Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Nov 17, 2020

Most of the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities' electric territory has had power restored by late Monday afternoon in the wake of Sunday's severe wind storm.  BPU Crews were expected to work through early this morning on various isolated outages still being reported.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist updated City Council on the situation at last night's work session, and says some work could not be done immediately because of trees and limbs being on power lines.

BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says that was the main cause of the later repairs made Monday.  Sundquist was out with crews Sunday evening, and says one BPU crew he caught up with was already working on it's "sixth or seventh tree" by 7 PM.  He says crews were hopeful of getting most major work done last night.  In some cases... Robbins says trees actually were uprooted... and, some landed on houses or other structures.  Sundquist says no major injuries were reported.

Winds gusting up to 69 miles an hour caused considerable damage in the city of Dunkirk Sunday.  Mayor Willie Rosas says city crews were busy overnight removing downed trees and dealing with flooding along the lake shore. Rosas says the wave action also hit the sea wall along Lakefront Boulevard, which was also already hit by a storm on Halloween 2019.  He says the jersey barriers they had put up temporarily while repairs are being made were damaged and moved by the high waves.  Forecast Dan Kelly with the National Weather Service in Buffalo says a number of reporting stations in and around Dunkirk reported wind gusts of over 60 miles an hour... led by the Marine Station near Fredonia... which recorded the 69 mile an hour gust.  The Dunkirk City Pier sustained damage from the high winds and waves, with some missing benches and waste recepticals. 

With the budget vote scheduled soon... the Jamestown City Council last night received details on Mayor Eddie Sundquist's proposal to move city retirees 65 years of age and over to a new Medicare health plan.  However... city lawmakers had several questions about the proposal from United Health Care.  Sundquist says the plan would be for the more than 300 retirees to go off the city's self-insured plan administered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Sundquist says the retirees would continue to receive the same medical, prescription, dental and vision plans they currently get.  He says there would be two options under the program... one for fire and police retirees, and one for general retirees.  Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund had a number of concerns... including cost of the new plan versus what it is now.  Sundquist is projecting a $1.1-million savings in the budget.  However... lawmakers also raised concerns over imposing a change on the city's six union that had not been negotiated.  Some retirees and current union leaders expressed that concern during the earlier budget hearing.

The man who has been Acting Jamestown Police Chief for the past four months has now been named to the position permanently.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist this afternoon officially announced that he has appointing Timothy Jackson to be the new chief... replacing retired Chief and Public Safety Director Harry Snellings.  Sundquist says the way Jackson has run the department in the interim impressed both him, and the search committee.

Sundquist adds that Jackson’s appointment as Police Chief is subject to approval by Jamestown City Council.  He adds the appointment also carries the duel role of chief and Public Safety Director.  Sundquist says one of Jackson's major tasks has been developing JPD's response to Governor Cuomo's Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative... many of which the department already had in place.  Jackson has been a member of the Jamestown Police Department since May of 2000.  He has a Masters of Administration of Justice from Mercyhurt University in Erie, Pennsylvania... and, served in the U-S Navy Reserves.  He served in Iraq from 2005-to-2006.  The City Council will act on the appointment at it's November 30th voting session.

There have been 54 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus in Chautauqua County over the past three days... 24 of them Monday.  County Executive P-J Wendel reports that most of the cases... 16... were reported in Jamestown.  Wendel says there are six cases in Fredonia... and, four each in Bemus Point and Dunkirk.  He says there have now been a total of 1,348 confirmed cases since the pandemic began... and, 147 are currently active.  Wendel adds there are now just seven people hospitalized.  The number of deaths remains at 15... and, the number of recovered cases has grown to 1,186.

The public will have the chance to hear what county officials have to say about the current COVID-19 situation and guidelines... and, ask questions during a virtual Town Hall this afternoon.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the town hall will be held on the County Government Facebook page... beginning at 3 PM.  Wendel says each member of the advisory group will speak in the beginning before opening up the floor to questions.  He says they felt it was important to get necessary information out to the public before the holiday season begins... and, that safety measures in place are designed to stop the spread of COVID, and is for our family and friends.  Wendel will host the Town Hall session... and, he'll be joined by Public Health Director Christine Schuyler, County Physician Dr. Robert Berke... and, Doctors Brian Walters and Michael Faulk.  The county's Facebook page is at Facebook.com/ChautauquaCountyGovernment.