Local News Headlines

County reports 122 New COVID-19 cases, no deaths, Friday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 122 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus today... bringing the total number now to 5,424.  Health officials say there are 20 cases each in the city of Jamestown and Dunkirk... and, 14 more in Bemus Point.  There are cases in every zip code area with a few exceptions.  The county reports 731 active cases... and, 42 of those are hospitalized.  Officials say 4,646 cases have now recovered.


Cuomo says 74% of vaccines received have been given to state residents...
Dueling numbers tell differing stories about how well New York state has received... and, distributed the COVID-19 Vaccine.  During Friday's COVID-19 press briefing in Albany... Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state has been able to administer about 74% of the dosages received over the first four weeks of innoculations.  Cuomo says that's among the best in the nation.  He says there have been a total of 827,000 doses given out, and that includes 96,000 second doses.  Cuomo says the numbers... which are now up on the state Health Department's website... are the actual numbers from the providers and health care facilities involved.  He says they are submitted under penalty of perjury.  Cuomo says the numbers have been very good in some regions... including Western New York... where 82% of all dosages have been administered.  That includes Chautauqua County... where UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown has administered 98% of the dosages distributed.  Cuomo says there are currently 1,200 vaccine distribution sites in the state.


At the same time, Sen. Borrello says CDC numbers show the percentage to be more like 36%... 
A state lawmaker from Chautauqua County is critical about how New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is handling the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the state.  The Centers for Disease Control website shows today that the state has received about 1.8-million doses while it has distributed about 680,000 -- or about 36%.  State Senator George Borrello says he has heard a lot of the vaccine has been thrown away... and, there have been stories about that happening.  The Sunset Bay Republican says he believes politics has gotten in the way... and, Cuomo says the vaccine needs to be equitable distributed.  Borrello says it needs to be given to people who are at the highest-risk.  The state that has done the best job of getting vaccines into the arms of people has been West Virginia... which has injected 73% of it's vaccines into people's arms.  


Whitaker says it's not clear yet how NYS will deal with a $5-billion dollar deficit in school aid...
Governor Cuomo wrapped up his State of the State messages Thursday... with a number of infrastructure projects highlighted.  Earlier... he said the state faces a $15-billion deficit heading into the new fiscal year beginning Apr. 1.  The deficit for education funding is more than $5-billion.  Jamestown School Superindent Kevin Whitaker says... Cuomo has indicated that without federal help... that 20% reduction will remain.  At the same time... Whitaker says the state has received about $4-billion in federal education aid... and, he's heard that the state is looking at withholding 20% of that funding.  He says he's hopes that's not the case.


Man from West Ellicott arrested in No. Harmony for speeding, DWI...         
A West Ellicott man faces a slew of charges for allegedly driving drunk, and speeding while trying to flee pursuing Sheriff's officers in the town of North Harmony.  Deputies say they tried to stop a car, operated by 55 year-old Charles Foringer, on Route 394 shortly before 8 p.m. last Thursday.  Officers say Foringer failed to comply... and, drove away at a high-rate of speed.  They say the operator eventually stopped, and was arrested on charges including DWI, driving with more than point-08 percent blood alcohol level... speeding and unlawfully fleeing police.  Foringer was processed, and released pending a future court appearance in North Harmony Town Court.


Fisher installed as new Buffalo Catholic Bishop...
Catholic Bishop Michael Fisher has been installed as the 15th bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo during a ceremony this afternoon that was significantly scaled-back due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.  Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, presided over the installation.  During the installation service... a letter of appointment was read that was sent by Pope Francis.  Bishop Fisher was alter escorted by Cardinal Dolan to the bishop’s chair... where he officially assumed leadership of the Diocese of Buffalo.  Fisher replaces interim Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, who served the diocese after the retirement of Bishop Richard Malone.


High School graduation rate in NYS improves slightly despite pandemic, remote learning...
New York's high school graduation rate improved slightly following the shift to remote learning, and cancellation of Regents exams.  State education officials said Thursday the statewide graduation rate for the class of 2020 was 84.8%... up 1.4 percentage points from the previous year.  Among city schools, Buffalo reported the greatest improvement, posting a 76.3% graduation rate, up nearly 12 percentage points over the class of 2019.  New York City's rate improved to 78.8%.  Syracuse, Rochester and Yonkers also reported higher graduation rates than the previous year.  The rates for English language learners and students with disabilities also improved.