WJTN News Headlines for May 29, 2020

A Cattaraugus County woman was arrested for impaired driving following a motor vehicle accident in the City of Jamestown. City Police were called to the area of 10-65 East 2nd Street Wednesday night where a grey sedan reportedly veered into the on-coming lane and struck a U-Haul truck  head-on. Officers say their investigation found 33 year-old Patricia Raynor, of Little Valley, was operating the sedan under the influence of drugs. Raynor was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of minor injuries... then charged with failure to keep right, unlicensed operator, third-degree aggravated unlicensed operator and DWAI-drugs. She's due back in court at a later date. 

Nursing home and other health care leaders are calling on New York state to provide more clarity on how to deal with COVID-positive seniors, as well as testing of patients and employees.  That was the outcome of a Zoom roundtable hosted by local Congressman Tom Reed Thursday with several Republican state lawmakers, and health care providers in the region.  Local State Senator George Borrello says local efforts to put seniors in the safest situation was not a partisan issue.

However... Borrello also blasted Governor Andrew Cuomo's March 25th order that Seniors with COVID-19 be placed in nursing home care.  That was later changed... and, a new order was issued for all nursing home staff in the state be tested twice-a-week.  That's something nursing home officials say would cost $40-45-million a week for all of them to do, combined.  Republican leaders say the state could help cover that cost by releasing COVID-19 relief funds New York has received from the federal government.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order that will now back-up store owners who require customers to wear masks in those stores.  Cuomo today says the order will authorize businesses to deny entry to people without face coverings.  He says he hopes the order will reduce conflicts between shop owners and customers. Cuomo says all the information they have shows that masks work... especially where you can't socially distance from other people.  He says he's been working to communicate the message that masks are effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19.  

There are four new cases of the COVID-19 Virus being reported today in Chautauqua County... bringing the total to 81 now.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says the new cases include a man in his 20s... another man in his 40s... and, a man and woman both in their 70s.  Wendel says there are now 19 active cases... with one person hospitalized.  He says 58 people have now recovered from COVID... while 241 others are under quarantine or isolation orders.

The on-going restrictions on public gatherings has led officials with the National Comedy Center to postpone this year's 30th annual Lucille Ball Comedy Festival until 2021.  The festival, which honors both comedy and the contributions of the late Lucille Ball was originally set for this August 5th through 9th.  However, Comedy Center officials say it will now move to the same weekend next year...  August 4th-8th.  Center Executive Director Journey Gunderson says "It is with tremendous sadness that we make the difficult decision." The precautionary measure was made in consideration of CDC, federal, state and regional guidelines for the presentation of large group events.  The performances next year will start with legendary comedian Jeff Foxworthy on Friday, August 6, 2021.

A member of Chautauqua County's COVID-19 Finance Committee says members were "pleasantly surprised" that many county employees agreed to take voluntary furloughs in the wake of a budget crunch caused by the shut-down.  County Legislator Charles Nazzaro of Jamestown is a member of the panel, which is dealing with the financial issues facing the county.  Nazzaro says 144 workers -- not considered essential -- agreed to the 10 week furloughs.

An initial 139 furloughs were approved by the county legislature Wednesday night so that those workers would also be eligible for unemployment benefits... including the additional $600 a week for eight weeks from the federal government.  Nazzaro adds the committee was not able to approve an additional 40 furloughs because those workers were considered essential to providing necessary services to the county. 

The New York state Senate and Assembly have voted to extend the deadline for residents who were sexually abused as children to file legal claims because of the upheaval caused by the coronavirus. The original deadline for those making claims under the Child Victims Act was August 14th; the legislation would extend it a year, to the same date in 2021. The 2019 act lifted statute of limitations even for allegations that were decades old, for a filing period of one year.

Feed More WNY is holding an area-wide peanut butter food drive this weekend to help replenish its supplies in order to serve the community's hungry neighbors during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Feed More WNY Board Chairman Jerry Sheldon says the organization was created through the merger of the Food Bank of Western New York and Meals on Wheels in 2019.

The "Spread the Love" peanut butter collection will be held locally at the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood this Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM.  Members of the community are encouraged to donate peanut butter in plastic jars, but other non-perishibles and monetary donations also will be accepted.  Sheldon says volunteers will instruct donors where to pull up in their vehicles... and, they are asked to keep donations either in the their trunks or backseats.  More information can be found online at feedmorewny.org or by calling Jamestown Area Meals on Wheels at 488-9119.