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Today's Top Stories - Saturday, September 18th, 2021

Pulteney Woman Pleaded Guilty for October 2020 Murder
Steuben County woman Sherri Ballam, who was charged with murdering her husband in 2020, pleaded guilty to all charges in County Court yesterday. The 57-year-old Sherri Ballam was arrested in October following State Troopers’ response to a “suspicious” death investigation in the Town of Pulteney. Further investigation found Ballam killed her husband, 63-year-old John Ballam, who was the Pulteney Town Dog Control Officer, at their Gloades Corners Road home. Police say Ballam tried to say her husband was killed in a home invasion and attempted to hide the gun she shot John with. WENY News reports Ballam was charged with second-degree murder and evidence tampering. Police have not released a motive behind the killing.

 

Road Worker Killed in Phelps Crash Identified as Prattsburgh Man
Sheriff deputies have identified the road worker who died late-Thursday after being struck by an intoxicated driver on State Route 96 at Bankert Road in the town of Phelps. The victim of the accident was identified as 34-year-old Prattsburgh man Nicholas Elward. Elward was working as an employee of Northern Paving LLC striping the center line of the highway when he was struck by a vehicle operated by 84-year-old Robert Qualtrough of Clifton Springs, who was traveling west. Elward was transported to Clifton Springs Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Authorities say Qualtrough was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs and alcohol. The Ontario County District Attorney, New York State Department of Transportation and Occupational Safety and Health Administration all responded to the scene. The investigation of this incident is ongoing.

 

Senator O’Mara Denounces Hochul’s “Less Is More” Law 
State Senator Tom O’Mara denounced the move made by Governor Kathy Hochul to begin releasing more inmates from state prisons under the new law she signed known as the “Less Is More Act” which seeks to facilitate the release of inmates currently incarcerated for “technical” parole violations and will take effect March of 2022. O’Mara voted against the legislation (S1144/A5576) and said Hochul signing it continues a path of “encouraging parole leniency combined with other moves to radically redefine criminal justice in New York”. Hochul announced yesterday that she plans to release nearly 200 inmates from Rikers Island in New York City. 

 

Sheriff Seeks More Info About Boater that Struck Swimmer in Keuka

Steuben County Sheriff’s Office reports that Tuesday, deputies responded to a report of a swimmer struck by a boat on Keuka Lake, in the Town of Wayne. Deputies interviewed the victim who stated he was swimming on his back at about 6:45pm near the eastern shore in the area of Keuka Village when a dark colored pontoon boat operating northbound boated directly over him, causing injury. The victim stated the boat never stopped nor slowed. A witness reported that the boat operator was standing and did not appear to have observed striking the swimmer, continuing north from the scene of the collision. The victim was treated and released at the scene. The only witness description of the boat or operator is that of a white male operating a dark colored pontoon boat. Sheriff Allard requests any information as to the identity of the boat or operator be reported to the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office at 607 622-3911 or by email to ksclark@steubencountyny.gov Boaters on Keuka Lake are reminded to observe the 5 MPH speed limit within 200 feet of shore and additionally swimmers are reminded to be alert of boating traffic and obstructions in the waterway.

 

KFC Plans to Come to Painted Post

KFC plans to return to the Corning-Painted Post area after the popular chicken fast food chain on Denison Parkway was demolished over a decade ago. Painted Post Mayor Ralph Foster said the company plans to open a restaurant in the round building at 243 North Hamilton Street at the old Chemung Canal Trust Company, which closed in 2019. At a June village planning board meeting, representatives from KFC inquired and expressed interest about the building and its existing architecture, but asked about cosmetic changes in regards to the building’s color.

 

Today's Top Stories - Friday, September 17th, 2021

Sheriff Seeks More Info About Boater that Struck Swimmer in Keuka
Steuben County Sheriff’s Office reports that Tuesday, deputies responded to a report of a swimmer struck by a boat on Keuka Lake, in the Town of Wayne. Deputies interviewed the victim who stated he was swimming on his back at about 6:45pm near the eastern shore in the area of Keuka Village when a dark colored pontoon boat operating northbound boated directly over him causing injury. The victim stated the boat never stopped nor slowed. A witness reported that the boat operator was standing and did not appear to have observed striking the swimmer, continuing north from the scene of the collision. The victim was treated and released at the scene. The only witness description of the boat or operator is that of a white male operating a dark colored pontoon boat. Sheriff Allard requests any information as to the identity of the boat or operator be reported to the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office at 607 622-3911 or by email to ksclark@steubencountyny.gov Boaters on Keuka Lake are reminded to observe the 5 MPH speed limit within 200 feet of shore and additionally swimmers are reminded to be alert of boating traffic and obstructions in the waterway.

 

KFC Plans to Come to Painted Post
KFC plans to return to the Corning-Painted Post area after the popular chicken fast food chain on Denison Parkway was demolished over a decade ago. Painted Post Mayor Ralph Foster said the company plans to open a restaurant in the round building at 243 North Hamilton Street at the old Chemung Canal Trust Company, which closed in 2019. At a June village planning board meeting, representatives from KFC inquired and expressed interest about the building and its existing architecture, but asked about cosmetic changes in regards to the building’s color.

 

Canisteo PD Arrest 4 for Possession of Controlled Substance
The Canisteo Village Police Department reported they arrested 4 people: 53-year-old Lori A. Fazzary, 50-year-old Donnie J. Bonham, 46-year-old Michael J. Petix, and 38-year-old Laurel E. Carpenter for Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 3rd degree. Authorities say the incident branched off of a traffic stop where the group was traveling on East Main Street in Canisteo and that 19 grams of an unconfirmed substance was seized. The group was taken to Steuben County Jail to await arraignment.

 

Bath Man Arrested in Big Flats and Pending FL Extradition
A 26-year-old man Bath was arrested after a disturbance in Big Flats and is pending extradition to Florida for a 2013 armed robbery. Chemung County Sheriff’s Office says they responded to a disturbance at the Econo Lodge on County Route 64 Wednesday. Police say during the investigation, they learned Keron Taylor had an active warrant for his arrest out of the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office in Florida and was wanted for a 2013 robbery involving a firearm. Deputies took Taylor into custody on the warrant then arraigned him in the Town of Big Flats Court. He was then remanded to the Chemung County Jail without bail pending extradition to Florida.

 

Hornell Residents Experience Discolored Water Due to Construction
City of Hornell residents have experienced discoloring of tap water this past month. Though the water has been deemed clean by health officials, it’s not recommended for consumption.  Hornell Mayor John Buckley explained that part of the $6 million water filtration project the city is undergoing involves building two new holding tanks, saying “...So, flushing we usually do twice a year, but because of the construction of the new tanks and the additional infrastructure that was going on to upgrade our systems, that disrupted the flushing component.”  Without these tanks, the Hornell water plant missed out on two yearly flushes, which eliminate iron and manganese which cause the discoloring.  

 

NYSIRC Released First Draft Maps of New District Lines
The New York State Independent Redistricting Committee released the first draft maps of the new district lines on Wednesday. Every decade, each state is required to draw new district lines based on the most recent census data. The commission couldn't come to an agreement and released more than one Congressional, Senate and Assembly map draft. A few redistricting committee members attribute their division to the time constraint created by the COVID-19 pandemic. After receiving data on August 12th, they barely had a month with that data. Local State Assemblyman Phil Palmesano said: "It's an independent redistricting commission, but the appointees are political appointees and that's, I would think, going to play itself out a little bit in this process, but it shouldn't..." The congressional map indicates that New York will lose one seat and the lines need to compensate for that loss. Finalized maps of the new districts will come out in January of 2022.

 

 $22 Million Grant Would Upgrade Steuben Internet
US Senator Chuck Schumer is calling on the Department of Commerce to approve an over $22 million grant from a program to speed up Steuben County’s efforts in expanding internet access and availability for all residents.  According to the FCC, in Steuben County, approximately 10-percent of the population is without broadband access.  This project proposed by county officials has the goal of connecting almost 2,300 households in the county who are still lacking internet access.Senator Schumer said the pandemic has shown “access to high-speed internet is a necessity in the modern economy, not a luxury..” Executive Director of the Southern Tier Central Regional Planning & Development Board Chelsea Robertson said if Steuben County’s NTIA grant be funded, Steuben County could finally start to close the digital divide by serving some of New York’s most rural and most vulnerable populations. The total project cost is $26,655,920 with a proposed 15% match by Steuben County. Schumer said the proposed project would install miles of fiber optic cables and bring internet access to thousands of homes, especially in rural areas of Steuben County.

Today's Top Stories - Thursday September 16th, 2021

Mayor Sweet Wants to Re-Adjust Bath Assessments
After losing out on a possible purchase offer for the CVS building on Liberty Street, Mayor Mike Sweet says the Town of Bath didn’t cooperate for the deal and as a result he wants to “bring assessments back in” because Bath’s commercial assessments are “out of whack”. Sweet spoke about the issue on this morning’s Community Focus program on WVIN.

 


Listen to the full interview at: https://wvinbath.com/assets/podcaster/215/2021_09_16_215_112226_4795.mp3

 

Sweet Talks New ArBnB, K-9 & Dog Park
Along with a new AirBnB next to Pulteney Park opened by Marc and Becky Shuart, Bath has seen many milestones this month which Mayor Mike Sweet sat down for a Community Focus interview to talk about this morning-another major development includes the Bath Police Department raising $10,000 for a new K-9 and reviewing the dogs as soon as this weekend. Mayor Sweet also mentioned a dog park in the works for Bath with the help of Cornell Cooperative Extension.

You can hear the whole interview at: https://wvinbath.com/assets/podcaster/215/2021_09_16_215_112226_4795.mp3

 

September 19th Begins Steuben County Sheriff’s Week
Steuben County Legislature Chairman Scott Van Etten has proclaimed the week of Sept. 19th  as Steuben County Sheriff’s Week. He noted the office is unique in the community with duties extending far beyond the traditional role of "Keeper of the Peace," including many facets of public service like maintaining the county jail, providing security in our courts, and serving and executing civil processes. The county Sheriff’s department is celebrating its 225th anniversary, and recently received the 2021 Tri-County First Responder Unit Award  given in recognition of the department’s efforts to become certified emergency medical technicians – one of the few departments in the state to do so. 

 

Steuben County Reports 2 More COVID Deaths & 99 New Cases
Yesterday the Steuben County Health Department reported two more people have died of COVID-19 complications. One victim was a 75-year-old Village of Bath woman, while the other was a 48-year-old Village of Bath man. The total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the county now numbers 197. Steuben County also reported 99 new COVID-19 cases since Monday’s report, bringing the total number of active cases to 338. Steuben County also reported 32 hospitalizations.  


Bath Woman Arrested After Domestic Incident
A 35-year-old Bath woman was arrested following a Steuben County Sheriff’s Office investigation into a reported domestic assault in the Town of Pulteney. The Sheriff’s Office says Phoebe Share allegedly “struck a member of her family or household, causing injury” and broke property. The victim in the alleged assault required medical attention at the scene. Share was charged with Assault in the Third Degree and Criminal Mischief in the Fourth Degree and released following arraignment.

Today's Top Stories - Wednesday, September 15th, 2021

Rains Bring Hazardous Weather Outlook for Steuben County Tonight
A Hazardous Weather Outlook has been issued up to tonight for Steuben County and surrounding counties in the greater Central New York and Northern PA regions by the National Weather Service in Binghamton. Flooding has already occurred in Bath due to the afternoon thunderstorms so please travel with caution. Showers and thunderstorms are expected through this evening with some storms possibly becoming strong to severe with damaging winds, hail,and locally heavy rainfall. Heavy rainfall could cause localized areas of urban and small stream flooding.

 

Steuben County Woman Arraigned for Vehicular Manslaughter 
A Steuben County woman charged with the death of her boyfriend Nicholas Tracy, is set to be arraigned this afternoon. New York State Police say the 31-year-old Tracy was driving with his girlfriend 29-year-old Brittany Carlson,  when for an unknown reason he exited the vehicle on County Route 85 in Tuscarora, close to the Pennsylvania border. Carlson allegedly entered the driver’s seat and drove at Tracy, hitting him with the car. Tracy was pronounced dead at the scene. She was initially charged with Vehicular Manslaughter, Reckless Driving, Driving While Intoxicated, and Unsafe Start. District Attorney Brooks Baker described the accident scene as “pretty gruesome” and that troopers suspected Carlson was intoxicated but “obviously very upset.” A GoFundMe for Nicholas Tracy’s young son and family raised over $5,600 following the accident.

 

Horseheads Man Arrested for April Murder in Elmira
According to the NY State Police Blotter, a 21-year-old man from Horseheads was charged with murder stemming from an April 29th incident in the City of Elmira. Thomas Bovaird was also charged with three felony counts of assault, assault with intent to cause disfigurement or dismemberment and kidnapping resulting in death. He is currently being detained in custody.

 

County Public Works Continues Work on Flood-Damaged Roads
County Public Works Commissioner Vincent Spagnoletti said repairs on 10 county roads were undertaken with the assistance of town trucks and drivers from Rathbone, Pulteney, Wayne, Cohocton, Addison, Bath, Wayland, Prattsburgh, Urbana, Woodhull, Tuscarora and Corning, along with five trucks supplied by Allegany County nine days after flash floods devastated the Western part of the Steuben county almost a month ago. In their monthly report, County Public Works said bridges in the area were inspected by county engineers and the state Department of Transportation and in addition to road repairs, county and town public works teams made sweeps through the hamlet of Woodhull and other towns to remove flood debris from damaged homes. Spagnoletti says clean-up assistance is continuing with the help of town highway crews who have worked since August 18th to repair local roads and bridges. 

 

Masks Now Required for Daycare and Day Programs in NY
Effective today, masks are now required at childcare and daycare centers for those over the age of two, as well as state-regulated residential and congregate day programs in New York State. Day programs include inpatient and outpatient mental health facilities and substance abuse services. Governor Hochul made the announcement while emphasizing the importance of masking in childcare facilities due to the national spike in pediatric COVID-19 cases.

 

Highmark Stadium Requires Bills Game Attendees Be Vaccinated
Fans of the Buffalo Bills who want to attend a home game at Highmark Stadium will be required to be vaccinated beginning September 26th. Home games scheduled for September 26th and October 3rd, fans over the age of 12 must have at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. After October 31st, fans 12 and older must be fully vaccinated. In order to enter Highmark Stadium, fans must show a physical vaccination card, a New York State Excelsior Pass, a CLEAR Digital Vaccine Card or government digital vaccine proof from outside New York State. Photos of vaccine cards will not be accepted. There will be no exceptions made to the vaccine requirement. There will be no refunds for single game purchasers; single game purchasers that are unable to meet the requirements can transfer, resell or donate tickets.Those wanting to resell or donate their ticket must call the ticket office by the deadline of Friday, September 17th at 8:00 p.m.

 

Siena Poll Finds 42% Approval Rating for Hochul
Siena College released data on a new poll they did about Governor Kathy Hochul with registered New York State voters. The poll focuses on the opinion voters have about Governor Hochul, and how voters view New York State. 42% of voters are in favor of Kathy Hochul. 74% of voters sat it’s exciting to have New York’s first woman governor and 27% say Cuomo left New York a worse place to live and work then when he was first elected.

Today's Top Stories - Tuesday, September 14th, 2021

Smith & Other Officials Warn NY Vaccine Mandate Could Cause Crisis
Though Governor Kathy Hochul announced all healthcare workers would be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of September, the Steuben County Health Department is expressing concern over “unintended consequences” of New York State's vaccine mandate-mainly the impact the mandate could have on the healthcare system. County Health Director Darlene Smith said:"There is not an insignificant number of healthcare workers who are going to chose to walk away from their job, rather than go ahead and get the vaccine," In a letter where Steuben officials join other counties, officials write that nursing homes and hospitals throughout the state are facing mass resignations from staff starting on September 26th, the day before the mandate requires all healthcare personnel to be vaccinated. Smith says this will lead to to much larger problems and “a different kind of public health crisis than what we have with COVID,"  She says some areas of New York State could lose 30% or more of its hospital staff over the mandate. 

 

Public Health Offering 3 Clinics This Week for COVID Vaccinations
Steuben County Public Health Department’ partners with Corning Community 
College to hold COVID-19 vaccination clinics continues with an upcoming clinic on the main campus in the gym tomorrow on Wednesday, September 15th from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Public Health’s weekly clinic on Fridays continues at the Civil Defense Training Center in Bath, located at State Route 54, on September 17th from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

All three vaccination options will be offered at each clinic. Registration is preferred at

www.steubencony.org/covid, but walk-ins are also accepted. Proof of date of birth is needed for anyone seeking vaccination.

For the latest Steuben County updates, visit Steuben County’s website at www.steubencony.org 

 

Dormann Offers Trustee Board Meeting, Movie & Dragon-Making!
Dormann Library welcomes those aged 14 and older to make a felt dragon Monday, September 20th from 4:00pm to 6:00pm or grab a kit and work on it on your own time. No registration is needed, but supplies are limited. Next week on Tuesday the 21st, the Dormann Library Board of Trustees will meet at 5:00pm. The public is invited to attend.

A showing of the movie Crimson Peak on Friday, September 24 at 7:00pm for those 17 and older is also scheduled at Dormann Library. 

 

O’Mara Wants NY Wage Board to Revisit 60-hr Overtime Threshold
State Senator O’Mara joins other members of the Senate Republican Conference in a letter to Governor Kathy Hochul calling on the Wage Board to delay any further action until at least December 31st, 2024. The Board is scheduled to meet again later this fall to reevaluate the 60-hour overtime threshold, which was put in place as part of a comprehensive “Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act” enacted by former Governor Cuomo and the Legislature in 2019. O’Mara voted against the act.   In a letter dated yesterday to Hochul, O’Mara and his colleagues said that Hochul’s position suggests a “misguided understanding” of the nature of New York’s agricultural community, which is not dominated by large, corporate-supported factory farms with a 40-hour work week that are common in the Midwest and West. 96 percent of farms in New York State are small, family-owned businesses.  O’Mara currently co-sponsors legislation (S2690) that would extend the date for the Board to submit its final report to December 31, 2024. It would also give the Board more time to collect and assess data that would provide a more definitive picture of the impact of the 60-hour threshold on the finances and operations of New York farms, as well as consider additional factors including the COVID-19 impact on the agricultural industry. 

 

Today's Top Stories - Monday September 13th, 2021

Car Seat Check Event Next Weekend in Painted Post
Steuben County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with Steuben County Public Health and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, will be holding a car seat check event in Painted Post on Saturday September 25 th from 10am to 2pm. It will be at 135 Victory Highway, Painted Post (Southern Tier Medical Care).

 

Bath Man Arrested for Welfare Fraud
Investigators of the Steuben County Sheriff’s office arrested Terry L. Campbell, age 64 of  Bath. It is alleged that from 01/22/2021 to 06/30/2021 Mr. Campbell offered a false instrument for filing to the Steuben County Department of Social Services and received benefits from the Steuben County Department of Social Services in the amount of $694.00 that he was not eligible to receive. Mr. Campbell is charged with Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E Felony and one count of Welfare Fraud in the Fifth Degree. Mr. Campbell was released with an appearance ticket.

 

Sheriff’s Office Arrests 2 Inmates For Contraband
The Steuben County Sheriff’s Office reports that in conjunction with the Chemung and Yates County Correctional Divisions, and the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, they conducted a jail wide search for suspected contraband that occurred due to information received that weapons and or narcotics were being secreted in the jail by inmates. Arrested subsequent to the search: 

39-year-old Robert K. Wilson of Cameron, New York who was charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree and Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree. 51-year-old Joseph Hojnoski of Bath was also charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree and Promoting Prison Contraband in the First Degree. 

Both were  arraigned in the Centralized Arraignment Court and returned to the jail.

 

Record Unemployment Rapidly Depleting State UI Fund
The historic surge in unemployment claims at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly depleted the New York State Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund, resulting in the state borrowing from the federal government to pay claims. State UI tax rates have already risen to the highest level permissible under law in 2021. Unless the state or federal government takes significant action, federal UI tax rates on employers will also increase in 2022 and beyond, according to a report issued by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. The pandemic had a crippling effect on some state businesses and their workforce, causing a historic surge in layoffs and claims for benefits. From the fourth quarter of 2019 to the second quarter of 2020, regular state UI benefits paid increased from $530 million to $6.5 billion – a staggering increase of 1,124%.

 

Addison Man Arrested for Disobeying Court Order
After investigating an alleged violation of an order of Protection, State Police arrested 29-year-old Michael Trussell of Addison. He was charged with criminal contempt for disobeying a court order. A court appearance is pending. 

 

Hochul Announces Legislation to Support 9/11 First Responders
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul recognized the New York National Guard on Saturday afternoon, 20 years after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Hochul announced that she signed three pieces of legislation to support 9/11 and communications first responders. The bills make it easier for WTC first responders to apply for WTC benefits, by both expanding the criteria for defining WTC first responders and allowing online submissions of notice that members of a retirement system participated in WTC rescue, recovery, or cleanup operations. This legislation also defines a first responder in communications as a person who is a public safety dispatcher.

 

New York COVID Positivity Rate Rises
New York state’s COVID positivity rate is currently at 2.84% The 7-day average rate is 3.22%. Twenty-four more residents were hospitalized over the weekend. 34 more people died from virus-related complications. State officials say the fight against COVID-19 is not over, adding that it is crucial that New Yorkers continue to wear a mask, wash their hands and get vaccinated if they haven't.

 

Wayland Man Arrested for Possession of Controlled Substance
State Police arrested 48-year-old Kevin Carvey of Wayland. He was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. He’ll answer that court in village of Wayland court at a later date.

 

Bills Upset 23-16 by Steelers Yesterday
Disappointment for Buffalo Bills fans. In the season opener, they fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-16 at Highmark Stadium. The Bills take on the Dolphins in Miami next Sunday.

Today's Top Stories - Saturday, September 11th, 2021

195th COVID Death Reported in Steuben County
The Steuben County Public Health Department reports the death of an individual who had previously tested positive for COVID, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Steuben County to 195.  The victim was a male resident of the Town of Wayland who died at the age of 74. With Steuben seeing more COVID-related deaths this week than in July and August combined, Public Health Director Darlene Smith encouraged residents to  "Please follow all COVID prevention strategies for the protection of our community." Continue to monitor yourself for COVID-19 symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills or repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell and contact your healthcare provider for instructions if feeling ill.

 

Palmesano Says Vaccine Mandate May Create Health Worker Shortage
Assemblyman Phil Palmesano and his fellow Assembly Republican colleagues sent a letter  earlier this week to Governor Hochul and state  Health  Commissioner Howard Zucker warning of a potential workforce shortage compromising the delivery and quality of healthcare due to the state mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for all healthcare workers. A recently-implemented Department of Health (DOH) regulation requires all healthcare workers to receive their first vaccination by September 27th or lose their jobs. County leaders from Finger Lakes-area counties said that with some healthcare facilities already seeing a loss of workers, it could get significantly worse if the mandate moves forward, hurting our rural healthcare system. Palmesano said that although increasing the vaccination rate in our state remains an important priority, "enacting a state mandate that will lead to a significant loss of healthcare workers creating a workforce shortage crisis in an already overly-stressed profession is counterproductive. It will compromise the delivery and quality of healthcare services in communities around the state, especially during these challenging times when we need it most." 

 

Local Observances of 9/11 Today on Its 20th Anniversary

To honor the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks today, the VA Finger Lakes Healthcare System hosts a region-wide effort, where community members will fly the American Flag. Employees from the State Department of Transportation will line State Route 415 and 352 between Bath National Cemetery and Woodlawn National Cemeteries. Police, fire departments, churches, community organizations, and businesses are being asked to join the memorial by hanging their flags, ringing their bells, and sounding their sirens at 10:03 a.m. to commemorate the time of the last plane crash on September 11th, 2001. Prattsburgh Park also holds a ceremony honoring the 20th anniversary of September 11th that begins at 8:40am.

Those interested in participating in the Flag Line contact Linda.Conway@redcross.org or call (607) 769-6552 to sign up.

 

USPS Prices See Hike
During the pandemic as well as last year’s holiday season, the USPS faced many issues and are now increasing prices for their most dominant products. According to stamps.com, rates were increased for First Class Mail letters, postcards, and other services as of August 29th. The spike in first class mail ranges from $0.02 to $0.20 while certified mail, signature confirmation, and return receipt will increase by $0.10-$0.85. Weight-based Media Mail will increase by $0.30-$0.93. Competitive products that won’t see a price hike include First Class Package and Priority Mail. The USPS says these are subject to change and more information is expected to be released.


MESSNY Wants Doctors To Be Able to Vaccinate Patients In-Office
Though New York state doctors organization The Medical Society of the State of New York (MESSNY) supports President Biden’s mandate to increase vaccinations, the group says more needs to be done. MESSNY has asked the federal government to make it so individual doctors could give the vaccines in their offices to further expand accessibility.

Today's Top Stories - Friday, September 10th, 2021

Mayor Sweet Says New Village LED Lights Use 42% Less Energy
On his Facebook page, Bath Mayor Mike Sweet reported on the Village’s transition from their old street lights to LED lights that began two years ago. Funded primarily by New York State, the project had goals to reduce electric consumption and increase lighting.  The updated lights use 42% less electricity and as a result have cut the cost of lighting for village taxpayers.  Sweet remains optimistic that next year will bring even more savings for village taxpayers.    

 

O’Mara Releases Statement on 20th Anniversary of 9/11
Today, State Senator Tom O’Mara released a statement on tomorrow’s 20th Anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks, saying thoughts and prayers “remain with all of the victims of September 11th, their families and loved ones, and all those who responded on that terrible day.” O’Mara expressed gratitude and respect to the men and women of our military “who have always stood ready to defend, protect, and serve.” The State Senator also remarked: “Two decades later, these memories can still remind us that even in the toughest of times and during the darkest of days, Americans face a future of hope, that the fundamental American values of decency, fortitude, generosity, and strength will help us carry on and keep this region, this state, and our nation strong.”

 

Bear and Deer Hunting Season Begins Tomorrow
As hunting season begins this weekend, more hunters will be out in the fields over the next week. The State Department of Environmental Conservation has released new regulations for deer and bear hunting. The new nine-day season for antlerless deer has been established and begins tomorrow. Fluorescent orange or pink hats, vests or jackets is now a dress code requirement when hunting deer or bears with a firearm. Daily hunting hours have been extended to 30 minutes before sunrise through 30 minutes after sunset.

 

2 Bath Man Arrested for Sex Offender Registry Violation
State Police arrested 42-year-old Bert Stocking of Bath. He was charged with a sex offender registry violation as a first offence. He was detained on cash bail. State Police also arrested 36-year-old Allen Horten of Bath. He was charged with a sex offender registry violation as a first offence. He was detained on cash bail.

 

Hochul Signs Bill to Make Vehicles Zero-Emissions by 2035
In an effort to fight climate change, Governor Hochul has signed a bill that would make all vehicles need to be zero-emissions by 2035 as well as directed the DEC to release a proposed regulation that would diminish air pollution from trucks. The law requires new off-road vehicles and equipment sold in New York to be zero-emissions by 2035, and new medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles must be zero-emissions by 2045. By 2023, the development of a zero-emissions vehicle development strategy will be established and led by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to execute State policies and programs necessary to achieve the law’s new goals.

 

Hochul Hopes More Will Choose COVID Vaccination
Governor Kathy Hochul said adding the coronavirus vaccine to the list of required immunizations for students to attend school “is certainly an option,” but first she hopes parents will make the decision on their own. Hochul shared state data that shows only about of New York’s children, of age, vaccinated. 45.3% of children, ages 12-15, are fully vaccinated. 56.8% of students ages 16-25 years old. Hochul says if the number doesn’t improve, she’ll take more dramatic action.

 

DEC Bans Styrofoam Containers and Packing Peanuts
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has proposed regulations to implement the ban on expanded polystyrene foam containers and loose fill packaging or “packing peanuts” in New York State. The ban would go into effect on January 1, 2022. The ban was originally proposed in 2020 and several counties in New York have already adopted it. These include Albany, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties. The DEC has now fully released the regulations to fully enact the ban. The DEC will be holding a virtual public hearing on the proposed regulations on November 15, at 1 p.m. and are accepting comments until Nov. 22, 2021.

 

City of Hornell Flushing Hydrant System Starting Tomorrow
After ongoing reports of discolored water, the City of Hornell is planning to flush the fire hydrant system beginning September 11. Hornell has received multiple reports of residents experiencing discolored water in their homes, with some having a persistent problem, and with others the issue comes and goes. The city said because of the inconsistent nature of the reports, it is hard to diagnose and resolve the issue.

 

Brian Benjamin Sworn In as Lt. Governor
Brian Benjamin is officially New York's lieutenant governor. Benjamin, a Democrat, was sworn in at Gov. Kathy Hochul's New York City office Thursday, just more than two weeks after Hochul unveiled the state senator from Harlem as her choice to serve in the post.

Today's Top Stories - Thursday September 9th, 2021

Bath Man Sentenced 10 Years for Child Pornography
A 35-year-old Bath man identified as being involved in an ongoing child pornography incident has been sentenced to ten years in prison. Charles Augrom was sentenced for possession of child pornography after being convicted for it in January of this year. His first conviction was in December of 2020 after his electronic devices were seized and found to contain 600 images of child pornography. Augrom is now a Level 3 sex offender in the state of New York.

 

County Reports 57 New COVID Cases & Another Death
Yesterday, Steuben County’s Public Health Department reported 57 new COVID cases and an additional COVID-related death, bringing the county’s COVID death toll to 194. The latest COVID victim was a 52-year-old woman from the Village of Bath. Public Health Director, Darlene Smith wished heartfelt prayers for the woman’s family and friends and “We urge our residents to take every precaution against COVID during this time of high spread.” Twenty-seven people are currently hospitalized in the county due to COVID-19. Active cases now total 356. Eight of those 57 new cases are breakthrough cases, meaning eight people who tested positive were fully vaccinated.  State data says 44% of the county's total population is fully-vaccinated. 

 

City of Hornell Flushing Hydrant System Starting Saturday
After ongoing reports of discolored water, The City of Hornell plans to flush the fire hydrant system starting this Saturday, September 11th after multiple, ongoing reports of discolored water. The city says the inconsistent nature of the reports, makes it difficult to troubleshoot and resolve the issue. A system-wide flush of the hydrants will run from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. and will begin Saturday, continuing throughout next week. Flushing will start with Airport Road, Industrial Park Road and Seneca Road North. Sunday, it continues in the Village of North Hornell, and Monday in the northern portion of the City (beginning near Adsit Street and Madison Avenue). All flushing is expected to finish by the night of Friday, September 17th. Hornell residents are encouraged to not wash clothes and to check their water for any discoloration before use during the flushing hours. Let cold water run until it clears if there is any discoloration. 

 

County Real Property Tax Foreclosure Postponed to Next Year
The Steuben County Real Property Tax Foreclosure Auction will be postponed until 2022 as announced by County Commissioner of Finance Tammy Hurd-Harvey to the county Legislature’s Finance Committee yesterday. A recent state law bars government entities such as Steuben from foreclosing on a delinquent property without a 30-day notice to the owner. The law’s deadline would give owners too little time to respond as required. The law applies to residential properties. New properties will be added to the existing list and auctioned when the provisions of the state law expire in 2022. The proposal will be voted on by the county Legislature when it meets in regular session on Monday, September 27th

 

State DEC Banning Foam Containers & Packing Peanuts Jan. 1, 2022
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) proposed regulations to implement the ban on expanded polystyrene foam containers and loose fill packaging or “packing peanuts” in New York State to take effect on January 1st, 2022. Originally, the ban was proposed in 2020 and several downstate counties in New York have already adopted it. The DEC now has fully-released the regulations to thoroughly enact the ban throughout the state. Disposable food service containers made of foam will be banned under the proposed regulations and all food service establishments, caterers and pushcarts must comply as well as all delis and retail food stores. The DEC will hold a virtual public hearing on the proposed regulations Monday, November 15th, at 1 p.m. and will accept comments until November 22nd.

 

Today's Top Stories - Wednesday September 8th, 2021

Steuben Sees 150 More COVID Cases & Another Death
Steuben County Public Health Department reports the death of an individual who had previously tested positive for COVID, bringing the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Steuben County to 193.  The individual was a female resident of the City of Hornell who died at the age of 91. 150 new cases of COVID were also reported since Friday. The Health Department reminds all residents to continue to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills or repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell and contact their healthcare provider for instructions if feeling ill.

 

Hammondsport Woman Arrested on Multiple Charges
State Troopers arrested a Hammondsport woman on multiple felony counts. State Police took 28-year-old Mellisa Gillette into custody. She was charged with felony grand larceny, felony forgery and a lesser count of criminal possession of stolen property. The charges stem from an incident in the Village of Painted Post on September 3rd. Gillette was initially held. 

 

Great New York State Fair Concludes After 18 Days
The 18-day long 2021 Great New York State Fair has wrapped up and even with the fair being an extra five days long, attendance numbers were much lower than years past. Over half a million more people attended The Fair in 2019 than this year’s extra-long event. This year’s opening day of the fair saw just over 37,000 guests, where the first day in 2019 had over 74,000.

 

Hochul Announces $6 Million Available for Climate Justice Fellowship
NY Governor Kathy Hochul has announced $6 million is now available over three years to support 150 Climate Justice Fellowship opportunities for individuals across the state currently residing in historically disadvantaged communities or from priority populations. This announcement, in advance of New York's upcoming celebration of Climate Week from September 20 to September 26, helps support New York State's commitment to ensure an equitable clean energy transition for all New Yorkers as required by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

 

Bath Man Arrested for Shoplifting in Erwin
Troopers arrested 27-year-old Kyle Ellsworth of Bath. He was charged with shoplifting stemming from an incident report September 6th in the Town of Erwin. Court action is pending.

 

Wellsville Woman Arrested for Shoplifting
Canisteo-based Troopers arrest 47-year-old Tracy Green of Wellsville. She was charged with shoplifting/petit larceny stemming from an incident Monday in the Town of Hornellsville. She was released on a court appearance ticket. 

 

Hanna Hagadone Receives Nick Clark Memorial Scholarship
The New York State Police Signal 30 Fund has awarded Hanna Hagadone from Hammondsport High School the coveted Nick Clark Memorial Scholarship. Hanna plans to pursue an education in Early Childhood Education. This scholarship was chartered to honor NY State Trooper Nick Clark who was tragically killed in the line of duty in 2018. The Allegany County Deputy Sheriffs Association is pleased to have contributed to Hanna’s scholarship using proceeds from the Dan Barkley Basketball Showcase.

 

State Pushes Back Some Vaccination & Back to Work Guidelines
New York State has pushed back the date that employees working from home have to be back in the office and the date some state employees have to get vaccinated. Both dates have been moved to October 12. Face masks must also be worn by state employees, except when they are in a room or office by themselves, at their desk or workstation, and while eating or drinking. State healthcare workers have until September 27 to get their first shot of coronavirus vaccine.

Today's Top Stories - Tuesday, September 7th, 2021

County COVID Vaccination Clinic at Alstom on Thursday
Steuben County Public Health Department partners with Alstom to hold COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Alstom in Hornell on Thursday, September 9th from 2:00 to 4:00 PM.  The clinic will take place at 1 Transit Drive, Lot 3 in Hornell. Both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be offered at this clinic for anyone age 12 and older.  Registration is preferred at www.steubencony.org/covid<http://www.steubencony.org/covid>, but walk-ins will also be accepted.  

 

SUNY Students Must Be Vaccinated by September 27th
Students heading to campus at any SUNY school this semester must have the COVID-19 vaccine by September 27th, if they do not have an approved exemption from the vaccine, according to the New York State Department of Health. Though any of the 3 different brands of the vaccine will do, students will not have time to get the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines within the next two days so students must get the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Students who refuse the COVID vaccine are not guaranteed that they will get their money back. 

 

Finger Lakes Region Has Highest COVID-Positive Test Rate in NY
According to Governor Hochul’s office, the Finger Lakes region reclaimed the highest state COVID-19 test positivity rate. The recent update says the Finger Lakes region, which includes Steuben and nine other counties, reported a positive test rate of 3.03%, with a 7-day rolling average of 3.31% Health experts fear a spike in COVID-19 cases following this holiday weekend.

 

Residents Reminded to Watch for School Buses as Classes Resume

As classes return to session this week, residents are being reminded by the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office to be sure to be safe on the roadway by leaving ourselves some extra time for our commutes as bus schedules and students resume their travel routines. Please also be aware of additional pedestrian traffic in crosswalks as school children resume their daily trek. There are many new sidewalks and crosswalks to be aware of, especially in Bath.

 

Trooper Injured at Elmira Shootout Last Week Identified
After last week’s shootout in Elmira on August 27th at Eldridge Park and Woodlawn Cemetery, the New York State Trooper that was injured has been identified as Trooper Taylor McCarthy based out of the Horseheads State Police barracks. McCarthy was injured after suffering an impalement to the leg climbing a wrought iron fence while pursuing 53-year-old David Wandell, who was shot and killed by police in Woodlawn Cemetery. The chase began at about 11:32 a.m. on Friday, August 27th after Elmira Police responded to a report of a wanted person in Eldridge Park from a New York BCI Investigator.

 

Strong Kids, Safe Kids Festival Cancelled

Organizers announced the Steuben Strong Kids Safe Kids Festival originally set for next weekend on September 18th has been cancelled, citing the risk of spreading the COVID-19 Delta variant. The annual event focuses on events to promote the health and well-being of Children through grade 6.

For more information go to the Prevent Child Abuse Steuben Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/Prevent-Child-Abuse-Steuben-402939566765576

 

HERO Act Requires Airborne Disease Safety Plans from Employers

New York’s recently-passed HERO Act has designated COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease while requiring employers to implement workplace safety plans in the event of an airborne infectious disease. The legislation also protects employees from retaliation from their employer in the event a complaint is made about an employer’s failure to comply with the law. Governor Hochul’s office says employers may adopt a plan crafted by New York State’s Department of Labor, or create their own, so long as it abides  by HERO Act standards. The governor also said the designation “will ensure protections are in place to keep workers safe and support our efforts to combat the virus” while promoting health and safety.

 

VA Organizing Flag Observance of 9/11 on 20th Anniversary
To honor the lives lost and impacted by the September 11th attacks 20 years ago, the VA Finger Lakes Healthcare System is hosting a region-wide effort, where they have called on community members to fly the American Flag this Saturday, September 11th. Employees from the State Department of Transportation will line State Route 415 and 352 between Bath National Cemetery and Woodlawn National Cemeteries. Police, fire departments, churches, community organizations, and businesses are being asked to join the memorial by hanging their flags, ringing their bells, and sounding their sirens at 10:03 a.m. to commemorate the time of the last plane crash on September 11th, 2001.

Those interested in participating in the Flag Line contact Linda.Conway@redcross.org or call (607) 769-6552 to sign up.

 

Today's Top Stories - Labor Day - Monday, September 6th, 2021

Our Finger Lakes Region Ranks Highest in NY COVID-Positivity 
According to Governor Hochul’s office, the Finger Lakes region reclaimed the highest state COVID-19 test positivity rate. The recent update says the Finger Lakes region, which includes Steuben and nine other counties, reported a positive test rate of 3.03%, with a 7-day rolling average of 3.31%. Friday, Steuben County Public Health reported 49 new cases of COVID-19 just a day after the previous day’s report of 150 new cases. Three cases were associated with Steuben Center nursing home. Public Health strongly advises everyone during this time of high spread to follow all precautions when in public, including wearing a mask indoors, socially distancing, staying home when feeling ill, getting tested with any symptoms or after an exposure, and getting vaccinated. County Public Health says they will release another COVID case update tomorrow.

 

Bath Man Arrested for Controlled Substance Charges
Village of Bath Police Department report the arrest of 23-year-old Bath man Dylan L. Smith for Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance. Smith’s arrest stems from a Steuben County Superior Court Warrant that alleged the sale of narcotic drugs in the Village of Bath earlier this year. Smith was on New York State Parole for Burglary at the time of the drug arrest. He awaits an arraignment by a County Court Judge at the Steuben County Jail.

 

Residents Reminded to Watch for School Buses as Classes Resume

As classes return to session this week, residents are being reminded by the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office to be sure to be safe on the roadway by leaving ourselves some extra time for our commutes as bus schedules and students resume their travel routines. Please also be aware of additional pedestrian traffic in crosswalks as school children resume their daily trek. There are many new sidewalks and crosswalks to be aware of, especially in Bath.

 

Labor Day Holiday Weekend DWI Crackdown Continues

State Troopers and local police departments continue to be out in full force for the final day of their annual STOP-DWI crackdown for the Labor Day holiday weekend. The enforcement effort includes sobriety checkpoints and roving patrols to reduce drunk and impaired driving. 

 

FEMA Disaster-Preparedness Resources Available Through Apps

The flash flooding aftermath of Tropical Storm Fred on August 18th resulted in property and highway damages expected to reach the tens of millions of dollars in assessments. FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said when it comes to having a conversation with family, neighbors and loved ones about what to do in the event of a disaster hitting the area,“Now is the Time...” She encourages residents to check out  several of FEMA’s online resources such as Ready.gov/September, Ready.gov or Listo.gov, and provides local alerts and warnings from the National Weather Service for up to five locations nationwide on its app, located at http://www.fema.gov. Steuben’s early warning app, Ready Steuben, is also available through both the Google Play and the Apple App stores. More information on “Prepare to Protect” will be posted each Sunday at:

https://www.facebook.com/SteubenCountyOES and https://www.facebook.com/1.Steuben

CountyNY

 

Strong Kids, Safe Kids Festival Cancelled

Organizers announced yesterday the Steuben Strong Kids Safe Kids Festival originally set for September 18th has been cancelled, citing the risk of spreading the COVID-19 Delta variant. The annual event focuses on events to promote the health and well-being of Children through grade 6.

For more information go to the Prevent Child Abuse Steuben Facebook page at

https://www.facebook.com/Prevent-Child-Abuse-Steuben-402939566765576

 

Today's Top Stories - Saturday September 4th, 2021

Residents Reminded to Watch for School Buses as Classes Resume
School returns to session after this Labor Day with residents being reminded by the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office to be safe on the roadway by leaving ourselves some extra time for our commutes next week as bus schedules and students resume their travel routines. Please also be aware of additional pedestrian traffic in crosswalks as school children resume their daily trek. There are many new sidewalks and crosswalks to be aware of, especially in Bath.

 

Federal Unemployment Benefits End Tomorrow
Tomorrow, several federally-funded programs that expanded unemployment benefits during the pandemic will expire in New York. One program will end the additional $300 weekly unemployment bonus that went to millions to support many families with a little extra money each week. New York’s unemployment rate stood at 7.6% for the month of July. 

 

FEMA Disaster-Preparedness Resources Available Through Apps
The flash flooding aftermath of Tropical Storm Fred on August 18th resulted in property and highway damages expected to reach the tens of millions of dollars in assessments. FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said when it comes to having a conversation with family, neighbors and loved ones about what to do in the event of a disaster hitting the area,“Now is the Time...” She encourages residents to check out  several of FEMA’s online resources such as Ready.gov/September, Ready.gov or Listo.gov, and provides local alerts and warnings from the National Weather Service for up to five locations nationwide on its app, located at http://www.fema.gov. Steuben’s early warning app, Ready Steuben, is also available through both the Google Play and the Apple App stores. More information on “Prepare to Protect” will be posted each Sunday at:
https://www.facebook.com/SteubenCountyOES and https://www.facebook.com/1.Steuben

CountyNY

 

Darlene Smith Says 150 New COVID Cases This Early is “Concerning”
The Steuben County Public Health Department reported 150 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday since Monday’s update, which Darlene Smith spoke about on WVIN’s Community Focus. Smith said the outbreak occurring this early is concerning, especially with 21 of these cases being hospitalizations.  Smith also says if we practice prevention like we were at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Steuben County can turn the uptick around.
Listen to the full interview at: https://wvinbath.com/assets/podcaster/215/2021_09_03_215_111806_4795.mp3

 

Strong Kids, Safe Kids Festival Cancelled
Organizers announced yesterday the Steuben Strong Kids Safe Kids Festival originally set for September 18th has been cancelled, citing the risk of spreading the COVID-19 Delta variant. The annual event focuses on events to promote the health and well-being of Children through grade 6.
For more information go to the Prevent Child Abuse Steuben Facebook page at
https://www.facebook.com/Prevent-Child-Abuse-Steuben-402939566765576

 

Labor Day Holiday Weekend DWI Crackdown Continues
State Troopers and local police departments are out in full force for this Labor Day holiday weekend as part of their annual STOP-DWI crackdown to reduce drunk and impaired driving. Sobriety checkpoints and roving patrols will be part of the crackdown which continues to the Labor Day holiday on Monday the 6th.

Today's Top Stories - Friday, September 3rd, 2021

Darlene Smith Says 150 New COVID Cases This Early is “Concerning”
Yesterday, the Steuben County Public Health Department reported 150 new COVID-19 cases since Monday’s update, which Darlene Smith spoke about on WVIN’s Community Focus this morning. Smith said the outbreak occurring this early is concerning, especially with 21 of these cases being hospitalizations.  Smith also says if we practice prevention like we were at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Steuben County can turn the uptick around.
Health officials say one individual who tested positive helped with flood relief efforts at the Woodhull Town Hall on August 25th and 26th for “many hours” both days, serving as a potential exposure risk. Anyone at the Woodhull Town Hall on either day is advised by the health department to monitor themselves for symptoms and consider getting tested.
Listen to the full interview at: https://wvinbath.com/assets/podcaster/215/2021_09_03_215_111806_4795.mp3

Strong Kids, Safe Kids Festival Cancelled
Organizers announced this morning the Steuben Strong Kids Safe Kids Festival originally set for September 18th has been cancelled, citing the risk of spreading the COVID-19 Delta variant. The annual event focuses on events to promote the health and well-being of Children through grade 6.
For more information go to the Prevent Child Abuse Steuben Facebook page at
https://www.facebook.com/Prevent-Child-Abuse-Steuben-402939566765576

 

Hornell Pair Arrested Following Police Chase
Two from Hornell were arrested yesterday after a police chase in Western New York that began after an evening traffic stop in Newstead. Anthony Drake, age 25, and 27-year-old Brittany Howard were arrested after they allegedly failed to comply when the Trooper activated emergency lights. A chase continued east on Main Street into Genesee County when the Silverado they were driving swerved toward a Genesee County Sheriff patrol that was traveling west. Batavia police picked up the pursuit by deploying a tire-deflating device and stopped the truck. Brittany Howard was found to have possessed brass knuckles, crystal meth, and other drugs and arrested for Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance and Violation of Probation. Anthony Drake was arrested for Reckless Endangerment, Criminal Possession of a Weapon, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, and multiple traffic tickets.

 

Average Price of Gas Per Gallon in New York Increases by 5 Cents
AAA reports New York is among the top 10 states with the largest weekly increases in average price of gas per gallon, coming in at an average increase of 5 cents. Yesterday, AAA reported the national gas price average has increased 3 cents since Monday to $3.18. Tropical storm Ida and anticipated demand surrounding the Labor Day holiday weekend are reasons for the increase in gas prices.

 

Hochul & NYS DOH Release Latest School Guidance
Governor Hochul and the New York State Department of Health released new guidance and requirements last night for schools to follow while they reopen. Under new guidance, unvaccinated teachers and school staff members will be required to submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. Everyone inside a school building must wear a mask at all times, regardless of vaccination status. Social distancing at 3-6 feet apart will be maintained. Passengers and drivers must wear masks on school buses. All those who were “close contacts” with someone with COVID must quarantine unless fully-vaccinated.

 

Palmesano Blasts NY Eviction Moratorium & Undistributed Funds
Assemblyman Phil Palmesano yesterday blasted the Hochul Administration and the Democratic majority in both the State Senate and Legislature for voting to extend the eviction moratorium, as well as the disbursement of over $2 billion in federal relief funding that was provided to the state. New York State received more than $2.6 billion from the federal government to aid landlords and tenants who are struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to date, only $200 million, or seven percent, of that money has been distributed. Wednesday, the state legislature passed a bill that would extend the eviction moratorium until January 15th but Palmesano says the extension “does not fix the problem...”,  and that it will hurt small landlords further and create a larger housing crisis. Regarding the federal pandemic relief funding, Palmesano said in a statement ``It is inexcusable that these funds have not been distributed with over six months of time and public pressure to do so….”

Palmesano’s full statement can be read below:
 

“Extending the eviction moratorium is not only severely harmful to landlords and small property owners, but it’s unnecessary. Since March, my colleagues in the Assembly and Senate Republican conferences and I have urged the administration and our democratic legislative colleagues to release these critical rent relief funds. They knew this expiration date was coming. If these funds were responsibly sent out as intended, we would not be in this position of extending this costly eviction moratorium at the expense of small property owners and landlords.

 Small landlords in our area and statewide have been devastated by the failure of ‘one-party rule’ coming out of Albany.  They’ve been hurt financially by this reckless policy. Landlords have been required to continue to provide property maintenance upkeep and housing to tenants for no compensation, at the same time still having to meet their obligation to pay their mortgages, property taxes, and utility bills, even as they essentially provide tenants free housing. Many small landlords have not received rental payments in over 17 months and now will have to wait even longer due to Gov. Hochul and the Assembly and Senate Democrat majorities’ eviction moratorium extension. This eviction moratorium, now extended again through January, has simply crushed these small landlords and property owners financially, many of whom rely on rent payments as their own source of income, retirement security, or even a way to help pay for their kids’ college education.  This legislation is simply a one-sided benefit in favor of tenants at the expense of small landlords and it’s just wrong!

My colleagues in the Majority conference often talk about the importance of fairness, justice and equity. However, I challenge them to explain how extending this moratorium another four and a half months is fair, just or equitable to the thousands of small landlords statewide who have been financially devastated by this moratorium.”

 

Today's Top Stories - Thursday September 2nd, 2021

Rumsey Talks Back To School Mask Mandates & More
With in-person classes starting again in less than a week, Bath Central School District Superintendent Joe Rumsey spoke about Back to School for Bath Haverling this year as New York State required indoor masking for all schools and a second-wave of COVID surges have hit Steuben and other counties. Rumsey said in a WVIN Community Focus interview that the administration is looking to host classes outside as much as possible and look for creative ways to work in what he calls “mask breaks” throughout the day while legally-abiding by the state mask mandate that was issued last minute.
Listen to the full interview at: https://wvinbath.com/assets/podcaster/215/2021_08_31_215_109219_4795.mp3

 

Rockwell Museum Hosting Social Impact Study for $25 Visa Gift Card
Corning’s Rockwell Museum is one of a handful of museums across the US that are participating in a social impact study  with the Utah Division of Arts & Museums that allows people to receive a free $25 Visa Gift Card.  The aim of the study is to learn what impact art and culture have in a given community and what impact museums can have in a local area. To participate in the study, people just need to sign up at the Rockwell Museum or online and then visit the Rockwell Museum three times between September 1st and May 2022. After visiting the museum, participants must fill out a survey with questions ranging from people’s opinion of the museum, to what were their thoughts on the museum before and after their visit. Each participant will get a $25 visa gift card for completing the survey. 
Sign up to take part in the study by going online to the Rockwell Museum website. 

 

Senator O’Mara Rejects Passed Eviction Moratorium Extension
New York’s eviction moratorium to help tenants falling behind due to the economic hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been extended until January 15th after the state legislature voted in session 38-19 yesterday to extend it. State Senator Tom O’Mara rejected the legislation because he says it fails to take any immediate, significant action to help tenants and landlords struggling to access vital relief through the state’s failing Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP).  To date, of the nearly $3 billion in federal assistance allocated to New York state for relief of tenants and landlords, less than 10% of it has been distributed.

 

Hochul Confirms Nominees to Create NY’s Cannabis Industry
The New York State Senate confirmed the first two nominees of Governor Hochul's administration who are expected to help launch the cannabis in by overseeing two departments that will implement a framework that includes  production, licensing, marketing and sales of cannabis products for the state’s future marijuana industry. Tremaine Wright will be serving as Chair of New York's Cannabis Control Board (CCB), while Christopher Alexander was named Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM). Governor Hochul said launching New York's cannabis industry is one of her top priorities and that it’s "long overdue." The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) was passed March 31st, and focuses on the regulation of the adult-use, medical and hemp industries.

 

DEC Adopts New Bear & Deer Hunting Rules
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced that DEC has adopted new rules for deer and bear hunting in New York. Rule changes include extending hunting hours and dress code requirements when afield to improve hunter safety. DEC announced the proposed changes in June, after adopting the updated New York State Deer Management Plan.

 

NY’s Fall Foliage Season Officially Begins
Governor Kathy Hochul has announced the start of the 2021 fall foliage season in New York State. Fall is one of the most popular travel times in New York, attracting visitors from around the world to explore the state's unique communities and support local businesses. To help travelers and foliage enthusiasts plan a fall getaway, I LOVE NY will begin issuing its weekly fall foliage reports on Wednesday, September 8, and will now include a new enhanced interactive progression map.  The foliage report is compiled each week using the on-location field observations from I LOVE NY's team of volunteer leaf peepers. More than 85 spotters extending across the state's 11 vacation regions are tasked with keeping track of the color change in their area as leaves progress each week. Reports detail the predominant leaf colors, approximate percentage of change, and how much color change has progressed relative to peak conditions. 

Today's Top Stories - Wednesday, September 1st, 2021

VA Organizing Flag Observance of 9/11 on 20th Anniversary
To honor the lives lost and impacted by the September 11th attacks 20 years ago, the VA Finger Lakes Healthcare System is hosting a region-wide effort, where they have called on community members to fly the American Flag. On Saturday, September 11th, employees from the State Department of Transportation will line State Route 415 and 352 between Bath National Cemetery and Woodlawn National Cemeteries. Police, fire departments, churches, community organizations, and businesses are being asked to join the memorial by hanging their flags, ringing their bells, and sounding their sirens at 10:03 a.m. to commemorate the time of the last plane crash on September 11th, 2001.
Those interested in participating in the Flag Line contact Linda.Conway@redcross.org or call (607) 769-6552 to sign up.

 

Single-Lane Traffic Continues on State Route 415
Re-paving continues on State Route 415 in the Town of Bath as traffic has been reduced to a single-lane from the Bombardier plant in Kanona to about where the Twin Kiss is. Suit-Kote is repaving both sides of the high-traffic road.

 

This Year’s Strong Kids Safe Kids Festival is Saturday, September 18th
Steuben County kids and their families will have a chance to mix fun and safety at Steuben's eighth annual Strong Kids Safe Kids Festival set for noon-4 p.m., Sept. 18 at the Steuben County Fairgrounds in Bath. All activities will be held outdoors, with COVID-19 safety measures in place. Children through sixth grade and their families are invited to attend the festival, which includes a rock-climbing wall, Kids’ Farmers Market and carnival games as well as information on health and safety issues from more than 30 area agencies. The event also will include a car seat safety check and giveaways, including school supplies, bike helmets and healthy snacks, while supplies last. The Central Steuben Chamber of Commerce will also conduct a “Hands On Trucks” display as part of the event. There are no fees or eligibility requirements to participate.
For more information go to the Prevent Child Abuse Steuben Facebook page at:
https://www.facebook.com/Prevent-Child-Abuse-Steuben-402939566765576

 

Wegmans Ranked First on People’s List of “Companies That Care”
Wegmans has been ranked by People Magazine at number one on their list of “100 Companies That Care 2021.” The annual list is made up of the top U.S. companies best-supporting both their employees and surrounding communities. The magazine’s article highlights how the local chain has given back to the community and how employees of every one of 106 stores help determine the donation requests which are most-needed in their communities. The entire list can be read here.

 

Dollar General to Offer Pharmacy & Grocery to Rural Communities
Dollar General is expanding its access to health services for customers in “health care deserts” as the number of primary care practices declines in the US. Dollar General’s “plans include further expansion of our health offering, with the goal of increasing access to affordable health care products and services, particularly in rural America,”. The retail chain is moving to expand as traditional pharmacies consolidate – and rural communities face fewer options for medical service. The chain also announced it will morph into a more complete grocery experience for its communities that do not have a traditional grocery store nearby.

 

Campbell Man Arrested After Domestic Incident
Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard reports that deputies and investigators arrested 44-year-old Loren R. Hill of Butternut Drive in Campbell following a reported domestic assault in the Town of Campbell. It is alleged that Hill struck, choked and stole property from a member of his family or household.  The person allegedly assaulted received medical treatment both at the scene and at a local medical facility and was later released. Hill was charged with Assault in the Third Degree, Strangulation in the Second Degree, a class D Felony, Criminal Obstruction of Breathing and Petit Larceny. He was arraigned and remanded to the Steuben County Jail in lieu of $2,000 bail.

 

After Steuben COVID Surge, St James Resumes Visitation Restrictions
As COVID cases rise in the hospital and in Steuben, St. James Hospital is resuming visitation restrictions to help keep patients, caregivers and the community safe. Beginning right now, there will be no visitation for adult COVID-positive patients in the medical-surgical unit; non-COVID patients may have a total of two designated visitors during the inpatient stay, but only one visitor per day for up to four hours. Exceptions apply for pediatric and special needs patients or end-of-life care.

 

Applications Open for NYS Trooper Entrance Exam
State officials have announced that applications are now open for the next New York State Police Trooper Entrance Exam. The exam, which will be administered from January through April of 2022, will be given online at authorized testing centers for the first time in State Police history, part of an effort to reportedly make the exam more accessible to the general public.

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