Local News Headlines

News Bulletin for Mon, May 17, 2021

A Cattaraugus County man has been sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for receiving pictures of naked girls through Instagram nearly five years ago.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 30 year-old Shane Guay of Olean was given the sentence after being convicted of receiving child pornography... along with 10 years supervised release in federal court in Buffalo.  Prosecutors say Guay solicited minor girls through Instagram to produce images of child porn in Novmember of 2016.  He received images from a 12 year-old and 13 year-old girl.  During the investigation... law enforcement officers recovered 154 images and five videos of child pornography on electronic devices seized from Guay.  Some of the images included prepubescent children, as well as depictions of violence.

 

The Roger Tory Peterson Institute is offering free bird walks every Wednesday morning at 9 AM at its Curtis Street location.  They are led by Craig Thompson of Falconer… Vice Chair of the Audubon Council of New York State.  Thompson says seasonal migrations are reaching a peak, so this is the ideal time to go out.  He believes taking a bird walk can open the door to many other things.   This week’s walk will focus on nests and nesting behaviors.  While the Wednesday walks are free, reservations are needed.  Phone or email the Peterson Institute by 5 PM on Tuesday.

 

An Olean man is safe after being reported as missing for thirteen days.  Cole Geise, was found over the weekend behind the 500 block of a Family Dollar store near Boardman Park in the Cattaraugus County city.  Police, friends and family had put out special alerts across the Southern Tier communities via social media looking for the 21 year old autistic man.  Geise was uninjured and reunited with his family late Saturday night.

 

A portion of Route 60 was closed to traffic on Saturday as a result of a rollover crash.  The accident happened around 3:30 between Eagle Street and Lakeview Avenue where two vehicles had collided.   Eye witnesses said one of the cars went airborne and rolled over numerous times before finally resting on its roof.  Two medevac helicopters were called to the scene and were assisted by New York State Police, Altar EMS, Dunkirk and Cassadaga fire departments. As of Sunday afternoon there was no report on the health status of those injured.  

 

Just a few hours later in the Town of Westfield emergency personal responded to a one-vehicle rollover crash on I-90.  According to New York State Police 36 year old Ropi Ma of Buffalo attempted to change lanes and did not see a vehicle which caused Ma to lose control and roll into a ditch.  Ma was transported by MedEvac to Hamot Medical Center in Erie where he was being treated for head injuries.  The passenger in the car was uninjured.

 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to say whether he'll change his state's mask or social distancing rules in light of new federal guidance that eases rules for fully vaccinated people.  Cuomo said Thursday that the state's mask mandate is still in place as his administration reviews the new federal guidance and consults with health officials in neighboring states.  His office said there's no immediate update Friday.  In April 2020... the governor first required all people in New York over age 2 to wear a mask when out in public or unable to distance themselves from others.

 

The Jamestown City Council will hold a special work session-retreat tonight... touring both the National Comedy Center and the new addition to the nearby Northwest Arena.  Lawmakers will meet at 6:30... and, begin by doing a walkthrough of the three-story addition to the arena before a discussion is held on the project, and the history of the train station renovation and the comedy center's development.  After that... Mayor Eddie Sundquist says they'll then tour the comedy center.   Sundquist says center officials believe it's important to have a conversation with council members after the controversy earlier this year over the center's initial decision not to host a polling site in 2021.  After some discussion... the center agreed to do that again this year.  However... it's anticipated the site may be different in 2022.  Sundquist made his comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.

 

Jamestown High School will hold a Senior Prom on Saturday, June 5th, at Jefferson School's Athletic Complex.  Jamestown Principle Dana Williams says they are excited to see the seniors able to have a prom with everything they've had to go through over the past year.  Williams adds, "The health and safety of our students is always our number one priority and we are confident we can hold a prom for our seniors that is fun, but also safe.” Students will need to sign up in groups of 10 which will become their dancing and table group for the entire event.

 

A unique bakery that serves a variety of items from cream puffs, to cheesecake, sugar cookies and scones has opened in the main concourse area of the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood.  Mall officials welcomed Sweets Pastry and Fudge, which opened early last weekend.  Officials say Founder Jaycee Moore is also offering 52 flavors of fudge.  Moore is currently working on obtaining her associates degree in Baking and Pastry Arts at Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts... and, it's brought her a great deal of knowledge and experience, especially in French inspired techniques and specialty products.  Sweets Pastry and Fudge will be located  in the center of the mall near Kay Jewelers.  In addition to fresh baked goods and fudge, Sweets Pastry and Fudge will serve regular and specialty flavored coffees.  The bakery’s hours of operation will be Monday through Saturday from 9:30 AM to 7 PM... and, Sundays from 9:30 AM to 6 PM.

 

SUNY Jamestown Community College graduates received their diplomas in person on Saturday at the Cattaraugus County Campus and on Sunday at the Jamestown Campus.  Donning caps and gowns, graduates accompanied by their families lined the college’s two campuses to receive their degrees and certificates in-person after an academic year of mostly hybrid instruction.  Seventy-eight graduates from the Cattaraugus County Campus were recognized while 232 were recognized on the Jamestown Campus. The college’s virtual ceremony debuted on Friday evening, honoring a total of 1,114 students who completed their degree as far back as the summer of 2019.  Catharine Young, former state senator representing Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, and parts of Livingston counties, likened the graduates to a “beautiful phoenix rising from the ashes” for completing their coursework amid the COVID-19 pandemic during the keynote address.

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WJTN Headlines for Fri., May 14, 2021

This is commencement weekend at Jamestown Community College, and Dr. Kirk Young, Vice-President of Student Affairs, says they've put together an extraordinary 'virtual' ceremony' that will go on-line at 6 o'clock tonight.  On Saturday in Olean... and Sunday in Jamestown... students will have the opportunity to walk across temporary stages set up outdoors at both campuses.  All of this year's, and last year's graduates are being recognized this spring... so 1,154 names will be read in the virtual ceremony.  Several hundred have opted to join the in person degree presentations.

The Jamestown High School graduation is six weeks away and Superintendent, Dr. Kevin Whitaker, hopes the traditional JHS ceremony can occur.  Current rules for New York schools limit indoor events to 100 people and outdoor programs to 200.  Dr. Whitaker would like to see those restrictions relaxed.  Then, even if Chautauqua didn't work out, something big could be done locally.  If the rules don't change, the district could be left with the option of a series of  private degree presentations... similar to what was done for the class of 2020.

New York State is reportedly 'reviewing' the updated recommendations announced yesterday by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the revised mask-wearing guidance.  The CDC now says that fully vaccinated people don't have to wear them in uncrowded situations indoors or outside at all, even at a crowded event.  Pennsylvania has adopted new, relaxed federal guidance on mask-wearing for people who are vaccinated but the mandate is still in place for unvaccinated people.

The Chautauqua County Department of Health's online dashboard reports there are 11 new cases of Covid-19 today, bringing the total current number of active cases to 77.   Currently one person is hospitalized and one new death has been announced.  That brings the total number of positive caes to 9,121 during the pandemic.  The seven-day infection rate remains at 1.4 percent.

Children between the ages of 12 and 15 can get vaccinated in New York effective immediately. Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Wednesday after the state's vaccine advisory task force and CDC's vaccine advisory committee formally recommend the Pfizer vaccine for that age group.  Chautauqua County Health Director Christine Schuyler says she will be working with local districts in setting up clinics directly in school buildings, but says if parents show interest, they can start the process now by going to CHQGov.com and looking for available clinics.

State Senator George Borrello says he's irritated after the effort to get Panama and other schools 'off the hook' for 'nuisance fines' failed in the recent state budget negotiations.  In the final negotiations, only five districts got their fines erased.  Now, a stand alone bill is moving through both the Senate and Assembly to get Panama's $2 million penalty forgiven.  Borrello, a Republican, says it'll likely pass in both houses, and then be vetoed by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo.  If that happens, he would like the legislature to assert itself with an override.  Borello says that 'failure to override' by majority Democrats is one of the most frustrating parts of his short term as a state legislator.

 

 

The issue of having reliable, long-term power capacity has come to the forefront in recent months... but, electric customers in the Greater Jamestown-area don't have to worry.  The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities is set to get 90-percent of it's power needs from the New York Power Authority for the next 19 years.  BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says the utility wrapped up negotiations a short time back for more hydropower.  That contract will take the BPU through the year 2040 with power supplied by the Niagara Hydropower Project in Niagara Falls.  Leathers adds their supplimental power will continue to be provided by the gas turbine purchased more than 20 years ago that, with regular maintenance, should last for another 15 years.

This year's Pennies for Paws campaign at the Chautauqua County Humane Society was an extraordinary success.  Brian Papalia, the Partnership Director for the Humane Society, says the original goal for this year was a million pennies... or $10,000.  The $17,000 plus dollars will help support the fundamental work of the  Humane Society, according to Papalia who credits the success to the many school teachers and students who got involved.  This year's Pennies for Paws total was nearly three times the pandemic reduced total in 2020.

Chautauqua Institution has announced the appointment of Mark Wenzler as the director of the newly launched Chautauqua Climate Change Initiative.  As part of the Institution’s longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability, the initiative elevates climate change as a key issue that Chautauqua is uniquely positioned to address through intergenerational and multidisciplinary experiences and programs. It also represents Chautauqua’s first major initiative that was conceived and created not only as a program that comes to life during its traditional Summer Assembly, but also that operates year-round  — delivering on a strategic vision to expand and deepen the impact of Chautauqua’s mission both during and beyond the Summer Assembly.  Wenzler currently serves as senior vice president for conservation programs at the National Parks Conservation Association, where he has created and managed multiple programs focused on addressing climate change.

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News Headlines for Thurs., May 13, 2021

A city man has been indicted by a federal Grand Jury on several charges for allegedly running a drug trafficking operation with his girlfriend at her home on Wescott Street.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior announced Wednesday the charges against 28 year-old Jun Martinez for narcotics conspiracy, possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine, maintaining a premises for drug use and distribution, and possessing with intent to distribute meth on premises where an individual under 18 was present and resided.  Agents with the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force raided the home last October 16th... and, seized drugs and about 62-thousand dollars cash.  The charges carry at least 10 years in prison... and, a $10-million dollar fine.

 

Chautauqua County Sheriff Deputies were called to West Main Street in the Village of Frewsburg Wednesday evening in response to a request to assist the Frewsburg Volunteer Fire Department.  Upon arrival and after an investigation it was found that Sharon J. Torrey had struck another individual with a sharp object causing serious physical injury. This incident occurred while a child was present in the home. The individual was transported to UPMC WCA for treatment of injuries. Sharon was transported to the Chautauqua County Jail for centralized arraignment on the charges of Assault in the 2nd degree, Reckless Endangerment in the 2nd degree and Endangering the welfare of a child.

 

A lawsuit has been filed against Chautauqua County following the death of a Westfield man last year.  56 year old Scott Deming was killed on August 3rd after being struck by a bulldozer in the town of Ellery landfill as he emptied garbage from his truck.    According to the bulldozer operator he had "no idea" that Deming was behind a pile of debris that he was pushing into a pit.  Attorney Michael D. Hollenbeck of Buffalo, who is representing the estate of Deming, alleges that the death was the result of negligence by the operator of the bulldozer as well as the county who he says violated state labor law and federal OSHA safety guidelines. 

 

The number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Chautauqua County remains low... and, the number of hospitalizations is at two.  The county's Department of Health reports there are 14 new cases as of this morning, and that brings the total to 9,110 during the pandemic.  Officials add that 85 cases are now active... and, 8,873 cases have recovered.  The seven-day infection rate is at 1.4 percent.

 

Jamestown Police Officers responded to an area of the Hampton Inn in Jamestown early this morning on a report of subjects possibly breaking glass in the nearby wooded area of the North Main Street hotel.  Upon arrival, a broken window and unsecured door led officers to believe that there were individuals inside a residence.  43 year old David Hanley of Jamestown was found inside and was placed into custody with incident.  Hanley was transported to the city jail and is charged with Burglary in the 2nd Degree, Criminal Mischief in the 4th Degree and Obstruction Government Administration.

 

The annual Fourth of July parade in the Chautauqua County capital of Mayville has been canceled for the second year in a row.  The announcement was made by Village Mayor Ken Shearer at Tuesday’s Village Board meeting.  Shearer said although the parade will not be happening the fireworks will be launched.   They will be monitoring the New York State guidelines regarding attendance policies before they make further announcements regarding parking and spectator size limits. 

 

After being forced to cancel the Jamestown Pride Fest last year due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Jamestown Pride Planning Group has announced their inaugural Pride Fest will be on Saturday, June 12th in conjunction with the Jamestown Public Market. The day will begin with a Pride Flag Raising ceremony at Tracy Plaza and continue with activities at the Wintergarden Plaza such as free yoga and Zumba classes, live music and a free performance by RuPaul’s Drag Race Star and Jamestown native Pandora Boxx.  Details about Jamestown Pride can be found on their Facebook page.

 

The Dunkirk City School District will be moving forward with a plan to relocate students in several grade levels, beginning in September.  The school board this week approved a resolution to relocate 7th- and 8th-grade students to the high school building, 3rd-through 5th-grade students to the middle school building, and kindergarten through 2nd-grade to Schools 3, 5 and 7.  One board member voted against the resolution.  Vice-President Claudia Szczerbacki (Sir-bockie) said she supports the plan, but feels that this Fall may be too soon... and, is not the right time to implement it. 

 

The long-time superintendent at the Randolph Academy Union Free School District has announced that she is retiring at the end of the current school year.  Lori DeCarlo has been superintendent for the past 15 years... and, has served in the district for 36 years total.  The district says the school board is currently reviewing applications and expects to appoint a new superintendent on or about June 1st.  Since 2006... DeCarlo has led the 200-student, two-campus district which supports, empowers and educates children with emotional and mental health disabilities.  District officials say the new superintendent will assume his or her duties on or about July 1st.

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WJTN Headlines for Wed., May 12, 2021

Mayville's Boil Water Advisory continues as pump is being installed...
A boil water advisory is in place for customers of the Mayville water system until further notice.  The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services says the advisory is needed because of work being completed on the village’s new water well.  Village Public Works crews began installing a permanent water pump in new Well #4 to replace the temporary pump installed in December during a water emergency.  Once work is completed... the well will be disinfected, and then turned back on to supply the village.   Anytime this kind of work is done, water samples must be collected to ensure there were no harmful bacteria or microbes introduced into the well.  Since the well is critical to providing water... it must be turned on before water sample results are available from the lab, prompting this boil water advisory.  For more information... call 269-4801, or 753-4481. 


BPU begins distributing new Garbage Containers to Solid Waste customers...
Customers of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities' Solid Waste Division have each begun receiving one of the 14,000 brand new garbage containers.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says the move has been several years in the making... and, will allow for easier and safer collection of garbage.  Sundquist says it will help residents meet city code by putting their garbage in a container with a lid on it.  He says the new containers will hopefully improve the look of neighborhoods on trash day... and solid waste employees can just wheel them to the trucks, which will have automated tipping machines to get the trash.  BPU General Manager Dave Leathers recently noted that a large number of customers either didn't put their garbage in a container that had a lid on it... or they didn't use a container at all.  There have been some concerns expressed by some about the elderly, and the disabled being able to get a 96-gallon container to the street.  Sundquist says the BPU also has a smaller, 37-gallon container that can be used.  He says contact the BPU about that... or it's "Porter Service" for the elderly and disabled.  For more information... contact the Garbage Hotline at 661-1651.


Chautauqua County officials re-evaluating next step after most recent rejection of EAS status for Jamestown Airport...
Chautauqua County officials are re-evaluating their application to get Essential Air Service back to the County Airport near Jamestown.  County Executive P.J. Wendel says they are disappointed in last December's decision by the U.S. Department of Transporation.  However... Wendel says they've received some good feedback from the DOT about what they need to do to get commercial air service back.  He says he and Airport Mgr. Ron Almeter and the airport commission and stakeholders will look at what needs to be done.  Chautauqua County had been working with regional carrier, Boutique Air, to develop a plan that would get DOT approval.  Wendel adds that he's optimistic that, due to changes in air travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, the county will be successful next time around.  He says there's more regional air travel going on now due to the pandemic.  The Jamestown Airport has been without a commercial air carrier since December of 2017, when the U-S DOT terminated Essential Air Service eligibility for Jamestown because the local airport wasn’t meeting the federal standard of 10 passengers a day... nor the $200 per rider subsidy cap.


County reports only five new COVID cases on Tuesday...
There are just a handful of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County over the past day... and, the number of active and hospitalized cases remains low.  The county's Health Department is reporting 5 new cases... bringing the local total to 9,080.  There are now 72 active cases... seven of which are hospitalized.  Officials say there are now 8,856 cases that have recovered... and, there were no new deaths.


NYS Nursing Home vaccinations lag, infections still being reported...
Despite a big vaccination campaign... New York nursing homes are still reporting hundreds of infections a week as some residents and staff have skipped getting the shots.  Nursing facilities reported 782 infections among staff and residents in the 14 days ending April 25.  State records show that nearly five months since the vaccination campaign launched, only 55% of staff at New York's nursing homes are fully vaccinated. Rates among patients are better: 79% of residents have gotten a shot. But some areas lag behind. Only 40% of the staff and 63 percent of residents at nursing homes in Brooklyn are fully vaccinated.


Former County Executive Astorino announces second run for NYS Governor...
Former Westcester County executive Rob Astorino says he'll run for governor in 2022 in what would be his second bid to unseat Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo.  Astorino is a Republican former radio industry professional and two-term Westchester County executive.  He promised to release an agenda to address New York's steep job loss stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic on top of government corruption and the state's high taxes and cost of living.  Astorino was the Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2014 and lost to Cuomo by 54-percent to 40-percent.  Congressman Lee Zeldin of Long Island announced last month that he is seeking the Republican nomination for governor. 


 

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WJTN Headlines for Tues., May 11, 2021

City man arrested following two-hour stand-off in Jamestown...     
A Jamestown man wanted by city police on Felony charges was arrested following a two-hour long stand-off with officers last night.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers were conducting a warrant check at 15 West Cowden Pl. just before 4:30 p.m. Monday for 34 year-old "Silk" Spencer.  Samuelson says officers found that Spencer fled through the house, and into the basement.  Spencer then told police he was armed and was going to start shooting... and, that he was going to kill officers.  Police set up a perimeter... and, began negotiating with Spencer to get him to peacefully surrender.  However... Spencer refused and continued to shout threats towards officers.  Police continued trying to talk with Spencer from the basement stairway, and additional officers and units arrived to assist.  Just before 6:30 p.m., Spencer surrendered without incident, and was not found to have any weapons in his possession.  He was jailed pending arraignment on charges including Felony Assault from a stabbing... two counts of Aggravated Family Offense... and, one count of second-degree robbery.  JPD was assisted by State Police, the JPD SWAT Team, UPMC Paramedics, and the Jamestown Police Crisis Resolution Team. 


State Supreme Court judge rules County Legislature cannot name, and then confirm a new Democratic Elections Commissioner...
A State Supreme Court Judge has ruled that the Chautauqua County Legislature and it's Democratic Minority do not have the ability to nominate, and vote on a new Elections Commissioner.  Judge Lynn Keane issued the ruling in Mayville after both sides argued their cases in late April.  Former Democratic Elections Commissioner Norm Green says Keane simply upheld the law... which says the Democratic Committee -- which Green chairs -- makes the selection... not the legislature.  Green says, unfortunately, the legislature has not allowed an up or down vote on anyone for the post.  The Democratic Committee -- which Green chairs -- did put up the name of Deputy Commissioner Luz Torres.  However... that was pulled by the legislature's Administrative Services Committee earlier this year after a group of Democratic Committee members protested, saying that Green changed the rules, and they wanted Loren Kent named to the post.  The legislature then voted in favor of Kent during it's March meeting.  With the court's ruling... Green says Torres remains Acting Democratic Elections Commissioner. 


City police now looking for pick-up truck that may have been involved in stealing Underground Railroad Tableau statue...
Jamestown Police say they are now looking for an older model pick-up truck with wood tail gate in connection with the weekend theft of one of the three Down Park statues.  Those statues make up what's called the "Underground Railroad Tableau."  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says the wooden tail gate is described as a "a 2 x 10 across the back acting as the tailgate."  The person giving the tip, however, did not have a plate or a color only remembered the wood tailgate and seeing what he believes was the missing statue in the back of the truck.  The copper statue was reported missing Monday morning by a city Parks Department worker who was checking on the park... and, discovered it was missing.  Police say the 500 to 600-pound statue was taken sometime between last Thursday, and Monday morning.  Samuelson says the statute -- worth upwards of $2,000 -- was re-installed by a Parks crew last Thursday.  Police are continuing to check video in that area, and are asking for anyone who may have information on the statue's wherebaouts to call them at 483-7537... or their anonymous tips line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


NYS weighing mandate for SUNY and CUNY students to have COVID vaccine before returning for in-person classes in the Fall...
Governor Andrew Cuomo says his administration is trying a mix of mandates and incentives to overcome vaccine hesitancy in New York state.  That includes plans to mandate vaccinations for all public college students to get them... and, offer a week of free train rides to people who get shots at walk-in clinics set up in New York City subway stations.  On the first item... Cuomo says they're just waiting for final approval from the federal government.  If the final approval is given... Cuomo says students attending class in-person will have to be vaccinated.  He adds that they will also urge private colleges and universities to do the same. 


County reports 44 New COVID-19 cases Monday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 44 new cases of COVID-19 over the past weekend... but, say infection rate, number of active cases, and people hospitalized continued to go in the right direction.  Health officials say the new cases include 12 in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... and, brings the total to 9,075 cases.  Officials say there are now 73 active cases... and, seven of those are hospitalized.  There were no new deaths. 


Sundquist and Lehman announce Jamestown's 2021 Streets Program...
A significant increase in aid from New York state is allowing the city of Jamestown to undertake nearly 150 street projects this construction season.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist and Public Works Director Jeff Lehman released the city's 2021 Streets Program Monday... and, Sundquist says they plan to engage in an "aggressive and expanded" program this year, that includes a couple of total reconstructions, filling cracks, curbing, mill and overlay.  Sundquist says some projects are already underway in the city.  He says the complete street reconstruction projects include one on part of Kidder Street, and the other will be on Jefferson.  A detailed map of the projects can be found on line at JamestownNY.gov/2021Streets.

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WJTN Headlines for Mon., Dec. 10, 2021

22 year-old skateboarder killed in town of Ellery....
A 22 year-old Bemus Point man was killed after he was struck by a car while riding his skateboard on Route 430 in the town of Ellery last night.  State Police in Jamestown were called to the scene just after 9 p.m., and, found the late model sedan, operated by a 19 year-old, was westbound when it struck Bannon Eimiller.  Troopers say Troopers attempted CPR and used an AED until paramedics arrivedon the scene.  Eimiller was later pronounced dead at the scene.  The State Police Collision reconstruction unit and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation assisted in this investigation... which is ongoing.


Clymer man arrested for brandishing a shotgun during domestic incident...         
A Clymer man has been arrested for allegedly pulling a shotgun on the residents in a house early Sunday morning... and, preventing anyone from leaving during a domestic incident.  Sheriff's Officers were called to the scene in the town of Clymer about 1:30 a.m., and arrested 25 year-old Tyler Lindemuth for second-degree menacing, and second-degree unlawful imprisonment.  Lindemuth was taken to the county jail pending centralized arraignment.


Borrello pleased to see Comptroller's Office investigating state's unemployment system...
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli recently confirmed that he is leading an audit of the state's unemployment system.  That's good news to Chautauqua County's representative in the New York State Senate... George Borrello.  Borrello says he and others have been pressing for information regarding how much money in fraudulent unemployment claims has been paid out by the state.  He says the Department of Labor and Governor Andrew Cuomo have refused to provide such data... and, he feels DiNapoli believes there needs to be transparency.  Borrello says a combination of "extremely bad policy" and a lack of transparency have created what he calls a massive gap in the state's unemployment insurance fund... the Sunset Bay Republican adds that it is hurting businesses across the state... because they pay for the program.  The review is expected to take about 6 to 12 months... but, Borrello does not expect a cooperative situation between the Comptroller's Office and Cuomo's administration.


Cuomo sexual harassment investigation now looking into allegations about "vaccine czar..."
Investigators looking into sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo interviewed county officials about his "vaccine czar" calling them to assess their support for the embattled governor.  The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that investigators with the state attorney general's office interviewed at least three Democratic county executives who say Larry Schwartz called to gauge their loyalty to the governor and whether they would call for him to resign.  Schwartz has acknowledged making calls to county executives but denied discussing vaccines and said he "did nothing wrong."  The state attorney general's office declined comment.


County residents will soon be able to do "in-person" transactions again at local DMVs...
Chautauqua County residents will soon be able to again do all their transactions at the Department of Motor Vehicles Offices in person.  That from County Clerk Larry Barmore... who says that will resume on Monday, May 17.  Barmore adds that persons requiring permit or CDL testing will no longer have to make an appointment.  He says a number of rules remain in effect:  All persons will wait outside of the office until instructed to enter... you must social distance and wear a mask at all times.  They add that only the person making the transaction is allowed in the building... and, no children are allowed in the building other than for permit testing.  In that case, a parent may accompany a child taking a permit test as required by the state.  Barmore says many people liked the appointment system, so one representative at each office will be available to take appointments for any transaction.  The appointment system will be ready for use a week from today, on Friday, May 14.


Wendel touts economic development efforts and projects during pandemic...
There's been encouraging news about development, even during the COVID pandemic, in recent days in Chautauqua County.  A couple in particular have been very encouraging.  One has to do with the long vacant Silver Creek Elementary School on Main Street in the north county village.  County Executive P.J. Wendel says it's part of an effort to get vacant buildings back in use... and, back on the tax rolls.  Wendel says UAW Region 9 is a development group that will be converting the building into about four dozen apartments for people aged 55 and older.  There's also the emergence of the former Castelli Cheese facility in Blockville from bankruptcy... and, it's pending purchase by another cheese producer.  He says there will also be a spin-off effect there for more locally produced milk.  Wendel says there are others that the county's Department of Economic Development is still working on... but, they aren't ready to announce them yet.  The Vittoria Dairy group is moving forward with plans for the former Castelli Cheese location. 


Sundquist presides over new Skatepark ground-breaking...
With a number of contractors already committed to other jobs during the Summer months... there's no timetable in place yet for completion of the first-phase of Jamestown's new skatepark.  A number of public and private entities involved with the fund-raising effort broke ground on the location at the former Trolley Mechanics Shop -- near McCrea Point -- late last week.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says the public will be updated on when a dedication will be held.  Among those involved with the fund-raising effort is Pete Scheira from Jamestown Skate Shop... and the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.  The project is estimated to cost about $500,000.


 

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WJTN News Headlines for Fri., May 7, 2021

One person reportedly hurt in car-pedestrian accident in Jamestown...
Details are sketchy... but, Jamestown police responded to a reported car-pedestrian accident Thursday evening on the city's southside.  County Fire Dispatchers and the city Fire Department confirm the call to the intersection of Foote and Cole Avenues occured about 7 p.m.  A medivac helicopter was called in... but, no other information has been released at this time.  Efforts to reach JPD have been unsuccessful.


Jamestown woman pleads guilty to allowing home to be used for drug trafficking...
A Jamestown woman has pleaded guilty to allowing a known-drug trafficker to use her home to deal heroin and methamphetamine from three-years ago.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 29 year-old Chelsey Hunt entered the plea to maintaining a drug-involved premisis before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Schroeder, Junior.  Prosecutors say between January and February of 2018... Hunt was accused of letting Douglas Beardsley live in her attic... and, he used it to traffic drugs.  They add that Hunt took an active role in assisting with the operation, including helping Beardsley’s customers and telling them about any police activity in the area.  She's also accused of sellng small amounts of narcotics for Beardsley, and purchased narcotics for her personal use.  Charges are pending against Beardsley.  Hunt faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and $500,000 fine.


City man sentenced for burglary... 
A Jamestown man will spend 2 1/2 to 5 years in state prison for third-degree burglary.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt's office reports that Mark Barnhart received the sentence this week in County Court.  Schmidt says the Jamestown Police Department made the arrest, and assisted with the investigation.


Wendel touts new Chautauqua Lake MOU for simpler approach to lake issues...
Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel and members of his staff have unveiled a new Chautauqua Lake Memorandum of Understanding for all lake stakeholders groups.  Wendel says the previous, 2-year Memorandum of Agreement expired last month... and, a new agreement was needed.  However... the Lakewood Republican says this one is more simple... and, says the groups will work together... and, will not attack or sue others who are part of the MOU.  However... he says the right to sue cannot be taken away from anyone.  Wendel says the MOU does not address the typically contentious use of herbicides to knock down invasive weeds in the lake.  He says the state Department of Environmental Conservation has the final say, and juridiction over use of herbicides.  Wendel says he's hopeful the vast majority of stakeholders sign the MOU by the end of the month.


Wendel expresses disappointment over decision to cancel Chautauqua County Fair for 2021...
It's both disappointing and frustrating to see the Chautauqua County Fair cancelled for another year due to COVID restrictions.  However... County Executive P.J. Wendel is hoping to see some kind of change in the next few days that may allow some kind of activity at the Dunkirk Fairgrounds this year.  Wendel is reacting to the Fair Board's announcement earlier this week to call off the week-long event in late July.  He hopes there may be some reconsideration of the decision because the nation may see some "dramatic change" in the COVID situation in the next month.  Wendel says, after learning about the decision, he spoke with both Fair Board President Dave Wilson... and, officials with the Western New York COVID-19 control room.  He says he was surprised the state did issue guidance for the State Fair in Syracuse... but, nothing for county fairs.  Wendel says he plans to bring up the matter at the next control room meeting... because the county fair is one of the most anticipated Summertime events in the county.  He made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the Media One Radio Grouip stations.


County reports 14 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday...
There are 14 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County over the past day... and the number of active cases has again dropped.  The county Health Department reports that five of the new cases were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... and there have now been 9,022 total cases.  Officials say nine people are currently hospitalized... but, there were no new deaths.  A total of 8,763 cases have now recovered.


County announces Water Restrictions for Mayville Water System due to upgrades to new well...
A mandatory water conservation order has been issued by Chautauqua County for all users of the Mayville Village Water System now through May 13.  The county's Department of Health issued the order Thursday... and, urged residents to cut their water usage by 50-percent.  Officials say this will allow the village to complete critical upgrades to their new well, which is the only well now in use.  The village began installation of a permanent water pump for Well-#4 Tuesday to replace a temporary one installed last December during a water emergency.  During the replacement process... if the water in the village storage tank falls below a safe level, the village will be forced to use one of the PFNA-contaminated wells to supply emergency water to the system.  If that happens... officials say a “Do Not Drink Order” will be required.  If you have any questions about the order... call the Mayville Public Works Superintendent at 269-4801... or the County Health Department at 753-4481. 


 
 

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WJTN Headlines for Thurs., May 6, 2021

Fire destroyed garage in Kennedy...
Flames have destroyed a garage in an overnight fire on Page Road in the town of Poland.  Chautauqua County fire dispatchers say Kennedy fire crews were called to the scene about 1 a.m., and, they were joined by firefighters from Frewsburgh, Falconer, Kiantone and Ellington at the scene.  Officials say crews reported heavy smoke and fire on arrival.  In addition... crews reported a nearby home sustained some exposure damage to one side.  No one was hurt.  Crews were at the scene until about 4:30 this morning... and, county fire investigators are at the scene looking for the cause.


Investigation continues into fatal car crashed in West Ellicott...
The investigation is continuing into what ended up being a fatal, one-car crash on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott Tuesday night.  Ellicott Town Police say witnesses told them the vehicle appeared to cut across a couple of parking lots -- including the one for Brigiotta's Farmland Store -- near the city line -- just before 7 p.m.  Officers say the car, driven by a 65 year-old man from Lakewood, then crossed Fairmount and struck the parked vehicle.  Police say Fairmount from Chicago Avenue to the city line was closed for about two hours while the scene was cleared and investigated.  No one else was hurt in the incident.  The identity of the person is being withheld pending notification of family.


Jamestown woman indicted on drug trafficking charges...
A city woman faces at least 10 years in prison and a $10-million fine after being indicted on federal charges for allegedly trafficking methamphetamine from her home when three small children were present.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says a federal grand jury handed up the indictment against 28 year-old Antasia Babcock Wednesday for narcotics conspiracy...  possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine... maintaining a premises for drug use and distribution, and possessing with intent to distribute meth on premises where an individual under 18 was present and resided.  Prosecutors say the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force raided Babcock's home on Wescott Street last year and found her, with the children... and seized one pound of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride, drug paraphernalia, and approximately $62,000 in cash. 


Vaccinations still increasing, but, officials would like them to improve more...
The number of COVID-19 infections in Chautauqua County and New York State as a whole, continue to improve.  However... officials are still pushing to get more adults vaccinated.  There were 13 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county over the past day... putting the total since the pandemic began to over 9,000 to 9,008 cases.  However... there were no new deaths.  Statewide... Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the infection rate dropped to 1.4-percent for the first time since last October.  Cuomo says the vaccines are helping... but, more people need to walk-in to a local clinic or pharmacy and get one.  He says all adults can now go to any mass vaccination site and get the shot.  Cuomo says about 45-percent of the eligible population is now fully-vaccinated... while 58-percent have had at least the first shot.  In Chautauqua County... the Health Department reports just over 47,000 adults... or 45-percent of those eligible... have received at least one dose of the vaccine.  Just over 40,000... 38-percent... are now completely vaccinated.


Cuomo announces 100-percent MLB stadium capacity in NYS for people who are vaccinated...
The Toronto Blue Jays are returning to their home away from home -- in Buffalo -- starting in June.  However... this time they'll have a limited number of fans in attendance.  Forced from Canada by that government's coronavirus travel restrictions, the Blue Jays will be back at Sahlen Field, the regular home of the Blue Jays' AAA farm team.  The announcement comes on the same day that Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the lifting of the 6-foot social distancing requirement at Yankees and Mets games where everyone has been vaccinated.  Cuomo says there will be special seating for those people.  Where people are unvaccinated... Cuomo says the 6-foot distancing requirement remains in place.  As for Buffalo... which is a smaller stadium, officials said yesterday that -- with the 6-foot distancing requirement -- they can hold 24-percent of their capacity.  Toronto will play it's first three homestands at it's spring training ballpark in Dunedin, Florida... then come north to Buffalo.


Rosas disappointed there will be no Chautauqua County Fair this year...
The mayor of Dunkirk is expressing his disappointment over the decision to cancel this year's Chautauqua County Fair.  It's the second straight year the fair has been called off due to COVID-19 restrictions.  Mayor Willie Rosas adds, though, that he understands why it was being postponed.  Rosas says the event takes a lot of planning, and coordination with vendors, acts, and groups like 4-H.  Meanwhile... Rosas says the city is moving ahead with plans for several summer events, including the Fourth of July fireworks display.  He says it will all depend on the state.... and what's allowed at that time.  Rosas is also encouraging area residents to get their COVID-19 vaccinations.


North County man arrested for alleged robbery... 
A Fredonia man is facing charges after a robbery occurred on Howard Street in the north county village late Tuesday night.  Fredonia Police say that 28-year-old Philip Whitfield allegedly confronted two men while they were walking on Howard Street around 11:30 p.m.  Police says Whitfield reportedly made demands, and a brief struggle occured.  However... one of the victims was able to call 911.  After an investigation... police charged Whitfield with second-degree robbery... second-degree menacing... and, fourth-degree grand larceny.  He was arraigned and is being held in the Chautauqua County Jail.

 


 

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WJTN News Headlines for Wed., May 5, 2021

Man dies in car crash in West Ellicott...
Ellicott Town Police are still trying to determine why a car cut through a pair of parking lots near the city line... crossed Fairmount Avenue...and, struck a parked car last night.  The driver, identified only as a 65-year-old man from Lakewood, was pronounced dead at the scene.  Town Police were called to the scene in West Ellicott shortly before 7 p.m., and, Fairmount from Chicago Avenue to the city line was closed for about two hours.  Officers says witnesses told them the car had "cut across" a couple of parking lots... including the one for Brigiotta's Farmland Store before hitting the parked vehicle.  No one else was hurt.  The identity of the person is being withheld pending notification of family.


Borrello says state GOP lawmakers still pushing for complete repeal of Cuomo's emergency powers...
Republicans in the New York State Legislature continue to push for a clean repeal of Governor Andrew Cuomo's emergency powers.  State Senator George Borrello says the latest move by Cuomo to ease COVID-19 restrictions is another example.  The Sunset Bay Republican says the changes in the capacities of various businesses is leaving many people confused.  Borrello says we're nearing the start of the Summer tourism season, and there's not enough clarity in what the changes mean.  Cuomo announced the changes slated for May 19 during a news briefing on Monday... but, he indicated that six-foot social distancing requirements will remain unless people are vaccinated or undergo testing.


Former Assembly Speaker Silver released on Furlough...
Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been released from a federal prison on furlough, while he awaits potential placement to home confinement.  That's according to a person familiar with the matter... who spoke with The Associated Press on Tuesday.  Silver was serving his more than six-year sentence at a federal prison in Otisville, New York, in a corruption case.  The person says he's been released on furlough while awaiting potential placement to home confinement to serve his sentence at home.  The 77-year-old Silver began serving his sentence in August after years of fending off going behind bars.  Prosecutors say they opposed the furlough.


Chautauqua County 4-H looking at alternatives now that County Fair has been cancelled again this year...
Chautauqua County Four-H is looking at the cancellation of this year's county fair as 'a unique opportunity' to consider hosting their own event.  Kate Ewer is the Four-H Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension.  Ewer says they are working out plans to hold an event where their youth members can show their livestock, and celebrate their projects.  She says the event could well happen sometime this summer at the Dunkirk Fairgrounds, but would most likely be closed to all but Four-H members and their families.   The cancellation of last year's fair took down nearly all summer Four-H activities, and leaders are anxious to do something this year.  Still in limbo is this year's 'Meat Animal Sale'... a traditional feature on Friday of fair week.  Last year's sale was held exclusively on-line.  


County reports 17 New COVID-19 cases Tuesday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 17 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county over the past day... but, no new deaths.  Health officials say 5 of the new cases were in Brocton... and, 4 in Jamestown.  There are now 8,995 total cases... and, 111 are active.  Officials say 10 people are hospitalized... and, 8,732 cases have now recovered.  The Health Department says the seven-day infection rate is now 2.1-percent. 


Cattaraugus County reports 100th COVID-19 related death...
A 91-year-old woman has become the 100th person to die in Cattaraugus County from the COVID-19 pandemic.  County health officials say the woman developed respiratory failure and could not overcome the virus.  Officials extended their "deepest condolences" to the woman's family.  Health officials add there were 13 new COVID cases reported yesterday... bringing Cattaraugus's total to 5,443.  There are 153 active cases... and, 18 of those are hospitalized.  Officials say 5,183 cases have now recovered... and, the seven-day infection rate is 3.5-percent.


Four people file necessary petitions to run for Jamestown School Board on May 18...
One incumbant... and three newcomers... have filed the necessary petitions to run for the two Jamestown School Board seats up for a vote on May 18.  The Jamestown High School Parent-Teacher-Student Association will hold a "Meet the Candidates Night" on Thursday, May 13 at 6:30 p.m. in the Board of Education Room at the Administration Building on Martin Rd.  Spokeswoman Cathy Panebianco says the forum will be live streamed at jpsny.org/election.  The candidates include incumbant Nina Karbacka... and, newcomers Frank Galeazzo... Gina Sink... and, Krysta Rives.  If a community member would like to attend the forum in person, due to COVID-19 restrictions, they should reserve a space with School District Clerk, Jaunita Walter at 483-4420 or jaunita.m.walter@jpsny.org by noon on May 13.


Former State Sen. Cathy Young will be JCC's graduation speaker...
Former State Senator Cathy Young will present the keynote address during SUNY Jamestown Community College's virtual commencement on May 14.  Young retired from the Senate in early 2019 after accepting the position of executive director for the New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech.  The Olean native was raised on a family farm in Cattaraugus County... and, has been a long-time champion of agriculture and economic development. 

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News Bulletin for Tues., May 4, 2021

(Bulletin) Fair Board decides to postpone Chautauqua County Fair again for 2021...
The Chautauqua County Fair will not be held this July for the second straight year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Fair Board of Directors announced Monday night that the fair "is postponed until July 18th through the 24th, 2022."  Fair Board President, Dave Wilson, says they held the decision off for a month in hopes of more information from Governor Andrew Cuomo... but, none has come forth.  Wilson says the governor outlined perameters for the State Fair, and outdoor amusements... but nothing for local fairs or festivals.  He adds the fair board is heartbroken for all the people who rely on the fair for income and exposure.  He says they can't put together a respectable fair for residents, and "time is running out" to get one together.  The only other time the fair has not been held since it began in 1881 was during World War Two, when they took three years off while the fairgrounds were being used to house prisoners.

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WJTN Headlines for Tues., May 4, 2021

Dunkirk man killed after Train slams into his truck...
A Dunkirk man has now been identified as the person killed in a collision between a CSX Train and pick-up truck in the town of Dunkirk late yesterday morning.  State Police in Fredonia were called to the scene shortly before Noon on a report of a collision on Temple Rd. between Route 5 and Willow Rd.  Authorities found the pick-up driver, 63 year-old William Miller, dead inside the vehicle.  A Chautauqua County Coroner was called to the scene... along with the State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit.  The investigation is continuing.


County reports 40 New COVID-19 cases, and three deaths Monday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 40 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 from the past weekend... and three new deaths.  The Health Department reports the most new cases in one community was 11 in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  There have now been a total of 8,978 confirmed cases... and, 112 are now active.  Officials add that 10 are hospitalized... and, 8,714 have now recovered. 

Cuomo announces NYS reopening on May 19...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says capacity restrictions for most types of businesses will end statewide in mid-May as COVID-19 infection rates continues to decline.  The Democratic governor made the announcement yesterday... noting that the state's "Smart Reopening" is being coordinated with neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut.  However... Cuomo added one caveat... the 6-foot social distancing requirement remains in place.  He says retail stores, food services, gyms and fitness centers, family entertainment, and offices can all open with no capacity limits on May 19.  Many restaurants in New York City are fairly small... and, social distancing will be an issue.  But, Cuomo says until the Centers for Disease Control changes it's 6-foot guidance, the state will continue to keep that in place.  However... a waiver can be issued if those events and places require proof of either a vaccination, or negative COVID test.  A number of capacity changes... announced last week by Cuomo... take effect either May 17 or May 31.  The outdoor food and drink curfew will be lifted on the 17th... while indoor restrictions will be lifted on the 31st.


Jamestown receiving more road and street repair funding from NYS... announcement on projects coming...
The city of Jamestown is in line for a significant increase in the amount of funding it receives from New York state for road and street projects this Summer.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist told lawmakers during last night's City Council work session that he and Public Works Director Jeff Lehman will announce their list of projects either later this week or next what those projects will include.  Sundquist says they're getting the bulk of the money from three sources.  He says their Consolidated Highway Improvement Program -- or CHIPS funding -- is up 23-percent, while the Extreme Winter Recovery funding is up 53-percent, and PAVE-New York funding will be up 49-percent.  In addition... Sundquist says there is a fourth source this year -- the "State Touring Routes" fund -- to help improve roadways designated for dual use by bicycles. 


NJ woman receives five-year sentence for Meth Trafficking in Jamestown...
A New Jersey woman found to have been part of a drug trafficking ring in Jamestown has been sentenced to five-years in federal prison.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. Monday announced that 26 year-old Alexis Hall of Harrison, NJ received the sentence from District Court Judge Lawrence Vilardo for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, five grams or more of methamphetamine.  Prosecutors say that, between March of 2017 and October of 2018, Hall conspired with 15 other co-defendants to operate a drug trafficking organization, primarily involving the distribution of meth in the Jamestown area.  During raids... law enforcement officers recovered 10 firearms and multiple rounds of ammunition, over 20 cellphones, drug paraphernalia, and cash.  Kennedy says all 16 defendants charged in this case have been convicted. 


Ellington will have scaled-back Picnic this year...
It'll be scaled back, but the 108th Ellington Town Picnic will take place on Friday, August 6th through Sunday, August 8th at the Town Square in Ellington.  Some events are already in place, according to President Mat Pickup of the Town Picnic Association.  Pickup says they'll have music each night, and the fire department will host it's chicken barbecue.  The group 'Happy Days' will perform Friday night.  'Country Memories' will be onstage on Saturday.  Pickup adds, some of the regular features will NOT take place... namely rides because they would have to be wiped down constantly.  The horseshoe pitching contest and the baby show are also not likely for this year's picnic.  Other parts of the schedule are still being firmed up.  Pickup emphsizes they will follow all COVID guidelines in place when picnic time comes in August.


Borrello names former Reed staffer as new Chief of Staff...
A long-time staff member for local Congressman Tom Reed has been named as State Senator George Borrello's new Chief of Staff.  Borrello Monday announced that Alison Hunt... who most recently had been Reed's District Director... succeeds Michael Ellison, who served in the role since Borrello won a special election for the seat in 2019.  Borrello says Hunt "brings a wealth of governmental experience to the Chief of Staff role after serving for the past 10 years on the district staff of Congressman Tom Reed, the last six as his District Director."
 

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WJTN News Headlines for Mon., May 3, 2021

City man arrested twice over the past weekend now arrested 11 times since start of 2021...
A Jamestown man has now been arrested 11 times in 2021 -- nine times in April -- following a pair of arrests over the past weekend.  In the first instance... city police were initially called to the CVS Store on South Main Street about 7:30 last Friday night for a disorderly person.  Officers say Patrick Blakemore was causing a disturbance inside the Brooklyn Square location... and, told to leave.  However... he returned less than 10 minutes later, and again caused a disturbance.  Police say Blakemore resisted as they tried to arrest him... but, he was taken into custody for trespassing, obstruction... and, resisting arrest.  After being released due to bail reform... Blakemore then allegedly shoplifted merchandise at the 7-Eleven store on North Main Street.  Police were called to the scene about 6 p.m. Saturday... and, arrested Blakemore for petty larceny.  He was held pending arraignment.


Jamestown man arrested following Domestic Violence incident...
A city man has been arrested for allegedly pinning a woman down in a bed and holding her against her will during a domestic violence incident.  City Police say they were called to location on Jamestown's westside last week... and, on arrival spoke with the victim.  Officers later found the suspect, Christopher Toole, and he was taken into custody.  Police later found the victim had an order of protection against Toole and there was to be no physical contact with her.  He was jailed pending arraignment on charges of first-degree criminal contempt, second-degree unlawful imprisonment, and aggravate Family Offense.


Corry, PA man convicted of trafficking Methamphetamine gets 10 years in prison...
A Corry, PA man will spend the next 10 years in federal prison following his conviction for trafficking 50 grams or more of methamphetamine in Chautauqua County.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Junior announced late last week that 43 year-old Jerry Roneker, Junior received the sentence in federal court in Buffalo.  Prosecutors say Roneker was pulled over by a sheriff's deputy in the town of Chautauqua on March 9, 2019 for a traffic infraction.  They add that they spotted a smoking pipe, and when they asked Roneker to get out of the car... they noticed two large chunks of suspected methamphetamine.  Officers also found a loaded 9-millimeter handgun in his possession.  They then searched the vehicle... and, found just over $10,000 cash... ecstasy pills, packaging materials, a digital scale, drug paraphernalia, Xanax pills, MDMA pills, Suboxone strips, and two hypodermic needles.


City Council okays shared serviced agreement with JCC for a grants writer...
The city of Jamestown and Jamestown Community College have joined forces to create a shared Grant Writer position.  The City Council has now approved creation of the position, which will be funded equally by the college and city.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says consolidating the position would allow both entities to go after grants with someone experienced... and, knowledgeable of how to do it.  Sundquist says they're finding many of their departments are having to spend extra time writing grant applications -- in addition to their regular day-to-day operations.  JCC Foundation Director Maria Kindberg says the college has been in the same boat... and, has looked for a grants writer... but, can't offer what other entities do.  Sundquist says a joint City-and-College Committee will go through a search for candidates, do interviews... and, make a recommendation to both entities. 


Week 12 Chautauqua County COVID-19 Heroes named...
One group of employees and seven other individuals have been recognized by the Chautauqua County COVID-19 Response Team as COVID-19 Heroes.  County Executive P-J Wendel announced the Week 12 nominees for April 26--30... which include the Lutheran Nursing Home staff... which he says had worked hard to keep their residents safe during the pandemic.  In addition... Tamara Racino of GX Warehouse Fitness and Wellness was also recognized.  Brooks Hospital Registered Nurse Kenneth Long-the-second was recogized for his work with COVID Patients at the north county location.  Others include Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services Director Mary Ann Spanos... and Stephanie Kelly and Charlene Burch... who both work at Heritage Village Nursing facility in Gerry.  Also being honored were Rosie Digirolamo, and Brigid Wonderly.  Wendel says "our heroes this week continue to reflect the important theme of those caring for the wellbeing of others."


Village of Lakewood calls off July 4th Summerfest due to COVID pandemic...
The Fourth of July is still a couple of months away... but, officials in Lakewood have decided to pull the plug on the annual Summerfest for a second straight year due to the COVID pandemic.  The village board recently decided to cancel the event... but, held off on opening Lakewood Beach.  Mayor Randy Holcomb says it's a disappointment... but, having so many people in one place is still an issue.  Holcomb says they remain hopeful of having the event back -- as it would normally be held -- in 2022.  Summerfest has been an annual event on the Fourth of July in Lakewood... and, features a 10-K Firecracker Run... music, games and food... and concludes with a huge fireworks display.  Holcomb made his comments for this past weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.

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WJTN Headlines for Fri., Apr. 30, 2021

Winning TAKE 5 Ticket sold at Wegman's in West Ellicott!...
One of the two winning tickets in the New York State Lottery's TAKE 5 game was sold at the Wegman's Supermarket on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott.  The New York Lottery announced today that the other winning ticket was sold at a Manhattan newsstand in New York City.  Each ticket in last night's drawing is worth $30,511.  Lottery officials say the TAKE 5 numbers are drawn from a field of one through 39.  Drawings take place every evening at 10:30 p.m. 


Gov. Cuomo in Buffalo urges young people, and anyone else who hasn't to get a COVID-19 Vaccine...
New York state has now administered 15-million COVID-19 vaccinations to residents... but, the rate of vaccination has slowed across the state.  That's a concern for Governor Andrew Cuomo... who says 45-percent of New Yorkers have at least received one shot of one of the three vaccines being distributed.  Early on in the vaccine's roll-out... it was very difficult to get an appointment.  However... as time has gone on, Cuomo says getting the vaccine is easier, but, not as many people are getting it.  He says the state was distributing 175,000 shots in 24-hours until recently, as the numbers have now fallen to 115,000 a day.  Cuomo says one of the hardest groups to get vaccinated is young people between the ages of 16 and 25.  With that in mind... he announced a new initiative while he was in Buffalo Thursday.  A first of it's kind clinic for that age group will be held at a Buffalo school for students.  They're also arranged for free transporation to and from the clinic.


County reports 31 New COVID-19 Cases, and one new death Thursday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 31 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus over the past day... along with one new death.  Health officials say 11 of the new cases were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... and, four were reported in Sherman.  Officials say there have now been 8,914 total cases... and, 116 are now active.  There have now been 149 deaths... and, 13 people are currently hospitalized.  The number of recovered cases is now 8,649... and, the infection rate is 1.6-percent.


Cuomo's executive order on having to order food when purchasing alcohol among those repealed by legislature...
New Yorkers will no longer have to buy a jelly sandwich, chips or other snack with their beer under an executive order that state lawmakers have repealed.  Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order last summer requiring food to be sold with alcoholic beverages at bars and restaurants.  At the time, COVID-19 rates were low and the state had begun allowing New York City bars and restaurants to re-open.  State lawmakers passed resolutions Wednesday to repeal the directive, which restaurant owners have blasted for months as nonsensical.  Cuomo had said chips or fruit alone couldn't count as "food," which led to a Saratoga Springs bar offering "Cuomo Chips and Salsa."


County recognizes two heroes during legislature meeting...
A pair of real life Chautauqua County heroes were recognized for what they did... one to save a man who fell into the cold waters of Lake Erie... and, the other to rescue two people from a burning building.  County Executive P-J Wendel Wednesday night issued commendations to Westfield's Mia Goot... and Jamestown's Joe Pollaro.  Wendel says Goot saw the elderly man fall into Barcelona Harbor last March 29, and held him out of the water until rescuers could arrive.  He says acts this this "inspire kindness and solidarity across Chautauqua County.  Goot was on during the Zoom legislature meeting... and, thanked Wendel and the legislature for the recognition.  Pollaro, an employee of the Jamestown Public Works Department... helped two people jump from a second-floor window to escape an apartment house fire the morning of March 23.  He was driving his city dump truck when he saw the fire at 703 Washington St., and cries for help.  He spotted the two victims trapped on the second-floor, and urged them to jump to him.  He caught each as they jumped... and, they each fell to the ground.  However... they all escaped injury.


Ellicottville man faces DWI charges after rollover crash...
A single-car rollover accident in the Cattaraugus County town of Little Valley has led to drunk driving charges against an Ellicottville man.  Sheriff's officers in Little Valley were called to the scene on Route 242 around 8:30 p.m. last Tuesday... and, investigated the accident.  Deputies fouind that 56 year-old Nick Ingerra had more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his blood, and he was arrested for Aggravated driving while intoxicated, DWI, failure to maintain lane, and first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation.  He was issued appearance tickets for Little Valley Town Court.


Pennsylvania eyeing state college consolidations...
The board of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is advancing a plan to merge six of its 14 universities into two new institutions... as the system struggles with sinking enrollment and stagnant state aid.  Wednesday's nearly unanimous board vote launches a 60-day public comment period.  A final vote could be scheduled for July, with implementation in time for the 2022-23 school year.  Under the plans, Bloomsburg, Mansfield and Lock Haven universities in northern Pennsylvania would merge into one institution and California, Clarion and Edinboro in western Pennsylvania would merge to become another.  All six campuses would remain open, with integrated faculty, curriculum and enrollment strategies.


 
 

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WJTN Headlines for Thurs., Apr. 29, 2021

Retired county director of Mental Hygiene Services given commendation...
Chautauqua County's longtime Director of Community Mental Hygiene Services was honored by county lawmakers on Wednesday for her years of service to the county.  Legislators and County Executive P.J. Wendel presented Patricia Brinkman with a commendation during their monthly Zoom meeting.  Legislature Chairman Pierre Chagnon says Brinkman helped bring quality services to those dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues the past two decades... and, worked tirelessly to bring those services to those who need it.  Brinkman called it "an honor and a privilege" to serve the county, and told legislators that while her work was challenging, it was also exceptionally rewarding.  She retired earlier this month.  The county is in the process of finding a new department director.
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Also during Wednesday's meeting, county legislators approved resolutions authorizing the acceptance of two Airport Coronavirus Response Grants from the FAA.  The Dunkirk Airport and the Jamestown Airport will each receive $13,000 for costs related to operations, personnel, cleaning, and sanitization.


County records 18 New cases of COVID-19 the past day...
The Chautauqua County Health Department reports 18 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus over the past day... and the infection rate remains below 2-percent.  Health officials say 6 of the new cases were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... and, that brings the overall total to 8,884.  There were no new deaths.  Officials say there are 97 active cases... and, 12 of those are hospitalized.  There have now been 8,639 recovered cases... and, the infection rate remains 1.4-percent.


County to host COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic for residents in Findley Lake...
Univera Healthcare and the Chautauqua County Department of Health are teaming up to host a COVID-19 vaccine clinic this Friday Apr. 30, in Findley Lake.  Officials say it's the first time a health insurer has hosted a clinic... and, it will be held at the Mina-Findley Lake Community Center, 2883 North Rd., in Findley Lake from 2 to 7 p.m.  The clinic will use the Pfizer COVID-19 first dose shot, distributed through Kinney Drugs.  All New York state residents ages 18, and older may attend.  Appointments are required and can be made online at kinneydrugs.as.me/Univera-ChautauquaCounty.  Attendees must be prepared to show identification and a health insurance card.  Transportation assistance is available for this clinic by calling NY Connects at 753-4582... or Community Connections at Findley Lake at 769-2473.


BPU officials discuss what to do with old Garbage Containers once new ones are delivered...
Since the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities will be distributing new garbage containers... beginning the week of May 10... the question has come up about what to do with your old one?  During an interview on our Dennis Webster program on WJTN... the question was put to BPU Solid Waste Administrative Clerk Gloria Miranda.  Miranda says if you want to have it taken away... you can just leave it out and the BPU sanitation crews pick it up.  She says either mark it with a message to throw it away, or call the garbage hotline to alert them to take the can away.  Miranda says there will be no charge for taking them away.  Otherwise... Miranda says you can give or sell it to someone outside the city, if you prefer.  She adds there is one other option as well... and, that's to "re-purpose" your old can to use for yard waste when taking it to the BPU's yard waste site.  If you have further questions... Miranda says call the Garbage Hotline at 661-1651.  


Fire at Frewsburg church under investigation...
There was only minimal damage reported after a fire that was possibly sparked by a cleaning solution at a church in Frewsburg Tuesday afternoon.  Chautauqua County fire dispatchers say Frewsburg fire crews responded to an alarm at Our Lady Of Victory Catholic Church on Institute Street about 2:45 p.m.  Officials say the fire was pretty much out by the time crews arrived.  Frewsburg volunteers were joined by Kiantone, Busti, Lakewood, Falconer and Kennedy crews... and, the county's Hazardous Materials Team.  No injuries were reported.


Borrello introduces legislation to put moratorium on Wind Turbine construction on Lakes Erie and Ontario...
Local State Senator George Borrello has introduced legislation to place a moratorium on the building or placing of wind turbines on bodies of freshwater in New York State.  Borrello says he drafted the bill to protect freshwater lakes from becoming industrialized, adding that Governor Andrew Cuomo and his allies in the state legislature want to allow such turbines in the waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.  He says that will disturb the lake beds, and threaten their ecosystems.  Borrello... a Republican from Sunset Bay... says most Western New York residents want to protect the region's natural resources, and that's why he's introduced the measure.


Midnight curfew on NYS bars and restaurants to be lifted next month...
New York state will be lifting it's Midnight curfew on food and beverage services beginning in mid-May.  Governor Andrew Cuomo's office made the announcement... just before the state legislature was expected to take up legislation to end the restrictions.  The outdoor dining curfew is to end on May 17... while the one for indoor dining areas will end on May 31.  The governor also announced on that the 1 a.m. curfew for catered events where attendees have provided proof of vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test result will be lifted beginning May 17, with the curfew for all catered events set to be lifted May 31.
  
 

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WJTN Headlines for Wed., Apr. 28, 2021

Eleven new COVID-19 cases, with one death, reported in county Tuesday...
There are 11 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County over the past day... along with one new death.  That raises the number of deaths since the pandemic began to 148.  The county Health Department says there were three new cases in Jamestown and Fredonia... bringing the total number to 8,866.  Officials say that 98 cases are now active... and, 12 of those are hospitalized.  The Health Department adds that 8,620 cases have now recovered... and, the seven-day infection rate is down to 1.4-percent.


County IDA distributes third and final round of CARES Act Loans...
The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency has now doled out the remaining $2.2-million of the $10.5-million it received last year in federal CARES Act funding.  IDA Chief Executive Officer Mark Geise says the revolving loan fund was set up to provide capital -- in the form of low-interest loans -- to both businesses and non-profit organizations to help them through the pandemic shut-down.  Geise credited his staff's efforts to provide more than 50 entities with loans to help add upwards of 130 new jobs... and, retain more than 2,000 others.  He says the U.S. Economic Development Administration praised them for being able to dole out the funding in 9 month, because they wanted it completed within two-years.  Geise says this final round of loans helped "6 or 7" loans that were approved at Tuesday morning's IDA Board meeting.  Geise says the loans are given out at 2.2-percent interest... and, the terms are for seven-years and 10-years.  The $10.5-million was awarded early last September by the EDA to establish a new revolving loan fund. 


Lakewood lawmakers approve 2021-22 budget that includes 26-cent per $1,000 rate tax increase...
The Lakewood Village Board has a new budget in place that increases the tax rate by 26-cents per $1,000 assessed value over last year.  Mayor Randy Holcomb initially proposed a 22-cent increase... but, says two key factors boosted spending by another $11,000, bringing the final budget to about $3.86-million.  It was approved unanimously during Monday night's village board meeting.  Holcomb says the main reason is several assessments have been drastically reduced, or are gone because some property has become tax exempt.  The first-term Republican also says there are several pandemic-related costs that aren't going away soon.  With the changes... he says the new village tax rate will be $8.16 per $1,000 assessed value.


Fredonia Village Board approves budget with smaller increase...
The Fredonia Village Board has passed a revised 2021-2022 budget that features a significantly smaller property tax hike than what was initially proposed in March.  The revised spending plan, unanimously approved during a special meeting Monday of the panel... features a 1.4-percent tax increase that brings the property tax rate to $35.69 per $1,000, an increase of 50-cents. Trustee Roger Britz, Jr. applauded the board for reducing Mayor Doug Essek's initial proposed tax increase of 17-percent.  The changes also include a 38-percent cut in the salary for the fire chief, a smaller possible pay raise for the police chief, and a 16-percent increase for a new personnel specialist position.  Essek questioned those changes... saying most Americans don't want to see money taken away from police and public safety.  


Borrello blames loss of Congressional seat on "damaging policies..."
Chautauqua County's representative in the New York State Senate says Monday's report from the U.S. Census Bureau that the state will lose one seat in Congress is the result of "damaging policies and laws" passed by the state over the last 10 years.  Sunset Bay Republican George Borrello says the report confirms that the state's outmigration is continuing.  Borrello is also accusing the state's Democratic leaders of trying to manipulate legislative seats on both the federal and state levels so they can force bad policies down the throats of state residents. 


NYS eases more COVID-19 restrictions...
The governor says more people in New York will be able to attend outdoor sports games, concerts, gyms, casinos and work offices starting in mid-May.  Gov. Andrew Cuomo says that large-scale outdoor event venues can operate at 33-percent of capacity starting May 19 for professional and collegiate sports and live entertainment events.  That's up from the current 20-percent.  Cuomo cited the state's progress in reducing COVID-19 infections as reason for lifting restrictions.  New York had among the nation's highest rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases this past Winter, and infection rates remained at high levels throughout February and March.  Cases and hospitalizations have been steadily dropping statewide in April.


RTPI plannig to reopen soon with work near complete on fire damage...
Work on rebuilding the fire damaged Roger Tory Peterson Institute is nearing a conclusion.  The Director of Development and Communications, George Harper, says the chandeliers and wood floor are back in the lobby... with only a few other things yet to finish before the scheduled reopening on May 29.  An electrical malfunction caused a fire on Dec. 3 that led to minor structural damage... and significant water issues... at the institute's distinctive home on Curtis Street in Jamestown. The building's been closed to the public ever since.  Harper promises a party when they open back up... with details to follow in a couple of weeks.  Harper spoke earlier this week in conjunction with the 87th anniversary of the first publication of Roger Tory Peterson's 'A Field Guide to the Birds.'

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WJTN Headlines for Tues., Apr. 27, 2021

Celoron man arrested for interfering with firefighters trying to put out fire in his house...
A Celoron man has now been arrested for allegedly interferring with firefighters while they were battling a mid-evening fire Monday that damaged the man's house.  Celoron Fire Chief Jordan Bailey says crews were called to the scene at 44 Duquesne St. around 8 p.m.  Bailey says they found heavy smoke coming from the eaves and back of the structure... and the Battalion Coordinator called in a second alarm.  He says they found fire in the basement and first floor, but, knocked the flames down fairly quickly.  Bailey says they called in five mutual aid companies to help with the fire and overhaul of the scene.  He says they had no major issues fighting the blaze.  However... he says the homeowner -- identified by Ellicott Police as 53 year-old Todd Rosendahl -- was arrested.  Police say Rosendahl entered the house while firefighters were trying to douse the fire... and, ripped off one volunteer's mask, and damaged the firefighter's equipment.  Police charged him with fourth-degree criminal mischief and obstructing firefighting operations.  He's to appear in Ellicott Town Court at a later date.  Celoron was assisted at the scene by Jamestown, Lakewood, Busti, and Kiantone at the scene... along with the Chautauqua County FAST Team.  No one was hurt.  County fire investigators determined the fire originated in and around an unmaintained wood stove that was surrounded by combustible material.  Due to the damage the house was condemned. 


City Council approves new, three-year, retroactive contract with firefighter's union...
The Jamestown City Council has unanimously approved a new, three-year agreement with the Jamestown Professional Firefighters Local 137.  That's the final city employees union to get a contract in place that runs through the end of 2020.  That from Mayor eddie Sundquist... who detailed the new agreement during last night's Council voting session.  Sundquist says there was a lot of "give and take" during negotiations... but, adds he's pleased the city has this behind it.  He says it brings the JPFF "in line" with what the rest of the city's unions receive.  However... Sundquist did say that his negotiating team was still working with each union to finalize agreements for 2021 -- and beyond.  He adds it includes 2-percent wage hikes each year 2018 through 2020... and, increases the employee contribution for health care from 19 to 21-percent.  However... he says that will be going forward.  The new contract... which was already approved by the firefighter's union... was approved 8-to-0.  Councilwoman Kim Ecklund abstained because her husband is a retired city firefighter.


Fredonia Village Board approves budget with only a 1.4-percent tax increase...
Fredonia village trustees on Monday passed a revised 2021-2022 budget that features a significantly smaller property tax hike than what was initially proposed in March.  The revised spending plan, unanimously approved during a special meeting of the Village Board, features a 1.4-percent tax increase that brings the property tax rate to $35.69 per $1,000, an increase of 50 cents. Trustee Roger Britz, Junior applauded the board for reducing Mayor Doug Essek's initial proposed tax increase of 17-percent.  Britz says he's proud of the work they did.  The changes also include a 38-percent cut in the salary for the fire chief, a smaller possible pay raise for the police chief, and a 16-percent increase for a new personnel specialist position.  Essek questioned those changes at a time where the majority of Americans don't want money taken away from police.  Trustees voted 4-1 in favor of creating the personnel specialist position, with James Lynden casting the lone "no" vote based on the salary of $52,000.


County reports 33 new cases of COVID-19 from past weekend...
There are just 33 new cases of the COVID-19 virus being reported in Chautauqua County from the past weekend... and, the infection rate is back below 2-percent.  The county's Health Department says 11 of the new cases were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... and, six were in Dunkirk.  Officials say there have now been 8,855 total cases... and, 109 are currently active.  There are 12 people hospitalized... and, the number of deaths remains 147.  Officials say 8,599 cases have now recovered... and, the infection rate is 1.6-percent.


Peterson Guide celebrates 87th Anniversary...
Today marks the 87th anniversary of the first publication of Roger Tory Peterson’s ‘Field Guide to the Birds.’  And George Harper, Director of Development and Communications at the Peterson Institute suggests what people should do to celebrate.  Harper says "grab your field guide" and go outside and see those birds in the guide.  The field guide was an instant hit in 1934, and remains popular in its 7th edition today.  Harper credits the guide’s success to the fact that it features Peterson’s distinctive art work… not photographs or wordy descriptions.  Weekly bird walks are held Wednesdays at 9 a.m. at the Peterson Institute on Curtis Street in Jamestown.  Register at the RTPI website. 


NY to lose one Congressional seat after Census numbers are revealed...
Census data released Monday means that New York will lose one seat in Congress as a result of national population shifts.  The state's delegation will shrink from 27 to 26 House members.  New York is one of seven states losing a member of congress as a result of the 2020 U-S Census.  ABC reports the difference between 26 and 27 representatives, though, was 89 people. 

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WJTN Headlines for Mon., Apr. 26, 2021

City man jailed following alleged assault with a cane...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly hitting another person in the head several times with a metal cane on Fulton Street last weekend.  City police were called to the scene shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday... and, spoke with the victim and other witnesses.  They also viewed a video of the alleged incident... and, arrested 38 year-old William Morse for second-degree assault.  Morse was taken to the city jail pending arraignment.


NYS among those states restarting J&J COVID vaccine use...
With a green light from federal health officials, many states -- including New York -- resumed use of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine on Saturday.  Among the venues where it's being deployed is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where free vaccinations were available to anyone 18 or older.  Among the other states ordering or recommending a resumption, along with Indiana and New York... are Virginia, Missouri, Michigan, Arizona and Tennessee.  Those moves came swiftly after U.S. health officials said last Friday evening that they were lifting an 11-day pause on vaccinations using the J&J vaccine. 


Jamestown lawmakers to vote on second JPD officer going through drug recognition training...
City lawmakers in Jamestown will vote tonight on sending a second police officer to be trained as a drug recognition expert.  Last week... the Finance and Public Safety Committees approved moving the measure forward to allow Alexis Carlson attend DRE courses in Buffalo... now through the end of the month.  Police Chief Timothy Jackson says there are actually two parts to the training.  Jackson says the coursework is being done in Buffalo, and the practical training will be in Florida.  Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says the timing is right with the state now legalizing recreational marijuana use.  Ecklund says the training had previously been postponed due to the COVID Pandemic.  Currently... the Jamestown Police Department has one drug recognition expert amongst it's ranks.  Tonight's Council voting session begins at 7:30 p.m., and, can be followed on-line at Jamestownny.gov/live.


Quattrone says Sheriff's Office making adjustments in response to legalization of small amounts of marijuana...
Law enforcement agencies across New York state are having to "adjust on the fly" with the legalization of recreational marijuana.  That's especially the case when someone whose "high" drives a motor vehicle.  Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the legislation on March 31... allowing anyone 21 or older to possess and use of up to three ounces.  However... Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone says it's effects on drivers is still being looked at.  Quattrone says the drug can still have lingering effects for several days once the "high" is gone.  Right now... he says there are more questions about the new law than answers... and, adds they are still learning about everything that's included in this new law.  Some of those provisions won't take effect for another 18 months.  Quattrone says some of their changes include the approach taken to traffic stops involving motorists impaired by marijuana.  He says he has directed his department to focus on 'impairment indicators' when making arrests.  Quattrone says drug recognition expert officers are in short supply here... and the legislation does not provide funding to local departments to train more DRE's to help with enforcement.


Borrello and Goodell slam "incentives not to work" in NYS and nation...
How to get people past ‘incentives not to work’ was addressed late last week at the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce ‘Zoom’ legislative breakfast.  Local State Senator George Borrello, a Republican, said, at the beginning of the pandemic extra federal unemployment assistance helped keep people safe.  But now... he believes those dollars are keeping people from trying for jobs.  He says Wells Enterprises in Dunkirk is offering $2,500 to $5,000 bonues to get people to be shift-workers.  Local Assemblyman Andy Goodell, also a member of the GOP, told the chamber the additional federal unemployment benefit of $600, now $300 a week… is having a profound effect on ‘entry level’ workers.  Goodell says "workers are smart... and, not really interested in taking a significant cut in what they're getting and leave their kids at home and work."  He adds the added federal help will fade away in September, and he’s working to establish a database of resources for what jobs… and training… will be available at that time.  


COVID19 Heroes announced for Week 11...
Eight people have been nominated as COVID-19 Heroes of the Week in Chautauqua County for the eleventh week of the program.  That from County Executive P.J. Wendel... who says they include Brenda Leone who has worked for 40 years at the WCA Home... Jennifer Phillips with Chautauqua Nursing and Rehabilitation... and David Burlee from Cummin's Jamestown Engine Plant.  Others include National Guard Fire Lieutenant Malysa Battaglia... Sean Jones from the Mental Health Association... and, Barbara Block from Brooks Memorial Hospital.  The two remaining are Kathleen Webber who is a phlebotomist... and, Stacey Kucharski with Chautauqua County Children and Family Services.  While nominations have now closed... Wendel says "we continue to recognize the selfless work of people in our communities across Chautauqua County."


 

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WJTN Headlines for Fri., Apr. 23, 2021

Former Ironworkers union treasurer pleads guilty to embezzlement...
A Celoron man who was once the treasurer for Ironworkers Local 470 has pleaded guilty to stealing funds from the union during a seven-year period... beginning in May of 2011.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Junior announced today that 40 year-old Scott Russell Merritt entered the plea before U.S. District Court Judge John Sinatra, Jr. to theft from a labor union.  Prosecutors say during the time he was treasurer... Merritt embezzled $50,850, and wrote union checks to pay various personal expenses.  He's to be sentenced in August... and, faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 


Quattrone says efforts to recruit minorities for police officers slow to begin...
With the guilty verdicts in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin... area police agencies are moving forward with the plans they filed with the state under Governor Andrew Cuomo's State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative.  As a result, Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone says many departments are looking to recruit more non-white officers.  But, Quattrone says it's been a difficult finding any candidates.  Quattrone says the "national backlash" is also making it hard to not only recruit, but, finding qualified candidates.  He says not many candidates have signed up for a Civil Service exam that will be given next month.  But he's hopeful recruitment efforts will yield more success as the area continues to re-open from the pandemic. 


County reports 27 New COVID-19 Cases, and one new death, Thursday...
There are 27 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus being reported in Chautauqua County the past day... including one new death.  The county's Health Department says there have now been 8,809 total cases... and, 147 deaths.  Officials say 190 cases are currently active and 7 of those are hospitalized.  Six of the new cases were in Jamestown... and, 4 in Falconer.  The infection rate is 2.1-percent... and, 8,472 cases have now recovered.


BPU to begin distributing new garbage collection containers to customers starting May 10...
A major change that many customers of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities' Solid Waste division have been calling for is being realized later this Spring.  BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says new, standard garbage containers will be delivered to residents homes... beginning the week of May 10.  Leathers says they are purchasing 14,000 containers at a cost of about $850,000 to $900,000 so all their customers have one.  He says the BPU will also putting tipping units onto their garbage trucks.  Leathers says the BPU's Solid Waste Division has been working on the program for about two-years.  He says it will allow customers to abide by the city code... which requires residents to put garbage curbside in a container with a lid on it.  He estimates about 60-percent of their customers don't have that.  Leathers says the city will defer some of the cost through a SMART City's grant.  He says the new containers will be able to hold about "7 or 8" 13-gallon tall kitchen trash bags.  The program officials begins July 1.  For more information... call 661-1680.  Leathers made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


City school district hands out NYSSBA Awards for two programs, board member...
Two creative programs put together by students and teachers in the Jamestown Public Schools have been given awards by the New York State School Boards Association.  The city School Boards representative on the state board... Christine Schnars, and Superintendent Kevin Whitaker... made the presentations at this week's board meeting.  High School Band Director Megan Murray... and three Middle School music teachers... were recognized for their Student "Taps" Performance last Veteran's Day.  Murray says the middle school trumpeters were recruited to play taps outside their homes, across the city, at the same time the high school trumpter played taps for the traditional program at Third and Main Streets.  The JHS Band traditionally plays the National Anthem and a trumpeter plays Taps at the city's Veteran's Day observance at Third and Main Streets.  Murray says, this year, middle school trumpeters played outside their homes so more residents could hear Taps being played... and, socially distance during the pandemic.  In addition to Marc Lentch, Carrie Pawelski and Gina Wakefield... NYSSBA also honored the Bush Elementary School's Parade Balloons Writing Initiative.  Fourth-grade teacher Christin Hockenberry and Technology Integration Specialist Jason Kathman were recognized for their work.  In addition... the state School Boards Association also presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to board member Nina Karbacka.  She was recognized for her work on the board, and for taking part in NYSSBA's several leadership development programs.


Dunkirk man arrested after car hit's house on Urban Road...
A vehicle that State Police say was traveling too fast for conditions, struck a house on Urban Road in the town of Dunkirk Wednesday night.  Troopers say the car apparently went out of control about 8 p.m., and, struck a parked vehicle before hitting the house.  An occupant inside the house was not hurt.  The Observer reports the driver, 24-year-old Brandon Perry of Dunkirk, was transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.  Perry has been charged with second-degree aggravated unlicensed operator, speed not reasonable and prudent, failure to keep right, moving from lane unsafely and no seat belt.


 


 

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WJTN Headlines for Thurs., Apr. 22, 2021

City firefighters able to confine fire on Myrtle St. to one room...
Quick work by Jamestown firefighters prevented serious damage to a one-family home on the city's southside... just a few blocks away from Tuesday afternoon's fire.  City Fire Lieutenant Shawn Shilling says crews were called to the scene at 62 Myrtle Street shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday... and, found fire coming from one room of the house.  Shilling says the lone occupant had returned home, and smelled smoke inside.  No one was hurt.  Shilling says the fire was knocked down within 20 minutes... and, crews were at the scene about an hour.  The cause is under investigation.  The scene was just a few blocks away from the call at 33 Myrtle St. on Tuesday.


Gillibrand says Chauvin verdict can be a turning point for racial justice...
New York's junior U.S. Senator says the guilty verdicts in the Derek Chauvin trial can be a turning point for racial justice in the United States.  During a Zoom conference with media from across the state Wednesday afternoon... Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand the fact what happened was caught on video tape made it unmistakable what happened to George Floyd last May in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  She says that trial represented a lot of "hope, fear and anxiety for the whole country..." and the jury verdict provided a small measure of justice and accountability.  Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts he had been charged with by the jury in the case.  However... while strides have been made in the past few decades... Gillibrand says there's still a long way to go.  She says this is "just the beginning of a very long march."


Head of Jackson Center weighs in on verdict in Chauvin trial...
A sense of relief is palpable across the United States after a jury found former Minnesota Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in killing George Floyd.  But... when it comes to what's next, the reaction is more hesitant.  The exective director of the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown -- Kristan McMahon -- agrees this can be a first step in accountability.  McMahon says that's important, and was key to the Nuremburg War Crimes trials after World War II.  She says the system of policing in the nation that needs "serious consideration and serious review."  Some say they are "hopeful," pointing to the protests and sustained outcry as signs of change to come, in policing and otherwise.  Others are more circumspect, wondering if the one longed-for outcome will really be the start of something better in a country fraught with a history of racial injustice, especially when it comes to the treatment of Black people at the hands of law enforcement.


Justice Coalition working behind the scenes with local officials, and police...
The work of the Jamestown Justice Coalition has continued... often behind the scenes... since it was formed after the George Floyd murder nearly a year ago.  Coalition coordinator, Justin Hubbard, says the local effort has been marked by cooperation... not confrontation.  Hubbard says "we're all one community, we're all Jamestown... we're all Chautauqua County."  Hubbard is proud that no coalition events or rallies have degenerated into violence, vandolism, destruction or looting.  One of the main areas of focus today for the justice coalition involves the Jamestown Public Schools, and getting the Red Raider mascot changed in deferance to Native Americans.  Hubbard says that issue was brought before the city's new Human Rights Commission just last week.


Gillibrand introduces "End Outsourcing Act..."
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has introduced legislation she says would use the U.S. tax code and federal grants, loans and contracts to stop companies from sending jobs overseas.  The Democrat announced Wednesday afternoon her "End Outsourcing Act..." which has also been introduced in the House of Representatives.  Gillibrand used the example of several companies... including one in the Southern Tier -- Siemens -- which is closing it's Olean plant and moving jobs or eliminating 500 jobs.  She says her plan would incentivize manufacturers to either keep jobs here... or move them back to the U.S.  She says the government would have to prioritize awarding federal grants and loans to companies that employ American workers.  Gillibrand adds the legislation would also require companies that have outsourced jobs within a five-year period to pay back federal tax incentives and grants from facilities closed due to outsourcing.  One reporter, though, questioned how the legislation would help, because many companies say they are having trouble attracting workers back because of how much they receiving on unemployment.  Gillibrand says she has heard that concern... and says she's "look into it."


Chautauqua County sees 26 New COVID-19 cases reported Wednesday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 26 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the past day... but, officials say the number of active cases has fallen.  They say the new cases brings the total to 8,783... while the most cases reported Wednesday was seven in Fredonia.  Officials say there are now 188 active cases... and, 12 are hospitalized.  Officials say 8,449 cases have now recovered.  The number of deaths remains 146.

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News Bulletin for Wed., Apr. 21, 2021

Measurable snow reported on April 21st in WNY, and Chautauqua County...
The overnight snow storm that moved through western New York and Chautauqua County didn't produce as much snow as predicted... but, did force one school district to close today.  That was in Silver Creek... where just over 2-and-a-half inches of the white stuff fell.  That was the most in the county... while there was an inch-and-a-half reported in both Gerry and Fredonia.  The most snowfall in the region was in Williamsville -- near Buffalo -- which reported 5 inches of snow.


McMahon says verdict in Chauvin trial is good first step in accountability...
A sense of relief is palpable across the United States after a jury found former Minnesota Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in killing George Floyd.  But... when it comes to what's next, the reaction is more hesitant.  The exective director of the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown -- Kristan McMahon -- agrees this can be a first step in accountability.  McMahon says that was the major underpinning of the Nuremburg War Crimes trials after World War II.  However... she also feels there's a "long way to go."  McMahon says the system of policing in the nation that needs "serious consideration and serious review."  Some say they are "hopeful," pointing to the protests and sustained outcry as signs of change to come, in policing and otherwise.  


Head of Jamestown Justice Coalition agrees verdict is a step forward...
The coordinator of the Jamestown Justice Coalition, Justin Hubbard, was ‘filled with emotion’ as the verdicts were announced Tuesday in trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer, Derek Chauvin.  Hubbard says when you go through a year like we saw, there are a "lot of emotions connected to it."  The death of George Floyd in May of 2020 led to the creation of the local justice coalition... and, a series of rallies at Dow Park downtown.  Hubbard emphasizes that the jury’s decision in the Chauvin trial is just a single step forward... because it's up against dozens and hundreds of other names that did not see justice. 


Two new COVID deaths, 13 new cases reported in county Tuesday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting a drop in the number of new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus... but, also report two new deaths over the past day.  Health officials say that brings the number since last Friday to 4 after going several weeks without any.  There have now been 146 total fatalities from the virus.  Seven of the new cases are from Jamestown... and, there are now a total of 8,757.  Officials say there are 192 active cases, and 12 are hospitalized.  They add there have now been 8,419 recovered cases.


Child Care entities hoping federal funding comes quickly to help keep them going... 
The availability of affordable child care has been severely impacted by the pandemic, but federal funds will be directed through the new state budget to help address the issue.  Beth Starks, Early Childhood Education Coordinator in Chautauqua County, says the funding will help in a couple of ways.  Starks says families will be able to obtain the child care credit to help them find, and afford the care.  Starks, an assistant Professor at Jamestown Community College, says that some of the funding is also being directed for child care facilities, many that were adversely affected by the pandemic.  She says the industry wasn't that well funded before the pandemic.  State officials say the new budget will be directing more than $2-billion in federal child care resources to expand availability, quality and affordability of child care across New York.


Two treated for smoke inhalation after Myrtle Street fire in Jamestown...
An apartment house fire on Jamestown's southside Tuesday afternoon extensively damaged the structure... and, sent two residents to the hospital.  City Fire Battalion Chief Roger Sigular says crews were called to the multi-unit home at 33 Myrtle St. about 12:15 p.m.  On arrival... he says firefighters had to rescue an occupant from the second-floor apartment... and, two others on the first-floor needed to go to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of some smoke inhalation.  Sigular says there were a number of items that hampered firefighters from finding the door to the basement.  But... he says they got the blaze knocked down fairly quickly once they did.  An off-duty shift was called in to assist... and, crews were at the scene until about 3 p.m.  No firefighter injuries were reported.  The cause was a malfunctioning gas heater in the home's basement.


City of Jamestown now looking at budget surplus...
After staring at a potential $1-million shortfall for nearly a year... the city of Jamestown is now looking at a nearly $1-million budget surplus.  That from City Comptroller Ryan Thompson... who told City Council Monday that Jamestown took in nearly $607,000 less in revenues in 2020.  However... Thompson says they also saved $1.6-million in expenses.  He says one exception, though, was in salaries for the city's two biggest departments -- police and fire.  Until approval of the federal American Rescue Plan... the city was looking at a 20-percent loss of state aid.  However... with funding coming to New York state... local governments have now been made whole on their aid payments.  Thompson says the city was also helped by $310,000 more than was anticipated in sales tax revenues.  Spending in city government was cut about $1.1-million early last year when the COVID-19 shut-down began.  The unaudited surplus is $975,000.

 

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WJTN Headlines for Tues., Apr. 20, 2021

Western New York under Winter Weather Advisory starting late tonight...
There could be some significant snowfall in Chautauqua County from late night through mid-day tomorrow as a late April storm system makes it's way north and east.  That from Forecaster Aaron Reynolds from the National Weather Service in Buffalo... who says we're under a Winter Weather Advisory, starting at Midnight tonight.  Reynolds says low pressure is moving in, and that will push colder air into our area, and change the rain we've been receiving to all snow.  He says that advisory will continue through 2 p.m. tomorrow... and we will see the most snow of anyone in the region -- some 3 to 6 inches.  Reynolds says most of the snow should taper off by 11 a.m.  The expected high tomorrow will only be 35-degrees.  However... there will still likely be some snow falling through mid-day Thursday.  The complete forecast follows our News.


Brackman confirmed, sworn-in as new member of City Council...
A long-time member of the Jamestown Planning Commission has been sworn-in to represent Ward-Three on the City Council.  Democrat Regina Brackman was given the official oath of office by City Clerk, Jennifer Williams after Council voted unanimously to confirm her appointment.  After taking her oath, Brackman was welcomed by council members.  She was appointed by Mayor Eddie Sundquist, to fill the vacancy left by the untimely death of third-term Councilwoman Vickye James.  James died suddenly at her home late last month.  Brackman will also fill James' seat on the Council's Housing Committee, which will now be chaired by Councilwoman Marie Carrubba.


County reports 93 New confirmed cases of COVID-19 from last weekend...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 93 new cases of the COVID-19 virus over the past three-days... along with two deaths.  Those deaths are the first in the county in several weeks.  With the new cases... officials say there have now been a total of 8,744 cases... and, 144 deaths.  The health department reports there were 36 confirmed cases in Jamestown, and 10 others in Dunkirk.  There are currently 209 active cases... and, 12 of those are hospitalized.  There have now been 8,391 cases that have recovered... and the infection rate is up to 2.4-percent.


Cuomo points out that Western New York has highest COVID rate in the state...
Western New York has had the highest overall infection rate over the past few weeks in the state... and, the start to this week is no different.  While Chautauqua County is still under 2.5-percent... the region's rate is 4.78-percent.  That drew the scrutiny of Governor Andrew Cuomo during today's COVID-19 update.  Cuomo says there's a simple answer to why... and, that is individuals not following protocols and health guidelines.  Cuomo noted that while Western New York's infection rate is 4.78 percent... next door... the Southern Tier counties are at .86%.  He says indivdual, family, and community infection rates are all intertwined... and, will impact local infecton rates.  In addition... with the state-wide COVID Infection rate below 3-percent now... Governor Cuomo has announced the further reopening of a number of venues in the near future.  During his COVID Press briefing... Cuomo said the biggest is the further reopening of two different entities... one being museums and the other, zoos... opening at 50-percent beginning next Monday.  He says they also plan to allow movie theaters to reopen at 33-percent starting next Monday, Apr. 26.  He says large indoor sports arenas can reopen to 25-percent starting on May 19.


DiNapoli's office calls for Cuomo book deal investigation...
New York's comptroller has asked the state attorney general's office to launch a criminal investigation into whether the governor used state resources to write and promote his book on leadership in the COVID-19 pandemic.  State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office released Monday the April 13th letter, which authorized State Attorney General Letitia James to investigate whether the process of writing and promoting the book violated state laws.  James' office said it received the referral letter from the state comptroller but didn't comment further.  The governor said Monday that he asked some people who he mentioned in the book to ``review'' it.


Dunkirk fire, and police respond to natural gas leak late Monday morning...
Dunkirk fire crews, with the help of local police, responded to a report of a large natural gas link leak in the area of Brigham Road and Veterans Drive late Monday morning.  Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano says Dunkirk High School and several nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution after the call came in about 11 a.m.  Orolano praised the teamwork involved with police, fire, the Public Works Department, National Fuel, and the school district.  National Fuel Gas crews were able to shut off the break, and made repairs.  Fire officials say a third-party contractor hit the line while digging.  There were no injuries.  Brigham Road between Lucas Avenue and West 6th Street was closed several hours while repair work was completed.

 

 

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WJTN Headlines for Mon., Apr. 19, 2021

Clymer man faces DWI charges following head-on crash in town of Clymer...
A Clymer man faces drunk driving charges following a two-car, head-on crash late last Friday night at an intersection in the town of Clymer.  Sheriff's officers say they were called to the scene at the intersection of Routes 426 and 474 shortly before 11 p.m.  Deputies say they interviewed all the occupants... and, found one passenger involved had minor injuries.  She was taken to Corry Memorial Hospital for treatment.  Officers say they found that 25 year-old Zane Tucker -- one of the drivers involved -- was intoxicated.  Tucker was arrested on charges including Aggravated DWI, DWI, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle.... and, failure to stop at a stop sign.  He was later released with appearance tickets for Mina Town Court at a later date.


City woman arrested for alleged Meth possession during traffic stop...
A woman from Jamestown is accused of being in possession of methamphetamine following a traffic stop on Lakeview Ave. last week.  State Police in Jamestown say 29 year-old Sarah Fowler was a passenger in the car, which was pulled over last Wednesday.  Troopers say they found a container of meth in Fowler's possession, along with tin foil with burnt meth on it, and a scale that had white powder residue.  Fowler was issued appearance tickets for City Court on charges of seventh-degree criminal possession of a Controlled Substance... and, second-degree criminally using Drug Paraphernalia.


Cuomo highlights legislation providing low, and no-cost Internet access to low-income New Yorkers...
The "Connect New York" bill signed late last week by Governor Andrew Cuomo is designed to bridge the digital divide for New York's poor families.  During a signing ceremony in Buffalo Friday... Cuomo said those families, who are receiving some form of public assistance, will be able to get Internet service for $15 a month from their provider.  The governor says the legislation covers all providers doing business in the state... including Spectrum, Windstream, and Verizon, to name a few.  Cuomo announced that the COVID-19 Pandemic had revealed how many families are unable to obtain broadband internet service for school, telemedicine... or finding a job.  He also announced a public private partnership that will allow families that can't afford the $15 monthly cost to get it free.  Cuomo says up to 50,000 students and their families will be eligible for the free Internet... which will be funded through Schmidt Futures and the Ford Foundation.  Cuomo also announced Friday that he was appointing a commission to study places where lack of broadband is a problem.


Friday's signing ceremony in Buffalo Cuomo's latest with no press allowed...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has lately shied away from coming face to face with reporters as sexual harassment allegations against him have mounted.  The Democratic governor gained national attention last spring for televised news briefings at which he answered barrages of questions from journalists.  But... the Democrat hasn't had an in-person news conference since December.  That's when he switched to interacting with the media only via telephone and Zoom conference calls.  The governor's sudden refusal to allow reporters to freely question him has rankled media outlets.  The governor says it is a needed pandemic safety precaution.


Fredonia man announces his candidacy for Chautauqua County Clerk...
A political newcomer from Fredonia has announced that he is running for Chautauqua County Clerk this Fall as a Democrat.  David Salley is a computer science professional... who says he has the skill and experience to work with current employees to meet customer demands at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Mayville, Jamestown and Dunkirk... direct efficiencies at the County Court House... and, work with the Department of Weights and Measures.  Salley says "it's all about the employees we have working now and me providing full time support and leadership so they can each deliver the best services possible."  He says he's done a wide variety of programming applications... and, started with "Y2K" programming for Plantrol Systems of Westfield and, most recently, database report writing for the Seneca Nation Medical Center. 


County's Office for Aging goes through name change, getting back to more normal operations during COVID...
The Chautauqua County Office for the Aging had to curtail it's programming for local seniors during the pandemic... but, beginning to do more as people get vaccinated.  The department also has a new name: the Office for Aging Services.  Director Mary Ann Spanos says it better fits their mission.  Spanos says they didn't want to change the name too much, but, it emphasizes the fact that they and their partner agencies provide services to the county's aging population.  During the height of the pandemic... Spanos says a number of activites... including Chautauqua Adult Day Services had to shut-down.  They also worked with Meals on Wheels of the Jamestown area to put protocols in place to allow meals to be delivered to shut-ins.  Spanos made her comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Prude Grand Jury told by expert that officers didn't do anything wrong...
Newly released transcripts show that prosecutors overseeing a grand jury investigation into the death of Daniel Prude last year in Rochester, undercut the case for criminal charges with testimony from a medical expert who said police officers who held Prude to the ground didn't do anything wrong.  The grand jury voted 15-to-5 not to charge the three officers involved in Prude's restraint.  Prude stopped breathing as officers held him down with a hood over his face.  New York Attorney General Letitia James had said in February, in announcing the grand jury's decision, that the state had put on the best case it could.


 

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WJTN Headlines for Fri., Apr. 16, 2021

City parolee arrested after allegedly firing shot-gun inside apartment...     
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly firing off a gunshot inside his eastside apartment, and the round went through the floor into another apartment.  Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers were called to 509 East Fifth St. about 10:30 a.m.  Wednesday for a gunshot complaint.  Police say they called 37 year-old Anthony Camarata, a New York State Parolee, out of his apartment, and a search warrant was obtained by police, and the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force.  Police began searching for the shot-gun involved... and, used surveillance video in the area to locate the weapon on a neighbor's porch.  Camarata was arrested for first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and third-degree criminal mischief.  He was take to the city jail pending arraignment. 


Washington Middle School student being evaluated after "despondent student" incident...
No one was hurt during a "despondent student" situation at Jamestown's Washington Middle School yesterday morning.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson confirms that officers were called to the scene on Buffalo Street just after 9 a.m., and, located the troubled student.  Samuelson says no one was hurt... and, officers were able to secure the student safely.  Jamestown School officials say the situation was under control by shortly before 10 a.m.  Samuelson says the student was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for a mental health evaluation.  He says the school district notified parents and staff about the incident.


Wendel addressed vaccine hesitancy in the wake of COVID case uptick...
There appears to still be come hesitancy about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in Chautauqua County.  County Executive P-J Wendel was recently asked about the issue... and, he confirmed there are some groups that are resistant to getting the vaccine.  With that, Wendel says they are stepping up their outreach into those communities.  He says some people may be waiting for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, but that version remains on pause.  The county official says Moderna has been in greater use in Chautauqua County than the other vaccines.  The county Health Department says there were 49 new, confirmed cases of the virus over the past day... with 19 of those in Jamestown.  That brings the local total number to 8,621.  Officials say 212 cases are now active... and, 13 are hospitalized.  The infection rate is now at 2.3-percent.


Cuomo says bars and restaurants will be able to stay open until Midnight, starting next Monday...
Governor Andrew Cuomo says New York will push back closing time at bars and restaurants an extra hour to midnight... starting next Monday.  It's the latest change as the state continues to relax coronavirus-related restrictions.  The governor also announced during a telephone briefing Wednesday that auto and horse racing events will be able to accommodate spectators at 20-percent capacity starting April 22.  Restaurants had pleaded for the 11 p.m. curfew to be lifted, saying that pandemic restrictions were hurting their business. 


JCC's Workforce Development Program gets $541,000 grant to boost advanced manufacturing training...
The Jamestown Community College Foundation is one of four not-for-profit organizations to receive funding from the third round of the Western New York Workforce Development Challenge.  Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office says the grant will be administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.  Cuomo says the $541,000 award will fund SUNY JCC's short-term advanced manufacturing training program to prepare individuals for jobs in advanced manufacturing.  The Vice-President of JCC's Workforce Readiness Program, Holgar Ekanger, says the focus will be on two programs.  The first is CNC Machining, and the other is Maintenance for middle-skill/technician.  Ekanger adds the program will also provide for transporation, and child care... if the students need it.  The programs are being offered in Chautauqua, Cattaragus and Allegany Counties.  Ekanger says the 8-to-10 week programs will being shortly... and, include immersive training and trainee supports, preparing individuals for immediate entry into the workforce.  Empire State Development and the Ralph Wilson Foundation are also involved in the workforce challenge.


Jamestown receiving additional $1.22-million in HOME Funding from HUD to help deal with affordable housing, and homeless issues... 
The city of Jamestown will be receiving $1.22-million dollars from the American Rescue Plan to help increase affordable housing... and, address homelessness.  The U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development announced late Thursday afternoon that the city would be getting that money from New York's allocation of $464-million.  HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge says this supplimental funding... known as HOME-ARP... will be provided through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program to 651 grantees, including states, insular areas, and local governments.  The largest entity in New York state receiving funding is New York City at just under $270-million.  Nationally... nearly $5-billion is being allocated.


Marvin House in Jamestown reopening...
Jamestown’s historic Marvin House is re-emerging from the pandemic shutdown.  For the first time in over a year, several dozen people gathered for a ‘COVID safe’ lunch at the house Thursday.  They heard about new, original research into the Marvin family, and their home done during the ‘hibernation’ period by architect Marlin Casker.  That information’s been digitally recorded and will be accessible by ‘QR code’ for self tours of the house.  Marvin House member Dottie Maitland… a tour professional… says that kind of event, in a small community, is what tour operators are looking for right now.  The Marvin House will preview the new experience on Saturdays, beginning May 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at $10 per person.

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WJTN Headlines for Thurs., Apr. 15, 2021

"Despondent" student removed from Washington Middle School...
No one was hurt during a "despondent student" situation at Jamestown's Washington Middle School this morning.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson confirms that officers were called to the scene on Buffalo Street just after 9 a.m., and, located the troubled student.  Samuelson says no one was hurt... and, officers were able to secure the student safely.  Jamestown School officials say the situation was under control by shortly before 10 a.m.  Samuelson says the student was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for a mental health evaluation.  He says the school district notified parents and staff about the incident.


Jamestown teen arrested for allegedly setting fires at city restaurant, behind JHS...
A city teen has been arrested for allegedly starting fires inside a northside restaurant... and, behind Jamestown High School last weekend.  City police and fire investigators were called to Fifties Grill and Dairy at 1514 Washington St. this past Sunday night for a fire that started in a bathroom, and partially burned a wall.  Investigators found an incindiary device, and reviewed surveillance video, and identified the suspect as 19 year-old Xavier Guadarrma.  Investigators are also probing a separate incident where a similar device was found on the lawn behind the high school.  Police believe it was left there between last Friday and Monday morning.  That fire caused minor damage to the outside of the building, and a grassy area behind the school.  Guadarrma was also captured on surveillance video during that incident.  He was arrested Tuesday afternoon for first, third and fifth degree arson.  More charges are pending.


Uncle of Jamestown drug trafficking kingpin pleads guilty to helping nephew...
A relative of a known Jamestown drug-trafficking ring-leader has pled guilty to charges for helping his nephew sell large amounts of methamphetamine, and other drugs, in the area.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. Wednesday announced that 53 year-old Garland, also known as "Charlie" Beardsley, entered the plea to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine in Federal Court in Buffalo.  Prosecutors say Charlie Beardsley is the uncle of Rocco Beardsley... and the older Beardsley was an "associate" of his nephew in trafficking meth, heroin, fentanyl, crack cocaine, cocaine, and hydrocodone in the Jamestown area from 2018 through last October.  They add that Rocco Beardsley stored, distributed, and made meth... as well as dealing heroin-and-fentanyl, and other controlled substances at the defendant’s Newland Avenue home.  Earlier this year... a person working with federal investigators bought crystal meth from Rocco Beardsley at the defendant’s residence.  Charges are pending against Rocco Beardsley. 


City officials discuss NYS Recreational Marijuana program, legislation...
City lawmakers in Jamestown will have to decide by the end of the year whether to opt out of New York state's new Cannibus Distribution legislation.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist discussed the new law approved as part of the state's recent budget agreement.  Sundquist says... if the city decides to allow for dispenseries and on-site consumption establishments... they wouldn't have to do anything.  He says if lawmakers decide to opt-out, they would then have to hold a public, permissive referendum before the end of the year as well.  Sundquist says he's already received multiple inquiries about the city opting in or out of the recreational marijuana program.  However... Councilwoman Marie Carrubba warns that setting up dispensaries is not a small proposition.  Police Chief Timothy Jackson says their big concern is people driving while high on marijuana.  Jackson says JPD currently has one officer who is a trained "Drug Recognition Expert..." and they plan on training another person soon.  Under the legislation... Sundquist says marijuana sales would be taxed at 13-percent... with 9-percent going to the state.  He says the municipality involved would receive 3-percent, and the county, one-percent.


NYSUT weighs in on state's new guidance on 6 to 3-feet social distancing...
New York state's largest teachers union is now weighing in on new social distancing guidelines approved for use by the state Health Department.  In March, the Centers for Disease Control revised its federal pandemic guidelines... and, now New York’s Department of Health has clarified how those guidelines should be applied in the state.  While the C-D-C recommends reducing social distancing requirements from 6 feet to 3 feet in classrooms, the new state guidance specifies circumstances when six feet of distance should be used.  New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta adds the new state guidance goes a step further... in mandating the wearing of masks.  Pallotta says, before, it was only a guideline.  While NYSUT is supportive of the new guidance... Pallotta believes the state should do more to help control outbreaks and identify students and staff who may be infected but asymptomatic.  He believes the best way to do that is with a stringent testing requirement, which is not being done right now.  Pallotta says only 57 of the 700 districts in the state are doing any kind of COVID testing program.  He emphasizes teachers and school staff agree with parents that the best place for students to learn is in the classroom.


 

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WJTN Headlines for Tues., Apr. 13, 2021

City Council briefed on resolution to purchase new body cameras for JPD...
The Jamestown City Council will vote in two weeks on an agreement with a new company to provide 63 new body cameras for the police department.  City Information Technology Director Mark Dean outlined the proposal to have Axon Enterprise of Scottsdale, Arizona, provide the cameras to replace the current ones... which are 3-years old.  Dean says many of the current ones have failed, and officers are sometimes having to share cameras.  He says they agreement will also allow them to store the video and information in Axon's cloud services.  Dean says the five-year agreement will allow them to have two spare body cameras... and, he says the turn-around time on repairs with Axon is much quicker than the current provider.  He says he's heard good reviews from another local agency that uses the Axon cameras -- the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office.  Dean and Chief Timothy Jackson noted that the $70,000 cost is for each of the next five years... so the total would be $350,000.


Brackman named to replace the late Vickye James as Ward-Three Councilwoman...
A good friend of the late Vickye James has been chosen to take her seat on the Jamestown City Council.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist Monday announced the appointment of Regina Brackman to fill the remainder of James' term.  Sundquist says her resume is impressive... and, she is "no stranger to the work that we do here in the city of Jamestown."  He says she's been a member of the city's Planning Commission for more than 20 years.  Brackman is a lifelong resident of Jamestown, and has been employed by Truck-lite for 37 years.  She has also been active with Blackwell Chapel AME Zion Church, the YWCA and the Child Advocacy Program.  Sundquist told City Council members last night that he will put Brackman's name up for a vote at a special council meeting April 19th at 7 p.m.  He says that would only take a few minutes, then they could move right into their work session.  Brackman has also agreed to run for the Third-Ward council seat in November.


County reports 86 new COVID Cases from past weekend...
There's been a small spike in the COVID-19 infection rate in Chautauqua County over the past week.  That as 86 new cases were reported last weekend... bringing the total number to 8,520.  The county Health Department reports the most cases... 23... were reported in Jamestown.  There were 19 in Fredonia.  Officials say there are currently 159 actives cases, and hospitalizations are up to 7.  There are now 8,219 cases that have recovered... and, the infection rate is now 2.6-percent.


Primary Election Day set for June 22 in Chautauqua County...
The Chautauqua County Board of Elections is gearing up for Primary Day on June 22.  While there will not be any county-wide contests... Republican Elections Commissioner Brian Abram says there are a handful of local contests, including two county legislature contests.  Abram says there will be a Republican primary for the race in District 18, and a Democratic primary in District 4.  He says there are also some contests in three towns... including a GOP Supervisor's race in the town of Carroll between incumbant Russ Payne, and Laura Smith.  Abram says the board is planning for in-person voting, similar to how the general election was handled in November.  He says they will do "everything" to make for a safe experience using masks and social distancing.


Concern voiced over lower than usual Chautauqua Lake levels...
The owner of Shore Acres Boat Yard near Bemus Point, Dick Sparling, says he has a problem with Chautauqua Lake -- namely that the lake level is at least a foot lower than it should be.  Sparling adds that he's concerned it's going to be low all summer.  While a light snow pack and scarce spring rains have contributed to the problem right now, Sparling says the ‘low level lake’ has been causing issues for his business for a long time.  He says they're having boaters go elsewhere to launch their boats.  Sparling believes the complicated formula used to regulate how high the water is needs to be looked at anew.  Doug Conroe, Executive Director of the Chautauqua Lake Association, agrees because the current plan is 40 years old.  Conroe believes different weather patterns have changed and we are getting fewer storms that produce the water needed, and that's changed water runoff patterns.  That 40 year old plan dictates how much water flows through the Warner Dam in the Chadakoin River in Jamestown.  County Executive PJ Wendel is looking into the problem. 

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