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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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