Local News Headlines

Uncle of Jamestown drug trafficking pleads guilty in case against his nephew...
The uncle of a Jamestown drug-trafficking ring-leader has admitted to helping his nephew with selling large amounts of methamphetamine and other drugs in the area.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. Wednesday announced that 53 year-old Garland, also known as "Charlie" Beardsley, pled guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.  Prosecutors say Charlie Beardsley is the uncle of Rocco Beardsley... and the older Beardsley was an "associate" of his nephew in trafficking methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, crack cocaine, cocaine, and hydrocodone in the Jamestown-area from 2018 through last October.  They add that Rocco Beardsley stored, distributed, and made methamphetamine, heroin-and-fentanyl, and other controlled substances at the defendant’s Newland Avenue home.  Earlier this year... a person working with federal investigators bought crystal meth from Rocco Beardsley at the uncle's residence.  Kennedy says charges are pending against Rocco Beardsley.  Sentencing will be held at a later date.


City man accused of sex trafficking arrested on federal charges...
A Jamestown man has been arrested by federal agents on sex trafficking charges in connection with forcing two girls into prostitution in exchange for drugs earlier this year.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. says 30 year-old Anthony Burris was charged by criminal complaint with sex trafficking and enticing travel to engage in sexual activity.  Prosecutors say back in January... a mother contacted the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office about the possible sex trafficking of her daughter... and, that her daughter was getting drugs in return for being a prostitute.  She claimed Burris was also physically abusing her daughter... and, the daughter was taken for medical treatment to a clinic in Erie, Pennsylvania.  An undercover agent was brought in and set up a "car date" through Burris, with the victim.  Police then moved in and Burris was arrested... and, they seized a number of items including just over $2,200 in cash.  He was later released... but, then caught again in a similar operation involving a second victim.  Burris faces a minimum of 15 years in prison, and a $250,000 fine.


JPS Board approves 2021-22 budget plan to be voted on next month...
The Jamestown School Board has approved an $89.8-million, 2021-22 budget for the public to vote on May 18.  School Board President Paul Abbott says it will also include no tax increase... and, adds "critical positions that will directly help our students’ and their families’ social and emotional needs during this difficult time, especially as students start to transition back to attending school in person.  I am proud of the efforts and thankful to the JPS administrative team and the Board of Education Budget and Finance Committee, who put our students’ and families’ needs first and foremost.”  Abbott says the proposed budget includes a new Community Navigator... two new school psychologists... an increase in contracted social workers, music and athletic equipment upgrades, and technology equipment. 


County has 52 new COVID Cases the past two days...
After reporting a decrease in the COVID-19 infection rate Tuesday in Chautauqua County... the health department is reporting a slight increase today.  Health officials report 32 new cases Wednesday, after 20 new ones Tuesday.  They say there are now 180 active cases, and 12 people are hospitalized.  The Health Department says there have now been 8,572 total cases.  The seven-day infection rate is now 2.4-percent.


County officials closely following J&J Vaccine situation... 
Elected and health officials are closely following developments after the Centers for Disease Control and the FDA issued a statement recommending a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, after a small number of people developed blood clots shortly after receiving their shots.  Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel was asked if this might have an impact on local COVID-19 vaccination clinics.  However... he says they haven't seen a lot of places using the J&J Vaccine.  As for vaccine hesitancy, Wendel says there had been some of that in certain populations.  He says he's hoping to have 50-percent of the county's population vaccinated by May 1.  
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Late Tuesday... County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler said the county has "received and administered 807 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  Of those doses, 135 have been administered since Mar. 23.  We do not have access to data from other vaccine providers but encourage anyone who has received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the last 3 weeks and develops the (troubling) symptoms to contact their health care provider.”  She adds that the county Health Department is holding COVID-19 vaccination clinics this week with the Moderna vaccine at the SUNY College at Fredonia. 


Memorial Day ceremonies and services to be scaled-back in Jamestown this year...
There will be a couple of Memorial Day ceremonies in the city of Jamestown... but, there won't be a parade again this year due to the COVID Pandemic.  City officials responded during Monday night's Council work session to a constituent question about that situation asked by Councilman Tom Nelson.  Council President Tony Dolce says it's the city's Veterans Commission, and Veteran's Council that makes the call on the parade.  Dolce adds the city does permit the parade for those groups.  Parks Manager Dan Stone says the ceremony at Soldier's Circle in Lakeview Cemetery would also have COVID restrictions.  Stone adds the Blue Star Mothers will also have a scaled-back ceremony the Saturday prior to Memorial Day.  He says they'll build in some "social distancing" for that event.  That Blue Star Mother's ceremony at Veteran's Park off West Third Street has become an annual part of Memorial Day Weekend.