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Today's Top Stories - Thursday August 26th, 2021

 Reed Encourages Residents to Document & Report Flood Damages
Congressman Tom Reed says he is in "immediate and constant" communication with state and local elected officials, as well as emergency services like FEMA, to conduct recovery efforts  after the recent flash flooding that caused serious damage to areas of Western Steuben County. Reed urges residents who experienced flood-related damages to report and document any and all damages to local emergency offices and stay in contact with the County Office of Emergency Management to help those in the community “collectively surpass the FEMA requirements." There must be at least $30 million in damages accrued for the county to be eligible for FEMA financial assistance. Steuben County Office of Emergency Services can be contacted at (607) 664-2910. 


Health Director Smith Reacts to Possible School Mask Mandate
Governor Hochul said this week she would like to impose a school mask mandate in New York State. Though Hochul cannot officially impose a mandate herself since the state is no longer in a state of emergency, she said in her address yesterday, she will direct the state health department to instate a mask requirement, making it mandatory for all New York Schools to comply. Steuben County Public Health Director Darlene Smith reacted to the news and told WETM with Steuben County being named an area of high risk by the CDC, masking is a step “we can all take” to help stop the spread of COVID, citing masks as an extra protection for students who are too young to be eligible to get the vaccine against the Delta variant. Smith said that she and other local officials have been “scrambling” to try and come up with a plan after The State Department of Health decided to leave the responsibility of issuing guidance to local officials with less than one month until school started. Smith said the county was “promised [guidance] all summer long by the New York Department of Health,” This late notice from the Department of Health paired with possible new guidance from the new governor has delayed school officials from officially issuing guidance.


Steuben’s Heat Advisory Continues to 7PM Tonight
The National Weather Service continues a heat advisory for Steuben County until 7 p.m. tonight. Heat index values up to 99 can be expected. Hot temperatures and high humidity may cause heat illnesses to occur.


Rite Aid & Others Launch Back-To-School COVID Testing Program
Rite Aid announces it will partner with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, BioReference Laboratories and New York State to launch a back-to-school COVID-19 testing program.Students must pre-register and schedule a COVID-19 test appointment at one of the 115 Rite-Aid locations throughout New York State before they can return to school. Students age 18 and under must have consent from a parent or legal guardian, and be accompanied by a guardian at the time of testing. Families will be delivered the results of the testing digitally. Testing will be voluntary and provided at no cost to the family and school district.Click here to schedule an appointment. 


State of Emergency Continues After Western Steuben Floods
The State of Emergency for the Towns of West Union, Woodhull, Troupsburg, Tuscarora, Greenwood, Canisteo, Jasper and Addison remains in effect until further notice. The American Red Cross Shelter at the Tuscarora Elementary School will close this afternoon.  Those that need further assistance with housing are asked to call 211. United Way of the Southern Tier is collecting monetary donations to the “Steuben County Flood Response Fund” to assist non-profit agencies that are helping local flood victims. All donations will be fully invested in flood relief with no monies withheld for administrative costs, according to United Way President and CEO Stephen M. Hughes. State Route 417 from County Road 81 in Woodhull east to the Addison village line remains closed. Several county roads in Canisteo, Woodhull and Jasper also remained closed. 


Corning Man Arrested for Possessing Gun Silencer, Assault Rifle
State Police have leveled more than a half dozen felony counts against a Corning man. Troopers say they took 42-year-old John Risley into custody. He was charged with possessing a bomb or gun silencer, possessing an assault rifle and five counts of criminal possession of a weapon involving ammo clips. He was initially detained.


Hochul Acknowledges 12,000 More COVID Deaths in NY
Delivering another blow to what's left of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo's legacy, New York's new governor acknowledged on her first day in office that the state has had nearly 12,000 more deaths from COVID-19 than Cuomo told the public. In its first daily update on the outbreak Tuesday evening, Hochul's office reported that nearly 55,400 people have died of the coronavirus in New York based on death certificate data submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's up from about 43,400 that Cuomo reported to the public as of Monday, his last day in office. The Associated Press first reported in July on the large discrepancy between the figures publicized by the Cuomo administration and numbers the state was reporting to the CDC. 


Canisteo Man Arrested After Hornellsville Domestic Incident
After investigating a domestic dispute in the Town of Hornellsville, state police arrested 55-year-old Donald Smith of Canisteo. Troopers charged him with endangering the welfare of a child. Court action is pending.

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