Local News Headlines

WJTN Headlines for Tues., July 13, 2021

City man arrested for alleged setting fire to vacant Water St. home...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly setting last Sunday's fire that damaged the lower portions of a vacant and condemned home near the downtown area.  City Police say they were able to get information, and obtain a neighbor's video that captured 31 year-old Robert Yates at the scene at 130 Water St.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says Yates was arrested for third-degree arson, third-degree burglary, and criminal trespass.  Samuelson says Yates was taken into custody early Tuesday morning on arrest warrants, and jailed pending arraignment.


Council hears plan to put surveillance camera in Dow Park...
A surveillance camera will be installed in Jamestown's Dow Park after one statue that's part of the Underground Railroad Tableau was stolen earlier this year... and the remaing two statues were vandalized.  City Parks Manager Dan Stone told lawmakers at last night's City Council work session that he's been working with city IT Director Mark Dean on places to get a camera, and have it maintained.  Stone says they're working on obtaining one... and, moving another from Nordstrom Park to Dow Park until the new camera is approved and purchased.  He says the cost for a new camera would be about $6,100, while annual maintenance would cost about $1,000.  For now... he says they are moving a camera from another park until a new camera is obtained.  Councilman Jeff Russell, a retired police officer, says while he agreed with the steps being taken... he didn't think it was wise to announce it.  However... Councilwoman Marie Carrubba felt having a camera there would make would-be vandals think twice.  City police are still investigating both incidents.


LaFrance pleads guilt to enticement of a minor...
A Jamestown man has pleaded guilty to a federal charge for enticing a 14 year-old girl to have sex with him over two years ago.  U-S Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. Monday announced that 35 year-old Richard LaFrance entered the plea to enticement of a minor before U.S. District Court Judge John Sinatra, Jr.  Prosecutors say LaFrance met the 14 year-old in April of 2019, and began communicating with her via e-mail and texting.  Some of those communications were sexually explicit... and later LaFrance met up with the victim twice and had sex with her.  Kennedy says the charge carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a $250,000 fine.  He's to be sentenced next November 9.


Drugs and cash seized during pair of raids on Lafayette St. in Jamestown last week...
A pair of drug-raids last Tuesday night in Jamestown led to the seizure of drugs and more than $14,000 cash on the city's northside.  Jamestown police say JPD Metro Drug Task Force agents executed two search warrants simultaneously at 839 and 846 Lafayette St. shortly after 10 p.m.  Task Force members were assisted by the JPD and Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department SWAT Teams.  Police say they did a search of the residence... and, found more than seven ounces of a Heroin/Fentanyl mix, a scale, packaging materials, and more than $14,500 cash.  JPD officials say the investigation is continuing with charges pending.  Anyone with information about illega drug trafficking or other crimes in the city can call the anonymous tip line at 483-TIPS... that's 483-8477.


One new case of COVID reported Monday from past weekend...
There was just one new case of the COVID-19 virus reported over the past weekend in Chautauqua County... and, nine cases are currently active.  The county's Health Department says two of those are hospitalized.  There were no deaths.  There have now been 9,305 total cases... and, 9,139 have now recovered.  Officials say the seven-day infection rate is now .3%.


Fr. Mende adds St. James Church to his responsibilities as pastor...
Both of the Jamestown's Catholic parishes will now be directed by the same pastor.  Father Dennis Mende of Holy Apostles has added St. James to his responsibilities.  He explains the change, noting that just before Memorial Day, former St. James pastor, Father Robert Duffy, was reassigned to the parish in Hamburg.  Mende says there was an interim period with now assigned pastor because, right now, the Diocese of Buffalo doesn't have enough priests to staff each parish with it's own pastor.  While Mende will have some additional administrative responsibilties, he won't be presiding at all the masses.  He says an associate priest, Father Paul Sigon, will join him this week.  The pair will alternate between the two parishes.  Father Mende is enthusiastic about the change because he's actually lived next door to that parish for the past 22 years.  He emphasized that this is not a merger.  As parishes, Holy Apostles and St. James will continue their individual identities.   


Schumer calls on DOJ to investigate NRA for alleged Bankruptcy Fraud...
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on the Justice Department to investigate the National Rifle Association for bankruptcy fraud, saying the financially stable gun-rights group abused the system when it sought bankruptcy protection in the wake of a New York lawsuit seeking to put it out of business.  A judge rejected the NRA's bankruptcy case in May, ruling the nonprofit organization had not acted in good faith.  NRA leaders made clear that the organization was "in its strongest financial condition in years" and was seeking bankruptcy protection so it could change its state of incorporation from New York to gun-friendly Texas.