Local News Headlines

There are 40 new cases of the coronavirus being reported Thursday in Chautauqua County... and, 63 over the past two days.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel's office... which reports 20 of those were reported in Fredonia... and, another 11 in Jamestown.  Wendel says this brings the local total to 1,277 confirmed cases.  He adds there are now 161 active cases... and, 1,101 cases have now recovered.

The Jamestown Public Schools have announced that a district staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. The district was notified yesterday evening by the Chautauqua County Health Department that the employee tested positive... but, was last present on Thursday October 29th. JPS Communications Coordinator Cathy Panebianco says the district is following all guidelines from the Chautauqua County Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. We have been notified by the Health Department that no in-school contact tracing will be required. Out-of-school close contacts are being notified and appropriate steps are being taken. 

Jamestown Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says the COVID-19 infection rate is up in the district, but he says --thankfully -- there has been no "inside the school spread."  Whitaker made his comments during a Thursday morning interview on WJTN's Dennis Webster Show.

Whitaker says it's a matter of being very careful of who we interact with... wearing masks and socially distancing, especially as the Holiday Season approaches.  He says a close relative or friend could spread COVID-19.  Whitaker says he's hopeful that the infection rate stays low, not just in the schools, but statewide.  The superintendent says that parents will be receiving some plans to address the COVID-19 spread in the coming days, especially grades 10-through-12 and exposure to visitors during Thanksgiving and Christmas break. 

The Cassadaga Valley Central School district has been notified of two positive cases of COVID-19 among the staff.  One adult at the middle/high school has tested positive.  Out of an abundance of caution... officials say the middle/high school will be closed through today... and, reopen Monday.  The district reports the second staff member who tested positive was at Sinclairville Elementary school.  Students at that building will also be on 'remote learning' today (Friday), with the possibility that may be extended into next week.  (The superintendent, Chuck Leichner, put a video up on the school's website that explains the situation as of late in the day Thursday.)

Jamestown City Council members have begun to review and discuss Mayor Eddie Sundquist's Police Reform survey.  The Public Safety Committee yesterday afternoon looked at the survey... which 479 people took part in.  Sundquist says about 70 people lived outside the city, or didn't have any property they owned in the city.  Sundquist says the first item people responded to was naming the Police Department's top service.

Sundquist says residents also addressed where improvement was needed, and Equality and social justice.  The most named area in that catagory was "training and supervision."  Acting Police Chief Timothy Jackson told the committee that -- compared to other municipal police departments -- JPD was pretty much on schedule in getting a plan in place.  He says they are ahead of the curve in some areas... and, would only have to make a few elsewhere to be where the governor wants them to be.  Sundquist says 59 people have asked to be part of various stakeholder groups involved. 

The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office has arrested a Gerry man on two-counts felony Use of Child in a Sexual Performance. Deputies say the charges stem from a September 1st incident... and, 52 year-old Michael Stravato was arraigned at the Chautauqua County Jail on Wednesday.  Stravato was released under the supervision of probation. 

Triple-A of Western and Central New York is expecting to see the largest one-year drop in Thanksgiving Holiday travel since the Great Recession in 2008.  That from Public Relations Director Elizabeth Carey... who spoke about the drop during a video conference.  Carey says most people are opting for driving when they're traveling.

Carey says most Americans will be taking to the highway during the holiday... but overall travel will be down about 10-percent... with a more than 50-percent drop in air travel.  While Triple-A is not promoting travel because of COVID-19, they are advising those who do decide to travel to follow CDC guidelines... and, that they should know the local restrictions for their travel destination.