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Today's Top Stories - Thursday, March 1st

Winter Storm Warning in Effect:


The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning going into effect at 9 p.m. this evening and lasting through 1 a.m. Saturday for Chemung, Steuben, Schuyler, Seneca, Southern Cayuga, Tompkins and Yates counties.  Heavy snow is predicted, with total accumulations between 6 and 12 inches, though higher elevations could see localized amounts of up to 15 inches.  Travel is expected to be difficult, including during Friday’s morning commute.  Snow could fall heavy at times after midnight tonight and into the day on Friday, with rates potentially exceeding 1 inch per hour.



Larceny, False Filing Charges for Addison Woman:


An Addison woman has been arrested for allegedly offering a false instrument for filing to the Steuben County Department of Social Services Child Care Aware program.  32-year-old Alicia Griffey is also accused of receiving over $2,000 in child care paid from the county DSS that she was not entitled to.  She was charged with offering a false instrument for filing and grand larceny.  She was issued appearance tickets.



Alcohol, Drugs Cited in Hornell Accident:


The Steuben County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest of 22-year-old Lucas Andrews of Hornell following an accident in Hornell.  Andrews was allegedly behind the wheel of a vehicle on Seneca Road North that collided with a fixed object after his vehicle left the roadway.  According to authorities, their investigation found that Andrews was both intoxicated and impaired by drugs while driving at the time.  He was charged with DWAI-Drugs and DWI, and moving from lane unsafely.  He was hospitalized for injuries suffered in the accident and was issued a traffic summons.



Drug Enforcement Announcement at Hornell P.D. Today:


Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker, Hornell City Police Chief Theodore Murray, and members of the New York State Police, Steuben County Sheriff’s Office and Steuben County Department of Social Services will be holding a press conference at the Hornell Police Station today at 11 a.m.  Members will discuss the status of a significant on-going drug enforcement investigation effort in the City of Hornell and also plan to announce a major initiative aimed at drug trafficking in the city. 



Steuben Co. Sheriff Advocates for Increase in State Funding to Increase SROs:


Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard is among the local authorities backing calls for an increase in state funds for school resource officers (SROs), social workers, and guidance counselors.  Currently, Steuben has nine armed SROs in seven school districts, and two deputies assigned to the two BOCES campuses in Hornell and Painted Post.  All Steuben SROs have at least twenty years of policing experience, and have attended and completed the ALERRT active shooter training course.  Allard said funding more SRO positions is a better option than firearm training for schoolteachers.  “Without the adequate mindset, training, or physical conditioning, the armed teacher is likely to become a target of opportunity for a determined attacker to arm themselves from the very firearm carried by the teacher,” Allard said.  He also called upon his experiences with the civilian police academy where sometimes during a use of force situation “…some students utilized deadly physical force without justification, some did not use force when justified, and some simply froze.”  He pointed out that this “…occurred in a controlled training environment, not in a real situation, in which the body is reacting to an adrenaline onset and attempting to function during a traumatic moment of immense crisis.”



Former Corning Hospital Site Cleanup to Begin in March:


The New York State DEC has released a cleanup action plan to address contamination at the site of the former Corning Hospital on Denison Parkway.  According to the plan, chemicals like mercury, lead, and cadmium were found in the soil.  The DEC says work will begin in March.  The Guthrie Clinic, Corning-Hospital, and Corning Properties Incorporated will perform the cleanup.



Bullying Bill Passes NYS Senate Again:


A bill that would require schools to notify parents when their child is the victim of bullying has passed the New York State Senate.  Jacobe’s Law, as it is known, passed unanimously, for the second year in a row, but still needs to pass the Assembly before it can become law.  The bill is named for 13-year-old Jacobe Taras, who committed suicide in April 2015.  His parents say they had no idea he was being bullied and that his school never contacted them about it.  The law would require administrators to reach out to both the parents of the victim and those of the bully.  Currently, schools are only required to report to the State Education Department.



Gun Control Bills Blocked in NYS Senate:


New York Senate Democrats tried to force a vote Wednesday on four gun control bills, including a ban on bump stocks and the creation of more effective background checks.  They attempted to include them as amendments to a different, unrelated bill that was being discussed on the floor, but Senate Republicans voted to block the amendment from being added, saying it was not the time.  The Senate GOP did release a statement saying they plan on introducing a comprehensive school safety plan that will look at more money for security cameras and armed resource officers in schools.  The voting was party-line split, with all Democrats and IDC members voting for and all Republicans voting against.



Retailers Pull Assault-Style Weapons, Raise Buying Age Restriction:


While the government continues to debate, U.S. retailers have begun making changes to their gun policies.  Walmart announced Wednesday that it will no longer sell guns and ammunition to anyone under the age of 21 and will remove any items resembling assault-style rifles from its website.  Walmart stopped selling assault rifles in 2015.  Dick’s Sporting Goods also announced changes Wednesday, saying it will also no longer sell assault-style rifles, and they will ban the sale of high capacity magazines or firearms to anyone under the age of 21.  Dick’s said it has never and never will sell bump stocks. 

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