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WJTN News Headlines for June 5, 2020

Chautauqua County has seen it's first deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic in many days.  County Executive P-J Wendel reports two people have died over the past day... so the county has now had six COVID fatalities.  Wendel adds the county is quickly moving toward it's 100th confirmed case of the virus... with seven more cases Thursday.  He says there have now been 97 cases.  The latest ones are a man and woman in their 80s... a woman in her 70s... two more women in their 40s... woman in her 30s... and, another woman in her 20s.  Wendel says one person is hospitalized with COVID... while 71 others have recovered.  There are currently 20 active cases... and, they continue to recover under orders from local Health officials.

Different businesses are taking different approaches to reopening across Chautauqua County... with several dozen filing their affirmation plans almost immediately with the state under Phase-Two this week.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the county officially moved to the second-phase on Tuesday... and, there was a big response.  He says 54 businesses filed within the first 24-hours.  However... he says some retailers have been cautious in moving ahead. Wendel says it's each businesses' decision as to when they reopen for business.  Beginning Thursday... Governor Andrew Cuomo's Office said that restaurants could open up outdoor dining... with restrictions.  

There has been a second case of the COVID-19 Virus in Warren County, Pennsylvania in the past two days... bringing that county's total number of cases to five.  However... Public Safety Spokesperson Cecile Stelter says this does not constitute a "spike in cases.  No other details have been released.  Stelter says their Emergency Management Team will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as any additional information is obtained. 

With the state's announcement that restaurants in Phase-Two reopening can have outdoor dining and "sidewalk cafés..." the city of Jamestown is letting those businesses know about the process of getting a sidewalk café permit.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says businesses are encouraged to use private outdoor space, as long as they follow the state's guidelines.  However... if you want to use public sidewalks, or other other adjacent public spaces... Sundquist says contact the Department of Development.

Earlier this Spring... the city received a letter from several downtown restaurant owners asking about having more ways to allow outdoor dining.  Sundquist says he and his staff have been working out details... and, he hopes to have something to announce at next week's work session.  He says his staff is working hard on a pilot project to present to lawmakers... get public input on it... and, have it in place in time for the start of Phase-Three.  To contact the city's Department of Development... call 483-7541 or e-mail them at 

Three Dunkirk High School Seniors who have strong feelings about the recent police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis are organizing a peaceful parade and rally that will be held this Saturday, June 6th in Dunkirk.  Gabrielle Hart and her two friends Jericha Petrella, and Yuri-beth Castro came up with the idea after hearing about Floyd's death.

Gabrielle says it's important to keep the protest free of violence, so they decided to contact Mayor Wilfred Rosas and Police Chief David Ortolano.  Rosas appreciated the move... because they support the city and police department, but, also feel they need to support the peaceful protests taking place.  The parade will begin at 11 AM at the Dunkirk City Pier, travel to Washington Park where participants will kneel in respect for the lives lost.  A rally will then take place at City Hall where there will be several speakers, including Rosas and Ortolano. 

Jamestown is receving a just-over $58,000 grant under the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program through the Department of Justice. U-S Attorney James Kennedy-junior announced yesterday that "these funds will help to ensure that our first responders have the ability to continue to do exactly what they have done throughout the pandemic—keep our communities safe." Jamestown is one of five municipalities to receive funding, as part of a $1.7-million grant dispersed through the Western District of New York. Kennedy says projects or initiatives that the money may be used for include overtime, hiring, training... equipment and supplies.... and, addressing the medical needs of inmates in state, local, and tribal prisons, jails, and detention centers. Jamestown previously received funding awards from the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities is warning customers about a new scam that's been reported.  BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says in this scam... a customer receives a call, stating it is the BPU calling.  The scammer then says that the BPU wants to refund an overpayment... and, asks the person for bank account information from the customer to deposit the refund.  Customers are reminded that the BPU does NOT call to request such information over the phone.  Customers receiving such scam calls should just hang up.

The Executive Director of the James Prendergast Library reminds voters in the Jamestown School District to send in their ballots.
Ann Green says they must be in by Tuesday, June 9th.  The second proposition on the ballot is a proposal to raise $350,000 for the Prendergast, amounting to $11.50 a year for a home assessed at $50,000.  Green says the funding line would restore what the library lost when city support was dramatically cut.  The first proposition on the ballot is the Jamestown School budget for the coming year.

The conductor of the acclaimed Jamestown High School A'cappella Choir is putting down his baton.  Norm Lydell is retiring after 34 years in the Jamestown schools and 17 as the choir's director.  Lydell is just the fourth director in the 95 year history of the choir.  He says the triumphant 95th anniversary Vespers program in December, and the subsequent performance at Disneyworld gave him the 'sound in his head' he wants to take with him.  The virus shutdown meant no 'good-bye concert' for the director.  The A'cappella's spring project is a youtube video of its famous 'Kyrie.'  Lydell says he intends to find a new way to contribute to the community, while continuing to support the proud legacy of the A'cappella choir.