P.m. news Friday 12-19
New Yorkers oppose giving the state Legislature its first raise since 1999, and they remained split over whether the state should have moved forward with hydraulic fracturing, according to a Siena College poll. Voters oppose a legislative pay raise, 63 to 28%. Despite voters being evenly split upstate, the state’s tough gun-control law called the SAFE Act was supported, 58 to 33% statewide. Voters were also evenly divided on the Dream Act that would provide tuition assistance to illegal immigrants, with 44% supporting it and 48% opposing it. Governor Cuomo had a 58% to 37% favorability rating, up slightly from October.
Action has been taken against several retailers after an investigation revealed many were selling toy guns that appear to be real. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office sent cease and desist letters to stop the online sales and shipments of toy guns that do not have required distinguishing designs. State law prohibits the sale of imitation guns in realistic colors, unless it has a one-inch wide orange stripe running down both sides of the barrel. Some toy guns could be mistaken for real weapons by both law enforcement and the general public. Since 1997, at least four people have died when law enforcement mistook toy guns for the real thing.
Governor Cuomo announced that the next phase of New York’s Combat Heroin campaign. Starting today, public service announcements will begin airing in movie theaters across New York State & 10 new “Real Story” videos have been posted to the state’s Combat Heroin website, at combatheroin.ny.gov. The PSAs and new videos show New Yorkers sharing their stories of recovery and addiction, the PSAs will be shown in movie theaters through early January, The Combat Heroin website now has 22 videos of New Yorkers describing heroin or prescription opioid addictions. combatheroin.ny.gov/real-stories.
The state DEC is reminding New Yorkers that as of January 1st, old electronic equipment must be recycled, not thrown in the trash. That includes computers, cell phones, televisions, stereos and other devices that plug in or run on batteries. On DEC’s electronics recycling web page, consumers will find the brand of equipment they wish to recycle, as well as a link to the manufacturer’s recycling program web page and a toll-free number for information about recycling. Go to dec.ny.gov
About three quarters of public high school students in New York graduated on time in June, though graduation rates in the state’s largest cities remain far lower, according to data released by the state Education Department. A total of 76.4% of students who entered 9th grade in 2010 graduated with a diploma before June 2014, up slightly from the 74.9% who graduated within 4 years the previous year.
Governor Cuomo signed legislation opening the door for growing and researching industrial hemp in New York. The bill, introduced by Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, creates an agriculture pilot program to study ways to cultivate and manufacture products with the multi-use crop. It passed both houses of the State Legislature in the spring. Colleges and universities, including Cornell, Binghamton University, may take part in New York’s research program.
The Sidney Moose lodge will host a meeting for area children with Santa tomorrow. Santa will appear from 1:00 to 3:00 PM following a lunch from noon to 1;00 PM, lunch is free to children 13 & under. the Sidney moose lodge is located at 20 east Main Street.
P.m. news Friday 12-19
Governor Cuomo and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey announced that they have directed their state’s respective Homeland Security Advisors and State Police Superintendents to immediately lead a bi-state review of current safety and security procedures.
The governors will convene a meeting to review initial recommendations in 10 days. In 30 days, the group will again report directly back to both governors with any and all further findings and recommendations.
Former Greene Police Chief Steven Dutcher pleaded guilty to 2 counts of official misconduct and 1 count of criminal contempt in Broome County Court. Dutcher purchased items with village funds for personal use, if Dutcher pays $3,038 in restitution to the village of Greene, he will be placed on probation and fined $1,000.
Broome County Executive Debbie Preston presented a $365 million budget to the County Board Monday. Preston said the budget contains a 2.5% tax levy increase, due to unfunded state mandates & the rising costs of doing business. Taxpayers would see an annual tax increase of $5 per $80,000 in home value if the budget is passed by county lawmakers.
The DEC reminded hunters to apply for deer management permits this week, ahead of the October 1 deadline. Hunters can apply for up to 2 deer management permits once they have secured a hunting license. Sporting licenses and permits can be purchased at one of DEC’s 1,100 license sales outlets, or ordered at 866-933-2257, or online at dec.ny.gov/permits.
The Unadilla rotary club is hold an Autumn Fest in Unadilla this Saturday. Rotarian Zoë Vandermeulen explains:
(Zoë Vandermeulen 9-16-14)
The event runs form 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Unadilla Community field Saturday.
New York tax collections have continued to rise despite a growing income gap between its richest residents and everyone else, even as a national study shows overall growth in state tax receipts slowing as the income gap widens across the U.S. State officials say New York’s progressive income tax rate, which rises from 4 percent to nearly 9 percent for earnings above one milliond dollars, buoys its largest revenue stream for public services and helps insulate it from the problem faced by states dependent on more regressive taxes like sales taxes. New York’s annual average tax revenue growth is 3.28 percent so far in this decade.
State Labor Commissioner Peter Rivera has convened a Wage Board as directed by Governor Cuomo. The Board will investigate what, if any, modifications should be made to the required cash wage rates, and the allowable credits for tips, meals and lodging for food service workers and service employees in the hospitality industry. The Wage Board, made up of members representing labor, businesses and the public, will make a recommendation to the Commissioner by February 2015
New York ranks near the bottom for nursing home quality in an annual report that analyzes nursing home care in each state. The report by Families for Better Care, a Florida-based nursing home advocacy group, gives New York an overall grade of F and a rank of 45. New York received the same score and ranking in last year’s report. The report evaluates states on eight quality measures ranging from the average amount of nursing home staffing to the percentage of facilities with deficiencies. New York got failing or below average grades in five of eight categories. Read more at nursinghomereportcards.com
Governor Cuomo launched Renewable Heat NY, a $27 million initiative aimed at building a sustainable, high-efficiency, low-emissions wood heating sector in New York. Renewable Heat NY promotes the highest efficiency class of wood-fired heating technologies in the nation.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is warning New Yorkers of the Giant Hogweed which has been growing across the state this summer. The plant is toxic and highly dangerous, and it grow to be 15 feet tall with stems covered in coarse hairs and topped with a cluster of white flowers, resembling Queen Anne’s Lace. Touching the weed can cause serious burns, or even blindness, if you see a Giant Hogweed, contact the DEC immediately.
The next American Red Cross Blood Drive will be held today in Sidney. The Blood Drive will begin at 1:00pm until 6:00 PM at Tri-Town Regional Hospital on Pearl Street.
State lawmakers & Governor Cuomo passed a package of bills to start combating the heroin epidemic across the state. Local assemblyman Cliff crouch said that he supported that package of bills and looks to add to it next year:
Heroin usage skyrocketed as an unintended consequence of the state’s “I-Stop” program to cut down on doctor shopping for prescription painkillers. Heroin issues are expected to be at the top of lawmakers’ agenda again next year.
More than $292 million in grant funding to support infrastructure protection, anti-terrorism programs, and core emergency preparedness and response functions in counties across the state, was approved by the federal Department of Homeland Security. The funding is administered through a variety of grant programs that include the State Homeland Security Program, the Urban Areas Security Initiative and the Port Security Grant Program.
The State Health Department revised its immunization requirements for school attendance. The new requirements have not added new vaccines. However, they have changed the number of doses required and the minimum intervals between those doses. These will apply to daycare, head start, nursery, pre-k, and grades K through 12. Students entering kindergarten or 6th grade in the 2014-2015 school year will now be required to have two doses of the chicken pox vaccine. In addition, they must have three to five doses of polio vaccine. The updated requirements will be phased in over the next 7 years.
An educational advocacy group, led by former CNN journalist Campbell Brown, is challenging New York State’s teacher tenure system, filing a lawsuit that alleges that job protections unfairly shield bad teachers. The lawsuit is the work of a group founded by Brown called the Partnership for Educational Justice. The group said the current rules protect ineffective teachers by making it harder for them to be fired or forced to improve. The state teachers’ union said the lawsuit amounts to a politically motivated attack on public school teachers.
State Police at Oneonta arrested 28-year-old Nicholas Andrews of Norwich for Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance and Unlawful Possession of Marihuana, and a passenger 24 year old Liam Gould of Norwich, for Unlawful Possession of Marihuana following traffic stop for speeding on State Route 23. A probable cause search of the vehicle and occupants was conducted. Gould was found to possess three bags of heroin and an amount of marihuana. Both were issued tickets for town of Morris Court August 11th.
Newly adopted state rules will expand bear hunting and help manage the population, which has been growing and raising concerns about proximity to humans. The bear-hunting season will be extended this fall under regulations adopted by the state Department of Conservation. The DEC will establish bear hunting seasons in all of upstate New York and create a special early firearms season, from Sept. 6th to Sept. 21, for bears in specific Wildlife Management Units in the Catskills. The state has a population of about 8,000 black bears. Read more at dec.ny.gov.
NBT Bancorp reported second-quarter net income of $27.6 million, up from $16.9 million from the same period last year. The company’s reported net income included an $11.2 million net gain, on the sale of its 20 percent ownership interest in Springstone Financial, LLC. Reported earnings per diluted share for the second quarter, which ended June 30th, were 62 cents per share, compared to 38 cents per share for the same period in 2013. NBT’s core net income for the second quarter was $19.1 million, up 7 percent from one year ago. NBT had total assets of $7.9 billion and about 155 banking locations with offices in New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.
The Sidney Chamber of Commerce and Utica School of Commerce will hold an Open House on today from 5:00 to 7:00 PM at their New Sidney Location at Tri Town Regional Hospital. This event is open to Sidney Chamber of Commerce members, directors and the public. USC will have classes starting on June 16th.
26-year-old Michael Golotty of Elmira, pleaded guilty to 3rd degree arson in Chenango County Court, for the fire that destroyed storage units in Norwich last November, which housed donations for Toys for Tots. Gulotty was sentenced to 5 to 10 years in state prison, as well as restitution to the victims to be paid in installments after his release.
Former Otsego County Chamber of Commerce President Rob Robinson pleaded guilty in Otsego County Court to 1st degree scheming to defraud. Robinson was arrested & fired in 2011, following charges of insurance fraud, grand larceny & falsifying business records, for an insurance scheme that enrolled more than 400 downstate residents in an MVP Health Care Insurance program offered by the Otsego Chamber. The sentence includes a 3-year conditional discharge & a $2,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for July 28th.
The Chenango county sheriffs department arrested a Town of Unadilla resident and a Town of New Berlin resident for Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance and Unlawful Possession of Marihuana. Deputies arrested 28-year-old Jason Lindroth and 28 year old Antonio Felice following an investigation into a suspicious vehicle. Deputies found that Lindroth and Felice were both in possession of heroin, prescription pills, hypodermic needles, and marihuana, they were arraigned in the Town of Oxford Court and were remanded to the Chenango County Correctional Facility on cash bail.
The New York State Fair was named America’s 4th-best state fair by Yahoo! Travel, beat only by Texas, California and Ohio. The news comes just a few weeks after Hopper.com ranked the Fair as the No. 1 State Fair. An independent survey, conducted at the conclusion of the 2013 Fair, fairgoers cited food as the #1 reason for visiting every year. Last year, the Fair introduced Taste NY Wine and Cheese seminars to engage fairgoers about the various wines and cheeses that are made in New York
As state lawmakers wrap up the current legislative session, there are still a few items on the Governor’s agenda that might not get acted on this year. Assemblyman Cliff Crouch said that the proposal to increase the state’ minimum wage again is another unnecessary cost to business:
Crouch said that the bill would probably only pass one of the 2 houses, which should kill it off for this year.
The State Public Service Commission is seeking comment on a request by Time Warner Cable and Comcast Corporation to transfer certain Time Warner Cable telephone systems, cable systems, franchises and assets to Comcast. Under the proposal, Comcast will retain all of Time Warner Cable’s existing assets in New York State. The Commission will use its new regulatory powers to conduct an investigation into the proposed merger to determine whether the transaction is in the best interest of the customers. More information is available at dps.ny.gov.
The New York State Gaming Commission reported that the Lottery sales for 2013-2014 totaled $9.2 billion, a profit of $3.1 billion for education, & a 4.2% increase over previous year, the 14th consecutive year of Lottery revenue growth. Total sales rose $292.2 million; All Lottery profits go to funding education in the State.
There have been several black bear sightings in the Southern Tier, with reports of bears climbing trees & rummaging near homes. The DEC reports that you can prevent bears from visiting by removing bird feeders, not leaving food or garbage outside, don’t feed pets outside and don’t run refrigerators outside. More information is at dec.ny.gov
State regulators are looking for feedback on proposed changes to freshwater fishing rules. The DEC has identified potential changes based on discussions with anglers, biologists, and fisheries managers. Now the DEC is seeking additional angler feedback. Many changes under consideration would eliminate special regulations that didn’t achieve their intended purpose. Highlights include increasing year-round trout fishing opportunities at specific streams and establishing catch-and-release fishing at a few additional streams. To view the potential changes and provide input, go to dec.ny.gov
Grant funding was approved for the regional sustainability plan, developed by the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council. Gov Cuomo recently announced $30 million in the first round of funding for the implementation of regional sustainability plans throughout the state, including the Southern Tier plan. The Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council, which serves eight counties including Chenango and Delaware, is one of 10 councils created by the governor to streamline economic development efforts statewide. The plan is available at cleanergreenersoutherntier.org
State Police will conduct a statewide “Buckle Up New York Summer Parks Initiative, July 13 – 28, and will focus on seatbelt use and child passenger safety violations at state parks throughout the state. Each year about 60 million people visit the parks throughout New York State; many of these guests include families with improperly restrained young children.
State troopers arrested 47 year old Rodney Harris of Meridale, as a fugitive from justice from New York City following a traffic stop in Delhi. Harris was turned over to NYPD.
State police arrested 39 year old Jeremy Guy of Vestal for DWI with a BAC of .16& following a traffic stop on East Main Street in the Town of Union. Guy was issued an appearance ticket for town of Endicott court July 31.
A Bronx man was arrested as part of drug ring in Otesgo County. 22 year old Alexander Vega was charged in a sealed indictment with two counts of third degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Vega is accused of selling herorin in Oneonta in August and September of 2011 and being part of a drug trafficking operation originating in the Bronx. More arrests are pending as part of an on going investigation.
A 47 year old former Unadilla resident was sentenced to 12 and half years in prison, with 10 years post release supervision, after pleading guilty to first degree criminal sexual act. Casey Callahan had been arrested in January by state police.
During a recent “Aggressive Driving” initiative, highway patrols with the Broome County Sheriff’s Office issued 214 vehicle and traffic citations from June 30 to July 7, according to Sheriff David Harder. Citations were issued for: speeding; speeding in work zone; failure to obey a traffic control device; improper passing; cellphone/texting; “Move Over Law”; seat belt; reckless driving; aggravated unlicensed operator and other violations.
Some New York government employees will soon begin taking unpaid leaves as part of budget cuts mandated from Congress. More than 1,750 New York National Guard technicians will be forced to stay home one day a week without pay. The furloughs will continue for 11 weeks through the end of September, which is the end of the fiscal year. It’s part of the Budget Control Act, otherwise known as the sequester. The Department of Defense expects to save $4.5 million in New York
Senator Charles Schumer wants to make voting for those in the military and overseas easier. The goal is to improve the “MOVE Act.” The bill would allow express delivery of voting ballots to service members and would require states to update the government on the availability of ballots before election days to avoid problems. Schumer hopes to pass the legislation as an amendment to the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act
The state DEC filed a Notice of Continuation at yesterdays’ deadline, which extends the rulemaking process for another 90 days. The DEC posted a few changes to their proposed regulations for hydro-fracking yesterday, the public will have from December 12th to January 11th to submit their comments.
O’Connor Hospital in Delhi will host a community influenza clinic today from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. The vaccines are being provided free of charge for individuals with a valid Medicare, Medicare Advantage or Medicaid card, and for $30 each for those with either no insurance coverage or commercial insurance. No appointment is necessary to receive the immunization; more information is available at 746-0300.
Residents of Norwich and the American Red Cross will join together for a “Communities That Care” blood drive on Friday, December 7TH from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Howard Johnson at 75 North Broad Street. The Red Cross is encouraging all eligible donors to make an appointment to donate blood. by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or by visiting redcrossblood.org.
6 On The Square in oxford presents Melanie to their stage on Saturday night at 7:30 PM. Melanie is best known for her hits “Brand New Key” & “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain),” Tickets are $35 until the date of the show (plus a $2 service charge) or $40 at the door. More information is available at 843-6876 or at 6onthesquare.org.