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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 7, 2021

Local Congressman Tom Reed was in the capitol building for the certification of the Electoral College vote when dozens of pro-Trump protesters stormed the building.  Reed says he's safe, along with members of his staff.  However... he quickly called for de-escalation of the situation.  The Corning Republican says "we are Americans and do not do this.  My heart breaks for our nation right now.  Our country and its beautiful democracy is better than this.  Our Constitution calls for the civil transition of power and though we may not agree with the election results, we must agree to always act with honor and civility towards all."
Later... the bi-partisan Problem Solver's Caucus -- which Reed co-chairs -- and a group of Senators they worked with on the recent COVID Stimulus bill released a statement saying -- quote -- "the behavior we witnessed in the U.S. Capitol is entirely un-American. This was not a peaceful protest – this was an insurrection. These individuals should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.


Members of New York's National Guard are being sent to Washington, D.C., to help "the peaceful transition of presidential power."  Governor Andrew Cuomo says one-thousand troops will be sent for up to two weeks, at the request of U.S. National Guard officials. It comes in the wake of a mob of President Donald Trump's supporters rampaged through the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

Yesterday's Congressional certification of the the Electoral College vote had been getting extraordinary scrutiny... as one of the final acts of a highly-contested and contentious Presidential election.  The Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown offered several programs on the Electoral College during the fall of 2020.  Center President, Kristan McMahon, says what's happening right now is not ordinary.

There are a few instances in American history when objections have been raised at the time of certification... but, the grounds for those objections is rather narrow.  McMahon says it's "not a referedum on 'are these votes legitimately cast.'"  She believes the relevance and necessity of the Electoral College is something that deserves to be studied, not just because of the 2020 election... but also because it is not the ideal fit when there is a 'third party' candidate running for President.

New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul... herself a former member of Congress from the Buffalo area... also issued a statement late Wednesay.  The Democrat says "it's more than an assault on the Capitol building.  It’s an assault on democracy and America itself.  Domestic terrorists who undermine our free and fair elections and attempt to sabotage the peaceful transfer of power must be brought to justice."

The New York state legislature is back in Albany to get ready for the start of the new legislative session.  Local State Senator George Borrello says there will be a lot of challenges facing legislators... namely an approximately 15-billion dollar deficit.  Borrello says we "have to hit the ground running."  He says one of the challenges is that Governor Andrew Cuomo has too much power.

Borrello says the state and nation is still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic... but, adds "we need to have a government that works cooperatively" to get the state through these difficult public health, and economic times.  Borrello took part in a news conference Republicans held on that issue in Albany on Tuesday.

There are three new deaths from COVID-19 related illness in Chautauqua County... bringing the total to 39.  The county Health Department says there are now a total of 4,309 cases since the start of the pandemic.  Officials say there are 113 new cases of COVID over the past day... and, 42 of those were reported in Jamestown.  County officials say 49 people are hospitalized... and 3,619 have recovered.

There were 53 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Cattaraugus County from yesterday... with 37 now hospitalized.  The Health Department reports there are now 491 active cases... and, a total of 2,753 since the pandemic began.  There have been 53 deaths in Cattaruaugus County... while 2,203 have now recovered.

The Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown is hoping to overcome two major hurdles in the new year... an extended COVID-19 shutdown, and the damage done by a small fire in early December.  CEO Arthur Peason says a financial shot in the arm has come from an anonymous donor.

That challenge was set to expire at the end of 2020, but has now been extended to January 31st.  While insurance will cover much of the fire damage, money is needed to help launch a new strategic plan for the institute.  Pearson says all the money they can raise will help not just help them rebuild... but, move forward in 2021.  Details of that new strategic plan will become public in February.  Donations to support the challenge grant can be made at