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WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 28, 2021

A town of Chautauqua man has been arrested following a high-speed pursuit along Interstate 90 in Chautauqua County after the man allegedly stole a car from a Jamestown dealership.  Sheriff's officers say 27 year-old Jerome Rogerson allegedly stole the car from Kia of Jamestown on Washington Street... and, he was later found driving the vehicle on Route 60 in the town of Dunkirk.  Deputies say Rogerson tried to evade police by turning onto I-90 eastbound... but, traveling west.  Due to the high risk to public safety, the pursuit was stopped.  A short time later...deputies saw the vehicle speeding west in the westbound lanes.  Officers pursued Rogerson through the towns of Portland, Westfield and Ripley.  In Ripley... Rogerson struck two Sheriff’s vehicles with the car, lost control, and the car crashed down an embankment.  He was arrested by the Sheriff’s K-9 and deputies... and, faces numerous charges including first-degree reckless endangerment, Criminal Possession of Stolen Property, DWAI Drugs, and several traffic violations.  Rogerson was held pending arraignement.

The Chautauqua County Legislature has yet to decide on who will be the county's next Democratic Elections Commissioner.  No replacement for Norm Green has been announced since the legislature decided not to vote on the party Committee's appointment of Dunkirk's Luz Torres late last year.  That means Green... who has held the post for the past 22 years... remains the Democratic Commissioner.  Addressing the legislature during the second privledge of the floor at last night's meeting... Green touted his ability to work with his Republican counterpart.

Green says he was told by Legislature Minority Leader Chuck Nazzaro last year that there was no support for him to stay on as Democratic Commissioner.  But, he says he accepted that situation, and continued to do his work over the past year.  Initially... Torres appointment was approved in committee, but, then the action was rescinded after a group of Democrats pushed Loren Kent as Green's replacement.  Lawmakers did not respond to Green's comments.

The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting nine more COVID-19 related deaths Wednesday... bringing the total now to 97.  Officials add the number of new cases spiked upwards to 108... bringing the total since the pandemic began to 6,398.  They say 26 of the new cases were from the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  Officials say 396 cases are now active... and, 38 of those are hospitalized.  The Health Department says 5,905 cases have now recovered.

Chautauqua County's representative in Congress is calling on the federal government to completely take over the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine in New York state.  Corning Republican Tom Reed said yesterday that he is the first House member to make such a call because the state has "dropped the ball" on getting the vaccine into people's arms.  Reed says, while Governor Cuomo has managed some parts well... the state has antiquated software -- and other issues -- in getting the job done.

Reed also says he and other lawmakers recently met with members of the Biden Administration to work on increasing distribution to get to 200-million doses being put out in the administration's first 100-days.  President Biden himself has said they will work initially to do 1.5-millon vaccinations a day.  Reed says doing that would be a great first step towards getting "herd immunity" by June.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that New York state is lifting all COVID-19 Orange and Yellow zone restrictions in Erie County.  That will allow restaurants that had been in those areas to reopen for indoor dining, though it will remain at half-capacity.  In addition... Cuomo also announced today that the state is receiving $450-million in Federal Emergency Management Agency funding to help get shots administered.

Cuomo says indoor dining remains banned in all of New York City, but Cuomo promised to come up with a plan by Friday to address how they might reopen, too.  He said the decision to lift the state's orange zone restrictions will protect the economy.

The man who brought holiday joy to thousands with his 'Lights on Winsor' show has died.  John Fuchs was 75.  In an interview last Christmas Eve... Fuchs talked about his love for the holiday. Each year at his home on Winsor Street, Fuchs put up thousands of lights for a display coordinated with music from a low power transmitter.  His efforts won him the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation's Axel W. Carlson award in 2020.  When he spoke on WJTN last month, John acknowledged he was battling lung cancer for a second time.  He had smoked while in college, and quit about 40 years ago... and, encouraged smokers to consider quiting.