Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Oct. 7, 2020

Chautauqua County has now exceeded 700 confirmed cases of COVID-19... and, a 13th person has died after contracting the virus.  The county's Health Department said Tuesday that there are three new cases of the coronavirus being reported... and, a man in his 60s with underlying health conditions has died.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says there are now 701 cases of COVID... and, 48 cases are currently active.  Wendel says 640 people have now recovered... and, there have been 13 deaths.  He says 295 cases are under quarantine or isolation orders... and, another 23 persons are under the "domestic traveler quarantine."

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state will reinstate restrictions on businesses, churches and schools in and around areas where coronavirus cases are spiking.  Cuomo said Tuesday that the severity of shutdowns would vary by proximity to the hot spots.  The new rules are set to take effect no later than Friday and would be imposed in parts of New York City... and, some other locations around the where clusters of virus cases have sprouted up.

The Democratic candidate for Chautauqua County Executive is blasting Interim Executive P-J Wendel's proposed budget... which he says relies on unrealistic sales tax projections, and property tax relief gimmicks.  Dunkirk's Rich Morrisroe says Wendel's budget appears to have been drafted without reviewing the State Comptroller’s report on challenges facing local economies due to COVID-19.  Morrisroe agrees with the move to furlough workers to save money... but, he would have been more aggressive.

Morrisroe says Wendel was "clearly wearing rose-colored glasses when he drafted the 2021 budget.  His proposal is a series of shell games and incorrect assumptions about sales tax revenue and the financial health of Chautauqua County.”  Among the steps he would take... Morrisroe says are doing a department by department review to cut unnecessary expenses... streamline services and expenses between the county and local municipalities... and, ask all political appointees to take a salary cut until finances have stablized.  He also said that he would reduce his salary if elected, and called on Wendel to make the same pledge.

A man from Cattaraugus County who was reported missing over the weekend was found dead by first responders aiding in the search.  Sheriff's officers in Little Valley say unidentified 20 year-old man was initially reported missing by his family when he didn't return home from go-karting last Saturday night in the Barse Road area in the town of Mansfield.  Deputies says investigators followed tire tracks to a nearby pond where they found the man's body.  Officers were assisted by local fire departments, State Police and State Forest Rangers in the scene.  The Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Office says the family wishes to thank everyone that has helped in the search. 

A huge jump in the number of Freedom of Information requests in the city of Jamestown has led officials to bring in a company to digitize the process of filing a request, and responding to it.   Mayor Eddie Sundquist announced last (Monday) night that they now have a contract with "NextRequest" to overhaul the system to make it quicker and more transparent.  Sundquist says they've already received 150 FOIL requests this year... something that's never been seen before.  He says it'll be on the city's website soon.

Sundquist says "NextRequest" is already used by several other municipalities... and, includes a one-page form.  City Clerk Jennifer Williams says their current system is "antiquated..." and not able to easily handle the current number of requests.  Sundquist says the best part of the "NextRequest" program is it's being provided free to the city.  The city's website is Jamestownny-dot-GOV.

The Fredonia Village Board approved a resolution that clears the way for the installation of interconnections with the North County Water District.  Trustees approved the measure by 4 to 1 vote Monday evening.  Trustee Jim Lynden opposed the measure, because he felt an agreement was needed first.

Trustee Roger Britz was among the four trustees supporting the measure... and, says he understand Lynden's feelings, but, also wants to "get going" on the project.  The village's water system has faced several challenges in recent years, including last month’s boil order that lasted nearly 20-days.

Students at an upstate college campus will be switching to remote learning for two weeks because of rising coronavirus cases.  The State University College of New York at Cortland says the shift away from in-person learning at the campus south of Syracuse, New York, would start on October 7th.  The state had set a threshold of 100 coronavirus cases as a trigger for a return to remote learning for at least two weeks.  SUNY Cortland hit that mark on Monday.  Other SUNY campuses -- including Fredonia -- have also been impacted by COVID-19 outbreaks.