Michael Beard Sentenced to Life in Prison:
In Steuben County Court Monday, the Elmira man convicted of killing Kelley Clayton at her home in September 2015 received the maximum sentence for his crime. Michael Beard will serve life in prison without the possibility of parole on the first-degree murder charge, and for the second-degree murder charge he received 25 years. Both will be served concurrently. The third man accused in Kelley’s death also appeared in court Monday. Mark Blandford initially faced charges of two counts of second-degree murder, one count of burglary, and two counts of conspiracy, but they were reduced in exchange for his testimony in Thomas Clayton’s trial. Blandford was found guilty of second-degree manslaughter and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 17th. Thomas Clayton, convicted of first-and-second-degree murder, is scheduled to be sentenced on April 24th.
BEGWS Names New Director:
After an extensive review and interview process, a new director has been selected for Bath Electric Gas and Water Systems. The Village of Bath Board of Trustees announced Monday that Erin Bonacci has been appointed, effective March 13rd. Bonacci has served the last two years as a consulting engineer for BEGWS. In a statement, Bonacci said that she’s honored to have been selected, and that she looks forwarding to serving.
P.A. Man Arrested for Defrauding Steuben Co. Residents:
A Pennsylvania man, formerly of Painted Post, has been arrested on charges handed up in a 2015 sealed indictment by a Steuben County Grand Jury. 55-year-old Todd Calton was recently located in the Pittsburgh area as a fugitive from justice and has been extradited back to New York. He is charged with first-degree scheme to defraud, two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny, and petit larceny. He, an owner of a garage door installation business, allegedly received payment from multiple customers and then failed to perform the service. He has been sent to the Steuben County Jail to await his appearance in court.
P.A. to Study Troubled Colleges:
Pennsylvania’s Williamsport Sun-Gazette caused a bit of a stir with a recent article reporting a number of State System of Higher Education Schools that may be at risk of closing, including Mansfield University. Plans were announced last month to study all 14 of schools in an effort to reduce operating costs. Findings could lead to program consolidation, new marketing, and possibly even the closing of schools. However, while Mansfield University News and Media Relations Manager Terry Day admitted that the school has had enrollment trouble the past few years, he said he’s confident Mansfield will remain open. He said they think they “have a plan in place moving forward to make Mansfield more viable than it already is.” Mansfield University has 2,000 students, is credited with an $11 million economic impact, and is one of the top five employers in Tioga County, P.A.
O’Mara Seeking “Women of Distinction” Nominations:
With March comes Women’s History Month, and State Senator Tom O’Mara is celebrating by once again accepting nominations for the Senate’s annual “Women of Distinction” program. Now in its 20th year, the program honors local women making outstanding contributions to area communities. One woman is selected from each Senator’s respective legislative district. This year’s honorees will be invited to Albany for an awards ceremony in early May. Nominations can be submitted through O’Mara’s Senate website at http://www.omara.nysenate.gov.
Artists Encouraged to Take Live/Work Space Survey:
Local artists are being encouraged to complete a pair of region-wide surveys on affordable live and work spaces. President of Three Rivers Development Corporation, Betsey Hale said that many local groups including 171 Cedar Arts Center and the Arts Council of the Southern Finger Lakes have responded, but they need more from individuals. She said that, statistically, they need 400 completed for the study to be significant. Their goal is 1,000. Currently, she says they have 289. All artists, arts organization administrators, and creative business owners in the Elmira/Corning and Southern Finger Lakes region are encouraged to take the surveys, available at http://www.ElmiraCorningArt-Survey.org Hale added that all creative businesses - including those such as microbreweries, wineries, and restaurants - are encouraged to take the surveys.
Michael Beard to be Sentenced Today for Kelley Clayton Murder:
One of the two men convicted so far in the murder of Kelley Clayton is scheduled to be sentenced today. In November, a jury found Michael Beard guilty of 1st degree murder and two counts of 2nd degree murder. He was hired by Thomas Clayton to kill her. Beard is facing 25 years to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Special prosecutor Weeden Wetmore is expected to ask for the maximum sentence.
Dakota Miller Trial Delayed Again:
The trial of the man accused of killing a baby in Hornell has been delayed again. According to Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker the primary DNA analyst in the Dakota Miller case had to have an emergency medical procedure, and is expected to be unavailable for 6 to 8 weeks. No new date has been set.
Steuben Co. Legislature Meeting Agenda:
On the agenda when the Steuben County Legislature meets today will be the request of reasonable and fair funding by the state, honoring local heroes, and extending the sales tax. The county board is expected to support a bill now in the state Assembly calling on the state to fund in full court-ordered requirements for the independent public defense of income-eligible criminal defendants, and county legislators are also expected to request the state increase the 12.7 percent share of Department of Motor Vehicles fees now allocated to county DMVs. In other action, lawmakers will begin the process of extending the sales tax for another two years, and they will ask Congress to approve a commemorative coin honoring county native and aviation pioneer Glen H. Curtiss.
NYS Considers Cashless Toll Booths:
Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo suggested it’s not a matter of if New York State does away with human-staffed toll booths, but rather when. According to the Star Gazette, Cuomo, along with the State Thruway Authority, have signaled that they plan to move ahead with a cashless form of tolling for the entirety of the 570-mile superhighway system. However, there would be financial challenges. Hundreds of millions of dollars would be required to install cashless tolling across the system, which the Thruway Authority hasn’t currently budgeted for.
NYS to Examine Elder Abuse Problem:
At a legislative hearing Tuesday in Albany, members of the New York State Senate and Assembly are scheduled to discuss the extent and nature elder abuse. The state estimates that for every case of elder abuse reported, there are five that aren’t. Financial abuse costs the state’s senior citizens as much as $1.5 billion a year, according to reports. Lawmakers say they hope the hearing will help come up with better ways to prevent and combat elder abuse.
Elmira College Selects Next President:
Elmira College has selected its next president, and it’s one of the school’s own. Current Provost, Dr. Charles Lindsay has been tapped to take over the role on July 1st. Lindsay was unanimously chosen by faculty leadership. He will replace interim President Dr. Norman Smith, who has served for the past two years.
Talk of Campbell-Savona Joint Sewer Project
A census of family income will be conducted to determine the median income for Campbell-Savona residents to calculate funding to construct a joint sewer line between both the Town of Campbell and Village of Savona. The projec, which carries an anticipated cost of $22,000,000 is in the initial phases and won’t be presented for public vote until this preliminary research is complete.
State Colleges and Businesses Partner to Create Jobs
According to Empire State Development 43 businesses will partner with colleges and universities. Over 600 new jobs in engineering, research and agriculture and more than $15 million statewide has been created from the program so far.Schools involved include state universities at Albany, Cobleskill, and Plattsburgh as well as the University of Rochester and Buffalo University, which leads these institutions with 238 new positions created.
Bath Village Hopes New Vehicles for Fleet
On our Community Focus Program Show yesterday morning, Mayor Von Hagn mentioned the possibility of new police vehicles and snow plow trucks as part of a grant the community received over a year ago.
Von Hagn Talks Local Alarm Law
Bath Mayor Von Hagn shared that the Bath village is considering creating a local law fining businesses and homeowners that have repetitive false alarms. Von Hagn says the possible law is an effort to combat the drain on volunteer and municipal resources used answering to the call of alarms.
Thomas Clayton Found Guilty:
A Steuben County jury Thursday found Thomas Clayton guilty of 1st and 2nd degree murder. Clayton, a former Elmira Jackals player, was accused of hiring a man to kill his wife Kelley in their Town of Caton home in 2015. The trial lasted 30 days. The prosecution had called 65 witnesses to the stand while the defense called only ten. Clayton who had been free on bail was immediately taken into custody. Clayton could be sentenced to life without parole.
Investigation in to Human Remains Could Take Months:
It may be several months before we know any more about the human remains discovered in Bath. The Monroe County Medical Examiners Office is conducting a study to try and identify the remains that were found Sunday afternoon, but according to the State Police the body had been at the location for some time, exposed to the elements. The remains were discovered by a hunter who was scouting the land in the area of Wood Street and Muck Circle, just outside the village.
NYS Paid Family Leave to Take Effect 1/1/18:
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this week that regulations for the implementation of a paid family leave program has been filed by New York State. The first phase of the program will take effect on January 1st, 2018 and will provide eight weeks of paid leave to employees at 50 percent of their salary for those who seek to take care of a new child, a close relative with a serious health condition, or when a family member is called to active military service. When the program is fully implemented in 2021, employees will be eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave at 67 percent of their normal salary. The program will be available to full time employees who have been employed for at least 26 weeks, or part-time employees who have been employed for 175 days by a covered employer. The program will be mandatory for all private employers, and public employers may opt in.
Senator Gillibrand Announces Legislation to Protect Seniors Against Scams:
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited the Ernie Davis Family Center in Elmira Thursday, where she announced new legislation that would protect senior citizens from financial scams. The Senior Financial Empowerment Act would give seniors and their caregivers access to critical information regarding financial abuse. “The bill will take all the various scattered resources across all agencies and bring them in one place… …so you know where to go to report a crime or to get information about how to protect yourself and your communities,” said Gillibrand.
Community Meeting at the Bath V.A.:
There will be a Community Veteran Engagement Forum at the Bath VA on Friday, March 3. The meeting will be held at 3:00pm in Building 92 on the VA campus. Information will be shared on the latest VA happenings, projects and services.
Wegmans Donates Over 17,000 Pounds of Food to Food Bank:
Wegmans made a special delivery Thursday. They donated a shipment of 17,724 pounds of food to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, including canned goods, cereal, and other non-perishable food items. The food will be used in the backpack program for kids, and for the mobile food pantry. Since the partnership between Wegmans and the Food Bank began over 700,000 pounds of food has been donated. If you’d like to help too, the Food Bank’s Check Out Hunger campaign is still underway at several area grocery stores, including Wegmans, until the end of the month.
Clayton Found Guilty:
A Steuben County jury this morning found Thomas Clayton guilty of 1st and 2nd degree murder. After deliberating for about five hours Wednesday, the jury of nine men and three women reached its decision today. Clayton, a former Elmira Jackals player, was accused of hiring a man to kill his wife Kelley in their Town of Caton home in 2015. The trial lasted 30 days. The prosecution had called 65 witnesses to the stand while the defense called only ten. Clayton who has been free on bail was immediately taken into custody. Clayton could be sentenced to life without parole.
Congressman Reed Optimistic About Future of Kraft Plant:
Despite the company giving employees a 90-day closing warning, U.S. Representative Tom Reed remains hopeful about the future of the Campbell Kraft plant. The local lawmaker said he’s been working with county leaders and that they’ve “narrowed it down to some potential buyers.” Kraft-Heinz has said that if an agreement isn’t reached by May 26th, the company will offer severance benefits to pursue other opportunities.
Tyrone Highway Superintendent Arrested:
The Town of Tyrone Highway Superintendent has been arrested following a seven-month investigation. 65-year-old Paul Ernhout, of Dundee, is accused of submitting an altered town highway car invoice for work done on his person vehicle. He has been charged with offering a false instrument for filing and official misconduct. He was issued an appearance ticket and was released.
Shawn Hogan Confirms He Won’t Seek Re-Election:
In 2015, Hornell Mayor Shawn Hogan announced that it would likely be his last term in office. Now, he has confirmed that he won’t be seeking re-election. In a statement, Hogan said that although he feels he has much more to give the community, he also has to think about his family. He asked for prayers and continued support as he serves the remainder of his term.
Bodies of Snowmobilers Recovered from Conesus Lake:
The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that the bodies of two snowmobilers have been recovered from Conesus Lake. Jason Fluet and Christopher Copeland disappeared on February 11th when the snowmobile they were riding went through the ice.
Arc of Steuben to Host Wellness Fair:
The seventh annual Arc of Steuben Wellness Fair will be held Wednesday, March 1st from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at their Industrial Park complex at One Arc Way, off Route 54 between Hammondsport and Bath. More than 30 providers will have information about all aspects of health and there will be interactive demonstrations, including acupuncture, massage, manicures, and yoga. The event is free and open to the public.
Charge Dropped Against Clayton, Closing Arguments Heard:
Over six hours in Steuben County Court Tuesday, the jury in the Thomas Clayton murder case heard the closing arguments of the defense and prosecution. The defense maintained that Clayton is not a killer and that “there’s no real evidence that [he] had anything to do with his wife’s death.” Special prosecutor Weeden Wetmore asked the jury to “draw reasonable inferences based on the evidence.” In other action Tuesday, one second-degree murder charge in relation to attempted arson was dropped against Clayton. Clayton still faces one count of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder in connection with his wife’s death.
Campbell Kraft Plant to Close in 90 Days Unless Buyer Found:
The Kraft-Heinz plant in Campbell will begin closing in 90 days, unless a new buyer is found. Spokesman Michael Mullen said that if no agreement can be reached before May 26th, they’ll offer severance benefits and other support to help workers pursue new opportunities. The severance packages would continue until the plant closes at the end of July. There are 330-hourly workers at the plant. The company announced in November 2015 that the plant was one of seven that would be shut down in 18 to 24 months.
Alcohol Cited in Corning Accident:
A Corning man is accused of driving drunk following an accident on Hamilton Road in the Town of Corning. 29-year-old Thomas Miller is charged with unlicensed operation, moving from lane unsafely, driving while intoxicated, aggravated driving while intoxicated, and leaving the scene of a property damage accident. He was arraigned and released on his own recognizance.
Domestic Incident Leads to Probation Arrest:
Howard man has been arrested following investigation into a domestic incident in the Town of Howard. According to the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office when authorities responded to the residence on Hughes Road, they discovered that 25-year-old Dylon Little had an active violation of probation warrant out of Steuben County Court. He was taken into custody and sent to the county jail without bail.
Bath PD Investigating Abandoned Dog:
The Bath Police Dept. received a complaint of a dog found in a dumpster behind 16 West William Street. Police said she appears to be a lab mix and has a teal and black collar with no tags. Anyone with information regarding the owner of the dog or the person responsible for abandoning her is asked to contact the Police Dept.
Prattsburgh Water District Meeting Tomorrow:
Changes could be coming to the Prattsburgh Water District. The town board has scheduled a public hearing tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the town hall. Under the proposed modification there would be an increase in water rent rates. The town also wants to impose a debt reduction fee for water district infrastructure improvements.
Urbana Considering Solar Energy Moratorium:
The Town of Urbana will hold a special board meeting next Tuesday. The board will consider implementing a moratorium on solar energy installations.
Rust Caused by Salt, De-Icers Leave Drivers with Big Price Tag:
As the forecast for this week calls for increasingly warm temperatures, many drivers will be taking time out to give their vehicle a much needed wash, and according to a new report by the AAA that’s a good way to help avoid expensive, and potentially deadly, rust damage. The report estimates that U.S. drivers pay roughly $3 billion a year to repair rust damage from road salt and de-icers. Frequent washing, especially the undercarriage, can neutralize road salt and chemicals. Drivers are also advised to try and stay off the roads before, during, and right after winter storms, and to heed brakewarning lights, a spongy brake pedal, or the smell of gasoline.
Human Remains Found in Bath:
The New York State Police of Bath are investigating human remains that were discovered just outside the Village of Bath. The remains were found by a hiker on February 19th in the vicinity of Wood Street and Muck Circle. Authorities say they had been exposed to the weather for an extended period of time. Anyone with information is asked to call the State Police at 776-6866, or 911.
Clayton Trial Resumes Today, Closing Arguments Expected:
With both the prosecution and defense rested, closing arguments are expected today when the murder trial of Thomas Clayton resumes in Steuben County Court. The prosecution rested on Wednesday after calling 65 witnesses; the defense rested on Friday after calling 10 witnesses. Clayton is facing a charge of first-degree murder and two-counts of second-degree murder in connection with his wife’s death.
Elmira PD Issues Lethal Drug Warning:
Following five opioid-related overdoses this past weekend, the Elmira Police Department has issued a warning to heroin and opiate users that there is a lethal product that may be being distributed in Elmira. They also warn those who might be witness to an opioid-related overdose not to touch the drugs or related paraphernalia, as they could be harmful or even fatal if substances such as fentanyl are absorbed through the skin. Residents are also reminded that they are protected under the state’s Good Samaritan Law, which means they won’t be prosecuted even if there is drug paraphernalia present when law enforcement arrives. All five patients over the weekend were revived through medical intervention.
NYS AG Encourages Residents to Test Internet Speed:
As part of the investigation into Time Warner Cable, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is encouraging residents to test their internet speeds. Time Warner, now Spectrum, has been accused of misleading customers by failing to deliver promised internet speeds. Links to test your internet speed are available on the AG’s website at https://ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-encourages-new-yorkers-test-internet-speeds-and-submit-results-part.
Manure Spill Prompts Cayuga Lake Water Advisory:
A water advisory has been put in place for Tompkins County residents around Cayuga Lake and Salmon Creek. The DEC is currently working to clean up a manure spill that’s affecting both bodies of water, and residents are warned not to drink or come in direct contact with water in those areas. There was reportedly a structural issue with a manure storage lagoon at Sunnyside Farm and manure seeped into Salmon Creek. Officials say the runoff isn’t threatening Municipal water supplies. Information on how to disinfect contaminated water can be found on the Tompkins County website.
Closing Arguments Expected Tues. in Clayton Murder-for-Hire Trial:
After calling just 10 witnesses, the defense for Thomas Clayton rested its case on Friday in Steuben County Court. With that, after 6 weeks, closing arguments in the Murder-for-Hire trial are expected to come tomorrow. The fate of the case and Clayton will then be in the hands of the jury. There is no court today due to the President’s Day holiday.
Fire Destroys Painted Post Home:
A fire Friday night heavily damaged a home and left it uninhabitable in Painted Post. The call went out around 8 p.m. for a blaze on West Water Street, off of Victory Highway. One person was home at the time, but got out safely with no injuries. Steuben County Fire Investigators were called to the scene. The cause is unknown at this time.
Large Crowds Turn Out for Reed Town Halls:
As has increasingly become the trend across the nation, there were large turn outs this weekend at the Town Hall meetings for Representative Tom Reed. Hundreds of people, from both sides of the spectrum, made their voices heard – so loudly, in fact, that one resident in the Town of Allen said you could hear the chants from the meeting almost a mile away. Concerns were raised over the impending changes to the Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood. Supporters praised Reed for addressing and interacting with the whole crowd.
NYS Names New Cybersecurity Rules for Banks:
On March 1st, financial institutions across New York State will have to comply with rules set by the state intended to protect bank and insurance customers from hacking. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the new regulations on Thursday. They will require financial institutions to create and maintain cybersecurity programs to prevent illegal access to sensitive personal information. Many banks and insurers voluntarily have such programs in place already, but the new rule makes them mandatory.
Registration Open for Girls on the Run:
Registration has opened for Girls on the Run of the Southern Tier, a program for young ladies looking to get active and have fun at the same time this spring. It’s open to girls in grades 3 through 5, and 6 through 8 across Steuben, Chemung, Yates, Allegany, and Schuyler counties. For more information, visit the Girls on the Run website at https://www.gotrst.org/.
Defense Rests for Clayton
As the evidence portion of the Clayton trial wrapped on Friday, so did the defense’s case. Using forensic DNA evidence, Beard was convicted for the murder of Kelley Clayton. He will be sentenced on February 27th. Closing arguments will be presented on Tuesday morning in Steuben County Court.
Steuben Drug Forum Inspires Facebook Page
Last week’s heavily attended drug forum has led the planning of a private Facebook page as a way to educate and reach people on the issue of addiction in our community. The aim is for the page to be a resource for addicts and their caregivers to refer to when they are in need of information or programs that could help in recovery. County Manager Wheeler, who announced the news of the page, believes this will help serve the public’s need to be informed in order to combat the epidemic of addiction.
Reed Holding Town Halls
Congressman Tom Reed has announced that he will be holding a series of four town hall meetings across the district today. The four town halls will be held in rural Ashville, Cherry Creek, Great Valley and Fillmore in the local 23rd Congressional district. Reed went on Fox & Friends morning show earlier this week to talk about dissenting protesters, implying they may have “an agenda” from “the hard left”. Last night, Reed briefly met with sit-in protesters at his Ithaca office regarding changes in health care. Vice President of Trump’s transition team, Reed says these meetings are an effort to better connect and engage with his constituents.
Search for Campbell Man Continues
State police continue their search for Jeffrey Rumsey. Rumsey was last seen on Monday February 13th near the William T. Smith Boat Launch in the Chemung river in Big Flats. Wanted in three states, Rumsey fled upon being stopped by the state police for a suspended license. Officials are continuing their search for Rumsey.
Six Witnesses Take the Stand for the Defense in Clayton Trial:
In its first full day of presenting its case, Thomas Clayton’s defense called six witnesses to the stand in Steuben County Court Thursday. Among them was an office manager for ServPro, Tammy Black. According to Black, ServPro attempted to pay more than $800 in fines to the South Carolina DMV in August and September 2015 for Michael Beard. Black testified that Beard could not get a New York State license until the fines were taken care of. Black said Clayton was still trying to pay the fines, even after Beard was fired, up to the day of Kelley’s murder on September 28th. Another witness, a social welfare examiner for the Chemung County Department of Social Services, testified to handling Beard’s application for social services benefits after he was fired. When court resumes today, new witnesses are expected to take the stand.
Elmira Denies Counter Offer to Help First Arena:
A second offer by Chemung County to the City of Elmira to assist with the First Arena was denied Thursday by the city. In January, Chemung County requested that the City of Elmira assist financially with the First Arena. The total price tag would have been $1.4 million over a five-year period, costing the city roughly $320,000 a year. The city declined, citing its financial condition. On Wednesday, the county proposed a counter offer: splitting the cost of the ice plant repair equally at $750,000 each. The city again cited its financial condition and said it is unable to assist. County official Tom Santulli said he thinks the decision will ultimately lead to the arena’s closing.
Bomb Suspect Wanted to Start in Syracuse:
A plot to set off multiple explosive devices along the East Coast has been thwarted. Mark Barnett, a Florida man, is accused of trying to get a confidential informant to place 10 explosives in Target stores along the east coast, starting in the Syracuse area and working down to Florida. The informant surrendered the explosives to police on February 13th and they were detonated safely. The motive, according to the complaint, was to make Target’s stock value plunge so Barnett could “cheaply acquire shares before an eventual rebound.” It is unknown at this time what charges Barnett is facing.
Two Arrested in Hornellsville Drug Investigation:
A three-month investigation into the sale of heroin in the Town of Hornellsville has resulted in the arrest of two Hornell residents. 25-year-old Jessica Davis and 33-year-old Adam Moore have both been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class B felony. They were arraigned and sent to the Steuben County Jail.
Steuben Homeless Youth Survey:
A yearlong study by the Steuben County Youth Bureau into problems related to local runaway/homeless youth shows the importance of communication between youth-related agencies. County Youth Bureau Coordinator Bill Caudill said a summary of the study indicated the biggest problem facing groups trying to help homeless children is the differences in defining what “homeless” means. Caudill said conflicting definitions by the state and federal governments has led to inconsistent reporting, and complicates efforts to help children. Speaking to the county Legislature’s Human Services, Health and Education Committee, Caudill added that “the lack of dedicated Runaway/Homeless Youth funding, inadequate transportation, and poor family support are also obstacles.” The full report is expected to be complete within the next few months.
Supply Packs Given to Bath Teachers:
There was an unexpected surprise for teachers at the Vernon E. Wightman Primary School in Bath this week. Ten instructors were given supply packs filled with glue, pencils, pens, markers, and other goodies courtesy of Round Room LLC, the nation’s largest Verizon Authorized Wireless Retailer. Since 2015, the Teachers Rock Supply Giveaway campaign has donated more than 8,000 supply packs to teachers across the country.
Prosecution Rests in Clayton Trial:
On Wednesday, the prosecution rested its case against Thomas Clayton. 65 witnesses have been called, and hundreds of materials have been introduced into evidence. The final witness for the prosecution was Steuben County Sheriff’s Deputy Dean Swan, resuming testimony from Tuesday. The jury watched a recording of a 50 minute body cam video as he responded to the Clayton home. In the video, Clayton tells Deputy Swan that he was playing poker, came home, the kids said there was a robber, then he saw his wife’s body. Several times throughout the video, Deputy Swan said he thought it was a domestic incident gone wrong and that Clayton was trying to cover it up. Swan testified that his suspicion of Clayton was just a theory, not a conclusion. The defense began presenting its case on Wednesday, calling two witnesses of its own before court was adjourned. Court will resume today at 9:30. According to Judge Peter Bradstreet, it’s likely the defense will rest by the end of next week.
Wayland Man Facing Child Porn Charges:
A Wayland man has been charged with felony counts of possessing and promoting child pornography. On Tuesday, state police and FBI agents from the Corning office arrested 57-year-old Peter Nowak. He was arraigned in the Town of Wayland court and committed to the Steuben County Jail on $10,000 bail. State Police are still actively investigating the case and ask that anyone with information concerning possible victims contact the SP Wayland Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Bill Proposed that Would Move Election Day to Weekend:
A bill has been proposed that would move the traditional Tuesday Election Day to the weekend. Its sponsors, including Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, believe it would make future elections more convenient. Currently, polls are only open one day for 12 hours, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The new legislation would move it to the first Saturday and Sunday after the first Friday in November. The bill is similar to an unsuccessful piece of legislation that was proposed by Congresswoman Slaughter in 2008.
Congressman Reed Named to Health Subcommittee:
Congressman Tom Reed announced Wednesday that he has been named to the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. Reed noted that this Subcommittee will be heavily involved in repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Reed said that he will also remain a member of the Subcommittee on Human Resources and the Subcommittee on Trade.
Ready Steuben App Should be Ready by Summer:
Steuben County residents will be able to keep tabs on flooding, heavy precipitation, and other emergencies from their cell phones and tablets when the county launches it’s free app this summer. Director of the Steuben County Emergency Management Office, Timothy Marshall said “Ready Steuben,” as the app is known, will also offer information on how to establish an emergency plan, and the ability to start your emergency supply kit, among dozens of other options. He said the goal is to have the app up and running by May or June. The cost is expected to be about $10,000, which will be funded by a state grant.
Deadline for 2017 Steuben Co. Youth Bureau Awards Dinner Reservations 2/28:
The deadline for reservations for the Steuben County Youth Bureau Annual Awards Dinner is February 28th. The dinner is set for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 6th at the Bath Country Club. It will honor individuals who have made a difference in the lives of Steuben youth. The cost for each meal is $22. For more information or to make reservations, call (607) 664-2119.
Peace and Justice Group Discussion:
The Bath Peace and Justice Group will host a panel discussion on new, grassroots, peace and social justice initiatives in the area on March 1st at 7 p.m. at the Saint Thomas Episcopal Church. After the panel, there will be a discussion.
Board of Ed. Meeting:
The regular meeting of the Board of Education of the Bath Central School District will be held tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Dana Lyon Middle School Library.
Week Six of the Clayton Trial Begins:
Week six of the Thomas Clayton murder trial got underway Tuesday in Steuben County Court. Six witnesses took the stand. Leah Egnor, a New York State Police forensic scientist, testified about examining the murder weapon, and various articles of clothing and swabs from the murder scene. She said she found traces of blood on a black t-shirt and jeans that were recovered from a swampy area in Elmira Heights, and that there was no sign of blood on the clothes Clayton was wearing on September 28th and 29th. A second DNA specialist/forensic scientist for the New York State Police testified to finding Michael Beard’s DNA profile on a swab of blood, belonging to Kelley, that was taken from a bedroom door, as well as finding his DNA profile on the recovered black t-shirt. Also taking the stand was Richard Flood, an insurance adjuster with Erie Insurance, who testified to helping Clayton with a claim in November 2015 for a body fluid cleanup at the home. That claim, according to Flood, did not include anything about a lockbox or cash or other items being stolen. Steuben County Sheriff’s Deputy Dean Swan, who was first on the scene of the murder, later testified that Clayton told him that there was a robbery. The jury is expected to watch Deputy Swan’s body cam footage when he returns to the stand today.
Visitor Restrictions Implemented at Guthrie Hospitals:
All Guthrie hospitals in both New York and Pennsylvania have now implemented visitor restrictions. Officials say it’s because of an increase in flu cases. Children under the age of 12, and anyone with a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, or nasal congestion in the past 24 hours will be blocked from the hospital. Masks and hand sanitizers will be available for other visitors.
Search On for Man Who Escaped Police:
A helicopter, an air boat, a scuba team, and a K-9 unit were all out in the area of the Senator William Smith Boat Launch off of Route 352 in Big Flats Monday night into Tuesday as the New York State Police search for a man who fled from them. According to authorities, they identified a suspicious vehicle in the area of the boat launch just after 9 p.m. and their investigation revealed that the passenger had a warrant. When they went to question him, he reportedly ran into the wooded area. Canines then tacked him to the edge of the water. The driver of the vehicle did not flee and is currently under investigation, according to police. The search for the suspect is still ongoing. Police say they do not believe there’s any danger to the community.
CMoG President Named to U.S. Advisory Committee:
The federal advisory committee that helps protect the cultural heritage of foreign countries is getting some local help. The president of the Corning Museum of Glass, Karol Wight, was appointed and confirmed to the state Department’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee by former President Barack Obama before he left office last month. The committee is made of up 11 experts on museums, archaeology, anthropology, and the international sale of cultural property to help ensure that antiquities aren’t illegally excavated overseas and taken from their country of origin. They are appointed by the president for three-year terms.
Leslie Danks Burke Won’t Run for Congress:
On Monday, Leslie Danks Burke confirmed that while she was proud to earn 45 percent of the vote for the 23rd congressional district in 2016, she won’t be running again. In a statement she said that she’s “removing [herself] early from the field of potential Congressional candidates to clear the way for others who may wish to step in.”
Check Out Hunger Campaign Kicks Off:
Local residents can once again help fight community hunger while doing their grocery shopping as the annual Check Out Hunger fundraiser has kicked off at area stores. While at the register, shoppers at Jubilee Foods, Save-A-Lot, Tops Friendly Markets, and Wegmans can choose to donate $2, $3, or $5.
Board of Ed. Meeting:
The Hammondsport Central School Board of Education will hold its regular meeting tonight at 6 p.m. in the High School library.
SAVONA DRUG BUST
New York State Troopers arrested Corey M. Prettyman of Elmira for Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, 3rd degree after stopping for a traffic law violation in Savona. Prettyman was arraigned before Village of Savona Justice Michael Horton, and remanded to the Steuben Co. Jail in lieu of $50,000.00 cash bail/$100,000.00 property bond. He will appear in court at a later date.
BATH ELECTRIC HOLDS MEETING REGARDING TREATMENT PLANT
The Utility Commission of Bath Electric Gas and Water Systems meets Thursday at 4:30 PM regarding the aging water treatment facility in Bath. Two options are being discussed, according to story in The Leader this morning. One option will cost $14 million dollars a second will be $15 million. The project aims to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment loads coming from all wastewater plants that enter the Chesapeake Bay. The facility currently serves approximately 2,500 residents.
CAMPBELL FIRE DISTRICT VOTES ON TRUCK
The Campbell Fire District Commissioners have set a public vote on purchasing a tanker truck for tonight, costing an estimated $233,000. Residents are welcome to vote at the Campbell Fire Department on Church Street from 6-9 p.m tonight.
HEARING SCHEDULED FOR SOUTH CORNING CELL TOWER
South Corning is holding a hearing for the construction of a cell tower in the village. Upstate Tower would wants to locate its cell site at 314 Park Avenue. The Zoning Board of Appeals of South Corning has set the hearing for Wednesday at 4:30 p.m .
NEW YORK STATE TEENS NOW ELIGIBLE FOR ORGAN DONORSHIP
In time for National Organ Donor Day, New York teens as young as sixteen can now become eye, organ and tissue donors. New York is currently last in the nation for organ donors above the age of eighteen with a rate of 26 percent. Citizens under eighteen can become organ donors when applying for their first driver ID. Currently, 47 other states in the nation share the age requirement.
Drifting Snow, Icy Roads This Morning:
Old Man Winter stopped by the northeast again Sunday night, so as you prepare to begin your week give yourself some extra time. A Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect in until 7 a.m. this morning for Steuben, Yates, Seneca, Schuyler, and Chemung Counties. The storm is expected to finish up with a bit more accumulation, before diminishing to flurries. However, the strong winds will continue to drift snow about. Visibility may be low and roadways may be slick.
Bath Man Charged for Trying to Sell Drugs:
A Bath man has been arrested for allegedly trying to sell prescription drugs. 61-year-old John Dixon was charged with attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance and was sent to the Steuben County Jail.
Construction Underway on Kwik Fill Station in Bath:
The upgrades have begun on the Kwik Fill gas station on West Morris Street in Bath. The completely revamped store is expected to open sometime this summer. Village Mayor Bill von Hagn said the upgrades will offer a positive community reinvestment, and he said he’s pleased by the commitment shown to the residents and the businesses.
Police Investigating Stabbing in Alfred, Menacing at College:
Police are investigating the stabbing of an Alfred State student in the village of Alfred, as well as an incident of menacing on the Alfred State campus that both occurred Sunday morning. While there have been no arrests, Police Chief Paul Griffith said the public doesn’t need to be concerned about its safety. He said it was an isolated incident, and that there is no threat to campus safety. The stabbing victim’s identity wasn’t released, but he was treated at St. James Mercy in Hornell and was released.
Listeria Concerns Prompt Sargento Recall:
Some cheese products produced by Sargento have been recalled due to possible Listeria contamination. Included in the recall are Sargento Ultra Thin Longhorn Colby and Chef Blends Shredded Nacho and Taco Cheese, among other items packaged on the same line. To learn more visit https://info.sargento.com/?gclid=CKPztdf8itICFcUdgQod3B4H5w.
Bear Take Slightly Down in NYS in 2016:
The number of black bears taken during the 2016 hunting seasons was down slightly from last year, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation. Officials report that hunters took a total of 1,025 black bears in the Southern Zone, about 10 percent less than in 2015. However, that is slightly more than the five-year average. The heaviest dressedweight bear of 2016 came in at 555 pounds, and was taken Franklin County.
CLAYTON TRIAL EXAMINES SOFTWARE
Witness cross examination grew tense on Friday for the ongoing Clayton case. Tensions arose when the defense doubted the law enforcement consultant who collected data from Clayton’s cell phone. After giving his testimony of said evidence, the defense implied the consultant’s professional credentials, education and history were questionable. The trial continues at 9:30 Tuesday morning in Steuben County Court.
REED HOSTS HEALTHCARE FORUM
Congressman Tom Reed hosted a health care forum at Arnot Ogden Medical Center on Friday. Reed and local professionals of the healthcare field spoke with the intent to inform the public about possible changes that follow the repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act, including the renegotiation of the healthcare cost equation and the lowering of deductibles. Reed also urged bipartisan cooperation to reconstruct America’s health care.
HORNELL RANKED STATE’S THIRD MOST AFFORDABLE CITY
Smart Asset named Hornell New York State’s third most affordable city this year. The financial management website calculates its annual city affordability list based on the yearly averages of homeowner insurance rates, property taxes, mortgage payments and median income. Last year Hornell ranked first and in 2015 placed fourth.
STATE GRADUATION RATE INCREASE
Public school graduation in New York state is 79.4 percent this year, a 1.3 increase from last year. According to the State Education Department the graduation rate has slowly yet steadily risen twelve percent in the last decade.
Clayton Trial Abruptly Adjourned Thursday:
While the Thomas Clayton murder trial resumed as expected Thursday, it was only a matter of hours before it was abruptly adjourned for the day. Sy Ray, the owner of ZetX, a company that maps cell phone data resumed the stand and showed the jury his software’s analysis of the activity of both Clayton’s and Michael Beard’s cell phones. Then, just before noon, Judge Peter Bradstreet adjourned court due to a “matter of law” that needs to be addressed. Court is expected to resume today at 9:30 a.m.
Steuben Co. Holds First Opioid/Drug Forum:
Roughly 100 people turned out Thursday night for Steuben County’s first Community Opioid and Substance Abuse Forum in Bath. Attendees learned about the issues facing the community and were able to ask questions about how they can help loved ones who may be suffering with addiction. Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard said he was pleased with the turnout. Organizers of the event say they would like to hold more discussions like the one last night in the future in different parts of the county.
Gov. Cuomo Helps Stranded Driver:
When most people have the misfortune of getting stuck on the roadside, they expect a company like AAA to come to the rescue. But one driver caught in Thursday’s severe snow storm had none other than the Governor of New York State come to help. Photos show Andrew Cuomo hooking chains to the vehicle’s tires before assisting the driver in freeing the vehicle and getting back on the road.
Photo Credit: WETM
IRS Warns Against Tax Scams:
It’s tax season, and that means it’s also tax scam season. The IRS has issued a warning to be alert for tax preparers that promise inflated returns. Officials say if a preparer promises an extremely large refund based on credits or benefits you’ve never claimed in the past, you should use caution. Scammers may also file a false return in their client’s name, and the client doesn’t know that a refund was paid. For more information and tips, visit the IRS website at https://irs.gov/.
GoFundMe for Family of Naples 6th Grader Killed by Flu:
Tributes are being made for a Naples 6th grader that has died from the flu. Madeline Barton had been hospitalized in recent days, according to a GoFundMe page set up by a family friend. She passed away on Wednesday. Services will be held on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Trinity Federated Church, with a gathering at 2 p.m. in lieu of calling hours. The GoFundMe page can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/medical-fund-for-madelyn-barton.
Photo Credit: Finger Lakes Daily News
NYS Budget Hearings Delayed Due to Weather:
Thursday’s severe weather delayed the latest hearings on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed state budget. Lawmakers were expected to debate on housing; they will instead convene today. On Monday a hearing on environmental conservation spending is scheduled.
Man Dies in Ithaca Hospital ER:
The New York State Health Department is investigating the death of a man waiting in the emergency room at Cayuga Medical Center. According to hospital officials the man was brought to the hospital by ambulance after he was found sleeping on the floor of a convenience store. He was reportedly alert and communicating when he arrived, but was found dead in the waiting room two hours later. Cayuga Medical Center president John Rudd said the man’s death followed “a series of breakdowns” in procedure. He added that the hospital is fully cooperating with the investigation. Officials say the travel nurse’s contract was terminated.
Cell Phone Data Examined in Clayton Trial:
There were some delays in the Thomas Clayton murder trial Wednesday. A juror failed to show up, and so had to be replaced by an alternate. Things got back underway around 1:15 p.m. with the prosecution calling its latest witness to the stand. It was Sy Ray, the owner of ZetX, a company that maps cell phone data. Ray showed the jury his analysis of the activity of both Clayton’s and Michael Beard’s cell phones, including location services and other activities that occurred while the phones were on. His testimony was consistent with previous testimony regarding the activities of both men in the days surrounding Kelley’s murder. Ray is expected to continuing testifying when court resumes today.
Public Hearing on Proposed Changes to Prattsburgh Water District:
Changes could be coming to the Prattsburgh Water District. The town board has scheduled a public hearing for Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. at the town hall. Under the proposed modification there would be an increase in water rent rates. The town also wants to impose a debt reduction fee for water district infrastructure improvements.
2016 STAR Rebates Delayed:
While many people are awaiting their tax returns for 2017, some are actually still waiting for a part of the 2016 rebates. There have been delays in the issuing of the 2016 STAR rebate checks. A change in the program was supposed to see the rebates delivered to new homeowners with their tax break instead of the normal rebate. The State Department says that changes in credit eligibility are making it difficult to get those checks out. In response, some lawmakers are now working on a bill that would hit the tax department with a penalty if it fails to issue next year’s credits by the September deadline.
Corning Police Look to Replace Handguns:
The Corning Police Department is currently in the process of selecting replacement weapons for the department’s officers. Wednesday, patrolmen tested and evaluated Glock pistols at the Painted Post Rod and Gun Club. Officials say that the department’s current handguns are between 10 and 12 years old, and that there have been some failures and breaks. Patrolmen are expected to test Smith & Wesson handguns later this month before making a final decision. The cost is expected to be around $2,500. The current handguns will be traded in to help reduce the overall price.
Holiday Card Campaign Founder Named Distinguished Finalist:
The Horseheads Middle School student that founded the successful holiday card drive for veterans is now getting some recognition herself. Sophie Kartzman has been named a Distinguished Finalist. Over 31,000 students across the country were nominated for the 2017 Prudential Spirit Community Awards, but only 234 were selected to be honored, including Sophie. A representative will present Sophie with a bronze medallion for her efforts, which has seen over 40,000 holiday cards delivered to soldiers and veterans over the last three years.
Bath Firefighters Honored:
The Bath Volunteer Fire Department recently held their annual Awards ceremony, honoring its members for their hard work. Glen Miller was named Firefighter of the Year, while Firefly of the Year went to Donna Keen. Harry Keen was named Junior Firefighter of the Year, and Blake Johnson was named Most Improved Junior Firefighter.
Week 5 of the Clayton Trial Gets Underway with 911 Call:
Week five of the Thomas Clayton murder trial got underway Tuesday in Steuben County Court. Three witnesses took the stand, including the continued testimony of Deborah Jasinski, who works for the New York State Police computer crime lab as a civilian. She testified about the 911 call made in the early hours of September 29th, after Kelley’s death, and about messages that were deleted from Clayton’s phone. The records show that Clayton did not delete any calls with Beard, but he did delete a message from Luke Tetreault the morning of September 26th. The message was about not returning a borrowed four wheeler until the following Monday to swap trucks then, rather than the next day. The 911 call was played in court, and the Steuben County dispatcher who took the call testified. In the call, Clayton repeatedly said he wife was dead and could be heard asking his children if they saw “a robber.” Court will resume today at 9:30 a.m.
Hornell Woman Accused of Defrauding Social Services:
A Hornell woman is facing charges of grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing. 30-year-old Jennifer Danielsen is accused of failing to report income to the Steuben County Department of Social Services, resulting in her receiving $2,300 in benefits that she was not entitled to. She was issued an appearance ticket and was released.
Elmira Will Not Contribute to First Arena Deal:
In a statement released Tuesday night, the City of Elmira has announced that it will not be contributing to replace the ice plant at the First Arena. Splitting the cost of the $1.5 million plant with Chemung County was a condition set by the potential buyer. Elmira City Manager Michael Collins said they would have to raise property taxes 3 percent for the next three years to afford the $1.45 million price tag. In response, the Chemung County Industrial Development Agency’s Tom Santulli had strong words, saying that he thinks “their decision will end up closing this facility.” Collins said he is hopeful a deal can still be worked out. As for the Elmira Jackals, a representative took it stride, saying that it’s business as usual for the team and that they have not learned of any immediate changes.
Rally Outside Rep. Reed’s Office to Save ACA:
Members of the Citizens for a Better Southern Tier rallied outside of Representative Tom Reed’s office in Corning Tuesday night in support of the Affordable Care Act. They voiced their concerns about President’s Trump’s promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and they shared stories about how the legislation has positively affected their lives.
Local Cheerleading Team Qualifies for National Competition:
A locally based cheerleading team has earned the right to compete on one of the nation’s biggest stages. The All Star cheer team, based in Arkport, has not only won a full paid trip the U.S. Finals, but they won a wild card bid to the Summit at Disney World in May. Around 12,000 teams compete for a Summit spot, but less than 2,000 actually earn one. The team, made up of 16 girls ranging from six to 15-years-old, earned their spot last month while competing in Buffalo.
Deadline for Firefighter Tuition Assistance Draws Near:
The deadline for volunteer firefighters to receive tuition reimbursement through the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York is fast drawing near. The deadline to apply for the spring semester is Friday, February 17th. It is available to student volunteers.
Bath Utility Commission Meetings:
There will be two special meetings surrounding the Village of Bath Utility Commission this month. The first will be on February 22nd at 9 a.m. at the Utility Conference Room for a workshop on gas rates. The second will be a special joint meeting between the Utility and the Village Board to conduct interviews for the director of utility position. That meeting will be held at the Utilities in the large conference room on February 23rd at 5:30 p.m.
Corning 2nd Ward Seat Finally Filled:
It took over three months, but residents of Corning’s 2nd Ward finally have their representative. During a vote of the City Council Monday night, Republican candidate Michele Beckman won the seat five votes to three. Beckman had tied with Democratic candidate Kate Paterson during the November election. Beckman will now hold the seat until a special election in November. Beckman says she plans to begin campaigning for that election this summer. Paterson also confirmed that she plans to run in the special election, despite the results of Monday’s Council vote.
Potential First Arena Buyer Wants Upgrades Before Purchase:
There is reportedly an interested buyer waiting in the wings to take over ownership of Elmira’s First Arena, but even so the fate of the facility is up in the air. The unidentified buyer is seeking upgrades to the facility’s ice plant that must be financed and completed before they will assume ownership of the arena. Elmira City Manager Michael Collins said that the city was approached by Chemung County to help with the cost, to the tune of $1.5 million. That would be on top of the $1 million that the city currently still owes on the Community Development Block Grant that was issued when the arena first opened. At this point, Collin’s said they’re limited on where the funds can come from. He said they don’t want to the burden to fall on taxpayers, but neither do they want the sale to fall through. Officials say an announcement on the arena’s future could come as early as today.
NYS Senate Approves Ridesharing Expansion:
The New York State Senate has approved legislation co-sponsored by Senator Tom O’Mara that would allow ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber to expand into the upstate. O’Mara, who is vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, said that it makes no sense for upstate residents to be left out when New York City is already benefitting economically and environmentally from ridesharing services. Under the proposal new revenue generated by the expansion would go towards infrastructure improvements for roads and bridges. The legislation does include protections such as requiring criminal and driving history background checks, passenger notifications of driver information and trip charges, and non-discrimination and zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policies.
Guthrie Releases “House Call” App:
If you’re feeling under the weather and can’t make it to the doctor in person, there’s now an app for that. Guthrie Health has released “Guthrie Now,” an app that allows patients to get professional advice from the comfort of their computer, tablet, or smartphone. Health care professionals will, reportedly, be able to diagnose illnesses such as colds, headaches, rashes, sprains and strains based on patient symptoms, as well as visuals they can see via the app. If your illness requires further examination, an in person visit will be recommended. Users will be able to pay directly through the app, with most insurance accepted. You don’t have to be a Guthrie patient to use the app. It’s available for download in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
“Hunk of Beef” Pet Food Recall:
Evanger’s, a pet food company, has issued a recall of certain dog food products. Specific lots of “Hunk of Beef” may be contaminated with pentobarbital, a dangerous sedative. According to reports, five dogs became sick after consuming the food, and one has died. The food was sold in 12-ounce cans has lot numbers: 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB, 1816E13HB. The second half of the barcode reads 20109. The expiration date is June 2020. The food may be returned to a vendor for a refund.
Corning-Painted Post District Seeking Focus Group Members:
The Corning-Painted Post School District is seeking interested residents to take part in community focus groups that will help the school board make decisions. Several group sessions will be held in February. Each will last roughly 90 minutes. To be eligible, you must be a resident of the district who does not have any children currently enrolled. The groups will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. If interested contact (607) 936-3704 EXT 1001 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
High-Speed Police Chase in Hornell:
A Wellsville man is accused of leading police on a high-speed chase Friday night. Officials say it all started around 8:30 p.m. when they attempted to pull over 47-year-old Kelly Baker on West Main Street in the City of Hornell. Instead of pulling over, authorities say Baker lead police on a chase through Almond, Alfred Station, Andover, and Wellsville where he was finally taken into custody. During the chase, Baker struck a Hornell police car and an Allegany County Sheriff’s vehicle. No injuries were reported. Baker is facing numerous charges and is currently being held in the Allegany County Jail.
Corning Council to Vote on Ward 2 Today:
When it voted in January, the Corning City Council could not break the tie between the 2nd Ward nominees Michele Beckman and Kate Paterson. Today, it’ll try again. The council will meet at 6:30 p.m. to vote again to fill the vacant seat. To win, a candidate must receive the votes of five city councilmen.
Steuben Co. Sheriff’s Office Fields 109 Animal Cruelty Investigations:
The first year of the Steuben County Sheriff’s Department’s animal cruelty unit fielded 109 reports of cruelty or neglect, according to county Sheriff Jim Allard. Allard recently reported that the investigations took place in 35 towns and villages, with 90 percent them of conducted by Animal Cruelty Officer Todd Terwilliger. Three of the investigations resulted in the owners voluntarily signing their animals over to the Finger Lakes SPCA, and two other complaints remain open. Allard said the majority of the investigations were resolved by issuing written or verbal warnings with education and compliance statements followed up with a physical compliance check.
Prescription Drop-Off Point in Bath:
The Bath Village Police Department is reminding residents that if they have unused, unwanted prescription medications, they can now be dropped off in the lobby of the Village Hall. Accepted medications include: patches, ointments, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and medications for pets. Just visit the Village Hall and put them in the available Med Box.
Sales Tax Collections Sees Sluggish Growth in NY:
According to a new report by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, 2016 was another year of sluggish growth for sales tax collection in New York State. In the report, six counties, including Yates, saw sales tax collections grow by more than 4 percent in 2016. Eight counties, including Chemung, saw collections of more than 2 percent. Steuben County saw a growth of .9 percent. Central New York was the only region to suffer a decline in collection.
LOCAL LAWYERS ANNOUNCE JUDICIAL CANDIDACY
Patrick McAllister, attorney and former Steuben County Legislator has announced his candidacy for Steuben County Surrogate Court Judge. McAllister, a Wayland-based lawyer for over thirty years, is also an Assistant District Attorney. Assistant District Attorney Philip J Roche is seeking the Republican nomination for Steuben County and Family Court Judge. Roche is a Painted Post resident who has also practiced legally for over thirty years which includes his service as the Steuben County Public Defender’s Office.
POLICE SERIOUS ABOUT SUPERBOWL
If you’re planning on attending a Super Bowl party this weekend in New York…take note. State and local police will be out in force looking for impaired and reckless drivers. The special campaign begins today and runs through early Monday. Police say they’ll have extra patrols on the road along with checkpoints.
LOCAL PHONE SCAM POSES AS RAMS WRESTLING
According to a post by Haverling Athletic Director Randy Abrams there’s a scam going on regarding the Haverling Wrestling Team. Folks are receiving a phone call asking for donations for the Haverling Wrestling team for a trip to the New York State Championship. This is a scam since the team is not even close to the State Tournament at this point
DATA EXAMINED IN CLAYTON TRIAL
On Friday cell phone data was presented as evidence as the Clayton trial continues. DA Schlather said Beard deleted many texting records with Clayton from his phone. Investigator Regan from the New York State Police Computer Crimes Unit testified regarding the phone data and noted Beard’s phone was turned off during the time of the murder. Phone calls between Clayton and Beard were frequent from September 24th until the September 29th, the few days leading up to the murder. Testimony will continue Tuesday morning at 9:30.
Phone Records Again the Topic of the Day in Clayton Trial:
The phone records of Michael Beard were once again the topic of the day in the Thomas Clayton murder trial Thursday. A NYSP Computer Crimes Investigator testified to observing Beard’s phone days after Kelley’s death. She said there was a lot of deleted data from Beard’s phone and that on the date of Kelley’s death, September 28th 2015, there was a lot of ‘manual’ on/off actions. The investigator also went over Beard’s text conversations with Clayton and others. This included a message from Beard to Clayton on September 24th about ‘cops watching boxes,’ and a message to Beard from his wife telling him about bills and that they needed money. The defense highlighted several text messages between the Claytons where they were affectionate. The Computer Crimes Investigator is expected to resume testimony today at 9:30 a.m.
Teen Arrested in Tag’s Burglary:
A teenager has been arrested in connection with several burglaries throughout Chemung County, including the one that occurred at Tag’s on January 13th. 17-year-old Jeremiah Phipps is facing charges of third-degree burglary, a Class D felony. He was sent to the Chemung County Jail in lieu of $30,000 cash bail.
Elmira Correctional Facility Still in Lockdown:
Into Thursday night the Elmira Correctional Facility remained in lockdown following an incident on Wednesday. Staff reportedly conducted searches of select areas of the prison, according to a spokesman. Additional details were not released.
DEC Reviewing Former Corning Hospital Site:
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) is reviewing the Remedial Investigation Report that was submitted by The Guthrie Clinic and Corning Hospital for the Former Corning Hospital and Related Parcels site located at 176 East Denison Pkwy. and 201 East First Street in Corning. Based on the test results and the potential public health and environmental exposure, evaluation of remedial alternatives is recommended. Guthrie and Corning must now develop a plan to make the site safe.
Steuben Co. Drug Abuse Forum 2/9:
In response to what has reached epidemic proportions, Steuben County will hold its first Community Opioid & Substance Abuse Forum at 6 p.m. Feb. 9 in the Haverling High School Auditorium in Bath. The forum will feature a panel of county officials, physicians and related agency representatives with information designed to assist addicts and their families locate the help they’re looking for.
Town of Corning Water Meeting Cancelled:
The public meeting about the Town of Corning’s water district consolidation has been cancelled. It was originally scheduled for February 9th. No new date has been set at this time.
Move Over Phil - Rochester Rocky Predicts Early Spring:
If you weren’t happy with Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of six more weeks of winter on Thursday, perhaps Rochester Rocky can help. Rochester Rocky is the Finger Lakes region’s own weather predicting groundhog and his findings are different than Phil’s. His interpreters say Rocky saw no shadow, and even started foraging for food after making his prediction. So he, at least, is calling for an early spring.
Alleged Affairs Discussed in Clayton Murder Trial:
On Wednesday two women took the stand in the Thomas Clayton murder trial, testifying about alleged affairs they had with Clayton. One of the women also testified to negative comments she heard Clayton make about his wife, including that he wanted to leave Kelley, but couldn’t, and that he wished “someone would come take his wife.” A family member also testified on Wednesday, saying that Clayton told them at Christmas in 2014 that it would be their last Christmas with him around as a family. Clayton pleaded not guilty in December 2015 to one count of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder in connection with Kelley’s death.
Corning Man Arrested for Child Porn:
A Corning man has been arrested and charged with receipt of child pornography. 53-year-old Kevin Theil faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. According to authorities, the FBI had a meeting with the Ithaca Police Department and a cooperating witness in November, where the witness stated she had come to know a man from Corning who had a sexual interest in children. She provided a cell phone number that was traced back to Theil. She also alleged that Theil had showed her images of child pornography on his iPad, and that he told her he had previously sexually abused his niece. In December, search warrants were executed at Theil’s residences in Corning and Hammondsport and child pornography was recovered. Theil made an appearance before a U.S. Magistrate and was released.
Bath Man Charged in Violent Domestic Dispute:
A domestic dispute Tuesday night in Bath turned violent, involved a gun and ended with an arrest. State police investigators said 56-year-old Robert Eggleston of Buck Settlement Road allegedly pointed a rifle at the victim; obstructed her breathing; prevented her from contacting 911; and damaged property within the residence. He now faces a bevy of charges. He was remanded to the Steuben County Jail with bail set at $5,000 cash.
Elmira Correctional Facility on Lock Down:
As of 5 a.m. this morning, the Elmira Correctional Facility was still on lockdown following an incident Wednesday. In a statement, New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision spokesman Thomas Mailey said, that the incident occurred between two inmates and that the facility is in lockdown while the staff investigates.
Bill Proposed to Raise Smoking Age Statewide:
A bill has been introduced that would raise the age at which a person can purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21 in the State of New York. Earlier this week, the bill’s sponsors joined with the American Lung Association at a news conference near the Capitol to call for the legislation’s passage. Eight counties in the state – including Albany and Orange – have already passed local laws that makes the smoking age 21. According to the American Lung Association’s annual “State of Tobacco Control” report 29 percent of high school students, including those under 18, use at least one tobacco product.
Bath Board of Ed. Meeting Today:
The Bath-Haverling Board of Education will be holding a special Board Meeting tonight at 5:30 p.m. in the District Office. They’ll be discussing the budget, contract negotiations, and personnel, among any other business that may come before the board.
Phone Records Discussed on Day 16 of Clayton Murder Trial:
Day 16 of the Thomas Clayton Murder trail included the testimony of Avram Polinski, a Verizon Wireless ‘custodian of records’ who spoke about phone calls and text messages made to and from Clayton’s phone in the days preceding his wife’s death on September 28th 2015. According to Polinski, Clayton called Michael Beard two times on September 26th, and Beard called Clayton once that same day. Then on September 28th Beard called Clayton. The records do not show content of text messages, just the times they were sent. Court will resume today at 9:30 a.m. For the next three weeks, court will only be in session Tuesday through Friday as court will be closed for the next three Mondays.
Former C-PP Teacher Pleads Guilty to Endangering Child:
The Corning-Painted Post Middle School teacher that was arrested in April 2016 on charges of rape has now pled guilty to endangering the welfare of a child. 44-year-old Kelly Conway was accused of having sex with someone under the age of 17-years-old. The incidents did not occur at the middle school. Conway will be sentenced at a later date. Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker said she is facing a “minimum three year probation term with conditions that would keep her away from schools.” Also according to Baker, Conway has forfeited her teaching license.
Bath Woman Arrested in Domestic Incident:
The Steuben County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrest of a Town of Bath woman following an investigation into a disturbance. 26-year-old Delana Elliot has been charged with criminal mischief for allegedly damaging property within a residence on Roosevelt Avenue during a domestic dispute. She was issued an appearance ticket. Further charges are pending.
Public Hearing in Bath on 2 Proposed Projects:
The village of Bath planning board will conduct a public hearing and meeting on two pending projects. The first is an application and project review for the McDonald’s restaurant at 398 West Morris Street, Plaza 15. The second case involves a special use permit for Family Service Society at 104 East Steuben Street. The hearings will be held in the Municipal Building on February 9th at 5:30 p.m.
Steuben Co. Sheriff Warns Against “Can You Hear Me?” Scam:
Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard is joining the Better Business Bureau in warning residents against a phone scam where a robo-caller asks “Can you hear me ok?” According to reports, if the person answering the call responds “Yes,” the answer is recorded and may be used to commit identify theft, to authorize charges on credit cards, and other web-based financial dealings. Allard says if you’re wary of receiving calls from unknown numbers to screen your calls. The Steuben Sheriff’s Department has received no local reports of this scam, according to Allard, but he said it’s everyone’s responsibility to help keep Steuben informed and safe.
Steuben Co. to Participate in Statewide Superbowl STOP-DWI Crackdown:
Steuben County Sheriff James Allard announced Tuesday that county police agencies will be joining in a statewide crackdown on impaired driving over Superbowl weekend. The crackdown starts February 3rd and will end on February 5th.
NYS Senate Approves Companion Animal, Farm to Food Bank Legislation:
The New York State Senate has again approved legislation proposed by Senator Tom O’Mara that increases punishment for those who harm a companion animal. Known as “Kirby & Quigley’s Law” it would make it a felony to harm a companion animal during a crime. It would be punishable by two years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The bill has been approved for the past five years, but the state assembly has yet to act on it. The state Senate has also again approved the Farm to Food Bank bill that would provide a tax credit of up to $5,000 to farmers who donate fresh produce to food banks and other emergency providers. This is the third time the Senate has approved the legislation. It was vetoed for the second time by Governor Andrew Cuomo late last year.
American Airlines to End E-C Airport Service 2/15:
American Airlines will soon discontinue its service at the Elmira-Corning Regional airport. As announced last year, service will end on February 15th. Officials cite outdated aircraft and trouble putting flight crews together as two of the reasons why they made the decision. Airport officials say that they are still in talks with American Airlines, and that they hope one day service might be restored.