Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Sept. 22, 2021

County COVID-19 surge continues with 118 new cases, and three new deaths...
The surge in new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Chautauqua County continued over the past day... with 118 more cases being reported, along with three new virus-related deaths.  County Health officials say 45 of those new cases were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... and, now total 11,380 since the pandemic began.  Officials say 483 of those cases are active... and, 34 are hospitalized.  They add that 10,721 cases have now recovered.  However... the seven-day infection rate was down slightly to 8.5%.


City mayors in Chautauqua County disappointed that county won't work to pool ARPA funds for "greater impact..."
The mayor's of Chautauqua County's two cities say they are "disappointed" that County Executive P.J. Wendel's proposal for use of nearly $25-million in federal COVID relief funds include no projects in their municipalities.  In a joint statement, Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist and Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas say they "fully understand" the challenges facing all levels of government during the pandemic."  They add -- "we continue to be proud to work together with County Executive Wendel during this time."  However... they add that while "there were worthy projects where county and city investments could be combined for greater impact, ultimately the county took a different approach" to use of it's American Rescue Plan Act funds.  They say both cities were granted funds... and, add they're pleased to have them to invest in their communities.  However... Sundquist and Rosas say, while they were part of multiple meetings with the county to find potential common areas for the funds... they were not invited to submit a formal proposal.  This has been a theme or Democratic County Executive candidate Norm Green... who also says the county should have had public input sessions on what it's $24.6-million should be used for.


Barone pleased with plea deal in Montanez murder case... 
A city man who was re-indicted on charges of second-degree murder and two counts of second-degree attempted murder in connection with a shooting death in Sherman has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.  Chautauqua County Court officials confirm that Julio Montanez entered a guilty plea to a charge of Felony criminally negligent homicide Monday.  Public Defender Ned Barone says they were ready to go to trial when the deal was reached with a special prosecutor from the Cattaraugus County District Attorney's Office.  Barone says the prosecutor made them an offer, and they countered.  He says the prosecutor then came back and said they would accept the offer.  Barone says the special prosecutor made a plea offer... then they countered with their offer.  He says Montanez was overcharged due to "mitigating circumstances...." that they uncovered during his offices investigation.  Barone says Montanez will be sentencing for Montanez is scheduled for November 1st by Judge David Foley.  Montanez was accused of shooting 29-year-old Justin Gibbons of Mayville multiple times before he died on Oct. 6, 2019. 


Gas prices continue to climb, mainly due to hurricane impacts...
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area are up nearly 2-cents a gallon over the past week... as hurricanes continue to impact gas supplies.  The AAA East Central's Gas Price Report says the price went up from $3.34.8 to $3.36.1 for regular, unleaded fuel.  Nationally... AAA says the average price rose 2-cents on the week to $3.19 a gallon...  matching a seven-year-high last seen in early August.  While the post-Labor Day period usually sees less demand and lower gas prices... AAA says this year, the impact of Hurricane Ida, followed two weeks later by Hurricane Nicholas, has slowed oil production and refinery recovery along the Gulf Coast.  They say Nicholas complicated and slowed the recovery from Ida, but the seasonal drop-off in demand helped mitigate price increases on the week. 


Council members express several concerns over plan for Deer Hunt in the city...
Jamestown City Council members expressed several concerns last night over a proposed, two-month deer harvesting program to try and reduce the numbers in the city.  Councilman Tom Nelson is making the proposal after chairing an ad hoc Deer Management Committee the past several months.  Nelson, who represents the Sixth-Ward, says he's been inundated with complaints about large number of deer there destroying property.  However... At-Large Councilwoman Kim Ecklund says she's heard from several people firmly opposed to any kind of hunt -- or harvest.  Ecklund says that's especially been the case in the Willow St. area.  There were also concerns expressed over how the deer would be hunted.  Nelson says they're looking at bow-and-arrow right now, and it's felt that's the safest way to go.  Five heavily wooded park areas, and a stormwater management area would be used.  Nelson says the parks would be closed at that time... but, Councilwoman Marie Carrubba was concerned about that because people have been seen cross-country skiing in those areas.  The proposed hunt would take place between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31.  Nelson says the program would be evaluated after the first year.


Former GOP Congressman, Sherwood Boehlert, dies at age 84...
Former Republican Congressman Sherwood Boehlert has died near his home in Upstate New York.  Boehlert represented a region that includes the Utica area for 24 years.  A statement from former staff members said he died late Monday at a local hospice after a brief illness.  He was 84.  Boehlert had served in the House of Representatives from 1983 to 2007.  He was known as a political moderate and chaired the House Science Committee for five years when George W. Bush was president.