Local News Headlines

While the number of COVID-19 cases continues to spike upward... there is good news this week.  Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says the "emergency approval of a vaccine has instilled hope in many who desperately need to see a light at the end of this pandemic tunnel.”  Schuyler says there will be five-phases to vaccine distribution in the county... and, the rest of New York state.  She says Phase-one will include healthcare workers and Emergency Medical Services personnel in patient care settings... along with Long-term care facility workers and patients.  She says the second-phase will include first responders... teachers and school staff... child care providers... and, essential frontline workers who regularly interact with the public... or maintain critical infrastructure.  Schuyler says people 65 and older are in Phase-three.  Phase-four will will include other workers... and, healthy adults and children are in Phase-five.

There are 59 new cases of the COVID-19 Virus being reported the past day in Chautauqua County... and, two more hospitalizations.  The county's Health Department says there are now 2,536 confirmed cases being reported... and, 433 are active.  Officials say the number of hospitalizations are up from 23 to 25.  The Health Department says now 2,080 cases that have recovered... and, among the new cases... 13 are in Jamestown... and, 11 are in Dunkirk.

There are three more people in the Jamestown Public School district who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus... after four were announced to begin the week.  The district reports the Chautauqua County Health Department said one was a Persell Middle School student who was last in school December 11th.  The second was a Jefferson Middle School student last present on December 7th... and, the third was a High School student last in school on December 8th.  Officials say any close contacts have been alerted.  This comes after four positive cases were reported Monday.  They include a student and staff member at Fletcher Elementary School... a staff member at JHS... and, a district employee last present on December 4th.  None of these cases are related to each other and there were no in-school close contacts.

Jamestown work crews have begun taking down the tall "Cathedral Oak" trees that line West Third Street... a project that may take a couple of weeks to complete.  City Parks and Public Works crews took down some of the "stand-alone" trees Monday... and, nearly 40 more remain.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says there will be some full and partial street closures when workers are taking down the trees.

Sundquist says the weather will be a factor, along with the availability of equipment.  Due to their size... he says it's quite a project to take down one of the oaks.  Sundquist says it won't been until well into 2021 that the city will begin looking at planting new trees. Sundquist thanked the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation for agreeing to help the city buy new trees for the West Third Street corridor.  He says they'll be looking for trees that can hold up in the ground after the oaks are gone -- mainly because of certain secretions that come from the oaks.  Anyone interested in taking wood from the Cathedral Oaks is asked to call City Arborist Dan Stone at 483-7554.

The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency has approved a $382,000 loan to the former Rand Machine Products in Falconer for a nearly one-million dollar expansion.  IDA Chief Executive Officer Mark Geise says Premier Precision Machining acquired Rand in October of 2017... and, since then has been growing steadily.  In order to continue their expansion... Geise says Premier has improved and reconfigured their current, 7,000 square foot facility, to the extent possible, to increase both capacity and efficiency.  However... he says they have run out of space and need to expand.  Geise says Premier has increased it's number of jobs from 45 to 126.  Company President Kurt Grimm says the Al Tech Loan will help them with a $953,000 project to also bridge the current main building with a 5-thousand square foot outbuilding on their property.

Fredonia village trustees fill one vacancy on the board... burt, another trustee is leaving her post.  Trustee Kara Christina tendered her resignation to the board during last Monday night's meeting... with the correspondence being read by Village Clerk Annmarie Johnston. Meanwhile, trustees by a 2 to 1 vote approved a resolution filling the vacancy created by last month's unexpected death of Trustee Roger Pacos.  Trustee Roger Britz sponsored the resolution. Trustee Jim Lynden, who presided over last night's meeting, cast the lone vote.  The board also received word of Village Attorney Dan Gard's resignation at the end of the month.

 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has denied a former aide's allegations over the weekend that he sexually harassed her by making inappropriate comments about her appearance.  Cuomo, a Democrat, told reporters the claims former economic adviser Lindsey Boylan made in a series of tweets Sunday were "not true."  In his first comments on the allegations, he said: "I fought for and I believe, a woman has the right to come forward and express her opinion and express issues and concerns that she has.  But it's just not true."  Boylan, who is running for Manhattan borough president, tweeted that Cuomo "sexually harassed me for years."  She added that "many saw it, and watched."