WJTN News Headlines for Aug 7, 2020

A Jamestown man will spend more than 12 years in prison after being sentenced on drug and weapons charges in federal court in Buffalo.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 33 year-old Kyle Kamholtz had earlier been convicted of possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possessing of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  Kennedy says he was sentenced to serve 152 months -- or 12 years and eight-months -- by District Judge Richard Arcara.  Prosecutors say Kamholtz was identified as a meth trafficker... and, was arrested following an investigation that began in November of 2017.  They say undercover agents made several drug buys... and, several vehicle and traffic stops that resulted in Kamholtz’s arrest for possession of meth and a firearm.  Authorities also executed two search warrants at his McKinley Avenue home, and seized a firearm, meth, scales, packaging, and other drug distribution paraphernalia.

A city man has pleaded guilty to trafficking methamphetamine in Jamestown over the course of several months last year.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior has announced that 24-year-old Jacob Komenda of Jamestown admitted to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, five grams or more of methamphetamine.  Prosecutors say members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force raided Komenda's house on Partrige Street in April of 2019, and found meth, and drug paraphernalia inside, along with a 12-gauge shot gun, and a stun gun.  In September... another raid on Fairview Avenue led to Komenda being arrested... after agents found meth and drug paraphernalia... along with nearly $3,200 cash in his possession.  He will be sentenced in November to at least five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years, and a $5-million fine.

The Bemus Point Central School Board believes they have found the "right fit" for the district in appointing Fredonia school administrator Joe Reyda as their new superintendent.  Reyda has been an administrator in the north county district for the past 16 years... most recently as director of Instruction and Human Services.  Board President Barry Swanson says their search consultant brought forth some very good candidates... but, adds Reyda stood out.

Swanson says the Western New York Education Services Council met several times with them, and other stakeholders before presenting finalists.  He says Reyda has a lot of varied experience... his first 13 years in the classroom.  Swanson says Reyda also has a lot of experience with the business side of education, as well as capital projects.  He says Reyda will officially begin his new duties on August 24th.  But, he adds he'll be working with Interim Superintendent Michelle Spasiano (Spa-see-ah-no) a couple of times a week beforehand.  Both worked together earlier in their careers.

Fredonia Central School administrator Joe Reyda's decision to leave the district for the superintedent's post in Bemus Point will be a loss for the Fredonia district.  That from Interim Fredonia Superintendent Colleen Taggerty... whos says Reyda was officially appointed by the Bemus Point District on Wednesday. Taggerty says Reyda is an "amazing educator" who is very good in "managing situations" and astute in Human Resources.  Reyda, who has been with Fredonia for 16 years, begins his new job on August 24th.

Chautauqua County's Division of Public Health says three new cases of the COVID-19 Virus have been reported over the past day.  Officials say the three new cases include a person under the age of 18... a woman in her 40s, and a man in his 40s.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says that brings the number of confirmed cases to 248... and, 218 have now recovered.  Wendel says there are 21 active cases... with one being hospitalized.  He says 138 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders, and are being monitored.  Another 1,076 people are under the "domestic traveler quarantine" after arriving in the county from a state listed on the New York State travel advisory.  Wendel says 24,354 negative test results have been reported to date. 

The Jamestown Board of Education has named Lauren Scharf as the next director of the Jamestown High School A Cappella Choir.

For the past six years, Scharf has been choral director at Persell Middle School.  She becomes only the fifth director in the 96 year history of the Jamestown High School Choir... at a time when the coronavirus prevents choirs from rehearsing and performing in the usual ways.  The new director says it's unfortunate they won't be able to jump in... in the normal sense... but "they'll do everything in their power to make music together."  The new director says she's committed to continuing the choir's 'holiday vespers services' and other A Cappella traditions.  Lauren Scharf replaces Norm Lydell, who retired earlier this year.   

Chautauqua County -- like most of Upstate New York -- remains in Phase-Four of the reopening from the coronavirus shut-down... but, what of businesses that have not yet reopened?  Those include gyms and fitness clubs... and, bowling alleys.  Many have expressed concern over the long-term health of such businesses... which really have been give no guidance on how to reopen.  Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul... during a recent visit to Jamestown... was unable to shed much more light on the matter.

Hochul says they have been talking with the state's health experts about the situation so those entities can open safely.  Certain parts of the local YMCA's are back operating... such as tennis -- with strict social distancing.  In response to regional protests by local gym owners... Governor Cuomo said late Thursday that gyms are a "high risk" for COVID because of issues with opening some too early in other parst of the country.

The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation is encouraging property owners in any of Jamestown's 'historic districts' to participate in a webinar next Wednesday evening.  Neighborhood Project Coordinator, Mary Maxwell, says help is available for renovations to those properties.

The webinar starts at 6 PM, Wednesday, August 12th and is being put on by 'Preservation Buffalo Niagara.'  Registration is availalble at preservationbuffaloniagara.org or by calling the Renaissance Corporation at 708-6964.  Mary Maxwell adds the state has been responding quickly to requests, and getting projects underway.  Jamestown has two existing 'historic districts'... downtown and Lakeview Avenue... with a third, Forest Heights, expected to come on line in September.  Property owners who are unsure if they're in one of the 'historic districts'  should contact the Renaissance Corporation.  

A Lackawanna man was arrested for allegedly damaging a vehicle in a road rage incident Wednesday on Interstate-86. State Police in Jamestown responded to scene... and, identified the suspect as 41 year-old Ahmed Alqadhi. Troopers says Alqadhi threw a water bottle at a car he was passing on the highway and took off. His vehicle was located soon after the other driver called 9-1-1. Alqadhi was issued an appearance ticket for fourth-degree criminal mischief and is schedule to appear in Ellicott Town Court at a later date. 

As part of 'Speed Awareness Week...' the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office is participating in a state-wide campaign to crackdown on speeding motorists.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone says driving fast translates to death on roadways... putting drivers, their passengers and other drivers at tremendous risk.  The Speed Awareness Week blitz continues through August 12th, during which officers will intensify enforcement of posted speed limits in various communities in Chautauqua County.  Quattrone says this includes Route 60, Route 430, and Route 394, where most of the county's speed-related crashes occur.  He adds that the goal is to save lives and keep motorists alert.... and, "When it comes to speeding, Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine". 

The Chautauqua Lake Twin Tier Antique Boat Society will have its first ever boat parade this Saturday morning (8/8), and President Doug Cornelius, wants the public to come and take a look.  Cornelius says they'll begin in front of the Lawson Center in Bemus Point at 10:30 AM... and proceed around the north basin, then return.  Cornelius says several dozen classic boats will join in. Cornelius says the parade will honor first responders and be led by a boat from the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department.  Dewittville, and other fire department boats will also be included.  The parade should be easily visible from Long Point State Park and Mayville Lakeside Park, among others places.  The boat parade was originally scheduled in July, but was postponed because of poor weather.