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Today's Top Stories - Thursday September 30th, 2021

Bath VA Encourages Veterans to Get Flu Shot
Bath VA Medical Center encourages veterans to get their flu shot to help protect from various strains of influenza and protect them from getting severely ill if they catch it. The Bath VA has added more days for its walk-in flu clinics which will be in Building 92 on the main floor from 7:30am – 3:00pm tomorrow on Friday, October 1st. Clinics will also take place the same time Monday, October 4th, Wednesday, October 6th, Friday, October 8th,  Tuesday, October 12th and Thursday, October 14th. There will also be Saturday walk-in clinics in the same location from 8:00 to noon on October 16th and October 23rd.

 

Addison Man Arrested for Rape and Burglarly
A 20-year-old Addison man was arrested by New York State Police after a burglary and rape investigation in Woodhull. The incident was reported to New York State Police in Painted Post yesterday around 8:30 a.m. and Blake Calaman was arrested less than 12 hours later that evening. Calaman faces a felony first-degree rape charge in addition to felony burglary and misdemeanor assault charges. He is currently being held by police as the investigation continues.

 

Steuben Sees 3 More COVID Deaths & 125 New Cases
Three more Steuben County residents have died of COVID-19 with the total number of deaths related to COVID in the county to 207. Latest victims are an 80-year-old Arkport man, a 52-year-old Hornell man and a 79-year-old Bath man. Public Health Director Darlene Smith urged everyone to take all COVID precautions, including getting vaccinated. Steuben also reported 125 new COVID cases since Monday’s update. 31 of these cases are breakthrough cases. Active cases in the county total 462. Experts say the COVID-19 vaccine will not guarantee you will never get COVID-19, but it will greatly reduce your chances of being hospitalized or dying of the virus.

 

2021 Wineglass Marathon Begins Tomorrow
Tomorrow kicks off the 2021 Wineglass Marathon event continuing to Sunday, October 3rd. Registration is now closed for the full and half marathons which draw over 6,500 runners from 48 states and 8 countries along with the 5k race. The public, especially drivers,  is strongly encouraged to use caution and plan ahead for race-day traffic on local roads. The Guthrie Wineglass Marathon is Sunday with 2,000 registrants beginning 8:15am in Bath and the Wegmans Wineglass Half Marathon starts at 7:45am in Campbell for 2,500 runners. Drivers are urged to exercise extreme caution and avoid travel on critical intersections from 7:45am to 2pm on Sunday.

 

Hochul Announces $45 Million in State Funding
Yesterday Governor Hochul announced $45 million in state grant funding has been awarded to counties across the state for improving the operability of emergency communications. Locally, Schuyler, Steuben, and Chemung counties combined received state funding exceeding $1.7 million through the State Interoperable Communications Grant which is administered by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. Funding will make it possible for local governments to expand their ability to communicate, exchange valuable data, and streamline information to enhance collaboration and assist first responders. Steuben received $766,339 in funds. Hochul says these grants will “ensure our firefighters, police officers, EMTs and paramedics, and anyone who responds to a disaster will have the tools and training they need to communicate more effectively and efficiently.” The Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant is formula-based and funded by cellular surcharge revenue. 

 

Canisteo First Responder Merring Makes County Hall of Fame
Canisteo man Donald Merring was inducted into the Steuben County Legislature’s Hall of Fame Monday after decades of service as a first responder and the former Steuben County Director of Emergency Services. Merring, who was a nominee of the Class of 2020, graduated from Canisteo High School in 1953, going on to join the Naval Academy, and eventually graduated from Alfred State. Merring is still active in the Canisteo Fire Department where he has been a member since 1960- serving as Chief from 1970-1977, leading the department through the 1972 flooding from Hurricane Agnes that killed 19 people in Steuben County. He was appointed as the Director of Emergency Services in 1985 and stayed in that role for a decade. After retiring, he worked as a Dispatcher for the Sheriff’s Office and the Bath Police Department.

 

Red Cross Urges Donations During Emergency Blood Shortage
Monday, the American Red Cross said it is facing an “emergency blood and platelet shortage” as inventory numbers reached the lowest post-summer level since 2015. Donors of all blood types, especially Type O, and platelet donors are needed and urged to make an appointment to give so the blood needs of patients are met this fall for life-saving medical procedures, like transfusions. First Presbyterian Church in Bath holds a blood drive next week on Friday October 8th from 9am to 2pm. Find where to donate by clicking here.

 

Syracuse Man Arrested for Involvement in January 6th Capitol Riot
A Syracuse man has been arrested for involvement in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Cell phone records and surveillance footage made the arrest of 59-year-old Richard Bryan Watrous possible. Watrous is being charged with entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a capitol building, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building. Watrous entered the building at 2:48 p.m. He admitted to federal agents in a June interview to driving to the Capitol because President Donald Trump said to do so, and that he left about 5 minutes after he entered the same way he came in. He said he then left and returned with a woman before leaving again to go back to his hotel room. Watrous is the fifth person in the Central New York area to be arrested for being involved with the riot.

Today's Top Stories - Wednesday September 29th, 2021

Late Trooper Clark Inducted Into Section V Wrestling Hall of Fame
Fallen New York State Trooper Nicholas Clark is set to be inducted into the Section V Wrestling Hall of Fame in Rochester next month taking place Tuesday, October 12th at the Red Fedele’s Brook House in Rochester. Clark was well-known for his athletic talent that helped him succeed in multiple sports. Trooper Clark was a two-time state wrestling champion at Canisteo-Greenwood school and also played college football at Alfred University and was a two-time All-American for the Saxons. In 2012, Clark even went on to try out for the Buffalo Bills. In September 2015, Clark graduated from the NYSP 203rd session of the Basic School, becoming a trooper. The 29-year-old died while on duty on July 2nd, 2018.

 

NASCAR XFinity Returns to WGI Next August
Today, the NASCAR Cup Series sanctioning body announced the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule. The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to Watkins Glen International alongside the NASCAR Cup Series August 20th, 2022. For the second consecutive year, the ARCA Menards Series will return and race on Friday, August 19th. All race start times will be announced at a later date.

 

Hochul Appearing at Hammondsport’s Snug Harbor Next Month
Governor Kathy Hochul is scheduled to make an appearance at a local fall reception in Hammondsport. Hochul will appear at Snug Harbor Friday, October 29th from 5:30PM - 7:00PM for a “Wine Country Reception” featuring local wines, hors d'oeuvres, and grazing stations. An invitation and donation contribution form are required to attend this fundraiser. Hochul, a Buffalo native and graduate from Syracuse University, has many ties to upstate New York.

 

Dormann Library Announces Upcoming October Events
The Dormann Library announces it will kick off the month of October with a Story Crafter Time Tuesday October 5th from 3 to 4pm for those from Kindergarten to fourth grade to hear a story about a shy ghost, read a pun-filled book about some skeletons, and make some easy crafts with a treat or two! No sign-ups required. The following day Wednesday October 6th, the Dormann hosts a TED Talk Time for adults starting at 6:00pm to listen to two talks on the topic of fear. Friday, October 8th there will be a 7:00pm showing of the movie Coco (PG /1 Hour 45 Minutes) with free popcorn!

 

Hochul Appoints Bassett as New State Health Commissioner
New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced she has appointed Dr. Mary Bassett, MD, MPH, as the new Commissioner of Health for the State almost a week after Dr. Zucker announced his resignation from the role following widespread calls to resign over his involvement in the Cuomo Administration’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes. Dr. Bassett served as the commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from 2014 through 2018 and currently serves as director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University. Hochul said that Bassett is “both a highly regarded public health expert and an exemplary public servant, and I look forward to working with her to keep New Yorkers safe and healthy." 

 

Man Arrested for Poisoning & Dumping Dog in Chemung River
Chemung County Sheriff’s Office announced a Big Flats man was arrested for allegedly poisoning a dog that was found in the Chemung River. Ivan Connel was eventually identified as a suspect following the discovery of a dead dog located at the Golden Glow section of Chemung River on May 28th. The dog was wrapped in chicken wire and contained by cinder blocks and the Chemung County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation. After an interview, the Sheriff’s Office learned Connel used morphine to euthanize the dog, which belonged to Connel’s residence, and then allegedly put the dog in the river to “assist with the decomposition process”, and it was later found by a local fisherman. Connel was arrested for Poisoning or Attempting to Poison an Animal, a Class A Misdemeanor. He was released on an appearance ticket to return to the Town of Big Flats Court at a later date. The Chemung County District Attorney’s Office and New York State Police also helped with the investigation.

 

O’Mara Awards Natasha Thompson “Woman of Distinction”
Yesterday, State Senator Tom O’Mara presented President and CEO of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, Natasha Thompson, with the 2021 “Woman of Distinction” award. She was nominated by  O’Mara during the State Senator’s 23rd Annual “Women of Distinction” ceremony and  joins 60 other women from across the state who were honored for their accomplishments, acts of service and overall contributions to their communities.  Thompson has been with the Food Bank of the Southern Tier for a decade now, since 2011, and in 2018, was named President and CEO in 2008. Thompson said “ I am grateful to Senator O’Mara for the recognition, as well as for his consistent support of our work over the years.”

 

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Coming to Horseheads
Ollie's Bargain Outlet in Horseheads is set to officially hold a grand opening event on October 27th at the former Big K-Mart building in Grand Central Plaza, located at 1020 Center Road in Horseheads.  According to the Facebook event page, customers will be able to save up to 70% off "fancy stores' prices" on brand name food, housewares, flooring, clothing and more.  Ollie's sources its products from global closeouts, overstocks, package changes, and irregulars. Ollie’s buys the inventory goods back from banks after liquidation and pass the savings onto customers.  Everything purchased at Ollie's is covered by the company's 30-day "No Hard Time" guarantee, allowing full returns if the customer is not satisfied with the purchase for a full refund (with sales receipt).

 

Hochul Announces Health Care Staff Vaccination Rate On The Rise
Yesterday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that health care staff vaccination rates are continuing to trend on the rise across the state. The governor's office says 92% of hospital staff are compliant as of Monday evening, which is a 15% increase in just under one week. Since August 24th, adult care facilities went from 77% vaccine participation rate to 89%. Over the past month, nursing home vaccination rates saw a significant jump from 71% to 92%. Under the vaccine mandate, all healthcare workers had to have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by 11:59 p.m. on Monday, September 27th.  Arnot Health is continuing to evaluate staffing levels and address any impact the mandate had on the hospital. According to a statement, 95-percent of their staff is vaccinated and the remaining staff met the criteria for an accommodation.

 

Today Dunkin Donuts is Giving Away Free Coffee
Dunkin’ Donuts is giving away free coffees to their DD Perks customers today to celebrate National Coffee Day! Customers who are DD Perks members can get a free medium iced or hot coffee with a purchase. If you aren’t a DD Perks member yet, you can still sign up.

 

Today's Top Stories- Tuesday, September 28th, 2021

Steuben Legislature Allocates Rescue Plan, AIM & IDA Funding
Portions of the over $18.5 million received through the American Rescue Plan will be allocated by Steuben County to AIM Independent Living Center and the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency. The Legislature approved AIM Independent Living to receive $30,000 for their peer to peer recovery program to provide assistance to those struggling with opioid addiction. Also approved was $100,000 for the Steuben County IDA to support transportation access improvements and promote public safety at the intersection of State Route 54 and Industrial Park Road in the Town of Bath.

 

County Legislature Recognizs Flood Rescue Efforts
The Steuben County Legislature officially recognized efforts of all those involved in rescue efforts during the flood that devastated southwestern Steuben County on August 18th on Monday through a proclamation issued by the Legislature. Areas of Western Steuben County experienced severe flooding, which resulted in the closure of several roads, damage to multiple businesses, residences and one school, and the evacuation of numerous individuals from their homes. Legislature Chairman Scott Van Etten remarked our county has “many selfless, dedicated volunteer Fire, EMS and Law Enforcement personnel who offered their assistance during that extremely difficult time,” He also remarked residents of Steuben County always come together to help their friends, neighbors and loved ones during difficult times.

 

Wegmans Offering Free COVID Booster Shot
Wegmans will be offering the COVID booster vaccine for anyone qualifying for the shot. Appointments to get the vaccine at your local Wegmans can be made online. Shots are free.Those scheduled for the booster must bring their vaccine card or proof of vaccine to the appointment. Proof of eligibility is not required but people must attest that they’re eligible. Eligibility requirements include having the Pfizer vaccine with the last dose being at least 6 months prior to the date of the booster shot, being 65 or older, a resident in a long term care setting, those aged 50 to 64 with qualifying underlying medical conditions, those who are 18 to 49 with qualifying underlying health conditions based on their own benefits and risks, or being ages 18 to 64 at a higher risk of exposure due to an occupational or institutional setting.

 

NYSP Report 4th Person Arrested in Chemung Torture-Murder
New York State Police say a fourth person was arrested in connection to the brutal torture and murder of Juan Jose Gotay in January. A 17-year-old male, whose name was not released, was arrested in Georgia in connection to the case and charged with three counts of assault with intent to cause serious injury with a weapon, one count of assault with intent to cause disfigurement or dismemberment, one count of intentional murder and one count of kidnapping that resulted in the victim’s death. Three others were previously charged in connection to Gotay’s murder: 25-year-old Eddie Marte from New York City, 18-year-old Malik Weems of Pittsburgh and 21-year-old Thomas Bovaird of Horseheads. WENY News reports the men allegedly abducted Gotay, bound him with an electric cord after mutilating and dismembering him and left him to die in a “remote area in Pennsylvania in late January earlier this year.

 

“Coffee With the Chiefs” Event October 22nd in Hornell
Law enforcement agencies in Steuben County will host a joint “Coffee with the Chiefs and Sheriff” event on Friday, October 22nd from 8 to 9am at JC’s Cafe on 327 Canisteo Street in Hornell. Community members can sit down with County Sheriff Jim Allard, City of Hornell Police Chief T.J. Murray, and Village of North Hornell and Canisteo Village Police Chief Kyle Amidon to learn more about crime prevention and further understand their local police forces. Chief Amidon said the program “... is a casual atmosphere to discuss any areas of concern or improvements that would aid the agency in providing the highest quality of service to our people.” 

 

Steuben’s COVID Death Toll Hits 204
The Steuben County Public Health Department reports the county’s 204th COVID-19 death, who was a 65-year-old woman from the Town of Bath. Public Health Director Darlene Smith said:  “The COVID spread remains very high in Steuben.  All prevention strategies must be utilized to slow this trend.”  Friday afternoon, the county reported 451 active cases of COVID-19 with 34 patients hospitalized. 

 

Corning Man Arrested Following Welfare Fraud Investigation
A Corning man was arrested by the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office following a welfare fraud investigation. Steuben County Sheriff’s Office says 60-year-old Robert Birch allegedly 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 $4,495.00 that he was not eligible to receive from Oct. 1st, 2019, to March 31st of this year. He is charged with one count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E Felony, and one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D Felony. Birch was arraigned in the Centralized Arraignment Court and released.

 

2 From Addison Arrested for Sex Abuse
Two people from Addison were charged with sex offenses and child endangerment following an investigation in the town of Tuscarora. 44-year-old Kenneth Buchanan of Addison has been arrested for first degree rape and endangering the welfare of a child, and 41-year-old Carrie Wilkinson was arrested for first degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. Both were taken to centralized arraignment at the Steuben County Jail.

 

DOL Announces NY’s Minimum Wage Will Be $13.20 Upstate
New York State continues to gradually implement its $15 minimum wages  as the minimum wage phase-in will take effect on December 31st of this year and the minimum wage will be increased to $13.20 per hour for upstate New York, which is based on economic factors. Long Island and Westchester region will see an increase to $15 hourly, matching New York City’s minimum wage. NY’s Division of the Budget’s Minimum Wage Report found that the low-wage sector was the most impacted by the pandemic with 57.2% of the private sector losses being in retail trade, health care and social assistance, leisure and hospitality. Future increases in the remainder of New York State will be based on an indexed schedule set by the Director of the Division of the Budget in consultation with the Department of Labor following an annual review of the impact.

Today's Top Stories - Monday September 27th, 2021

Bath Man Pleads Guilty to Distributing Child Porn & Molestation
A Bath man has pleaded guilty before a U.S. District Judge to distributing child pornography and molesting a minor on several occasions.  Jeffrey Clark, 35, was arrested after Assistant U.S. Attorney John Field, an undercover FBI agent saw Clark distributing child pornography online, prompting a search warrant  that was executed at Clark’s home where investigators seized thousands of files containing images and videos of child pornography, including images ofabuse and violence against children. Clark admitted that he had physically molested a minor on several occasions, resulting in separate charges. Clark was originally arrested earlier this year by Troopers in January for allegedly sexually abusing a child under the age of 13. Clark was charged with first-degree felony criminal sex act (victim less than 13-years-old), felony first-degree sexual abuse (victim less than 13 and suspect 21 or older), and misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child. Charges carry a minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 40 years, and a fine of $500,000. Clark’s sentencing is scheduled for January 7, 2022, at 11:00 am before Judge Siragusa.

 

Arnot Temporarily Pauses Elective Procedures on Vaccine Deadline
Arnot Health has put a temporary pause on “non-emergent, elective procedures requiring an overnight stay” as they prepare to lose approximately five percent of their staff who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine on today’s state deadline. Arnot announced in a statement today that 95 percent of its over 3,000 employees had received the COVID-19 vaccine before the state deadline for healthcare workers. Last year, Arnot also paused non-emergent, elective procedures from March 19th to May 20th due to the pandemic.

 

County Public Health Reports 148 More COVID Cases
Steuben County Public Health reported 148 new cases of COVID on Friday.  Two of the fully-vaccinated positive cases were hospitalized. 117 were reported as recovered.  Multiple positives from the report are associated with the following locations: Wayland-Cohocton School District which had 3 cases, North Hornell Elementary with 5, Corning-Painted Post High School with 4, Corning-Painted Post Middle School with 5, Campbell-Savona Jr/Sr High School with 3, and Hornell Intermediate School reporting 4 cases. As community spread remains high in Steuben County, Public Health urges the public to please continue to follow all prevention steps, including wearing a mask, getting tested and staying home when feeling unwell, washing hands often, and getting vaccinated.

 

Bills Crush Washington 43-21
As heard yesterday on WVIN, the Buffalo Bills won their second game in a row 43-21 over the Washington Football Team as the Bills offensive line stayed strong. Following yesterday’s win, the Bills have outscored their opponents 78-21 over the last two weeks. Next Sunday at 1pm, the Houston Texans play at the Bills. WVIN will be your home for the Bills action this season. Tune in at 11am Sunday to hear it as we kick off the broadcast with pregame coverage. 

 

State COVID Vaccine Deadline for Healthcare Workers is Today
Today is the deadline for health care workers at hospitals and nursing homes across New York state to receive at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Guidance was issued by the Department of Labor to clarify that workers who are terminated because of refusal to be vaccinated are not eligible for unemployment insurance absent a valid doctor-approved request for medical accommodation.The Governor’s Office announced Saturday that they have a plan to combat the potential increase in staffing shortages in hospitals and other health care facilities. One plan could have Hochul sign an executive order declaring a state of emergency, thus allowing health care professionals licensed in other states or countries, recent graduates, retired and formerly practicing health care professionals to practice in New York State. Medically-trained National Guard members may also be deployed. Hochul also announced plans to work with the federal government and other state officials to explore options to expedite visa requests for medical professionals.

 

Hochul Says Pfizer Booster Shots Available to Those Eligible in NY
Governor Kathy Hochul says Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots are available across the state to those who qualify in a tweet Saturday where she explained who’s eligible to get the vaccine and said she wants to make getting the third shot as seamless as possible. CDC Director Dr. Walensky endorsed a CDC advisory committee’s recommendation allowing older or otherwise vulnerable Americans to get the Pfizer booster. Moderna or Johnson & Johnson boosters have not yet been given endorsement by the CDC. Hochul said “Getting New Yorkers vaccinated still remains our top priority as we work to stop the spread of COVID,”  Those who are eligible and would like to get the booster can book an appointment through the NYS’s website by clicking here.

 

Troopers Still Investigating I-99 Crash
State police investigated a crash on I-99 at exit 8 that resulted in multiple injuries and say a 73-year-old woman from Horseheads entered the exit from the wrong direction, heading south in the northbound lane, and hit a vehicle driven by a 71-year-old man from New Jersey. The Horseheads woman going in the wrong direction also hit a third car driven by a 42-year-old woman from Corning. Both the Corning woman and the Horseheads woman who caused the accident were flown to Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital while the New Jersey driver and his passenger were flown to Strong Memorial Hospital. The investigation into the accident is still ongoing.

 

Today's Top Stories - Saturday, September 25th, 2021

Person Missing in Floodwaters Identified as Prattsburgh Man
Yesterday afternoon, the Steuben County Sheriff's Office released details in connection to an unattended death investigation which happened Thursday in Prattsburgh, after a report someone was swept away in a creek. According to authorities, Five Mile (Trout) Creek near State Route 53 and Dinehart Crossing Road rose significantly due to recent heavy rains A 71-year-old man was last seen driving a UTV near the creek. An investigation into a missing person report of the elderly man began, with help from New York State Police, Steuben Emergency Management and Volunteer Firefighters from Prattsburgh, Hammondsport and Bath. The elderly man’s body was later located in the creek near Dinehard Crossing Road, unresponsive. Authorities have identified the man as Richard Kelley of Prattsburgh.  The Sheriff’s Office offered its condolences and prayers for the family of Kelley  Sheriff Allard says to please treat swift moving water with respect and caution.


Sheriff Allard Does Not Support Governor Hochul’s “Less is More” Act
Law enforcement ,including Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard, have not been supportive of Governor Hochul’s “Less is More” act that passed September 17th. The act aims to stop sending people to jail for technical parole or probation violations while alleviating the large number of people in jail, especially in larger facilities like Rikers Island in New York City. According to WENY, Allard says: “I’m not sure we’ll see any benefit from the passage of this law,” Allard said. “In Steuben County, we have neither a state prison or city jail so I’m not sure what benefit we would see other than more people offending longer before they are, in fact, violated, which is in no way a benefit.”  Allard also added he doesn’t think that means the “Less is More” Act is not beneficial for other areas where injustices do happen.


Four Hospitalized in Wrong-Way Crash on I-99 in Erwin
New York State Police say a preliminary investigation revealed a 73-year-old driver from Horseheads, entered I-99 northbound at exit 8 in the wrong direction. Troopers say the Erwin accident involved a woman who was traveling south in the northbound lane and hit a car in the passing lane head-on. That car was driven by a 71-year-old man from New Jersey. According to WENY, the woman driving in the wrong direction also hit a third car, driven by a 42-year-old woman from Corning. The Horseheads woman was airlifted to Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital while the driver of the 3rd car- woman from Corning-was also taken to Guthrie Robert Packer. The 71-year-old man from New Jersey, and his passenger, were both airlifted to Strong Memorial in Rochester. More details will be released as the ongoing investigation continues.


NY Comptroller Reports Pulteney “Susceptible to Fiscal Distress”
State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced thirty local governments in New York State ended 2020 in some form of fiscal stress in the Comptroller’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System (FSMS). 19 local governments were designated  to be in fiscal stress, including six counties, four cities, and nine towns. This release is based on financial information of local governments operating on a calendar year basis from Jan. 1 – Dec. 31st) for 2020 and covers all counties and towns, 44 cities, and 10 villages. Governments designated as being “susceptible to fiscal stress” included the Steuben County town of Pulteney. DiNapoli said “those designated as stressed are less likely to have the flexibility to adapt to fiscal challenges long term. Local officials must budget and plan carefully to avoid fiscal stress and manage their communities through the uncertainties created by the pandemic.”

 

Buffalo Bills Play Washington Tomorrow on WVIN
Last week, Buffalo Bills crushed the Miami Dolphins 35-0 in a dominating effort that people called a rebound game from the previous Sunday game where Bills were pummeled by the Pittsburgh Steelers. In their eight meetings since the Bills lost to Washington in Super Bowl XXVI, the Bills have won seven of those games. The lone loss was in 2015 when Washington defeated Buffalo 35-25. Buffalo plays the Washington Football team tomorrow at 1pm. Join WVIN 98.3 FM for coverage beginning at noon that includes the pre- and post-game show.
 

Next Wednesday Dunkin Donuts Giving Away Free Coffee
Dunkin’ Donuts is giving away free coffees to their DD Perks customers next week on Wednesday, September 29th to celebrate National Coffee Day. Customers who are DD Perks members can get a free medium iced or hot coffee with a purchase. If you aren’t a DD Perks member yet, you still have time to sign up before National Coffee Day.

Today's Top Stories - Friday September 24th, 2021

Wheeler Man Missing After Floods
Yesterday’s heavy rains had authorities looking for a man who reportedly disappeared in floodwaters in the Town of Wheeler.  No details or official information was released so far, but the Steuben County Coroner was called to the scene yesterday afternoon. However there were several fire departments, Steuben County Sheriff Deputies and New York State Police at the scene.

 

Avoca Man Arrested for Alleged Burglaries
Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard reports that deputies and investigators of the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office arrested 33 year old Adam Hosmer Avoca, following an investigation of burglaries and possession of stolen property in Avoca, Bath and Cohocton. It is alleged that Hosmer entered premises and stole property. Hosmer was charged with Burglary and grand larceny charges. He was arraigned in Court and released.

 

Darlene Smith Talks About Steuben’s Latest COVID Surge
With Steuben County reporting 112 new cases in two days, from September 21st to September 22nd, Darlene Smith, Steuben County Public Health Director, says now the caseload for the county averaging approximately 50 to 60 new positive cases per day. “At our worst, which was January and February of this year, we were approaching 100 new cases a day," Smith said. In the past, the elderly population made up most of the confirmed cases. Now, the demographic is starting to shift to those in their 20's, their 30's, their 40's. “It's pretty much flipped.” Smith said. Only a percentage of the reported cases are vaccinated people."There aren't those social gathering limits right now of the travel restrictions within the United States. The push is for an increased vaccination rate," Smith said. Smith says the county health department won't come down with a separate mandate from the state unless the County manager places Steuben in a state of emergency.

 

NY Comptroller Reports Pulteney “Susceptible to Fiscal Distress”
State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced yesterday that thirty local governments in New York State ended 2020 in some form of fiscal stress in the Comptroller’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System (FSMS). 19 local governments were designated  to be in fiscal stress, including six counties, four cities, and nine towns. This release is based on financial information of local governments operating on a calendar year basis from Jan. 1 – Dec. 31st) for 2020 and covers all counties and towns, 44 cities, and 10 villages. Governments designated as being “susceptible to fiscal stress” included the Steuben County town of Pulteney. DiNapoli said “those designated as stressed are less likely to have the flexibility to adapt to fiscal challenges long term. Local officials must budget and plan carefully to avoid fiscal stress and manage their communities through the uncertainties created by the pandemic.”

 

Schumer & Others Want to Close Dairy Farm Loopholes
Senator Chuck Schumer announced he has joined other Senators in urging United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to close “loopholes” for dairy farmers following the termination of 89 organic dairy farm contracts with Horizon Organics. Senators are requesting that Vilsack close the loopholes around the term “organic,” strengthen enforcement and support both small and mid-sized organic dairy farmers. Schumer discussed the Origin of Livestock Rule, initiated in 2015 which would close a loophole that has allowed large-scale producers in some states to rotate animals in-and-out of organic management and sell under an organic label. Senator Schumer said that finalizing the Origin of Livestock rule would “close the loophole in organic dairy farming” and help smaller, local farms.

 

Buffalo Bills Play Washington Sunday on WVIN
Last week, Buffalo Bills crushed the Miami Dolphins 35-0 in a dominating effort that people called a rebound game from the previous Sunday game where Bills were pummeled by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Buffalo faces off against Washington. In their eight meetings since the Bills lost to Washington in Super Bowl XXVI, the Bills have won seven of those games. The lone loss was in 2015 when Washington defeated Buffalo 35-25. Buffalo plays the Washington Football team Sunday at 1pm. Join WVIN 98.3 FM for coverage beginning at noon that includes the pre- and post-game show.

 

Next Wednesday Dunkin Donuts Giving Away Free Coffee
Dunkin’ Donuts is giving away free coffees to their DD Perks customers next week on Wednesday, September 29th to celebrate National Coffee Day. Customers who are DD Perks members can get a free medium iced or hot coffee with a purchase. If you aren’t a DD Perks member yet, you still have time to sign up before National Coffee Day.

Today's Top Stories - Thursday September 23rd, 2021

Flash Flood Watch Continues Tonight for Steuben County
According to the National Weather Service, a Flash Flood Watch for Steuben county and portions of central New York will continue through this evening. A slow moving frontal boundary will bring a period of moderate to heavy rainfall to the area. Some embedded thunderstorms are also possible. Total rainfall amounts of 1 to 3 inches are forecasted, with locally higher amounts possible. Heavy rainfall may cause flooding of roads and ponding of water in low-lying areas. Please be careful while traveling as flash flooding is very likely.

 

Zucker Resigns as NY Health Commissioner; Senator O’Mara Reacts
Governor Kathy Hochul announced only hours ago that embattled New York State Health Commissioner Doctor Howard Zucker has resigned after months of criticism for his involvement in the Cuomo Administration’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes. Zucker will remain on-board until a successor is identified, according to Hochul, who says the change signals a move away from controversial Cuomo-era policies that prompted a number of state and federal investigations. Though Governor Hochul said “I made it very clear on my first day in office that I’d be looking to build a new team,”  State Senator Tom O’Mara reacted by releasing a statement on Zucker’s resignation, saying “Zucker should not stay one more day.  He should have been gone on Day One of the Hochul administration if she was truly serious about cleaning out Cuomo’s trash.”

O’Mara’s full statement can be read below:

“It was clear to many of us, as far back as early last year, that the Cuomo administration was in full damage control on the nursing homes cover-up.  Former Governor Cuomo, Commissioner  Zucker, and their inner circle had a story, they were sticking to it, and they wanted their version of this tragedy to be the final word.  Their story is that they did everything right and wouldn’t change a thing.  That will not be the final word on this tragedy.  They stonewalled the Legislature, stonewalled government watchdogs, stonewalled reporters and, most egregiously, stonewalled the families of nursing home residents.  There still has not been an adequate opportunity to fully interrogate and question them about their actions.   Andrew Cuomo, Howard Zucker, and others from that inner circle can resign, but there still needs to be accountability for the thousands of lives lost…. 

 I continue my calls for the Senate Investigations Committee to issue subpoenas for Zucker to testify under oath and to the dozen or more Department of Health executives that resigned, in apparent protest, following the Cuomo-Zucker deadly nursing home order. 

Zucker should not stay one more day.  He should have been gone on Day One of the Hochul administration if she was truly serious about cleaning out Cuomo’s trash.” 

 

Steuben Sees 4 More COVID Deaths & 112 New Cases
Steuben County Public Health Department reports 4 more COVID-related deaths in the county.  This brings the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Steuben County to 203. Victims were a 54-year-old male resident of Steuben Center, a 67-year-old male Village of Painted Post resident, a 64-year-old male from the Town of Corning, and an 85-year-old man from the City of Corning. Public Health Director, Darlene Smith said this month’s death toll has not been seen since January of this year when there were upwards of 50 residents in the hospital at a time and urged residents: “Please continue to take this virus seriously." The county also   reported 112 new cases since Monday, bringing the active case number to 420. Thirty-five people are in the hospital. Thirty of the newly reported cases were breakthrough cases. As of yesterday, Steuben County's vaccination rate is 45%.
For the latest Steuben County updates, visit Steuben County's website at www.steubencony.org or www.facebook.com/SCNYPublicHealth

 

Bath Amazon is “Behind Schedule”
Amazon is “behind schedule” and will not be moving into the former Mercury Aircraft building this fall as planned. According to Bath Councilman John Lysyczyn in the town’s planning board minutes from its August 4th meeting, the project is delayed due to turning lane issues that are being worked on with the Department of Transportation. The Steuben County Industrial Development Agency recently approved a $100,000 funding package to upgrade State Route 54 at Industrial Park Road in Bath.

 

Grant May Bring $4 Million in Broadband Funding to Steuben County
A NTIA Broadband Grant Steuben County is applying for could provide $4 million to serve 2,400 homes. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration administers grant programs that further the deployment and use of broadband and other technologies in the US. Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler said the county has tried to leverage a number of federal and state funding opportunities over the last decade but Steuben has not received grants for a very large project like other counties have. Wheeler said for this reason, the county will continue to be creative and look at every funding opportunity there is, adding: “Grant applications like this are going to be very important..For a county of our size… we have [people that are] unserved or underserved.” Wheeler says the county will likely know if they are awarded the grant by the end of the year and if Steuben does see the grant, it could take a year or two to see its effects.

 

AG Responds to Lawsuit Against Vaccine Mandate for Health Workers
The New York State Attorney General’s office filed a 22-page paper in a federal court in Utica yesterday as a response to a lawsuit against its vaccine mandate for health care workers.  A temporary restraining order on enforcing the mandate was issued by a judge because it does not include religious exemptions. The report argues that providing a religious exemption for a COVID-19 vaccine would be inconsistent with previous regulations for medical workers. The state Attorney General’s office says vaccinations are necessary for healthcare workers and that religious exemptions have not been offered for hospital workers and other healthcare setting employees for other vaccines including the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. Opponents of the requirement have said it’s causing more people to leave the medical field and could lead to worker shortages.

 

NY Comptroller Wants State Unemployment Insurance Fund Solvent
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is proposing ways to make New York’s unemployment insurance fund — which owes the federal government $9 billion — solvent. The NY Department of Labor says it paid out over $100 billion in state unemployment insurance fund benefits to over 4.7 million New Yorkers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is now running a deficit. WSKG reports that states are allowed to borrow from the federal government when the fund runs a deficit. Employers have to provide the additional money to pay off the loan. DiNapoli said business owners and employers could be hurt because it could make it harder to get back on their feet and hire people while they could see their unemployment insurance fees rise by as much as 9% at a time when the economic recovery has been uneven, and many employers are struggling to stay afloat. DiNapoli said Hochul and legislative leaders should look at alternatives. There was an additional $5.9 billion collected statewide in taxes and other revenues than originally projected. Business groups are asking for some money be used to help replenish the fund. The state’s Business Council asked that the federal government absolve the state from having to pay back the deficit.

Today's Top Stories - Wednesday September 22nd, 2021

Steuben County Sheriff Hiring Corrections Officers
Steuben County Sheriff’s Office says they are holding a correctional officer exam and hiring new part-time and full-time corrections officers. The exam is scheduled for Saturday, December 11th. Applicants must be residents of Steuben, Allegany, Chemung, Livingston, Ontario, Schuyler, or Yates County for at least four months and sign up by October 20th at the Steuben County Personnel Office, 3 East Pulteney Square in Bath. Positions include a full-time salary starting at $41,177 with an increase to over $45,000 after one year, and part-time officers earn $19.79 an hour. New hires will be required to submit to a drug and alcohol screening prior to employment, which will cost the applicant a $25 application fee, and they are required to have a Class D driver’s license and complete correctional officer training.

 

BEGWS Water Main Replacement  May Cause Water Discoloration 
Bath Electric Gas and Water Systems’ water customers in Williamson Terrace, Perkins Place, Park Place, Vargason Place and Mountain View Road East are reminded BEGWS is replacing a water main on Perkins Place beginning at Williamson Terrace. Customers may experience a discoloration in water and are advised to run cold water to ensure it is clear prior to running hot water or washing whites. BEGWS says they sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, but greatly appreciate the patience and understanding of their customers as they address aging infrastructure and improve their water service.

 

Addison Pair Arrested for Sexual Assault of Child
Two people from Addison have been arrested by New York State Police after a sexual assault investigation that began on September 12th in the Town of Tuscarora. State Police say they arrested 44-year-old Kenneth Buchanan for Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Rape in the 1st Degree.  41-year-old Carrie Wilkinson was also arrested for Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Sex Abuse in the 1st Degree. The victim was described as physically helpless” and that alcohol was involved in both Buchanan and Wilkinson’s charges. The Addison pair were arrested yesterday and taken to centralized arraignment at the Steuben County Jail. 

 

“607” Residents Must Dial All 10 Digits for Local Calls Starting 10/24

Residents in the "607" area code will now be required to dial all 10 digits of a phone number to make local calls starting October 24th. Local calls that are dialed with only seven digits will not be completed and callers must dial the local number with all 10 digits including the local “607” area code. Customers and businesses are advised to reprogram automatic dialing equipment and other devices to include the area code. Security and alarm systems should also be checked to ensure programming can handle the 10 digit pattern or systems will not work properly. According to officials, this change comes from the FCC and aims to ensure people do not mistakenly dial the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis hotline, which is 988.

Read more about the new rule and transition by clicking here.

 

Corning Pair Arrested for Offering False Instrument for Filing
Steuben County Sheriff’s Office reports yesterday investigators arrested Zanasia Garnett, age 28 and Jaquell Garnett, age 29 both of West Pulteney Street in Corning. It is alleged Mr. and Ms. Garnett allegedly offered a false instrument for filing to the Steuben County Department of Social Services from March 1st of last year to May 15th of this year and received benefits from the Steuben County Department of Social Services in the amount of $8,118.70 that they were not eligible to receive. Both are charged with Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First degree, a class E felony and one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D Felony. Mr. and Ms. Garnett were arraigned in the Centralized Arraignment Court and released.

 

Schumer Calls for More Funding to Solve NY’s Mosquito Problem
As our state and region have experienced one of the worst mosquito seasons in recent years, Senator Chuck Schumer says he’s devised a plan that uses resources from the Environmental Protection Agency and funding from the CDC. The mosquitos are so serious that several cases of West Nile virus have been reported and Schumer is concerned the virus will continue to thrive into the fall with the wet climate. Schumer has called for an increase in funding for the CDC’s Vector-Borne Disease programs while getting information out to communities about mosquitos and the potential for West Nile Virus.

 

Governor Hochul Announces Expansion of NY-Sun Program
Governor Hochul wants New York’s solar energy capacity to be tripled within the next decade. Yesterday was the first day of Climate Week 2021 and Governor Hochul announced a call for the expansion NY-Sun program to achieve an expanded goal of at least 10 gigawatts of distributed solar installed by 2030. Hochul thinks the state must be  “...more aggressive in setting the bar higher in recognition of the reality of climate change.” Opponents that include some Republican lawmakers are worried about the cost to the average taxpayer and are asking for a full cost-benefit analysis. But proponents say the cost of solar energy does not outweigh the long-term cost of climate change.

 

NYS Assembly Bill Would Limit Use of “Neonics”
A state assembly bill would limit the use of the chemical compounds Neonicotinoids, or “neonics”, allowing it for use in response to a specific infestation on a farm but not to be used as a preemptive or prophylactic treatment. The European Union and Canada have already imposed similar restrictions. Neonics have been around since the 1990s and used widely in a pre-treatment for corn, soy and wheat seeds. A hearing was held on  whether the state should strictly limit the use of the compounds, which are linked to the population declines of honeybees as well as other insects and birds. While chemical industry representatives who testified at the hearing argue that neonics are safe and effective, studies have linked the increased use of the chemical to the mass honey bee dies-offs in recent decades with one crop of the treated seeds containing enough active ingredients to kill a quarter-million bees or more, with the compounds leaching into the surrounding soil and water which can harm birds, mammals and even humans. Environmentalists that testified at the hearing also cited data that links the presence of the chemical to an association with autism in children. It is estimated half of all Americans have some level of neonic pesticides in their bodies. 

 

USPS Pilot Program in TX Could be National by Holiday Season
The U.S. Postal Service began a new pilot program called USPS Connect Local that offers customers a cheaper and fast delivery option but it’s currently only available in Texas and for businesses and organizations.  According to USPS, the USPS Connect Local program will provide local-to-local same-day or next-day package delivery at affordable rates.  Businesses sign up then bring their packages that are already labeled straight to the loading dock of their nearest post office and will get the same delivery rates large volume shippers exclusively get. USPS hopes to bring this pilot program to more locations nationwide as the holiday season approaches.

 

COVID Vaccine for Kids Could Be Available Next Month
Director of the CDC Dr. Rochelle Walensky said she expects a COVID-19 vaccine to be available for kids by the end of the year on NBC’s Today. Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb believes it will be available for kids ages 5-11 by the end of September-just in time for Halloween, pending approval via the FDA.

Today's Top Stories - Tuesday September 21st, 2021

118 New COVID Cases & 2 New Deaths Reported in Steuben County
Steuben County Health Department reports 118 new COVID cases since Friday’s report and the death of two more people due to COVID-19 complications and brings the county’s death toll to 199. Victims were a 74-year-old Town of Bath woman and a 55-year-old man who was a resident of the Steuben Center. Public Health Director, Darlene Smith sent thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of those who passed and said the department has seen triple the number of deaths this month so far in comparison with August. Smith urged: “Please do all you can to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID.” Currently there are 339 active cases and 31 hospitalizations. Twenty-five of the 118 new cases are among those who were fully-vaccinated. As of Saturday, the Southern Tier's seven-day average COVID positivity rate was 3.41% -an increase of .08% from the day prior and higher than the state’s average rate of 2.99%

 

Canisteo PD Arrest Two in Connection to Burglary
The Canisteo Police Department reported the arrest of two people in connection to a burglary that they say happened earlier this month. Canisteo PD say they arrested 27-year-old Samantha Marble and 25-year-old Harley Marble yesterday and that the two were allegedly involved in a home invasion on Russell St. The pair faces multiple charges that include burglary, criminal mischief, tampering with physical evidence, and criminal possession of stolen property. They were issued an appearance ticket and are scheduled to return to village court at a later date. 

 

Horseheads Man Arrested for Endangering Welfare of Child
A 20-year-old Horseheads man was arrested by the Chemung County Sheriff’s Department for Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Bryan Wray was arrested on September 18th on an outstanding warrant for Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Criminal Mischief issued by the Southport Town Court last month on August 17th. Wray was arraigned and remanded to the Chemung County Jail in lieu of bail.

 

Hochul Announces Plan to Address School Bus Driver Shortage
Governor Kathy Hochul announced a multi-agency state plan to address the school bus driver shortage in New York State to expand the pool of bus drivers within the state “as quickly as possible”. Hochul said while schools and health officials ensured children received an in-person education this year, the state should “make sure schools have adequate bus service to bring students to school and back," Short-term steps include: launching outreach to 550,000 Commercial Driver's License holders statewide, expanding testing opportunities for CDL drivers and enhancing processes designed to get more drivers into school buses. Long-term steps will involve broader recruitment processes for the profession while changes be made in addressing the training and licensing of drivers. The governor encouraged state agencies to use a multi-organizational recruitment effort to convince CDL drivers to become school bus drivers. The DMV will also remove the 14-day waiting period between the permit test and the road tests, enhancing and expediting the process for CDL completion.
If you're interested in obtaining a Commercial Driver's License, you can find more information here.

 

2 Men Indicted for Torture-Murder Under Investigation for Kidnapping
Two men recently indicted by a Chemung County Grand Jury in connection to a Chemung County torture-murder case are also being investigated in connection to an Ontario County kidnapping and torture case.  25-year-old Eddie Marte and 18-year-old Malik Weems were arrested on April 27th in Geneva after someone was held at gunpoint, kidnapped, and tortured. In the Ontario County case,  both face charges of kidnapping, burglary, and robbery while 62-year-old Thomas Ferraro was a third man arrested in connection to the Ontario County case but was not named in connection to the Chemung County investigation.  Investigators also say police found a stolen handgun, another handgun, 1 pound of crystal methamphetamine, 1.4 pounds of heroin, 1 ounce of suspected cocaine, and $5,000 cash while executing three search warrants in the case with drugs alone worth roughly $75,000. Marte and Weems were arrested in the Ontario County Jail in connection to the Chemung County case where both men were indicted for first degree murder, four counts of first degree kidnapping, and two counts each of first and second degree assault of Juan Jose Gotay. Last week Thomas Bovaird of Horseheads was the first person to be arrested and indicted in the case. Gotay’s body was recovered bound by an electrical cord by Pennsylvania State Police in April, nearly four months after he was kidnapped on or around Jan. 29 or 30th, 2021.

 

State-Level Lawsuit Challenges NY’s School Mask Mandate
A new lawsuit has been filed at the state level challenging the state’s mask mandate for schools while indoors to help slow the spread of COVID-19. State Senator George Borrello of the 57th district is part of the lawsuit and said though he’s “not against children wearing masks in schools,” he told News10NBC “I’m not really against a mandate however we have seen an erosion of the separation of powers under our previous governor especially…It’s procedural.” According to the lawsuit, the state Department of Health moved outside its scope and boundary by issuing universal mask mandates. The suit also says the DOH made these decisions in absence of the things that allowed them to do so last year while under a state of emergency or emergency procedures. At the start of her administration, Governor Hochul requested DOH issue guidance to schools.

 

Southern Finger Lakes ARTS Council Gets $152,000 in State Funding
As part of over $7.6 million awarded by the state to arts partnerships, the ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes announced it will share part of the funding and is set to receive $152,000 worth to be used for technical assistance and targeted support focusing on creativity and public engagement. Governor Hochul said economic struggles resulting from the pandemic have impacted arts institutions especially hard, and “grants will provide the critical funding arts partnerships can use to access public support and bolster creativity in local communities.”

Today's Top Stories - Monday September 20th, 2021

2 COVID Vaccine Clinics in the County This Week
There are two COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics in Steuben County this upcoming week. The first is Wednesday at Corning Community College in the main campus gymnasium from 10:00am – 2:00pm. Friday the 24th there will be a clinic at the Civil Defense Training Center in Bath from 10:00am – 2:00pm. Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available at both clinics. 

 

County IDA Approves $100,000 Funding Package to Improve SR 54
According to meeting minutes, the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency approved a new infrastructure investment funding package worth $100,000 to improve State Route 54 at Industrial Park Road in Bath near the Mercury Aircraft building which is rumored to be a possible Amazon distribution warehouse. Town of Bath Planning Board minutes from July 2021 say Amazon was issued building permits for interior work and loading docks. Town of Bath’s Planning Board’s February minutes say Andrew Hart and other representatives from architect, engineering, and planning firm Bergman worked on the project and reviewed the plans and maps, including stormwater mitigation, site lighting, landscaping, and traffic study. The only upgrade that may be needed for the area would be for gas.Town of Bath Supervisor Ron Smith said earlier this year bringing Amazon to Bath could potentially hire 200-250 people. Amazon posted positions on its job board including IT Support Associate II and an IT Support Engineer I at a potential distribution center in the Town of Bath.

 

Fire Departments Respond to Large Structure Fire in Cohocton
Fire departments from across Steuben County responded to a large structure fire in Cohocton Saturday night after reports of flames coming out of the building near N. Dansville Street in the village beginning around 6pm. Fire departments from Atlanta, Wayland, and other towns in the northwest portion of the county were called for the two-alarm fire. More details of this story will be reported as they become available. 

 

DA Baker Proposes Extension to Traffic Diversion Program
Steuben County District Attorney, Brooks Baker, proposed an extension to the Traffic Diversion Program for uninsured drivers at a public safety and corrections committee weeks ago. While the Steuben County Traffic Diversion Program enables traffic ticket offenders to resolve their current vehicle and traffic tickets quickly and easily, Baker says he is now considering a second program to reduce the number of uninsured drivers on the road using 10 to 12 license plate readers. If a plate is checked and the vehicle is found to be unregistered and uninsured through the DMV, a notice will be sent in and flagged for law enforcement. If the vehicle is confirmed to be in violation, a notice will be sent letting the driver know they are uninsured and in violation of the law. That violation could result in license suspension, a $500 civil penalty, as well as the penalty to fill the ticket. The offender will have a choice of attending an educational class on insurance and registration where the ticket would be waived. Baker says the program, which may soon go into effect, would be half the cost to face the civil penalty and ticket. Baker said he is not sure when it would go into effect, but it could be soon.

 

Bills Beat Miami 35-0 Yesterday
The Buffalo Bills beat their longtime rivals the Dolphins 35-0 in Miami yesterday. It’s not over yet, though. Later in the season, Bills are set to face off their divisional rivals again Sunday, October 31st in a home game. This weekend on Sunday September 26th,  the Bills are set to play at home against the Washington Football Team with kick-off starting at 1pm. 98.3 WVIN will air the full game as well as pre and postgame coverage!

 

Southern Tier's COVID Positivity Rate Rises While State's Rate Drops
According to the New York State governor's website, the Southern Tier's seven-day average COVID positivity rate is 3.41% as of Saturday, which is an increase of .08% from the day prior. Statewide, thenumber is even lower at 2.99% : decreasing from the previous day at 3.07%. In addition, 31 people died from COVID-19 deaths in New York State Saturday, and 49,338 vaccine doses were administered between Saturday and Sunday. Governor Hochul continues to urge all New Yorkers to get vaccinated.

 

Free Fishing for All on Saturday
New York residents can fish for free this weekend on Saturday, September 25th, in celebration of the annual promotion of outdoor activities. The last free fishing day for 2021 in New York is November 11th on Veterans Day. Free fishing day information can be found here.

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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