Local News Headlines

WJTN Headlines for Fri., Mar. 26, 2021

High Wind Warning in effect for Chautauqua County, and most of WNY through late afternoon...
Expect more damaging winds to hit the area through late this afternoon in the area... with wind gusts reaching 60 miles an hour at times.  There have already been a number of power outages... most having to do with winds knocked down power lines.  A High Wind Warning remains in effect until 4 p.m. today.  That from Meteorologist Heather Kenyon with the National Weather Service in Buffalo... who says some winds may pull down power lines, or trees onto power lines.  Kenyon adds that high-profile vehicles may have a difficult time traveling on the New York state Thruway.  She adds there is also a Lakeshore Flood Warning the Lake Erie shoreline of Chautauqua and Erie counties.  About mid-morning... the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities reported an electric circuit had opened in the BPU service are due to a National Grid line being blown down on Swanson Road.  That interrupted their system, causing a power outage in the Swanson Roard, Willard, and Camp Streets area.  it took crews about an hour to fix the problem.  National Grid is reporting several outages... mainly west of Jamestown, and along the Lake Erie shoreline around Dunkirk and Fredonia. 


Chautauqua County reports 40 new case of COVID-19 Thursday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting an uptick in the number of new, confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past day.  Health officials say there were 40 cases reported over the past day... bringing the local number to 8,094.  They say the most cases -- 10 -- were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  Officials say there are now 171 active cases... and, 4 of those are hospitalized.  There were no new deaths.  Officials say there have now been 7,781 recovered cases... and, the seven-day infection rate is 1.5%.


Whitaker says state budget situation looks much better, JPS District should get all of it's state aid now...
It appears the Jamestown school district will be made completely whole with recent news about a state budget surplus... and, new federal aid coming in.  That from School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker, who says the district was anticipating another 20-percent reduction in it's latest state aid payment.  However... Whitaker told our Dennis Webster Thursday morning that State Budget Director Robert Mujica said this week they will get their aid -- in full -- because the state now has a $5-billion surplus.  He says there would be no 20-percent cut, nor any cuts.  Whitaker says the state collected more sales and income taxes than expected in recent months.  As for federal aid... he says they've heard very little about what they may be getting from the American Rescue Plan.  Whitaker says it's good news as the district begins finalizing work on it's 2021-22 budget plan.  That spending plan will run about $90-million, and will be up for a public vote on May 18.


Green says County Legislature acted illegally on appointment of Kent as Dem. Elections Commissioner...
Current Chautauqua County Democratic Elections Commissioner Norm Green says the county legislature was wrong to vote on a name not submitted by the Democratic committee as his replacement.  During Wednesday night's legislature meeting... lawmakers approved Loren Kent as the new commissioner.  Green says the legislature can't do that legally.  The lawsuit filed by Green prior to Wednesday night's vote makes clear the divisions in the party.  He says he's also taken some heat from Democrats over the lawsuit... saying privately that "he's costing them money."  Green disagrees because some in the membership are costing the committee money.  He emphasizes that state elections law is clear... the name has to be approved by, then submitted by the party committee.  In this case... that person was his Deputy Commissioner Luz Torres.  Green also says it was all done legally -- in their lawyer's office.  Green says the meeting was held on Facebook live due to the pandemic... and, was agreed to by "everyone." 


Borrello opposes legalization of recreational marijuana... especially given new provisions -- one of which would legalize growing up to five plants...
There are reports that a deal has been reached by state leaders in Albany to legalize recreational marijuana in New York.  Local State Senator George Borrello says he disturbed by what he hears about the legislation.  One of the Sunset Bay Republican's concerns is people will be able to grow it in the own homes.  Borrello says, if that's the case, it undermines the idea of collecting revenue off of pot sales.  He says he's been urging supporters to include enough funding to train all police officers to become drug recognition experts.  He says Majority Democrats have agreed to put funding into train DREs... but, adds it's not going to be enough.  Borrello says he intends to vote against the deal.


Upstate NY city of Ithaca looking to eliminate police, replace with "less militarized" department...
The nationwide reexamination of policing after the killing of George Floyd has led an Ivy League town in upstate New York to consider an ambitious and contentious plan to remake its force.  A proposal would replace the 63-officer Ithaca Police Department with a new Department of Community Solutions and Public Safety.  It would comprise both armed officers as well as unarmed responders to handle non-violent calls like petty thefts.  The mayor argues that dramatic change is needed to make law enforcement less militarized and more effective.  Police denounce it as a radical idea that could threaten safety in the city that is home to Cornell University.