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Today's Top Stories - Friday, February 17th

Six Witnesses Take the Stand for the Defense in Clayton Trial:


In its first full day of presenting its case, Thomas Clayton’s defense called six witnesses to the stand in Steuben County Court Thursday.  Among them was an office manager for ServPro, Tammy Black.  According to Black, ServPro attempted to pay more than $800 in fines to the South Carolina DMV in August and September 2015 for Michael Beard.  Black testified that Beard could not get a New York State license until the fines were taken care of.  Black said Clayton was still trying to pay the fines, even after Beard was fired, up to the day of Kelley’s murder on September 28th.  Another witness, a social welfare examiner for the Chemung County Department of Social Services, testified to handling Beard’s application for social services benefits after he was fired.  When court resumes today, new witnesses are expected to take the stand.



Elmira Denies Counter Offer to Help First Arena:


A second offer by Chemung County to the City of Elmira to assist with the First Arena was denied Thursday by the city.  In January, Chemung County requested that the City of Elmira assist financially with the First Arena.  The total price tag would have been $1.4 million over a five-year period, costing the city roughly $320,000 a year.  The city declined, citing its financial condition.  On Wednesday, the county proposed a counter offer: splitting the cost of the ice plant repair equally at $750,000 each.  The city again cited its financial condition and said it is unable to assist.  County official Tom Santulli said he thinks the decision will ultimately lead to the arena’s closing.



Bomb Suspect Wanted to Start in Syracuse:


A plot to set off multiple explosive devices along the East Coast has been thwarted.  Mark Barnett, a Florida man, is accused of trying to get a confidential informant to place 10 explosives in Target stores along the east coast, starting in the Syracuse area and working down to Florida.  The informant surrendered the explosives to police on February 13th and they were detonated safely.  The motive, according to the complaint, was to make Target’s stock value plunge so Barnett could “cheaply acquire shares before an eventual rebound.”  It is unknown at this time what charges Barnett is facing.



Two Arrested in Hornellsville Drug Investigation:


A three-month investigation into the sale of heroin in the Town of Hornellsville has resulted in the arrest of two Hornell residents.  25-year-old Jessica Davis and 33-year-old Adam Moore have both been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class B felony.  They were arraigned and sent to the Steuben County Jail.



Steuben Homeless Youth Survey:


A yearlong study by the Steuben County Youth Bureau into problems related to local runaway/homeless youth shows the importance of communication between youth-related agencies.  County Youth Bureau Coordinator Bill Caudill said a summary of the study indicated the biggest problem facing groups trying to help homeless children is the differences in defining what “homeless” means.  Caudill said conflicting definitions by the state and federal governments has led to inconsistent reporting, and complicates efforts to help children.  Speaking to the county Legislature’s Human Services, Health and Education Committee, Caudill added that “the lack of dedicated Runaway/Homeless Youth funding, inadequate transportation, and poor family support are also obstacles.”  The full report is expected to be complete within the next few months.



Supply Packs Given to Bath Teachers:


There was an unexpected surprise for teachers at the Vernon E. Wightman Primary School in Bath this week.  Ten instructors were given supply packs filled with glue, pencils, pens, markers, and other goodies courtesy of Round Room LLC, the nation’s largest Verizon Authorized Wireless Retailer.  Since 2015, the Teachers Rock Supply Giveaway campaign has donated more than 8,000 supply packs to teachers across the country.

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