Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Dec 7, 2020

Jamestown firefighters were able to make fairly quick work of a fire on the second-floor of a vacant, three-story house on the city's eastside late Sunday afternoon.  City Fire Battalion Chief Don Mowery says crews were called to the scene at 168-and-a-half Chandler Street around 4:30 PM... and, found flames coming from the second-floor of the home.  Mowery says they knocked the bulk of the blaze down within several minutes... and, moved inside to attack what was left. Mowery says no injuries were reported among firefighters... and, an off-duty shift was called in.  The cause is under investigation.

No one was hurt... but, several people had to be evacuated when fire broke out last Saturday afternoon at an Ashville home.  Ashville and other fire companies were called to the scene in Hadley Bay on Route 394 just after 4 PM... and, found that everyone was safely out of the home.  Sheriff's deputies say no one living there, nor firefighters were hurt.  Officers say Chautauqua County fire investigators were called to the scene... and, determined an electrical issue started the fire in the ceiling of the building's basement.

Today is the last day that Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist can veto or sign the 2021 budget adopted last Monday by the City Council.  Sundquist says he's weighing possible vetoes of some of the 16 amendments made by lawmakers to the $34.8-million spending plan.  Sundquist says he could sign the budget... veto it entirely... or veto parts of it.  Sundquist says though, he will allow the main change, which keeps retirees 65 and over on the city's self-insured health care coverage.

Sundquist says his proposal to go with a plan for United Health would save the city $1.1-million. However... the city unions balked at the move, saying it should be negotiated as part of their contracts.  Sundquist also agrees that employees need to be educated on the proposal... and, it should be negotiated.  However... he says couple of the personnel changes were surprising... including elimination of the City Parks and Recreation coordinator's position.

Since last Friday's 90 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Chautauqua County, Health Department Officials offered no updates on any coronavirus information through the weekend. However, according to the "NY Forward Dashboard", 52 cases were confirmed in the County on Sunday. Test results indicate 683 people were tested yesterday. The seven-day positive average is currently 5.3-percent. More information is expected later today. 

With the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and illness in the county... the Health Department has scheduled more free COVID-19 testing in both Dunkirk and Jamestown through this month.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says the Dunkirk Fire Training Grounds will host two clinics, on Tuesday, December 8th and 15th... from 9 AM to 2 PM.  In Jamestown... Schuyler says clinics will be held at the Taylor Fire Training Grounds on Harrison Street from 9 AM to 2 PM on Thursday, December 10th and the 17th.  She says COVID-19 testing is available to any county resident who wants to be tested, and is free.  But... Schuyler adds that appointments are  necessary, and walk-in testing is not available.  Registration will open on Monday of each week at 9 AM... and, to register on line... go to chqgov.com/public-health/covid-19-testing-sites... or call 1-866-604-6789.

Four local hunters had to be rescued from Chautauqua Lake after their boat capsized near Bemus Point early last Saturday morning.  Sheriff's deputies say they received a 9-1-1 call for a distressed vessel near Lakeside Drive about 6 AM.  Officers and members of county's Wet Emergency Team arrived on scene within 5 minutes.  They found the 15-foot boat used for hunting waterfoul had overturned... and, left the four men in the water for about 30 minutes.  Officers got two of the men, while the other two were brought to shore by fire rescuers.  The four men... 39 year-old Daniel Auria of Panama... 31 year-old Jonathan Bellardo of Frewsburg... and, 30 year-old Matthew Calimeri and 39 year-old Howard Talbot -- both of Jamestown -- were taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of hypothermia... and, are expected to recover fully.

A Salamanca man has been arrested for allegedly trying to have sex with a 14-year-old girl earlier this Fall.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 36 year-old Richard Buffalo has been formally charged with enticement and attempted enticement of a minor and attempted transfer of obscene matter to a person under the age of 16.  Prosecutors say... last October... Buffalo began communicating with the girl on Snapchat.  The girl later told Buffalo she was 14... but, he persisted... and, when federal agents were alerted... the put an undercover officer in to pose as the victim.  She then communicated with Buffalo, and he asked to have sex with him, and allegedly asked her to send nude photographs of herself.  He then sent nude pictures of himself to her.  They then agreed to a meeting, and when Buffalo arrived, he was arrested. 

A solid line of cars streamed across 3rd Street in Jamestown for close to two hours Friday night for the 'reverse parade.'  The people came to view stationary floats or displays with holiday themes set up by a dozen stores, businesses and organizations. So many cars came, the event was lengthened an extra half-hour.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist was thrilled with the response.

That backup proved to be a problem for some.  Social media postings following the parade suggested some people waited over an hour... but never got through.  Earlier in the evening, Mayor Sundquist and three young people lit the city's Christmas tree on Tracy Plaza... in a quieter than usual ceremony, because of the coronavirus. And the Jamestown Tarp Skunks baseball team introduced their new mascot.  It is a skunk.  The team's Director of Business and Sales Operations, Jacob Kindberg, announced his name is "Whiffy."  That's spelled w-h-i-f-f-y.