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WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Dec. 2, 2021

County monitoring local COVID surge, but, is not supporting a mask mandate... yet...
Members of the Chautauqua County COVID-19 Response Team are continuing to monitor the recent surge in cases... but, do not support a mask mandate -- yet.  The from Executive P.J. Wendel... after the county's Health Department reported 707 new COVID cases over the past week... pushing the local number now past 15,000 total.  Officials say nine people died from virus-related illness this past week... bringing that total to 228.  Wendel says a mandate would be considered as a last resort.  He says the last thing they want to do is declare a state of emergency, or impose an indoor mask mandate.  However, Wendel is not ruling it out.  While there is no mandate at this time... Wendel does say his COVID Response Team "strongly encourages" residents to wear them when in public indoor places.  He is also strongly recommending that residents who are not vaccinated to get the vaccine.  He especially noted that younger people in their 20s and 30s are now being intubated because they are NOT vaccinated.  Meanwhile... the county reports 52 hospitalizations due to COVID, an increase of two from the previous week.  There are now 648 active cases... and 276 of the new cases were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  There have now been 14,721 recovered cases... and, the seven-day infection rate is 11.2%.  Wendel says they are still in a position to handle the increase, but he plans to meet with area hospital administrators late this week to discuss the situation. 


Cattaraugus County reporting 95 New COVID cases Wednesday, as case numbers surpass 10,000...
Just to our east... Cattaraugus County has now surpassed 10-thousand total COVID-19 cases... and, had 95 new cases over the past day.  Health officials in Olean say there have now been 10,275 total cases... and, 597 of those are currently active.  They add that 59 people are hospitalized... and, 176 people have now died.  Officials add that 9,501 cases have now recovered... and, the seven-day rate of infection is now 11.6%.


Michigan man sentenced for high speed pursuit from Lewiston-to-Dunkirk in early March of this year...
A Michigan man convicted of leading police on a high-speed chase from an U.S.-Canadian immigration check-point to Dunkirk earlier this year... has been sentenced to home confinement.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross announced Wendesday that 27 year-old Donyell Williams who was convicted of high-speed flight from an immigration checkpoint, was sentenced to six-months home confinement and two years’ probation by U.S. District Judge John Sinatra, Jr.  Prosecutors say Williams was driving a Jeep vehicle on the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge with a passenger last Mar. 5, but, when he drove to the Lewiston Port of Entry... and, failed to stop for a federal inspection.  They say Williams accelerated through the check point... and, was then pursued by Customs and Border Patrol officers on the State Thruway to Dunkirk at speeds of 95 to 110 miles an hour.  The jeep was later found in the Dunkirk area... and, Williams and 19 year-old Johnny Greer, Jr. were both arrested.  Greer was recently sentenced to six months in prison.


Dunkirk fire crews snuff out basement fire quickly...
Dunkirk city firefighters were able to make a quick stop on a fire that broke out in the basement of a home on Leming Street Wednesday afternoon.  The fire at 27 Leming was first reported shortly after 12 PM... and, firefighters were able to get to the scene quickly.  Fire Chief Mike Edwards says some neighbors noticed smoke coming from a dryer vent and alerted the fire department immediately... and, now says the malfunctioning dryer was the cause.  Edwards says the fire was confined to the basement area.  No injuries were reported. 


Jamestown Holiday Parade set with co-Grand-Marshalls...
Two of Jamestown's finest will be co-Grand Marshalls for this year's annual Jamestown Holiday Parade in the city this Saturday night.  The parade kicks off on West Third Street -- near the bridge -- at 6 p.m.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says both Grand Marshalls went above and beyond the call of duty in saving lives this year.  They are officers Matt Conkin and Jackie Albin, who are both heroes.  He says Conklin rescued a family that was trapped in an upstairs apartment by fire earlier this year... while Albin gave a baby, that had stopped breathing, CPR and revived the child.  Council President Tony Dolce announced the parade taking place at the end of this week's City Council meeting... and says they're pleased to have people in the community taking a big role this year.  Collaborative Children’s Solutions is joining with the city to present the Holiday Parade... which will also include a fun run/walk for the first time.  Mayor Sundquist will kick-off the festivities with the lighting of the city's tree on Tracy Plaza.


Upstate County Executive arrested for allegedly stealing campaign funds to pay personal debts...
A county executive in Eastern New York has been accused of stealing $3,500 in campaign funds to pay off personal debts.  Attorney General Letitia James said Wednesday that Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison if convicted.  James says the Republican could also be removed from office if convicted of the felony charges.  The Democratic attorney general's office says McLaughlin was arrested and indicted Wednesday on a count of third-degree grand larceny.  He was also charged with offering a false instrument for filing.  McLaughlin and his attorney Benjamin Hill didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.