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Today's Top Stories - Friday, December 20th, 2019

O’Mara and Palmesano Announce $64 Million REDC Funding
State Senator Tom O’Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano welcomed the news yesterday that the Southern Tier region will receive a total of $64.4 million via the ninth round of funding through the state’s Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) initiative. The economic development awards are to support specific regional projects statewide and were announced in Albany. Since 2011, The Southern Tier REDC has awarded a total of about $702 million in economic development aid. Regional Development Councils were established in the 2011-2012 New York state budget as a way to create a locally-based approach to distribute state economic development aid and guide development of local economic strategies to compete for assistance from the state.


Bridge to Bath VA Re-Opened
The Bath Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center has announced the entrance bridge to the center is officially open. All major structural renovations to the bridge have been finished. Beginning Monday, January 6th, the Longwell Lane entrance to the medical center will be open from 6am to 6pm.


Hornell Set to Receive $445K for Pre-K Program
Over 2,000 children will have access to high-quality Pre-K schooling thanks to the statewide investment worth $15 million. Locally, Hornell City School District is set to receive $445,806. The funding was awarded based on district applications and student need. In some cases, this meant bringing a pre-kindergarten program into districts where there was previously no pre-K available. New York state invests $840 million annually for the universal pre-K program, which is offered at no cost to families and serves 120,000 students each year.


Local Kids and Officers Participate in Shop-With-A-Cop in Corning
Steuben County police officers gave their time to help local kids get into the spirit of the holiday season with the annual “Shop-With-A-Cop” event in Corning and batteries were included! Fifteen children from foster care joined officers to shop at Rite Aid, Family Dollar and Tractor Supply. Batteries for toys were donated by Rite Aid. Law enforcement officials from several towns banded together for the event including the State DEC, State Troopers, VA Police Department, Bath Village Police Department as well as the Addison, Wayland and Painted Post Police Departments. Assemblyman Phil Palmesano made an appearance to thank the officers and say hello to the children. Bath Village Police Chief Chad Mullen said of the event: “these kids are being taken away from their homes and brought here, so we try to give them the best Christmas that they can get.


Reed Announces Funding from Recently-Passed Spending Bill
Upon the bipartisan passing of full government spending bills, Congressman Tom Reed announced the funding for the 2020 Fiscal year. The spending bills include $640 billion to fund rural broadband access. Funding worth $320 billion will go toward protecting against harmful invasive species. The Protecting Access to Biological Products bill was a provision of the package backed by Reed and will lower the cost of insulin. Another measure passed was the SECURE Act which will help workers save extra money to upgrade their retirement. Reed remarked: "This spending bill will deliver certainty and allow for long-term strategic planning for our government agencies and their employees -- as well as deliver upon many important policy initiatives crucial to the people we represent in New York,"


Southern Tier Awarded $16 Million for Water Infrastructure
Statewide, New York will spend $3 billion for investments in water quality infrastructure and this funding round will help projects in several local towns. The Southern Tier region was awarded over $16 million to finish seven water system improvement projects in Canisteo, Campbell, Horseheads, Elmira, Waverly, and Owego. This funding round provides $416 million in grant funding statewide, which supports the total project cost of about $1.6 billion. Zero or low-interest financing through the State Environmental Facilities Corporation also supports the cost of this goal. Governor Cuomo says investing in our state’s water infrastructure lays “the foundation for regional growth and prosperity, while also protecting our natural resources.”


NYS Thruway Approves Toll Increases for Cashless Toll System
The New York State Thruway board has approved upcoming toll increases for those without E-Z Passes. These changes would begin in 2021 once the Thruway has transitioned to a cashless system. Those passing through the Thruway without their EZ-Pass can expect to pay about 30 percent more. The new system will also track vehicles without an E-Z Pass and mail bills to said drivers. Those receiving these bills must also pay a $2 monthly fee. Public hearings on the changes will be held in the future. The state Thruway plans to transition to cashless tolls by the end of 2020.


Today is the Last Day to Donate to BEGWS and BVFD Winter Clothing Drive
Today is the last day to donate warm winter clothing to Bath Electric Gas and Water Systems and the Bath Volunteer Fire Department’s “We’ve Got You Covered”. Donations of new hats, scarves, gloves or mittens and warm socks will be accepted for the clothing drive to be distributed to local Bath neighbors in need for the holiday season! Donations can be dropped off at the BEGWS Commercial Office on 7 South Avenue in Bath or at the Hall Side of the Bath Volunteer Fire Department at 50 East Morris Street.

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