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Local News Headlines

News Bulletin for Tues., Dec. 1, 2020

(*Bulletin)COVID-19 outbreak reported at Chautauqua Co. Jail...

The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak in the county jail in Mayville.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone says they are working closely with the Health Department after four inmates with symptoms tested positive Tuesday morning.  Following that... all inmates in the housing unit were tested.  Quattrone say corrections officers were also tested.  He says out of 48 inmates tested... there were 26 positive tests... and, one of the seven corrections staff came back positive.  Disease investigation and contact tracing is underway by public health staff.  Due to concern over spread of the virus... facility-wide testing will be conducted today.  Inmates who tested positive have been isolated, and those who tested negative have been quarantined.  The Health Department has also appropriately isolated correctional staff who tested positive.  More information will be released as soon as it is available.

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WJTN News Headlines for Dec. 1, 2020


Taxes will remain flat in the city of Jamestown next year after the City Council unanimously approved a $34.8-million dollar budget that restores one-million dollars to the spending plan.  It eliminates Mayor Eddie Sundquist's original proposal to go with a new health insurance plan for retirees that may have saved just over a-million dollars.  Council President Tony Dolce commended Sundquist for his efforts to try and find savings in the budget.

That process included acting on 17 amendments... 16 of which was approved.  Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund called it the "most difficult budget" she's worked on in her time on council, and says even restoring the insurance money and using rainy day funds is "very concerning." The budget does include an additional $200,000 and between the contingency account and undesignated fund balance... lawmakers put just over $636,000 back into the general fund.  The spending plan did eliminate the Recreation Coordinator's position... a savings of $53,000.  It also keeps a maintenance mechanic position part-time... a savings of 37-thousand dollars.  The budget had to be approved by Midnight last night.

The first major winter storm of the season has moved into the area.  Forecaster Tony Ansuini of the National Weather Service in Buffalo says the storm moved up the Appalachian Mountains Monday... and, once it moves off to the north... temperatures will drop and snow will begin falling.  Ansuini says the snow will continue through Wednesday.  Once the storm passes, he says there will be some 'lake enhancement,' with total accumlations depending on where you live.  Ansuini says Jamestown could see 6 to 10 inches of snow by later Wednesday.  The Winter Storm Warning runs through 1 PM Wednesday for Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties.  Warren County has a Winter Weather Advisory. 


There are 69 new cases of the COVID-19 virus being reported in Chautauqua County the past day... and, one new death.  County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says the death was a person in their 70s who died due to complications from COVID-19... and, their "sincere condolences go out to their loved ones."  Schuyler says this is the county's 19th death from the virus.  She adds there have now been 111 new cases of COVID reported the past three days... and, 162 cases are now active.  Schuyler says 23 of those cases were in Jamestown... while there were 16 in Dunkirk... and, 15 in Fredonia.  There are eight reported in Bemus Point.  She says there are now 1,675 total cases... and, 13 are hospitalized.  Schuyler says 1,494 cases have recovered.


The COVID-19 pandemic has altered a lot of plans for the holiday season... and, Jamestown's annual Christmas Parade and Holiday Celebration is one of them.  City officials and local merchants organizations have now planned a "reverse" Holiday parade downtown for this Friday night.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he's been working with the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation and Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce on what's being called the "Jamestown Holiday Cruise."  Sundquist says spectators will be able to see everything from the safety of their cars.

Sundquist says merchants who border Third Street between Washington Street and Prendergast Avenue are being encouraged to decorate their store-fronts... or nearby parking spaces.  He says the holiday tree at Tracy Plaza will be lit earlier -- and can be seen virtually.  The Jamestown Holiday Cruise will run from 6 to 7:30 PM Friday... and, public safety will direct cars to enter eastbound off Washington Street, and they'll continue to Prendergast.  He says if you have toys to leave for Toys for Tots... you'll be able to that at the end of the parade route.

Three Jamestown residents were arrested for allegedly burglarizing a home in the town of Stockton last Saturday morning.  Sheriff's Officers responded to a burglary-in-progress on Route 380 and found that the homeowner and another family member blocked in a vehicle belonging to the suspects to keep them from leaving.  Deputies say 53 year-old Alfred Kohl.... 41 year-old Lisa Hayes.... and 33 year-old Brooke Amatuzzo are accused of stealing several items from the home, and trying to steal others, including firearms. Each faces charges including two counts each of fourth-degree grand larceny, and two-counts second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  Deputies say Amatuzzo was also found in possession of a small quantity of methamphetamine and a hypodermic instrument and subsequently charged.  All three were sent to the county jail pending arraignment. 

A man from the Jamestown-area has been accused of stealing a car in the village of Celoron last week... and, was arrested after the vehicle was found in the city.  Ellicott Town Police say they got a complaint last Saturday about the vehicle being taken without the owner's permission.  It was later found to have allegedly been stolen by 25 year-old Robbie Stearns.  Stearns was found, and arrested for fourth-degree Grand Larceny... and, issued an appearance ticket for Ellicott Town Court at a later date.

The eleven newest inductees to the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame have been announced... and, they represent a number of sports... from little league coaching to swimming and karate.  Hall of Fame President Randy Anderson says the living inductees are long-time Lakewood area baseball coach and manager George Barone, Junior... swimmers Sarah Bogardus-Burnett, and, Andrew Creager... Karate Black-Belt Christina Kebort... Football stand-out and Coach Michael Sirianni... former basketball star and coach Lewis Mack, baseball stand-out Marc Tramuta, and -- Randy Anderson himself.  Anderson is a long-time sports historian, coach, and member of fellow Hall of Famer Dick Barton's pit crew.  The deceased honorees are Harry Carlson, Larry Rodgers and Richard Shearman.  Randy Anderson says the 11 new inductees will be formally inducted at a later time, due to current New York State Covid-19 restrictions that won't allow an induction banquet in February 2021. 

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News Headlines for Sat., Nov. 28, 2020

Eight fire departments respond to blaze at Ellington Rod and Gun Club...
Several fire departments made quick work of an early morning fire Saturday at the Ellington Rod and Gun Club in Ellington.  Chautauqua County Fire dispatchers say Ellington firefighters were called to the scene at 1045 Hagerdon Hill Road just after 7 a.m.  They were joined by crews from Sinclairville, Falconer, Cherry Creek, Gerry, Fluvanna, Kennedy, and Conewango from Cattaraugus County.  Officials say the fire was under control in about 15 minutes.  Crews were at the scene until about 10:30 a.m., and the Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team was called into to find the cause.  No injuries were reported.


Chautauqua County reports 24 new cases the past day... two in Jamestown Public Schools...
There are 24 new cases of COVID-19 being reported in Chautauqua County this past day... as the recent wave of cases continues.  The county's Health Department now reports there have been a total of 1,629 confirmed cases since the Pandemic began in mid-March.  The Health Department says there will be a full report on Monday.  In addition... two of the new cases in the county include a pair of Jamestown students... one that attended Jamestown High School... and, the other Lincoln Elementary.  However... District Spokeswoman Cathy Panebianco says the JHS student last attended school on Nov. 19... and the Elementary student on Tuesday, Nov. 10.  With that... the county Health Department has advised that no 'in-school' contact tracing will be required.  Out-of-school close contacts are being notified and appropriate steps are being taken.


NYS reports more COVID testing, cases, and deaths...
Coronavirus cases remain on the rise in New York as the state reports record highs in testing for COVID-19.  Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that western New York's positivity rate has spiked to a seven-day average of 6.28-percent, outpacing other parts of the state, according to figures released by the state.  Erie County includes Buffalo and reported six deaths.  That's more coronavirus deaths than any other county in the state for a second consecutive day.  The state reported 8,176 new cases.  Statewide hospitalizations climbed to 3,103.  Cuomo says 219,442 COVID-19 test results were reported to the state Thursday.


New York City bishop reacts to SCOTUS decision on churches in NYS case...
The longtime head of the Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn says that a ruling by the Supreme Court that barred New York from enforcing certain restrictions on religious services in areas hit hard by the coronavirus is a "good decision" that guarantees constitutional protections for the free exercise of religion.  Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio also praised the words of Pope Francis, who in a New York Times Opinion piece criticized groups protesting COVID-19 restrictions.  But he said the pope's words don't apply to his diocese because the ruling is not over "an ideological issue" or "anti-government," and only looks at the First Amendment right to worship when possible.


Local retailers, Chautauqua Mall experience calmer, less crowded Black Friday...
"Black Friday" shopping got underway early Friday morning in the Jamestown-area... but, there were noticably fewer shoppers out... due in large part to the on-going pandemic.  Some stores -- like Wal-Mart and Penny's -- opened about 5 a.m.  The Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood opened at 8 a.m.  Mall Manager Julie Biehler says Penny's opened at 5... and, a couple of others opened at 6.  Biehler says -- if you don't want to shop inside the mall -- many stores are taking part in their on-line "Retail to Go" program -- which includes Old Navy, Kay Jeweler's and American Eagle Outfitters.  She says you can order your gifts on-line and park in one of their 10 designated spots, and an employee will bring the merchandise out to your car.  Biehler says they have already had a number of Holiday Seasonal stores opening on the Mall concourses... with some just coming in this weekend.  She says a number of other activites are also getting underway... including Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign, and one of their "Angel Trees" to get gives for poor children in the community, and a Toys for Tot's drive through Dec. 11.  For more information go to www.chautauquamall.com.  


Cleveland man arrested for speeding, being fugitive from justice...
Details have now released on a high-speed chase that ended in Jamestown involving a Cleveland, Ohio man accused of robbery.  State Police say they went to stop a car... driven by 19 year-old Marquis Lewis... for reportedly traveling irratically in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 86 late last week.  Troopers say the vehicle got off the interstate and continued fleeing on Main and South Work Streets in Falconer.  Lewis then crashed at the intersection of Peck Settlement Road and Route 60 while trying to negotiate a turn.  Lewis was arrested on charges including fugitive from justice, and unlawfully fleeing police in a motor vehicle.  Further investigation showed Lewis was wanted out of Ohio for aggravated robbery.  He was arraigned, and held in the county jail pending arraignment.  Neither Lewis nor his minor passenger were hurt.


 

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News Headlines for Fri., Nov. 27, 2020

County health officials report 41 new COVID cases on Thanksgiving Day...
Chautauqua County has now surpassed 1,600 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus after 41 new cases were reported on Thursday.  The county's Health Department reports there are now 1,605 cases since the pandemic began.  As of Wednesday... Public Health Director Christine Schuyler said there were 176 active cases... and, 13 people are hospitalized.  More details are to be released next Monday.


Cattaraugus County reports 105 new COVID cases the past two days -- 81 alone on Wednesday...
There have been 105 new cases of the COVID-19 virus in Cattaraugus County the past two days.  Health officials report there were 24 new cases reported yesterday after 81 were reported on Wednesday.  Officials say there have now been 1,027 total cases... and, 15 people are now hospitalized.  Cattaraugus County officials say there are 368 active cases... while 632 have now recovered.


Cuomo warns of Post-Thanksgiving COVID Outbreak...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo warned of a post-Thanksgiving uptick Wednesday as New York reached the highest seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases since late April.  New York recorded more than 6,250 new positive cases Tuesday, the highest for a single day since late April.  About 3-percent of tests over the past week have come back positive, more than double the rate a month ago.  Cuomo has tried to control the spread of the virus by imposing restrictions on hot spots in neighborhoods around the state.  Cuomo said Wednesday that he wants to update his plan for the winter to also look at hospitalization rates. 


Chautauqua Mall opens early for much different "Black Friday..."
A very different "Black Friday" is underway across the United States... with masked-up shoppers socially distancing during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Some stores and malls are already open... while others will shortly.  The Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood doesn't officially open until 8 this morning.  However... Mall Manager Julie Biehler says their remaining anchor store was already open, with Penny's opening at 5 a.m... and, Old Navy and Bath and Body Works opened at 6 a.m.  Biehler says they have already had a number of Holiday Seasonal stores opening on the Mall concourses... all social distanced.  She adds that the Mall's new "Retail to Go" program allows shoppers to order earlier on-line.  She says you can stay in your car in one of 10 designated spots, and, have someone bring your items to your vehicle.  Some of the stores in the program at Kay Jeweler's, and Old Navy.  For more information go to ChautauquaMall.com. 


Local Toys for Tots to hold Mall Drop-off Saturday...
Toys for Tots will have a drive-thru drop-off Saturday at Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood.  The Resource Center's Terri Johnson, one of the coordinators for Toys for Tots, says the collection will run from 10:30 to 2:30 in the area of Ruby Tuesday.  Representatives of Exceptional Stars Athletics will be there to allow for 'contactless' pickup.  Terri hopes people will respond to the plea for new, unwrapped toys for children of all ages, as they've already gotten applications for 2,500 children... with more to come over the next couple weeks.  Cash donations will also be accepted at the mall on Saturday.  Full information on the local Toys for Tots can be found at jamestownnytoysfortots.org.


Two city residents arrested for possessing stolen property and drugs Tuesday...
A man and woman from Jamestown have been arrested for being in possession of stolen property and an illegal drug after police responded to a "suspicious" situation late Tuesday morning.  City Police were called to the parking lot of the Prendergast Library at 509 Cherry St. about 11:30 a.m., and, found 27 year-old Carrie Poff, and 24 year-old Nathaniel Grekulak inside a car.  Officers say they found the car had two separate, stolen license plates on the vehicle.  Further investigation led police to find more stolen items inside the car... as well as a quantity of PCP in Poff's posession.  Both were charged with two counts each of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property... and, Poff is also charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. 


United Way of Chautauqua County at 54-percent of 2020 goal...
Officials with the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County's General Campaign say the effort has gone "remarkably well" given the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Executive Director Amy Rohler says they're right about "where they should be" with 54-percent of their $1.2-million goal being pledged.  Rohler says they've mainly been doing a lot of "virtual" presentations at local workplaces.  But... she says the work they and their member agencies do has spoken for itself during the pandemic.  This year's theme is "United We Rise..." and, Rohler adds "we've definately seen the collective efforts of out incredible team of volunteers over the last few months."  For more information on the United Way, you can go on-line to uwayscc.org... or call 483-1561.  In addition... Rohler says you can also text WERISE to 91999.


Josh Stafford appointed as new Chautauqua Institution organist...
A celebrated Jamestown musician has been appointed as the Department of Religion's Sacred Music Director at Chautauqua Institution.  In addition... Chautauqua officials say today that Joshua Stafford will also serve as organist, and the first to hold the newly-established "Jared Jacobsen Chair for the Organist of Chautauqua Institution."  Stafford served as Institution organist in an interim capacity during the 2020 summer assembly season.  Stafford succeeds the late Jared Jacobsen, his mentor and teacher, as the principal performer on the historic Massey Organ. 

  

 
 

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News Headlines for Wed., Nov. 25, 2020

Two new COVID-19-related deaths reported in Chautauqua Co. Tuesday, along with 29 new cases... 
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting two new COVID-19 related-deaths today... along with 29 new cases of the virus.  Officials say the two deaths were residents in their 70s... and, Public Health Director Christine Schuyler expressed their condolences to the victim's families.  Schuyler says this brings the local number of deaths to 18... and there are now 168 active COVID cases in the county.  There are six new cases reported in Silver Creek... and five in the city of Jamestown.  Schuyler says there have now been 1,539 total cases... and, 13 are now hospitalized.  She says 1,353 cases that have now recovered.


Cuomo again urges New Yorkers to enjoy Thanksgiving -- safely -- with immediate family...
Governor Andrew Cuomo again urged New Yorkers Tuesday to celebrate Thanksgiving with their immediate family.  He also indicated during a news briefing held on Long Island that it's not a political issue... because advisors for both the president and the president-elect are in agreement... which he called the only thing "they agree on."  Cuomo says the state rule is no more than 10 people per household. 


Gillibrand outlines proposal for Health Force and Resilience Force" to distribute and administer COVID-19 vaccine...
New York's junior U-S Senator is calling on Congress to support funding for creation of an army of people that would be recruited and trained to help administer and distribute COVID-19 vaccines.  Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand says she is asking lawmakers to include her "Health Force and Resilience Force" proposal in the next COVID Relief package.  Gillibrand says the proposal, championed by herself and five other senators earlier this year, would invest billions of dollars to get the vaccine to people... especially in underserved communities.  Gillibrand says the proposal would cost up to $40-billion... and, could also be a stand-alone bill.  She says the program would be federally supported... but, locally managed to also help with education efforts, and getting people to get vaccinated.  Gillibrand says there would be an infrastructure component to help keep the vaccines cold.  


2020 has been a "Good Crop Year" in Chautauqua County...
2020 has been tough for many segments of the economy.  But, crop growers may be one of the few groups who could say they had a 'good year.'  That from Consultant Dan Steward with the Western New York Crop Management Association... a group that advises farmers thoughout the region.  He says it was the best crop year in the past 5 to 6 years.  Steward says timely rain and a lot of sun led to excellent yields and high quality for corn silage.  He says the news was equally good for hay, with many farmers getting four... even five... good cuttings.  Growers of soybeans also did pretty well.  Steward adds the positive results in the field are particularly beneficial in a time when returns for milk have been erratic as a result of the pandemic shutdown. 


Jamestown schools announce plans for return to in-person classes for 10th through 12th grades in early December...
Jamestown High School students in grades 10-through-12 will return to in-person learning beginning on Monday, Dec. 7.  District Spokeswoman Cathy Panebianco says the students will be split into two cohorts.  During the week of Dec. 7, the Red Cohort will attend Monday morning only.  She says the Green Cohort will attend the morning only of Tuesday, Dec. 8. Wednesday through Friday will be virtual only for the returning grades.  The following week, Panebianco says the Red Cohort will have in-person instruction Monday and Wednesday mornings... and, Green Cohort will attend Tuesday and Thursday mornings.  All afternoons and Fridays will continue as remote learning.  Students who chose full-time distance learning in September will continue learning at home.  Panebianco says families will get more information, including cohorts, directly from Jamestown High School officials.  As a reminder, Panebianco says the week following Thanksgiving Break, Nov. 30 through Dec. 4, will be fully remote learning for all students in the district. 


BPU announces no changes to Energy Efficiency Programs in 2021...
There will be no changes to the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities' Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs for electric customers in 2021.  That from BPU General Manager Dave Leathers... who says the ENERGY STAR Rebate Program includes rebates for the purchase and installation of certain, new ENERGY STAR products.  They include: $35 for residential windows, $25 for skylights; $50 for residential entry doors, $500 for Heat Pump Water Heaters; $500 per ton of capacity for HVAC Heat Pumps; $100 per ton of cooling capacity for central air conditioning units; and $1,000 per ton of capacity for geothermal heat pumps.  BPU Energy Efficiency Coordinator Dan Reynolds says the rebates will be available for the purchase of new products made between Jan. 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021.  For further information about the energy efficiency programs... call Reynolds at 661-1646 or email him at: dreynolds@jamestownbpu.com.


Pennsylvania Gov. says bars must close at 5 p.m. today...
Last call for Pennsylvania bars will be at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving eve to cut COVID-19 transmission during what is normally a night of heavy public drinking.  Democratic Governor Tom Wolf made the announcement Monday and imposed new crowd size limits of 500 indoors and 2,500 outdoors.  He says there will be heightened enforcement of mask wearing requirements and other infection control tools.  Wolf said he isn't closing schools statewide, but is directing schools in most counties to either sign onto aggressive mitigation measures or make all learning remote and cease all extracurricular activities.

 

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WJTN News Headlines for Nov 24, 2020


The Jamestown City Council has tentative found one-million dollars in revenues to offset the lost of just over that amount because they are no longer considering a new health insurance option for city retirees over age 65 next year.  Lawmakers made it clear early on during last night's Special Zoom Budget session.  The main proposal is to use at least $500,000 in the undesignated fund balance -- or rainy day fund -- to offset increases.  The other big change was reducing the contingency account by $200,000.

That's Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund.  In recent years... former Mayor Sam Teresi and councilmembers were hesitant to touch the city's fund balance -- or rainy day fund.  However... Council President Tony Dolce supported getting at least half-a-million dollars out of it.  City Comptroller Ryan Thompson noted that all fund balance accounts total $3.9-million. Councilwoman Marie Carrubba echoed Ecklund's "grave" concerns over the 2021 outlook.  There would a "zero tax increase" in the budget... which would also save just over $115,000 next year.  Council is to vote on the nearly $35-million budget next Monday night.


The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce has started up a new, on-line platform to promote shopping locally... and, helping connect shoppers and stores.  Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Tranum says they officially began the website late Monday morning during an on-line presentation.  Tranum says -- especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic -- it was important to get this program up and running.

At the same time... Tranum says this is where retail shopping has been going in recent years... long before the pandemic began.  He says they want to "empower" local, small businesses by giving them an on-line boost.  Tranum says the County Chamber just added some additional businesses to the website, and will be doing so as the holiday shopping season gets underway on "Black Friday" -- this Friday, November 27th.  The website is located at ShopLocalCHQ.com

A long-time Jamestown area ski and bike store will close for the 'forseeable future' on Christmas Eve.  Les Johnson, owner of the Hollyloft on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott, has announced his retirement. Johnson says pandemic-related issues also played into his decison.  He opened the Hollyloft 43 years ago...  and hopes the Christmas closing will not be permanent. The store's been known for more than just high quality gear.  The Hollyloft has donated thousands of dollars to local animal rescue organizations... and has maintained a large bike team for many years.  

The investigation into a fatal all-terrain vehicle crash is underway in the Cattaraugus County Town of Ischua.  Sheriff's officers in Little Valley say a 63 year-old man, and his 43 year-old son were operating the ATV on their property at 53-01 Miller Hill Road last Saturday morning when the accident occurred.  Police say it appears the driver was unable to negotiate a hill in the woods on a steep trail, and the four-wheeler flipped backwards.  The son was airlifted to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo for treatment.  However... deputies say the father was pronounced dead at the scene.  No charges have been filed at this time. 

A Cattaraugus County man has been arrested for allegedly making child pornography about one year ago.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior announced Monday that 19 year-old Dyllan Barber of Little Valley was arrested and charged with production of child pornography and cyberstalking.  Prosecutors say Barber began chatting with a minor female victim on Snapchat... and, used his own Snapchat account during this conversation.  But... they say he posed as a hacker who had gained control over the account.  Barber than threatened the minor victim to produce and send to him sexually explicit images of herself, or else he would publicly release information about her.  The victim then produced and sent the images to Barber.

In conjunction with the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials following World War Two, the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown has released a new reading of the opening statement written and delivered by Jackson... the Jamestown area native who was the Chief American Prosecutor.  John Q. Barrett, an authority on Jackson's life and work, says the three hour recording is worth listening to. The new reading... and the original from 75 years ago... are available on the Jackson Center's 'You Tube' channel.  The first trials lasted well into 1946, and led to 19 convictions of Nazi war criminals.   Barrett adds, the Jackson Center will continue to mark important moments in the trials through next summer, and he encourages people to check it out. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Nov 23, 2020


Two people had to be taken to the hospital after a car struck a scooter from behind in the town of Clymer last Saturday night.  Sheriff's officers say they, along with Clymer and Sherman fire crews, were called to the scene at 80-75 Ravlin Hill Road shortly before 6 PM.  Deputies say that 31 year-old Justin Teeds of Panama was traveling eastbound in his vehicle when it struck 19 year-old James Troyer's scooter.  Officers say Troyer, who's from Clymer, was taken to UPMC Hamot Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries... while Teed was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown for treatment of minor injuries.  No charges have been announced. 

The Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office is investigating an all terrain vehicle accident, in which a 63 year-old male was killed early last Saturday. Deputies say the man and his 43 year-old son were operating the ATV on their property at 53-01 Miller Hill Road in the Town of Ischua when the accident occurred. Police say it appears the driver was unable to negotiate the hill in the woods on a steep trail and the four-wheeler flipped backwards. The son was airlifted to the Erie County Medical Center for his injuries. Deputies say the father was pronounced dead at the scene. No charges have been filed at this time. 

There are 47 new cases of the COVID-19 Virus being reported in Chautauqua County from the past weekend... putting the county near 1,500 during the pandemic.  The county's Health Department reports that 21 new cases were reported on Sunday... and, there were 26 on Saturday.  That brings the overall total to 1,492 confirmed cases.  The county will release more details later today.


The Jamestown City Council will hold one more budget session tonight before it votes on a nearly $35-million budget for 2021 next week.  At the end of last week's lengthy work session at City Hall... Council President Tony Dolce said the panel will meet tonight at 7 PM to address issues surrounding Mayor Eddie Sundquist's proposal to put more than 300 city retirees into a new Medicare supplimental insurance plan for next year.  Dolce says they need to make sure the city can make that change legally, and that the budget is "sound and balanced."

In his tentative budget plan... Sundquist projected a savings of $1.1-million that would help provide a 17-cent per thousand tax rate decrease.  Dolce says it's also important for lawmakers to remember the city is at it's constitutional taxing limit.

Dolce told council members to make sure to "ask your thousand questions" of those who put the spending plan together, and bring feed back to the meeting.  Again... the budget session begins at 7 PM tonight at City Hall.  As per Governor Cuomo's executive order... the public cannot attend.  However... the session will be lived streamed on the city's website.

The latest COVID-19 rapid testing clinic set for next Tuesday, November 24th from 9 AM to 2 PM is already full.  That from Public Health Director Christine Schuyler... who said Sunday that all the appointments that day are completely booked.  The announcement was made early last weekend... so it filled up fast.  Schuyler says they are now working on holding another free clinic on Monday, November 30th.  More informatin will be forthcoming.   
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In addition... Schuyler says the Health Department has received reports from the state Health Department on the county's disease investigation and contact tracing efforts for the months of September and October.  She says Chautauqua County is doing better than both Western New York and New York State comparisons.  Schuyler says her staff "is truly the frontline unsung heroes of this pandemic.  It has been all hands on deck every single day since early March.  The dedication and hard work of everyone from nurses to clerks and everyone in between is nothing short of absolutely amazing.”  During those two months... Schuyler says the department's COVID-19 response team successfully reached 99.5-percent of the 663 positive cases, and completed interviews with 94.1-percent of the cases... and, most were completed within 24 hours. 

The SUNY College at Fredonia's new president has been on the job for about three months, and is proud about how the campus has handled the COVID-19 pandemic.  Dr. Stephen Kolison says the campus has made it through the fall semester without closing.  The semester came to an end on Friday.  Kolison says students will be given COVID tests before they leave campus for the holitay break... and, he adds they have to get tested before they return to campus.  He adds plans are to also have a longer winter break... with the spring semester not starting until February.

 
A Dunkirk man has been arrested for allegedly trafficking drugs in the north county area.  Sheriff's officers say they took 24 year-old Irvin Reyes-Pacheco of West Second Street into custody on a County Court Arrest Warrant on two counts of Felony criminal sale of a controlled substance.  He was arrested without incident by a deputy and Fredonia Police officers without on Temple Road in Fredonia about 1:30 PM last Wednesday.  Reyes-Pacheco’s arrest was the result of an investigation by detectives, and investigators from the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force.  He was taken to the County Jail where he was held until he could be arraigned in Chautauqua County Court on November 19th... and, he was released with appearance tickets.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is set to soon receive an International Emmy award for his once-daily televised briefings on the coronavirus pandemic that killed tens of thousands of New Yorkers this spring.  The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced late Friday it plans to present the award to the governor in a live-streamed show today.  International Academy President & Chief Executive Officer Bruce Paisner said Cuomo is being honored with the academy's Founders Award for using his briefings to inform and calm the public.  Previous recipients include former Vice President Al Gore, Oprah Winfrey, and director Steven Spielberg.

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News Headlines for Sat., Nov. 21, 2020

One person dies in fatal fire in Cattaraugus County...
One person has reportedly died in an overnight house fire in the Cattaraugus County town of Conewango.  The county's fire dispatch center confirms the call out to the location on Route 62 just before 1 a.m. Friday.  Officials tell the Post-Journal that firefighters from several surrounding departments -- including Ellington and Kennedy in Chautauqua County -- were called to the scene.  Crews remained at the scene until late Friday morning.  The victim's identity has not been released.  Officials say more information will be released at a later time.


Chautauqua County reports 16 new COVID-19 cases Friday...
Chautauqua County health officials report 16 new cases of the COVID-19 Virus Friday... but, the number of active cases has fallen to 141.  The Health Department says most of the cases --  nine -- were reported in the Fredonia area.  County Executive P-J Wendel says there was one each in seven other communities... including Jamestown, Bemus Point, and Frewsburg.  Wendel says 12 people remain hospitalized.  Officials say there are now 1,445 confirmed cases since the pandemic began... and, 1,288 cases have now recovered.


Borrello blasts Cuomo's comments about Western New York and COVID-19...
Area State Senator George Borrello is blasting Governor Andrew Cuomo for his comments this week about Western New York's COVID-19 positivity rate.  The Democratic governor said during a Wednesday press conference that the region "has not lived the full pain of COVID's wrath."  Cuomo says they read and knew about the New York City and downstate areas... but, the "numbers were never as bad in Western New York."  Borrello, a Sunset Bay Republican, called the comments insulting and insensitive... both in terms of people dying and getting sick, and the economic hardships.  Borrello says he has heard from his colleagues from both sides of the aisle who were also disappointed by the governor's comments.


Quattrone joins with several other Sheriff's saying he won't enforce the governor's executive orders on gatherings for Thanksgiving...
With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching... Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone says he is one of 10 law enforcement officials in the Western New York area that does not plan to enforce Governor Cuomo's recent executive order calling for no more than 10 people gathering inside a home.  Quattrone says he has two main concerns regarding the order... issued due to rising COVID-19 numbers.  He says it doesn't include an enforcement mechanism, and he says there's no way to enter a home and not violate individual rights.  Quattrone adds that he is "on the same page" with other law enforcement officials in the county, in that they prefer educating and encouraging people to comply with the governor's orders.  He encourages people to enjoy Thanksgiving, but not be reckless.  Cuomo issued the executive order in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases across New York State.


BPU signs power agreement with ConnectGen...
A Texas-based based solar wind power company has signed a 10-year agreement with the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities to provide renewable energy from it's proposed South Ripley project to the BPU.  ConnectGen of Houston says, under the agreement, they will sell Tier-1 Renewable Energy Credits.  ConnectGen's Chief Executive Officer Caton Fenz says -- in a printed release -- that each credit represents the "environmental attributes" of one megawatt hour of electricity generated from a renewable resource, such as solar or wind.  He says the project is currently expected to start construction as early as 2022. 


Dunkirk Schools will keep options open on in-person learning after Thanksgiving... 
The Dunkirk City School District is keeping its options open, but Superintendent Mike Mansfield says they are leaning toward continuing as much in-person learning as possible following the Thanksgiving break.  Mansfield says there are a couple of factors they are looking at in making a determination.  The first is safety precautions, and every day they can do "in-person" is important to them and their students.  Mansfield says he is asking district residents to follow Governor Cuomo's advice regarding Thanksgiving gatherings... and limit family gatherings.  Some area school districts are going fully remote starting on Nov. 30, including Jamestown Public Schools and Gowanda Central.


Tight race coming down to absentees in Brindisi-Tenney Congressional race...
A rematch between a former Republican congressional member and the Democrat who ousted her from office two years ago has come down to a just a few dozen votes.  A judge is likely to play a role in the final outcome.  Republican Claudia Tenney is vying to reclaim her seat in Congress from Representative Anthony Brindisi in central New York.  Tenney had a lead of more than 28,000 votes on Nov. 3, but, absentee ballots cast in the race highly-favored Brindisi. 


"Santa Drive-Thru" to replace Santa Parade in Falconer...
The Village of Falconer and Falconer Rotary Club have announced this year's traditional Santa Claus parade is cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  However, officials say that Santa Claus will be escorted by the Falconer Fire Department around the village on Saturday, Dec. 5.  Village Clerk Anna Fales says Santa will be passing through the neighborhoods beginning at 10 AM at SKF on Elmwood Avenue.  His complete route is available on the Village of Falconer facebook page.... and, updates will be posted the day of the ride around.  There will be no stay and greet for children at the Santa House this year.

 

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WJTN News Headlines for Nov. 20, 2020

With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching... Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone says he is one of 10 law enforcement officials in the Western New York area that does not plan to enforce Governor Andrew Cuomo's recent executive order calling for no more than 10 people gathering inside a home.  Quattrone says he has two main concerns regarding the order... issued due to rising COVID-19 cases... including mechanisms for enforcement and no way to enter a home without violating individual rights.  Quattrone adds that he is "on the same page" with other law enforcement officials in the county.  He says they strive to "educate, and encourage" residents to follow the law.  He says -- by and large -- mostly people have agreed to abide by the order.  Quattrone encourages people to enjoy Thanksgiving, but not be reckless.  Cuomo issued the executive order in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases across New York State.

 
The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services is reporting 36 new cases of the coronavirus in the county on Thursday.  That brings the total locally to 1,429 since the pandemic began.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the new cases include eight in Jamestown...five in Fredonia... and four each in Westfield and Dunkirk.  Wendel reports there are currently 155 active cases... and, 1,258 have now recovered.

Due to staffing issues caused by people being in quarantine... the Southwestern Central School District will be going to all remote learning starting today through the end of Thanksgiving week.  That from School Superintendent Maureen Donahue... who says there are currently staff and students in all three buildings that are quarantined due to positive cases in the community.  While Jamestown is now planning to go all-remote the week's after the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks... Southwestern is not.

Donahue adds they got word Thursday of additional staff that are required to quarantine.  As a direct result... they will be fully-remote now through next Tuesday, November 24th.  The district is off for Thanksgiving from Wednesday the 25th through Sunday, November 29th.  Donahue urges families needing help with anything in the coming days to contact the district.

There's another new case of COVID-19 being reported in the Jamestown Public School system... with this one being off-site in the high school.  JPS Spokeswoman Cathy Panebianco says the Chautauqua County Health Department reports the student last attended school last Friday, November 13th.  Since the student had been attending off-site at the time... the Health Department has advised that no 'in-school' contact tracing will be required.  If you have any questions, contact your building nurse or Health Services Coordinator Jill Muntz at 483-4376.


School teachers and administrators often talk about their concern over "Summer Slide..." or the time when students are off for Summer vacation... and, need to get back up to speed to start the new school year.  However... that's been replaced by the "COVID Slide" that's been happening since many students left the classroom last March when the pandemic began.  Jamestown School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says some students have handled remote, or hybrid learning well... while others have not.  Whitaker adds a second worry is over lack of socialization. However... Dr. Whitaker says while there are "plenty of opportunities for assistance..." it may not be as effective with the current situation.  He made his comments during an interview Thursday morning on our Dennis Webster Show on WJTN Radio.


The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities is opening it's Yard Waste Site this Saturday to allow Solid Waste Customers to clean-up and disposed of storm debris.  BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says the site is located at 10-01 Monroe Street.. and, yard waste stickers from both 2019-2020 and 2021-2022 will be accepted for entrance.  Last weekend's storm left many branches, sticks and twigs to fall into yards.  She says residential customers are asked to come between 8 AM and Noon this Saturday, November 21st. 

New York financial regulators say the National Rifle Association has been banned from marketing insurance in New York for five years and will pay $2.5-million dollars to settle an investigation into "dangerous" policies that covered gun owners' costs related to self-defense shootings.  The New York State Department of Financial Services announced the consent order with the powerful gun advocacy group after a three-year investigation into possible violations of state insurance law.  State regulators said the NRA violated insurance laws and regulations by acting as an insurance producer without a license.  An attorney for the NRA says the organization has not admitted to any crimes as a part of the settlement. 


A worker helping set up the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree found a holiday surprise - a tiny owl among the massive branches.  The little bird, now named Rockefeller, was discovered on Monday, dehydrated and hungry, but otherwise unharmed.  Ellen Kalish, director and founder of the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, New York, where the bird was taken, says it's an adult male Saw-whet owl.  Kalish says the plan is to release it back to the wild this weekend. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Nov 19, 2020

 
Chautauqua County is nearing 14-hundred cases of COVID-19 with 14 new ones reported on Wednesday.  County Health officials also report there are now 12 people hospitalized with the virus.  County Executive P-J Wendel says there are four new cases each in Fredonia and Jamestown... and, two in Sherman.  He says there are now 1,393 total cases... and, 130 are active.  He says 1,247 cases have now recovered. 


The Cattaraugus County Health Department is reporting a 23rd death of a resident due to COVID-19 related complications... and 52 new cases of the coronavirus.  Officials say victim was a 77-year-old man who developed respiratory failure and was unable to overcome his illness.  There have now been 685 confirmed cases of COVID in Cattaraugus County... while 167 of them are now active. 


The worst COVID-19 infection rate is now in Western New York... and, that's led Governor Andrew Cuomo to issue an "Orange Zone" designation for parts of Erie County.  However... Chautauqua County will not be part of any of the three zones because it's positivity rate remains relatively low.  The governor made the announcement Wednesday afternoon... adding the region's positivity rate is more than 5-percent. Cuomo announced yesterday some of the smaller towns in Erie County -- including the town of Evans has been moved into the "Orange zone" designation... while all the rest of Erie County is now in the "Yellow Zone."  Those are the least restrictive zones... and, includes the towns of Collins and North Collins... just north of the Cattaraugus County line.

Two teachers in the Jamestown Public School system have tested positive for COVID-19... and, were last in school last Friday, November 13th.  That from Spokesperson Cathy Panebianco... who says one is a teacher at Persell Middle School, while the other is a teacher at Ring Elementary.  Panebianco says there is no known connection between the two cases.  She adds the district continues to follow all guidelines from the Chautauqua County Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.  Panebianco says they are working closely with the county to do contact tracing.  Any close contacts will be notified and appropriate steps will be taken.  If you have questions... contact your building nurse or email Coordinator of Health Services Jill Muntz at jill.a.muntz@jpsny.org or call her at 483-4376.

Chautauqua County's congressman again used his weekly telephone conference call to blast Governor Cuomo for the Democrat's latest criticism of President Trump, and how two promising COVID-19 vaccines will be rolled out.  Cuomo says he worried about the companies being driven by profit, and the Trump administration's speedy push for a vaccine.  However... Reed says he's "appalled and disgusted" by the governor's comments... and, says being so close to a break-through vaccine is to be celebrated.

However... while Cuomo has been very critical of the Trump administration's handling of the vaccine situation... the state Department of Health has accepted local county's plans for distributing a vaccine.  Reed says the governor should not be doing one thing... and, then discrediting the work of the two companies and researchers involved.  Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says the county got it's distribution plan into the state by Monday's deadline.  For the most part... it would be distributed through drive-in clinics.


New York's junior U-S Senator is calling on Congress to approve a supplimental measure in the next COVID-19 relief bill to deal with the on-going drug overdose crisis in the country.  Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand says she has sent a letter to fellow New York Senator Charles Schumer, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to take up the $40-billion package, which would support treatment, counseling and support services.

Gillibrand says -- in New York state -- the situation is dire -- with big increases in overdose death reported in several counties... including Chautauqua.  She says a number of human service organizations that provide treatment and other services are now -- themselves -- on life support -- and need help to assist those with substance abuse and mental health issues.  Gillibrand feels the legislation has a good chance of passing because it would be for the entire nation... and, is being co-sponsored by Republican Senator Shelly Moore-Capito of West Virginia.  She adds it also has Republican and Democratic support in the House of Representatives.

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WJTN News Headlines for Nov 18, 2020


There are 31 new confirmed cases of COVID-19... and, a new COVID death to report in Chautauqua County.  County Executive P-J Wendel says a man in his 90s with multiple comorbities succumbed to complications from the virus over the past day.  Wendel says the 31 new cases include seven in Fredonia... six in Jamestown... and, three in Dunkirk... and, seven people are now hospitalized.  Wendel says there have now been 1,379 confirmed cases... while 1,204 have recovered.  He says there are now 159 active cases, continue to recover.  There have now been 16 deaths from the COVID-19 Virus.

Despite some early technical difficulties... Chautauqua County officials held a virtual Town Hall Tuesday afternoon on the local, state and national situation surround the COVID-19 Pandemic.  It was hosted by County Executive P-J Wendel to answer the public's questions on a number of fronts.  Public Health Physician Dr. Robert Berke says the county has done well so far... with a 1.5-percent infection rate.  However... he warned we may have to "hunker down" for another four to six months.

Berke himself has had to quarantine twice... once when he traveled out of state, and another time when he had contact with a person who had COVID.  Officials also talked optimistically about the very successful trials of two vaccines.  In addition... Public Health Director Christine Schuyler noted the county is ready to dispense the vaccine once it's approved and available.  One person asked P-J Wendel if the county could impose it's own mask-wearing mandate.  He said it could not because New York state already has issued one... and, state laws in such matters supercedes what local governments do.  Associate Public Health Physician Brian Walters noted that while there will be millions of vaccines available once the FDA gives it's approval.. both of the current ones require two doses, and it will take a while to get everyone needing a vaccination to get one.


Officials with the five unions represented Jamestown city workers say they have not agreed to Mayor Eddie Sundquist's proposal to change Medicare-eligible health insurance for retirees.  Sundquist last (Monday) night outlined his proposal for a Medicare Supplimental plan administered by United Health.  During last night's budget hearing... union officials argued they hadn't seen details, and, that it should be part of contract negotiations.  City Council Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund agreed.

Sundquist contends that for retirees who are age 65 or older, the change would provide them with a "comparable" supplimental health insurance, and not need to be negotiated.  Councilwoman Marie Carrubba questioned whether there would still be any savings after a year in the new plan because rates change after a year... which she has seen where she works. Councilman Jeff Russell... a retired Jamestown police officer... says he would rather see the program be voluntary with the option to join up after employees and retirees are fully educated on the proposal.  Council President Tony Dolce urged the administration to talk with the unions about the proposal... and, answer lawmakers question before a Special budget meeting next Monday night.


There is a new principal at Jamestown's Bush Elementary School.  School Spokeswoman Cathy Panebianco says Kate Benson began her new duties on Monday.  Benson was previously the assistant principal at Washington Middle School... and, replaces retiring Bush Principal, Dan Bracey.  The school board appointed Mrs. Benson at their meeting on June 10th of this year.  School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says "in these challenging times, I am so pleased that we are filling this essential role with a person who is ready to meet those difficult challenges, as well as to support our students and staff at Bush."  Benson says she's very excited to be moving into the new post.


The Salvation Army Kettle Campaign has started early... and the call is out to get volunteers to assist the effort.  Major Kim Merchant says kettle stands at Tops Markets went up Monday (11/16) and others will follow soon.

Now... Merchant says they're hoping volunteers will sign up to ring the bell because the more ringers they get "the more money that goes into the community."  Volunteers are asked to call 664-4108 and ask for Holly.  Major Merchant adds, they have special precautions this year becuase of COVID 19 -- masks and rubber gloves are required unless you wear winter gloves. All kettles have a QR code that allows people to make 'cashless' donations using their smart phone.  The goal for the kettle campaign in Jamestown this year is $115,000.


Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek proclaimed Monday, November 16th as Roger Pacos Day at Monday evening's village board meeting.  Essek is also asking trustees to dedicate the trustees room at Village Hall in honor of Pacos, who passed away unexpectedly on November 1st.  The mayor says it's to honor Pacos for his many years of service, and, adds they will discuss this further at future meetings.  

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WJTN News Headlines for Nov 17, 2020

Most of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities' electric territory has had power restored by late Monday afternoon in the wake of Sunday's severe wind storm.  BPU Crews were expected to work through early this morning on various isolated outages still being reported.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist updated City Council on the situation at last night's work session, and says some work could not be done immediately because of trees and limbs being on power lines.

BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says that was the main cause of the later repairs made Monday.  Sundquist was out with crews Sunday evening, and says one BPU crew he caught up with was already working on it's "sixth or seventh tree" by 7 PM.  He says crews were hopeful of getting most major work done last night.  In some cases... Robbins says trees actually were uprooted... and, some landed on houses or other structures.  Sundquist says no major injuries were reported.


Winds gusting up to 69 miles an hour caused considerable damage in the city of Dunkirk Sunday.  Mayor Willie Rosas says city crews were busy overnight removing downed trees and dealing with flooding along the lake shore. Rosas says the wave action also hit the sea wall along Lakefront Boulevard, which was also already hit by a storm on Halloween 2019.  He says the jersey barriers they had put up temporarily while repairs are being made were damaged and moved by the high waves.  Forecast Dan Kelly with the National Weather Service in Buffalo says a number of reporting stations in and around Dunkirk reported wind gusts of over 60 miles an hour... led by the Marine Station near Fredonia... which recorded the 69 mile an hour gust.  The Dunkirk City Pier sustained damage from the high winds and waves, with some missing benches and waste recepticals. 


With the budget vote scheduled soon... the Jamestown City Council last night received details on Mayor Eddie Sundquist's proposal to move city retirees 65 years of age and over to a new Medicare health plan.  However... city lawmakers had several questions about the proposal from United Health Care.  Sundquist says the plan would be for the more than 300 retirees to go off the city's self-insured plan administered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Sundquist says the retirees would continue to receive the same medical, prescription, dental and vision plans they currently get.  He says there would be two options under the program... one for fire and police retirees, and one for general retirees.  Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund had a number of concerns... including cost of the new plan versus what it is now.  Sundquist is projecting a $1.1-million savings in the budget.  However... lawmakers also raised concerns over imposing a change on the city's six union that had not been negotiated.  Some retirees and current union leaders expressed that concern during the earlier budget hearing.


The man who has been Acting Jamestown Police Chief for the past four months has now been named to the position permanently.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist this afternoon officially announced that he has appointing Timothy Jackson to be the new chief... replacing retired Chief and Public Safety Director Harry Snellings.  Sundquist says the way Jackson has run the department in the interim impressed both him, and the search committee.

Sundquist adds that Jackson’s appointment as Police Chief is subject to approval by Jamestown City Council.  He adds the appointment also carries the duel role of chief and Public Safety Director.  Sundquist says one of Jackson's major tasks has been developing JPD's response to Governor Cuomo's Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative... many of which the department already had in place.  Jackson has been a member of the Jamestown Police Department since May of 2000.  He has a Masters of Administration of Justice from Mercyhurt University in Erie, Pennsylvania... and, served in the U-S Navy Reserves.  He served in Iraq from 2005-to-2006.  The City Council will act on the appointment at it's November 30th voting session.


There have been 54 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County over the past three days... 24 of them Monday.  County Executive P-J Wendel reports that most of the cases... 16... were reported in Jamestown.  Wendel says there are six cases in Fredonia... and, four each in Bemus Point and Dunkirk.  He says there have now been a total of 1,348 confirmed cases since the pandemic began... and, 147 are currently active.  Wendel adds there are now just seven people hospitalized.  The number of deaths remains at 15... and, the number of recovered cases has grown to 1,186.


The public will have the chance to hear what county officials have to say about the current COVID-19 situation and guidelines... and, ask questions during a virtual Town Hall this afternoon.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the town hall will be held on the County Government Facebook page... beginning at 3 PM.  Wendel says each member of the advisory group will speak in the beginning before opening up the floor to questions.  He says they felt it was important to get necessary information out to the public before the holiday season begins... and, that safety measures in place are designed to stop the spread of COVID, and is for our family and friends.  Wendel will host the Town Hall session... and, he'll be joined by Public Health Director Christine Schuyler, County Physician Dr. Robert Berke... and, Doctors Brian Walters and Michael Faulk.  The county's Facebook page is at Facebook.com/ChautauquaCountyGovernment.

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WJTN News Headlines for Nov 16, 2020

Strong, gusty winds roared into Chautauqua County about mid-afternoon Sunday... downing trees and limbs and knocking out power to hundreds of customers.  Both National Grid and the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities reported numerous outages in various locations, including Jamestown, West Ellicott, the Village of Celoron and Bemus Point. National Grid outage maps indicate more than 1,700 people remain without power this morning.    The BPU Water Division advises that water customers may notice widespread discolored water as a result of the outages. Motorists are asked to be aware of garbage cans that may have blown into the roadway and for sporadic traffic lights, that may be out. 

Three finalists are now vying to become the city of Jamestown's next Police Chief and Director of Public Safety.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who says his final pick may be announced shortly.  Sundquist says he started off with about 30 very good candidates... and, he put together a special panel to begin interviewing, and narrowing down the top three choices.

Sundquist says some of the candidates came from inside the department... and, others came from outside.  The new chief will replace former Chief Harry Snellings... who retired earlier this year.  Sundquist also confirms that he has selected a new Deputy Fire Chief.  Former Battalion Chief, Matt Coon, is now in that position.

Sundquist adds that Coon is moving forward on modernizing the Jamestown Fire Department... which has all of it's records on paper. Coon replaces former Deputy Chief Chet Harvey.  Sundquist made his comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.

The Jamestown Public Schools have announced a Persell Middle School student has tested positive for COVID-19.  JPS Communications Coordinator Cathy Panebianco says the district was notified by the Chautauqua County Health Department of the positive case last Saturday afternoon. She says the student last attended school on Monday, November 9th.  The district is following all guidelines from the Chautauqua County Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. Because the student had been attending off-site at the time of diagnosis, the Health Department has advised that no in-school contact tracing will be required. Out-of-school close contacts are being notified and appropriate steps are being taken.


Democratic challenger Tracy Mitrano is conceding the 23rd Congressional District race to incumbant Republican Tom Reed.  In a printed release late Friday, Mitrano said she called Reed "this afternoon and congratulated him, conceding the race for the 23rd Congressional District."  She also thanked her supporters for their help and encouragement as she traveled throughout this district for the last three years.  Mitrano also issued a statement, saying "believing in the need to uphold our democratic norms of free and fair elections and the need to ensure that every ballot is counted, I had planned originally to concede after all of the ballots were counted.  I did not know how protracted the count would be."  She also expressed "enormous gratitude to my team and our supporters."


Pennsylvania's highest-ranking law enforcement official says that more than a week after Election Day he still hasn't seen any sign of widespread voter fraud.  Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Thursday that lawyers for the Republican Party and President Donald Trump also haven't produced any evidence of widespread fraud in the swirl of litigation they're pursuing.  Shapiro also says lawmakers in the Republican-majority General Assembly lack legal authority to attempt to replace Democrat Joe Biden's Electoral College voters.  The electors are due to convene in Harrisburg in about a month.


Tributes have been pouring in over the past week with the death of long-time Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek.  Many past contestants are recalling Trebek as kind, smart, and most of all having a calming influence on them before and during the taping of the shows.  One of those is current Robert H. Jackson Center Director Kristen McMahon... who tried to get on the show "three or four" times before she finally got the call in 2013. McMahon says for contestants... it's a long day... with Jeopardy staff picking you up about 5 AM to go to the studio in Los Angeles.  She says Trebek saw Jeopardy! as his labor of love.

McMahon says she once read that Trebek... who is the only host she's known of for the show... felt his role was to make sure that people were "shown off at their best."  When Trebek passed at the age of 80... there were still 35 taped shows yet to be aired, which would taken Jeopardy! up to around Christmas.  No announcement has been made about an interim host, or new permanent host as yet.

A 75-foot Norway spruce has arrived at New York City's Rockefeller Center to serve as one of the world's most famous Christmas trees.  NBC's "Today" show recorded the tree being trucked in Saturday morning.  The tree will be decorated over the coming weeks.  The tree was donated by Al Dick of Daddy Al's General Store in Oneonta in central New York.  NBC says it's broadcasting the tree-lighting at 7 PM on December 2nd.  No in-person spectators will be allowed this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.  The pandemic has spurred the cancellation of other New York holiday customs including the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

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News Headlines for Sat., Nov. 14, 2020

JPS moving to all-remote learning for one week after Thanksgiving, and Christmas-New Year's Holidays...
The Jamestown Public School District is announcing two "proactive and preventive measures" to stop community spread of COVID-19 after the upcoming holidays.  School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says all JPS schools will shift to fully remote learning for one week after Thanksgiving Break from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4.  Whitaker adds that they will have a second week of remote learning following the Winter Recess from Jan. 4 through 8.  He says the decision was made in concert with the JPS School Board, and Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services.  He says "we know the holidays will be a time that families may gather.  We want to ensure the health and safety of our students, staff and community by providing additional time at home in hopes of keeping a COVID-19 surge from happening in our schools.  We want our schools to remain safe and to be open as much as possible for our students."  He adds the measures are dependent on the guidance of the Health Department and New York State.


Seventeen new COVID-19 cases reported Friday in county...
As Chautauqua County closed out the week... it's closing in on 1,300 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus... with 17 new cases being reported Friday.  However... there is good news in the numbers as the number of people in the hospital has fallen to five.  County Executive P-J Wendel says there are now 136 active cases... and, 1,294 total to date.  Wendel says the most cases are reported in Fredonia... which had four.  He says there are three in Jamestown.  In addition... the county Health Department is currently monitoring a cluster linked to social clubs in the northern end of the County.  There are currently 11 active and 2 recovered cases linked to the Beaver Club in Fredonia.  There have now been 1,143 recovered cases.


Christmas Parade in Jamestown to be replaced this year by Downtown Holiday Crusin' event...
COVID-19 restrictions have forced the city of Jamestown and Jamestown Renaissance Corporation to change the annual Christmas Parade and Holiday Celebration into a "crusin" kind of event.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist has announced the Downtown Holiday Cruise will take place on Friday, Dec. 4 from 6 to 7:30 pm on Third Street.  However... spectators are being asked to stay safe and in their cars... instead of having parade floats coming down Third from west to east.  Sundquist says they want spectators to drive along third street and have businesses and organizations put up displays or decorate parking spots along the street.  Sundquist says the Holiday Crusin event will conclude at Tracy Plaza where the parade usually ends... where people will be able to see Santa and the city's Christmas Tree all lit up.  He says The Resource Center will once again be taking part, and collecting toys for the "Toy's for Tots" campaign.  Businesses can sign up to take part at Chamberrsvp.org.


Mitrano Concedes NY-23 Congressional Race...
Democratic challenger Tracy Mitrano is conceding the 23rd Congressional District race to incumbant Republican Tom Reed.  In a printed release late Friday, Mitrano said she called Tom Reed this afternoon and congratulated him, conceding the race for the 23rd Congressional District.  She also thanked her supporters for their help and encouragement as she traveled throughout this district for the last three years.  Mitrano also issued a statement, saying "believing in the need to uphold our democratic norms of free and fair elections and the need to ensure that every ballot is counted, I had planned originally to concede after all of the ballots were counted.  I did not know how protracted the count would be."  She also expressed "enormous gratitude to my team and our supporters."


Public Hearing on proposed Jamestown budget set for Monday evening...
City lawmakers in Jamestown will hold a public hearing on Mayor Eddie Sundquist's proposed 2021 budget next Monday night at City Hall.  However... the public will not be allowed to attend due to COVID-19 restrictions.  With that... the mayor is still urging people who want to comment on the $34.8-million spending plan to send an e-mail to City Clerk Jennifer William's office, because Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive orders still prohibit such gatherings.  Sundquist says the budget hearing will begin at 6 p.m. Monday, and will be live streamed on the city's website at jamestownny.gov.  His tenative budget proposal includes a 17-cent per $1,000 tax rate decrease.  However... changes in parking fee increase proposal may change that.  To comment on the budget... e-mail those to clerk@jamestownny.gov.


New Fredonia School Superintendent announced...
A superintendent from the Franklin Central School District will become the next superintendent of the Fredonia Central School District.  The district confirms that the Board of Education approved the appointment of Dr. Bradley Zilliox during this week's meeting.  However... no starting date has been announced.  Zilliox formerly taught social studies at the GA Learning Center in Falconer.  


COVID-19 forces suspension of jury selection for trials...
New York state courts are suspending jury selection and one county has halted its counting of absentee ballots as coronavirus cases rise.  Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks said in a memo Friday that no new grand jurors will be selected and future bench trials and hearings will be conducted by video.  In addition... Onondaga County has stopped counting absentee ballots because a staff member was exposed to COVID-19.  New York has reported over 42,500 new coronavirus cases over the past two weeks.  The state is reporting more than double the daily average of new cases per week from two weeks ago.


 

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WJTN News Headlines for Nov 13, 2020

 
There are 40 new cases of the coronavirus being reported Thursday in Chautauqua County... and, 63 over the past two days.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel's office... which reports 20 of those were reported in Fredonia... and, another 11 in Jamestown.  Wendel says this brings the local total to 1,277 confirmed cases.  He adds there are now 161 active cases... and, 1,101 cases have now recovered.

The Jamestown Public Schools have announced that a district staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. The district was notified yesterday evening by the Chautauqua County Health Department that the employee tested positive... but, was last present on Thursday October 29th. JPS Communications Coordinator Cathy Panebianco says the district is following all guidelines from the Chautauqua County Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. We have been notified by the Health Department that no in-school contact tracing will be required. Out-of-school close contacts are being notified and appropriate steps are being taken. 


Jamestown Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says the COVID-19 infection rate is up in the district, but he says --thankfully -- there has been no "inside the school spread."  Whitaker made his comments during a Thursday morning interview on WJTN's Dennis Webster Show.

Whitaker says it's a matter of being very careful of who we interact with... wearing masks and socially distancing, especially as the Holiday Season approaches.  He says a close relative or friend could spread COVID-19.  Whitaker says he's hopeful that the infection rate stays low, not just in the schools, but statewide.  The superintendent says that parents will be receiving some plans to address the COVID-19 spread in the coming days, especially grades 10-through-12 and exposure to visitors during Thanksgiving and Christmas break. 


The Cassadaga Valley Central School district has been notified of two positive cases of COVID-19 among the staff.  One adult at the middle/high school has tested positive.  Out of an abundance of caution... officials say the middle/high school will be closed through today... and, reopen Monday.  The district reports the second staff member who tested positive was at Sinclairville Elementary school.  Students at that building will also be on 'remote learning' today (Friday), with the possibility that may be extended into next week.  (The superintendent, Chuck Leichner, put a video up on the school's website that explains the situation as of late in the day Thursday.)


Jamestown City Council members have begun to review and discuss Mayor Eddie Sundquist's Police Reform survey.  The Public Safety Committee yesterday afternoon looked at the survey... which 479 people took part in.  Sundquist says about 70 people lived outside the city, or didn't have any property they owned in the city.  Sundquist says the first item people responded to was naming the Police Department's top service.

Sundquist says residents also addressed where improvement was needed, and Equality and social justice.  The most named area in that catagory was "training and supervision."  Acting Police Chief Timothy Jackson told the committee that -- compared to other municipal police departments -- JPD was pretty much on schedule in getting a plan in place.  He says they are ahead of the curve in some areas... and, would only have to make a few elsewhere to be where the governor wants them to be.  Sundquist says 59 people have asked to be part of various stakeholder groups involved. 

The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office has arrested a Gerry man on two-counts felony Use of Child in a Sexual Performance. Deputies say the charges stem from a September 1st incident... and, 52 year-old Michael Stravato was arraigned at the Chautauqua County Jail on Wednesday.  Stravato was released under the supervision of probation. 

Triple-A of Western and Central New York is expecting to see the largest one-year drop in Thanksgiving Holiday travel since the Great Recession in 2008.  That from Public Relations Director Elizabeth Carey... who spoke about the drop during a video conference.  Carey says most people are opting for driving when they're traveling.

Carey says most Americans will be taking to the highway during the holiday... but overall travel will be down about 10-percent... with a more than 50-percent drop in air travel.  While Triple-A is not promoting travel because of COVID-19, they are advising those who do decide to travel to follow CDC guidelines... and, that they should know the local restrictions for their travel destination.
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Nov 12, 2020

Chautauqua County officials report there are 23 new cases of the COVID-19 Virus being reported in the county over the past day... but, no other information is being released at this time.  The county's Health Department says this brings the total number in the county to 1,237.  We do know that two of the new cases reported are in the Jamestown Public School district.  Spokesperson Cathy Panebianco says one is a student at Fletcher Elementary School, who last attended school this past Tuesday.  She says the other is a Jamestown High School teacher who was last in school on a week ago.  The teacher instructs all classes by distance learning only.  School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says "we continue to stress the importance of social distancing, face masks, and frequent hand washing both at school and at home."  If you have questions... call your school's nurse... or email the Coordinator of Health Services, Jill Muntz at jill.a.muntz@jpsny.org or call her at 716-483-4376.

The Cattaraugus County Health Department is reported 2 new COVID-19 related deaths... bring the county's total to 21. Health officials say the deaths involve an 82-year-old male and 95-year-old female.  Both reportedly developed respiratory failure and were unable to overcome their illnesses.  As of Tuesday night, Cattaraugus County has reported 585 cases since the pandemic began... with 99 active cases.


Governor Andrew Cuomo says all restaurants, bars and gyms will have to close at 10 PM across New York state in the latest effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.  The governor said Wednesday that people will also be barred from hosting private gatherings with more than 10 people.  Cuomo says the new restrictions go into effect Friday.  He says they are necessary because new coronavirus infections have been traced to those types of activities.  Only carry-out service will be allowed after 10 PM.


If former Vice-President Joe Biden holds on to win the Presidential election... that could signal a move towards bi-partisanship in Congress.  Those are the feelings of Chautauqua County's representative in Congress... Cornign Republican Tom Reed... who has had some dealings with Biden when Biden was Vice-President.  Reed says the one big event was when he and Biden were on hand in Rochester for a major announcement of the new Revitalize American Manufacturing Innovation -- or "RAMI Act" -- which Reed played a key role in developing.

Reed worked with Democratic Congressman Joe Kennedy in putting the RAMI legislation together.  He says.. while Biden had an "open door" policy as Vice-President for people on both sides of the political aisle... he says that was not the case with former President Barack Obama.  Late Tuesday... Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says there's "no reason for alarm" as President Trump pursues his legal challenges to President-elect Biden's victory.  Republicans are increasingly pointing to a December deadline for Trump to exhaust his legal challenges. That's when the states face a deadline to certify results, and the Electoral College has a December 14th deadline to cast its votes.


The Jamestown City Council's Public Safety Committee will review the results of a recent community survey about the city Police Department when it meets Thursday afternoon.  The survey was released as part of the Jamestown Police Reform Initiative.  The survey was developed by Acting Police Chief Timothy Jackson... and, is required under a directive by Governor Cuomo to develop a plan that reinvents and modernizes police strategies and programs based on community input.  Each police agency's reform plan must address policies, procedures, and practices.  It must be in place by next April 1st.

A house fire in the Town of Hanover remains under investigation, after firefighters battled the blaze overnight Tuesday. The County Emergency Dispatch Center reports that crews responded to the fire at 10151 Allegany Road that was reported shortly before 9:30PM.  The last units cleared the scene around 1:45 AM Wednesday. Forestville firefighters received mutual aid from fire departments from Sunset Bay, Hanover Center, Irving, Perrysburg, South Dayton, Cherry Creek, Sheridan, East Dunkirk, and Silver Creek.  Chautauqua County Emergency Services also assisted at the scene. Everyone was reported to be out of the building when crews arrived on the scene. 

A Medford, Oregon man was arrested in the Town of Hanover for allegedly burglarizing a business and stealing a vehicle early Tuesday morning. Sheriff's Officers were called to a business on Routes 5 and 20 just after midnight... and, discovered multiple crimes had been committed at the scene and a vehicle was allegedly stolen. Deputies were able to locate the vehicle and identify the operator as 35 year-old Nathan Joyce.  Officers say all victims were returned their respective property shortly after it was recovered and processed. Joyce is being held in the County Jail on charges including possession of burglar tools... three-counts of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property... and third-degree grand larceny. 


At the annual Veterans Day service at St. Luke's Church in Jamestown Wednesday, the speaker was Clyde Card, Past County Commander of the American Legion.  He talked about the real purpose of the day. Card said he believes Veterans Day gets the 'short end of the stick,' as many people don't get the day off.  He also noted that unlike Memorial Day, which primarily honors the dead, Veterans Day also celebrates those who served and 'made it back.'
The annual service is conducted jointly by St. Luke's Church and the American Legion.  (At this year's event, everyone was required to be masked and socially distant.  On that point, Clyde Card said, "I don't think the American people have been called on to change their way of life... like we have today... since World War Two.")

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WJTN News Headlines for Nov 11, 2020

Jamestown City Hall had to be evacuated for about three hours yesterday morning after a strong smell of gas was reported in the police department.  Deputy Fire Chief Matt Coon says they received a call from police just after 6 AM about the gas odor on the eastside of the municipal building at Tracy Plaza.  Coon says a group of firefighters checked the basement... and another group later found the leak along Prendergast Avenue between Second and Third Streets.
In addition to evacuating police and fire personnel... Coon says National Fuel Gas was called in.  He says police and fire crews remained outside until the all clear was given.  Coon says city police performed traffic control in the area... and, kept employees from entering the building until it was safe for re-entry.  We had been told earlier that a contractor may have accidently struck the natural gas line... but, that was not the case.  However... the cause of the leak remains under investigation.  Coon says people were allowed back in the building shortly after 9 AM. 

There have now been more than 12-hundred confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County after 27 new cases were reported Tuesday.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says there are now 1,214 total cases since the pandemic began.  Wendel says there are six new cases each in Jamestown and Fredonia... and, three each in Dunkirk and Silver Creek.  He says there are now 113 active cases... and, 1,086 have now recovered.  Wendel says the county's Health Department is currently monitoring a cluster linked to social clubs in the north county area.  He says there are currently eight active cases linked to the Fredonia Beaver Club.

              
Officials in Chautauqua County are sending a message out to social clubs in the county that they must follow COVID-19 guidelines.  That after a cluster of seven confirmed cases linked to the Fredonia Beaver Club surfaced over the weekend.  County Executive P-J Wendel gave us his reaction to the news Tuesday morning....

[CLIP]  Wendel-important for SCs to abide by guidelines  "licenses jeopardized....

Meanwhile, Wendel is following developments in Erie County where much of the county is under a "yellow" zone designation.  However... he says the situation was the other way around a couple of weeks ago, when our county's numbers were "much higher" than Erie County's.  Sunday's testing data showed that Erie County's positivity rate reached 6-percent... while Chautauqua County's rate of positive cases was at 1.5 percent.


A student at Jamestown's Fletcher Elementary School who was last in school on October 30th has tested positive for the COVID-19 Virus.  The district was notified late Tuesday morning by the Chautauqua County Health Department that the student tested positive... but, had been attending off-site at the time of the diagnosis.  District Spokesperson Cathy Panebianco says the Health Department is reporting that "no in-school contact tracing will be required."  She adds that out-of-school close contacts are being notified, and appropriate steps are being taken.  It's the second-day in a row that a Jamestown Public School student was reported as having COVID-19. As a reminder... Panebianco says please wear face masks, maintain social distancing and continue frequent hand washing whether at school or in the community to help keep our students and staff safe.


Local Congressman Tom Reed says he supports President Trump's right to contest the results of voting in some states.  However... the Corning Republican is also acknowledging that Joe Biden as the President-elect.  Reed is one of a small number of Republicans who have congratulated Biden on winning the election... but, he says -- unless there's some huge discrepancy -- Biden is the President-elect.
Reed says he has taken some criticism for his stance on Biden being declared President-Elect in media reports.  In a certain regarding... he says he's looking forward to going back to work with the Problem Solver's Caucus that he co-chairs.  Reed says they may have more clout in the House because it looks like Democrats will ony have about a 10-vote majority.  As for his own race... Reed says -- even if Democratic Challenger Tracy Mitrano received 100-percent of the absentee ballots submitted in the 23rd Congressional District -- it wouldn't change the outcome.  Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with national and regional media.


The Chautauqua County Board of Elections has finished it's count of just over 10,000 absentee ballots for last week's General Election.  The Board reports that 10,750 absentees were accepted.  However... officials say the added ballots did not change any of the outcomes.  Republicans had a big night... with P-J Wendel winning the County Executive's race... Jason Schmidt winning for District Attorney... and State Assemblyman Andy Goodell and State Senator George Borrello winning by huge margins.  The board is still awaiting military and overseas ballots before the results are certified.
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Counties across New York state began to count more than 1.5-million absentee ballots Monday in an effort to determine the outcome of several races that remain undecided nearly a week after Election Day.  The mail-in vote has the potential to swing some races substantially.  Roughly 930,000 absentee ballots were returned by Democrats, while 260,000 were returned by Republicans. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Nov. 10, 2020

 

The Jamestown Public School District has announced that a Bush Elementary School student has tested positive for COVID-19.  In a printed release, JPS Communications Coordinator Cathy Panebianco says the student last attended school on November 9th.  The district is following all guidelines from the Chautauqua County Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. In addition, Panebianco says JPS wants parents to know that "a confirmed case DOES NOT mean that you or your child has been exposed to the individual who has tested positive. Any individuals who may have been in close contact, as defined by the Chautauqua County Department of Health, with a confirmed case will be contacted directly by the New York Department of Health contact tracers." Anyone with questions is asked to contact your building nurse or JPS Coordinator of Health Services, Jill Muntz at 483-4376.


The region's run of record warm temperatures for early November continued Monday... with another high temperature record shattered.  Forecaster Kirk Apfell with the National Weather Service in Buffalo says this comes on the heels of Sunday's new record high for November 8th. Apfell says the warm conditions are going to remain with us for another day... as sunny skies and temperatures into the low to mid-70s are being forecast again today.  He says we'll see some rain late tonight, as a cold front moves into the region.  However... while temperatures will drop about 20-degrees by Thursday... we'll see more seasonal temperatures.


A man from Corry, Pennsylvania has pleaded guilty to trafficking and selling methamphetime in Chautauqua County early in 2019.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior announced Monday that 43-year-old Jerry Roneker, Junior entered the plea in federal court to possessing with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of meth.  Prosecutors say Sheriff's officers saw Roneker's car cross the center line in the road in the town of Chautauqua, and he was pulled over.  During the traffic stop... deputies found a number of drug-related items... including two large chunks of suspected meth... a loaded handgun... and, more than $10,000 in cash.  Roneker faces a minimum of 10 years in prison... a maximum of life... and, a $10-million fine.


There are four new cases of the coronavirus in Chautauqua County being reported the past day... and, 22 total since last Saturday.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel's office... which says six of those cases are from Fredonia... and, three are from Dunkirk.  The others were spread over various parts of the county.  Wendel says there are now 1,189 total cases... and, 93 are active.  He says there have been 15 deaths... but, 1,081 cases have now recovered and, 21 are hospitalized.


The COVID-19 infection rate has been spiking in the Western New York region... which includes Chautauqua County.  With that... parts of the region have now been designated by the state as "micro-clusters" with some new restrictions on mass gatherings to lower the infection rate.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who says the rate has been increasing here... due mainly to people's movements and gatherings. A spike in the Buffalo-area has been a big reason for the increases in the region... and, so far... there are no added restrictions in Chautauqua County.  Sundquist says there would be three levels to the newer restrictions:  Yellow, Orange, and Red.  He says the least restrictive is Yellow... where houses of worship would be limited to 50-percent capacity... mass gatherings would be limited to 25 people... and, restaurants would be limited to parties of four per table.  There are a few in Erie County, New York. 

A weekend outbreak of seven cases of COVID-19 is being traced to a north county social club.  With that... the Chautauqua County Health Department is emphasizing that those clubs must abide by COVID-19 precautions.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says the outbreak at the Fredonia Beaver Club is "the first time we’ve seen cases from a single club reach cluster designation so rapidly.”  The Beaver Club closed on Saturday for two weeks for deep cleaning and to ensure appropriate precautionary measures are in place.  Anyone who frequented the club in the last two weeks is advised to be extra vigilant with social distancing, masking and hand washing...and should contact their health care provider if they develop COVID-19 symptoms.  A free, rapid testing clinic will be held this Thursday, November 12th from 9 AM to 2 PM at the Murphy Training Center on Brigham Road in Dunkirk.

Many officials are cheering news about the promising development of a coronavirus vaccine... but, they also caution that Americans need to be aggressive about mask wearing and social distancing as infections continue to surge around the country.  Here in New York state... Governor Andrew Cuomo was critical of Trump administration's handling of the pandemic as a whole and also of their plan on how to administer the vaccine. Cuomo says the Trump administration's plan is flawed because the private providers will be administering the vaccine and that leaves out communities that didn't get enough help at the beginning of the pandemic.  Pfizer announced promising results from a vaccine trial, indicating a 90-percent effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Monday felt like a late Summer morning... with temperatures getting to about 70-degrees before Noon.  But... Jamestown City Arborist Dan Stone was thinking Christmas.  Stone led a Parks and Public Works crew in cutting down and putting up the city's annual Christmas Tree on Tracy Plaza.  Stone says the Mazzurco family on Cole Avenue donated the 40-foot tall White Spruce tree for the celebration.  However... it's not yet known what kind of Christmas Tree Lighting and Holiday Celebration will be held this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.  Stone says an announcement could be made by the end of the week.
 
The popular 'Four-H Green Tie Affair' for 2021 will not take place due to the COVID-19 shut-down.  The event, held every February at Chautauqua Suites in Mayville, attracts 600 to 700 supporters.  The Four-H educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension, Kate Ewer, says they are making alternate plans -- a "fill the bucket campaign". Ewer says the 'fundraising goal' for  2021 is $45,000. The 'Green Tie Affair' typically raises $25,000 on its own.  Additionally, Kate Ewer emphasizes that while many events for young people have been curtailed or cancelled, Four-H is open, and volunteers are still providing learning opportunities for the children involved.  Ewer says that's either virtually, or in-person.  More information on Four-H is available on social media, the internet, or phone 664-9502.

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WJTN News Headlines for Nov. 9, 2020


A Jamestown man now faces several charges -- including first-degree vehicular assault -- in connection with a crash last May that seriously injured his three passengers.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene May 26th on Route 394 in front of Chautauqua Institution for a single-car accident.  Deputies say 21 year-old James Meuker was driving while ability impaired by marijuana.  Officers say the passengers... Samuel MacQueen, Michael Brightman, and Jacob Surrena were taken to UPMC Hamot Medical Center... and, treated before being released.  In addition to vehicular assault... Meuker has also been charged with second-degree assault... second-degree unlawful Possession of Marijuana... and, driving while under the influence of drugs.  He will appear in Chautauqua Town Court at a later date.

A Jamestown man faces multiple charges after allegedly exposing himself to several youths in the area of Front Street last Thursday afternoon.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers were called to the area about 4:30 PM on a report of a "suspicious person" sitting in a parked car.  Officers found 41 year-old John Hollingsworth sitting in the vehicle... and, investigation showed Hollingsworth had exposed himself to the children.  He was arrested on one count of Public Lewdness and three counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.  Hollingsworth was later arraigned, and released per the New York State Bail Reform Act. 

The Chautauqua County Health Department has now confirmed 1,183 cases of COVID-19, after 8 new cases were reported yesterday and 10 on Saturday. Officials say there were 18 total positive test results over the weekend... and, a complete update is expected later today. 


Local Congressman Tom Reed released a statement late last weekend, congratulating President-Elect Joe Biden.  At the same time... Reed says -- "To ensure the integrity of our electoral process, we must continue to transparently count and certify all of the American people’s votes to its complete conclusion."  However... he congratulated Biden... and, added "we are ready to come together, work as one and help all Americans through the difficult times ahead."  The Corning Republican concluded that it will require all of us to be "one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."


It's only in the preliminary stages... but, officials are looking at setting up a three-state "Winery, Distillery, and Craft Beer Trail" that would start in northeastern Ohio... and, end in New York's Finger Lakes region.  Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel says he is working to set up a meeting with local wineries, and others to discuss such a possibility.  The Appalachian Wine Trail currently includes Wineries in parts of West Virginia, and eastern Ohio.  He made his comments for last weekend's Community Spotlight program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.

A Sherman man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting another person with a stick-like object early last weekend.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Route 430 in Sherman late last Friday... and, arrested 21 year-old David Detweiler for third-degree assault, and first-degree criminal contempt.  Deputies say the victim suffered injuries in the attack... and, add that the person has an order of protection against Detweiler.  He was arrested on the two charges... and, taken to the Chautauqua County Jail pending centralized arraignment.

Two Dunkirk men have been arrested in connection with a drive-by shooting that occurred last Friday morning in the north county city. Dunkirk Police say 22-year-old Jesus Montero-Perez, and 20-year-old Kenyis Gonzalez-Torres fired several shots toward a garage in the area of 633 Leopard Street shortly after 9 AM.  The two then fled in a red sedan, leading officers from multiple departments on a brief chase that ended on Day Street in Fredonia.  Montero-Perez was charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and is being held on $100,000 bail, while Gonzalez-Torres had outstanding bench warrants through Dunkirk City Court and is being held on $25,000 cash bail.  A third suspect remains at large.

 

A new shop for vintage and new fashions has opened up in downtown Lakewood! The ribbon was cut Saturday morning on the new GI Threads store at 106 Chautauqua Avenue in the village.  Owner/Operator Gabby Iuculano says she was very excited to finally have he grand opening last Saturday.  

Iuculano was attending Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania when the COVID-19 pandemic hit... and, she was unable to play sports.  At that point, she returned to Chautauqua County, and began work on some clothing items she had... and, the rest is history.  County Executive P-J Wendel, a Lakewood resident, praised Iuculano for opening up a new business.

A representative from Congressman Tom Reed's Office, Jackie Phelps, also congratulated Iuculano on her store opening... and added she "can't wait to shop" there.  She liked the trendy, and vintage items inside.  GI Threads is closed Monday and Tuesdays... and open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 AM to 6 PM.

Students attending college at one of New York's public universities in the spring will have to quarantine at home for a week first and be tested for COVID-19, at home or on campus.  The rules are part of new guidance for the spring semester issued by the State University of New York on Sunday.  Classes will start later than usual, on February 1st, and there will be no spring break.  And with big gatherings still not allowed, graduation plans for the Class of 2021 are shaping up once again to be scaled-back or virtual ceremonies. 
 

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News Headlines for Sat., Nov. 7, 2020

(**Alert!)A-P calls Presidential race for Biden...
Democrat Joe Biden has defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States. Biden vanquished his Republican foe after a campaign as bitter and divisive as Trump's own presidential term.  Victories in ``blue wall'' northern industrial states propelled Biden to the White House, where he'll confront America's deep health, economic and social ills.  A win in Pennsylvania sealed his victory after more than three tension-filled days of counting votes.  Record numbers of Americans voted early and by mail, many out of concern about going to polling places during the coronavirus pandemic.


Cattaraugus County teen arrested for allegedly assaulting sheriff's deputy...
A Cattaraugus County teenager has been arrested for allegedly assaulting a Sheriff's officer as a patrol was trying to take her for a mental health evaluation.  Deputies in Little Valley were called to the scene in Limestone about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday for a welfare check on the 14 year-old girl.  Officers say the juvenile became combative, and kicked the deputy and a patrol car several times.  Deputies say the teen was taken to Olean General Hospital for the evaluation... and, she was issued an appearance ticket for second-degree assault, and resisting arrest for Cattaraugus County Family Court at a later date.


Thirteen new COVID-19 cases reported on Friday, more than 1,000 have now recovered...
There are 13 new cases of the coronvirus being reported in Chautauqua County the past day... and, more than 1,000 people have now recovered from COVID-19.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel's Office... which reports five of the new cases are in Dunkirk... and, three more are in Fredonia.  In addition... he says there are two each in Westfield and Forestville.  Wendel says they've made a number of strides in recent months... but, adds community spread remains a big issue.  He says they've been able to find cases, contact trace, and help them recover.  Wendel says there are now 1,165 total cases to date... and 143 of those are currently active.  Wendel says there are now four active cases of COVID among employees at Tanglewood Manor and Memory Gardens... and, 14 among residents.  However... in all 99 cases have now recovered.  Wendel says 20 people are now hospitalized... and 1,130 individuals were tested at the free, rapid testing clinics held Oct 26 through 30 in Jamestown and Dunkirk with 53 positive tests resulting... which is 4.7-percent.  Also... 64, 224 negative test results have now been reported.


Pandemic restrictions by NYS being rolled back in NYC, but, Upstate "hot spots" a concern...
Governor Andrew Cuomo says restrictions in some New York City pandemic hot spots will be rolled back even as the state plans to combat flare-ups in and around upstate New York's largest cities.  The actions being considered for the Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse areas reflect the state's shifting strategy as COVID-19 becomes a widespread problem beyond New York City.  Cuomo said he would talk to officials in those upstate areas over the weekend to come up with a micro-cluster strategy that he could announce Monday. 


Two people from Dunkirk arrested for alleged drive-by shooting Friday...
Two Dunkirk residents are in custody in connection with a drive-by shooting that occurred Friday morning in the north county city. Dunkirk Police say 22-year-old Jesus Montero-Perez and 20-year-old Kenyis Gonzalez-Torres fired several shots toward a garage in the area of 633 Leopard Street shortly after 9 a.m.  The two then fled in a red sedan, leading officers from multiple departments on a brief chase that ended on Day Street in Fredonia.  Montero-Perez was charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and is being held on $100,000 bail, while Gonzalez-Torres had outstanding bench warrants through Dunkirk City Court and is being held on $25,000 bail.  A third suspect remains at large.


Rosas says repairs are underway to Seawall in Dunkirk... 
Work is now underway on repairing the Seawall along Lakefront Boulevard in the city of Dunkirk.  Mayor Willie Rosas says the repairs got underway earlier this week.  Rosas says the contractor has been on-site, and the weather has been very favorable to getting the work done.  The wall was damaged in a storm that hit the area during Halloween of last year.  Rosa says 75-percent of the project is being covered by FEMA funding.


Republican Senator in PA say no evidence to support Trump's claim Democrats are trying to steal election...
A key Republican senator says he sees no evidence to support President Donald Trump's baseless claim that Democrats are trying to "steal" the election.  Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania is calling the president's words "very disturbing."  Toomey's state is a key battleground in the election and Democrat Joe Biden edged ahead of Trump Friday morning.  Trump has complained for weeks about mail-in ballots.  He escalated his unsupported allegation of fraud on Thursday, saying at the White House that the ballot-counting process is unfair and corrupt.  There have been no reports of any widespread fraud.


 

      
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Nov 6, 2020


City Police are investigating a suspicious situation involving two men approaching two students walking to Lincoln Elementary School... and, trying to talk with them.  Jamestown Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the two males followed the students along Front Street about 12:45 PM Thursday... and, then tried to talk to them.  Samuelson says the students did the right thing... and, immediately notified the school's principal.  He says JPD is continuing to investigate the situation, and is asking anyone with information to contact them at 483-7537 or via the Anonymous Tips Line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.  Samuelson says all calls will be kept confidential.  He also urges parents to talk with their children about the importance of not talking to strangers.

There have been no new cases of COVID-19 reported this week in the Jamestown Public School District. That from JPS Superintendent Kevin Whitaker, who says that classrooms are a relatively safe place to be. Whitaker says the places that are the most defined in "expected behaviors and supervised" ... tend to be the safest. The superintendent says he knows parents want their children to be safe while in class and there is a lot of compliance.  He says safety protocols are being followed. 


There are 22 new cases of the COVID-19 Virus being reported in Chautauqua County the past day... with 10 of those in the city of Dunkirk.  The county's Health Department says that brings the total number of cases to 1,152 since the pandemic began.  County Executive P-J Wendel says Fredonia and Forestville each report three new cases of the virus.  There were no cases reported in Jamestown.  Wendel says there are 153 active cases... and four of those are employees of Tanglewood Manor... and, 14 are residents.  In the north county... there are 23 cases tied to a private event held recently.  Wendel says 984 COVID cases have now recovered.


State data shows that nearly 3-thousand people tested positive for COVID-19 in New York in one day, a milestone that illustrates the steady erosion of the progress the state made to get the virus under control this summer.   After averaging as few as 600 positive tests per day in August... autumn has brought a disturbing upswing.  Governor Andrew Cuomo has said weddings, birthdays and other private gatherings have fueled the spread, on top of universities and schools opening their doors.


Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel has signed the 2021 budget that was approved by the county legislature last week, and includes a 4.6-percent tax increase.  Wendel adds that he did not veto any of the amendments made by the legislature during last week's budget vote... and, says he understand why the changes were made.  Those changes pushed the tax levy to just over 4-percent.  Wendel says he had hoped to give property owners some tax relief.

Lawmakers decreased the anticipated sales tax figure by half-a-million dollars... and also brought back a "contingency" line item of $500,000 as a buffer for any losses due to the pandemic.  The final county budget increases the current tax rate of $8.46 per thousand full value... to $8.51. That's a five cent increase.  The legislature approved the amended budget last week by an 18-to-1 margin.  Wendel made his comments for this coming weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.

The math is not in Tracy Mitrano's favor... but, she is not yet conceding the 23rd Congressional District election to incumbant Tom Reed.  During a media conference call Thursday... the Penn Yan Democrat said there don't appear to be enough absentee ballots to change the outcome of her race.  However... Mitrano says she wants to make sure the votes of her supporters are counted... regardless of the outcome.

Mitrano's campaign officials say their most recent information shows 46,950 absentees have been returned in the 23rd District... and, that includes nearly 10-thousand in Chautauqua County.  The majority of those -- just over 50-percent -- were cast by Democrats.  Republican's cast 27.64 percent of the absentees.  During a late Election Night press conference at his campaign headquarters in Corning... Reed told a small group of supporters he's ready to get back to work. Reed says the ongoing pandemic led him to call the press conference at the headquarters instead of the downtown Hotel they usually have. 

The fate of Democrats' bid for a supermajority in New York's Legislature remained uncertain Thursday as election officials prepared to start counting a mountain of absentee ballots.  Democrats need two more Senate seats for a veto-proof majority.  The party had hoped anger at President Donald Trump would translate into big gains for Democrats in New York, especially in suburban areas.  But... their expected "blue wave" doesn't appear to have happened. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Nov 5, 2020

A city man has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of being in possession of firearms while allegedly selling drugs.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior announced Wednesday that 23 year-old Omar Vera-Velazquez enter the plea before U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Vilardo to one count of possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking.  Prosecutors say Vera-Velazquez was allegedly dealing heroin in the area in September of 2019... and, that he allegedly had various firearms in his possession.  During a raid on his home... police officers seized four firearms, ammunition, and about 60 grams of a heroin and fentanyl substance.  Kennedy says Vera-Velazquez faces up to life in prison and a quarter-of-a million dollar fine when he's sentenced next March.

There were 14 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus reported Wednesday in Chautauqua County... and, there are 25 people currently hospitalized.  County Executive P-J Wendel's office reports they include three cases each in Fredonia and Westfield.  Wendel says two each are being reported in Jamestown, Silver Creek, and Dunkirk.  He adds there are 141 active cases... and there have now been a total of 1,130 positive cases in the county.  Wendel says 974 cases have now recovered.

It's been an interesting year for Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel.  He says it's been about a year since the former County Legislature Chairman learned that George Borrello was running for, and elected initially to the State Senate.  On Tuesday... the Lakewood Republican beat Democratic challenger Richard Morrisroe by a better than 2-to-1 margin.

Wendel was a physical education teacher, and coach in the Falconer School District at the time.  He says he's both "humbled and excited" by the results.  Morrisroe, who ran for public office for the first time, was happy with how he campaigned.  However... they got hit by a "red wave."

Also Tuesday... there were also two County Legislature runs offs to fill vacancies.  Republican Ken Lawton won the District 10 race to replace Wendel... and, Dunkirk Republican Kevin Muldowney won the District 1 contest.

It was a big night Tuesday for Chautauqua County's two members of the State Legislature... who will be going back to Albany in the new year after convincing wins on Election Night.  150th District Assemblyman Andy Goodell was a big winner over Democrat Christina Cardinale... with a better than 20,000 vote victory.  While he would remain in the minority in Albany... Goodell says Republicans have made some gains in recent years... and, that's good because it leads to better legislation.  State Senator George Borrello defeated Democrat Frank Puglisi in the 57th District Senate Race.Borrello says he's "honored" to be re-elected.

At some levels of governement, efforts to erode the integrity of this year's election began weeks before the voting started.  But, Republican PJ Wendel, who won election as County Executive in Tuesday's vote, has nothing but praise for what he calls the 'non-partisan' work of the Chautauqua County Board of Elections.

Former county executive, and now State Senator, George Borrello, echoed those feelings.  He says the Board of Elections here has done an "outstanding job" given circumstances surrounding the Pandemic, and the big shift towards more absentee ballots.  The Board of Elections is led by Republican Brian Abram and Democrat Norm Green.  Green is slated to retire from his post as commissioner later this year.  A recommendation on his replacement was abruptly pulled from consideration by the County Legislature at its recent meeting... a result of some conflicting opinions among Democratic Party leaders.

Republican Congressman Chris Jacobs has won a full term representing a district in western New York, beating the same Democrat he defeated in a special election five months ago.  Several Democratic members of Congress representing districts covering parts of New York City have all won their elections. The results of more tightly contested races for Congress and the state Legislature might not be known for some time because absentee ballots won't be counted in New York for at least a week. 

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WJTN News Headlines for Nov. 4, 2020

It was a big night for Republicans in the major Election Day races in Chautauqua County Tuesday... as the GOP won most of the county-wide races.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel was a big winner in the Special Election for that race to fill the position through 2021.  Wendel... who was appointed to the post at the beginning of the year... received 33,633 votes... to Dunkirk Democrat Rich Morrisroe's 13,126.  He says, with the COVID-19 Pandemic, it required a lot of hard work.

In the Chautauqua County District Attorney's race... Jason Schmidt defeated incumbant Democrat Patrick Swanson, 29,925 to 17,122.  While he won by more than 12,000 votes... Schmidt didn't want to get ahead of the process.  Schmidt says he also wants to talk with local police departments about how the D-A's office can better support and work with them.   Also Tuesday... there were also two County Legislature runs offs to fill vacancies.  Republican Ken Lawton won the District 10 race to replace Wendel... and, Dunkirk Republican Kevin Muldowney won the District 1 contest.


Chautauqua County's two Republican members of the State Legislature will be going back to Albany in the new year after big wins on Election Night.  150th District Assemblyman Andy Goodell was a big winner over Democrat Christina Cardinale... with a better than 20,000 vote victory.  Goodell had 34,627 votes to Cardinale's 12-thousand-514.  He says his victory along with State Senator George Borrello is heartening, because their voices are being heard in Albany.

Goodell also praised the efforts of the GOP "team" including Borrello... whom he has worked with on legislation and the campaign.  Borrello defeated Democrat Frank Puglisi in the 57th District Senate Race, 78,047 to 24,940.  He outpolled Puglisi in Chautauqua County, 35,717 to 11,367.
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In the race for the 23rd Congressional District seat.... Democrat Tracy Mitrano jumped out to an early lead, but, incumbant Republican Tom Reed finished strong... and appears to have won re-election.  The Corning Republican led Mitrano last night 156,589 to 90,064. Additionally.... while it's still too close to call .... it appears Republican Gerald Greenan-the third has a lead for New York state Supreme Court District 8. With 98-percent of the precints reporting Tuesday night, Greenan had 246,688 votes to Democrat Amy Martoche's 181,674 votes. 


It was a near perfect Election Day in Chautauqua County Tuesday with fair weather and a hotly-contested Presidential race.  With that... turn-out was very good.  In fact... Democratic Elections Commissioner Norm Green says more people voted by Noon today than did during all of Early Voting.  Green says the polls were open at all 49 polling sites... and, turn-out was steady to very good at most all locations.


There are a dozen new cases of COVID-19 and one death of a resident of Tanglewood Manor near Jamestown being reported Tuesday.  That from Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler... who says the resident was a man in his 80s, who "succumbed to complications of this infection."  Schuyler adds that the 12 new cases include 4 in Jamestown... and two each in Clymer, Fredonia, and Dunkirk.  She says there are 134 active cases... with three of those among employees of Tanglewood Manor, and, among 14 residents there.  Schuyler says 25 people are hospitalized... and, 15 have now died from the virus.  There are now 1,116 total confirmed cases.


A man being sought by federal authorities on drug trafficking charges, has been found in Jamestown after a several day search.  City Police say 28 year-old Michael Murphy was found after police received tips through Crime Stoppers of Western New York that he was hiding in the attic at 31 Linwood Avenue.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says city police, members of the Metro Drug Task Force, U-S Marshalls, and Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force began looking for Murphy last Thursday.  He was arrested yesterday afternoon without incident.  

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WJTN News Headlines for Nov. 3, 2020

The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office says searchers found the wreckage of a small plane from North Carolina that crashed in Jamestown, killing all three people aboard on Sunday. Speaking this morning, Sheriff Jim Quattrone says the plane went missing just before 6 PM Sunday night... and, it was found Monday morning between Route 380 and 60. The Sheriff says  the three people on board the flight have been identified as Alan Fuller, Valerie Holmes, and Linda Edwards, all of Northwestern Pennsylvania. No cause has been released at this point. 

New Yorkers cast their final ballots Tuesday amid a pandemic that had officials worried about protecting voters' health on top of more typical concerns about long wait times or adequate staffing at the polls. Long waits are still possible on Election Day, even with a record number of people casting ballots by mail or through early voting. Gov. Andrew Cuomo relaxed the state's rules to allow anyone worried about the virus to vote absentee. This was the first general election where the state allowed early voting.


Nearly 50-percent of the expected voters in Chautauqua County have already voted heading into Election Day tomorrow... with record number of early, and absentee voters this year.  That from Republican Elections Commissioner Brian Abram... who says just over 14,000 voters took part in early voting that ended on Sunday.  Abram adds another 9,500 have returned absentee ballots.

Abram and Democratic Commissioner Norm Green add there are still about 2,000 absentees still out.  Abram says 3,600 people voted early last year... which was not a Presidential Election year.  There were times where voters had to wait 45 minutes to an hour at each of the three early voting sites.  However... most times people were in and out of the early voting locations in 20 to 25-minutes. 
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Voting on this Election Day runs from 6 AM to 9 PM in Chautauqua County.  In addition to the Presidential race... county voters also also deciding on a County Executive in a special election between Interim Executive P-J Wendel, a Republican, and Democrat Rich Morrisroe.  They're also voting on a District Attorney between incumbant Democrat Patrick Swanson, and Republican Jason Schmidt.  There is also an election for the 150th District State Assembly seat... currently held by Republican Andy Goodell.  He's being challenged by Democrat Christina Cardinale.  In the State Senate... incumbant Republican George Borrello is running for a full term against Democrat Frank Puglisi.  In the 23rd Congressional District... five-term incumbant Republican Tom Reed is seeking another term against Democrat Tracy Mitrano.  There are also some other local races, and there are two candidates runing for State Supreme Court.  Listen as the results come in on WJTN tonight.  Our coverage begins after ABC News at 8PM.

Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist is apologizing to residents and City Council members about the snowy and slick condition of some streets from Monday's early morning snow storm.  During last night's Council work session... Sundquist said there were issues with some of the more hilly, and brick street areas.
Sundquist says his office, as well as the Public Works Department and some council members received numerous calls about problem spots during Monday morning's commute.  Councilwoman Marie Carruba thanked Interim Police Chief Tim Jackson's office for their traffic control work on one frequent trouble spot... North Main Street downtown. 


There should be no drop offs in service by the Jamestown Fire Department despite having seven firefighters in isolation due to a small cluster of COVID-19 cases.  The outbreak was reported late last week... and, involved six members.  That number increased to seven by the end of the week.  However... Deputy Fire Chief Matt Coon says they're been able to bring in added firefighters to replace those who are in quarantine or isolation.  Coon says there will be some overtime cost during this time period.

Mayor Eddie Sundquist says it was important to inform residents of what was going on as the number of cases, and exposures grew.  He says it was also important to let the public know the fire department is adequately staffed.  Neither Sundquist nor Coon would speculate how much overtime would be necessary to replace the members in isolation.  However... they noted that all the department's stations will be open during this time period.

 
The Chautauqua County Health Department reported 16 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus Monday. Health officials say there are cases being reported just about everywhere in the county the past three days... with 9 each reported in Dunkirk, Fredonia, and Jamestown.  The Jamestown numbers include a small cluster of cases in the city's Fire Department.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says there are 142 active cases right now... and, 1,104 total.  Wendel says 25 people are hospitalized with the virus... and 14 people have now died.  However... 954 cases have now recovered.

With more people facing food insecurity during the COVID pandemic, anti-hunger advocates are urging Congress to increase SNAP benefits. The HEROES Act, originally passed in the House last May, would raise the maximum benefit under SNAP by 15-percent through September of next year. But there has been no increase in the benefit in COVID relief bills passed by Republicans in the Senate. Amy Hill with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank says since the pandemic began they've seen about a 50-percent increase in the number of people asking for food assistance, many of them for the first time.

According to Joel Berg, C-E-O of Hunger Free America, raising the maximum SNAP benefit by 15-percent would cost at least $10-billion, but the added nutritional benefits would save many times that in extra health-care costs. The total price tag for the HEROES Act as updated by the House in September would be two-point-two-trillion-dollars.  Over 16 months... a 15-percent increase in SNAP would raise the benefits available in Pennsylvania by more than $490-million.

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WJTN News Headlines for Nov. 2, 2020

Authorities are searching for a small plane carrying three people that lost contact with air traffic controllers in western New York. Chautauqua County Sheriff James Quattrone says the twin-engine plane was carrying a pilot and two passengers and was near Jamestown, New York, when it was last heard from shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday. The FAA says the Grumman American GA-7 was about a mile from the airport when controllers lost contact. It departed from Burlington Alamance Regional Airport in Burlington, North Carolina. The Jamestown area was experiencing wind gusts of about 25 to 30 mph with light snow Sunday night.

Conditions should improve as the morning goes on... but, much of Chautauqua County is getting it's first real taste of Winter weather today. Fortunately, Forecaster Jon Hitchcock with the National Weather Service in Buffalo says once we get past Tuesday... we'll see warming, and dryer conditions for the next several days. By Wednesday... Hitchcock says we'll see highs bouncing back up into the upper 50s... and, we will see the low to mid 60s by the end of the week.  


There are 28 new cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County from the past weekend.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says there were 13 more cases announced on Sunday... after 15 were reported on Saturday.  Currently... Wendel's office reports there have been 1,088 confirmed cases since the pandemic began last March.  More information will be announced this afternoon.


Friendly's Restaurants, an East Coast dining chain known for its sundaes, is filing for bankruptcy protection. All 130 of its locations will remain open while in restructures under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Substantially all of its assets are being sold to the restaurant company, Amici Partners Group. The pandemic has hit the restaurant sector hard, particularly those that rely on people in their dining rooms. At least 10 chains have filed for bankruptcy protection since the pandemic began this year. But Friendly's Restaurant, like most other chains that have stumbled this year, had been struggling. In April 2019... the chain announced the closing of the Jamestown Friendly's location, however,  the one in Olean in Cattaraugus County appears to remain open.


Ground has been broken for the new Hospice House facility to be located next to the organization's headquarters on West Fairmount Avenue in Lakewood.  Chautauqua Hospice Executive Director Shauna Anderson says they're pleased to be moving forward with the project... which involves the property at 32 West Fairmount Avenue.  Anderson says they also revealed it's name... the "Star Hospice House."  She says it honors legacy gift donors Stanley and Elizabeth Star, and will house up to five people at a time.

Anderson says they have now raised about $1.8-million dollars for the $2.1-million project to build the Star Hospice House.  She says it will use the existing structure on the property, and build onto the house to create a five-bedroom facility for people in end-of-life care.  Anderson says donations are still welcome for the project... either by sending a check to Hospice, or going to their website, and paying through Pay Pal.

Seven people from Jamestown have been indicted, and arrested on federal charges for allegedly running a drug trafficking ring in the area.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior announced late last week that a federal grand jury returned a 34-count indictment charging them for their allegedly roles.  Kennedy says the main actor was Rocco Beardsley... and, he and Tyler Tedesco, Miller Hagga, Kylie Reeves, Garland Beardsley, and Austin Gordon, are all charged with narcotics conspiracy.  Rocco Beardsley is also faces other counts including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.  For nearly the past two years... those six allegedly sold a variety of drugs from several residences in the city.  A seventh defendant, Giselle Bennett, is charged with obstruction of justice.

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News Bulletin for Tues., Dec. 1, 2020

(*Bulletin)COVID-19 outbreak reported at Chautauqua Co. Jail... The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak in the county jail in Mayville.  Sheriff Jim ...

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