Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Sept. 2, 2020

Thirteen SUNY Fredonia students have been suspended for reportedly violating the Student Code of Conduct related to COVID-19 and off-campus gatherings. University President Stephen Kolison and Vice President Cedric Howard say the suspensions handed out yesterday are pending a review by the Office of Student Conduct. They also thanked students who have been following protocol... adding, "We need that behavior and leadership amongst students now, more than ever, if we are to continue having a successful semester." According to the Fredonia Dashboard tracker... 22 students have now tested positive for COVID-19 and 88 others are in quarantine.

A tenth person has now died from the coronavirus in Chautauqua County... as the number of confirmed cases has now exceeded 400.  County health officials say there are 14 new cases of COVID-19 in the county as of Tuesday.  They say the 10th victim is a man in his 50s... was died at an out-of-state hospital.  There are now 410 confirmed cases of COVID... and, 293 people have now recovered.  There are now 107 active cases... and, they continue to recover.  Officials say there are 460 cases under local quarantind or isolation orders... and, another 603 people are under the "domestic traveler quarantine."  There have now been 34,456 negative test results to date.

Chautauqua County government's performance in handling the COVID-19 outbreak at Fieldbrook Foods in Dunkirk has become an issue in the race for county executive.  Democratic candidate Richard Morrisroe yesterday criticized Republican Interim Executive P.J. Wendel's leadership in dealing with the cluster of cases that led the state to set up a rapid test center in Dunkirk.  Morrisroe says he questions Wendel's transparency and timeliness in addressing the outbreak... and, is also calling on Wendel to set up rapid testing for every public school student and employee before school starts.

However... when he was reached later, Wendel said that his leadership has been ongoing and there is a plan in place.  He says "all we did was put that plan in motion."  He adds that State Health officials have indicated that such testing is not necessary.

 The Seneca Nation of Indians in Western New York is mourning three beloved tribal citizens.  Ninety-one-year-old Norma Kennedy and her two daughters, 71-year-old Diane Kennedy and 65-year-old Cindy Mohr, died of COVID-19 within weeks of each other.  Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong-senior says their deaths leave an "unmistakable emptiness" in the community.  Norma and Diane Kennedy both worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs for many years... and, also served their tribe.  Mohr taught in local schools and helped shape the lives of hundreds of children.  Family members say about 100 vehicles took part in a recent procession for the women in their hometown of Salamanca.

Firefighters made quick work of a small fire in a second-floor classroom at Cassdaga Valley Middle and High School late yesterday morning... triggered by flash paper in a plastic tote.  The flash paper is used as a prop in musical productions.  Sheriff's officers say Cassadaga, Sinclairville, and Gerry fire crews, and the Chautauqua County HazMat Team and Emergency Medical Services, were called to the scene on Route 60 about 11:30 AM.  Fire investigators say the flash paper apparently became warm, and ignited.  It's a special tissue paper, that when dry, is highly flammable and can be ignited for a quick flash of fire.  The tote and the contents were burned, but there was no damage to the school.  No injuries were reported.

A north county man is alive after Chautauqua County Sheriff's deputies administered Narcan to revive him after a drug overdose late yesterday morning.  Officers were called to a location on Main Street in Silver Creek on a report of an unresponsive, 46 year-old man.  On arrival... deputies gave the man Narcan, and he became responsive.  The unidentified man was then taken to Brook's Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk for further treatment.

Police are continuing their investigation to determine who threw a brick through a front window of Southern Tier Congressman Tom Reed's campaign headquarters in Corning.  Reed says police are reviewing video surveillance from that part of the Central New York City.  However... the Corning Republican says he's disappointed that police were not able to get any video from outside the headquarters itself.

Corning Police say the person, or persons, allegedly threw the brick sometime around 1:30 AM on Wednesday, August 25th.  Reed has blamed his "opponents or the far left" for the vandalism.  His Democratic opponent, Tracy Mitrano denounced the vandalism... but, accused Reed of playing politics by saying his opponents were involved.  No one was inside the headquarters when the incident occured... and, no one was hurt.  During last week's telephone press conference call... he said he's received support from both Republicans and Democrats on the incident.

Chautauqua County's Congressman was here recently to go on a "ride-along" with Sheriff Jim Quattrone to see the challenges law enforcement faces daily.  Republican Tom Reed says they discussed key issues, including the importance of holding bad cops accountable for their actions, New York’s disastrous bail reform law, and how Governor Cuomo’s recent executive order to reform police will impact the department.  Quattrone says he's concerned that Cuomo is rushing his New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaboration, which is due next April.

Quattrone says that means that all the other police departments in the county have to also hold meetings with local stakeholders, and develop their own plan for the state.  The sheriff says he appreciates Reed talking with him during the ride-along.  Reed says he stands with "our communities and the vast majority of police officers, who are honorable people that need our support to keep us safe.  Working together, we must enact meaningful changes that stand up against acts of police brutality while giving law enforcement the tools" they need.