Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Aug. 24, 2021

Hochul becomes 57th NYS Governor, first woman to hold the office...
Kathy Hochul became the first female governor of New York on Tuesday, inheriting immense challenges as she takes over an administration facing criticism for inaction during Andrew Cuomo's distracted final months in office.  The Democrat and former member of Congress from Western New York took the oath of office just after midnight in a brief, private event overseen by the state's chief judge, Janet DiFiore.  A ceremonial swearing-in was planned Tuesday morning at the New York State Capitol, with more pomp than the brief, legally required event during the night. Hochul planned a public address at 3 p.m.


Hochul announces some new staff leadters...
Little is known yet about the organization of the Hochul administration in Albany, but the New York Times is reporting the new governor has chosen two women for top jobs.  Karen Persichilli Keogh, known by her initials... KPK, will be secretary to governor.  That was the post held by Melissa DeRosa in the Cuomo administration.  In addition, the paper says Kathy Hochul has chosen Elizabeth Fine to be her 'counsel.'  Fine has most recently been general counsel and executive vice president of Empire State Development.  Keogh has been head of global philathropy for J.P. Morgan Chase.  Otherwise, many of the key staff and cabinet members from the Cuomo administration will be held over for up to 45 days.


Cuomo takes swipe at A.G.'s report before steppind down...
With just hours left until he officially stepped down from office... New York Governor Andrew Cuomo took one last swipe at the state Attorney General's report that led him to resign.  In a recorded address on his website... Cuomo thanked the people of New York for electing him to three-terms in office.  While he intends to keep fighting the allegations by 11 women against him... Cuomo said the situation had become too big a distraction... and, over a long period, would produce "political paralysis."  He also took a swipe at Democratic progressives... who have pushed the outgoing governor to enact legislation legalizing same sex marriage... bail reform... and, recreational marijuana, among others.  However... Cuomo -- who is also a former State Attorney General -- criticized their calls to "defund the police."  He says gun-violence has been "savaging cities" across the nation... and, reforming police is the answer.  


Dunkirk police chief confirms teens drowning death...
Dunkirk Police believe a 16 year-old boy lost his life due to drowning after a swimmer turned up missing in Lake Erie shortly before 1 a.m. Monday.  Police Chief David Ortolano says officers responded to the scene after they received a call that two males went into the water and only one was able to get out of the water.  Ortolano says police, fire rescuers, and the county's Marine Patrol, and WET Team were also called in.  Searchers eventually located the body of the swimmer, who was pronounced dead at the scene, by a county coroner.  The name of the victim has not been released. 


City man arrested for alleged stabbing in Kiantone...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for assault after allegedly stabbing a woman with a knife during a domestic dispute in the town of Kiantone.  State Police in Jamestown were called to the undisclosed scene Sunday... and, found that 37 year-old Joseph Piazza had gotten into an argument with the woamn before stabbing her.  Troopers located Piazza at a nearby residence, where he was arrested, and charged with second-degree assault.  The victim was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment of her injury.  Piazza was jailed pending arraignment.


Three men arrested in Jamestown drug bust...
Three men from Jamestown have been arrested for allegedly trafficking large amounts of methamphetamine... and, a meth/Fentanyl mixture.  City police were called to a home on Bush Street about 7:30 PM Sunday night for a "suspicious situation."  At the scene... officers say they found 37 year-old Jaime Bennett, 27 year-old Michael Krause, and 34 year-old Peter Carcione in possession of the narcotic drugs... as well as suboxone strips, cash, a digital scale, and narcotic packaging materials.  All three are charged with third-degree criminal sale, and possession of a controlled substance... and fifth-degree criminal possession.  They were taken to the city jail pending arraignment.


Lakewood Village Bd. approves opt-out from retail sales of pot...
The village of Lakewood has joined the growing list of municipalities in Chautauqua County who have opted-out of allowing marijuana retail sales, dispensaries, and consumption locations.  The village board took the action following a second public hearing on the proposed local law last night.  The vote was 5-0.  The most vocal Trustee, Ellen Barnes, is a former Lakewood-Busti Police Officer, who has seen the troubling effects of pot on young people and families... saying it's a "psychotropic drug" that can alter the brain.  Last night's hearing was shorter than the one two weeks ago... but, this time the majority of residents spoke against allowing recreational marijuana sales.  Trustee Rich Fisher read part of the state law... which says even though municipalities had the ability to opt-out of places that sell recreational marijuana, they cannot opt out of place that sell or provide medical marijuana or CBD products.


County reports 91 new cases of COVID-19 from past weekend...
There are 91 new cases of the COVID-19 virus being reported in Chautauqua County over the past weekend... along with the 160th death.  That one death is the first in several weeks.  The county's Health Department reports there have now been 9,709 total cases... and, 9,393 have now recovered.  Officials say there are 156 active cases... and, seven of those are hospitalized.  The seven-day infection rate is now 5.2-percent... but, the Health Department says it's now "high" in the county.