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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 3, 2020

Chautauqua County Legislators have approved the appointment of a new county executive.  

During the Legislature's reorganizational meeting in Mayville Thursday afternoon, PJ Wendel was approved to fill the post until the end of the year.  He looks forward to the new job and, says he is committed to running in a special election in November and beyond. In other action, the County Legislature elected Pierre Chagnon to be its next chairman over Charles Nazzaro by a 13-5 vote.

The new mayor has officially taken office in Lakewood, with a pledge of working together to solve some of the village's pressing issues.  

Republican Randy Holcomb defeated Acting Mayor Ted McCague last November and, took his oath during a ceremony at the Lakewood Firemen's Grounds on Summit Avenue.  Holcomb earlier mentioned one matter he and other board members want to resolve as soon as possible.

The locating of the cell tower has been in the courts for the past two years or so.  Holcomb says getting sidewalks "all the way" on Summit and Terrace Avenues is another matter.  He adds that improving water service on the village's southside is also an issue.  The village board also welcomed a new member -- Republican Rich Fisher -- on Wednesday.  In addition to Holcomb and Fischer, voters in Lakewood also re-elected trustee Ellen Barnes to another term of office.  Holcomb officially replaces former Mayor Cara Birritierri, who resigned amid controversy in October of 2018.

The village of Fredonia's new mayor is off and running for a four-year term.  

Family Court Judge Michael Sullivan gave the oath of office to Mayor Doug Essek and new trustee Roger Pacos on Wednesday.  Essek spoke afterwards about taking a team approach.

Essek is facing some major tasks as he assumes the top office in the village.  Besides the selection of a new police chief, Essek says trustees will have appoint a trustee to fill his old seat.

Also on New Year's Day, Democrat Willie Rosas was sworn-in for another term as the Dunkirk City mayor.

Despite some winter weather last November, the Harrison Street Bridge re-opened to the public yesterday afternoon.  

The Chautauqua County Department of Public Facilities says the opening was delayed after a 16-inch water main pipe that crosses the Chadakoin River, under the bridge deck, was replaced and needed to be tested prior to restoration. Officials also report additional time was needed to find and fix a valve leak on an 8-inch connected water line.  Testing is now complete and has passed all requirements.  As of Thursday, crews were still clearing equipment and is unclear if the bridge is open to pedestrian traffic. Public Facilities officials say temporary bridge walls and sidewalks will be installed until permanent fixtures and final paving surfaces can be completed in early Spring. 

With a new year come City and Chautauqua County tax bills in Jamestown.  

Executive Secretary Leigh Anne Jordan says they've received several calls from people who have received their 2020 tax bills, asking if they have to be paid at city hall, or at Community Bank like the School Tax Bills.  She says checks should be made payable to the "City Treasurer" by mail or in person.  It is also stated on the bill. 

Customers of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities in Jamestown and the surrounding area will see no rate hikes in any of it's five divisions this year and, just one over the past two years.  

BPU General Manager Dave Leather says -- in fact -- there won't be any increase in Electric Division rates until after 2021.  Leathers credits the "good work" of the team managers in that division but, otherwise, the only increase in recent times has been in the Solid Waste Division.

In recent years, the BPU has had two different rates for Solid Waste collection.  There's a lower rate for residents who recycle items at least once a month and, another slightly higher rate for those who do not recycle.  Leathers adds that there will also be no increases in the Water, Wastewater, and District Heating Divisions.

Democratic Congressional members from New York are lauding the recent passage of increased funding to help improve security at houses of worship.  

Nine Democratic U.S. representatives appeared at a press conference on Thursday at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.  Grant workshops will be held throughout New York City area in the coming months to help high-risk nonprofit institutions learn about the program and apply for funding.