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Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 8, 2020

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 7, 2020

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 6, 2020


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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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News Headlines for Sat., Apr. 4, 2020

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


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


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


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


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


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

  
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 3, 2020

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 2, 2020

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

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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 1, 2020

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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WJTN News Headlines for Mar. 31, 2020

An elderly Chautauqua County man who contracted the COVID-19 Virus has now died from complications due to the virus.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the Department of Health and Human Services was notified Monday of the death.  Wendel says the man was in his 80s... and, he underwent Coronavirus testing and treatment at a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania.  The executive says there have now been a total of eight confirmed cases of COVID-19; including the one death.  The other seven individuals are recovering at home.  He adds that there have been 98 negative test results so far.


The coronavirus may not be as prevalent as it is in downstate New York... but, it's important for local residents to continue to take the precautions to prevent spread of COVID-19.  State-wide.. the number of cases has now exceeded 66,000.  Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul yesterday urged Chautauqua County residents to continue to practice social distancing and other precautions as New York continues to combat the virus.

Those measures include cancelling school until at least April 15th.  However... local schools are out until at least April 20th.  Hochul says she is staying aware of the situation locally by contacting local officials... including County Executive P-J Wendel.  Of the 66-thousand cases of COVID-19... Governor Cuomo says that 9,500 are now hospitalized... while the number of deaths is 1,218. 


Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist is addressing rumors of a possible COVID-19 case in the city.  Sundquist says those showed up late last week on social media... and, in other conversations.  He noted that "as more COVID-19 cases are confirmed in Chautauqua County, I recognize the need to provide accurate and timely communications to our residents."  He reminds residents that the Chautauqua County Health Department, the lead agency for the COVID-19 response, has not publicly confirmed any positive cases in the City of Jamestown."  However... he adds that he's said all along that a confirmed case in the City is not a matter of if, but when.

The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities has approved a four-year contract extension with it's 12 Solid Waste Division employees represented by Teamsters Local 264.  BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says the revised contract was approved at Monday's meeting and will run through December 31st of 2025.  The former contract ran from October of 2017 through December of 2021.  Leathers says the new agreement includes a 2-percent wage increase for full-time "Level-One" employees from 2022 through 2025.  He says there are three of them.  Leathers adds that full-time "Level-Two" employees will see a new, eight-year graduated pay scale that starts at $16.50 per hour.  He adds both parties also agreed to health insurance plan contribution changes, starting back on March 1st.


A Jamestown teenager has been arrested for allegedly stabbing another teen during an altercation involving several people on West Fourth Street late Sunday night....  
City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers were called to the scene -- near Cherry Street -- shortly before 10 PM, and found a 16-year-old boy with a stab wound to his leg.  The teen was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of the non-life-threatening injury.  Samuelson says officers investigated... and, soon after arrested 18 year-old Tyler Hough for second-degree assault.  Hough was also jailed on one count of endangering the welfare of a child.  He's being held pending arraignment.

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WJTN News Headlines for Mar. 30, 2020

There are now seven confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus in Chautauqua County after two more cases were reported last weekend.  County Executive P-J Wendel says no new positives were reported on Sunday.  Wendel says the new cases were reported Saturday.  He says one a woman in her 70s, with no recent travel.  The other is a woman in her 30s, with no recent travel outside the country.  However... she has traveled to the Buffalo-area.  Wendel and County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler continue to emphasize the need for social distancing.  In addition -- due to the outbreak -- Wendel says they have extended the deadline for paying delinquent county tax payments from April 15th to June 18th.  In addition to the seven confirmed cases of COVID-19... county officials say 21 people are in Mandatory Quarantine... while 38 are in Precautionary Quarantine.  They say 22 more are in Mandatory Isolation... and, there have been 87 negative test results to date. 


New York has surpassed 1,000 deaths from the coronavirus outbreak, less than a month after the first case was detected in the state. President Trump has now issued a travel advisory urging people in the region to avoid traveling out of the area for 14 days.  The president had considered the idea of a quarantine, which caught officials, like Governor Andrew Cuomo, off guard.  However... Cuomo said Sunday that he believed the advisory against unnecessary travel was appropriate.

During his Sunday press conference in Albany... Cuomo said the "acutely ill" are the ones that wind up on ventilators, and the longer someone is on one, the less likely they are to survive.  The total number of statewide deaths isn't expected to be released until later today. But with at least 250 additional deaths recorded outside the city as of Sunday morning, the state's total fatalities was at least 1,026.


Public schools and most colleges in the region are currently closed due to the Coronavirus outbreak.  However... a 2015 Falconer High School graduate has finished his studies, and has begun work at a New York State Trooper.  Ryan Dustin was part of the Spring 2020 Class that graduated March 18th from the State Police Academy in Albany.  Dustin took Criminal Justice at Jamestown Community College, and later at Fredonia State before being accepted at the academy.

However... Dustin says the six-and-a-half months of training at the Academy was a little more rigorous than he first thought it would be.  He says there was a lot of physical, defensive training, training on equipment... and of course studying.  But... in the few weeks he's been working out of the State Police barracks in Jamestown, Dustin says he's enjoyed the experience.  He'll eventually be assigned to Troop "E" headquartered in Canandaigua.  However... he won't know exactly where for a few more weeks.  Two other county residents were also part of the 220-plus graduates from the State Police Academy.


The Jamestown City Council will vote tonight on freezing 11 Local Development Corporation loans -- that are in good standing -- during the Coronavirus outbreak.  The Finance Committee approved the two-month freezes last week for those businesses.  City Development Director Crystal Surdyk says the JLDC determined that all 11 businesses -- many of them restaurants -- have been very negatively impacted by the virus outbreak.

Surdyk made her comments after last Monday's work session.  The 11 businesses include Gialy's Restaurant, Jamestown Rental Properties, Crown Streeet Roasting Company, International Ordinance Technologies, and Jamestown Brewing Company.  Tonight's council meeting begins at 7:30 PM... but, the public will not be allowed to attend.  However... the meeting will be live streamed on Facebook live beginning at 7:30 PM.


Lakewood Mayor Randy Holcomb has submitted a $3.9-million budget -- his first proposal -- since being elected village mayor last November.  Holcomb says the spending plan has been sent to the village clerk's office... and is mainly comprised of department head requests.  Holcomb says he's taken a more "unconventional" step of including ALL department head request to insure that all elected members of the village board have a voice in the process.  Holcomb says the budget increases spending by $193,000 and has a tax rate increase of 44-cents per thousand assessed value.  A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Monday, April 13th... and, a final budget must be adopted by May 1st.

 
A man from Niagara Falls faces up to 10 years in federal prison for allegedly pointing a shotgun out of his truck, and fighting with a trooper on the State Thruway in the town of Hanover.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 47 year-old Jose Gandia is also accused of having a pipe bomb in his truck... and nine others in his Niagara Falls home.  Kennedy says Gandia was charged in federal court with unlawful possession of a destructive device, and unlawful possession of a shortened shotgun.  Prosecutors say the incident began last Wednesday when the trooper found Gandia's vehicle stopped in an active work zone.  Kennedy says the trooper involved suffered a broken hand in the altercation.  After he was arrested... troopers say they found the shotgun and a rifle in Gandia's truck... along with a pipe bomb.  Police then closed that part of the Thruway for some time.  Police also went to Gandia's home... and, found nine more pipe bombs there.

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WJTN Headlines for Sat. Mar. 28, 2020

Chautauqua County now has five cases of COVID-19...
Chautauqua County officials have announced there are two new positive cases of Coronavirus in the county... bringing the total since the outbreak began to five.  County Executive P-J Wendel... and, Public Health Director Christine Schuyler, though, did not say where the new cases are.  Wendel says one is a man in his 60s, who recently traveled to the New York City area, the other is a woman in her 30s with no travel history.  He again stressed the need for social distancing... and avoiding being in contact with others while the pandemic continues to spread.  Schuyler says this confirms the COVID-19 Virus is circulating locally, and noted that specific information on those who have tested positive will not be released to the public.  She said those who might have been in contact with confirmed cases will be contacted by county health officials.  Schuyler said there continues to be a shortage in testing supplies, as is the case elsewhere. “There’s very, very limited testing in the county."


Reed praises bi-partisan, $2.2-trillion, COVID-19 package approved by Congress, and signed by President Trump...
Congress has overwhelmingly approved a $2.2-trillion Coronavirus rescue package... and, shortly after, President Donald Trump signed it.  Local Representative Tom Reed says the measure tosses a life preserver to a U.S. economy and health care system left flailing by the COVID-19 pandemic.  During a time often heated partisanship... Reed says it was nice to see everyone united on the most colossal economic relief bill in the nation's history.  He says the package says in one voice to the nation that "we are united when it comes to the threat we see from this virus itself..." and, the "economic devastation" that's resulted from it.  Reed says the vote "should give hope to America that their elected officials in Washington, D-C set aside their partisanship, and political rhetoric, and acted as Americans today."  The bill will ship payments of up to $1,200 each to millions of Americans, bolster unemployment benefits, and offer loans, grants and tax breaks to businesses large and small. 


Reed says first case of COVID-19 in Cattaraugus County is not unexpected...
All Western New York Counties have now had at least one confirmed case of COVID-19.  The Cattaraugus County Health Department Friday reported their first of the pandemic... and, that it's in the northwest area of the county.  Congressman Reed reacted... saying this was not unexpected... but, adds it's important to find where the positive tests are, so we know who have it, and who doesn't.  Reed says that data is critical to knowing how soon we may be out of the current crisis.  The Corning Republican says he's agreed all along that the nation needed to ramp up testing on a larger scale to find where the outbreak has most affected the most people. 


Cuomo says state will be opening up four more, temporary hospitals in NYC...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state wants to build four more temporary hospitals in New York City before coronavirus cases peak.  During his daily press briefing... Cuomo said he's seeking authorization from the Trump administration to add 4,000 beds in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens.  He says members of his administration and the U-S Army Corps of Engineers had been scouting sites for the past few days.  The governor also says schools in New York state will remain closed for another two weeks until April 15th.  The number of COVID 19 cases in New York state has risen to more than 44,000... with more than 6,400 hospitalized.  By Friday... New York had logged a nation-high of 519 deaths since the pandemic began.


Public Safety agencies in Jamestown continuing operating at full capacity during COVID-19 outbreak...
There have been some procedural changes... but, both the Jamestown Police and Fire Departments are operating at full capacity... and, handling calls during the COVID-19 outbreak.  Both Police Chief Harry Snellings and Fire Battalion Chief Matt Coon addressed City Council this week about how they are handling the situation.  Snellings says it's basically using a lot of "common sense" and, asking questions when anyone from the public calls.  He says those are health specific, and he says police will respond, but that response may be different if COVID-19 is involved.  Coon says the fire department is also using additional protocols... especially when dealing with responding to accidents... or medical transports.  He says their rescue teams have received new direction on how to approach patients who reportedly have COVID-19... and, they are implementing those protocols.  Coon adds they have been sharing some of their personal protection equipment with the police department, and they are working with the county's Emergency Services Department to get more of that equipment.  Snellings says JPD has also thoroughly cleaned it's jail facility.


Six people arrested during major drug and weapons investigation stemming from Thursday shooting incident...
Six people -- three from Jamestown and three others from Buffalo -- have been arrested in the wake of Thursday's shooting incident on Jefferson Street on drug and weapons charges.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers obtained a search warrant for the 707 Jefferson location... and, found several guns, about 12-pounds of marijuana.. 1.2-grams of cocaine... and, $4,000 cash.  Samuelson says police arrested 29 year-old Anthony Burris at the scene.  After developing more information... he says members of the Jamestown Metro... and, Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Forces... learned that those involved in the shooting were hiting out at 438 Buffalo St.  Samuelson says investigators found two suspects coming from the home... and, they ran when police approached.  However... officers caught 21 year-old Torrie Jones and 26 year-old Mikial Moore... both of Buffalo.  Both are accused of tossing two handguns, marijuana, and crack-cocaine during the foot chase.  Drug agents then got a search warrant for 438 Buffalo St., and, found 7-grams of crack cocaine... and 4.7-grams of Fentanyl.  They also arrested 18 year-old Andre Jones of Buffalo... and, 47 year-old Eddie Melendez, and 39 year-old Mellisa Kestler of Jamestown.  All four face drug charges... while Jones, Moore, and Burris face weapons charges.

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WJTN News Headlines for Mar. 27, 2020

A Jamestown man is being treated for non-life threatening injuries following a reported "targeted" shooting on the city's westside late Thursday morning.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers were called to 707 Jefferson Street at 11:35 AM on a report of a shooting.  On arrival... police learned the man was shot during an argument that took place in the front yard.  Samuelson says several other callers also reported multiple shots being fire.  He says the victim had been able to drive himself to UPMC Chautauqua County, where he's being treated.  The investigation is continuing.  Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call JPD at 483-7537... of the anonymous tips line at 483-TIPS. You can also contact their Tips 4-1-1 app.


The number of new cases of the COVID-19 Virus in New York state continues to climb... and, the number of actual hospitalizations is also way up.  However... the rate of cases appears to have slowed somewhat.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo during his daily COVID-19 briefing in Albany Thursday.  He says they still need more ventilators... because some of those who end up on one are on much longer than the usual time of 3-to-4 days.  Overall... he says 80-percent of those getting the virus won't need hospitalization.

Cuomo says they now have approval... in some cases... to have one ventilator shared by two people.  He says the number of cases has increased to more than 37,000 in the state... with 5,300 now hospitalized.  Fiscally... Cuomo says the state is receiving $5-billion in the new, $2-trillion economic stimulus package being finalized in Congress.  However... he says that's strictly to cover COVID-19 related costs.  Cuomo says his financial team believes the state will lose 10-billion to 15-billion dollars in revenues in the coming fiscal year. 


There are no new positive cases of the COVID 19 Virus in Chautauqua County... and, there have now been 53 negative lab reports. County Executive P-J Wendel says that's a "positive sign that community mitigation strategies are working."  Wendel adds that people should keep practicing social distancing and everyday precautions to decrease the spread of illness.  At the same time... he says the county's goal is to "identify new cases quickly and prevent or limit secondary exposures to ensure public health and safety." 


Delivery of police services is important during critical times... and, Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone says they taking special precautions because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Quattrone says deputies and dispatchers are already following procedures when dealing with potential cases. Quattrone says dispatchers are asking medical screening questions before sending out deputies.  The Sheriff says he has also been in touch with other law enforcement agencies should the virus affect available manpower.

Quattrone adds that... if you call the County's 9-1-1 dispatch center... you will be asked a series of health-related questions.  He adds that responding officers are being advised of whether someone may have COVID-19 before their arrival on scene.

Two brothers from Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania accused in the armed hold-up of the Kwik Fill station there have been found, and arrested in Buffalo.  The Post-Journal reports that police took 20 year-old Joshua, and 19 year-old Aaron Jacoby into custody Wednesday... and, says they are suspected in several "active criminal cases" in the Buffalo-area.  State Police in Warren say Aaron Jacoby is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; robbery – threat of immediate bodily injury; and robbery – taking property by force; and Joshua Jacoby faces those charges plus a charge of theft by unlawful taking.  Investigators say the brothers went to the Kwik Fill station -- where they both worked -- late Tuesday night, March 17th -- and held up the clerk with a knife.  Both are being detained in Buffalo.


The suspect of a menacing complaint that involved a shotgun on the State Thruway in the town of Hanover on Wednesday, is now the focus of an investigation into explosives in the city of Niagara Falls.  State Police Troop A's Bureau of Criminal Investigation reports that possible explosives were located Wednesday evening in the residence of 47-year-old Jose Gandia in Niagara Falls and the area near the home had to be evacuated.  Gandia is being held while the investigation is ongoing.

 

New census figure show rural counties suffering the sharpest population drops in New York since 2010.  The population estimates for 2019 released Thursday show Hamilton County in the Adirondacks posted a state-high drop of almost 9-percent.  Delaware County posted an almost 8-percent drop and Chenango County saw a loss of close to 7%.  Experts say rural areas are caught in a mutually reinforcing down-cycle in which businesses shutter and people move away.  


The Jamestown Department of Public Works has announced the temporary road closure of  East Third Street starting today. The city's Director of Public Works Jeff Lehman says construction will begin on East Third Street from North Main to Pine Streets.  He says that portion of roadway will be closed for about a week. Motorists must use alternate routes of travel.

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WJTN News Headlines for 26

Jamestown police are investigating a reported shooting late this morning on the city's westside.  Officers were called to the area of 6 Jefferson Street... and, found one person hurt.  The victim was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital after being injured.  We'll have more when it becomes available.


A motion opposing a state budget amendment that would allow the "fast-tracking" of energy project siting in New York state has been approved by the county legislature.  Lawmakers... via video conference last night due to the COVID-19 outbreak... unanimously okayed the measure.  Brocton-area Republican Mark O'Dell sponsored the motion... and, says it rejects the removal of local governments and citizens groups, from the process.

County lawmakers have heard a tidal wave of concerns from north county residents... where a number of wind turbines have been located in recent years.  South County lawmakers also joined in... among them West Ellicott Republican Lisa Vanstrom... who says she disagrees with "the governor's overreach into our local government..." and, deciding what "we want in our own towns, villages and county."


There are no new positive cases of the Cornoavirus in Chautauqua County.  However... other exposure numbers are up.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says there are still three confirmed cases in the county... with another 11 in Mandatory Quarantine.  That's were people have been exposed to someone who has a confirmed case... or has someone in their household who had contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19.  In the meantime.... The first positive case of Coronavirus has surfaced in nearby Warren County Pennsylvania.  Public Information Officer Cecile Stelter says no specific information will be provided about the patient, except that the individual is in quarantine and receiving medical care.  


The two brothers accused of robbing the Sugar Grove Kwik Fill station in Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania last week have been found, and arrested in Buffalo.  The Post-Journal reports that police took 20 year-old Joshua, and 19 year-old Aaron Jacoby into custody... and, says they are suspected in several "active criminal cases" in the Buffalo-area.  State Police in Warren say Aaron Jacoby is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; robbery – threat of immediate bodily injury; and robbery – taking property by force; and Joshua Jacoby faces those charges plus a charge of theft by unlawful taking.  Investigators say the brothers went to the Kwik Fill station -- where they both worked -- late Tuesday night, March 17th -- and held up the clerk brandishing a knife.  Both are being detained in Buffalo.


The suspect of a menacing complaint that involved a shotgun on the State Thruway in the town of Hanover on Wednesday, is now the focus of an investigation into explosives in the city of Niagara Falls.  State Police Troop A's Bureau of Criminal Investigation reports that possible explosives were located Wednesday evening in the residence of 47-year-old Jose Gandia in Niagara Falls and the area near the home had to be evacuated. 

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WJTN NEWS HEADLINES FOR MAR 25, 2020

There is now a third confirmed case of Coronavirus in Chautauqua County.  That from Public Health Director Christine Schuyler... who says the newest case is a person from Ashville... who recently had traveled to New York City.  No other information was released... but, Schuyler says it is "very likely that our county will have more confirmed cases."  She says the goal is to identify new cases quickly and prevent or limit secondary exposures to ensure public health and safety.  Schulyer says there are now 14 people in manditory quarantine... and, 9 in precautionary quarantine.  She adds another 40 are in manditory isolation.


The first case of Coronavirus has surfaced in Warren County Pennsylvania.  The Warren Times-Observer says the patient is self-quarantined at home and is being monitored at this time. The newspaper reports Warren General Hospital was notified of the unindentified person's case this morning... according to WGH's Chief Executive Officer Rick Allen.  Allen says a tent used for screening COVID-19 patients is available at the hospital's emergency entrance "E". However, he says this is not a drive-up testing area.... and, only those with severe symptoms will be tested for the virus.  


The White House and Senate leaders of both major political parties have agreed on an unprecedented $2 trillion measure to rush aid to businesses, workers and a health care system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic. The urgently needed pandemic response measure is the largest economic rescue measure in history. It's intended as a weekslong or monthslong patch for an economy spiraling into recession and a nation facing a potentially ghastly toll. A top White House aide announced the agreement in a Capitol hallway early Wednesday. The deal caps days of often intense haggling and mounting pressure. The package still needs to be finalized in detailed legislative language.


There are more than 25-thousand confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York State and Governor Andrew Cuomo says the apex in the number of cases is coming sooner than expected.  Cuomo expects the apex to be reached in a couple of weeks.

Cuomo says they will also need more hospital beds... possibly 140,000.  That's 30,000 more than originally expected.  The governor says he is turning the state upside down to find enough beds... including the possible use of some State University of New York domitory beds.  Cuomo is also urging President Trump to use the Federal Defense Production Act to get more ventilators for the state. 


Two Jamestown residents were arrested on multiple felony charges after a large amount of narcotics were found inside their home and vehicle yesterday.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers saw 34 year-old Rocco Beardsley driving in the area of Locust Street shortly before noon.... and, learned he was wanted on a  city court warrant. Police pulled over Beardsley's vehicle.... and he reportedly took off on foot.  When attempting to get away, Officers say they saw Beardsley allegedly throw a bag containing a large amount of drugs under the car. He was taken to the City Jail. Around 12:30 PM... Samuelson says police executed a search warrant at 20 West Cowden Place.... and, found 27 year-old Kylie Reeves in possession of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and a large sum of cash.  Officers also found three children --under the age of 5-- inside the residence. Reeves was taken into custody and the children were turned over to family member. Samuelson says shortly before 4:30 PM... agents executed another warrant for the vehicle Beardsley was driving... and, found fentanyl, crystal methamphetamine, cocaine and 11 hydrocodone pills with a $20,000 street value. Both are being held pending arraignment.  Members of the Southern Tier Regional and Jamestown Metro Drug Task Forces also assisted with the investigation. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Mar. 24, 2020

Chautauqua County has it's first two cases of the Coronavirus... and, it involves two north county residents.  

During a Monday afternoon press conference... County Executive P-J Wendel said one is a woman in her 30s from Dunkirk, and the other is a man in his 30s from Silver Creek.  Wendel says both had been among about three-dozen people in "precautionary quarantine." 

Wendel says both had traveled recently to the Buffalo-area, where they were exposed separately to the COVID-19 Virus.  County Health and Human Services Commissioner Christine Schuyler says she "fully expects" to see more confirmed cases and, says as those are found, they will update the public.  Schulyer adds that... with it's first two cases now confirmed... the county will get a higher priority for help from the state and federal governments.  Chautauqua County had been one of the last hold-outs in the state with no confirmed cases as the week began.  However, 36 people were in "precautionary quarantine" as of Sunday. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo is renewing his call for President Trump to envoke the Defense Production Act to mandate certain manufacturers to mass produce health care equipment, and apparel.  Cuomo says he understands the reluctance to envoke the 1950 act but, he says this would NOT be to nationalize manufacturing.  He says it's to deal with an ever-increasing number of COVID 19 cases.

Cuomo says the state has been able to ramp up testing through it's approximately 200 laboratories and, says there were just over 5,700 new cases have been reported between Sunday noon and Monday noon.  With that, he's issued an order to increase hospital beds by 50-percent state-wide.  Of the nearly 21,000 Coronavirus cases in New York state, he says 157 people have now died.  New York is the only state to have more than 100 deaths so far.  California is second with 98.


Several Chautauqua County foundations and public service organizations have established a special fund to help human service agencies that are hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.  

It took only five days,  but, the foundations, along with the south and north county United Ways, Monday launched the Chautauqua County COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund with nearly $780,000 in it.  United Way of Southern Chautauqua County Executive Director Amy Rohler says money will be doled out in two phases, the first being for meeting the needs of seniors and "at-risk" populations.  The second will deal with longer-term issues.

Chautauqua Region Community Foundation Director Tory Irgang calls it an unprecidented effort, adding they want to seed this fund with one-million dollars.  Irgang says anyone can contribute to what is now a public effort.  For more information on the Crisis Response Fund and, how to qualify for funding, go on-line to Chautauquagrants.com.

  
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist is echoing Governor Cuomo’s call on manufacturers and other businesses to refocus their efforts on supplying health care equipment, and other needs.  

During last night's work session,Sundquist put out a call for local businesses to help fill a "critical shortage."  Development Director Crystal Surdyk says "during this time of crisis, we need businesses to step up.  The state is asking for help, and I know we have businesses that can do it."  They add the state is offering help to businesses to convert their facilities to produce critical medical supplies that are needed... including masks and ventilators.  If your business may be able to help out, call the Mayor's Office at 483-7600 or the Department of Development at 483-7541.


A drunk driver was arrested for driving over twice the legal limit with a child in the vehicle following a motor vehicle accident on Sunday.  

State Police were called to Miller Valley Road in Kennedy and, through investigation, learned 27 year-Brooke Lucas was traveling westbound when the car exited the roadway and struck a utility pole. Troopers say the unindentified child was sent to UPMC Hospital as a precaution, and Lucas was not hurt.  She was arrested for Leandra's Law violations after providing a breath sampled of point-19.  Lucas was released with appearance ticket for Poland Town Court at a later date. 

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WJTN Bulletin for Mon., Mar. 23, 2020

***Two Coronavirus cases now reported in Chautauqua County....
There have now been two confirmed cases of the COVID 19 Virus in Chautauqua County.  County Executive P-J Wendel and Health and Human Services Director Christine Schulyer report a woman in her 30s in Dunkirk and a man in his 30s in Silver Creek were both exposed to the Coronavirus when they traveled to Buffalo.  However... they are believed to be separate exposures.  The county was notified of the results this afternoon by the lab doing the testing. 

 

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WJTN News Headlines for Mar. 23, 2020

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is urging President Trump to use his authority to order manufacturer's to make more health care equipment and apparel necessary to combat the Coronavirus outbreak.  During his Sunday press conference in Albany... Cuomo said having it done voluntarily has drastically driven up the price, and there's still a short supply.  He says the president can do this under the Defense Production Act of 1950.

Cuomo says the number of deaths in the state from the COVID 19 outbreak has now exceeded 100... the most in the nation.  Most have been centralized in the New York City Metro area.  He says... while we don't know if this situation is going to be around for 4 or 8 months... the nation will get through this.  Cuomo's order banning 100-percent of "non-essential" workers took effect last night.  He says there are now just over 15,000 cases reported in New York state.  Cuomo says the state will be receiving federal money through the National Disaster Declaration approved by the president. 


All Jamestown City offices will be closed effective this morning to comply with Governor Cuomo's order to keep 100-percent of workers in non-essential jobs home during the COVID 19 outbreak.  In a weekend press release... Mayor Eddie Sundquist says while several employees won't be reporting to work... the police and fire departments will remain "fully-staffed."  Sundquist says some City employees will remain on call and all of those who can work from home will.  Employees will be checking department voicemail and will have access to email during this time.  There are new protocols for the Jamestown Police Department... and, they urge all non-emergency calls to go to dispatch... where they will be asked a series of health-related questions.  Officers will be observing social distance rules when they are out in the City.  City Hall will remain open for clients of the county's Department of Mental Hygiene... and, to make an appointment, call 661-8330.

While the number of new COVID-19 cases in New York state continue to increase... there are still none at this time in Chautauqua County.  That from County Health and Human Services Commissioner Christine Schuyler... who says the county's COVID-19 Response team met Sunday to evaluate the local situation.  Late last week... Schuyler called on local providers to give testing priority to those most at risk.

Schuyler says there are currently 36 people in precautionary quarantine status, and are being monitored daily.  However... she says they don't have an accurate number of individuals being tested for COVID-19 because not all health care providers are giving out that information.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says the state's new, 100-percent workforce reductions take effect for non-essential businesses.  However... there are several considered essential... including health care operations, utilities, telecommunications, food processing, grocery stores, and pharmacies.  In addition... Wendel says essential services also include trash collection, mail and shipping services, and the news media.  He says other details can be found on the Empire State Development's website. 


Despite the current restrictions... members of First Covenant and First Presbyterian churches in Jamestown found a way to gather Sunday... a 'drive-in' service conducted in the churches' side by side parking lots downtown.  Speaking by low-power FM radio to parishoners in their vehicles, Pastor Bob Hagel of First Presbyterian encouraged the faithful to do 'little things' like reaching out to neighbors, and listening to the advice of healthcare professionals.  Adam Rohler of First Covenant said, "While you can't change what's happening with the coronavirus, you can change your outlook on life... you have a choice."  The service concluded with an 'amen' of car horns.


Noted area surgeon Burt Rappole marked his 80th birthday on Sunday.  His wife Mary says a friend suggested a way for former patients to celebrate... sewing 250 face masks to be sent to New York City.  Rappole received his training at Bellevue Hospital in New York.   Mary Rappole says there are youtube videos that show how the masks can be made.  They are being collected in totes outside Zion Covenent Church on Fairmount Avenue near Jamestown, and at Randolph United Methodist Church.  You may email her for more information at MaryRappole@gmail.com.

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News Headlines for Sat., Mar. 21, 2020

Cuomo orders "non-essential" businesses to reduce workforce by 100-percent Sunday night... 
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has risen above 8,000 across New York State... and, Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to direct changes in the work place.  During a news conference in Albany late this morning... Cuomo announced a 100-percent reduction in non-essential workers.   He adds that the changes will be enforced with civil fines and mandatory closures.  Cuomo emphasized the need for reducing the density.  Cuomo says only "essential" businesses can have worker on site.  He says everyone else must "remain indoors to the greatest extent" possible.  According to the latest figures released by the governor on Friday, there are now more than 8,000 confirmed cases across the state, including 2,950 new cases.  There have been 46 fatalities.  Most of the positive cases are in New York City.  While non-essential services are being shut-down Sunday night... others... including restaurants, major stores that provide grocery, and gas stations do remain open.  However... a reminder that the restaurants on only on a take-out or delivery basis.


All Barbershops, Hair Salons ordered Closed as of tonight...
The four eastern state's that have joined together to implement restrictions on businesses due to the Coronavirus outbreak have announced new density reductions for personal care services.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his counterparts in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut have ordered all barbershops, hair salons, tattoo or piercing parlors, nail salons, hair removal services, and related personal care services will be closed to members of the public effective tonight -- Saturday, March 21st at 8 p.m.  They say these services cannot be provided while maintaining social distance.  Last night... the four governors announced that indoor portions of retail shopping malls, as well as amusement parks and bowling alleys in the four states would close by 8 PM last night.  During his morning press conference Saturday, Cuomo discussed the possiblity of using arenas and convention centers as triage locations if they are needed.


Jamestown Police issued new protocols during Coronavirus outbreak...
The Jamestown Police Department says they are continuing to provide public safety to the city and it's residents.  However... Police Chief Harry Snellings says they will be taking precautions during the virus outbreak designed to help JPD respond to calls better, and safely.  Snellings says when you call the dispatch, or command center the call will be screened for health-related issues.  For non-emergency calls... the chief says they will determine whether it can be handled over the phone... and, an officer will call back to take the report.  When an officer needs to respond to a scene... he says they'll be practicing safe social distancing.  Snellings also urges people to call them first before coming into their reception area.  He adds their patrols will remain out in the community. 


Schumer calls on clarity on border restrictions between U-S and Canada...
New York's senior U-S Senator is calling on the Department of Homeland Security to clarify travel restrictions it is imposing on the U-S -- Canadian border.  Democratic Minority Leader Charles Schumer says Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf has not started what constitutes "essential" and non-essential traffic over the border.  Schumer says it's creating confusion for Western New Yorkers, many of whom either work in Canada, or depend on Canadians who commute to New York for work.  Schumer argued that area hospitals are dependent on the presence of hundreds of Canadian doctors and health care professionals who commute to Upstate New York every day, especially in major medical hubs like Buffalo.  Schumer recently was able to help secure an an additional $6-billion dollars for New York to support the state’s fight against the coronavirus.


Local pastor talks about faith, and preaching the word during COVID-19 outbreak...
Like most organizations and businesses in Chautauqua County... local churches have also had to adapt with the closing of most -- if not all -- through one of the high-holy times of the Christian calender.  Many churches are already been closed through Easter... but, many have been finding new and creative ways to get the message out to their congregations.  St. Luke's Episcopal Church Rector Father Luke Fodor says they will have their 10 a.m. service this Sunday.  However... it will only be live streamed on the Internet... something they've been doing the past couple of years for people who can't attend.  Fodor says they now have to "re-calculate" how their service happens to engage people -- yet provide social distance.  He says finding comfort in a time of turmoil, uncertainty, and anxiety can be difficult.  He recalled a quote by Mr. Rogers -- Fred Rogers -- who was also an ordained minister.  He said "look for the helpers" or those who comfort us.  He also says now is the time for people to look beyond themselves... and, reflect on what's important.  Fodor says local pastors are all taking the Coronavirus outbreak situation on a "day-by-day" basis.


Cattaraugus County announces Emergency Ops Center now open...
Cattaraugus County Officials have announced its Emergency Operations Center will monitor and manage the coronavirus pandemic. The center is located at 303 Court Street in Little Valley, will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.  According to their county website, there are no positive cases of COVID-19 in Cattaraugus, but 82 people are in mandatory quarantine.... 14 remain in precautionary quarantine.... and, they're awaiting the results of 33 samples.

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WJTN News Headlines for Mar. 20, 2020

There are now more than 4,100 positive cases of COVID-19 in New York State, including nearly 1,700 new cases.  

Because of the increase in confirmed cases statewide, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that he has raised the requirement of employees working from home from 50 percent to 75 percent.

Cuomo says it's part of the ongoing effort to try and control the spread of the virus.  On the positive side... he says more than 100 people who tested positive have now recovered and the state's first reported case of COVID 19 appears to now be free of the virus after recovering at home.

There are still no confirmed cases of the COVID 19 Virus in Chautauqua County, but Health and Human Services Commissioner Christine Schuyler is urging residents to remain vigliant.  

During a Thursday afternoon press conference in Mayville to update status of the county, Schuyler noted that 35 people are now in precautionary quarantine.  County Executive P-J Wendel provided more information from the state about the restrictions that will soon be imposed on what are considered to be "non-essential" businesses and workplaces.  He says the first step will be taken tonight, when a 50-percent reduction in on-site workers will be enacted.  The 75-percent reduction will take effect at 8 PM Sunday night.  Schuyler added that they are awaiting test results for 32 people.  She says 80-percent of the people who get the virus will experience no to mild symptoms.  Schuyler urges residents who are sick to be in contact with their health care provider to determine if they need to be tested because the number of test kits available remains low in the region.    


The Seneca Nation announced that a non-Seneca employee of the Seneca Nation has tested positive for the coronavirus.  

In a printed release, President Rickey Armstrong-senior says,  "we were notified that an employee of our Health System has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19. That individual showed excellent judgment in remaining away from the Health System and away from Seneca territory upon feeling ill, and our thoughts are with them. We will work cooperatively with Erie County health officials to provide any information we can, in order to assist all necessary response and notification measures." At this time, Armstrong says the Nation has closed the Allegany Health Center, Cattaraugus Health Center and Cattaraugus Wellness Center. The unidentified employee is a resident of Erie County and last reported to work on March 12th. 


The indoor areas of shopping malls, amusement parks and bowling alleys in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania closed last night as restrictions increase in the effort to fight the spread of coronavirus.  

New York state is also now asking many businesses here to decrease their in-office workforce by 75-percent by late Sunday.  It's raised several questions about what businesses and industry can remain fully-staffed and which cannot.  Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Tranum says one area is defense contracting work.

Tranum says they are also looking into the matter because a lot of medical items are also made here.  Even with state directives that have closed in-house dining at local restaurants, many have remained open with carry-out, or delivery service.  Tranum says they have a full page of businesses that remain open during the time they are required to close their indoor service.  He says that information can be found at chqbuylocal.com 


Cattaraugus County health officials are warning those who visited Holimont Ski Resort in Ellicottville early this month that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 -- the novel Coronavirus.  

The Cattaraugus County Health Department reports on it's social media today that an Essex County woman visited the resort between March 3rd and 8th.  During her visit, she did not exhibit symptoms of the virus, but they began to show days later, on March 12th.  Officials say anyone who was in the vicinity of the U-14 Race, or the resort, in general, on those days, may have been exposed to the virus.  Anyone who experiences symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath or a fever should monitor themselves.  If the symptoms do not appear by March 22nd, you were likely not exposed.


It's more important than ever that the public practice 'social distancing' in order to protect themselves and the vulnerable populations from the Coronavirus.  

In the meantime, Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel says, "As long as you remain in good health, maintain social distancing, good hygiene, and common sense, there's still a lot of things to do in Chautauqua County." He says the include going for a walk outside, to the park or learning how to a cook a new recipe. 

In a recent COVID-19 update sent to local media, Wendel also suggests now is the time to support local businesses who are providing takeout and delivery services. He says they will continue to release information as soon as possible on their Facebook Page and County website, in an effort to prevent the virus from spreading and keeping the public informed. As of Wednesday, Chautauqua County had no confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus.  But, the Chautauqua County Health and Human Services Department says there are currently 20 people in precautionary quarantine. There are also no confirmed cases in Cattaraugus or Warren Counties.


New York's senior U-S Senator is calling on the Department of Homeland Security to clarify travel restrictions it is imposing on the U-S -- Canadian border.  

Democratic Minority Leader Charles Schumer says Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf has not started what constitutes "essential" and non-essential traffic over the border.  Schumer says it's creating confusion for Western New Yorkers, many of whom either work in Canada, or depend on Canadians who commute to New York for work.  Schumer argued that area hospitals are dependent on the presence of hundreds of Canadian doctors and health care professionals who commute over the border -- especially to Buffalo.


Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issued a sweeping shutdown order to tens of thousands of "non-life-sustaining" businesses Thursday. 

The governor decreed they had to close their physical locations by 8 p.m. last night, to slow the spread of the coronavirus or face enforcement by state police and other government agencies.  It was among the harshest measures yet taken by a U.S. governor in response to the virus pandemic. Republicans warned of economic devastation and accused Wolf of setting off panic.

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News Bulletin for Thurs., Mar. 19, 2020

***Catt. Co. Department of Health reports possible COVID 19 exposure at Holimont Ski Resort...

Cattaraugus County health officials are warning those who visited Holimont Ski Resort in Ellicottville early this month that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 -- the novel Coronavirus.  The Cattaraugus County Health Department reports on it's social media today that an Essex County woman visited the resort between March 3rd and 8th.  During her visit, she did not exhibit symptoms of the virus, but they began to show days later, on March 12th.  Officials say anyone who was in the vicinity of the U-14 Race, or the resort, in general, on those days, may have been exposed to the virus.  Anyone who experiences symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath or a fever should monitor themselves.  If the symptoms do not appear by March 22nd... you were likely not exposed.

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WJTN News Headlines for Mar. 19, 2020

Businesses that rely on in-office personnel in New York state are coming to terms with the governor's latest order concerning staffing in the midst of the corona virus outbreak.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he is requiring many businesses in New York to decrease their in-office workforce by 50%, the latest in a series of restrictions to keep the virus from spreading. The exexcutive order will go into effect Friday.  Certain businesses, thought to be key to maintaining the economy and fighting the virus are exempt: shipping firms, media ,warehousing businesses, grocery and food production companies, pharmacies, health care providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions... and other industries critical to the supply chain.  The governor acknowledged the challenge it presents to business owners.  There's no indication as to how long the rule would be in place.


Concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic have already left their mark on businesses across the United States, including Chautauqua County.

County Executive P-J Wendel says he supports Governor Andrew Cuomo's executive order to close gyms, casinos, movie theaters and restrict restaurants to offer only take-out and delivery services in response to the virus. However, Wendel says what's 'most challenging' is the lack of follow-up for County Government Officials when community businesses look to them for guidance.

The County Executive reiterated that he supports the Governor  and, the measures taken to keep the public safe and healthy. With that, Wendel says he would like to see more guidance from Governor Cuomo's office in a time manner so that legislators can offer more support to these businesses that are struggling during the outbreak. He says this is a concern with multiple counties across New York State. 


Chautauqua County government has released a plan to reduce its on-site staff by 50 percent in an effect to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

County Executive PJ Wendel has announced the plan is in response to an executive order issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday.  Next Wednesday's County Legislature meeting will be live-streamed on the County's Facebook page.  Wendel says, In lieu of making a statement in person, any and all comments to the Legislature that would be presented by the public, should be emailed prior to the meeting to the Legislature's clerk.  
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In addition, CARTS will be adjusting public transportation services starting March 19th and,  All Saturday City Route Service will be suspended until further notice.   CARTS Demand Response will be operating but in a limited capacity for essential transportation only. Contact CARTS for more information by calling 665-6466.  The Chauauqua Adult Day Care program has also been cancelled through April 6th.  Additional information in regards to the workforce reduction plan can be found at CHQgov.com or the Chautauqua County Facebook Page. 

Seeds planted with community organizations for the Jamestown schools' summer literacy program have blossomed in a new way, helping with childcare in the current shutdown.  

School Superintendent Bret Apthorpe says the YWCA, YMCA, A Children's Place and Chautauqua Opportunities are working with the district to provide childcare at Ring and Fletcher Schools for students age three through 5th grade.  Registrations were being taken Wednesday at those schools.  More information is available at the district's website, jpsny.org.  Regarding the new 'learning at home' component of student education, the superintendent recommends young people send daily, written message to relatives.  Apthorpe says it will bring light to older relatives, and help the students with their reading and writing skills.  For relatives who are most vulnerable to the corona virus, he says that may be the best way to stay in touch.  
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Mar. 18, 2020

Chautauqua County officials are working on a plan to reduce county goverment "on-site" staffing by 50-percent in an effecot to combat the spread of the novel Coronavirus.  Executive P-J Wendel says this is a result of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s March 16th Executive Order to local governments to reduce their overall on-site staff by half... and, allow non-essential employees to work from home.  Wendel says he's "working with department heads on our plan to reduce Chautauqua County Government’s on site-staff by 50 percent... We are currently evaluating our services and seeing where we can have employees work remotely from home and what offices may be closed or have limited services and staffing."  He stressed that this reduction in staffing will not impact essential COVID-19 response personnel or public safety personnel.  Wendel says they anticipate having the plan in place by the end of the day today.


Chautauqua County's representatives in the state legislature are calling on Governor Cuomo and fellow lawmakers to help the hospitality industry and small business owners who have experienced sharp revenue declines due to the COVID-19 crisis.  State Senator George Borrello agrees that "safeguarding public health is an urgent priority right now..." adding they are being imposed by the state to minimize the spread of Coronavirus.  However... he says there has been collateral damage to small businesses.  With that... he is proposing a number of actions... including an exemption of unemployment insurance rate increases.  Local Assemblyman Andy Goodell has also voiced strong support for the moves.


Jamestown Community College is ready for its 'distance education plan'  to go into effect on Thursday.  Dr. Kirk Young, Vice-President of Student Affairs says the college had originally hoped to offer some limited 'in person' education. The college will be operating with minimal staff, but some essential services will be maintained... as some students are still in the dorms.  Those are international students and a few from New York City and other places... who feel safer here than at home.  Dr. Young adds all members of the administration have been working overtime to quickly and effective put the new 'distance education plan' in place for JCC. 

The Ellicott Town Board has approved two measures opposing the city of Jamestown's proposed annexation of four-acres of land in Falconer.  The Town Board Monday night approved both items... rejecting the city's taking of the Board of Public Utilities Dow Street Substation property.  Town Supervisor Pat McLaughlin says the first regarding the city's findings that the action would not have an adverse environmental impact on the town.

McLaughlin says they don't agree that the public interest is served by the annexation.  As the matter likely moves onto court... all three entities opposing the effort have spent more than $300,000 on legal fees.  McLaughlin says they'll be able to handle their costs... but, adds it's disappointing because Jamestown's new mayor initially said he opposed going forward with the action.  McLaughlin says the Falconer Village Board will act on the same two measures at it's meeting next Monday night.  The Falconer Central School District doesn't have a formal vote on the matter.

The Salvation Army is calling on the community to help people in need... as the effects of the COVID-19 virus reverberate through the economy. Major Kim Merchant of the Salvation Army in Jamestown, says they need canned goods, hygeine products, masks, gloves and disinfectant... as well as financial contributions.  People who would like to contribute food or other products are asked to call 664-4108 to arrange drop-off at 83 South Main Street in Jamestown.  Checks can be mailed directly to that location.  The Major says they've changed their food pantry procedures to keep the public and staff safe during the virus emergency.   While some church activities have been cancelled, regular Sunday worship services will continue at the Salvation Army Chapel.  


Some relief should be coming soon to people who have either lost their jobs, or will be out of work temporarily, due to the Coronavirus outbreak.  Southern Tier Congressman Tom Reed says an intial relieve measure... which was approved by the House late last week... will go before the Senate shortly... and, it's expected to pass.  Reed says some technical language has been tweeked... but, the main parts remain intact.

Once the Senate takes action... President Trump is expected to sign the bill quickly.  Reed says the president is also looking at an 850-billion dollar stimulus package that will be geared towards helping small businesses get through the current crisis.  He says it is certainly good news that there have been no COVID 19 outbreaks in the immediate area... and he's been in constant contact with local and county officials about their situations.  He says he believes the nation will have a better handle on the Coronavirus in the next two weeks.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Mar. 17, 2020

Citing the lack of federal direction and nationwide standards, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, along with the governors from New Jersey and Connecticut announced Monday a regional approach to combating the novel coronavirus.  Among the actions, he says, is the closing of movie theaters, gyms and casinos effective at 8 PM last night.

As of Noon Monday, Cuomo says the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the state has reached 950, including 221 new cases.  So far, there have been no confirmed cases in Chautauqua County and, the county's Department of Health and Human Services reported Monday there are four people in precautionary quarantine.

 

The city of Jamestown is following the lead of Chautauqua County and, has now issued a State of Emergency beginning today due to the Coronavirus outbreak.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist made the declaration during a morning press conference at City Hall Monday with School Superintendent Bret Apthorpe.  Sundquist is urging residents to be vigilant and, avoid large crowds.

Sundquist said he has directed the police department to "spot check" businesses to be in compliance with state and county public health directives, adding he's pleased to see local restaurants transitioning to curbside and "drive-thru only" status.  As for City Hall, he says all passports will be issued by the Jamestown Post Office this month, and for April.  He says they are also limiting business at City Hall in general, you're asked to go to their website at Jamestownny.net or call ahead. 

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Additionally, Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas is declaring a state of emergency for the city in preparation for any actions or precautions necessary to combat COVID-19. Monday's Common Council meeting, including four public hearings, were cancelled. Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek also declared a State of Emergency for the village of Fredonia.


The Jamestown Public Schools have also closed through April 20th temporarily, but Superintendent Bret Apthorpe says they are preparing for further measures in the future if necessary.  During the City Hall press conference, Apthorpe says his team has developed a plan with three key components.  He says the first is to continue learning outside the classroom, and also deliver 5,000 meals to students.

Apthorpe says that's because more than 30-percent of district students live in poverty, and many take advantage of the school's "free lunch program."  The other component is providing essential child care for families that will have children home for the foreseeable future.  Apthorpe says you can go to the district's home page at jpsny-dot-ORG.  He says the child care will be set up at each of their nine schools so they can keep numbers down to ensure proper "social distancing."  We have put this morning's press conference at City Hall on our website at MediaOneGroupRadio.com, it will appears on the "Community Spotlight" part of our Local News section.


Jamestown's Prendergast Library has announced it is closing until further notice.  Library officials this afternoon sent out a notice to the community saying they are doing this to "avoid the promotion of public gatherings."  While it will be closed, they say all late fees on returned items will be waived.  If you would like to return materials, they can be returned through the library's bookdrop located by the front entrance.  The library's reference desk can be reached at 484-7135 extention 225.  We will be taking calls from 10 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday.  Voicemails can be left after hours.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Mar. 16, 2020

Chautauqua County is now under a local State of Emergency, making 40 counties now in New York state doing so to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak.  

However, there have still been no one who has tested positive for the COVID 19 Virus.  That from Interim County Executive P-J Wendel, who hosted a press conference with other officials in Mayville yesterday afternoon.  While there have been no positive Coronavirus cases, Health and Human Services Commissioner Christine Schuyler says four people have now been tested.  She says three have tested negative, while the results of one other test is pending.  She still urged residents to take precautions because the threat of COVID 19 cases are likely.  She says use good handwashing, cover your cough, and if you don't feel well, stay home.  She also says people need to clean common surfaces in their homes with a good anti-bacterial soap, or sanitary wipes.  Both Schuyler and Wendel stressed the need to stay calm, noting that most of the serious cases in the state have involved the elderly, and those with serious underlying issues such as respiratory illnesses.  Wendel says the State of Emergency will be in effect for 30-days, pending changes in the outbreak's status.


County officials are also strongly recommending that ALL school districts in Chautauqua County close as of this Wednesday, March 18th, in an effort to slow the potential spread of Coronavirus.... 

However, some have already closed for the foreseeable future.  Health and Human Services Commissioner Christine Schuyler adds that during the time students will be out of school,  it's important to stay home to help prevent community spread of COVID 19.  She adds that it's important for them to avoid people who have compromised immune systems.  As of 9 PM Sunday, these schools have closed for an indefinate period of time.  They are Falconer, Frewsburg, Chautauqua Lake and Bemus Point.  In addition, the Jamestown Public Schools, and Southwestern District have closed through Monday, April 20th.  Cassadaga Valley is closed for today, but they will be evaluating their situation.  In addition, the Erie-2, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus County BOCES locations in Ashville and Fredonia are closed today.


County officials are also urging residents to be respectful and patience during this time in the wake of people buying up large amounts of supplies at local grocery stores.  

Sheriff Jim Quattrone says there is no need to panic about stores possibly running out of items such as toilet paper, sanitary wipes, and other items that have been flying off the shelves.

County Executive Wendel says they have been in contact with both Wegman's and Tops Markets, and they say they have "no gaps in their supply chains."  He says if the store happens to be out of something, they should be restocked by the following day.  Some stores -- including Tops and Wegman's -- are now closing during the overnight hours to do cleaning, and re-stocking of shelves.  As for 911, Quattrone urges people to call only if there is an emergency.  Otherwise, he says there are state and county websites with information.
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Quattrone also says, during this time period, they will not be allowing visitors to have in-person contacts with inmates at the Chautauqua County Jail.


In Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf is ordering the closure of all schools for two weeks, as the state takes sweeping measures aimed at slowing the spread of the new coronavirus.  

Wolf also announced last Friday that, starting Saturday, he was extending a day-old shutdown order affecting Montgomery County to Delaware County, another heavily populated Philadelphia suburb.  The order affecting more than 1.7-million school children in public and private K-12 schools came as confirmed cases in the state leaped to 41 from 22, including the state's first cases west of the Susquehanna River.  Wolf a day earlier ordered all schools, day cares and other facilities closed in hard-hit Montgomery County. 

 

Despite concerns over the coronavirus, the show went on at Southwestern.....

All Shook Up' concluded Saturday night.  Director, Christine Beichner-Miller, knows it was a close call. Ms. Donahue is Maureen Donahue, the Southwestern Schools Superintendent.  As the final curtain fell, Beicher-Miller was relieved... saying they were thrilled to be able showcase what they had worked so hard for.  The usual 'greeting of the cast' in the Southwestern front hall was not permitted for the run of 'All Shook Up.'  Patrons were asked to leave the building as soon as the performance ended.  

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WJTN Headlines for Sat., Mar. 14, 2020

Appellate Court dismisses Young's Arson indictment...
The state's Fourth Department Appellate Division in Rochester has dismissed a 25-count indictment against a Jamestown-area man accused of setting more than a dozen fires two years ago in Jamestown and Falconer.  The Post-Journal reports that the unanimous ruling in favor of Jonathan Young was part of an appeal made by the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office in December.  It regarded statements that were ruled inadmissible by County Court Judge David Foley following a 2018 Huntley hearing.  The D-A’s office had been hoping the justices would allow Young’s statements to be heard in court.  The statements were gathered after Young had fled to Butler, PA after a rash of fires that broke out in the Jamestown-area.  While in Pennsylvania... Young was questioned by Troopers... something the court said "violated his indelible right to counsel."  Young was released from the county jail... and, D-A Patrick Swanson says he'll be reviewing his options regarding the decision.


NYS has first death due to Coronavirus in New York City...
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state has reported its first death in the coronavirus pandemic, an 82-year-old woman who had been previously hospitalized with emphysema.  Cuomo said Saturday that she died the day before at a hospital in New York City.  More than 500 New Yorkers have been officially been diagnosed so far with COVID-19.  But Cuomo says he believes perhaps tens of thousands of New Yorkers already have the disease.  The true number of people with the virus in the state is unknown because testing is still being done across the U.S. on a very limited basis. 


Reed moves to calm fears in wake of Coronavirus outbreak, as president declares national emergency, House acts on relief package for those affected...
Like President Trump... local Congressman Tom Reed is moving to calm fears about how the nation is dealing with the Coronavirus outbreak.  Reed said late this week that negotiations continued between the White House and Congress on an aid package that would have bi-partisan support.  Early this morning... the House approved legislation to provide direct relief to Americans suffering physically, financially and emotionally from the pandemic. The action comes after President Donald Trump declared the outbreak a national emergency, freeing up money and resources to fight it, then threw his support behind the congressional package.  The aid package from Congress would provide free tests, sick pay for workers and bolster food programs. The crush of activity caps a tumultuous week in Washington.  The president declared a National Emergency over the COVID 19 Virus outbreak, which frees up nearly $50-billion to help states and cities.  He is also asking every hospital in the U-S to activate their Emergency Prepardness Plan.


SUNY College at Fredonia tells students to go home in wake of virus...
"A lot of people are kind of in shock."  That's the way State University College at Fredonia freshman Sofia Isabella described the climate on campus as the semester abruptly comes to an end on Friday.  Sofia says it's not as bad a situation for her, because home is only 45-minutes away.  However... she says others aren't able to leave yet because the situation is more problematic where they live.  Students will attempt to get classes on-line for the rest of the semester... but, Sofia says, as a music student, that'll be tough because she has a violin class that she's taking that's a "hands-on course..." so she's not sure if she'll be able to get credit for it.  Before going to college, Sofia was a member of the staff here at Media One Radio Group.


Jackals hold season-endig dinner at Celoron hotel...
Fans of the Jamestown Jackals pro basketball team got one more chance to see the team... but it wasn't on the court, it was at the dinner table.  At a news conference Thursday, announcing the cancellation of the rest of the season, owner and founder Kayla Crosby said there would be a farewell meal Friday at the Harbor Hotel in Celoron.  Crosby says it served as a fund-raiser to help pay team expenses through the season.  One of the players, Anthony Estes, expressed the frustration of many on the team.  Estes says it's tough seeing their season end when they were number-two in the league.  Crosby thanked the community and the team's sponsors for their support. 


Media One Spring Home and Recreation Show is going on!...
The Media One Group's Spring Home and Recreation Show is still happening at the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood.  During regular mall hours today through Sunday, vendors will be available, including Ray Wakely's RV Center and Bath Fitter of Erie. There will also be prize giveaways and Half-Off Certificates available at the Media One Booth. In a printed release... the Chautauqua Mall announced they will be take extra precautions by increasing the frequency and intensity in cleaing practices during the Home Show. The mall will also have hand sanitizing stations available to visitors.  Home Show hours today are until 9 p.m., and, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. 


County High School All-Star Basketball Game called off due to virus concerns...
After some discussion among members of the county's Basketball Officials Association... Board 39 has decided to postpone the annual Chautauqua County High School Allstar Game... which was scheduled for next Wednesday, March 18th.  In a message sent to committee members President Tom Heppler says -- given current circumstances -- "I feel it is best that the event be postponed."


 

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WJTN News Headlines for Mar. 13, 2020

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state is banning all gatherings with 500 or more people in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.  The governor said Thursday the ban would start for most places at 5 PM Friday.  Broadway theaters would be affected earlier.  Cuomo said venues of under 500 people can only be filled to half their capacity.  The ban does not apply to schools, hospitals, nursing homes and mass transit.  Some of New York City's cultural institutions announced they are temporarily shutting down because of the virus, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall.  The virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough for most people. 


State, county and local elected leaders were in the north county Thursday to update the local response to Coronavirus in Chautauqua County.  County Director of Health and Human Services Christine Schuyler says there are still no confirmed cases in the county, and two persons remain in precautionary quarantine.  She advises residents to use routine precautions... State Assemblyman Andy Goodell echoed those sentiments.

However, Section 6 announced earlier that the Far West Regional Basketball play-offs have been called off as of now.  Officials say there remains of "low risk" of getting COVID-19 in the area and, County Executive P-J Wendel urged calm, and that people don't need to horde items at stores.  State Senator George Borrello, Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek and, Pomfret Town Supervisor Dan Pacos also attended the event in Fredonia.

The New York State Amatuer Hockey Association has announced all national tournaments have been cancelled due to concerns over the Coronavirus. Association President Joe Baudo says the decision was passed down from USA Hockey "to avoid putting at risk our players, coaches, officials and others by traveling to and attending nationals." This includes the state tournaments featuring the Jamestown Lakers bantam, midget and pee-wee teams.  More information can be found at NYSAHA.com. 


Earlier, the governor announced all SUNY campuses will transfer to on-line learning by March 19th because of virus fears.  Jamestown Community College President Dr. Daniel DeMarte issued a statement last night saying that 'JCC is not closing' but will work to reduce exposure to COVID-19, using distance or alternative modes of delivery for classes and limiting open houses, athletic and community events.  He emphasized that all JCC sites and residence halls will remain open.
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A popular weekend event has been cancelled due to the governor's ban on events attended by 500 or more people.  The Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce announced late yesterday that the annual "Turn the River Green" St. Patrick's Day celebration on the Riverwalk has been called off.  The chamber's Sheila Webster says it's "not feasible to hold this event, which draws a very large crowd" each year.


The Chautuaqua County Humane Society says 14 dogs allegedly abandoned in a trailer are now safe thanks to their joint-efforts with the Sheriff's Office and the Village of Panama's Animal Control Officer Aaron Constantino, that from CCHS Community Relations Manager Brian Papalia. Papalia says Deputies received complaints from residents on School Street in Panama about loud barking, which appeared to originate from the unoccupied trailer.  He says on March 8th, Officers received a warrant to make entry and members of the Humane Society were called to help assess the condition of the dogs.  Fortunately, he says most of the dogs are in "pretty good health."  Director of Animal Services Sue Bobek says they found no sign of food or water and the dogs were trying to eat snow as they came out of the trailer.  She says with some patience and compassion, they should learn to trust and bond with people and, become loving members to families.  The Humane Society is also looking for potential foster homes and donations to help the 14 dogs. For more information,call 665-2209 or visit CHQHumane.org.

There was a large turn-out of people from a number of agencies and organizations at Jamestown's Prendergast Library this afternoon for the "kick-off" meeting of the city's Census Complete Count Committee.  The U-S Census formally begins on April 1st but, officials with the local effort say mailings and on-line contacts will take place between now and March 20th.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist was on hand and, commended the panel for what they're doing.

Sundquist says the Census effort is a "big" deal because how much funding the city gets from federal and state programs depends on those numbers.  He says they're letting people know that the Census will be done in three different "waves."  He says the first will be where people get a letterand, will receive information about completing the Census form on-line.  He says if you don't have access to a computer -- or the Internet -- there will be places like the Prendergast Library where people can go.  Several volunteer, non-profit, governmental, and faith-based organizations attended the meeting. 


Fans of the Jamestown Jackals pro basketball team will have one more chance to see the team, but it won't be on the court, it'll be at the dinner table.  At a news conference Thursday, announcing the cancellation of the rest of the season, owner and founder Kayla Crosby said there'll be a fundraising farewell meal tonight (Friday) at 6 PM at the Harbor Hotel in Celoron. There's no fixed cost, but reservations are required. Email kayla@jamestownjackals.com to sign up. One of the players, Anthony Estes, expressed the frustration of many on the team, saying they are 'ready to play' and sad that they can't, particularly since the team is in second place in the league.  Kayla Crosby thanked the community and the team's sponsors.  She said it was the best season in the five year history of the Jackals. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 8, 2020

Jamestown Public Schools are hoping for the best, but planning for worse in regards to whether or not classrooms will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. District Superintendent B...

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