Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Oct. 13, 2021

Biden Admin. expected to detail northern and southern border reopenings today...
Full details are expected later today... but the White House has informed New York representatives that the Canadian border will be opening in 'early November.'  The Mexican border will open as well.  The Buffalo News reports the opening will occur in phases.... the first, in November, will allow fully vaccinated Canadians and Mexicans with proper travel documentation to cross U.S. land borders for nonessential reasons. There will be no testing requirement for Canadians entering the U.S.  Canada does require vaccinated Americans to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of their arrival in Canada.  The second phase of the reopening will begin in January 2022, when all travelers across U.S. land borders – even those who are traveling for essential reasons – will be required to be vaccinated. Currently, business travelers such as truck drivers can drive into the U.S. even if they are not vaccinated because they are considered essential travelers.


Judge says health care workers can continue seeking religious exemptions from COVID shots, for now...
A federal judge has ruled that New York must continue to allow health care workers to seek exemptions from a statewide COVID-19 vaccine mandate on religious grounds as a lawsuit challenging the requirement proceeds.  Judge David Hurd in Utica had issued a temporary restraining order a month ago after 17 doctors, nurses and other health professionals claimed in a lawsuit that their rights would be violated with a vaccine mandate that disallowed the exemptions.  Hurd's ruling Tuesday means New York will continue to be barred from enforcing any requirement that employers deny religious exemptions. 


Wendel outlines ARPA projects lawmakers are to deal with in October...
Chautauqua County lawmakers are expected to act on multiple resolutions at this month's meeting regarding the county's use of some of the $24.6-million it's receiving from the American Rescue Plan.  That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says one of the items has to do with studies being done on invasive weeds, and algal bloom growth... and, water quality issues on Chautauqua Lake as part of the Jefferson Project.  The Lakewood Republican says another deals with Information Technology items that need to be dealt with quickly.  Wendel says the county now has it's first "traunch" or payment from the American Rescue Plan in the bank... totaling $12.3-million.  In addition... the county legislature is expected to hold it's required public hearing, and vote, on Wendel's proposed 2022 budget at this month's meeting.  That spending plan includes a 26-cent per $1,000 full value tax rate decrease.  He made his comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group Stations.


Borrello very disappointed that Hochul vetoes measure to forgive Panama school State Ed. penalty... 
The region's State Senator says he's "deeply disappointed" that Governor Kathy Hochul has vetoed legislation that would have forgiven the Panama Central School District's remaining state Education Department penalty.  Sunset Bay Republican George Borrello reacted Tuesday to Hochul's rejection of legislation that would have released the Panama district from paying the remaining 1.9-million dollar penalty levied 16 years ago.  Borrello says "there is zero justification for diverting critically-needed education dollars away from the classroom to pay a bureaucratic fine from almost two decades ago."  He says it's "disappointing that our new governor has chosen to follow the same path as her predecessor..." especially since legislation that would have instituted blanket forgiveness was proposed as part of the budget process... and, was rejected for political reasons.  He says the measure was approved unanimously approved in both the state Senate and Assembly.


Dolce hopeful that city can wrap up contract negotiations with Jamestown unions by end of year...
It's one down... and, five to go in trying to get contract agreements in place between the city of Jamestown and it's employee unions before the end of the year.  The City Council recently approved a new, three-year agreement with clerical workers represented by Civil Service Employees Association Local-#807.  It covers the years 2022 through 2024... and, includes wage increases, but also increases the amount workers have to pay for health insurance.  City Council President Tony Dolce was pleased to have it in place.  He says wage increases are 2.5% for each of the three-years... and, employee health insurance contributions are increased from 19% to 21%.  The city's contract management team is still working on other agreements... not long after reaching retroactive agreements with the city's two largest unions... representing police and fire.  Dolce says he's not sure if the city can get the remaining five contracts in place before the end of the year... but, if not... he believes they can have that completed by early 2022.


Gas prices in Jamestown-area remain high...
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area remain high this week... after jumping about 10-cents a gallon about mid-week last week to just under $3.46 a gallon for regular, unleaded fuel.  AAA's East Central Gas Price Report says the price is now $3.45.6 a gallon... and, the national price is up 8-cents to $3.27 a gallon.  AAA says it's the highest price for gas since October of 2014... and, the key driver is the price of crude oil.  Officials say that acounts for 50 to 60-percent of the price at the pump... and, that's now more than $80 a barrel.  AAA says last week's decision by OPEC and its oil-producing allies to not increase production further only exacerbated the upward momentum for crude oil prices.