Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Dec 17, 2020

There's been one new death being reported due to COVID-19-related illness in Chautauqua County... along with 43 new cases of the virus the past day.  The county Health Department says that brings the number of deaths to 24... and, the number of total cases to 2,578.  Officials say there are now 385 active cases... and, the number of hospitalizations over the past day have increased by 11 to 36.  Health officials say 2,169 cases have now recovered... and, the seven-day positivity rate is up to 9-percent.

The last part of the first batch of about 87,000 COVID-19 vaccines is being distributed around New York state -- first to front-line doctors and nurses who have been dealing with the pandemic.  During a press conference in Albany Wednesday... Governor Andrew Cuomo gave an update on that... and, noted another 80-thousand are on the way that will go to nursing home residents.  He says the state is providing the vaccine "proportionally" to each region.

In the meantime,  Cuomo says there is still concern over a potential spike in cases over the Christmas and New Year's Holidays.  He says the good news is the positivity and hospitalization rates have fallen in most regions... namely here in Western New York... where the hospitalization rate has fallen to point-04-percent.  Cuomo says the state is working with the various regions in the state to establish "Regional Vaccination Hubs" to get the vaccines distributed.  He emphasized that the shots will be provided by the state at no charge to residents.

The Chautauqua County Legislature has passed a local law that will increase the management salary ranges for county officers and employees by 1.5% in 2021.  The measure passed by an 11-8 vote during Wednesday's monthly meeting, which was held via Zoom.  Legislator Kenneth Lawton of Lakewood says it is a "conservative, prudent" increase that is aimed to stay in line with inflation.  Dunkirk's Robert Bankoski, one of the eight legislators who voted against the measure, says there are too many uncertainties that warrant any raises. The local law will take effect on January 1st.

City police have recovered a pair of illegally possessed hand-guns, and illegal drugs during a pair of early morning raids on Jamestown's eastside Wednesday.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says members of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force... and, JPD SWAT Team... executed search warrants at 28 Euclid Avenue, and 8 Pullman Street shortly before 7 AM.  Six people were home at the two locations... but, no arrests have been announced.  However... Samuelson says the two 380-calibur handguns... and, quantities of cocaine... and a heroin/Fentanyl mix were seized.  He says the investigation is continuing... and, charges are expected.

The Red Kettle Campaign for The Salvation Army of Jamestown has nearly reached the half-way point in it's annual drive for this year.  However... Major Kim Merchant says more bell ringers are needed.  Merchant says they are pleased that -- even in a difficult time -- they've been able to fill the majority of their time slots where their stands are located.  Merchant says, in some cases, they just need someone for an hour.  If you don't want to drop some money in the kettle... she says you can also donate with your Smartphone.

Major Merchant tells our Dennis Webster and Russ Diethrick that they are closing in on the amount they need to have to trigger a regional match of one-half of their goal.  So far they have raised nearly $50,000 of their $115,000 goal.  The campaign runs through Christmas Eve.  For more information on the Red Kettle Campaign... call 664-4108.

Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas got kicked out of Tuesday's Common Council meeting -- the second time he has been asked to leave a council meeting this year.  The incident happened during a discussion between council members and Fiscal Affairs Officer Marsha Beach over line items in the 2021 city budget.  Councilman-at-Large Paul VanDenVouver asked Rosas to leave the meeting after he tried to speak up without having permission.  Rosas was removed from a Zoom meeting in June after a series of heated arguments.  In addition... at Tuesday's meeting, council members passed a resolution by a 4-0 vote to override the Mayor's vetoes of four changes that were made to the 2021 budget. 

A Falconer man faces charges for allegedly stalking a person in the Town of Ellery on Tuesday.  Sheriff's Officers were called to investigate at a Beck Road address, and found 46 year-old Steven Michelson allegedly followed the individual to their home.  Deputies say Michelson is accused of following the victim for months for no apparent reason... and, also has a full stay away order of protection against him.  He was taken into custody and released with an appearance ticket for second-degree criminal contempt and fourth-degree stalking.