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Today's Top Stories - Friday May 29th, 2020

 

Local politicians voiced their confusion and frustration after word late yesterday that Governor Cuomo put a halt on Phase 2 of reopening that was set for today. Cuomo now wants an independent panel to evaluate the health data. Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler called the decision “absolutely unacceptable and absolutely frustrating” on this morning’s WVIN Community Focus interview. State Senator Tom O’Mara also voiced his frustration yesterday afternoon on the absence of an indication from the state until late yesterday- the eve of the reopening originally set for today. Several Southern Tier counties indicated, like Chemung, they would authorize a reopening today regardless of what the governor said.

 

Numbers for unemployment show the economic impact COVID-19 and New York Pause is having on the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier.Steuben County’s unemployment rate was recorded at 15.3-percent for April. Overall, the state unemployment rate hit 14.5-percent, the highest number reported since Great Depression with 1.8 million private-sector jobs lost mostly due to Coronavirus crisis.

 

As of yesterday, the count for Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Steuben County was reported at 260 with 7 current hospitalizations. The death count still stands at 41 with 71 being quarantined and monitored. To date, 191 cases have been reported as “recovered”. 

 

Steuben County Sheriff’s Office announces deputies arrested Ford H. Beman of Atlanta after they responded to a a report of a domestic incident involving a person threatening another person with a vehicle at an Atlanta residence on Main Street. Beman allegedly attempted to restrain another person using a vehicle and was charged with Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree.He was arraigned in the Centralized Arraignment Court and released to appear in the Cohocton Town Court at a later date.

 

Since the COVID-19 crisis began, almost 7,000 nursing home residents in New York State have died from the virus and Congressman Tom Reed says he is looking for ways to prevent the spread of the disease in state nursing homes. Reed says Governor Cuomo’s mandate for all nursing homes to test staff and residents twice weekly may close or financially hurt nursing homes if the state doesn’t find a way to lower the cost of testing and keep the number of cases down. Reed says the main goal should be to guarantee New York nursing home residents have a place to stay while keeping positive residents isolated and separated from residents without the virus. 

 

Yesterday, Democratic candidate for the 23rd Congressional District, Tracy Mitrano announced that Ithaca College administrator Paula E. F. Younger will join her team next month as campaign manager. Younger will take a leave of absence from her position as IC’s Executive Director for Government and Community Relations. She has over 27 years of management experience and experience as Deputy County Administrator for Tompkins County for over a decade. As Mitrano’s campaign manager, she will oversee all aspects of the 2020 campaign. Mitrano is running against incumbent Republican Congressman Tom Reed of Corning to represent New York’s 23rd congressional district.

Today's Top Stories - Thursday May 28th, 2020

The Steuben County Public Works Department announced a week-long road closure to all traffic beginning June 8th in the Bath, Thurston and Savona area. The closure is for B & H Rail Corporation to upgrade railroad signals and rehabilitate the grade crossing surface at the municipal boundary between the towns of Savona and Bath. The closing takes place June 8th-12th and includes County Route 12 between Savona-Thurston Road and West Lamoka Avenue on Town line Road in the towns of Bath and Thurston. The Eagle Valley Road/ Grove Street intersection in the Village of Savona also will be closed. B & H Rail will post the offsite detour routes using county routes 12 and 333 and State Route 415.

 

Governor Cuomo’s office has been invited to take part in a meeting Today within Congressman Tom Reed’s district with nursing home providers, health providers, and other stakeholders to discuss the nursing home policies in New York during the COVID-19 crisis. About 5,800 nursing home patients have died as a result of COVID-19 in the state and yesterday Cuomo said the federal government is to be held accountable for the deaths and nursing homes did not have to accept COVID-19 patients if they couldn’t properly care for them. Congressman Reed said as of yesterday afternoon, there has been no response from the Governor to Reed’s invitation.

 

At this morning’s daily COVID-19 press briefing, Governor Cuomo announced he will sign an executive order allowing businesses to refuse customers who do not wear a mask or face covering. Cuomo also stressed the need for more education on the availability and importance of things like testing, healthcare, PPE, and social distancing practices, adding “You don’t have the right to expose a store owner to the virus...”

 

To keep with the  NY on Pause executive order, Steuben County legislative committees will meet next week in teleconferences at the following times and dates:

• 9 am Monday (June 1st) Public Safety Committee

• 10 am Monday (June 1st) Public Works Committee

• 9 am Wednesday (June 3rd) Human Services, Health and Education Committee

• 10 am Wednesday (June 3rd) Agriculture, Industry and Planning Committee

• 9 a.m. Thursday (June 4th) Special Reopening & Recovery Committee

The meetings are open to the media and the public, and county legislators will identify themselves when they speak on any issue.

 

Almost two-thirds of New Yorkers believe schools should reopen to students in the fall according to a recent Siena College poll. The poll had the results of 64 percent of respondents saying students should return to the classroom despite the uncertainty surrounding another outbreak of COVID-19 later this year. Last week Governor Cuomo said it was still too soon to make decisions about reopening schools in September.

 

The Steuben County Board of Elections announced eligible voters have three ways to cast their ballots in the reinstated June 23rd primaries for the Democratic presidential primary and the SAM State Committee:
-Voters may apply for absentee ballots with applications already mailed to eligible, registered voters. Applications must be returned to the county elections board to receive absentee ballots.

-Voters may vote in person from 6 am-9 pm June 23 at available locations or 

-Voters may participate in Early Voting starting June 13 at the county Annex 20 E. Morris Street for the June Primary. Dates and Times are:

9 am to 2:pm Saturday - June 13

9 am to 2:pm Sunday - June 14

10 am to 6 pm Monday - June 15

10 am to 8 pm Tuesday - June 16

10 am to 6 pm Wednesday - June 17

10 am to 8 pm Thursday - June 18

10 am to 6 pm Friday - June 19

9 am to 2 pm Saturday - June 20

9 am to 2 pm Sunday - June 21

Steuben Board of Elections commissioners say some Primary poll sites on June 23 may be moved and consolidated with other poll sites depending on the availability of sites and election inspectors. For more information call (607) 664-2260 or go to www.Steubencony.org/boe

Today's Top Stories - Wednesday 27th, 2020

The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that three additional Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19 since Saturday and brings the total to 260 confirmed cases.  The individuals are residents of the City of Hornell and the towns of Jasper and Hartsville. One individual is from a Hornell area nursing home while two are hospitalized outside the county, bringing the total number of current hospitalizations to 10. 

 

Steuben County deputies arrested 18-year-old Jacob N. Webber of Hammondsport after they responded to investigate a report of a person threatening another person with a knife at a Roosevelt Avenue home in Bath. It is alleged that Webber displayed a hunting type knife and threatened to kill another person with it. He was charged with Menacing in the Second Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree. He was arraigned in the Centralized Arraignment Court at the Steuben County Jail and released to appear in Bath Town Court at a later date.

 

Congressman Tom Reed thanked the Trump Administration for spearheading a deal between manufacturers and health providers to reduce the cost of insulin for the elderly population. The White House’s latest announcement says the deal ensures thousands of Medicare drug plans will now limit the cost of insulin copays to $35. Reed said seniors with diabetes can purchase insulin at a fair price without fear of impacting their financial livelihood.

 

In New York, the numbers are all down throughout the state, with 73 COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, the lowest since the early days of the crisis. Areas outside of the city have been allowed to initiate their reopening plans, but the five counties that make up New York City remain under tight restrictions. Governor Andrew Cuomo at yesterday's press briefing said certain parts of the city are still seeing high infection rates.

 

New York State told News 10 NBC of Rochester that it is in the process of going through a five-year updated of the State Department of Labor's unemployment system with help from Google. It was reported that the DOL's system is run with MS-DOS, or Microsoft Disk Operating system last updated 20 years ago and first released in 1981. In 2017, New York considered updating the system but did not and this year was flooded with requests and a total of $10 billion in unemployment benefits processed and thousands still reaching out to the DOL on social media and telephone to get assistance with filing their claims.

 

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo announced he would meet with President Trump to talk about ways the federal government can reboot the New York State economy. The meeting will focus on infrastructure projects in the state needing federal approval to help jumpstart the economy. 

Today's Top Stories - Tuesday May 26th, 2020

More area businesses continue to reopen today as veterinarians are open again offering complete services. For the past two months, the offices were limited to emergency services only. Yesterday, state campgrounds and RV parks were given the green light to resume operations.

Steuben County is anticipating that Phase Two of the state's reopening plan can start this Friday. According to the Corning Leader, County Manager Jack Wheeler says the county is on track so far to reopen. But, some county officials are concerned that the warm weather and Memorial Day holiday may cause a spike in COVID-19 cases. Phase Two of reopening will have more businesses starting to open including retail stores, real estate and insurance firms. 

Over the weekend, four young people were rescued from the Cohocton River after Bath firefighters say two boys and two girls went out on a river near Scudder road in the Town of Bath around 4pm on Friday. The four went down the river on an air mattress, which hit faster-moving waters and the four were able to get to dry land on an island in the middle of the river. Rescuers were able to pull the four to shore and no one was injured. Officials say if you are going out on the water, you should use an approved craft and always wear life vests. 

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Steuben County stands at 257. Ten of those are from the village of Bath and 11 are from the town of Bath. Right now, 98 people remain in quarantine. Nine people are hospitalized and 41 deaths have been reported in Steuben County. 

Over the weekend, Governor Cuomo announced the launch of the $100 million New York Forward Loan Fund in an effort to provide flexible, affordable loans to help small businesses and focusing on women and minority-run businesses that have not yet received federal assistance for COVID-19. Cuomo says the state will take a smart and targeted approach to distrubute loans by focusing on businesses with 20 or less employees and earning less than $3 million in gross revenues.

Wellsville Police arrested 41-year-old Jolene R. Schlick of Hornell, charging her with Grand Larceny 3rd (Class D Felony)  from an incident that took place at the Marathon Convenience store on North Main Street in the Village of Hornell.  Schlick is due to appear in Wellsville Village Court on June 23rd at 4:30 p.m.

Today's Top Stories - Memorial Day - Monday May 25th, 2020

Steuben County is hopeful that Phase Two of the state’s reopening plan can begin this Friday. Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler tells The Corning Leader the county is set on track for re-opening, as Phase One goes as planned. Some county officials, however, are concerned that the warmer weather and holiday gatherings may cause a spike in COVID-19 cases.On this holiday, Steuben County Public Health Director Darlene Smith reminds folks to limit Memorial Day backyard barbecues to household members only. Phase Two of reopening will have more businesses starting to open including retail stores, real estate, and insurance firms.

 

Yesterday afternoon the Thurston Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched for a roll over motor vehicle accident on County Route 2 in Thurston where they found a 4-door sedan standing on its front bumper in a ditch. One person was out of the car, but one female was still in the vehicle and was pinned with serious injuries. When Bath Fire Department arrived on scene after, they found Thurston Fire working with the New York State Police to stabilize the car. After the woman was successfully pulled out of the vehicle, she was taken by Corning Ambulance crew and Guthrie Medivac teams.

 

Governor Cuomo announced campgrounds and RV parks across New York State re-open today. Cuomo says state beaches are also open for Memorial Day but stressed New Yorkers to use caution if they go out. Tomorrow, veterinarian offices will begin opening and sports teams are set to start their training programs.

 

Friday afternoon, four young people were rescued from the Cohocton River after Bath Firefighters say two boys and two girls went out on the river near Scudder Road in the Town of Bath on an air mattress sometime after 4 o’clock that day. The mattress hit faster-moving waters and the four were able to get to get to dry land on an island in the middle of the river. Rescuers pulled the victims to shore and none of the four were injured in the incident. Officials remind those going out on the water should use an approved craft and wear life vests.

 

The Steuben County Board of Elections reports absentee ballot applications are in the mail for all registered voters eligible to vote in primary elections on June 23, under NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order. Steuben will hold primaries for the Democratic Presidential and SAM party State Committee election only. County officials say that “Voters just need to fill out the absentee ballot application they receive in the mail and return it to the Board of Elections in the postage paid envelope provided. Once the application is processed the voter will receive their ballot in the mail.

 

State Police continue until tomorrow to have increased patrols to combat drunk, impaired and reckless driving. The crackdown is part of the annual STOP-DWI campaign where State Police and local law enforcement will be out in force with sobriety checkpoints and undercover police vehicles.

Today's Top Stories - Friday May 22nd, 2020

County Manager Jack Wheeler reports the number of COVID-19 cases in Steuben County have stabilized but wants to emphasize the rate of recovery and negative findings. At its peak, Wheeler said Steuben County reported a dozen new cases daily.

Investigators say the cause of a Wheeler fire that occured Wednesday evening was accidental. The two-alarm blaze originated with a faulty bathroom ceiling fan at the Bates Road home. Bath and six other departments controlled the fire in 33 minutes.

A new survey finds substance abuse by teenagers in Steuben County has increased. The recent Steuben Prevention Coalition study shows a pattern of increased use of illegal drugs among students in the 8th and 10th grades with an alarming increase in alcohol abuse, consumption of highly caffeinated energy drinks and e-cigarettes. Seniors and sophomores in high school reported less use of alcohol, marijuana and opioids. However, binge drinking for both seniors and sophomores throughout the entire Steuben school system is higher than the national average. 

For this Memorial Day weekend, the Bath VA is introducing a new, online memorial feature to honor veterans. The online feature is an effort to allow the public to pay tribute to veterans in VA National Cemeteries across the entire nation while abiding by CDC Social Distancing Guidelines. Bath, along with each VA National Cemetery, will hold a short wreath-laying ceremony which will be accompanied by the playing of "Taps" and observation of a moment of silence but will not by open to the public to keep with guidelines limiting large gatherings. 

New York State Troopers begin increasing patrols today in the annual STOP-DWI effort to combat drunk, impaired and reckless driving throughout this Memorial Day weekend continuing to Tuesday, May 26th. Drivers should anticipate sobriety checkpoints and increased patrols during the holiday weekend while State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) vehicles will be out as part of the Memorial Day weekend crackdown. 

New York State has extended its sales tax remittance grace period to June 22nd. Governor Cuomo says the move was an effort to give a break to New York small businesses that have been hurt by the coronavirus epidemic. Cuomo commented that "cashflow remains the most pressing immediate challenge for small businesses that have been forced to close or otherwise seeing their operations and sales dramatically impacted by COVID-19."

The New York State Department of Labor reports the state unemployment rate in April reached 14.5 percent. A loss of 20 percent in the private sector was reported while in just a single month unemployment spiked by over 10 percent. 

New York State lawmakers have introduced a bill that would allow "take out drinks" to be sold by bars and restaurants. Senator Hoylman proposed restaurants and bars to be allowed to keep offering beer, wine and cocktails for take-out and delivery until two years after the COVID-19 emergency was declared. The bill aims to help businesses in the industry devastated by the pandemic. The Senator calls allowing such alcohol sales will be "giving these establishments a much-needed lifeline while New York slowly returns to normal." 

Today's Top Stories - Thursday May 22nd, 2020

Last night the Bath Volunteer Fire Department responded to a call of smoke coming out of the roof of a home in the Town of Wheeler. When BVFD arrived, the roof was flaming and Fire Departments of Avoca, Bath VA, Hammondsport, Kanona, Savona, Pulteney and Prattsburgh while Bath Volunteer Ambulance Corps were called and NYSEG came to cut the power. The fire was controlled in 33 minutes and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

 

Bath police say they have a suspect in custody after a truck was stolen from the Microtel parking lot. Hotel cameras gave police leads and the vehicle was later discovered crashed and abandoned in Wheeler.

The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that three additional Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to 255 confirmed cases. The individuals are residents of the towns of Dansville and Erwin and the village of Riverside. All three individuals are hospitalized, bringing the total number of current hospitalizations to 9.

 

Governor Cuomo announced today that in-class summer school will not be open statewide and instead will be taught via online distance learning this year to abide by social distancing guidelines set by the state to prevent spread of COVID-19. * Cuomo said it is to early at this point to consider if schools will be back open in the fall. * Cuomo also said schools would resubmit plans in July in order to receive approval on reopening in September.

 

The Bath VA is introducing a new online memorial feature to honor veterans this Memorial Day in an effort to allow the public to pay tribute to veterans in VA National Cemeteries across the country. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie released a statement saying: “…The VA will still honor veterans and service members with the solemn dignity and respect they have earned through their service and sacrifice.” Each VA National Cemetery will hold a short wreath laying ceremony accompanied by a moment of silence and the playing of “Taps” but will not be open to the public to keep with the CDC guidelines to limit large gatherings.

 

New York State Police are increasing patrols to combat drunk, impaired and reckless driving throughout this Memorial Day weekend beginning tomorrow and ending Tuesday, May 26th. Drivers can expect to see sobriety checkpoints and increased patrols during this holiday weekend while State Troopers will be using both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) vehicles as part of the annual crackdown.

 

Steuben County Board of Elections report next week on Friday, May 29th is the final day to register to vote in the Democratic Presidential Primary now set for June 23rd. The Presidential Primary is back in place, after the New York Court of Appeals ruled May 19th the state Democratic Board of Elections could not cancel the primary for safety reasons due to COVID-19.Anyone who wishes to register in person may call the Steuben Board of Elections at (607) 664-2400 and make an appointment.

Today's Top Stories - Wednesday May 22nd, 2020

The former Dana Lyon school building in Downtown Bath will be purchased by the Providence Housing Development Corporation after an agreement was reached to purchase the building from the Save the Lyon Commission. Providence Housing will work to redevelop the building into apartments and a shared community space that features a community arts center and events space available to the public to rent. The Steuben County IDA says the project should bring more affordable housing to the area by developers. To learn more about the project, or to be added to the email update list, contact Amber Wilk at amber.wilk@dor.org

 

Special teleconference meetings for the Steuben County Legislature’s Finance and Joint Finance/Ad Hoc Office Space committees are set for this Friday May 22nd at 9:45am, followed by a special meeting of the county Legislature. These meetings are open to the media and the public and will discuss Requesting the Adoption of Senate Bill No. S.8345, Assembly Bill No. A.10416 Extending the Additional One Percent (1%) Sales Tax for Steuben County and Phase I Furniture.

 

Some in New York may be encouraging a shot at his gubernatorial run, but for now Tom Reed says his political efforts are currently “100 percent on the coronavirus.” Congressman Reed is now co-sponsoring a bill intended to give relief to state and local governments who’ve seen revenue decreases due to the COVID-19 crisis.

 

With this weekend being the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Governor Cuomo yesterday announced guidelines to follow for commemoration ceremonies for the occasion to take place said guidelines will follow CDC protocols. The Governor also encouraged vehicle parades in honor of veterans for Memorial Day to practice social distancing and other guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as the Southern Tier regions like ours wrap up week one of the first phase of reopening the state.

 

A Schuyler County Sheriff’s Office patrol car was struck by another vehicle for the fourth time in one week. The latest incident was on Sunday on County Route 16 in the Village of Orange when 51-year-old Hammondsport man Billy Adams failed to pull over for deputies for a traffic stop. Adams struck a patrol car head-on and then crashed his car on Sugar Hill Road after a brief road chase. No injuries were reported but Adams was charged with drunken driving, criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, and multiple traffic violations.

 

Yesterday, Congressman Tom Reed announced a $748,000 grant is headed to the town of Prattsburgh. Funds will be used for a wastewater collection system. Executive Director of the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency Jamie Johnson said the funds will help Prattsburgh’s downtown business district wastewater project.

 

The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that an additional Steuben County resident tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to 252 confirmed cases. The patient is a resident of the Town of Avoca. The individual is currently isolated and being monitored by the County Health Department. Public Health staff investigated and identified close contacts of the confirmed case and exposure risks. All those known to have direct contact with the individual have been notified.

 

Yesterday afternoon, thousands of free, washable face masks were handed out across Steuben County thanks to efforts by the county’s Office For the Aging and Office of Emergency Services. Masks were available at Bath Volunteer Fire Department and through the New York State Office For the Aging and courtesy of Federal Emergency Management Agency through the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, respectively . A free mask and sanitizer giveaway is set for noon to 3 p.m. Friday (May 22) at the county Fairgrounds in Bath and sponsored by Steuben County Cornell Cooperative Extension for those in the farming industry. To register go to http://bit.ly/maskdistribution. For more information call (607) 664-2574.

Today's Top Stories - Tuesday May 19th, 2020

Steuben County Office of Emergency Services has received a shipment of Cloth Face Masks that will be provided free of charge to the general public courtesy of FEMA through the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services and distributed by the Steuben County Office of Emergency Services. Cloth Face Masks are being distributed in a drive-thru format today while supplies last. Drive-thru locations include the Bath Volunteer Fire Department at 50 E. Morris Street and Hornell City Fire Department on 110 Broadway in Hornell.

 

Federal funds needed to stabilize Steuben County’s finances were among the issues county legislators addressed when they met in a teleconferenced regular session yesterday morning. County legislators unanimously called for the state to release the Enhanced Federal Medicaid Matching Funds Steuben is entitled to through the federal Affordable Care Act. But Steuben legislators are concerned Governor Cuomo will use the funds for state purposes under Medicaid Redesign, which he proposed earlier this year to restructure the state’s healthcare entitlement system. In other action, legislators accepted the state’s Extreme Winter Recovery and Pave-NY Funding totaling $1.6 million. If the funding remains in place, county Public Works Department will add to its current roadwork schedule.

 

The Steuben County Public Health Department reports two additional Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19 and brings the total to 251 confirmed cases with 6 currently hospitalized.  The individuals are residents of the towns of Wayland and Erwin and are currently isolated and being monitored by the County Health Department. 

Citing the “24-7” response and personal sacrifice by the members of emergency medical services (EMS) teams throughout Steuben County, county Legislature Chairman Scott VanEtten has declared this current week of May 17-23 to be Emergency Medical Services Week in Steuben County. VanEtten noted EMS personnel are being called to even greater efforts and at greater personal risk during the health crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The HEROES Act, which is the second economic stimulus bill during the COVID19 crisis, has barely passed in the House. Local Congressman Tom Reed says the Democratic-sponsored bill was a bill full of pork-barrel spending and anticipates a more flexible bill will emerge early next month. Currently, Reed is introducing a bill today that he co-sponsored with bipartisan support in the House and Senate and aims to create a “SMART” fund that provides aid to states and communities. 

 

Yesterday began state ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes going into effect while also prohibiting pharmacies from selling tobacco products that include e-cigarettes as part of the state's Fiscal Year 2021 Enacted Budget. Since yesterday, if a retailer is caught selling tobacco products, they may be fined up to $100 per prohibited item they have in possession. 

 

Today's Top Stories - Monday May 18th 2020

Friday began Phase 1 of reopening the economy locally which means construction and agricultural businesses are now up and running while our region anticipates the next phase of reopening. Phase Two of reopening will allow barber shops and hair salons to be in business again with social distancing guidelines still being followed. State officials say if everything goes as planned in this current first phase of reopening, the second phase should be underway by the end of this month. Currently, all residential and construction workers must wear masks when within 6 feet of one another while employers must provide masks for all employees and no congregate meetings are allowed.

New Yorkers that owe student and medical debts now have an extension to pay them as the state has again renewed an order to halt its debt collection. The halt applies to money owed to the State of New York and referred to the Office of the Attorney General for collection. This action is in response to continuing financial impairments resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The OAG says the period has been extended to June 16th before the office will reassess the needs of state residents for another possible extension. 

 

A potential financial crisis for Steuben County topped the agenda when the county Legislature met in regular session this morning at 10 via teleconference. County lawmakers say the way to ward off the crisis is to receive funding directly from the federal government. County officials say their most pressing need is for the state to release the Enhanced Federal Medicaid Matching Funds (eFMAP) Steuben is entitled to from the federal government. Steuben leaders say those funds, through the federal Affordable Care Act, are meant to offset the sharp increase in social and health services costs in the county and should be sent directly to the county.

 

A structure fire in Addison that happened Saturday is under investigation. The blaze happened Saturday night around 11 on County Road 119. According to Addison's Assistant Fire Chief, the structure, which was an Amish house, was engulfed fully in flames when crews arrived to the scene. People were inside the building when the fire broke out but all escaped safely with no injuries. The house was deemed a total loss and the cause of the fire is unknown at this time. 

 

Wegmans Food Stores announced in  a statement that the cost of putting safety measures and new equipment installed in stores to keep customers and employees safe from coronavirus will mean more expenses. Wegmans also says slaughterhouses closing across the country has put meat costs at a higher premium. Wegmans did not specify how much meat or any other product prices that will increase or what other products will be affected. 

 

It was reported Friday evening by Steuben County Public Health that the county's 41st death from COVID-19 was a 93-year-old woman in a Hornell area nursing home. As phase one of reopening begins in our region, this death reminds us it is important to remember the guidelines like wearing a mask and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet while in public and that these measures will prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. 

 

A Horseheads man is now in jail after allegedly committing 3 car thefts in the past month after he allegedly broke into a motor home. Deputies report 28-year-old Reginald Ferguson Jr. entered a residence near Classic Auto in Horseheads Thursday and was arrested allegedly with stolen credit cards on his person. Ferguson also faces charges for allegedly stealing a vehicles from Classic Auto last month as well as a Tops Market Parking Lot in Southport and another in Ithaca. He was released on his own recognizance following previous arrests but currently in Chemung County Jail on $10,000 bail. 

 

The body of a missing 27-year-old Horseheads man has been found after weeks of searching. This week, the New York State Police Underwater Recovery Team searched near Plum Point using a new cable length and pulled out the body of Daniel Manganaro around 10:15 Saturday morning. Manganaro was reported missing April 19th after leaving for a canoe paddle across the lake. An autopsy will be performed to determine a cause of death.

 

Watkins Glen International announced several changes to its summer schedule due to the current pandemic. Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen scheduled for June 25th to the 28th will be rescheduled the weekend of October 1st-4th. WGI also announced both the SCCA Majors Super Tour and the Finger Lakes Wine Festival both have been postponed until 2021. SCCA and Finger Lakes Wine Fest ticketholders have 30 days following the release of the rescheduled event date to elect to receive a credit for the full amount paid plus an additional 20 percent of total amount paid to apply towards a different future event.

 

New York State announced it has launched a website dedicated to finding COVID-19 testing sites and encourages those with symptoms to seek treatment. Governor Cuomo announced the website during his COVID-19 briefing yesterday morning and said it will be necessary to maintain a high level of testing in the upcmoing weeks as the potential to spread COVID-19 remains. The Governor also got tested during his briefing to demonstrate how quick and easy it is to have the test completed. 

 

Public and private beaches are scheduled to reopen Friday in several states that includes New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware. Governor Cuomo said with Memorial Day weekend coming soon, the state "wants to make sure New Yorkers and residents of neighboring statesare able to safely enjoy outdoor recreational activities." Social distancing policies must be followed responsibly by those choosing to go to beaches when they reopen at the end of the week. 

 

Today the state ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes goes into effect while also prohibiting pharmacies from selling tobacco products that include e-cigarettes as part of the state's Fiscal Year 2021 Enacted Budget. Beginning today, if a retailer is caught selling tobacco products, they may be fined up to $100 per prohibited item they have in possession. 

Today's Top Stories - Friday May 15th, 2020

Cornell Cooperative Extension is teaming up with the State Department of Agriculture & Markets to distribute face masks and hand sanitizer to farms and farmworkers to help ensure their safety during the COVID-19 outbreak. In Steuben County, these materials will be available for the agricultural community at the Steuben County Fairground's 4H Building in Bath. Masks and sanitizer will be distributed on Friday, May 22nd from noon to 3pm. 

State Senator Tom O'Mara has called for an independent investigation into New York state's handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes. According to O'Mara, state officials' calls for "aggressive and decisive actions" were met with roadblocks. The State Senator says that though the Attorney General and Health Department of New York will launch probes, an independent investigation is necessary for families who lost loved ones in nursing homes since the pandemic began. Over 5,000 nursing home residents have died across the state. 

Road repair season in the Southern Tier has finally begun despite projects that may change in the future based on funding. The Corning Leader says a drop in oil prices may mean a loss of funding for planned road projects already budgeted in Steuben County. Earlier this week,  Public Works Commissioner Vince Spagnoletti told the Steuben Legislature's Public Works committee he expects to be able to make repairs on 88 miles of county roads for about $6 million.

The Southern Tier, Central New York and Finger Lakes regions are set to reopen from NY on Pause today as our region begins Phase 1 of reopening. Businesses that will be opening for this first phase beginning today effectively includes manufacturing and construction. Yesterday at his daily COVID-19 briefing in Syracuse, Governor Cuomo said he has extended parts of the NY on PAUSE throughout the state through May 28th. Parts of NY on PAUSE extended to the 28th throughout the state include social distancing of at least 6 feet indoors and outdoors, limiting the use of public transportation to essential trips and no non-essential gatherings including parties, celebrations and social events. 

It was reported yesterday Steuben County reached 248 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 40 deaths from the virus.The latest COVID-19 casualty was a 90 year old woman who died at a Hornell-area nursing home. A total of 3,481 tests were conducted in the county. A total of 152 people have recovered and 8 residents in the county were hospitalized as of yesterday. Public Health Director Darlene Smith said of the latest numbers: "Let this serve as a reminder to all of us that although we have reached a decline in cases, we are not in the clear yet." Smith also told the public to remember all of our actions going forward will determine how many more lives are impacted by the virus. 

Steuben County Sheriff's Office reports from May 1st to May 14th, deputies of the Sheriff's Office Warrant Squad arrested three people due to active warrants. The Sheriff's Office reports Pamela Traci Nagel and Robert Clinton Morey, both of Bath, and Shawn Robert Neff of Beaver Dams were arrested seperately for each violating terms or conditions of their probation and arrested due to probation violation. Each of warrants were issued out of Steuben County and each of the subjects were remanded to Steuben County Jail following arrests.

At yesterday's COVID-19 press briefing in Syracuse Governor Cuomo announced the Central New York region is set to reopen alongside our local Southern Tier region and said President Trump helped cut red tape necessary to provide $3.9 billion worth of funding for the MTA New York City transportation system. Cuomo also said New York State faces a $61 billion budget hole due to the COVID-19 pandemic and called on Washington to pass legislation to support the states. Cuomo also expressed his support for a $3 trillion House of Representatives bill introduced earlier this week that would provide state funding.

This week, Steuben County Legislature Chairman Scott VanEtten proclaimed today as Peace Officers Memorial Day as a gesture to honor officers across the region making the ultimate sacrificing during their call of duty. In his proclamation, VanEtten said that this year, law enforcement are serving a vital community role during the state of emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which has increased their personal vulnerability to the risks of the profession. Sheriff Jim Allard joined WVIN's Community Focus this morning to remind the public today is the Law Enforcement Memorial at the Steuben County Public Safety Building. The event will be video livestreamed to observe social distancing guidelines. The annual event will begin at noon at www.facebook.com/SteubenCSO  

Issuing of New York's new license plates has been stalled for now. Accoding to officials, the lack of new vehicles being registered since DMVs have been closed to in-person visits is the partial reason to delay rolling out the new license plates. Late last summer, the new plate design was introduced to the public and set to be released last month. State officials also cite a shipment recall that had to be made because plates weren't showing up on highway cameras and plate readers. 

With the highest COVID-19 death toll of any state in the nation, New York state is looking to the Red Cross for help in providing comfort to families who have been affected. Spiritual care coordinator Tom Margrave explained: "New York approached the New York division to see if it could help. Red Cross conceived of a program of providing virtual family assistance using telephones and computers. That was approved about three weeks ago and that means we've already had people on the job for two weeks." The Red Cross Virtual Family Assistance Center offers online confidential support and mental and physical health services to families affected by COVID-19.

Today's Top Stories - Thursday May 14th, 2020

Steuben County legislators voiced their strong disapproval yesterday of the mixed signals they receive from New York State regarding the COVID-19 Phase 1 Reopening now set for tomorrow. “We are deeply concerned about the reopening phases, the lack of communication from the state and the lack of logic in some of their decisions,” said County Legislature Chairman Scott R. VanEtten. VanEtten said the county Legislature is frustrated by state government and public health restrictions based on an urban one-size fits all basis, and called for Cuomo to meet with state and local leadersand  representatives from rural counties.

Cornell Cooperative Extension invites dairy producers across the state to join a free, upcoming webinar focused on dairy processing. This virtual learning opportunity will be offered on Thursday, May 21st and will be held from 7pm – 8pm. Dairy farmers who are interested in diversifying or vertically integrating their farm business are invited to attend for an overview of business considerations and regulatory requirements. The webinar will give an introduction of what factors to keep in mind when considering dairy processing for a farm’s operation. For more information about the dairy processing webinar, contact Alycia Drwencke, Dairy Management Specialist, at 517-416-0386 or amd453@cornell.edu. Registration is required ahead of time by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/y8zxaozz.

Local winery Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery has partnered up with Pro Action's Hope Center Keuka food pantry to help give back to those in need. The winery had been planning to partner with a local food bank for awhile before it began the partnership on March 1st as a way to give back during the tough economic times of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Funds are being donated every month and will be continuing indefinitely along with the new partnership.Dr. Frank said: “We felt that we really wanted to make sure our donations were going directly to the people that are in our surrounding area.

The Steuben County Public Health Department received reports of two additional Steuben County residents from Prattsburgh and Bath testing positive for COVID-19.  The current total of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county is 248. The individuals are currently being isolated and monitored by the County Health Department and all close contacts of the cases have been noticed.

Governor Cuomo yesterday proposed the "Americans First Law", with the intent to protect workers who have been laid off during the pandemic. The New York Congressional Delegation will formally present the legislation which states a corporation cannot be eligible for government funding if it does not rehire the same number of employees it had before the pandemic. Cuomo says corporations could be incentivized by profits to lay off workers and "use the pandemic as an excuse to lay off workers." Cuomo also said "You want to provide subsidies to companies, I understand that. Make sure the subsidies are tied to worker protections."

Healthcare centers in the Southern Tier will be receiving federal money to help respond to, and contain the spread of, Coronavirus. Yesterday, Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced nearly $16.8 million in aid for over a dozen healthcare facilities across Upstate New York as part of the CARES Act. The Southern Tier Community Health Center in Houghton will receive over $250,000. The federal funding comes from the Department of Health and Human Services. Senator Schumer  said : “Testing is essential to our COVID-19 response and to the successful reopening of the Upstate economy without triggering a second wave of infections...” while Senator Gillibrand says: “To contain the spread of this disease and safely reopen schools and businesses, we must make COVID-19 testing widely available for all Americans...” 

A 20 year old woman from Corning has been charged with two counts felony possession and two counts of felony criminal sale of a controlled substance.  Tessa Walker was in the Steuben County Jail on another drug charge at the time of her arrest. Walker's arrest was made as a result of a joint investigation between the Corning and Bath Police Departments, Steuben County Sheriff’s Office and investigators from the County District Attorney’s Office.

Tomorrow is the Law Enforcement Memorial at the Steuben County Public Safety Building. The event honoring fallen law enforcement officers in our region will be video livestreamed to observe social distancing guidelines. The annual event will begin at noon will be available at www.facebook.com/SteubenCSO  

Today's Top Stories - Wednesday May 13th, 2020

WENY TV reports it was confirmed by Local 1000 Steelworkers United Union President Warren Baker that 300 to 400 Corning employees in Erwin will be laid off. Affected employees will be notified this week and the official lay off date will begin on Monday, May 18th. President Baker said the layoffs were due to economic decline from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Local sales tax collections dropped 24.4 percent last month compared to April of 2019 and leaves many of New York’s local governments grappling with shortfalls according to State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Sales tax collections totaled $1.02 billion in April. The April figures show shrinking revenues for local governments throughout the state. Every county in New York State saw a large drop in April collections. Steuben County's collections dropped 28% last month.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced legislation to invest $4 billion in educational funding for the next relief package with the effort to guarantee students have access to technology and broadband to continue their education during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Senate’s Emergency Educational Connections Act of 2020 would provide $4 billion in funding ensuring all K-12 students have adequate home internet connectivity in order to continue their education during the coronavirus pandemic.

Yesterday at his daily coronavirus press brief held in Binghamton, Governor Cuomo urged to stay safe as the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions are set to begin phase one of reopening their economies this Friday, May 15th. Cuomo reminded the public that following CDC Guidelines is necessary to maintain public health and safety. 

Congressman Tom Reed along with state officials yesterday said they are celebrating the reopening of the area. According to WROC-TV, Reed said…“As we go forward on this journey our goal is to continue to build up that collaboration and agreement and cooperation and to continue opening up in the additional phases that we have in front of us.” This week Gov. Cuomo gave the green light for the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier Regions to partially reopen Friday. Reed believes opening up now is not premature and can be done safely. 

The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that an additional Steuben County resident tested positive for COVID-19.  This brings the total to 246 confirmed cases. The individual is a resident of the Village of Arkport and is hospitalized, bringing the total number of current hospitalizations to eight. Public Health staff investigated and identified close contacts of the confirmed cases and exposure risks.  All those known to have direct contact with the individual have been notified.

Law enforcement officers across the region will recognize their comrades during the annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service set for this Friday May 15th at noon. The ceremony will be a Facebook live feed hosted at the Steuben County Public Safety Building. Sheriff Jim Allard said the event, which has been going on for six years now, will follow social distancing guidelines set forth by the State Department of Health for the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Today's Top Stories - Tuesday May 12th, 2020

Yesterday Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions have met all seven metrics required to begin phase one of the state's regional phased reopening plan when NYS on PAUSE orders expire on May 15th. If the trend continues, starting on Friday, these three regions can begin opening businesses for phase one, which includes construction; manufacturing and wholesale supply chain; retail for curbside pickup and drop-off or in-store pickup; and agriculture, forestry and fishing. The North Country and Central NY regions have met 6 of the 7 metrics and could be ready at the end of the week.

 

Two additional residents have been reported to have tested positive for COVID-19 since  Saturday according to the Steuben County Public Health Department. The total number of confirmed cases is now 245.  The individuals are residents of the City of Hornell and the village of Arkport and are linked with previously reported positive cases.  They are currently being isolated and monitored by the County Health Department. All residents should continue to stay home and monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms. 

 

The New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation from the Horseheads barracks is conducting an investigation into found human remains in the Town of Elmira.  Saturday, Troopers responded to a report of an apparent human skull being located in an area along the Chemung River in the Town of Elmira and asearch of the area resulted in the recovery of adult skeletal remains in an overflow area of the Chemung River in the Town of Elmira.  This area is located East of the City of Elmira between Interstate 99 and the Chemung River.

 

The nation's leading infectious disease expert and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies today before a Senate committee about COVID-19, the federal response, and the science behind the disease. On the Senate floor yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said science has been muzzled by the White House, and urges Doctor Fauci not to hold back.

 

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined Democrats in the US Senate to call for information on Amazon’s discipline and termination policies, as reports emerged about the firing of employees who have publicly raised concerns about the company’s safety conditions in warehouses during the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Democratic senators called for information on internal policies that resulted in the termination of at least four employees that have advocated on behalf of health and safety conditions for workers in Amazon warehouses. Over 100 Amazon warehouses have reported positive coronavirus cases.

 

Gordman's stores in the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier will be briefly reopening shortly in Phase Two of the Governor's plan to reboot the state economy. Stores will be open for liquidation sales before closing due to its parent company Stage fileing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. Officials report Phase Two of the plan is anticipated to begin in mid-June. 

 

NASCAR announced racing will return to Watkins Glen this summer after a six-week layoff due to coronavirus. Four cup races will be held over the next few weeks but if you are a fan, you unfortunately can't catch the races at the Glen. The return race is planned for August 16th but there may be no viewers in the stands to watch. Officials from Watkins Glen International say they are working on a Plan B to bring fans to the track if restrictions are to remain in place.   

Today's Top Stories - Monday, May 11th, 2020

The Corning Leader reports work began this morning to replace old water main lines on parts of Park Avenue and East First Street in Corning. Traffic is closed on the affected portions of both streets from 6:30am to 4pm for about five weeks and parking will not be allowed. Water service could be interrupted for some customers and may include low water pressure.

 

Governor Cuomo announced at this morning's daily COVID-19 press briefing in Irondequoit that the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions currently meet all the crieteria to begin the reopening process this Friday, May 15th. Cuomo says the Southern Tier, Finger Lakes and Mohawk Valley regions in the state currently meet all seven metric required to reopen on Friday. 

 

A Siena College poll released today shows about half of people would prefer to see New York state pause until its scheduled reopening date set for this Friday, May 15th. The poll shows 49 percent of New Yorkers believe the Governor's "On Pause" restrictions should remain in place longer compared to the 39 percent of the state who want the state to slowly begin to reopen at the end of this week. According to the poll, 27 percent of Ne w Yorkers are confident businesses will be able to keep their employees, clients and customers safe. 

 

State Senator Tom O’Mara joined his GOP peers at the Senate Republican Conference to call on Governor Andrew Cuomo to fix New York’s broken unemployment system. O’Mara and his colleagues proposed a series of recommendations to remedy failures at the Department of Labor (DOL). O'Mara says his offices have been fielding a flood of calls and emails from area workers who lost their jobs and have been unable to access and receive the unemployment assistance they need.  O’Mara says it’s time to get it fixed. 

 

A Corning man has been accused of committing a felony sexual assault. State Police said they arrested 34-year-old Dale Button of Corningwas charged with felony first-degree sexual abuse involving forcible compulsion and second-degree coercion. Troopers said the incident occurred in the town of Erwin reported on February 25th.

 

After investigating a disturbance complaint in the Town of Cohocton, State Troopers arrested 39-year-old Lakeville man Patrick Santillo. He was charged with criminal mischief after he allegedly reckless caused property damage and released on an appearance ticket for court.

 

A 9-year-old Hornell boy was diagnosed with the new coronavirus related illness called pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome. Bobby Dean is the first child in the Southern Tier region to be diagnosed and is one of 85 national cases of the condition that has so far claimed three young lives. Bobby is back home after he was brought to the ER of St. James Hospital last Sunday. Doctors say the coniditon occurs when COVID-19 causes the immune system of some children to overreact.

Today's Top Stories - Friday May 8th, 2020

Steuben County Public Health Department reports the 39th death of a county resident previously testing positive for COVID-19. The latest death was a 79-year-old man from the Village of Bath who died outside of the county. Health Director Darlene Smith said that it was almost a week since the last reported COVID-19 death in the county and remarked the loss of this man who was active in the community is a reminder "The creulty of the disease is that it takes family members away. Please remember this in your actions to stop the spread."

 

Corning's Gaffer District announced new plans for the annual GlassFest this year. The event was originally postponed to June back in March due to coronavirus concerns and will now be held virtually online over Memorial Day Weekend, May 22nd-24th. Virtual GlassFest 2020 will feature live music, artist demonstrations, shopping via the Facebook Gaffer District Retail Group and dining options through curbside pick-up or delivery. For more details about Virtual GlassFest go to: GlassFest.org.

 

Steuben County Public Works Commissioner Vince Spagnoletti says potential funding from New York State’s Extreme Winter Recovery Funding and Pave NY could add to Steuben County Public Works road work schedule in 2020, with the current drop in oil prices likely to reduce costs already budgeted for pending projects. Spagnoletti recently told the county Legislature’s Public Works Committee his department expects to work on 88 miles of county roads at a cost of $6 million this year so long as the new funds remain in place. The scheduled road work is in large part funded through the state’s Consolidated Local Street  and Highway Improvement Plan. Bath is expected to have road work for chip seal on 14 Town County Road Miles and Recycle 1.5-inch Blacktop for 10 Town County Road Miles. County road work scheduled pending Extreme Winter Recovery Funding and Pave NY funds will be announced at a later date.

 

Congressional Candidate for New York’s 23rd District Tracy Mitrano held her weekly Tuesdays Talk with Tracy panel discussion where she presented a 3-step immigration comprehensive reform proposal, which includes: Expanding the visas so that farmers have an unencumbered process by which they can get the labor that they need to feed the country, Allowing for programs for earned documentation for immigrants who have lived in this country for extended periods of time and Enforced and smarter borders, that includes technology initiatives as well as physical barriers. Mitrano said the bureaucracy needs to be reformed and called on support for a clean Dream Act. 

 

The New York State DEC has announced camping season at New York State-operated facilities has been pushed back until at least June 1st due to coronavirus concerns, making state campgrounds unavailable for Memorial Day weekend this year. The DEC said those who have already made paid reservations will be able to get full refunds. 

 

The New York State Police announce its Trooper entrance exam scheduled for October has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications for the exam will be suspended until the new date is announced. Those who have already signed up will have their applications canceled and will be issued a refund but will need to reapply once the exam is rescheduled. A new exam date will be announced when appropriate at www.joinstatepolice.ny.gov

Yesterday State Senator Tom O’Mara urged Governor Cuomo to keep his administration’s response to the COVID-19 emergency what he calls “laser focused on the short-term public health demands of this crisis and the need to get upstate back to work." Cuomo's announcements this week that New York will join with the Bill Gates Foundation to "reimagine" education in the state and transform the state's health care system with the help of Google was met with criticism by O'Mara. The State Senator said: "We can’t afford to draw attention and resources away from the immediate crisis by engaging now in grand and radical ideas to remake education and health care."

The identity of the Lindley man shot in the back during a Tioga dispute has been released as he remains in critical condition at Robert Packer Hospital. Matthew McNeil of Lindley was shot allegedly by suspect Lewis Nagy, of Tioga County, Pennsylavania, who is in jail after being charged with two counts of felony aggravated assault, one count of felony criminal attempted homicide, and misdemeanor count of making a terroristic threat, four misdemeanor counts of simple assault, and four counts of misdemeanor recklessly endangering another person.

Today's Top Stories - Thursday May 7th, 2020

A Lindley man was injured yesterday after he was shot in the back. Pennsylvania Troopers reported this incident occurred in Tioga following an argument that escalated into the shooting of a 35-year-old victim with “birdshot” from a shotgun. He was taken to Robert Packer Hospital for treatment and Troopers arrested 33-year-old Lewis Nagy of Tioga and charged him with attempted murder. He was arraigned and remanded to jail without bail.

 

A fire early yesterday destroyed a home in Wayland on State Route 21. Numerous departments responded and no injuries were reported. Some family pets were saved while other were killed in the fire. The cause of this blaze is under investigation.

 

The Steuben County Public Health Department reports notification that one additional Steuben County resident from the City of Hornell has tested positive for COVID-19 and brings the total to 241 confirmed cases.  The individual is linked with a previously reported positive case, and is currently hospitalized outside the county.

In recognition of the dedication of nursing professionals, especially during the COVID19 pandemic, Steuben County Legislature Chairman Scott VanEtten has proclaimed the week ending May 12 as “Nurses Week in Steuben County.” A national tradition for 65 years, the week ends on the renowned nurse Florence Nightingale’s birthday. VanEtten urged all residents of Steuben County “to help celebrate and recognize nurses as an expression of gratitude for all they do to keep us healthy and safe” and also saluted nurses for stepping up with their service in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis in, the Legislature's proclamation.
 

State Senator Tom O’Mara and his GOP colleagues in the state Senate have called for an independent investigation of New York’s response to what he calls the tragedy continuing to unfold in state-regulated nursing homes impacted by COVID-19. In a statement, O’Mara said - Working as a team with Hornell Mayor Buckley, County Manager Jack Wheeler, the entire Steuben County Health Department, and all of the local officials and health care providers serving during the COVID-19 response, he can attest to the collective frustration with the response by the Cuomo administration, which has come under criticism for nursing home deaths now totaling nearly 5,000 following recent state reporting. 

 

All outpatient services have virtually been reopened at St. James Hospital in Hornell. Safety protocols include pre-visit and on-site screening of all individuals, universal masking, limited points of entry to clinics and the hospital, reconfigured waiting rooms and work space for social distancing, use of personal protective equipment, scheduling that promotes social distancing, and continued use of telemedicine appointments where appropriate. 

 

Office for the Aging Director Patty Baroody announced local agencies serving seniors’ needs are in line for additional funding through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. She told the county Legislature’s Human Services, Health and Education Committee the state Office For the Aging has allocated over $70,000 for use with transportation, additional meals and other needs brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be used as needed and will not replace other sources of revenues. 

 

Several members of the House of Representatives will return to Congress this afternoon to debate the next CARES package virtually. The Problem Solvers Caucus, co-chaired by Corning Republican Congressman Tom Reed, will hold its first “Virtual Congress,” where 24 lawmakers will participate in a Floor debate via video conference, just as they would in regular floor proceedings. Today’s virtual Congress is to be live-streamed on the Problem Solvers caucus Facebook page beginning at 3:30

Today's Top Stories - Wednesday May 6th, 2020

As the nation celebrates National Senior Corps Week, Steuben County RSVP also honors local residents who have dedicated their lives to serving others. Larry and Cathy Storm, and Robert Wheeler, all of Bath, are being recognized by the New York State Office For the Aging for their volunteer efforts ranging from couple Cathy and Larry Storms mentoring families with children at risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and working with youth, to Robert Wheeler's career with the VA and volunteerism dedicated to veterans.

 

Eleanor's Legacy, a political foundation supporting pro-choice Democratic women, announced that Leslie Danks Burke's campaign for State Senate in the 58th district is among the first group that the organization has endorsed for the 2020 election cycle. In response, Danks-Burke said in a statement: "Here in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes, as everywhere, empowering women to support and plan for families makes our economy and society stronger."

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo is sounding off about an interview President Trump recently gave to the New York Post. In the interview, the President said he didn't want to give bailouts to states fighting the COVID-19 pandemic - especially states run by Democrats, calling them poorly run and cash-strapped. But Cuomo says the President is dividing the nation into red states and blue states, in a time when the nation needs to unite. Governors representing both parties have asked for more funding at the federal level, and say the money is needed to help first responders and teachers during the pandemic.

 

Tops Supermarkets announced yesterday it will limit certain quantities of meat purchases due to high demand. Purchases are being limited to two packages of fresh meat, including ground beef, and on fresh pork per customer and will also place limits on two packages of fresh chicken. Wegmans announced Monday they will enact similar restrictions this week. 

 

State Senator Tom O’Mara and his Senate GOP colleagues announced this week they will be present a “Reopen and Reset” strategy for the upstate regions they represent. As Governor Cuomo continues to focus on calibrated, short-term plans for the reopening of local economies along regional boundaries, O’Mara and his colleagues say they want to also begin setting rebuilding priorities for post-coronavirus government in New York State throughout the coming year and into the foreseeable future. O’Mara said he and other state Senate Republicans are discussing and developing strategies for upstate’s post-coronavirus communities and economies including the steady rebuilding of increasing numbers of economic sectors, regulatory and tax reform, and mandate relief, as well as many others.

 

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and his Assembly Republican colleagues are calling for federal assistance to reimburse local governments for needed Personal Protective Equipment purchased for volunteer emergency medical service (EMS) workers and volunteer firefighters as well as cover lost wages for emergency volunteers forced to quarantine due to potential exposure to COVID-19. The GOP lawmakers announced they are sponsoring a bill that would create the New York State Volunteer Fire Protection Emergency Reimbursement Account, a state fund that would reimburse volunteer fire companies, districts, departments, and EMS for COVID-19 expenses. Palmesano and his colleagues sent a letter last week to President Trump, Senator Schumer and the New York state congressional delegation urging federal action.

 

A federal judge declared yesterday the New York Democratic presidential primary must take place on June 23rd because canceling it would be unconstitutional. Democratic members of New York State’s Board of Elections voted to cancel the primary due to coronavirus despite New York still planning to hold its congressional and state-level primaries on June 23rd. Judge Analisa Torres heard arguments earlier this week as lawyers representing presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang argued that it was unjust to cancel the primary.Judge Torres also ruled there is enough time before the primary occurs to determine how to hold the election safely in the midst of the pandemic. 

 

Steuben County community members are sponsoring a live online benefit poetry reading tonight at 7 p.m. The Bath Peace Justice Group, the PeaceWeavers, and Foothills Publishing will be hosting the poetry reading event on Zoom. Several poets recently published by Foothills Publishing will participate and there will also be time for an online open mic for poetry and music. Donations and half of all book sales from the time of the event through May 15th will go directly to the 22nd Annual Helen Rubar Memorial Peace Scholarship given to local graduating high school seniors working for peace and justice in their community and beyond. To participate, email Mike Czarnecki at poetguy@foothillspublishing.com.

Today's Top Stories - Tuesday May 5th, 2020

 

Steuben County parks have been reopened beginning today. However, playgrounds and pavilions will remain closed at this time. County manager Jack Wheeler reminds park visitors to be responsible during this pandemic and continue to maintain social distancing.

 

Bath Village police announce they arrested 41-year-old Michael D. Clemons of Rochester. Clemons is accused of possessing and selling crack cocaine in Bath last summer. He was arraigned on the felony charges then released. Police said Clemons is a two-time convicted felon.

 

Steuben County Public Health Department reports five more residents testing positive for COVID-19 over the previous three days and brings the total to 239 confirmed cases. The County Health Department said the latest infections involve people living in Hornell and the towns of Bath, Caton, Urbana and Wayland. One new positive is from a nursing home in the Bath area, and another new positive is from a nursing home in the Hornell area. 

 

Agricultural businesses in the area have a second chance for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program for agricultural businesses previously ineligible for the program and engaged in the production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural-related industries. Those who have already applied under the streamlined application (March 30th to program closure) do not need to re-apply. New non-agricultural business applications will not be accepted. The portal will be opened for a limited period, and it is recommended that applications be submitted as soon as possible at http://www.sba.gov/Disaster

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday outlined additional guidelines for when regions can re-open. The state will monitor four core factors to determine if a region can re-open, to include the number of new infections. Cuomo also outlined new safety precautions that each business must put in place upon re-opening to help lower the risk of spreading the virus. Among the eight requirements…businesses must adjust workplace hours and shift design as necessary to reduce density in the workplace and require all employees and customers to wear masks if in frequent contact with others.

 

Troopers say one person was injured in a single vehicle crash on State Route 53 in the town of Prattsburgh. State Police identified the driver as 32-year-old Prattsburgh man Jordan Kuhn.

 

Community members in Steuben County are sponsoring a live online benefit poetry reading tomorrow at 7 p.m. The Bath Peace Justice Group, the PeaceWeavers, and Foothills Publishing will be hosting the poetry reading event on Zoom. Several poets recently published by Foothills Publishing will participate,with their own works and there will also be time for an online open mic for poetry and music. Donations and half of all book sales from the time of the event through May 15 will go directly to the 22nd Annual Helen Rubar Memorial Peace Scholarship given to local graduating high school seniors working for peace and justice in their community and beyond. To participate, email Mike Czarnecki at poetguy@foothillspublishing.com.

Today's Top Stories - Monday May 4th, 2020

Steuben County announces that all county parks will reopen tomorrow. County parks include: Kanakadea Park in Hornellsville, Birdseye Hollow Park in Bradford, Harley Mayo Park at Boyd's Corners in Cameron, and Hornby Park in Hornby. However, playgrounds and pavilions will remain closed at this time. For general COVID-19 Questions please refer to the NYS 24/7 Hotline at 1-888-364-3065.

 

Those looking to make a difference in the community in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic can donate blood at several upcoming local blood drives as the urgent need for blood continues. Tomorrow is a blood drive at the Kanona Fire Hall 1-6pm. Friday May 15th the Bath First Presbyterian Church has a blood drive from 11:30am to 4:30pm. A Drive is also scheduled at the Hammondsport Fire Department Thursday May 21st from 11:45am to 5:45pm. To donate blood call 1-800-RED-CROSS or go online at redcrossblood.org

 

Steuben County Sheriff’s Office reports the Friday arrest of Ryan L. Reynolds of Campbell.  Deputies responded to a vehicle sales location in the Town of Campbell due to a report of an intentionally damaged vehicle. Reynolds was located and interviewed as a person allegedly matching the video description of the person who damaged the vehicle and recovered physical evidence which led to the allegation that he also damaged approximately three dozen vehicles in the Corning area on April 28th and 29th.  A joint investigation then ensued with the City of Corning Police Department leading to the subsequent arrest of Reynolds. Reynolds was charged with Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree and Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree then arraigned in the Centralized Arraignment Court and released to appear in the City of Corning and Town of Corning Courts at a later date.  The investigation continues, with further charges possible in the future.

 

New York’s completed antibody testing study show 12 percent of the population have COVID-19 antibodies. The survey developed a baseline infection rate by testing 15,000 people at grocery stores and community centers across the state over the past two weeks. The rate is 6% in western NY and 2% across the southern tier. Total COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York have dropped below ten-thousand – but Gov. Cuomo still calls the 280 new deaths 'tremendously distressing' -- urging New Yorkers to wear face coverings - for public safety and respect for front-line employees.

 

As May is Mental Health Awareness Month Veterans are encouraged to access VA Mental Health Support from home.To help reduce the risk of infection at the facilities veterans are being reminded and encouraged to use VA’s online resources for routine or non-urgent mental health care and questions to help protect veterans from contracting COVID-19 while enabling providers at VA Finger Lakes Healthcare System to focus on care for veterans with the most acute needs. The Bath VA reminds veterans they offer them a variety of at-home resources, including telephone or video appointments and veterans should maintain their existing mental health appointments and can receive at-home care via the VA Video Connect on their computers, smartphones, or tablets. To set up telephone or video appointments, veterans can send their health care provider a secure message on My HealtheVet by visiting myhealth.va.gov and can learn more about VA Video Connect at mobile.va.gov/app/ va-video-connect.

 

While in Rochester this morning for his daily coronavirus press briefing, Governor Cuomo said he believes it to be disrespectful to those people on the frontlines during this pandemic to not wear a mask while in public. Cuomo also advocated for penalties to those not wearing the masks in public due to it being a public health emergency. He also remarked that it is the legal right of local and county governments to impose fines and sanctions as penalties to those not following the order.

A Hornell duo are now facing second-degree murder charges, in connection with an alleged overdose death. Angela Dixon and Adam Carbonell are being charged along with assault and criminal sale of a controlled substance. Police say the body of 33-year-old Bridgette Cologgi was found back in January with an autopsy finding a fentanyl overdose as her cause of death. Officers raided a home in Hornell on Adsit Street the next day, finding concentrated fentanyl and heroin at the residence. Both Dixon and Carbonell are held in Steuben County Jail currently pending arraignment.

 

Review and discussion of the fiscal impact of COVID-19 and planning for re-opening County offices will be the subject of a special county Legislature Reopening and Recovery Committee set for 9 a.m. Thursday. Chairman Scott VanEtten says they are meeting to discuss a phased approach to reopening the County operations. VanEtten says they want to be prepared once the Governor relaxes the stay-at-home orders. Regarding the fiscal impact, the chairman says lawmakers need to take actions to reduce our County spending for the balance of 2020 to address the reductions in revenues that will occur.

Today's Top Stories - Friday May 1st, 2020

At this morning's daily coronavirus press briefing, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced schools all across the state will remain closed until the end of the academic year. Cuomo says schools will continue to provide distance learning until the end of the school year as well and that a decision on summer school programming will be announced at the end of this month.

 

More criminal charges have been leveled against Bath man Kenneth Turner after he was allegedly found to be in possession of $4,300 in cash and suspected crystal meth after a parole visit. Last week, Turner was arrested by Bath Police and Sheriff's Deputies for other drug charges and remanded to jail on the parole violation. 

 

College Student Group Cornell Democrats have endorsed State Senate candidate Leslie Danks Burke for the five-county 58th State Senate District. Danks-Burke recently was endorsed also by the New York State Young Democrats and faces off against incumbent Republican State Senator Tom O'Mara in the November general election. 

 

Four additional COVID-19 cases have been reported by the Steuben County Health Department and brings the total number of cases to 231 confirmed. Two of the new positives are from the City of Hornell as well as the towns of Urbana and Wheeler.

 

Empire Access has announced the extension of their 2 months of free internet service through June 30th for families who do not currently have Empire internet. Households that have K-12 and/or college students can sign up for 2 months of free Empire Access internet service with Wi-Fi. There will be no contracts required to receive this service and installation is free. 

 

Eligible seniors 60 and over in Stueben County can recieve a 30-meal box of shelf-stable food supplied by the Food Bank of the Southern Tier by calling (607) 664-2322. Boxes may contain items like dried beans or lentils, pasta, rice, shelf-stable milk, canned fruits and vegetables, canned tuna and chicken and dried fruit. Call (607) 664-2322 and leave a message to request a box. Calls will be returned by Office for the Aging Staff.

 

The spring turkey season opens today in all of Upstate New York. Hunters may take two bearded turkeys during the spring season, but only one bird per day. From now until June 30th you may complete all the requirements to earn a NYS hunter education certificate online for $19.95. The course can be found on the DEC website where a link to the hunter education course can be found. 

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