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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 22, 2021

A Jamestown man has been sentenced to three-years in federal prison afer beng convicted of being a convicted Felon in possession of firearms to sell in the area.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Junior announced Thursday that 57 year-old Ingvue Buchanan, who had recently been convicted of being a felon-in-possession of a firearm, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank Geraci, Junior.  Prosecutors say that in June 2016, law enforcement officers interviewed Buchanan about what he knew about 97 firearms that had been stolen the previous month from three federal firearms licensees in Pennsylvania.  During the interview, Buchanan consented to a search of his vehicle... which he said he had recently bought from co-defendant Ben McCormack.  During the search, officers recovered of a box containing 20 rounds of .44 caliber ammunition.  Buchanon was on parole at the time following a 2011 manslaughter conviction.  As a result... he was prohibited from possessing any ammunition.  McCormack was recently sentenced in Pennsylvania to 10 years and one-month in prison.

The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting one new death over the past day from the COVID-19 Virus... bringing the local total to 52.  In addition... health officials say there are 64 new cases of the virus being reported... putting the total since the pandemic began to 5,938.  Officials say 16 of the new cases are from the Jamestown zip code area.  There are currently 520 active cases... and, 43 of those are hospitalized.  Officials say 5,366 have now recovered.

Public school aid is among the unknowns in Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2021-22 state budget proposal.  That from New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Bob Schneider... who says, though... that more should become clear in the next month.  Schneider says that's because a new COVID Stimulus Bill will likely include funding for state and local governments.  However... he adds there's also the matter of aid claims the state hasn't made good on yet.

Earlier this week... the governor outlined two scenarios in which the state would receive a minimum of $6-billion, or as much as $15-billion to cover it's deficit.  While that would help this year... Schneider says there is concern about the next two to three years after the stimulus monies are gone.  He says that could lead local districts over a "fiscal cliff."  The state is currently looking at a $15-billion gap this year... but, that balloons to $29-billion over the next four years.

Jamestown School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker is taking a wait and see attitude on Governor Cuomo's 2021-22 budget proposals.  Cuomo presented two budget "scenarios" that are highly dependent on federal aid to help plug a major shortfall.  Dr. Whitaker says -- if the state is able to get the full amount of COVID Relief -- districts should be held harmless.  However... he says it becomes a bit tricker if the state gets $6-billion.

Whitaker also says there is some budgetary "slight of hand" going on because new school aid runs show about $4-billion in COVID Relief that had been withheld previously finally going out to schools.  He says they are also looking at a reduction in School Tax Relief program funding coming back to local districts.  The STAR program began in 1998 under former Governor George Pataki to provide tax relief to New York Seniors.  Dr. Whitaker made his comments during his weekly COVID-School update on WJTN's Dennis Webster Show.

A new blanket of snow covered most of western New York earlier this week... adding a large amount at the Holiday Valley Resort in Ellicottville.  Director of Marketing Jane Eshbaugh says most of their facility is now open.

Eshbaugh says the skiing has been 'amazing' so far.  She says the resort is also open to other winter activities including snowboarding as well as their terrain park.  Eshbaugh says their "mountain coaster..." and, their kids park is also up and operating.  She says the health and safety of their guests is a priority... which is why they have COVID-19 protocols in place, including a high-standard cleaning regime. Additionally, she says guests are required to wear facial coverings at all times except when going down the slopes and while eating or drinking. More information is available at or by calling 699-2345.

The remains of three National Guard members killed in a helicopter training accident in upstate New York have now been recovered.  The victims were transported from the crash site south of Rochester Thursday, escorted by police and fire vehicles.  They died when their UH-60 Black Hawk medical evacuation helicopter crashed in a farmer's field in rural Mendon around 6:30 PM Wednesday.  There were no survivors.  The names of the soldiers have not been released... and, the cause of the crash is under investigation.