Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Dec. 23, 2021

City couple arrested for allegedly providing Fentanyl to person who later died from overdose...
A man and woman from Jamestown have been indicted by a federal grand jury for selling drugs laced with Fentanyl that resulted in another person's death.  U-S Attorney Trini Ross announced Wednesday that the indictments were handed up charging 29 year-old Garson Butcher, and, 26 year-old Alisha Centi, with distribution of fentanyl causing death, narcotics conspiracy, and using and maintaining a drug-involved premises.  Prosecutors say between March of 2020 and June of 2021... Butcher and Centi conspired with others to possess and sell heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine.  On March 29, 2020... they're accused of selling fentanyl which resulted in the death of an individual identified as 'T.R.'  In addition, Butcher and Centi allegedly used residences on Fairview Avenue and Roland Road to manufacture and distribute heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine.  Ross says the charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life.


Hochul says federal help to deal with COVID "Winter Surge" is on the way...
New York state is receiving "all the resources" it needs to deal with the 'Winter Surge' of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 Virus.  That from Governor Kathy Hochul during a press briefing Wednesday afternoon at the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo.  Hochul says the federal help from the Biden Administration will allow a "multi-faceted" approach to get faster testing... and, help at front-line hospitals.  She says there will be 12 new mobile testing sites in the Buffalo-area along... and, up to 200 statewide.  She says they're also going to be getting help for veteran's organizations and other for testing.  Hochul says the state is expected to receive about 37-million new COVID testing kits that will be used at various state and county locations, and schools.  She says they also plan to have them at various veteran's organizations.  Hochul says an initial allotment of 5-million tests are coming by New Year's Eve... with 2-million of those going to schools.  She says the in-school tests will allow for more testing of students who may have come in close contact with a positive case... but, aren't showing symptoms.  If that student tests negative... they can go back into the classroom.  


Number of new, COVID-19 cases in the county falls to 689... but, 13 new deaths reported...
There are still high-numbers of new COVID-19 cases being reported the past week in Chautauqua County... but, the number of deaths continues to climb.  The county's Health Department today reports 689 new cases... which is down from last week.  However... there were 13 new deaths... bringing that total now to 257.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler adds there have now been 17,884 total cases... and, 602 of those are currently active.  The number of hospitalizations remains 41.  The number of recovered cases has now exceeded 17,000 to 17,025. 


AAA reports Holiday travel to return to near pre-pandemic levels...
The Omicron variant of COVID-19 may be surging across the nation... but, AAA expects travel to bounce back during the holidays.  Spokeswoman Elizabeth Carey of AAA of Western and Central New York says roads and airports will be busier this holiday season than in 2020... with more than 109-million people traveling 50 miles or more from home.  Carey says that's about a 34% increase over last year.  She says that's a "dramatic bound-back" for travel compared to 2020... when there were nearly 28-million fewer travelers.  She says people planning to travel should follow COVID-19 guidelines from the CDC.  Carey says Thursday is expected to be the busiest travel day during the period that runs from Dec. 23 through Jan. 2. 


Sundquist announces new, four-year agreement with Jamestown's unionized firefighters...
The Sundquist administration and the Jamestown firefighters' union have reached a new, tentative, four-year contract and staffing agreement.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says the contract with Jamestown Professional Firefighters Association, Local #137 will run the current year through 2024.  In a printed release... he said the union approved the contract earlier this month.  Sundquist says - quote - "After much negotiation, I am proud the union and management team have been able to come to a deal."  He adds that they will also deploy a second ambulance... something sorely needed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.  Sundquist added that wage increases of 2.5% are included for 2021-2023... and, 2.75% increase in 2024.  The agreement also includes percentage increases to the city's health insurance plan by union members, along with the end lifetime health insurance for all newly hired firefighters.


Former Bemus Pt. clerk-treasurer pleads guilty to taking $58,000 in village funds...
The former Bemus Point village clerk arrested last year for allegedly stealing more than $58,000 in village funds has now pled guilty to petty larceny.  State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli made the announcement jointly Wednesday with Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt... and, Sheriff Jim Quattrone that 39 year-old Jennifer Jaeger entered the plea in county court.  With that... DiNapoli says she agreed to repay the money to the village.  He says Jaeger admitted writting village checks to herself, using forged signatures of officials and had village leaders sign blank checks from 2015 to 2020.  She then later cashed them for her own personal use.


County announces Fresh Express salad products recall...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is advising local residents of a recall of Fresh Express fresh salad because of potential Listeria contamination.  Health officials say the products are sold in Chautauqua County stores, and residents are urged to check for and dispose of recalled products in their refrigerators.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports Fresh Express is recalling certain varieties of its branded, and private label salad products produced at the company’s Streamwood, Illinois facility, because the product has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.  They say that organism can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.  For more information, call Fresh Express Consumer Response Center at 1-800-242-5472 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.