Local News Headlines Archives for 2021-03

WJTN Headlines for Wed., Mar. 31, 2021

State Legislature approves pot legalization, still working on getting budget bills out...
Both chambers of the New York state legislature have now approved legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana and eventually allow marijuana sales to people over the age of 21.  The measure was first approved in a party-line vote in the State Senate... then later by the Assembly late Tuesday.  However... local Assemblyman Andy Goodell says it will still be another year to two before administrative guidelines and rules and regulations are set forth.  Legislative leaders will now send the bill to Governor Andrew Cuomo.... who has 10 days to approve or veto a bill once it lands on his desk, otherwise, the bill becomes law.  He has said he will sign it.  Goodell voted against the measure... due to it's potential impacts on youth, and because it does little to address the potential problems with driving while under the influence.  As for the new budget... the Jamestown-area Republican says it's no likely going to be on-time... but, it should be completed by next week.  No deal has been announced on a spending plan by either the governor or state legislature leaders.  The 2021-2022 spending plan is due by Midnight tonight.  Governor Cuomo has said much of what the budget looks like will be dictated by federal COVID Stimulus aid.


JPS Board approved $86-million capital improvement project...
The Jamestown School Board has approved putting a five-year, $86.5-million Capital Improvement Project up for a public vote on Tuesday, May 18.  The board last night approved the project... which would be reimbursed at a rate of 98-percent by New York state.  Board President Paul Abbott says the district has saved the remaining 2-percent needed to fund the local share, there would be no local tax impact.  Abbott says there are three goals for the project; modernizing classrooms and student spaces, improving safety and security, and maintaining our investment in our school buildings.  He says the board "understands the importance of being forward-thinking in ensuring that our district's buildings and infrastructure stay up-to-date but that we also do it in the most cost-effective way for our community."  


City Council agrees to new, three-year contract with JPD officers...
The Jamestown City Council has approved a tentative, three-year contract with the union representing rank-and-file police officers.  Lawmakers voted 7-0 Monday night, with Councilman Jeff Russell recusing himself, to approve the agreement.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he's "estatic" to have the contract worked out with the Kendall Club-PBA.  Sundquist says union members will receive 2-percent wage hikes for each year, 2018 through 2020.  However, they will pay more for their health insurance.  He says their contributions would increase from 19-to-21 percent... but, there will be no retroactive payments.  Sundquist says there will also be a change for new hires in the Jamestown Police Department... and, they will go under the city's new "hybrid" health plan which has lower premiums, and higher deductables.  He did caution, though, that his administration still has a lot of work yet to be done on a 2021 contract with the police union.  Councilman Russell resuced himself from Monday night's vote because he is a recently retired JPD officer.


Westfield area woman praised for helping save man who fell into Barcelona Harbor Monday night...
A Westfield area resident is being credited for taking quick action to save the life of an elderly man who fell into the frigid waters of Lake Erie near Barcelona Harbor Monday night.  The Westfield Fire Department responded to the call around 6:15 p.m., and Fire Chief Chris Reese says the man was feeding the ducks when he slipped and fell into the water.  Reese says the man was in obvious trouble, and Mia Goot jumped in to bring him to the surface and yell for some help.  Jamie Jaynes, Captain of the Fire Department's Rescue Squad, says Goot reacted quickly and jumped into the bone-chilling water.  He says the man was just moments away from either drowning or dying from hypothermia.  Alissa Carter, who was visiting the pier from Mayville, was able to call 911 and first responders came to the scene.  The man was transported to Westfield Memorial Hospital for evaluation and was later released.  
 

Nearly one-third of County adults have had at least one COVID19 vaccine shot...
Nearly one-third of all Chautauqua County adults have received at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.  However... there were still 38 new cases of the coronavirus over the past day.  That from the county's Health Department... which says 12 of those cases were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  Officials say there have now been 8,220 confirmed cases... and, 7,917 have now recovered.  They add there are 161 active cases, and two remain hospitalized.  Health officials say 34,528 adults have now received the first dose of the vaccine... while 18,268 are now "fully vaccinated." 


Teresi remembers Vickye James as administrative team member, city council member...
The late Vickye James was one of the first persons appointed to former Mayor Sam Teresi's administration after he was elected in 1999.  Teresi says the news of James passing last Saturday night was "devastating news" that's left a "hole in my heart."  He says he first really got to know Vickye James in the early 1990s when he was city Development Director... and, she headed up the Jamestown Community Schools Program.  Teresi was so impressed by James' work with children and the community he asked her to become his Youth Services Director. 

 

WJTN Headlines for Tues., Mar. 30, 2021

City Council carries on after death of sitting member Saturday night...
Despite heavy hearts... the Jamestown City Council held it's monthly voting session last night to act on a number of important matters.  The meeting began with a moment of silence in honor of Third-Ward Councilwoman Vickye James... who died suddenly last Saturday night.  Some councilmembers eulogized James at the end of the meeting.  At-Large Councilwoman Kim Ecklund knew James before both served on council with youth programming..  Ecklund says there was "never been a doubt about her commitment to youth, and Jamestown as a whole.  She believed in people in Jamestown when others didn't."  Fourth-Ward Councilwoman Marie Carrubba sat next to James at council voting sessions.  Carrubba noted an irony about James' passing, and the earlier passing of another Third-Ward icon, Lula Taylor.  She says Taylor, a former Chautauqua County Legislator -- and mentor to James -- died three years earlier to the day.  Carrubba says James' mother recently died... and, Vickye told her that her mother was a Christian, and, was not afraid to die.  She says Vickye was also a woman of faith, and that led her in how she represented her constituents.  


Sundquist calls James passing a "somber moment" for the city...
Earlier in the day... Mayor Eddie Sundquist call Vickye James' passing a "somber moment" for the city.  Sundquist had a personal connection with James long before he became mayor.  He says it was James who got him involved in the Youth Services Bureau she headed up for many years when he was in high school... and, tapped him to be a member of the city's Youth Services Board at that time.  Sundquist called her "an incredible person."  He remembers James as being a very caring person, who had a "big personality."  While she was known most for her work in the city's Third-Ward... and, the black community... he says she worked for everyone in the community so that their voices were heard, and that people felt safe in the community.  James was first-elected to the city council in 2015. 


Chautauqua County Executive expresses condolences to James' family on her death...
County Executive PJ Wendel is also extending his thoughts and prayers to the family of Vickye James... noting that he was a county legislator when she was on the panel.  Wendel says she was on the legislature from January of 2006 to December of 2013.  He adds "I had the pleasure of working with Vickye when I first became a county legislator, and she represented her residents well as she always took their concerns to heart and led in a way that was best for her community.  It is with deep sorrow that we mourn the loss of a great civic leader and public servant, who has been influential to so many people across Chautauqua County and the Jamestown community."


Council approves Police Reform, and three-year contract measures...
The City Council unanimously approved Jamestown's Police Reform and Reinvention Plan... and, dedicated it in honor of Vickye James... who was involved in developing it.  The action was moved by Public Safety Committee Chairman Brent Sheldon.  Committee member Tamu Graham-Reinhardt expressed her appreciation for all the work residents, and city officials put into the final product... and said she was glad they were able to "get it done, on Zoom, during this pandemic."  Councilwoman Marie Carrubba says James "contributed a lot and spoke from her heart" in getting that document completed.  The Police Reform and Reinvention Plans were mandated by Governor Andrew Cuomo of police departments in response to the police-involved death of George Floyd in Minnesota last May. 
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In addition... city lawmakers approved a tentative three-year agreement with the Kendall Club-Police Benevolent Association.  The agreement also includes an increase in rank-and-file police contributions towards their health insurance.  The measure covers the years 2018 through 2020. 


County reports 63 New COVID-19 cases from weekend...
There are 63 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County from the past weekend... but, hospitalizations are down significantly.  The county's Health Department reports the new cases include 21 in Jamestown... and, 11 in Fredonia.  There are now 8,182 total cases since last March... and, 7,889 have recovered.  Health officials say 151 cases are active... while two are hospitalized.  There were no new deaths... and, the infection rate is now 1.2-percent.


Cuomo announces, starting today, people 30 and over can get COVID-19 Vaccine...
Governor Andrew Cuomo says New York state residents over 30 will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations starting today... and, everyone over 16 will be eligible starting Apr. 6.  Vaccine eligibility in the state had previously been restricted to people over 50, people in certain job categories and those with certain health conditions.  The Democratic governor called the expanded eligibility "a monumental step forward in the fight to beat COVID" and well ahead of the timetable set by the White House.  


JCC's Addictions Counseling program receives award...
Jamestown Community College’s Addictions Counseling Certificate program has been rated as one of the best in the country.  Dr. Morgan Phillips helps direct the program.  He says the recognition comes from ‘Value Colleges,' which is an independent agency that saw the value of what they teach their students.  Phillips says the award is gratifying, considering the program is just in its third year.  It is taught on-line, and directed toward individuals who already hold a degree in one of the ‘helping professions’.  JCC offers an Associate’s Degree Program in Addictions Counseling as well.  A ‘virtual’ open house on these and all the programs in the area of ‘Public and Professionals Services’ will be held tonight at 7 p.m.

WJTN Headlines for Mon., Mar. 29, 2021

Home in Kiantone heavily damaged in fire...
A home in the town of Kiantone has been extensively damaged after fire broke out early this morning.  Chautauqua County fire dispatchers say Kiantone firefighters were called to the scene at 105 Sturdevant Rd. shortly before 2 a.m., and, found the home fully-engulfed in flames.  Mutual aid was called in from Busti, Frewsburg, Lakewood, Gerry and County Emergency Services... and, Russell's ambulance was on stand-by.  No injuries were reported, though.  Kiantone fire crews were at the scene until 6:30 this morning.  The county's Fire Investigation Team is looking into the cause.


Long-time City Council member, Youth Services Director, Vickye James, remembered for her passion, work for people's rights...
A long-time member of the Jamestown City Council, and former city Youth Services Director, has died.  Vickye James' sudden passing was announced Sunday afternoon in a joint statement issued by Mayor Eddie Sundquist, and Council President Tony Dolce.  Both expressed their shock and sadness over James' sudden passing last Saturday night.  Sundquist says "I share in our collective sadness as we mourn the loss of an icon for Jamestown."  Dolce is in his second-year as Council President... and, says one of her passions was starting, and chairing the Housing Committee.  He says she always had an interest in housing, and neighborhood matters.  Sundquist added that James' "decades of public service have made an impact on countless individuals that will continue well into the future."  He says James actually got him interested in politics when she headed up the city's Youth Bureau.  She was first elected to the City Council in 2015.  Lawmakers are to meet for their monthly voting session tonight... and, Dolce says at this point... that meeting will go on because a number of resolutions need to be dealt with before the end of the month. 


Wendel expresses sorrow on Vickye James passing...
County Executive P-J Wendel is also extending his thoughts and prayers to the family of Vickye James... noting that he was a county legislator when she was on the panel.  Wendel says she was on the legislature from January of 2006 to December of 2013.  He adds "I had the pleasure of working with Vickye when I first became a county legislator, and she represented her residents well as she always took their concerns to heart and led in a way that was best for her community.  It is with deep sorrow that we mourn the loss of a great civic leader and public servant, who has been influential to so many people across Chautauqua County and the Jamestown community."


Council to meet tonight, act on Police Reform, and tentative Police union contract...
At last word... the city council will meet as scheduled tonight on Jamestown's final, proposed Police Reform and Reinvention Initiative Plan.  The plan was discussed at length by the council's Public Safety Committee last week... and, the panel agreed to move it forward for a final vote.  Councilwoman James was very much involved in that work.  Committee member Tamu Graham-Reinhardt says one area she would like see is more of an on-line presence that includes not just Facebook... but, Twitter and Instagram, as well.  Graham-Reinhardt says it's a good way to update the community on what JPD is doing.  The city's Police Reform plan addresses an number of areas of policing... from interactions with the public, to command structure, and dealing with sensitive matters... such as domestic calls. 
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In addition... city lawmakers will vote on a tentative agreement with the Kendall Club-Police Benevolent Association on a three-year contract.  A prefiled resolution says it will cover the years 2018, 2019 and 2020.  The city recently agreed to an arbitration panel's decision on fiscal years 2016 and 2017 for two-percent raises.  Tonight's Zoom meeting begins at 7:30 p.m.


Chautauqua Center in Dunkirk to receive federal funding...
A Community Health Center with facilities in Jamestown and Dunkirk is receiving just over 1.8-million dollars in emergency funding from the recently approved American Rescue Plan.  U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced that the Chautauqua Center in Dunkirk is receiving $1.89-million of the nearly $400-million in funding coming to 63 centers in New York state.  They say it will give local centers the support needed to expand COVID-19 vaccination, testing, and treatment for underserved populations. 


State Legislature Democrats reach agreement on legalizing recreational marijuana...
Majority Democrats in the New York state legislature say they have finalized an agreement to legalize recreational marijuana sales to adults over the age of 21.  The state has come close to passing marijuana legislation in the past... but, until now could not finalize a deal.  Once legislation is approved... New York would join at least 14 other states that allow residents to buy recreational marijuana.  Local State Senator George Borrello opposes the legislation... noting that the state's 55,000 officers aren't yet ready to deal with an increase in driving while under the influence cases... and, he says they are all trained to identify drivers operating under the influence of alcohol.  Borrello says... only 350 officers across the state are trained Drug-Recognition Experts.


Wendel announces re-election campaign kick-off...
Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel has officially kicked off his re-election campaign this week by filing petitions with the Board of Elections.  The Lakewood Republican won last year's election to fill the remaining year of the term vacated by current State Senator George Borrello last year with 67 percent of the vote.  Wendel says "I am humbled by the support I continue to see throughout our community.  To file our county-wide petitions with over 1,500 signatures shows the energy around my campaign, and is a vote of confidence for the job I am doing as County Executive."  To learn more about Wendel's campaign go on-line to pjwendel.com.  

WJTN News Bulletin for Sun., Mar. 28, 2021

Long-time City Council member, Christian community activist, Vickye James, has died...
Saturday night... Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist and City Councilmembers were made aware that council member Victoria “Vickye” James passed away suddenly.  Sundquist and Council President Tony Dolce issued the following statement:  “Last night was a shock to our entire community with the loss of Vickye James. I share in our collective sadness as we mourn the loss of an icon for Jamestown.  She was a councilmember who loved her community and fiercely advocated for our residents. Her decades of public service have made an impact on countless individuals that will continue well into the future.” Council President Tony Dolce said on the loss, “I am saddened by the sudden loss of our fellow councilmember Vickye James. Having served side by side with her for so
many years, she was a rock in our community and fought tirelessly to represent every voice. Her loss leaves a giant hole in the fabric of our Council; however, her activism and passion will continue to live on. As one council, we all grieve and mourn the loss of our sitting councilmember.” The City will work with the family to honor Councilmember James during this time and will provide additional details as they become available."

WJTN Headlines for Fri., Mar. 26, 2021

High Wind Warning in effect for Chautauqua County, and most of WNY through late afternoon...
Expect more damaging winds to hit the area through late this afternoon in the area... with wind gusts reaching 60 miles an hour at times.  There have already been a number of power outages... most having to do with winds knocked down power lines.  A High Wind Warning remains in effect until 4 p.m. today.  That from Meteorologist Heather Kenyon with the National Weather Service in Buffalo... who says some winds may pull down power lines, or trees onto power lines.  Kenyon adds that high-profile vehicles may have a difficult time traveling on the New York state Thruway.  She adds there is also a Lakeshore Flood Warning the Lake Erie shoreline of Chautauqua and Erie counties.  About mid-morning... the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities reported an electric circuit had opened in the BPU service are due to a National Grid line being blown down on Swanson Road.  That interrupted their system, causing a power outage in the Swanson Roard, Willard, and Camp Streets area.  it took crews about an hour to fix the problem.  National Grid is reporting several outages... mainly west of Jamestown, and along the Lake Erie shoreline around Dunkirk and Fredonia. 


Chautauqua County reports 40 new case of COVID-19 Thursday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting an uptick in the number of new, confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past day.  Health officials say there were 40 cases reported over the past day... bringing the local number to 8,094.  They say the most cases -- 10 -- were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  Officials say there are now 171 active cases... and, 4 of those are hospitalized.  There were no new deaths.  Officials say there have now been 7,781 recovered cases... and, the seven-day infection rate is 1.5%.


Whitaker says state budget situation looks much better, JPS District should get all of it's state aid now...
It appears the Jamestown school district will be made completely whole with recent news about a state budget surplus... and, new federal aid coming in.  That from School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker, who says the district was anticipating another 20-percent reduction in it's latest state aid payment.  However... Whitaker told our Dennis Webster Thursday morning that State Budget Director Robert Mujica said this week they will get their aid -- in full -- because the state now has a $5-billion surplus.  He says there would be no 20-percent cut, nor any cuts.  Whitaker says the state collected more sales and income taxes than expected in recent months.  As for federal aid... he says they've heard very little about what they may be getting from the American Rescue Plan.  Whitaker says it's good news as the district begins finalizing work on it's 2021-22 budget plan.  That spending plan will run about $90-million, and will be up for a public vote on May 18.


Green says County Legislature acted illegally on appointment of Kent as Dem. Elections Commissioner...
Current Chautauqua County Democratic Elections Commissioner Norm Green says the county legislature was wrong to vote on a name not submitted by the Democratic committee as his replacement.  During Wednesday night's legislature meeting... lawmakers approved Loren Kent as the new commissioner.  Green says the legislature can't do that legally.  The lawsuit filed by Green prior to Wednesday night's vote makes clear the divisions in the party.  He says he's also taken some heat from Democrats over the lawsuit... saying privately that "he's costing them money."  Green disagrees because some in the membership are costing the committee money.  He emphasizes that state elections law is clear... the name has to be approved by, then submitted by the party committee.  In this case... that person was his Deputy Commissioner Luz Torres.  Green also says it was all done legally -- in their lawyer's office.  Green says the meeting was held on Facebook live due to the pandemic... and, was agreed to by "everyone." 


Borrello opposes legalization of recreational marijuana... especially given new provisions -- one of which would legalize growing up to five plants...
There are reports that a deal has been reached by state leaders in Albany to legalize recreational marijuana in New York.  Local State Senator George Borrello says he disturbed by what he hears about the legislation.  One of the Sunset Bay Republican's concerns is people will be able to grow it in the own homes.  Borrello says, if that's the case, it undermines the idea of collecting revenue off of pot sales.  He says he's been urging supporters to include enough funding to train all police officers to become drug recognition experts.  He says Majority Democrats have agreed to put funding into train DREs... but, adds it's not going to be enough.  Borrello says he intends to vote against the deal.


Upstate NY city of Ithaca looking to eliminate police, replace with "less militarized" department...
The nationwide reexamination of policing after the killing of George Floyd has led an Ivy League town in upstate New York to consider an ambitious and contentious plan to remake its force.  A proposal would replace the 63-officer Ithaca Police Department with a new Department of Community Solutions and Public Safety.  It would comprise both armed officers as well as unarmed responders to handle non-violent calls like petty thefts.  The mayor argues that dramatic change is needed to make law enforcement less militarized and more effective.  Police denounce it as a radical idea that could threaten safety in the city that is home to Cornell University.

WJTN Headlines for Wed., Mar. 24, 2021

**Sorry these were not posted Wednesday, operator error...

Jamestown Republicans announce candidates for City Council and County Legislature...
Republicans in the city of Jamestown have endorsed a full slate of candidates for City Council... and, three county legislature for this Fall's elections.  GOP Chairman Brent Sheldon says he's "excited..." to have a "full-slate of candidates "for the first time in 20 years."  Sheldon himself is seeking re-election to his First-Ward seat... while Council President Tony Dolce is running again in Ward-Two.  He says newcomer Robert Reedy, the owner of Elite Kreations and an Air Force veteran, is running in Ward-Three.  Another newcomer, Richard Elardo, an employee of the Jamestown Housing Authority, is seeking election in Ward-Four... while incumbant Grant Olson is running in Ward-Five.  In the Sixth-Ward... Sheldon says newcomer Andrew Faulkner, a journeyman electrician, is running.  For at-large... incumbants Kim Ecklund... and, Jeff Russell are running again... along with newcomer Randall Daversa, who is a retired equipment operator for the state DOT.  Three Chautauqua County Legislature candidates have been endorsed... including incumbant Elisabeth Rankin in District 12... former legislator David Wilfong in District 11... and, Kenneth Lawson... who was appointed to finish out the term in District 10.  Sheldon says they hope to build on their slim majority on the City Council.


Combustables too close to heat source is reported cause of Washington St. fire...
Jamestown fire officials say combustables too close to a heating source is the cause of an early morning fire Tuesday at an apartment house on the city's northside.  City Fire Battalion Chief Brian Achterberg says crews were called to the scene at 703 Washington St. just after 6:30 a.m., and, found the back apartment on the first-floor of the house fully-involved in fire.  Achterberg says they also learned that someone may have still been inside.  He says crews attacked the fire with a hand-line, which the aerial truck crew looked for possible victims trapped on the second floor.  However... Achterberg says they soon found out the missing person had gotten safely out of the house.  He says it took about an hour to bring the blaze under control.  The Post-Journal is reporting this morning that a city Public Works employee helped two people who were trapped on the second-floor jump to safety.  Achterberg says the first floor apartment was gutted... and, there was fire damage on the second-floor and attic areas.  Crews were at the scene until about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.  Washington Street -- at Seventh -- was closed off while crews battle the flames.


Two north county men sentenced to prison time in County Court sentencings... 
Two north county men have been sentenced in Chautauqua County Court in separate burglary and arson cases.  District Attorney Jason Schmidt's office says Justin Baez of Dunkirk was sentenced by Judge David Foley Tuesday to seven-years in state prison after pleading guilty to second-degree burglary.  In addition... Schmidt says Baez will serve five-years post-release supervision.  The case was investigated by the Dunkirk Police Department.  Earlier this year... Schmidt says Jason Maisonet of Fredonia was sentenced by Foley to a term of 1 to 3 years in state prison for third-degree arson.  Maisonet plead to the charge... which was lodged by the Fredonia Police Department.


Candidates for two JPS Board seats can now begin circulating petitions...
Petitions for candidates seeking to run for two seats on the Jamestown School Board this May are now available at the superintendent's office on Martin Road.  District Spokeswoman Cathy Panebianco says candidates must submit a completed petition with the names of 50 or more qualified voters in the district to be eligible to run in the May 18 election.  Those must be turned into the superintendent's office by 5 p.m. on Wed. Apr. 28.  Panebianco says if you have questions... contact Jaunita Walter at 483-4420... or e-mail her at jaunita.m.walter@jpsny.org.  The two seats are currently held by Dan Johnson and Nina Karbacka.  The proposed budget will be available to view before the May 18 vote at jamestownpublic schools.org... at the superintendent's office... or at the Prendergast Library beginning on May 12.  The public hearing on the budget will be held on Tuesday, May 11 at 6 p.m. at Persell Middle School.


Gowanda man arrested for public lewdness...
A Cattaraugus County man has been arrested for public lewdness following an investigation into a recent incident in the town of Perrysburg.  Sheriff's officers in Little Valley say they obtained a warrant for 32 year-old Edwin Cmielewski of Perrysburg... and, he was arrested about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.  Cmielewski is also charged with second-degree harassment.  He was arraigned, and released on ihs own recognizance.


Fredonia's 2021 budget proposal includes huge tax rate hike... 
Fredonia Village Mayor Doug Essek has released a proposed $10.8-million budget that includes a whopping 17-percent hike in the tax rate.  In delivering his budget message during Monday night's Village Board meeting... Essek said there's a huge budget deficit of $1.4-million.  When he started, Essek says they have a very severe deficit.  The budget proposal would increase the village tax rate by $6.10 per $1,000 assessed value.  Trustee Jim Lynden called the proposed budget "misguided" and questioned the big change in finances.  Trustees have scheduled a public hearing on the budget proposal for Monday, April 5.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Mar. 25, 2021

County Legislature approves Kent as new Democratic Elections Commissioner in spite of lawsuit...
The Chautauqua County Legislature has approved a new Democratic Elections commissioner... pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed to stop that action.  Lawmakers voted 16-3 in favor of making Loren Kent the new commissioner, over Luz Torres, who had been recommended by outgoing commissioner Norm Green.  Democratic Minority Leader, Chuck Nazzaro, says the resolution allows the court case to be heard April 26 before it's officially filed with the county clerk's office.  However... the three legislators who voted no wanted to make it clear they weren't supporting one candidate over the other.  They were unhappy with the process.  Fredonia Republican Bob Scudder says, in his 12 years on the legislature, he's never seen party split on this kind of matter.  Earlier this year... Green who is to retire, submitted Torres' name after a vote by the Democratic Committee, which he also chairs.  However... some Democrats were critical of the process, and wanted Kent appointed to the post.  Nazzaro says the legislature's Democratic caucus is unanimous in it's support of Kent. 


County lawmakers also approved Sheriff's Departments Police Reform and Reinvention plan...
County lawmakers also approved the Sheriff's Departments Police Reform and Reinvention Initiative program to be submitted to New York state.  The legislature approved the plan... put forward by Sheriff Jim Quattrone... unanimously during last night's Zoom meeting.  Quattrone says their work actually began before Governor Andrew Cuomo's order last Spring that all police departments in the state had to submit a plan.  He says they have been attending, and hosting, a number of meetings with stakeholder groups, and others to see how their policing efforts could improve.  Quattrone was among the police officials who attended some of the protests in Jamestown and elsewhere to hear what people were saying.  He felt the process was good.  However... Republican Legislator Terry Neibel of Sheridan took issue with the order's inference of "systematic racism" in police agencies.  Neibel says 91-percent of the people arrested here are white... while the county's population is 92-percent white or caucasan.  The county's comprehensive police reform plan will now be completed and sent to the state for approval.  Governor Cuomo says all plans need to be submitted by April 1.


County reports 21 new cases of COVID-19 in county... Cuomo reports 8-million vaccine doses now administered...
There are now just a handful of COVID-19 positive patients in the hospital in Chautauqua County... as the number of new cases remains relatively low.  The county's Health Department reports 21 new cases over the past day... and no new deaths.  The most cases -- 8 -- were in Fredonia.  Officials say that brings the local total to 8,054... and, 154 of those are active.  Four people are now hospitalized... and, 7,758 cases have now recovered.  In addition... Governor Andrew Cuomo says more people are getting vaccinate.  During a press conference in Albany Wednesday... he said 8-million vaccinations have been put into people's arms.  He says there are no 15-million state residents now eligible to get the vaccine.  He says nearly 3-million have been fully vaccinated.  However... Cuomo says there's still a long-ways to go to make sure everyone who needs a vaccination can get one.  In Chautauqua County... nearly 30,000 people have had at least one dose of the three vaccines that are available.


Cuomo says Heastie's case of COVID may slow down budget talks...
It's crunch time for the New York state budget... and, one of the key legislative leaders involved in the process has been sidelined by the COVID-19 virus.  Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie was one of two lawmakers who said they tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, though both Democrats said they were experiencing only mild symptoms.  Heastie... who received his first vaccine dose on March 6th... says he'll be working from his Albany residence.  Governor Cuomo is hopeful they can meet the April 1 deadline.  Cuomo says he's confident the speaker will recover fine.  However... he says with quarantining of staff in his office, that may slow the process.  Cuomo says negotiations leading up to an agreement often involve dozens of negotiating sessions with several people in a room.  He says that's not going to happen this year... but, he's hopeful he and the legislature will reach an agreement.


City man arrested on Violent Felony warrant...
A Jamestown man sought on a Violent Felony warrant for first-degree robbery was arrested early yesterday morning during a street check by city police.  Officers say they were patrolling the area of Chandler and Franklin Streets just before 3 a.m. when they spotted Kevin Philbrick.  Police say Philbrick began to flee... and, they chased him to the city's train tracks where they caught him.  Officers took Philbrick into custody on the warrant... which also charges second-degree menacing.  He was also charged with second-degree obstruction, and is jailed pending arraignment.


Jamestown residents can pick-up petitions now to run for school board...
Petitions for candidates seeking to run for two seats on the Jamestown School Board this May are now available at the superintendent's office on Martin Road.  District Spokeswoman Cathy Panebianco says candidates must submit a completed petition with the names of 50 or more qualified voters in the district to be eligible to run in the May 18 election and budget vote.  Those must be turned into the superintendent's office by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28.  Panebianco says if you have questions... contact Jaunita Walter at 483-4420... or e-mail her at jaunita.m.walter@jpsny.org.  The two seats are currently held by Dan Johnson and Nina Karbacka.

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Mar. 23, 2021

Investigation continues into apartment house fire on Jamestown's northside...
An early morning fire today has heavily-damaged a large, two story apartment house on Jamestown's northside.  City Fire Battalion Chief Brian Acterberg says crews were called to the scene at 703 Washington St. just after 6:30 a.m., and, found heavy fire coming from the back apartment in the structure.  Acterberg says there are four apartments inside the building.  He says it took about an hour to bring the blaze under control... partly because some firefighters had to get a look inside the back apartment after getting word that someone may not have gotten out of the house.  However... that unaccounted for person was later found outside and safe.  Acterberg says there was extensive damage... with fire extension outside the apartment -- which was heavily damaged.  He says no one was hurt... the on-coming shift, and five more off-shift firefighters were also called to the scene.  Celoron's ambulance was also called in to stand-by.  Crews were still at the scene dousing hot-spots late this morning.  The cause is under investigation.


City man arrested on drug and weapons charges after being found with stolen bicycle...
A man accused of stealing a bicycle in Jamestown late Sunday night is also charged with being in possession of a loaded handgun and drugs.  City Police say officers saw 51 year-old Aaron Davis walking a bike in the 500-block of North Main Street about 11:30 p.m. that matched the description of the stolen bike.  Officers say their investigation found it was the stolen bicycle... and, they also found Davis in possession of the gun, and a small quantity of drugs.  Davis was arrested on charges including second-degree criminal possesion of a weapon... fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, third-degree criminal possession of stolen property.  He was jailed pending arraignment.


Jamestown City Council's Public Safety Committee reviews draft Police Reform plan...
City lawmakers in Jamestown say, if the process of developing the city's Police Reform and Reinvention Initiative Plan is any indication, it will be a success.  That from some of the city council members as the Public Safety Committee last night signed off on the multi-faceted plan during it's meeting.  Councilwoman Vickeye James... who is not a member of the committee... was still heavily involved in the process.  She says the interactions between police officials and members of the stakeholder groups was helpful.  James praised Chief Tim Jackson and Captain Scott Forester for their help in the process.  The plan addresses an number of areas of policing... from interactions with the public, to command structure, and dealing with sensitive matters... such as domestics and undercover drug investigations.  That latter situation came up when discussing upgrades to the department's body cameras... and, was addressed by Councilman Jeff Russell, a retired city police officer.  New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an order last year... after the police-involved death of George Floyd... that mandated all communities that have police forces put together such plans.  Those had to be submitted by Thursday, Apr 1.


Schuyler pleased to see COVID-19 numbers staying relatively low in county...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting another 71 confirmed cases of COVID-19 last weekend... putting the local total to more than 8,000 now.  That's a big number... considering there were just under 1,500 at the end of November.  Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says no one really expected the pandemic to have the impact it has on not just people's general health, but, mental health, and socialization.  She says pretty much every aspect of our lives have been "touched by this."  Schuyler made her comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations on a look back on the pandemic a year later.  County Health officials say the total number of cases in the county now totals 8,019 since last March.  Officials say there were 21 new cases in Fredonia the past three days... and, 18 in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  There were no new deaths... but, 173 cases are now active, and 9 of those are hospitalized.  The Health Department reports that 7,705 cases have recovered.


Cuomo says people 50 and over now can schedule appointments for COVID Vaccine...
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that the state is expanding eligibility for the coronavirus vaccine to everyone age 50 and older.  The governor said newly eligible people can now start signing up for vaccines.  Previously, everyone age 60 and older could get vaccinated, as well as certain essential workers and people with select health conditions.  Cuomo said the state can expand eligibility because of promises from the federal government that vaccine supplies will keep increasing.  It's unclear how many people are now eligible for vaccines in New York.


Wendel says he's "disappointed" by Reed's actions, and decision not to run again...
Chautauqua County's top elected official is reacting to Congressman Tom Reed's decision not to run for re-election in the House or for any other elective office in 2022.  That follows a sexual misconduct allegation by a junior lobbiest from 2017.  County Executive P.J. Wendel was disappointed by the announcement... but, says Reed has done a lot for the county... especially in dealing with the COVID stimulus and relief packages.  He feels that Reed should be able to fill out the remainder of his term and continue to do his job. 

 

WJTN Headlines for Mon., Mar. 22, 2021

Reed apologizes for 2017 incident with Davis, announces he won't seek election for any office in 2022...
With accusations now swirling about alleged sexual misconduct... local Congressman Tom Reed has announced that he will not be seeking any public office next year.  In a printed statement released late Sunday... the six-term Republican from Corning first apologized to Nicolette Davis, who's allegations about a networking trip she and Reed attended in 2017, were the focus of a Washington Post story late last week.  He says "I hear her voice and will not dismiss her.  In reflection, my personal depiction of this event is irrelevant.  Simply put, my behavior caused her pain, showed her disrespect and was unprofessional. I was wrong, I am sorry, and I take full responsibility."  He also apologized to his family, and, the people of the 23rd District, my colleagues, and those who have supported me."  In addition... Reed called it a time in his life in which he was "struggling.  Upon entering treatment in 2017... I recognized that I am powerless over alcohol."  He says he's been sober for nearly four years now... but, adds that journey is "day-by-day..." but, this is in no way an excuse for anything I’ve done."  Thirdly... Reed says he plans to make amends for his past actions.... and apologize to those "I have impacted, including Ms. Davis."


Fire at Ellicott Shores Apts. in Celoron blamed on discarded cigarette...
No one was hurt in a weekend fire in the village of Celoron.  Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department fire investigators say Celoron crews were called to the Ellicott Shore Apartments at 75 Marine Dr. shorly before 5 p.m. Saturday... and, put out the blaze.  Fire investigators were later called in... and, determined the fire originated on a second floor porch, due to a disregarded cigarette. 


Dunkirk man arrested for convenience store robbery...
A Dunkirk man was arrested following a robbery at a convenience store in the north county city last Saturday.  Dunkirk Police were called to Crosby's at 106 Central Ave. at about 1:45 p.m. on a report of a possible robbery in progress... and, were able to obtain a description of the subject, who had fled the scene with an undetermined amount of cash.  Officers say within seconds, the suspect, identified as 40-year-old John Tenamore, was located a short distance away and in possession of items stolen.  Tenamore was arraigned in Dunkirk City Court on charges of third-degree robbery and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, then was remanded to the county jail in lieu of cash bail.


Barmore says you can now make appointments at county DMVs...
If you need an appointment for an in-person transaction at the Chautauqua County Department of Motor Vehicles... it shouldn’t be too hard to get one now in Jamestown, Dunkirk or Mayville.  County Clerk, Larry Barmore, though, says ‘be flexible.’  He says you should be able to get an appointment within a couple of days, but, check on what's available at each office.  Barmore says learner’s permit and CDL tests… state-to-state transfers, and license upgrades have to be done in person.  Obtaining license plates and renewing driver’s licenses can be done on-line... but, Barmore says it goes better if you do those in person, too.  Appointments must be made on-line at chqgov.com.   All other transactions must be done by mail or drop box, for now.  The clerk expects to be fully open for walk-in business again later this spring, but because of an expected backlog of learner’s permit requests, all tests will remain ‘by appointment only.’  Doing business by appointment has been popular with some people… so the DMV will continue to offer that service even after the ‘full’ reopening. 


Portville man arrested for menacing incident... 
A Cattaraugus County man has been arrested for allegedly threatening three people with a weapon during an incident late last week in the town of Portville.  Sheriff's officers say they arrested 26 year-old Dominic Puccinelli of Portville after obtaining an arrest warrant late Friday on one count of second-degree menacing, and three counts of criminal possession of a weapon.  Puccinelli was arraigned in Portville Town Court, and issued appearance tickets for a later date.


Nothing turned up during Allegheny River weekend search for two missing people...
Warren City Police conducted a search of the Allegheny River last Saturday for two persons reported missing over the past month and a half.  The Warren Times-Observer says John Christopher Nelson was last seen on Feb. 5... and, Nicole Lee Font was last seen this past week, on Mar. 14.  City police focused on the area between Point Park and Mead Island.  Police say the cases appear to be unrelated... and, believe no foul play occured.  The Saturday police statement noted that Saturday’s activity was a continuation of a search started on Friday.


Tax filing deadline delayed in NYS to May 17...
New York state residents are getting an extra month to file their state income taxes.  State Budget Director Robert Mujica says the filing deadline will move from April 15 to May 17.  That matches a move from the federal government.  The Internal Revenue Service announced on Wednesday that it was pushing back the deadline for filing and paying taxes to May as a way to help people during the pandemic.  Mujica says pushing the tax filing deadline back would move about $6 billion of revenue from April to May for New York.  


 

 
 

WJTN Headlines for Fri., Mar. 19, 2021

WAPO story says Reed is accused of sexual misconduct in 2017 incident...
A Washington Post story today is reporting that a former junior lobbyist for an insurance company has accused local Congressman Tom Reed to sexual misconduct during a gathering in 2017.  The Post reports that Nicolette Davis was 25 at the time... and, was with Reed at an Irish pub in Minneapolis, Minnesota after a day of ice fishing.  Davis says she texted a friend saying "A drunk Congressman is rubbing my back."  She then later texted "HELP HELP.”  Reed is then accused of putting his hand outside her blouse, and moving his hand to her thigh.  The Corning Republican refused to be interviewed for the story... but, did issue a statement through his chief of staff, saying "this account of my actions is not accurate.  I stand by my record."  Reed has been in the spotlight recently because he is considering a possible run for New York governor.


Carl Reiner's professional, personal archives being given to the National Comedy Center...
The National Comedy Center in Jamestown has announced that it will soon be the new home of late comedic legend Carl Reiner’s personal and professional archives.  Reiner's son, Rob, announced on NBC's Today Show today that his family is donating the archives to the Center.  Rob Reiner says the Comedy Center will get his fathers rare creative papers, scripts and artifacts spanning Carl Reiner’s seven-decade career in comedy as a writer, director, and performer will be preserved.  He says his emmys, scripts, and other items are being given for a new wing of the center.  The younger Reiner says "it's very exciting."  Comedy Center officials will formally name its ongoing work to preserve comedy’s heritage in honor of Reiner, who was a founding Advisory Board member for the Comedy Center.  The Carl Reiner Department of Archives and Preservation will serve as the central hub for all archival and preservation work within the Comedy Center, as it continues its mission to present the history of comedy and preserve comedy’s heritage for future generations.  Carl Reiner passed away last June at the age of 98.


Comedy Center says it will again be a Ward-Three polling site in 2021...
The National Comedy Center in Jamestown has announced that it's reached an agreement with the Chautauqua County Board of Elections to again be a polling site this year.  In a statement issued this afternoon... center officials said "we are pleased to have reached an agreement so that the National Comedy Center can serve as a polling site for Ward 3 in 2021.  We appreciate the spirit with which this has been resolved, and the Board of Election's understanding of the challenges for the center’s business operations during voting days."  They add the board addressed their concerns regarding the state law on polling sites with a liquor license, and will use its best efforts to adhere to all Comedy Center “LaughSafe” health and safety protocols while those precautions remain in place.  The center has been a Ward-Three polling site since it opened in August of 2018.


Democratic City Council candidates announced during Zoom video conference...
There are seven Democrats running for seats on the Jamestown City Council this Fall... and, four are newcomers.  However... one incumbant will not be seeking re-election.  During the city Democratic Committee's Zoom announcements Thursday night... it was revealed that at-large Councilwoman Tamu Graham-Reinhardt will not seek another term.  She says she's been able to do what she wanted to get done... and, it's time for someone else with new ideas to run.  Three newcomers are seeking at-large seats... including Alyssa Porter... who is Youth and Family Programs Director at Chautauqua Institution.  The other two newcomers running at-large are long-time Jamestown resident, Ellen DiTonto... and former State Assembly candidate, Christina Cardinale.  DiTonto is currently the executive director of the Jamestown Community College Faculty-Student Association.  There are three veteran lawmakers running for ward seats... including Ward-Four incumbant Marie Carrubba.  Carrubba feels being part of several community boards and committees helps keep her finger on the pulse of the community.  She says they include being a member of the Board of Public Utilities.  She is the director at Southern Tier Environments for Living.  The other ward candidates including Third-Ward incumbant Vickye James... newcomer Doug Lawson in Ward-Five... and, in the Sixth-Ward, incumbant Tom Nelson.


Green confirms that incumbant County Legislature Minority Leader, Chuck Nazzaro, is not seeking re-election...
The Zoom announcement last night also revealed the names of four Chautauqua County Legislature candidates.  But... one of them is not a long-time member who has most recently been Minority Leader.  County Democratic Chairman Norm Green did confirm that Jamestown's Chuck Nazzaro is not seeking another term.  In his place... Green says local community activist, Billy Torres, is running for that seat.  The other candidates include newcomer Heather Fagan... and incumbants Bob Whitney and Paul Whitford.


County reports 42 New COVID Cases, one death on Thursday...
There was an uptick in the number of daily coronavirus cases in Chautauqua County the past day... with 42 new confirmed cases Wednesday.  There are now 7,902 total cases to date... with 7,611 recovered.  There was also one new death the past day... increasing that number to 141.  The county's Health Department reports the most cases... 12... were reported in Dunkirk.  Falconer had 8 and Jamestown 7.  Officials say there are now 150 active cases... and nine of those are hospitalized.  The local infection rate is back up to one-percent.


 

WJTN Headlines for Thurs., Mar. 18, 2021

Fire crews put out Ellery Silo Fire Wednesday night...
Flames have extensively damaged a silo at a farm in the town of Ellery.  Chautauqua County fire dispatchers say Ellery Center firefighters were called to the scene at 4067 Pickard Rd. shortly before 10 p.m. last night.  Dispatchers say they were joined by crews and tankers from Bemus Point... Stockton... DeWittville and Gerry.  The fire was reported out just before 10:30 p.m.  The cause is under investigation.  No injuries were reported.


County reports nearly 25% of adults have received at least one COVID vaccine... case numbers remain low...
Nearly one-quarter of Chautauqua County's adult population -- 16 and older -- have now received at least the first dose of one of the three COVID-19 vaccines.  The county Health Department reports 25,476 first doses have now been administered... which is 24.34%.  Officials add that 13,079 second doses have also been administered... which is 12.5%.  The Health Department adds that 12 new cases of the virus were reported the past day... bringing the local total to 7,860.  There were no new deaths.  There have now been 7,593 recovered cases... and, 127 cases are now active.  Officials say 10 of those are hospitalized.  They add the infection rate is now .9%.


Gillibrand announces push to have NYS farms more involved with Farm-to-Families program to fight food insecurity...
New York's Junior U-S Senator is calling on the U-S Department of Agriculture to prioritize using New York grown fruits and vegetables to help feed hungry Americans impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.  Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand says she's written a letter to new Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack... urging him to utilize the state's very diverse crop of healthy foods to help supply food banks and pantries across the nation.  Gillibrand says fruits and vegetables also help improve health among people who may be more suseptable to serious COVID-19 illness.  The program... called the "Farmer to Families Food Box" program... was unable to the food sent to everywhere it's needed.  Gillibrand says she wants to see the new program... which is being boosted by $1.5-billion in the December COVID bill... prioritize getting the food to all food insecure people.  She also wants a better flow of reimbursement to farmers.  She says there are and estimated 24-million American adults... and, 11-million children... who face "food insecurity."


Fugitive accused in Dunkirk stabbings arrested in PA...
Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt says an arrest has been made in connection with two stabbing incidents that occurred last Thursday in the city of Dunkirk.  Schmidt says Dunkirk Police identified a suspect following the incidents that occurred in the area of Deer Street.  He says that the suspect, who has not been identified at this time, was found in Pennsylvania.  Schmidt says the suspect was taken into custody on a warrant out of Dunkirk City Court for first-degree assault, and is awaiting extradition back to New York state.  Two men were taken to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie for treatment of their stab wounds.


State Assembly hires Manhattan firm to lead Cuomo impeachment probe...
New York's Assembly has hired the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, LLP to lead its impeachment investigation of Governor Andrew Cuomo.  Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Wednesday that the top Manhattan firm gives the Assembly Judiciary Committee the experience needed to handle the investigation thoroughly and quickly.  Leaders in the Democrat-controlled Assembly said last week they would investigate allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior by Cuomo.  The Democratic governor has denied touching any women inappropriately and has said he will not resign.  Two women accusing the governor quickly criticized the Assembly's choice of law firm.


Reed joins fellow Republicans in slamming Biden administration's handling of migrant surge at southern border...
Congressional Republicans continue to attack the Biden administration's handling of the recent migrant surge at the U.S.-Mexican border.  Local Representative Tom Reed Wednesday placed the blame squarely on the President... saying he should have followed the Trump administration's restrictive border policies.  Reed says Biden clearly said he would stop construction work on a border wall, and that sent a "clear message" to people in Central American countries.  In an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" host George Stephanopoulos... Biden says his team is setting up a process to allow people to apply for asylum in their home nations.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been called in to help.  Reed says Biden needs to be more clear in stating that they are going to "fix our immigration policy, and allow our border to function in a secure fashion."  The Corning Republican made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with regional media.


Study says minorities underrepresented in Service Academy nominations...
A new report finds that minority students are significantly underrepresented when it comes to  getting nominations from members of Congress to study at military service academies in the United States.  The analysis released Wednesday by they the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center... and, the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School found congressional members have awarded 6% of their total nominations to Black students and 8% percent to Hispanic students.  White students received 74% of the nominations.  About 15% of students in public schools nationwide are Black and 27% are Hispanic. 

 


 

WJTN Headlines for Wed., Mar. 17, 2021

Biden says Cuomo should resign if sexual harassment allegations are confirmed...
President Joe Biden says New York Governor Andrew Cuomo should resign if the state attorney general's investigation confirms the sexual harassment allegations against him.  Biden made the remarks in an interview with ABC News that is scheduled to air this morning.  When asked by anchor George Stephanopoulos if the investigation confirms the claims of the women, should Cuomo resign, Biden said ``yes,'' adding, ``I think he'd probably end up being prosecuted, too.''  Cuomo is facing allegations that he sexually harassed or behaved inappropriately toward multiple women, including several former staffers.  He has denied touching any women inappropriately.


County reports only 15 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday...
There are 15 new cases of the COVID-19 virus being reported the past day in Chautauqua County... and, the seven-day infection rate remains below 1-percent.  The county Health Department says there were four new cases each in Jamestown and Sinclairville... and, the total now stands at 7,848.  There were no new deaths reported... and, the number of recovered cases is now 7,592.  Health officials say there are 116 active cases... and 9 of those are hospitalized.  They add the infection rate is now .9-percent.


Borrello says Aging Committee Chair again rejects allowing motion on Cuomo Nursing Home investigation...
Motions made to investigate Governor Andrew Cuomo's handling of nursing homes during the pandemic, and possible connections to his coronavirus book deal, were rejected Tuesday by the chairwoman of the State Senate's Aging Committee.  Local Senator George Borrello joined the committee's ranking member, Sue Serino, in advancing the motions, but Chair Rachael May ruled them out of order for the third time.  He says they need the records and testimony from Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.  Borrello also wanted to hear from the head of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics... because he says things are "being sandbagged and white-washed."  Borrello says he and Serino were pushing for bi-partisan investigations into the allegations.


Sundquist says Jamestown will again host it's annual "Turn the River Green" on the Chadakoin this Saturday...
It's another sign that normalcy is slowly starting to return to the Jamestown-area as the United States marks the one-year anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The city has announced that it's annual "Turn the River Green" event is returning... and, will be held this Saturday, Mar. 20, at 11 a.m. in the JAMA Parking lot along the Chadakoin River.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says he was recently approached by people involved in putting on the event in the past... and, he says everything fell into place to do it.  Last year's St. Patrick's Day festivities -- including turning the river green -- were canceled due to the pandemic... and, Sundquist says this year precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of all residents.  If you are attending the event... he says please wear a mask and socially-distance.  No other activities are scheduled.  Sundquist calls this a "proud Jamestown tradition that we are happy to be continuing after last year's cancellation."  Jamestown is one of the few cities in the U-S that still turns their river green to observe St. Patrick's Day. 


Mayor Sundquist says two more Food Truck "feedback sessions" set, and restaurants can open to 75-percent starting Friday...
Business owners and residents will have the chance to sound off two more times on the city of Jamestown's Food Truck Pilot Program before it move's into it's second-year.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says the Department of Development is holding two more "feedback sessions" on the program... with the next one this Thursday, Mar. 18 via Zoom conferencing at 6:30 p.m., and, finally Monday, Mar. 22, at 3 p.m.  In addition... Sundquist noted th state will allow restaurants to increase their capacity to 75-percent -- starting this Friday.... and, he says hopefully they will be able to get to 100-percent in a couple of months.  The Food Truck program began last year as a way to help local vendors and restaurants during the pandemic.  For more information on the Food Truck feeback sessions... contact Principal City Planner Ellen Shadle at 483-7541... or e-mail her at shadle@jamestownny.gov.


Jamestown and Olean receiving HUD Housing Authority grants... 
The Jamestown Housing Authority will receive just over $400,000 from the more than $18-million in grant funding for public housing assistance in Western New York.  U-S Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand jointly made the announcement Tuesday that the authority will be getting $422,000.  Gillibrand says the monies are being allocated through the U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development address housing insecurity... increase health and safety measures for public housing residents... and, develop and modernize Public Housing properties.  Schumer says "every New Yorker deserves a safe and secure place to call home and this federal investment gets us one step closer to that goal,”  In addition to Jamestown... the Olean Housing Authority will receive just over $816,000.
 

WJTN News headlines for Tues., Mar. 16, 2021

City firefighters make quick work of two small fires Monday...
Jamestown firefighters were busy Monday afternoon and evening with a pair of minor structure fires.  City Fire Battlion Chief Brian Acterberg says crews were called to 277 Ivy St. shortly before 2 p.m. on a report of a kitchen fire.  Acterberg says the occupants were out of the house on arrival... and, they found light smoke coming from inside the house.  The fire was already out, and crews helped ventilate the house, and clear out debris.  Acterberg says crews were at the scene about 40 minutes... and, the cause was found to be a cooking accident.  There was no serious damage to the house... and no one was hurt.
----
Firefighters were called early last evening to a small blaze in the basement of a vacant, dilapitated home at 132 Water St.  Acterberg says crews arrived about 6:15 p.m., and, quickly found the fire and put it out.  He says crews were at the scene just over an hour.  No one was hurt... and, the cause remains under investigation.


County reports one new death, 59 New COVID-19 cases from weekend...
There are 59 new cases of the COVID-19 virus being reported over the past weekend in Chautauqua County... but, the infection rate has fallen below 1%.  The county's Health Department reports 23 of the new cases were reported in Dunkirk... while there were 9 in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  There have now been a total of 7,834 cases... while there was one death reported... bringing that total to 140.  Officials add there are now 125 active cases... and, nine are hospitalized.  There are 7,569 recovered cases.  The seven-day infection rate has now fallen to .8-percent... the first time it's been under 1% since very early in the pandemic.


Monday marks one-year anniversary of State of Emergency declared in Chautauqua County for COVID-19 pandemic...
It was one year ago Monday that Chautauqua County officials declared a State of Emergency due to the new coronavirus.  However... the county didn't register it's first case of COVID-19 until later in the month.  County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler said the county's COVID-19 Response team assembled for the first time to evaluate the local situation.  Schuyler called on local health care providers to give testing priority to those most at risk because of a limited number of test kits being available.  County Executive PJ Wendel later said the state's new, 100-percent workforce reductions took effect for non-essential businesses.  


Cuomo accuser interviewed by A-G's office... 
One of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's sexual harassment accusers met with investigators working for the state attorney general's office for more than four hours Monday via Zoom.  A lawyer for Charlotte Bennett says that during the interview she revealed new details about Cuomo's behavior and a "sexually hostile work environment."  Bennett also provided investigators with 120 pages of records.  Cuomo, a Democrat, has said that he will cooperate with the investigation.  His office didn't immediately comment Monday when asked about Bennett's interview.  Bennett says Cuomo quizzed her last June about her sex life and inquired about her willingness to have a sexual relationship with an older man.


City man arrested following high speed chase...
A Jamestown man faces several charges following a high speed chase that occured yesterday on Route 60... just north of the city.  State Police in Jamestown say they tried to pull over a northbound vehicle... but, add the driver didn't comply... and, sped off at a high rate of speed.  Troopers say they pursued the car, operated by 21 year-old Johnathan DeJesus-Godineaux, for several miles before the vehicle left the road, and became disabled in a ravine.  DeJesus-Godineaux was taken into custody... and, while being searched, a bag of methamphetamine and a set of brass knuckles were found in his possession.  Further investigation revealed that the license plate on the car had been reported stolen in Michigan.  DeJesus-Godineaux was taken to the State Police barracks and issued appearance and traffic tickets for Gerry Town Court.  He was not hurt in the accident.


Sinclairville man arrested for assault and unlawful imprisonment...
A Sinclairville man has been arrested for allegedly punching another person several times during a fight that occured in the village back on Mar. 6.  Sheriff's officers say they took 26 year-old Zachary Sauberan into custory yesterday on a warrant for second-degree unlawful imprisonment, and, second-degree harassment.  Deputies say... after punching the victim several times he did not let the person leave the location for an extended period of time.  Sauberan was taken to the County Jail where he was held pending centralized arraignment.


Stone named new Jamestown City Parks Manager...
The city of Jamestown has a new Parks Manager... but, it's a very familiar face.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist recently announced the retirement of long-time Parks Manager John Williams... and, that City Arborist Dan Stone has been promoted to the position.  Stone expressed his appreciation... and, noted that the workers in the department make the job go smoothly.  He cited a recent letter to the editor of The Post-Journal from Lind Funeral Home praising the workers for their professionalism in takng down the several dozen Catherdral Oak Trees on West Third Street.  Stone has been City Arborist for the past several years... and, had to make the difficult decision to take down the aging and diseased trees.  Williams worked in the parks department around two decades before retiring recently.  Sundquist says, one of the first things Stone will do, is look for a new arborist. 


 

WJTN Headlines for Mon., Mar. 15, 2021

City man arrested for fleeing scene of accident, and speeding for several blocks...
A Jamestown man has been arrested on several charges after allegedly speeding off from a motor vehicle accident early last weekend.  City police say officers tried to stop the vehicle... which was leaving the scene... when officers arrived on Washington Street about 7:30 p.m. Friday.  Police say the driver, 61 year-old Danny Mealy, allegedly drove off at a high rate of speed... and, did not stop.  Officers say Mealy continued on for several blocks before he finally stopped on Crescent Street.  He was arrested for driving while intoxicated, speeding, passing a solid red light, third-degree unlawfully fleeing from a motor vehicle accident, and aggravated DWI.  He was released with appearance tickets for City Court at a later date.


Sinclairville woman arrested after theft investigation...
An investigation into the theft of several items... including a credit card... has led to an arrest in the town of Charlotte.  Sheriff's officers say they recently arrested 32 year-old Jennifer Blake following a month-long probe.  Deputies say Blake is charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, and petty larceny.  She was issued an appearance ticket for Charlotte Town Court at a later date.


Sundquist says Jamestown will receive nearly $30-million dollars in COVID-19 relief funding...
The city of Jamestown will be receiving just under $30-million in COVID Relief funding from the just-approved American Rescue Plan.  But... details are still being worked out on how much, and how soon that funding will be flowing to the city.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says they're pleased to be receiving the federal help... but, adds there will be strings attached.  Sundquist says the city can make whole it's expenses that are directly due to the pandemic and shut-down.  In addition... he says there are also economic development components to the relief package... including helping local businesses in recovery... and, necessary projects.  He says that could include expansion of broadband capabilities.  Sundquist says officials have told them they should receive their first payment in about two months.  He says that would be about half the amount... with the other half in about a year.  Sundquist adds they also have to document how all that money is spent.  He says the city is receiving the influx of money because the U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development considers Jamestown an "entitlement community," based on population and it's levels of poverty.  He made his comments for last weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Quattrone says Chautauqua County's Police Reform and Reinvention plan goes before lawmakers this week...
Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone says the County Legislature's Public Safety Committee will be taking up his department's Reform and Reinvention Collaborative plan that is required under an executive order by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.   Late last week... Quattrone said there were two areas of concern that came up during a series of public meetings held via video conference.  The first is people want to see more "community policing," and local police work more hand-in-hand with mental health providers to deal with those issues.  The full County Legislature will take up the plan during its monthly meeting later this month.  All local law enforcement agencies are required to have their plans into Albany by Apr. 1.  The city of Jamestown's plan is to be acted on at the City Council's Mar. 29 meeting.


Cuomo urges New Yorkers to "wait for the facts" in sexual harassment investigation...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has urged residents to "wait for the facts."  But... patience has grown thin in the state legislature, where leaders in the state Assembly have announced an impeachment investigation, a first step toward potentially removing Cuomo from office.  Cuomo has rebuffed calls to resign... as recently as last Friday during a conference call with state media... where he said he was "not elected by the politicians... but, the people."  Cuomo has staked his political future on the outcome of an independent investigation by state Attorney General Letitia James, who is examining allegations that the governor sexually harassed or inappropriately touched several female aides. 


If Cuomo resigns, or is impeached, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul would be his replacement...
New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul is known as a loyal promoter of the Cuomo administration's agenda and tireless campaigner for races at every level.  The steelworker's daughter and Democrat from western New York has leveraged an upbeat and approachable style to pull off challenging electoral wins in a career that has taken her from a town board to county clerk and Congress.  With calls for Governor Andrew Cuomo's resignation over sexual misconduct allegations growing louder, Hochul is in line to take his place.  That would make her New York's first female governor. 


Wolf says he wants to phase-out PA's gasoline tax...
In a deepening stalemate over financing highways and public transit... Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf wants to phase out the state's gasoline tax... and, is appointing a commission to recommend alternative ways to pay for the state's needs.  Wolf on Friday ordered a commission of lawmakers, transportation industry representatives, transportation planners, government officials and others to deliver recommendations by Aug. 1 of funding alternatives to foot the extra billions of dollars deemed to be necessary.  The gas tax that Wolf calls "burdensome" isn't keeping pace with construction needs as vehicles become more fuel-efficient and more motorists buy electric vehicles, transportation officials say.  The gas tax is number-two in the nation.


 

WJTN News Update for Fri-Sat., Mar. 12-13, 2021

City man arrested after allegedly starting apartment fire, and threatening firefighters...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly setting fire to his apartment... threatening responding firefighters... and, barricading himself inside a bathroom.  City Police Captain Bob Samuelson says officers and fire crews were called to 4 Hall Ave. shortly before 8 a.m. after an upstairs tenant reported hearing a smoke alarm in a lower apartment.  Samuelson says firefighters looked for occupants in the apartment... and. encountered 41 year-old Edwin Sanchez inside.  He says Sanchez displayed a knife and waved it at firefighters who were trying to get him out of the smoke-filled apartment.  Samuelson says Sanchez then barricaded himself inside the bathroom.  Responders were able to get Sanchez out later without further incident.  He was taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital where he was treated and released. Sanchez has been charged with second-degree arson.. first-degree reckless endangerment... second-degree menacing... criminal mischief... and, obstructing firefighting operations.


Depsite new calls to step down, Cuomo says he's not resigning...
With calls growing for his resignation from both sides of the political aisle... New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he will not resign from office.  The governor, under fire and investigation for allegedly sexually harassing six women, told reporters during a conference call today that he's not going anywhere.  Cuomo says "let the review proceed... I was not elected by the politicians, I was elected by the people."  Governor Cuomo today said....the two investigations that are underway.....will prove his innocence, not his guilt.  However... U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand both called on Cuomo to resign.


COVID-19 numbers low in both Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties; Catt. registers 90th death...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 23 new cases of the COVID-19 Virus over the past day... and, the infection rate has now dropped to 1-percent.  Health officials say there are now 7,775 total cases of the new coronavirus since the pandemic began... and, 119 of those are active.  The most were reported in Fredonia, where there were 5 cases.  Jamestown was next with four.  Officials say nine people are now hospitalized... and, the number of recovered cases has now exceeded 7,517.
----
In Cattaraugus County... the number of deaths reported has now reached 90... with the passing of a 76 year-old man who died from complications due to COVID.  Officials there say there were only 5 new cases... bringing the total to 4,496.  Cattaraugus officials add that 83 cases are active... and, 6 are hospitalized.  4,316 have now recovered.


Investigation faults Rochester mayor and police for keeping details of Daniel Prude's death secret...
An investigation into the official response to Daniel Prude's police suffocation death last year in Rochester is faulting the city's mayor and former police chief for keeping critical details of the case secret for months and lying to the public about what they knew.  The Rochester city council commissioned the report and made it public Friday.  The report said Mayor Lovely Warren lied in September when she said she only learned in August that officers had physically restrained Prude during the Mar. 23, 2020 encounter.  It says she, the former police chief and others were aware that Prude's death had been ruled a homicide by mid-April.


 

WJTN Headlines for Fri., Mar. 12, 2021

JPD conducting criminal investigation after fire call on Hall Ave in the city...
Jamestown police are investigating what's being termed as a criminal situation following a fire call on the city's westside this morning.  Jamestown Police Captain Bob Samuelson would not say anymore about the matter this morning.  Samuelson says information would be forthcoming later today or tomorrow.  City fire officials confirm they were called to the scene on Hall Avenue -- near Fairmount Avenue -- shortly before 8 a.m.  Fire crews quickly knocked down the fire there.  No serious injuries have been reported.


Dunkirk Police investigating a pair of overnight stabbings...
Dunkirk Police are investigating two stabbings that occurred last night.  Police Chief David Ortolano says that police responded to a call in the area of Fifth and Deer Streets around 7:40 p.m.  Ortolano says one of the male victims was located on Deer Street, while the other male was discovered on Park Avenue.  He says both victims were transported to a hospital in Erie, Pennsylvania for treatment.  Ortolano says they ended up with two males suffering stab wounds... and, both were treated at the scene before being sent to UPMC Hamot Medical Center.  Ortolano says his department is working with the Chautauqua County District Attorney's office as the investigation continues.


Jamestown City Council votes to reopen parks, hired part-time Summer staff, and part-time coordinator...
Lawmakers in the city of Jamestown have approved the hiring of seven additional Summer staff members to help reopen the city's parks, and parks programs this year.  During a special meeting early last night... the City Council also approved the hiring of a part-time Parks and Recreation Coordinator, and a new Parks Supervisor.  Council President Tony Dolce says they cut the coordinator's position last Fall... and, adds lawmakers didn't know how soon they would be able to get the parks back open.  Dolce calls this "good news."  He expressed his appreciation to Mayor Eddie Sundquist and Comptroller Ryan Thompson for developing the plan... and, finding the money to do the hiring.  The measure will cost about $90,000.  Julia Ciesla-Hanley was Parks and Recreation Coordinator until the position was cut at the end of last year... though she worked in another position temporarily during the COVID shut-down.  Sundquist says Ciesla-Hanley will now be offered the position back -- albeit part-time.


Jamestown man arrested for allegedly firing gun near occupied buildings...
A city man is accused of firing one round from a hand-gun in close proximity to multiple occupied buildings early Thursday morning on Jamestown's eastside.  City police were called to the scene at 45 Franklin Street shortly after Midnight on a complaint of a person with a weapon.  Officers say they found that Bless Grant had discharged a single round from the firearm... and, arrested him a short distance away.  Police say they later found the gun had been stolen in an unrelated burglary.  Grant was jailed pending arraignment on charges of first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and criminal possession of stolen property.


Reed says he's "very frustrated" with how the $1.9-trillion COVID American Rescue Plan was handled...
With President Joe Biden's signature... the new COVID-19 American Rescue Plan is now in place.  Biden says it will help the United States defeat the coronavirus and nurse the economy back to health.  However... it's left some members of Congress... including local Representative Tom Reed "very frustrated."  The Corning Republican says he discussed the bill with several Democratic colleagues on what he had issues with... but, says that's not the way they were headed.  Reed says he and fellow members of the bi-partisan Problem Solver's Caucus found they could find common ground on several issues.  He joined with other GOP House members in voting against the $1.9-trillion package.  He says there was, unfortunately, a lack of "that working together" on display during the final House vote.  However... Reed says he's not giving up... especially with infrastructure, immigration... and, farm bills coming up.


More than 100 County Jail inmates vaccinated against COVID...
More than 100 inmates at the Chautauqua County Jail have been administered the COVID-19 vaccine. That from Sheriff Jim Quattrone, who says more those inmates each received the single-dose vaccine Tuesday from the jail's medical unit, which is staffed by the county's Department of Health and Human Services.  Quattrone says the single-dose vaccine was earmarked by New York State for "homebound" individuals... and, he says the state determined that jail inmates fall under that catagory.  Quattrone says the vaccine allotment had to be used within a week.  Otherwise, the county would have faced a potential penalty from the state for not using it.  Quattrone says the vaccination of the inmates gives protection not only for the jail staff, but for the community as well. 


County reports 13 New COVID-19 cases Thursday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 13 new cases of the COVID-19 Virus over the past day... and, the infection rate has now fallen to 1.1-percent.  The county's Health Department says there are now 7,752 cases of the new coronavirus since the pandemic began... and, 110 of those are active.  Officials say 8 people are now hospitalized.  There are now 7,503 recovered cases.


 

WJTN Headlines for Thurs., Mar. 11, 2021

Two homes heavily-damaged in Vukote-area fire, seven others damaged...
An overnight fire in the Vukote-area of Ashville destroyed one home... extensively damaged another... and, damaged seven other seasonal homes.  Lakewood Fire Captain Tom Allen was among the first responders... and, says they were called to the dead end on Keller Road -- near Chautauqua Lake -- about 2 a.m.  Allen says the blaze moved very quickly through the two primary homes involved.  Allen says the first home was heavily-engulfed in flames when they arrived, and the flames had begun moving into the second home.  Allen says it took about two hours to bring the fire under control.  He says the family in the second home had opened a window about an hour earlier... and, heard the fire crackling in the vacant home.  Fortunately... Allen says they were all able to get out safely.  The fire burned so hot that three of the homes that had exposure damage were located across the canal from the initial site of the fire.  Allen says no one was hurt... but, one firefighter was treated for dehydration.  Lakewood was joined at the scene by Ashville, Busti, Celoron, Clymer, Sherman, and Kiantone crews.  Allen says Panama and Lander, PA were on stand-by.  The county's Fire Investigation Team is looking into the cause.


City man arrested after allegedly shooting off stolen gun near occupied buildings...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly firing a handgun in close proximity to multiple occupied buildings early this morning on the city's eastside.  Jamestown Police were called to the scene at 45 Franklin Street shortly after Midnight on a complaint of a person with a weapon.  Officers determined that Bless Grant discharged a single round from the firearm... and, arrested him a short distance away.  Police say they later found the gun had been stolen in an unrelated burglary.  Grant is being held pending arraignment on charges of first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and criminal possession of stolen property.


County Jail inmates receive single-dose, Johnson and Johnson vaccinations...
More than 100 inmates at the Chautauqua County Jail have been administered the COVID-19 vaccine. That from Sheriff Jim Quattrone, who says those inmates each received the single-dose vaccine Tuesday from the jail's medical unit, which is staffed by the county's Department of Health and Human Services.  Quattrone says the single-dose vaccine was earmarked by New York State for "homebound" individuals... meaning those who are not able to get to "other vaccine points."  Quattrone says the vaccine allotment had to be used within a week.  Otherwise, the county would have faced a potential penalty from the state for not using it.  Quattrone says the vaccination of the inmates gives protection not only for the jail staff, but for the community as well.  


Jamestown man indicted on federal child porn-related charges...
A Jamestown man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on three child pornography-related charges.  U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Junior says the indictment charges 34 year-old Richard Lafrance with enticement, production of child pornography, and committing certain crimes while required to register as a sex offender.  The charges carry a minimum sentence of 45 years in prison, and a maximum penalty of life.  Prosecutors say that... in April of 2019... Lefrance met and began communicating via email and text message with a 14-year-old Minor Victim... and, they were sexually explicit and included the defendant requesting the victim send him naked pictures. In addition, Lafrance had sex with the victim at least twice.  He was also convicted in Oregon in 2006 on rape and sexual abuse charges... making Lafrance a Level-Three sex offender.


Single-day COVID-19 cases falls to 13 in Chautauqua Co...
There are 13 new cases of the COVID-19 Virust being reported in Chautauqua County over the past day... and, the infection rate has now fallen to 1.1-percent.  The county's Health Department says there are now 7,752 cases of the new coronavirus since the pandemic began... and, 110 of those are active.  The most were reported in Fredonia, where there were three.  Officials say 8 people are now hospitalized.  There were no new deaths... and the number of recovered cases has now exceeded 75-hundred at 7,503.


Gas prices in Jamestown area continue rising in Jamestown-area and nation...
The price of regular, unleaded gasoline in the Jamestown-area continues climbing towards $2.90 a gallon this week.  The price was 4-cents a gallon higher to begin the week... bringing it to about $2.83.  However... some locations are now just under $2.90 a gallon.  The AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report says prices are increasing as refinery utilization is at an all-time low, and crude oil prices surged by more than $2-dollars a barrel to $66 last Friday, the highest price in nearly two years.  The national average jumped a nickle a gallon to begin the week, and is now $2.77.

WJTN Headlines for Wed., Mar. 10, 2021

Cuomo announces people age 60 and over can now get COVID Shots...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state will lower COVID-19 vaccine eligibility from age 65 to 60 starting today.  The Democratic governor announced the change in an appearance at a vaccination site in Syracuse.  In addition to people who qualify for vaccinations because of their age... vaccinations in New York are open to people with certain health conditions and to essential workers including teachers, health care providers and police officers.  Cuomo said New York will allow additional essential workers to receive the vaccine starting March 17.  Newly eligible workers include public and not-for-profit employees who interact with the public.  Public works employees, child service caseworkers, sanitation workers and building service workers are among the newly eligible workers.  


County Health Dept. reports 20 new COVID cases Tuesday...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 20 new cases of the COVID-19 Virus the past day.  Health officials say that brings the local total to 7,731 cases... with 130 of them active.  They say there were three cases each reported in Dunkirk and Brocton.  Officials say 9 people are hospitalized... and, there were no new deaths.  They say 7,463 cases have now recovered.


Jamestown Comptroller reports better than expected fourth-quarter, 2020 sales tax revenues...
Thanks to the ability to tax on-line sales... the city of Jamestown exceeded it's projected sales tax revenues in 2020... in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.  That from City Comptroller Ryan Thompson... who told City Council at Monday night's work session that the city received $1.78-million during the final three-months of 2020.  Thompson says that was $116,000 better than the fourth-quarter of 2019.... and, adds the city received nearly 105-percent of their budgeted amount of $6.5-million, due in large part to the boom in on-line sales when lock-downs were in effect.  He says the city received about 95-thousand dollars more in sales tax revenues that it did in 2019.  Thompson says it was a "nice surprise..." and Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund called it "great" news.


James appoints two attorneys to legal team to investigate harassment claims against Cuomo...
New York Attorney General Letitia James has appointed a former federal prosecutor and an employment lawyer to investigate allegations that Govenor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed female aides.  Joon Kim was the acting U.S. Attorney in Manhattan for parts of 2017 and 2018.  Kim will join the employment lawyer Anne Clark in conducting the probe.  James said the pair are "independent, legal experts who have decades of experience conducting investigations and fighting to uphold the rule of law."  The appointments came as New York lawmakers were privately debating whether to join calls for Cuomo to resign from office, or urge patience while the investigation is ongoing.


Tarpskunks set to play ball in 2021...
It's been delayed one year... but, it looks like the inaugural season for the Jamestown Tarp Skunks will happen this summer.  The team's Director of Business and Sales Operations, Jacob Kindberg, is highly optimistic due to the way the COVID vaccines are rolling out, and the state's loosening of restrictions.  The pandemic led to the cancellation of all games last year.  The locally owned team will join the 'Perfect Game' wood bat league, the same league that the old Jamestown Jammers played in.  Kindberg says they are working to get people in to watch the games as well.  He says chances are "extremely good" that they will be able to have a certain percentage of fans at a "safe capacity... safe distance."  While the full schedule is yet to be finalized, the home opener is set for Thursday, June 10 at Russell E. Diethrick Park, against the Batavia Muckdogs.  That matchup has some historic significance.  Jamestown played Batavia in the first ever baseball game 80 years ago at the brand new 'Municipal Stadium,' later renamed in honor of Russ Diethrick.


House fire in Fredonia under investigation...
Fredonia village firefighters responded to a fire at 45 Temple St. Monday afternoon.  Fire crews were called to the scene about 5:30 p.m., and, discovered the flames on the outside of the rear of the structure.  Crews were able to knockdown the fire quickly, preventing it from getting to the interior of the building.  There were no injuries.


Two teens with developmental disabilities earn their driver's licenses...
Two "special" students of local driving instructor Bob Triscari never met before yesterday... but, were able to share their special bond at The Resource Center in Celoron Tuesday afternoon.  Triscari taught both Maddox Henry of Southwestern, and Haley Clark from Maple Grove... both of whom were not going to be deterred by developmental disabilities.  He says Maddox was born with shorter than normal arms, which made it difficult to reach the steering wheel.  Triscari says he also has just three fingers on each hand, so he has to get close to the steering wheel.  Haley's situation was a little different.  Triscari says she was born "normal..." but, then had a stroke when she was six years old... and had to learn using a special left-footed peddle.  He says they both took instruction well... and, did very well on their road tests.  Maddox had a 100 score, while Haley had a 95.  Triscari says when he got done with each of them... and, knew they had passed... there was an obvious emotional response.  Maddox had tried driving before... but, struggled and did poorly on the test.  However... he was determined to keep trying.  

  
 

WJTN Headlines for Tues., Mar. 9, 2021

Frewsburg house damaged by fire, crews respond to rekindle this morning...
Frewsburg firefighters had to respond to the rekindle of a house fire on Frew Run Road in the Frewsburg area early this morning.  Crews were called out just after 6 a.m., and, were at the scene until about 7:30.  Sheriff's Department dispatchers say firefighters were initially called out to the scene in the town of Carroll just after 6:30 last night... and, the county's Fire Investigation team was called to the scene late last night.  Officials say mutual aid was called in from Falconer, Kennedy, Busti, Kiantone and Randolph.  No injuries were reported. 


Back portion of house in Dunkirk heavily-damaged by fire...
Dunkirk city firefighters made quick work of a house fire late yesterday morning at 75 West 4th Street.  Fire Chief Mike Edwards says crews were called to the scene around 10:30 a.m.  Edwards says one occupant was able to get out with no injuries being reported.  He says the back portion of the house had heavy fire, but, they were able to contain it pretty quickly.  Dunkirk had mutual aid from East Dunkirk and the County's heavy rescue unit from Fredonia.  He says they saved one dog and two cats.  The cause is under investigation.


Cattaraugus County Car-Buggy accident sends two people to the hospital...
No serious injuries were reported Sunday afternoon when a car and Amish buggy collided on Cherry Creek Hll Road in the Cattaraugus County town of Leon.  Sheriff's deputies in Little Valley say the accident occured about 2 p.m. at the intersection with West Road.  Officers say both persons inside the vehicle were taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital in Jamestown for treatment.  However... the operator of the buggy was not hurt.  Deputies say members of the Leon Fire Department assisted at the scene.  No charges have been filed.


City of Jamestown to open parks, including ballparks, back up this Spring...
With improving numbers for the COVID-19 pandemic... the city of Jamestown is now planning for pretty much a full Summer of parks and recreation activities in 2021.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist discussed the situation with City Council members during last night's work session... noting that seven more Summer staff members will be brought on to ensure baseball and softball seasons can begin this Spring.  Sundquist says normally there were 15 seasonal workers.  However... he says the seven to be added will make this year's number 13 to provide additional Summer help.  Sundquist says the city would also bring back the Parks and Recreation Coordinator's position at half-time... beginning on Mar 15.  He says... given the amount of money the city is slated to get from the recently approved COVID-19 relief bill... it would free up $121,000, and, this plan would cost about just over $90,000.  Council President Tony Dolce this was something lawmakers had asked to be looked at to get back to "some semblence of normality."  Sundquist says this includes the expectation that there will be a season for the Tarp Skunks... Jamestown's entry in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball Summer League.  However... due to timing and other issues, there will be no Summer Playground Program again this year.  A special meeting is tentatively planned to act on the additional hires this Thursday at 5:30 p.m., and it will be held via Zoom conferencing.


Officials hope to have Gerry Rodeo in 2021, but, need to know state COVID guidelines before moving forward...
The postponed 75th annual Gerry Rodeo is set for early August... five months from now.  Spokesman Paul Cooley says they’d like to be able to put it on... but, says they need to know if they can hold it, and what kind of restrictions will be in place.  Cooley says that's because it takes about $100,000 to open the gates each August.  If they're only allowed to have 25-percent capacity, they won't meet expenses.  The pandemic has hurt all professional sports and athletes, but Paul Cooley believes it’s hit rodeo performers harder than most because they have to pay their own travel expenses, and entry fees.  The scheduled rodeo dates this year are Aug. 4-7.  The Gerry Rodeo is the only annual fund raiser for the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department.


Chautauqua Lake Assoc. 'Ice Pick' Fundraiser now underway...
The Chautauqua Lake Association has its annual 'Ice Pick' challenge underway.  Executive Director, Doug Conroe says for $5 you can guess when the ice will go out of the lake... at one specific location - Bemus Bay in front of the Lawson Center.  Except to say 'the ice is fantastic this year,' Conroe wouldn't speculate as to when the ice pick will sink.  But, the contest is certain to go until March 20... and will likely be extended to the end of the month.  The person with the closest guess wins $250, with the five runners up each get $50.  Conroe hopes a lot of people will make a lot of guesses, as the association needs the money for lake and shoreline maintenance.  He says New York state budgeted $150,000 for the CLA, but, they have yet to see the money.  If the money doesn't come by the end of the month, it likely won't come at all.  You can make your guess as to when the ice pick will sink at the Chautauqua Lake Association office on Terrace Avenue in Lakewood... or on-line at chautauqualakeassociation.org. 

WJTN Headlines for Mon., Mar 8, 2021

Bemus Point man wanted in Jamestown, arrested on drug charges...        
A Bemus Point man wanted in the city of Jamestown has been arrested for allegedly being found in possession of illegal drugs and drug packaging materials.  Sheriff's officers say they arrested 34 year-old Jordan Eckwahl on the warrant shortly after Midnight this morning... and, found him in possession of a quantity of methamphetamine, and drug packaging materials.  Eckwahl was issued an appearance ticket for Ellery Town Court for seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia.  He was then turned over to Jamestown police on the active arrest warrant.


Dunkirk firefighters make quick work of house fire...
Dunkirk city firefighters made a quick response to a house fire at 75 West 4th Street around 10:30 a.m. today.  Fire Chief Mike Edwards says one occupant was able to get out with no injuries being reported.  Edwards says there was extensive damage to the back of the house... but, damage was confined there.  He says they also rescued a dog, and two cats.  Dunkirk had mutual aid from East Dunkirk and the County's heavy rescue unit from Fredonia.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.


Clymer woman arrested for drugs and speeding in Minda...
A woman from Clymer is accused of driving while under the influence of drugs after her speeding car was pulled over last weekend in the town of Mina.  Sheriff's deputies say they stopped the vehicle, operated by 28 year-old Emilee Carlson, on Mann Road around 9:30 p.m. last Saturday.  Officers say they found she was impaired by drugs, and that her driver's license had been suspended.  Deputies say that... while arresting Carlson... they found her to be in possession of methamphetamines and concentrated cannabis.  She was issued appearance tickets for Mina Town Court on charges of driving while ability impaired by drugs... two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... aggravated unlicensed operation... and, speeding.


County records 48 new COVID Cases over past weekend...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 48 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus over the past weekend... but, the infection rate remains low.  Health officials say 11 of the new cases are in Dunkirk... and, 9 in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  There have now been a total of 7,711 cases... and, 127 of those are active.  Officials say there were no new deaths, and 10 people are hospitalized.  There have now been 7,446 cases that have recovered... and, the infection rate is 1.2-percent.


Gerry Rodeo officials say they need to know soon whether they can host 75th event this year, and number of attendees...
The postponed 75th annual Gerry Rodeo is set for early August... five months from now… and, Spokesman Paul Cooley says they’d like to be able to put it on.  He says, though, they first need to find out if they can put it on... and, secondly, they need to know at what crowd capacity so they know whether they'll make enough to cover expenses.  Cooley says it takes around $100,000 just to open the gates at Gerry.  He says if they're only allowed to have 25-percent capacity, they won't make enough money.  The pandemic has hurt all professional sports and athletes, but Paul Cooley believes it’s hit rodeo performers harder than most because they have to pay their own travel expenses, and entry fees.  The scheduled rodeo dates this year are August 4th through the 7th.  The Gerry Rodeo is the only annual fund raiser for the Gerry Volunteer Fire Department.


Top two state legislature leaders, Stewart-Cousins and Heastie pull back support for Cuomo...
The two top Democrats in New York's legislature have withdrewn their support for Governor Andrew Cuomo amid mounting allegations of sexual harassment, and undercounting COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.  State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins became the first senior Democrat in the state to say he should resign.  Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie stopped short of demanding that Cuomo quit... but, said in a Sunday statement that Cuomo should "seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York."  It comes after Cuomo had said earlier Sunday he would not step down.  Cuomo's workplace conduct has been under intense scrutiny in recent days as several women have accused him of inappropriate behavior.


Federal appeals court in NYS confronts violent crime definition... 
Once annually, sometimes less, the full federal appeals court in New York meets to confront a perplexing legal question.  This year... it was to decide whether shooting somebody point-blank in the face and stabbing somebody to death are violent acts.  This past week, 14 judges of the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan decided by a 9-to-5 vote that the killings were indeed crimes of violence.  Their decision was necessary because Supreme Court precedent requires courts decide whether a charge used to convict someone requires in every instance that violence be involved.  The debate has tied courts in knots from coast to coast.


 


 

WJTN Headlines for Sat., Mar., 6, 2021

Cuomo Administration confirms reports of omitting full number of nursing home COVID deaths...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's health department confirmed reports that members of his COVID-19 task force altered a state Health Department report to omit the full number of nursing home patients killed by the coronavirus.  However... they insist the changes were made because of concerns about the data's accuracy.  The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported late Thursday that aides pushed state health officials to edit the July report so it counted only residents who died inside long-term care facilities, and not those who became ill there and later died at a hospital.  The newspapers cited documents and people with knowledge of the administration's internal discussions.


Two dozen new COVID cases reported Friday in Chautauqua County...
The COVID-19 infection rate in Chautauqua County has now fallen to 1.1-percent... with two-dozen new cases reported over the past day.  The county's Health Department reports the 24 new confirmed cases brings the total to 7,663 during the pandemic.  Ten of those were from the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  Officials say there were no deaths... and, 124 cases are active.  They add that 9 people are hospitalized.


Reed votes no on expanded voting rights legislation...
Chautauqua County's congressman says he voted against the House's "For the People Act of 2021..." which would expand voting rights in the United States.  Corning Republican Tom Reed spoke on the floor against the measure after majority Democrats blocked an amendment he co-sponsored that would require some kind of identification for the person voting.  Reed emphasized a variety of ID's could be used... but, adds there are many other aspects of life that a person has to show identification for, such as purchasing a six-pack of beer, to rent a hotel room... or food stamps.  Reed touted the amendment as a common sense measure that would ensure election integrity.  He adds that in a recent Gallup poll... 59-percent of Americans agreed there needs to be voter ID... and the fact the measure was not at least debated on the floor, was concerning.  The measure was approved in the House Wednesday, 220-to-210.  Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with regional media.


More than 1,200 residents weigh in so far on creating at Chautauqua Lake District...
Since the Chautauqua County Lake Protection and Rehabilitation Agency launched an online community survey last month to get input on a potential Chautauqua Lake District... more than 12-hundred residents and property owners have offered feedback.  With that... the deadline to fill out the survey has been extended until March 15th.  That from Agency Chairman Pierre Chagnon... who says the agency was appointed by county lawmakers in 2018 to explore forming a Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District.  Chagnon says the agency was tasked with evaluating lake protection and rehabilitation needs and making recommendations to the County Legislature regarding the creation and activities of a district in order to improve the health and use of the Lake.  So far... the agency has developed a preliminary outline of key components that would be included in a district plan.  The survey can be taken on-line at SurveyMonkey.com/r/CHQlakedistrict.  The survey is open until Mar. 15.
 

WJTN Headlines for Fri., Mar. 5, 2021

Newspapers investigation finds Cuomo Administration altered numbers of COVID outbreaks in Nursing Homes...
The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times report that the true number of people who had died in nursing homes in New York was altered by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's top aides in a state Health Department report in July.  The newspapers cited documents and anonymous sources in reporting that the aides pushed state health officials to alter the public report so that only residents who died inside long-term care facilities, and not those who became ill there and later died at a hospital, were counted.  The report was released as the Democratic governor's administration faced criticism over its March 25 directive that sent thousands of recovering coronavirus patients into nursing homes.


Borrello says vote slated for today on limiting Cuomo's emergency powers would actually allow them to be extended...
State lawmakers are expected to vote Friday on a bill that would repeal New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's emergency powers, but a local state legislator believes it could make the situation worse.  Under the bill... the legislature can repeal any executive order with more than a 50 percent vote.  However... State Senator George Borrello says it would actual extend the emergency powers indefinately.  Borrello says the governor could set that time, while currently, they would end on Apr. 30.  He says a vote is scheduled tomorrow, but he doesn't know if there will be enough support.  He says that's especially the case in the Assembly, where most of the Democratic dissent has been to extending the governor's emergency powers.  Republican state lawmakers held a news conference in Albany about the matter on Wednesday, calling the proposal a "bogus backroom deal."


One of Cuomo's accusers in sexual harassment investigation says she was spurred to come forward by other accusor's story...
One of the women who accused New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexually harassing her at the workplace says she was motivated to come forward after another woman contacted her to share similar allegations.  Lindsey Boylan tells Harper's Bazaar that another factor was that Cuomo had been named as a contender for attorney general of the United States.  Boylan first accused Cuomo of harassment on Twitter in December.  Two additional woman have made accusations since then.


Chautauqua County reports about two-dozen new COVID-19 cases Thursday, infection rate remains low...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 23 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus the past day... and, the local infection rate remains low.  County Executive P-J Wendel says that's "great news..." and, says it wasn't that long ago the county was in double figures.  Wendel credits local residents and businesses, and the fact the vaccine is getting out.  He says in January, the rate at one time was 13.2-percent... while it's now been 1.2 to 1.3-percent in recent days.  The county is now reporting 7,640 total cases... and, no new deaths.  That number remains 138.  Officials say most of the new cases... 14... were reported in the Jamestown 14701 zip code.  The add there are now 122 active cases... and, only 6 of those are hospitalized. 


Wendel, and ten other local leaders listed on Buffalo Business First's "Power 250" list...
Eleven local elected and community leaders from -- or tied to -- Chautauqua County have been included in the Buffalo Business First "Power 250" and elected officials list for 2021.  County Executive P-J Wendel says he and two other local Republican state lawmakers... Senator George Borrello and Assemblyman Andy Goodell... all made that top 30 list.  Wendel says the list also includes two people who have developed businesses here... including Buffalo-area Developer Peter Krog... and hotel developer David Hart of the Chautauqua Harborfront Hotel in Celoron.  He says Gebbie Foundation Executive Director Greg Edwards, and Chautauqua Institution President Michael Hill are also on the list, along with President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Reininga from Lakeshore Savings Bank.  Also on the Power 250 list are Denise Jones from The Resource Center... Plant Manager Anna Dibble from Jamestown Cummins Engine Plant... and, Lisa Haglund of Heritage Ministries.  Wendel made his comments for this coming weekend's "Community Spotlight" program to air on all six Media One Radio Group stations.


JCC Alumni Mystery to be a "mail-in" event this year...
The Jamestown Community College Alumni Association has replaced its annual in-person mystery with a 'mystery by mail.'  The Director of Alumni Relations, Heather Morris, says the package will arrive this week in the mailboxes of people who've previously attended the in-person mysteries.  Morris says everything including witness statements, and clues will be in that packet.  She says the mystery is suitable for all ages and, because activities have been curtailed in recent months, they wanted to make it more "family-friendly."  Morris adds they'd like participants to send in their solution... and a donation to the Alumni Association... by the end of the month.  If you don't get a mystery packet in the mail, but would like to play, phone the Alumni Office at JCC at 338-1056 or email alumni@mail.sunyjcc.edu. 

WJTN Headlines for Thurs., Mar. 4, 2021

Local drug agents seize significant amount of drugs and cash during a raid in Jamestown Wednesday morning...
A Jamestown man has been arrested following a drug raid on a home on the city's northside early Wednesday morning.  City police say they and members of the Jamestown Metro... and, the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Forces... executed a search warrant at 11 East 15th St. shortly after 6 a.m.  Inside... investigators found 27 year-old Thomas Levine... and, a woman.  They also found 11.6-grams of methamphetamine... 7.6-grams of psilocybin mushrooms, pills, drug packaging materials and some cash.  Police say they arrested Levine on an outstanding warrant from the Lakewood-Busti Police Department.  City police say the investigation is continuing... and, charges are expected in connection with the raid.


Apartment fire contained in Jamestown... no one is hurt...
An accidental fire in a house on Jamestown's eastside Tuesday afternoon has extensively damaged a small apartment.  City Fire Lieutenant Bruce Sheldon says crews were called to the scene at 221 East Eighth St. 12:13 p.m., and, found smoke coming from the rear apartment.  Sheldon says that was a small, efficiency in the back of the house, which had three apartments.  He says much of the fire was out when they arrived.  Sheldon says the tenant was not home at the time... and, an upstairs tenant, who smelled smoke, called in the alarm.  He says fire investigators found that combustables too close to a portable heater triggered the blaze.  Sheldon says crews were at the scene until about 1:30 p.m.  One off-duty firefighter was called in to assist.  Sheldon says no one in the apartment was hurt... and, there were no firefighter injuries.


Gerry man hurt in single-car crash in Kennedy...
A man from Gerry suffered only minor injuries in a one-car rollover crash on Route 394 in Kennedy early Wednesday morning.  Sheriff's Deputies say they were called to the scene in the town of Poland shortly after 4 a.m., and, say Kennedy rescue crews removed 21 year-old Dakota Peck from the vehicle.  He was then taken to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital for treatment.  Officers say the investigation of the accident is continuing... and, charges are pending.


Cuomo formally apologizes during first press conference since sexual harassment allegations lodged...
A somber New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is issuing his first, in person apology after recent sexual harassment allegations against him.  During yesterday's COVID-19 press update... his first since mid-February... he said he "learned an important lesson" about his own behavior around women, but he said he intended to remain in office.  Cuomo says "I know understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable..." adding it was "unintentional."  He says he feels "awful" and embarrased by it."  Cuomo addressed the matter at the end of his Wednesday press conference... and, says he'll "fully cooperate" with the state attorney general's investigation into sexual harassment allegations.  The Democratic governor, though, maintained he never touched anyone "inappropriately."  Cuomo has been accused of inappropriately touching and acting towards two former women staffers... and, another woman he met at a 2019 wedding.  Attorney General Letitia James is in the process of selecting an outside law firm to conduct an investigation into the allegations and produce a report that will be made publicly. 


Reed expects whoever is GOP candidate for governor in 2022, they'll still face Cuomo...
The governor is facing more calls to resign by some members of his own party as most leading Democrats say they want to wait and see what the A-G's investigation turns up.  However... local Congressman Tom Reed doesn't believe that Cuomo will resign.  Reed reiterated Wednesday that he's seriously investigating a run... and, he's fairly sure that Cuomo will be the Democratic candidate in 2022.  The Corning Republican says the only way that won't happen is if Cuomo is impeached because he remains a political "Goliath."  Reed says he welcomes fellow Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin to the "family" of GOP members who are considering a run in 2022.  However... Zeldin has at times been a polarizing figure in national politics.  Reed says one national political pundit -- NBC's Chuck Todd -- has said that Cuomo may fear facing Reed... and, his track record of bi-partisanship.


Cuomo announces loosening of more COVID-19 restrictions...
Governor Cuomo has announced that the state will loosen restrictions on gatherings at his first news conference since an investigation was announced into sexual harassment allegations against him by three women.  The Democratic governor said Wednesday that that limit for outdoor private gatherings will rise from 10 to 25 starting March 22.  The limit for indoor gatherings in public spaces will go from 50 to 100 and the limit for outdoor public events will go from 50 to 200 on the same date.  


Only 19 new COVID Cases reported in county Wednesday... 
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 19 new cases of the COVID-19 virus in Chautauqua County over the past day... but, no new deaths.  The Health Department reports that 6 of those were in the Jamestown 14701 zip code... and, brings the local total to 7,617.  Officials say there are now 116 active cases... and, seven of those are hospitalized.  A total of 7,363 cases have now recovered.


 

WJTN Headlines for Wed., Mar. 3, 2021

Calls for Cuomo to resign grow; vote to be held later this week on limiting executive powers...
Calls for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign are intensifying now that a third woman has accused him of offensive behavior.  In addition... late Tuesday... Democratic leaders in the state legislature confirmed that they are introducing a bill that will take away some of the governor's executive powers granted during the pandemic.  Local Assemblyman Andy Goodell says he is aware of the new bill... but, has not seen what's in it.  Minority Republicans had been calling for a vote since revelations that the Cuomo administration covered up the actual number of nursing home deaths during the pandemic.  Goodell says the GOP may have forced the Democrats hand by sticking amendments into dozens of Democratic bills.  With that, the Jamestown-area Republican says, the Democrats would have to vote on it.  Since the revelations that were made public by Queens Assemblyman Ronald Kim and others... several Democrats have begun calling for rescinding some of the governor's powers.  The third woman now accusing Cuomo of offensive behavior... Anna Ruch... told The New York Times Monday that Cuomo touched her back and face and asked if he could kiss her moments after they met at a wedding in 2019. 


Cuomo's response to alleged sexual harassment called "tone-deaf" by critics...
Governor Andrew Cuomo's response to accusations that he sexually harassed women on the job is being viewed as a tone-deaf "faux-pology" by critics and victim's advocates.  Cuomo said in a statement that he only meant to joke with staff to add 'levity' to their serious work.  However... at least two women have complained that they were uncomfortable with his alleged sexual advances and were forced to change jobs or leave state government.  Northwestern University law professor Deborah Tuerkheimer says Cuomo in his statement ignores the power imbalance at play.  Meanwhile, State Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou calls sexual harassment at the statehouse rampant.


New COVID-19 Cases fall to single-digits, one new death reported Tuesday...
The number of new COVID-19 cases in Chautauqua County has dropped to single-digits for the first time since early in the pandemic.  The county's Health Department is reporting 8 new confirmed cases the past day... bringing the total to 7,598.  However... officials say there was one new death, bringing that total to 138.  They add there are 116 active cases... and, just seven are hospitalized.  In addition... there have now been 7,344 recovered cases to date.


Chautauqua Works director offers advice if you receive notice of fraudulent unemployment claim...
There have been an increasing number of local residents who have learned that someone has fraudulently filed for unemployment benefits in their name.  It's an unsettling situation that has affected millions already... is is raising alarms at a time where President Joe Biden and Congress look to pour hundreds of billions of dollars into expanded benefits.  A government watchdog agency says that as of December, nearly two dozen states had not started using a key system to block fraud.  With that... the number of fraudulent claims has climbed.  If you find out someone has done that to you, Katie Geise, director of the Chautauqua Workforce Investment Board, says report it on the state Labor Department's website at labor.ny.gov. by filling out the on-line form at "Report UI  Fraud."  Geise says people are typically learning about the fraud when they learn their "unemployment claim" has been approved.  You may also find out through your employer.  In either case... she says you need to fill out the on-line form... and, submit it.  Geise adds that employers are also notified on that website... and, she says the fraud should be reported by both the employee and the employer.  She says if you wind up having someone fraudulently applying for unemployment insurance under your name... check your credit report and see if that's changed.  Geise adds that if you receive a debit card for such benefits... cut it up.


Gowanda man arrested for DWAI Drugs, had 17 previous license suspensions...
A Cattaraugus County man whose license has been suspended 17 times has been arrested again for driving while under the influence of drugs in the town of Hanover.  Sheriff's officers say they found 26 year-old Daryll Bernard of Gowanda was driving on Hanover Road with two flat tires... just after Midnight Monday.  Deputies say Bernard was found to be driving while impaired by drugs and he was taken into custody.  Officers also found that his driving privileges had been suspended 17 times in New York State.  While in custody... Bernard allegedly damaged a Sheriff's Patrol in car camera system, continuously spit in the vehicle... and at deputies... and, he's also accused of throwing an object that struck an officer.  Bernard was issued appearance tickets for second-degree harassment, driving while ability impaired by drugs, third-degree criminal tampering... and other charges.  He's to appear in Hanover Town Court at a later date.


Southern Tier Brewing taking over (716) Food and Sport in Buffalo HarborCenter...
Southern Tier Brewing Company is expanding it's larger market presence to Buffalo as the local company will be converting the (716) Food and Sport into it's newest taproom.  Pegula Sports and Entertainment announced Tuesday afternoon that Southern Tier will be locating in the LECOM HarborCenter.  Pegula Sports & Entertainment President and Chief Executive Officer Kim Pegula says the town of Busti brewery will convert (716) Food and Sport into a showcase of their full line of craft beers, ciders, seltzers and spirits.  She says Southern Tier’s presence will enhance the revitalization of downtown Buffalo.  


Gas prices in Jamestown-area up four more cents a gallon this week...
Gasoline prices in the Jamestown-area have jumped about 4-cents a gallon this week to just under $2.80 for regular, unleaded fuel.  The AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report this week says the price is up to $2.79.2 a gallon... after being just over $2.75 last week.  AAA says the latest price jumps are a direct result of February’s winter storm that took 26 U-S refineries offline... and, pushed refinery utilization from about 83-percent... down to an atypical low of 68-percent.  The national average is now up 9-cents this week to $2.72.


 

News Headlines for Tues., Mar. 2, 2021

Pair of city men arrested following alleged incident with hand-gun...
Two Jamestown men have been arrested for allegedly brandishing a gun during an argument about some stolen property early last weekend on the city's eastside.  City police were called to 20 Willis St. about 12:30 a.m. last Saturday after the victim was able to get away, and call officers.  Police say... at one point during the argument... 52 year-old Roberto Morales-Sanchez... pulled a gun and started threatening the victim.  He was helped by 23 year-old Taylor Austin in stealing the victim's phone.  Morales-Sanchez then allegedly forced everyone inside the home to get into a room and be quiet so police wouldn't hear them.  Once the victim called 911, Morales-Sanchez and Austin fled in a car to find the victim, who -- at that point -- was with police.  Officers than got the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force to obtain a search warrant for the house... and, later found nearly $25,000 cash, a .357-magnum revolver, and some drug packaging.  Both Morales-Sanchez and Austin face first-degree robbery, and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon charges.  Morales-Sanchez is also charged with menacing and unlawful imprisonment.


Calls for Cuomo to resign step up as third sexual harassment claims becomes public...
Calls for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign are intensifying now that a third woman has accused him of offensive behavior.  Anna Ruch told The New York Times on Monday that Cuomo touched her back and face and asked if he could kiss her moments after they met at a wedding in 2019.  Her account prompted tweets of support from two former Cuomo aides who say he sexually harassed them.  The governor has denied wrongdoing and said his actions were misinterpreted.  The state's attorney general is hiring a law firm to investigate his conduct. 


Bennett rejects Cuomo's apology...
One of the women who said she was sexually harassed by Governor Cuomo is rejecting his attempt to apologize for his behavior and excuse it as an attempt to be "playful."  Charlotte Bennett said in a statement released Monday that the Democrat had "refused to acknowledge or take responsibility for his predatory behavior."  New York's attorney general said she's moving forward with an investigation into the harassment allegations after receiving a letter from his office Monday authorizing her to take charge of the probe.  Cuomo has said he will cooperate with the investigation.


Borrello says concerns growing on both sides of political aisle about Cuomo's ability to govern in the wake of investigations...
There's growing concern among New York state lawmakers about whether Gov. Cuomo can continue to lead the state with investigations into sexual harassment claims, and the state's handling of nursing homes during the pandemic.  Local State Senator George Borrello says he is glad the Attorney General will conduct an independent investigation into the sexual harassment allegations.  However... Borrello is critical over how Democratic legislators have handled the matters... adding they have taken no action regarding his emergency executive powers he was given during the pandemic.  Borrello... a Republican from Sunset Bay... was also critical of Cuomo's apology.  He says it was only an apology "if people misinterpreted what I was saying or doing."  Many Democratic lawmakers have supported the call for an investigation into the sexual harassment allegations... but nothing has been introduced to remove the Governor's COVID-19 powers. 


County reports 65 new COVID Cases from past weekend...
The Chautauqua County Health Department is reporting 65 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus over the past weekend.  However... there was a notable drop in the number of hospitalizations.  The Health Department reports there were 32 cases reported in Jamestown 14701 zip code... making the total now 7,590 during the pandemic.  They say 7,324 cases have now recovered... while 129 are currently active.  Six of those are hospitalized, and there were no new deaths. 


St. Bonaventure, and western New York communities mourning passing of University president... 
The president of St. Bonaventure University in Olean has died from complications from COVID-19.  In a printed statement... the university announced that 62 year-old Dennis DePerro died early Monday morning in a Syracuse Hospital.  DePerro had been admitted back on December 29th after testing positive for the coronavirus on Christmas Eve.  Robert H. Jackson Center President Kristan McMahon is also a member of the St. Bonaventure Board of Trustees, and says it's a "very sad day" for the Bonaventure community and says he made "a number" of changes in curriculum... and, boosted enrollments three years in a row.  McMahon says he "loved St. Bonaventure," and was active in both the college, and Olean communities.  The university says DePerro was put on a ventilator in mid-January.  The university flag will fly at half-staff in his honor through the end of the month.  In addition to being a board member... McMahon was part of the search committee that recommended DePerro be hired... and, says he certainly stood out -- especially as a visionary.  Joseph Zimmer, the provost and vice-president of Academic Affairs, was named acting President last month.


HUD announces CDBG and HOME funding for Jamestown...
The city of Jamestown is receiving just over $1.5-million in federal funding to help with housing, community and economic development issues.  The U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development late Monday announced the city will be receiving it's projected allocation of $1.17-million in Community Development Block Grant funding... and, nearly another $339,000 in HOME Program funding.  For the past 30 years, or so, Jamestown has been an "entitlement community" for CDBG and HOME funding. 


 

WJTN Headlines for Mon., Mar. 1, 2021

Gerry man arrested for alleged harassment, child endangerment...
A man from Gerry faces harassment and child endangerment charges following a weekend altercation at a home on Route 60 in the town of Gerry.  Sheriff's deputies say they were called to the scene on a report of a disorderly person just before Midnight Saturday.  Officers say they found that 19 year-old Drake Ottaway had struck a juvenile subject during the altercation.  Ottaway was arrested and charged with second-degree harassment, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.  He was sent to the County Jail for Centralized Arraignment.


Cuomo apologizes for any misunderstanding that may have been construed as harassment...
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has acknowledged for the first time that some of his behavior with women "may have been insensitive or too personal."  He said Sunday he would cooperate with a sexual harassment investigation led by the state's attorney general.  In a statement released amid mounting criticism from within his own party... the Democrat maintained that he had never inappropriately touched or propositioned anyone.  But he said he had teased people and made jokes about their personal lives in an attempt to be "playful."  He said he now understands that some of his interactions had been "insensitive or too personal."
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The acknowledgement comes after a second former aide has come forward with sexual harassment allegations against the governor.  Cuomo responded Saturday with a statement saying he never made advances toward her and never intended to be inappropriate.  Charlotte Bennett was a health policy adviser in the Democratic governor's administration until November.  She told The New York Times that Cuomo asked her inappropriate questions about her sex life, including whether she had ever had sex with older men. 


Gillibrand says allegations against Cuomo need to be investigated...
New York's junior U-S Senator reacted to the sexual harassment allegations a former aide of Andrew Cuomo has leveled against the Democratic governor.  Lindsey Boylan spelled out her accusations in an article on the website Medium.  Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, who played a role in setting a zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct in the Senate, says the accusations -- including the newest ones -- are serious and deeply concerning.  Gillbrand says the women in this matter need to be heard, and adds the governor should be, as well.  Gillibrand yesterday announced that she would support an investigation by state Attorney General Letitia James.  James later Sunday rejected a plan announced by an aide to Governor Cuomo to team up with the state's chief judge in choosing an independent lawyer to investigate claims of sexual harassment.  Cuomo's special counsel said his administration asked James and Janet DiFiore, chief judge of the Court of Appeals, to jointly select an independent lawyer to review the claims of sexual harassment.  But... James rejected the proposal and said the job should be hers alone.


Goodell says Republican state lawmakers will continue pushing for taking away some of Cuomo's executive powers in connection with nursing home scanda...
Efforts to take away at least some of Governor Andrew Cuomo's executive powers during the pandemic are continuing in Albany.  This past week... those efforts -- mainly by minority Republicans -- were blocked by majority Democrats in the state legislature.  That from local State Assemblyman Andy Goodell... who says bills that would have striped those powers were either not called up, or were "laid aside" on the floor.  However... Goodell says Democrats know that the only way such a measure can be passed is if at least a third of the Democrats side with the GOP.  He says that is a small number of Democrats at this point.  That means that, unless a majority in the Senate and Assembly Democratic Caucuses want a bill brought up... it won't be -- at least not yet.  Goodell says there are still a couple of possible ways to act on such a measure, and that's during the budget process.  However... he says that may trigger a budget battle.  Goodell says they may be concerned because a late budget suspends their pay. 


Reed proposes "Crush the Virus" proposal...
Local Congressman Tom Reed was in minority that voted against the $1.9-trillion, COVID-19 Rescue package approved by House Democrats.  In addition... the Corning Republican introduced his own $163-billion, "targeted" relief package he calls the "Crush the Virus" relief act.  Reed says the stand-alone bill would specifically prioritize the health and safety of the American people by providing direct funds to boost the number of vaccines produced, and distribution of them... as well as boost access to COVID-19 testing nationwide... and, support additional medical research into new emerging variants, among other public health initiatives.  


Four-H Drive-Thru Dinner held Friday is a big success...
Chautauqua County Four-H had a major fundraising event at Harley Davidson of Jamestown on Friday night... and, Four-H Educator Kate Ewer says it went well.  Ewer says they sold nearly 900 chicken and biscuit dinner that was hosted by Three C's Catering.  She told our Dennis Webster at the conclusion of the three-hour dinner that it raised between $4,500 and $5,000 for the local program.  Four-H is trying to stay solvent... despite the COVID related cancellation of this year’s ‘Green Tie Affair…' a highly successful sit-down dinner.  With the money raised Friday... and the proceeds from a Holiday letter campaign, Ewer thinks they’re going to make it in 2021.  Ewer said she is overwhelmed by the support that members, volunteers and the community give to Four-H, a program that benefits several hundred young people throughout the county.

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