Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Jan. 12, 2022

One-year-old Sherman child dies in fatal, overnight house fire in Sherman...          
A fatal house fire in the village of Sherman has claimed the life of a one-year old toddler.  Chautauqua County fire investigators say the blaze, at 157 West Main St., broke out shortly after 1 a.m. Wednesday... and Sherman fire crews were called to the scene, along with several other mutual aid companies.  Investigators say two other children were taken to UPMC Hamot Medical Center in Erie, PA for treatment of burns.  Fire investigators say the blaze remains under investigation.  It was the second fatal house fire in Chautauqua County within the past day.


Fredonia woman identified as victim in Tuesday fatal house fire...
A Fredonia woman died in Tuesday morning's serious fire that destroyed an apartment house in the village of Fredonia.  Fredonia firefighters were joined by several other departments at the scene at 111 Center St. in the village.  Acting Fire Chief Kurt Maytum says the house was fully-engulfed in flames when crews reached the scene around 6 a.m., and, adds they had water issues due to the frigid temperatures.  Maytum says all the hydrants in the immediate area were frozen... so tankers were called in from several mutual aid companies.  He says the upstairs tenants were able to escape safely.  However... one of the downstairs occupants... 70 year-old Patricia Ulkins... was unable to get out of the house.  Fire officials say the other downstairs occupant was able to escape with minor injuries.  They add it appears the fire originated on the first floor near the center of the house.  No cause has been determined... but, investigators say it appears accidental.


Green retiring as Chautauqua County Democratic Chairman...
The man who has led the Chautauqua County Democratic Party for nearly the past decade has decided to retire.  DeWittville's Norm Green... who has been involved in party politics for several decades... was most recently the party's candidate for County Executive.  However... it was a tough year for county Democrats.  Green says it's become more difficult for Democrats to win races in rural areas... while mainly urban areas are "blue."  Green did talk about the successes of the past decade... noting that about four dozen Democrats have been elected during that time in the county... including Mayor's Willie Rosas in Dunkirk, and Eddie Sundquist in Jamestown.  He adds that Doug Essek was recently elected in the village of Fredonia.  However... both Green and County Clerk candidate David Salley were soundly defeated in last November's elections.  Mayor Rosas, the Executive Committee's vice chair, will become acting chairman.


County reports highest weekly total yet of COVID-19 cases...
As with the rest of the nation and New York State... Chautauqua County saw record number of new COVID-19 cases during the week of January 2--8.  The county's Health Department reports 1,855 cases during that time period... but, there are still a relatively small number of hospitalizations.  Officials say... of the 1,384 active cases... only 28 were hospitalized.  They say there were three deaths... bringing that total to 286 since the pandemic began.  The Health Department says the most new cases were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code...with 449.  There are now 19,465 recovered cases... and, the seven-day rate of infection is 20.5 percent.


Bassett says local health departments no longer need to contact trace...
State health officials say New York will no longer require local health departments to conduct contact tracing for people who test positive for COVID-19.  Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said Tuesday the shift will help public health staff across New York focus on testing and vaccination.  Bassett says it's a change towards "self-management."  Bassett says "clear guidance" was forthcoming.  She says the information on what to do if you find out you were a close contact with a positive case... they have a website -- starting today -- at ny.gov/isolation.  They also have another at ny.gov/quarantine.    Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul added that the spike in COVID-19 cases complicates contact tracing. 


Salvation Army of Jamestown reports Red Kettle success...
The Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign in Jamestown exceeded its goal for 2021.  Major Kim Merchant announced the total yesterday morning on WJTN.  She says they received nearly $134,000 and their goal was $115,000.  Merchant says it was a "nail-bitting season for us" because some big donors helped much at the end.  She say COVID-19 and fewer bell ringers made it a 'foreboding' task.  She says the Shults Auto Group donated $10,000... and other organizations also increased their giving.  In addition... she also expressed appreciation to two anonymous donors who put up a $40,000 match early on in the campaign. 


State to end eviction moratorium at end of this week...
New York state will let its eviction and foreclosure moratorium expire at the end of the week, but will once again let people apply for eviction protection and rent relief.  Governor Kathy Hochul also said at Tuesday's press conference that she's having conversations with the Legislature on what to do once the eviction ban ends Saturday.  In addition... New Yorkers can now again apply for rental relief and temporary protection from eviction.  That's even as the state doesn't have enough money to help them, absent more federal aid.  Applicants get protection from eviction while the state reviews their application.