Local News Headlines

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

City Council approves first two ARPA projects...
The Jamestown City Council has approved the first two projects that'll be funded by the city's just over 28-million dollars in American Rescue Plan Act funds.  Lawmakers voted unanimously last night on the five main catagories the money will be put into.  Council also approved the purchase of four new police cars at a cost of $160,000.  Lawmakers have been criticized by Mayor Eddie Sundquist -- and others -- for not moving sooner on his proposed Master Plan.  However... Council Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says it took time to review the proposal, and separate it from budget discussions.  Ecklund says it took lawmakers time to listen to department heads, and others about what the needs "in this city."  Council also approved $277,000 for the first-phase of the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy's Chadakoin River Stabilization Project.  This first-phase will include removal of debris from the river east of the South Main Street Bridge to the Falconer village line.  The four new police cars are in addition to the one that's being purchased in the city's 2022 budget plan. 


City Council approves JCAA contract, but, tables new proposed contract with city firefighters...
City lawmakers last night also approved one new employee contract... and, tabled another.  The tabled contract was with the Jamestown Professional Firefighters Local-#137... which was tabled to give the council more time to review and discuss the proposal.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he understands the reasoning for tabling the measure, because -- once approved -- he believes it will be a "game-changer" for the city.  Sundquist says, in addition to having a "current contract," which also bargains out health insurance for employees for the first time in 35 years.  The contract would add four new firefighters... and, a second ambulance... which Sundquist says is "critical" for public safety in the city.  He says the city is changing the department's staffing model to allow for more EMS service... so there is no "sunset" date for the new positions.  The contract that was approved last night is for the Jamestown City Administrative Association for the period of Jan. 1, 2022 through December of 2025.  That union represents just over 30 city clerical, management, and Urban Renewal Agency employees.


Gerry man arrested for allegedly shooting off shot-gun during Christmas night altercation...
A Gerry man has been arrested for allegedly firing a shot-gun in the vicinity of another person while fighting that person Christmas night.  Sheriff's officers say they were called to a location in the town of Gerry about 9:30 p.m., and found that 45 year-old Rudy Ryen engaged in the physical altercation with another man.  It was then that he pulled the shot-gun and fired it.  Ryen was arrested for first-degree reckless endangerment, and second-degree menacing.  He was then taken to the county jail pending arraignment.

Couple arrested for allegedly allowing 15 year-old Randolph Academy student access to loaded guns... 
A parent and her boyfriend have been arrested following a complaint that the women's 15 year-old son threatened a teacher at the Randolph Academy... and, was later seen on video holding two semi-automatic hand guns.  Ellicott Town Police say they got a call from the school back on Nov. 29 that the student allegedly told the teacher -- quote -- "you're not bullet proof."  Police found the student lived on Park Avenue in Falconer... and, they immediately investigated.  However... the child's mother, 35 year-old Jennifer Jackson, and her boyfriend -- who owned the guns -- 33 year-old Tyler Walters, denied having any weapons other than a hunting rifle that was secured.  They also claimed to understand the severity of the incident.  However... police say the Sheriff's Office notified them of the video with the boy holding the guns Monday morning... which were loaded and unsecured.  An additional shotgun was also taken from the house.  Both Jackson and Walters were arrested for endangering the welfare of a child... and, issued appearance tickets for Ellicott Town Court.


Hochul says deaths and hospitalizations up due to COVID in NYS...
New York officials are continuing to track a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the state.  During a COVID briefing in Albany Monday... Governor Kathy Hochul reported that deaths and hospitalizations continue to rise.  She says there were 165 deaths each of the previous two days.  In addition... Hochul says they are sending millions of test kits to school districts across the state.  The governor made it clear that she wants to see kids back school after the holidays.  Hochul says that position may change depending on how circumstance change.  However... she says she wants to get children back in school.  Hochul plans to hold a conference call with school superintendents across the state on Tuesday to discuss plans for the return to school next week.


EPA may end Buffalo River clean-up by 2025...
The lengthy effort to clean up the Buffalo River could pay off in the next few years.  The Buffalo News reports the federal Environmental Protection Agency has told a local Congressman that the winding waterway could lose its status as an environmental danger zone, or "area of concern," by 2025.  The river suffered heavy industrial pollution for decades, and even caught on fire in 1968.  Helped by $100-million from the Obama administration, part of a nearly $4 billion Great Lakes restoration initiative, cleanup efforts have helped turn part of the river into a recreational area with waterfront apartments and bars near downtown Buffalo.