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Today's Top Stories - Thursday, March 2nd

Southern Tier Cashes in on New Tioga Downs Casino:


After much trial and tribulation, on December 1st 2016, Tioga Downs finished its transformation from a mere racing venue to a full casino and since then, the Southern Tier has hit something of a jackpot with the facility.  Since adding table games the casino has generated a 16 percent boost in attendance and a 20 percent increase in overall revenue, with a large portion of that going back into the Southern Tier’s economy.  There was also a boost in the job market, as the casino hired 220 employees, to the work not just the tables and games, but also surveillance, security, food, and more. 



NYS STAR Program Debate:


New York State lawmakers are debating the effectiveness of the changes to the STAR benefit program.  Opponents would like to see STAR return to being classified as a property tax exemption, instead of an income tax credit.  Opponents say the current system caused problems for first-time home buyers and that those affected had to pay their entire tax bill up-front.  Assemblyman Phil Palmesano says changing it back would once again make the program efficient for everyone.



Bill Introduced to Repeal NYS SAFE Act:


On Wednesday, lawmakers introduced new legislation that would repeal portions of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s SAFE Act.  The bill would remove the prohibition on transferring certain weapons to family members due to death, and would restore the previous definition of the term “assault weapon” for all of New York State, outside of the five New York City boroughs.  The SAFE Act was signed into law in 2013 following the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. 



Bath-Haverling Pre-K Registration March 20th-24th:


Children in the Bath Central School District who will turn four years old on, or before, December 1st are eligible for the district’s pre-kindergarten program that starts in September.  The Vernon E. Wightman Primary School will register such students for the program March 20th through the 24th in the school’s main office from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Interested parents should pick up an information packet prior to registration.  For more information call the VEW Primary School at 776-4123, EXT. 5100.



Watkins Glen State Park Construction Underway:


As part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2020 initiative to boost New York State parks, Watkins Glen State Park is underway with a makeover.  Construction on the main entrance started just over a month ago, and officials say work is on track.  Besides making the main entrance easily accessible and even more attractive there will also be changes to the traffic and parking, the trail, the gift shop will be expanded, a welcome center will be added, and more.  Construction will continue while the park is open this summer.  Work is expected to be complete by the spring of 2018.



Buffalo Has Warmest February on Record:


A city that’s known for its bitter, snowy winter conditions has set a record for the warmest February recorded.  The National Weather Service said Wednesday that the monthly average temperature for February at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport was 34.8 degrees.  February was also one of the city’s least snowiest, with only 5 inches over the 28 days.  Buffalo typically sees a monthly average of 17.3 inches.  The weather service says records in Buffalo go back to 1871.  

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