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Today's Top Stories - Tuesday December 10th, 2019

Americorps to be Contracted to Assist Public Defender’s Office
Americorps staff soon will assist the Steuben County Public Defender’s Office with preparing cases for low-income defendants. The county Legislature’s Public Safety and Corrections Committee approved a plan yesterday to contract for community outreach coordinator and intake coordinator services to gather information needed to prepare those accused of a crime for trial. The contract with Americorps is estimated at $14,000 annually, and the services will be in place within the next two months, County Public Defender Shawn Sauro told the committee. The services will help fill in the gaps public defense attorneys need to prepare cases, such as informing defendants of available options, and gathering important background details. Sauro says he also expects to hire more assistant public defenders in the next 5 years and that the new positions will be fully-funded by the state.


Corning Man Arrested for DWI
Steuben County Sheriff’s Office reports deputies arrested Jason C. Hitchcock of Corning.  It is alleged that Hitchcock operated a motor vehicle while  intoxicated on Bridge Street in Corning.  Hitchcock was charged with Driving While Intoxicated, Operating a Motor Vehicle with greater than .08% Blood Alcohol Content, Speeding and Failure to Use Designated Lane. He was released on traffic summons to appear in Corning City Court at a later date.


Jasper Man Arrested Following Domestic Incident
Steuben County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest of Kody Brown of Jasper. Deputies say they responded to a report of an injured person in a household on County Route 21.  Mr. Brown allegedly struck and choked another member of his family or household, causing injury to that person.  It is also alleged that Mr. Brown’s actions were injurious to the welfare of two persons under the age of 17.  He was charged with Criminal Obstruction of Breathing, Harassment in the Second Degree and two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Brown was arraigned in the Centralized Arraignment Court and released to appear in Jasper Town Court at a later date.


County Investigator Lewis Honored with Career Achievement Award
Steuben County Investigator Don Lewis was given recognition by county Sheriff Jim Allard on Sunday as Lewis received the rare Steuben County Sheriff’s Office Career Achievement Award. The award recognizes those who truly have made a difference for the office over the span of decades, Allard said. Sheriff Allard says of Lewis: “He has assisted multiple agencies in various investigations, both fire and police, and has done so with professionalism and a dedication to service. When you talk about wearing different hats, Don has virtually worn them all.”


Public Defender Sauro Defends Intent of Bail Reform Laws
Steuben County Public Defender Shawn Sauro made his case to legislators last night as county Public Safety and Corrections Committee met to discuss upcoming bail reform measures taking effect on January 1st. Sauro said while he doesn’t agree with all the changes of the new bail reform, the state’s new laws serve the purpose of respecting rights under the constitution and improving public safety. Sauro explained these changes aim to give the accused the right to a fair and speedy trial as well as a right to liberty and that other states have already implemented similar changes without experiencing major problems. Sauro also said that across the state, many people are unable to afford bail if jailed, which can have major effects on a person’s likelihood to return to jail or prison in the future.


Regents Endorses $2 Billion Foundation Increase for NYS Schools
Yesterday, the state Board of Regents backed a $2 billion increase in foundation for New York schools for the upcoming state budget. Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa said the funds would provide school districts with needed resources and lay the foundation to support children, bolster educator diversity and recruitment. The $2 billion figure is a goal shared by advocates like the New York State United Teachers Union, which praised the move by the Regents.


Cuomo Approves Hemp Regulatory Bill
Yesterday, Governor Cuomo approved a bill to establish a regulatory system to sell and produce hemp and hemp products in the state. This bill was approved with a chapter amendment intended to create a more streamlined system to regulate hemp products while giving the Department of Agriculture and Markets a supervisory role over hemp farmers. The Department of Health will supervise over production of hemp extract and will enforce a registration requirement for sellers of hemp products to follow. The chapter amendment will also defer decision making on hemp extracts like CBD as additives in food and beverages. Cuomo also announced plans to hold a January hemp summit to talk about policies relevant to the booming industry.


E-Cigarette Ban to Be Voted on Thursday
New York’s emergency flavored e-cigarette ban has been stalled in court so long it is set to expire before it’s able to be enforced. September 17th, a 90-day ban was approved then abruptly halted as part of an ongoing lawsuit vaping industry leaders filed in response to the ban. A key state Health Department panel will vote Thursday December 12th to renew the ban in hopes the state Supreme Court in Albany County will uphold the renewal.

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