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WJTN News Headlines for Apr. 6, 2020

Coronavirus deaths in New York state climbed to more than 4,100 on Sunday... but, there is a slight glimmer of hope the spread is slowing.  The state recorded a slight dip in fatalities Sunday compared to the day before.  Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters it was too soon to say whether the pandemic had reached its apex and urged New Yorkers to remain vigilant.  He adds that about three-quarters of those hospitalized, are now coming out.

The state reported 594 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday -- down from 630 new fatalities announced the day before.  Cuomo also says that ICU admissions and intubations were also decreasing slightly.  He says more than 122,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19... and, at least 16,000 people have been hospitalized.  (**In addition... Cuomo's startling plan to force hospitals elsewhere in the state to give spare ventilators to the fight in New York City apparently hasn't yet materialized... a couple of days after he ordered them to surrender 20-percent of any unused supply to the National Guard for temporary redistribution.)

A man from Buffalo was arrested late last week for allegedly being found in possession of cocaine during a traffic stop in Jamestown.  City police say they pulled over a car, driven by 22 year-old Louis Thomas for an alleged infraction on Lafayette Street -- near West Fourth -- Thursday afternoon.  Officers say they found a quantity of cocaine in his possession... and, he was arrested.  Thomas was jailed -- pending arraignment -- on one count of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

A Jamestown-area man has been arrested following a weekend domestic violence incident in the town of Busti.  Lakewood-Busti Police were called to a home on Mead road late last Saturday night... and, arrested 34 year-old Raymond Hamilton for allegedly hitting a woman in the face multiple times... and, choking her.  Officers charged Hamilton with third-degree assault, and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood flow.  He was sent to the county jail pending arraignment.

The effects of the coronavirus shutdown are hitting Chautauqua County's dairy industry.   Ben Nickerson, one of the owners of the 900 cow 'Nickerson Farm' in Sherman says all this week, the farm will dump about 64,000 pounds of milk a day into a lagoon because there is no market for it.   With restaurants, hotels and the entertainment industry mostly shut down, demand for certain milk products has plummeted. Nickerson does say his co-op, Dairy Farmers of America will pay for the milk NOT shipped.

But, Dick Kimball, President of the Chautauqua County Farm Bureau, says because of the way milk is priced for farmers, when a producer around here has to dump it, all the other farmers in Federal Order One... from Maine to Pennsylvania... will 'take a hit'.  He adds while more milk might be needed in homes right now, dairy products that are processed and packaged for the restaurant industry can't be immediately shifted to retail.  The Farm Bureau leader concluded, "It's not pretty... but, it's not pretty for anybody right at the moment."

The Chautauqua County Crisis Response Fund: COVID-19 has made its first grant.  Tory Irgang, Executive Director of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, says it was $1600 given jointly to Rural Ministries in Dunkirk and St. Susan's Center in Jamestown.

Irgang expects the fund to release several larger grants this week.  The money will go to orgranizations providing services to people in Chautauqua County hard hit by the coronavirus and the shutdown it brought.  So far, the Crisis Response Fund has raised $861,935 of a million dollar goal.  Irgang says the county's community foundations, United Ways, and other foundations are all supporting the fund.   

The regularily-scheduled Jametown City Council work session will not be held tonight due to social distancing guidelines for the Coronavirus outbreak.  Council President Tony Dolce says lawmakers made the decision after last Monday night's voting session was moved to the Police Training Room on the fourth-floor of City Hall.  Dolce says it was looking like a light agenda anyways... and, says that'll give some time to figure out their next steps.

The public was not allowed to attend last Monday night's meeting... but, could watch via Facebook live... and, submit comments before hand.  The next meeting would be held on April 20th... and, Dolce says that will give the city three weeks to decide whether to continue using some kind of on-line service.  He says on possibility is using Zoom... which the Chautauqua County Legislature recently used to meet on-line during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

There has been a major spike in the number of drug overdoses in Chautauqua County over the past month... and health officials are warning there may be a "strong batch of heroin" in the area.  Health and Human Services Director Christine Schuyler says -- between March 29th and 31st alone -- there were two fatal overdoses, and three other non-fatal overdoses reported.  Schulyer says a large cluster has also been reported in the Buffalo-area.  Due to circumstances... she says officials believe this spike is due primarily to street drugs, especially heroin, being laced with fentanyl.