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WJTN News Headlines for May 4, 2020

Chautauqua County is reporting it's first COVID-19 related death in many days... and, it is from the county's "hot spot" area of Fire Battalion One.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the man... who was in his 60s... died last Saturday afternoon.  Wendel says it's the 37th case in the county since the outbreak began.  In his daily report... he says "our condolences go out to the loved ones of this gentleman."  In addition... Wendel says there are now five active cases, with people recovering from the Coronavirus... while 28 others have now recovered.  The man from Battalion One is the county's fourth death... while 63 other cases are under quarantine or isolation orders by the Public Health Director and being monitored.  Wendel says there have now been 959 negative test results to date.

New York is joining with six nearby states to purchase equipment and supplies that sometimes have been hard to come by during the coronavirus pandemic.  Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that the consortium will create a $5-billion regional supply chain program to obtain masks, gowns, ventilators, and testing supplies.  Cuomo says the most recent method had states bidding against each other to get equipment from producers.

Cuomo says the other states involved include Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.  In addition... New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is praising residents for mostly adhering to coronavirus social distancing rules during the warmest weekend of the spring, with police handing out only a few dozen summonses.

A Jamestown man is possibly the first one in the area to be charged with a crime for trying to infect a police officer during the Coronavirus pandemic.  Lakewood-Busti Police were called to the Wal-Mart SuperCenter on Fairmount Avenue late Saturday afternoon on a report of the shoplifting of a backpack.  Officers say 38 year-old Shawn Garrett of Baker Street had fled the scene, but, he was later found and returned to the store.  Police found that Garrett had been given a trespass warning to stay out of the store, so he was charged with third-degree burglary.  While in custody... he allegedly wiped his sweaty forehead on an officer's bare arm.  Officers then additionally charged him with third-degree menacing.  Garrett was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.

A fully-involved structure fire in the town of Busti late last Saturday night extensively damaged a home... but, no one was hurt in the blaze.  Chautauqua County Fire dispatchers say Busti fire crews were called to the scene at 29-24 Busti-Stillwater Road about 9:45 PM... and, soon after called in mutual aid from Kiantone, Lakewood, Frewsburg, Fluvanna, Celoron, Ashville, and Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania fire companies.  Dispatchers say the last crews cleared the scene at 1:15 AM Sunday.  The county's Fire Investigation Team determined the cause was combustible materials being in too close to an overheated water pump.

There will be a Summer Season... but, it will be held virtually at Chautauqua Institution this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  President Michael Hill announced last weekend that there will be no in-person programming this season. after the Chautauqua Board of Trustees voted late Friday to put the season entirely on-line this year.  He says they made the decision now because you "just can't flip a switch and Chautauqua shows up."

Hill says they consulted with local, state and other officials before making the decision.  He says another challenge has been that things change almost on a "daily basis" with the virus.  He says they may operate a limited range of facilities and services, such as dock installation and service, recreation facilities, and food service for property owners.  He says the board has also decided to invest heavily in on-line platforms for lectures, worship programs and others.  Hill says that many of Chautauqua's traditions -- including the 10:45 AM lecture series -- will take place on line this season.

The region's state Senator is hopeful that Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul considers some of the changes he and Assemblyman Andy Goodell would like to see officials make in re-opening Western New York.  Irving Republican George Borrello and Goodell have developed a plan for reopening this part of the state... and, says this is about treating each county on an indivdual basis as opposed to one big region.

Borrello says they would like to see those lower-risk manufacturing, and construction firms be able to get back operating like many others -- currently considered essential -- are doing now.  He says he's also concerned that state lawmakers have not been back to Albany since early April.  Borrello says they have passed legislation allowing them to vote remotely and the legislators need to get back to work. 

Netflix? That's old news.  More people are turning their gaze outside and taking up amateur bird-watching as the pandemic drags on.  Interest in birding has soared in recent weeks as bored Americans notice a fascinating world just outside their door.  Downloads of two of the most popular bird identification apps have spiked, and preliminary numbers show sales of things like binoculars, bird feeders and birdseed have jumped.  That as sales of other nonessential consumer goods are plummeting.  The trend coincides with the peak migratory season and nesting season, giving newfound birders a front-row seat to some of nature's biggest shows.