WVIN News Archives for 2021-02

Today's Top Stories - Saturday February 26, 2021

20 new COVID-19 cases in Steuben County

The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 20 Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19 and one has been deemed positive. This brings the total to 5,529 confirmed cases and six total deemed positive, 118 of which are currently active. Two individuals are associated with Upstate Farms Cheese in Campbell.

 

Canaseraga man arrested fro sexual abuse, forcible touching

On February 24th, deputies of the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office arrested Jesse J. Gilmer, age 27, of Canaseraga, following an investigation of a reported sexual abuse incident.  It is alleged that Mr. Gilmer, while at a residence on County Route 36 in Dansville, forcibly touched the intimate parts of a person under the age of 18, and also subjected that person to a sexual act by forcible compulsion.  Mr. Gilmer was charged with Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, a class D Felony, Forcible Touching and Unlawfully Dealing with a Child. He was arraigned in the Centralized Arraignment Court and released.

 

Steuben County Jail inmate arrested for Criminal Mischief, Obstructing Governmental Administration

On February 25th, deputies of the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office arrested Richard L. Freeland, age 24, of County Route 2, Addison, New York, following an investigation of a reported broken window in a cell door in the Steuben County Jail.  It is alleged that Mr. Freeland, a current inmate at the Steuben County Jail, intentionally broke the window of a cell door and then refused to move from that cell.  Mr. Freeland was charged with Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree, a class D Felony, and Obstructing Governmental Administration.  Mr. Freeland was arraigned in the Centralized Arraignment Court and returned to the Steuben County Jail.

 

Painted Post man charged with possession of child pornography

According to U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr., Jordan Sowersby, 25, of Painted Post, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with receipt and possession of child pornography. In January and February of 2021 an FBI Agent was offered child pornography for download directly from Mr. Sowersby, which allowed the FBI to track his location to Painted Post. A search of Mr. Sowersby’s residence carried out by the FBI and members the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office and New York State Police found devices which held hundreds of videos and images of child pornography. Mr. Sowersby appeared this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark W. Pedersen and is being held. His charges carry a minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum penalty of 20 years, and a $250,000 fine.

 

Cuomo announces record number of vaccine doses administered

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that a record 179,038 New Yorkers have received the COVID-19 vaccine within 24-hours. Over 4 million doses have been administered in total with over 2.5 million receiving their first dose of the vaccine.

Today's Top Stories - Friday February 26th, 2021

Bath Village Property Owners Must Clear Sidewalks or Face Bill
Village of Bath property owners who don't make an effort to remove snow from the sidewalk in front of their property are warned they could receive a bill. Mayor Mike Sweet announced  he would enforce village property owners have 12 hours after a storm to have snow removed from sidewalks in front of their property per village code. If snow is not removed, Village Street Department crews can come remove the snow and bill the property owner. Sweet remarked: “Bath is a very walkable community. If I heard it once, I heard it 50 times after the last storm: People couldn’t walk on the sidewalk.” He says it is the biggest complaint after a snowstorm and the village has the right to remove snow from village sidewalks without written complaint from a resident.

 

Meccariello Selected as Campbell-Savona Superintendent
Ann Meccariello has been selected as the new superintendent of schools by the Campbell-Savona Central School District Board of Education. At the February 25th Board of Education meeting, Meccariello was appointed as assistant superintendent, effective April 1st where she will begin to work with Superintendent Kathy Hagenbuch during a transition period and assume the superintendent position on May 1st.

 

Steuben Reports 15 More COVID Cases
The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 15 more Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to 5,509 confirmed cases, 106 of which are currently active.

 

Corning Centerway Named Country’s Best Public Square
Corning’s Centerway Square has been voted Best Public Square in the country as part of USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice travel awards for 2021.Nominees for all 10 Best Readers' Choice Award contests are chosen by a panel of relevant experts which include a combination of editors from USA TODAY. All voting is digital and the rules allow the public the right to vote online for one nominee per category, per day for four weeks. Coleen Fabrizi, Executive Director for Corning's Gaffer District said: “It is a refreshing reminder of the extraordinary beauty and experiences awaiting everyone as they begin to plan their adventures in 2021.” Back in April 2013, Corning's Centerway Square was named one of the 15 Most Beautiful Town Squares in America by Travel + Leisure. You can learn more about Corning at CorningFingerLakes.com.

 

Rochester Men Face Felonies After Bath Incident
Three men from Rochester are facing felony charges after an incident Wednesday in the Town of Bath. State Troopers say they arrested 28-year-old Andrew Wolff-Gonzolez, 29-year-old Kenny Lagares and 22-year-old Maurice Johnson-Breedlove. Each was charged with second-degree criminal sale of marijuana and criminal possession of a defaced weapon. Those are all class D felony crimes. Court action for the trio is pending.

 

Cuomo Faces More Sexual Harassment Allegations by Boylan
Governor Cuomo is also facing sexual harassment allegations from a former staffer. Former staffer Lindsey Boylan, in a blog post, alleged several unsettling episodes, including a 2017 flight - where she says the governor joked "Let's play strip poker". Four staffers who were on the plane pushing back - saying the conversation never happened. The governor's press secretary in a statement saying "... claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false." These renewed allegations come as Cuomo is under fire ... for his handling of nursing home deaths during the early days of the pandemic.

 

Region Remembers the Late Police Officer Robert “Bull” Margeson
Regional law enforcement is remembering retired police officer Robert (Bull) Margeson. He died in his sleep Tuesday at age 64. He served in Hornell starting in 1990 and retiring in April 2015. Prior to this, he worked as a patrolman for the village of Alfred for 6 years. Since retiring from Hornell, Margeson continued his police work at the Canisteo Police Department. In all, he dedicated over 37 years of to serving and protecting the citizens in Alfred, Canisteo, and Hornell. In addition to police work, he helped coach the Alfred University Saxton’s and Alfred State football teams for 29 years. 

 

New NY Nursing Home Visitation Restrictions Begin Today
New state nursing home visitation restrictions took effect this morning. The goal is to expand visits - but the reality is different. In order for nursing homes to allow visitation, they must go 14 days without a positive case. This is leading to frustration on the part of families. The advocacy group Essential Care Visitors says around 30 percent of nursing homes across the state will quality for visitations. On Tuesday, state lawmakers will vote on a caregiver bill. It would lessen restrictions and would give families more opportunities to finally be together.

Today's Top Stories - Thursday February 25th, 2021

Canaseraga CSD to Receive Over $350K for High-Tech Security
Canaseraga Central School District will receive over $350,000 worth of funding for High-Tech Security through a New York State initiative to upgrade technology in schools with additional funding. Yesterday, Governor Cuomo made the announcement of the approval for 78 smart school investment plans that comes to a total of $59.9 million,as part of the $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act. Canaseraga Central School District is set to get $383,886 funding for High-Tech Security. Click here for the full summary of the funding.

 

Bath Man Arrested After Incident in Tops
A 49-year-old Bath man was arrested after he “started to engage in a violent behavior” towards Tops Management and police yesterday afternoon. Raymond Tylicki was arrested after Bath Police responded around 5:30 p.m. to the Bath Tops Friendly Market for a trespass incident. Tylicki allegedly resisted his initial arrest for disorderly conduct and was subsequently charged. Tylicki was also cited for an open container violation hours before. He was released on appearance tickets and is due back in the Village of Bath Court at a later date.

 

13 New Cases of COVID Reported in Steuben
Steuben County health officials report 13 new cases of COVID-19. Since last March, the county has confirmed nearly 5,500 total cases, with 93 currently active. Public Health Director Darlene Smith said in a statement that “Although we have not yet had any known variant cases in Steuben, it is likely they could be spreading already and that we will see variants here at some point.

 

Steuben Council on Addictions Holds Black Balloon Day March 6th
Nine people died due to substance abuse overdose in Steuben County last year. Those lost lives will be remembered at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 6th throughout Steuben on Black Balloon Day – as families throughout the United States and the world remember and celebrate the lives lost to drug overdose.“We will remember those lives lost and bring awareness to the fragility of life by placing nine black balloons near the county Courthouse in Bath on March 6,” said Stacey O’Dell, Steuben Council on Addictions Prevention Educator. Proclamations already have been issued by the county, city of Hornell and town of Addison memorializing the day, with more expected. The leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., Americans are more likely to die of an opioid overdose than they are from a car accident or by a gun, according to the National Institute of Health.

 

New York Schools Must Now Report Vaccinated Staff
Schools across New York State will need to start reporting how many staff members have received the COVID-19 vaccine to encourage districts to continue in-person learning. Local governments will also begin keeping a weekly tally of how many staff members get both doses of the COVID vaccine. These measures are so New York can record the number of teachers who are vaccinated against COVID-19.  Cuomo says the goal is to get more schools to transition to in-person learning and vaccinating more teachers to create a safer environment to return to the classroom. School teachers are classified as essential workers currently eligible for the vaccine.

 

Steuben Legislator Lattimer Won’t Seek Re-Election
A Steuben County Legislator has announced she won’t seek re-election. Robin Latimer represents the Town of Bath. In a statement, Lattimer said she believes it’s the right time to retire from public service and that she has enjoyed her 10-year tenure in county government. She presently serves as vice chairman of the legislature and also served as Bath town councilperson for more than a decade.

 

Reed Still Considering Gubernatorial Run
Congressman Tom Reed, a potential NY gubernatorial candidate, says the federal investigation into the COVID-related nursing home deaths continues and he is still considering a run for governor. Reed made these comments during a 30-minute conference call yesterday with reporters.


 

Today's Top Stories - Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

5 More COVID Cases Reported in Steuben
The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that five more County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to 5,481 confirmed cases, 90 of which are currently active.

 

Steuben Businesses Can Apply for “Recovery and Growth Loan Fund”
Steuben County businesses in need of financial assistance due to the pandemic and looking to go digital, can apply for a low-interest loan. Steuben County officials say the Emergency Relief Loan program (ERLP) is being currently updated to include a new name, in attempts to meet the most current needs of Steuben County businesses which are retooling and/or moving some operations online. Loans worth up to $25,000 from the “Recovery and Growth Loan Fund” are available for 66 months at a fixed rate of 1%, with no payments required for the first six months. For more information about eligibility or restrictions or to apply, interested individuals should call REDEC at 607-962-3021 or send an email to info@redec.us.  

 

SPC’s Opioid Committee Holds Virtual Support Forums March 18th
The first in what organizers hope will be the start of a series of virtual community forums focused on support and recovery for substance abusers and their loved ones is set for 7-8 pm, March 18. Sponsored by the Steuben Prevention Coalition Opioid Committee, the first forum will focus on the local impact of COVID-19 and existing opportunities for support. The pandemic, coupled with New York State court reforms, has led to an increase in underground drug sales, an uptick in substance abuse and a drop in court-ordered/voluntary rehabilitation during the past year, Steuben law enforcement officials said recently.

 

Marist Poll : Over 60% of New Yorkers See Wrongdoing by Cuomo 
Sixty percent of New Yorkers, including 61% of registered voters, perceive some wrongdoing by Governor Andrew Cuomo in his handling of nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic…that from a just-released Marist College poll. However, most don’t go so far as to say that Cuomo did something illegal. New Yorkers are also far from sold on another term for Cuomo. Only 36% of registered voters think Cuomo deserves to be re-elected. 54% of New Yorkers approve of how Cuomo is handling the coronavirus pandemic, down from 72% in July.

 

Rochester Police Involved in Prude Death Face No Criminal Charges
The seven Rochester police officers who were investigated by the New York State Attorney general for their role in the death of an unarmed black man last March ... will not face criminal charges - despite the death being ruled a homicide. Attorney General Letitia James expressed disappointment after she learned of the grand jury's decision Tuesday. Police handcuffed Daniel Prude while he was naked and held face down with a spit hood placed over his head. He had stopped breathing and was taken to a hospital. He died seven days later.

 

NYFB Talks National Public Policy in Conference This Week
Yesterday morning, the New York Farm Bureau outlined its national priorities in a video news conference to kick off a week of meetings. As dozens of farmers across the state  will meet with the state’s congressional delegation this week, Farm Bureau President David Fisher said President Biden putting immigration back on the table is a positive development for farmers. National Affairs Senior Associate Director Lauren Williams spoke on the future of trade policies, which is a major concern for New York’s farmers. Farm Bureau members will also meet with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, whom President Fisher says the NYFB has enjoyed a good working relationship with during his time as Minority Leader.

 

Barclay Frustrated Cuomo Still Has Pandemic Powers
Late yesterday, State Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay expressed his frustration as Governor Cuomo’s emergency powers have remained in place. Barclay remarked: “Despite a Democrat-led effort last week encouraging support for repealing the executive’s authority, the Majority now appears to be content with the status quo,” and also called the ordeal “Astonishing.” Republicans and some Democrats have called for the elimination of the governor’s emergency pandemic powers following reporting last week of Assemblyman Ron Kim being threatened by Cuomo in a phone call for not supporting him.

 

US Education Dept Allows Schools to Shorten Standardized Tests
The U.S. Department of Education has said that states must administer standardized tests this year, but the tests can be shortened and will not be used to evaluate schools. New York officials have expressed disappointment by the decision. New York was among several states that had requested federal permission from the Biden administration to cancel standardized testing for the 2020-21 school year. The move had strong public support and was backed by key education groups like New York State United Teachers and The Council of School Superintendents.

Today's Top Stories - Tuesday February 23rd, 2021

Reed Demands Nursing Home Investigation in Ways & Means Letter
Congressman Tom Reed joined his House Republican Ways and Means Committee colleagues to send a letter to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal to call on an immediate hearing to investigate New York nursing home deaths. The House Ways and Means Committee holds oversight regarding Medicare reimbursements to skilled nursing facilities. Republicans say in the letter that it is “imperative that we use all the tools at the Committee’s disposal to determine if the state of New York deliberately provided false data to the federal government and the public.” You can read the entire letter by clicking here.

 

Steuben Reports 31 More COVID Cases
The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 31 Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19 since Friday’s report. This brings the total to 5,476 confirmed cases, 98 of which are currently active. Public Health Director Darlene Smith says there have been four positive unrelated individuals linked with the Lighthouse Wesleyan Church in Wayland this month. The investigations indicate that guidelines are being followed at the church, so no attendees have met the requirements to be quarantined as contacts.  However, because of the number of cases, the County is strongly recommending that any parishioners or staff at the church who have attended services in the last month monitor for symptoms and consider getting tested.

 

President Mullaney Touts CCC’s Pandemic Efforts for Community
In addition to offering several drive-through virus testing opportunities last year, Corning Community College nursing staff, students and others volunteered to assist with other pandemic relief efforts said CCC President Mullaney during yesterday’s County Legislature meeting. CCC recently opened a Food Bank of the Southern Tier food pantry and clothing center for students struggling to meet the demands of raising a family, work and pursue their educations. CCC officials have also worked throughout the year to offer students enhanced learning avenues, such as transforming the planetarium into a venue also offering other digital disciplines in biology, chemistry and engineering. STEAM programs now include short- term learning opportunities as well as two-year degrees tailored to the needs of students and local industry. CCC also has teamed with Alfred State College and SUNY Canton to provide students with ways to continue their education.

 

Stolen Robert Packer Ambulance Found in New York
The Sayre, PA Police Department reports an ambulance stolen from Robert Packer Hospital was found in New York State after it was stolen from the emergency room entrance of the hospital just before 6:30 a.m. today by an "unknown subject". So far, police have not disclosed where exactly in New York State the ambulance was found, but did say this was an "active investigation" and further details would be released as they became available.  Anyone with information about the incident should call Sayre PD at 570-888-2233. All calls will be kept confidential.

 

NY’s New Nursing Home Guidelines Begin Friday
Guidelines released by New York state yesterday say nursing home visitations can resume  starting Friday. State Health Commissioner Zucker explained the new rules during Cuomo’s media briefing, which includes focusing on the county rate of COVID infections, testing and careful visitation practices. Testing for those in counties with 5-10 percent infection rate should be tested within 72 hours. The testing can be either through a PCR test, a binex test, rapid test and the state will give the nursing homes the assistance to do them. Greater than 10 percent infection rate means no visitation will be allowed except for compassionate care. If a visitor has had 2 vaccines and it has been 14 days since their second vaccine and they’re still within 90 days of that second dose of the vaccine then there’s no need for a test. However, testing at the site will be highly encouraged and all of those necessary health precautions: wearing a mask, washing your hands, et cetera will be required. Nursing homes will allow a number of visitors that do not exceed 20 percent of residents at one time so nursing homes do not become overwhelmed.

 

NY Farm Bureau Unveils National Public Policy Agenda Tomorrow
Tomorrow, the New York Farm Bureau will share the organization’s national public policy agenda with the greater public through a news conference hosted by Farm Bureau President David Fisher and National Affairs Senior Associate Director Lauren Williams. The conference will be in conjunction with meetings this week between over two dozen NYFB members and the state’s congressional delegation for farmers to discuss major federal issues with lawmakers. Important issues to be discussed this year include the Biden administration’s new immigration proposal, additional COVID relief, and the future of US trade policy.

Today's Top Stories - Monday February 22nd, 2021

Counties Anticipate Return of Power from NY State
New York counties anticipate having their authority returned after it was limited during Governor Cuomo’s state of emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic. According to New York State Association of Counties Deputy Director Mark LaVigne, counties will be ready if the Governor’s executive power is revoked. Lavigne notes the legislature will have to pass laws replacing the over 90 executive orders issued by the Governor since the pandemic began or take away some authority from the state.

 

State DMV Warns of Phishing Text Scam
New York State DMV warns the public of a scam by text messages that went out Saturday morning. A scammer claimed to be from the DMV in attempts to get personal information from people. The message asks for contact information and includes a link to click on. The DMV warns the public to stay aware and says anyone who received a suspicious text over the weekend should delete it and not give out any personal information. 

 

Reed "Seriously Considering" Run Against Governor Cuomo
Bipartisan criticism along with calls for a full investigation and possible consequences are growing -- into Governor Andrew Cuomo's handling of COVID-19 nursing homes deaths. Congressman Tom Reed explains that he's seriously considering a run against the three-term governor. An aide to Governor Cuomo revealed in a call with state Democratic lawmakers that they were concerned about a federal investigation.

 

 

Steuben Reports 17 More COVID Cases
In its most recent update, the Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 17 more Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to 5,445 confirmed cases, 109 of which are currently active.

 

Steuben Legislature Declares This Week “Steuben Saves Week”
Noting the importance of personal and household savings, Steuben County Legislature Chairman Scott Van Etten has proclaimed this week as "Steuben Saves Week." Van Etten urged Steuben residents to take positive wealth-building action during the week and continue those actions through the remainder of the year. He noted Cornell Cooperative Extension of Steuben County partners with the 14th annual America Saves campaign and will provide resources, tools and tips throughout the week.

 

Amazon May Come to Industrial Road in Bath
Media has been abuzz this past week as an Amazon distribution center could come to Bath. According to the Corning Leader, Amazon is looking over leasing 77,000 square feet from Mercury Aircraft along Industrial Park Road as part of the site plan submitted to the  Bath Town Planning Board. Though Amazon officials have not commented on the plan, the Amazon center could bring up to 250 jobs to the area if it is approved.

 

Bath Man Arrested for Arson & Reckless Endangerment
A Bath man is facing more than a dozen felony crimes. State Police late Saturday night arrested 37-year-old Jamie L. Randolph. He was charged with 12 counts of first-degree reckless endangerment and one count of second-degree arson, knowing one or more people were present. He was detained. Troopers said the crime occurred in the Town of Bath.

 

Community Bank Reopens Most Branch Lobbies
Community Bank has announced that beginning today, it will begin the process of reopening the majority of their branch lobbies. The first hour of each business day will be dedicated to serving high-risk individuals and those 60 or older. Face coverings will be required.

Today's Top Stories - Saturday February 20, 2021

Two arrested after $2,400 worth of meth found during Bath traffic stop

Two people have been arrested after a traffic stop led to the finding of a large quantity of methamphetamine in the Village of Bath. On February 18th, officers stopped a vehicle for a traffic infraction at approximately 1:20 a.m. on West Washington Street. Stacy Dawes, age 46, of Waterville, and Diane Clark, age 37, of Durhamville, were found to be in possession of approximately $2,400 worth of crystal methamphetamine. Steuben County Sheriff K-9 Knapp assisted in the search. Clark and Dawes were charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, and Dawes was charged with tampering with evidence also. Both were arraigned at the Steuben County Centralized Arraignment Court and released without bail. Officer Jackson of the Bath Police Department will receive a commendation at the next Village Board meeting after he “utilized patrol interdiction techniques to go beyond the stop and look for greater crime afoot.”

 

17 new COVID-19 cases in Steuben County

The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 17 Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19, including two individuals associated with Corning, Inc. Headquarters. This brings the county total to 5,445 confirmed cases, 109 of which are currently active.

 

Steuben County Legislature to meet Monday, CCC President to speak

Corning Community College President William Mullaney will give CCC’s annual update when the Steuben County legislature meets on Monday. Other items on the agenda for Monday’s meeting, legislators will be asked to approve an application for a Community Development Block Grant to assist residents of the Woodlands Community, Inc. manufactured housing park in the Town of Hornellsville for essential water and infrastructure improvements. County lawmakers also are expected to continue their long history of working with municipal agencies, with legislators expected to approve the use of a double wide trailer at the county landfill for training purposes by the Bath Volunteer Fire Department. Legislators also are expected to accept a New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services three-year grant of nearly $422,000 awarded to the county Conflict Defender’s Office.

 

Van Etten proclaims February 22-28 “Steuben Saves Week”

Chairman of the Steuben County Legislature Scott Van Etten has designated this upcoming week, February 22nd through February 28th, as “Steuben Saves Week”, a week in which he urges Steuben residents to take positive, wealth building action, and continue those actions throughout the remainder of the year. He noted the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Steuben County is partnered with the 14th annual America Saves campaign and will provide resources, tools and tips throughout the week.

 

Local police agencies awarded National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funding

Many police agencies in the Southern Tier, including the Bath Village Police Department, the Corning City Police Department, the Hornell City Police Department, and the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office have received a combined $54,960 in highway and traffic safety grants. The grants, courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, are administered by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. This year, $37.2 million was awarded to 502 projects in New York, geared towards three types of driver safety initiatives: highway safety, child passenger safety, and police traffic services.

Today's Top Stories - Friday January 19th, 2021

Reed Introduces Bipartisan Commission on Domestic Terrorism Act 
Congressman Tom Reed’s Office announces he joins a fellow Republican Congressman and two Democratic colleagues in introducing bipartisan legislation today to further investigate both the January 6th domestic terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol and the federal government’s failure to more broadly respond to the threat of domestic terrorism over the past two decades. The Commission on Domestic Terrorism Act of 2021 would create an independent, bipartisan commission and be modeled after the 9/11 Commission. It would also broaden the investigation beyond the January 6th attack so the commission could conduct a more robust investigation and provide better-informed recommendations to ensure the government is fully equipped to counter and prevent acts of domestic terrorism.
https://speier.house.gov/_cache/files/9/4/9461c0ec-013a-4094-8d35-b3b233acb86a/4CF28188F6E71466B1E53694501F0217.2021-02-18-domestic-terrorism-act-bill-text.pdf

 

Amazon Submitted Site Plan for Industrial Rd Location
The Town of Bath Planning Board minutes for the February meeting says Amazon has submitted a site plan for a location on Industrial Park Road. According to the minutes, Planning Board Chairman James Coots proposes having a public hearing during March's planning board meeting. Reportedly, the board will get more information from the project coordinator before a time and date is set for that hearing.

 

Steuben Health Dept. Reports a Dozen New COVID Cases
The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 12 more Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to 5,428 confirmed cases, 113 of which are currently active.

 

FBI & NY DA Investigate Cuomo for Nursing Home Death Numbers
The F.B.I. and the New York District Attorney's office are investigating Governor Andrew Cuomo's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, especially after a recent report about his administration hiding the true number of COVID deaths in New York nursing homes. The governor's secretary says they hid the numbers to avoid federal prosecutors using the data against them. Democratic lawmakers in New York are now calling for Governor Cuomo's COVID emergency powers to be stripped away. 

 

Langworthy Demands Schumers Comment on Nursing Home Deaths
New York Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy has called on Senator Chuck Schumer to address the federal investigation launched yesterday into the Cuomo administration’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic. Schumer offered no comment when asked questions about the nursing home issue at an Albany appearance earlier this week.

 

National Gas Price Average Increased by 7 cents This Week
Since Monday, the national gas price average has increased seven cents to $2.58. This quick four-day jump is a direct result of all major Gulf Coast refineries being impacted by the recent winter storm, which has caused gas supplies to tighten and pump prices to increase. The situation is very similar to a Gulf Coast hurricane’s impact. Until things thaw out and Gulf Coast refineries are running again (likely early next week), expect more expensive pump prices across the country, varying another 5-15 cents.

 

State Tax Receipts for Last Month $2 Billion Lower Than Last Year
State tax receipts through January are nearly $2 billion lower than last year…that from Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Overall, tax receipts are $1.7 billion higher than anticipated by the state Division of the Budget’s (DOB) January projections. Tax receipts for the month of January totaled $11.4 billion. This is $550.5 million above last year and $1.7 billion above DOB’s latest projections.

 

NY COVID Positivity Rate Continues Decline
For 41 straight days, New York State’s COVID-19 positivity rate has been decreasing. On Thursday, the daily positivity rate hit 3.15%, the lowest it has been since November 23. Tioga County reports ten new cases. 

 

Six Flags Darien Lake Reopens April 9th
Six Flags Darien Lake will be kicking off its season after April 9th. Dan Stokes is the marketing and public relations manager…he says they are really excited. Stokes said the park will be utilizing an online reservation system this spring, similar to one that is in place for the laser shows that currently are scheduled for the next three weekends. Six Flags Darien Lake employs more than 1,000 part-time workers during its peak season.

Today's Top Stories - Thursday February 18th, 2021

County Rte 115 Bridge in Erwin Closes March 1st
Beginning March 1st, the County Route 115 bridge between SR 417 and CR 5 in the Town of Erwin will be closed to all traffic. An offsite detour will take drivers onto State Route 417, US15/I99, and County Route 5. Closure to replace the structure is expected to last about eight months and the project is funded through the BridgeNY program which provided the county $4.2 million in funding. Steuben County has agreed to pay any remaining costs for the project.

 

Steuben County Reports 8 Additional COVID Cases Yesterday
The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that eight Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to 5,416 confirmed cases, 107 of which are currently active.

 

Taft Named Officer-In-Charge of Bath PD
The Village of Bath has named current police Investigator Colin Taft as the department’s temporary officer-in-charge. The move follows the unexpected resignation of police chief Chad Mullen. 

 

Carey’s Grocery in Cohocton Closes After Almost 50 Years
After nearly five decades, Carey’s grocery store in Cohocton has closed. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the downfall of Carey’s Grocery, while the opening of a Dollar General took away business as well.

 

Cuomo Under FBI Investigation
According to the Albany Times Union, Governor Andrew Cuomo is under investigation by the FBI and the U.S. attorney general in Brooklyn. Agencies are looking into how the Cuomo administration handled data regarding COVID-19 nursing home deaths. Last month, state Attorney General James’ Office released a report saying the Department of Health undercounted the total number of nursing home deaths in New York during the pandemic by at least 50 percent. Last week, Cuomo’s secretary and top aide, told Democratic lawmakers on a conference call the state held off on releasing the full death totals over fears the federal government would investigate. Though subpoenas have been issued, the investigation is in the early stages.

 

NY AG Filing Lawsuit Against Amazon for Worker Protection
New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a lawsuit against Amazon over its failures to provide proper health and safety measures for its employees at their New York facilities. Additionally, the lawsuit covers Amazon’s retaliatory actions against multiple employees during the pandemic. James says that in failing to maintain a safe work environment by reasonably protecting workers from the spread of COVID-19, Amazon violated New York State Labor Law. In addition, Amazon unlawfully fired and disciplined employees that objected to Amazon’s unsafe work conditions.

Today's Top Stories - Wednesday February 17th, 2021

Hornell St. Patrick’s Day Parade Cancelled
Mayor John Buckley made the 2021 Hornell St. Patrick’s Day parade cancellation official at last week’s Board of Public Safety meeting for a second year due to COVID-19.” The 50-person gathering limit will still be in place. Buckley said: “Until things start to really get back to normal, I hate to say no to the parade, it’s a great tradition here in the Maple City, but it’s just not the time yet. This year’s 5K Run for the Shamrock event will still be hosted by the Hornell YMCA virtually where runners can complete a 5K route anytime, anyplace between Saturday, March 13 and Wednesday, March 17. Participants can register at runsignup.com. 

 

Amazon May Locate in Bath
Indications appear favorable that Amazon will locate a facility in the Town of Bath. The move could create as many as 300 new jobs. The company is considering an Amazon Delivery Facility to potentially be located at the Old Mercury Aircraft building…just behind Simmons Rockwell on Route 54. The Town of Bath Planning Board is scheduled to hold a virtual public hearing on March 2nd at 7 p.m. Here’s Bath Town Supervisor Ron Smith (Smith1). Sources have also confirmed that Jessica Schumer, daughter of U.S. Majority Leader Senator Charles Schumer, and economic development manager for Amazon has been in contact with the Town of Bath Planning Board.

 

Steuben Reports 39 New COVID Cases Since Friday
The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 39 Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19 since Friday’s update. This brings the total to 5,408 confirmed cases, 127 of which are currently active. Six individuals are associated with the following schools: Alfred State College, Haverling High School, Keuka College, SUNY Geneseo, and Wayland-Cohocton High School.

 

Nursing Home Staff and Resident Vaccination Phase Complete
The vaccination of all nursing home staff and residents that wanted to receive the COVID-19 vaccine are complete according to State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker. He also said since we do not yet have herd immunity, the virus is still transmissible by a person even if they are vaccinated, visitations to nursing homes remain suspended. Vaccines will still be available to newly-admitted nursing home residents as well as any resident or employee that initially declined the vaccination.

 

Mullen Announces Resignation from Bath PD
A major announcement from the Bath Police department…Village police chief Chad Mullen says he has submitted his resignation.  Mullen plans to leave by the end of the month, although no formal reason has been given. According to News 18, Mullen says he plans to remain in law enforcement going forward, but will no longer work with the Village of Bath Police. Prior to taking the job in Bath, Mullen spent more than a decade with the Hornell police department. There was no discussion of the topic during last night’s village board meeting.

 

Amusement Parks Can Reopen March 26th
Beginning Friday March 26th, indoor family entertainment centers and places of amusement may open across the state with a 25 percent capacity limit. April 9th, outdoor amusement parks can open with a 33 percent capacity limit while day and overnight summer camps in New York State can begin to plan for reopening.All facilities must submit reopening plans with health protocols to the local health department. In addition to face coverings, social distancing, and mandatory health screenings, all indoor family and entertainment centers and places of amusement, and outdoor amusement parks, must follow the below guidelines:

 Contact information must be collected from each party to inform contact tracing if needed;

  • High-touch areas, attractions, and rides must be cleaned and disinfected frequently throughout the day;

  • Attractions must close if they cannot ensure distancing and be frequently cleaned/disinfected;

  • Sufficient staff must be deployed to enforce compliance with rules, including capacity, distancing and face coverings;

  • Tickets should be sold in advance, and entry/exit and waiting times should be staggered to avoid congestion;

  • Indoor areas must meet enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards; and

  • Retail, food services and recreational activities must abide by all State-issued guidance.

Today's Top Stories - Tuesday February 16th, 2021

Bath Police Chief Mullen Resigns
Early this afternoon, Village of Bath Police Chief Chad Mullen told WETM 18 News that he will be resigning from his position today. Mullen says he plans to submit a formal resignation tomorrow and leave at the end of February. Mullen did not specify why exactly he is resigning, other than for personal reasons. Mullen says he will remain in law enforcement going forward, but will not longer work with the Village of Bath Police, which he worked for since 2014. No plans have been made clear for replacing Mullen at this time.

 

O’Mara Says Cuomo Must Be Investigated for Nursing Home Numbers
State Senator Tom O’Mara is rejecting Governor Cuomo’s claim that “there’s nothing to investigate” surrounding the COVID-19 tragedy in New York State’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities. The senator says this crisis and the ongoing attempt by the governor and his allies to have the final word demands a full investigation by the federal Department of Justice and the state Attorney General. O’Mara concluded with…”Enough of their endless doublespeak.  It is time for independent, trained investigators to be allowed to do their jobs and report the unfiltered truth.”

 

Bath PD Will No Longer Take Facebook Private Messages
The Bath Police Department announces the recent change that the department will no longer be taking private messages to its Facebook page. A police post said there is too much liability in regards to people that are leaving emergency messages and the Bath PD is not monitoring the page in a manner that would be conducive for that. Due to recent discovery law changes in NY, you cannot leave tips anonymously on Facebook as it does not have a tip line function. Police encourage tips to come in to their main phone number.

 

St. James Launches Active-Service Veteran Program
St. James Hospital has launched a program to recognize inpatients who are actively serving or who have served in the U.S. military. Each patient who is admitted to St. James Hospital is asked if he or she has served in the military, and if they want to be acknowledged during their stay. For those who consent, staff insert a card outside of the patient’s room and place an American flag in the room. This alerts staff of the patient’s military service and the opportunity to acknowledge it. The patient is encouraged to take the flag home.

 

Canisteo PD Starts “Coffee with the Chief”
The Canisteo Village Police Department will begin its new “Coffee with the Chief” program this week. This program is open to all community members who may want to know more about crime prevention or further understand local policing. Dates and locations for “Coffee with the Chief” will be posted on the village’s website and Facebook page.  The first event will be held Thursday from 8-9 a.m. at the Canisteo Uni-Mart.

 

Siena Poll Shows Nearly 50% Disapproval of Cuomo’s Vaccine Rollout
Though Governor Cuomo recently got high marks on his handling of COVID-19 in a recent Siena Research poll,Cuomo’s overall favorability slipped to 51%, and only 48% say the governor has handled the vaccine rollout properly, while 49% disagree. This poll was conducted between February 7th and 11th, immediately before the bombshell New York Post report alleging Cuomo Administration officials purposely withheld the true number of nursing home deaths to escape  federal investigation. The poll resulted in 61% of those surveyed approve of the job Cuomo is doing on the pandemic, and the same percentage say the governor is giving accurate information. Read the entire Siena Research Poll here.

 

Cuomo Responds to Nursing Home Scandal
As Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration are under fire after allegations surfaced that they covered up the severity of the coronavirus death toll in New York’s nursing homes after top aide admitted that the state withheld data, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have called for stripping Cuomo of the emergency powers that he has exercised during the pandemic. Republicans are now also calling for the resignations of the governor's top administration officials. Cuomo responded by defending the actions of his administration and insisting the state did not cover-up those deaths but did acknowledge state officials should have been more transparent and said “I understand that they were not answered quickly enough, and they should have been prioritized and those requests prioritized sooner,” said Cuomo. He also said the state's silence on the matter created a “void”, remarking: “The void allowed misinformation and conspiracy, and now people are left with the thought of, 'Did my loved one have to die?' And that's a brutal, brutal question to pose to a person.”

 

Today's Top Stories - Monday February 15th, 2021

Bath Village Board Trustees Meet Tomorrow Evening
The Village of Bath Board of Trustees will meet tomorrow at 5:30 PM. The meeting will be conducted virtually through the Gotomeeting App. Log-in information is available at villageofbath.org. 

 

Winter Storm Warning Continues to Tomorrow Afternoon
A Winter Storm Warning is now in effect for Steuben County and most of the Finger Lakes region with the National Weather Service predicting a foot of snow by 4pm tomorrow afternoon when the storm warning ends.

 

Bath Man Arrested for Larceny
A felony count has been leveled against a Bath man. State Police arrested 32-year-old Matthew Meyer. He was charged with third-degree grand larceny. The charge stems from an incident in the Town of Bath that was reported to Troopers on January 26th.  Court action is pending.

 

Deadline to Change Party Affiliation Tomorrow
Those wanting to change their political party to vote in the next set of primary elections this year, have until tomorrow to do so. Before the new voting reform law changed the deadline to Valentine’s Day, New Yorkers originally had to wait an entire year to change their party affiliation. Governor Cuomo issued an executive order yesterday that extended the deadline by two days. You can change your party online, or register to vote online here.

 

Lawmakers Demand Action for Nursing Home Crisis
State lawmakers continue demanding action to address revelations from last week’s report released by the Attorney General about the alleged nursing home COVID-19 death coverup. Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay called for a special session to consider ending Cuomo’s pandemic-related emergency powers and wants top Cuomo Administration officials subpoenaed so hearings can be held. The New York Post reported last week Cuomo hid the true number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes to avoid a federal investigation.

 

NY Liquor Authority Establishments and More Can Close at 11pm
Governor Cuomo has announced that bars, restaurants, gyms and fitness centers, casinos, billiards halls, as well as other State Liquor Authority-licensed establishments, can remain open until 11 p.m. statewide beginning immediately. Cuomo cited a continued decline in hospitalization and infection rates throughout New York State in the announcement.

 

Murder Conviction Appeal Sent Back to Steuben County
The appeal of a man convicted of murder in Steuben County has not been dismissed. Attorneys for 48-year-old Joseph A. Meyers had sought a new trial. He was convicted of murder and arson for killing a man in his Wayland home and then torched it. The Appellate Court called defective transcripts “deplorable.” However, a new trial is premature. In a two-page decision, the appellate division reserved decision and sent to case back to Steuben County court to conduct a reconstruction hearing with respect to missing and irregularities transcripts.

 

Bath Man Arrested for Sex Offender Registry Violation
A registered sex offender has a new legal issue. State Troopers said they arrested 45-year-old Joseph Volta of Bath. He was charged with one felony count of a sex offender registry violation. He was issued an appearance ticket for court.

 

Arnot Mall Gamestop and Christopher & Banks Close This Week
More troubles for the Arnot Mall. News 18 reports that GameStop and women’s apparel retailer Christopher & Banks will soon be the next national retailers closing their Horseheads locations. On Saturday both stores had going out of business signs across their windows, with GameStop’s signs saying they will close this week. In recent years the mall has lost several large retailers such as Sears, Things Remembered, and Macy’s, as well as local stores and restaurants like Fanboys Cafe.

Today's Top Stories - Saturday February 13, 2021

11 new COVID-19 cases in Steuben County

The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 11 Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to 5,369 confirmed cases, 180 of which are currently active. Two individuals are residents of the Village of Bath, and three individuals are associated with Hornell High School, Hornell Intermediate School, and the VEW Primary School.

 

2 new COVID-19 deaths in Steuben County

The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification of the death of two individuals who had previously tested positive for COVID-19.  This brings the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Steuben County to 165.  Both individuals died while hospitalized.  One was a male resident of the Village of Bath who died at age 71 and the other was a female resident of the Town of Cameron who died at the age of 76.

 

Corning small businesses eligible for new COVID relief grant

Corning Enterprises and the Corning Credit Union teamed up to form the Pandemic Recovery and Business Model Adjustment Grant, a one-time reimbursement grant set up to help local businesses with COVID-19 related expenses. Each entity donated $50,000 for the grant program.  

 

NY allowing bars, restaurants statewide to remain open until 11 p.m.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that bars and restaurants will be permitted to remain open until 11 p.m. statewide, effective Valentine’s Day, due to the continuing decline of COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates. The state’s seven day rolling average of positive cases on Friday was 4.04 percent with 7,068 patients hospitalized, a decline of 274 patients.

 

Cuomo administration withheld COVID-19 nursing home death numbers, says aide

According to a New York Post report, and aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s top aide privately apologized to Democratic lawmakers for the administration allegedly withholding the state’s nursing home death toll from COVID-19. Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa said they “froze” out of fear that the true numbers would be “used against them” by federal prosecutors. The Cuomo Administration was promptly lambasted by Congressman Tom Reed. Senator Tom O’Mara also called it a “massive cover-up”.

Today's Top Stories - Saturday February 13, 2021

11 new COVID-19 cases in Steuben County

The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 11 Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to 5,369 confirmed cases, 180 of which are currently active. Two individuals are residents of the Village of Bath, and three individuals are associated with Hornell High School, Hornell Intermediate School, and the VEW Primary School.

 

2 new COVID-19 deaths in Steuben County

The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification of the death of two individuals who had previously tested positive for COVID-19.  This brings the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Steuben County to 165.  Both individuals died while hospitalized.  One was a male resident of the Village of Bath who died at age 71 and the other was a female resident of the Town of Cameron who died at the age of 76.

 

Corning small businesses eligible for new COVID relief grant

Corning Enterprises and the Corning Credit Union teamed up to form the Pandemic Recovery and Business Model Adjustment Grant, a one-time reimbursement grant set up to help local businesses with COVID-19 related expenses. Each entity donated $50,000 for the grant program.  

 

NY allowing bars, restaurants statewide to remain open until 11 p.m.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that bars and restaurants will be permitted to remain open until 11 p.m. statewide, effective Valentine’s Day, due to the continuing decline of COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates. The state’s seven day rolling average of positive cases on Friday was 4.04 percent with 7,068 patients hospitalized, a decline of 274 patients.

 

Cuomo administration withheld COVID-19 nursing home death numbers, says aide

According to a New York Post report, and aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s top aide privately apologized to Democratic lawmakers for the administration allegedly withholding the state’s nursing home death toll from COVID-19. Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa said they “froze” out of fear that the true numbers would be “used against them” by federal prosecutors. The Cuomo Administration was promptly lambasted by Congressman Tom Reed. Senator Tom O’Mara also called it a “massive cover-up”.

Today's Top Stories - Friday February 12th, 2021

Steuben Health Dept Reports 14 More COVID Cases
The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 14 Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to 5,358 confirmed cases, 219 of which are currently active. 

 

Steuben’s Student Athletes May Have Two Spectators at Home Games
Yesterday, Steuben County Public Health Department said following a re-evaluation that received unanimous approval from superintendents, two spectators per athlete will be allowed to attend home sports games at their student’s school. No spectators were previously allowed. Guidelines beginning Monday demand spectators wear an acceptable face covering at all times and social distance.

 

Cuomo Aide Admits to Withholding Nursing Home Death Numbers
It was reported last night by The New York Post Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to Governor Cuomo, admitted during a video conference call with state Democratic leaders to withholding New York’s nursing home death toll from the COVID-19 count and “we froze out of fear the true numbers would be used against us by federal prosecutors.”  Cuomo’s top aide privately apologized to Democratic lawmakers during a phone call for allegedly withholding the state’s nursing home death toll from COVID-19 count. Last night’s report follows a recent Associated Press report finding the Cuomo Administration downplayed how many COVID-19 patients had been transferred back from hospitals to nursing homes. AP reports over 9,000 recovering COVID patients in New York State were released from hospitals into nursing homes under the state directive-Over 40% higher than what was previously released by the state health department.

 

Congressman Tom Reed reacted with the statement:

 

“Governor Cuomo’s disastrous March order knowingly sent COVID-positive patients into nursing homes, which led to the deaths of thousands of the state’s parents and grandparents. Since... the state has done everything in its power to downplay its horrific errors and prevent the public, lawmakers, and federal investigators from knowing the truth.”

State Senator Tom O’Mara said:

 

“This is a massive and unconscionable cover-up...These subpoenas need to move forward immediately. All of this needs to be aired, fully and forthrightly, in public.”

 

Route 415 Property May Be on The Tax Rolls
From the Corning Leader…A chunk of property on state Route 54 in the Town of Bath may soon be back on the tax rolls, six years after Steuben County took possession of the land in a 2015 tax foreclosure. Steuben County legislators approved divvying up the 50.9 acres into three distinct parcels. The legislature also OK’d the sale of the two smaller pieces of land, the 5.6 acre parcel for $4,000 and the 6.5 acre parcel for $6,000. Steuben County Commissioner of Finance Tammy Hurd-Harvey said the properties on Route 54 “fell off the radar” for a time after the acquisition by the county.  

 

Southern Tier COVID Positivity Rate on the Decline
The COVID-19 positivity rate in NYS is 3.54 percent. That’s the lowest it’s been since November 25. In addition to that, the number of people hospitalized with the virus is down to around 7,300. That’s the lowest number since the day after Christmas. The Southern Tier Region has 199 people hospitalized with another 126 in Intensive care. 

 

Prattsburg Man Arrested for Sex Crime
A Prattsburg man is accused of committing a felony sex crime. State Police say they arrested 67-year-old Richard Putnam. He is charged with felony first-degree sexual abuse involving a child under the age of 11. He was also charged with child endangerment. The alleged crime occurred in the town and was reported December 7th. Putnam was issued an appearance ticket for court.

 

Those With Comorbidities Can Sign Up for COVID Vaccine Sunday
Beginning Sunday, those with comorbidities will be able to sign-up for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. Leaders from the Finger Lakes region including Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, and Yates counties said they would simply have those getting an appointment to ‘attest’ to their comorbidity while Tompkins County published a form on its public health website for residents with comorbidities to fill out. Currently, the supply of vaccine is an even larger access issue than the technical accesses and challenges some have encountered so far.

Today's Top Stories - Thursday February 11th, 2021

O’Mara Criticizes Closed-Door Meetings on Nursing Home Deaths
State Senator Tom O’Mara expressed criticism at a closed-door meeting between the top Cuomo administration officials and key legislative Democrats discussing New York’s ongoing nursing homes scandal. Governor Cuomo called a meeting between members of his inner circle and key legislative Democrats that included the heads of the Senate and Assembly committees on Aging, Health, and Investigations and Government Operations  to discuss the nursing homes tragedy behind closed doors. O’Mara says all state officials must be on the same page and: “Top legislative Democrats going behind closed doors with the Cuomo administration to discuss the nursing homes scandal is another stonewalling session that has nothing to do with revealing the truth, only with continuing to hide it.” O’Mara called on Democrats to demand testimony and full records from Governor Cuomo and his inner circle, under subpoena and in public.

 

Steuben Health Dept. Reports 17 New COVID Cases
The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 17 Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to 5,344 confirmed cases, 216 of which are currently active. Public Health Director Darlene Smith says…the significant decrease in COVID spread in Steuben has been welcomed.

 

Sports Arenas and Stadiums Reopen in Limited Capacity Feb 23rd
Beginning later this month, New York’s major sports arenas and stadiums can host a limited number of fans for sporting events and concerts as announced by Governor Cuomo yesterday as he outlined some of the guidelines. According to Cuomo, the decision to move forward in opening arenas was thanks to the success of the model designed by the state for the Buffalo Bills playoff games. Limited fan attendance starts on Tuesday, February 23rd.

 

Department of Health Releases More Data on COVID Deaths
Yesterday the state Department of Health and Cuomo Administration released additional data on COVID-19 deaths in long-term care facilities requested by the Empire Center under FOIL six months after the request was submitted, five months after the Empire Center and the Government Justice Center filed suit, and one week after a court found that the department had violated FOIL and ordered it to release what were clearly public records. The Empire Center says records do not fully account for the deaths of some 600 residents that occurred outside of the long-term care facilities, usually in hospitals, in which the COVID-19 diagnosis was presumed rather than confirmed with the department providing a summary of those deaths, but not their dates. The Empire Center also said the State Health Department provided the data in a password-protection spreadsheet after they had specifically requested otherwise, violating the Freedom of Information Law. The Empire Center said: “ Those revelations increased the known death toll from about 9,000 to almost 15,000—making clear that the pandemic’s toll on long-term care residents was much worse than the Cuomo administration previously portrayed it to be.
Click here to check out the data.

 

Arnot, CVS and Walgreens to Offer COVID Vaccine
Pharmacies and hospitals will continue the fight against COVID-19 by offering vaccines. Arnot Health says they have not yet received this week’s Moderna vaccine, with the regular 1,000 doses per week not meeting the public’s demand. Arnot Health will promote their vaccine clinics at Arnot Mall. CVS and Walgreens begin offering vaccines in New York state this week. Not all locations in the state will offer the vaccine. Both CVS and Walgreens will have a limited supply to vaccinate people when they happen to have a supply on any given day or week. Starting tomorrow, vaccinations will be available at select locations. Walk-in's are not allowed and everyone must register to make an appointment on the CVS app,  CVS.com or at Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine.

 

More COVID Testing May Mean Declined Southern Tier Positivity Rate
An uptick in coronavirus testing among SUNY students cold make the positivity rate in the Southern Tier decline with SUNY Broome expected to see an increase in testing as students move back on campus for the upcoming spring semester. Broome County’s Health Department says as long as students test negative like they did in the fall semester, the rate will decline. Students are urged to avoid large gatherings. The Southern Tier still has the lowest infection rate in the state, regionally.

 

High-Risk Sport Student Athletes May Have Sectional Tournament
Student athletes in high-risk sports will have a chance to compete for a sectional tournament title. In a year marked by changes and adjustments amid COVID-19, the Section V Athletic Council says high-risk sports like boys and girls basketball will have closed sectional tournaments this year. The top eight teams from each classification will make their respective sectionals. Meanwhile, class sectional tournaments for wrestling will start on March 12. Section V also announced Wednesday start dates for the Fall II season and the Spring season. Fall II includes boys and girls volleyball, cheerleading, and football. The season will start on March 1, with the regular season set to end April 23, and Sectionals wrapped by May 2. Spring sports, including boys and girls lacrosse, baseball, softball and track and field, will start April 19. Indoor track and field will be hosting a sectional tournament on March 4.

 

Bath Man Arrested and Charged with Rape
The Village of Bath Police Department reports the arrest of 33-year-old Mackenzie Ellis of Campbell St., in the Village of Bath He was charged with with Rape in the First Degree, by forcible compulsion. Police Chief Chad Mullen tells us Ellis was arraigned in the Steuben County Centralized Court and remanded to the Steuben County Jail with bail set at $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond.

 

O’Mara Warns Cuomo Budget Risks Millions in State Program Funds
State Senator Tom O’Mara yesterday warned that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed state budget puts at risk millions of dollars in state funding for long-standing and critical programs supporting farmers and New York’s agricultural industry. O’Mara said, “Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget does not protect critical state funding for specifically vital agricultural programs and services that have long made a difference for our farmers.  Putting the fate of this funding and these successful programs in the hands of Democratic majorities in the Senate and Assembly makes no sense in a year like this one when farmers are already overburdened yet have been fundamental to the hard work that has kept communities together and moving forward.  O’Mara added…It’s unthinkable, to say the least during this pandemic.

Today's Top Stories - Wednesday February 10th, 2021

Bath Municipal Utility Commission Meeting Changed to Friday
There’s been a meeting change for the village of Bath Municipal Utility Commission. Originally planned for Tuesday, the meeting is now set for Friday via GoToMeeting.

 

9 Additional Steuben Residents Positive for COVID
The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that just nine additional Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to 5,327 confirmed cases, 228 of which are currently active. Public Health Director Darlene Smiths says…it’s been many months since they’ve have seen a daily case count in the single digits. She said they are encouraged by the decrease in cases.

 

NY Lawmakers Suggest Registration System for Vaccine Sign-ups
As the number of people eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine will expand again in days, state lawmakers are seeking a solution for an easier way to get people signed up for the vaccine with a registration system. Assemblyman John McDonald called on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office to develop a statewide registration tool, allowing people to turn in all of their data, and then be queued based on that information. The system would also allow New Yorkers to submit necessary paperwork for their appointment. Assemblyman Steve Hawley said the biggest issue of adequate vaccine distribution must also be addressed. Click here to check your availability within the current system.

 

State GOP Announce NY Recall Reform Efforts
State Republicans say New Yorkers should be able to recall politicians similar to the recall that’s currently taking place in California. In an Albany news conference this morning, GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy, Senator George Borrello and Assemblyman Chris Tague announced an effort to bring reforms that include a recall mechanism for statewide officeholders. A Zogby poll released yesterday found New Yorkers want to replace Governor Cuomo with someone new by a 47-41 percent margin. Republicans also initiated a petition to give New Yorkers the chance to voice their support to bring a recall election to New York State.

 

Environmental Rights Could Become a Civil Right in NY
This week, the State Assembly joined the Senate to pass a bill adding environmental rights to the New York State Constitution. Both houses of the Legislature passed the bill that would add “Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment” to Article 1 of the Constitution. The bill will be placed on this year’s general election ballot in November and if approved by voters, New York will become the third state after Pennsylvania and Montana to acknowledge environmental rights as political and civil liberties. Over 70 organizations recently sent a letter to the Legislature voicing support for the measure.

 

Reed & O'Mara Want Justice for COVID Nursing Home Death Victims
Congressman Tom Reed, State Senator Tom O’Mara and other regional lawmakers have joined together to…as they say…highlight their efforts to secure justice for the families of New Yorkers who lost loved ones due to what they call Governor Cuomo’s dangerous mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic in our state’s nursing homes. During a press conference, the group reaffirmed their call for the Biden Administration and Department of Justice to provide the public with answers and accountability through a full, independent, and fair federal investigation. 

 

Corning Man Arrested for Sexual Assault in Ontario County
A Corning man is facing felony sexual assault charges in Ontario County. Deputies from Canandaigua arrested 19-year-old Dylan Pratt. He was charged with second-degree rape. He is expected to appear in Canandaigua Town Court at a later date.

 

Cuomo Announces Drop in COVID 7-Day Average Positivity
Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced New York's 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate has dropped to 4.38 percent, its lowest since December 1. Cuomo said the post-holiday surge reduction is continuing, and that is the direct result of the toughness of New Yorkers who have sacrificed and done what is needed to beat back this invisible enemy. As of today, the number of people in the Southern Tier region hospitalized with COVID has dropped to 214. Deaths statewide on Tuesday were 138.

Today's Top Stories - Tuesday February 9th, 2021

Steuben Seeing Less COVID Cases than Last Month
Steuben County reported 23 new COVID-19 cases Friday February 5th, - a significant decrease from the 217 new cases reported just a month ago on January 4th. There are 256 currently active cases in Steuben as of yesterday while Chemung, Schuyler and Tioga counties join Steuben County in reporting numbers that are the lowest they have been since the fall. Steuben County Public Health Director Darlene Smith speculates the biggest contributing factor to this decrease is that the holiday season is officially over.

 

Sheriff Allard and DA Baker Report Challenges in County Drug Arrests
County Sheriff Jim Allard says the change in bail reform has created a new class of substance abuse  victims, since repeat offenders are now released instead of being held pretrial. Allard said being held on bail used to mean the low level dealers who dealt drugs to support their habit could  volunteer for treatment and recovery programs through the jail but now, dealers can opt out of treatment and recovery, which leads to increased use and a worse addiction which can lead to overdoses. Allard says during the pandemic, the enforcement of social protocols meant less personal interaction, less arrests, less intelligence, less  informants -- and more underground sales. Allard said the sheriff’s department’s resources have been strained by the pandemic with the equivalent of five full  time employees assigned to assist the county’s Public Health department, reducing the department’s ability to bring more resources to investigations and interdiction.

 

Tax Experts Urge Taxpayers to File Early
Tax experts this year suggest filing early if you plan on filing your taxes in 2021. As tax season officially begins this Friday, experts want people to file their taxes as soon as they possibly can. Filing early could give taxpayers their refund sooner and can prevent identity theft. Electronic filing and direct deposit are also highly encouraged as it could mean a third stimulus could arrive to the taxpayer even sooner than paper tax forms and checks. This year’s April 15th deadline has not been modified.

 

70 New COVID Cases and 1 New Death in Steuben
Steuben County reports another COVID death and 70 new cases since Friday. The death brings the total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Steuben County to 163.  The individual was a male resident of the Town of Wheeler who died while hospitalized at the age of 63. The new positive cases bring the overall county total to more than 5,300 with 256 currently active cases.

 

Steuben Sheriff’s Office Receiving Protective Vest for K9 Mac
Steuben County Sheriff’s Office K9 Mac will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit Vested Interest in K9’s. K9 Mac’s vest will be embroidered with the sentiment “gifted by Mozart Lodge No 436.” Delivery is expected in 4-6 weeks. 

 

Tenney Officially Declared Winner of NY-22nd Congressional Seat
New York state elections officials officially certified Republican Claudia Tenney's slim victory over Rep. Anthony Brindisi, as it is the last U.S. congressional race to be finalized. The certification came after a state judge ruled that Tenney won the race for central New York's 22nd Congressional District by 109 votes. Brindisi issued a statement to the media congratulating Tenney and offered to make the transition process as smooth as possible. 

 

Tops and Price Chopper Form Northeast Merger Agreement
Price Chopper and Tops Markets have announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement that creates a powerful alliance between the two storied independent grocery chains, as it nearly doubles their collective footprint in the Northeast. This transaction unites two iconic New York-based grocery chains with deep ties to their local communities and shared commitments to service, savings, and convenience. The joint venture will collectively employ more than 30,000 teammates. The transaction is expected to close in the coming months, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

 

Senator O’Mara Calls Investigation of State DOH and Governor
New York State Senators Tom O’Mara and Patrick M. Gallivan have requested the Senate Finance Committee Chair work with her leadership to schedule multiple Joint Legislative Budget Hearings on Health instead of the single one scheduled later this month. O’Mara says in the wake of the Attorney General’s scathing nursing home report, mass resignations at the State Department of Health (DOH), and bipartisan calls for investigation into the Governor’s administration, at least one of these hearings should be solely committed to questioning the embattled DOH Commissioner Howard Zucker. In a press statement, O’Mara said… Commissioner Zucker and the Department of Health, whether by their own free will or at someone else’s direction, have repeatedly thwarted the authority of the Legislature in the past year.

 

COVID Vaccine Appts Opened to New Yorkers with Comorbidities
New Yorkers with comorbidities and underlying conditions can now begin making appointments to get vaccinated for COVID-19 at state-run mass vaccination sites beginning February 14th, with the first appointments scheduled for February 15th. Eligibility for New Yorkers with comorbidities and underlying conditions was opened by excess vaccine supply meant for hospital workers. Local health departments will determine how, where and when to schedule appointments in their jurisdictions, with these appointments starting as early as Monday, February 15th. To show they have comorbidities or underlying conditions, New Yorkers must provide required documentation which can be a Doctor’s Letter, Medical Information Evidencing Comorbidity, or Signed Certification.

The full list of comorbidities and underlying conditions is available below. The list is subject to change as additional scientific evidence is published and as New York State obtains and analyzes additional state-specific data.

Adults of any age with the following conditions due to increased risk of moderate or severe illness or death from the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Cancer (current or in remission, including 9/11-related cancers)

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Pulmonary Disease, including but not limited to, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and 9/11 related pulmonary diseases

  • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities including Down Syndrome

  • Heart conditions, including but not limited to heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension (high blood pressure)

  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including but not limited to solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, use of other immune weakening medicines, or other causes

  • Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2), Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)

  • Pregnancy

  • Sickle cell disease or Thalassemia

  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus

  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)

  • Neurologic conditions including but not limited to Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia

  • Liver disease

 

Today's Top Stories - Monday February 8, 2021

Thousands of YMCA employees in NYS laid off

Thousands of YMCA employees across New York State have been laid off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a state WARN notice, a total of 2,090 workers were affected, including 18 employees at the Corning Branch. The furloughs became permanent on February 3. The YMCA said in a statement that the lack of PPE, in addition to capacity limitations remaining at 33%, hindered the YMCA of Greater Rochester’s ability to bring staff fully back to prior levels.

 

Bath man arrested for sex offender registry

A Bath man faces a parole violation. State Troopers arrested 52-year-old Lawrence W. Brown, charging him with a felony sex offender registry violation. He was issued an appearance ticket for Village of Bath court.

 

Steuben County Sheriff’s Office K9 to receive body armor donation

Steuben County Sheriff's Office K9 Mac will receive a bullet and stab protective vest thanks to a charitable donation from non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. K9 Mac's vest will be embroidered with the sentiment “Gifted by Mozart Lodge No. 436". Delivery is expected within 8-10 weeks.

 

Corning man arrested for DWI

During a traffic stop in the Town of Corning, State Police arrested 47-year-old Ted Havert of Corning. He was charged with aggravated DWI and released to a third party.

 

COVID-19 update for New York State; Steuben County

New York on Sunday reported the lowest COVID hospitalizations since Christmas Day. 143 virus-related deaths were confirmed on Saturday. The statewide positivity rate has dropped to 4%, the lowest one-day positivity rate since November 27th. The Southern Tier region had 204 COVID-related hospitalizations with 126 patients admitted to an ICU. As for Steuben County, there are 314 active COVID-19 cases. The total number of confirmed cases over the past 11 months has surpassed 5,200. The week begins with 33 hospitalized and 1,061 under quarantine. The 7-day positivity rate is 5.4%.

 

Campbell woman charged with criminal trespass

Troopers arrested 41-year-old Melanie Link of Campbell. She was charged with criminal trespass stemming from an incident in the Village of Painted Post.

Today's Top Stories - Saturday February 6, 2021

23 new COVID-19 cases in Steuben County

The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 23 Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19, including four individuals associated with Corning, Inc. at Sullivan Park, Erwin and CMS, and an individual associated with Corning-Painted Post High School. This brings the county total to 5,248 confirmed cases, 314 of which are currently active.

 

10 p.m. curfew lifted for 91 NYS establishments after lawsuit

91 restaurants, bars, and other establishments in Erie and Monroe County have had the 10 p.m. curfew placed on them lifted for the time being after a judge ruled in their favor after a lawsuit was filed against Governor Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Department of Health, and the New York State Liquor Authority. A spokesperson for New York State said officials are reviewing the decision.

 

COVID-19 vaccine to be offered through Wegmans pharmacies

Wegmans announced it will be administering COVID-19 vaccines in its pharmacies, with ages 65 and up being prioritized, at their Hornell, Corning, and Johnson City locations. Appointments can be scheduled online or by calling 1-800-207-6099 Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. A photo ID and insurance card will be necessary at one’s appointment.

 

Steuben County praised for police reform efforts

In a letter to county Sheriff Jim Allard dated Feb. 4, state Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael Green gave special notice to Steuben County for the proactive steps it has taken with its police reform plan. Adopted by the county Legislature in January, Steuben's police reform law sets out a broad range of uniform best practices for law enforcement officers. The law includes policies already in place in 2020 and set-in motion other policies to go into effect in this year. Developed in coordination with local police departments, and other stakeholders, the finished document has drawn the praise of state and county leaders. Steuben is one of four governments in the state receiving special commendation for reform efforts, including the cities of Albany, Buffalo and Syracuse.

 

First free fishing weekend in NYS set for February 13-14th

Governor Andrew Cuomo encouraged New Yorkers to take advantage of the first Free Fishing Weekend of 2021, set for February 13 and 14, when anglers will be permitted to fish for free without a license. The DEC reminds those venturing onto the ice that four inches or more of solid ice is considered safe for accessing bodies of water on foot.

Today's Top Stories - Friday February 5, 2021

Bars and restaurants asking Governor Cuomo to lift 10 p.m. curfew for the big game

Bars and restaurants statewide are asking Governor Andrew Cuomo to lift the longstanding 10 p.m. curfew on restaurants and bars for Super Bowl Sunday. The curfew, effective since November 2020, has barred indoor dining after 10 p.m. Restaurant and bar owners and employees are hoping to prove they are capable of keeping staff and customers safe in addition to recouping some of the revenues they may have lost during the pandemic.

 

Steuben County receives special commendation for reform efforts

 In a letter to county Sheriff Jim Allard dated Feb. 4, state Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael Green gave special notice to Steuben County for the proactive steps it has taken with its police reform plan. Adopted by the county Legislature in January, Steuben's police reform law sets out a broad range of uniform best practices for law enforcement officers. The law includes policies already in place in 2020 and set-in motion other policies to go into effect in this year. Developed in coordination with local police departments, and other stakeholders, the finished document has drawn the praise of state and county leaders. Steuben is one of four governments in the state receiving special commendation for reform efforts, including the cities of Albany, Buffalo and Syracuse.

 

NYS Department of Labor urges citizens to be wary of scams

The New York State Department of Labor is warning citizens of potential fraud taking place. The DOL says they have found people posing as the DOL through various outlets such as email, text, and social media. Always double check the addresses of emails you receive and look out for misspellings, suspicious URL’s, and unusual messaging. If you are unsure if an email is fraud, contact the DOL. Representaives of the DOL will never reach out directly through text, if this happens, block the number and contact the DOL immediately. Block and report any fraudulent social media pages that pose as the DOL.

 

24 new COVID-19 cases in Steuben County

The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 24 more Steuben County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, including two individuals are associated with Corning, Inc. at the Diesel and CMS Plants and three individuals are associated with Alfred State College, Alfred University and GST BOCES Bush Campus. This brings the county total to 5,225 confirmed cases, 330 of which are currently active.

 

Congressman Tom Reed hints he may run for statewide office

While he did stop short on Thursday of declaring his candidacy, Republican Tom Reed of Corning indicated he may run for statewide office. Congressman Reed has been critical of the incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo, particularly his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. A spokesperson for the Governor called a group of House Republicans including Reed a “treason caucus” and accused them of deflecting attention from last month’s assault on Capitol Hill that led to several casualties.

 

First free fishing weekend in NYS set for February 13-14th

Governor Andrew Cuomo encouraged New Yorkers to take advantage of the first Free Fishing Weekend of 2021, set for February 13 and 14, when anglers will be permitted to fish for free without a license. The DEC reminds those venturing onto the ice that four inches or more of solid ice is considered safe for accessing bodies of water on foot.

Today's Top Stories - Thursday, February 4th, 2021

15 Southern Tier Bridge Projects Completed in $33 Million Investment
Major construction projects have been completed to replace or rehabilitate 15 bridges along key transit corridors in the Southern Tier and Western New York. Projects represented a nearly $33 million investment in critically important infrastructure. Steuben county saw a project replacing the Interstate 86 Bridge over a tributary to the Cohocton River in the Town of Bath. Senator Tom O’Mara said, “State investments in bridges, roads and culverts across our region are critical to the quality and strength of local communities, economies and environments... It must remain one of New York’s highest priorities moving forward in the overall rebuilding and restoration challenges facing the Southern Tier and regions across this state.

 

Steuben Health Dept Reports 26 More COVID Cases
The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 26 Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to 5,201 confirmed cases, 327 of which are currently active. 14 individuals had contact with previously reported Steuben positives; One individual is associated with Alstom in Hornell and three individuals are associated with schools to include Avoca Central, VEW Primary and Wayland-Cohocton High School.

 

NY Supreme Court Judge Oks FOIL Request of Nursing Home Data
Yesterday, a State Supreme Court judge ruled in favor of an Albany-based government watchdog group through the Freedom of Information Law and their battle with the New York State Health Department over its data for COVID-19 nursing home and assisted living facility deaths data during the pandemic. New York state now has five days to release the data to the Empire Center as the ruling comes six months after Empire Center made the initial FOIL request, which was met by numerous delays from the state. Read the ruling here.

 

NY GOP Push for Full Investigation of Nursing Home COVID Deaths
State Senator Tom O’Mara and members of the Senate and Assembly Republican conferences Wednesday continued their push for the start of a full investigation into the state’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis in New York’s nursing homes (omara). O’Mara said he will not stop in this effort and remarked: “ COVID-19’s terrible toll on the elderly makes it all the more vital that we fully understand what has happened.”

 

Corning Inc Appoints Ferguson to Board of Directors
Corning Incorporated has appointed Roger W. Ferguson Jr., president and chief executive officer of TIAA, to Corning’s Board of Directors, effective April 1. Ferguson will serve on the board’s Compensation and Nominating and Corporate Governance committees. He will hold office until Corning’s annual meeting of shareholders in the spring of 2021, at which time he will stand for election to a one-year term. His appointment brings the number of Corning directors to 14.

 

GOP Leaders Send Letter to AG Urging Subpeonas
Congressman Tom Reed, along with every member of New York's Republican Congressional Delegation, joined together and sent a letter to Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson requesting the Department of Justice immediately issue subpoenas for Governor Cuomo, the Secretary to the Governor, the New York State Commissioner of Health, and their staff on all documentation and communications related to their nursing home policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group also requested an update on the Civil Rights Division's inquiry into New York State's handling of the COVID-19 crisis in nursing homes. In a statement for the press, Reed said “Thousands of New York families who lost a parent or grandparent due to New York’s disastrous nursing home policies deserve nothing less than full transparency and accountability.”

Today's Top Stories - Wednesday February 3rd, 2021

Steuben Reports 31 New COVID Cases
The Steuben County Public Health Department received notification that 31 Steuben County residents tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total to 5,175 confirmed cases, 331 of which are currently active.  Three individuals are associated with Arkport Central School, Canisteo-Greenwood Central School, and Prattsburgh Central School. 

 

State GOP Leaders Want Full Investigation of Nursing Home Deaths
Today, State Republicans hosted a teleconference with New Yorkers who lost family members as a result of a nursing home Executive Order made by Governor Cuomo last March. Senator and Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Aging, Sue Serino, called for a full investigation into the handling of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes as the state’s planned health budget hearing was postponed to later in the month. The report from State attorney general Letitia James revealed the true COVID death toll of New York Nursing homes is closer to 13,000 and not 8,677 as initially reported and that the state undercounted nursing home COVID-19 deaths by as much as 50%.

 

Nailah’s Law to Be Voted on in State Senate
Nailah’s Law, named after a young girl who was handcuffed during a traffic stop along Rt. 104 in the Rochester area, is a piece of legislation advocates say would prevent youth detainment and arrests that could be ‘tactfully circumvented’. Last week, the incident that sparked the bill attracted national attention after a 9-year-old girl was handcuffed and pepper-sprayed in an attempt by police to put her into a cruiser. The policy aims to minimize traumatizing children who witness a parents’ arrest and separation caused by the arrest, while integrity of the arrest and the safety of officers, suspects and other involved individuals is maintained.

 

Cuomo Adds More Groups to Phase 1B of Vaccine Rollout
Yesterday, Governor Cuomo declared restaurant workers would be added to Phase 1B of the COVID vaccine rollout. Taxi drivers and employees at facilities with developmentally disabled individuals were also included in the growing 1B list. Cuomo says this decision was made as local governments across the state will be seeing more vaccines as state supplies are expected to increase by about 5% for the next three weeks. However, the elderly have faced continued issues to get vaccinated or use the online appointment portal to do so. Cuomo and the state have received much criticism for the way they have handled the  vaccine rollout to date.

 

Siemens to Shutter Manufacturing Ops in Painted Post
The Southern Tier has taken another economic gut punch. Siemen’s Energy, formerly Dresser-Rand, is expected to shutter its manufacturing operations in Olean next year. At least 500 of the 800 employees will be out of a job. Last April, the manufacturing facility in Wellsville was closed by Siemen’s as well, severely impacting the Allegany County economy. State Senator George Borrello said generations of highly skilled workers have made Siemens Energy in Olean a world-leading manufacturer of turbines and compressors for the oil and gas industry.” Siemens said changes in the energy market are causing the company to rethink its operations, including the global shift to “green-energy.” Siemen’s also operates a facility in Painted Post.

 

NY’s COVID Positivity Rate on Decline
New York’s statewide COVID-19 positivity rate is 5.47% and the 7-day average is 4.95%...it’s the first time since December 6th that the rate has been below 5%. Right now, in the Southern Tier, 236 COVID patients are hospitalized and 397 patients are in Intensive Care. 146 deaths statewide were reported.

 

NY Dept of Labor Finds 425,000+ Fraudulent Unemployment Claims
The New York State Department of Labor has announced that it has identified over 425,000 fraudulent unemployment benefit claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing fraudsters from stealing more than $5.5 billion in benefits. The Department has referred hundreds of thousands of fraud cases to federal prosecutors, and continues to work with law enforcement partners on the federal, state, and local level to hold fraudsters accountable. Since the pandemic began in March 2020, the Department of Labor has paid over $65 billion to more than 4 million New Yorkers – representing more than 30 typical years’ worth of benefits paid in just 11 months.

Today's Top Stories - Tuesday February 2nd, 2021

Winter Weather Slows; A Couple Inches Snow Expected
While other outlets like the National Weather Service forecast heavy snow this afternoon and in the early-evening hours, Meteorologist Drew Montreuil says it’s increasingly likely that the heavy snow never materializes. He says snow bands were unable to penetrate past Central New York leaving much of the Finger Lakes with not much more than a few inches of accumulation today. “At this point, the models are way off base and can no longer be relied upon,” Montreuil wrote. For now, The National Weather Service has Winter Weather Advisories and Winter Storm Warnings in effect to tomorrow morning. However, mild conditions could cause it to end sooner.

Map: https://s.w-x.co/staticmaps/wu/wxtype/county_loc/bgm/animate.png


Phil the Groundhog Predicts 6 More Weeks Winter
Handlers pulled Punxsutawney Phil  from hibernating in his tree stump burrow  this morning. At the annual Gobbler's Knob ceremony, Phil saw his shadow, which, according to legend, means six more weeks of winter. Groundhog Day event organizers in the greater Philadelphia area of western Pennsylvania acknowledge relying on the rodent to forecast seasons is mostly a way to break up winter monotony. In the past 10 years, according to NOAA, Phil's predictions have been right about 50% of the time. Winter weather continues in the Northeast as our region sees a couple inches of snow possible this evening.

 


Law Enforcement Begin Super Bowl DWI Crackdown Friday
Law enforcement agencies statewide will participate in the STOP-DWI Crackdown. The campaign is an annual enforcement effort to crack down on impaired driving during Super Bowl Weekend with efforts like sobriety checkpoints and increased patrols beginning February 5th and ending February 8th. As the most-watched sporting event in the nation, the weekend of the Super Bowl game is historically, a deadly one for impaired driving. Research says high-visibility enforcement can reduce fatalities due to impaired driving by as much as 20%. Download the STOP-DWI “Have a Plan” app to help you find a safe ride home if you need one.


Steuben: COVID Deaths Hit 162 As 111 More Cases Reported
The COVID-19 death toll in Steuben County has now risen to 162. The latest victim…and 82-year-old woman from the Town of Wheeler who died while hospitalized. Meanwhile, 111 more county residents have tested positive for COVID since Friday’s report. 


Gas Prices on the Rise
When you stop at a gas station, you’ll likely realize prices are up. The New York State average is $2.51 – up 2 cents from last week. A year ago, the NYS average was $2.66. Pump prices are increasing while gas demand is dropping, according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Although gas demand dropped, and total refinery utilization decreased, pump prices have increased moderately.


Borello Disappointed in Cuomo's Veto to Rural Broadband
State Senator George Borrello says he is incredibly disappointed about Governor Cuomo’s pocket veto of the Comprehensive Broadband Connectivity Act. The measure, which Senator Borrello co-sponsored, would have required the Public Service Commission to study the availability, affordability and reliability of high-speed internet in all areas of the state and provide a report and detailed map within one year. The Southern Tier Senator said…“It is incredibly disappointing that the Governor has chosen to turn his back on rural New Yorkers.”


Sheriff Deputies Arrest Tioga, PA Woman
Steuben County deputies arrested 27-year-old Elizabeth A. Colegrove of Tioga, Pennsylvania, following an investigation of a reported stolen vehicle, jewelry, shotgun and cash, from December 17, 2020.  It is alleged that Colegrove, while on Bollen Road in Woodhull, stole the property. She was charged with multiple felony counts of Grand Larceny and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree.  Colegrove was arraigned and released.


Schumer Announces Craft Beverage Modernization & Tax Reform Act
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has announced the inclusion of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act in the FY2020 end-of-year omnibus legislation. He says it will permanently reduce excise taxes for brewers, vintners, cider makers, and distillers and remove regulatory barriers to help New York’s craft beverage industry stay afloat. Schumer explained that the legislation will provide critical economic relief for craft beverage alcohol producers across the state, many of whom have seen a significant decline in revenue and are struggling to remain open as a result of the ongoing economic crisis, especially those whose sales are mainly on premise.

 

Today's Top Stories - Monday February 1st, 2021

Steuben Surpasses 5,000 COVID Cases Friday & Sees Another Death
Friday, Steuben County confirmed another COVID-19 death, as the county has passed 5,000 total cases. The latest victim is a 75-year-old Corning man. As of Friday, the death total reached 161 people in the county since the start of the pandemic with 33 new cases reported, bringing the total to 5,033. Friday, there were 320 currently-active cases, with 38 people in area hospitals.
https://www.facebook.com/SCNYPublicHealth/posts/3422200381225605

 

Assemblyman Bronson Proposes Opening Nursing Home Visitation
A State Democrat Legislator has proposed a bill that would open up visitation at nursing homes across New York amid the COVID Pandemic. Democratic Assemblyman from the Rochester-area Harry Bronson is sponsoring this legislation that would allow a resident at a nursing home two essential caregivers, who could visit and need to undergo COVID-19 testing. It would also clear the way for visitation for people with declining physical or emotional conditions. Bronson said in a statement: “We shouldn’t be keeping family members separated. This is an approach balanced with the need to control the spread of virus and at the same time recognizing that families need each other.”

 

Winter Weather Advisory Now to Tomorrow

While a winter weather advisory continues this hour for Steuben County, more serious conditions exist to our east. Winter storming warnings are in effect from Elmira to the Big Apple. Driving on the Thruway from Rochester through the Capitol Region and Hudson Valley will likely be challenging. The Warning continues to 7pm tomorrow night.

 

Painted Post Man Arrested for Sex Crime

A Steuben County man has been accused of committing a sex crime against a child. State Police arrested 36-year-old Derek D. Wood of Painted Post. He was charged with first-degree sex abuse involving a victim under the age of 11. He was additionally charged with endangering the welfare of a child. He was initially detained. Troopers said the incident was reported January 3rd and occurred in the Town of Hornby.

 

Southern Tier and State COVID Numbers Improve
New York's State's 7-day average COVID-19 positivity rate has declined for 23 straight days.Gov. Cuomo calls it a “significant trend.” In the Southern Tier Region, there were 234 patients hospitalized with COVID. There were also 125 ICU beds occupied with virus-related complications. The positive rate in the region has dropped from 2.36% to 2.16%. 

 

Bath Man Arrested on Weapons Charge

Court action is pending for a Bath man who now faces a felony charge. State Police arrested 46-year-old Lee M. Baxter. He was charged with felony criminal possession of a weapon. He’s a convicted felon and can’t legally possess a gun. He was also charged with menacing with a weapon. He was initially detained.

 

Bradford Man Arrested After Traffic Stop
Multiple felony charges have been leveled against a Bradford man stemming from a traffic stop in Schuyler County. Troopers said they arrested 38-year-old Aaron Barnard. He was charged with felony DWI and felony first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation. He was also charged with resisting arrest. He was processed and released on appearance tickets for court.

 

22nd Congressional District Race Winner May Be Named Today
The country’s last undecided congressional race could be concluded today. New York Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte could issue a ruling on the winner today. Republican challenger Claudia Tenney has had a narrow lead over Democratic incumbent Anthony Brindisi.

 

New UB Lab Will Speed Up COVID Saliva Test Production
SUNY Upstate Medical University will construct a new laboratory at the University at Buffalo to increase capacity and speed up analysis of Upstate’s COVID-19 saliva test. The new lab at UB will be able to process 150,000 tests a week, increasing the total testing 350,000 tests per week across SUNY, with results being returned to campuses within 24 hours. The lab will be operational by March 1st.

 

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