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Today's Top Stories - Thursday March 18th, 2021

Wegmans Expands COVID Vaccine Eligibility
Wegmans pharmacies in our region are beginning to expand COVID vaccine eligibility. All Wegmans stores in New York state will offer vaccinations to those living or working here. People 60 or older, teachers, school staff, childcare workers, customer-facing Wegmans employees and anyone 18 or older with qualifying comorbidities is eligible. Visit the company’s website to schedule an appointment.


Steuben Reports 11 More COVID Cases
The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 11 Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to 5,736 confirmed cases, 110 of which are currently active.


Bath PD Shutting Down Its Facebook Page
The Bath police department has announced it is shutting down its facebook page. In the future, all notices and press releases will be posted on the village website.


Majority Leader Says Recreational Marijuana Legalization “Imminent”
A deal for legalizing recreational marijuana in the New York State Assembly is “imminent”, at least according to Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes. Currently, the state budget faces an approximate $15 billion budget deficit, which could motivate a successful passage of a legalization bill. The current plan under recreational legalization would create about $100 million worth of the proceeds to be spent on social programs and hopefully deter drug crime and arrests.


Restaurants Outside NYC Can Operate at 75%
After operating at 50% capacity for some time, restaurants outside of New York City can finally increase their indoor capacity to 75% tomorrow. New York City restaurants must continue operating at 35% capacity for now while strict COVID-19 guidelines remain in place.
Governor Cuomo announced the okay to re-open at 75 percent earlier this month. Beginning in April, select businesses in New York state will no longer have to follow the governor's 11 p.m. curfew. However, restaurants are not included in this group. Casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, gyms and fitness centers will be released from the curfew. Starting Monday, indoor fitness classes can resume statewide at 33% capacity. Health screenings and contact information are required for participants. Local health departments must inspect fitness centers and gyms within two weeks of reopening.


Bath Man Arrested on Drug Charges
Bath police report the arrest of 39-year-old William J. Trenchard of W. Morris Street. He was charged with felony criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal use of drug paraphernalia. The arrest stems from an investigation last July. After being charged with a parole violation, police allege he was found to be in possession of a large quantity of meth, packaging materials and scales. He is currently detained in the Steuben County Jail.


Mental Health Reform Efforts Underway in Albany
There is a new effort in Albany targeting the need for resources for mental health treatment. Three legislative packages are being proposed - one of which would expand who can diagnose patients and connect them to further treatment. If the Assembly bill is passed, those permissions would expand to include licensed mental health counselors. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, there are growing waitlists for referrals for inpatient and outpatient care.


O’Mara Announces SWCD Awards to Yates and Schuyler Counties
State Senator Tom O’Mara says that Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) in Schuyler and Yates counties have been awarded a combined total of approximately $920,000 to work with local farms to undertake agricultural water quality conservation projects. A total of $15 million in state aid is being distributed to 26 Districts statewide through the latest round of funding under New York’s Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program. Nearly 150 projects on 147 farms will benefit from the new funding.


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