Local News Headlines

WJTN News for Tues., Jan. 11, 2022

One person unaccounted for in early morning house fire in Fredonia...
All but one person has been accounted for after a fully-involved blaze destroyed a house in the village of Fredonia.  Firefighters from Fredonia and several other departments responded to the fire at 111 Center St. in the village about 6 a.m.  Acting Fire Chief Kurt Maytum says the house was fully-engulfed in flames when crews reached the scene... and, adds that crews were hampered by frozen hydrants, and several surrounding departments responded with tankers.  Maytum says they were awaiting confirmation that there may have been a fatality involved.  The Chautauqua County Fire Investigation team was assisting at the scene.  Fredonia received mutual aid from the city of Dunkirk, Brocton, East and West Dunkirk, Sheridan, Stockton, Chautauqua County EMS and the rehab trailer from Ellery Center. 


Sundquist announces city COVID-19 test kit distributions...
Jamestown residents will have access to 500 free COVID-19 test kits that will be distributed starting this Wednesday afternoon at five different locations.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist announced the distribution during last night's City Council work session... noting the kits are being provided through Chautauqua County.  Sundquist says the county has received the rapid test kits from the New York state Department of Homeland Security.  He adds the the school district, congregate settings and others have already received some allotments.  Sundquist says residents can walk, or drive up to each of the five distribution sites... which will start off at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Prendergast Library.  He says the second will be at Jamestown Community College from Wednesday from 3 to 4 p.m., and, the third will be at Persell Middle School at the Baker Street Bus Loop from 5 to 6 p.m.  On Thursday... Christ First United Methodist Church will have one from 3 to 4 p.m., and, the last will be at the former Allen Park Ice Rink from 5 to 6 p.m.


COVID-19 having staffing impact on city government and services...
The omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly through-out the Jamestown-area... and, is also affecting many areas of city government.  That from Mayor Sundquist... who says three departments in particular are struggling to have enough staff on duty.  They include: the Public Works department... and, the police and fire departments.  Public Safety Committee Chairman Brent Sheldon says the police department already had four vacant positions... and, six members are out with COVID.  Sheldon says JPD Chief Tim Jackson is looking hard for candidates.  Sheldon says there are two that live in the city they believe will pan out... and, there are others in the list, but, it's unclear if they've attended the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Academy.  Sundquist says the city is doing it's best to make sure shifts are covered... and, some overtime is being expended.  


City Council Finance Committee approves five new projects, purchases with $605,000 in ARPA funds...
City lawmakers will vote later this month on just over 600-thousand dollars more in American Rescue Plan Act funds for city projects and equipment.  Council Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund says her panel approved five resolutions... including using $110,000 to put a new roof on Jamestown Fire Station-#4 at 110 Allen St.  Ecklund says another is for $210,000 to buy 60 new, portable radios for the police department.  Ecklund says the largest amount to be used with this batch of projects is $237,000 to put a new roof on the Parks Department's Building at 115 East Fairmount Ave.  In addition... $48,000 will be used for repairs to Russell E. Diethrick Park... and $10,000 will be used to purchase new Knox Boxes for the fire department. 


Fredonia mayor says Price has the right experience to lead police department...
Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek says the village's new police chief brings a wealth of knowledge to the position.  Last week... village trustees rescinded the appointment of Joe Gerace as police chief, before appointing Sgt. David Price to the position.  Essek says Gerace was a provisional appointment by the previous board, and had not taken the Civil Service exam.  He says Price was on the current civil service list, and the new board wanted to go with someone "from within."  Essek says Price is a veteran of the department and should do well in his new role.  He says Price was an officer and sergeant with Fredonia Police for 29 years... and, was also a member of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task for a time.  The village board includes four new trustees.


Borrello disappointed with vote by IRC on new redistricting maps...
The New York State Independent Redistricting Commission was unable to come to a final agreement on a single set of redrawn congressional and legislative redistricting maps.  Last week's 5-to-5 vote along party lines means that the State Legislature will vote on two different sets of maps.  State Senator George Borrello says he is disappointed in the vote, which he believes was "orchestrated."  Borrello says the two maps, at least, don't differ too much on how they deal with the Southern Tier region.  If the legislature cannot approve a plan... the IRC can present new maps for a vote.  Borrello says if the second vote fails, then the Democratic-controlled legislature can draw its own maps due to a measure that was signed into law last year.