Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Sept. 24, 2020

Interim Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel has proposed what he calls a "very unique" 2021 budget plan that increases the tax levy... but, cuts the tax rate by 5-cents per thousand assessed value.  Wendel presented his tentative spending plan at last night's County Legislature meeting... and, thanked his finance team, and department heads for bringing in a budget that cuts about $4-million in spending.

Wendel says that's because the state's tax cap for next year will be 1.56-percent instead of the typical 2-percent.  With that... the legislature would have to override the cap to enact the budget, as is.  He says the tax levy would increase in the tentative budget by about $2.2-million. County Legislature committees will begin work on the overall, $293-million spending plan the first week of October.

New York's Lieutenant Governor has taken note of the doubling of coronavirus cases in Chautauqua County over the past month.  But, Kathy Hochul says 'we can handle this" because it's not "wide-spread."  Hochul says the state has supported the county in dealing with the two clusters at Fieldbrook Foods in Dunkirk... and, the SUNY College at Fredonia.  The current case count in the county is more than 600.  During a Media One interview Wednesday... Hochul also said that school districts who'd seen a 20 percent 'holdback' in state funding in the summer will have their aid restored. Without help from Washington, Hochul said the long term situation is 'rather dire'.  Regarding Halloween, Kathy Hochul says the state will allow parents and families their own discretion in deciding how to celebrate.  However... they are warning against any large gatherings... and, urging mask-wearing and social distancing.  

U-S Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was remembered as both 'tough and brave' during a private ceremony held in her honor Wednesday morning at the courthouse in Washington, D-C.  Ginsburg's body will lie in repose for two days at the court's Great Hall.  People from both sides of the political aisle are remembering Ginsburg for her tenacity and spirit. 

New York's Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul got to meet Ginsburg when the late Justice visited Buffalo last year... shortly after she had chemotherapy for her cancer.  The Democrat says she was "an extraordinary individual..." who was "very humble, but you could tell her sharp intellect."  Ginsburg served on the high court for 27 years and, before that, argued six cases for gender equality in the 1970s.  Thousands of people are expected to pay their respects during public viewing, which continues today outside the court.  

A Jamestown man wanted on felony warrants was arrested following a physical domestic incident last night. City police were called to a residence on East Fourth Street shortly after 9:30 PM... and, identified the suspect as 30 year-old David Payne-the third. Investigation revealed Payne allegedly struck the victim with a guitar several times, breaking the instrument and causing multiple injuries.  He was additionally charged with second-degree assault... third-degree criminal mischief and aggravated family offense. 

The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office is reminding all residents that the theft of signs is a crime in New York State. Deputies say there's been various reports of political signs being taken... and, as Election Day approaches, there will likely be an increase in signs being put out. Anyone taking a sign without permission could be subject to criminal charges. Officers says if you believe a sign is hindering visibility of traffic or that it is illegally placed, call the municipality where the sign is located.

For the first time in several days... there are no new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus being reported in Chautauqua County.  Officials with the county's Department of Health and Human Services says there are now 31 active cases, that continue to recover.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says there is just one person hospitalized, and there are now 582 recovered cases.  Wendel says there are 250 cases under quarantine or isolation orders... and, only 28 persons under the "domestic traveler quarantine." 

A Jamestown man has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of trafficking crack-cocaine... and, faces up to 20 years in prison when he's sentenced next January.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior announced Wednesday that 27 year-old Shaquelle Coleman entered the plea in U-S District Court in Buffalo to possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.  Prosecutors say Coleman and another man, Earl Stone, Junior, were arrested for violating terms of their parole when they were found at a West Seventh Street home in January of 2019.  During a search of the two men... police found $1,400  in cash... a quantity of suspected crack cocaine, a digital scale with white residue, and three cellphones.  Stone was already convicted... and both are awaiting sentencing.  

A group battling childhood hunger has joined with a major media company to help get meals to kids while schools are closed by the COVID pandemic.  "Turn Up, Fight Hunger" is an unusual collaboration between the 'No Kid Hungry' campaign and Discovery, Inc.  In less than a year... the partnership has helped connect kids across the country with more than 520-million meals.  And, with many schools closed, the task of getting food to kids has grown even harder.  According to Eleni Towns with the No Kid Hungry Campaign, since the pandemic began, as many as one in four face hunger. Towns says when schools first closed earlier this year, 'No Kid Hungry' invested more than $27-million in schools and community groups nationwide... and, they've committed to investing another $35-million this fall to help ensure that kids who have depended on school meal programs get enough to eat.