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Today's Top Stories - Tuesday, February 28th

Michael Beard Sentenced to Life in Prison:


In Steuben County Court Monday, the Elmira man convicted of killing Kelley Clayton at her home in September 2015 received the maximum sentence for his crime.  Michael Beard will serve life in prison without the possibility of parole on the first-degree murder charge, and for the second-degree murder charge he received 25 years.  Both will be served concurrently.  The third man accused in Kelley’s death also appeared in court Monday.  Mark Blandford initially faced charges of two counts of second-degree murder, one count of burglary, and two counts of conspiracy, but they were reduced in exchange for his testimony in Thomas Clayton’s trial.  Blandford was found guilty of second-degree manslaughter and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 17th.  Thomas Clayton, convicted of first-and-second-degree murder, is scheduled to be sentenced on April 24th.



BEGWS Names New Director:


After an extensive review and interview process, a new director has been selected for Bath Electric Gas and Water Systems.  The Village of Bath Board of Trustees announced Monday that Erin Bonacci has been appointed, effective March 13rd.  Bonacci has served the last two years as a consulting engineer for BEGWS.  In a statement, Bonacci said that she’s honored to have been selected, and that she looks forwarding to serving.



P.A. Man Arrested for Defrauding Steuben Co. Residents:


A Pennsylvania man, formerly of Painted Post, has been arrested on charges handed up in a 2015 sealed indictment by a Steuben County Grand Jury.  55-year-old Todd Calton was recently located in the Pittsburgh area as a fugitive from justice and has been extradited back to New York.  He is charged with first-degree scheme to defraud, two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, and petit larceny.  He, an owner of a garage door installation business, allegedly received payment from multiple customers and then failed to perform the service.  He has been sent to the Steuben County Jail to await his appearance in court. 



P.A. to Study Troubled Colleges:


Pennsylvania’s Williamsport Sun-Gazette caused a bit of a stir with a recent article reporting a number of State System of Higher Education Schools that may be at risk of closing, including Mansfield University.  Plans were announced last month to study all 14 of schools in an effort to reduce operating costs.  Findings could lead to program consolidation, new marketing, and possibly even the closing of schools.  However, while Mansfield University News and Media Relations Manager Terry Day admitted that the school has had enrollment trouble the past few years, he said he’s confident Mansfield will remain open.  He said they think they “have a plan in place moving forward to make Mansfield more viable than it already is.”  Mansfield University has 2,000 students, is credited with an $11 million economic impact, and is one of the top five employers in Tioga County, P.A. 



O’Mara Seeking “Women of Distinction” Nominations:


With March comes Women’s History Month, and State Senator Tom O’Mara is celebrating by once again accepting nominations for the Senate’s annual “Women of Distinction” program.  Now in its 20th year, the program honors local women making outstanding contributions to area communities.  One woman is selected from each Senator’s respective legislative district.  This year’s honorees will be invited to Albany for an awards ceremony in early May.  Nominations can be submitted through O’Mara’s Senate website at http://www.omara.nysenate.gov



Artists Encouraged to Take Live/Work Space Survey:


Local artists are being encouraged to complete a pair of region-wide surveys on affordable live and work spaces.  President of Three Rivers Development Corporation, Betsey Hale said that many local groups including 171 Cedar Arts Center and the Arts Council of the Southern Finger Lakes have responded, but they need more from individuals.  She said that, statistically, they need 400 completed for the study to be significant.  Their goal is 1,000.  Currently, she says they have 289.  All artists, arts organization administrators, and creative business owners in the Elmira/Corning and Southern Finger Lakes region are encouraged to take the surveys, available at http://www.ElmiraCorningArt-Survey.org  Hale added that all creative businesses - including those such as microbreweries, wineries, and restaurants - are encouraged to take the surveys.    

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