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WJTN News Headlines for Jun. 1, 2020

Passions ran high at times... but, overall... some 200 people were at Dow Park in Jamestown yesterday to peacefully protest the police-involved killing of a black man in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Local Activist Shiloh Smith led the chants to protest the death of 45 year-old George Floyd after an officer put his knee into the man's neck for nearly nine-minutes during a recent incident.

Some local ministers and pastors were in the audience, and not all were from the city.  Pastor Roy Ferguson from Busti says it's up to white Americans to stand with their African-American neighbors -- and other minorities -- to effect change.  Smith, Ferguson and others urged protesters to use their voices to promote change that will lead to more minority police officers, and that the officers would be in the community more to better understand the issues facing them.

Several of the protesters had the change to speak with Jamestown city leaders for nearly 50-minutes during Sunday's protest.  Shiloh Smith asked Police Chief Harry Snellings about the filling of three open positions currently open at JPD.  Snellings says they are bound by Civil Service requirements to hire off that list.  However... he says they more minorities need to apply and take a test.  Snellings takes part in the Criminal Justice program at BOCES... and, says he encourages students to take part.

Snellings said there are currently two minority members of JPD's rank-and-file.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist was on hand, and said it was "huge" to have so many city officials and others on hand to hear people's concerns... and, begin addressing them.  Some city council members -- including Council President Tony Dolce -- were also on hand.  Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone also talked with protesters.

There were three new cases of the COVID-19 Virus reported in Chautauqua County over the past weekend... with one added on Sunday.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the new case is a man in his 60s... and, that brings the total number of confirmed cases in the county to 85.  Of those... Wendel says 21 cases are currently active... and, they continue to recover under orders of the Local Health Director.  One person is reported hospitalized... while 60 have now recovered.  Wendel says 241 other cases are under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.  He adds that there have now been 3,126 negative test results to date.

A Panama woman was arrested for impaired driving and using a cellphone at the time of a motor vehicle crash in Ashville yesterday.  Sheriff's Officers responded to the property damage accident on Kortwright Road -- between Hoag and Cherry Hill Roads -- about 5:30 AM... and on arrival, found a vehicle on it's side in a ditch with a single occupant. Deputies say the driver was uninjured and identifed as 34 year-old Emily Kunselman. She was found to be driving while intoxicated and taken into custody on additional charges of DWI per se and move from lane unsafely. She was later released with appearance tickets for Harmony Town Court. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill granting death benefits to the families of police officers, public health workers and other front-line workers who have died of the coronavirus.  The governor signed the bill at his daily briefing on Saturday.  The bill passed by state lawmakers provides an accidental death benefit that is more substantial than the regular death benefit that public workers' families receive.

Four dogs were killed in a weekend house fire in the north county town of Dunkirk.  Sheriff's deputies say fire crews were called to the scene at 10-789 South Roberts Road shortly after 11 AM Saturday... and found heavy fire coming from inside the home.  County Fire Investigators say the blaze originated in an unoccupied bedroom due to an over loaded electrical strip in close proximity to combustible materials.  No one was hurt... but, the local Red Cross responded to assist the family.

Fire damage was confined to a back-porch on a house under renovation on Fairmount Avenue in West Ellicott... near the city line.  Celoron Fire Chief Jordan Bailey says crews were called to the scene at 490 Fairmount just before 9 PM Friday, and found the porch on fire.  Bailey says they called in Lakewood fire crews to assist, and had the fire out quickly.  He says crews were at the scene until about 11 PM.  He says the Chautauqua County Fly-Car, Lakewood-Busti and Ellicott Town Police were also called to the scene.  The Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team has determined the fire originated on a rear porch due to spontaneous combustion of chemical soaked rags in a tightly confined area.