Local News Headlines

WJTN Headlines for Sun., Nov. 24, 2019

Nat. Comedy Center Attendance figures released...
Since opening in August of 2018... the National Comedy Center has drawn just over 66,000 people through it's doors... the large majority coming from outside Chautauqua County.  That from Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson... who says "we are very pleased with our attendance to date, which is fully on track to deliver the economic impact projected.  Better yet, 85% of our visitors report being ‘likely to return’."  Gunderson says... at the same time... the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Museum two blocks away, was visited by a record 95,502 people.  She says 88.7-percent of the 66,044 people who visited the Comedy Center in it's first 15-months of operation from all 50 states, and 18 different countries.  Gunderson says this data from consultant AECOM is released as reports from Chautauqua County and the City of Jamestown show that county lodging revenue and city sales tax revenue just reached all-time record highs in 2019.  AECOM also says "significant attendance growth for the National Comedy Center is anticipated for Year 2 and Year 3 based on data trends"  AECOM has indicated that it typically takes a minimum of three years for destination/drive market attractions such as the National Comedy Center in Jamestown to achieve stabilized projected attendance.


Chautauqua County Chamber holds Grand Opening for new Jamestown location...
The ribbon has been cut on the new, downtown location for the Jamestown headquarters of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce.  Local political, business and industry leaders gathered Friday afternoon for the grand opening of the county Chamber's headquarters at 300 North Main St.  Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer and Manufacturer's Association of the Southern Tier Executive Director Todd Tranum says they're "thrilled" to be back downtown.  Tranum says they've worked hard to create new partnerships with other organizations to share services and consolidate, and this is an example of that.  The Chamber is leasing the space from the Gebbie Foundation... which bought the former bank building nearly a year ago.  Gebbie Executive Director Greg Edwards says they're happy to see the chamber at what they consider a "strategic location" in the downtown area.  Others on hand for the ribbon cutting included Jamestown Mayor-Elect Eddie Sundquist... and, Congressman Tom Reed's local representative, Alison Hunt.  Both the chamber and MAST were previously located in the Manufacturing Technology Institute at Jamestown Community College.


Sundquist announces Transition Team, and four public input sessions before Inauguration...
Jamestown's mayor-elect is "closing the books on the past... and, looking forward to a bright new future."  With that... the National Comedy Center's Tom Benson announced Mayor-elect Eddie Sundquist has assembled his transition team and announced a series of public input meetings to begin the process.  During a press conference at the Comedy Center... Sundquist said there are four areas he's focusing on so he can hit the ground running on Inauguration Day on Jan. 1.  He says his top priorities in his first term will be: creating a city for the future, strengthening housing initiatives and supporting neighborhoods, tackling the city's financial burdens, and creating government efficiencies.  Sundquist also announced something that has never been done before by an incoming city administration.  There will be four public input sessions at four Jamestown city schools... starting on Thursday, December 5th at Jefferson Middle School.  That will be headed up by his Economic and Business Development Subcommittee.  Other meetings will be held through mid-month.  The subcommittee's each include four people with strong ties to the community.


Sundquist asks City Council not to act on restarting BPU Annexation Case until after he's taken office...
Jamestown's Mayor-elect says he has asked the City Council to postpone any vote on the annexation of the four-acres of land in the village of Falconer until after he take's office.  During this morning's press conference... Eddie Sundquist was asked about the Board of Utilities' recent vote to re-start the legal process of acquiring the land the BPU's Dow Street Substation into the city to save money.  He says he's asked them to hold off on action, and will ask them to do so again at the next Council meeting.  This past August... the state's Fourth Appellate Division ruled in a 2-to-1 decision to dismiss the lawsuit because the city failed to file it's initial suit in a timely manner.  Opposing the move is the village of Falconer... town of Ellicott... and, the Falconer School District.  They say losing the property would be a $7.8-million loss on the tax roles.  However... the city says it would save them more than $330,000 a year in taxes.


Allegany Co. Teen arrested for alleged murder of two people found dead in Clarksville fire...
A Clarksville teenager faces two felony counts of second-degree murder after two bodies were discovered in a burning home early Thursday morning.  State Police say 17 year-old William Larson, Jr. was found on the scene of the fire at Courtney Hallow as firefighters were attempting to extinguish it, but he left the scene prior to their arrival.  He was taken into custody as a person of interest last night... and, was arraigned this morning on two additional felony counts of first-degree manslaughter and sent to the Erie County Youth Services Center. He's being held on $50,000 cash bail.  State Police say they are still working to positively identify the victims and their cause of death. The incident remains under investigation.