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Today's Top Stories - Wednesday April 7th, 2021

Vaccine Clinics Start Tomorrow at Civil Defense Training Center 
The Steuben County Health Department will open a daily COVID vaccination clinic at the Civil Defense Training Center in Bath. Clinics for the first dose of the Moderna vaccine begin tomorrow and will be open every weekday from Monday through Friday. Those 18 and older can pre-register through the Health Department’s website. Walk-ins are welcome, but those who walk in may have to wait, depending on how many appointments are scheduled. 


County’s Latest COVID Death 94-Year-Old Female at Steuben Center
Steuben County reports another COVID-related death. This brings the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Steuben County to 169.  The individual was a 94-year-old female resident of Steuben Center who died while hospitalized. Public Health Director Darlene Smith said "Unfortunately, COVID is spreading right now and the vaccine rates are low.  Higher vaccination rates can protect our must vulnerable and lessen the chance of serious illness and death.”


14 More Steuben Residents Test Positive for COVID
The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 14 more County residents tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to 6,087 confirmed cases, 179 of which are currently active.


Agreement Reached for 2022 NY State Budget Worth $212 Billion
Majority leaders in both chambers and Governor Cuomo have come to an agreement on the state budget which will see $212 billion in spending for the 2022 fiscal year. The budget includes $29.5 billion in school aid and $1 billion for small business recovery. Now those making more than $ 1 million will see a tax rate increase of about 1% while two new tax brackets will be created for those earning over $5 million and $25 million annually. Non-monetary items include legalized mobile sports betting, affordable broadband internet and nursing home reform. Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt is concerned about the “Excluded Workers Fund” and said the budget will only contribute to people further leaving the state.


Addison Man Convicted of Sexually Assaulting a Child 
A Steuben County man was convicted of sexually assaulting a child in Bradford County two years ago in 2019. The Bradford County DA’s Office says  26-year-old Nicholas Loucks of Addison was convicted by a jury and found guilty of sexual assault, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault (lack of consent), aggravated indecent assault (minor less than 16-years-old), endangering the welfare of a child, and corruption of minors. He was found guilty on each count. The victim, who was 14 years old at the time, says Loucks, who was the victim’s then-boyfriend, sexually assaulted her May 2019 at the Candlewood Suites Hotel in Athens. Loucks’ sentencing is set for May 6th. 


WalletHub Ranks NY 18th in Fewest COVID Restrictions
With around 19% of the U.S. population vaccinated and states opening up more as a result, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released updated rankings for the States with the Fewest Coronavirus Restrictions. New York ranks 18th in the country in the category of being required to wear a face mask in public. The Empire State also ranks 27th in reopening non-essential businesses and 29th in reopening bars and restaurants.


State Lawmakers Urging Cuomo Again to Reopen Schools
State lawmakers have renewed their call for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow all schools to return to full-time, in-person classroom instruction. The move has also been supported by area school superintendents.  The lawmakers said that the only thing still standing in the way of the return to in-person learning for all students is a Cuomo executive order. In a joint statement, the area legislators said, “It is time for students to go back to school. The Cuomo administration should immediately issue revised guidance to allow all schools to return to full-time, in-person classroom instruction.”


SUNY Says Program Will Vaccinate Students in May in One Dose
State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras has announced a program specifically designed to begin vaccinating SUNY residential students prior the end of the spring semester. SUNY has secured its first reserved shipment of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine to inoculate SUNY residential students prior to their departure for summer break. Because the J&J vaccine requires just one dose, tens of thousands of on-campus students scheduled to finish the semester in early May can get their one shot without having to wait weeks for a second dose before going home.


Congressman Reed Lays Low Following March 21st Apology
Congressman Tom Reed continues to lay low. The Corning Republican had often appeared on cable TV shows and his staff routinely sent out press releases. Reed also had stopped, at least for now, his regular town hall sessions with his constituents. Reed hasn’t posted anything on facebook since March 22 when he announced his public meetings would be rescheduled. On March 21, the congressman issued a press releases saying he wouldn’t be running for any public office in the future and apologized after being accused of sexual harassment involving a female lobbyist. Reed said he entered treatment in 2017, saying he was powerless over alcohol.

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