Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Sept. 14, 2021

County reports 170 new COVID-19 cases Monday, one new death...
There are 170 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 being reported in Chautauqua County from the past weekend... along with one new death.  In addition... the county's Health Department is reporting hospitalizations have increased from 24 to 27.  The number of deaths is now 167... and, the total number of cases during the pandemic is now up to 10,757.  Officials say 381 of those cases are currently active, and 62 were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  There have now been 10,209 cases have recovered... and, the seven day infection rate is up to 11.2-percent.


City Comptroller reports "really great" second-quarter sales tax figures to City Council...
On-line retail and gasoline sales were two big reasons why the city of Jamestown's second-quarter sales tax revenues came in higher than expected.  That from City Comptroller Ryan Thompson... who says they received $2.16-million between April and June... which was $690,000 above the second-quarter of 2020.  Thompson says that was also a nearly $462,000 increase over 2019 -- before the pandemic.  He says that's 57% of the total, budgeted sales tax figure of $6.7-million.  Thompson told lawmakers at last night's City Council work session the second quarter sales tax amount was nearly 47% above the figure from last year... and, 27% above 2019.  Thompson says the city expects to receive it's third-quarter sales tax payment on... or around Nov. 1.  After property taxes... sale tax revenues is among the city's largest revenue lines.


Sundquist expects to present final plans for American Rescue Plan funding next week...
The Jamestown City Council will receive a final report with recommendations on how to use just over $28-million in American Rescue Plan Act funding during next week's work session.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says two additional listening sessions with various groups in the city were held... and, the input will be used to make final determinations of where money will go.  Sundquist notes that a couple of areas will likely end up with more funding... those being neighborhood improvement, and mental health.  He says, though, that those are just two areas that will be addressed by the ARPA plan to help keep people healthy during the pandemic... among others.  Sundquist says $10-million will go for improving economic development and housing in the city.  Initially... Sundquist's Master Plan proposal allocated $1.4-million towards housing issues.  However... that amount is expected to be increased.  He initially hosted four public input sessions to get ideas about where to focus the money.  The city has already received $14-million of the funding so far.  A second tranche will come next year.  Sundquist had hoped to have a presentation at last night's meeting... but, it will take place next week.


Borrello introduces proposed delay in Cannibis Opt-Out for localities...
Given the delays in the rollout of New York State’s new law allowing the use and sale of recreational marijuana... the area's state senator wants to allow localities another year to opt out of allow retail dispensaries.  Sunset Bay Republican George Borrello says he's introducting the legislation following a roundtable he hosted in the district where he received "overwhelming feedback" about the lack of information on what a "legalized market" would look like.  Borrello adds that local elected officials are being asked to "make important decisions with zero information.  It is unfair of the state to maintain the original deadline when implementation of the law is at least six months behind.”  When former Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law last March 31st... certain provisions took effect immediately, including legalization of the possession of up to three ounces of marijuana, or 24 grams of concentrated cannabis.  Localities cannot opt out of adult-use legalization, but, they can opt out of allowing brick-and-mortar dispensaries to sell marijuana products... as well as ‘lounges’ where cannabis could be consumed, on-site.
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All regulations governing how the industry will operate including regulation of sales, and licensing, are to be developed by the Cannabis Control Board, and the new state Office of Cannabis Management.  However... only four appointments have been made so far to the panel.  They are former Brooklyn Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright as chair of the Cannabis Control Board and Christopher Alexander, a former policy coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance.  He would be director of the Office of Cannabis Management.  Two others have been appointed by legislative leaders.  Two more need to be selected by the governor.


Ritzer Labor Award to be presented tonight at NW Arena...
While there was no Labor Day Festival at Jamestown's Bergman Park this month... one of the big parts of the annual event will be held tonight.  The city will present the annual George Ritzer Labor Award during a ceremony at the Northwest Arena on West Third Street.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist made the announcement at last night's Council meeting... adding that the ceremony begins at 6 p.m.  The Ritzer Labor Award is named after one of the Jamestown area's biggest advocates of labor down through the years.  It's typically presented during the Labor Day Festival to someone who has done a lot for the local labor movement... and, the community at-large.