Local News Headlines

Chautauqua County has reached a new high in the number of people hospitalized with the COVID-19 Virus.  The county's Health Department reports 22 are now hospitalized... the first time it's been over 20.  Health officials say there are 26 new cases, and 119 are now active.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says there are 987 cases since the pandemic began.  He says 11 of the new cases are in Dunkirk... and, seven were reported in Jamestown.  Wendel says there are now five active cases among employees at Tanglewood Manor... and, 38 active cases among residents there.  He says 70 people associated with this outbreak have now recovered.  The Health Department is still investigating a cluster of cases in the north county... where at least 15 cases have been reported.  

Nearly one-quarter of Chautauqua County's expected voters in next Tuesday's General Election have already voted during the first three days of early balloting.  That from Elections Commissioners Norm Green and Brian Abram... who say 4,480 people have voted at the three early polling sites as of Monday night.  Green adds early voting continues through Sunday... and, all those results will be released on Election Night, November 3rd.

In addition... Green says 11,744 absentee ballots have been sent out.  More than 7-thousand have been returned.  He says the total of early and absentee ballots total nearly 13,000 or 23-percent of expected turn-out.  However... Green says absentees will not be counted until a week later -- on Tuesday, November 10th.  Three days after that... Green says the Board of Elections will count overseas, and military ballots.  He says those have to be returned by then.  He says early voting at Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood, County Fairground in Dunkirk, and at the Board of Elections office in Mayville from 10 AM to 6 PM today-through Friday.  For more information... call 753-4580.

The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency has now awarded just over half of the funding from a $10.5-million federal grant to help local small businesses and organizations during the COVID-19 shut-down.  IDA Chief Executive Officer Mark Geise says the loans total $5.7-million and, have been provided to 28 businesses and non-profit agencies.  Those businesses and organizations include: Luscombe Aircraft... Merritt Estate Winery... Artone Manufacturing... International Ordnance... Heritage Ministries... Brigottas... the La Quinta, Holiday Inn, and Hampton Inn in Jamestown... Pace’s Pizzeria... and, Webb’s Harbor Restaurant and Bowling Lanes.  Geise adds that the program will create nearly 100 new jobs.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says "it's actually quite amazing that the IDA was able to deploy more than half of the funding awarded by the Economic Development Administration in just under two months, while the EDA has given them two years to do so."

The community continues to be generous, but the Executive Director of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation says the next four months could be tough for not-for-profit organizations.  Tory Irgang helped pulled together close to a million dollars for a crisis response fund as the pandemic broke out... money that's now mostly spent.

Another sector facing serious challenges is non-profits that get significant funding from ticket sales or admission charges.  Irgang says reduced travel and crowd restrictions have hit that area hard.  The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation has updated and streamlined its grant application process.  Full information can be found at chautauquagrants.com.

The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities has approved a new, four-year agreement reached with its uniionized workers at the BPU's Wastewater Treatment Plant.  During Monday's second October meeting... the panel approved the agreement with the 13 employees, represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local-106.  BPU General Manager Dave Leathers says the union approved the contract on October 19th... and, it will run from next January 1st through December 31 of 2024.  Leathers says they're pleased to have a new contract in place -- "that allows us to continue providing this vital service in a fiscally responsible manner, as we balance employee recognition through compensation and benefits with overall rate stability and control."

The Chautauqua Safety Village in Ashville is hosting it's 11th annual Halloween Fun Fair -- with a twist this year -- at it's Ashville location.  That from Community Outreach Coordinator Dena Hirliman, who says they've been busy decorating and getting ready for today's COVID-friendly event. Hirliman says there will be several stops along the drive for children to collect candy safely through the window.  The Chautauqua Safety Village Halloween Fun Fair starts at 4 PM today... and, continues until 8 PM rain or shine.  Hirliman says the cost is $2 per child.... and, refreshments will also be made available to buy.

New York's public university system is requiring students to test negative for the coronavirus before they can leave for Thanksgiving break in hopes of preventing community spread as students fan across the country.  State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras told The Associated Press that the system's 64 colleges and universities must come up with plans by Nov. 5 to test about 140,000 students within 10 days before Thanksgiving break.  SUNY has planned to transition most colleges and universities to remote learning after Thanksgiving.  SUNY will require colleges to isolate or quarantine any residential student who tests positive for COVID-19... or is exposed to COVID-19 in the last 14 days before Thanksgiving break.