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Today's Top Stories - Saturday August 24, 2019

NYS Senate Bill to Educate Students on Hate Symbols
A new bill in the State Senate would educate New York students in grades 6th-12th about hate symbols. The bill was introduced by State Senator Todd Kaminsky from Long Island’s 9th district to require lessons on hate symbols as part of the student curriculum beginning in grade six. The purpose of the legislation is to require students to be educated on the meaning and history of symbols like nooses or swastikas as symbols of intolerance and hate. Kaminsky he is taking action to respond to the recent uptick in hate crimes across the country. Local State Senator Phil Palmesano said of the bill: “It’s unfortunate we actually have to look at legislation to address something like this. When these are things that our parents, families, and our churches should be reinforcing to our children," and continued “I am curious to see where the legislation goes, as it moves forward.”


Red Flag Laws Begin in NY Despite Criticism
New York's Red Flag law begins today and one Southern Tier District Attorney calls the legislation “ill-conceived.”; The measure, also known as an extreme risk protection order law, would allow a State Supreme Court Justice to order the confiscation of a person’s guns if law enforcement, school officials, or a family member signs a statement saying they believe the person to be a potential danger to themselves or to others. The individual would also be prevented from buying any guns while the order is in effect. After authorities take the guns away, a due process hearing would be held. One DA said in his opinion it's just another ineffectual feel good measure that will only serve to harass and will have no real impact. Twelve other states and Washington D.C. already have passed Red Flag laws.


Clayton Murder Conviction Upheld by State Court
This week, an appeals court upheld the first degree murder conviction of Thomas Clayton, ruling he will remain behind bars for the rest of his life for the 2015 killing of his wife, Kelley Stage Clayton. Clayton was found guilty of hiring Michael Beard to kill his wife back in 2017. The decision was not unanimous with the state court system’s Fourth Department Appellate Division not entirely agreeing with prosecutors. Clayton will remain at the maximum security Sing Sing Correctional Facility where he has been since April of 2017 while Michael Beard is serving time in Auburn Correctional Facility. 


NYSUT Voices Displeasure with State Test Results
New York State United Teachers say the group is not pleased with the State Education Department’s release of grade 3-8 state test results. In a press statement, they said quote - “While it is better that test scores increased slightly, we must not paper over the fact that the state’s standardized testing system — and the way it determines student proficiency — remains badly broken. Too many students are forced to take tests that are too long and include questions that are not developmentally appropriate. Invalid scoring benchmarks continue to mislabel children. And the rush to adopt computer-based testing has been a complete failure for the second year in a row…again those comments are from the State’s United Teachers. 


NY State Fair Senior Days Begin Monday
The Great New York State Fair is once again offering free admission on Senior Days, next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to all attendees 60 years of age and older. Identification showing date of birth may be requested to allow free admittance. Last year, Senior Days were expanded from two to three days, drawing almost 272,000 visitors.

FLX Named USA Today’s “Best Wine Region” For Second Year
It is the second year in a row that USA Today has named Finger Lakes as America’s “Best Wine Region” through an online poll. Initially, a panel of experts and the USA Today’s travel site editors chose 20 wine regions as nominees for readers to vote on as their favorite. The top ten winners were ranked based on popularity with our own Finger Lakes Region topping the list for 2019. Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan came second while Temecula Valley in California was #3, followed by Arizona’s Verde Valley Region and Washington’s Walla Walla Valley.

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