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Today's Top Stories - Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

Ryan Hamilton, a 28-year-old Bath man released from prison one year ago, faces up to 20 years behind bars after being arrested for allegedly possessing child pornography while he was on parole. Hamilton was originally sentenced10 years probation after previously being convicted of possessing a sexual performance by a child and later violated that probation and was convicted in 2017 of the same charge then sentenced up to four years in prison. After being released last June, federal prosecutors say during a home visit they found he had a tablet storing 87 videos and 11,000 images of child porn. Hamilton was released following his latest arraignment and ordered to reappear.

 

The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that two additional Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19 since Saturday and brings the total to 285 confirmed cases, 10 of which are currently active. The individuals are residents of the Town of Prattsburgh. The investigations indicate that the individuals are linked to a previously reported positive case, and they traveled to a state with high rates of infection. Neither individual posed any known public exposure risks since their return to Steuben County.

 

Though the Steuben County Fair announced they will go back to its roots doing the bare minimum fair events via drive-through format this year, Fair Director Nick Pelham said the Fairgrounds will continue to be used for the community this summer, including for a blood drive scheduled for Thursday, July 16th. On Friday’s episode of Community Focus, Pelham reminded the public through the COVID-19 pandemic, the fairgrounds have served the community for vital events like a food drive and mask and hand sanitizer giveaways for farmers. The Blood Drive on July 16th is from 1-6pm. To donate blood, call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

 

State Senator Tom O’Mara said he is working to resolve the many fraudulent unemployment claims and the many scams that have occurred due to the New York State Department of Labor’s Unemployment system that was outdated by decades until recently. On a Community Focus Podcast, O’Mara said these frauds and scams have been occurring more frequently in the past two weeks. To hear the interview tune into the WVIN morning show this Thursday around 8:30am or find the entirety of the interview online at:https://wvinbath.com/podcasts/community  

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo coming under fire for his nursing home order amid the coronavirus pandemic. Back in March, Cuomo ordered that if a hospital decided a patient who needed nursing home care was medically stable -- the nursing home had to take them in, even if they had been treated for COVID-19. U-S Representative Elise Stefanik made an appearance on Fox and Friends to discuss the New York governor. In the weeks following Cuomo’s order -- the coronavirus ravaged New York state’s nursing facilities -- killing more than 6,000 people. Cuomo defending the order, pointing to a New York Times tally which shows nursing homes accounted for only 21% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths ... a smaller percentage than in 44 other states.

 

A two-vehicle crash that killed five people Sunday remains under investigation. The Tioga County Sheriff’s Office has not yet released the names of those involved. The crash happened on State Route 79 near the Broome County Line. Three people died in one vehicle, two in the other. Another victim remains in critical condition and one other person was hospitalized in stable condition.

 

Senator Chuck Schumer endorsed Tracy Mitrano’s run for New York’s 23rd Congressional District. The Senator said he was proud to endorse Mitrano and called the Penn Yan native : “a strong, honest, and hard-working person who gets things done.” And who will “leave politics at the door to make sure New Yorkers get the fair shot they deserve.”

Eight additional states meet the metrics qualifying to be added to the travel advisory which requires individuals traveling to New York from those states that have significant community spread, to quarantine for 14 days. Newly-added states are California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee. The quarantine applies to anyone arriving from a state that has a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average. Yesterday, New York State said the percentage of positive tests conducted that day was one percent.


The full, updated list of states on the travel advisory includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

The future is not looking promising for the 2020 Great New York State Fair set for August 21st, according to Governor Cuomo. During a Friday conference call that the fair is probably a no-go but there is still time for that to, perhaps, change.

Today's Top Stories - Monday, June 29th, 2020

Manager of the Steuben County Fair Nick Pelham announced the 201st Steuben County Fair this year has gone through a few changes but will be brought to the county this year as a drive-through type of event. Pelham sat down Friday for a WVIN Community Focus Interview where he said this year’s fair has undergone a “Restructuring” where it will go back closer to its roots.  Pelham said that no carnival or competitive events will be a part of this year’s fair but 4-H Livestock will be on display while fair-goers can also enjoy antique tractors and food vendors. Pelham said the fair hopes to expand with more events as more details develop. Refund details for the Craig Morgan Concert will be made available by July 6th. The Steuben County Fair is scheduled from Tuesday August 18th to Sunday August 23rd.

 

Governor Cuomo announced a Fourth of July crackdown on fireworks. Cuomo said a task force is in the process of being developed to attempt to keep New Yorkers from purchasing fireworks deemed illegal in this state and supplied primarily through the state of Pennsylvania. While local government and law enforcement face the task of making sure that all their residents and visitors comply to COVID-19 guidelines, Cuomo is also urging them to take illegal fireworks seriously.

 

The 7th annual Southern Tier Women's Financial Conference scheduled for September 26th at the Corning Country Club in Corning has been postponed and rescheduled to next year October 23rd, 2021. The conference is known across the county as a great way to join other women to learn how to improve the mind, body, and checkbook! For more information about future conference details, visit  bit.ly/womensfinanceconference, @SouthernTierWomensFinancialConference on Facebook and on Instagram at @stwomensfinancialconference. For more information on the conference call 607-664-2573.

 

State Senator Tom O’Mara says he is calling for investigations and hearings regarding the Governor’s handling of the nursing home crisis New York State faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. O’Mara says he has been working with Congressman Tom Reed to hopefully conduct federal, independent hearings regarding the nursing home outbreaks. O’Mara also credited local officials like the Assemblyman, County Manager Jack Wheeler, Health Director Darlene Smith and Mayor Buckley for being at the “forefront” of taking control of the nursing home outbreaks within the county. To hear the interview tune into the WVIN morning show this Thursday around 8:30am or hear the entirety of the interview available online at:https://wvinbath.com/podcasts/community  

 

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says the Trump Administration taking healthcare away from millions of Americans during this unprecedented global pandemic would be “sinful and cruel.” The junior Senator made the statement in response to the administration’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Friday, the Trump Administration filed a brief with the United States Supreme Court but this case will not be heard until the fall. The Healthcare Association of New York State estimates nearly 3 million New Yorkers could lose coverage if so-called the ACA is repealed without a suitable replacement.

 

During a recent Community Focus interview, State Senator Tom O’Mara shared his input regarding the recent start of the fourth phase of reopening the economy in our area. Though O’Mara had an overall positive outlook on embarking on the final phase of reopening, he disagrees with Governor Cuomo on putting a halt to the opening malls, bars and gyms in the final phase. O’Mara believes with the peak spread of COVID-19 behind us, the state could have reopened our region sooner. The State Senator said the urgency should now be put in reviving our local economy. To hear the interview tune into the WVIN morning show this Thursday around 8:30am or hear the entirety of the interview available online at:https://wvinbath.com/podcasts/community  

Today's Top Stories - Friday, June 26th, 2020

The Steuben County landfill and its transfer stations in Erwin, Hornell and Wayland will be closed Saturday, July 4th in honor of the holiday. The landfill and its transfer stations, however, will be open July 3rd. The landfill will resume its normal schedule on July 6th and the transfer stations will reopen July 7th.

 

Finger Lakes SPCA announces they will receive a COVID-19 relief grant from Best Friends Animal Supply to ensure the shelter is prepared to continue to save pets in need of homes across the county. The Finger Lakes SPCA is an active partner in the Best Friends Network offering resources and support to fellow shelters, rescue groups and animal welfare organizations across the country. The grant was made possible by the Rachel Ray Save Them All COVID-19 Relief Program, which is funded by the Rachel Ray Foundation dedicated to helping animals in need and funded by a portion of proceeds from each sale of Rachel’s pet food, Nutrish.

 

The Corning Museum of Glass announces its reopening next week on Wednesday, July 1. The museum said it will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Labor Day, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. thereafter. Phase 4 of reopening the economy begins in our region today which includes the opening of museums. Reservations are required and advanced timed tickets are now available for purchase. https://reservations.cmog.org/ Read the CMOG’s health and safety protocols for guidelines and protocol while visiting.

 

The Steuben County Public Health Department reports an additional Steuben County resident tested positive for COVID-19 and brings the total to 283 confirmed cases, nine of which are currently active.  The latest case is a resident of the Town of West Union who is 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.  An investigation indicates that the individual traveled to a state with high rates of infection and visited the following locations upon their return within the timeframe noted:

• 6/22/20 Afternoon – Escher’s Tire & Service Center in Elmira

• 6/22/20 Afternoon – Acorn Market gas station in Addison

• 6/22/20 Afternoon – NAPA Auto Parts in Addison

• 6/22/20 Evening – Big Bear Pizza in Addison

• 6/24/20 Afternoon – Wegmans in Corning

 

Watkins Glen International is modifying its schedule because of the coronavirus pandemic. According to WENY, Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen has been rescheduled for Labor Day weekend, September 3-6. The event was originally scheduled for this weekend, but then postponed to October; however, now it has been pushed back up to September. Officials say previously purchased tickets for Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen will be honored on the rescheduled weekend.

 

State Senator Tom O’Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and Assemblyman Chris Friend are calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to rescind a proposed $238 million cut to the state Office of Persons with Developmental Disabilities, set to take effect on July 1. The area’s state lawmakers said that families of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as residential service providers, have contacted them to express their strong opposition to the proposed cut and explain its consequences. The funding was included in the new state budget enacted in April; however legislative leaders also authorized Cuomo to unilaterally make changes to the budget as the governor sees fit during the COVID-19 response.  O’Mara, Palmesano and Friend have been highly critical of the Legislature giving Cuomo the power to revise the state’s fiscal plan without legislative approval.  

Today's Top Stories - Thursday June 25th, 2020

According to the Steuben County Fair Facebook page, the 201st County Fair this year has been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns. The decision was made at a special board meeting on Tuesday by the Board of Directors for the Steuben County Agricultural Society as they agreed to cancel the majority of fair events. All Grandstand Events, Competitive Exhibits and Carnival are being postponed until 2021. The fair is working with musical act Craig Morgan to possibly reschedule his concert to Wednesday August 18th. All presale tickets will be honored and refund details will be announced by July 6th.

 

The New York State Department of Health announced today Steuben county will receive $1,104,642 as part of federal funding from expanded medical matching funds under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The legislation increases New York’s Medicaid reimbursements by 6.2 percent. The over $1 million allocated to our county is a part of the $323 million in federal funding to all counties across the state. The federal statute is projected to cover six months from January to June of this year and lasts the duration of the pandemic period.

 

Steuben County Sheriff’s Office reports from June 6th to  June 20th, deputies arrested seven people for Driving While Intoxicated. Dakohta Button of Jasper, David Raison of Lakeville, Daniel Berger of Brooklyn, Tamar Howard of Bath, John Bogart of Bath, Carl Ribble of Bradford and Joseph Stage of Hornell were all charged with at least one count of Driving While Intoxicated then released on traffic summons to appear in local Town Courts at later dates.

 

Haverling High School moved their graduation date to Friday due to weather concerns. Students with the last names starting from A-K will graduate in a 6 p.m. ceremony and the remaining students will graduate two hours later during an 8 p.m. ceremony. Both ceremonies will be held in the stadium with parking in the football lot.

 

NYSEG and RG&E announced this week that they have filed a proposed rate case settlement with the New York Public Service Commission. Both companies reported the proposed agreement earned support from customer groups, industry, governmental and environmental interests, with over 20 parties signing the settlement. News of the filing comes after months of negotiations about how the companies can best serve customers in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. AARP New York and the Public Utility Law Project have responded with strong opposition to a proposal to raise the utility companies’ rates and enact other measures over the next three years.

 

The states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut held a joint news conference yesterday to announce a new travel advisory that will direct travelers from states with high rates of COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival to the three states. New York Governor Cuomo first threatened to put it in place last Friday. Three months ago when Northeast states were being hit hard with the virus, Florida, Texas, South Carolina and other states instituted a similar quarantine policy that included travel from the three states. Since then, infection rates have flipped with Florida reporting thousands of new cases of COVID-19 daily, while New York is regularly seeing below 700 cases. The advisory begins effective midnight tonight. Being caught violating that quarantine could issue a mandatory quarantine order and could be fined up to $2,000 for a first offense and up to $10,000 if they cause harm. New York will also monitor the list of flights entering New York to make sure passengers will quarantine for coronavirus.

 

Governor Cuomo announced that COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state have dropped below 1,000 for the first time since March 18. Yesterday 996 COVID-19 patient were reported to be hospitalized. Cuomo also confirmed that tomorrow begins Phase IV of reopening the economy in our Southern Tier region. Cuomo says limits on church gatherings will increase from 25% to 33% and non-essential gatherings can increase from 25 to 50 people while low-risk arts and entertainment like museums will also be allowed to reopen. Malls, gyms, and movie theaters will continue remain closed for the fourth phase. Cuomo says his administration is studying new information about the virus suggesting that air conditioning systems at malls, gyms, bars and social clubs may actually recirculate the virus before making a decision about reopening these places.

 

A new design for New York state license plates has officially been on the road in more than a dozen counties across the state according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Dubbed the Excelsior plates by the DMV, the design replaces New York’s previous two designs over time. The plate has blue lettering on a white background accompanied by the images of Niagara Falls, Adirondack Mountains, Statue of Liberty, Manhattan skyline and lighthouse all at the bottom with “Excelsior written in gold below the plate numbers. New plates will be issued for new vehicle registrations in counties that have run out of their supplies of the previous Empire Gold plates.

Today's Top Stories - Wednesday June 24th, 2020

Law enforcement in Steuben County have united in writing a letter to residents regarding the recent criticism and what they call “rhetoric” surrounding policing as a result of the movement of protestors and activists calling for reform to prevent police brutality. As a response to the protest, the letter calls for police reform across the nation while addressing Governor Cuomo's recent order that demands police departments adopt reform plans by April 1st or lose state funding. County Sheriff Jim Allard says the order is confusing because it is "EXTREMELY VAGUE" and they are awaiting direction for the division of criminal justice services to move forward. The letter also acknowledges a need for improvement in the relations between the minority and police communities.

 

As of yesterday evening, at 7pm, WENY news reports that in Steuben County the COVID-19 cases has flatlined for total deaths and confirmed cases. Confirmed number of cases in the county are at 281 and the total deaths countywide still stand at 42. County residents currently hospitalized are at 3 and 230 people have recovered from COVID-19.

 

Though yesterday was Primary Day and Special Election Day across New York results are not expected until perhaps weeks from now. Results are being tabulated under unusual circumstances as every registered voter eligible to participate in yesterday’s elections received an absentee ballot this year per the order of Governor Cuomo. The possibility of mail-in-balloting for the upcoming November general election has been discussed but the decision to do so is currently being debated.
 

Phase 4 of reopening the New York State economy is anticipated soon for our region but the fourth phase will no longer include shopping malls, gyms or movie theatres. There is no identified timeline or strategy for reopening additional businesses left out of the four-phased process after the fourth phase. Outdoor and lower risk indoor activities will be allowed to reopen which include film production, museums, aquariums and zoos at 25% capacity.

 

New York State Association of Counties sent a letter to Congressional leaders and the president that called for immediate action on infrastructure investments to be included in future economic stimulus packages. NYSAC President Jack Marren says the letter includes a list of infrastructure projects from 40 counties that total over $7.35 Billion. The letter requests $780,440,987 for Steuben county. This call for federal funding comes as governments deal with the dramatic drops in sales tax revenues county and statewide.

 

Unemployment numbers were released for the month of May by the State Department of Labor. The state’s overall unemployment rate was 14.2 percent which is a staggering increase of 10.6 percent from May of last year. Employment dropped by 2 percent from last year for Steuben County and the unemployment rate climbed 7.3 percent from 4.0 to 11.3 percent.

 

The union that represents the public college and university faculty across New York state has called for widespread testing of campus staff and students before beginning the upcoming fall semester. Spectrum News reports the president of United University Professions says mandatory testing capacity needs to be expanded now to safely start the school year. SUNY campuses were of the first institutions that closed in mid-March as the coronavirus pandemic started.

 

Childcare providers across the state will be receiving $65 million in federal CARES Act funding available through the Child Care Expansion Incentive program through July 15th. Available funding includes $20 million to assist childcare program with reopening and expansion of capacity by providing materials supporting a more socially distant model, and for supplies and activities associated with reopening and expansion. Childcare Reopening and Expansion Incentive funds worth $45 million are available to cover half the cost of a newly opened classroom and incentivize its opening. Childcare programs must have either been closed as of June 15th and have a plan to reopen within two weeks of applying or currently operating below their licensed capacity and would like to expand to be eligible.  Maximum awards for the $20 million in Reopening and Restructuring Incentives range from $300 to $1,600 one-time grants depending on size.

 

Steuben County Sheriff’s Office reports deputies arrested Mr. Chad T. Speicher, age 29, of Beaver Dams. Deputies were dispatched regarding a report of an assault and it is alleged Speicher assaulted another person. He was charged with Assault in the 3rd Degree and was processed and released to appear at the Town of Erwin Court on a later date.

Today's Top Stories - Monday June 22nd, 2020

Steuben County legislators met in-person for the first time in months as well as by teleconference in regular session this morning to discuss the matters before them. Action by the Steuben county board included accepting federal funding for public transportation, urging state leaders to update the state’s Electronics Equipment and Reuse Act and authorizing mutual aid between county public health departments in the Finger Lakes. Federal grants totaled $813,000 for transportation needs in Steuben County. Funding from the CARES Act, amounting to $247,000, will be directed to the Institute of Human Services for mobility management while some $564,000 will be sent to First Transit and Steuben Area Rides for public busing operations. Steuben lawmakers also supported a bill before the state Legislature expected to shift the cost of recycling electronic equipment back to the manufacturers to save county residents the cost of the $15 recycling fee they are now charged to dispose of televisions and monitors at the county landfill and transfer stations.

 

Since March 14th, Steuben County has been under Emergency Operations for the response to COVID-19 and over the past few months the Office of Emergency Services along with the Public Health Department and County Manager ran the most extensive operation for the County yet. The primary function during much of the operation was logistical support of medical supplies to hospitals, nursing homes, first responders and a host of others in our community. The Office of Emergency Services reports over 30,000 Eye Disposable masks, over 3,000 sets of vinyl gloves, over 400 gallons of hand sanitizer were distributed over the past 91 days.

 

Primary elections in New York state take place tomorrow as the Democratic Presidential race and SAM Party primaries will occur. Today is the last day to vote in those elections for the early voting period. These primary elections will determine the party nominees that will be running for General election day scheduled for November 3rd.

 

Over $100 million will now be available for mortgage forbearance and rent assistance in New York State. Last week, Governor Cuomo signed a series of bills aiming to cover the emergency response of the COVID-19 pandemic and includes up to $100 million in rent subsidies to eligible New Yorkers based on income and other related criteria. The funds come from the stimulus package that was approved by Congress and signed back March by President Trump. This new mortgage forbearance law allows New Yorkers to delay payments for up to 360 days and also covers several other fiscal protections.

 

The New York State Assembly hosts a virtual hearing today for businesses that continue to struggle through the coronavirus pandemic. Legislators will be discussing the economic hurdles businesses have had to deal with and challenges they expect to face in the near future. Legislators will also review the federal response to the pandemic like the Paycheck Protection Program.

 

The state Department of Labor reports May’s unemployment rate dropped to 14.5%  from a high of 15.3% in April. The report also found the state economy added 137,000 jobs, or a 2.1% increase while first-time unemployment claims currently sit at about 90,000 weekly.


Despite health officials’ approval to voting by mail as a means to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus President Trump says widespread mail-in voting would benefit Democrats and alleged without evidence that mail voting will lead to massive fraud. New York Governor Cuomo responded that he thinks Trump is trying to “set up” the idea that mail-in voting will lead to election fraud and giving him an out should the 2020 Presidential Election not fall in the president’s favor. The turnout of primary elections in the US has surged since introducing the mail-in ballots for voters to cast their vote, suggesting the idea of remotely casting a ballot has been popular with the greater public.

Today's Top Stories - Friday, June 19th, 2020

WVIN and WABH announce the stations will hold virtual radio graduations for the class of 2020 seniors. Virtual Radio Graduations will be aired for Haverling, Hammondsport, Avoca, Prattsburgh, Campbell-Savona and Bradford. Each program will feature opening remarks, salutatorian and valedictorian speeches as well as the announcing of the graduates. Virtual graduations will be aired the week of June 28th on both WVIN 98.3 and WABH AM 1380.

 

Steuben County Clerk Judy Hunter reports the Bath, Corning, and Hornell DMV offices are experiencing issues with the voicemail system and to resolve temporary issues, effective today, Steuben residents may begin scheduling in-person appointments online for all three Steuben County DMV offices. Anyone who left a voicemail to schedule an appointment at our offices and who has not received a return call will need to schedule an appointment online. Applicants for licenses and testing should go to https://dmv.ny.gov/ to locate the required documents and IDs. The completed forms and required documentation should be brought to the appointment.

To make an appointment at a county DMV for licenses and testing, only, please use the following links:

? Bath Office: https://steubencountydmvbath.setmore.com

? Corning Office: https://steubencountydmvcorning.setmore.com

? Hornell Office: https://steubencountydmvhornell.setmore.com

Class D permit tests cannot be scheduled under the state’s guidelines, Hunter said.

 

Avoca’s own Aaron Benton has gained national recognition for the sport of skeet shooting. In the late ‘90’s and early 2000’s, Benton became the first student from Avoca Central School to earn All-American status in that sport. Following that accomplishment, he became the #1 ranked junior in the world for the sport. Benton returned to the sport on Tuesday as he competed in the Elite Championships in Maryland. Aaron's goals are getting back in top form and working to earn more national and global accolades.

 

Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard reports a fourth person has been arrested for the June 3rd alleged stabbing and robbery of a man on Fish Hatchery Road in Bath.  Investigators and deputies arrested 25-year-old Brooke A. Hayden of South Division Street in Hornell. Hayden was charged with Assault in the First Degree, Robbery in the First Degree, Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree and Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree. She was arraigned released after posting $1,500 bail. 

 

Deputies of the Steuben Sheriff’s Office Warrant Squad announced they arrested Dylan Benjamin Townsend of Campbell for allegedly violating a term or condition of his probation. Also arrested for violating probation for a separate and unrelated incident was Donovan Michael Lowery of Hornell. Both men were arrested between June 1st to the 15th after warrants were issued out of Steuben County Court. Both men were sent to Steuben County Jail.

 

Western New York State Senator Robert Ortt has been elected as the next minority leader of the New York State Senate today. He will take over from Long Island Republican John Flanagan. In a statement, State Senator Tom O’Mara called the election of his colleague, “an important step to begin restoring a strong voice for Upstate New York in a downstate dominated state government.” And also remarked: “state government that has fallen too far under ineffective and irresponsible one-party control.”

 

Recently re-designated as Steuben County’s official tourism agency, the Steuben County Conference and Visitors Bureau (SCCVB), is looking to provide some local summertime relief from the isolation and stress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic through its #Together Again campaign. The group says the region is prepared to offer enticing, safe and friendly occasions to help Steuben residents and visitors relax and enjoy themselves after the troubles of the past few months. Related events will be designed to promote cleanliness, physical distancing and reduced contact, yet still offer people remarkable experiences like road trips, day trips and “staycations.” The campaign also is a tribute to the work and sacrifices people in the area have put in to overcome the COVID-19 challenge, and a thanks to locals who have supported small businesses during the Lockdown.

To view the video and for more information on tourism opportunities go to CorningFingerLakes.com.

 

Will New York ‘tax the rich’ to dig itself out of its looming budget hole? One hundred New York State Senate and Assembly members released a pledge they signed refusing to allow state budget cuts without raising revenue through new taxes on the ultrawealthy. The pledge was cosigned by labor unions, economic justice advocacy organizations and in their statement of principles, the legislators called for a balanced state tax policy where everyone pays their fair share and pledged support for a post-pandemic economic recovery plan centered on what they believe is the best engine for recovery: individual New Yorkers and their communities. Legislators called for tax reform citing those of low-income communities and communities of color as the New Yorkers who have already been most affected by COVID-19 and should not be hit again with state cuts to needed public services.

Today's Top Stories - Thursday June 18th, 2020

School Budgets were reported to have passed for the annual School District elections held two days ago. It was reported annual school budgets were approved by a majority of voters for the School Districts of Addison, Arkport, Avoca, Bath, Bradford, Campbell-Savona, and Hammondsport Central Schools. New York State voters approved approximately 99 percent of all school district budgets Tuesday and voter turnout for the mail-in election was considerably higher than previous years.

 

Officials say a Steuben County resident tested positive for COVID-19 after participating in a Black Lives Matter demonstration outside the Elmira Police Department Saturday, June 6th. Since the patient is from Steuben County the Public Health Department will lead the investigation while Chemung County Health Department will provide follow-up if necessary. The June 6th demonstration the patient was at was a gathering outside the Elmira Police Department and the patient was not at the march that took place in Elmira the previous day on Friday, June 5th. As of yesterday morning, there is only one active COVID-19 case in Chemung County and 10 active cases in Steuben. A few weeks ago, Governor Cuomo recommended those who participated in protests to get tested for COVID-19 as a precaution.

 

A Hornell woman has been identified as the victim of a decades old cold murder case in Florida known as the “Valentine Jane Doe Homicide”. The now-resolved cold case dates back to February 15th, 1991 when a body of an unidentified woman was discovered off of US Route 1. Recently, the woman was identified as a Hornell resident Wanda Deann Kirkum who was 18 years old at the time. New DNA technology allowed for a suspect to be identified as Robert Lynn Bradley, who was murdered in Texas a year later. Police say new DNA technology was used to identify both the victim and the suspect after Bradley’s DNA was obtained from the scene of Kirkum’s murder in the Florida Keys area.

 

The Canisteo Village Police Department arrested Sean A. Kellogg (Age 24) of Hornell, 22-year-old Jack D. Hughes of Bath and 21-year-old Jolynn M. Sleve of Bath for felony drug charges. This incident stemmed from a routine traffic stop on East Main Street in the Village of Canisteo. During the investigation the Village Police utilized Canine Dex with locating a large amount of cocaine, marijuana, concentrated marijuana, cash in the amount of almost $2000.00 and drug paraphernalia and packaging materials consistent with the distribution of sales.

 

This morning at his daily COVID-19 press briefing, Governor Cuomo said New York State was issuing guidance to colleges and universities that wanted to open in the fall. Campuses must develop plans for reopening, monitoring, containment, and shut down in order to allow some residential and face to face programming for the fall semester. Cuomo also announced an Executive Order reinforcing the state’s enforcement to protect New Yorkers and says that any business in violation of reopening rules and guidelines can lose their liquor license and their business could be shut down. Cuomo also announced an Executive Order stating bars are responsible for the area immediately outside their establishment.Yesterday, New York reported an infection rate of 0.90% which Cuomo said this was the lowest positive percentage the state has had since the coronavirus pandemic started.

 

Tops Friendly Markets launches its annual campaign for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals this Sunday, June 21st and continues to July 4th. Customers buy a $1 balloon or round up their change on a purchase to support the Children’s Miracle Network. 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated back to the local women and children's hospitals in the store's community. This year the campaign has already raised over $1.55 million.

 

Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order recognizing Juneteenth as a holiday for state employees, in recognition of the official emancipation of African Americans throughout the United States. The Governor will also advance legislation to make Juneteenth an official state holiday next year. Cuomo says that although slavery ended over 150 years ago, there has still been rampant, systemic discrimination and injustice in this state and this nation, and he have been working to enact real reforms to address these inequalities. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when the news of liberation came to Texas more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1, 1863.

Today's Top Stories - Wednesday June 17th, 2020

By a 3-1 margin, voters yesterday approved the $37 million Bath school budget. A proposition to purchase two school buses was also passed. Dr. Susan Narby was elected to serve a five-year term on the school board.

 

Steuben County Sheriff’s Office reports June 3rd, at about 5:20am, a person arrived at the County Public Safety Building requesting help, medical assistance and aid.  The man, later identified as Mark Norton, reported he had been beaten, stabbed in the abdomen and robbed by two males on Fish Hatchery Road, in Bath.  Mr. Norton was airlifted to a medical facility for treatment and later released.  Deputies and Investigators of the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office began a systematic and thorough investigation which led to the recovery of video, the vehicle used, the persons allegedly involved and an allegedly stolen vehicle.  Three were charged: Michelle M. Gause, of Dundee was charged with Assault in the First Degree, Robbery in the First Degree, Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree and Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree.  Dylon Little of Bath was charged with Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree. Corey Sloan of Addison will be charged with Assault in the First Degree and Robbery in the First Degree. The investigation is on-going and further arrests are anticipated. 

 

Steuben County Sheriff’s Office reports Thursday June 4th, deputies arrested James Manhart, age 29, of Hornell following a response to a wellness check. It is alleged that Mr. Manhart had choked another person. Mr. Manhart was charged with Obstruction of Breathing/Blood Circulation. He was arraigned in the Centralized Arraignment Court and released to appear on a later date.

 

Congressman Tom Reed says there’s no excuse for the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and says he sees potential in this situation to unite the country. Reed opposes the “defund police” movement and says reform should incentivize good policing as well as update police training regularly. The Congressman says it’s important to stand by both law enforcement actors and those seeking reform to police practices.

 

Girls on the Run of the Southern Tier, the region’s premier girl’s empowerment organization announces the launch of Power Up. Power Up is a fun and interactive activity kit to fuel the mind, body and spirt of participants following the cancellation of the spring 2020 season of Girls on the Run of the Southern Tier due to COVID-19 precautions. The program was created to develop essential life skills and establish a lifetime of appreciation for health and fitness. Power up is available for $49 and includes an exclusive GRL PWR t-shirt, 8-week activity guide, certificate of completion and access to free Power Up videos to aid in the lessons. It is recommended for those who did not participate in the Girls on the Run “At Home” spring program. To learn mor or purchase a Power Up Activity Book, visit www.gotrst.org/power-up.

 

Now in its 20th year, Steuben Senior Services Fund (SSSF) is celebrating its anniversary with plans to allow seniors to stay home in comfort and safety through its five-year-old Full Circle America program. Those plans received a boost in March with a $160,000 award from the Care Compass Network Innovation fund, making Full Circle America (FCA) available to an additional 24 seniors in Steuben at no cost. Now helping 13 individuals stay at home, with an average age of 90, FCA readily adapts to changes in levels of care by combining basic computer “smart” technology with non-medical monitoring and volunteer services. Since it began, FCA has saved more than $1 million in long term care costs to date while allowing people to stay more independently in familiar surroundings.

 

Legislation has been signed requiring all New York State Troopers to wear body cameras while on patrol. The Governor said the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve isn't working. This new law requires all Troopers to use body-worn cameras while on patrol to record immediately before an officer exits a patrol vehicle to interact with a person or situation. The law also requires law enforcement to keep video records of all these interactions.

Today's Top Stories - Tuesday June 16th, 2020

Ira Davenport Hospital is set to receive millions in support thanks to the CARES Act and other COVID-19 pandemic relief bills. Three hospitals on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic are within the 23rd Congressional District and will receive millions in critical federal aid from Health and Human Services’ Provider Relief Fund. The funds target safety-net hospitals which treat patients no matter their insurance status or ability to pay and were allocated in the federal CARES Act as well as the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. Congressman Tom Reed announced the payments will total over $20 million in relief for the 23rd Congressional District. Ira Davenport is scheduled to receive $5,000,000.

 

A parade will be held on Saturday, June 27th after the Bath-Haverling commencement to honor this year’s Seniors. The lineup begins for students only at 12:30pm at the Steuben County fairgrounds and the Parade will begin at 12:45. It will depart from the fairgrounds through the Rumsey Street Gate and continue on Washington Street, turn right on Ellis Ave around the school circle and down and eventually reach Liberty Street then it will be completed once it gets back to Washington Street. Parents and Family as well as the community and friends are welcome to line the streets along the route. Bath PD and Bath Fire Department Fire Police will be directing traffic, and the Route will be closed so that everyone can follow the route without interruptions.

 

Today, Governor Cuomo announced during his daily COVID-19 briefing that hospitals will be able to accept visitors at their discretion. Cuomo also said group homes can begin allowing visitors at their discretion this Friday. Nursing homes still will not be allowed visitors at this time as the state will continue studying data from the hospital visitors’ pilot program to figure out how it can be applied to nursing homes.

 

Congressman Tom Reed said while in the 23rd Congressional district, he met with officials at Regeneron. Regeneron a pharmaceutical company developing a treatment for COVID-19 which will enter human trials. Reed says the company’s results show major potential. If the trials are successful, the antiviral cocktail could be available on the market by the fall.

 

The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that two additional Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19.  This brings the total to 276 confirmed cases, 10 of which are currently active.  The individuals are residents of the City of Corning and the Village of Canisteo. The individuals are isolated and being monitored by the County Health Department.  Public Health staff investigated and identified close contacts of the confirmed cases and exposure risks.  All those known to have direct contact with the individuals have been notified. Public Health Director Darlene Smith says COVID-19 is still circulating in the community.

 

Steuben County Sheriff’s Office reports that on June 10th  deputies arrested Jerel W. Woodworth, age 72, of Holt Road in Greenwood following an investigation into a complaint of sexual misconduct. Woodworth allegedly subjected a person under the age of sixteen years old to sexual contact by forcible compulsion and charged with one count of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree.  He was arraigned in the Steuben County Centralized Arraignment Court and released on $250.00 bail to appear in Greenwood Town Court at a later date.

 

The June 23rd Primary polling places have been announced by the Steuben County Board of Elections. County Board of Elections commissioners said the poll site changes are for the June 23rd primaries held only for Democratic Presidential and SAM Party State Committee. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Changes were made to comply with N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s NY On PAUSE restrictions. Early Voting also continues today through Sunday, June 21st. Those wishing to vote by absentee ballot for the June primary may call (607) 664-2260 for an appointment to come in person. Mailed-in absentee ballot applications must be postmarked by today.

 

Two people were taken into custody following a weapons assault in the Town of Campbell. State Police arrested 25-year-old Hunter Gerow of Painted Post. His top charges include felony counts of first-degree reckless endangerment and criminal mischief. Troopers also arrested 56-year-old Blaine Gerow of Beaver Dams. Both men were charged with menacing with a weapon and criminal possession of a weapon with intent to use. They were both initially detained.

Today's Top Stories - Friday June 12th, 2020

The Southern Tier region’s County Managers and Administrators sent a letter to Governor Cuomo advocating for regions of the state to be given complete authority of reviewing and approving plans for local high school graduation. Seven Southern Tier heads of government which include Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler, signed the letter which indicates plans for larger graduation ceremonies currently permitted under state guidance to be accommodated with appropriate standards and health precautions. Last weekend, the Governor said high schools can hold outdoor graduation ceremonies limited to just 150 people with social distancing guidelines in effect. Click the link to read the Southern Tier Graduation Letter.

 

Steuben County officials are considering support of a bill before the New York State Legislature expected to shift the cost of recycling electronic equipment back to the manufacturers as originally intended. This bill would save county residents the cost of the $15 recycling fee they are now charged to dispose of televisions and monitors at the county landfill and transfer stations. The fees partially cover the $75,000 annually now paid by the county to recycle electronics. The bill would require: all counties with populations between 65,000 and 300,000 people shall be allowed at least three permanent collection locations, all manufacturers to provide convenient drop-off sites for residents and any materials collected at a permanent municipal collection site must be accepted by manufacturers, or their agents, at no cost to the municipality, including reasonable costs for preparation and transport. The county Legislature is expected to vote on a resolution supporting the bill when it meets at 10 a.m. June 22nd.

 

Today sales tax revenue figures for the month of May were released by the state and the numbers were, unsurprisingly, not good. According to the Office of the Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, sales tax collections last month fell 32.3 percent from the same period last year and totaled $918,000,000, or $437,000,000 dollars less than last year. Steuben County reported a staggering decrease of 38.7% for sales tax collections.

 

Today Steuben County enters Phase 3 of the COVID-19 reopening and more businesses will be open again. County Public Health Director Darlene Smith said it been a long haul to get to this phase, calling it exhausting and frustrating. During the past three months, the Steuben County Health Department lead many of the response efforts and Smith says she is grateful for the support and assistance. Phase 3 allows indoor dining at restaurants as well as permits personal care services to reopen. There are restrictions in place for both industries.

 

State Senator Tom O’Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano are encouraging area residents to begin voting for Watkins Glen International (WGI) in USA Today’s 10 Best online Readers’ Choice competition to decide America’s “Best NASCAR Track.” In a joint statement, O’Mara and Palmesano said, “Let’s all get behind the wheel and keep voting to make sure that Watkins Glen International takes the checkered flag once again this year as America’s greatest NASCAR track.”

 

As farms across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes struggle amid the COVID-19 crisis, State Senate candidate Leslie Danks Burke today stressed the importance of supporting local farmers across New York throughout this crisis and beyond. She says while the federal government is touting tens of billions of dollars in agriculture aid, family farms are being left behind in favor of big agri-business. Since the restaurant industry and many meatpacking plants were shut down in response to the pandemic, the supply chain disruption and inadequate processor availability forced many farms to dispose of large quantities of their products, including dumping milk and slaughtering animals on a massive scale. Danks-Burke explained her answer to those problems would be to include farm-specific relief to the industry as part of the reopening of the economy and would involve establishing local governments and schools to buy New York-produced milk products first.

 

The Bath VA Community Living Center will be holding a vehicle parade for family members of residents tomorrow at 10: 30 a.m. An extensive parade route will run around the Bath VA grounds at buildings 76 and 78. A VA fire truck will lead the parade, and organizers anticipate that community participation will include about sixty vehicles.

Today's Top Stories - Thursday June 11th, 2020

On Tuesday afternoon owner of Bath Credit Services Dan Chapman and fellow Bath Volunteer Fire Department member presented a $500 check to help fill the department’s fund-raising gap caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Chapman was aware of the need to purchase new radios for the apparatus, portable radios for all the officers and interior firefighters due to the upcoming upgrade in Steuben County’s transition to high band to improve the radio system and made the donation to support the Department he serves. Anyone interested in following Dan Chapman’s lead in supporting the Department is encouraged to email Bath Volunteer Fire Department Chief John Conrad at: jconrad@bathfire.org

 

Deputies with the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office Warrant Squad report arrests they made related to four active bench warrants from May 15th to 30th. Brandee Sue Johnson, 27, of Greenwood, Brendan Scott Moore, 28 of Wayland, John Frank Minardo, 49 of Cohocton and Damian Cole VanVleck, 30 of Bath were all separately arrested on bench warrants for violating terms and/or conditions of their probation. The warrant was issued out of Steuben County Court and each were sent to Steuben County Jail.

 

A missing Bath man has been found. Troopers earlier sent out an alert for 76-year-old Hollis Eugene Fenton. Troopers said he was found this morning and is reported to be in good condition.

 

Voters in Steuben County can participate in Early Voting starting Saturday at the county Annex for the June Primary. Voters also may cast absentee ballots or vote in person from 6 am-9 pm June 23 at available locations. 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.

 

Congressman Tom Reed slammed Gov. Cuomo for a plan to scale back twice-a-week testing for COVID-19 at nursing homes. Reed called the plan “disappointing”.

 

New York began a ban on plastic bags that took effect March 1st, and many stores said they are complying despite the state having yet to enforce the ban. Three months since the law took effect, the state Department of Environmental Conservation is going through a lawsuit over the ban and the complexity of the coronavirus pandemic that has stopped the agency from taking any action against stores that still handing out plastic bags. Store owners could be fined $250 for a first violation and $500 for a second but the DEC has agreed to not enforce the law through June 15th because of the legal fight they have  with the plastic-bag industry. Though the DEC will enforce the ban starting June 15th, it would need to give the plastic bag industry 30 days to comply, making the earliest it could crack down on the use of plastic bags July 15th.

 

New York State lawmakers passed several bills this week on police reforms. Legislators say the bills are “not a cure for racism,” but is a “step and a path to equality.” Yesterday, both chambers passed a bill that establishes an Attorney General Office of Special Investigations for when a person dies during or after a police encounter. Another bill that passed the legislature requires New York State Police to wear body cameras.

Today's Top Stories - Wednesday June 10th, 2020

Congressman Tom Reed voiced that he is “disappointed” with the police reform legislation proposed this week by Senate Democrats which he calls a, “one-house, one-party bill” designed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Reed is critical of the bill’s defunding the police federally, calling it a move that is partisan to what he calls an effort to “appease that hard left policy position”. Reed said he would instead further support funding law enforcement by using funding as a “carrot” to incentivize enhanced funding for those in law enforcement “making positive changes” and cited the “Step Up, Step In” program as an example of how to utilize funding.

 

County Deputy Finance Commissioner Patrick Donnelly said the annual Steuben County Real Property Tax Auction has been postponed until a later date and will be delayed until an appropriate site is located. Donnelly told the committee the delay is required due to postponement of court proceedings, along with social distancing requirements in response to COVID-19. County officials will continue to monitor the progress of required court actions and the Legislature will establish a new date in the coming months.

 

The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification yesterday three additional Steuben County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 since Saturday and brings the total to 273 confirmed cases.  The individuals are two residents from the Town of Urbana and one from the Town of Campbell. Two  are residents of a nursing home in the Bath area.

 

The Corning City Council last night voted unanimously to approve a temporary closure of a portion of Market Street. The move will allow businesses to move their services outside. The closure begins Friday and continues until August 2nd .

 

State Senator Tom O’Mara is applauding the news of $204 million in federal funding that will expand production at Corning Incorporated’s manufacturing  facility in Big Flats. He says it could double the number of jobs at the plant, and help Corning play a critical role in the ongoing COVID-19 response. Corning announced yesterday that the funding is forthcoming from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which operates as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The aid will allow Corning to majorly expand its manufacturing of Valor Glass vials that will be used for the production and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. The announcement also said Corning will immediately seek to fill 60 permanent manufacturing positions and thirty-four additional jobs are anticipated to open as funding is released.

 

The Dormann Library Board of Director’s have made the decision to NOT ask for an increase in the tax levy this year. In a statement, they said they understand that the community has concerns about the economy and personal finances and they respect that concern. While the upcoming budget has already been formulated with mandated increases in staff salary, the Board feels that they will be able to modify other areas that will allow them to continue to provide the quality programs the community has come to expect with current funding.

 

The New York State Police will begin to target speeding and aggressive drivers during a special weeklong traffic enforcement initiative beginning tomorrow. This year’s “Speed Week” enforcement campaign will run through Wednesday, June 17th. Troopers will also actively patrol highway work zones and will target driverswho violate New York’s “Move Over” Law. During last year’s Speed Week campaign, State Troopers issued 24,770 total tickets, including 13,016 for speeding, 571 for distracted driving, and 416 for violations of the Move Over Law.

 

A pair of bills introduced in the New York State Senate is aimed at demilitarizing law enforcement agencies across the state. One of the bills would ban the use of tear gas and prohibit officers from using pepper spray as a crowd control measure. Law enforcement agencies would also be prevented from purchasing military surplus equipment which include drones, grenades, silencers, and militarized armored vehicles. Tear gas triggers pain receptors that cause crying, sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing, and temporary blindness and even miscarriage for pregnant women upon exposure with the risk of long-term consequences.

 

Officials at St. James Hospital announce convenient summer hours for its Urgent Care Center on Seneca Road in Hornell. Starting Monday, June 15th, urgent care service will be open 8am – 6pm seven days a week. St James President and CEO Bryan O’Donovan said: “We realize people are busy during the summer, and having the ability to get their care earlier in the day is a great convenience.” St. James Urgent Care is a provider of non-emergency services to both children and adults with no appointment necessary.

Today's Top Stories - Tuesday June 9th, 2020

Three more residents have tested positive for COVID-19 in Steuben County. Two new patients are from Urbana and the third is from Campbell. Now, the total number of confirmed cases in Steuben has reached 273.  Health officials say that two of the individuals are residents of a nursing home in the Bath area. The individuals are isolated and being monitored by the County Health Department. Public Health Director Darlene Smith urged residents to help us make the transition into the third phase of reopening the state economy possible by continuing to follow precautions to stop the further spread of COVID-19: wear a mask in public when you cannot maintain a distance of at least six feet apart and wash hands regularly.”

 

Members of the Steuben County Sheriff's Office united to say Goodbye to their fellow team member, K9 Devin, who passed away yesterday. K9 Devin was a gift made possible by the Sergeant Devin Snyder Memorial Foundation in December 2013 and named after Sgt. Devin Snyder, who was killed in 2011 while she was serving in Afghanistan. K9 Devin retired last year due to health issues. 

 

Corning Inc. is to receive $204 million in federal funding to expand manufacturing of its Corning Valor Glass packaging to increase production and contribute to the fight against COVID-19. Funding is provided by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a group that is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The new agreement states Corning will “substantially expand” its domestic manufacturing capacity of Corning Valor Glass vials to “support the vaccination and treatment of billions of patients”. Corning Inc. will also provide priority access to a vaccine by BARDA, as well as drug development partners. The investment reportedly will allow Corning to accelerate production of Valor Glass tubing and vial manufacturing in three facilities in Big Flats; Durham, North Carolina; and Vineland, New Jersey.

 

New York State has issued new guidance on restaurants, as our county and region anticipate reopening in ‘Phase 3’ this coming week. It is expected the Southern Tier region will reach the metrics to begin the third phase by week’s end. So far no official word was given by the Governor’s office. Guidelines published by state officials include limiting indoor capacity to no more than 50 percent capacity of customers, employees must wear face coverings at all time, outdoor and indoor seating set up 6 feet away from one another, patrons wearing face coverings except when seated, designate areas for pickup, exit and entry separately, and clearly signal six feet spacing for customers. Personal care businesses will also be opening in the third phase that include certain types of salons previously not eligible to reopen in the second phase.

 

There is talk that Governor Cuomo may make an announcement this week on the status of overnight summer camps after he previously expressed concern about the ‘unknowns’ connected to COVID-19 and MIS-C associated with the virus which has killed approximately 200 kids. Cuomo gave the green light for day camps to resume June 29th across New York state but said the final decision on overnight camps should come in the next week.

 

Protests in response to the death of George Floyd have spawned new legislative measures in Albany as an attempt to combat police brutality. The package includes a ban on chokeholds and a new requirement for New York State Troopers to wear body cameras. Both bills made it through the New York State Assembly. Another piece of legislation protects bystanders who record law enforcement engaging in police brutality. The newest legislation ensures that those recording the police are not targeted or charged for recording incidents involving police. Most of the reforms are expected to pass both chambers of the legislature in Albany.

 

A fully accessible absentee ballot application and absentee ballot program will allow voters in Steuben County with accessibility needs to vote by absentee ballot independently as early as the June 23rd primaries. The application, located www.elections.ny.gov, can be accessed from the homepage, the “Absentee Voting” page and the “Meeting Voter Access Needs” page.  The program allows New Yorkers with disabilities to vote in the privacy of their own homes with technologies enabling them to cast their ballots in secret, without the help of a family member or other person. Voters are required to apply for the fully accessible ballot program as soon as possible, but no later than June 16 for the June 23rd Primary. For more information, go to https://www.elections.ny.gov/ or www.Steubencony.org/boe

 

Congressman Tom Reed of Corning called Governor Cuomo to give New York’s local governments access to the funds Congress had appropriated for them in the CARES Act passed on March 27th. New York’s local governments have yet to receive critical aid from the package for essential line items like expanded COVID testing, childcare support, community development, and education funding. The letter stated funds are there to distribute by responsibility of the state and was signed by more than 70 elected officials, including Steuben County Legislative Chair Scott Van Etten, state senator Tom O’Mara, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and Hornell Mayor John Buckley.

 

State Police report the arrest of 28-year-old Troyal Gascon of Cohocton. He was charged with first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child for allegedly providing alcohol. The incident occurred in the Village of Cohocton and was reported to Troopers on Saturday.

Today's Top Stories - Monday June 8th, 2020

An Addison teen has died, after a hiking accident that happened one week ago today. The family of 16-year-old Blake Driskell reported his passing Friday night via their Facebook page. Driskell slipped and fell while hiking near a Bear Falls waterfall in Tuscarora with several friends. After the accident, he was at Strong Hospital in a medically-induced coma for several days where the community banded together to support the family. A GoFundMe page for the Driskell family raised about $40,000 to help with related expenses.

 

At a Watkins Glen event yesterday, Congressional candidate Tracy Mitrano outlined a plan to address systemic racism and prevent police brutality. Mitrano called for federal standards for training of all law enforcement officers that are to be reinforced by sufficient funding to ensure compliance across the board. Mitrano also called for an end to the deficiencies of the U.S. healthcare system and infrastructure, as well as inequalities in schools, food insecurity and lack of affordable housing, which are all issues that disproportionally and adversely effect black and poor communities.

 

Governor Cuomo announced Saturday houses of worship will have a phased reopening in the Finger Lakes, Central New York, and Southern Tier regions. The reopening coincides with New York’s phased reopening plan for the broader economy. Churches can begin immediately by opening at 25% capacity but must follow social distancing.

 

A Corning woman was arrested after the death of 100 year-old man Gerald Early. Saturday, Police arrested 51-year-old Brenda Lee McKay of Corning who was charged with second-degree murder.  According to WETM18 News, Gerald C. Early was found unconscious in his Corning home with severe head trauma. He was flown to Guthrie Robert Packer in Sayre where was pronounced dead. Investigators allege that McKay attacked the man with a hammer. She was initially remanded to Steuben County Jail. No motive has yet been established as the homicide investigation continues.

 

Governor Cuomo announced that outdoor, socially distanced graduations of up to 150 people will be allowed beginning June 26th. The order is subject to any outbreaks or significant changes in the regional metrics.

 

State Police arrested 41-year-old Shane S. Fox of Canisteo who was charged with felony first-degree sexual abuse involving contact with a child under age 11 and misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child. The arrest stems from an incident in the Town of Andover that was reported on May 30th. Fox was issued an appearance ticket for court and released.

 

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo signed legislation extending the deadline to submit absentee ballots until the day of the election. Primary ballots must be postmarked by June 23rd to be counted. Cuomo previously issued Executive Orders allowing all New Yorkers to vote absentee in the June primary elections. Cuomo also announced he will issue an Executive Order extending the deadline for school districts to receive school budget ballots. School budget ballots can be accepted by hand delivery through 5p.m. tomorrow and received by mail through June 16th by the school district.

Today's Top Stories - Friday, June 5th, 2020

The Bath Volunteer Fire Department lit up their department in red last night as a way to show their support for a teenager fighting for his life after falling from a 60 foot drop at Bear Falls in Tuscarora Monday. According to the Department’s Facebook post, they said they did it to honor 15-year-old Blake Driskell of Addison, who suffered the fall and whose favorite color is red. Bath VFD joined other local fire companies in this act for support. Anyone wanting to support Blake and his family financially during their tough time can donate through the GoFundMe set up in his honor called #BlakeStrong.

 

It was announced State Parks will begin accepting new camping reservations money and check-ins that begin this month on June 22nd. Campers must practice social distancing and bring and wear a face covering, while respecting the rules to do their part to keep the campgrounds, parks, and beaches open and safe for all. Camping capacity will be limited and visitors must make an advanced reservation before arriving at a campground for check-in. Reservations can be made in advance by calling toll free 1-800-456-CAMP or http://newyorkstateparks.reserveamerica.com. Online reservations are encouraged.

 

A Corning man arrested on multiple charges that include burglary, assault and shoplifting has been arrested again after the Steuben County District Attorney says he attacked a man who was sleeping with a sledgehammer. Reportedly, the incident happened in Corning during the overnight hours between last night and today. District Attorney Brooks Baker says 20-year-old Kyle Horton is expected to be charged with Assault in the First Degree. Horton was involved in several incidents in the Corning Area. On May 25th, he was charged after police say he and an Elmira resident stole a woman's car. May 16th, Horton was arrested and charged with shoplifting from a Corning business. In the past, Corning Police have said they've encountered Horton “20 times since March 11th, 2020”.

 

Corning City Police report Campbell man Justin Gross, age 27, was charged Wednesday with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree menacing and petit larceny, and was arrested on a bench warrant.

 

The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that two additional Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19 and brings the total to 267 confirmed cases.  The individuals are residents of the towns of Bath and Wayland. All those known to have direct contact with the individual have been notified. Public Health Director Darlene Smith says that “Overall, the numbers continue to head in the right direction.”

 

Governor Cuomo has announced the state is expanding COVID-19 testing criteria to include any individual who attended any of the recent protests across the state. The Governor encouraged any individual who attended a protest to please get a test. Governor Cuomo also announced that schools will be permitted to hold drive-in and drive-through graduation ceremonies this year. The State will reexamine socially-distanced outdoor commencements at a later time.

 

Candidate for the State Senate, Leslie Danks Burke was endorsed yesterday by Planned Parenthood Empire State Votes PAC. The organization works to elect candidates that stand with Planned Parenthood and fight for reproductive and sexual health and rights. Danks Burke is a lifelong advocate for reproductive rights and pro-choice values and was a board member of Planned Parenthood of Advocates of New York State from 2013-2015, and of Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes from 2013-2017.

 

As the mowing season continues, the Bath Police Department remind the public that blowing grass into the roadway is a violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law. It is especially dangerous for motorcycles, bicycles, but hazardous for all vehicles. A violator can be fined in local criminal court, but if it causes a crash, one could be sued civilly.

 

Bath VA Medical Center will be part of the National Warplane Museum (NWM) Southern Tier flyover to show appreciation to first responders, health care and essential workers. It happens tomorrow at about 11:30 a.m. The museum’s very own Douglas C-47, affectionately named “Whiskey-7” will take to the skies, accompanied by one other aircraft, a P-51 Mustang named "Mad Max.” Residents in the designated areas will be able to see the flyover from the safety of their homes.

Today's Top Stories - Thursday June 4th, 2020

Congressman Tom Reed says the video of George Floyd and the Minneapolis police officer confirms what is “clearly murder.” Reed said he shares the frustrations voiced by protesters yet said it is important to remember that law enforcement is not the enemy. The Minneapolis officer accused of killing Floyd, Derek Chauvin now faces second degree-murder in addition to the initial third-degree murder and manslaughter charges. The three other Minneapolis police officers that were on scene during the incidentface charges of aiding and abetting murder.

 

Coning’s annual popular Fourth of July fireworks event has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. President Joyce Nelson of Corning Kiwanis Club, which is among the service groups organizing the event said the COVID-19 pandemic was cause for the July 4th concert and fireworks display to be canceled.

 

Local Owner of the State Farm Insurance office on Pulteney Square in Bath, Brian McDonald, has donated $500 to the Bath Volunteer Fire Department. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bath Volunteer Fire Department halted fundraising efforts and McDonald stepped up to help fill the financial gap by presenting a $500 check to Fire Chief Matt Glashauser and President Jason Causer of the Bath Volunteer Fire Department. Bath VFD went on to thank Brian for his donation and remarked “...he is truly a good neighbor.”

 

First responders report that they assisted a stab victim yesterday morning in the Village of Bath. According to officials in the city, the stabbing happened on Fish Hatchery Road, but details surrounding the incident still remain limited as the story and investigation continue.

Lawmakers in Congress are considering a bill that would ban the use of chokeholds by police across the nation. Yesterday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand introduced the measure which would also significantly limit any maneuvers that restrict oxygen or blood flow. Gillibrand said the bill would also address police brutality and murders like what happened with the late George Floyd.

 

The New York State Thruway Authority says toll collection throughout the state resumes today with motorists once again will be able to pay cash for tolls if they do not have an E-Z Pass. For drivers wanting to continue with cashless tolling, an E-Z Pass will be required until the state switches over to cashless methods. Those who traveled on the Thruway between late-March and the end of May will receive a one-time bill for all tolls.

 

Two federal grants will provide additional emergency funding totaling $813,000 for transportation needs in Steuben County. Steuben County Legislature’s Agriculture Industry and Planning Committee on Wednesday accepted CARES funding amounting to slightly more than $247,000 for mobility management transportation needs and roughly $564,000 for public busing operations. The mobility management funds will go to the Institute for Human Services providing services for the county while the public busing operations money will be directed to First Transit and Steuben Area Rides. The funding is meant to offset the agencies’ financial needs created by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

 

Steuben County deputies arrested 25-year-old Joshua W. Weldy of Freeman Hollow Road in Bath following a traffic stop on State Route 415. It is alleged that Weldy operated a motor vehicle while his ability was impaired due to drug use.  Deputies claim he also had three children under the age of five in the vehicle. Weldy was charged with Driving While Ability is Impaired: Drugs, Driving While Intoxicated as a Felony and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.  He was released on an appearance ticket and traffic summons to appear in the Bath Town Court at a later date.

 

From News 18 in Elmira…Pennsylvania State Police are asking the public for information related to a fatal shooting outside Fred’s Woodshed in Tioga on May 31. 20-year-old Jahrell Jenkins of Elmira was killed after a fight began inside the club that continued into the parking lot. Police say an unknown person fired three shots and that one hit Jenkins in the lower shoulder area. Jenkins was transported to Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital in Wellsboro where he was pronounced dead. No information regarding the suspect was released by State Police.

 

Outdoor dining at restaurants are permitted in phase two of reopening the state. Restaurants in the seven regions that have already entered phase two – including those in here - can reopen for outdoor dining beginning today. Outdoor tables must be spaced six feet apart, all staff must wear face coverings and customers must also wear face coverings when not seated.

 

Unrest across the country is getting worse, with more fires looting and attacks on police officers, despite peaceful protesters condemning the violence. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo urging everyone to remember that COVID-19 is still a problem...amid growing concern that protests nationwide will lead to a spike in new coronavirus cases.

Today's Top Stories - Wednesday June 3rd, 2020

As schools are being mandated by the state to hold annual budget vores and school board elections via absentee ballots by mail. Prattsburgh School District's Superintendent Kory Bay said ballots were mailed to qualified voters and said that voting for school elections may be a completely new process for some voters. Ballots for all school board elections must be mailed back to the school by Tuesday, June 9th at 5pm. Prattsburgh will have a ballot box set up in front of the school to drop ballots off on June 8th and 9th. 

 

Steuben County Public Health Department reports as of yesterday evening, 42 deaths have occured  as a result of the COVID-19 virus while the total county confirmed case count stands at 265. A total of 3 people are currently hospitalized and the total number of those who have recovered from the virus is at 193. 

 

It was announced that the Buffalo Bills will not hold their annual training camp at St. John Fisher College in the Rochester area this summer due to the NFL directing all teams to remain at their team facilities for the summer training camps. It was confirmed by 13WHAM Sports that instead of holding their annual summer training camp at the usual location of St. John Fisher College it will be held at New Era Field in Orchard Park, just outside of Buffalo.

 

Yesterday, in response to the nationwide protests against the murder of George Floyd by police officers, Governor Cuomo proposed a reform agenda which includes a national ban on excessive force and chokeholds by law enforcement officers. The agenda alos includes the discolusre of disciplinary records of police officers who have been investigated. Cuomo also says the mass gatherings of protest could exacerbate the spread of COVID-19 and added though understands the protesters' outrage, he said it is important they continue to wear masks and practice social distancing when possible. Cuomo also denounced the looting and violence by those exploiting the situation as "not a righteous indignation".

 

State Police are investigating a Tuscarora-area hiking accident that caused a 16-year-old youth in critical condition at the hospital. The victim was identified as Blake Driskell of Addison, who was with a group of friends when the accident happened Monday night. A Go Fund Me page was set ub by family friends at #BlakeStrong with over $9,000 reported to have been raised within two hours. 

 

"Operation Thanks From Above" scheduled for this Saturday, June 6th, officially has released details of the event including the flyover schedule. The flyover is run by the National Warplane Museum as a way to thank essential workers during the nationwide pandemic. Aircrafts include WWII-era planes like the Douglas C-47 and a P-51 Mustang and flyover various local areas that include Bath, Corning and Elmira. Planes will hit our area at St. James Hospital in Hornell about 11:19am Saturday and continue to Bath area and then to Savona at about 11:36am before continuing to Coopers Plains and the Corning-Elmira area. 

Today's Top Stories - Tuesday June 2nd, 2020

As of yesterday at 7pm, Steuben County reported 42 deaths from COVID-19 and 261 confirmed cases. A total of 130 people have been quarantined and monitored with 192 people recovering and 5 current hospitalizations.

 

While the nation finds itself in chaos and tension with riots reported in major cities, Bath residents participated in a peaceful protest against police brutality in memory of the late George Floyd, who was killed from suffocation by a police officer in Minneapolis and whose death sparked activism across the country. Yesterday afternoon, two groups of 5-6 people both gathered in front of the Bath Police Department and at the corner of West Morris and Liberty Streets. The latter protest was organized by Steuben County resident Alexx Snyder who wanted to raise awareness locally.

 

A service allowing first responders in Steuben County to know what related support is available for emergency calls had its renewal approved by the county Legislature’s Public Safety Committee. The service, IAmResponding, allows departments to reduce response times, improve emergency response turnout, enhance communications, and simplify departmental operations. The tool was in place for over a decade and  allows first responders to know who is available to respond to a scene, how long it will take them to arrive and what mutual aid is on hand. County Office of Emergency Services Director Tim Marshall told the committee the $22,100 annual cost of the service will be paid by a federal Homeland Security grant.

 

Yesteday, Steuben County Public Works Department announced the Macadam Road bridge over Rice Glen Creek in the Town of Howard will be closed to all traffic beginning June 8th. The bridge is located between Craig Road and Harris Hill Road in Howard and will be closed to all through traffic for approximately 12 weeks. Travelers will be directed to use Turnpike Road as a detour.

 

State police are investigating a Tuscarora-area hiking accident that put a 16 year youth in the hospital in critical condition.  The victim was identified as Blake Driskell from Addison, who was with a group of friends when the accident happened last night.  A Go Fund Me page has been set up by friends of the family at #Blake Strong...over $9,000 has been raised in a little over two hours.

 

“Operation Thanks From Above” which is happening Saturday, June 6th officially has released details of the event that include the flyover schedule. The flyover is run by The National Warplane Museum to thank essential workers during the nationwide pandemic. Aircrafts will include WWII-era plans such as the Douglas C-47 and a P-51 Mustang and will flyover various local areas, including Bath, Corning and Elmira. “Thanks from Above” will anticipate hitting our area starting at the St. James Hospital in Hornell about 11:19am on Saturday and continues to Savona around 11:36am then to Coopers Plains and the Corning area.

Today's Top Stories - Monday, June 1st, 2020

Steuben County has reported its first COVID-19 death in two weeks with the news of an 83-year-old Jasper man being the latest COVID-19 casualty in the county. He died while hospitalized outside the county. The countywide death count is now at 42 and a new case was reported on Friday, bringing the county case county to 261.

 

The Wineglass 8K presented by the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes has announced the transition to a virtual race to be held the weekend of July 31st – August 2nd. The virtual run/walk will be held over three days to encourage proper social distancing and adherence to state and local guidelines wherever participants may be located. If runners are currently registered for the Wineglass 8K, they do not need to do anything.  Their registration fee will be automatically converted to the virtual option.  If people are interested in joining the virtual event, they can register at www.wineglassmarathon.com. Registration is limited to 850 runners or walkers, and the fee is $40.

 

Two people face drug charges after an early morning incident Sunday in the Village of Wayland. State Police arrested 28-year-old Coty Murphy of Dansville and 39-year-old Tifini Royce of Wayland. Each was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Governor Cuomo announced that New York dentists can reopen statewide today. Dentists' offices will be subject to state guidance on best practices for safety and social distancing.

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo over the weekend signed into law a new measure providing death benefits to the families of frontline workers who lost their lives fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in New York. The bill establishes a COVID-19 death benefit for the families of state and local government employees who have been on the front lines of response to this public health emergency.

 

This year, residents won't be heading to the polls to cast their vote and absentee ballots and postage paid return envelopes have been mailed out to qualified voters. This follows the May 1st Executive Order by Governor Cuomo declaring school budget and Board of Education votes will be for scheduled for June 9th and take place exclusively by absentee ballot. The completed ballot must be received by the District Office no later than 5 p.m. next Tuesday, June 9th. The counting of votes will also begin that same day.

 

The COVID-19 count in New York State has been on the decline. Governor Andrew Cuomo said at this morning’s COVID-19 press briefing that the state continues to test thousands of people daily and reports the lowest number of cases in the state so far. Also reported yesterday was the lowest number of COVID-19 deaths over a 24-hour period at 54 cases.

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