WJTN News Headlines for June 16, 2020

City lawmakers in Jamestown have approved three ordinances and a resolution allowing for more outdoor dining at local restaurants, public markets, and creating a pilot program for "Parklets."  During a special meeting last night... the City Council amended the ordinance allowing more outdoor dining to eliminate a part that allowed for food trucks and carts to be operated downtown.  Councilwoman Kim Ecklund says she spoke with several business and restaurant operators, who said they feared a big loss of business at a time they can't lose anymore.

Another council member... Jeff Russell... says he spoke with six restaurant owners who opposed to allowing food trucks to be within 100-feet of a standing restaurant.  The amendment, and the ordinance, were unanimously approved.  On last weekend's Community Spotlight program... Mayor Eddie Sundquist told us the city had already approved it's first Parklet for Pace's Pizza on West Third Street.  The City Council also approved a public market ordinance... and, one regarding noise.

Phase-three of the coronavirus reopening begins today in Western New York -- including Chautauqua County.  In addition... part of what's allowed under Phase-Three has been changed.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo... who says the state will allow those regions to have gatherings of up to 25 people.  That's up from the previous number of 10.  Cuomo says a further decline in hospitalizations, and the percentage of new positive cases.  However... he says social distancing rules remain in place.

Local State Senator George Borrello says a lot of people he has talked with are looking forward to Phase-Three of reopening... where restaurants will be able to have 50-percent indoor dining... along with other personal services -- like tanning and nail salons.  Borrello also urged businesses that are planning to reopen to submit their reopening plan to the state first through it's Forward.NY.GOV website.  Cuomo again urged local governments to enforce social distancing rules as videos of socializing New Yorkers failing to wear masks in public or stay 6-feet apart from others over the weekend circulate on social media. 

The on-line fundraiser 'Give Big CHQ' wrapped up last Thursday by blasting past all previous records... raising a total of $348,703.  Executive Director Tory Irgang with the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, was ecstatic with the outcome.
'Give Big CHQ' is co-sponsored by the Chautauqua Region and Northern Chautauqua Community Foundations, and benefits 96 non-profits in the county.  This year's drive was expanded from one day to eleven, but, Irgang says it was the last day that made all the difference.  She says they had $20,000 "incentive" dollars over a 12-hour period to reward donors... and, they raised about $200,000 during that period.  Despite the economic challenges of the coronavirus, this year's 'Give Big' raised almost three times as much as last year.  

Chautauqua County's representatives in the New York State Assembly and Senate are urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to allow unlimited high school graduations... provided they follow social distancing and wear face coverings.  Assemblyman Andy Goodell and Senator George Borrello sent letter to the governor last week... making the request.  Goodell says high school graduates deserve public recognition with family and relatives.  However... he says limiting that to 150 people makes that difficult for many.

Goodell adds they would also have those graduations be held outdoors... with social distancing.  He says they've heard from several parents, graduates, and school superintendents... saying they want to do it in a "safe and responsible manner."  He says some have questioned not being able to hold an unrestricted outdoor graduation as a time where protests have been allowed... among other activities. 

There's been one new case of the COVID-19 Virus reported in Chautauqua County.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the new case is a woman in her 80s... bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 109.  Wendel says 94 people have now recovered, while 9 cases are active.  He says 108 people are under quarantine or isolation orders... and, there have now been 10,602 negative test results to date.

The U-S Supreme Court is ruling that a landmark civil rights law protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment, a resounding victory for LGBT rights from a conservative court.  The court decided by a 6-3 vote Monday that a key provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that bars job discrimination because of sex, among other reasons, encompasses bias against gay and lesbian workers.  The ruling also covers transgender people.  The opinion was written by conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch. It's expected to have a big impact for the estimated 8.1-million LGBT workers across the country because most states don't protect them from workplace discrimination.

As part of the 'New York Forward' reopening, all farms must have a safety plan in place to deal with issues related to the coronavirus.  Katelyn Walley-Stoll, Team Leader for the Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Program, says there are no exceptions.

Katelyn adds, compared to other businesses... tracking visitors, and performing daily health screenings are two of the issues that may be harder for farms.  She says farmers can reach out to Cooperative Extension for help in writing their plan, or go to the Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development website.  The plans do NOT need to be submitted to any state agency, but must be available for inspection by the state or local Department of Health.  

A Pennsylvania woman faces Leandra's Law charges for allegedly driving drunk with two children last week. State Police in Jamestown say 35 year-old Megan Fuller - of Erie -  was pulled over for traffic violations on Route 426... and, was placed under arrest after failing several sobriety tests.  Troopers say Fuller provided a breath sample of 0.16 while in custody. The two children that were in the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop were turned over to a sober third party. Fuller was released with an appearance ticket for Mina Town Court on a later date. 

A city woman was arrested for allegedly violating an active order of protection during an argument over a clothesline Sunday night. Jamestown Police were called to 10 Linwood Avenue about 6:30 PM for a harassment complaint.... and, through investigation, learned 60 year-old Penny Nelson violated the order. She is being held pending arraignment for second-degree criminal contempt. 

The local stock car racing season got underway at Eriez Speedway Sunday night, with Centerville, Pennsylvania's Max Blair using a pass in the final corner to win the Super Late Model Feature.  Bear Lake, Pennsylvania's Chub Frank had led much of the 25-lap race... but, Blair was able to catch him in lapped traffic.  Blair also won the Crate Late Model feature over Frank.... while Joel Watson of Conneaut, Ohio won the E-Mod Feature.