Local News Headlines

With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching... Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone says he is one of 10 law enforcement officials in the Western New York area that does not plan to enforce Governor Andrew Cuomo's recent executive order calling for no more than 10 people gathering inside a home.  Quattrone says he has two main concerns regarding the order... issued due to rising COVID-19 cases... including mechanisms for enforcement and no way to enter a home without violating individual rights.  Quattrone adds that he is "on the same page" with other law enforcement officials in the county.  He says they strive to "educate, and encourage" residents to follow the law.  He says -- by and large -- mostly people have agreed to abide by the order.  Quattrone encourages people to enjoy Thanksgiving, but not be reckless.  Cuomo issued the executive order in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases across New York State.

The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services is reporting 36 new cases of the coronavirus in the county on Thursday.  That brings the total locally to 1,429 since the pandemic began.  County Executive P-J Wendel says the new cases include eight in Jamestown...five in Fredonia... and four each in Westfield and Dunkirk.  Wendel reports there are currently 155 active cases... and, 1,258 have now recovered.

Due to staffing issues caused by people being in quarantine... the Southwestern Central School District will be going to all remote learning starting today through the end of Thanksgiving week.  That from School Superintendent Maureen Donahue... who says there are currently staff and students in all three buildings that are quarantined due to positive cases in the community.  While Jamestown is now planning to go all-remote the week's after the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks... Southwestern is not.

Donahue adds they got word Thursday of additional staff that are required to quarantine.  As a direct result... they will be fully-remote now through next Tuesday, November 24th.  The district is off for Thanksgiving from Wednesday the 25th through Sunday, November 29th.  Donahue urges families needing help with anything in the coming days to contact the district.

There's another new case of COVID-19 being reported in the Jamestown Public School system... with this one being off-site in the high school.  JPS Spokeswoman Cathy Panebianco says the Chautauqua County Health Department reports the student last attended school last Friday, November 13th.  Since the student had been attending off-site at the time... the Health Department has advised that no 'in-school' contact tracing will be required.  If you have any questions, contact your building nurse or Health Services Coordinator Jill Muntz at 483-4376.

School teachers and administrators often talk about their concern over "Summer Slide..." or the time when students are off for Summer vacation... and, need to get back up to speed to start the new school year.  However... that's been replaced by the "COVID Slide" that's been happening since many students left the classroom last March when the pandemic began.  Jamestown School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says some students have handled remote, or hybrid learning well... while others have not.  Whitaker adds a second worry is over lack of socialization. However... Dr. Whitaker says while there are "plenty of opportunities for assistance..." it may not be as effective with the current situation.  He made his comments during an interview Thursday morning on our Dennis Webster Show on WJTN Radio.

The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities is opening it's Yard Waste Site this Saturday to allow Solid Waste Customers to clean-up and disposed of storm debris.  BPU Spokeswoman Becky Robbins says the site is located at 10-01 Monroe Street.. and, yard waste stickers from both 2019-2020 and 2021-2022 will be accepted for entrance.  Last weekend's storm left many branches, sticks and twigs to fall into yards.  She says residential customers are asked to come between 8 AM and Noon this Saturday, November 21st. 

New York financial regulators say the National Rifle Association has been banned from marketing insurance in New York for five years and will pay $2.5-million dollars to settle an investigation into "dangerous" policies that covered gun owners' costs related to self-defense shootings.  The New York State Department of Financial Services announced the consent order with the powerful gun advocacy group after a three-year investigation into possible violations of state insurance law.  State regulators said the NRA violated insurance laws and regulations by acting as an insurance producer without a license.  An attorney for the NRA says the organization has not admitted to any crimes as a part of the settlement. 

A worker helping set up the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree found a holiday surprise - a tiny owl among the massive branches.  The little bird, now named Rockefeller, was discovered on Monday, dehydrated and hungry, but otherwise unharmed.  Ellen Kalish, director and founder of the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, New York, where the bird was taken, says it's an adult male Saw-whet owl.  Kalish says the plan is to release it back to the wild this weekend.