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Today's Top Stories - Tuesday January 26th, 2021

Wintry Mix for Evening Commute as Weather Advisory Continues
Today’s winter weather advisory continues to 1am tomorrow morning with spotty showers anticipated in the afternoon and temperatures warming, possibly bringing pockets of sleet and freezing rain this afternoon. Showers will linger then snow will fall in the evening and overnight with much of the area seeing a trace-3″ of snow. Northern Steuben and Schuyler counties will see the most precipitation. Tonight’s low will be in the mid to upper 20s. Tomorrow through Friday we have a chance for lake-effect snow showers.

 

Steuben Sees 2 More Deaths from COVID; 83 More Cases
COVID-19 has claimed two more lives in Steuben County. One victim was a resident of the Village of Canisteo who died at the age of 76 and the other was a resident of the Village of Bath who died at the age of 66. The individuals were both males who died while hospitalized. This brings the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Steuben County to 159. Meanwhile, the Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 83 Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19 since Friday. This brings the total to 4,887 confirmed cases, 324 of which are currently active.

 

County Legislators Adopt Police Reform Yesterday
Steuben legislators yesterday adopted the police reform plan, which sets out a broad range of uniform best practices for law enforcement officers. The plan includes policies already in place and, set in motion others to go into effect this year. Developed in coordination with local police departments, municipalities and other stakeholders along with Corning Inc., the finished document drew the praise of state and county leaders. Steuben legislators stressed their support for the efforts already in place in the county.

 

CCC Classes Begin Feb. 1st With More COVID Rules
The spring semester at Corning Community College launches February 1st and there will be no shortage of COVID rules and regs. Masks are a must. The Spring semester includes online, remote, hybrid, and fully on-campus class sections. COVID-19 screening is required for all visitors to campus. The school acknowledges that many students prefer or require distance learning. The student emergency grant program will continue to provide grants for internet hotspots and the college will continue the laptop loaner program. Also, each student will have a room to themselves.

 

NYSUT Applauds Federal Standardized Testing Waiver
New York State United Teachers applauds the announcement that the state Education Department will seek a federal waiver of grades 3-8 and high school testing requirements amid the ongoing challenges students and educators statewide are facing related to the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement, the Union said “In a year that has been anything but standardized, it’s the right move to seek this waiver to cancel this spring’s standardized exams.”

 

Congressman Reed Raising Money for Barstool Fund
Congressman Tom Reed is raising money for The Barstool Fund and needs your help by donating! The Barstool Fund was created by founder Dave Portnoy as a fund to support small businesses that have been shut down or severely impacted negatively by COVID. The fund has raised over $29 million through donations from both the general public and celebrities. One hundred percent of donations go towards helping local small businesses across the country. In a statement to his supporters, Reed announced: For the next 24 hours, every dollar we raise online will be donated to The Barstool Fund, to help hard-hit small businesses recover in the New Year! You can donate at:https://t.co/qhz4utx2GS#BarstoolFund or https://t.co/wTrsPiK7mj Businesses can apply for The Barstool Fund by clicking the application link or visiting the fund’s website. 

 

NYS’ Spring & Summer Park Attendance Higher Than Ever
More people than ever before visited New York’s State parks, historic sites, campgrounds, and trails during last year’s global pandemic. According to New York state, 78 million people visited state parks last year, compared to about a million less than a year before. Increased attendance was driven by unprecedented visitation in the spring and fall.  State park beaches, pools, historic sites, and trailheads operated with reduced capacity limits to protect visitor health and promote social distancing. Increased park attendance was also impacted by limits on out-of-state and international visitors, cancelation of large concerts, festivals, and events; and public messages urging people to practice such recreational activities locally.

 

Cuomo Says COVID on Decline But to “Think Ahead”
In his pandemic briefing...Governor Andrew Cuomo...saying projections are showing New York's positivity rate continues to decline. Cuomo ... saying New Yorkers were generally mindful of the pandemic over the holidays, which paid off. He notes residents must still be safe ... but that it's time to start thinking ahead.

 

O’Mara Unveils “Reset NY Restaurant and Hospitality Industry” Bill
Today, State Senator Tom O’Mara and the Senate Republican Conference unveiled a package of legislation to help “Reset New York’s Restaurant and Hospitality Industry.” O’Mara said New York State’s restaurant and hospitality industry is an absolute cornerstone of our regional economies and has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. O’Mara says Governor Cuomo’s ongoing executive orders have hurt the industry and this means it’s time for the state Legislature to “act as a voice of common sense and fairness” and reopen local economies.

The legislative package includes comprehensive legislation to provide relief. It would:

· Exempt small businesses from being penalized with higher unemployment insurance rates due to layoffs resulting from COVID-related, government-mandated closures. The exemption would extend for a period of one year from when they are permitted to return to full capacity;

· Prohibit internet-based food delivery services from charging higher fees than they charged on or before March 1, 2020;

· Provide small businesses additional time to pay monthly sales and payroll taxes, as well as, business and property taxes;

· Offer interest-free loans or lines of credit to small businesses;

· Provide a one-year extension for renewal of liquor licenses; and

· Provide businesses a 90 day grace period to pay any fees or penalties due to state and local agencies.

Also included in the plan announced by the Senate Republican Conference were pieces of legislation that would:

· Direct SLA-inflicted fines into a business relief fund to help small businesses get back on their feet (Senator Mike Martucci);

· Provide for a credit on liquor license renewals for the amount of time bars and restaurants were forced to be shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Senator Joseph Griffo);

· Create a limited state sales tax exemption for the sale of food and drink at restaurants and taverns from state sales and compensating use taxes and granting municipalities the option to grant such limited exemption (Senator Daphne Jordan);

· Provide a tax check-off box that will direct funds into a business relief fund (Senator Mario Mattera); and

· Create an employee retention tax credit, modeled after the Federal Employee Retention Credit, to help employers keep workers on payroll (Senator Peter Oberacker). “We need to help small businesses not only reopen but stay open. Restaurants and hospitality businesses deserve meaningful relief and assistance to restart, rehire and reinvest. This is about rebuilding our local economies and preserving local jobs,” said Senator Pam Helming.

 

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