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Today's Top Stories - Wednesday, February 14th

Concerns Raised at Landfill Expansion Hearing:


Local residents and officials from the Department of Environmental Conversation and Casella Waste Systems met at the Campbell American Legion Tuesday for a public hearing regarding the proposed expansion of the Hakes Landfill in Painted Post.  Residents brought up a number of concerns, including the environmental impact, the odor, the volume of vehicles, the health of nearby residents, and the radioactive materials contained in the fracking waste from Pennsylvania.  The fracking waste was one of the biggest topics at the hearing and Casella Waste Systems Vice President Larry Shilling took time to address it.  He said the company was also initially worried about the radioactive materials, but he said subsequent studies showed the materials in the waste were “slightly above background, and (that) it’s nothing to really be concerned with from an operational standpoint, an environmental standpoint, or a safety standpoint.”  Anyone interested in submitting comments on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and the town site plan may do so with the DEC until February 26th by calling (585) 226-5400.



O’Mara Unveils “Jobs and Opportunity Agenda”:


Tuesday, State Senator Tom O’Mara joined with his Senate Majority colleagues to unveil a “Jobs and Opportunity Agenda” that calls for new tax cuts, broad-based regulatory reform, workforce development initiatives, and a major refocusing of the state’s economic development initiatives including shutting down the controversial START-UP New York program.  Two pieces of legislation co-sponorsed by O’Mara has already been acted on this year by the Senate.  A measure that would make permanent the two-percent cap on local property tax increases, and a proposal that calls for establishing a permanent two-percent cap on annual growth in state government spending.



Budget Amendment Would Fund Early Voting in NYS:


Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Office has announced a 30-day budget amendment that would fund early voting across New York State.  Under the amendment, every county in the state would be allowed to offer early voting in the 12 days leading up to Election Day.  Voters would have at least eight hours on weekdays and five hours on weekends to cast ballots.  Counties would have to have one early voting site per 50,000 residents.  The County Boards of Elections would determine specific locations.  Currently, New York is one of 13 states that don’t offer early voting.



New Rape Kit Law Proposed for NYS:


In New York State it’s currently policy that unreported rape kits are only kept for a short time before being destroyed.  A group of legislators is looking to change that and give victims more time to come forward to law enforcement.  A set of three bills have been introduced that would allow for rape kits that have not been reported to the police to be maintained for two years in one centralized location, allow victims to keep track of their kits, and ensure that victims are never billed for their exams.  The legislators say they will push for the passage of these bills this year.



Steuben Public Health Looking for Volunteers:


The Steuben County Public Health Department is looking for volunteers for emergencies or drills through the ServSTEUBEN-Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).  Steuben’s corps is composed of both medical and nonmedical volunteers willing to respond in the event of a real disaster, and partners with eight counties in the region for additional support.  The volunteers also will have an opportunity to participate in a planned drill set for April 10th at Haverling High School in Bath.  Anyone who registers as a volunteer by Monday (Feb. 19th) will be entered for a chance to win one of three emergency radios.  Volunteers are asked to register at http://tinyurl.com/ServSTEUBEN-MRC.  For more information or help with registration, call (607) 664-2438.



NY Mental Health Awareness Plates Unveiled:


As part of its campaign to raise awareness for mental health illnesses, New York State has unveiled new license plates.  The new plates feature a green mental health awareness ribbon and the tagline “Healthy Minds, Healthy New York.”  The plates are available online and can be ordered through the Department of Motor Vehicles.  

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