Today's Top Stories - Monday March 29th, 2021

Avoca Man Charged With Arson
A 48-year-old Avoca man has been charged with arson following a house fire on Lysycyn Road in Avoca. According to the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office, Donald Kennedy faces charges of arson and allegedly violated an order of protection by visiting the residence and “intentionally damaged a residence by starting it on fire.” Kennedy allegedly also failed to obey a term or condition of his probation. He was charged with Arson in the Second Degree, Criminal Contempt in the First Degree, and Violation of Probation.Kennedy was arraigned and remanded to the Steuben County Jail in lieu of bail in the amount of $2,500 cash or $5,000 bond.


10th Accuser Comes Forward Against Cuomo
A tenth woman has come forward, accusing  Governor Cuomo of sexual misconduct according to a New York Post article. It is anticipated the woman will hold a press briefing this afternoon with attorney Gloria Allred.The latest woman alleges Cuomo grabbed her face and kissed her without consent outside of her home and has photographic evidence of the incident. She is the latest of accusers that include current and former staffers, journalists, and other women alleging the governor committed sexual misconduct. 


Cuomo Admin Allegedly Ignored Test Requests for Nursing Homes
The Cuomo administration largely ignored a Steuben County official’s plea for COVID-19 tests for nursing homes at the pandemic’s height last spring — that’s according to a story in Sunday’s NY Post. County manager Jack Wheeler told The Post he’s furious “because testing of the most vulnerable population should be the absolute priority and a simple request.” Public Health Director Darlene Smith said the county had to beg, borrow, and steal basically and were able to get test kits from other counties. The DOH said Sunday that Wheeler’s account was an attempt at revisionist history. Emails obtained by The Post through the Freedom of Information Law show that Steuben County wasn’t the only jurisdiction to have a request for more stringent testing in nursing homes denied.


O’Mara Says It’s Time to Fully-Reopen Schools
Sen. Tom O’Mara says in his weekly column released today, it’s time to allow every local school district throughout the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions to return to full-time, in-person classroom instruction. O’Mara says school administrators, teachers and staff are ready and most importantly, students and their families are ready. He concluded by saying Cuomo should no longer leave administrators, staff, teachers and, especially, students and their parents waiting.


3 Steuben County Residents Face Felony Sex Charges
Three Steuben County residents are facing felony sex charges in unrelated cases involving children. State Police arrested 34-year-old Jeffrey D. Clark of Bath. He was charged with first-degree sexual abuse involving contact with a child under age 11…it’s a class D felony. He was initially detained. After investigating an incident last November in the village of Avoca, Troopers arrested 40-year-old Gene C. Simons of Campbell. He was charged with felony sexual abuse involving a child. He was issued an appearance ticket and released. Troopers also arrested an 18-year-old name-protected man from Bath following an incident in the village of Savona. The youth was charged with felony first-degree criminal sex act involving a victim under the age of 13. The incident was reported March 25th.


NYSAC President Says Marijuana Legalization Has County Costs
According to New York State Association of Counties President and Victor Town Supervisor Jack Marren, the state’s move to recreational marijuana legalization for adults comes with new costs and responsibilities for county governments, who will be left footing the bill. The state bill provides counties with only 1% of the sales collected for retail sales with the intent to protect health and safety. Marren says there may be a positive in terms of agricultural job growth thanks to legalization. Originally, the Governor’s budget language provided 4% of sales tax going to counties and local governments. In comparison, most counties collect 3%  for alcohol sales to provide public health education and roadside safety.


Grassroots Festival Cancelled for 2nd Year
The 3-day-long Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance has been cancelled for the second year in a row. The annual event is held every July in Trumansburg but last year the festival that draws thousands of people to Tompkins County annually, was canceled due to the pandemic. Last Friday festival organizers announced the festival has been canceled once again. 2020 was supposed to be the 30th anniversary of the festival. Next year’s festival is scheduled for July 21st through the 24th. This year’s festival tickets will be honored at that time.


State to Fast-Track Marijauna Legalization Bill
New York lawmakers say they've reached a deal with governor Andrew Cuomo to fast-track the legalization of marijuana. The bill is scheduled to be taken up next week in the State Assembly and Senate. The bill would expunge criminal records for anyone with a previous marijuana conviction, it would also allow users to grow their own plants at home, and allows people to possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis and 24 ounces of cannabis concentrate. Cuomo says tax collections from the adult-use cannabis program are projected to reach $350-million dollars a year. Municipalities can opt out of sales. 


Schumer Wants to Regulate Ghost Guns
Senator Chuck Schumer of NY...taking aim at ghost guns...firearm kits sold as loose parts...thereby requiring no registration, or background checks. The Senate Majority Leader saying...ghost guns are readily available...make it all too easy to circumvent the law....and are an issue the President can easily solve.


Corning Inc Receives Over $50 Million from BARD Authority
Corning Incorporated announced it will receive $57 million in additional funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. Under the agreement, Corning will further increase domestic manufacturing capacity of pharmaceutical glass tubing and vials to support the accelerated mass vaccination effort critical to ending the pandemic. Corning has accelerated its advanced glass vial production capacity to support pharmaceutical manufacturers that are delivering hundreds of millions of doses of potentially life-saving vaccines to Americans. This award is in addition to the $204 million contract announced in June 2020, for a total of $261 million invested in Corning’s pharmaceutical vial and tubing manufacturing capacity. Corning says it has met every milestone to date under the original contract.


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