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Today's Top Stories - Monday March 2nd, 2020

First Case of Coronavirus in NY Confirmed in Albany
The first positive test for Coronavirus in New York was confirmed by Wadsworth Lab in Albany for a patient in her late-30s who contracted the virus while traveling abroad in Iran. Officials said yesterday she was isolating at home. Last week, Governor Cuomo called for the legislature to pass a $40 million emergency management authorization to confront the coronavirus outbreak but says: "There is no reason for undue anxiety." Cuomo also says New York state will offer its own testing for coronavirus right away which should take pressure off the CDC.

Justice Wants to Streamline Local Courts for Efficiency
Administrative Judge for the 7th Judicial District Craig Doran is endorsing a plan to improve efficiency of local courts. The plan is to merge multiple courts into a single state Supreme Court. Doran contends child support, custody, domestic abuse, and guardianship are all handled by different players in the court system which Doran believes this structure "accomplish[es] nothing, except further traumatize suffering people..." This new plan would have a single judge handle all of the cases and streamline low-end municipal courts.

DOT Announces Bridge Construction on County Route 56
The New York State Department of Transportation is advising motorists of potential delays beginning this week, as construction activities resume on to replace the bridge deck along County Route 56 (White Wagon Road) over Interstate 86 in the Town of Chemung, Chemung County. The completion of the project is anticipated to be later this fall. Motorists may experience minor travel delays as County Route 56 is reduced to a single lane with alternating traffic controlled by a temporary signal.


Plastic Bag Ban Penalties Begin in April
New York State’s single-use plastic bag ban may be in effect, but the penalties for stores that issue them will not be implemented right away. According to the Associated Press, New York State will wait until April 1st to assess fines to retailers giving out the banned bags due to an ongoing lawsuit brought by convenience store owners and bag manufacturers. Stores violating the ban after April 1st will face a warning for the first infraction, a $250 fine for the 2nd, and $500 for any additional violations in a calendar year.

Troopers Say Scam Callers Claim They are from DEA
State Police are warning everyone to NEVER give out Social Security Numbers over the phone. Troopers say calls have occured in the area where someone claims they are a member of the Drug Enforcement Administration. The caller tells residents their Social Security Numbers are being suspended. Police say this is undoubtedly a scam, and that the DEA has no connection with Social Security matters.

Baron Winds LLC Filing Petition to Amend Turbine Height
Later this week, Baron Winds LLC is expected to file a new petition with the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment. Baron Winds want to amend wind turbine locations, access roads and electrical collection and for an increase in Turbine height. Last September, Baron received a certificate from the siting board to construct a 242 Mega Watt wind-powered electric generating facility in the Towns of Cohocton, Dansville, Fremont and Wayland.

Fremont Fire Department Applying for Grants
The Fremont Volunteer Fire Dept. #1 intends to file an application for funding consideration with USDA, Rural Development Community Facilities program to purchase a new or used tanker, water truck, & firefighting related supplies. Public comments were accepted at the Department’s Sunday night meeting, however, written comments can also be sent to the Fremont Fire Department.

O'Mara Announces Farm Laborers Wage Board
State Senator Tom O’Mara has voiced strong opposition to any move by the state’s newly created “Farm Laborers Wage Board” to roll back the current 60-hour threshold requiring farmers to pay their employees overtime. The overtime threshold was part of a comprehensive “Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act” enacted by Governor Cuomo and the Legislature last year. O’Mara voted against the Act and singled out the Wage Board provision for particular opposition. The three-member board has the power to change the law without the Legislature’s approval.

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