Village Elections Today:
Polls will be open today from noon until 9 p.m. in many villages for government positions. There are contested races in the Village of North Hornell, Dansville, and Bolivar. In Bath, James Burns is running for village justice to fill the seat opened by the departure of Chauncey Watches. He faces competition from Robert Plaskov who has instigated a write-in campaign.
Local Lawmakers Call for Public Hearings on Farmworkers Bill:
Two local lawmakers are calling for public hearings on the controversial “Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act.” In a letter, Senator Tom O’Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano wrote that “the profound consequences of this legislation to one of New York State’s economic and cultural cornerstones demands, at the very least, a series of statewide public hearings.” The proposed bill would grant a variety of things to farmworkers, including collective bargaining rights and overtime pay, among others. Opponents say if passed, it would increase already high farm labor costs and would result in a drop in farm income and drive many farmers out of business.
Enforcers Scam Tracked to Indonesia:
The Elmira Enforcers streaming scam has been tracked back to Indonesia, according to the owner of the company that legally streams the team’s games. Erik Thorsteen, owner of Nordik Thunder, told WETM 18 that more than 80 websites and Youtube accounts have already been taken down, but the creators have continued to publish new websites. Thorsteen says that if the propitiators don’t respond to Nordik Sports latest requests then he’s prepared to take the case to the Indonesian Consulate in Washington D.C. If you feel you were defrauded by the scam, in which links promised to stream the Enforcers’ games for free but then asked for credit card information, you are advised to contact your credit card provider, and or PayPal, and to file a complaint with IC3 at https://complaint.ic3.gov/.
NYS Looks to Diversify Faculty at State Colleges:
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday a new program that aims to increase the diversity of faculty in the State University of New York system. The goal of the “Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Growth” program is to hire 1,000 early to mid-career professionals from minority groups by 2030 in order to better reflect the diversity of the 425,000 students in the system. Cuomo says the program is being implemented at all 64 SUNY campuses.
Horsehead’s Native Uninjured in New Zealand Attack:
A Horsehead’s man wasn’t injured when he was caught up in the terrorist attack Friday in New Zealand. Zach Peterson told WETM and WENY that he had just arrived in Christchurch and had just entered a restaurant between the two mosques when the shooting began. He had to remain in the restaurant for five hours. 49 people were killed in the attack.
Elmira Enforcers Warn Fans of Scam:
The Elmira Enforcers are warning fans against a new scam that uses the team’s name in hopes of scoring your credit card information. On its Facebook page Sunday, the team advised fans against clicking on links circulating on Youtube that claim to broadcast Enforcers’ games for free. After being clicked on, the phony links reportedly ask for credit card information. The Enforcers’ say you should only trust the approved streaming services, which are its own website and TFM Sports.
Sen. Gillibrand Officially Announces Presidential Bid:
While it hasn’t been a secret, it’s now official. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has posted a video to her verified social media accounts formally announcing her presidential bid. This make’s her the 14th Democrat to officially join the 2020 presidential run. In the video, Gillibrand announced that her first major speech as an official candidate will be on March 24th outside of the Trump International Hotel in New York City.
Elmira Home to New Shamrock World Record:
There’s a new home for the Guinness world record for the largest human shamrock. 1,200 people turned out in Elmira Sunday to help create the shamrock, smashing the previous record held by 815 people in Ireland. Even more people turned up to help set the record, but were unable to participate because organizers ran out of green ponchos.
GAP Training for Farm to School Program Set for Next Month
A Good Agricultural Practices training for the Farm to School Program is set for 8:30am-4:30pm on April 11th and 12th at the Civil Defense Center in Bath. The GAP Certification allows farmers to sell their produce to schools by meeting the requirement to have a farm food safety plan. Steuben County schools seeking local produce could attract more local farmers to meet that need. GAP certifications are voluntary audits that prove fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled and stored safely to ensure quality food. Anyone interested in more information about the training please call Ainsley Robbins at (607) 664-2574.
Bath Man Arrested for Allegedly Damaging Police Cars
A Bath man was arrested following an investigation into damage to several Village of Bath Police cars and an officer’s personal car, both incidents that happened in February. James Racalto, age 54, allegedly caused over $1,500 in damage and was on probation for felony DWI. A warrant was issued for violation of probation and following his arrest, Racalto was arraigned in Bath Court and remanded to Steuben County Jail.
Senator Tom O’Mara Presented with CLA “State Legislative Award”
CropLife America, America’s leading crop protection trade association, Thursday presented State Senator Tom O’Mara with the association’s 2018 “State Legislative Award.” According to the CLA, O’Mara received the award for his “outstanding leadership in state legislative issues and strengthening the reputation and advancement of crop protection.”
Woodhull Woman Arrested Following Domestic Incident
A domestic dispute in Woodhull ended with an arrest. State police said they took 32-year-old Brianne Young into custody. She was charged with criminal mischief and endangering the welfare of a child.
Bath’s “Stand Up For Recovery Day” Set for Wednesday
Steuben County’s Second “Stand Up For Recovery Day” is coming up this week with the goal to change the public’s attitude toward substance abuse and addiction. The event happens Wednesday at 10am in the county office building’s third-floor atrium and coincides with Stand Up For Recovery Day in Albany as well as other cities across New York state. Recovery Day proponents want to end myths about addiction and the stigma those who suffer from addiction face.
Former Phillips Lighting Plant to be Auctioned Monday
It’s possible there could be new life for the former Phillips Lighting plant on Route 54 in Bath. The building has sat idle since 2014 but on Monday the facility goes up for auction. The Corning Leader reports that the Steuben County industrial development Agency says the auction has generated some serious interest.
Trespassing Compliant Leads to Drug/Weapon Charges:
The Steuben County Sheriff’s Office reports multiple arrests following investigation into a trespassing compliant. Deputies responded to the compliant at a residence on County Route 12 in Thurston. 27-year-old Coty Murphy of Wayland was arrested for trespass and criminal possession, and he was also allegedly wanted on an indictment warrant for criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal sale of a controlled substance. 48-year-old Todd Briglin of Cohocton was also arrested on charges of trespass and criminal possession of a controlled substance. It’s alleged that both men were trespassing and that they both possessed approximately 28 grams of suspected methamphetamine, packaged for sale, valued at approximately $3,000. Following his arrest, the Steuben County Sheriff’s CIRT unit searched Murphy’s residence and recovered a quantity of suspected methamphetamine, products for alleged distribution, and an alleged stun gun. Additionally, arrested were 32-year-old Jessica Schaffer and 27-year-old James Braziel, both of Wayland. Both were charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a weapon.
Rochester Man Accused of Forging Check:
A Rochester man has been arrested for allegedly forging a check. According to the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office, 28-year-old Brandon Deshawn Baker was booked out of the Steuben County Jail in October of 2018 and he allegedly altered his jail commissary check from $1.77 to $3,129. He allegedly tried to cash it. He is charged with forgery, attempted grand larceny, and falsifying business records. He was sent to the Steuben County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail.
Phillips Lighting Auction Starts Monday:
A commercial auction for the former Phillips Lighting plant in Bath will get underway on Monday. The auction is being conducted by Ten-X.com and requires a $10,000 participation deposit to bid. Bids will start at $450,000. Steuben County Industrial Development Agency Director Jamie Johnson told the Corning Leader that he’s had conversations with potential bidders and that there seems to be serious interest in the property. Johnson said he believes any buyer will likely subdivide the facility for multiple occupants and uses. The plant has been vacant for five years now, after shutting down in 2014.
Steuben Legislators to Oppose Cuomo’s Cuts:
Steuben County legislators are expected to take a stand this month against an amendment in the 2019-2020 Executive Budget proposal that could cost county taxpayers $250,000. The 30-day amendment was introduced February 15th by Governor Andrew Cuomo and it would force counties to pay for the cuts to Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) funding proposed in the budget. According to NYDATABASES, the proposed cuts mean 42 towns and villages in Steuben would lose all AIM funds, forcing Steuben to pick up the slack by cutting into the sales tax revenues it uses to keep property taxes down. In Steuben, sales tax revenues typically account for 20 percent of the county budget. Steuben additionally splits its sales tax revenues with the cities, towns, and villages.
Sheldon Silver to Avoid Jail While Appealing:
Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver won’t be reporting to prison next week to begin serving the seven-year prison sentence he received for his public corruption conviction. Instead, a federal appeals court has ruled that Silver can remain free while it decides the merits of his appeal. Silver was sentenced last year after prosecutors say he collected nearly $4 million in fees in exchange for political action to benefit a cancer researcher and real estate developers.
STOP-DWI St. Patrick’s Day Crackdown:
Steuben County police agencies will be participating in a special enforcement effort to crackdown on impaired driving over the Saint Patrick’s Day holiday weekend, per Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard. The effort starts today and will end on Monday, March 18th. Law enforcement agencies across the state will collaborate and will be out in force to reduce the number of impaired related injuries and deaths. You can do your part to reduce the numbers of alcohol and drug related fatalities by downloading the free mobile app “Have a Plan” at www.stopdwi.org/mobileapp.
NYS Counties Assoc. Says Pot Legalization Would Strain Upstate:
Legalizing marijuana would strain counties across New York State, says the state Association of Counties. The association represents leaders for counties across the state. It says legalization would have a large impact on services and programs provided by its municipalities. Governor Andrew Cuomo said earlier this week that it’s unlikely marijuana legalization will be included in the upcoming budget, but lawmakers could still pass legalization in a separate bill.
Hartsville Sup. Resigns, Interim Appointed:
At Wednesday’s nights monthly meeting, the Hartsville Town Board officially accepted the resignation of Town Supervisor John Bowles and appointed an interim superintendent. Bowles announced his resignation last month, effective immediately, with no official reason given. Leon Woodworth Jr. has been appointed interim for the remainder of Bowles term, which will expire December 31st. Woodworth has given up his position as a council member to accept the Supervisor’s position. He says he plans to run for the supervisor position in the upcoming November election.
Elmira Enforcers Coach, 5 Players Suspended:
The fallout from the incident at Sunday’s Elmira Enforcer’s game continues. The FHL has suspended Enforcers Head Coach Bren Clarke indefinitely and five of the team’s players (Nick Nidert, Sean Reynolds, Nathan Pelligra, Stephan Timofeyev, and Gavin Yates) have been suspended for three games. The Enforcers said Wednesday that they plan to appeal the suspensions.
Dick’s to Remove Guns from Some Stores:
Dick’s Sporting Goods has announced that it will begin removing firearms from some its stores this year. CEO Ed Stack said Tuesday that they’ll be removed from 125 stores starting around August. Bloomberg reports that the move is in response to low sales in those stores, and that it could spread to more stores next year. It is unknown at this time if any of the 125 stores are in the Southern Tier. There is a store in Horseheads. Last year, Dick’s banned sales of assault-style weapons after it was discovered the shooter in the Parkland, Florida school shooting had purchased a gun from one of their stores. The company also stopped selling high-capacity magazines and guns to anyone under 21.
The Village of Bath Police Department reports the arrest of 32-year-old Kasandra Oles, of the Steuben County Jail, and formerly of the Corning area, on a sealed indictment warrant for criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Oles was arraigned and was sent back to the county jail with bail set at $5,000 cash. The arrest was the work of the Steuben County Drug Initiative.
$25K Fine for Elmira Enforcers Owner:
The Federal Hockey League has announced that Elmira Enforcers owner Robbie Nichols has been fined $25,000 following an altercation with on-ice officials at Sunday’s game against the Carolina Thunderbirds. The incident happened after a controversial call during the first period. The game was halted, and then canceled, and Elmira Police were dispatched to the First Arena to disperse the crowd and speak with team management and the officials.
Burn Ban Starts This Weekend:
With spring just around the corner, bringing with it warmer and drier temperatures, the annual New York State Residential Brush Burn Ban goes into effect this weekend. The ban will be in place from March 16th through May 14th. Residents are reminded that burning garbage or leaves is prohibited year-round. Campfires using charcoal or untreated wood is allowed, but should never be left unattended and they must be extinguished. Also, the DEC posts daily fire danger ratings and forecasts during the season on its website and on the NY Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife App, which is available through the DEC’s website. Those who violate the open burning regulation are subject to criminal and civil enforcement, including a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense.
Bill Proposed to Make Bingo Legal for Minors:
In New York State, you must be 18 years old to legally gamble and make money off state legal Bingo games, but that could be changing. A bill has been proposed that would allow minors to play Bingo with adult supervision. The legislation has already passed the Senate and is now heading to the Assembly for their consideration.
Arc of Steuben Receives $16K:
The Arc of Steuben has been awarded a $16,000 grant by the New York State Industries for the Disabled, a non-profit group that helps create jobs for those with disabilities. The funds will allow the Arc to purchase some new equipment and to create a few more job positions.
Fire in Jasper:
A house fire in the Town of Jasper Monday night is being called a “total loss.” The fire occurred on 5 Corners Road around 7 p.m. and it reportedly started after one of the homeowners was working on a van inside the garage. Officials say the fire then spread to the home, and both it and the garage were completely destroyed. No one was injured in the fire.
Campbell Approves Hakes Landfill Expansion:
The Campbell Town Board approved an expansion of the Hakes Landfill Monday night following a public hearing. Some community members voiced concerns about the odor from the landfill and possible effects on the environment, but the board said the expansion would bring more money to the town. Despite the approval from the town, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation still also has to sign off on the expansion. Concerned residents will still be able to make their voices heard during the DEC’s decision window.
Cuomo Vows Not to Sign Budget Deal Without Permanent Tax Cap:
Governor Andrew Cuomo has vowed that he will not sign this year’s budget unless it includes a permanent tax cap. Cuomo made the comment in a press conference Monday and also said that MTA reform, criminal justice reform, ethics, and campaign finance reform must also be in the budget. While individual lawmakers are divided on the issues, they all denounced the hardline stance.
Tyrtle Beach Kickoff March 29th:
The “Kickoff Party” for the 28th Annual Tyrtle Beach fundraiser to benefit area youth programs will be set to the music of local stars Wendy Owens and Jim Anderson and will begin at 5:30 p.m. March 29th at the Bath Country Club. The annual effort has raised more than $700,000 over 27 years for youth programs in central Steuben County. In 2018, $40,000 was raised by Campbell-Savona High School Principal Kelley Meade. Meade’s successor – the 2019 Tyrtle Beach Jumper – will be revealed during the Kickoff event on the 29th. He, or she, will make the chilly plunge into Lake Salubria on April 26th. Tickets for the Kickoff can be purchased now for $10 at several locations. For more information and ticket sales locations, call county Youth Bureau Coordinator Bill Caudill at (607) 664-2119 or visit the Tyrtle Beach Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Tyrtle-Beach-471935212855803/
Check Out Hunger Raises Over $245K:
At the end of its GratiTour Monday, the Food Bank of the Southern Tier announced that the 25th annual Check Out Hunger campaign raised $245,127. The money will provide over 735,000 meals to those in need. The Food Bank took a 10-hour, 15-stop tour Monday to show their appreciation at each participating Jubilee Foods, Save-A-Lot, Tops Friendly Markets, and Wegmans grocery stores.
Cohocton Dinner Club Set for March 21st:
The Cohocton Senior Dinner Club will resume at noon, March 21st at the First Presbyterian Church on Maple Avenue in Cohocton with featured guest speaker Linda Tetor, Steuben Senior Services Fund Executive Director. Tetor will speak on “Aging in Place through Full Circle America.” The April Cohocton Senior Dinner Club is set for April 18th with the popular Josh Goldman presenting “Feeling Fabulous.” Suggested meal donations are $3.50 for those 60 and older; $7 for those under 60. Reservations are required by calling (607) 776-4310.
Steuben Co.'s 2nd Annual "Stand Up for Recovery Day" March 20th:
Steuben County's second annual "Stand Up for Recovery Day" aims to change the public's attitude toward substance abuse and addiction. Set for 10 a.m. March 20th in the county office buildin's third-floor atrium, the county event coincides with Stand Up for Recovery Day in Albany and other areas across the state. Proponents of Recovery Day say it's time to end the myths around alcohol and drug addictions, most notably the idea addicts are hopeless failures incapable of sustained sobriety, jobs, or healthy relationships. The stigma assocated with abuse only makes recovery from addictions that much harder.
"Recruit N.Y." Weekend April 27th/28th:
The Bath Volunteer Fire Department will be among many departments participating in the upcoming Recruit N.Y. weekend. The initiative, which is set for April 27th and 28th, is a state-wide recruitment drive that looks to bolster the number of volunteer firefighters throughout the state. The Bath department will have an open house that weekend with firetruck rides, car extricating demonstrations, and burning-building demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
13-year-old Girl Wins Regional Scripps Spelling Bee:
60 students from schools across the region gathered at Corning-Painted Post Middle School this weekend, each looking to take home the crown as the champion in the 17th annual Scripps Regional Spelling Bee. After more than 11 rounds of competition, which included both spelling and vocabulary, 13-year-old Anh Thu Tran of the Chemung Valley Montessorie School in Elmira took home the trophy. Anh now moves on to represent our region in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which will take place in May.
Food Bank Check Out Hunger "GratiTour" Today:
The annual Check Out Hunger fundraising campaign for the Food Bank of the Southern Tier has come to and, and to show its appreciation, the Food Bank will be hosting a "GratiTour" today. Food Bank staff will embark on a tour to each participating grocery store to thank the staff with treats, streamers, confetti, balloons, and awards for the cashiers who rang the most donations. At each store, the Food Bank will also be presented with a check donated by shoppers and the grand, combined total will be announced today.
Steuben County Men Arrested Following Thurston Robbery
Two Steuben County men have been arrested following a report of a burglary and larceny in Thurston. Steuben County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Unit investigated a reported burglary and larceny on Bryan Road in the Town of Thurston on February 28th. The following day on March 1st, 24-year-old Garrett Ragusa of Thurston was arrested and this week, police arrested 18-year-old Damon Harris of Painted Post. The arrests followed after the Steuben County Sheriff's Office named the duo on Twin Tier's Most Wanted on WETM. Both men were charged with Burglary in the third degree and Grand Larceny in the third degree, both Class D Felonies then remanded to Steuben County Jail.
NYS Announces $128 Million for Local Roads
New York State has announced $128 million in new state funding to repair local roads damaged this winter. This announcement came a day after State Senator Tom O’Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano joined legislative colleagues and local transportation leaders from across New York State for the annual “Local Roads Matter” rally at the State Capitol, In a joint statement, O’Mara and Palmesano said, “The ‘Local Roads Matter’ coalition continues to make itself heard in Albany. $7.1 million is being provided to renew nearly 100 lane miles of roads in Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tompkins, and Yates counties.
Free Tax-Filing Resources Available to Low Income New Yorkers
A reminder that free resources available for New York residents until the Tax Day deadline on April 15. Taxpayers earning household incomes of $66,000 or less in 2018 are eligible to e-file their returns at free tax assistance sites. Tax Department experts will be available at each of these sites to help low and middle-income New Yorkers file their taxes at no charge. The state has also partnered with seven community colleges in New York State to help college students, faculty, and staff electronically prepare and file their income tax returns for free. Free Tax Assistance, Tax Preparation Software and Tax Credit information can be found online at www.tax.ny.gov
Steuben County Hall of Fame Seeking Annual Nominations
The Steuben County Hall of Fame announced it will be accepting nominations through the end of this month of March. Anyone interested in making a submission is eligible and highly encouraged to do so. Once the nominees have been collected, a committee will review applications, meet with nominees then vote on who receives the honors. Winners will then be presented to the Steuben County Board of Supervisors to be approved. Nominees will be announced with their biographies and photos later this year during the Hall of Fame Banquet. Over 130 people total have been inducted into the Steuben County Hall of Fame since its inception decades ago in 1976. The Hall of Fame is located at the top floor of the Steuben County Office Building and those wanting to make a submission can get an application from there.
Arnot Ogden Thrift Shop Specials Fund Medical Center
Starting this week, the Arnot Ogden Medical Center thrift shop has a 50 percent off sale on winter clothing marked at $1 or more until March 22. It’s located at 619 Hart Street and open from 10am to 4pm Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. All of the Thrift Shop’s proceeds go to the Arnot Ogden Medical Center. Once this sale is over, items left over will be available again during their Bag Sale where you fill a large paper grocery bag with clothes for only $3. The Bag Sale will last until April 4th then the thrift shop will be restocked with spring and summer clothing. Call (607) 732-2995 if you are interested in more information.
Cornell Study Says Apple Industry Bigger Than We Thought
Apples are a big deal in New York but a Cornell University team recently found the economic impact of the apple industry in our state to be even bigger than we thought! Researchers tested the apple industry as a case study to apply new economic framework for analysis and found that the apple industry is 21 percent larger than traditional models have reported. The new analysis takes into account the locally sourced data that shows what and where exactly farmers spend their income, a change from the traditional economic analysis only taking into account secondary state and national data.
Corrections Officers Honored for Role in Incident
Seven Steuben County Corrections Officers of the Steuben County Sheriff’s Department were recognized for saving the life of an inmate last month in February. Jonathan Mullikin, William Burd, Daniel Cox, Brian Flynn, Jennifer Smith, Brandon Owen, Brian Harrison, Angelo Sciotti and Sgt. Ryan Thompson were all recognized at the most recent county Legislature’s Public Safety and Corrections Committee meeting where Sheriff Jim Allard praised the actions of the seven officers as having prevented a “catastrophe” and noted that the inmate suffered no lasting ill effects as a result of the incident.
(Left to Right: Jonathan Mullikin, William Burd, Daniel Cox, Brian Flynn, Jennifer Smith, Brandon Owen, Brian Harrison, Angelo Sciotti and Sgt. Ryan Thompson)
$15.8M to Repave Roads in Southern Tier:
On Thursday Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $128 million in new state funding to renew state roadways that have been impacted by the harsh winter weather this year. $15.8 million of that funding will be used to renew 113 lane miles in Steuben, Chemung, Tompkins, Tioga, Broome, Chenango, and Delaware counties. In Steuben: $650,000 will be used to resurface Route 417 from Interstate 99 Gang Mills exit to the Interstate 99 Erwin exit; $540,000 to resurface Route 417 from the Addison Village limit to just east of County Route 85; and $1.3 million to resurface Route 417 from the Tuscarora town line to east of County Route 102.
Corning’s Parade of Lights to Move Again:
The popular Parade of Lights in Corning will be up and moving again in 2019, per Corning Councilman Alison Hunt, a member of the Corning In-Town District Management Association, who told council members at their regular meeting this month that the traditional parade will be back in November. For 2018, the parade was controversially made stationary due to a lack of volunteers and for safety reasons, which was confirmed by Corning Police Chief Jeff Spaulding. Any interested volunteers for the 2019 event can call 937-6269, or go online to the Gaffer District website. The City Council has also voted to authorize needed streets to be closed for the Gaffer District 2019 event schedule which includes, besides the Parade of Lights in November, GlassFest and the Wineglass GlassFest 8K in May, Taste of Summer in July, the Crystal City Ferrari Show and Harvest Festival both in September, the Wineglass (Corelle) 5K Road Race and Wineglass Marathon in October, and Sparkle in December.
Charlotte Russe to Close all Stores:
More bad news for the Arnot Mall this week, as California-based retail chain Charlotte Russe has announced that it will be going out of business and will close all of its stores. The company’s online store has already closed, and liquidation sales began Thursday. In the local area, besides the store in the Arnot Mall, there’s also a Charlotte Russe in the Oakdale Mall in Johnson City.
Public Meeting to Discuss Woodstock 50:
A public meeting has been scheduled to discuss the upcoming Woodstock 50 event at Watkins Glen International. The meeting is set for March 27th at the Performing Arts Center in the former Watkins Glen Middle School at 6 p.m. Promoter Michael Lang has met with state police, the Schuyler County Legislature, and the Dix Town Board, but specifics of those meetings have not been released. The state Health Department and county Legislature have yet to sign off on the festival. A lineup for the event is expected to be released in the next few weeks.
Apples Even Bigger Business in NYS than Originally Believed:
New research by Cornell University has found that apples are even bigger business in New York State than originally believed. Researchers found that the total economic impact apple farming was $574 million – 21 percent higher than estimates based on more traditional methodologies. The research is supported in part by the New York Apple Association.
Federal Child Pornography Charges Filed Against Bath Man:
A Bath man previously arrested on child pornography charges is now facing federal charges. 50-year-old Daryl Sumeriski was initially arrested in January by local authorities on charges of possession of a sexual performance by a child under the age of 16. An investigation by the Buffalo office of Homeland Security has now resulted in a federal felony count of receipt and possession of child pornography for allegedly keeping approximately 1,000 pictures of child pornography on his mobile phone. Sumeriski is currently being held in the Steuben County Jail.
NYS Assembly Passes Bill to Raise Smoking Age to 21:
A bill that would raise the age of smoking and vaping to 21 has been passed by the New York State Assembly. Supporters hope the increase in age will limit the availability of cigarettes and e-cigarettes among minors. The bill now heads to the Senate. If passed there, and if it then gets signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, it will raise the age that a person can buy tobacco products or electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21.
Recktenwald, Shick Honored:
Haverling High School Guidance Counselor Mark Recktenwald and Prattsburgh Central School Family Worker Amy Shick were both honored Monday night at the Steuben County Youth Bureau Awards Dinner at the Bath Country Club. Recktenwald received the bureau’s Champion for Youth Award in recognition of his impact on the lives of more than 6,500 teenagers and their families through counseling, guidance, and coaching. He is also active in the Steuben County Prevention Coalition and Prevention of Substance Abuse, the Village of Bath Police Department’s anger management classes for youth, and the Jack Lisi program. Shick was named Youth Service Worker of the Year in recognition of her 15 years of dedication to students and their families at Prattsburgh Central School. Shick prepares all student-led activities and organizes the school’s PreK program through home visits, parent education, paper work, and working in classroom. She also enlists students in many local charitable community functions.
$700K in Federal Funding for Upstate Senior Volunteer Programs:
Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have announced more than $700,000 in federal funding for 13 Senior Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) projects in upstate New York. Among the recipients of the funding is the Steuben County Office of the Aging, receiving $65,268, and the Catholic Charities of Chemung and Schuyler counties, receiving $42,367.
Reminder – World Record Attempt on St. Patrick’s Day in Elmira:
As Saint Patrick’s Day draws near, a reminder is going out to anyone interested in helping to set a holiday-themed world record with Elmira Downtown Development. They’re looking to break the Guinness World Record for the Largest Human Shamrock. The event will take place at the Eldridge Park soccer fields on Saint Patrick’s Day at 10 a.m. The current record is held by a group of 851 college students in Dublin, Ireland. More details about the attempt are available at the event’s facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/2238564639700881/.
Steuben Co. Corrections Officers Save Inmate’s Life:
Swift response and outstanding teamwork saved the life of a Steuben County Jail inmate in early February, according to county Sheriff Jim Allard. On Monday, county corrections officers Jenn Smith, Brian Flynn, Brian Harrison, Angelo Sciotti, Daniel Cox, William Burd, and Brandon Owen were recognized for their life-saving efforts. Allard told the county Legislature’s Public Safety and Corrections Committee Monday, that the inmate suffered no lasting ill effect, and that it was “thanks to the absolutely quick response of the officers and the teamwork they exhibited.”
Lawmakers Urge Investment in Combating Tick-borne Diseases:
Senator Tom O’Mara joined with his senate colleagues this week in urging state leadership to include funding in this year’s budget to help combat tick-borne diseases such as Lyme. O’Mara’s office says that in recent years the state Senate has led the way in securing nearly $3 million in state funding to advance research, education and prevention; however, O’Mara says the proposed 2019-2020 budget fails to include funding.
Woodstock Event at WGI Moving Forward as Planned:
On the heels of rumors that it was in financial trouble, it now seems that the Woodstock 50 festival at Watkins Glen International is moving ahead as planned. Billboard.com reports that a number of artists have been paid in full to perform at the event. Billboard also says that the festival lineup is likely to be announced in the next two weeks, and that Santana, The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Chance the Rapper, and Dead and Company will be performing. The three day event is set for August 16th through the 18th.
Deadline for Steuben Hall of Fame Noms. 3/31:
The deadline for nominations for the 2019 Steuben County Hall of Fame is March 31st. The county hall of fame honors men, women, or children living or deceased, who have enhanced the name of Steuben County. They should have resided in Steuben, but may have been born elsewhere. Since 1976, more than 450 people have been nominated with 141 individuals inducted into the Hall. For applications and the full list of Hall of Fame honorees, visit https://www.steubencony.org/pages.asp?PID=357.
Steuben Co. Sheriff’s Office Seeks Suspect:
The Steuben County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public for information regarding the whereabouts of a suspect wanted in relation to an incident that occurred on February 28th in the Town of Thurston. 18-year-old Damon Harris is wanted for Burglary and Grand Larceny. Anyone with information is asked to contact the county Sheriff’s Office at (607) 622-3911.
Rathbone Man Arrested in Addison Incident:
The Steuben County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest of a Rathbone man following an incident in Addison. Deputies responded to Front Street on March 1st to check the welfare of a woman who called 911, was screaming, and became disconnected. She was later located at the address of 28-year-old Devon Hough, of Merring Road in Rathbone. It’s alleged that Hough damaged the property of another, endangered a child in the residence, and prevented the victim from calling 911. It’s further alleged that Hough had been previously convicted of criminal mischief in the fourth degree in connection with a family offense. Hough was charged with aggravated family offense, criminal mischief, and endangering the welfare of a child. He was arraigned and sent to the Steuben County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail.
Off-Duty Investigator Charged with DWI:
An off-duty investigator at the State Police barracks in Painted Post has been charged with driving while intoxicated following an accident on I-86. Troopers responded to the scene of a two-vehicle accident in the eastbound lane in the Town of Corning on March 1st where a vehicle was struck from behind. 53-year-old Senior Investigator Randy Hugg was identified as the driver that struck the other vehicle. He was treated for minor injuries at the hospital and was released. The occupants of the other vehicle were not injured. The investigation is ongoing.
Owner of Lloyd’s Limited to be Sentenced Today:
The former owner of Lloyd’s Limited in Penn Yan is expected to be sentenced today in Yates County Court. 61-year-old Bob Champlin pled guilty in December to sexually abusing two women on Christmas Eve 2017 inside the establishment. He could have faced 25-years in prison, but under the plea, he will receive no more than 3 years.
Prattsburgh Proposes Term Limit Change for Some Officials:
The Town of Prattsburgh has proposed three local laws that will change the terms of office for some elected officials. The proposed legislation would change the terms from two years to four years for the Town Supervisor, Highway Superintendent and Town Clerk. However, before the initiatives advance, the town board first has to hear from the residents. The Board has scheduled three five-minute hearings on each proposed law. They are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on March 18th. The hearings will be held at the Town Hall on North Main Street.
NYS Legislature Approves Gun Storage Bill:
Both the New York State Assembly and Senate have passed legislation that would require gun owners to keep their firearms in a locked cabinet or equipped with a trigger-locking device if there is a child under the age of 16 in the home. Those that fail to do so would face a misdemeanor charge.
Bills Named Association VP:
Environmental Project Coordinator for the Steuben County Department of Public Works, Rich Bills, has been elected vice president of the state Association For Solid Waste Management. A SUNY Binghamton graduate, with a degree in Biology, Bills has worked for the county since 2008. He currently operates the leachate pretreatment facility and oversees two staff members. The association works to promote effective, efficient, and environmentally sound practices in solid waste management throughout New York.
Cohocton Man Facing Weapon, Drug Charges:
A traffic stop in the Town of Middlesex has resulted in weapon and drug charges against a Cohocton man. 24-year-old Brandon Beach allegedly had a gravity knife and brass knuckles in his vehicle when he was stopped by deputies Saturday morning. He is charged with 4th-degree weapons possession, along with driving under the influence of drugs, and possession of marijuana.
Priest that Served at Cornell Uni./Ithaca College Accused of Sexual Abuse:
A priest that has served at both Cornell University and Ithaca College has been accused of sexual abuse of a minor. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester notified the schools of the allegation against Reverend Carsten Martensen, and Cornell has temporarily revoked all his privileges provided for chaplains. The USA Northeast Province of the Jesuits has temporarily suspended Father Martensen from all current assignments and public ministry. Senior Director of Media Relations and News at Cornell, John Carberry said that, to their knowledge, “the allegation dates from the 1970s and does not correlate with Cornell, past or present.” Father Martensen has served in campus ministry since 2007. He is not an employee of Cornell University.
Steuben Ranked “Financially Healthy” Place to Live:
According to a new study, Steuben County is one of the best places in New York State to live when it comes to financial health. The study comes from SmartAsset, a financial tech company. They looked at factors such as unemployment, poverty, debt, and bankruptcy and Steuben came in second in their ranking. The number one spot went to Yates County. Schuyler and Chemung counties also made the top 15.
Italian-American State Legislators Scholarship Applications Available:
Assemblyman Phil Palmeasno and his fellow members of the Conference of Italian-American State Legislators are reminding their constituents that applications are available for their annual scholarship program. There are four scholarships, each worth $3,500. Two will be awarded based on academic achievement, while the other two will be athletic scholarships. The deadline to apply is March 29th. Applications can be received by calling Palmesano’s office at (607) 776-9691.
Hornell Native Signs Record Deal:
WETM reports that a Hornell native has signed a record deal. Meg Williams is a blues rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter who currently is pursuing her career while living in Nashville, Tennessee. It was announced on March 1st that she has signed her first record deal with Nola Blue Records. Williams graduated from Alfred-Almond in 2010. Her CD will be released on April 19th and it will feature 12 original songs written by herself along with other Nashville songwriters.
Bath Inmate Arrested for Controlled Substance Charges
Bath Village Police report the arrest of a Steuben County Jail inmate for drug charges. On a sealed indictment warrant, 31-year-old Colin Decker, formerly of Bath, was charged with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fourth Degree and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree. Decker has been in Steuben County Jail since January 2019 for a felony violation of probation. He was arraigned at Steuben County Jail. The investigation and arrest is the result of efforts by the Steuben County Drug Initiative.
Assemblyman Palmesano Calls for $150 million for CHIPS Support
This week, the New York State Assembly Republican Conference met and revealed its Top 10 list of legislative priorities for the 2019 session. Assemblyman Phil Palmesano spoke on behalf of the State Senate Minority for a $150 million increase in CHIPS funding and commitment.
The Republican Minority also stressed locking the 2 percent property tax cap by making it permanent, keeping AIM Funding intact, and giving aid and support to local small businesses.
FFW Announces $1 Million Milestone
The Fund for Women of the Southern Tier yesterday announced the group has reached its target funding goal of $1 million endowment and used the announcement as an opportunity to give the $150,000 FFW Empower grant to Arbor Housing and Development. According to Fund for Women Board President Amanda Chafee,the group set a goal of $1 million because an endowment of that size can fund an annual grant cycle supporting educational opportunities for girls and women as well as efforts by local organizations to support and empower ladies. By reaching this milestone, FFW’s grant process will now be perpetually-funded. Chafee said: “There is so much need in our region. Knowing the funding for our existing grants process will now always be there does not mean our work is done. It means we can and should do even more.”
Bill to Make Finger Lakes National Heritage Area Passes
A bill to designate the Finger Lakes Region as a National Heritage area has been passed by the House this week. Sponsored by Congressman Tom Reed, the bill awaits the signature of President Trump before our area is officially recognized as a National Heritage Area, which would help give our region a platform to leverage funds and support economic development and conservation of the legacy of our region’s heritage. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand also supported a similar bill in the Senate and Reed noted that this effort is a great example of bipartisanship and community pride.
Public Works Reports Less Poor Roads in Steuben County for 2018
Steuben County has reported an improvement in its roads for 2018, with a notable reduction in deficient bridges and poor roads. According to County Public Works Commissioner Vince Spagnoletti, the number of miles of poor roads in the county was cut in half last year from 41 to 20 miles. This reduction puts county roads at a rate of 3 percent being in poor shape this year-a drastic difference from the state average of 28 percent of roads in poor shape according to the State Department of Transportation. Spagnoletti credited our local and state leaders like State Senator Tom O’Mara, State Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and Governor Cuomo for helping to provide funding for improvements and maintenance of our infrastructure.
Sunday Snowfall from Storm System Possible
Not even a week after being dumped with a storm bringing winds and precipitation, Finger Lakes could likely get more this weekend. So far, we have chances of precipitation tomorrow ranging from 20 to 40 percent, but meteorologist Kevin Williams says the storm system from Genesee Valley to Long Island could very well bring us snowfall.
The Village of Bath Police Department reports the arrest of a homeless woman on a sealed indictment warrant. 35-year-old Felisha Robbins is charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a controlled substance. She was arraigned and sent to the Steuben County Jail without bail.
“Minor Incident” at C-PP School:
The Leader reports two 15-year-old Corning-Painted Post students were involved in what is being referred to as a “minor incident” involving a stun gun earlier this week. The school resource officer responded to the incident on February 26th and referred it to the Corning Police Department, who found “no criminality.” The incident has been referred to family court.
NYS Congress Passes “Revenge Porn” Law:
The New York State Assembly and Senate has both passed legislation that would see New York join 41 other states in criminalizing revenge porn. The new legislation would make it a misdemeanor to disseminate explicit photos of a person without their permission. Victims will also be able to file lawsuits against the person responsible for distributing their photos. Governor Andrew Cuomo said he intends to sign the bill.
Steuben Public Health Offers Free Home Visits for Newborns:
Expecting parents and parents of newborns can get a helping hand as they look forward to the birth of their baby, and in the weeks following the child’s birth with Steuben County Public Health’s free home visits. The relaxed visits are planned at the convenience of prenatal and new parents. Pre-and post-natal referrals come to Public Health from local hospitals, health care providers, and individuals. Once the referral is made, one of the nurses with the program contacts the family to set up visits. The nurses answer questions on a variety of topics, including, breastfeeding, maternal health, immunization, car seats, safe sleep, “baby proofing,” and more. For more information, or to make a referral, call (607) 643-5078.
Fund for Women Reaches $1M Milestone:
The Fund for Women of the Southern Tier (FFW) has announced that it has reached its target of funding a $1 million endowment. This milestone means the FFW annual grants process – which supports eligible girls and women who pursue educational opportunities and awards local nonprofits that align with their efforts to support and empower girls and women – will be funded for generations to come. The FFW plans to expand its reach and establish the FFW Empower Grant, a new, $150,000 award designed to help girls and women who have reached a vulnerable time in their lives and need immediate support. Arbor Housing and Development has been awarded the inaugural Empower Grant.