Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Oct. 26, 2021

Buffalo area man arrested following abduction of woman in Erie Co., then brief stand-off in Falconer...
A man from the Buffalo area has been arrested after allegedly forcing a late model Jeep vehicle off the road in Erie County, NY... and, abducting one of the three passengers before driving off to the Jamestown-area.  Ellicott Town Police say they were told that 43 year-old Jason Talley was possibly heading towards Falconer.  They say... just after 3 a.m. Monday... officers located the vehicle behind 7 Richard Ave. in the village.  Police say they saw the man open the back door of the home then slam it shut.  Police then set up a perimeter around the house with the help of Jamestown police... and, the Chautauqua County Sheriff's office.  They soon after got the four people inside to come out.  A woman was taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries... and, police took Talley and two others -- Zaid Mendoza and Desiray Corrigan -- into custody.  Talley is charged with second-degree menacing, third-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment.  He was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.  Mendoza and Corrigan were found to be wanted in Cattaraugus County... and, they were sent to Little Valley for processing.


City man pleads guilty in 2020 stabbing death...
A Jamestown man has pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter in connection with a fatal stabbing that occurred in the city back in July of 2020.  A Chautauqua County Court Clerk confirms that 30-year-old Carl Sorenson entered the guilty plea in County Court last Friday.  Sorenson was facing a second-degree murder charge for the stabbing death of 23-year-old Brandon Holland on July 6 of 2020.  Sentencing for Sorenson is scheduled for Dec. 20. 


City Council approves new labor contract with public works and parks workers represented by AFSCME...
City lawmakers in Jamestown have approved a new, three-year contract with it's unionized public works and parks employees.  The City Council voted 7-to-0 last night to approve the agreement with members of AFSCME, Council 66, Local #418.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says there are salary increases for each of the three years... 2022 through 2025.  They're 2.5% the first two years... and, 2.75% the last year in 2025.  Sundquist says it also standardizes overtime and sick leave, to ensure they are able to get manpower in for emergencies, such as weather issues.  He adds there will be some givebacks on the part of the union... including higher health insurance contributions up to 24%, then 25%.  He adds his negotiating team is still working on the four remaining contracts... which include the city and fire departments.  Last month... Jamestown lawmakers approved the first of the new contracts with the city's clerical workers.  


City lawmakers conclude initial round of 2022 budget deliberations...
The initial round of the Jamestown City Council's budget review has been completed... and, members will now review the 2022 spending plan and look at possible changes.  Council President Tony Dolce says they wanted to finish up looking at the agencies they fund, and smaller offices -- like the Corporation Counsel last night.  Dolce says his biggest concern is how the city's American Rescue Plan funds are "co-mingled" with the budget.  He says they also want to take a closer look at replacing more than one police car, and they're looking at using more Asset Forfeiture Money to get a second car in addition to the one in the budget.  Dolce says they may also try to put one or two more cars in the final budget.  Police Chief Tim Jackson told lawmakers last week that all nine of the department's patrol cars have reached high-mileage... with one over 160,000 miles.  He says they'll all need to be replaced sometime soon.  Dolce adds that public safety was a big concern voiced at a recent "town hall" style meeting he co-hosted with county legislator Elizabeth Rankin.  Council's next work session is Monday, Nov. 8... and, amendments are due two days later.  The $38.9-million budget includes a slight increase in the tax levy... but, no increase in the tax rate.


Hochul still has not signed Nourish NY legislation...
A local group that has been using Nourish-NY funding to help local families facing food insecurity is concerned that the program may not be renewed.  Kathy Peterson of Chautauqua County Rural Ministry says they are moving ahead with two food distributions this week, but are still awaiting word of a contract with the state.  Peterson says the program ends on Dec. 31 of this year... but, adds they are going to stay in the program and hope the measure is signed soon.  Local State Senator George Borrello sponsored the measure in the Senate... and, says they are still pushing Governor Kathy Hochul to sign the measure.  Borrello says some minor changes have been requested.  The bill was approved unanimously by both the Senate and Assembly.


Hochul and de Blasio get COVID booster shots...
Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio separately received COVID-19 booster shots Monday.  The two Democrats received their shots at separate events Monday.  They were eligible because they had each received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine earlier this year.  De Blasio got a booster shot of the Moderna vaccine from city Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi during the mayor's regular on-line news briefing.  Hochul got her booster at public ribbon cutting in Johnson City, near Binghamton.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Oct. 25, 2021

Two city men arrested on weapon's charges following shooting incident on Jamestown's northside...
Two Jamestown men have been arrested for allegedly firing gunshots toward another person after city police responded to a report of a disturbance on the northside last weekend.  Officers were called to the scene in the area of 518 No. Main St. shortly before 3 a.m. last Saturday, and heard multiple gun shots when they arrived.  Police found three individuals running from the area... and, one was detained, but, the other two continued running.  The pair... 21 year-old Stephon Thomas, and 19 year-old Xavier Ramos... were later stopped and arrested.  Thomas was found with a 45-calibur revolver in his backpark... and, Ramos did not have a gun.  However... they later found his 9-mil. pistol -- which had a 30-round high capacity magazine on it -- in some brush.  The Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force... and, Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department K-9 unit assisted at the scene.  Both men were found to have fired the guns... and, are charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  Ramos is also charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, and unlawful possession of a high-capacity feeding device.  The third person was not charged.  No one was hurt in the incident.


Georgia woman indicted for fatal, wrong-way crash on I-86 last July...
A Chautauqua County grand jury recently indicted a Georgia woman on charges stemming from a fatal wrong-way, head-on crash on Interstate 86 in the town of North Harmony last July.  A court clerk confirms that 32-year-old Heather Capell was arraigned in County Court last Tuesday on charges of second degree vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter-reckless and Driving while under the influence of drugs.  The crash claimed the life of Bradley Wakefield of Cattaraugus.  Capell is being held in the County Jail on $50,000 bail.


Borrello confirms "gifting" of marijuana issue in NYS...
There's still no legal way to buy recreational marijuana yet in New York state... however... there are ways to obtain pot using current "gray area" in the law approved a year-and-a-half ago.  That from State Senator George Borrello... who confirmed for us that people are being "gifted" certain amounts of marijuana in certain places when they purchase something else.  That's reportedly been happening on indian reservations across the region, now that marijuana possession is no longer illegal.  He says he's heard about people selling T-shirts for $50, and then they are "gifted" a certain amount of marijuana with that T-Shirt.  Borrello says the "gap" between marijuana being legalized... and, establishment of places to legally buy pot has allowed growth of what he calls a "black market" situation that's been seen in other states where recreational marijuana is now legal.  The Sunset Bay Republican says there were 15 other states that New York could have observed and learned from their mistakes.  However... he says the push to legalize pot quickly was too great.  Borrello made his comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


State Police pot plant seizures plummet in past year...
New York State Police seizures of marijuana plants have plunged this year.  The Albany Times-Union reports this has happened as the state legalized possession of small amounts of pot... and, some local law enforcement agencies backed off efforts to root out marijuana crops.  For years, state police have deployed helicopters to help local police and sheriff's departments spot and seize pot grown in large quantities. The Times Union reported Friday that state police aviation unit has seized 1,628 plants and made four arrests in the first nearly 10 months of this year.  That compares to 4,242 plants and 152 arrests last year.  The state police say they will keep working to eradicate large, illegal marijuana-growing operations.


Two city men arrested in separate Child Porn cases...
Two Jamestown men were arrested recently for allegedly possessing child pornography.  State Police in Jamestown say they arrested 53 year-old Kevin Caffoe for allegedly uploading eight images of child porno to his Skype account.  Troopers obtained a search warrant for Caffoe's home... and, seized several pieces of evidence.  Police say he also allegedly discussed the images with an underage girl.  He faces eight counts of possessing an Obscene Sexual Performance by a Child.  Late last month... troopers arrested 42 year-old Amos Wright after getting information that he had uploaded thousands of images and videos of child porn.  He was taken into custody, and charged with 15 counts of Possessing an Obscene Sexual Performance by a Child.  Both men were issued appearance tickets for Jamestown City Court.


City of Dunkirk looking for new dir. of Planning and Development...
City of Dunkirk Planning and Development Director Jill Meaux has left her position... effective the end of last week.  During this past week's Common Council meeting... Mayor Willie Rosas announced that Meaux was resigning from the position.  According to Rosas... Meaux stated in her resignation letter that the stress of the city's politics is more than she can deal with... and, it was causing her more stress than she "wanted to shoulder."  Rosas says Meaux has done an "excellent job" working for the city.  She also said in her letter that she has been offered another opportunity elsewhere that she has accepted.  She was appointed as interim Planning and Development Director in January, and was later approved by the Common Council as full-time in May.  Rosas says the city has already begun the process of finding a new planning and development director.

 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Oct. 21, 2021

City police continue investigation into fatal shooting on Water Street...
Jamestown police are continuing to investigate the fatal shooting of a 46 year-old man who died from a gun-shot wound during an incident on the city's eastside Monday night.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says officers were called to the scene at 60 Water St. shortly after 8:30 p.m., and, found the unresponsive man -- now identified as Angel Pacheco -- outside, on the front yard -- with a single gun-shot wound.  Pacheco was rushed to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital, where he later died.  Samuelson says investigators have spoken with potential witnesses.  However... he says the fact Water Street doesn't have much traffic on it has limited the amount of information they've been able to get.  Samuelson says he's hoping someone will come forward with information... and, adds they have no motive right now.  He adds that if you have any information on the incident, or may have heard something that could help the investigation, call JPD at 483-7537... or call their anonymous tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477. 


County records 200th COVID-related fatality over the past week...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting the county has now reached 200 COVID-19-related deaths since the pandemic began in March of 2020.  Officials say there were 8 new deaths over the past week in their weekly COVID Dashboard report.  They add there were 236 total cases... which is the lowest number in several weeks.  That brings the county's total number of cases to 12,843... and 255 are currently active.  Officials say 25 people are hospitalized, and 12,388 have now recovered.  The seven-day infection rate is now 5.1-percent.


Gillibrand pushing for more Low-Income HEAP Funding for state residents...
New York's junior U-S Senator is calling for more help for the state's lower-income residents as colder weather is right around the corner.  Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand add that, with home heating prices expected to soar this Winter, a "robust" response is needed now.  Gillibrand has written to the director of the Department of Health and Human Services calling for more utilization of the state's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.  Gillibrand says, on average, New Yorkers will pay at least 21-percent more to heat this Fall and Winter.  She adds that more than a million households in New York collectively owe $1.5-billion in back payments.  Gillibrand also says the ongoing economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented financial burdens on low-income families, and seniors... and, rising heating costs will only add to this strain.  Gillibrand adds that "during long New York winters, LIHEAP is a critical lifeline for seniors and low-income workers in need of assistance to stay safe and warm."


Gillibrand backs idea of tapping nation's oil reserves to help stabilize, or lower gasoline prices...
There's been little change to gasoline prices from the middle of last week through today.  However... the price for regular, unleaded gas remains about $1.20 above last year at this time in the Jamestown-area to just under $3.56 a gallon.  That from AAA's East Central Gas Price Report... which showed that 10-cent jump about a week ago.  During that time... the national average increased by 5-cents a gallon to $3.32 a gallon.  Should strategic oil reserves be tapped as a short-term solution.  Senator Gillibrand says she would support that.  AAA says the primary driver of this surge remains the cost of crude oil, which is now closing daily above $80 a barrel.  In August... the price was in the low $60s per barrel.  The Energy Information Administration says last week's total domestic gasoline supply fell by 2 million barrels to 223.1 million barrels.  Gasoline demand also fell from 9.43 million barrels per day to 9.19 million barrels per day, but the agency calculates it is still some 610,000 barrels per day above last year. 


Council Finance Committee wants more information on Jamestown's ARPA proposals...
There's been no action taken yet on four resolutions regarding the city of Jamestown's American Rescue Plan Act funds as lawmakers seek more information on the city's plans.  The City Council's Finance Committee delayed action on the resolutions Monday night, and requested more information from Mayor Eddie Sundquist on what the funding will be used for.  Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund feels it's important to have the detail to keep use of the funding transparent.  Ecklund says the biggest frustration is the fact that some of the city's $28-million in ARPA funding is "co-mingled" with Sundquist's 2022 budget proposal.  Sundquist says he understands the desire for more detail... but, adds they need to get plans in place to make sure they can do the projects before the 2026 deadline for the money to be used. 


Gill speaks about Democracy in Germany, America, at Jackson Center...
The Nuremberg War Crimes Trials… 75 years ago… helped pave the way for a successful democracy in Germany.  Those are the thoughts of David Gill, the Consul General of Germany in New York.  Gill says German's learned about democracy from those trials, and the rule of law in "our daily lives."  He spoke to reporters yesterday at the Robert H. Jackson Center in advance of a major presentation Thursday.  Gill believes the U.S. helped teach Germany how to be ‘democratic’ and he’s saddened to see such deep divisions in America now... and, he hopes politicians can find a way to "talk to each other again."  Gill is one of a number of panelists in today’s program entitled ‘Cold War Secrets Revealed.’

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Oct. 20, 2021

City police continue investigating Tuesday night fatal shooting on Jamestown's eastside...
Jamestown police are continuing to investigate a mid-evening shooting on the city's eastside that resulted in the death of a 46-year-old man.  Jamestown Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers were called to the scene at 60 Water St. shortly after 8:30 p.m., and, found the unresponsive man outside with a single gun-shot wound.  Samuelson says they found the man -- now identified as Angel Pacheco -- in the front yard.  He was rushed to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital where he later died.  He says investigators have spoken with potential witnesses.  However... he says the fact Water Street doesn't have much traffic on it has limited the amount of information they've been able to get.  Samuelson says more information should be released later today.  He says police have no motive right now.  Samuelson says if you have any information on the incident, or may have heard something that could help the investigation, call JPD at 483-7537... or call their anonymous tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.  Police say all calls will be kept confidential.


City Council Finance Committee takes no action on four measures dealing with ARPA funding...
Members of the Jamestown City Council's Finance Committee have delayed action on four resolutions that deal with use of American Rescue Plan Act funds.  That from Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund... who says members of the panel agreed they want more details about what the money is being used for in the coming year.  Ecklund made the comments after expressing frustration over the lack of detail in Mayor Eddie Sundquist's 2022 budget proposal.  While it does attach dollar figures to most projects, there's not a lot of detail on how the funding is being used, and the committee would like more.  Ecklund says the biggest frustration is the fact that some of the city's $28-million in ARPA funding is "co-mingled" with the budget for next year.  Sundquist says he understands the desire for more detail... but, says they need to get plans in place to make sure they can do the projects before the 2026 deadline for the money to be used.  He says that's especially the case regarding some of the neighborhood and housing initiatives... because they need to line up contractors to get the work done on time. 


Hochul says administration moving more information on NYS COVID-19 Dashboard...
Governor Kathy Hochul says her administration has made further changes to the state's COVID-19 Dashboard to provide more information to residents about the number of cases, and where they are.  During a Tuesday morning press briefing in Albany... Hochul said they've merged more information into one, on-line location to be more transparent so people can get what they want at one site.  She says they're also updating their reporting of the numbers and percentages of vaccination on the Dashboard.  She says the number of people who have received at least one shot of a vaccine is now up to just over 86-percent.  Hochul expects that to go up, partly due to new vaccination requirements that take effect on Nov. 1.  She says that group will include Office of Mental Health and Psychiatric hospitals, and the Office of people with Disabilities.  With vaccines beginning to come on line for children... Hochul urged parents to begin inquiring with their pediatrician to start looking at times and dates for their child to get a vaccination, when they're availalbe.


Hochul pushing for everyone to be ready when Pediatric COVID vaccines are available...
Governor Kathy Hochul wants to make it as easy as possible for those students -- mainly in elementary schools -- to get the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine.  Hochul says they want to avoid the immediate "crush" of people wanting to schedule appointments, as they did when the first vaccines came out.  While they'll be working with pediatricians... she says they also want to work with the schools, and others... including pharmacists, and urgent care facilities.  Hochul says the state will work on a permission slip that parents will be able to fill out for their children so they can receive a COVID shot... once their district provides it.  Currently... people ages 12 and up can receive the vaccine.  Once emergency authorization is given... 5 to 11 year-olds will be able to receive a shot.


Two North County water projects part of U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's $13.7-million in projects approved...
Two water infrastructure projects in the northern part of Chautauqua County will be receiving just over $3-million in federal funding for projects.  U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says the money is from about $13.7-million for water projects in rural communities.  Gillibrand says the largest grant is just over $2.28-million... and will be used to upgrade nearly 13,000 linear feet of an eight-inch main in the town of Dunkirk's Shorewood District.  The other grant... totaling $920,000... will go to construct a public water distribution system in the town of Westield.  Gillibrand says it's part of a $1.8-million project to build that system.  Gillibrand says the funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program to modernize rural drinking water, and wastewater infrastructure throughout the state. 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Oct. 19, 2021

City Council begins 2022 budget review, Finance chair voices frustration over lack of "transparency" of information...
The head of the Jamestown City Council's Finance Committee expressed her frustration over what she called a "lack of transparency" in Mayor Eddie Sundquist's 2022 budget proposal.  Lawmakers began their review of the $38.9-million spending plan last night... and, Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund found herself asking several questions of Comptroller Ryan Thompson for more details about where money is going.  Ecklund added, though, that it's not all Thompson's fault... but, adds "you're expecting us to make million dollar decisions on ARPA, and all this stuff, and I've got to bug you a million times for information."  She says it's not fair to the entire process.  "ARPA" is in reference to American Rescue Plan Act funds... about 3-million dollars of which is being used in the 2022 spending plan.  A lot of that money is being used for more than 40 capital projects in the city.  However... only one Jamestown police car is to be replaced in the budget.  Police Chief Tim Jackson says all nine of their "front-line" patrol cars need to be replaced because they have 162,000 and 131,000 miles on them in a couple of instances.  Jackson says they're just not going to last.  He adds their indoor firing range is now at least 30 years old... and, badly needs replacement.  Fire Chief Matt Coon says their biggest need is newer uniforms, and turn-out gear.  Public Works Director Jeff Lehman, and Parks Manager Dan Stone also discussed their budgets during the approximately one-hour session.   Sundquist's budget plan includes a $130,000 increase in the tax levy... but, no increase in the tax rate.


Sundquist says his budget proposal does include public safety items...
Jamestown's mayor says his 2022 budget proposal does address public safety concerns facing both the city Police and Fire Departments.  However... Eddie Sundquist does admit there isn't enough money to deal with all the needs quickly.  During this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the Media One Group stations... Sundquist addressed public comments that some of the American Rescue Plan funding should be set aside for those areas.  The Democratic mayor insists they are... and, says they try to do these things to make sure "our emergency personnel have the things they need to move forward."  Some of that will come from the "lost revenue" portion of the city's $28-million ARPA funding.  Sundquist adds they also address another public concern... that being replacement of the Cathedral Oak trees taken down on West Third Street between Hall and Hallock Streets.  Most of those trees were taken down in December of last year because just about all of them had fallen victim to disease, and other damage that necessitated taking them down.  Sundquist says the Parks Department needs to do some prep work on the street before new trees can be planted 


Jamestown man sentenced to 2 1/3 to 7 years for burglary...
A city man who allegedly broke into a property on North Main Street -- just north of Jamestown -- earlier this year has been sentenced to 2 1/3 to 7 years in state prison.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt says 43 year-old David Hanley received the term Monday morning in County Court from Judge David Foley.  Hanley pled guilty to one count of third-degree burglary for the May 2021 incident back on July 29.  Jamestown police arrested Hanley and investigated the case... and, assisted with it's prosecution.


County BOE announces new additional voting site for Early Voting, starting this Saturday...
Early voting for this Fall's elections gets underway this Saturday, Oct. 23, and will cover a nine day period prior to the Nov. 2 General Election.  There will be four locations in Chautauqua County... and Republican Elections Commissioner Brian Abram says that's one more than a year ago  Abram says they'll be at the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood, the Jackson Center in Jamestown (which is new), the Board of Elections in Mayville, and the County Fairgrounds in Dunkirk.  We asked Abram why the Jamestown location was added.  He says a change in the law required early voting to also be available in the largest population density area.  It was then they decided to add the Jackson Center in Jamestown.  Abram says hours this Saturday and Sunday will be from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. both days.  


Another 33 new COVID-19 cases reported Monday in county...
There were 33 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County yesterday... and the seven-day infection rate has fallen to 5.8-percent.  The New York State COVID-19 Dashboard says the new cases were found out of 616 tests that were administered.  The county's weekly COVID numbers come out Wednesday.


Tornados confirmed in Western Pa....
Forecasters say a pair of tornados have been confirmed in western Pennsylvania over the weekend.  The National Weather Service says an EF-0 tornado with estimated winds up to 85 mph touched down in the town of Shippingport before dawn Saturday.  The storm uprooted trees and ripped the roof off a pavilion behind the municipal building.  Another EF-1 tornado touched down in Monaca shortly before 6:30 a.m. Saturday and traveled two miles with estimated maximum winds up to 95 mph.  It uprooted trees, sending one onto the windshield of a car, and ripped the roof off a mobile home before crossing the Ohio River into Freedom and causing more damage.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Oct. 18, 2021

Hinsdale man arrested on rape and other sex-related charges...
A man from Cattaraugus County faces several sex-related charges after allegedly raping and sexually abusing a minor in the town of Hinsdale late last week.  Sheriff's deputies in Little Valley say they took 36 year-old Scott Vaughn of Route 446, Hinsdale into custody last Thursday morning on a warrant issued out of County Court.  Officers say they arrested Vaughn - without incident - on charges including one count of first-degree rape... two counts of first-degree sexual abuse.  He's also charged with second-degree rape... preditory sexual assault against a child... and, endangering the welfare of a child.  Vaughn was taken to the Cattaraugus County Jail and held on bail pending further court proceedings.


Stockton man arrested on sex abuse charges...
A Stockton man has been arrested on a warrant for allegedly sexually abusing another person.  Sheriff's officers say they took 41 year-old Joshua Dash of Dean Road into custody last Saturday morning on charges of first-degree sexual abuse, and second-degree unlawful imprisonment.  Deputies say Dash was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.


Bus driver shortage today forces CVCS to cancel three routes today... 
A local school district is faced with an unexpected bus driver shortage... and, is not able to transport students on three routes today. In a phone call to district residents Sunday evening... and, in a message posted on their Facebook page... the Cassadaga Valley Central  School District said it would not be able to transport students who ride buses 181, 182 and 187 today.  Parents are being asked to bring their children to school and pick them up, or access Google Classroom from home.

 
City Council to begin deliberations on 2022 budget tonight...
The Jamestown City Council will begin deliberations tonight on Mayor Eddie Sundquist's proposed $38.9-million 2022 budget proposal.  The spending plan does include a tax levy increase... but, keeps the tax rate at $23.69 per $1,000.  It also uses about 3-million dollars in American Rescue Plan funding to take on three areas in the coming year... including an unprecidented number of capital projects... with over 40 proposed.  He says there are also seven new positions proposed as part of "succession planning" (for future retirements), and cyber security.  There are seven new positions in total... including one in the area of IT.  Sundquist says there are only two people in that entire department right now.  He adds the funding needs to be used in specific areas... such as parks projects under the rescue plan's rules... and, are spending just over $1-million in ARPA funding for those projects.  Sundquist says three of the new employees would be parks staff to help maintain the city's expanded parks programming.  The budget session begins at 6:30... the regular council work session at 7:30 p.m.


Forestville man arrested after alleged physical altercation...         
A north county man faces several charged following an alleged physical altercation in the town of Hanover late last week.  Sheriff's officers were called to a home in Forestville about 2:30 p.m., and, found that 24 year-old Daniel Baez had gotten into a fight with another person.  He was charged with two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, second-degree harassment... and, criminal obstruction of Breath or Blood Circulation.  Baez was taken to the county jail for Centralized Arraignment... and will be released pending an appearance in Hanover Town Court.


Federal government says two-thirds of all New Yorkers now fully-vaccinated against COVID...
The latest federal figures show nearly two-thirds of New York residents are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.  About 12.7-million of New York's 20 million residents are fully vaccinated.  That's according to data released Saturday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Vaccination rates are highest in the southern and eastern part of New York state: more than three-quarters of residents in Hamilton County in the Adirondacks are fully vaccinated.  But... vaccination rates are lowest in western and central counties: just 38% are fully vaccinated in Allegany County.


Postal Workers express concerns over recent, and new changes made by Postmaster General...
More changes have gone into effect this month at the U.S. Postal Service... and some New York postal workers worry about how these policies will impact the avalanche of mail this holiday season.  The Postal Service's new service standards — which went into effect on Oct. 1 — include moving away from air mail delivery for first-class mail.  It's expected that mail traveling less than a thousand miles will reach its destination in three days, and mail traveling more than 1,900 miles will take about five days. The Postal Service says these efforts are meant to cut costs but John Tabak with the American Postal Workers Union says these changes are regrettable... because the money isn't there to fully make those changes.  Other new changes to the Postal Service include cuts to office hours.  Chuck Zlatkin of the New York Metro Area Postal Union says it remains to be seen what impact these changes will have on the busy holiday months ahead.  He is concerned these changes will lead to privatizing the Postal Service.  These latest changes are part of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's 10-year plan for the service, called "Delivering for America," which aims to avoid $160-billion in losses by 2030 and includes modernizing the vehicle fleet as well as investments in processing facilities.

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Oct. 15, 2021

Weather Service announces slight risk of potentially severe weather later today...
You'll want to keep an eye on the sky later today since most of Western New York is under a slight risk of severe thunderstorms late this afternoon... and, into tonight.  The National Weather Service says the primary threat will be damaging wind gusts, but large hail and even an isolated tornado are also possible.  The Buffalo Office says the storms could come in two rounds, one between 3 to 10 p.m.  Another round is possible late tonight.


Whitaker says COVID cases on decline among JPS Population...
As seen over the past week in Chautauqua County... the Jamestown Public School system is also seeing a "nice" reduction in the number of COVID-19 cases and quarantines in the district.  That from School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker... who says he hopes the trend continues.  Dr. Whitaker says they've been seeing this trend over the past few weeks... and, he "hopes it continues."  Also, he says there's been a "nice decline" in the number of student cases.... and, he urges everyone to keep taking proper precautions to keep kids in school.  Chautauqua County reported Wednesday that there were 433 new COVID cases over the past week... down from 579 the previous week.  However... the most -- 130 -- were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.


BPU officially awarded $3-Million Water Infrastructure grant to replace water mains...
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities has been awarded a $3-million grant from New York state to help install new water mains for it's water customers.  Governor Kathy Hochul today says the grant is part of $44.2-million in Clean Water System and Drinking Water Infrastructure Projects being awarded statewide.  Hochul said Thursday that the funding was approved by the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation... and, include grants, interest-free financing, and low-cost financings, approved by the EFC Board of Directors.  The funding for the BPU project comes specifically from the state's Water Infrastructure Improvement Act.  Four other projects across the state also received funding from the WIIA.


Gillibrand pleased to hear Canadian and Mexican borders will be opening soon...
U-S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York says she's pleased to finally see movement on getting the United States' land borders with Canada and Mexico reopening... beginning next month.  The White House has told Congressional representatives from New York that the Canadian border will be opening in 'early November..." and the Mexican border will open as well.  The opening will occur in phases.... the first, in November, will allow fully vaccinated Canadians and Mexicans with proper travel documentation to cross U.S. land borders for non-essential reasons.  Gillibrand, a Democrat, says those are people who spend time, and money in New York state, and is "important for our recovery."  Gillibrand says having both border's open again is important to the nation's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Both she, and Senior New York Senator Charles Schumer both pushed the Biden administration and health officials to get those crossings open... because we had people coming in from the E-U, and Asia -- but not Canada.  Gillibrand said "that's absurd."  The administration says there will be no testing requirement for Canadians entering the U-S.  However... Canada does require vaccinated Americans to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of their arrival in Canada. 


Applications up for U.S. Nursing school...
Nurses around the United States are getting burned out by the COVID-19 crisis and quitting... yet, applications to nursing schools are rising, driven by what educators say are young people who see the global emergency as an opportunity and a challenge.   Nationally, enrollment in bachelor's, master's and doctoral nursing programs increased 5.6-percent in 2020 from the year before to just over 250-thousand students.  That from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing... which says the higher enrollment could help ease a nursing shortage that existed even before COVID-19.  But the increase, combined with the departure of too many experienced nurses whose job is to help train students, has left many nursing programs without the ability to expand. 


New dir. of Corporate Communcations names for Heritage Ministries...
Heritage Ministries has announced that it's Marketing manager for the past four-plus years has been promoted to Corporate Director of Communications for the organization.  Heritage President and Chief Executive Officer, Lisa Haglund, says Melissa Anderson of Frewsburg will serve as their "primary communications point of contact for the organization.  She will oversee and develop new strategies to evaluate and continually improve internal and external communications processes, public relations, and media management and relations throughout Heritage senior living communities, nationwide."  Melissa is also a former employee her at Media One Radio Group.  Haglund adds that with her experience... Anderson is "uniquely qualified to serve our staff, residents, and their families."


"I Love Lucy" turns 70 today, and Comedy Center is celebrating...
The National Comedy Center in Jamestown is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the beloved "I Love Lucy" Show today, and all this weekend.  Comedy Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson says the show first aired on Friday, Oct. 15, 1951 on CBS... and, soon after became a "cultural phenomenon -- and one of the most popular televisions shows of all time."  Gunderson says they'll have special episode screenings throughout the weekend, enhanced Lucy-Desi exhibits... and, new interactive experiences for fans of the beloved TV series.  The Lucy-Desi Museum will also have special activities and sales during the weekend.  For more information... go on-line to ComedyCenter.org.
 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Oct. 14, 2021

Lakewood woman hurt in motorcycle-deer accident...
A Lakewood woman has to be airlifted to an Erie, Pa. hospital yesterday afternoon after her motorcycle was struck by a deer on Route 394 in the town of Poland.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene... near the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus County line... shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday.  Deputies learned that 67 year-old Patricia Portale was westbound when the deer ran into the roadway and struck her.  Portale... who was the only person involved... was flown by helicopter to the Hamot Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.  No charges have been filed.


County reports 433 new COVID-19 cases over past week...
There has been a drop in the number of weekly, COVID-19 cases being reported the past week in Chautauqua County... with 433 cases reported the past seven days.  The county's weekly COVID-19 Dashboard says there were also three new deaths... bringing that total to 192 during the pandemic.  There have now been 12,612 cases total.  County officials say 331 cases are now active... and, 33 are hospitalized.   There are now 12,013 cases that have recovered.  The most new cases... 130... were reported in Jamestown the past week.  The rate of infection is 7.9%.


Hochul expresses disappointment on federal court ruling on religious exemption...
Governor Kathy Hochul says she's "disappointed" that a federal judge has ruled that New York must continue to allow health care workers to seek exemptions from a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate on religious grounds.  Hochul later made her comments on Tuesday's ruling by a federal judge in Utica... who had issued a temporary restraining order a month ago after 17 doctors, nurses and other health professionals claimed in a lawsuit that their rights would be violated by a mandate that disallowed the exemptions.  Hochul says people going into hospitals or nursing homes need to know they are safe... adding the pandemic has forced the state's hand on this.  Hurd's ruling Tuesday means New York will continue to be barred from enforcing any requirement that employers deny religious exemptions.  Hochul says the state is appealing the decision.


Hochul pleased with news the northern border with Canada will soon be reopended...
Full details are still not available... but, the White House has informed New York Congressional representatives that the Canadian border will be opening in 'early November.'  The Buffalo News adds the Mexican border will open as well.  The paper reports the opening will occur in phases.... the first, in November, will allow fully vaccinated Canadians and Mexicans with proper travel documentation to cross U.S. land borders for nonessential reasons.  It was good news to Governor Kathy Hochul... whose from Western New York.  The Biden Administration says there will be no testing requirement for Canadians entering the U.S.  Canada does require vaccinated Americans to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of their arrival in Canada.  The second phase of the reopening will begin in January 2022, when all travelers across U.S. land borders – even those who are traveling for essential reasons – will be required to be vaccinated. 


Ollie’s Bargain Outlet opens today at Chautauqua Mall...
A well-known close-out retailer is officially opening it's doors at the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood this morning.  Mall officials say they're excited to welcome Ollie's Bargain Outlet to the mall... where it will be located next to JC Penny.  Ollie's will occupy the 32,000 square feet previously occupied by Office Max.  Officials say they'll have the Basil & Bones Food Truck on hand... along with on-premesis food options in that part of the mall including Five Guys, Sakura Buffet and Taco Bell.  Mall Manager Julie Bihler says "our guests are always changing and evolving, and at Chautauqua Mall we want to be able to offer them today’s top trends and shopping destinations."


SUNY JCC holding both in-person, and virtual Open Houses...
Jamestown Community College will offer a series of 'Open Houses' beginning this week, and for the first time since the pandemic began... some of them will be in person.  The Director of Admissions, Corrine Case, says being 'on campus' is an important part of choosing a school and see what they look like, how they feel, and cost.  The Olean campus will have open house this Saturday (10/16) from 10 AM to noon, with the Jamestown event set for Oct. 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  In addition, a series of six virtual open houses is also getting underway.  Today... the 'Society and Human Expression' area will be explored.  The rest of the virtual open houses will be next week.  Each on-line open house starts at 7 p.m.  Registration for all these programs... in person and virtual... is available at sunyjcc.edu.  For those visiting in person, COVID protocols will be in place.       


Ross officially sworn in as Western District U.S. Attorney... 
A western New York woman who is a 1988 graduate of the SUNY College at Fredonia has officially been sworn-in as the new U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York.  Trini Ross was nominated by President Joe Biden this past July 26... and, was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on Sept. 30.  President Biden signed Ross’s commission this past Oct. 5.  The U-S Attorney's Office was given the oath of office by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth Wolford.  Ross says it's "an honor to serve as the U-S Attorney for the Western District of New York." 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Oct. 13, 2021

Biden Admin. expected to detail northern and southern border reopenings today...
Full details are expected later today... but the White House has informed New York representatives that the Canadian border will be opening in 'early November.'  The Mexican border will open as well.  The Buffalo News reports the opening will occur in phases.... the first, in November, will allow fully vaccinated Canadians and Mexicans with proper travel documentation to cross U.S. land borders for nonessential reasons. There will be no testing requirement for Canadians entering the U.S.  Canada does require vaccinated Americans to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of their arrival in Canada.  The second phase of the reopening will begin in January 2022, when all travelers across U.S. land borders – even those who are traveling for essential reasons – will be required to be vaccinated. Currently, business travelers such as truck drivers can drive into the U.S. even if they are not vaccinated because they are considered essential travelers.


Judge says health care workers can continue seeking religious exemptions from COVID shots, for now...
A federal judge has ruled that New York must continue to allow health care workers to seek exemptions from a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate on religious grounds as a lawsuit challenging the requirement proceeds.  Judge David Hurd in Utica had issued a temporary restraining order a month ago after 17 doctors, nurses and other health professionals claimed in a lawsuit that their rights would be violated with a vaccine mandate that disallowed the exemptions.  Hurd's ruling Tuesday means New York will continue to be barred from enforcing any requirement that employers deny religious exemptions. 


Wendel outlines ARPA projects lawmakers are to deal with in October...
Chautauqua County lawmakers are expected to act on multiple resolutions at this month's meeting regarding the county's use of some of the $24.6-million it's receiving from the American Rescue Plan.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says one of the items has to do with studies being done on invasive weeds, and algal bloom growth... and, water quality issues on Chautauqua Lake as part of the Jefferson Project.  The Lakewood Republican says another deals with Information Technology items that need to be dealt with quickly.  Wendel says the county now has it's first "traunch" or payment from the American Rescue Plan in the bank... totaling $12.3-million.  In addition... the county legislature is expected to hold it's required public hearing, and vote, on Wendel's proposed 2022 budget at this month's meeting.  That spending plan includes a 26-cent per $1,000 full value tax rate decrease.  He made his comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group Stations.


Borrello very disappointed that Hochul vetoes measure to forgive Panama school State Ed. penalty... 
The region's State Senator says he's "deeply disappointed" that Governor Kathy Hochul has vetoed legislation that would have forgiven the Panama Central School District's remaining state Education Department penalty.  Sunset Bay Republican George Borrello reacted Tuesday to Hochul's rejection of legislation that would have released the Panama district from paying the remaining 1.9-million dollar penalty levied 16 years ago.  Borrello says "there is zero justification for diverting critically-needed education dollars away from the classroom to pay a bureaucratic fine from almost two decades ago."  He says it's "disappointing that our new governor has chosen to follow the same path as her predecessor..." especially since legislation that would have instituted blanket forgiveness was proposed as part of the budget process... and, was rejected for political reasons.  He says the measure was approved unanimously approved in both the state Senate and Assembly.


Dolce hopeful that city can wrap up contract negotiations with Jamestown unions by end of year...
It's one down... and, five to go in trying to get contract agreements in place between the city of Jamestown and it's employee unions before the end of the year.  The City Council recently approved a new, three-year agreement with clerical workers represented by Civil Service Employees Association Local-#807.  It covers the years 2022 through 2024... and, includes wage increases, but also increases the amount workers have to pay for health insurance.  City Council President Tony Dolce was pleased to have it in place.  He says wage increases are 2.5% for each of the three-years... and, employee health insurance contributions are increased from 19% to 21%.  The city's contract management team is still working on other agreements... not long after reaching retroactive agreements with the city's two largest unions... representing police and fire.  Dolce says he's not sure if the city can get the remaining five contracts in place before the end of the year... but, if not... he believes they can have that completed by early 2022.


Gas prices in Jamestown-area remain high...
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area remain high this week... after jumping about 10-cents a gallon about mid-week last week to just under $3.46 a gallon for regular, unleaded fuel.  AAA's East Central Gas Price Report says the price is now $3.45.6 a gallon... and, the national price is up 8-cents to $3.27 a gallon.  AAA says it's the highest price for gas since October of 2014... and, the key driver is the price of crude oil.  Officials say that acounts for 50 to 60-percent of the price at the pump... and, that's now more than $80 a barrel.  AAA says last week's decision by OPEC and its oil-producing allies to not increase production further only exacerbated the upward momentum for crude oil prices. 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Oct. 12, 2021

Man severly hurt in fall from top-story of Jamestown's Senior High-Rise on West Fifth St...
Jamestown police and fire officials confirm that first-responders were called to the scene of a person falling to the ground from the senior high-rise apartments on West Fifth Street.  City fire officials say the call to 303 West Fifth came in about 9:30 this morning.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says a 32-year-old man apparently fell from the ninth-floor -- the top of the high-rise.  Samuelson says foul play is not suspected.  The victim was initially taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital... then flown to UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pa.  


WNY sees close to record warmth Monday, may also see today...
The western New York region got very close to a record high temperature on Columbus Day Monday... as high pressure remains anchored over the Northeast.  That's brought us unseasonably warm temperatures... including an 81 late yesterday afternoon at the Buffalo-Niagara Airport.  Forecaster Phillip Pandolfo with the National Weather Service Office in Buffalo says the record for Oct. 11 is 82... which was set in 1949.  Pandolfo say this weather pattern will be with us most of the week... including today... which has a record high of 81.  Buffalo is looking at an expected high today of 79-80.  For the rest of the week... Pandolfo says we'll continue to see the 70s through Friday, when a cold front makes it's way here by the weekend... and temperatures fall into the 60s.  This Wednesday is the 15th anniversary of the surprise "Snowtember" storm that brought several inches of snow to the Buffalo-area when most trees were still full of leaves.  Thousands of trees were destroyed.  However... Pandolfo says there's nothing like that in the longer range forecast.


City man arrested following alleged domestic dispute...
A Jamestown man is accused of threatening to hit a woman during a domestic incident on the city's eastside Monday morning.  City police were called to the 100-block of Wescott Street about 8:30 a.m. on a report of a domestic incident... and, spoke with 35 year-old John Yoder and the unidentified woman at the scene.  Officers say they learned that Yoder had threatened the woman, and violated a valid order of protection.  Police arrested him for first-degree criminal contempt, and second-degree harassment... and, Yoder was jailed pending arraignment.


Schumer in Olean Monday to rally with union workers to keep Siemen's Energy open with new ownership...
U-S Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer was in the region today... urging Siemens Energy in Olean to sell it's plant to someone who will keep it -- and it's one-thousand jobs -- in Western New York.  Schumer joined with members of the United Steelworkers local to urge Siemens to keep the plan operating at it's 88-acre manufacturing facility.  The New York Democrat says "a fixture in local manufacturing for generations, Siemens Energy’s decision to close the Olean manufacturing plant will have tremendous ripple effects on everyone from the employees and their families to business owners and local governments... which depend on well-paying and reliable jobs staying in Olean."  Back in February... Siemens Energy announced that it would be cutting jobs across the U.S., including 530 of the 890 total jobs in Olean. 


Sundquist says Jamestown could see significant boost from pot sales, and touts parks upgrades in 2022 budget proposal...
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist is budgeting a 3-percent increase in sales tax revenues for the city in his 2022 budget.  However... he says they could see a significant increase in that amount if city does not opt out of recreational marijuana sales next year.  Sundquist made his comments during last week's budget presentation at City Hall.  He says the city has not acted on that yet... but, he's estimating -- conservatively -- that the city could take in $700,000 to $1-million from cannibis sales, alone.  Sundquist says he and his administration have discussed the matter with city officials in Ithaca to try and project some of the numbers on what pot sales could generate.  He says a lot of the $3-million the city is using in the budget from the American Rescue Plan will go toward new park amenities... including a dog park at Bergman Park, a disc golf course at Allen Park, and, improvements to Diethrick Park.  Three new laborers are also being added to ensure the parks are in good shape.  The $38.9-million spending plan... which includes a zero tax rate increase... now goes to the City Council for deliberations.


Chautauqua County Democrats back Hochul for governor...
The Chautauqua County Democratic Committee has announced that the party’s county executive committee has unanimously endorsed Govvernor Kathy Hochul for re-election in 2022.  County Chairman Norm Green says "Kathy Hochul knows our county and has long been a regular weekend visitor traveling from Buffalo with the state’s first man Bill Hochul.  We all know each other well and she will continue to be an excellent partner for our county electeds as we seek to return to economic prosperity."  Green adds that Hochul has also "demonstrated great leadership already in addressing the Covid-19 crisis, and is working to keep all New Yorkers safe."  


Clinton and Penny wtire novel "State of Terror..."
Hillary Clinton's next book mentions a rising Taliban in Afghanistan... and, a Joint Chiefs of Staff chair who clashes with the president.  The book is a novel, "State of Terror."  It's co-written with crime fiction author Louise Penny, and was conceived well before the latest headlines about Afghanistan or the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Clinton and Penny spoke recently with The A-P about their collaboration and how they came to meet and become friends. 

 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Oct. 11, 2021

City man identified in strong-armed robbery at Dollar General Store in Jamestown...
A Jamestown man has now been identified as the person who committed a strong-armed robbery at the Dollar General Store on Winsor Street last Friday aftenoon.  City police were called to the scene about 2:30 p.m., and, talked with the cashier involved... who said 60 year-old Steven Krause had come into the store, and took two M&M's packages, and put them in his pocket.  Police say Krause then walked up to the cashier, and demanded money from the register.  They say he then fled the store, and headed east on foot to the Winsor Street railroad tracks, where police caught him.  Krause was arrested for third-degree robbery and petty larceny.  He was jailed pending arraignment.


Clymer man arrested for menacing and harassment in French Creek incident...
A Clymer man has been arrested following a fight in the town of French Creek in which he allegedly threatened someone with a dangerous instrument.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene on Backerink Road about 1 p.m. last Friday... and, found that 23 year-old Jordon Taylor had gotten into a physical altercation with another person... and also threatened that subject with a dangerous instrument.  Taylor was arrested and charged with second-degree menacing... second-degree aggravaed harassment... endangering the welfare of a child... and, second-degree harassment.  He was taken to the county jail pending centralized arraignment.


JPS officials working out logistics for testing unvaccinated employees...
Jamestown Public School officials say they still have some logistics to work out before they begin COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated teachers and staff in each school building.  That from Superintendent Kevin Whitaker... who told us late last week that planning is still underway.  However... Dr. Whitaker says the ultimate goal is being able to keep students in school.  However... he says they need to work out who is tested, and when, so they can do that when someone tests positive.  Whitaker says there are "a lot of ways to end up in quarantine... but, there are few ways to come back."  He says a good example of that is the recent quarantining of the entire JHS Marching Band after four members tested positive for COVID.  He says, depending on the school, and, who may end up testing positive... you may end up losing a number of teachers or staff because everyone in close proximity has to quarantine.  Whitaker says they're working to make sure to work out tests so that significant number of teachers in the same area are not kept out a long period of time.


Wendel says legislature justing eyeing minor changes to 2022 budget proposal...
Just a few minor changes are being considered at this point in Chautauqua County's 2022 budget proposal by Executive P-J Wendel.  Wendel proposed the spending plan... which cuts the full value tax rate by 26-cents per $1,000... late last month.  The Lakewood Republican says the levy is up... but, the $955,000 increase is within the state's 2-percent property tax cap.  He adds that's a "slight increase" when looking at the overall budget plan.  Most of the main, county departments, met with members of the legislature's Audit and Control Committee this past week for the initial review of Wendel's 2022 proposal.  He says he's heard a few concerns... but, mainly regarding items that are over the "long term."  Wendel says they've been taking a long-look at some departmental spending, and future impacts.  He made his comments for this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Cornell Cooperative Extension brings back LEAF program...
Cornell Cooperative Extension is bringing back a popular series of short courses beginning this week.  Educator Kate Ewer explains -- says it's short for "Learn, Empower, Achieve, Farm" which is a short program for beginning farmers, and homesteaders.  Ewer says the classes are low cost... around $10... and usually involve only one session.  They explore a wide variety of topics... starting Tuesday, Oct. 12.  To sign up for tomorrow’s class find Cornell Cooperative Extension on the World Wide Web, or phone 716-664-9502.  Other offerings this fall include: ‘natural pollinators’, beekeeping, introduction to goats and meat marketing.  Kate Ewer says taking a LEAF class is a special experience -- because there's a lot of bonding with others in the programs, and a lot to learn.  The classes will be simultaneously offered in person at JCC in Jamestown and on-line.


One of two Winning Take 5 Tickets sold in Jamestown!...
There were two winning tickets sold for last Friday's New York State Lottery Take 5 Midday drawing... one of those in Jamestown.  Lottery officials announced over the weekend that the ticket... worth $11,187... was sold at the Farm Fresh Foods Store at 703 West Third St.  The other winning ticket, for the same amount, was sold in at a 7-Eleven Store in Flushing, Queens.  The numbers are drawn from a field of one through 39... and, one takes place at mid-day... and, a second one in the evening.  

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Oct. 8, 2021

County Chamber presents annual business Persons of Year awards...
The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce presented two Person of the Year Awards at its annual Awards Banquet Thursday at the SUNY College at Fredonia.  One went to John D’ Agostino. the editor of the Jamestown, Dunkirk and Warren, Pa. newspapers, and also volunteers for the Boys & Girls Club.  D'Agostino is president of that north county division, which he says is growing to help give youth there activities, and tutoring.  The second award was presented to Jamestown's Rochelle Mole.  As Vice President of Finance at the National Comedy Center, she helped guide the organization through the COVID shutdown, and at one point surrendered her salary.  Mole says it was very difficult having to furlough people due to the shut-down.  The Economic Development Award went to Chautauqua Hospice and Palliative Care for its success in raising money for the ‘Hospice House’ in the midst of the pandemic.  The Jamestown Community chamber honored Lou Deppas for his work on three boards of directors: The YMCA, the Sports Hall of Fame and the Comedy Center.


Health Dept. issues first "Weekly COVID-19 Dashboard" report...
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County has been on the rise in recent weeks... and, for the past week period... rose to 579 between September 26th and October 2nd.  That from the county Health Department's new, Weekly COVID-19 Dashboard... which reported 523 new cases for the previous week.  The Health Department says there were four new deaths during that period... bringing that number to 189.  Officials say there have now been 12,179 total cases... and, 354 of those were active at mid-week.  There were 34 people hospitalized... and, 11,583 cases have now recovered.  The county's COVID-19 Response Team voted to make the change because cases are prevailent just about everywhere... and, to reduce the workload for the Health Department.


Sundquist presents no tax rate increase 2022 budget proposal...
Bolstered by about $3-million in American Rescue Plan funding... Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist has proposed a no tax increase budget for next year.  During a presentation at City Hall Thursday afternoon... Sundquist said the $38.9-million spending plan uses some of the $10-million dollars in ARPA funding designated to cover "lost revenue.  He says they are also getting a boost from increased property values, and sales tax revenues.  Sundquist says as they draw down on that money, they'll be able to do some projects, and hire back some people the city has had to hold off on.  He says the spending plan includes 41 capital projects in 2022 to address a number of issues.  He says... most years... the city had tried to take on about 10 such projects.  Sundquist says while taxable property growth was under 1% for a number of years... he said it was up about 1.9% in 2020... and, 2.8% this year.  He says a payment in lieu of tax agreements expire and other growth occurs... that's expected to rise by 4% next year. 


Mayor outlines new positions in budget...
Jamestown's mayor says some of the seven new job positions he's proposing in the 2022 budget are part of what's called "succession planning" to help replace people who later retire from important positions.  He says that's especially in the area of Tracy Plaza maintenance.  He says they have added a new building maintenance mechanic for City Hall because there's only one right now.  Sundquist is also proposing an assistant Public Works Director... but, for two reasons.  He says the first is to have someone to help coordinate and supervise some of the 41 projects being proposed, and the other is planning for the future.  Sundquist is also proposing restoring the City Ombudsman position that had been eliminated many years ago.  That position would also include human resources and diversity.  


National Fuel Gas alerts customers in WNY of higher Winter gas bills coming...
National Fuel Gas is alerting it's Western New York customers to anticipate higher heating bills this winter season as natural gas commodity prices have risen significantly following years of historic lows.  Company officials say customers may also see an increase in gas usage this winter season as initial weather reports indicate a return-to-normal cold and snowy winter.  Across it's Western New York territory... National Fuel says about 90-percent of residents rely on natural gas to heat their homes and fuel their businesses. The estimated average residential customer’s winter heating bill – November through March – is expected to be $714, which officials say is a 43-percent increase compared to the last winter heating season bill when the typical customer paid $498 during a winter that was about 10-percent warmer than normal. 


Four-H Week highlighted in Chautauqua County...
This is National 4-H Week, and Kate Ewer... the Chautauqua County Four-H Educator... says it's a great time for new members to join.  Four-H is for young people ages 5 to 18.  Chautauqua County has 13 Four-H clubs and offers10 animal projects.  Ewer says 4-H is different because of relationships the youth have with their peers, and the 4-H leaders, who want them "to succeed."  She adds, the Four-H learning model is quite special... and, says "do -- apply -- and reflect" when you take on a project... be it a craft or raising a rabbit.  For more information phone Cornell Cooperative Extension at 664-9502 or find them on the world wide web. 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Oct. 7, 2021

Gasoline prices spike up 10-cent a gallon past two days...
After starting the week slightly lower than last week... gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area have shot-up 10-cents a gallon over the past day.  The AAA East Central Gas Price Report reported a price of $3.35.7 for regular, unleaded gas to begin the week... but, several stations in the area were charging $3.45.9 by the end of the day Wednesday.  No reason has been given for the immediate spike... but, AAA says increased demand with a high price for crude oil is likely fueling the increase.  That price was $73 a barrel to begin the week.  The association also says global economic uncertainty, and supply chain issues are also causing concern.  Nationally... the price of regular, unleaded began the week up two-cents to $3.20 a gallon.


County Clerk candidates tout experience in job, data based managing...
The two candidates running for Chautauqua County Clerk are touting their experience in the job... or their most recent job experience.  Incumbant Republican Larry Barmore is seeking a third-term in the position after replacing long-time Clerk, Sandy Sopak, in 2013.  Barmore owned and operated Gay Mark Tire and Wheel in Cassadaga for four decades prior to running.  Barmore says what he did at Gay Mark was a lot of what the job calls for... this just happens to be government owned.  He says he actually began working with Sopak after being elected to put a new, electronic recording system in place... and, that system was in place his first day in office.  His opponent... Democrat David Salley of Fredonia... recently retired as Data-Based Manager for the Seneca Nation of Indians Medical Center.  He is also college educated in those areas.  Salley says he's also been politically active with north county Democrats, and worked on several campaigns before deciding to run for an office he "feels qualified" to have.  Prior to becoming County Clerk... Barmore was a member of the county legislature, and served as chairman and majority leader for a time.  Both candidates made their comments during recent "Community Spotlight" programs on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Hanover man arrested for contempt, and obstruction of breathing following altercation...
A north county man has been arrested for allegedly getting into a fight, and choking another person who had an order of protection against him.  Sheriff's officers were called to an address on Main Road in the town of Hanover about 9:30 Wednesday morning... and, found that 36 year-old Justin Dunbar had violated a valid order of protection for obstructing the breathing of an individual.  Dunbar was arrested for second-degree criminal contempt... and, Criminal Obstruction of Breathing or Blood.  He was transported to the county jail for centralized arraignment, and issued appearance tickets for Hanover Town Court.


Jackson Center commemorates 90th anniversary of start of Capone's tax evasion trial...
Wednesday marked the 90th anniversary of the start of gangster Al Capone’s tax evasion trial in Chicago... and, at the Robert H. Jackson Center, the real story was told of the man who brought Capone to justice -- Eliot Ness.  Paul Heimel wrote a biography of Ness, and says the TV show and movie characterizations of the Prohibition-era crime fighter are exaggerated.  Heimel says Ness's role was more in putting the legal case together.  He adds that Ness never fired a gun in the line of duty.  However, Heimel does believe Ness deserves to be called a ‘law enforcement hero’, because he was a fearless crime fighter in Chicago when Prohibition agents took bribes, or ran away from any danger.  Heimel is the originator of ‘Eliot Ness Fest’… a celebration of Ness and his era… held in the last town Ness lived in, Coudersport, Pa.  This year’s was cancelled, but they hope to bring it back in July of 2022.  Wednesday’s program at the Jackson Center was jointly organized by Sheriff Jim Quattrone and local attorney, Greg Peterson.


Chautauqua Institution names Moore as permanent Senior VP and Chief Program Officer...
A long-time official at Chautauqua Institution has been appointed as the permanent Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer, responsible for the programmatic life of the Institution.  Chautauqua President Michael Hill has announced that -- effective immediately -- Deborah Sunya Moore will be Chief Program Officer to align staffing and organization with the Institution’s strategic plan... "150 Forward..." which calls for Chautauqua to optimize the Summer Assembly and expand programming beyond the summer months and outside of the grounds of Chautauqua.  Hill says Moore has been Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer in an interim capacity since November 2020... while also fulfilling her responsibilities as Vice President of Performing and Visual Arts.  He says a national search for her successor as in that role is now underway.


Rosas announes major fishing tournament coming to Dunkirk next Summer...
A major Lake Erie fishing tournament will be coming to the city of Dunkirk in the Summer of 2022.  Mayor Willie Rosas made the announcement during Tuesday's Common Council meeting... noting that they'll be hosting the Cabella's -- Bass Pro Shops National Walleye invitational tournament next Aug. 24-26.  Rosas adds the event will be televised nationally... and, will be a great promotional opportunity for the north county city's waterfront area.  He also announced during the Council meeting that the city has picked up more than $103,000 grant for a city broadband and solar powered celluar device charging station project.  The project will establish Wi-Fi hotspots throughout Point Gratiot and Wright Park.

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Oct. 6, 2021

Two sent to the hospital following two-vehicle, rollover accident in Jamestown...
A two-vehicle rollover crash in downtown Jamestown about mid-afternoon Tuesday resulted in two people being taken to the hospital.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office dispatchers say city police were called to the scene at Fourth and Main Streets just before 3:30 p.m.  They add the accident, involving a van and a car, left the van rolled onto it's side.  Dispatchers say the injured parties were taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital.  The accident was still under investigation.


Four children hurt, two critically, in Cattaraugus County pick-up truck-Amish buggy accident... 
Four Amish children were hurt... two critically... after the buggy they were riding in was struck by a pick-up truck in the Cattaraugus County Town of Farmersville.  State Police in Machias were called to the scene at the intersection of County Rt. 80 and Rogers Road about 4 p.m. Monday... and, found that the southbound buggy on Rt. 80 had failed to stop at the intersection... and, was struck by the eastbound truck on Rogers Road.  Troopers say the four children... ages 6, 8, 10 and 13 were taken to Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo... one by Mercy Flight and the other three by ambulance.  Two children remain in critical condition.  The state police Collision Reconstruction Unit, and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation assisted with the ongoing investigation.


City lawmakers looking at possible speed zone changes on Buffalo St. near schools...
The Jamestown City Council is looking at ways to make more "uniform" speed limits on Buffalo Street where two city Public schools are located.  Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Nelson says his panel discussed the matter on that street... which connects the north and east sides of the city.  Nelson says Senior Traffic Engineer Chris Brown stated that the speed limits are "within code..." but, did suggest some additional signage in the form of "rectangular rapid-flashing beacons" to warn motorists.  Nelson says this may be a good place to start, and the city can maybe look at using some American Rescue Plan funding for it.  Fellow lawmakers thought it was a good idea... but, they learned the cost for all schools to get the flashing beacons would cost about $450,000.  Public Works Director Jeff Lehman is to look into possible grant money... even though Nelson hinted at possible use of American Rescue Plan money.  The major issue is the speed limit is 30 mph, but, it drops to 20 in the areas of Ring Elementary and Washington Middle Schools are located.  Police Chief Tim Jackson felt a uniform 20 mph would be best.  The two schools are separated by three blocks of residential area... where the speed limit is 30 mph.

City Council committee approves trick-or-treat hours for Halloween...
The city of Jamestown is setting trick-or-treat hours for Halloween later this month... and, lawmakers are urging parents to use their best judgement for where their children go.  The City Council's Public Safety Committee discussed the matter at Monday night's meeting... and, agreed to set the hours on Sunday, Oct. 31, from 6 to 8 p.m.  Committee Chairman Brent Sheldon says there will be no city-sponsored event again this year due to the pandemic.  Council President Tony Dolce says the COVID-19 numbers... which had been surging in recent weeks... appear to be leveling off.  He says they hope to see the numbers going down, like they have been across the country.  Dolce adds that vaccinations are the big difference between last year, and this year.  


Jamestown man arrested for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender...
A city man has been arrested by police after they were called to a suspicious situation... and, found he was a convicted sex offender who had not notified law enforcement of an address change.  Sheriff's deputies were joined by Jamestown Police and the FBI in being called to the undisclosed scene last July 24.  After investigating... they arrested 37 year-old Andrew Miller on a warrant Monday for being a level three sex offender.  Miller is accused of failing to notify Jamestown Police, and the New York State Sex Offender Registry of his new address.  He also failed to report a vehicle that he registered through the state Department of Motor Vehicles.  He was charged with Failure to Register -- Change of Address. 


Board members reflect on very successful first season for Jamestown Tarp Skunks...
It was a very successful inaugural season for the Jamestown Tarp Skunks Collegiate Baseball team this year... both on and off the field.  Those are the feelings of two of the key people involved with Jamestown Community Baseball, LLC, the team's local ownership group.  Local Attorney, Greg Peterson, is one of them... and, says the Tarp Skunks were a hit in many ways during the Perfect Game League's 2021 season.  Peterson says they doubled team attendance from the past full season in 2019, and merchandise sales increased by 500%... which was much higher than expected.  The regular season for Major League Baseball is over... but, the "hot stove" league is starting to heat up.  One of the unknowns heading into 2022 for Jamestown is who the new business manager will be.  Peterson says the job opening will be posted shortly.  That person will replace Jacob Kindberg... who left the team after the season concluded... for a new opportunity. 
  


 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Oct. 5, 2021

Four Amish children seriously hurt in truck buggy accident in Cattaraugus County... 
Four Amish children were hurt... two seriously... after the buggy they were riding in was struck by a pick-up truck in the Cattaraugus County Town of Farmersville.  State Police in Machias were called to the scene at the intersection of County Route 80 and Rogers Road about 4 p.m. Monday... and found that the southbound buggy failed to stop at the intersection... and, was struck by the eastbound truck on Rogers Road.  Troopers say the four children... ages 6, 8, 10 and 13 were taken to Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo... one by Mercy Flight and the other three by ambulance.  Two children remain in critical condition.  The state police Collision Reconstruction Unit and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation assisted with the ongoing investigation.


Findley Lake man arrested in narcotics bust at hotel with significant amounts of drugs...
A Findley Lake man has been arrested during a drug raid at a Route 426 hotel for allegedly trafficking several drugs... including methamphetamine, cocaine and Fentanyl.  Members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force say they arrested 43 year-old Shawn Conway after finding him in a room at the Comfort Inn with 224 grams of meth... 109 grams of fentanyl... nearly 13-grams of cocaine... 29 grams of crack cocaine... 40 dosage units of morphine and a quantity of cash.  Conway was arrested on one count of second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Task Force members say they had been investigating Conway for the past several months.  He was arraigned, and jailed without bail... and police say more charges are pending. 


Jacobs throws his endorsement to Hochul for Gov. in 2022...
The man who leads New York's Democratic Party has thrown his support to current Governor Kathy Hochul for next year's gubernatorial election.  State Chairman Jay Jacobs, who also heads up the Nassau County Committee, announced his backing of the Buffalo-area Democrat during a morning press conference Monday on Long Island.  Jacobs says "we have a governor that has proven she can do the job, and with distinction..." and has "earned our support."  He also made it clear that he was not speaking for the state and county committees that he chairs... noting that a full vote will be taken by them next February.  He also says he's not trying to discourage other potential candidates -- including Attorney General Letitia James.  However... Jacobs says Hochul has done a great job since being elevated to the governor's post following former Governor Andrew Cuomo's resignation amid allegations of sexual harassment.  He says Hochul has also been a good foot soldier... campaigning for many Democratic candidates across the state.  Jacobs says he called several prominent Democrats prior to making the announcement... including former Governor Cuomo.  He says that was strictly a courtesy call to inform Cuomo of his decision.  


K-9s brought in to further investigate town of Portland trail where human remains found...
The investigation is continuing into the two sets of human remains that were found last week in the town of Portland.  The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office and State Police K-9 units conducted a general search of the Rails to Trails system throughout the county Monday.  That from the Sheriff's Office Facebook page.  The remains of the two bodies were located near the hiking trail off Woleben Road.  The remains are currently being analyzed by the Mercyhurst Forensic Anthropology department.  The first remains were found on Sept. 26, and, a search of the area led to a second body. 


Jamestown lawmakers begin looking at mayor's proposal for use of ARPA funds...
The Jamestown City Council has begun discussions on proposed uses for the city's $28-million allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act.  The proposal was reviewed by the Finance Committee last night, and one resident discussed changes to the tentative master plan offered by Mayor Eddie Sundquist.  More money was allocated for a new catagory entitled "Healthy Communities and Neighborhoods."  However... resident Doug Champ questioned why there is no funding for public safety... and called on lawmakers to put 5-percent towards public safety.  Champ did some comparison between the city, and Chautauqua County plans.  He says the county is providing at least four-percent for public safety needs, and is receiving about about $3.5-million dollars less in ARPA funding.  Champ says public safety is one of the key items in the federal legislation... along with public health.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist's revised plan reduces the allocation for Water, Sewer and Broadband from $5-million to $2-million, while Healthy Communities and Neighborhoods is being increased from $2-million to $5-million.  The Finance Committee began discussions on the plan last night.


Saints & Sinners Tours to resume at Lakeview Cemetery this coming weekend...
The Fenton History Center's 16th annual Saints and Sinners Tours at Lakeview Cemetery will get underway this coming weekend.  The President of the Fenton Board of Directors, Rick Lundquist, says both walking and carriage tours will be available.  Lundquist says at least seven stories will be told on each tour using costumed actors about Jamestown, and the cemetery, itself.  The tours run Saturday, Oct 9 and Saturday, Oct. 16. Lundquist says call the Fenton or go to their website for reservations... and do so right away, as the carriage tours for the 16th are already sold out.  The Fenton's mausoleum tours at Lakeview are also back this year, on Sunday, Oct. 17.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Oct. 4, 2021

Missing Warren Co. man found near forest route in Limestone Township...
A missing Tidioute, Pennsylvania man has been found -- dead -- following a three-day search after he went missing late last month.  State Police in Warren say 29 year-old Maxwell Lester had last been seen at his home on Sept. 27... and, was reported missing by family members last Friday afternoon.  Troopers say they located Lester's vehicle on Forest Route 119 in Limestone Township later that day.  Police say they and fire rescue crews searched that are... along the Hickory Creek Wilderness Area of the Alleghany National Forest... but, could not find the missing man.  A State Police K-9 Unit from Harrisburg was brought in... and, Lester was found dead about a mile north of the parking area of Forest Route 119 late Sunday afternoon.  The Warren County Coronor was called in... and Lester's body was taken to a medical examiner in Erie, Pa. for an autopsy.  Howver... foul play is not suspected at this time.


City man pleads guilty to drug trafficking, and providing fatal dose of heroin/fentanyl to another person...
A Jamestown man has pleaded guilty to trafficking heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetime during the Summer months of last year.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. says 26 year-old Brendan Farver entered the plea before Senior U.S. District Judge William Skretny to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, all three narcotic drugs.  Prosecutors say  during the conspiracy, Farver bought and sold the drugs for profit and his own use.  In addition... he brokered deals for other drug dealers in and around the Jamestown area.  They say he used Facebook to conduct his drug trafficking activities, frequently communicating with others to procure and to sell the illegal substances.  In May 2020, police made undercover purchases of heroin from the defendant on two different occasions.  In addition... in July of last year, Farver was accused of bringing a heroin/fentanyl to an associate identified as "K.T." at that person's home on Victoria Avenue in Jamestown.  Both then injected the heroin/fentanyl mix... and, "K.T." was found dead the next morning.  An autopsy concluded that the associate had died due to an "accidental, fatal overdose."  Farver is to be sentenced next May 25.


One person killed in Allegany County House explosion...
State Police say a home in Allegany County has been destroyed by a possible explosion... and, troopers now say the body of a dead person has been found inside.  State Police in Amity say multiple fire departments responded with them shortly after noon Saturday to the home in Alma, near the Pennsylvania border.  Troopers say the house was completely leveled by a possible "fire/explosion" and the state police Bureau of Criminal Investigation is at the scene.  Police say they have no cause yet for the explosion or death at this time.  The body was removed from the scene and sent to the Medical Examiners for identification.


Woman from Warren, Pa. killed in Sugar Grove accident...
A Warren, Pennsylvania woman was killed early last Friday morning in a single car accident at an intersection in the boro of Sugar Grove.  State Police in Warren say 58 year-old Donna Ekstrom, was a passenger in the car when the accident occured at Warren Road and Main Street about 5 AM.  Troopers say the driver of the car... 80 year-old Geraldine Davis of Warren... was northbound on Warren Road... and, failed to stop at the stop sign at Main Street.  Police say the vehicle continued into a concrete wall across Main Street.  Davis was seriously hurt... and, taken to a local hospital.


Women’s March held in Jamestown Saturday is one of more than 600 worldwide...
Women’s marches took place Saturday in over 650 cities worldwide… including Jamestown.  Over 100 people gathered in Dow Park at noon to rally for a woman's choice to end a pregnancy.  Some in the crowd carried placards stating “Hands off my Uterus” and “Get Your Bans off Our Bodies.”  Once they reached Tracy Plaza over a half dozen speakers took the microphone, including Renee Posey, one of the organizers of the event... and, says anyone who can become pregnant has the right to make make the choices that are right for them, and their bodies.  Executive Dir. Amanda Gesing with the Jamestown YWCA, said women need to stand up, and speak out.  The Saturday march was independently organized, with the help of the YWCA and the Jamestown Justice Coalition.


Whitaker says manditory COVID testing come to schools for unvaccinated staff...
Weekly testing will become part of the COVID-19 protocols for local school districts later this month for staff who are not vaccinated.  That from Jamestown School Superindent Kevin Whitaker... who says the state Health Department put the mandate in place shortly after Governor Kathy Hochul took office in August.  Whitaker says the only staff who are fully-vaccinated would not be required to do this on a weekly basis... and, it will "start soon."  He gave no specific date for the testing to start.  However... he says, once they have the testing in place, this will allow the district to offer voluntary testing for any students, and staff who want it done.  He says it will be dependent on the availability of those tests.  

WJTN News Briefs for Sat., Oct. 2, 2021

County reports 62 new COVID cases on Friday, along with one new death...
There are 62 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 being reported in Chautauqua County the past day... and, there was one new death.  The county's Department of Health says 184 people have now succombed to the virus... while there have now been 12,080 total cases.  Officials add that the number of hospitalizations remains 37... and, there are now 448 active cases.  They add that 16 of the new cases were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... and, there are now 11,448 cases have now recovered... and, the seven-day infection rate is now 8.4%
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Also... from the County's COVID-19 Dashboard on Friday... beginning next week, the Chautauqua County Health Department will transition to weekly reporting of COVID-19 cases.  The report on Monday, October 4th will include cases from Friday, October 1st and Saturday, October 2nd.  On Wednesday, October 6th, a preview of the weekly reporting format will be issued, and on Wednesday, October 13, a full case report will be issued for the week of October 3-9.  On each Wednesday moving forward, cases will be reported for the prior calendar week, Sunday-Saturday.  This reporting model is compatible with other counties throughout the WNY region.


Nurses at Buffalo's Mercy Hospital on strike...
About 2,000 nurses and other employees have gone on strike at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo after their union and Catholic Health System failed to reach an agreement.  The Buffalo News reports that hundreds of workers represented by Communications Workers of America Local 1133 picketed outside the hospital as the strike began at 6 a.m. Friday.  The CWA's area director says negotiators made progress in talks overnight but not enough to avoid a walkout.  Mark Sullivan is the president and CEO of Catholic Health. He says the company made ``fair and competitive'' proposals to increase wages and staffing.


SUNY JCC and MAST Kick-Off Manufacturing Day and Month Friday...
Friday begins National Manufacturing Month... and, local officials kicked off the month with a special ceremony yesterday morning at SUNY Jamestown Community College's Manufacturing Technology Institute.  The program was hosted by JCC, and the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier.  MAST's Executive Director Todd Tranum says they're excited to host the local Manufacturing Day celebration.  Tranum says manufacturing is where "idea's come to fruition..." and where ideas and innovation all come together.  Tranum says there are still many manufacturing career opportunities in Jamestown... and, the western Southern Tier of New York state.  Nationwide... there are still many jobs that have been left unfilled in the aftermath of the pandemic... and, this region is no different.  However... Tranum says filling these skilled jobs has been an issue for some time now.  He says there are still good, high-paying jobs available across the sector.  In addition to Tranum, who is also president of the Western New York "Dream It -- Do It" program... the program at the institute will was co-hosted by JCC President Daniel DeMarte.

WJTN News Headlines for Thur., Sept. 30, 2021

Sorry this was not properly uploaded Thursday

Hochul taps Bassett as new Health Commissioner...
Former New York City Health Commissioner Mary Bassett will become the top health official in the state as it seeks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Governor Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday that Bassett will replace outgoing state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, a key figure in former Governor Andrew Cuomo's pandemic response.  Zucker has been criticized over his handling of pandemic, especially in relation to nursing homes.  Hochul recently announced his resignation.  She lauded Bassett's 30 years of experience in the public and private sectors and her devotion to health equity and social justice. 


Chautauqua County reports 102 new COVID cases on Thursday...
There are 102 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 being reported in Chautauqua County over the past day... and, more than half are in the Jamestown-area.  The county's Department of Health says there have now been 11,938 total cases... and, 437 of those are currently active.  Officials add that 33 are hospitalized... and, 52 of the new cases were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  They add that 11,320 cases have now recovered... and, there were no new deaths.  Officials say the seven-day infection rate is 7.6-percent... which remains high.


Cattaraugus County reports 35 new COVID cases Thursday...
In Cattaraugus County... health officials are reporting 35 new cases yesterday... bringing their total to 6,921.  Of those... they say 251 cases are active, and 27 people are hospitalized.  There have now been 120 deaths... and, the number of recovered cases is now 6,541.  The seven-day infection rate is now 5-percent.


BPU approves two new "Flex-Rate" deals with Bush Industries and SKF...
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities has approved a new "flex-rate" agreement with Bush Industries... and, renewed another with SKF USA.  The board approved both agreements at this week's meeting.  Officials say the flex rate programs allow for lower energy costs for companies in the BPU's service area... if those companies commit to having a certain number of workers... and, invest in the capital needs of their facilities.  BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says the first agreement with Bush runs through Oct. 31 of next year.  Leathers adds the deal with SKF is for four additional years... beginning on November 1st of this year through October of 2025.  He says their agreements with SKF date back to 2007.


City Council approves new, voluntary Medicare Advantage program for city retirees...
Retirees from Jamestown city government now have a new Medicare Advantage plan they can sign up for that will be free for the first five-years they are in.  That after City Council voted this week to begin the new plan... which was developed by a Health Insurance Committee... which included At-Large Councilman Jeff Russell.  Russell says enrollment in the new plan by Highmark Western New York is strictly voluntary... giving them another option for health insurance.  He says it could save the city a significant amount of money down the road.  He especially thanked city Insurance Consultant Roy Glosser and City Comptroller Ryan Thompson for their hard work on the matter.  During a recent work session... Glosser clarified a couple of points... one being that the city takes on no risk when a retiree goes onto the Highmark plan.  Russell noted that the city spends about $7-million a year on retiree health insurance... and, they hope to see some savings as city retirees move onto the new, Medicare Advantage program.  The city has been self-insured for many years now.  Monday night's vote was unanimous.

CRCF reports results of Jamestown's ARPA public input sessions...
There were four main areas of discussion that came up during the four public input sessions on the city of Jamestown's $28-million allocation in American Rescue Plan Act funding.  The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation co-hosted the four sessions with the city... and, sifted through the comments to determine the 'final four.'  Foundation Community Impact Officer Elizabeth Jones told City Council members recently that the one generating the most comment was Housing and Neighborhood Stability... with issues ranging from home improvement programs, to receivership, and housing insecurity.  Jones says the second-biggest discussion surrounded economic... and workforce development.  She says that includes the need to better assist minority and women-owned businesses.  The third biggest area of discussion was Residents Health and Well-being.  She says that includes both physical and mental health, and the need for a multi-disciplinary approach.  Jones says the fourth was Recreation and Youth Activites.  The four public input sessions were followed by two additional, more targeted sessions.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist's administration will now draw up a final plan off the recommendations.


Lawyer says Hochul is using God unfairly in Vaccine Fight...
A lawyer for a group trying to preserve a religious exemption for health care workers says New York Governor Kathy Hochul is unjustly using God's name to try to nudge employers into ignoring court orders allowing the exemption.  The attorney made the claim Wednesday during arguments before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  Hochul has encouraged religious-minded people to get a COVID-19 vaccine by saying it is God's will.  An attorney for the state says the Department of Health is in full compliance with court orders.  The mandate took effect Monday and allows employers to suspend or fire healthcare workers who refuse a vaccine.

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Sept. 29, 2021

Quattrone says second body found in town of Portland is now being examined...
Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office investigators say they have now found the remains of a second body in the town of Portland where the first set of remains were found last Sunday.  That from Sheriff Jim Quattrone... who adds that forensic investigators have determined the first body was that of a female.  Quattrone says a search of the general area on Woleben Road where the first body was found, led to the discovery of the second set of remains.  He says they were taken to the Mercyhurst Forensic Anthropology Department in Erie for identification... and, they were found to be "human remains."  Quattrone says there are still a lot of questions concerning the two bodies... including whether they are somehow related.


City man arrested for allegedly threatening another man with a knife...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly threatening another man with a knife on the city's westside Monday night.  Jamestown police were called to a location on West Fourth St. about 9 p.m., and, found that 28 year-old Richard Dehart had approached a stranger, and threatened him.  Dehart was arrested for second-degree menacing... and, fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  He was jailed pending arraignment.


After rejecting plan for deer harvest, City Council members say the problem needs more "comprehensive plan..."
While the Jamestown City Council has rejected a proposed deer management pilot program that would allow a limited hunt later this year... the need to deal with deer management isn't going away.  That appears to be the sentiment of most lawmakers following Monday night's vote.  How to proceed may be the bigger question.  City Council President Tony Dolce says safety is the biggest concern council members had... as well as how "effective" it would be.  Dolce says they want to look at other options with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and neighboring communities.  The bow-hunt in November and December would have been limited to two heavily-wooded park areas with up to eight permitted hunters.  The proposal by Councilman Tom Nelson's Deer Management Committee was defeated in a 7--2 vote.  Councilwoman Marie Carrubba says she wants to see a "more comprehensive plan" to deal with deer... including the need to educate residents to not feed the animals.  Carrubba says she's heard that's a big problem, and doing that is illegal.  A couple of members of the public have spoken out the past two weeks about using other methods to keep deer away from property... such as plants and shrubs.  Dolce agrees deer herds are getting bigger in some parts of the city... and, they need to be thinned.  

City Council approves revised Illumination project for Jamestown from DRI funding...
The Jamestown City Council has approved the repurposing of some Downtown Revitalization Initiative funds to complete the downtown illumination project... and, complete two others.  City Development Director Crystal Surdyk says they needed more than the initial outlay of $325,000 to complete the illumination effort.  Surdyk says they were able to do that because the train excursion project isn't ready yet... so they were allowed to reallocated the more than $600,000 into the "Riverwalk Experience Project."  In addition... Surdyk says the funding will also be used to develop kayak launches along the river, and install a safety boom.  She adds that this next phase includes the illumination of three locations... the Washington Street Bridge piers, the arches on the Main Street Bridge... and, the silos at the Board of Public Utilities.  Surdyk says there's also a digital network that will allow the lights along the river to be "synced up."  Right now... the City Hall part of the illumination project is complete.  City lawmakers authorized using $918,000 for the revised project.


County reports 42 new confirmed COVID cases on Tuesday...
After reporting nearly 200 more new cases of COVID-19 last weekend in Chautauqua County... the Health Department is reporting another 42 new cases from the past day.  Officials say the 42 new cases brings the local total to 11,836 cases... and, 429 of those are currently active.  The Health Department also reports two fewer people being hospitalized... a total of 33.  Officials say 14 of the new cases were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  There were no new deaths.  There have now been 11,226 cases that have recovered. 


More health care workers get COVID vaccine before deadline...
Thousands of health care workers in New York faced with either getting the COVID-19 vaccine or losing their jobs received at least one dose as the statewide mandate neared.  Workers at hospitals and nursing homes had until Monday night to get their first vaccine dose under the new requirement.  Governor Kathy Hochul released figures showing vaccination rates rising among the state's 450,000 hospital workers and for other healthcare workers.  By Monday night... 92% of nursing home staff received at least one vaccine dose.  And preliminary data showed 92% of hospital staff receiving at least one dose of vaccine.


Pa. Senate Committee approves mask "Opt-Out" bill...
A bill that would allow parents in Pennsylvania to exempt their children from wearing a mask at school has cleared a state Senate committee as Republican lawmakers work to counter the governor's statewide mask mandate.  The legislation would hand the ultimate decision on masking at school to parents and guardians.  It would allow them to overrule any face-covering mandate imposed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, a local health department or a school board.  The Senate Education Committee approved the bill on a party-line vote. 


  

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

Second set of human remains found near discovery of first set on Sunday in the town of Portland...
The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office is investigating the discovery of a second set of human remains near a trail in the town of Portland this morning.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone confirmed late yesterday that the first set of remains were found near the "Rails to Trails" hiking trail off Woleben Rd.  Quattrone says a forensic team from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa. was called in to assist the county's Forensic Investigation Team.  More details when they become available.


City Council rejects proposed pilot bow-hunting of Deer...
The Jamestown City Council has rejected a proposed pilot program that would allow a limited bow-and-arrow deer harvest later this year.  Lawmakers voted last night, 7-to-2 against the measure with only resolution sponsor Tom Nelson and Grant Olson voting for the measure.  Nelson... who was selected to head up a Deer Management Committee... says he got involved because he heard so many complaints by constituents... and, adds he felt it was time to do something about it.  He says "this is what we came up with."  Nelson's committee did pare back the number of wooded-areas the hunt would take place to two.  One was Jones Memorial Park, and the other was Allen Park -- behind the ice rink area.  Councilwoman Kim Ecklund says she doesn't oppose the idea.  But... she says Irondequoit -- near Rochester -- has 52 items in their law that includes much more stringent oversight.  Ecklund says the hunters are more vetted in their program, and tested.  The 23-point plan that Nelson's committee drafted also reduced the number of bow hunters from up to 15 to up to eight experienced hunters.  Two people addressed the proposal prior to the vote... one spoke out against the hunt, while another person spoke in support of it.


City lawmakers approve new, three-year contract with CSEA Local #807 after update by Sundquist...
The city council last night also unanimously approved a new, three-year contract with Jamestown's clerical workers unit represented by Civil Service Employees Association Local-#807.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says they are pleased to have their first, new agreement with one of their six bargaining units... and, says it will begin next Jan. 1.  Sundquist says it will include 2.5% wage hikes each year... but, increase employee premium contributions to 21% by the end of 2024.  He adds there's also an increase in deductables, and prescription co-payments.  Sundquist says he and his negotiating team will continue efforts to get agreements in place with the city's other unions... with an ambitous goal of doing so by year's end.  
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The city council also unanimously approved a new agreement with Highmark Western New York to provide a new, Medicare Advantage Plan for eligible participants.  Enrollment in the program with the former Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan would be optional for those eligible.


County reports another 193 new, confiremd COVID-19 cases, and two deaths last weekend...
There were nearly 200 more new cases of COVID-19 reported last weekend in Chautauqua County... along with two new deaths from the virus.  The county Health Department says the 193 new cases brings the local total to 11,794... and, 65 of those were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  Officials say there were 26 in Dunkirk... and, 21 each in Fredonia and Silver Creek.  The Health Department says the two deaths brings that total to 181.  There are currently 423 active cases... and, 35 are hospitalized.  Officials say 11,190 cases have now recovered.


Wendel says county is ready if there's a health care worker shortage due to NYS vaccine mandate....
The New York state vaccine mandate took effect yesterday for health care workers... and, Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel says the county is prepared should there be a shortage of health care workers.  Wendel was asked Monday morning about the mandate and Governor Kathy Hochul's plan to deal with possible shortages.  He says using trained nurses and other National Guard members to fill the void may help, especially in bringing federal dollars to help the situation.  Wendel says he doesn't know what the impact will be on hospitals in Chautauqua County, but they do have a plan -- if it's needed.  The Lakewood Republican says he doesn't agree with the mandate, saying that testing should remain an option for health care workers who don't want the vaccine.


Some health care workers have been removed with COVID deadline arriving...
Some hospitals and nursing homes in New York began removing workers Monday for failing to meet a state-mandated deadline to get a COVID-19 vaccine as Governor Kathy Hochul pleaded with holdouts to get 11th-hour inoculations.  It was not clear Monday if a wave of suspensions and terminations of healthcare workers who refused be inoculated would cause dramatic staff shortages.  Hochul said workers had until the end of the day Monday to get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as required.  


Eshbach gets up to eight years in prison on contempt counts...
A Jamestown man has been sentenced to an indeterminate term of 4 to 8 years total in state prison on two counts of first-degree criminal contempt.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt reports that 31 year-old Shane Eshbach was given the sentence Monday morning by County Court Judge David Foley for each count.  Schmidt says each 2 to 4 year term will be served consecutively... and, he adds this is the maximum allowed under the law.  Jamestown Police arrested Eshbach this past Jan. 2 following an incident in the city.

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

Today is deadline for Health Care workers to get COVID vaccine; state bracing for possible staffing shortages...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul says she is prepared to call in medically-trained National Guard members and retirees to address potential staffing shortages caused by today's vaccine mandate deadline for health care workers.  The Democrat released a plan Saturday to address what she called 'preventable' staffing shortages in hospitals... and, other health care facilities once the mandate takes effect.  Many health care workers had still not yet received a required first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine just days before the deadline. 


Handful of local health care workers in county urge legislature to support them in not getting the vaccine...
There are still at least 700 health care workers across New York state that still have not received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine... and, face the possibililty of losing their jobs.  New York's vaccine mandate for workers in the health care field takes effect today.  Some workers who don't intend to get the shots spoke out during last week's Chautauqua County Legislature meeting.  Aaron Billquist of Falconer works for two facilities... and, says -- even with the vaccine -- there will likely be break-through cases -- and we may need yearly boosters... like with the flu.  Another nurse... Victoria Knapp of Jamestown says they should not be let go by their employers because emergency rooms have been busy... and, not just with COVID.  Knapp says people are there for "many, many reasons."  Billquist also pointed out that they've had to treat people in hospitals and elsewhere with COVID-19... and, haven't turned people away who are sick and test positive.  He says that was "their choice... respect our choice." 


JHS Band taken "off the field" due to COVID-19 cases...
The Jamestown High School Marching Band has been temporarily taken off the field by COVID-19.  The band was set to compete in an event at Medina on Saturday, but Director Meghan Murray says they couldn't go.  Murray says a couple of students tested positive in the beginning, and because of that, the entire band had to quarantine.  A total of four students in the 75 member band had tested positive by Friday.  Murray called it a tough week for everyone associated with the group, saying it "was jarring" and something they had never experienced.  At the same time, she says they knew it would be a possibility when "we started the season."  The director hopes the band can be back together later this week to perform for Homecoming on Friday.


Bemus Point man arrested for harassment and arson...
A man from Bemus Point faces charges... including arson... after allegedly choking another person... then setting that person's property on fire during an altercation.  Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene shortly after 9 p.m. last Friday... and, found that 32 year-old David Ralph II had threatened, and choked the victim before setting the fire.  Ralph was arrested and charged with second-degree aggravated harassment... criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation... and, fifth-degree arson.  He was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.


Metzger receives Hamilton Service Award from CRCF...
The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation presented its John D. Hamilton Community Service Award to Mike Metzger on Friday.  Metzger has lived for 38 years in the county… and has been committed to over a dozen organizations.  He was humble in his acceptance.  Metzger says it "takes a village to put together all the economic development and human services in the county, and I'm just a small piece of that."  The award is named for the late John D. Hamilton… a prominent civic leader in Jamestown in the 20th century.  Metzger recalls a time when he was heading up the local United Way campaign, and was introduced to John Hamilton... who he called a "tremendous" person who gave "back to his community."  Metzger is currently the chair of the county IDA and a member of the board at Chautauqua Institution.  He works at SUNY Fredonia as Vice President for finance and administration.  The community foundation presented the award under a tent outside the Harbor Hotel in Celoron.


Busti Apple Harvest Festival returns under mainly sunny skies Sunday...
Sunshine and temperatures in the mid-60s made for a near perfect Fall day Sunday for the return of the Busti Apple Harvest Festival.  The event was put on for the 46th time by the Busti Historical Society, and President Nan Aitkin said it was a "wonderful day..." and they could not have had a "better Fall day."  Last year's event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Aitkin says there were good crowds all day to partake of the food -- especially apples -- demonstrations, and hand-made items.  It was also the first year that they moved vendors on and around the society grounds.  However... she says a number of items they used to sell, including candy apples, and funnel cakes were not available because some of the organizations they have worked with had a shortage of volunteers this year.  There were still plenty of apples, and apple and other kinds of pies.  Proceeds from yesterday benefitted the Historical Society and the Busti Fire Department.


HUD awards $4.6-million grant for project to renovate former Silver Creek school into senior housing...
The U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded $4.6-million dollars to help create 47 new afforable housing units at the former Silver Creek School.  HUD'a Office of Multi-family Housing Programs made the announcement early last weekend... adding that it's part of $143-million in overall grants to "support construction and project rental assistance."  Officials says the housing will be primarily for low income seniors.  The project is being undertaken by the UAW Region 9 Housing Corporation.

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Sept. 24, 2021

County follows up 53 new cases with 128 new COVID-19 cases reported Friday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 128 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the past day to end the week... along with two new deaths.  Officials say 38 of the new cases were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... along with 25 in Dunkirk.  The two new deaths brings that total to 179 during the pandemic... and, there have now been 11,604 cases... and, 466 of those care currently active.  There were 53 new cases reported Thursday.  Officials say 36 people are currently hospitalized with the virus... and, 10,959 cases have now recovered.  The Health Department reports the infection rate is down to 7.9-percent.


Hochul says Zucker's has tendered his resignation at Health Commissioner...
Governor Kathy Hochul says says New York state is looking for a new health commissioner now that the man who's held that position since 2015 has resigned.  During a COVID-19 press briefing Thursday morning... Hochul announced that Dr. Howard Zucker was stepping down... but, will stay on until a replacement is named.  The governor thanked Zucker for his service to the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.  However... she says it's time to put a new team in place.  Hochul says she's been working during her first 45 days to assemble that team.  Zucker was appointed by former Governor Andrew Cuomo to be state Health Commissioner just over six years ago.  He has faced heated criticism over the state's COVID-19 response... in particular in nursing homes.  Data released by the state earlier this year show 15,800 people living in nursing homes and other long-term care homes in New York have died of COVID-19.


Borrello welcome's Zucker's resignation, says it's overdue...
Chautauqua County's representative in the New York state Senate says news that Howard Zucker has resigned is "welcome..." but, adds it's overdue.  Sunset Bay Republican George Borrello was among those calling for Zucker's resignation because -- "his complicity in the Cuomo administration’s coverup of nursing home deaths and COVID deaths overall, mismanagement of the pandemic response, and politicization of the Health Department have been a stain on our state and compromised vital public health functions at a critical time."  Borrello adds that it is "troubling" that -- like Governor Cuomo -- Zucker appears to be exiting on his own terms.  If he is resigning, Borrello says "he should leave today."


Executive lends his view of the ARPA Plan controversy involving county's two cities... 
Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel and others are responding to criticism of the 43 projects the county will fund through $24.6-million in American Rescue Plan funding.  Wendel says the critiques "inaccurately claim that Chautauqua County ignored the municipalities of Jamestown and Dunkirk during the ARPA funding discussions, and in the proposed projects."  However... he says his office and a bi-partisan group working on projects did meet with the mayors of both cities -- both of whom are Democrats.  County Legislator Chuck Nazzaro, a Democrat from Jamestown, was part of the group.  He says there were discussions about projects... but, those broke off after the second session because both sides had the direction they were going in.  Nazzaro says, being from Jamestown, he would have been happy to talk with the mayor or anyone else in city government about it.  Wendel -- a Republican -- says Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist told those at the first meeting in March to not "carve out any more for the city" since the city had it's own $28-million in ARPA funding.  Wendel adds that Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas did not attend the first meeting... and, sent a representative to the second.  He says his office also has monthly conference call meetings with all of the county’s town supervisors and mayors... and, both mayors are invited to be part of those.


Quattrone names new undersheriff with Braley's retirement...
There's a new Undersheriff in Chautauqua County as of Thursday morning.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone announced that Richard Telford has been promoted from Captain to the new position.  Quattrone says he replaces another long-time veteran of the Sheriff's Office... Darrel Braley, who was with the department for 46 years until his retirement earlier this week.  He says Braley was a "great mentor." Quattrone says Telford has been with the Sheriff's Office for about 30 years.  He says Telford has served as the department's Fire investigator... and, has also been a supervisor in the Dispatch Center.   


Metzger receiving CRCF Hamilton Award tonight...
A dedicated community volunteer will receive the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation's John D. Hamilton Community Service award later today.  Mike Metzger has served over a dozen organzations since he moved here 38 years ago.  He says his interest in helping stems from his parents, who expected volunteerism in their family.  Metzger's current interests include the county's Industrial Development Agency, Chautauqua Institution, as well as the community foundation.  But, he believes some of his most meaningful work came when he pushed out of his comfort zone to teach a Junior Achievement course to eighth-graders at Falconer Central School.  Metzger is currently Vice President for Finance at SUNY Fredonia, and previously worked for Blackstone Advanced Technologies, Acu-rite, and Bauch & Lomb.  The Hamilton award will be presented along the shore at the Harbor Hotel, Celoron Friday evening... in the community foundation's first public event since COVID began.

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

Wendel proposes property tax rate cut in 2022 budget plan...
Chautauqua County's top-elected official is proposing a tentative, 2022 budget that cuts the full value tax rate by 26-cents per $1,000 full value.  County Executive P.J. Wendel outlined the rationale and some details of his proposal at last night's county legislature meeting.  Wendel says their ability to do that began last year when, after making some difficult cuts due to the pandemic, the county brought in more money than expected... a total of $5.3-million dollars.  He says that came after mid-year budget cuts were made due to the pandemic.  Wendel says the 2021 tax rate is $8.51 cents per thousand... and, he says, if his proposal is unchanged, it would fall to $8.25.  He says the added revenue from the past year has allowed the county to rebuild it's undesignated fund balance.  That should be between 5% to 15% of budget.  However... Wendel says his proposal keeps the county over that amount.  He adds that he gave departments the option to reinstate services that were cut back due to the pandemic.  However... they had to demonstrate that those services needed to be reinstated in 2022.  The legislature will review the budget beginning on Monday, Oct. 4. 


Legislature approves plan for spending county's $24.6-million American Rescue Plan funds...
County lawmakers have approved the basic outline of using 24.6-million dollars in American Rescue Plan Act funding for 43 county projects.  The legislature voted unanimously after some debate and discussion, to approve an amended resolution, that includes final legislative approval of final projects.  Jamestown Republican Elizabeth Rankin praised an ad hoc committee that worked on how to use the federal funding, and making it a "fluid plan" that includes votes on each project as it comes up.  Lawmakers rejected an effort to table the measure, 15-to-4.  Mayville Republican Bill Ward noted that he was ready to vote to table the measure... but, felt comfortable with the amended resolution.  While there were no public hearings on the ARPA Funding the county is receiving... lawmakers emphasized that members of the public that have ideas, should contact their legislator.


Jamestown man sentenced to 21 years in Ownbey murder case...
A Jamestown man has been sentenced in Chautauqua County Court to a determinate sentence of 21 years in prison followed by 5 years of post-release supervision for killing another man during a fight nearly four-years ago.  Erie County District Attorney John Flynn Wednesday announced the sentencing of 22-year-old Tavion Turner, who fatally stabbed 22-year-old Dyllan Ownbey during a fight on Willard Street on Nov. 28, 2017. Turner pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree manslaughter back on July 26.  He pled guilty to the lesser included offense on the day his jury trial was set to begin.  The Erie County DA's Office was appointed as a special prosecutor after Turner's previous defense attorney, Jason Schmidt, was elected as Chautauqua County District Attorney in 2020.


County reports 47 new COVID cases Wednesday, and hospitalizations are up...
The COVID-19 numbers are looking slightly better in Chautauqua County... as the Health Department is reporting 47 new confirmed cases the past day.  There were no new deaths.  The 47 new cases brings the total to 11,427.  Health officials say 467 cases are now active... and, hospitalizations are up to 36.  They say 22 of the new cases were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  There are now 10,784 cases that have recovered.  The seven-day infection rate is up slightly to 9.1-percent.


Dunkirk HS Varsity Football Team sees second game postponed due to COVID-19 outbreak...
COVID-19 is impacting a local high school football team for the second time this season.  The Dunkirk Marauders varsity team has been forced to postpone their game against Pioneer on Friday.  The school's Marauder Athletics Facebook page says the current 10-day quarantine began on Sept. 17, the night of the Marauders' last game.  Second Ward City Councilman Marty Bamonto made the announcement during Tuesday's Common Council meeting.  Bamonto says this Friday's game will be played Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. at Hoeppner Field.  The game against East Aurora scheduled for Friday, October 8 has been moved to Saturday, October 9, also at Hoeppner Field.


Shults Auto Group ready to celebrate 50th Anniversary Saturday...
The 50th anniversary of the Shults Auto Group will be celebrated this Saturday with a block party on Fluvanna Avenue across from their Chevrolet dealership.  Shults Auto Group President, Tim Shults, says they’re approaching the anniversary with a spirit of gratitude for all their partners, employees, and customers.  1971 was the year that Tim’s father ‘Big Ed’ Shults became sole owner of the Chevrolet dealership.  The group has since expanded to many brands and locations across the region.  ‘Big Ed’ who turned 87 this week will make an appearance around 4:30 p.m. Saturday as part of the celebration.  Full information and registration for the Shults 50th anniversary can be found at 50th.Shultsauto.com.


Busti Apple Harvest Festival returns this Sunday...
A major Fall event in Chautauqua County is set to return this coming weekend after a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Busti Apple Harvest Festival will be held this Sunday, Sept. 26, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Busti Historical Grounds off Lawson Road.  Society member Linnea Carlson says they look forward to again providing all kinds of apple products for people to enjoy... including pies, apple cider, and -- of course -- apples.  A number of demonstrations will also take place on the grounds.  For more information... go to the Society's Facebook page at facebook.com/bustihistoricalsociety.

 

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

County COVID-19 surge continues with 118 new cases, and three new deaths...
The surge in new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Chautauqua County continued over the past day... with 118 more cases being reported, along with three new virus-related deaths.  County Health officials say 45 of those new cases were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... and, now total 11,380 since the pandemic began.  Officials say 483 of those cases are active... and, 34 are hospitalized.  They add that 10,721 cases have now recovered.  However... the seven-day infection rate was down slightly to 8.5%.


City mayors in Chautauqua County disappointed that county won't work to pool ARPA funds for "greater impact..."
The mayor's of Chautauqua County's two cities say they are "disappointed" that County Executive P.J. Wendel's proposal for use of nearly $25-million in federal COVID relief funds include no projects in their municipalities.  In a joint statement, Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist and Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas say they "fully understand" the challenges facing all levels of government during the pandemic."  They add -- "we continue to be proud to work together with County Executive Wendel during this time."  However... they add that while "there were worthy projects where county and city investments could be combined for greater impact, ultimately the county took a different approach" to use of it's American Rescue Plan Act funds.  They say both cities were granted funds... and, add they're pleased to have them to invest in their communities.  However... Sundquist and Rosas say, while they were part of multiple meetings with the county to find potential common areas for the funds... they were not invited to submit a formal proposal.  This has been a theme or Democratic County Executive candidate Norm Green... who also says the county should have had public input sessions on what it's $24.6-million should be used for.


Barone pleased with plea deal in Montanez murder case... 
A city man who was re-indicted on charges of second-degree murder and two counts of second-degree attempted murder in connection with a shooting death in Sherman has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.  Chautauqua County Court officials confirm that Julio Montanez entered a guilty plea to a charge of Felony criminally negligent homicide Monday.  Public Defender Ned Barone says they were ready to go to trial when the deal was reached with a special prosecutor from the Cattaraugus County District Attorney's Office.  Barone says the prosecutor made them an offer, and they countered.  He says the prosecutor then came back and said they would accept the offer.  Barone says the special prosecutor made a plea offer... then they countered with their offer.  He says Montanez was overcharged due to "mitigating circumstances...." that they uncovered during his offices investigation.  Barone says Montanez will be sentencing for Montanez is scheduled for November 1st by Judge David Foley.  Montanez was accused of shooting 29-year-old Justin Gibbons of Mayville multiple times before he died on Oct. 6, 2019. 


Gas prices continue to climb, mainly due to hurricane impacts...
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area are up nearly 2-cents a gallon over the past week... as hurricanes continue to impact gas supplies.  The AAA East Central's Gas Price Report says the price went up from $3.34.8 to $3.36.1 for regular, unleaded fuel.  Nationally... AAA says the average price rose 2-cents on the week to $3.19 a gallon...  matching a seven-year-high last seen in early August.  While the post-Labor Day period usually sees less demand and lower gas prices... AAA says this year, the impact of Hurricane Ida, followed two weeks later by Hurricane Nicholas, has slowed oil production and refinery recovery along the Gulf Coast.  They say Nicholas complicated and slowed the recovery from Ida, but the seasonal drop-off in demand helped mitigate price increases on the week. 


Council members express several concerns over plan for Deer Hunt in the city...
Jamestown City Council members expressed several concerns last night over a proposed, two-month deer harvesting program to try and reduce the numbers in the city.  Councilman Tom Nelson is making the proposal after chairing an ad hoc Deer Management Committee the past several months.  Nelson, who represents the Sixth-Ward, says he's been inundated with complaints about large number of deer there destroying property.  However... At-Large Councilwoman Kim Ecklund says she's heard from several people firmly opposed to any kind of hunt -- or harvest.  Ecklund says that's especially been the case in the Willow St. area.  There were also concerns expressed over how the deer would be hunted.  Nelson says they're looking at bow-and-arrow right now, and it's felt that's the safest way to go.  Five heavily wooded park areas, and a stormwater management area would be used.  Nelson says the parks would be closed at that time... but, Councilwoman Marie Carrubba was concerned about that because people have been seen cross-country skiing in those areas.  The proposed hunt would take place between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31.  Nelson says the program would be evaluated after the first year.


Former GOP Congressman, Sherwood Boehlert, dies at age 84...
Former Republican Congressman Sherwood Boehlert has died near his home in Upstate New York.  Boehlert represented a region that includes the Utica area for 24 years.  A statement from former staff members said he died late Monday at a local hospice after a brief illness.  He was 84.  Boehlert had served in the House of Representatives from 1983 to 2007.  He was known as a political moderate and chaired the House Science Committee for five years when George W. Bush was president. 

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

Jamestown police investigating drive-by shooting incident at home on Jefferson Street...
No one was hurt after several shots were reportedly fired at a home on Jamestown's westside early last evening.  Jamestown police were called to the scene about 6 p.m., but, no other details were available late Monday night.  Chautauqua County emergency dispatchers confirmed the shots were fired in the 700-block of Jefferson St. from a vehicle.  The Post-Journal says JPD Captain Bob Samuelson reported the home was occupied by "several individuals including multiple small children."  Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call Jamestown Police at 483-7537.. of the anonymous Tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


City man involved in alleged fight arrested on drug and obstruction charges...
A Jamestown man allegedly involved in a fight outside a downtown night spot early Monday morning also faces a drug possession charged.  City police were called to the Wine Cellar at 309 North Main St. about Midnight on a report of four people fighting.  Officers say 24 year-old Tyree Holland allegedly walked away when they tried to talk to him... then ran off.  Police later caught Holland after a short foot chase... and, they found a plastic baggie in his possession containing 4.9-grams of cocaine.  Officers arrested him for fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, second-degree obstruction.  He was jailed pending arraignment.


Mayville man arrested on theft charges in Catt. County...
A man from Mayville is jailed on $100,000 bail for a number of theft-related charges in the Cattaraugus County town of Randolph.  Sheriff's deputies in Little Valley say 25 year-old Tyler Conway was taken into custody last Friday on warrants charging him with two counts of third-degree criminal mischief... and one count each of third-degree grand larceny... and, second-degree attempted burglary.  Officers say Conway was arraigned... and, sent to the Cattaraugus County Jail on bail pending a future court appearance.


Chautauqua County reports 185 new COVID-19 cases, and four deaths over the past weekend...
The spike on COVID-19 cases in Chautauqua County continued over the past weekend... with 185 new cases being reported, along with four new deaths.  With that... the Health Department says the county has now surpassed the 11-thousand cases... with 11,262 total.  Officials add the four new deaths brings that total to 173 now.  There are currently 466 active cases... and, 34 people are hospitalized.  Health officials say 10,623 cases have now recovered.  Officials say 80 of the new cases were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  The seven-day infection rate is now 9.1-percent.


City Council's Deer Management Committee recommends limited harvest in five parts of city...
The chairman of the Jamestown City Council's ad hoc committee on Deer Management is recommending a two-month, controlled deer harvesting program to deal with the problem in parts of the city.  Sixth-Ward Councilman Tom Nelson's panel has been meeting for several months... and, reviewed a number of options.  Nelson told fellow council members last night that the deer have been a big, and growing problem, in that part of the city.  He showed a picture he recently took on his street... where eight deer were in the front yard of a neighbor's home about 3 in the afternoon.  Nelson says people in his ward have reported "a big increase" in deer in their neighborhoods in recent times.  Nelson says the city would authorize 15 experienced bow hunters to be involved in the harvest in five city park, and heavily-wooded areas.  He adds the committee spoke with officials in three New York communities where such harvests have taken place.  Nelson says they would run the pilot program from November 1st to December 31st... and, would run from sunrise to sunset.  He says the hunt would be permitted in the heavily wooded parts of four parks: Jones Memorial... Jackson-Taylor... Bergman... and, Allen Park.  The fifth location would be the Stormwater Management Pond in Buffalo Street.
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While Nelson says the deer have been a major problem in his part of the city... some other council members say they haven't seen or heard about as big a problem as Nelson described in his ward.


Task Force on poverty reduction in Jamestown to issue final report later this week...
A final report with recommendations on how to further reduce poverty in the Jamestown area will be delivered by a task force later this week.  The United Way of Southern Chautauqua County has worked with several, local human service agencies to eliminate barriers to people in poverty being able to access work, and or educational opportunities.  Executive Director Amy Rohler tells us that Jamestown was awarded a $1-million Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative grant in 2016... and, seven agencies were chosen to receive funding.  Rohler says one initative was to help provide "bridge-funding" to help pay for things that didn't cost a lot... but, for someone in poverty was a huge barrier.  She says sometimes those people needed something like a drivers license, or a birth certificate to move forward... but, could not afford that expense.  Rohler says the task force worked with the local agencies for five years... due in part to the COVID pandemic.  The program was to last one-year.  The report will be delivered by the task force this Thursday, Sept. 23, during a meeting at St. Lukes Church, beginning at 9 a.m. 

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