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WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Apr. 22, 2022

Person falls five-stories to death from hotel at Chautauqua Institution...
The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office is investigating an incident where a person died after falling from the roof of a building at Chautauqua Institution this morning.  County dispatchers says the victim fell five stories from the St. Elmo Hotel shortly before 8 a.m.  No further information is available at this time.


U.S. Marshalls catch West Virginia woman in Stockton who allegedly fled with infant daughter in custody case...
A missing now one-year-old West Virginia child and her fugitive mother have been found in the town of Stockton in Chautauqua County after a more than one-month long manhunt.  The U.S. Marshalls Mountain State Fugitive Task Force located Adrienne Marean and her daughter, Iris Chidester, living at a residence.  Marean was arrested without incident, and the child was found unharmed.  Marshall's say an arrest warrant was issued in Bridgeport, West Virginia for Marean after she reportedly fled the state following a decision in a court custody case.  That triggered a search of multiple states... as police followed numerous leads in the case.  U-S Marshalls thanked the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office and New York State Police for their assistance in the case.


City, and consultant release findings of Municipal Broadband Study...
Jamestown has take the next step in the process of determining whether or not to move fowards with creating a low-cost, but high-reliability municipal broadband program for residents and businesses.  A consultant from Salt Lake City, Utah presented the findings of a feasibility study during a presentation at the Prendergast Library last night.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says shortly after he was elected, he began looking into the matter.  However... he found that residents were having problems with access and reliability during the pandemic.  Sundquist determined it was time to look at the possibilities... to determine whether it's feasible, what the costs will be, and what steps need to be taken.  The consultant... Jeff Christenson with Entrypoint Networks... says the city has indicated they would pursue "open access" giving any Internet service provider access.  As for cost... Christenson says their first option would be just over $54.  That option would have residents, homeowners and businesses opting into the program for the base rate. 
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Mayor Sundquist later issued a press release... announcing that the city is looking for residents to sign up for the recently announced Broadband Commission.  Sundquist says the citizen panel will lead "the way to help solve the digital divide, foster economic development, and give children, seniors, and families the tools they need to thrive in the 21st century."  For more information and an application... go on-line to jamestownfiber.com.


County legislature committee decides on no action -- yet -- on suspending local gas tax...
The Chautauqua County Legislature's main financial committee held a lengthy discussion about whether to reduce the local share of the gas tax to provide relief to local motorists.  However... no decision was reached by the Audit and Control Committee during the Thursday meeting.  Panel members questioned both County Attorney Steve Abdella and county Finance Director Kitty Crow about the issue.  County Executive P-J Wendel, who also attended the meeting, says the committee, says there's a lot to consider.  Wendel says if they capped it at $2... and the price increases to $5 or higher, the county would lose out on much more revenue.  He says county officials will be seeking more input from towns and villages in the county about potential impacts on their budgets going forward.  The committee also learned that the four Democratic members of the legislature may prefile a resolution by today's deadline proposing a reduction in the county's share of the tax.  Lawmakers would have to take action at next week's monthly meeting if the change is to take effect by June 1 to be done in conjunction with New York state.


JPS board approves 2022-23 budget to be voted on May 17...
The Jamestown School Board has approved a more than $93-million budget for the 2022-23 school year that includes no tax increase.  The spending plan includes hiring and measures to help students with learning loss during the COVID pandemic... and, boosts mental health services.  School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says the roughly 45 additional personnel will help deal mainly with those issues.  Whitaker says they're bringing in reading and academic intervention teachers and professionals.  He adds five teachers have been added for the high school.  Dr. Whitaker says the district is receiving about $4-million more in state aid from Albany, and that will mainly deal with learning loss issue from the past two years of the pandemic.  Whitaker says some positions will remain over that 5 to 10 year period... but, he adds some will be dropped as funding goes away.  The school board adopted the budget Tuesday night.  A public hearing on the spending plan will be held at the high school on Tuesday, May 10 at 6 p.m.  The vote will be the following week, on Tuesday, May 17.


Grow Jamestown event set for Saturday...
The 'Grow Jamestown' Garden Fair returns to downtown Jamestown on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  For the first time ever the fair is being coordinated by the Jamestown Public Market.  Director Linnea Carlson says what they have planned for this year is a hybrid indoor-outdoor event.  Beginning at 10:30 Saturday morning... Carlson says there will be a series of workshops at St. Lukes Church.  The first will be about reducing plastic waste... another will focus on composting... and, 'honey bee awareness' will be the third.  All events are free and will be held rain or shine.