Local News Headlines

WJTN Headlines for Tues., May 25, 2021

City announces legal action beginning against 12 Zombie properties...
The city of Jamestown is taking legal action to take title to about one-dozen abandoned or Zombie properties so they can be fixed, and sold to new owners.  The announcement was made this morning by Mayor Eddie Sundquist in front of an long-abandoned home on Catlin Ave. on the westside.... calling it a "more aggressive and proactive approach" to the issue.  Efforts to deal with Zombie properties that are in the foreclosure process -- and abandoned by banks -- began under former Mayor Sam Teresi's administration.  However... Sundquist says they have been working with community partners to file what are called "19-A" lawsuits in State Supreme Court.  He says they've also filed New York State Zombie property actions to bring back homes abandoned by banks.  The property at 18 Catlin Ave. is among those properties that legal action has been taken on by Associate Corporation Counsel Ben Haskins.  Sundquist and Development Director Crystal Surdyk says federal money has been made available to acquire the properties, and make needed repairs, and sell them to them to new owners.  


Jamestown City Council holds first public, 'in-person' voting session in 15 months...
The Jamestown City Council met -- in person and in public -- for the first time in 15 months for last night's monthly voting session.  The decision was made after the state guidelines allowed for vaccinated people to be in public togther.  Council President Tony Dolce reminded lawmakers the late time they met -- in public -- was in late February of last year.  Since then... council most often met via Zoom... which Dolce says created some issues with people getting "frozen" on screen, or forgetting to unmute themselves.  He says the in-person meetings go "so much smoother."  Dolce also expressed his appreciation for everyone at City Hall's efforts during the pandemic. 


City lawmakers approve home rule legislation to move School Speed Limit Zone program forward...
Jamestown lawmakers have approved the next step in getting home rule legislation that would allow the city to put up electronic speed zone monitoring in school zones.  The City Council okayed the measure, authorizing Mayor Eddie Sundquist to formally request the legislature, during last night's voting session.  It now goes to State Senator George Borrello and Assemblyman Andy Goodell to formalize the legislation.  Council President Tony Dolce says this will free up city police for other duties... when they are needed.  Once the state finalizes the language... it will be returned to the city for final approval.  Resident Doug Champ spoke on the issue... and urged lawmakers to look closer at Buffalo Street... where Washington Middle and Ring Elementary Schools are near each other, and the speed limit changes.  He says you go from a 30... to a 20... a 25... and another 20.  Champ also called on the city to start cracking down on run-down homes in school zones, because they can be a danger to school kids as well.


County reports 19 new COVID-19 cases last weekend...
The COVID-19 infection rate in Chautauqua County continues to drop... with only 19 new cases over the past weekend reported.  The county's Department of Health reports the most cases -- five -- were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  Officials say there have now been 9,202 total cases during the pandemic... and, 68 are currently active.  The number of people hospitalized is down to three... and, the number of recovered cases is now 8,981. 


Cuomo unveils "Shot in the Park" incentive for residents to get COVID vaccinations...
Users of the New York state park system have a special opportunity this week to get a free pass to any of New York's 16 parks.  The free pass is the latest incentive being offered by Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration to get residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine.  Cuomo was at Jones Beach on Long Island Monday morning to announce what he called a "Shot in the Park."  He says you can even go to one of the parks themselves this week, and get a shot at a vaccine center there.  Cuomo adds that if a resident gets a shot anywhere this week... they will receive a two-day, family pass for any of the state parks.


NYSUT supports Cuomo's call for 5 day a week school beginning in the Fall...
With the announcement by Governor Andrew Cuomo about schools reopening this Fall for in person instruction five-days a week... the state's largest teachers union is voicing it's support.  New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta issued the following statement Monday: “Educators know that being in person is the best way for students to learn and for teachers to teach. We support offering full-time in-person instruction five days a week and await formal guidance for the fall on how districts, working with educators and parents, should craft their plans to bring all students back to the classroom.” 


Wendel says county now working on plan to use nearly $25-million in American Rescue Plan funds...
Chautauqua County Executive P-J Wendel says the county is now working on a plan on how to utilize funding from the American Rescue Plan.  The county is slated to receive about $24.6 million, according to a major announcement made by the U.S. Treasury Department earlier this month.  Wendel says he has two teams reviewing the information, and making a determination on where the funding should go.  He says the COVID Finance Team, and a special Rescue Plan panel are both looking at it.