Local News Headlines

County reports 293 new COVID-19 cases from long Christmas Holiday weekend...
There are nearly 300 new cases of the COVID-19 Virus reported in Chautauqua County since Christmas Eve... with 293 total during the four-day period.  The county Health Department said Monday that brings the total number of confirmed cases since the pandemic began to 3,415.  Officials say there were 75 new cases reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  There were 39 reported in Dunkirk... and, 35 in Frewsburg.  In addition... there were 19 in Fredonia... 18 in Lakewood... 14 in Ripley... and, 11 in Forestville.  Health officials add there were two new deaths during the time period... bring the local number to 29.  There are now 399 active cases... with 35 people hospitalized.  There are now 2,987 cases that have recovered.


Cuomo says more COVID vaccines to be administered this week, and announces order regarding vaccine fraud...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a crackdown on potential vaccine fraud as his state hopes to provide an initial vaccine dose to nearly 400,000 people by the week's end.  Cuomo has touted his state's vaccination efforts... even as the nation as a whole is short of reaching the federal government's goal of injecting 20-million Americans with the first dose by the end of December.  So far... the Democrat says 140,000 doses have been administered in the state.  He says there will be another 259,000 doses administered by the end of the week.  Cuomo says the new batches of the vaccine will be given out according to how many people are eligible during this phase in each region.  He says that would allow distribution of 64,500 vaccines in Western New York.  In addition... Cuomo said providers who engage in fraud to obtain vaccines could face up to $1-million fine and the loss of all state licenses under an executive order he planned to sign Monday.


City Council approved recycling changes eliminating glass, and changing time items can be left for pick-up...
The Jamestown City Council has approved a local ordinance amending the city's code to stop recycling glass... and, changing the time recyclables can be put curbside.  During their final voting session of the year last night... lawmakers approved the changes 8-to-1 with Democrat Tamu Graham-Reinhardt casting the lone "no" vote.  Graham-Reinhardt says she's "very disappointed" the Board of Public Utilities Solid Waste Division will no longer pick up glass... but, adds she understands it's a cost issue.  Graham-Reinhardt also urged residents to take glass to the county's transfer stations... one of which is in Falconer.  The price for recycling glass has spiked downward... due in part to China no longer taking the recyclable.  The BPU recently made the decision... but, council also had to act on it.  Democrat Marie Carrubba thanked the BPU, and Mayor Eddie Sundquist, for allowing recyclables to be put out starting at 4 pm.  Carrubba says it will help older residents not have to worry about putting items out curbside after dark. 


Jamestown unveils new program allowing residents to pay taxes on-line...
The city of Jamestown has officially unveiled a new way for taxpayers to pay property taxes in the new year -- in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says property owners may now go online to pay taxes... in addition to paying in person at the Municipal Building, or mailing in tax payments.  Sundquist says they have an agreement with 'MuniciPAY' which allows for the third-party processing of credit card and eCheck payments.  He says the service comes at no cost to the City.  He says "we wanted to give a contactless way during the pandemic for property owners to pay their tax bill."  Sundquist adds there is a 2.65-percent credit card fee... and, the eCheck option will cost a flat $1.50 fee.  He says they're hoping to add more features to the program so others... like dog licenses... can be renewed or applied for on-line.  For more information... call the city treasurer's office at 483-7512.


State legislature approves Eviction freeze...
New York will freeze evictions and certain foreclosures for two months under a bill the governor said Monday he plans to sign.  Renters who are facing pending evictions or who face evictions in the next 30 days... would be protected from eviction for at least 60 days.  The law would also suspend evictions until May 1st for anyone who submits signed paperwork stating they've faced hardship amid the coronavirus pandemic.  It would also make it harder for banks to foreclose on smaller landlords who say they are facing similar hardships.


Fredonia man pleds guilty to federal drug charge...
A north county man has admitted to a federal charge of trafficking crack-cocaine in the Dunkirk-Fredonia area.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says 47 year-old Nathaniel Gates of Fredonia entered the plea before U-S District Court Judge John Sinatra, Junior to one count of possessing with intent to distribute, and distributing, 28 grams or more of crack cocaine.  Prosecutors say the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force... and, federal DEA... began investigating Gates in April of 2015.  They later made three controlled purchases of narcotics from Gates... who was later arrested during a raid.  Kennedy says the charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum of 40 years in prison.