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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 20, 2020

BREAKING: Jamestown firefighters brave bitterly cold temperatures at the scene of a structure fire this morning. 

Few details were released, but Chautauqua County dispatch confirms crews were called to the 600-block of Spring Street shortly before 7 AM.  City Police also responded to the scene. Social media posts indicate heavy smoke coming from the home.  In addition, Fire crews from multiple departments battled a house fire in the town of Stockton overnight.  Dispatchers say Firefighters were called out to the fire at 73-34 Route 380 around 8:30 pm Sunday, with crews on the scene for nearly six hours.  No injuries were reported and, cause for either fire has not been determined at this time. 

Four pets were killed in a fire last weekend that destroyed a home in the town of Ripley.  Sheriff's deputies say they and Ripley fire crews were called to 6340 Cemetery Road about 5:30 last Saturday night and, found the home completely in flames.  Mutual aid was called in from Westfield and Sherman.  Officers say no one was home at the time of the fire but, the four pets were found dead.  The county's Fire Investigation Team is continuing to look in to the cause of the fire.

A sprawling winter storm that canceled flights and coated roads across much of the country dumped up to a foot of snow on parts of New York state -- including Western New York -- last weekend.  

Snow was falling from Buffalo to New York City on Saturday afternoon.  The Jamestown-area got a mix of precipitation Saturday night, along with a few inches of Lake Effect Snow Sunday.  Parts of northern New York directly east of Lake Ontario were forecast to get up to a foot of snow by this morning.  The Mayville-area was experiencing heavy snow and white-out conditions at times Sunday.  The wild weather is blamed -- in part -- for triggering a 15-vehicle pile-up on Interstate 90 near the Harborcreek Exit last Saturday.

The weather was snowy, windy and cold, but the crowds came out anyway, for the annual 'Doors Open Jamestown' on Saturday. 

 For the first time ever, the Marvin House at 5th and Main took part.  June Diethrick was there giving tours of the house, and said it couldn't have gone any better, with many people coming through, interested in both the architecture and the purpose of the house.  Kristan McMahon, President of the Robert H. Jackson Center, said there'd been a 'nice stream of people all day, of all ages' touring there.  Len Barry, Marketing Director at the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, was giving tours non-stop.  He thought the weather actually brought more people out, as a way to break cabin fever.  'Doors Open Jamestown' allowed free admission to 17 different locations this year.  It's coordinated by the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul appeared in the city of Dunkirk late last week to make a presentation on Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State message.

Before the presentation got underway... Hochul gave a shout-out to Fredonia, as the village attempts to become the winner of the Small Business Revolution.  After the presentation, Hochul talked about the governor's goals in the year ahead.  She feels tax cuts to help the middle class and small businesses will help Western New York.

Hochul was asked to address an issue that was not in the State of the State, new criminal justice reforms.  While she defended the reforms, Hochul says state leaders are looking at changes.  A number of local officials, including Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas, Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek and County Executive P.J. Wendel attended the event held at the SUNY Fredonia Incubator.

New York state is receiving just over $15-million more this year to support local homeless assistance programs, including those in Chautauqua County.  

The state's nearly $215-million was announced by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson late last week.  HUD says it's Continuum of Care grants will provide critically needed support to approximately nearly 6,600 local programs on the front lines, serving individuals and families experiencing homelessness.  HUD says Chautauqua County will receive just over $211,000 for three programs.  The most -- $84,000-- will go to the Shelter Plus Care project.  Chautauqua Rapid Rehousing 2019 will get $82,000 while CoC Planning is receiving just over $23,000.

The Democratic candidate for the 23rd Congressional District will be hosting a five-city in five-days "listening tour" starting today in Dunkirk dealing with the nation's healthcare crisis.  

Penn Yan's Tracy Mitrano announced the tour as part of last Friday's announcement in Jamestown about a small group of doctors who helped pay off more than half-a-million dollars in medical debt for people in the region.  Mitrano says lawmakers in Washington, including incumbant Republican Congressman Tom Reed, have profited off people's inability to pay those costs.

While she's pushing the need for Universal health care, Mitrano says she has no final program in place.  Mitrano says it could include a combination of public and private plans and an expansion of Medicare.  She says a lot of issues would be taken care of if the age of eligibility was dropped to 50 or 55.  Mitrano's first forum in Dunkirk tonight begins at 6 PM at Democratic headquarters.  Tuesday's session will be at the Unitarian Unversalist Church in Jamestown.  For more information, go on-line to

Two men have been arrested for allegedly being involved in leading police in Chautauqua County in a high speed pursuit through the north county that ended in the town of Westfield.  

Sheriff's officers say they received a report late Friday morning about a speeding vehicle entering the county from the town of Brant in Erie County.  Deputies located the vehicle on Route 60 in the town of Pomfret commit a traffic infraction... and, tried to stop the car.  However, the driver -- later identified as 20 year-old Galen Steele, Junior of Toledo, Ohio -- sped off into the village of Fredonia.  Police later stopped the pursuit because Steele was driving recklessly.  Officers later spotted the vehicle on Route 5 in the town of Portland... and, it was pursued into Westfield... where they deployed spike strips, and the vehicle came to a stop.  Three people -- including Steele -- ran off and were later found with the help of Sheriff's K-9 Drake.  In addition to Steele, officers arrested a passenger, 21 year-old Lorenzo Martinez of Buffalo for criminal possession of marijuana.  Two other occupants of the vehicle were released without charges.