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Local News Headlines Archives for 2021-12

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Dec. 31, 2021 Happy New Year!

Erie, PA area woman killed in tractor-trailer, SUV crash on Route 5 in Westfield...
An Erie, PA-area woman was killed when her sports utility vehicle crashed into a tractor-trailer yesterday afternoon on Route 5 in the town of Westfield.  State Police in Fredonia were called to the scene just after 1:30 p.m., and, found that the driver of the GMC was westbound when the vehicle cross the center line, and struck the Peterbuilt tractor-trailer.  The driver of the GMC, 45 year-old Jessica Swan of Waterford, PA, was pronounced dead at the scene.  The truck driver was not hurt, and the investigation is continuing.


Quattrone urges party-goers on New Year's Eve to have a designated driver, or get cab or uber...
The statewide crackdown continues on drunk and drugged-driving during the New Year's Day holiday weekend in New York.  Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone says local police agencies will be taking part in the crackdown... along with state and federal authorities.  Quattrone says the local numbers have been troubling in recent years... and, their most recent report shows such crashes now outnumber the county's "Part-One crimes."  He recently offered some safety tips concerning the holiday weekend.  He encourages people to plan ahead... if they're going to be out drinking.  Quattrone says, have a designated driver, or use a ride-sharing or taxi service.  The statewide safety campaign continues through Saturday, New Year's Day.


Forestville man arrested for DWI after car crashes into house...
A man from the Buffalo-area is charged with driving while intoxicated following a crash into a house on Center Street in the village of Forestville.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene shortly before Midnight Wednesday night... and found the driver, 32 year-old Matthew Logel of Eden... was operating the vehicle while drunk.  Deputies took Logel into custody on charges of DWI... speed not reasonable and prudent... and, Failure to Keep Right.  Logel was issued appearance tickets for Hanover Town Court at a later date.  There were no injuries as a result of this accident... and, only minor damage to the house.


Former JPS Superintendent, Tim Mains, passes suddenly in downstate New York...
A former Jamestown Public School's superintendent, who most recently headed up a Hudson Valley district, has died suddenly at the age of 72.  The North Orange Daily News reports that Pine Bush District Superintendent Tim Mains had a sudden medical emergency Thursday... and, later died despite efforts to save his life.  Mains became Jamestown superintendent in August of 2013... and, served until February of 2017 when he was named superintendent at Pine Bush in northern Orange County, NY.  Jamestown School Board President Paul Abbott... in a release from the district said he was "deeply saddened" to hear of Main's passing. 

 

WJTN News Headlines from Wed., Dec. 29, 2021

**Sorry, due to tech issue, these were not put in Wed, our apologies...

 

County DOH reports 544 New COVID cases through Christmas Day, and 14 new deaths...
The number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County continued their downward trend this past week... but, it's still high and there's little change in the number of new deaths and hospitalizations.  The county's Health Department reported Tuesday there were 544 new cases through Christmas Day... with 131 of those in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  However... there were 14 new deaths.  That brings that total to 271... and, there are now 39 people hospitalized.  There have now been 18,428 total cases... and, 17,687 have recovered.  There are currently 470 active cases in the county... and, the seven-day infection rate is now 9.5-percent.


BPU transformer failure in West Ellicott leads to nearly 500 power outages... 
Electric power was cut last night for about two-hours to Board of Public Utilities customers in part of West Ellicott last night when a pole transformer failed.  BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says power was cut just after 9:30 p.m. when a fuse cut-out failed, causing a pole-mount transformer to fail in front of Dunn Tire at the Fairmount Plaza.  Robbins says BPU employees restored power within approximately two hours.  The outage affected about 466 electric customers in the area.


Sundquist reiterates disappointment that more ARPA projects have not been approved yet...
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he's happy to finally see some projects in his Master Plan for American Rescue Plan Act funding moving forward.  However... as the year ends... Sundquist adds he's still disappointed that more projects haven't been adopted by lawmakers.  He says he's pleased to see the overall plan with five catagories adopted... but, adds lawmakers have had that in their hands since last June.  Sundquist says he's "very disheartend" that of the $3.5-million in projects he says are ready to go, only $437,000 has been allocated so far.  There was $3.1-million in projects included in the 2022 budget... but, several council members pushed to have the projects acted on separately -- outside of the general spending plan.  Sundquist adds that department heads have had their projects in place since October.  Sundquist says he hopes to see many more projects approved in January because of the lead-time for ordering parts, and materials... and, because the money has a deadline in which to be spent.


Buffalo woman arrested for alleged road rage incident on Christmas Day in Jamestown...
A Buffalo woman faces charges after an alleged road rage incident that occured on Christmas Day on Jamestown's eastside.  City police say they were called to the area of Winsor and Harrison Streets just before Noon on a harassment complaint.  Officers say they found that 34 year-old Cherish Woods grabbed the victim's hair through her car window... and, punched her in the face several times.  The allegations stemmed from an incident in which Wood's accused the victim of stopping too long at a red light after it had turned green.  The incident occured with the victim's 2 year-old and 6 year-old children in the car.  Police also found that Woods was wanted on warrants out of City Court.  She was arrested for second-degree harassment, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.


DOT to hold information meeting on planned improvements to Route 60 between Routes 83 and 20...
The New York state Department of Transportation will hold a public information meeting next month on proposed improvements to Route 60 from Route 83 to Route 20 in the town of Pomfret.  Pomfret Town Supervisor Dan Pacos says the project, which includes a center turning lane, should help improve safety.  Pacos says there have been a number of serious accidents on that stretch, especially with people turning left and someone not paying attention.  But... Pacos says the town would like to see other improvements included, including a traffic light at the intersection of Route 60 and Lakeview Avenue.  He says the DOT said that's "not in the works right now..." but, adds that people should go to the meeting and voice those concerns.  Pacos is hoping the DOT will reconsider.  The meeting will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 12 from 4 to 6 pm at the Fredonia Opera House.


Cuomo will not be charged in two cases of alleged, unwanted kissing of two women...
Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo won't face criminal charges stemming from allegations of unwanted kissing by two women... one of them a state trooper assigned to his detail.  Westchester County District Attorney Mimi Rocah says while there was evidence to conclude the conduct the women described did occur, it not merit charges.  The alleged incident involving the trooper occurred at Cuomo's home in Mount Kisco.  In the other incident... Cuomo allegedly greeted the woman by grabbing her arm, pulling her toward him and kissing her on the cheek while the two were at an event at White Plains High School.

 


  

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Dec. 30, 2021

Buffalo-area man arrested in DWI accident in Forestville...
A man from the Buffalo-area is charged with driving while intoxicated following a crash into a house on Center Street in the village of Forestville.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene shortly before Midnight last night... and found the driver, 32 year-old Matthew Logel of Eden... was operating the vehicle while drunk.  Deputies took Logel into custody on charges of DWI... speed not reasonable and prudent... and, Failure to Keep Right.  Logel was issued appearance tickets for Hanover Town Court at a later date.  There were no injuries as a result of this accident... and, only minor damage to the house.


Quattrone says state-wide crackdown on impaired driving crackdown continues through Saturday night...
A statewide crackdown continues on impaired driving during the New Year's Day holiday weekend in New York.  Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone says local police agencies will be taking part in the crackdown... and, they'll be working with local, state and federal authorities on that.  Quattrone recently offered some safety tips concerning the holiday weekend.  He encourages people to plan ahead... and, have a designated driver... and utilize uber, or whatever services may be out there.  The statewide safety campaign continues through Saturday, New Year's Day.


WNY Missing and Unidentified Persons Network conducts search for missing Jamestown man...
An all-volunteer organization dedicated to helping find missing persons in the region held another search for a missing Jamestown man.  Merry Williams, who heads up the Western New York Missing and Unidentified Persons Network, says they searched the 800 through 1000 block of Prendergast Ave. this morning for clues into the whereabouts of 56 year-old Kevin Hornburg, who has not been seen or heard from since Nov. 22.  Williams says Hornburg was looking at moving right before he went missing near his Prendergast Avenue home... and, says they're hoping he just wandered away.  However, this is the first time he's ever missed Thanksgiving and Christmas with his family.  Williams says if you're unable to help with their searches... they do accept help with getting flyers put out.  She says the family is offering a $1,000 reward for information on his whereabouts.  If you have information... call Jamestown Police at 483-7536.  She says you can contact her on her personal facebook page... or the Western New York Missing and Unidentified Persons Network.


Sinclairville man arrested for allegedly stealing several guns from home...
A man from Sinclairville has been arrested for allegedly steaing several guns from a home in the village late this past September.  Sheriff's deputies say they arrested 26 year-old Austin Schwab of Jamestown Street late Monday following a lengthy investigation into the theft.  Officers took Schwab into custody on charges of fourth-degree grand larceny... and, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  He was taken to the county jail pending arraignment... and, will appear in Gerry Town Court at a later date.


Wendel voices concerns over latest COVID-19-related death numbers...
Chautauqua County's COVID-19 case numbers have been going down for three consecutive weeks... but, County Executive P.J. Wendel says he is concerned about the county's number of deaths from the virus.  On Tuesday... the county's Health Department reported 14 new deaths for the week of Dec. 19-25 to bring its total number of deaths to 271 since the beginning of the pandemic.  Wendel says it is unknown at this time how many of those deaths were unvaccinated people... he says that's also a growing concern.  He says the county is following the same trend as one year ago, when there was a decrease in cases in December, followed by an increase in early January.  He says next week will tell the tale of whether there will be more cases due to the holidays.  The county had 544 new cases of COVID-19 last week, which is 37.6% lower than its peak case number during the week ending Dec. 4.  Meanwhile, Wendel adds that county labs are not sequencing for the Omicron variant, but county officials are assuming that it is here.


Man arrested in Falconer for failing to register as a Sex Offender at last three addresses... 
A Falconer man has been arrested for being a sex offender who failed to register at his new address within 10 days under New York's Sex Offender Registry.  Ellicott Town Police say they took 40 year-old James Wall into custody Tuesday for allegedly failing to register his last three addresses within the required 10 days.  Wall was located, and arrested... and, taken to the county jail pending further court action.


Times Square New Year's show will go on despite virus surge, mayor says...
Mayor Bill de Blasio says New York City will ring in 2022 in Times Square as planned despite record numbers of COVID-19 infections in the city and around the nation.  De Blasio said on NBC's "Today" show on Thursday that he wants to show the world that the city is "fighting our way through this."  After banning revelers from Times Square a year ago due to the pandemic, city officials announced plans previously for a scaled-back New Year's bash with smaller crowds and vaccinations required.  The city's next mayor, Eric Adams, will take the oath of office in Times Square shortly after the ball drops.

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Dec. 28, 2021

City Council approves first two ARPA projects...
The Jamestown City Council has approved the first two projects that'll be funded by the city's just over 28-million dollars in American Rescue Plan Act funds.  Lawmakers voted unanimously last night on the five main catagories the money will be put into.  Council also approved the purchase of four new police cars at a cost of $160,000.  Lawmakers have been criticized by Mayor Eddie Sundquist -- and others -- for not moving sooner on his proposed Master Plan.  However... Council Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says it took time to review the proposal, and separate it from budget discussions.  Ecklund says it took lawmakers time to listen to department heads, and others about what the needs "in this city."  Council also approved $277,000 for the first-phase of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy's Chadakoin River Stabilization Project.  This first-phase will include removal of debris from the river east of the South Main Street Bridge to the Falconer village line.  The four new police cars are in addition to the one that's being purchased in the city's 2022 budget plan. 


City Council approves JCAA contract, but, tables new proposed contract with city firefighters...
City lawmakers last night also approved one new employee contract... and, tabled another.  The tabled contract was with the Jamestown Professional Firefighters Local-#137... which was tabled to give the council more time to review and discuss the proposal.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he understands the reasoning for tabling the measure, because -- once approved -- he believes it will be a "game-changer" for the city.  Sundquist says, in addition to having a "current contract," which also bargains out health insurance for employees for the first time in 35 years.  The contract would add four new firefighters... and, a second ambulance... which Sundquist says is "critical" for public safety in the city.  He says the city is changing the department's staffing model to allow for more EMS service... so there is no "sunset" date for the new positions.  The contract that was approved last night is for the Jamestown City Administrative Association for the period of Jan. 1, 2022 through December of 2025.  That union represents just over 30 city clerical, management, and Urban Renewal Agency employees.


Gerry man arrested for allegedly shooting off shot-gun during Christmas night altercation...
A Gerry man has been arrested for allegedly firing a shot-gun in the vicinity of another person while fighting that person Christmas night.  Sheriff's officers say they were called to a location in the town of Gerry about 9:30 p.m., and found that 45 year-old Rudy Ryen engaged in the physical altercation with another man.  It was then that he pulled the shot-gun and fired it.  Ryen was arrested for first-degree reckless endangerment, and second-degree menacing.  He was then taken to the county jail pending arraignment.

Couple arrested for allegedly allowing 15 year-old Randolph Academy student access to loaded guns... 
A parent and her boyfriend have been arrested following a complaint that the women's 15 year-old son threatened a teacher at the Randolph Academy... and, was later seen on video holding two semi-automatic hand guns.  Ellicott Town Police say they got a call from the school back on Nov. 29 that the student allegedly told the teacher -- quote -- "you're not bullet proof."  Police found the student lived on Park Avenue in Falconer... and, they immediately investigated.  However... the child's mother, 35 year-old Jennifer Jackson, and her boyfriend -- who owned the guns -- 33 year-old Tyler Walters, denied having any weapons other than a hunting rifle that was secured.  They also claimed to understand the severity of the incident.  However... police say the Sheriff's Office notified them of the video with the boy holding the guns Monday morning... which were loaded and unsecured.  An additional shotgun was also taken from the house.  Both Jackson and Walters were arrested for endangering the welfare of a child... and, issued appearance tickets for Ellicott Town Court.


Hochul says deaths and hospitalizations up due to COVID in NYS...
New York officials are continuing to track a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the state.  During a COVID briefing in Albany Monday... Governor Kathy Hochul reported that deaths and hospitalizations continue to rise.  She says there were 165 deaths each of the previous two days.  In addition... Hochul says they are sending millions of test kits to school districts across the state.  The governor made it clear that she wants to see kids back school after the holidays.  Hochul says that position may change depending on how circumstance change.  However... she says she wants to get children back in school.  Hochul plans to hold a conference call with school superintendents across the state on Tuesday to discuss plans for the return to school next week.


EPA may end Buffalo River clean-up by 2025...
The lengthy effort to clean up the Buffalo River could pay off in the next few years.  The Buffalo News reports the federal Environmental Protection Agency has told a local Congressman that the winding waterway could lose its status as an environmental danger zone, or "area of concern," by 2025.  The river suffered heavy industrial pollution for decades, and even caught on fire in 1968.  Helped by $100-million from the Obama administration, part of a nearly $4 billion Great Lakes restoration initiative, cleanup efforts have helped turn part of the river into a recreational area with waterfront apartments and bars near downtown Buffalo. 

 

 

  

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Dec. 27, 2021

Alabama woman killed in fatal ATV accident in town of Harmony...
A woman from Alabama has been identified as the woman killed in an all-terrain vehicle accident on Washington Street in the town of Harmony late Christmas night.  Sheriff's officers say 58 year-old Donna Phelps of Dothan, Alabama was a passenger on the ATV... which went into the creek about 11:45 p.m.  Deputies say "multiple people" were on the vehicle went it went from a field into the water suddenly.  Officers say the ATV overturned... and, Phelps went missing in the water.  The operator was able to make it to the creek bank and get out of the water.  Deputies and fire rescuers arrived on scene and found Phelps in the water... and, began efforts to resusitate her.  However... she was later pronounced dead at UPMC Chautauqua Hospital.  The operator was treated for hypothermia.  Deputies say the incident remains under investigation.


Gerry woman arrested in connection with series of storage facility break-ins in the region...
A Gerry woman sought on several warrants in New York and Ohio has been arrested in connection with a series of storage facility break-ins across Chautauqua County.  Sheriff's officers say a targeted patrol vehicle was parked at the back of a facility on Dutch Hollow Road in Ellery Center when a car entered about 5 a.m. Christmas morning.  Deputies say the car then immediately fled... and, they pursued.  However... the driver, later identified as 35 year-old Amanda Sendall, continued to speed off before she stopped on Salisbury Road in the town of Ellery.  Deputies say they found Sendall was wanted on warrants from seven police agencies... and bolt-cutters and other burglar's tools.  She was arrested on the active warrants... and also charged with possession of burglar's tools, second-degree aggravated unlicensed operator... and, failure to comply with lawful police order.  Sendall was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.


Hochul takes on critics, omicron variant during Christmas weekend news conference...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul went on a Christmas Eve offensive against her coronavirus critics.  Hochul insisted at a news conference Friday that the state acted early... and has done everything it can against the rapid spread of the omicron variant.  Hochul was asked about the possibility of students and staff in local school districts will have to be vaccinated at some point.  She would only say it remains an option because the legislature would have to approve it as part of a list, and it would only take effect in the Fall.  She concluded by saying "let's see what happens with this."  There is also news that vaccinations may be required of everyone attending Buffalo Bills or Sabres games.  That would include children.  However... Hochul said the state is shortening the amount of time essential workers must stay home after testing positive.  Fully vaccinated people in health care, and other frontline fields can return to work after five days instead of 10 if they're not showing symptoms or the symptoms are resolving.  They must also wear masks on the job. 


Transient man arrested for allegedly breaking into Brooklyn Square Tim Horton's...
A 63 year-old transient man has been arrested for allegedly breaking into the Tim Horton's restaurant in Jamestown's Brooklyn Square, and stealing 367-dollars and merchandise from the store.  City Police responded to an alarm at the 21 South Main St. location about 1:40 a.m. Christmas Day... and, found someone had broken into the store, damaging it.  Officers say they found Paul Kitchen in the area with the money, merchandise, and shards of glass on him.  Police say store staff responded, and accessed camera's that found Kitchen inside the building.  He was arrested for third-degree burglary, third-degree criminal mischief, and petty larceny.  Kitchen was jailed pending arraignment.


Enrollment for affordable health care insurance ends in NYS this Friday...
New Yorkers have until this Friday to get health insurance coverage that begins Jan. 1 on the health insurance marketplaces through the Affordable Care Act.  AARP New York is encouraging anyone who is uninsured, especially New Yorkers in their 50s and early 60s who are not yet eligible for Medicare, to enroll in a plan before the signup period ends.  Erin Mitchell with A-A-R-P New York says many folks can qualify for low, or no-cost health insurance through the Open Enrollment Period with New York State of Health.  Mitchell says among uninsured New Yorkers, there are significant disparities among minority communities.  The federal American Rescue Plan enacted last March is still providing the additional financial aid to lower the monthly health-insurance premiums.  Mitchell says access to affordable plans helps improve people's quality of life because they can get timely and affordable health care to maintain a good quality of life.  AARP says the 2019 uninsured rate for New York Latino, Black, Indigenous, and Asian American adults ages 50 to 64 was two to three times higher than for white adults.  For more information about the plans available, and their cost... call 855-355-5777 – or go online at ‘nystateofhealth.ny.gov.’


Judge orders Times to turnover confidential legal memos obtained from Project Veritas, and it's lawyer...
A New York judge has ordered The New York Times to relinquish confidential legal memos it obtained between conservative group Project Veritas and its lawyer.  State Supreme Court Justice Charles Wood in Westchester County upheld his earlier order preventing the Times from further publishing the memos written by attorney Benjamin Barr.  The ruling released late Friday came in a defamation lawsuit Project Veritas filed against the Times in 2020.  The newspaper says it'll appeal the ruling and seek a stay.  Publisher A.G. Sulzberger decried it as an attack on press freedoms. 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Dec. 23, 2021

City couple arrested for allegedly providing Fentanyl to person who later died from overdose...
A man and woman from Jamestown have been indicted by a federal grand jury for selling drugs laced with Fentanyl that resulted in another person's death.  U-S Attorney Trini Ross announced Wednesday that the indictments were handed up charging 29 year-old Garson Butcher, and, 26 year-old Alisha Centi, with distribution of fentanyl causing death, narcotics conspiracy, and using and maintaining a drug-involved premises.  Prosecutors say between March of 2020 and June of 2021... Butcher and Centi conspired with others to possess and sell heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine.  On March 29, 2020... they're accused of selling fentanyl which resulted in the death of an individual identified as 'T.R.'  In addition, Butcher and Centi allegedly used residences on Fairview Avenue and Roland Road to manufacture and distribute heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine.  Ross says the charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life.


Hochul says federal help to deal with COVID "Winter Surge" is on the way...
New York state is receiving "all the resources" it needs to deal with the 'Winter Surge' of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 Virus.  That from Governor Kathy Hochul during a press briefing Wednesday afternoon at the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo.  Hochul says the federal help from the Biden Administration will allow a "multi-faceted" approach to get faster testing... and, help at front-line hospitals.  She says there will be 12 new mobile testing sites in the Buffalo-area along... and, up to 200 statewide.  She says they're also going to be getting help for veteran's organizations and other for testing.  Hochul says the state is expected to receive about 37-million new COVID testing kits that will be used at various state and county locations, and schools.  She says they also plan to have them at various veteran's organizations.  Hochul says an initial allotment of 5-million tests are coming by New Year's Eve... with 2-million of those going to schools.  She says the in-school tests will allow for more testing of students who may have come in close contact with a positive case... but, aren't showing symptoms.  If that student tests negative... they can go back into the classroom.  


Number of new, COVID-19 cases in the county falls to 689... but, 13 new deaths reported...
There are still high-numbers of new COVID-19 cases being reported the past week in Chautauqua County... but, the number of deaths continues to climb.  The county's Health Department today reports 689 new cases... which is down from last week.  However... there were 13 new deaths... bringing that total now to 257.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler adds there have now been 17,884 total cases... and, 602 of those are currently active.  The number of hospitalizations remains 41.  The number of recovered cases has now exceeded 17,000 to 17,025. 


AAA reports Holiday travel to return to near pre-pandemic levels...
The Omicron variant of COVID-19 may be surging across the nation... but, AAA expects travel to bounce back during the holidays.  Spokeswoman Elizabeth Carey of AAA of Western and Central New York says roads and airports will be busier this holiday season than in 2020... with more than 109-million people traveling 50 miles or more from home.  Carey says that's about a 34% increase over last year.  She says that's a "dramatic bound-back" for travel compared to 2020... when there were nearly 28-million fewer travelers.  She says people planning to travel should follow COVID-19 guidelines from the CDC.  Carey says Thursday is expected to be the busiest travel day during the period that runs from Dec. 23 through Jan. 2. 


Sundquist announces new, four-year agreement with Jamestown's unionized firefighters...
The Sundquist administration and the Jamestown firefighters' union have reached a new, tentative, four-year contract and staffing agreement.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says the contract with Jamestown Professional Firefighters Association, Local #137 will run the current year through 2024.  In a printed release... he said the union approved the contract earlier this month.  Sundquist says - quote - "After much negotiation, I am proud the union and management team have been able to come to a deal."  He adds that they will also deploy a second ambulance... something sorely needed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.  Sundquist added that wage increases of 2.5% are included for 2021-2023... and, 2.75% increase in 2024.  The agreement also includes percentage increases to the city's health insurance plan by union members, along with the end lifetime health insurance for all newly hired firefighters.


Former Bemus Pt. clerk-treasurer pleads guilty to taking $58,000 in village funds...
The former Bemus Point village clerk arrested last year for allegedly stealing more than $58,000 in village funds has now pled guilty to petty larceny.  State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli made the announcement jointly Wednesday with Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt... and, Sheriff Jim Quattrone that 39 year-old Jennifer Jaeger entered the plea in county court.  With that... DiNapoli says she agreed to repay the money to the village.  He says Jaeger admitted writting village checks to herself, using forged signatures of officials and had village leaders sign blank checks from 2015 to 2020.  She then later cashed them for her own personal use.


County announces Fresh Express salad products recall...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is advising local residents of a recall of Fresh Express fresh salad because of potential Listeria contamination.  Health officials say the products are sold in Chautauqua County stores, and residents are urged to check for and dispose of recalled products in their refrigerators.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports Fresh Express is recalling certain varieties of its branded, and private label salad products produced at the company’s Streamwood, Illinois facility, because the product has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.  They say that organism can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.  For more information, call Fresh Express Consumer Response Center at 1-800-242-5472 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.


 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Dec. 22, 2021

County reports slight decrease in COVID-19 cases... but another 13 deaths in past week...
There are still high-numbers of new COVID-19 cases being reported the past week in Chautauqua County... but, the number of deaths continues to climb.  The Chautauqua County Health Department today reports 689 new cases... which is down from last week.  However... there were 13 new deaths... bringing that total now to 257.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler adds there have now been 17,884 total cases... and, 602 of those are currently active.  The number of hospitalizations remains 41.  The number of recovered cases has now exceeded 17,000... at 17,025.  The seven-day infection rate is now 10.4%.  Schuyler says there is still concern for lagging vaccination rates... and, serious illness in those not vaccinated against COVID-19.  She says 40% of the eligible population in the county has not been vaccinated... and, "the unvaccinated account for nearly 70% of people hospitalized with COVID-19."


Berke urges public to be responsible on getting COVID-19 vaccination...
With Chautauqua County just recently hitting a 60% vaccination rate... a key member of the County's COVID-19 task force is speaking out on the effort to combat the virus.  Long-time Chautauqua County Physician Dr. Robert Berke has posted a video about COVID-19 on the Chautauqua County Health Department's Facebook page.  Dr. Berke equates the process of slowing the spread of COVID-19 to being at war.  He says it's "nothing to do with your right to do anything you want."  Berke adds "we are at war."  Meanwhile... Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Monday that the state set a new daily record for COVID-19 cases with 23,391 on Sunday. 


County to distribute cloth face masks to local houses of worship...
Chautauqua County officials say they recently secured a stockpile of cloth facemasks... which will be allocated to houses of worship to help curb the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday season.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the effort to get the facemasks to churches and other houses of worship was a result of recent discussions between Wendel, County Legislator Terry Niebel, Public Health Director Christine Schuyler, and Office of Emergency Services Director Noel Guttman.  Wendel says they "want to make masks available in areas that are easily accessible to the public and houses of worship are one of the best places to reach a majority of our residents."  He says they still encourage all residents to mask while in public... and, for more information... call the executive's office at 716-753-4211.


Falconer man faces federal pornography, stalking and harassment charges...
A Falconer man accused of human trafficking has been arrested for allegedly stalking, harassing and threatening several underaged girls.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross says 22 year-old Yusef Malik-Myrick was arrested early Tuesday morning during a raid at a Delaware Avenue home for production, receipt and distribution of child pornography.  Prosecutors accuse Myrick of having both on-line and sexual relationships with the girls.  When the relationships ended... they say Myrick cyberstalked, harassed, and threatened the minor females, and their families.  Prosecutors say Myrick communicated with and sexually exploited at least seven victims primarily through Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram.  Ross commended law enforcement for "tracking down this defendant, who is accused of engaging in a pattern of threatening behavior to numerous minor victims and taking him into custody."  She also encouraged other victims to come forward.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, county Sheriff's Office, and Ellicott Town Police took part in the raid.  The charges carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


McLaughlin confirms approvals for new Evans Discount Wines and Liquors to be at former Alfie's location...
Site plan approval has now been given for construction of a new, and expanded liquor store on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott.  The town's planning and zoning boards recently gave approval to the plans for Evan's Discount Wines and Liquors, which would be located at the former Alfie's Restaurant location at 986 East Fairmount.  The restaurant, owned by Dan Evans, was closed in 2019.  Town Supervisor Pat McLaughlin says prep work is underway... and, won't be completed quickly.  McLaughlin says construction will likey begin in the early Spring of 2022... and, it should be open by mid to late Summer.  McLaughlin says the actual construction could be done by late Summer or early Fall if all goes as planned.  He says Evan's business at his current location -- just west of the former restaurant -- is cramped for space.  McLaughlin adds the new building for Evans will be set well-back off of Fairmount Avenue to allow parking in the front. 


Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign in Jamestown builds momentum, but, still has a ways to go to $115,000 goal...
The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign in Jamestown has made significant progress over the last week, but there's still a substantial amount of money to raise by this Friday -- Christmas Eve.  Salvation Army Major Kim Merchant says they've now reached $97,000 raised so far.  Merchant says they got a major boost came when the kettle total reached $40,000... enabling a match of that amount from two local, anonymous donors.  That brought the total to $80,000... and, that's now been exceeded by $17,000.  She's hoping they can continue the momentum.  There are a number of open kettle slots for those who would like to ring the bell for the Salvation Army between now and Friday.  Phone 716-664-4108 to sign up.  Checks can be mailed anytime between now and the end of the year to Salvation Army, 83 South Main St., Jamestown. 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Dec. 21, 2021

(**Breaking)Alleged human trafficker arrested in Falconer...
An unidentified Falconer man has been arrested following a several-month-long investigation into alleged human trafficking.  Ellicott Town Police say they assisted the U-S Department of Homeland Security, and the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office in a raid at a Delaware Avenue home about 6 this morning.  Officials say the man was taken into custody on a federal warrant without incident.  Police say the man was processed at Ellicott Police headquarters, and taken to the county jail in Mayville pending further court action.  More information is expected on the arrest later today.   

Sugar Grove man now identified as person killed in fatal crash last Thursday...
A Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania man has died from injuries suffered in the recent, two-car crash on Jackson Run Road at Teal Hill Road last Thursday morning.  State Police in Warren say 24 year-old Dillon Edwards was eastbound about 5 a.m. on Teal Hill when he failed to stop at the stop sign with Jackson Run.  Troopers say Edwards' car struck a southbound car on Jackson Run.  Police say he was rushed to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown where he later died.  Edwards' passenger, 24 year-old Erin Groves, was flown to UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie for treatment.  The driver of the other vehicle suffered only minor injuries, and not transported.  Emergy Care, the Sugar Grove, Lander and Busti Fire Departments all assisted at the scene.


NYS to ramp up COVID-19 testing in wake of latest surge, fueled by Omicron variant... 
New York State is boosting it's testing efforts across the state after a third-straight day Sunday of more than 20,000 new COVID-19 cases.  Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel says the county will be receiving a share of the test kits from Albany... a total of 5,000 boxes with two at-home kits in each.  Wendel says they are awaiting those kits... and, word on how they can be used.  He says those kits are en route to the county, and they'll then get instructions on where to send them.  Initially... Wendel says they were told the kits can be used at "the county's discretion."  However... there's now word a certain number should go to schools.  Meanwhile... Wendel continues to encourage county residents to get vaccinated and boosted... and, wear masks when in public, indoor places.


Reed says recently approved Infrastructure Bill a "major victory," in light of lack of support for "Build Back Better..."
U-S Senator Joe Manchin's decision to not support President Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" program is underscoring that the bi-partisan Infrastructure Bill was a "major victory" for the country.  That from Southern Tier Congressman Tom Reed... who was one of 13 House Republicans that supported the Infrastructure Bill because it includes the "important investments" needed for the country.  The Corning Republican says - "In total... New York State will receive upwards of $170-Billion for infrastructure projects to improve our roads, bridges, airports, mass transit, water systems, broadband access, and more."  Reed adds that "unlike the political talking points, the two were never linked." 


County's community foundations, United Ways, honored with Pam Lydic Award from county Chamber...
A special fund established by Chautauqua County's two community foundations, and two United Ways shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began to help local non-profits and other organizations has been given special recognition.  During the county Chamber of Commerce's recent Annual Luncheon and Meeting... they were presented with the Pam Lydic Coalition Builder Award for creating the "Chautauqua County COVID Response Fund.  Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation Executive Director Diane Hannum called it an honor, and that they are "humbled" by the award.  Hannum says she and many others knew Lydic, who worked to create the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce.  In addition to the north county foundation... the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation... and, the United Way's of Southern and Northern Chautauqua County were all recognized.  The chamber's annual meeting was held at the Harbor Hotel in Celoron. 


Spanos named as new president of USAging Board...
Chautauqua County's Director of Aging Services has been formally appointed as the new president for the USAging Board of Directors.  During the organization's annual Conference and Tradeshow... Mary Ann Spanos was sworn in for a two-year term.  She first joined the USAging Board of Directors in 2010 as an Alternate... and, became the delegate for Region-Two, representing New York and New Jersey, in 2016.  USAging represents and supports the national network of Area Agencies on Aging and advocates for the Title-9 Native American Aging Programs that provide critical services, and supports that enable older adults and people with disabilities throughout the United States to live with optimal health, well-being, independence and dignity in their homes and communities.  Dr. Spanos calls it "an honor" to be named.


Outgoing SUNY at Oswego president named interim SUNY Chancellor...
The State University of New York has announced the appointment of outgoing SUNY College at Oswego President Deborah Stanley as interim chancellor for the SUNY System.  The announcement was made by the SUNY Board of Trustees... and, SUNY Oswego this morning.  Stanley had been Oswego's president for the past 25 years... and, worked in the SUNY system for 45 years.  She will begin serving as interim chancellor on January 15th.  She replaces James Malatras... who recently stepped down from the position.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Dec. 20, 2021

Tower St. home destroyed by "incindiary" fire early Sunday morning...
A fire, believed to have been incindiary in nature, has destroyed a vacant house on Jamestown's eastside.  Battalion Fire Chief Don Mowery says crews found the structure at 112 Tower St. fully-engulfed in flames when they arrived shortly after 12:30 AM Sunday... and, an off-duty shift was called in to help battle the flames.  Mowery says it took some time to bring the blaze under control.  Mowery says the last crew left the scene just after 10 a.m. Sunday.  He adds the cause remains under investigation... and no decision has been made on tearing down the building.


City woman arrested for drunk driving after one-car crash blamed on DWI...
A Jamestown woman escaped serious injury in a single-car, drunk driving accident on the city's northside last weekend.  City police were called to the scene shortly after Midnight Saturday... and found a vehicle disabled on the terrace.  Officers say they then found the driver, 39 year-old Tanya Pazcasanova, in the area of the car... and, appearing to be under the influence of alcohol.  Police say they was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of her injuries.  She was then taken to the city jail pending arraignment on several charges... including driving while intoxicated.


Dolce says city council will act on budget change, doling out some ARPA funding, at Dec. 27 meeting...
The Jamestown City Council held it's first, in-depth discussion about how lawmakers want to allocate the city's just over $28-million in American Rescue Plan Act funds this past week.  One of the key topic was whether the city had the ability to move money around after designating specific amounts to "lost revenue" "housing" and other general catagories.  That from City Council President Tony Dolce... who says they want to begin moving forward on projects and purchases at the Dec. 27 voting session.  Dolce says part of the reason is there's a long wait time on vehicles, and parts because lawmakers are currently looking to order up to five new police cars... in addition to the one purchased in the 2022 budget.  However... Police Chief Tim Jackson says it's taking about a year to year-and-a-half to get a vehicle delivered once it's ordered.  Lawmakers did separate out ARPA items from the $38.3-million spending plan... but, Dolce says they've been able to minimize the impact on the city's undesignated fund balance... or 'rainy day fund.'  He says council will have to vote to move about $36,000 from fund balance to those items vetoed by Mayor Eddie Sundquist that were upheld by lawmakers. 


NYS records highest number of new, COVID-19 cases Saturday...
Soaring COVID-19 case numbers... long testing lines and event cancellations might feel a bit like déjà vu, but so far New York City hospitals aren't seeing a repeat of the surges that swamped emergency rooms early in the pandemic.  The state reported Saturday that nearly 22,000 people had tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday -- eclipsing the previous day's mark for the highest single-day total for new cases since testing became widely available.  More than half of the positive results were in the city.  But new hospitalizations and deaths so far are averaging well below their spring 2020 peak and even where they were this time last year.


Ninth-annual Holiday Haul a record-breaking success...
The ninth-annual Holiday Haul for St. Susan’s Center broke records again this year.  Organizer Keith Martin summarized the contributions... saying they received 6-and-a-half tons of food and supplies... along with $24,000 in cash for the Jamestown-area's largest soup kitchen.  Martin recounted the words of one man, who contributed both cash and supplies, and said he used to go to St. Susan's... but, adding he's "doing much better now," and he wanted to give back.  He says that one story encapsulates the reason for the Holiday Haul.  The three day event started Thursday in front of the Jamestown Cycle Shop in Brooklyn Square and wrapped up Saturday afternoon.  Martin is the Executive Director of the Northwest Arena in Jamestown.


One-year-old in Jamestown taken from home with deplorable conditions...
A Jamestown couple face charges after a call for an unresponsive person revealed a one-year-old child living in deplorable conditions.  City police were called to the scene of a domestic dispute on Water Street shortly after 5 a.m. last Tuesday... and, upon further investigation... they found multiple hazards to the child inside.  Officers arrested 38 year-old Travis Wilder at the scene... and, a warrant was later issued for 21 year-old Halie Lendhard.  Each is charged with one count each of endangering the welfare of a child.  Wilder was taken to the city jail pending arraignment.


Woman arrested as fugitive from justice from Missouri...
A woman living in the town of Ellery has been arrested fon a number of charges for being a fugitive from justice in the state of Missouri.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's officers say they were given information from Missouri officials late last week about 40 year-old Brouk Jansen... and conducted a warrant check at a home on Mahanna Road.  Deputies say Jansen is wanted for failure to appear, non-support, driving while suspended/revoked and tampering with a motor vehicle.  Since she was wanted outside of New York state... she was charged with being a fugitive from justice.  She was also allegedly found to be in possession of a stolen motor vehicle... and, was also charged with felony fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property. 


 

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

County Legislature approves increases in Sheriff's Office salary ranges...
Chautauqua County lawmakers last night approved a local law increasing the salary range for a number of officers and employees of the Sheriff's Office.  During the legislature's monthly meeting in Mayville... the panel voted 18-0 to amend an existing local law to raise the salary ranges for the positions of undersheriff, captain, warden, and corrections lieutenant.  Legislator Terry Niebel of Sheridan, who sponsored the measure, says the increases by "2 to 3 ranges" are warranted.  Niebel says county officials made comparisons to 32 other counties when the local law was first proposed, and the adjustments would put Chautauqua County in the middle of that pack.  He says the Sheriff and Human Resources Department reviewed and compared those salaries.  The increases will take effect on Jan. 1.
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Also during Wednesday's meeting, lawmakers unanimously backed several resolutions amending the 2022 county budget to implement projects that will be funded by the American Rescue Plan.  Jamestown Democrat Charles Nazzaro lawmakers are closing in on having approved half the amount they are getting.  Nazzaro says the county is receiving $24.6-million in ARPA Funding, and they have now approved $10.2-million in projects.  The county has received just over $12-million in funding so far.  All the funding for the projects will have to be spent and projects completed within five years.

Number of new COVID-19 cases in Chautauqua County down for past week, but, COVID-related deaths increase...
The number of new COVID-19 cases the past week in Chautauqua County are down.... but, the number of deaths reached double figures for the first time in several weeks.  The county's Health Department reports there were 11 new deaths between Dec. 5 and 11, bringing that total to 244.  Officials say there were 726 new cases... bringing that total now to 17,195.  There are now 41 people hospitalized... which is down 10 from last week.  There are 658 active cases... and, 16,293 have now recovered.  Of the new cases... 243 were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... the only one in triple-figures in recent weeks.  Dunkirk was next with 77 new cases.  The seven-day infection rate is now 10.2%.


Wendel gets some bi-partisan support for position on not enforcing NYS mask mandate...
Two Chautauqua County legislators from the north county area say they support County Executive P.J. Wendel's position that the county will not be enforcing New York's new mask mandate.  Republican Kevin Muldowney of Dunkirk says he supports the mandate, but says enforcement will be difficult.  Muldowney says he understands that localities should not have to enforce a mandate.  Democrat Robert Bankoski of Dunkirk also supports Lakewood Republican's position.  However... both county lawmakers are encouraging local residents who are unvaccinated to get their vaccinations and those who are vaccinated to get their boosters. 


Ripley woman faces up to 9 years in prison on Arson conviction...
A woman from Ripley will spend the next 3 to 9 years in state prison after being convicted of setting a fire in the town of Ripley this past August.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt says 53 year-old Melissa Bridges was convicted earlier this Fall of third-degree arson -- a Class D Felony.  The sentence was handed down Wednesday by Chautauqua County Court Judge David Foley.  Bridges is accused of setting the fire on Main Street the morning of Aug. 5.  Schmidt says the conviction was the result of an investigation by the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office.


Watershed Conservancy official outlines issue with eastern part of Chadakoin River in Jamestown...
There are a number of challenges on the eastern end of the Chadakoin River in the city of Jamestown... which is now suffering mainly from neglect.  That from Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy Ecological Restoration Manager Twan Leenders... who made a power-point presentation about those challenges to City Council this week.  Leenders there's a 3-and-a-half mile stretch of the river that is seeing severe bank erosion... even to retaining walls like one behind The Chautauqua Center.  He says just in a matter of a few months, the higher water had broken the wall in two.  Leenders recently took some council members on a tour of the river to the Falconer village line... and, says the water has been high this Fall... and, that's furthering bank erosion.  Leenders says another issue is that trees have fallen into the river... and, that's diverting the flow in places and causing more erosion.  He says another issue is that the high water at times promotes an environment for invasive species to enter the river area.  Leenders says they're looking at an initial investment of nearly $634,000 to clean-up the waterway, and shore up banking where necessary.  City Council will look at possibly using some American Rescue Plan funding for that.


Several U.S. Colleges starting to require vaccines, have mask mandates, and on-line instruction in wake of spiking COVID cases...
Colleges across the U.S. are starting to require booster shots, extend mask mandates and in some cases revert to online classes as they brace for the new omicron variant.  More than 20 colleges have said they will require boosters, including Boston University and Notre Dame.  Others are extending mask mandates into next year, including Penn State.  Still others are planning to start next term online to prevent outbreaks after the holidays.  Some 272 students at Cornell University in Ithaca tested positive for COVID after returning from Thanksgiving break. 


 

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

County reports drop in number of new COVID cases, but, increase in deaths...
The number of new COVID-19 cases the past week in Chautauqua County are down.... but, the number of deaths reached double figures for the first time in several weeks.  The county's Health Department reports there were 11 new deaths between December 5 and 11... bringing that total to 244.  Officials say there were 726 new cases... bringing that total now to 17,195.  There are now 41 people hospitalized... which is down 10 from last week.  There are 658 active cases... and, 16,293 have now recovered.  Of the new cases... 243 were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... the only one in triple-figures in recent weeks.  Dunkirk was next with 77 new cases.  The seven-day infection rate is now 10.2-percent.


Hochul defends need for Mask mandate as case numbers and hospitalizations spike after Thanksgiving...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul says an "alarming" increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases... and, hospitalizations since Thanksgiving... led to impose a new mask mandate state-wide.  During a COVID Press Briefing Tuesday... Hochul reiterated that -- as of Monday -- people had to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status, in all indoor public places.  However... she says if that public place or shop had a vaccination requirement in place... masks were not needed.  She says case numbers have increased by 58% since Thanksgiving... but, adds hospitalizations are up more.  Hochul says those have been up 70%... and, 29% in the short time before she issued the mandate last Friday.  Hochul says she spoke with a number of local officials... county executives and the state Association of Counties... before implementing the mandate... which runs until Jan. 15.  Hochul says the main idea is to reduce the number of cases, and hospitalizations, during and after the holidays because hospitals are full now as it is. 


JPD makes two arrested in local connection with "Texas Temp Tags" forgeries...
Jamestown police have arrested two people for allegedly taking part in a vehicle registration forgery scheme known as "Texas Temp Tags."  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers recently arrested 22 year-old Jonathan Camacho-Monge, and 30 year-old Cheyanna Wright in separate incidents for allegedly driving cars that have the illegal, temporary tags on them.  Samuelson says JPD was advised of multiple vehicles in the area that had the phony tags back in mid-October.  He says JPD has seized a 2016 Buick Verano... and, are looking for a black, 2005 infinity G-35... and, black 2006 BMW.  If you've seen them... he says call police at 483-7537... or their tips line at 483-8477.  Samuelson says there are a number of "small, and ficticious" dealerships in Texas that sell thousands of those tags nationwide... but, in some cases -- the dealership ends up being nothing more than a small building with nothing on the lot.  Samuelson says the cars sometimes aren't safe... or, could be stolen.  Samuelson says both Monge and Wright are charged with second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument... and, 25 year-old Cassandra Wright is charged with obstruction for trying to keep police from arresting Cheyanna Wright.


Persell student suffers minor injuries after being hit by car...
A Persell Middle School student was evaluated at UPMC Chautauqua Hospital after being struck by a car as students were arriving at school Tuesday morning.  Jamestown school officials report the accident occured on Hazeltine Avenue -- near Baker Street.  Officials say Jamestown Police and Emergency Medical Services responded quickly to the incident.... and, the student was taken to the hospital as "a precautionary measure" and the parents were notified.  Spokesperson Cathy Panebianco adds the district is taking a number of steps to review and reinforce traffic safety procedures.  They will also increase supervision and monitoring during arrival and dismissal.  They'll also remind students to only cross the street in designated crosswalks.


SWCS residents approve $18.2-million dollar capital improvement projects...
Voters in the Southwestern Central School District have approved an $18.2-million capital improvements project by a better than two-to-one margin.  District officials say Tuesday's vote was 166-to-70 for the plan... which involves just over 30 individual projects through the district.  School Superintendant Maureen Donahue says two of the biggest are replacement of the tuft at the football and soccer field... and, expanding the size of the high school cafeteria.  Donahue says about 84-percent of the costs would be covered by state aid.  Another $1.2-million would be covered by the district's Capital Improvements Reserve Fund... and, other district funds would cover $800,000 of the cost.


Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign still lagging... but, nearing $40,000 level -- and matching grant...
The Salvation Army Kettle Campaign in Jamestown has only ten days left to reach its goal of $115,000 for the year.   Contributions are lagging behind last year's pace, but with $38,000 in hand so far, Major Kim Merchant is hopeful because they have a matching grant of $40,000 -- once they reach that amount.  The $40,000 is being supplied by two anonymous, local donors.  Signups to ring the bell for the kettle campaign have improved as well, but there are still spots open.  Phone the Salvation Army at 716-664-4108 for the latest availabilties. 


 

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

Middle School student hurt after being hit by car on way to school in Jamestown...
A Persell Middle School student was evaluated at UPMC Chautauqua Hospital after being struck by a car as students were arriving at school this morning.  Jamestown school officials report the accident occured on Hazeltine Avenue -- near Baker Street.  Officials say Jamestown Police and Emergency Medical Services responded quickly to the incident.... and, the student was taken to the hospital as "a precautionary measure" and the parents were notified.  Spokesperson Cathy Panebianco adds the district is taking a number of steps to review and reinforce traffic safety procedures.  They will also increase supervision and monitoring during arrival and dismissal, and will continue to remind students of the expectation to cross only in designated crosswalks.  Panebianco says the district has also contacted city officials about looking into partnering on a traffic study of the Hazeltine Avenue and Baker Street.


City Council overrides half of Mayor Sundquist's vetoes...
The Jamestown City Council overrode three of Mayor Eddie Sundquist's recent budget vetoes... but, three others were upheld because they did not receive the required two-thirds majority for an override.  During a Special Meeting at City Hall last night... lawmakers voted 7-to-1 to override a veto of management salary increases... and, 6-to-2 to override a veto of $10,000 being cut from the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency.  Council President Tony Dolce says he was concerned about a $6,000 allocation for the Human Rights Commission being upheld... and, going forward.  Dolce says that commission, and all others in the city, have not received funding in previous budgets, so this would set a precident.  He says if the panel could have planned out whatever event it wanted to hold, then come to lawmakers to get that funding allocation.  He also felt that there were other ways to find the $10,000 for JURA... which was overriden.  In addition to the Human Rights Commission... lawmakers upheld vetoes to the Mayor's Travel, and Education and Stationary lines... and, a $10,000 cut to City Hall building maintenance.  City Council will have to vote to take that approximately $26,000 from somewhere in the budget... likely from fund balance... at it's Dec. 20 voting session.


Lawmakers have to vote on new resolution naming Panebianco as second City Court Judge...
The city council last night also approved a revised resolution naming George Panebianco to the second City Court Judge's position... beginning next year.  Mayor Sundquist says the state's Unified Court System told them -- after last month's vote -- that they couldn't name Panebianco to fill out the remainder of retiring Judge Fred Larson's term... which concludes in 2024.  They said it had to be a full, 10-year term.  The resolution was approved by a 7-to-1 margin... with First-Ward Republican Brent Sheldon voting no.  He feels the state should allow a vacancy to be filled... then appoint that person to the 10-year term.


Wendel says the county will not enforce new mask mandate...
New York State's new mask mandate is now in effect for all indoor public places... unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement.  But don't expect Chautauqua County to enforce the mandate.  Local health departments are being directed by the state to enforce the mandate that was announced last Friday by Governor Kathy Hochul.  However... County Executive P-J Wendel says that the county Health Department does not have the personnel available to enforce it.  He says if that's what the governor feels needs to be done, the state needs to enforce it.  Wendel adds the county health department "has enough to do already."  He is asking that businesses encourage patrons to wear masks, but they should not engage in any confrontations with non-compliant patrons.  He again urges residents to comply... but, adds his biggest concern is over enforcement.  When announcing the mandate, Hochul said the mandate would remain in effect until Jan. 15... after which the State will re-evaluate it based on current conditions.


Wendel urges Hochul to help parts of North County get FEMA help after weekend wind storm...
The Lake Erie shoreline area in and around Dunkirk was the hardest hit area of Chautauqua County from last weekend's fierce wind storm.  The clean-up from those winds continued Monday... and, County Executive P-J Wendel says he spoke with Governor Kathy Hochul late Sunday after getting help for the area.  Wendel says his biggest concern is for residents who live along the Lake Erie shoreline... and, adds they have not be able to get assistance from past storms because the FEMA threshold is too high.  He says private homes along the shoreline have been impacted by severe storms the past three years.  Wendel is also concerned about Barcelona Harbor, because the powerful winds have brought a lot of sand and silt into the harbor area -- on top of what's there from the past three years.  He toured the shoreline from Barcelona to Sunset Bay.  Winds in and around the Dunkirk-area topped 60 mph last Saturday... bringing down trees and power lines.  Parts of Northern Chautauqua County remain shut-down after Saturday's wind storm.  Central Avenue in Dunkirk remains closed near the County Fairgrounds where utility workers are currently making repairs.  In addition... Point Gratiot and Lakefront Boulevard are also closed to motorists due to downed trees and power lines. 

 


 

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

JPD asking for public's help in finding missing teenager...
Jamestown Police are asking for the public's help in locating a teenager who's been missing since Noon-time Sunday.  Police say 14 year-old Lukas Davis is 5' 6" tall... and, 150-pounds.  He is a white male with blonde hair and blue eyes.  Lukas was last seen wearing a dark blue Champion hoodie, blue jeans, and Jordan sneakers.  Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact the Jamestown Police Department at 716-483-7536. 


Winds from storm system that spurred deadly tornadoes cause some damage in Chautauqua Count, and WNY...
Windy weather from the storm system that spurred the deadly Midwest tornadoes knocked out power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses across western New York... including Chautauqua County.  The National Weather Service reported gusts of more than 70 miles per hour Saturday afternoon in several counties, including Erie, Niagara and Genesee.  Here in Chautauqua County... wind gusts reached 66 mph in Dunkirk.  Trees and utility wires were reported down.  National Grid reported nearly 100,000 outages on Saturday night.  The number in Chautauqua County by Sunday night was about 20 in the Dunkirk-Fredonia area.  There were initially more than 41,000 in Erie and Niagara counties.  Wind gusts of up to 50 mph were forecast for the New York City area.  Temperatures in New York City and Buffalo hit record highs of 67 degrees Saturday.


New Mask Mandate in NYS takes effect today...
A new mask mandate for indoor public places takes effect today in New York state... and, nurses from Long Island have been dispatched to two western New York hospitals to help deal with the COVID-19 surge.  Last weekend... Governor Kath Hochul sent the nurses from Northwell Health to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo... and Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester for two weeks.  Hochul announced the mask mandate last Friday... but, Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel doesn't believe a "one-size fits all approach" is going to work because people on both sides of the issue remain firmly entrenched in their views.  Masks are not required at indoor locations that require everyone attending to be vaccinated.  Reports are that local health departments will have to enforce the new rules... but, Wendel says there are still questions about it... including what businessess who deal with the public can and cannot do.  The mask mandate will remain in effect until Jan. 15.


One person killed in fiery Lakewood pick-up truck crash...
One person was killed early last weekend in a fiery motor vehicle crash involving a pick-up truck in the village of Lakewood.  On it's Facebook page... Lakewood Fire officials say they were sent to the scene of a vehicle fire off Terrace Avenue, in the area of the Lakewood Community and Dog Park about 9 PM Friday night.  When crews arrived... they found the fully-involved truck fire... about 30-yards off the road, and electrical wires down.  Fire officials upgraded the incident to a motor vehicle accident... and, another truck arrived to put out the fire.  Firefighters found the truck was heavily-damaged... and, human remains inside the vehicle.  The body was recovered inside... and, turned over to the Chautauqua County coroner.  Terrace Avenue ws closed in the area until about 12:30 a.m. Saturday.  Firefighters were assisted at the scene by Lakewood-Busti Police, the Sheriff’s Office, the county's the Fire Investigation Team, and National Grid.


City man faces several charges following domestic incident...
A Jamestown man faces multiple charges following a domestic incident on the city's northside last week in which a woman was choked.  Jamestown police say they arrested 31 year-old Jonathan King after the victim spoke with police and they investigated.  However... officers say King allegedly got into a brief struggle wit police before being taken into custody.  He faces two counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief... and one count each of endangering the welfare of a child... criminal obstruction of breathing and blood circulation... resisting arrest and obstruction.  He was jailed... pending arraignment. 


Sundquist meets with local agencies about accepting up to 50 refugees in Jamestown...
A number of local human service agencies and other organizations met recently to discuss the possibility of helping to resettle as many as 50 refugees in Jamestown.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist hosted the meeting of those groups to gauge interest in helping those, mainly Afghan refugees, many of whom are coming to New York state.  Sundquist says there are a number of challenges facing refugees that they can help with... including affordable housing, educational opportunities, and a number of manufacturing and other jobs available.  Sundquist adds that discussions are very preliminary at this point... but, he says it was important to have the agencies come together to see what they could offer.  President Joe Biden has set a refugee resettlement ceiling of 125,000 for fiscal year 2022... which began in October... and, fulfilling a commitment he made during his campaign. 


Report says 400+ municipalities have opted out of cannibis dispensaries...
More than 400 towns and villages across New York have opted to block local marijuana dispensaries and consumption lounges as a statewide deadline nears.  The law that legalized recreational marijuana in New York this year gives municipalities until December 31st to "opt out" of hosting dispensaries or on-site consumption lounges once retail sales start in a year or so.  The Rockefeller Institute of Government reports that with three weeks left to act, more than a quarter of New York's towns and 31% of its villages have voted to opt out -- at least initially.


 

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

Hochul announces new mask mandate...
Governor Kathy Hochul has announced a new indoor mask mandate statewide in New York.  Hochul hinted at possible action during a press conference on Thursday... but, says everyone at an indoor public venue mus wear a mask... starting next Monday.  She says the only exception is if there is a vaccine mandate for that venue, and proof would be needed for entry.  Hochul says rising case numbers, and hospitalizations across the state is the reason.  However... she says her administration will reevaluate the situation on Jan. 15.  New York City just recently put a similar mandate in place for public places in the city.


Hochul's order regarding hospital acute bed capacity takes effect...
UPMC Chautauqua and Brook's Memorial Hospitals in Chautauqua County are two of the 32 in New York state where all non-essential and elective surgeries have been halted due to rising COVID-19 hospitalizations.  Governor Kathy Hochul's order, signed last month, took effect Thursday... and, includes both local hospitals.  Hochul says there are seven total hospitals in Western New York affected.  However... she says they will be reassessing the situation on and before Jan. 15 and where the current surge in cases is going.  The order took effect for any New York hospital who's acute care bed capacity has fallen below 10-percent.  Hochul says the National Guard is now in place to help with staffing shortages... and, in helping to free up beds at nursing home facilities.  She also announced today that the Food and Drug Administration has approved booster shots for 16 and 17 year-olds... and, she's encouraging all eligible residents to get their first doses... and, boosters.


Bassett says Delta remains the big issue in NYS, though Omicron cases are increasing...
Chautauqua County's hospitals have been managing their bed capacity during the COVID-19 surge... but, they are at a "tipping point."  That from County Executive P.J. Wendel on Wednesday saying that UPMC Chautauqua was only performing essential services... and, is "bursting at the seams."  Brook's Hospital is also having to transport some patients to Jamestown.  The state's new Health Commissioner, Mary Bassett, says the Delta Variant remains prevailent across the state.  As for Omicron... Bassett says there have now been 20 people found with the newest COVID variant... and, says one of those has reached the eastern end of the Southern Tier.  She says that case was found in Broome County... near Binghampton.  Omicron is being found in more places due to community spread. 


Hochul comments briefly on Malatras' resignation...
State University of New York Chancellor James Malatras said he will resign amid criticism for sending text messages mocking one of the women who later accused former Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment.  Calls for Malatras' resignation or removal began after the state Attorney General late last month made public transcripts... and evidence from a probe of sexual harassment allegations that forced Cuomo from office.  Asked about it today... Hochul said she did talk with SUNY Board Chairwoman Meryl Tisch... but, would not say if Malatras' name came up.  She says the talk was more about the future of SUNY, and how to make it better.  A text exchange from 2019 involving Malatras and other Cuomo allies showed them privately mocking Lindsey Boylan, a former economic development official who would later become the first woman to publicly accuse Cuomo.  Malatras' resignation is effective Jan. 14.


Hochul reacts to Letitia James decision not to run for governor...        
There will be no 2022 run for governor by New York state Attorney General Letitia James after suspending her campaign Thursday.  Wit that... James says she'll run for re-election to her current post.  The Democrat said in a statement that she needs to continue her work as attorney general, citing "a number of important investigations and cases" underway.  James would have been a strong opponent for the Democratic nomination for governor against Kathy Hochul next year.  Hochul says James called her Thursday morning to inform her of the decision.  James oversaw an investigation into allegations that former Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed numerous women, and only announced she was running for governor in late October. 


Lit candle next to a bed sparks basement fire in Dunkirk...
Dunkirk city firefighters responded to a report of a basement fire early Thursday morning, the second such fire in just over a week.  Fire crews were called to the blaze at 856 Bataan Ave. around 2:30 a.m.  City Fire Chief Mike Edwards says the occupants were able to escape the structure and crews were able to confine the flames to the basement area.  Edwards says two people, including a city firefighter, were reportedly injured.  He says the firefighter partially fell through the first-floor... and, an occupant ran off before crews arrived.  County fire investigators assisted city investigators at the scene and determined that a lit candle next to a bed sparked the fire.  Last Wednesday, firefighters were called to a basement fire at 27 Leming St., with the fire being sparked by a dryer fire. 


Celoron cancels "Holiday in Park" Saturday due to high wind and rain forecast...
The village of Celoron has announced it is cancelling it's "Holiday in the Park" program for tomorrow due to rain... and, high wind warnings in effect for the day tomorrow.


 


 

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

With COVID-19 case numbers surging, hospitalizations at a "tipping point" in Chautauqua County...
Hospitals in Chautauqua County are at a "tipping point..." but, are managing to deal with bed capacity issues during the ongoing COVID-19 surge.  That from County Executive P.J. Wendel, who gave an update on the hospital situation late Wednesday afternoon.  Wendel says UPMC Chautauqua in Jamestown is only performing essential services right now, as that hospital is "bursting at the seams" with COVID patients.  He says they have now cancelled elective surgeries, and doing essential health care and services, and additional nurses have been re-directed to the emergency rooms.  Wendel adds that Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk has been on a delay in treatment almost every day, resulting in north county ambulances traveling to Jamestown for treatment.  He says the county plans to meet with nursing home administrators today to determine if the state can provide any assistance when it comes to freeing up hospital beds in the county.  The past week's COVID-19 numbers for the county show 51 people are hospitalized with the virus out of 873 new cases.  Officials add there were five new deaths the past week... bringing that total to 233.  They add that 741 cases are now active... and, the total number is now 16,470 cases since the pandemic began.


SWCS officials "fully investigating" alleged racial and vulgar language directed by students at opposing girl's basketball player and parent...
Officials in the Southwestern Central School district say they are "fully investigating" a report incident involving students at a high school girl's varsity basktball game this past Monday night.  School Superintendent Maureen Donahue says they received information Tuesday that the incident -- which reportedly involved a parent, and player from the visiting Orchard Park team in which racial slurs and other vulgaries were lobbed at them.  In a printed statement... the district says "we take these allegations very seriously and immediately commenced a full investigation, which is currently ongoing."  They add that once made aware of the allegations... "we reached out to Orchard Park administration and will continue to communicate with them throughout the investigation.  The Southwestern District is committed to equity and acceptance of all students."  They add this kind of conduct "has no place in our District, and if it occurred, we will take swift action to address it."  Officials say they have no other comment at this time.


Three health care agencies identified to receive COVID-19 Funding from CDBG program...
A trio of health care agencies in the city of Jamestown have are eligible to receive more COVID-19 funding through the federal Community Development Block Grant program.  During this week's City Council work session... Development Director Crystal Surdyk said those agencies have applied for the program through the New York State Department of Housing and Community Renewal... and can received up to $500,000 each.  Surdyk says one is the Chautauqua County Health Network... which is applying to start a public health campaign to get more people vaccinated.  She says they would be working with other agencies to do some additional vaccination information and education efforts.  Surdyk says The Chautauqua Center in Brooklyn Square is looking to broaden it's services... mainly for behavioral health... and, the third entity is "Strong Starts Jamestown."  She says that helps at-risk mothers and newborns... especially is the mother has substance abuse issues.  Surdyk says a public hearing will be held on the three applications at the City Council's Dec. 27 voting session.


Jamestown lawmakers decide to opt-out of opting out...
The Jamestown City Council has decided not to hold a public hearing... or vote on a local law to opt-out of allowing marijuana dispensaries and consumption sites.  Council President Tony Dolce says the biggest reason is the "time constraint" for action to be taken.  Dolce told Media One News Wednesday afternoon that there isn't the time to hold a hearing, a voting session... and then deal with a possible veto and veto override before the end of the year.  New York state set a deadline of Dec. 31 for municipalities to opt out of allowing pot dispensaries and consumption sites.  Dolce says it appeared the state might push the deadline into January... but, that hasn't happened.


Dunkirk opts-in on recreational marijuana sales and on-site consumption... 
Cannabis-related business will be allowed to operate in the city of Dunkirk.  That after the Common Council on Tuesday passed a resolution by a 4-1 vote for the city to opt in under New York State's Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which was passed in March.  Councilman at-Large Paul VanDenVouver says the decision was made after looking at the tax revenue the county anticipates receiving from the sales of adult-use marijuana... and, they felt it was a good idea to "opt-in."  However... Mayor Willie Rosas says the resolution is unnecessary... noting that Dunkirk is the only community statewide that he is aware of to pass a resolution to opt in.  Rosas says most communities have only voted to "opt-out" at this point.  


Dog rescued from pond in town of Carroll...
First responders rescued a dog that fell through the ice on a pond located on Dodge Road in the town of Carroll yesterday.  Sheriff's deputies say they were told that the dog's back legs broke through the ice and the dog was unable to get up and out of the water.  Upon arrival... officers found Frewsburg firefighters already on scene, and suiting up to make a rescue.  Fire rescuers went into the pond, and broke the ice before meeting up with the dog.  Deputies say firefighters carried the dog to shore where it was dried and warmed up briefly in the fire engine and reunited with its own

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

Public Health director urges residents to get vaccinated as COVID-19 "rages" in county...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is urging residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and or booster shots because the virus is "raging" locally.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler issued the plea late Tuesday... and, is also urging people to wear a mask in public indoor spaces... and, stay home when you're ill.  County Executive P-J Wendel... in a video message... echoed those thoughts... "strongly encouraging" people to wear a mask at indoor public places, wash your hands frequently, and socially distance.  Schuyler adds that "the threat of COVID-19 infection spread and severity of illness are totally unpredictable... but, the unvaccinated are at such higher risk of severe illness and death.  If you or your loved ones are not vaccinated, please reconsider."  New numbers just released show another 873 new cases of COVID-19 for the week through Dec. 7. 
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Schuyler adds there is another county vaccination clinic set for next Monday, Dec. 13, at Jamestown Community College for first, second and third doses.  That clinic will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Physical Education Building on Curtis Street.  Bring identification, or vaccination card, and wear a mask.  For children... the next vaccination clinic for the pediatric vaccine will take place on Saturday, Dec. 18 at the Chautauqua Lake Central School gymnasium from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  You must pre-register at Chqgov.com/public-health/covid-19-vaccination-clinics.


Cold temperatures persist after foot of Lake Effect snow falls in immediate Jamestown-area...
Cold temperatures overnight may produce some slippery areas this morning in the Jamestown-area after residents spent much of the early part of Tuesday digging out from about a foot of new snow that fell overnight.  We were initially expecting up to 3 to 5 inches at the most during the day Monday.  However... that amount grew as a lake effect snowband set up just the right way to bring us the snow... and, not the traditional snow belt areas.  National Weather Service Forecaster Steve Welch says the larger amounts -- initially -- were to fall to our south.  Welch says the snow band set up further north and into the western Southern Tier.  Here at our Media One Radio Group stations... we recorded a foot of new snow, and there was also a foot reported in the lower parts of the town of Ellicott.  There was about 10 inches of new snow in Lakewood... 9 inches in Falconer... and, 7 inches on West Oak Hill Road outside the city.  Welch says the amounts we were expecting actually fell in the those snow belt areas. 


Beverage truck overturns in slick conditions in town of Poland...
No one was hurt Tuesday morning when a tractor-trailer loaded with beer slipped off of snow-slicked Quaint Road in the town of Poland and overturned.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's deputies and Ellicott Town Police confirmed the accident occured about 4:30 AM at the intersection with Clay Pond Road.  Police say the county's Hazardous Materials Team responded to the scene along with the Kennedy and Falconer Fire Departments.  No charges have been reported, and the beer was off-loaded by hand.


Chautauqua County D.A. reports two sentencings in county court...
Two Chautauqua County men received prison sentences for their convictions earlier this year for robbery... and, attempted burglary.  District Attorney Jason Schmidt says 23 year-old Kevin Philbrick of Jamestown was given a 1 1/3 to four-years indeterminate term in state prison after being convicted of third-degree robbery for an incident last March.  Schmidt adds that Philbrick was also convicted of two counts of second-degree attempted assault.  The incident was investigated by Jamestown Police.
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In addition... Schmidt says 28 year-old Torry Kenny received a four-year determinate term in state prison and five years post-release supervision for his conviction for second-degree attempted burglary.  Schmidt says the incident occured in Westfield in February of this year... and, was investigated by village police.


SWCS residents learn more about proposed, $18.2-million capital project proposal...
Residents of the Southwestern Central School district heard more about a just over $18.2-million capital project proposal during a public hearing Tuesday night.  Officials announced the plan back in mid-October.  It includes more than 30 individual projects, and, involves all three school buildings.  School Superintendent Maureen Donahue says much of the plan deals with upgrading school infrastructure... but, also includes replacing the surface of the football and soccer field.  Donahue says one of the major focuses has been on creating more space... especially in the high school cafeteria.  She says air flow and heating and cooling are also part of the plan.  She says they will use a combination of American Rescue Plan funds... the district's capital reserve fund and state aid to pay most of the cost.  Donahue says the public vote on the capital project will be held next Tuesday, Dec. 14... from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., and 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the multi-purpose room.


Gas prices down slight in Jamestown-area, and nation, to start the week...
The price for a gallon of unleaded, regular gasoline has dropped both in the Jamestown-area... and, nationwide.  AAA East Central's weekly gas price report says the local price fell by about 3-cents from just under $3.60 cents to slightly over $3.56 a gallon.  AAA says the national average price for gasoline dipped 4-cents a gallon to $3.35.  AAA says pump prices continue to decrease Nationwide as fears of a possible COVID-19 global economic slowdown pushed oil prices into the mid-$60s per barrel... which hasn't been seen since August. 

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

Jamestown area receives surprise Lake Effect Snow amounts overnight...
The Greater Jamestown area saw a bit more snow than expected overnight... with up to a foot of lake effect falling in many parts of the region.  That from Forecaster Steve Welch with the National Weather Service... which initially predicted the higher amounts in the traditional snow belt areas.  However... those amounts wound up in and around the city.  For the most part... he says the area received 4 to 7 inches with higher localized amounts.  Here at our Media One Radio Group stations... we recorded a foot of new snow, and there was also a foot reported in the lower parts of the town of Ellicott.  There was about 10 inches of new snow in Lakewood... 9 inches in Falconer... and, 7 inches on West Oak Hill Road outside the city.  Welch says the amounts we were expecting actually fell in the snow belt areas.  There's still the chance of some more snow this afternoon and evening.  However... the weather service expects less than an inch or so in most places.  Temperatures will remain in the upper 20s today.


Snow-slicked conditions cause semi-trailer loaded with beer to overturn in town of Poland...
No injuries were reported early this morning when a semi-truck loaded with beer slipped off the edge of Quaint Road in the town of Poland and overturned.  The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office and Ellicott Town Police confirmed the accident occured about 4:30 a.m. at the intersection with Clay Pond Road.  Police say the county's Hazardous Materials Team responded to the scene along with the Kennedy and Falconer Fire Departments.  No charges have been reported, and the beer was being off-loaded by hand.


Sundquist announces several vetoes in 2022 budget plan approved by City Council...
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist has vetoed five amendments the City Council approved for the 2022 budget plan lawmakers adopted unanimously last week.  In his veto message... Sundquist says one of the biggest items was the $10,000 reduction to the city's Urban Renewal Agency.  Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund told fellow lawmakers at last night's work session that upholding a veto with money attached to it needs to be accounted for.  She says you have to find the money to add for that item -- be it more anticipated funding, or corresponding cuts.  Secondly... Sundquist vetoed a cutting a first time, $6,000 allocation for the city's Human Rights Commission.  A third item vetoed was reducing the mayor's travel, education, and stationary budget... and, a fourth was to put back $10,000 for Tracy Plaza building maintenance.  Ecklund noted that they hope to eliminate that need using American Rescue Plan funds for infrastructure improvements to Tracy Plaza that would cut maintenance costs.  The final item was to restore increase wages for key management employees.  City Council President Tony Dolce has planned a special voting session before next Monday night's work session at 6:30 p.m. to vote on veto overrides.


Fredonia High School resumes regular operations following incident with student with a pocket knife...
Fredonia High School resumed regular activities after police responded to an incident Monday morning involving a student with a knife. Superintendent Brad Zilliox issued a statement on the incident Monday afternoon... noting the incident occured just after 9 a.m., and involved an "unruly student" found with the pocked knife.  He says the situation was defused quickly.  Fredonia Police were assisted by State Police and the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office.  Fredonia Police Chief Phil Maslak praised the district for "phenomenal job" the staff did in handling the situation. 


Ninth-annual "Holiday Haul" set for Dec. 16-18 at Jamestown Cycle Shop parking lot...
The ninth-annual Holiday Haul to benefit the St. Susan's Center in Jamestown is set for three-days at the end of next week.  Northwest Arena Executive Director Keith Martin will head up the effort again this year... and on our Dennis Webster Show Monday morning... he said they're hoping to better last year's haul... when they raised over $20,000 in funding, and six-and-a-half tons of food for the area's largest soup kitchen.  Martin says he'll again be in the parking lot of the Jamestown Cycle Shop on Thursday, Dec. 16 through Saturday, Dec. 18 to receive food and monitary donations for the area's largest soup kitchen.  It will be the first major event for St. Susan's new Executive Director Cherie Rowland... who's been living and working in Erie, Pennsylvania the past 12 years.  Rowland says it's exciting to come back to her hometown area to work with the organization.  Hours for the Holiday Haul will be held from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. both Thursday and Friday, Dec. 16 and 17, and, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18.


COVID-related changes announced for JHS A Cappella Vespers...
The Jamestown High School A Cappella Choir has decided to limit the number of people in the audience for its upcoming Vespers services.  Director Lauren Scharf explains the changes... noting that they are limiting the number of tickets alloted to each student to five.  The services are set for the next two Sundays... Dec. 12 and 19 at First Lutheran Church in Jamestown.  Scharf says while they’d hoped to have the doors wide open, they couldn’t ignore the rising COVID-19 case numbers.  She says they believe this was the "best course of action" so that those attending feel "safe and comfortable" in the audience.  Everyone at the church must be masked and maintain social distance.  To accommodate those unable to attend... the Vespers will be live-streamed for the first time ever…  through the Jamestown Public Schools website at 4 p.m. both Sundays.

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Dec. 6, 2021

Fire on Fluvanna-Townline Road at Ellery-Ellicott town line ruled accidental...
Chautauqua County Fire investigators have determined the cause of Sunday afternoon's house fire on the Fluvanna-Townline Road north of Fluvanna was accidental.  Investigators say Fluvanna firefighters were called to the scene about 1:40 p.m., and, found that State Police had arrived moments earlier and tried to get the flames out with a fire extinguisher.  Mutual aid was called in from Gerry, Ellery Center, Bemus Point, Sinclairville, and Ashville firefighters.  County Emergency Services was also called in to assist.  Crews were still on scene early last evening.  The cause was found to be the natural combustion of oil soaked rags in a bucket.  No injuries were reported.


Garage destroyed, and Barn damaged by Saturday night blaze...         
Firefighters from seven departments battled a blaze that destroyed a garage and damaged a barn Saturday evening in the Town of Villenova.  Crews from South Dayton, Cherry Creek, Forestville, Sunset Bay, Leon, Cassadaga and Sinclairville responded to the scene at 8959 North Hill Rd. shortly after 8 p.m.  Forestville Fire officials say they found a garage that had already burned down prior to this fire.  Due to the wind, the fire had spread to a large barn.  Crews immediately began fire suppression on the barn, and were able to stop the fire from spreading any farther.  The house on the other side of the garage that had already burned down had melted siding but no extension into the house.  There is no word on any injuries.  The cause of the fire has not been determined at this time.


JPD says they have "strong person of interest" in Pacheco homicide case...
Jamestown Police say they now have a person of "strong interest" in the shooting death of a man on Water Street back in mid-October.  City police say they also have reason to believe that the weapon used to shot and kill Angel Pacheco the night of Oct. 19 at 60 Water St. was passed on to others not directly-related to the shooting.  On it's Facebook Page... the department says Pacheco was shot and killed in his front yard after a brief dispute with at least one other subject.  Police are looking for anyone who may have information on the whereabouts of the weapon, and who may have possessed it after the shooting.  All calls and tips are kept strictly confidential and you may be eligible for a reward through Crime Stoppers of Western New York.  You can call JPD at 483-7537... or the anonymous tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


Whitaker says, even with COVID numbers rising in the area, the goal remains keeping students in school...
COVID-19 case numbers have been soaring in recent weeks in Chautauqua County... but, the goal in the Jamestown Public Schools remains staying open.  That from Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker... who says there are only two instances in which they would close... and, go to "all-remote" learning again.  On our Dennis Webster Show recently... Whitaker said the first would be an edict from New York state... where the governor orders them closed.  He says the other instance would be having an unusually high number of teachers, or transporation staff, out due to illness.  Whitaker says local school officials are all concerned about news regarding the Omicorn variant of COVID-19... and, it's something he's watching closely.  Back to potential reasons for going all-remote... he says they have had some instances -- especially regarding transportation -- where they've been close.  Most officials say going "all-remote" learning is a last resort.


SUNY Board standing by Malatras...
Leaders of New York's public college system are standing behind SUNY Chancellor James Malatras.  Malatras is facing calls to resign after the release of text messages showing he mocked one of the women who later accused former Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment.  Malatras issued an apology Friday, which was accepted by the State University of New York Board of Trustees.  Malatras' text messages have prompted calls for his resignation from the SUNY Student Assembly and others.  The woman who was the subject of the exchange, Lindsey Boylan, tweeted late Friday that she's received no apology. 


Wilson Foundation awards significant grants to arts and cultural entities -- including Comedy Center...
The National Comedy Center in Jamestown is one of several arts and cultural entities chosen to receive part of $100-million over the next 10 years from the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation.  The foundation late last week announced the grants... with the largest being $60-million over 10 years to establish an endowment at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.  The National Comedy Center is slated to receive $250,000 of the $3.75-million in annual funding being dedicated to 13 institutions... the largest being $500,000 to the Buffalo AKG Art Museum. 


Jamestown Holiday Parade returns last Saturday night...
Downtown Jamestown was filled with seasonal spirit Saturday night, as the 2021 Holiday Parade marched down 3rd Street.  The musical accompanyment was provided by the Jamestown High School Marching Band... which led off the 70 unit parade with an assemblage of dignitaries.  Patrick Smeraldo was the principal organizer... and, took up the job to ensure the parade would happen this year.  He says it was great to see the tradition continuing after not having a parade due to COVID-19 last year.  Smeraldo is a teacher in the Jamestown Public Schools, and a Toys for Tots Coordinator.  The parade lasted for just under 90 minutes and was followed by fireworks over Tracy Plaza at City Hall.


 

 

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

City man pleads guilty to being a Felon in possession of handguns...
A Jamestown man who is a convicted Felon has pleaded guilty to being in possession of a gun after he and two others broke into a town of Ellicott home nearly three years ago.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross announced Thursday that 34 year-old Angelo Pollino entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara to being a felon in possession of a firearm, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a quarter of a million dollar fine.  Prosecutors say Pollino and the other two men broke into the house in late January of 2019... and, stole a .380-caliber pistol, a .38-caliber revolver, a Glock pistol, and various bank and credit cards of the victim.  The following day, they say the three used the victim’s bank and credit cards at various locations in New York and Pennsylvania.  Pollino then traded the pistol and revolver for heroin.  He's to be sentenced next March.


Tedesco pleads guilty in Beardsley drug ring case...
A man from Jamestown has pleaded guilty to being involved in a methamphetamine drug trafficking operation... in which he also sold heroin and fentanyl.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross announced Thursday that Tyler Tedesco entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.  Prosecutors say Tedesco was an associate of co-defendant Rocco Beardsley, who led a drug trafficking organization in the Jamestown area.  Tedesco was accused of selling large amounts of the drugs... and, storing them, along with profits, and coordinated with co-conspirators to sell the drugs.  Both men were accused of using Facebook to communicate about their narcotics activities including debts, cash and drug transactions.  Tedesco faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $10-million fine.  Charges are still pending against Beardsley.


Wendel confirms two county hospitals on state lists of reaching 10% to less capacity...
Two of the 37 hospitals in New York state that have reached 10% capacity... or less... are in Chautauqua County.  That as Governor Kathy Hochul's order that would halt non-essential, and non-urgent procedures in those hospitals takes effect tomorrow.  However... County Executive P-J Wendel says mobilizing the National Guard to help at nursing homes with staffing shortages could be a big boost in getting people discharged to those homes or other long-term facilities.  Those state mandates have required nursing home staff and nurses to get one of the three COVID vaccines.  Wendel says using the guard in nursing home facilities should free up acute hospital beds.  The Post-Journal reports all 106 acute care beds at UPMC Chutauqua Hospital... and, 32 of the 35 beds at Brook's Hospital in Dunkirk... were occupied as of Wednesday.  Wendel adds that something like a mask mandate has not been taken off the table if the county's numbers don't get better. 


Hochul says NYS is ready to deal with COVID Omicron variant, now reported in five states...
Health officials say lab testing has confirmed a COVID-19 case involving the omicron variant in five states -- including a man from Minnesota who tested positive after attending an "anime" convention at the Javits Center in New York City.  Governor Kathy Hochul says they have begun contacting people who were at that convention.  However... during a COVID-19 briefing Thursday in New York City... Hochul noted that all attendees were required to be vaccinated, and the man's symptoms have been mild.  She says there is "no cause for alarm" because they knew it would get here at some point.  The state Department of Health says the variant was found during its surveillance program in a specimen from the Minnesota.  State health officials there say the person with the omicron variant is a man who lives in Hennepin County and had been vaccinated.  The person developed mild symptoms on Nov. 22... and, sought COVID-19 testing on Nov. 24. 


Hochul officially introduces Dr. Mary Bassett as new NYS health commissioner...
Governor Kathy Hochul also introduced her new state Health Commissioner during Thursday's press conference.  She says Dr. Mary Bassett has been a doctor, and a "highly-regarded" health official for better than three decades... who was New York City's Health and Mental Health Commissioner for a time.  Bassett told Hochul and the media that she will tell them the truth about what's happening with the pandemic... and, adds that "our knowledge about (the virus) is evolving."  Bassett also praised members of the state Health Department for their hard work, and dedication during the COVID pandemic.  She says they have been monitoring the situation with the new Omicron variant... adding that she's "no stranger to crisis."  Bassett replaces former Health Commissioner Howard Zucker... who had served previously during the administration of former Governor Andrew Cuomo. 


Dunkirk basement fire triggered by dryer fire...
A dryer fire that spread to nearby combustables in a basement triggered flames that damaged the basement of a Dunkirk home just after Noon Wednesday.  That from Fire Chief Mike Edwards Thursday... who says some neighbors noticed smoke coming from a dryer vent at 27 Leming St., and, call the fire department.  Edwards says crews arrived quickly, and had the flames out shortly after arrival.  The fire was confined to the basement area... and there were no injuries.

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

County monitoring local COVID surge, but, is not supporting a mask mandate... yet...
Members of the Chautauqua County COVID-19 Response Team are continuing to monitor the recent surge in cases... but, do not support a mask mandate -- yet.  The from Executive P.J. Wendel... after the county's Health Department reported 707 new COVID cases over the past week... pushing the local number now past 15,000 total.  Officials say nine people died from virus-related illness this past week... bringing that total to 228.  Wendel says a mandate would be considered as a last resort.  He says the last thing they want to do is declare a state of emergency, or impose an indoor mask mandate.  However, Wendel is not ruling it out.  While there is no mandate at this time... Wendel does say his COVID Response Team "strongly encourages" residents to wear them when in public indoor places.  He is also strongly recommending that residents who are not vaccinated to get the vaccine.  He especially noted that younger people in their 20s and 30s are now being intubated because they are NOT vaccinated.  Meanwhile... the county reports 52 hospitalizations due to COVID, an increase of two from the previous week.  There are now 648 active cases... and 276 of the new cases were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  There have now been 14,721 recovered cases... and, the seven-day infection rate is 11.2%.  Wendel says they are still in a position to handle the increase, but he plans to meet with area hospital administrators late this week to discuss the situation. 


Cattaraugus County reporting 95 New COVID cases Wednesday, as case numbers surpass 10,000...
Just to our east... Cattaraugus County has now surpassed 10-thousand total COVID-19 cases... and, had 95 new cases over the past day.  Health officials in Olean say there have now been 10,275 total cases... and, 597 of those are currently active.  They add that 59 people are hospitalized... and, 176 people have now died.  Officials add that 9,501 cases have now recovered... and, the seven-day rate of infection is now 11.6%.


Michigan man sentenced for high speed pursuit from Lewiston-to-Dunkirk in early March of this year...
A Michigan man convicted of leading police on a high-speed chase from an U.S.-Canadian immigration check-point to Dunkirk earlier this year... has been sentenced to home confinement.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross announced Wendesday that 27 year-old Donyell Williams who was convicted of high-speed flight from an immigration checkpoint, was sentenced to six-months home confinement and two years’ probation by U.S. District Judge John Sinatra, Jr.  Prosecutors say Williams was driving a Jeep vehicle on the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge with a passenger last Mar. 5, but, when he drove to the Lewiston Port of Entry... and, failed to stop for a federal inspection.  They say Williams accelerated through the check point... and, was then pursued by Customs and Border Patrol officers on the State Thruway to Dunkirk at speeds of 95 to 110 miles an hour.  The jeep was later found in the Dunkirk area... and, Williams and 19 year-old Johnny Greer, Jr. were both arrested.  Greer was recently sentenced to six months in prison.


Dunkirk fire crews snuff out basement fire quickly...
Dunkirk city firefighters were able to make a quick stop on a fire that broke out in the basement of a home on Leming Street Wednesday afternoon.  The fire at 27 Leming was first reported shortly after 12 PM... and, firefighters were able to get to the scene quickly.  Fire Chief Mike Edwards says some neighbors noticed smoke coming from a dryer vent and alerted the fire department immediately... and, now says the malfunctioning dryer was the cause.  Edwards says the fire was confined to the basement area.  No injuries were reported. 


Jamestown Holiday Parade set with co-Grand-Marshalls...
Two of Jamestown's finest will be co-Grand Marshalls for this year's annual Jamestown Holiday Parade in the city this Saturday night.  The parade kicks off on West Third Street -- near the bridge -- at 6 p.m.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says both Grand Marshalls went above and beyond the call of duty in saving lives this year.  They are officers Matt Conkin and Jackie Albin, who are both heroes.  He says Conklin rescued a family that was trapped in an upstairs apartment by fire earlier this year... while Albin gave a baby, that had stopped breathing, CPR and revived the child.  Council President Tony Dolce announced the parade taking place at the end of this week's City Council meeting... and says they're pleased to have people in the community taking a big role this year.  Collaborative Children’s Solutions is joining with the city to present the Holiday Parade... which will also include a fun run/walk for the first time.  Mayor Sundquist will kick-off the festivities with the lighting of the city's tree on Tracy Plaza.


Upstate County Executive arrested for allegedly stealing campaign funds to pay personal debts...
A county executive in Eastern New York has been accused of stealing $3,500 in campaign funds to pay off personal debts.  Attorney General Letitia James said Wednesday that Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison if convicted.  James says the Republican could also be removed from office if convicted of the felony charges.  The Democratic attorney general's office says McLaughlin was arrested and indicted Wednesday on a count of third-degree grand larceny.  He was also charged with offering a false instrument for filing.  McLaughlin and his attorney Benjamin Hill didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.


 

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

Fredonia police identify victim in fatal car crash Monday night...
The investigation is continuing into a crash in the village of Fredonia that claimed the life of a local resident.  Fredonia Police have released the identity of the victim, 22-year-old Richard Burgstrom III.  Burgstrom was driving a vehicle that went off West Main Street and struck a building near Hamlet Street late Monday night.  Police are still awaiting the results of an autopsy.


Sundquist hints at possible vetoes in 2022 budget approved by City Council...
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist is hinting that there may be some budget vetoes... but, will take the next few days to review the more than 20 changes to the 2022 budget approved by the city council.  Lawmakers approved the approximately $38.3-million spending plan Monday night.  However... Sundquist later voiced disappointment over some of the amendments -- especially three of them.  One was a $6,000 cut to the recently revived Human Rights Commission... which is planning a festival, and other activities in 2022.  He was also surprised to see his office's travel budget cut, due to the need to travel to conference, and other activities that get's the city's name and voice "out there."  The third item was a $10,000 cut to the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency.  Sundquist says he was also disappointed that council did not to act on some 40 American Rescue Plan-related projects that were part of the budget... but, taken out.  He says delaying that for a month could make getting some of them done difficult.  In the end... City Council approved the budget unanimously.  Sundquist has until next Monday to sign, or veto the budget or parts of it.  The spending plan keeps the tax rate flat... and, there is a slight increase in the overall tax levy.


City man accused of assault, and threatening people with shot-gun...
An unidentified, 19 year-old man faces several charges after allegedly assaulting a woman... then threatening people with a shotgun he was loading.  City police were called to the scene on the southside just before 8 p.m. Monday for a domestic incident.  On arrival... they learned the man had gotten into a fight with the woman... who said she was slammed to the floor, and the suspect put his hand over her mouth, and arm on her throat.  The man is also accused of taking the female's cell phone so she couldn't call police.  The man then went into a back bedroom of the house, and began loading the shotgun while holding a five-month old baby.  However, he was later arrested without further incident.  The man faces charges... including third-degree assault... criminal obstruction of breathing and endangering the welfare of a child.  He was jailed pending arraignment.


Gerace approved as new Fredonia police chief...
The Fredonia Village Board has approved the appointment of former Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace as the village's next police chief during their regular meeting Monday night.  The provisional appointment was approved by a 3-1 vote.  Trustee James Lynden, who voted against the appointment, attempted to have the resolution tabled.  Lynden expressed concerns about the selection process that was used in filling the position... saying the board had decided to change the process, and decided to advertise outside the area for the post.  But... Trustee Scott Johnston urged board members to take action... noting that the board has worked for "months going through materials and interviewing candidates" before making their choice.  Gerace, who was elected as Chautauqua County Sheriff for 24 years, will take over the post on Dec. 13. 


Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign off to slow start...
The annual Red Kettle Campaign for the Salvation Army in Jamestown has gotten off to a "very slow" start.  However... the organization's Major Kim Merchant says she remains optimistic they'll reach their goal of $115,000.  Merchant says the slow start is due -- in part -- to COVID-19 quarantines involving staff and others.  She adds that, with that, they have not been able to man the kettles the way they would like to.  Merchant says they're about $1,000 behind last year's effort, and have raised $13,400.  This year's Red Kettle Campaign began shortly before Thanksgiving with one kettle at Tops Market on Washington Street.  They now have kettles up at both of Wal-Mart's entrances in Lakewood...  Brigiotta's market... and the Tops locations in Falconer and Jamestown.  There is also another kettle in Frewsburg that's manned by people there.  Merchant says  the Red Kettle Campaign continues through Christmas Eve at 6 p.m.  If you would like to help ring the bells... or help with their annual Angel Tree Program... contact The Salvation Army at 664-4108. 


CSHOF Class of 2022 announced...
The Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame has announced it's inductees for the Class of 2022... and, they're the same group of inductees announced in late 2020 when the Hall of Fame induction dinner had to be cancelled due to COVID-19.  Hall of Fame President Randy Anderson says the inductees include: Sarah Bogardus-Burnett, Andrew Creager, Christina Kebort, Mike Sirianni, Lewis Mack, Marc Tramuta, and Randall G. Anderson.  The deceased honorees are: George Barone, Jr., Harry Carlson, Larry Rodgers and Richard Shearman.  The annual induction banquet will be held Feb. 21, 2022.  For information about tickets, call Chip Johnson at 485-6991.


 

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