WJTN News Headlines for Aug 28, 2020

It was a wild weather afternoon Thursday in Jamestown... and, Chautauqua County as a whole.  A number of power outages were reported in the wake of strong winds and heavy rain.  Parts of Lakewood, and much of Frewsburg into Kennedy were without power for some time last night.  A line of severe storms came through the area... downing a number of trees and power lines across the area.  The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office reported some windows were blown out of a building in Jamestown... and, a roof was at least partially blown off a home in the village of Celoron.  

There are 37 new cases of the COVID-19 Virust being reported the past day in Chautauqua County... largely related to the outbreak at Fieldbrook Foods in Dunkirk.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says the new cases include three persons under the age of 18... a young male adult... and, eight men and three women in their 40s.  Wendel says this brings the local total to 352 confirmed cases... while 267 have recovered.  He says there are now 76 active cases... while 236 others are under quarantine or isolation orders.  Wendel says 501 persons are now under the "domestic traveler quarantine."  There have now been 31,990 negative test results to date.

New York state health officials are closely monitoring Western New York's COVID-19 rate of infection after getting news the rate has now reached 2-percent.  That from Governor Andrew Cuomo... who says that's not good news... and during a conference call with media Thursday... he said the caution flag is "flying a little higher."  Cuomo says they will set up eight test sites in the region... including one in northern Chautauqua County.

Cuomo said that 53 of Chautauqua County's new cases have been tied to the recent COVID outbreak at Fieldbrook Foods in Dunkirk... where the first case was reported on August 16th.  He says the new testing sites will use the Abbott Testing machines... which will provide results in about an hour.  Cuomo says people will have to make an appointment.

Local Congressman Tom Reed says he's "very concerned" in the wake of this week's vandalism at his campaign headquarters in Corning... but, adds that neither he nor his campaign are being deterred from continuing.  A brick was thrown through a front window late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning at that downtown location in the Central New York city.

Reed also stood behind his initial comments about the likelyhood that his "opponents or the far left" were behind it.  In addition to his campaign staff, he is also concerned for his family living in Corning.  Reed criticized his Democratic opponent, Tracy Mitrano, for blasting his comments where he indicated that his "opponents" or those on the "far left" were responsible for what happened.  The Corning Republican says it's "obvious" to him.

Incumbant Congressman Tom Reed's opponent in the November election is condemning the vandalism done to his campaign headquarters last Tuesday night.  However... Penn Yan Democrat Tracy Mitrano says Reed is also jumping to conclusions by saying it was perpetrated by the Republican's "opponents and far left extremists."  Mitrano says there was no justification for throwing a brick through a front window at Reed's campaign headquarters... and, she called for a thorough investigation. Mitrano adds, though, that in his statement Wednesday, Reed was wrong to automatically assume someone on "the left" did this... and says this is "McCarthy-like stuff."  She made her comments during a press call with Southern Tier Media.

  The Chautauqua County Board of Elections has already received more than 4,000 applications for absentee ballots, with about two months to go before Election Day.  That's the word from County Elections Commissioners Norm Green and Brian Abram.  Abram... who is Republican Commissioner, says the number compares to what the county typically handles during a presidential election year.

Abram says ballots will be mailed starting on September 18th.  Because of concerns over mail delivery, Green is advising people not to wait too long before sending their application.  He says the last day to apply is a week before the election... but, with current mail issues... he says that could be a problem.  For an application... go on-line to the Board of Elections website, or call 753-4580. 

The man at the helm of the Jamestown Public School District is blasting Governor Andrew Cuomo over his 'slight-of-hand' in state aid to schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In a recent interview on WJTN, Dr. Kevin Whitaker says the federal government provided $3-million to JPS, however he expressed his frustrations with the state.

Whitaker says while losing 20-percent of aid from the state-level would "survivable" ... the district would have to consider cuts to programs that are not mandated. He says this would be devastating to parents, students and staff.  Dr. Whitaker is encouraging the school community to reach out the federal representatives and ask for their continued support for education.