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WJTN News Headlines for June 18, 2020

Jamestown Police are asking for the public's help in finding a person spotted on surveillance video approaching the scene of two early morning fires Wednesday on the eastside... then fleeing the scene.  City police say arson is the cause of the initial blaze on Thayer Street shortly before 2 AM Wednesday.  Fire Battalion Chief Matt Coon says it produced a long night for city firefighters, who battled flames at 31 and 35 Thayer Street and 787 East 2nd Street. 

Coon says an off-duty shift was called in... bringing the number of firefighters on scene to 15.  He says crews were able to make an interior attack at 35 Thayer Street, and put out the blaze.  However... he says they had to make a defensive attack at 787 East Second.  Coon says most of the crew was back in station at 7:30 yesterday morning.  No one was hurt, but two of the homes required emergency demolition.  The video of the suspect is on the JPD Facebook page.  Anyone with information on the case is asked to call police at 483-7537... or the confidential Tips line at 483-TIPS, that's 483-8477.  You can also go to JPD's Tips 4-1-1 app.

A Jamestown man has pleaded guilty to federal charges of trafficking an illegal drug... and, being found in possession of a gun just over a year ago.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 19 year-old Jacob Graham pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara to possessing with intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.  Prosecutors say Graham faces at least 10 years in prison, and a $5-million fine.  

Voters in the Jamestown Public School District have approved an annual budget for upcoming school year 2,430-to-1,112. In addition... a proposition for the Prendergast Library was adopted 1,883 to 1,677. Three School Board members ran opposed for re-election.  

Officials of the James Prendergast Library are overjoyed that the referendum on direct community support has been approved.  Library Director, Annie Green, says she was in disbelief when she got the news yesterday morning.

This is the Prendertgast's third attempt to get direct taxpayer support, but this time the library propostition was included in the school board election... and Annie Green believes the fact that it was entirely a 'mail-in' vote helped tilt it their way.  The final tally was 1,883 in favor and 1,677 against.

The amount of that state aid won't be known for a time.  The library's board will meet soon to begin planning what to do with the additional money.  But, Annie Green says it helps assure they can stay in their historic building on Cherry Street, downtown. 

The man who'll lead the Jamestown Public Schools beginning on July 1st says he's confident schools will open in the fall.  In a Media One interview (on WJTN) Dr. Kevin Whitaker says what is LESS certain is how they will open.

Whitaker adds some sort of a 'hybrid model' may in place in September to help prevent a second wave of COVID-19.  His greatest concern is the threat of mid-year cuts in state aid... and, he's concerned that schools are being used "as a political pawn in a larger play."  Whitaker says he doesn't like how that feels.  He comes to Jamestown from Geneva, NY where he has been an Assistant Superintendent of Schools.

The Jamestown Police Department has responded to more than twice the number of fireworks complaints this month compared to the entire month of June last year.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers responded to 65 complaints in various parts of the city between June 1st and Wednesday.  In June of 2019... Samuelson says they responded to 31 complaints.  He's reminding residents that the use of fireworks is illegal in New York State.  However... sparkler devices are permitted to be sold in Chautauqua County during specific times of the year.  Samuelson says those devices don't rise or fire something into the air... and, do not explode or make such sounds. 

Chautauqua County is reporting two new cases of the coronavirus reported Wednesday in Chautauqua County... bringing the total number since the pandemic began to 112.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the new cases are both women in their 30s.  Wendel says there are seven active cases now, while 98 people have now recovered.  He says 82 are now under quarantine or isolation orders, and one person is hospitalized.  He says there have now been 11,292 negative test results.