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Today's Top Stories - Tuesday, November 29th

BEGWS Director Fired:


In a surprising move, the village board in Bath Monday morning fired Guy Hallgren, the Director of Bath Electric, Gas and Water Systems. The vote was 4-1, with trustee Mike Sweet opposing the move.   Hallgren took the lead job slightly more than two years ago. He says he has already received numerous job offers.  Bath mayor Bill VonHagn said that the village is looking for different leadership for BEGWS.  The top utility job remains unfilled.



2017 Steuben Budget Approved, Tax Levy to Go Down:


Following a public hearing Monday night, the Steuben County Legislature voted to adopt the 2017 county budget, which includes a tax levy decrease.  The average tax rate for 2017 will decrease by $0.13 to $8.46 per $1,000 of value.  The current rate is $8.59 per $1,000.  County Manager Jack Wheeler credited flat Medicaid expenses, efficient staffing levels, and increased state funding for highway improvements with the drop in the tax levy.  Key points in the budget include: an increase for the county Public Works Department; a decrease in costs for the county Department of Social Services; an increase at the county Jail, due to state Department of Corrections requirements; and an increase for CSS Workforce NY to support short- and long-term economic growth in the county.



Prattsburgh C.S. Holding Lockdown Drill Today:


In compliance with state regulation that requires school districts to hold at least 4 lockdown drills within the school year, the Prattsburgh Central School District will be holding their first drill of the year this morning.  All doors will be locked and there will be no entrance into the building during the drill.  Also, secretaries will not answer any phones during the drill.  It’s expected to last approximately 15 to 20 minutes.



Steuben Co. Accepts Law Enforcement Grants:


In regular session Monday, the Steuben County Legislature approved federal and state funds to help ensure the safety of law enforcement and jail personnel.  $17,375 from the federal government and $8,687 from the state will be used for the purchase of bulletproof vests for use by the county Sheriff’s Department.  In other action, the legislature also accepted a state award of $5,000 to be used to publicize the county Drug Tip Line. 



Gillibrand Announces Broadband Legislation:


U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited Corning Incorporated Monday afternoon, where she announced bipartisan legislation that she says would improve access to high-speed internet for upstate residents.  The “Broadband Connections for Rural Opportunities Program Act,” would combine federal grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service to finance rural broadband projects across the state to help close the broadband gap and ensure that all New Yorkers have access to affordable, high-speed internet.   Locally, Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler said that residents are “at a clear disadvantage” opposed to urban locations, and Representative Tom Reed said that “it’s only right” they do their part in expanding access.  Gillibrand said she hopes that the legislation could be passed by the end of the year, but if not it’ll be reintroduced in 2017 with the first available economic bill.



Governor Announces $2.5M to Fight Underage Drinking and Substance Abuse on



Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday the release of $2.5 million in state funding to programs that are aimed at preventing underage drinking and substance abuse on 20 SUNY and CUNY campuses across the state.  Each college will be awarded $125,000 annually for five years to help reduce “the serious consequences associated with underage drinking and drug use” such as academic problems, overdoses and injuries, assaults and fights.



Free Presentation on Investigating Hunting Accidents:


Hunting is a major economic force in Steuben County, and hunting safety is a constant concern.  To that end, this Friday at 4 p.m., Captain Michael Van Durme will present “C.S.I. in the Woods: Investigating Hunting Accidents,” a free presentation at the Bath Fire Hall.  The Steuben County Historical Society is sponsoring the event, and they will also have 2017 barn calendars available, along with other items of interest for Christmas shoppers.



Giving Tuesday:


After a long weekend of shopping and deals, today is the day to give.  November 29th is Giving Tuesday, a charitable promotion that was launched in 2012.  Americans are urged today to volunteer or to make donations to local, national, and international charities.  For more information visit https://www.givingtuesday.org/.  

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