Chautauqua County fire investigators say a grill that was still warm apparently triggered a fire early Sunday morning that destoryed a garage in West Ellicott... just south and west of Jamestown. County fire officials say Celoron fire crews were called to the scene at 2 High Street about 2:30 AM... and, called in mutual aid for help. Celoron was joined at the scene by Jamestown, Lakewood, Busti, Kiantone, Panama and Ashville fire crews. The blaze quickly moved from the garage to some nearby structures... and, it took about an hour to bring the flames under control. The last crews left the scene about 7:30 AM. Investigators determined the blaze was accidental... and no one was hurt.
With the number of deaths and hospitalizations reaching their lowest levels in New York state in nearly a month... Governor Andrew Cuomo talked specifics on Sunday about reopening the state. During his daily press briefing... Cuomo said he's looking at a two-phased approach that will mostly likely start in the upstate region. He says it would be in two "low-risk" industries... construction and smaller manufacturing.
Cuomo says he's continuing the current "New York Pause" until May 15th. However... he did say that areas of New York that see fewer infections over a two-week period may be able to open sooner. Cuomo also urged business owners to "reimagine" their business... using CDC guidelines on how essential services operate now. He says safety will be the major issue to be addressed, and he said in downstate New York... that's going to "be more complicated."
Also on Sunday... Cuomo reported that 367 more people died from the coronavirus in New York state over the previous day. He also reported that the number of hospitalizations topped 1,000 on Saturday, but was still falling from the day before.
For the first time ever, each member of the Jamestown High School Senior class has a yard sign to celebrate their graduation. The 305 signs were unveiled at Persell Middle School Saturday afternoon. Josie Monfort, a member of the 'After Grad' committee, was a key mover in the project to acknowledge the students in what she called 'an awful time' for them. Alyssa Holdridge, one the class Vice-Presidents, says the signs are important to the 2020 graduates and they are grateful to the parents, PTA's and businesses and institutions that contributed money for them. Each sign says "JHS Class of 2020... the class with vision, but we never saw this coming." JHS principal, Dana Williams, thinks the signs are a good thing in what's supposed to be the 'funnest semester' of a student's education... but for the class of 2020, 'they're missing out'. JRSC Digital produced the signs, and contributed a banner to the class as well.
Two new cases of the COVID-19 Virus were reported last weekend in Chautauqua County. County Executive P-J Wendel said Sunday afternoon that there was one new case, a woman in her 60s. That comes after a man in his 70s was reported with the virus on Saturday... bringing the total in the county to 31. Wendel says there are current four "active cases" who continue to recover under Health Department orders. He says 24 people have recovered... while 42 people are under quarantine or isolation orders.
Some regions of Pennsylvania are tantalizingly close to escaping some pandemic restrictions. Other parts could have a long way to go before residents and businesses begin getting back to normal. An analysis by The Associated Press shows how Pennsylvania's sprawling geography and highly variable population density are playing a huge role in determining when to allow a gradual reopening. Govenor Tom Wolf has said rural northern Pennsylvania is likely to begin moving out from under his shutdown orders on May 8th. It's a different story in densely populated eastern Pennsylvania, where new virus infections are happening at a much higher rate.
The Bemus Point Central School District begins it's search for a new superintendent in earnest this week with an on-line survey, and futher discussion about what the district is looking for. School Board President Barry Swanson says the panel has been working with the consulting firm Western New York Educational Services in finding a replacement for Mike Mansfield, who recently took over as superintendent in the Dunkirk School District.
Swanson says the survey is on the district's webpage at bemusptcsd.org and, includes a checklist of attributes parents and residents want in a new superintendent. He says completed surveys should be submitted by the end of business Wednesday. He adds that several of the stakeholders will meet Tuesday with the consulting group to get further detail on what residents are looking for in a new superintendent. The goal is to get the application process started next month... and, ultimately hire a new superindent in time for the start of Fall classes. In the meantime... Swanson says Michelle Spasiano will be acting superintendent.
Federal prosecutors say a New York retailer has been charged with hoarding disposable masks, surgical gowns and hand sanitizer in a Long Island warehouse and selling the items at huge markups. Amardeep Singh is the first person to be charged during the coronavirus pandemic with violating the Defense Production Act of 1950. The law forbids stockpiling and price gouging of scarce medical supplies. Prosecutors say Singh marketed the items online and disregarded a cease-and-desist letter from the New York Attorney General's Office.