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Today's Top Stories - Wednesday April 15th, 2020

 04/15/20

 Steuben County Public Health Department reports the deaths of two more people previously testing positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Steuben County to 16. One individual was a 73-year-old man from the Town of Fremont and the other was a 59-year-old woman from the Town of Hornellsville.  Both died while hospitalized outside the county. Meanwhile, the county Health Department also reports that four additional Steuben County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to 160 confirmed cases. Two people are from the town of Bath, one is from Hartsville and the other is from the village of North Hornell.

County Manager Jack Wheeler has signed an Executive Order to close all county-operated parks until further notice.  Parks include Kanakadea Park in Hornell, Birdseye Hollow Park in Bradford, Harley Mayo Park at Boyd's Corners in Cameron, and Hornby Park in Hornby. In addition, Steuben County offices will remain closed to public walk-ins through April 29th. Buildings this effects include the 3 East Pulteney Sq. Main Office Complex (Main County Office Building, County Clerk’s Office, Annex Building, and the Balcom House); Veterans’ Service Office; Bath Mental Health Building; and Hornell and Corning DMV, Office for the Aging, Probation, and Mental Health Offices. Other County buildings, including the landfill and transfer stations, remain open. Residents can also contact the 2-1-1 Helpline for additional information. 

A new state Executive Order takes effect at 8 p.m. tonight across New York. The order requires all employees of businesses or entities deemed essential to wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public. Businesses must provide, at their expense, the employee face coverings. According to the order, the provision may be enforced by local governments or local law enforcement.

The COVID-19 restrictions have altered the lives of everyone in the community and that especially includes those involved as first responders and in Emergency Services. John Conrad is the PIO for The Bath Volunteer Fire Department and says with people less active and about and about, their call volume has dropped. However, Conrad reports operational procedures have been changed for when fire department is needed. Conrad said they have also had to cancel or postpone some fund-raising events.

Wegmans has announced operational changes that include placing purchase limits on categories that are in high demand to allow it to meet the needs of as many customers as possible. Wegmans is also requiring employees to go through a wellness check before the start of each shift.

Congressman Tom Reed says though employers are concerned about the eligibility of their small businesses  for the CARES Act , his office says the new stimulus package has the power to help employers who are acting in "good faith efforts" to maintain the business and its employees. (AUDIO) Reed believes the authority exists in the law to provide funding to all businesses, even the ones closed from following protocol of COVID-19 crisis. 

The Steuben County Industrial Development Agency (IDA), Corning Enterprises, and Steuben County have collaboratively invested in a $500,000 Emergency Relief Loan Program (ERLP) to assist small businesses in Steuben County that have been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. Thirty-month loans of up to $20,000 will be offered for short-term, working capital needs emerging through October 31.  Steuben County IDA Executive Director Jamie Johnson says “Small businesses are experiencing immediate and extreme negative consequences due to the reduction in public access, foot traffic, and limits on public gatherings and on-site work.” The program will be available to cover operational expenses, help prevent staff reductions, and offset losses due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The Federal Aviation Administration announces it will award $411 million in airport aid to 76 airports in New York to help respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The grant funding comes from part of the Trump Administration’s newly created CARES Act Airport Grant Program. Locally, the Hornell Municipal Airport is slated to receive $20,000 while Elmira-Corning Regional will receive $2.4 million. The funds are available for airport capital expenditures, airport operating expenses including payroll and utilities, and airport debt payments.

Felony charges were leveled Tuesday morning against a Campbell man during a traffic stop on County Road 125. State Police arrested 35-year-old Benjamin F. Baldwin. He was charged with DWI and having a BAC above .08%. He was previously convicted of DWI within the last ten years. Thirty minutes before that, also on CR 125, Troopers stopped 21-year-old Miranda B. Neally, also of Campbell. She was charged with driving while impaired by drugs and endangering the welfare of a child. Both will appear separately in court at a later date.

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