Local News Headlines

WJTN Headlines for Wed., Aug. 11, 2021

Motherwell pleads guillty in Methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy...
A former Jamestown man has pleaded guilty to being involved with a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy in the city with several others.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. Tuesday announced that 25 year-old Evan Motherwell, now of Penfield, PA, entered the plea to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine in U.S. District Court in Buffalo.  Prosecutors say Motherwell conspired with Douglas Beardsley and others to sell meth, and heroin-fentanyl for profit between September of 2018 and late January of 2019.  Kennedy says co-defendants Tracey Wynn, Richard Dean, Daniel Harding, and Justin Cusimano were previously convicted and are awaiting sentencing.  Charges are pending against co-defendants Douglas Beardsley and Angelo Pollino.  The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a fine of $10-million.


Cuomo resigns over sexual harassment allegations...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has resigned over a barrage of sexual harassment allegations in a fall from grace a year after he was widely-hailed nationally for his detailed daily briefings, and leadership during early days of COVID-19.  The third-term Democratic governor was increasingly isolated as state Assembly members moved toward impeachment, and allies desert him following last week's state Attorney General's report detailing 11 women's claims of sexual harassment.  While his instinct was to fight... in the end, it was time to resign so the state can get "back to governing."  Cuomo acknowledged during a late morning press conference Tuesday that his situation would be a distraction the state cannot afford to have right now... with COVID-19 cases on the rise.  


Hochul says she's ready to be the next governor...
A short time after the announcement... Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul issued a statement.  It reads -- "I agree with Governor Cuomo's decision to step down.  It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers.  As someone who has served at all levels of government and is next in the line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State’s 57th Governor."  Hochul was to hold a press event this afternoon in Manhattan... but, that has now been changed to a location in Albany.


Goodell admits surprise over Gov. Cuomo's resignation...
Until yesterday's surprising announcement... it appeared the Governor Cuomo was firmly entrenched in a fight for his political life.  Prior to making the announcement that he was resigning... State Assemblyman Andy Goodell says Cuomo and his attorney both criticized the Attorney General's report... and, cast doubt on the voracity of the victim's stories.  Goodell says it appears this will bring the Assembly Judiciary Committee's impeachment investigation to a halt.  However... he says there are criminal investigations the governor cannot stop at this point.  Goodell says that includes whether he had state employees help him write his recently released book that he was paid $5-million for.  The Jamestown-area Republican doesn't believe there was any "one straw" that broke the camel's back... or tipped the scales towards resignation. 


Borrello says Cuomo made the "right decision" in resigning...
The region's State Senator says "after months of scandal, Governor Cuomo finally made the right decision following months of denial and stonewalling."  Sunset Bay Republican George Borrello says New Yorkers can "breathe a sigh of relief..." and, get back to recovering from COVID-19, and bad policies (from the governor)."  At the same time... Borrello says "despite his apologies, we won’t forget or forgive team Cuomo’s behind-the-scenes attempts to discredit and undermine the reputations of the 11 courageous women who had come forward."  He adds that "we also won’t forget the countless nursing home residents – our parents, grandparents and friends – who lost their lives to his unconscionable policies."


Wendel also surprised by Cuomo resignation...
Chautauqua County's top-elected official says he was surprised by Governor Cuomo's decision to resign amid an impeachment investigation.  County Executive P.J. Wendel says he began watching the governor's press conference in his office... but, then left prior to Cuomo's actual announcement.  Wendel says it wasn't much longer he learned what happened when his phone "blew up" with several texts from friends and political allies.  Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul will become the new governor in two weeks when Cuomo officially steps down... and, Wendel says he looks forward to continuing to work with her.  He adds that Hochul has been a good ally for Chautauqua County.


Two more teens die in second double-fatal accident in Catt. Co... 
Two Cattaraugus County teenagers have died in a two-car crash in the town of Yorkshire.  State Police in Machias say they were called to the scene on West Yorkshire Road about 9:45 p.m. Sunday... and found a westbound 2002 Toyota made contact with an oncoming 2007 Cadillac.  Troopers say the Toyota went off the roadway... rolled over and struck a tree.  Police say the driver, 18 year-old Nathaniel Schwartz of Freedom... and, his passenger, 18 year-old Alexander Schenk of Delevan, were both pronounced dead at the scene.  Both were transported to Olean General Hospital for an autopsy.  It was the second double-fatal crash in Cattaraugus County last weekend.


Wendel says county keeping a close eye on COVID uptick...
Chautauqua County's top-elected official says he is keeping an eye on the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the county.  County health officials reported 12 more coronavirus cases Tuesday after reporting 53 last weekend... including the county's 159th death.  But... County Executive P.J. Wendel says they don't believe the increase is related to any major event in the county... including the Gerry Rodeo and Downtown Jamestown Crusin.'  The Health Department says the new cases brings the local total to 9,449 total cases... and, 84 of those are now active.  Officials say five people are now hospitalized, and the seven-day infection rate is now 4.5-percent.