Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Sept. 28, 2021

Second set of human remains found near discovery of first set on Sunday in the town of Portland...
The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office is investigating the discovery of a second set of human remains near a trail in the town of Portland this morning.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone confirmed late yesterday that the first set of remains were found near the "Rails to Trails" hiking trail off Woleben Rd.  Quattrone says a forensic team from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa. was called in to assist the county's Forensic Investigation Team.  More details when they become available.


City Council rejects proposed pilot bow-hunting of Deer...
The Jamestown City Council has rejected a proposed pilot program that would allow a limited bow-and-arrow deer harvest later this year.  Lawmakers voted last night, 7-to-2 against the measure with only resolution sponsor Tom Nelson and Grant Olson voting for the measure.  Nelson... who was selected to head up a Deer Management Committee... says he got involved because he heard so many complaints by constituents... and, adds he felt it was time to do something about it.  He says "this is what we came up with."  Nelson's committee did pare back the number of wooded-areas the hunt would take place to two.  One was Jones Memorial Park, and the other was Allen Park -- behind the ice rink area.  Councilwoman Kim Ecklund says she doesn't oppose the idea.  But... she says Irondequoit -- near Rochester -- has 52 items in their law that includes much more stringent oversight.  Ecklund says the hunters are more vetted in their program, and tested.  The 23-point plan that Nelson's committee drafted also reduced the number of bow hunters from up to 15 to up to eight experienced hunters.  Two people addressed the proposal prior to the vote... one spoke out against the hunt, while another person spoke in support of it.


City lawmakers approve new, three-year contract with CSEA Local #807 after update by Sundquist...
The city council last night also unanimously approved a new, three-year contract with Jamestown's clerical workers unit represented by Civil Service Employees Association Local-#807.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says they are pleased to have their first, new agreement with one of their six bargaining units... and, says it will begin next Jan. 1.  Sundquist says it will include 2.5% wage hikes each year... but, increase employee premium contributions to 21% by the end of 2024.  He adds there's also an increase in deductables, and prescription co-payments.  Sundquist says he and his negotiating team will continue efforts to get agreements in place with the city's other unions... with an ambitous goal of doing so by year's end.  
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The city council also unanimously approved a new agreement with Highmark Western New York to provide a new, Medicare Advantage Plan for eligible participants.  Enrollment in the program with the former Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan would be optional for those eligible.


County reports another 193 new, confiremd COVID-19 cases, and two deaths last weekend...
There were nearly 200 more new cases of COVID-19 reported last weekend in Chautauqua County... along with two new deaths from the virus.  The county Health Department says the 193 new cases brings the local total to 11,794... and, 65 of those were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  Officials say there were 26 in Dunkirk... and, 21 each in Fredonia and Silver Creek.  The Health Department says the two deaths brings that total to 181.  There are currently 423 active cases... and, 35 are hospitalized.  Officials say 11,190 cases have now recovered.


Wendel says county is ready if there's a health care worker shortage due to NYS vaccine mandate....
The New York state vaccine mandate took effect yesterday for health care workers... and, Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel says the county is prepared should there be a shortage of health care workers.  Wendel was asked Monday morning about the mandate and Governor Kathy Hochul's plan to deal with possible shortages.  He says using trained nurses and other National Guard members to fill the void may help, especially in bringing federal dollars to help the situation.  Wendel says he doesn't know what the impact will be on hospitals in Chautauqua County, but they do have a plan -- if it's needed.  The Lakewood Republican says he doesn't agree with the mandate, saying that testing should remain an option for health care workers who don't want the vaccine.


Some health care workers have been removed with COVID deadline arriving...
Some hospitals and nursing homes in New York began removing workers Monday for failing to meet a state-mandated deadline to get a COVID-19 vaccine as Governor Kathy Hochul pleaded with holdouts to get 11th-hour inoculations.  It was not clear Monday if a wave of suspensions and terminations of healthcare workers who refused be inoculated would cause dramatic staff shortages.  Hochul said workers had until the end of the day Monday to get at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as required.  


Eshbach gets up to eight years in prison on contempt counts...
A Jamestown man has been sentenced to an indeterminate term of 4 to 8 years total in state prison on two counts of first-degree criminal contempt.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt reports that 31 year-old Shane Eshbach was given the sentence Monday morning by County Court Judge David Foley for each count.  Schmidt says each 2 to 4 year term will be served consecutively... and, he adds this is the maximum allowed under the law.  Jamestown Police arrested Eshbach this past Jan. 2 following an incident in the city.