Today's Top Stories - Thursday April 1st, 2021

 Steuben Sees Spike in COVID Cases, Days Away from Easter
The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 26 more County residents tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to 5,975 confirmed cases, 192 of which are currently active. Public Health Director Darlene Smith says Easter and Spring Break are days away, but with cases on the rise you are strongly recommended to continue to follow prevention protocols.


Legislature Declares April 2021 Alcohol Awareness Month
The Steuben County Legislature proclaimed the month of April 2021 as Alcohol Awareness Month in Steuben County. The Legislature calls upon all citizens, parents, governmental agencies, public and private institutions, businesses, hospitals, schools and colleges in Steuben County to support efforts that will provide early education about alcoholism and addiction, and increase support for individuals and families coping with alcoholism.

VA Now Offers COVID Vaccines to All Veterans,  Spouses & Caregivers
The VA Finger Lakes Healthcare System announces it now offers COVID-19 vaccines for all veterans, their spouses and caregivers.  The “SAVE LIVES” Act, signed into law by President Biden, expands the VA’s legal authority to administer COVID-19 vaccines to all veterans, regardless of their VA health care enrollment status, as well as veterans’ spouses, caregivers and some beneficiaries. Veterans of all ages can now receive either the Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccine. They can get vaccinated at one of the clinics held at Bath, Canandaigua, Calkins Road VA, and the VA clinics in Elmira and Wellsville. To schedule an appointment, contact the Bath VA by calling 607-664-4626 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.


NY State Police Begin Deploying Body Cameras
New York State Police announced today they begin deploying their first body-worn cameras as the agency begins its statewide rollout. Part of last year’s state police reform efforts signed in June required State Police to wear body cams. Cameras must be worn by uniformed troopers while they are on patrol. Capital Region Troop G received the first body cams today. Local Troops C and E, are expected to receive cameras throughout the summer and fall. Cameras start automatically recording whenever a patrol vehicle’s emergency lights are on, and anytime a trooper unholsters their gun or taser.


WGI Kicking Off Opening Next Weekend: April 10th-11th
Watkins Glen International announces its 2021 season officially kicks off during Opening Weekend, April 10-11. The event marks the first weekend that the track opens its gates and provides fans with a unique opportunity to experience the iconic 3.45-mile circuit firsthand, with proceeds benefiting the facility’s Racing and Community Enrichment Foundation. On Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11, for just $30 per vehicle, guests can experience the twists and turns of The Glen’s road course for three paced laps from the driver’s seat of their very own vehicle. Fans are encouraged to print and complete the necessary waivers upon arrival at the facility. Tickets and on-track waivers are available for pre-purchase online at TheGlen.com.


NYS Fiscal Year Begins Today
Today marks the start of a new fiscal year for New York State. But the state’s spending plan remains unclear, partially because both the Senate and Assembly adjourned late Wednesday night without passing a budget. Before heading home, one bill did get passed in the Senate – a budget bill focusing on the state’s debt services. These services are projected to increase by nearly $1 billion in the new fiscal year. That bill is now waiting to be signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.


O’Mara & Repubs Pushing to Exclude UE Benefits as Taxable Income
State Senator Tom O’Mara and other members of the Senate Republican Conference Wednesday tried to advance a legislative amendment to exclude unemployment benefits from taxable income. The legislators said that the move would keep New York State consistent with an action already taken by the federal government to exclude the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits from 2020 taxable income. It was defeated by the Senate Democrat majority along a party-line vote.  Every member of the majority conference voted against the proposal. 


Empire Access of Prattsburgh Expands to Binghamton Area
Empire Access of Prattsburgh is expanding their Fiber Optic Internet service to the Binghamton area and will launch services in late April. Empire will offer Fiber Optic Internet, Phone, and Security services in parts of Binghamton, Johnson City, Owego, Endwell, Endicott, and Vestal. This new Fiber Optic service will be available to both residential and business customers. Each customer will have their own dedicated, non-blocking connection and is not affected by congestion and weather. 


County Sheriff’s Office Announces Corning Inc. Body Cam Donation
The Steuben County Sheriff’s Office announced “with extreme gratitude and appreciation of support” they received a donation of body cameras from Corning Incorporated this month. The Sheriff’s Office says the donation will save Steuben County taxpayers about $120,000 over two years, as well as garner further savings to those municipalities that have partnered with them. The Sheriff’s Office said it is “amazing to have such generous public sector partners willing to invest in the community.”


Paul Feinman, First Openly-Gay Man in NY’s Highest Court, Dies
Paul Feinman, the first openly gay man to serve on New York's highest court, has died. Feinman, an associate judge nominated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, had stepped down earlier this month, citing health problems at the time. Feinman had served on the Court of Appeals since his Senate confirmation in June 2017. A graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School in 1985, he began his career as a staff lawyer at the Legal Aid Society.


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