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Local News Headlines Archives for 2022-03

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Mar. 30, 2022

Two city residents arrested in drug raid in Jamestown...
Two Jamestown residents have been arrested for alleged drug possession and trafficking following a raid on their northside home early Tuesday morning.  City police say members of the Jamestown Metro, and Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Forces executed a search warrant about 6:15 a.m. at 810 Washington St.  Drug agents were assisted by the Jamestown Police SWAT Team.  Inside... police found four adults, and, they found a quantity of crack-cocaine, methamphetamine, psilocybin mushrooms, scales, packaging materials... and, $2,641 in cash.  Police say 37 year-old Bart Bartlett and 30 year-old Brittany Whitehill were intially charged with three counts each of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia.  However... while in the city jail... Bartlett tried to conceal and dispose of 3.4-grams of crack cocaine he had secreted before entering the jail.  He was further charged with third and fourth-degree criminal possesion of a controlled substance... and, tampering with evidence.  He was jailed pending arraignment, while Whitehill was given appearance tickets for city court.


Sheriff's Office identifies man killed in fatal fire in Gerry...
The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office is confirming that a Sinclairville man is the person who died in last week's trailer home fire in the town of Gerry.  Undersheriff Rich Telford confirms that 51 year-old Wayne Wright, Junior has been spending the night with the two residents who lived in the home at 4200 Rt. 380.  The blaze was called in shortly before 3 a.m. on Thursday, March 24... and, several fire departments were called to the scene.  The investigation is continuing into the blaze... but, it's not suspicious at this time.  Autospy results on Wright, who was pronounced dead at the scene, are pending.  The trailer home was destroyed.


Sundquist says first meeting will be scheduled soon for ad hoc city reapportionment commission...
A nine-member Reapportionment Commission has been confirmed by the Jamestown City Council to begin redrawing ward boundary lines in the city.  Those members include City Council President Tony Dolce, and First-Ward Councilman Brent Sheldon, who are both Republicans.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist appointed three Democratic members... Ellen DiTonto, Alyssa Porter and Billy Torres.  Sundquist says city leaders are assembling information for the group's first meeting... with the help of the Chautauqua County Board of Elections.  He says the new maps would take effect for the general election in 2023.  The ad hoc commission will have until the end of the year to get it's work done... and will have to work with a smaller number of residents than the last commission 10 years ago.  At that time... the city had a population of about 31,000 people.  After the 2020 Census... it's believed that number will wind up being about 27,000 to 28,000.  Sundquist says he's spoken with some of the now-confirmed members... who are looking at a variety of ways to deal with those numbers... including keeping six, larger wards.  In addition to the five people named... the commission will also include Democratic Party representative Jim Walton... Republican Peter Johnson... and, Conservative Party representative Steven Muscarella.  The ninth member will be a representative from the Jamestown Bar Association.  


D.A. Schmidt announces Grand Jury Indictments...
Three people -- two from Jamestown -- have been arraigned on a number of Felony charges in Chautauqua County Court.  District Attorney Jason Schmidt says 45 year-old Danielle Howie of Jamestown was arraigned on a Grand Jury indictment for second-degree burglary.  Schmidt says the Class C felony stems from from an incident that occurred in October of 2021.  He says 46 year-old Hashaun Leeper has been arraigned on a Grand Jury indictment for three counts of first-degree criminal contempt.  Finally... 34 year-old Nickolas Szopinski of Dunkirk was arraigned on 15 counts of possessing a sexual performance by a child after being indicted by the county Grand Jury.


Borrello and fellow lawmaker pushing legislation to strengthen NYS Mental Health laws...
A local state lawmaker is working with a Long Island legislator to advance legislation to strengthen New York's care of the seriously mentally ill.  State Senator George Borrello is joining with Senator Diane Savino in sponsoring the measure that would expand the scope of "Kendra's Law."  Borrello says it would expand the amount of time that a health professional could "hold" someone for further evalution and treatment for their condition.  It would also better ensure that people are following their outpatient treatment, including taking their medications.  Kendra’s Law is named in honor of Kendra Webdale of Fredonia, who was tragically killed by a man with a long history of schizophrenia, when he shoved her in front of a subway train in New York City in 1999.  She was a friend and schoolmate of Senator Borrello’s during their years at Fredonia High School. 


Two arrested after three Buffalo police officers shot during chase...
Three Buffalo police officers were hit by gunfire after a motorist fled a traffic stop last night and led them on a chase through the city's streets, firing at officers from the vehicle.  Authorities say officers shot and wounded the driver Tuesday at an intersection in front of a police station.  None of the officers' injuries were life-threatening and no civilians on the street were hit by the flying bullets.  One officer was saved from serious injury by a bulletproof vest.  Two people were arrested.  Police said the suspect who was shot was undergoing surgery.

 


 

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Mar. 29, 2022

Mayville firefighters make quick work of Monday night house fire...
No one was hurt in a house fire this morning in the village of Mayville that damaged a wall.  Sheriff's Department investigators say Mayville firefighters were called to the scene at 5433 Meadow Lane shortly after 7 a.m., and, found the fire had erupted inside the wall.  However... crews had it snuffed out quickly.  The Fire Investigation Team found the home had an electrical issue inside the wall... and, that caused the fire.


City Council approves $500,000 redesign project on West Third Street...
City lawmakers in Jamestown have approved the approximately $500,000 redesign project for West Third Street between Hall Avenue and Hallock Street.  The project... which involves planting new trees, putting in new sidewalks, and burying electric lines... was approved at last night's council meeting, 7-to-2.  Public Works Director Jeff Lehman was pleased with the outcome... and, says the project will be done in phases.  Lehman says that will allow property owners in the area to only lose use of their driveways for a short time.  He adds the city will open bids for the concrete work later this week... and, the project still needs to be approved by the city's Planning Commission.  He anticipates a May starting time.  There was some brief discussion prior to last night's vote... as Third-Ward Councilwoman Regina Brackman said she was voting against the project... but, did not give a reason.  Sixth-Ward representative Andrew Faulkner didn't feel it was fair to other parts of the city where there's also a lot of need.  The city plans to put in at least two varieties of new trees to replace the Oaks... which were taken down over the past few years, or fell because of old age, or disease.  Lehman says the trees will be put in next Fall.  New lighting is also part of the project.


Jamestown lawmakers approve using $750,000 in ARPA funding to help others get basic repairs done through-out the city...
The City Council last night also approved a resolution that came out of last week's retreat meeting on additional uses for American Rescue Plan Act funding.  Lawmakers unanimously okayed an intitial, $750,000 allocation for a Healthy Communities and Neighborhoods program to deal with a number of needs in city neighborhoods.  A member of the public highlighted that need early in the meeting.  Council President Tony Dolce echoed those thoughts, and says there's "more to come."  He says they're trying to strike a balance for projects in the downtown, and the neighborhoods.  The resident, Ronda Swanson was concerned that, while West Third Street was getting all the attention... there are other areas of need.  At-Large Councilman Jeff Russell says the idea is mainly to help lower-income, single-parent families.  Fourth-Ward Councilwoman Marie Carrubba says senior retirees and veterans are among the others who also have limited funds to do projects around the city.  The program will be administered by the Jamestown Local Development Corporation and the city's Urban Renewal Agency.


Search underway in north county area for West Virginia woman who allegedly took infant during child custody battle...
A West Virginia woman and her infant daughter are missing... and, believed to be in the Dunkirk-Fredonia area... after they went missing in a child custody case.  The U.S. Marshalls' office reports they are searching in the region for the woman... identified by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Western New York... as 35 year-old Adrienne Marean.  They say Marean was arrested on March 7th by Bridgeport, West Virginia Police for allegedly violating a Harrison County Family Court Order.  Marean had been ordered to transfer custody of Iris Chidester last month... and, was believed to have fled Harrison County with the child.  Marean is believed to be driving a gray Toyota Prius with New York license plate, JJR1907.  She is described as a white female, approximately 5' 7" tall and weighs about 165 pounds.  She has brown hair and brown eyes.  Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Marean or the missing child should call the U-S Marshals Service at 304-623-0486 or call 911.


Della Pia officially announces run for Congress...
A man from the eastern end of the 23rd Congressional district is making it official:  He's running for the Democratic nomination to run for the newly expanded district.  Max Della Pia has been a community leader in the Owego, New York area... who sought the nomination a few years ago... but, was beat out by Tracy Mitrano.  In a press release... Della Pia says he's the "only candidate in the race who actually lives in the district."  The retired Air Force Colonel says he and his wife "moved ten times over the course of my military career but chose this community as our home."  Della Pia says he views running for office as "a continuation of my service and that oath.  Right now, our democracy is at risk from extreme factions who continue to propagate the 'Big Lie' without evidence."  Della Pia says he supports bringing high-paying jobs to the region... and, investing in broadband because "our children should not have to go to a Walmart parking lot for WiFi to do their homework."  If he secures the nomination... he would likely run against Republican Claudia Tenney.

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Mar. 28, 2022

City man jailed after traffic stop and raid uncovers his alleged drug trafficking...
A Jamestown man has been arrested on numerous charges... including Felony drug possession... following a traffic stop and raid on the man's residence.  City police say members of the Jamestown Metro... and, Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Forces were in the area of 212 Price St. shortly before Noon last Friday, when they spotted Nicholas Gaskin leaving his apartment.  Officers say they knew Gaskin was wanted on felony warrants for aggravated family offense, first-degree criminal contempt, and menacing.  The JPD K-9 unit conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle that Gaskin was riding in and took him into custody.  They also found 15.5-grams of crack-cocaine in his possession when he was searched.  Later that day... drug agents executed a search warrant at Gaskin's apartment... and, found a loaded 9-millimeter pistol, fentanyl, suboxone strips, suboxone pills, ammunition, scales, packaging materials, and money.  Gaskin was further charged with second-degree criminal possession of a Weapon... two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia.  He was taken to the city jail pending arraignment.


Reed applauds Cummins' Engine decision to suspend operatons in Russia...
The decision by Cummins Engine Company to suspend all business with Russia for it's invasion of Ukraine is winning praise from local Congressman Tom Reed.  Reed was recently asked about the decision by the Columbus, Indiana-based company... which has a major heavy-duty vehicle engine plant near Ashville.  The Corning Republican says he and other lawmakers recently met with McDonald's Chief Executive Officer about them doing the same thing... and, they decided to suspend their Russian operations as well.  The Cummins' board of directors made the decision earlier this month to move expeditiously to suspend all commercial operations in Russia indefinately.  Reed says he's hopeful that other businesses with ties or operations in Russia, will do like-wise.  However... he says they should not be forced to do so.  Reed says that he hopes these moves will send a clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that "this has to end."  He made his comments during his recent conference call with Southern Tier Media.


State Pension fund divested of Russian investments...
New York state's public pension fund will be getting rid of any Russian investments.  State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli had announced a freeze on any new investments and a review of current ones in the days soon after Russia started its invasion of Ukraine.  That led to the decision announced Friday to divest.  DiNapoli says Russia's "violent and unpredictable foreign policy" made the country "an unacceptable investment risk."  The state's Common Retirement Fund has a value of almost $280-billion... with about $110-million invested in Russian companies.


Reed blames Democratic policies for population losses in Chautauqua County, and most of upstate NY...
Policies coming out of Albany are the main culprit driving business... and, people... out of New York state to other states.  Those are the feelings of local Congressman Tom Reed... who commented on Chautauqua County's 2020 Census numbers from the federal government.  The final numbers for the county were 127,657 people... a loss of 7,248 from 2010.  During a stop in Chautauqua County last week... Reed said Upstate New York, in general, has been losing population... and, the one's still here are looking to leave because of the "one-party" policies of Democrats in Albany.  He says they're going "elsewhere..." namely to Sunbelt region states... including Texas and Florida... where the largest growth has been seen over the past decade.  He says New York should learn the lessons from them about how to attract more people here.  In addition to losing just over 7,200 people between 2010 and 2020... Chautauqua County has also reportedly lost another 2,000 people between 2020 and 2021.  New York state was the biggest loser of population for the decade with a reduction of 328,000, while California was second with a loss of nearly 262,000 people.


JCC offering local students EARN Grants...
Jamestown Community College is offering high school juniors and seniors a special opportunity this summer through the EARN program.  The Interim Director of High School Partnerships at JCC, Jade Barber, says EARN stands for ‘Educational Advancement for Regional Neighbors.’  She says it covers the cost of one Summer course that a student would like to take.  Any course in either summer session one or two is open to EARN, but Jade Barber says interested students need to act soon.  Barber says there are only 150 spots available... but, there are still applications available.  The EARN program is open to juniors and seniors attending a high school….. or being home schooled….. in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus or Allegany Counties.  Students will be responsible for any course fees.  Full information is available at SUNYJCC.edu or by calling 716-338-1160.


New 30-year lease agreement announced for new Buffalo Bills stadium...
State and county taxpayers will be asked to commit $850-million in public funds toward construction of the Buffalo Bills' new stadium as part of a 30-year lease agreement.  The project has a total estimated price tag of $1.4 billion.  Governor Kathy Hochul announced in a press release that the state will commit $600 million in funds which will be in included in the budget due Friday.  Erie County will commit $250 million, with the NFL and the Buffalo Bills committing $550 million.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Mar. 24, 2022

Man found dead inside mobile home in Gerry destroyed by fire...
An overnight fire in a trailer home in the town of Gerry has left one person dead... and, the mobile home destroyed.  Chautauqua County fire investigators say Gerry firefighters were called to the scene at 4200 Rt. 380 shortly before 3 a.m., and, found heavy fire when they arrived.  Mutual aid was called in from Fluvanna, Falconer, Maple Springs, Ellery Center and Sinclairville.  Officials say a portion of Rt. 380 was closed due to the blaze.  County fire investigators were called in... and, during that time... found the body of a deceased man who lived there.  The man was pronounced dead at the scene.  The investigation into the fire is continuing.


National Grid reports 12,000 outages in Chautauqua County after power is cut during high winds...
An outage believed to be caused by gusty winds early last evening cut power to some 12,000 National Grid customers in Chautauqua County... with most of those in the Dunkirk-Fredonia area.  National Grid's outage map showed the outages... which also impacted parts of the Jamestown area.  There was an outage in the Lakewood-Busti area... that affected us here at the Media One Group studios in West Ellicott.  The outage affected our phones, internet, and other internal systems.


Five people arrested in Jamestown during Tuesday afternoon drug bust...
Five Jamestown residents have been arrested... and the home they were living in condemned... following a drug raid on the city's westside Tuesday afternoon.  City police say members of the Jamestown Metro, and Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Forces executed a search warrant at 307 Monroe St. shortly before 1:30 p.m., and, located the five people inside.  They also found quantities of methamphetamine, scales, and packaging materials.  Police says they arrested 33 year-old Kimberly Phanco... 34 year-old Shawn Sobczak... Joseph Angelo and Christina Heiler -- both 49... and, 51 year-old Brian Heller.  All five are charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.... and, second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia.  They were all jailed pending arraignment in city court.  If you have any information on illegal drug activity... call the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force's tipline at 483-TIPS... or 8477... or the Southern Tier Task Force at 1-800-344-8702.  


Postal worker from Dunkirk arrested for trying to produce child pornography...
A Dunkirk man is accused of trying to produce child pornography with the daughters of a former female acquaintance in the Buffalo-area.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross says 36 year-old Michael Fratini was arrested Wednesday on one count of conspiracy to produce child pornography.  Prosecutors say that last Feb. 14... the FBI received a criminal complaint from the Erie County Sheriff's Office saying Fratini had used his cell phone to solicit nude pictures and videos of the women's young daughters.  He reportedly met the woman in October of 2021 through a dating application.  After meeting in person... the unidentified woman didn't hear from Fratini again until recently when they spoke on the phone.  At that time... he told the woman that he had a mother -- daughter fantasy... and, he then sent a follow-up text message asking for videos and/or pictures of her daughters to fulfill his fantasies.  After receiving the text message... the woman filed a complaint with the Sheriff’s Office.  They told her to continue the text messaging... and, she and Fratini set up a meeting at an Amherst hotel.  When he arrived... agents arrested him.  Fratini faces a manditory minimum of 15 years in federal prison if convicted.


County lawmakers approve receipt of wastewater monitoring grant...
After much discussion and an amendment... the Chautauqua County Legislature approved a resolution to create a fund to pay for a wastewater sureillance mentorship pilot program.  The final measure was adopted at last night's meeting by a 16-2 vote.  The measure establishes an account to accept an $11,000 grant for the program.  Two Dunkirk area legislators supported the final plan.  Republican lawmaker Kevin Muldowney earlier said lawmakers have received some comments against the program... which he believes was caused in part because the word "surveillance" is in it.  Democratic Legislator Bob Bankoski says the monitoring involves the wastewater treatment plants in the north and south county cities... but, there will be no way to know where it came from.


Borrello says Democrats disagreeing on the size and scope of a new, state budget...
State lawmakers in Albany continue to negotiate a new, 2022-23 budget...  but, one of Chautauqua County's elected officials says there are significant differences among Democrats when it comes to spending issues and policy items... like bail reform.  State Senator George Borrello says Governor Kathy Hochul is questioning the numbers outlined in the "one-house" bill crafted by the Senate's Democratic majority... as well as policy items -- such as bail reform."  Meanwhile, Borrello believes Hochul's proposed bail reform changes won't be enough for Senate or Assembly approval.  The changes, which are part of a 10-point public safety plan that was leaked on Monday, includes making more crimes eligible for cash bail... and, allowing judges to use their discretion and consider public safety in sentencing.  The Sunset Bay Republican says Senate Republicans want a full repeal... but, adds legislature Democrats don't even want what Hochul is calling for. 


 

WJTN News Headlines

Three Buffalo men arrested following shots-fired incident in Jamestown...
Three men from Buffalo have been arrested for allegedly being involved in a shots-fired incident in the area of West Sixth and Jefferson Street in Jamestown about mid-afternoon Tuesday.  City Police were called to the scene just after 2 p.m., and, were told that suspects in two cars exchanged gunfire before driving off in separate directions.  One vehicle was later found on Summit Avenue with a bullet hole in it's hood.  JPD Captain Bob Samuelson says further investigation led to a vehicle stop on Pershing Avenue at Baker Street where a passenger in the vehicle fled on foot.  Samuelson says 21 year-old Joel Coleman was found inside a garage on Summit Avenue early last evening.  He says three other suspects remained in the vehicle... where two loaded pistols were found... and, police arrested 23 year-old Allen Jackson, and 24 year-old Arkeil Gaskin for second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  Officers later found a third handgun where Coleman has been seen running.  Coleman also faces a second-degree weapons charge... and, a drug possession count.


City residents arrested on drug charges following traffic stop...
Two Jamestown residents faces multiple drug related charges following a traffic stop last week on the city's eastside.  State Police in Jamestown say they stopped a car for a traffic violation on McDaniel Ave., and, arrested 40 year-old Justin Meacham after he failed several field sobriety tests.  Troopers say they found Meacham in possession of a smoking pipe, digital scale which both had methamphetamine residue.  A drug recognition expert later confirmed he was under the influence of a narcotic, a stimulant, and a depressant.  Police add the passenger, 37 year-old Rachel Courtier, was also arrested for seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Troopers say Meacham was arrested for Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs... first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation... and, second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia.  Meacham and Courtier were both issued appearance tickets for Jamestown City Court at a later date.


City Council to hold Special Meeting tonight on ARPA funding at RHJ Center...
Jamestown city lawmakers will hold a special meeting tonight... away from City Hall... to discuss how to use the city's remaining American Rescue Plan Act funding.  That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist during his report at Monday night's council work session... who says the program will be held at the Robert H. Jackson Center at 6 p.m.  At last word... the city had allocated nearly $4-million of it's ARPA funding. 


Sundquist says there is "good news" for Jamestown in state budget proposals...
There is good news in each of the "one-house" budget bills for New York state for local governments in the form of additional aid.  That from Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist... who was on a recent conference call with members of Governor Kathy Hochul's staff.  Sundquist says the biggest news is that all three budget proposals include more in Aid and Incentives to Municipalities -- or AIM Funding.  Sundquist adds there is also additional funding for the Consolidated Highway Improvement Program... or CHIPS funding... as well as Arterial Maintenance funding.  That's the funding to maintain state arterial highways in local communities.  Governor Kathy Hochul proposed a $216-billion budget back in mid-January.  The state budget is due on Apr. 1.


With changes in energy law, BPU eliminates Energy Efficiency Coordinator's position...
The Jamestown Board of Public Utilities has approved a measure eliminating the 13 year-old Civil Service position of Energy Efficiency Coordinator.  BPU General manager Dave Leathers says the BPU approved the move during Monday afternoon's meeting... noting that when the position was created... the new energy efficiency programs were mainly focused on customer incentives and rebates.  Over the past several years... Leathers says work under that title and program have changed significantly and in recent years the workload has declined, and the spending has been primarily targeted at system-level projects and enhancements instead of customer rebate offerings.  He says they expect this to continue in the coming years as the utility implements projects that align with the requirements of the state's Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act.


Petitions now available for interested candidates for Jamestown School Board...
Petitions for people interested in running for the Jamestown School Board in the May 17 election are now available at the district offices at Jefferson Middle School.  District Clerk Jaunita Walter says two seats are up for vote this year.  Those seats are currently held by Joseph Pawelski, and Patrick Slagle... and, each is for three year terms.  Walter says candidates must submit a completed petition containing the names of 100, or more qualified voters within the school district to be eligible for the May ballot.  She says petitions are due back to the Superintendent’s Office on Martin Road by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Apr. 27.  For more information... go to the district's website at jpsny.org.


Fredonia mayor proposes $11.5-million budget for 22-23...
Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek is proposing a 2022-23 village budget that totals just over $11.5-million, and, includes a tax rate increase.  Essek delivered his budget message during Monday evening's Board of Trustees workshop session and announced that the proposed spending plan has just over 3.4% increase in the village tax rate.  The increase would generate $101-thousand dollars in additional tax revenues.  Essek added that the increase is under the state's tax cap.  Essek indicated that the proposed spending plan included the use of $518,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding.  Trustees have scheduled a budget hearing for Apr. 4 and will hold their first budget review session next Monday, Mar. 28.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Mar. 21, 2022

Buffalo-area man arrested following DWI accident at Love's Rest Stop in Ripley...
An accident in the parking lot of the new Love's Rest Stop off Shortman Road in the town of Ripley has led to drunk driving charges against a Buffalo-area man.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene just before 3 a.m. last Saturday... and, found the driver of the vehicle "at fault" was 38 year-old Ruben Bocanegra of Orchard Par;k.  He was arrested for Aggravated driving while intoxicated for having a blood alcohol content of .18 percent or higher... DWI... and, consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle.  Bocanegra was released with tickets for Ripley Town Court for a later date.


City man arrested for drug possession after allegedly shoplifting incident at Lakewood Wal-Mart...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly driving without a license... and, being in possession of methamphetamine following an incident at the Lakewoood Wal-Mart SuperCenter.  Lakewood-Busti Police say they were called to the Fairmount Ave. location for an alleged shoplifting incident.  However... the suspects allegedly drove off in a pick-up truck.  They were stopped a short distance away... and, the driver identified himself as 53-year-old Brian Lewis.  But, he only had a New York State Non-Driver ID... and, was found to have had his license revoked twice since 2017.  A search of Lewis... led to discovery of the drugs in a small, screw-top container.  He was arrested for seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation.


Maple Weekends get underway with "excellent" quality of sap reported...
The first of two 'Maple Weekends' wrapped up Sunday.  At Big Tree Maple in Lakewood... Lloyd Munsee was pleased with a steady flow of people, including a Cub Scout troop that came to see their operation.  Producers across the region are delighted to welcome Maple Weekend visitors back this year.  The formal events were curtailed the last couple of years because of the pandemic.  As for the season itself, Munsee says they are running on a 'traditional' timetable... with the first syrup made around President's Day, and he says they're "still going at it" right now.  At their sugar house, Lloyd Munsee says the quantity so far has been average... the quality excellent.  If you missed the first Maple Weekend, there's a second... next Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Big Tree Maple is one of six participants in Chautauqua County.  The full list can be found at nysmaple.com.


Jamestown hosts annual "Turn the River Green" event Saturday...
There was a good turn-out of people for the annual "Turn the River Green" St. Patrick's Day weekend celebration in downtown Jamestown.  Jamestown's Lucky Leprechaun again teamed up with the Board of Public Utilities to perform the magic to the delight of both children and adults attending the event along the Chadakoin River last Saturday.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist welcomed people... and, says Jamestown is one of the few cities left in the U.S. that still does this.  Sundquist says the city began work on the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk a couple of decades ago, and it's allowed people to enjoy it's natural beauty -- and reconnect with it, again.  In addition to the gold coins being put in places along the riverwalk for children to find... Vicky McGraw from Elegant Edibles was also on hand selling tasty sweets to those who attended.  Bill Stevenson was again Honorary Chairman of the event... which he started many years ago with former BPU Assistant Manager Randy Peterson.  


Stockton man arrested for harassment, and choking victim...
A Stockton man has been arrested for allegedly choking another person during an altercation last week in the town of Stockton.  Sheriff's officers were called to the undisclosed scene just after 8 p.m. last Wednesday on a complaint filed against 29 year-old Dylan Eckert.  Eckert is accused of physically harassing the victim... and, obstructed their breathing.  Deputies later located Erkert in Lakewood... where he was arrested for second-degree harassment, and obstruction of breathing or blood flow.  Officers say Eckert was taken to the county jail for arraignment... and, he was given appearancet tickets for Stockton Town Court at a later date.


CLRA begins rowing recruitment effort...
Spring is officially here, and the Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association is getting ready for the season.  The association’s President, Jen Martin, says the group is actively recruiting young rowers from seventh through 12th grades for their spring season.  Rowers practice for a couple of hours every weekday starting April 4th, with regattas on the weekend.  The season wraps up the first Thursday in June.  The sport offers a great, full-body workout... and much more... including the challenge and learning teamwork.  Interested rowers and their families can get full information at rowchautauqua.org.  Some scholarships are available.  The Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association also offers recreational and learn to row programs for the general public later in the spring.


New Fredonia Chamber coordinator named...
A Fredonia woman who recently retired as the assistant to the President at the SUNY College at Fredonia has been appointed as the new coordinator for the Fredonia Community Chamber of Commerce.  Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Heitzenrater says they are "incredibly pleased" to have Denise Szalkowski join the chamber team.  Heitzenrater says Szalkowski held the assistant's position at SUNY Fredonia for many years, and during that time managed the President’s office, worked with numerous other departments on campus, served as events coordinator, and was campus liaison for presidential search committees. 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Mar. 18, 2022

City man convicted of assaulting corrections officer at County Jail...
A Jamestown man has been found guilty in the first jury trial to go to completion since the court shut-down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt has announced that the jury found 51 year-old Oliver Bookman guilty of second-degree assault for an attack on a Corrections Officer at the county jail in June of last year.  Bookman had been jailed on another charge at the time.  Schmidt was pleased with the outcome because "this is really about violence committed against corrections officers."  He adds "we just cannot tolerate any use of use of abuse or violence against them."  Schmidt tried the case... along with First Assistant D.A. Andrew Molitor.  He says "this conviction was the result of the Corrections Officers’ professionalism and preparedness, especially during their trial testimony."  Schmidt says sentencing before Judge David Foley is set for May 16... and, Bookman faces up to seven years in prison.


Borrello formally announces run for second, full term in State Senate...
State Senator George Borrello made it official on this week:  He'll be seeking re-election to the Senate in Albany.  The Sunset Bay Republican declared his candidacy for the newly drawn 58th State Senate District.  In making the announcement... he says he's grateful to serve the district, and is proud of his record since being elected to the Senate in 2019.  Borrello first ran in a special election to fill out the term of former Senator Cathy Young and is now completing a full, two-year term.  He says he's "very proud" of what he's been able to accomplish in the Senate.  Borrello says that among the issues on the campaign trail will be what he calls the "devastating impact" of one-party rule.  He says crime has "sky-rocketed" in New York... and, the cost of living has gone up with inflation.  The new district will include Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany and Wyoming counties, as well as part of Erie County.


During speech in NYC, Cuomo hints at running for office again...
Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is dangling the possibility he may run for his former job just six months after he resigned amid sexual harassment allegations.  Cuomo gave a campaign-style speech Thursday to a friendly audience of about 100 people in the Bronx. Asked afterward if he would run for office, Cuomo told reporters he is "open to all options." He wouldn't say whether he was thinking about challenging Governor Kathy Hochul, his former lieutenant governor and successor.  But he ripped the state's current governance during his speech and said there's enough time to get on the ballot in the general election.


Chris Cuomo wants $125-million from CNN for alleged "unlawful" firing...
Former prime time anchor Chris Cuomo on Wednesday asked an arbitrator to award him $125 million for what he called his "unlawful" firing.  Former CNN chief Jeff Zucker fired Cuomo in December, saying he hadn't been aware of the extent the anchor had helped his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, fight sexual harassment allegations.  Cuomo says Zucker was fully aware of what he'd done, and that Zucker and former top aide Allison Gollust tried to help his brother politically, too.  CNN wouldn't comment.


Hochul announces new Russian sanctions...
New York Govevernor Kathy Hochul said Thursday that state agencies and public authorities will cease business with companies that have continued to do business in Russia.  The Democratic governor previously signed an executive order banning state agencies from doing business with Russian companies.  Hochul spoke Thursday at the humanitarian Afya Foundation in Yonkers.  She said New York will also send 100,000 pounds of medical supplies including masks and gowns to Ukraine.  Russia's invasion of Ukraine has entered its fourth week.


City woman arrested following DWI crash in Jamestown...
Jamestown woman faces a drunk driving charge after the car she was driving crashed into a utility pole on the city's eastside early yesterday morning.  City police were called to the scene on Buffalo Street about 12:30 a.m., and, found that 23 year-old Courtney Thomas was driving while was intoxicated.  She was not hurt.  Officers took her to the city jail without incident on charges of DWI, and moving from lane unsafely.  Thomas was released with an appearance ticket for Jamestown City Court.


JHS Boy's Basketball team ready to being play in state "final four...."
The Jamestown High School boy's basketball team got a huge send off to the New York state championships in Glens Falls Thursday morning at the school.  It included the JHS Band played "On Red Raiders" as the team left the school... and, boarded the bus for the trip to northeastern New York.  The Raiders will play Green Tech of Section 2 in tonight's Class AA Semi Final at the Glens Falls Civic Center.  Co-Captain Trey Drake said on the district's Facebook page that it's been kind of a surreal experience.  The other co-captain, Jaral Farmer, echoed those sentiments.  Tonight's game against Green Tech tips off at 7:45 p.m., and, you can hear all the play-by-play on WJTN.  If JHS wins... they'll be in the championship game Saturday night.
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On the girl's side... Sherman will play in the Class-D semi-finals at Hudson Valley Community College at 6:15 p.m. tonight.  The Class-D Final is at 8:45 p.m. Saturday.  Good luck to both teams!
 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Mar. 16, 2022

(Sorry this was inadvertantly not posted Wednesday)City man sentenced to 4-years and 9 months for felony possession of a firearm...
A Jamestown man will spend the next nearly five-years in federal prison for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross has announced that 38 year-old Walter Duprey... also known as "Spoons" and "Waldo" received a term of 57-months in prison from U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Vilardo.  Prosecutors say Duprey had been convicted on felony charges in county court in 2005, 2006 and 2012... and, is legally prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition.  They say on April 30, 2020... Duprey was a passenger in a car that was stopped by Jamestown police.  After saying he had a "bud on me," Duprey was asked to step out of the car... and, during a search an officer found a shotgun shell in his pocket.  While searching the car, officers recovered a loaded shotgun.


City fire officials say discarded smoking materials started porch fire on E. 5th St...
Improperly discarded smoking materials are being blamed for starting a house fire on Jamestown's eastside that caused significant damage to the front of the home.  City Fire Battalion Chief Cris Dahlgren says crews were called to the scene at 341 E. Fifth St. shortly after 2 a.m. Tuesday, and, found a lot of fire coming from the front of the two-story structure... especially on the front porch.  He says they laid two handlines... and, had the blaze under control in about 30 minutes.  Dahlgren says the front part of the house was gutted, and there was some severed damage to the second floor.  He says crews were on scene about five hours to overhaul the scene and make sure there was no fire extending into the walls.  He says the family called in the fire before getting out of the building safely.  Dahlgren says no one was hurt, but, two pet cats perished in the blaze.  He says eight off-duty firefighters were called in to assist at the scene.  No injuries were reported.  Dahlgren says the smoking materials triggered the fire on the porch.  Jamestown Police, Alstar Ambulance, and the Board of Public Utilities assisted at the scene.


Cassadaga home heavily damaged in fire...
Firefighters from eight different departments were called in to battle a house fire on High Street in the village of Cassadaga early Tuesday morning.   Cassadaga firefighters were called to the scene at 22 High St. just after 1:30 a.m., and, found the back part of the home heavily-engulfed in flames.  Cassadaga Fire Chief Josh Newark says they called in a number of mutual aid companies.  Newark says Forestville, Sheridan, Stockton, Sinclairville, and Lily Dale were called in soon after the initial alarm.  Newark says they started an initial attack on the exterior of the back... and, once that was under control, crews went inside to get to the flames there.  Chautauqua County fire investigators determined that the fire originated on the rear porch of the residence due to combustion in some oil-soaked cotton rags.  There were no injuries.  The homeowners are being assisted by the Red Cross.


Budget negotiations continue with housing and home care the focus...
New York's Democratic-controlled Assembly and Senate are both pushing to boost funding for housing and home care in this year's budget.  Legislative leaders have spent weeks negotiating with Governor Kathy Hochul over the state budget, which lawmakers must pass by Apr. 1.  Both legislative proposals would boost funding for rental relief, utility debt and home care.  Neither included extra relief for undocumented workers, while the Assembly's lacked the Senate's proposed statewide ban on fossil fuels in new construction.


Hochul addresses budget, COVID issues during NYSAC speech...
Governor Kathy Hochul spoke at the annual Legislative Conference of the New York State Association of Counties Monday night... and, addressed several issues.  That included the 2022-23 state budget... which she proposed back in mid-January.  Hochul told county officials from across the state that she was working with legislative leaders as the April 1st deadline approaches... saying she understands why it's important for local governments to have an on-time or near-on-time budget in place.  Both the Assembly and Senate have passed their own "one-house" spending plans to begin the reconciliation process.  Hochul also applauded the role that local health departments played during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Western New York Democrat recognized a number of county executives during her address.  In speaking about the lifting of the mask mandate... Hochul made a reference to Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel... who she said was smiling because the mandates have all been lifted now.  In highlighting the budget plan... she spoke about investing in CHIPS funding... and, putting $150-million into the Pave-NY program.


"Turn the Chadakoin Green" returns this Saturday in Jamestown...
The annual "Turning the River Green" St. Patrick's Day event will take place this coming Saturday morning at 11 a.m. along the banks of Jamestown's Chadakoin River.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist's office says they'll be along the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk on... and near the Main Street Bridge.  Sundquist says the local Leprechaun, and the Board of Public Utilities will again collaborate to make the magic happen.  Celtic Music, and the Blarney Stone will also be part of the event.

 

   

 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Mar. 17, 2022

JHS Boy's Basketball team given rousing send-off to state championships...
The Jamestown High School boy's basketball team got a rousing send off to the New York state championships in Glens Falls this morning.  Students and staff and faculty formed a column for the team to go to their bus, and the JHS Band played "On Red Raiders" as the team left the building for the bus for the trip to northeastern New York.  The Raiders will play Green Tech of Section 2 in tomorrow night's Class-AA Semi Final at the Glens Falls Civic Center.  Co-Captain Trey Drake said on the district's Facebook page that it's been kind of a surreal experience.  He says having the entire student body behind them like this is "just awesome to see."  Tomorrow night's game against Green Tech tips off at 7:45 p.m., and, you can hear all the action right here on WJTN... with our play-by-play team led by Tom Ames.  If JHS wins... they'll be in the championship game at 6:45 p.m. Saturday.
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On the girl's side... Sherman will play in the Class-D semi-finals at Hudson Valley Community College at 6:15 p.m. Friday.  Their finals game would be at 8:45 p.m. Saturday.  Good luck to both teams!


Reed calls Zelenskyy's address to Congress both inspiring, and heart-breaking...
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's address to Congress Wednesday morning was both 'inspiring' and 'heart-breaking.'  That from local Congressman Tom Reed... who heard Zelenskyy's address with his colleagues... in which he pleaded with lawmakers to do more to help Ukraine's fight against Russia.  Reed says he supports a number of things Zelenskyy asked for... including more sanctions -- including those oligarchs, and others who support Russian President Vladimir Putin.  However... Reed says he also does not support the U.S. helping to establish a "No-Fly" zone over Ukraine because of the possibility of us getting drawn directly into the conflict.  However... he said an emphatic 'yes' to more military and humanitarian aid.  During his address... Zelenskyy said "We need you right now.  I call on you to do more." Lawmakers gave him a standing ovation before and after his speech.  Zelenskyy showed a packed auditorium of U.S. lawmakers the emotional, graphic video of the destruction and devastation in his country has suffered in the war.  Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with regional media.


While the Russia-Ukraine conflict is front and center, Reed warns about looming China threat...
The decision by a middle eastern oil producer to settle it's oil sales in the Chinese dollar is raising concern for local Congressman Tom Reed.  While the world continues to focus on the Russia-Ukraine conflict... Reed says China is continuing to make moves they believe will put them into "a checkmate" position against the U.S. in a chess game to become the new world leader.  He says it looks like Saudi Arabia is going to settle it's oil sales to China in the Chinese dollar.  He says this will "change the world as we know it."  Reed says "America needs to wake up and recognize the very real threat that China poses to our country and the world as we know it."  The Corning Republican says Chinese leaders "believe they have cornered a weakened, and divided United States."  He adds, though, there is time to right the ship.  Reed says the country needs to get it's debt under control... and, rebuild it's industrial strength so China isn't needed to produce goods for us.


Fire significantly damages Pennsylvania Ave. home in Jamestown...
An electrical issue is the apparent cause of a fire that caused significant damage to a home on Jamestown's southside late Wednesday afternoon.  City Fire Battalion Chief Cris Dahlgren says crews were called to the scene at 39 Pennsylvania Ave. about 4:40 p.m., and, found smoke coming from the basement... and, windows blown out on arrival.  Dahlgren says the person calling in the alarm said they heard an explosion... and, called 911.  He says the woman living there was at work, and not home at the time.  No injuries were reported.  Dahlgren says there was a lot of fire damage in the kitchen and basement areas... with heat damage through-out the home.  Crews were at the scene nearly four hours.  Dahlgren says the fire appears to have been accidental.


Wendel credits Hochul for keeping local governments in mind during budget negotiations...
Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel says he believes Governor Kathy Hochul is keeping local counties in mind in her budget for New York State's 2022-2023 fiscal year.  Wendel, who attended Hochul's address this week to the New York State Association of Counties, says he met with other county executives across the state, and they share the same sentiment that he does.  He says her statements and other information he's received indicates the Hochul administration has been doing just that, unlike the Cuomo administration.  Wendel says one way that Chautauqua County should benefit in the state's spending plan is through increased Consolidated Highway Improvement Program... or CHIPS funding. 


City man arrested for lewd behavior in convenience store...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly exposing himself to some children at a convenience store on the city's westside Tuesday afternoon.  Jamestown police were called to the scene about 3:30 p.m. on a complaint that 73 year-old Timothy Somnitz exposed himself to children under the age of 7.  Officers arrested Somnitz for first-degree public lewdness... and, endangering the welfare of a child... and, he was jailed pending arraignment.

 

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Mar. 14, 2022

Reed says, given current circumstances, cost of gasoline could rise to $6 to $7 a gallon...
Gasoline prices here in the immediate Jamestown-area have held steady the past few days... after skyrocketing early last week.  The current price at many stations remains about $4.40 a gallon for regular, unleaded fuel.  The Russian-Ukrainian conflict, and the U.S. decision to stop oil and gas imports from Russia has driven the cost to unprecidented heights.  But, it's not likely the end.  Local Congressman Tom Reed says, unless the U.S. steps up production... we may see the cost increase to "$6 or $7" a gallon.  Reed says that's why the country should "unleash" the power of the U.S. oil and national gas reserves.  He says that would not only help prices here... but, across the world.  There has been talk about suspending state and federal gasoline taxes... but, the Corning Republican says that would only be 18-cents a gallon federal tax, and would take money away from important infrastructure projects.  He says that makes him hesitant about doing it.  Gas prices in the U-S soared to a record high of $4.32 for a gallon of regular, unleaded Sunday. 


Reed announces local projects in $1.5-trillion omnibus spending bill...
Local Congressman Tom Reed has announced several projects in the 23rd District -- including Chautauqua County -- receiving millions of dollars from the bipartisan omnibus spending bill.  Reed says the biggest allocation locally is $5.9-million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredging project at Dunkirk Harbor.  In addition... he says $2-million is going to the village of Mayville to construct a new water well and associated treatment infrastructure that will replace existing contaminated wells.  Reed says another $2-million is going to the town of Cherry Creek to upgrade it's Water Pollution Control Facility and the sanitary sewer collection system to meet new state Department of Environmental Conservation regulations.  In addition... Barcelona Harbor's dredging project is getting $1.15-million.  Reed says the "Dream It, Do It" employment and training program is receiving $250,000 for classroom and lab facilities.  


Man from Brocton arrested for harassment...
A Brocton man has been arrested for allegedly striking another person during an altercation Sunday morning on Lake Avenue in the north county village.  Sheriff's officers were called to the scene shortly before 9 a.m., and, their investigation led to the arrest of 46 year-old James Kachermeyer.  Deputies say Kachermeyer was charged with second-degree harassment... arraigned, and released with an appearancet ticket for Portland Town Court.


Community Meeting set for tonight to discuss West Third Street redesign plan in Jamestown...
Jamestown city leaders will host a "community meeting" tonight to get input from westside residents on the West Third Street redesign project... which includes replacing the former Cathedral Oak trees.  The meeting will be held at the Healing Word Ministries church at 1006 West Third beginning at 6:30 p.m., and, will allow residents to see and discuss plans to replace the trees, and other improvements to the street.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says the plan will be finalized after that... adding their preliminary plans included new sidewalks, buried electric lines, and new trees.  Sundquist says City Arborist and Parks Manager Dan Stone will be on hand to make a presentation before opening up the meeting to questions and comments.  He says, right now, they're looking at a couple of varieties of trees to plant between Hall Avenue and Hallock Street the provide a "different look."  Sundquist made his comments for last weekend's Community Spotlight program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Borrello happy to be part of RHJ Center program on county's eight executives...
Chautauqua County's eight executives who have served during it's nearly 50 years of having a legislative-executive form of government are still around.  And, they all gathered in one place last Friday afternoon to reflect on their years in office in Jamestown.  Current State Senator George Borrello was one of them... after winning election in 2017 to replace Vince Horrigan... who decided against running for a second term.  The first executive, Joseph Gerace, who is also a retired State Supreme Court judge, joined the program virtually... and, 91 year-old Jack Glenzer took part in person.  Borrello says Glenzer "stole the show."  Current County Executive, P-J Wendel, was also on hand for the program... which was co-sponsored by the county's Industrial Development Agency... and, the Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth. 


SWCS Musical, "The Hello Girls," closes Saturday...
The final curtain came down Saturday afternoon on 'The Hello Girls,' this year's musical at Southwestern High School to rousing applause.  For Director Christine Beichner, it brought the theater program at the school full circle from where it was two year ago.  The 2020 Southwestern musical was the last one to run before the pandemic shutdown.  That Monday, Beichner says, all schools in the county, and state, shut-down.  Since then, students were brought back, but, with a lot of restrictions.  Those restrictions were recently relaxed.  Beichner says the successful completion of this year's show means the theater program is fully back, and it was like "no time had passed."  'The Hello Girls,' is based on a true story of American women who went to the front in World War One to run the phone system.

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Mar. 11, 2022

State DOT to beging Washington St. redesign and reconfiguration project Monday...
A major project to reconfigure the four-lane portion of Washington Street from Fluvanna Avenue to Second Street in the city will begin next Monday... and, continue through the Summer.  City officials says motorists should expect delays while construction is underway.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist says New York State Department of Transporation project will change the four-lane areas into a three-lane highway to slow traffic, and develop new bike lanes  Sundquist says there will also be more parking, and pedestrian-friendly areas.  He says the project will also include putting in new crosswalks and pedestrian lights.  The New York state DOT says the new configuration would result in the creation of a two-way left-turn lane for the length of Washington Street, along with the 5-foot bike lanes with 2-foot buffer areas along both sides of Washington Street.  Sundquist says that -- in conjunction with the redesign -- a Board of Public Utilities' waterline replacement project will also be conducted on Washington Street, between 6th and 22nd streets.  He made his comments for this weekend's "Community Spotlight" program on the six Media One Radio Group stations.


Reed touts spending on district projects in 23rd Congressional District in $1.5-Trill. Omnibus spending plan...
For the first time on some time... Congress has approved a bi-partisan, $1.5-trillion omnibus spending bill -- and averted a potential government shut-down.  The measure also includes about $14-billion in additional aid to Ukraine for it's fight against the Russian invasion.  Local Representative Tom Reed says he's glad to see the measure pass... and, adds it includes funding for a number of projects in the 23rd Congressional District... including water and sewer projects in the village of Mayville, and the town of Cherry Creek.  Reed says the spending bill also supports several projects for the U-S Army Corps of Engineers... including dredging of Barcelona and Dunkirk Harbors.  As for Ukraine... the Corning Republican says the aid will be mostly humanitarian.  Reed says there have been "horrific scenes of evil" seen on line and TV pushed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his military.  He says there is also aid for Ukraine to defend itself against the Russian invasion... which is moving into it's third-week. 


JPS Superintendent says district ready to help kids get through news on Russia-Ukraine conflict...
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has horrified and tugged at the hearts of people around the world... and, is something most of us are seeing daily.  That goes for our children as well.  War is no longer something in a far away land.  It's brought to us on cable television... and, our smart phones... and, we need to understand that.  That from Jamestown School Superintendent Kevin Whitaker, who says this is the first "Twitter -- or Tik-Tok War" where children can see everything in real time.  However... coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic... and, going into news about war in Ukraine can have it's psychological effects, as well.  Dr. Whitaker says, for older students, it can be a teaching moment of what's happening right now.  However... younger students may not fully understand what's taking place... and, he says they have people, namely school psychologists and others, who can help.  A number of experts have been saying it's important to take breaks from social media when the news seems to be overwhelming. 


Wendel explains reduction in COVID-19 case numbers...
With COVID-19 case numbers dropping and Chautauqua County's level of community transmission considered to be low... the county's Health Department will no longer be reporting weekly COVID case numbers.  County Executive P.J. Wendel adds that only a handful of people are hospitalized locally with the virus... and, with a shift in resources towards rapid testing, the case number is not as relevant now.  He adds there were only four people hospitalized this week.  However, Wendel says if there is an increase in new cases, the county will alert the public.  Meanwhile, the county also continues to report its seven-day average infection rate and hospitalization numbers on its COVID-19 dashboard.


Jamestown man arrested for menacing victim with a baseball bat...
A city man is accused of swinging a baseball bat at a teenager during a fight that took place following a car crash on Jamestown's southside late Wednesday night.  City Police were called to the area of West Virginia Boulevard, and East Newland Avenue about 11:30 p.m., and, learned that 34 year-old Michael Grissom had displayed the bat... and, threatened, and tried to hit the 18 year-old victim with it.  Officers arrested Grissom for second-degree menacing.  He was issued an appearance ticket for a future court appearance.


Colleges pulling students from study abroad programs in Russia...
Colleges across the United States -- including New York -- are pulling students from study abroad programs in Russia, ending research partnerships and cutting financial ties to condemn the invasion of Ukraine.  At the same time, colleges have promised to support Russian students on their campuses, opposing calls from some in Congress to remove them from the country.  The moves are mostly symbolic, and U.S. colleges have little power to sway Russia or squeeze its finances.  But... the suggestion that some or all Russian students should forfeit the opportunity to study here has drawn new attention to the role of universities in global disputes.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Mar. 10, 2022

Buffalo man arrested for trying to steal Dirt Bike with fake money in Jamestown, and leading police on chase...
A Buffalo man is under arrest after allegedly trying to steal a dirt bike on Jamestown's southside... after trying to buy it with counterfeit money... and then fleeing police.  City police were called to a location on Martin Road just after 7:30 p.m. last Sunday after 21 year-old Arnaldo Mateo, Jr. and another person arrived at the scene, and tried to use the fake money to purchase the bike.  However... they grabbed the bike and fled.  The owner of the bike then called police and tried to find Mateo and the other subject.  The owner later found and confronted him several blocks away... and, got the bike back before Mateo and the other person fled.  Their gray-colored SUV was later involved in a hit-and-run accident in a parking lot near UPMC Chautauqua Hospital.  Officers then located the vehicle near Foote and Cole Avenues speeding towards Brooklyn Square.  The SUV then stopped... and, as officers were getting ready to approach the SUV... it sped off again.  Police later learned the suspects threw what appeared to be a handgun onto the ground near North Main and Fifth Streets.  The vehicle fled... and, was later found in Erie County near Buffalo.  Mateo was arrested, and turned over to Jamestown police.  He faces several charges... including first-degree reckless endangerment and fourth-degree grand larceny... and, more charges and arrests are pending.


Great Valley man arrested for being in possession of a stolen handgun...
A Cattaraugus County man has been arrested for allegedly being found in possession of a stolen handgun during an investigation in the town of Great Valley.  Sheriff's officers in Little Valley say they and members of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force raided a home at 3755 Halsaver Rd. Monday afternoon... and, arrested 48 year-old Rene LeBlanc after he was found with the firearm.  LeBlanc was charged with Felony criminal possession of a firearm... and, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.  He was issued appearance tickets for a future court appearance.


As gas prices jump, pressure on to eliminate NYS sales tax on gas, and step up domestic oil production...
Gasoline prices continue to rise across the region -- and nation.  Tuesday's national average price for a gallon of gasoline is $4.25 a gallon... up 8 cents from Tuesday.  AAA says the New York State average is $4.43, up 6 cents between Monday and Tuesday.  With President Biden imposing a ban on oil and other energy shipments from Russia... are there other steps that could be taken to help stabilize gas prices?  AAA of Western and Central New York's Elizabeth Carey says prices have been going up since Russia first began threatening to invade Ukraine.  Carey says there are some calls to either release more gas and oil reserves, or step up domestic production.  Meanwhile, there's a push in Albany to suspend the New York State gas tax.  State Senator George Borrello says more Democrats are supporting the move, but the Sunset Bay Republican doubts that Governor Kathy Hochul will get on board.  Borrello says state Republican leaders have been calling for a suspension of the gas tax since last October.


NY Immigration Coalition urges state to welcome Ukrainian Refugees...
The New York Immigration Coalition is among the groups urging the United States to take in as many Ukrainian refugees as possible, as Ukraine faces an ongoing invasion by Russia.  New York has roughly 150,000 Ukrainian residents, the largest population in the nation.  Governor Kathy Hochul recently said New York is prepared to coordinate with the Biden administration to accept refugees fleeing the conflict.  The Immigration Coaltion's Nicole Catá says she hopes to see resources directed to beefing up the refugee program.  Cata says it's been an "absolutely devastating week for Ukrainians, both here and abroad."  More than 100 recipients of the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals program -- also referred to as DACA -- and more than 1,700 international students are from Ukraine.  Catá hopes the Biden administration will put measures into place protecting them from deportation. 


Catt. Co man rescued after suffering leg injury in wilderness area...
A 66-year-old man from Little Valley was taken to a Buffalo hospital after a wilderness rescue in the town of Mansfield in Cattaraugus County last Saturday.  The State Department of Environmental Conservation reports that Cattaraugus County 9-1-1 requested a forest ranger to assist in locating the man with a disability in a vehicle struck on an unknown seasonal road around 1:30 p.m.  About a half-hour later... the man was located, lying in the snow with an unstable lower leg injury near the Cattaraugus State Forest.  The ranger provided a hypowrap to keep the man warm until the Cattaraugus Fire Department arrived with its tracked UTV. The man, who was not identified, was transported by ambulance to the Erie County Medical Center for treatment.


JHS Express Winter Guard takes Third-place at WGI Regionals...
The Jamestown High School Express Winter Guard finished in third-place at the recent Winter Guard International Regional Competition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Winter Guard Director Kaitlyn Marsh says they competed against 10 other schools from New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia in the "Scholastic A" class.  They performed their show, "Somebody Who Loves Me."  The Winter Guard will next perform at the McElrath Gym on Saturday, Mar. 26 at 5 p.m. with both JV and Varsity squads taking part.  They go to Dayton, Ohio in April to compete in Winter Guard International's World Championships.

 

 

 
 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Mar. 9, 2022

Man from Sherman arrested during vehicle stop for drug and other charges...
A Sherman man faces several drug and other charges after his car was found to have a phony inspection sticker on it during a traffic stop Tuesday morning.  Sheriff's officers say a patrol pulled over 46 year-old Edwin Hannold, Jr. of Alderbottom Rd. on Main Street about 9:30 a.m.  An officer called in the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force... and, State Police to assist.  He also requested the Sheriff's Department K-9 unit.  Their investigation led to the seizure of over 15 ounces of illegal narcotics with a street value of about 16-thousand dollars, a loaded handgun, and over $800 in cash.  Hannold was charged and taken to the County Jail for centralized arraignment.  He faces charges including second-degree criminal possession of a handgun... and second and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  If you have information on illegal drug or other activity... call the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force Tipline at 1-800-344-8702... or the Jamestown Police Department Tipline call 483-8477.


City officials urge West Third St. residents to attend meeting on replacing Cathedral Oaks between Hall and Hallock...
Residents along the stretch of West Third Street in Jamestown where about three dozen Cathedral Oak trees were taken down will learn more about plans to replace them next week.  City officials have scheduled a "Community meeting" next Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Healing Word Ministries church at 1006 West Third to discuss the future of the street between Hall Avenue and Hallock Street.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist discussed the agenda during Monday night's City Council work session.  Sundquist says there will be a presentation about the trees the city is looking at replacing, along with new sidewalks, and electric power being put in underground.  They'll also discuss the possibility of "minimal heating" being installed under the sidewalks.  Basics of the plan were reviewed with Public Works Project Engineer Mark Roetzer Monday night.  Councilwoman Marie Carrubba represents that part of the city... and, says she's pleased to see a plan, and that a meeting for the neighborhood is being held.  The huge oak trees were taken down the past couple of years after they were found to be old, and diseased in some cases.


Forestville man arrested for harassment...
A north county man is accused of harassment following an altercation at a home in the town of Hanover yesterday morning.  Sheriff's officers were called to the undisclosed scene about 7:30 a.m., and, found that 44 year-old Frederick Mead of Forestville physically harassed two subjects in the presence of a child.  Officers arrested Mead on two counts of second-degree harassment... and, one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.  Mead was taken to the County Jail pending centralized arraignment.  He will answer to the charges in Hanover Town Court at a later date.


City Council committees approve just over $850,000 more in spending of ARPA funding...
Jamestown City Council committees have approved another, just over 850-thousand dollars in American Rescue Plan Act funding for several projects and purchases.  Finance Committee Chairwoman, Kim Ecklund, says they include spending $110,000 to purchase three backup generators requested for the city Fire Department for Stations 3, 4 and 5.  The Finance Committee also approved using just over $50,000 to complete the truck floor renovation project at Fire Station-#5 on Fairmount Ave.  Ecklund says they also agreed to a $218,000 purchase of a new bucket truck from a Pennsylvania firm for the Public Works Department.  She says that's $38,000 more than the original estimate... but, adds the DPW will use funds from elsewhere to cover the purchase.  Ecklund says the committee also approved $483,000 in ARPA Water, Sewer and Broadband funding for water main replacements on May Street and Gwendolin Avenue. 


Wendel urges county residents to take Broadband Survey...
Chautauqua County officials are encouraging residents to take part in a survey by the State Department of Public Service on broadband.  The Broadband Assessment Survey is a tool being utilized by the state to study the reliability and affordability of high-speed broadband infrastructure throughout New York.  County Executive P-J Wendel says they would like to see at least 25% of the county's families participate in the survey... but, he hopes for more.  Wendel says the survey is important to document the underserved areas of the county.  Wendel says the survey takes about 5 to 7 minutes to complete.  The survey continues until March 18.


Pa. Democratic Party leaders endorse Lamb over Fetterman...
Pennsylvania's Democratic Party committee members have backed U.S. Congressman Conor Lamb by 2 to 1 in an endorsement vote over Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman in the primary race for the state's open U.S. Senate seat.  In two months, they'll find out if their party feels differently about nominating a mold-breaking candidate.  Not only did Fetterman come from the party's progressive wing, but he's irreverent, blunt, 6' 8" inches tall, tattooed and goateed, and most often seen wearing shorts.  Fetterman leads in campaign cash and is the only candidate to have run statewide before.  But Democrats say the Jan. 6 insurrection stiffened their resolve to vote for the candidate who is most electable.

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Mar. 8, 2022

City teen arrested for alleged armed robbery on eastside Monday...
A Jamestown teenager has been arrested for allegedly holding up another person with a handgun on the city's eastside late Monday afternoon.  City police were called to the scene about 4:40 p.m., and, found the suspect leaving the scene in a vehicle.  Officers stopped the car, and found the 16 year-old male suspect in possession of a loaded handgun.  The unidentified juvenile was processed on a charge of second-degree criminal possession of a loaded firearm... and, was then released with an appearance ticket for State Supreme Court... as per the state's Raise the Age requirements.


COI proposes new homeless women's shelter on city's westside...
A local human service agency that helps the homeless with temporary housing is proposing a new facility on Lafayette Street on Jamestown's westside.  Director of Housing for Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc., Josiah Lamp, outlined the proposal to use a three-story building at last night's City Council work session.  Lamp says they've secured $2.49-million from New York state for the project... which will specifically help homeless women.  He says they'll be able to provide close proximity to services, because, otherwise, they have to house them in a motel... usually far away from the downtown area.  Lamp says the new facility would house up to 18 women on the second and third-floors.  He says it will be staffed 24-hours a day, every day... and, include office and other services on the first-floor.  Lamp says there'll be a secure entrance with community space, a computer lab, and laundry facilities.  He says the shelter will include a number of safety features for both women and staff.  He says COI used local homeless trends and numbers in developing plans for the facility.  The city of Jamestown is providing $110,000 in funding to assist with the project... which Councilman Jeff Russell said there is "a definate need for."


City leaders set Monday, Mar. 14 community meeting on replacing Cathedral Oaks on West Third St...
The city of Jamestown will host a special community meeting next Monday night on West Third Street to discuss the future of the street between Hall Avenue and Hallock Streets.  That's where the city had to take down at least three dozen old and diseased Cathedral Oak Trees a couple of years ago.  Public Works Project Engineer Mark Roetzer told lawmakers last night the project will also includes new sidewalks, and additional lighting.  Roetzer says they're proposing the standard "candlestick lighting" from Hallock to the Third Street Bridge.  He says the meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m., at Healing Word Ministries church at 1006 West Third, will also allow property owners to give input on what variety of trees they would like to have in front of their homes.  


Gasoline prices in Jamestown-area soar over the past week to about $4.40 a gallon...
Gas prices in the Jamestown-area have skyrocketed over the past week to nearly $4.40 a gallon... with 20-cents added just Monday.  At the start of the day... AAA reported the local price was up 44-cents to about $4.20 a gallon for regular, unleaded.  The invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces continues to be the main factor behind the surge.  The average price last Monday was $3.75 a gallon.  AAA says the national average price is now $4.06 a gallon... which is a staggering 45 cents more than a week ago.  The national average has not been this high since July 2008.  AAA says total domestic gas stocks decreased by 500,000 last week... while demand increased slightly from 8.66-million barrels per day to 8.74-million per day.


Chautauqua County now among those with "low" community levels of COVID, according to CDC...
Chautauqua County -- along with all of Western New York -- has seen it's COVID-19 'community levels by county' fall to the "low catagory."  That from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention... which shows the entire region is now in the CDC's "Low" community risk for COVID.  County Executive P.J. Wendel says he's pleased by the news... and, says it means getting back to "some normalcy."  Statewide... none of New York's 62 counties are now listed in the "High" category.  The county's most recent numbers from the week ending Feb. 26, showed 139 new cases of COVID-19... and, a "Medium" transmission rate.


Silver Creek man arrested for allegedly violating order of protection, and damaging property...
A north county man has been arrested for allegedly damaging another person's property... and, violating an order of protection to stay away from that person.  Sheriff's deputies were called to the undisclosed scene in Silver Creek just after 4 a.m. Monday, and, found that 29 year-old Marcus Hughes had intentionally damaged property... as well as breaking the court order.  Hughes was charged with second-degree criminal contempt... and, fourth-degree criminal mischief.  He was processed and taken to the county jail pending centralized arraignment.


"Doors Open Jamestown" a success, says organizer...
The organizer of last Saturday's "Doors Open Jamestown" is pleased with how the day turned out.  The coordinator of the Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce, Carrie Swanson, says reaction from the attractions and businesses that took part struck a familiar theme -- that there were a lot of people -- including many new faces -- who took part.  Swanson says outlying locations reported a similar positive response.  Sixteen attractions and 12 businesses took part in the event..

WJTN News Headlines for Mon., Mar. 7, 2022

Father and son arrested during drug raid in Stockton...
A Stockton man and his son were arrested during a drug raid late last week in the town of Stockton after police found drugs and an illegal gun inside their home.  Sheriff's officers say they, and members of the Southern Tier Regional, and Jamestown Metro Drug Task Forces executed a search warrant at 6444 Bowers Rd. about 5:30 p.m. last Friday.  Inside... they found the gun, narcotics, and drug paraphernalia.  Police also arrested the resident, 59 year-old Scott Steinhoff, and his 22 year-old son, Nathaniel.  Both men face charges including... third and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance... and, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  Both were taken to the county jail pending arraignment.  If you see or know of suspicious or narcotics related activity in your neighborhood... call the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force Tipline at 1-800-344-8702 or the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force tips line at 483-8477.


City woman arrested on drug charges after vehicle stop...
A traffic stop in Brooklyn Square late last week led to the arrest of a Jamestown woman who was found in possession of various narcotic drugs.  City police say a patrol spotted a vehicle just after 5 p.m. last Friday operating without a valid State inspection sticker.  Officers stopped the car in the Big Lots parking lot... and, found that the driver, 35 year-old Aimee Hogg... was also driving with a suspended license.  Futher investigation led to discovery of quantities of Fentanyl, methamphetamine, and vicodin inside the vehicle.  Police arrested Hogg on charges of third... fifth and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  Two of the charges are Felonies.  She was jailed pending arraignment.


Wendel says CDC now listing all of WNY -- and Chautauqua County -- as being at low-risk for COVID is great news...
The latest COVID-19 'community levels by county' map from the Centers for Disease Control shows that all of Western New York's counties are in the CDC's "Low" community risk for COVID category.  That includes Chautauqua County.  County Executive P.J. Wendel says he's pleased by the news, and he said officials knew they were in the low rate late last week, but, it took a while for the CDC to catch up with that.  None of the 62 counties in New York State are now listed in the "High" category.  The county's most recent numbers from the week ending Feb. 26, showed 139 new cases of COVID-19... and, a "Medium" transmission rate.


Wendel hopes COVID-19 is being put into "rear-view" mirror...
As COVID-19 case numbers plummet across the U-S... and, Chautauqua County... officials are hoping that the pandemic is in the rear-view mirror.  However... the county's top-elected official says local leaders are trying to work on dealing with the virus going forward... and, what the next public health emergency may be.  County Executive P.J. Wendel is pleased to see the COVID case numbers fall to 139 for the week ending Feb. 26.  While testing and vaccination availability remains high... Wendel says theraputics are not.  Wendel says this allows the county's Department of Health and Human Services to put more focus on other matters, including the opioid epidemic, which got worse during the pandemic. 


New 23rd Congressional District race appears to come down to Tenney vs. Della Pia...
It appears the two likely major party candidates for the race in the newly re-drawn 23rd Congressional District this Fall have emerged.  Chautauqua County Republicans have now endorsed current 22nd District Representative Claudia Tenney of Utica to run for the seat... which will be vacated by Tom Reed next year.  Reed is not seeking re-election to another term.  Reed has endorsed one of his key staff people... but, believes Tenney will be the likely candidate.  The Corning Republican has backed his Chief of Staff, Joe Sempelinski.  Tenney has been making the rounds in the 23rd District to garner support to her candidacy.  With the redrawn lines... Tenney is able to run for the seat now held by Reed.  It appears that she'll face a Democrat who sought the nomination to run against Reed in 2018.  Max Della Pia of the Ithaca area has received the endorsement of some Democratic County Committees already.  Della Pia was a strong contender for the 2018 nomination, but, lost out to Ithaca's Tracy Mitrano.


City man arrested for Fentanyl possession...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly being found in possession of a quantity of Fentanyl during a street check on the city's northside late last week.  City police say they spotted 43 year-old Roberto Lopez-Cruz at the corner of North Main and East Seventh Streets last Thursday afternoon.  During the check... Cruz was found with the narcotic drug... and, arrested.  Cruz was arraigned on one count of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.  He was later released with appearance tickets in accordance with state Bail Reform requirements.


Ethics Commission still feeling affects from Feb. cyberattack...
A cyberattack on New York's ethics commission last month is expected to keep lobbying and financial disclosure systems offline for about another week.  The Joint Commission on Public Ethics said Saturday it is continuing its investigation into the attack on its web application server, but that it expects electronic lobbying reporting and financial disclosure statement systems to be back online by Friday.  The attack was discovered by a suspicious activity alert on Feb. 21... and, all systems were taken offline as a precaution.


 

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Mar. 4, 2022

Gas prices jump by more than 30-cents a gallon, in one day, shooting over $4 for regular, unleaded...
The price of regular, unleaded gasoline in the Jamestown-area soared past $4 a gallon Thursday... increasing in some cases by 32-cents in one day.  That comes the day after the price of oil hit 14-year highs.  That from the AAA's East Central Gas Report... which is showing the national average price for regular, unleaded gas is now up to $3.73 a gallon.  That's seven-cents a gallon more than Wednesday... and, was 18-cents higher than last Thursday.  Some local service stations saw the price climb to $4.20 a gallon Thursday.  AAA says the increase comes amid an increase in demand for gas, and the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia.  On Wednesday... West Texas Intermediate ended the day at $110.60 per barrel after briefly hitting $116.57.
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Triple-A is also offering tips to lower fuel costs for drivers.  Spokesman Jim Garrity says adopting responsible driving practices can contribute to significant savings at the pump and ease the financial strain.  Garrity says "one of the simplest ways to keep your fuel costs lower is to slow down, as speeding drastically decreases how efficiently your vehicle burns fuel."  He adds you should reduce trips, and lighten your car's load... and avoid "jack-rabbit" starts.


Reed signs onto letter calling on Biden to take shackles off American oil and gas production...
Local Congressman Tom Reed has joined with dozens of his House colleagues in demanding that President Joe Biden "unleash American energy" as the national gas price skyrockets towards $4.  The Corning Republican issued a statement late Thursday outlining what the lawmakers want the president to do.  Reed says the president needs to show leadership at a time of Americans "suffering from the pain of inflation..." and, he needs to stand up to the "extreme environmentalists on the left."  Reed says those moves include:  Implementing "meaningful permitting reform that removes unnecessary delays and bureaucratic obstacles to constructing new, modern energy infrastructure..." increase energy resource production on federal lands... and, develop a "new, robust national rare earth and critical mineral policy that ends our reliance on China and Russia."


Mask wearing in JPS district becomes voluntary...
Masks are now optional in New York state schools, and the rules are the simplest they have been since districts reopened for in-person education. Jamestown Public School Superintendent, Dr. Kevin Whitaker, says the state health department is requiring a 'mandatory quarantine' in just two situations.  One is if you have COVID symptoms, and the other is if you have a positive COVID test.  In those cases, you must stay home for five days.  Whitaker says the person can then return after that, however, they have to wear a mask for five more days.  He acknowledged the rules have been greatly loosened over a short time period... but, he believes the case count justifies the changes... and, he's comfortable with the changes.  For the first time in several weeks... the Jamestown 14701 zip code did not have the most case numbers in Chautauqua County last week.  There were 31 locally... while there were 35 in Dunkirk among the 139 in the county.


Jamestown school board begins budget discussions for 2022-23...
The Jamestown School Board has begun reviewing budget priorities for the coming year with the school superintendent.  Kevin Whitaker says the biggest area they are looking to address has to do with what's been termed the "COVID Slide."  Dr. Whitaker says with kids learning remotely... then going with a hybrid... then back to school full-time with masks... it's been like "slamming a car into different gears..." and has really hurt literacy, and math aptitude.  Whitaker says he told board members this week include ways to support staff, students and their families, and the schools themselves.  He says the plan will include ways to deal with behaviors and other issues they are seeing... and, getting everyone back to where they need to be.


City man arrested for threatening Sheriff's Deputy with a knife...
A Jamestown man has been arrested for allegedly threatening a Chautauqua County Sheriff's Officer with a knife during an incident on the city's eastside Wednesday morning.  City police were called to the scene on East Fourth Street about 8:15 a.m. for a man obstructing traffic... and, pulling a knife on the deputy.  Police took 39 year-old Kenneth Mosley into custody without further incident on a Felony charge of Menacing a Police officer... and, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.  He was taken to the city jail pending arraignment.


City Council approves ARPA funding to help small businesses, but, tables three others...
The Jamestown City Council has approved using $200,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to help small businesses in the city emerge from the pandemic.  Lawmakers approved the program at this week's voting session, 8-to-1, to help restaurants, retail and personal service-type businesses.  Council President Tony Dolce says council was comfortable with the money being specifically targeted to those businesses... where ever they are in the city.  The city council tabled three other ARPA funded programs... but, not because they oppose them.  Dolce says lawmakers want to make sure those programs... which use about $3.75-million in ARPA funding... will do the most good.  He says there's another area council made want to direct some of that money... namely residential neighborhoods.  Lawmakers considered using $1.5-million to fund an equipment and machine upgrades program, while another $1.5-million would go to a building and property infrastructure improvement program... and, $750,000 was to be allocated to an information technology improvements program.  

WJTN News Headlines for Thurs., Mar. 3, 2022

Chautauqua County reports another plummet in COVID-19 case numbers...
As with the rest of New York state... Chautauqua County saw the number of new COVID-19 cases plummet last week to less than 200.  The county's Health Department says there were 139 cases reported for the week ending February 26th... and, the overall total is now 26,940 cases.  Officials say there were three new deaths... bringing that number now to 323.  The Health Department says 8 people are now hospitalized with COVID... or COVID-related illness.  There were 35 new cases in Dunkirk... and, 31 in Jamestown.  There are now 26,425 cases that have recovered... and, the seven-day infection rate is down to 3.1%.  That dropped the local status from "High" to "Medium" for the first time in several months.


Reed agrees that with COVID-19 numbers dropping quickly, now is time to move forward...
With more and more cities and states moving to a new phase in the COVID-19 pandemic... President Biden pivoted last night to it becoming more of an endemic.  That was something Congressman Tom Reed was hoping to hear.  He says COVID is something that we "are going to learn to live with." because it won't be totally erraticated.  Reed says the effort now should be to take care of and treat those people who still get it.  The Corning Republican says the decision to lift New York's mask mandate in public schools... beginning Wednesday... is another positive sign that the state and nation are seeing the virus fading out.  Governor Kathy Hochul made the announcement last weekend with new COVID case numbers plummeting... along with the number of hospitalizations.  President Biden outlined a program Tuesday night that would provide free anti-viral medications to people to receive if they test positive for the virus. 


Reed offers more on State of the Union Address...
Now is not the time for more political speeches.  That from local Congressman Tom Reed in response to President Biden's first State of the Union speech last night.  Reed says leadership means inspiring the hearts and minds of all Americans who, in these turbulent times, do not need partisan posturing or more divisive rhetoric.  He adds "we can not spend tax dollars to get out of the inflation trap.  That will only compound the problem."  Reed adds that begins with the energy sector because the price of oil and gas is continuing to soar. 


Poehler discusses her Lucy-Desi documentary in Jamestown...
For Amy Poehler and millions of millions of Americans, "I Love Lucy" wasn't just something that was on television.  Poehler calls it a show that "came with your TV."  But... she adds it's also one that has loomed so large as a defining pillar of sitcom comedy that it... and the vibrant couple behind the show... have been flattened under the weight of words like "icon" and "trailblazer."  Poehler was especially excited to dive into the world of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz for the new documentary "Lucy and Desi."  She was at the National Comedy Center this week to talk about the show... which will steam on Amazon Prime Video this coming Friday.


Jamestown Chambers ready for 'Doors Open' program...
The Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce is bringing back 'Doors Open Jamestown' this Saturday.  Chamber Coordinator Carrie Swanson says 16 attractions will be open and free for visitors... and, they're very excited to bring it back for the first time in two years.  The general hours for 'Doors Open' will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, but some locations may close early for scheduled events later in the day.  A few attractions are by reservation only, including the Lucy-Desi Museum and the Marvin House.  Contact them directly for availability.  The National Comedy Center is already 'sold out.'  There will be a text message based scavenger hunt in conjuntion with Doors Open at each location.  To encourage people to shop locally... 12 businesses will also be a part of the scavenger hunt.  The last 'Doors Open' was a virtual one in early 2021.  This year's event was postponed from January because of the omicron surge of COVID 19.  Here's the full list of attractions:  The Audubon Community Nature Center, Busti Historical Society, Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, the DAR House, The Doubletree, Fenton History Center, Prendergast Library, Lucy-Desi Museum, the Lucille M. Wright Air Museum, Martz-Kohl Observatory, Marvin House, the National Comedy Center, Northwest Arena, the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, the Robert H. Jackson Center and the Peterson Institute.  That list of attractions can also be found on Facebook and at the chamber office at Third and Main Streets downtown.


Ribbon cut on new addiction treatment clinic in Dunkirk...
The ribbon was cut Wednesday afternoon for an addiction treatment clinic in the city of Dunkirk.  New York's Secretary of State, Robert Rodriguez, was among the officials taking part in the opening of the Safe Point Lighthouse at 303 Main St.  The non-profit Acacia Network is opening the clinic that will serve an estimated 500 individuals annually.  Rodriguez traveled to Dunkirk to represent Governor Kathy Hochul.  He says the new clinic will help respond to the worsening opioid epidemic... and, number of deaths.  Eugino Russi, Executive Director of Hispanos Unidos de Buffalo came up with the idea behind the name Safe Point Lighthouse and says there is a connection to the nearby Dunkirk Lighthouse... with the sense that "light will bring you to a place of safety."
 

WJTN News Headlines for Wed., Mar. 2, 2022

Wendel further outlines plans to restructure county's Dept. of Public Facilities...
Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel is looking to restructure the Department of Public Facilities.  Wendel is outlining his plan to elevate existing DPF leadership to deputy director positions and form a "DPF cabinet."  The Lakewood Republican first unveiled the proposal during last Wednesday's State of the County address.  Wendel says after the resignation of former DPF Director, Brad Bentley, they realized that there was a lot that one person was having to take on.  He says that amounted to as many as eight different departments.  Under the plan... Wendel says the deputy directors will only focus on their areas of expertise.  He says Engineering would be roads and bridges... while transporation would include airports and CHQ Transit... and, environmental would include the landfill operations.  Wendel says the county's Law Department is currently reviewing the proposal, which will likely need final approval from the Chautauqua County Legislature. 


Ripley man sentenced to 1 1/2 to 3-years in prison for attempted robbery...
A Ripley man will spend one-and-a-half to 3 years in state prison for third-degree attempted robbery in April of 2019.  Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt says 42 year-old Jason Meredith was sentenced Monday by County Court Judge David Foley to the term after pleading to the charge... which is a Class E felony.  Schmidt says this is the defendant’s second felony conviction in ten years making him a predicate felon.  He says the conviction is also follows a June 2018 arrest for burglary.  Schmidt thanked the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s office for it's assistance in the case.


Reed says Biden offered only "government solutions" during State of the Union address...
President Joe Biden vowed in his first State of the Union address to check Russian aggression in Ukraine... tame soaring U.S. inflation... and, deal with the fading but still dangerous coronavirus.  Biden declared Tuesday night that he and all members of Congress, whatever political differences there may be, were joined ``with an unwavering resolve that freedom will always triumph over tyranny.''  Earlier... he announced $6.4-billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine... something local Congressman Tom Reed generally supported.  However, he also wants to see the actual number first.  Reed also wanted to see Biden do more to stop U-S purchases of oil and gas from Russia.  However... Biden announced that the U.S. and several other countries will be release billions of barrels of oil to stop skyrocketing prices.  He says a "lot of this" is rooted in energy, and the cost of oil and gas.  Mr. Biden asked lawmakers in the crowded House chamber to stand and salute the Ukrainians as he began his speech.  They stood and cheered.  The U.S. president is aiming to lead the country out of the pandemic and reboot his stalled domestic agenda as well as confront Russia's aggression.  Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone press call with regional media. 


Zeldin get's GOP Executive Committee endorsement for governor...
New York's Republican Party leaders nominated U.S. Congressman Lee Zeldin as their candidate for governor.  At a convention on Long Island Tuesday... Zeldin said he's running "so the people feel they are back in control of their government again."  He could still face a primary challenger in June.  Other candidates include businessman Harry Wilson, who last week launched a $12-million dollar television ad campaign... and, Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.  Any Republican candidate faces tough odds in New York, where registered Democrats outnumber GOP voters by more than 2 to 1. 


Jamestown man arrested for domestic incident after brief foot chase...
A city man is accused of a family offense, and obstruction following an alleged domestic incident in Jamestown late Monday night.  City officers were called to a Lincoln Street address about 11:30 p.m., and, on arrival, found that the suspect, 25 year-old Tyler Manelick, had left the scene on foot.  Police located Manelick a short time later and they tried to take him into custody.  He led officers on a brief chase before he was taken into custody without further incident.  Manelick is charged with first-degree criminal contempt... Aggravated Family Offense... and, second-degree obstructing governmental administration.  He was taken to the city jail pending arraignment.


CLA urges county residents to take part in Chautauqua Lake Ice Pick contest...
The annual Chautauqua Lake Ice Pick competition is now underway... with residents able to guess the date and time the pick falls through the ice.  The Chautauqua Lake Association's annual fundraiser began in mid-February... and, the pic is on the lake at Bemus Bay near the Lawson Center.  Officials say the CLA places a bright orange ice pick on the frozen lake and invites the community to predict when the ice will break.  The pick is monitored with a clock and video surveillance to accurately record the precise moment the pick has fallen through the ice.  If you want to take part... you can download a mail-in form at the CLA's website at ChautauquaAssociation.org/events.  Each guess costs $5, and, entries will be accepted through Sunday, Mar. 20.  The grand prize is $250... and, the next five closest guesses each receive $50.

WJTN News Headlines for Tues., Mar. 1, 2022

City man receives 27 years and three months in prison for enticement of a minor...
A Jamestown man will serve the next 27 years and three months in federal prison following his conviction for enticement of a minor.  U.S. Attorney Trini Ross announced Monday that 35 year-old Richard LaFrance was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 327 months in prison and lifetime of supervised release.  Prosecutors say LaFrance met a 14-year-old Minor victim in April of 2019, and began communicating with her through e-mails and texting.  They say communications between LaFrance and the minor were sexually explicit and included LaFrance requesting that the victim send him naked pictures.  In addition... LaFrance met up with the minor victim on at least two occasions and engaged in sexual intercourse. 


City Council rejects proposed revaluation...
Now is not the time to do a property revaluation in the city of Jamestown.  City Council members made that 'loud and clear' at last night's voting session... unanimously rejected a plan to use $285,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding to hire an outside firm to do the reval.  Council President Tony Dolce says "there's never a good time" to do one... but, added this is an especially bad time with the area coming out of the COVID pandemic, and inflation has been on the rise.  At the same time, though, Dolce did note that lawmakers understand a full, property revaluation will have to be done sometime down the road.  City Assessor Lisa Volpe has told the council that there is a possibility of doing one "in-house."  However... that would require extra personnel.  Dolce says they may be able to hire some people, temporarily, for less than the cost of an outside firm doing it. 


Council approves two new appointees for BPU...
The city council last night also approved two, new residents to sit on the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities.  However... former Council members Tamu Graham-Reinhardt and Tom Nelson are well-known to lawmakers... and, they were approved unanimously.  Council President Dolce says that was the big reason for the affirmative vote... along with their knowledge of city government, and having open lines of communication with them.  Graham-Reinhardt and Nelson were appointed by Mayor Eddie Sundquist after his first two appointments last month... Shawn Connor and Sabrina Gustafson... were turned down in 4-4 tie votes.  The confirmed appointees will replace Greg Rabb and Jim Olson... who were not reappointed to the BPU.


Home sustains moderate to heavy damage in fire...
Jamestown firefighters made fairly quick work of a structure fire on the city's southside late last Saturday night.  City Fire Battalion Chief Roger Sigular says crews were called to 166 Baker St. just after 11 p.m., and, found fire coming out of the second story window and heavy smoke conditions.  Sigular confirmed the blaze was brought under control in about 30 minutes.  He says damage was moderate to heavy inside the home.  One person was living in the home... and, no one was hurt.  An off-duty shift was called in to assist, and the cause is under investigation. 


Wendel says there will be no county-wide mask mandate for schools...
Local counties in New York state will still have the option to require masks in schools once the current mandate is lifted on Wednesday.  However... Chautauqua County will not be among them.  That from County Executive P.J. Wendel... who reacted Monday to the news from Governor Hochul.  Wendel says it's time to get more normalcy in schools... but, adds people should still be careful.  He says they have distributed thousands of test kits to check children who are feeling ill, or came in close contact with a positive COVID case.  In that case, Wendel says keep the child home like you would if they had a cold or flu.  He says the decision was made by his COVID-19 Response Team.


Gas prices again up in Jamestown-area...
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is causing "uneasiness" in the global oil market... and, again pushing gasoline prices up this week.  AAA's East Central Gas Price Report says prices in the Jamestown-area are 5-cents higher for regular, unleaded fuel to start the week at just over $3.75 a gallon.  However... at least one station in the area is charging $3.80 a gallon.  AAA says crude oil spiked briefly to over $100 per barrel before settling back into the mid-$90s.  The increase in the global price of oil has led to higher pump prices in the U.S.  The national average for a gallon of gas has risen to $3.61... which is 8-cents more than a week ago.


Little Theater to host it's first show since state of pandemic...
For the first time since the pandemic began two years ago, the Lucille Ball Little Theater of Jamestown is putting on a show.  That from Little Theater Board President Jim Foley, who says they're able to put on "Almost, Maine" with the help of donors and grants that have helped them "weather the storm."  Foley is also the director of the play that opens Friday night at the East Second Street theater.  "Almost, Maine" was written by John Cariani... and, is a series of vignettes that Cariani wrote all about love.  Nine couples, many of them well-known in the local theater community, have been rehearsing the vignettes separately for COVID safety.  The show is this Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.. with the same schedule March 11-13.  Tickets are $22 and are available through the Little Theater website or Facebook. 

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