Congress is set to take the Senate's lead in approving the newest economic recovery bill put forth to deal with the national COVID-19 pandemic. However... a number of lawmakers -- including local Representative Tom Reed -- are expressing frustration over the fact it's taken nearly a week to get to this point. Congressional leaders finally reached an agreement with the White House on the nearly $500-billion Coronavirus relief bill. Reed says he hopes the political posturing over the last bill doesn't show up again.
Reed says this measure would add another $300-billion to the Payroll Protection Program... which ran out of money late last week. It would also provide hospitals with another $75-billion and, support for a nationwide virus testing program governors say is needed to begin reopening the economy. The president says he'll support the measure if it passes both chambers.
For the third straight day... there have been no new cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County. That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says there are still 27 confirmed cases, and two that are "active." Wendel adds that 22 people have now recovered, and there are 49 cases under quarantine or isolation orders. Three of the people testing positive have died. There are now 590 negative test results to date.
Jamestown Public School officials are still hoping for the best -- a return to school. However, they now have a final plan in place if classrooms remain closed for the rest of the school year. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo extended state-wide school closures through May 15th... and, Jamestown School Superintendent Bret Apthorpe says he and his leadership team have developed a plan to provide on-going support to families as they continue distance learning.
Dr. Apthorpe says the principals met with their faculties Tuesday to discuss the "re-boot" teaching and learning plans, which start May 1st. Looking at the data... he says they may not be coming back to finish the school year out. He says planning and preparation is key to teaching, and disrupting that in itself makes the situation difficult. Apthorpe also praised the hard work of the JPS food service workers, who have served over 75,000 meals to students since distance learning began in March. All JPS updates can be found online at JPSNY.gov.
There's more talk about the possibility of reopening certain regions of New York state's economy where the COVID-19 virus has not been prevailent. However... officials say it has to be in a measured way. During an appearance at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo Tuesday... Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will head up efforts to develop a reopening plan for Western New York.
Cuomo also indicated that Western New York is on a plateau when it comes to COVID-19 cases... but, he says they don't know if the plateau will remain... and, whether the numbers will go down, or back up. The governor also said that hospitals in parts of New York will be able to conduct outpatient elective surgeries again.
One of the major early summer festivals in Jamestown will not occur this year due to the COVID-19 Outbreak -- the Yassou Festival. Alexis Singleton, a member of the Yassou Festival organizing committee at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. Singleton says the work would have to begin now to be ready by Father's Day weekend. The decision to cancel the 37th annual festival was not easy, but she says, "we need to be socially responsible to our own community and greater community." For now, the church will be looking for other ways to reach out this year. Singleton confirmed the absence of Yassou will have financial consequences, as it is the church's sole fundraiser... aside from the 'generous stewardship of members' at St. Nicholas church.
A city woman was arrested for drunk driving after allegedly crashing into a creek in the Town of Ellington. State Police were called to the accident on Waterboro Hill Road last Saturday... and, through investigation, found 49 year-old Teresa Rooney of Jamestown drove off the roadway and entered the creek, causing front-end damage to her vehicle. Troopers took her into custody, and she provided a breath sample of 0.11. Rooney was released with an appearance ticket Driving While Intoxicated. She was not injured during the accident.