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WJTN News Headlines for May 5, 2020

A major project to develop more than 100-units of housing in downtown Jamestown may be able to move forward soon now that a task force has been able to negotiate changes to it's plans.  City Development Director Crystal Surdyk updated the City Council during last night's work session on the Gateway Lofts project on Water Street... which has been stalled in the city's Planning Commission most of the year.  Surdyk says the main issue is the inital plan doesn't satisfy the city's Neighborhood Revitalization Plan.

Back in February... Surdyk says the planning commission approved a positive environmental declaration for the $30-plus million project... meaning a full environmental Impact statement would have to be done.  Developers said that could set the project back several months.  However... Surdyk says a task force -- which included representatives for both sides -- agreed to a mitigation plan.  She says the developers will now withdraw their inital plan at the next commission meeting, and replace it with the mitigated proposal.

No new cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Chautauqua County this past day... and, more people have now recovered from it.  County Executive P-J Wendel reported Monday that there are still 37 confirmed cases... but, adds that 29 people have now recovered.  Wendel adds that there are now four active cases... and 75 others that are under quarantine or isolation orders.  There have also been 988 negative test results so far.

The COVID-19 Pandemic will have a major impact on Chautauqua County's summer tourism season, now that Chautauqua Institution's board of trustees voted last Friday to call off all in-person events at the institution.  County Executive P-J Wendel says there was a lot involved in institution's decision.

Wendel says he spoke with Chautauqua President Michael Hill on Saturday when the decision was announced.  The executive says Chautauqua Institution's decision was based on "volumes of data and analysis..." and, more than a month of meetings prior to the decision being made.  

School districts across New York state will be holding school budget votes, and school board elections on Tuesday, June 9th.  However... it will be done by absentee vote due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  That from state School Boards Association Executive Director Robert Schneider, who says the date is part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's order last Friday that cancelled in-person classes through the end of the academic year.  Schneider says their legal team went through the order late Friday.

School votes in the state's approximately 700 districts were to take place later this month... but, were previously postponed by Governor Cuomo.  Schneider says NYSSBA is doing all it can to support district's in any way they can because they're looking at a 20 to 50-percent reduction in state aid due to the pandemic.  He says they are lobbying New York's Congressional delegation for some funding in a fourth COVID-19 Relief bill... if there is one.

Local business owners were encouraged Monday afternoon to put forth a "good faith" effort, and keep close records for their Payroll Protection Program.  That way... they will likely have their loan from the federal government forgiven.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who spoke to a virtual gathering of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce.  Reed says he's already received a number of inquiries about the matter, and has spoken directly with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin about it several times.

Reed says the end of that eight-week period is coming up soon for many... and, he says that 75-percent meant to cover payroll for people who aren't working has to be accounted for.  He also told employers that, under this "good faith" effort, you can use 25-percent for such things as utilities, and rent.  He reminded business leaders that the eight-week program is designed "to cover that payroll exposure." 

A Jamestown woman was arrested two times Sunday afternoon in separate domestic disputes with drugs in her possession.  Just before 2:30 PM.... city police were called to fight-in-progress between two women in the area of English and Allen Streets.  During the investigation, officers say one woman -- 41 year-old Sarah Johnson -- allegedly ran from the scene, leading police on brief foot chase.  She was taken into custody after allegedly resisting arrest, and was released with an appearance ticket.   About an hour later... police responded to Winsor and Chandler Streets for a fight involving a knife... and, determined Sarah Johnson had allegedly chasing a woman through the street with the weapon.  She was found in possession of a suboxone strip out of the prescription container and was again arrested.  Police say Johnson had been released just 13-minutes prior to the second incident occuring.  She's being held pending arraignment. 

The city of Jamestown and it's Board of Public Utilities has announced a decision to open the Yard Waste Site on Monroe Street through May 15th.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he's "thrilled" that they've been able to work with everyone involved to get the site opened in response to many citizen requests.  To avoid overcrowding at the site... Sundquist says the site will be manned by Public Works employees, and open from 7:30 AM to 3 PM Mondays through Fridays.  He says residents will be asked to come to the site on their normal garbage pickup day to prevent overcrowding of the site.