Today's Top Stories - Thursday May 13th, 2021

$8.9 Million in Public Road Projects Planned for Steuben
In a WVIN Community Focus Interview this morning, Commissioner of Steuben County Public Works Vince Spagnoletti shared more details on how the $8.9 million of state funding will be utilized for public roads. In the past, Spagnoletti said the state gave $4-6 million for road repair annually but the over $8 million allocated this year will allow the DPW to repair 60 miles of road and 90 miles of CHIP seal in the county.

Spagnoletti listed some of the projects which include:

-11/2 miles of County Route 10 in the Bath area will be blacktopped ($160,000)
-16 miles of County Route 113 (from Bath to Hammondsport via County Route 87 up through Urbana and Wayne) will be leveled with blacktop and CHIP-sealed.
-4 miles of County Route 94 in the Town of Wayne will be rebuilt and blacktopped ($585,000)
-County Route 78 in Pulteney will be blacktopped
-County Route 18 in Bradford will be blacktopped
-County Route 6 in Avoca will be completely rebuilt (approx. $1,200,000)
-7 miles of County Route 7 from Prattsburgh to Wheeler will be blacktopped ($700,000)

Hear the full interview with Spagnoletti at: https://wvinbath.com/assets/podcaster/215/2021_05_13_215_103538_4795.mp3


COVID Clinic Monday 5/17 at Jasper-Troupsburg High School Gym
The Steuben County Public Health Department has a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Jasper-Troupsburg Junior/Senior High School gym on Monday, May 17 where both Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines will be offered. Those 12 and older can get the Pfizer vaccine while anyone 18 and up may get a Johnson and Johnson vaccine. A parent or guardian must accompany a minor as well as sign a consent form at the clinic. Proof of your date of birth is needed for a vaccine. Clinic attendees must wear face masks and will be expected to wait 15-30 minutes after vaccination for observation.


Wheeler Explains Steuben Attorney Recruitment Problem
Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler spoke to WETM news about the problem the county has had for years regarding recruitment and retention of attorneys. Within Steuben County, positions through the Public Defender’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, Social Services, and County Attorney all face difficulties being filled. Wheeler says in particular, being an attorney is a rare skill to come by while it is highly competitive to bring them into the area, adding“...municipal governments can’t pay as much as others or that some individuals could make in private practice, so, it’s a serious recruitment issue,” Wheeler also said Steuben is not alone as “other counties and counterparts across the state and everyone is sort of in the same boat and we are competing for the same resources.” With a state new lawsuit settlement expanding the number of public defenders offered by counties, Wheeler said that problem is about to get worse. County District Attorney Brooks Baker said in a statement: “we are going to have to be creative going forward….bringing in Attorney’s who might otherwise retire, utilizing part-time positions and enhanced recruiting of new graduates are all avenues we are pursuing.”


Buffalo Bills  Will Play 4 Prime Time NFL Games
After their run to the AFC Championship Game last season, the Buffalo Bills were rewarded with four prime time games according to the 2021 NFL schedule released last night. The Bills will play Sunday Night Football once, Monday Night Football twice, play against the Saints in New Orleans on Thanksgiving night and play one primetime game at home when the Bills host the Patriots on Monday, December 6th.


20 More COVID Cases Reported in Steuben
The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 20 more county residents tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to 6,740 confirmed cases, 170 of which are currently active.


Empire Access Joins Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
Prattsburgh-based Empire Access says it will participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program.  This temporary benefit will help to lower the cost of broadband Internet service for eligible households during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. The $3.2B program provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband Internet service for eligible households. 


Reed Releases Statement After Republicans Oust Cheney
House Republicans voted yesterday to push Representative Liz Cheney out of her leadership role within the party. The vote is a major identity decision for republicans on Capitol Hill pushing Cheney out of her leadership position after she defiantly called out Donald Trump's false claims about the 2020 elections. NY Southern Tier Congressman Tom Reed said in a statement that he would defer to the Houses “collective wisdom.” He added that while he will always be a proud Republican, he also sees the reality of the challenges that face the nation and the world. The congressman, facing his own challenges, said – quote – “The world is on fire.”


Beaches and Pools Still To Be Socially Distanced for Memorial Day
Governor Andrew Cuomo says that beaches and pools will operate with six-foot social distancing in anticipation of Memorial Day. New York State's goal is to reopen them to 100 percent capacity by July 4. According to Cuomo…"All the COVID-19 numbers are trending in the right direction, and as more New Yorkers get vaccinated, it's important not to lose any of the significant progress we've gained.”


WGI Reduces Capacity for Ferrari Challenge Weekend
Watkins Glen International has announced that it has reached its reduced capacity for the upcoming Ferrari Challenge North America weekend May 21-23. The reduced capacity for the 2021 spring event weekend is due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and continues in accordance with New York state guidelines. 


Anderson Appointed SUNY Alfred’s Officer-in-Charge
As Alfred State continues to search for a permanent president to replace the recently retired Dr. Skip Sullivan, the college is happy to announce that Dr. John Anderson has been appointed officer-in-charge by the SUNY Chancellor. The appointment is effective as of Monday, May 10. Sullivan had served as the 12th president of Alfred State College since January 2014. In October 2020, he announced to campus that he will retire at the end of the academic year, giving the campus time to start transitioning for new leadership.  President Sullivan guided the campus through the worst of the COVID pandemic, which has made for a difficult time for everyone, but in particular students.  Anderson, who has agreed to come out of retirement for this special assignment, is no stranger to Alfred State, having served as the college president from 2008 to 2013.

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