WJTN News Headlines for May 21, 2020

A Sherman man has been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing two juveniles over the past two months.  Sheriff's officers were called to investigate a suspicious situation back on May 5th... and, later learned that 20 year-old Trever Kneer of West Main Street had engaged in inappropriate actions with the two juveniles.  Deputies say Kneer was arrested Wednesday for second-degree sexual abuse, and three counts of forcible touching.  He was taken for Centralized Arraignment in Mayville... and, will appear in Sherman Town Court at a later date.

Religious gatherings of up to 10 people may now be held in New York state... provided there is strict social distancing.  That today from Governor Andrew Cuomo as much of the state has begun to reopen at Phase-One levels.  The issue of how soon churches and other religious programming can resume has been much discussed in recent weeks.  During Wednesday's press briefing... Cuomo said he's talked a lot about it with his Interfaith Advisory Council... adding he wants to be cautious.

Cuomo says he understands the religious community wanting to get back to holding in person services, and other programming.  He says churches can also do "drive-in" services with people in their cars using radio frequencies.  Cuomo also says it's important to do it "safely and smartly" with the faith community involved.  New Rochelle is where the COVID-19 outbreak in New York took off in March after several people at a gathering became infected with the virus.  

The state's new mandate requiring nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult day care facilities to test all staff for COVID-19 will begin shortly.  But, New York officials acknowledge that those facilities were having difficulty implementing the new rule due to cost and staffing issues.  Governor Cuomo's Executive secretary, Melissa DeRosa, says they have sent out testing kits to those facilities.

During the Governor's daily press briefing Wednesday... DeRosa said they have sent out 320-thousand kits, and they have arrangements with commercial labs to run the tests.  However... members of the Republican Conference in the State Senate are blasting the new rule.  Local Senator George Borrello of Irving says it's an unfunded mandate... and, providing the initial 320,000 test kits isn't enough.  Borrello and the others are urging the Cuomo administration to go to once-a-week testing as recommended by the Healthcare Association of New York state and the Centers for Disease Control.

There are three new cases of the coronavirus in Chautauqua County, putting the county's total at 57 now since the outbreak began.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the three new cases include two women, one in her 20s, the other in her 70s, as well as a man in his 50s.  Wendel says there are currently 16 active cases, including no hospitalized cases, and who continue to recover.  He says 37 people have now recovered, while 202 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders by the Public Health Director and are being monitored.  In addition, he says there have been 1,894 negative test results to date.

 Chautauqua County's representative in Congress has announced an inter-regional coordination pledge involving health networks and hospitals across three regions of New York State.   Corning Republican Tom Reed says the Western, Finger Lakes, and Southern Tier New York Health Care Network and Hospital Pledge reflects a good-faith effort by medical providers to ensure local hospitals and health care networks are working together during the pandemic.

Reed says the pledge will also help prevent specific localities from unfairly backsliding into additional shutdown orders, which would have devastating impacts on providers and the local economy.  The Corning Republican made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with Southern Tier media.

The United Veterans Council reminds the community there is NO flag placement tonight (Thursday) at Lakeview Cemetery.  The council's secretary, Melodie Paladino, says they are grateful for the large group of volunteers that has gathered in recent years to place flags on veterans' graves.  But the current restrictions on crowd size left the job to be done by around 10 members of the United Veterans Council.  Paladino adds they regret they could not share the work this year, but they do encourage people to visit the cemetery to view the flag display and honor the fallen.  Also, after consultation with the mayor earlier in the spring, the United Veterans Council also decided NOT to hold Monday's Memorial Day parade, and the ceremony that follows at Soldiers Circle. 

The Jamestown School Board has approved a proposed $88.3-million budget for the 2020-21 school year that includes no property tax increases.  However... there would be some significant cuts.  The proposed spending plan will be presented for public vote via absentee ballots, with ballots due back to the District Clerk by June 9th at 5PM -- by mail or in person.  In addition to the School Budget proposition, the absentee ballot will also include a proposition for Prendergast Library Association asking the public to approve a tax levy of $350,000 dollars for the purpose of funding the library.  Three seats are also up for election to the school board... with the three incumbants running.  They are Paul Abbott, Shelly Leathers and Christine Schnars.  The Public Hearing for the Proposed 2020-21 Budget will be on June 1st at 6PM on the district's website JPSny.org.

No one was hurt, but there were some anxious moments in the village of Lakewood late Tuesday afternoon when a sailboat flipped over on Chautauqua Lake.  Lakewood Fire Chief Kurt Hallberg says their rescue crew was called to the area of the Lakewood Rod and Gun Club about 5:30 PM after a man was spotted near the boat in the water.  The male subject was pulled out to safety with no injuries.  

Nine new sex-abuse lawsuits have been filed in upstate New York against three Boy Scout local councils.  Lawyers say the filings Tuesday signal an escalation of efforts to pressure councils nationwide to pay a big share of an eventual settlement in the Boy Scouts' bankruptcy proceedings.  An injunction blocks the lawyers from proceeding with lawsuits against local councils through June 8th.  But, several lawyers say they will press for the injunction to be lifted unless financial information is fully disclosed.  If it's lifted, there could be a wave of new lawsuits in New Jersey, California and the rest of New York.