Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Sept. 9,2021

Long-time priest in Jamestown, Father Dennis Mende, passes away...
The long-time pastor at Holy Apostles Parish in Jamestown has passed away... a short time after taking on a second Catholic parish in the city.  In a Facebook post this morning... St. James Church announced the passing of the Reverend Dennis Mende Wednesday night.  The churches both announced Mende's death, at the age of 74.  Mende, who graduated from Kenmore East High School, was ordained in 1983.  Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist attends St. James... and, says Father Mende's death has been a shock to everyone... because he was a "rock" to his lead parish, and was becoming one for St. James.  Mende had just taken over as priest at St. James earlier this Summer.  During an interview with our Dennis Webster... he learned about the change just after Memorial Day... when former pastor, Father Gerald Duffy, was re-assigned to the parish in Hamburg.  In their Facebook post this morning... St. James stated "we are are saddened by our loss but rejoice for him as he is with his God whom he loved and served so faithfully."  Funeral arrangements for Father Dennis Mende will be announced.


No one hurt in boat fire on Chautauqua Lake, near Vukote...
No one was hurt... but, there were some anxious moments for six people on board a boat that caught fire on Chautauqua Lake near Vukote in the town of Busti early Labor Day evening.  Sheriff's officers and members of the Marine Division responded to the call just after 6:30 p.m. Monday.  Upon arrival... deputies assisted the operator with extinguishing the fire that was located in the engine compartment of the vessel.  Officers helped in removing the occupants from the burning vessel onto the Sheriff's vessel, including two young children.  The passengers were taken to shore, and there were no injuries.  The Lakewood and Bemus Point Fire Departments assisted at the scene.


Hochul says, COVID Uptick is continuing, but, hospital capacity is holding up for now...
Hospitalizations state-wide in New York for COVID-19 have been on the increase in recent weeks... but, there's enough currently to deal with the recent surge in cases.  However... officials are keeping an eye on that number.  Governor Kathy Hochul says hospitals currently have 36-percent capacity available... and, 25-percent in their Intensive Care Units.  Hochul also said Wednesday that 81-percent of eligible adults had received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.  That's good... but, she adds people also need to get the second one -- unless it's the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.  She says it's not "one and done..." so complete the vaccination process by getting "that second dose done."  Hochul adds that New York state will be putting up $65-million dollars in funding to help local governments get the vaccines out there.  
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In Chautauqua County... the Health Department reports 66 new confirmed cases of COVID over the past day... along with one new death.  Health officials say there have now been 166 deaths among the 10,392 cases so far.  Officials say there are 336 active cases... and, 12 are hospitalized.  There are 9,890 cases that have recovered.


City Council's Public Safety Committee approves several stipulations for Los Contrinconte's Car Show at Bergman Park on Sept. 18...
The Jamestown City Council's Public Safety has agreed to nine additional stipulations on a car show scheduled for later this month at Bergman Park.  Public Safety Committee Chairman Brent Sheldon says the panel met again with the head of the Los Contrincantes Car Club late Tuesday afternoon to iron out details for the program on Saturday, Sept. 18.  Sheldon says they have been working with Jose Sanchez to flesh out everything before the event takes place.  Among the new stipulations is changing the show hours to conclude at an earlier hour... 7 p.m. versus 8 PM... because there's less daylight now.  Sheldon says another is the car club agreeing to pay for two Jamestown Police officers to be on hand for the entire event... including the overtime cost.  Other police and club security will also be on hand that day.  Sheldon says another condition for the September 18th show is that there would be no more than 900 cars and vehicles allowed inside the park for the event.  Sheldon says the club itself will keep track of the numbers.  


Wendel appoints Hernandez as new director of Mental Hygiene...
A man from downstate New York who has a "diverse background" in mental health services has been appointed as the new director of the Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene.  County Executive P-J Wendel late Wednesday announced that Carmelo Hernandez began his new position on Tuesday, replacing Patricia Brinkman, who retired last April.  Wendel says Hernandez previously served as a lead therapist at Alssaro Counseling Services in New Rochelle, New York... and, was a mental health consultant at WestCOP in Westchester.  Prior to that... he served as a program manager for Wediko Children’s Services and a combat stress recovery specialist for the Wounded Warrior Project. 


Conviction of former aide to former Gov. Andrew Cuomo is affirmed...
A federal appeals court has affirmed the conviction of one of ex-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's top aides for fraud and accepting bribes.  The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the case of Joseph Percoco on Wednesday.  A three-judge panel wrote that the public corruption case required it to again consider the reach of federal fraud and bribery laws.  Percoco was a longtime friend and top aide to Cuomo, who recently resigned as governor amid sexual harassment allegations.  Percoco was sentenced to six years in prison.