WJTN News Headlines for June 24, 2020

There are two new cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County... bringing the total as of Tuesday to 120.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says the cases are both men... one in their 30s, and the other in their 60s.  Wendel says there are currently eight active cases... but, no one is hospitalized.  He says 105 people have now recovered... while 116 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders.  Wendel adds that there have now been 12,749 negative test results to date.

County Executive Wendel says work will get underway this week on a proposed 2021 budget, as reopening continues.  Wendel says he is encouraged that the economy will improve... but, he adds that how quickly it does is difficult to say.  He says sales tax revenues have been a concern.  However... he says the numbers have been improving slightly as more businesses open up.

Wendel says those sales tax numbers should continue to improve to as the Western New York region enters Phase 4 -- either late this week -- or early next.  He says his kick-off meeting will be held later this week with department heads.  The executive budget proposal is due by late September.

There will be fireworks this July 4th in Chautauqua County... with the Mayville Fourth of July Committee's decision to put on a display.  The commission announced on it's Facebook page Tuesday afternoon that the fireworks will be shot-off at 10 PM from Lakeside Park... which will be closed for the fireworks fall-out.  The committee says "we feel that shooting them from the park over the lake gives more viewing opportunities for everyone."  They also ask that people follow State social distancing guidelines.  The Mayville committee had earlier cancelled the annual parade and activites at Lakeside Park due to the pandemic.

New York's junior U-S Senator says it's time for the federal government to help close a growing digital divide in the country.  Even before the coronavirus pandemic... Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand says the Federal Communications Commission stated that the "broadband gap" was growing, and needed to be addressed.  However... Gillibrand... who says it was to be addressed by the $100-million ReConnect Program that was part of the CARES Act... says it's not, and it's hurting workers and students.

Gillibrand says that she has written a letter urging U-S Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to fully release whats left of that $100-million in rural broadband funding to provide grants to those underserved areas.  She says the FCC report stated more than 25-percent of rural Americans are without access to quality broadband, compared to only 1.7-percent of Americans living in urban areas. 

The village of Falconer and Falconer Central Schools will be holding a "vehicle parade" this Friday night, June 26th, starting on Main Street to honor this year's graduating class.  The parade for the Class of 2020 will begin around 7:30 PM... and, residents are welcome to stand in their driveways and lawns, using safe social distancing practices, as the parade goes by.  Village Clerk Anna Fales says the parade will start at Falconer Central School and proceed West on East Main Street to North Alberta Street... then turn-around and head back to the school where it will end.

Jamestown High School says it's "proud" to announce its 2020 Valedictorian is Abigail Beach and Salutatorian is Ayah Qadri.  JHS Principal Dana Williams says these young women "have challenged themselves with rigorous classes..." and, "will now move on with their education and careers, where we know they will be successful... contributing members of society."  Beach will be attending LeTourneau University with plans to become a professional corporate pilot.  Qadri will be attending Jamestown Community College to major in Math and Science with plans to become a hospital or clinical pharmacist.  Jamestown High School’s 2020 Graduation Ceremony will take place at Strider Field on Thursday, June 25th with a rain date of Friday, June 26th.

The Jamestown City Council got some very good financial news Monday night as the city deals with the aftermath of the COVID-19 shut-down.  Independent Auditor John Trussalo told lawmakers that Jamestown finished 2019 with a $1.4-million surplus, bringing the city's undesignated fund balance to nearly $4-million. Council President Tony Dolce says it was a good year.

Dolce says the additional fund balance will provide the city with at least some buffer for the current year... where Mayor Eddie Sundquist is projecting a $2-million to $4.7-million shortfall. The city has had to claw back from two financial storms over the past two decades: the first was when former Mayor Sam Teresi was first elected, and the city was in a $1.4-million deficit... and, then again during the "Great Recession" in 2008.

A Jamestown woman was arrested for allegedly operating a motorcycle on a suspended license with drugs in her possession Monday afternoon. City Police responded to the area of Fairview and Harding Avenues shortly after 3PM for a motor vehicle accident... and, identified the biker as 24 year-old Brianna Elderkin.  Further investigation revealed Elderkin had an arrest warrant from the Chatuauqua County Sheriff's Office.... a forged registration for the motorcycle she was operating.... and, a quantity of suboxone strips.  Officers say she was taken into custody on several charges and is being held in the city jail pending arraignment. 

A city man is charged with "explosion discharge" for allegedly shooting off fireworks on Jamestown's northside Monday night.  Officers were called to the scene near West 13th and North Main Streets just before 8:30 PM.... and, saw 27 year-old Brandon Dailey discharge aerial fireworks, which exploded over houses in the area.  Police issued Dailey an appearance ticket for city court on a later date. 

Power was restored to a large area of Jamestown's eastside Monday night after an underground cable break occured about 8:45 PM.  The outage interfered briefly with Monday night's Council work session because some city officials -- including Mayor Sundquist -- were at City Hall at the time.  Board of Public Utilities Spokesperson BeckyRobbins says some of the 97 customers were restored about 11:30 last night... while the rest were back on by 1:40 AM Tuesday.