state legislative maps approved by the state lawmakers in Albany this week.  Borrello condemned the process during an interview late last week... especially the fact there was no notice on when they were going to vote on them after laying on lawmakers' desks for three-days.  He adds they were presented with no commentary, and no testimony from those who spoke at hearings.  Borrello... a Republican from Sunset Bay... says the maps approved by the legislature would change the current 57th State Senate district in to the 58th district.  He says it would include Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany and Wyoming Counties, and southern towns in Erie County.  Borrello says the newly redrawn 23rd Congressional District also appears to be pitting two sitting House members, Chris Jacobs and Claudia Tenney. 


Wendel also expresses frustration over redistricting process... 
The expected legal battle over Democrats' alleged gerrymandering in New York is underway as a group of voters in Republican-friendly communities filed a lawsuit in state court to block new congressional maps.  A group of 14 New Yorkers filed the suit Thursday in state court in Steuben County against Governor Kathy Hochul, top Democratic lawmakers, the state board of elections and a state redistricting task force.  Many people testified both in-person and virtually before the task force.  One was Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel... who emphasized one issue during the on-line testimony.  That was the need to keep Chautauqua in a southern tier district.  Wendel adds that keeping the district together doesn't have to be political... because Jamestown's Stan Lundine, a Democrat, represented the region many years ago. 


City Council to vote tonight on appointment of Bill Reynolds to replace Grant Olson on panel....
The Jamestown City Council will vote tonight on filling the vacant Fifth-Ward council seat previously held by Grant Olson.  City officials announced late Friday that they had tapped former Jamestown Police Detective Bill Reynolds-the-third to take the seat... bringing the panel back to nine members.  The announcement was made by Council President Tony Dolce and Mayor Eddie Sundquist that Reynolds... the former North Harmony Town Supervisor... would replace Olson... who withdrew from the seat due to family business obligations.  Reynolds was North Harmony Supervisor from 1989 to 2004.  He lives in Jamestown with his wife Deborah.  A special session will be held to take the vote... beginning at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

 

WJTN News Bulletin - Update for Fri., Feb. 4, 2022

(**Update)One person dead, one injured after house fire on Jamestown's southside...
One person has now died, and one is still being treated after a serious fire that gutted a two-story home on Jamestown's southside early Friday afternoon.  City Fire Battalion Chief Roger Sigular says crews were called to 109 Liberty St. shortly before 2 p.m., and, were also told people were trapped inside.  Sigular says there was fire on the first-floor that had already begun spreading to the second floor.  He says two people had to be pulled out, while two others were able to escape on their own.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says a 19 year-old man, who was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital later died of his injuries... while a 3 year-old boy was still receiving emergency treatment.  One other person was unaccounted for initially... but, later found safe.  Samuelson says one firefighter did sustain a burn injury... and, was also taken to the hospital.  The cause of the blaze is under investigation.


McLaughlin resigns as supervisor in town of Ellicott...
The long-time town Supervisor in the town of Ellicott has resigned from his position just a short time after he was charged with public lewdness and child endangerment.  We've had it confirmed that Patrick McLaughlin said submitted his resignation to the Town Clerk's office... and takes effect immediately.  There were two years remaining on the 72 year-old McLaughlin's four-year term.  Town Councilwoman Janet Bowman, who is also deputy supervisor, will fill in as acting town supervisor.  McLaughlin is accused of exposing himself in front of two juveniles recently in Celoron.  He was arrested by State Police following a brief investigation on charges of first-degree public lewdness, public lewdness and endangering the welfare of a child. 

  

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Feb. 4, 2022

Winter Storm moves out of WNY, but, not before dropping 10 to 12 inches of snow...
The snow from the major Winter Storm that's impacted the Jamestown-area the past day or so is winding down... but, not before most of the region gets about a foot of snow.  The National Weather Service in Buffalo is continuing a Winter Storm Warning through mid-morning... and, Forecaster John Hitchcock says conditions will improve through the morning.  Hitchcock says the snow pretty much wound down after 7 a.m. and there may be another 1 to 2 inches of snow during the day today.  The snow intensified during the late night and overnight night hours... with 4 to 8 inches expected.  There was also some wind... but, Hitchcock says that should fall off this morning also.  He says north winds of 10 to 20 m.p.h. could impact open areas in particular.


Wendel urges motorists to be careful, and respectful of those plowing roads, and parking lots...
With this general snowstorm producing up to a foot of new snow... it's another challenging time for local snowplow crews to stay on top of, and catch up with the weather.  Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel says the Department of Public Facilities is ready... and, up to the challenge.  Most of all... he urges drivers to be respectful of the plow drivers as they do their jobs.  Wendel says it was a long event, but, adds be patient and respectful.  Wendel says the DPF has to coordinate it's plowing work with local, and state crews... but, adds they're ready.


Jamestown Professional Firefighters "very disappointed" in Council rejection of new contract...
The union representing Jamestown firefighters is "very disappointed" by the city council's rejection of a new, four-year contact that would add four firefighters to help staff a new ambulance.  Jamestown Professional Firefighters Local #137 President Ben McLaughlin says in a printed release that they "continue to respond" to an alarming number of EMS calls.  McLaughlin says those calls have gone from 116 in 2011... to 1,130 last year... which is a more than 1,000-percent increase.  He adds that the overall number of emergency calls are up by 78%.  McLaughlin says they "are committed to providing our residents with high quality Fire and Rescue services, but the resources we have available are not enough to meet the growing needs of our community and this trend is not sustainable."  He says the city has been "taking advantage of surrounding volunteer departments, and abuse the mutual aid agreements."  McLaughlin says they understand lawmaker's concerns over possible lay-offs in the future... but, urge further discussions to get a new agreement in place.


Falconer woman arrested on child porn-related charges...
A woman from Falconer faces several charges for allegedly having sex with a man and a 16 year-old girl in a Snapchat video she sold to someone else last June.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross says 20 year-old Lily Brandow was taken into federal custody on charges of conspiracy to produce child pornography... conspiracy to commit witness tampering... distribution of child pornography... and, destruction of records.  Prosecutors say Brandow sold the video showing her and co-defendant Yusef Myrick having sex with the teen.  Brandow is also accused of deleting Myrick’s email and social media accounts at his instruction.  She also set up a three-way call between herself, Myrick and a victim... and, during the call, Myrick threatened the victim not to speak to investigators.  Myrick was arrested last December for allegedly engaging in both online and sexual relationships with numerous minor females.  Brandow faces up to 30 years in prison... and a $250,000 fine. 


Igoe details First Amendment issues with Kershnar case at SUNY Fredonia... 
A SUNY College at Fredonia professor who recently posted controversial videos about pedophilia has gotten him into trouble with the university.  Fredonia President Dr. Stephen Kolison said in a statement that the views expressed by Dr. Stephen Kershnar in the videos are "reprehensible and do not represent the values of SUNY Fredonia in any way, shape or form."  Associate Professor Mike Igoe, who teaches communications law at SUNY Fredonia, says the story has prompted a lot of questions about freedom of speech.  Igoe says there are instances where the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of schools restricting it.  While he would not discuss specifics about Dr. Kershnar's case... Igoe says the Supreme Court in more recent times has ruled that schools can take action that "promotes order, value, discipline and safety."  Late Thursday... President Kolison tweeted a message announcing disciplinary actions against Kershnar... "effective immediately and until further notice, the professor is being assigned to duties that do not include his physical presence on campus and will not have contact with students while the investigation is ongoing.”


Reed says new Congressional District Maps "100% gerrymandered" by state legislature...
Local Congressman Tom Reed is blasting the Democrat-led New York state legislature for passing new congressional district maps that will expand Democrats' influence in New York politics for years to come.  Reed... who is not running for re-election... says the maps are "100-percent" gerrymandered to give Democrats an advantage in 22 of the state's 26 congressional districts.  There are currently 27... but, New York is losing a seat due to loss of population.  If there is a "good thing" to come out of redistricting... it's the fact the current 23rd District the Corning Republican represents remains pretty much intact.  Reed says he expects the race to be competitive... depending on how the final lines are drawn.  Two names being thrown around are current GOP Representatives Chris Jacobs and Claudia Tenney.  However... Reed's currently supporting his former district director, Joe Simplilinski. 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Feb. 3, 2022

State Police confirm arrest of town supervisor for public lewdness...
State Police now confirm the arrest of current Ellicott Town Supervisor for public lewdness and endangering the welfare of a child.  The Jamestown Post-Journal reported late Wednesday that 72 year-old Patrick McLaughlin was arrested this week on a criminal complaint accusing him of the incident... which occured in the village of Celoron the presence of two juveniles.  Officials say the youths reported the incident to the school resource officer at Southwestern Central School... but, the incident did not occur at the school.  Ellicott Town Police then referred the case to State Police.  State Police Public Information Officer James O'Callaghan confirmed the arrest this morning.  O'Callaghan says McLaughlin is scheduled for a future court appearance on one count of first-degree public lewdness, publid lewdness and one count of endangering the welfare of a child.


Winter storm moving into Jamestown-area from Midwest...
The major Winter storm moving into Western New York is bringing up to a foot of new snow now through Friday morning.  The National Weather Service is continuing a Winter Storm Warning for the region through 10 a.m. Friday.  Forecaster David Thomas in Buffalo says this system is covering several states... and, will produce a general snowfall.  Thomas says everyone will generally receive 8 to 12 inches of snow.  Thomas says the precipitation began as rain... then changed to a brief mix with snow and rain before turning to all snow during the overnight.  He says most of the region will see about a foot of snow through Friday morning... but, he says unlike the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day storm... we shouldn't see the blowing and drifting.  Thomas says once the cold front moves through... winds will be out of the north at 10 to 20 miles per hour.  This storm system developed in the Rockies... and, was producing freezing rain as far south as Texas before it drops snow and ice on the Midwest.  The forecast comes nearly a year after a catastrophic winter storm devastated Texas' power grid, causing hundreds of deaths.  


State legislature approves Congressional maps amid controversy over process...
New York's legislature has voted to pass new congressional district maps that will expand Democrats' influence in New York politics for years to come.  The proposed maps would give the party an advantage in 22 of the state's 26 congressional districts.  Republicans currently hold eight of New York's 27 seats in Congress.  Democratic leaders have defended the maps as addressing the reality of New York's population shifts over the past decade.  However... the maps will mean re-election trouble for several Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives.


Sundquist says city enlistes state and federal help in dealing with condemned former Crawford Furniture factory...
The city of Jamestown has enlisted the help of state and federal agencies to help deal with a vacant, and condemned former furniture factory on the city's eastside.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he and officials with the Department of Development and police and fire departments... met with officials last week from the U.S. Environmental Protection Ageny and state Department of Environmental Conservation at the former Crawford Furniture factory at 1061 Allen St.  Sundquist says there are two major concerns with the property.  First is the number of barrels containing waste inside that are in the building, and there's already been a collapse of the roof in the back portion of the building.  Sundquist adds that the building appears in "imminent threat" of collapsing.  He says the owners of the property the past several years... Patricia and Richard Rusiniak of Cheektowaga... have failed to clean-up or secure the structure.  Sundquist announced the actions Wednesday.  He says the city has secured the building... but, adds it's been broken into several times, and that allows more people to get into the building.  He adds the Rusiniaks and their property business have been cited numerous times by city code enforcement officers for violations... but, they never addressed them.


County reports 1,026 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, as those numbers continue falling...
The number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 is down for the third-straight week in Chautauqua County... but, they remain the highest they've been in several months.  The county Health Department reports there were 1,026 new cases for the week ending Jan. 29, bringing the local total to 25,557 during the pandemic.  Officials say there were four new deaths... bringing that total to 299.  They add that 25,066 cases have now recovered.  There are now 37 people hospitalized with the virus... and, the seven day infection rate is 10.2-percent.  The most cases were again in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... which reported 373 the past week. 


Dunkirk Dave see's shadow on Groundhog Day... predicts six more weeks of Winter...
For the first time in many years... nearly all of the nation's groundhogs are in agreement:  We're going to see six more weeks of Winter.  That after Punxsutawney Phil, and -- locally -- Dunkirk Dave -- both saw their shadows on this Groundhog Day 2022.  Dave's handler, Bob Will, says Dave ventured outside his warm, comfy home and had some oatmeal shortly before going back into his home.  Will says Dave definately saw his shadow.  Will says Dave is more accurate than Phil because he does his prognostications the way they should be... with Dave being on the ground, and seeing his shadow and then going back into his home.  Will says Dave is 90% right on his forecasts.

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Feb. 2, 2022

National Weather Service issues Winter Storm Warning for all of WNY -- including Chautauqua County...
A major Winter storm is expected to affect a huge swath of the United States, with heavy snow expected over the next day and a half in Chautauqua County.  The National Weather Service has now issued a Winter Storm Warning for the region beginning at 10 p.m. tonight through 10 a.m. Friday.  Forecaster David Thomas in Buffalo says this is a huge storm system.  Thomas says the precipitation will begin tonight as rain... then mix with snow after Midnight before turning to all snow during the overnight.  He says most of the region will see about a foot of snow through Friday morning.  During the daytime Thursday... Thomas says we're looking at a general 3 to 5 inches of snow... and, another 3 to 5 inches during the evening and overnight hours.  The storm system developed in the Rockies... and, is producing freezing rain as far south as Texas before it drops snow and ice on the Midwest.


BPU issues statement to clarify how trash should be left out in snow conditions...
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities is clarifying it's garbage collection policy in the wake of recent heavy snowfalls... and more snow predicted starting Wednesday night.  BPU Communications Coordinator Becky Robbins says garbage collection has been "very difficult for our Solid Waste employees and has also caused customer frustration and confusion related to compliance with rules and expectations."  Robbins says customers have been asked to shovel a space for their garbage containers so BPU workers don't have to climb onto snow and ice piles to bring down heavy containers.  However... she says they understand that's difficult in many cases right now.  With that... Robbins urges customers place containers in cleared walkways, on or near driveways, or even on a shoveled sidewalk near a driveway or access point. 


Dunkirk Dave see's his shadow, and the groundhogs are in full agreement...
It's Groundhog Day... February 2nd... and, a number of groundhogs around the nation have made their prediction.  Locally, Dunkirk Dave issued his forecast regarding the arrival of Spring.  Dave's handler Bob Will says the weather prophet ventured outside his warm, comfy home and had some oat meal.  Will says after eating, he saw his shadow, and went back into his home... indicating six more weeks of Winter weather.  Punxsutawney Phil, Dave's counterpart in Pennsylvania, also predicted that there won't be an early spring this year.  Will claims that Dave is more accurate than Phil, providing correct predictions 90% of the time.


Former Crawford Furniture factory in Jamestown is condemned... owners called out...
The former Crawford Furniture factory building on Allen Street in Jamestown has been condemned... and, the out of town owners are being called out for leaving the property in "imminent threat" of collapse.  Mayor Eddie Sundqust announced the actions this morning... after the city's Department of Development, Jamestown Police and Fire Departments... and, several other agencies -- including the State Department of Environmental Conservation... inspected the structure at 1061 Allen St.  Sundquist says the building has suffered from "long deteriorating conditions as a direct result of property owner neglect."  He says the owners, Patricia and Richard Rusiniak, have been cited "several times" by the Jamestown building and code officers for junk and debris, and failure to renovate or demolish.  In a printed release... Development Director Crystal Surdyk said "after repeatedly suffering devastating events like the Jamestown Royal Upholstery Factory fire last spring, we must take more proactive action and learn from the consequences of inaction."  We do have a call into Mayor Sundquist for further comment.


City Council approves additional projects and purchases from ARPA funding...
The Jamestown City Council has approved using another another $1.4-million in American Rescue Plan Act funding for parks and public works projects and purchases.  Lawmakers voted Monday night in favor of six specific projects recently presented by city Fleet Manager Pat Monaghan.  Council President Tony Dolce says they voted on the "general amounts" of funding so there was flexibility if more money was needed for some of those other proposals... which are still being prioritized.  The "specific" items approved included a $100,000 project to replace the roof on Fire Station-#4 on Allen Street... and, $210,000 for 60 new, portable radios for the Jamestown Police Department.  The purchases also include a $154,000 purchase of a new sidewalk plow to replace a 43-year-old Bombardier plow for the DPW.  The need for a new piece of equipment was underscored during the most recent snowstorm.
----
Also from Monday night's meeting... the city council approved the hiring of a new School Resource Officer for the Jamestown Public Schools.  Lawmakers say the officer would be hired in August to begin the next school year in the middle schools. 


Jamestown School Board approves new "big cat" mascot...
The Jamestown School Board has unanimously approved a new high school mascot that keeps with the school's history... dating back seven decades.  The board approved the recommendation of the JHS Mascot Committee of a red, big cat... which first appeared as a mascot back in 1948.  Officials say the JHS Mascot Committee presented the proposed mascot to the school board at it's meeting last December... and, it was discussed at the Jan. 18 meeting.  Superintendent Kevin Whitaker asked the panel to reconvene in 2020 to address concerns regarding the feathers on the “J” as it was considered Native American imagery.  Since then... the school has worked to eliminate that imagery. 

 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Feb. 1, 2022

City Council approves new police contract, rejects fire proposal...
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist had hoped to have all city union contracts wrapped up by last night's City Council voting session.  But... there's still one left unresolved.  Lawmakers last night unanimously approved a new, four-year agreement with the Jamestown Police Kendall Club-PBA.  However... they rejected a similar, four year deal with the Jamestown Professional Firefighters Association Local #137 by a vote of 5-to-2.  Council President Tony Dolce cast one of the two "yes" votes... but, says the majority had concerns over the $1.2-million cost to add four firefighters to staff a second ambulance.  While he voted for the contract, Dolce said he had concerns about the cost, and where the money would come from.  Sundquist later said he was very disappointed over the vote to reject the fire contract... and, says lawmakers appeared to want more EMS service... and this was an opportunity to provide more of it.  At-large Councilman Jeff Russell said specifically that he could not vote for the additional firefighters without a clear plan on where additional revenues or cost savings will be.  In laying out both contracts... Sundquist earlier said they would both end "lifetime health care" for retirees... saving the city on those costs.  Both contracts would cover the years 2021 through 2024. 


City Council approves most of Sundquist's appointments... but, rejects two new members of BPU...
City lawmakers also approved the majority of the nearly 25 board and commission appointments by the mayor at last night's meeting.  However... two citizen member appointees to the Board of Public Utilities were defeated in tie votes.  Both Shawn Connor and Sabrina Gustafson were turned down in 4-4 votes.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist called the defeats "disappointing," mainly because no council members reached out to him about their concerns over the appointments.  Sundquist says he's not sure what he will do next.  In the meantime... officials say holdovers Greg Rabb and Jim Olson will remain on the BPU until new appointments are confirmed.  Council President Dolce voted in favor of both new members... and, could only speculate on what those who voted no were concerned about.  He says qualifications are probably the main one, especially with two new appointees.  The City Council also approved several reappointments to the Human Rights Commission... but, rejected the reappointment of Justin Hubbard.  Hubbard... a teacher... asked lawmakers to reappoint him during public comment earlier in the meeting.  However... another member of the public urged lawmakers to not reappoint him.


Sundquist says future in Jamestown looking "much brighter" in State of City Address...
Much has changed in the city of Jamestown since last year at this time... and, the outlook is "much brighter" than it's been in recent years.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist during his State of the City Address yesterday afternoon.  The speech was given virtually again this year due to the on-going pandemic.  However... he says the city is in much better shape than early 2021.  Sundquist recalled the gloomy prospects at that time... and, having made major budget cuts that lingered from 2020.  He says they were faced with the "prospect of highly-diminished city services" for years to come.  But, he says improves revenues and $28-million dollars from the American Rescue Plan have changed things significantly.  Sundquist adds that every city department did it's part in getting Jamestown through two-years of the pandemic.  In looking ahead... Sundquist says the city needs to better market itself for tourism, and taking advantage of it's hotels to draw conventions year-round.  He says Jamestown also has a chance to make a new niche in a growing industry:  the growing and manufacturing of cannibus.  He says since his office put out feelers... they received 250 inquiries from potential growers and manufacturers. 


There will be no public event again this year with Dunkirk Dave due to COVID...
Dunkirk Dave is preparing to make his annual prediction on when we can expect a return of spring, but the north county-based long-range weather forecasting ground hog won't be doing it in public.  That from Dave's handler Bob Will.... who tells us that the decision has been made due to the concern over COVID-19.  He says under current circumstances... there are some things he's not able to do.  While there will be no public viewing tomorrow... Will says Dave will still make a prediction.  He gets the sense Dave and his family are getting eager to do so.  This is the second year that Dunkirk Dave has not made a public prediction due to the pandemic.


Proposed redistricting maps could hurt GOP numbers in Jamestown...
Proposed political maps released by the leaders of New York's Democrat-dominated legislature would give the party an advantage in 22 of of the state's 26 congressional districts.  The new maps released late Sunday could lead to Democrats picking up as many as three seats and Republicans losing as many as four.  The boundaries of congressional and legislative territories are being redrawn as part of the nation's once-per-decade redistricting process.  An initial vote on the new maps could happen this week.  New York is set to lose one seat in the House in 2023, due to slow population growth.

 

 
 

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