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Today's Top Stories - Monday May 18th 2020

Friday began Phase 1 of reopening the economy locally which means construction and agricultural businesses are now up and running while our region anticipates the next phase of reopening. Phase Two of reopening will allow barber shops and hair salons to be in business again with social distancing guidelines still being followed. State officials say if everything goes as planned in this current first phase of reopening, the second phase should be underway by the end of this month. Currently, all residential and construction workers must wear masks when within 6 feet of one another while employers must provide masks for all employees and no congregate meetings are allowed.

New Yorkers that owe student and medical debts now have an extension to pay them as the state has again renewed an order to halt its debt collection. The halt applies to money owed to the State of New York and referred to the Office of the Attorney General for collection. This action is in response to continuing financial impairments resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The OAG says the period has been extended to June 16th before the office will reassess the needs of state residents for another possible extension. 


A potential financial crisis for Steuben County topped the agenda when the county Legislature met in regular session this morning at 10 via teleconference. County lawmakers say the way to ward off the crisis is to receive funding directly from the federal government. County officials say their most pressing need is for the state to release the Enhanced Federal Medicaid Matching Funds (eFMAP) Steuben is entitled to from the federal government. Steuben leaders say those funds, through the federal Affordable Care Act, are meant to offset the sharp increase in social and health services costs in the county and should be sent directly to the county.


A structure fire in Addison that happened Saturday is under investigation. The blaze happened Saturday night around 11 on County Road 119. According to Addison's Assistant Fire Chief, the structure, which was an Amish house, was engulfed fully in flames when crews arrived to the scene. People were inside the building when the fire broke out but all escaped safely with no injuries. The house was deemed a total loss and the cause of the fire is unknown at this time. 


Wegmans Food Stores announced in  a statement that the cost of putting safety measures and new equipment installed in stores to keep customers and employees safe from coronavirus will mean more expenses. Wegmans also says slaughterhouses closing across the country has put meat costs at a higher premium. Wegmans did not specify how much meat or any other product prices that will increase or what other products will be affected. 


It was reported Friday evening by Steuben County Public Health that the county's 41st death from COVID-19 was a 93-year-old woman in a Hornell area nursing home. As phase one of reopening begins in our region, this death reminds us it is important to remember the guidelines like wearing a mask and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet while in public and that these measures will prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. 


A Horseheads man is now in jail after allegedly committing 3 car thefts in the past month after he allegedly broke into a motor home. Deputies report 28-year-old Reginald Ferguson Jr. entered a residence near Classic Auto in Horseheads Thursday and was arrested allegedly with stolen credit cards on his person. Ferguson also faces charges for allegedly stealing a vehicles from Classic Auto last month as well as a Tops Market Parking Lot in Southport and another in Ithaca. He was released on his own recognizance following previous arrests but currently in Chemung County Jail on $10,000 bail. 


The body of a missing 27-year-old Horseheads man has been found after weeks of searching. This week, the New York State Police Underwater Recovery Team searched near Plum Point using a new cable length and pulled out the body of Daniel Manganaro around 10:15 Saturday morning. Manganaro was reported missing April 19th after leaving for a canoe paddle across the lake. An autopsy will be performed to determine a cause of death.


Watkins Glen International announced several changes to its summer schedule due to the current pandemic. Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen scheduled for June 25th to the 28th will be rescheduled the weekend of October 1st-4th. WGI also announced both the SCCA Majors Super Tour and the Finger Lakes Wine Festival both have been postponed until 2021. SCCA and Finger Lakes Wine Fest ticketholders have 30 days following the release of the rescheduled event date to elect to receive a credit for the full amount paid plus an additional 20 percent of total amount paid to apply towards a different future event.


New York State announced it has launched a website dedicated to finding COVID-19 testing sites and encourages those with symptoms to seek treatment. Governor Cuomo announced the website during his COVID-19 briefing yesterday morning and said it will be necessary to maintain a high level of testing in the upcmoing weeks as the potential to spread COVID-19 remains. The Governor also got tested during his briefing to demonstrate how quick and easy it is to have the test completed. 


Public and private beaches are scheduled to reopen Friday in several states that includes New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware. Governor Cuomo said with Memorial Day weekend coming soon, the state "wants to make sure New Yorkers and residents of neighboring statesare able to safely enjoy outdoor recreational activities." Social distancing policies must be followed responsibly by those choosing to go to beaches when they reopen at the end of the week. 


Today the state ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes goes into effect while also prohibiting pharmacies from selling tobacco products that include e-cigarettes as part of the state's Fiscal Year 2021 Enacted Budget. Beginning today, if a retailer is caught selling tobacco products, they may be fined up to $100 per prohibited item they have in possession. 

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