WJTN NEWS FOR MAY 19, 2020

For only the fourth time in history, the Chautauqua County Fair has been cancelled this year.  Fair board President, Dave Wilson, made the announcement Monday night, saying, "It became clear that cancellation was the prudent choice for the fair to do its part to improve community health and safety, and reduce the cycle of infection."  The only other time the fair was cancelled was during World War 2, when the fairgrounds were used as a prisoner of war camp.  In speaking to the impact of the decision, Dave Wilson said, "We are heartbroken for the small businesses, family farms, competitors, exhibitors and everyone who relies on the income and exposure the Chautauqua County Fair brings them."  The fair was set to run July 20th through the 26th at the fairgrounds on Central Avenue in Dunkirk.  


It's official, the Babe Ruth 13-Year-Old World Series that was to be played in Jamestown this summer will now take place in August of 2021. Vice President and Commissioner of Babe Ruth Baseball Robert Faherty says the difficult decision comes due to a number of factors, including the healthy and safety of players and families, travel concerns and the economy. In addition... Jamestown Babe Ruth Committee Vice President and Public Relations Division Director Kim Ecklund says they are fortunate to still be hosting the 40th Anniversary of the 13 year-old World Series at Diethrick Park next year.
In a printed release, Robert Faherty says.... "knowing the people of Jamestown and their sincere dedication to the Babe Ruth League program, we are confident in their commitment to provide the perfect setting for the managers, coaches, players, as well as their families and fans, to enjoy another big-league experience in 2021". More details will be provided in the future.


It's what Western New Yorkers -- including those in Chautauqua County -- have been waiting about two months to hear.  Governor Andrew Cuomo was at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo yesterday morning to say that -- with additional contact tracers now signed up -- the region can reopen today.  Cuomo says those tracers will be trained today, and that allows the region to move to "Phase-One" reopening then. Cuomo also gave the go-ahead for Pro Sports teams to begin their reopening process... including sports teams like the NFL's Buffalo Bills... and, the Sabres of the NHL.


After reporting seven new cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County last weekend... there are no new cases Monday.  County Executive P-J Wendel says that leaves the current total of positive cases at 53... while there are still 14 active cases.  Wendel adds that 35 people have now recovered from the Coronavirus... but, there are now 230 cases under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.  


Now that Western New York is preparing to 'open up' from the Coronavirus shutdown, the focus will switch from meeting seven basic benchmarks to KEEPING them at the right levels.  Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist is a member of the Regional Control Room that will key an eye on the metrics.

Sundquist says if problems come up, the Control Room can put a 'hold' on further phases, but hopefully won't have to reverse any steps.  If that ends up being the case, "it's a problem."  The mayor believes that an increasing number of cases in Chautauqua County does not contradict a re-opening. With the Capital District and Western New York on the way to opening, only downstate areas will remain fully shut down.  

New York's top fiscal watchdog says the state is holding it's own in the wake of the major, economic "earthquake" in mid-March when the Coronavirus shut-down began.  State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli who was a guest during an on-line program hosted by the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce Monday afternoon... and, says one of the early effects has been a significant loss in sales tax revenues.

DiNapoli adds sales tax was also down in Cattaraugus County by nearly 24-percent.  He says at the beginning of April... the state had $8.6-billion in the bank.  However... he says they've already begun drawing down on that.  Combined with a slower rate of income tax filing -- because the deadline was extended to July 15th -- will mean a $9-billion reduction over the same period last year.  He says the state has received it's first Coronavirus stimulus check from Washington for $5.1-billion. There was also nearly $2-billion received for public school, and higher education funding.


The Jamestown Public School District has announced the last day of school for the current school year.  JPS Communications Coordinator Cathy Panebianco says in a printed release, all schools will close for the year on Wednesday, June 10th.... except Ring Elementary, which had to close for a day last February due to cleaning from a broken drainpipe.  Ring's last day will be Thursday, June 11th.  In addition, Panebianco says each school principal will notify students and families of end-of-year procedures, including books, sports uniforms and calculator returns.


City Council-Energy Projects-#2  6AM                     5/19

An energy company from Falconer has been approved for a $1.9-million project to install new energy efficient heating and cooling system at Jamestown City Hall.  In addition... Stark ESCo Southern Tier will also put up the new decorative lighting project for different buildings and structures downtown.  The measure was approved unanimously by the City Council last night.  Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says the LED lighting project is part of the city's Downtown Revitalization Initiative program.

Ecklund says the heating and cooling project at City Hall will run about $1.1-million and come from the city's SMART City Capital Investment Program approved last September.  The LED lighting project will run $415,000 while several smaller projects will be using $440,000 from another Capital fund.  Ecklund says the projects should save the city at least $65,000 in costs.  In an e-mail read during the Zoom Conference meeting... resident Doug Champ questioned why the Board of Public Utilities District Heating and Cooling system was not utilized.  However... lawmakers wanted a system that met 2030 renewable energy standards. 


A Jamestown father and son were arrested following a disorderly person complaint at a grocery store parking lot last Saturday night.  City police were called to the scene at 340 Allen Street to investigate a man allegedly throwing rocks at vehicles.  Officers identified the suspect as 18 year-old Daniel Haney. When attempting to take him into custody, Haney reportedly failed to comply and tried to run off, but was apprehended.  Police say his father, 41 year-old Jeremy Haney, came out of his residence and tried to fight a group of people on scene.  He was taken into custody on a outstanding domestic violence warrant.  Jeremy Haney is being held pending arraignment and Daniel Haney was released with an appearance ticket due to the bail reform law.