Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Sept. 27, 2021

Today is deadline for Health Care workers to get COVID vaccine; state bracing for possible staffing shortages...
New York Governor Kathy Hochul says she is prepared to call in medically-trained National Guard members and retirees to address potential staffing shortages caused by today's vaccine mandate deadline for health care workers.  The Democrat released a plan Saturday to address what she called 'preventable' staffing shortages in hospitals... and, other health care facilities once the mandate takes effect.  Many health care workers had still not yet received a required first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine just days before the deadline. 


Handful of local health care workers in county urge legislature to support them in not getting the vaccine...
There are still at least 700 health care workers across New York state that still have not received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine... and, face the possibililty of losing their jobs.  New York's vaccine mandate for workers in the health care field takes effect today.  Some workers who don't intend to get the shots spoke out during last week's Chautauqua County Legislature meeting.  Aaron Billquist of Falconer works for two facilities... and, says -- even with the vaccine -- there will likely be break-through cases -- and we may need yearly boosters... like with the flu.  Another nurse... Victoria Knapp of Jamestown says they should not be let go by their employers because emergency rooms have been busy... and, not just with COVID.  Knapp says people are there for "many, many reasons."  Billquist also pointed out that they've had to treat people in hospitals and elsewhere with COVID-19... and, haven't turned people away who are sick and test positive.  He says that was "their choice... respect our choice." 


JHS Band taken "off the field" due to COVID-19 cases...
The Jamestown High School Marching Band has been temporarily taken off the field by COVID-19.  The band was set to compete in an event at Medina on Saturday, but Director Meghan Murray says they couldn't go.  Murray says a couple of students tested positive in the beginning, and because of that, the entire band had to quarantine.  A total of four students in the 75 member band had tested positive by Friday.  Murray called it a tough week for everyone associated with the group, saying it "was jarring" and something they had never experienced.  At the same time, she says they knew it would be a possibility when "we started the season."  The director hopes the band can be back together later this week to perform for Homecoming on Friday.


Bemus Point man arrested for harassment and arson...
A man from Bemus Point faces charges... including arson... after allegedly choking another person... then setting that person's property on fire during an altercation.  Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene shortly after 9 p.m. last Friday... and, found that 32 year-old David Ralph II had threatened, and choked the victim before setting the fire.  Ralph was arrested and charged with second-degree aggravated harassment... criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation... and, fifth-degree arson.  He was taken to the county jail pending arraignment.


Metzger receives Hamilton Service Award from CRCF...
The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation presented its John D. Hamilton Community Service Award to Mike Metzger on Friday.  Metzger has lived for 38 years in the county… and has been committed to over a dozen organizations.  He was humble in his acceptance.  Metzger says it "takes a village to put together all the economic development and human services in the county, and I'm just a small piece of that."  The award is named for the late John D. Hamilton… a prominent civic leader in Jamestown in the 20th century.  Metzger recalls a time when he was heading up the local United Way campaign, and was introduced to John Hamilton... who he called a "tremendous" person who gave "back to his community."  Metzger is currently the chair of the county IDA and a member of the board at Chautauqua Institution.  He works at SUNY Fredonia as Vice President for finance and administration.  The community foundation presented the award under a tent outside the Harbor Hotel in Celoron.


Busti Apple Harvest Festival returns under mainly sunny skies Sunday...
Sunshine and temperatures in the mid-60s made for a near perfect Fall day Sunday for the return of the Busti Apple Harvest Festival.  The event was put on for the 46th time by the Busti Historical Society, and President Nan Aitkin said it was a "wonderful day..." and they could not have had a "better Fall day."  Last year's event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Aitkin says there were good crowds all day to partake of the food -- especially apples -- demonstrations, and hand-made items.  It was also the first year that they moved vendors on and around the society grounds.  However... she says a number of items they used to sell, including candy apples, and funnel cakes were not available because some of the organizations they have worked with had a shortage of volunteers this year.  There were still plenty of apples, and apple and other kinds of pies.  Proceeds from yesterday benefitted the Historical Society and the Busti Fire Department.


HUD awards $4.6-million grant for project to renovate former Silver Creek school into senior housing...
The U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded $4.6-million dollars to help create 47 new afforable housing units at the former Silver Creek School.  HUD'a Office of Multi-family Housing Programs made the announcement early last weekend... adding that it's part of $143-million in overall grants to "support construction and project rental assistance."  Officials says the housing will be primarily for low income seniors.  The project is being undertaken by the UAW Region 9 Housing Corporation.