Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Dec. 9, 2021

With COVID-19 case numbers surging, hospitalizations at a "tipping point" in Chautauqua County...
Hospitals in Chautauqua County are at a "tipping point..." but, are managing to deal with bed capacity issues during the ongoing COVID-19 surge.  That from County Executive P.J. Wendel, who gave an update on the hospital situation late Wednesday afternoon.  Wendel says UPMC Chautauqua in Jamestown is only performing essential services right now, as that hospital is "bursting at the seams" with COVID patients.  He says they have now cancelled elective surgeries, and doing essential health care and services, and additional nurses have been re-directed to the emergency rooms.  Wendel adds that Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk has been on a delay in treatment almost every day, resulting in north county ambulances traveling to Jamestown for treatment.  He says the county plans to meet with nursing home administrators today to determine if the state can provide any assistance when it comes to freeing up hospital beds in the county.  The past week's COVID-19 numbers for the county show 51 people are hospitalized with the virus out of 873 new cases.  Officials add there were five new deaths the past week... bringing that total to 233.  They add that 741 cases are now active... and, the total number is now 16,470 cases since the pandemic began.


SWCS officials "fully investigating" alleged racial and vulgar language directed by students at opposing girl's basketball player and parent...
Officials in the Southwestern Central School district say they are "fully investigating" a report incident involving students at a high school girl's varsity basktball game this past Monday night.  School Superintendent Maureen Donahue says they received information Tuesday that the incident -- which reportedly involved a parent, and player from the visiting Orchard Park team in which racial slurs and other vulgaries were lobbed at them.  In a printed statement... the district says "we take these allegations very seriously and immediately commenced a full investigation, which is currently ongoing."  They add that once made aware of the allegations... "we reached out to Orchard Park administration and will continue to communicate with them throughout the investigation.  The Southwestern District is committed to equity and acceptance of all students."  They add this kind of conduct "has no place in our District, and if it occurred, we will take swift action to address it."  Officials say they have no other comment at this time.


Three health care agencies identified to receive COVID-19 Funding from CDBG program...
A trio of health care agencies in the city of Jamestown have are eligible to receive more COVID-19 funding through the federal Community Development Block Grant program.  During this week's City Council work session... Development Director Crystal Surdyk said those agencies have applied for the program through the New York State Department of Housing and Community Renewal... and can received up to $500,000 each.  Surdyk says one is the Chautauqua County Health Network... which is applying to start a public health campaign to get more people vaccinated.  She says they would be working with other agencies to do some additional vaccination information and education efforts.  Surdyk says The Chautauqua Center in Brooklyn Square is looking to broaden it's services... mainly for behavioral health... and, the third entity is "Strong Starts Jamestown."  She says that helps at-risk mothers and newborns... especially is the mother has substance abuse issues.  Surdyk says a public hearing will be held on the three applications at the City Council's Dec. 27 voting session.


Jamestown lawmakers decide to opt-out of opting out...
The Jamestown City Council has decided not to hold a public hearing... or vote on a local law to opt-out of allowing marijuana dispensaries and consumption sites.  Council President Tony Dolce says the biggest reason is the "time constraint" for action to be taken.  Dolce told Media One News Wednesday afternoon that there isn't the time to hold a hearing, a voting session... and then deal with a possible veto and veto override before the end of the year.  New York state set a deadline of Dec. 31 for municipalities to opt out of allowing pot dispensaries and consumption sites.  Dolce says it appeared the state might push the deadline into January... but, that hasn't happened.


Dunkirk opts-in on recreational marijuana sales and on-site consumption... 
Cannabis-related business will be allowed to operate in the city of Dunkirk.  That after the Common Council on Tuesday passed a resolution by a 4-1 vote for the city to opt in under New York State's Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, which was passed in March.  Councilman at-Large Paul VanDenVouver says the decision was made after looking at the tax revenue the county anticipates receiving from the sales of adult-use marijuana... and, they felt it was a good idea to "opt-in."  However... Mayor Willie Rosas says the resolution is unnecessary... noting that Dunkirk is the only community statewide that he is aware of to pass a resolution to opt in.  Rosas says most communities have only voted to "opt-out" at this point.  


Dog rescued from pond in town of Carroll...
First responders rescued a dog that fell through the ice on a pond located on Dodge Road in the town of Carroll yesterday.  Sheriff's deputies say they were told that the dog's back legs broke through the ice and the dog was unable to get up and out of the water.  Upon arrival... officers found Frewsburg firefighters already on scene, and suiting up to make a rescue.  Fire rescuers went into the pond, and broke the ice before meeting up with the dog.  Deputies say firefighters carried the dog to shore where it was dried and warmed up briefly in the fire engine and reunited with its own