There are two new cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County... and, they are a man in his 20s and a woman in her 40s. That from interim County Executive P-J Wendel... who says that brings the local total to 131. Wendel says there are currently eight active cases... and, they're recovering... while there are 116 people who have recovered. He says 96 cases are under quaratine or isolation orders... but, no one is hospitalized. There have now been 14,646 negative test results to date.
There's been increased talk about a fourth, major COVID economic relief bill in Congress with a number of states seeing the number of cases and hospitalizations rising... and, some of them going back to shutting down some businesses. Local Congressman Tom Reed says that is concerning... because he was hoping to avoid the need for another stimulus bill. However... Reed says the nation needs to be ready to deal with hot spots when they crop up.
Congressional members were told today by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that the administration wants the next round of economic aid to focus on supporting businesses... like restaurants... that have been hardest hit by the pandemic. Mnuchin says he is already talking to lawmakers about getting another round of relief approved by the end of July. He said those discussions included ways to use left-over funds from the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill.
There is some good economic news today... as the new U-S, Canada, Mexico trade agreement takes effect. That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who fought for passage of the bill. The Corning Republican says it's an improvement in many ways from the former North American Free Trade Agreement. For the 23rd Congressional District... Reed says it will open up new dairy markets for Class 6 and 7 milk products -- including cheese.
Reed says there are other issues that are being addressed that weren't around when NAFTA was first instituted. Those include dealing with "digital" trade issues... which are now a huge part of trade. The new USMCA was part of a 2016 campaign promise by President Trump to negotate a new agreement. He says it's projected to help major American industries, including adding $226.8-million in total dairy output... and, $683 million in annual investment for the automotive and manufacturing industry. Reed made his comments during his weekly conference call with Southern Tier media.
The Fenton History Center is preparing to re-open their doors to the public for the first time since mid-March. Executive Director Noah Goodling says the Center has made adjustments to the space and exhibits with the Fenton Mansion, to ensure the safety of visitors. As soon as they receive full clearance... Goodling says the Fenton will open during regular hours Monday through Friday. However, the Hall House Research Center won't open immediately, but is anticipated to begin the week of July 13th. Goodling says they will take research request by email at "Researcher@FentonHistoryCenter.org" or by calling 664-6256. In addition... the history center is holding a collection drive for historic or current materials devoted to the local LGBTQIA+ community, between now and the end of the year. Goodling says the artifacts will be used to construct an exhibit for early 2021. He says accepted materials will include photographs, poetry, artistic works protests signs and publications.
There will be no Gerry Rodeo this year. Spokesman Paul Cooley says the members of the rodeo committee waited as long as they could, in hopes of running the event in early August. In the end... Cooley says some coronavirus Executive Orders currently in place forced their hand.
After Monday's meeting, rodeo Chairman Tom Atwell called it the toughest decision they've ever made. The rodeo is a major fundraiser for the Gerry Fire Department. Paul Cooley says another consideration was the 'Heritage' nursing home facilities in Gerry. This year's show... August 5th through the 8th... was to have been the 76th consecutive Gerry Rodeo... the longest continuous run for a rodeo east of the Mississippi. The rodeo committee is planning to offer a 'drive through' version of their famous beef barbeque at a later date. (The new dates for the rodeo itself are August 4th through the 7th, 2021.)
The $36-million Gatewater Lofts housing project in downtown Jamestown has been given site plan approval by the city's Planning Commission. Commission member and City Councilman Tom Nelson made the announcement regarding project during Monday night's voting session. The Gateway Lofts will use just over 100-thousand square feet of space in the current center at 31 Water Street... and, Nelson says a lot of work has gone into getting the project to this point. He credited Commission Chairman Greg Rabb, and City Development Director Crystal Surdyk for their hard work.
Fredonia Central School has announced an interim superintendent as it begins the search process for a new superintendent. Colleen Taggerty will replace former superintendent Jeff Sortisio, who held the post for three years before becoming superintendent at Eden Central. Taggerty served as the Olean City School District superintendent before retiring in 2017.