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WJTN News Headlines for Mar. 13, 2020

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state is banning all gatherings with 500 or more people in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.  The governor said Thursday the ban would start for most places at 5 PM Friday.  Broadway theaters would be affected earlier.  Cuomo said venues of under 500 people can only be filled to half their capacity.  The ban does not apply to schools, hospitals, nursing homes and mass transit.  Some of New York City's cultural institutions announced they are temporarily shutting down because of the virus, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall.  The virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough for most people. 

State, county and local elected leaders were in the north county Thursday to update the local response to Coronavirus in Chautauqua County.  County Director of Health and Human Services Christine Schuyler says there are still no confirmed cases in the county, and two persons remain in precautionary quarantine.  She advises residents to use routine precautions... State Assemblyman Andy Goodell echoed those sentiments.

However, Section 6 announced earlier that the Far West Regional Basketball play-offs have been called off as of now.  Officials say there remains of "low risk" of getting COVID-19 in the area and, County Executive P-J Wendel urged calm, and that people don't need to horde items at stores.  State Senator George Borrello, Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek and, Pomfret Town Supervisor Dan Pacos also attended the event in Fredonia.

The New York State Amatuer Hockey Association has announced all national tournaments have been cancelled due to concerns over the Coronavirus. Association President Joe Baudo says the decision was passed down from USA Hockey "to avoid putting at risk our players, coaches, officials and others by traveling to and attending nationals." This includes the state tournaments featuring the Jamestown Lakers bantam, midget and pee-wee teams.  More information can be found at 

Earlier, the governor announced all SUNY campuses will transfer to on-line learning by March 19th because of virus fears.  Jamestown Community College President Dr. Daniel DeMarte issued a statement last night saying that 'JCC is not closing' but will work to reduce exposure to COVID-19, using distance or alternative modes of delivery for classes and limiting open houses, athletic and community events.  He emphasized that all JCC sites and residence halls will remain open.

A popular weekend event has been cancelled due to the governor's ban on events attended by 500 or more people.  The Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce announced late yesterday that the annual "Turn the River Green" St. Patrick's Day celebration on the Riverwalk has been called off.  The chamber's Sheila Webster says it's "not feasible to hold this event, which draws a very large crowd" each year.

The Chautuaqua County Humane Society says 14 dogs allegedly abandoned in a trailer are now safe thanks to their joint-efforts with the Sheriff's Office and the Village of Panama's Animal Control Officer Aaron Constantino, that from CCHS Community Relations Manager Brian Papalia. Papalia says Deputies received complaints from residents on School Street in Panama about loud barking, which appeared to originate from the unoccupied trailer.  He says on March 8th, Officers received a warrant to make entry and members of the Humane Society were called to help assess the condition of the dogs.  Fortunately, he says most of the dogs are in "pretty good health."  Director of Animal Services Sue Bobek says they found no sign of food or water and the dogs were trying to eat snow as they came out of the trailer.  She says with some patience and compassion, they should learn to trust and bond with people and, become loving members to families.  The Humane Society is also looking for potential foster homes and donations to help the 14 dogs. For more information,call 665-2209 or visit

There was a large turn-out of people from a number of agencies and organizations at Jamestown's Prendergast Library this afternoon for the "kick-off" meeting of the city's Census Complete Count Committee.  The U-S Census formally begins on April 1st but, officials with the local effort say mailings and on-line contacts will take place between now and March 20th.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist was on hand and, commended the panel for what they're doing.

Sundquist says the Census effort is a "big" deal because how much funding the city gets from federal and state programs depends on those numbers.  He says they're letting people know that the Census will be done in three different "waves."  He says the first will be where people get a letterand, will receive information about completing the Census form on-line.  He says if you don't have access to a computer -- or the Internet -- there will be places like the Prendergast Library where people can go.  Several volunteer, non-profit, governmental, and faith-based organizations attended the meeting. 

Fans of the Jamestown Jackals pro basketball team will have one more chance to see the team, but it won't be on the court, it'll be at the dinner table.  At a news conference Thursday, announcing the cancellation of the rest of the season, owner and founder Kayla Crosby said there'll be a fundraising farewell meal tonight (Friday) at 6 PM at the Harbor Hotel in Celoron. There's no fixed cost, but reservations are required. Email to sign up. One of the players, Anthony Estes, expressed the frustration of many on the team, saying they are 'ready to play' and sad that they can't, particularly since the team is in second place in the league.  Kayla Crosby thanked the community and the team's sponsors.  She said it was the best season in the five year history of the Jackals.