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WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., July 14, 2022

City man receives 70 months in federal prison on Fentanyl trafficking conviction... 
A Jamestown man convicted of trafficking significant amounts of the deadly drug Fentanyl will spend nearly six-years in federal prison.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross announced Wednesday that 59 year-old Alfredo Diaz was given 70-months behind bars by U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Vilardo.  Diaz was found guilty of possession with intent to distribute, and to distribute, fentanyl.  Prosecutors say in April 2020...  investigators conducted three controlled fentanyl purchases from Diaz.  Then... a month later, they conducted searches of both Diaz’s home, and a storage unit he used.  In the residence... investigators found about $8,000 in cash... as well as drug distribution paraphernalia, including glassine bags and a digital scale.  In the storage unit... they found and seized a black 2016 Cadillac SUV registered to Diaz... as well as about $44,000 cash.  The vehicle also contained a digital scale and packaging material. 


Cause of town of Chautauqua house fire listed as improperly discarded cigarette...         
An improperly discarded cigarette is the apparent cause of a fire that gutted a home in the town of Chautauqua Tuesday afternoon.  Sheriff's Department fire investigators say Chautauqua was joined at the scene at 5989 Stockton-Hartfield Rd. by Hartfield, Dewittville, Mayville, Stockton, Brocton, Cassadaga, Ellery Center, Sherman and Portland firefighters about 2:30 p.m., and, found the structure fully-engulfed in flames.  The Fire Investigation Team determined that the blaze was caused by the improperly discarded cigarette coming into contact with combustible materials on the back porch.  There were no occupants home at the time of the fire... and no injuries reported.


County hosting second COVID vaccination clinic today in north county...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is hosting a pair of COVID-19 vaccination clinics this week for anyone ages six months and older.  One was held yesterday at Jamestown Community College, while the second one will take place today at the SUNY College at Fredonia.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says both clinics will be offering the Moderna vaccine... and, anyone eligible can some in to start their series of initial shots, or get a first or second booster.  Pre-registration is required... and, that can be done on the county's website at chqgov.com.  Schuyler says the hours for today's clinic in Fredonia will run from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. 


Quattrone says Sheriff's Department reactivates 46 year-old missing person's case...
The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office is actively investigating a suspicious missing person case involving a Silver Creek woman who has not been seen in 46 years.  Judith Threlkeld was first reported missing to the Silver Creek Police Department on March 8th of 1976.  Sheriff Jim Quattrone says Threlkeld, who was 22 years old at the time of her disappearance, was last seen walking home from the Anderson-Lee Library.  Quattrone says Westfield Police actively investigated the case for several years... but, were never able to locate her.  Quattrone says his department received new information about the case back in June reported to their unsolved crimes unit and started looking into it while investigating an unrelated homicide case.  More information about the case can be seen on the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office new "Unsolved Chautauqua" Facebook page.


JPS Board re-elects board president, VP... while NYSBBA releases election analysis...
The leadership of the Jamestown School Board last year will remain in place for the new school year ahead.  District officials say Paul Abbott was re-elected as board president... while Patrick Slagle will remain vice-president after the board voted at Tuesday night's reorganizational meeting.  Generally... a new report by the New York State School Boards Association shows voters across the state returned the majority of incumbants to the local panels.  That from NYSBBA Executive Director Bob Schneider... who says 54% of incumbants were re-elected.  First time candidates accounted for 46%.  However... Schneider says the number of incumbants who ran again was smaller than usual.  He says there are usually 20 to 25% who don't run again... but, last May the number was up to 30%.  Schneider says many of those appeared to have had enough of contentious meetings fueled by national narratives.  He adds that... for the most part... the number of candidates state-wide was about normal.  On average, Schneider says there were 1.4 candidates running for each seat in the state.  A total of 1,453 candidates were elected statewide in May.


Thompson named as new Persell MS Principal in Jamestown...
The city school board Tuesday night approved the appointment of Assistant Principal Traci Thompson as the new principal at Persell Middle School.  Thompson will replace Dr. Mike McElrath who retired at the end of the school year.  School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker says "we are very excited to have Traci as our new principal at Persell.  Her time as an assistant principal at Persell, and her commitment to collaboration has resulted in great relationships and a strong community."  Thompson has also been an assistant principal at Jamestown High School... and an administrative intern and science teacher at the Sherman Central School. 


Gillibrand, others push for approval of "9/11 Responder Correction Act..."
New York's junior U.S. Senator is among a group of lawmakers pushing for Congress to approved the "9/11" Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act.  Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand says the legislation will deliver $3-billion dollars in supplemental funding to close the impending funding gap in the World Trade Center Health Program.  The funding shortfall will begin impacting the program and its ability to provide services starting in Fiscal Year 2025.