Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Sept. 3, 2021

Goodell says extending Eviction Moratorium may lead to abandoned properties, and housing shortage...
Several housing related moratoriums were extended by the New York State legislature in its special sesssion on Wednesday.  That from State Assemblyman Andy Goodell, who says they include: tax, mortgage, and rent, and all were extended.  Goodell... who says it was close... passing by a mere six votes in the Assembly.  With the moratorium extended to Jan. 15 of next year, Goodell points out that some landlords will have received no rent for 21 months.  He says those who have received no money over that period of time, may wind up in foreclosure, and the properties could be "zombies" and create a low to middle-income housing shortage.  The Jamestown-area Republican, believes relief could come to landlords and renters if the tenants would apply for a federal program that's been grossly underused in New York so far.  He says there's a lot of federal money available, and if they apply for it, those eligible would be able to get the funding.  Goodell, who voted against the legislation,  believes there will be another attempt to extend the moratoriums in January of next year.  


Whitaker says first day-and-a-half of school went well for JPS district...
It was a "very happy" first day-and a half of school in the Jamestown Public School district.  Those are the feelings of School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker... who says he spend most of Wednesday's half-day checking on the elementary schools.  Dr. Whitaker says it was both a "nervous and exciting" time for both the students and parents.  He says he spent a lot of time at Bush Elementary School, and says the first day of school is "always energizing."  Whitaker says a lot of the nervousness likely comes from the fact the nation is dealing with a resurgence of COVID-19... fueled by the Delta Variant.  He says they are in close contact with the Chautauqua County Health Department on that front.  As for the half-day yesterday... a full-day today... and, then off for four-days... Whitaker says it's a combination of factors.  However... he says it worked out to give students a chance to get used to COVID protocols and begin back in class again.  Whitaker says his administration is looking at the COVID numbers each day.  He says their biggest concern is if the city's rate of infection exceeds 25 to 27-percent of the total number of cases. 


Dunkirk home extensively damaged in Thursday fire...
Chautauqua County fire investigators are looking into the cause of a fire that extensively damaged a house in the City of Dunkirk late Thursday morning.  City firefighters responded to 65 East 6th Street shortly before 12 p.m.  Dunkirk Fire Captain Gary Katta says firefighters saw heavy fire on the outside of the two-and-a-half-story structure on arrival, and also saw fire in the second floor and attic.  Katta says it took about 20 minutes to knock the fire down, and another hour-and-a-half to do overhaul work on the building.  He says firefighters from four departments provided mutual aid at the scene, with the city still recovering from a major water main break that occurred on Tuesday.  He says they had automatic responses with water from the East Dunkirk and Fredonia Fire Department tanker trucks.  Katta says the house was unoccupied and under renovation at the time of the fire.  There were no injuries reported.


Chautauqua Co. Jail inmate charged after attack on corrections officer...
A Chautauqua County Jail inmate faces a pair of charges after allegedly attacking a corrections officer... and, preventing the officer from doing his job.  Corrections officials say 24 year-old Brennen Smith allegedly obstructed and attacked the officer last Sunday at the Mayville jail... and, he was taken into custody.  Smith was charged with second-degree harassment, and third-degree menacing... and, was held pending arraignment.


County reports 40 new COVID cases Thursday, and one new death...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 40 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 the past day... along with one new death.  Health officials say there have now been 165 COVID-related deaths reported... and, 10,117 total cases.  They say there are now 260 active cases... and, eight people are hospitalized.  The Health Department says 9,692 cases have now recovered... and, the seven-day infection rate is now 8.9-percent.


Limosine operator pleads guilty in fatal crash case in Schoharie County...
The operator of a limousine company has pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and will avoid prison time in a 2018 crash that killed 20 people in upstate New York.  Nauman Hussain is to be sentenced to five years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service under a plea deal approved Thursday.  The former operator of Prestige Limousine was also originally charged with 20 counts each of second-degree manslaughter.  The stretch limo crashed after its brakes failed on a hill and it reached speeds of more than 100 miles per hour.  Seventeen family members and friends celebrating a birthday were killed.  So were the driver and two bystanders.