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


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.”


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