Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has agreed to resign, he will officially give up his position as speaker to Majority Leader Joseph Morelle. Last Thursday, Silver was arrested by the FBI for allegedly accepting $4 million in payoffs and kickbacks.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that his office has been alerted to a scam involving an individual posing as Sam Wilson from the Attorney General’s Office. Consumers should not return this call to the number provided and should be aware that the Attorney General’s Office would never notify any individual or business about pending litigation in a telephone call. Individuals should contact the Federal Trade Commission at (877) FTC-HELP or ftc.gov, or contact the Attorney General’s Office at (800) 771-7755 or ag.ny.gov.
Commerce Chenango & NBT Bank will host their annual Economic Forecast Breakfast on January 28th. The event will be held at the American Legion Post 189 at 29 Sheldon Street in Norwich.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has agreed to resign, he will officially give up his position as speaker to Majority Leader Joseph Morelle. Last Thursday, Silver was arrested by the FBI for allegedly accepting $4 million in payoffs and kickbacks.
Governor Cuomo delivered his combined “State of the State” address & executive Budget presentation to a joint session of the legislature in Albany this afternoon. In His Summation, the Governor quoted his recently departed father & former Governor Mario Cuomo:
Cuomo is proposing about 100 proposals for the legislature to consider in the 2015 session.
The 3rd murder trial for Cal Harris will begin with Jury selection Thursday in Schoharie County Court. Harris had 2 previous guilty pleas overturned on appeal & he is now being tried for the 3rd time for the September 2001 death of his estranged wife Michelle. A judge granted a request to have the third trial moved out of Tioga County INTO Schoharie County.
A Middletown man has been charged after he allegedly bulldozed his own $160,000 home. James Rhein was charged with criminal mischief and was released on $300 bail for allegedly knocking down his own house with a rented bulldozer, without a permit & all of his family possessions inside. Rein’s wife Diane Andryshak said that her husband was dissatisfied with the quality of renovations in the home; the case has drawn nationwide media attention.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today announced that his office reached a settlement with Vacation Tours USA, over a false advertising scam targeting consumers across New York State. The company sent letters to consumers telling them they had won a vacation package, including airfare and lodging, and invited them to attend a seminar at a local hotel. Once at the hotel, consumers were subjected to a sales presentation conducted by a third-party company instead of being given vouchers for free airline tickets and hotel stays. Seminars were conducted in several municipalities, including in Binghamton. If consumers believe they were a victim of this scam, they can contact Attorney General Schneiderman’s Office by calling 1-800-771-7755 or 607-721-8771.
The Constitution Pipeline will be the topic of the 3rd DEC hearing this week, tonight at 6:00 pm at the SUNY Cobleskill Bouck Hall Theater. The pipeline would run form northeast Pennsylvania through the southern tier to Schoharie County to deliver natural gas into the northeast if approved.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman joined Facebook in announcing a new system to help find missing children by changing the way Amber Alerts are delivered. In partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Facebook’s new distribution system will send Amber Alerts to the news feed of Facebook users if they are in the targeted search area after a child has been abducted. according to Schneiderman, More than 180 Amber Alerts are sent out each year, the chances of finding a missing child increase when more people are on the lookout – especially in the first few hours,
The Cancer Services Program of Delaware, Otsego and Schoharie counties will offer free health screenings in Delhi today to women 40 and older who are uninsured. The Bassett Cancer Institute’s mobile screening coach will be available from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Price Chopper Parking Lot in Delhi; appointments can be made at 1-888-345-0225 for your appointment.
Governor Cuomo will combine both his State of the State address and the release of his executive budget into one presentation next week on January 21st. The address and release of the 2015-16 executive budget will be presented to a joint session of the legislature on January 21st at 1:30 PM in the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany. Governor Cuomo originally planned to give his State of the State address on January 7th, that was pushed back due to the death of his father, former Governor Mario Cuomo
State Police at Oneonta arrested 23-year-old Jordon Davis of Laurens for the Fleeing an Officer, Reckless Driving, Unlawful Possession of Marihuana and several vehicle and traffic law violations. The arrest occurred after Troopers observed Davis failing to keep right on State Route 205 in Oneonta, when the Troopers activated their emergency lights and sirens, Davis accelerated to over 100 miles an hour and failed to comply with the officers. Troopers located the vehicle parked behind a residence off of State Route 205. Davis was arraigned at the Town of Oneonta Court and released without bail required; he faces court action February 12th.
The State DEC extended the public comment period on the draft permit for the proposed, federally regulated Constitution Pipeline, as well as the upgrade to the Iroquois Wright Compressor station in Schoharie County, by an additional 28 days. Public comments on the proposed project will be accepted through Friday, February 27th at 5:00PM. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was responsible for conducting an environmental review of the project; they issued a final Environmental Impact Statement in October. People can provide verbal or written comments at the public meetings tonight at 6:00 PM in Oneonta at SUNY Oneonta Lecture Hall IRC #3, or Wednesday night at 6:00 PM in SUNY Cobleskill’s Bouck Hall Theater.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the arrest of James Ferro the former director of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision’s Special Investigations Unit, over accusations of sexually based harassment of a subordinate employee. Ferro faces 1 count each of Forcible Touching, Official Misconduct, Coercion & Harassment. Ferro is accused of inappropriately touching a subordinate and Community Supervision, at the Department of CorrectionalS in Albany over the course of several years.
Governor Cuomo today announced new efforts to combat human trafficking and provide help to survivors safely re-enter their home community. This crime affects more than 1,000 children in New York each year, and it is estimated that nearly 18,000 people are brought into the United States annually for the same purpose. The Governor also proclaimed January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and unveiled a new poster that lists possible trafficking red flags, plus a free confidential hotline, which is 1-888-373-7888.
Former New York Governor George Pataki is considering a run for the White House; he campaigned in New Hampshire recently, where one of the earlier primary votes are held. Pataki left office in 2007 after serving three terms as governor of New York.
Public Comments Sought On Draft State Permit Applications For the Proposed Constitution Pipeline Will Be Accepted now through January 30th, 3 Public Meetings to be held in January. Comments can be submitted to Stephen Tomas, DEC Division of Environmental Permits, 625 Broadway, 4th Floor Albany, 12233 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Public meetings are scheduled on Monday January 12th at the East Middle School Auditorium, 167 East Frederick Street Binghamton at 6:00 PM. An Oneonta meeting will be held on January 13th at 6:00 pm at the SUNY Oneonta Lecture Hall in IRC #3, & in Cobleskill, Wednesday, January 14th at 6:00 PM at SUNY Cobleskill, Bouck Hall Theater. Copies can be viewed online constitutionpipeline.com.
The Chenango County Sheriffs department arrested 60-year-old Richard Graef of Columbus for Harassment, obstruction of governmental administration, and resisting arrest. Graef was charged following a traffic stop in the Town of Columbus for a moving violation, he exited the vehicle, began threatening the deputy and subjected the deputy to unwanted physical contact, interfered with the official duties while the deputy was conducting the traffic stop, and then resisted arrest while being placed into custody. Graef was arraigned in the Town of Columbus Court and was remanded to the Chenango County Correctional Facility in lieu of cash bail. Graef is scheduled to reappear in the Town of Columbus Court at a later date.
The Chenango County Sheriffs department arrested 38-year-old Richard Small of Cortland for Promoting Prison Contraband. Small is accused of attempting to hide narcotic prescription medications on his person while remanded to the Chenango County Correctional Facility. Small was processed and will appear in the Town of Norwich Court at a later date.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley led a coalition of 17 states to file a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court urging them to uphold the interpretation of the federal Fair Housing Act. The Inclusive Communities Project had proven a low-income housing tax credits program resulted in a disparate impact on African-American residents in violation of the Fair Housing Act. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in the case on Wednesday, January 21, 2015.
Fund raising efforts have begun locally on behalf of 5 year Kenneth White of Albany, who was killed last week, his 19-year-old cousin has been charged with murder. a donation line for the surviving sisters for college education and their needs has been set up online, at booster.com/kennethwhitesupport.
The New York State Department of Health today announced the selection of regional contractors for the Population Health Improvement Program, to promote the “Triple Aim” of better care, better population health, and lower health care costs. The contractors will convene meetings of local stakeholders and provide a neutral forum for identifying, sharing, disseminating, and helping to implement best practices and strategies to promote better health outcomes. Locally, Bassett Hospital will get $2,438,819 & STHL receives $2,070,848 to participate. More information is available at health.ny.gov.
State Police in Sidney arrested 52-year-old Shayne Edwards of Unadilla for DWI with a BAC result of .17% and Unlawful Possession of Marijuana following an accident on State Route 7 extension to I- 88 in the town of Unadilla. Edwards was issued uniform traffic tickets and an Appearance Ticket to own of Unadilla January 19th
State Senator Jim Seward announced that he will be hosting a free senior scam prevention forum on Tuesday, December 16th at the Sidney Memorial Public Library. Senator Seward is partnering with the New York State Department of State to inform senior citizens and others about the alarming trend of senior targeted scams. A specialist with the Division of Consumer Protection will conduct the free presentation, helping senior citizens proactively protect their identities and avoid becoming the victims of a scam. The senior scam prevention forum will take place on Tuesday, December 16th from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Sidney Memorial Public Library, 8 River Street in Sidney. The forum is free and open to the public.
A new state law bars employers in New York from firing volunteer firefighters, and members of volunteer ambulance squads, for taking time off from their jobs to respond to major emergencies such as hurricanes and snowstorms. The law, approved by the state Legislature this summer and signed by Governor Cuomo, takes affect Dec. 22nd. It requires employers to grant a request from a volunteer firefighter, or a member of a volunteer ambulance corps, for leave to respond to declared states of emergency. The governor can declare states of emergency in cases of man-made or natural disasters
The New York gaming facility location commission will hold their final meeting on December 17th that is when they are expected to announce the 4 winning proposals to operate casinos in 3 upstate regions. The next to last meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, but no decisions are expected at Tuesday’s meeting. The commission is has been tasked with located 4 casinos in 3 areas of the state, one in the southern tier, the other 2 are the Capital region & the Catskills/Hudson valley region.
State attorney general Eric Schneiderman has asked governor Cuomo for immediate 7 temporary authority to investigate police officers statewide, whose actions result in the death of an unarmed person. The request would allow Schneiderman to take investigation like the Eric Garner Staten Island case, out of the hands of local authorities. The governor has the power to remove any criminal case from a local prosecutor and assign it to the state attorney general’s office, governor Cuomo may be considering a permanent change in the 2015 legislative agenda to be announced in January.
Sidney village police arrested 31-year-old Carlene Morgan of Wells Bridge, following a 2-vehicle accident on Delaware Avenue Tuesday afternoon. Morgan was charged with DWI, aggravated DWI with a blood alcohol content of .18 or higher, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, & failure to keep right, she is accused of losing control of her vehicle and crashing head on into a vehicle in the opposing lane. Morgan was arraigned and faces action in Sidney village court at a later date. The operator of the other vehicle was taken to Tri Town Regional hospital for treatment of injuries; police have not released the name of the 2nd driver.
Delaware County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 25 year old Donald Kern of Walton on a charge of Assault in the second degree. It is alleged that while Kern was incarcerated at the Delaware County Correctional Facility he assaulted another inmate. He was arraigned in the Town of Delhi Court and remanded back to the correctional facility in lieu of 2,500 cash bail
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman asked New York’s colleges and universities to help combat the “grandparent scam,” where perpetrators impersonate relatives and then fool unsuspecting seniors into sending them money. The scam involves a call to a senior citizen in which the caller impersonates a grandchild claiming to be in serious trouble and asks the unsuspecting grandparent to wire money immediately. The FTC recorded more than 40,000 incidents of grandparent scams since 2010. Schneiderman warns the grandparent scam tends to increase in frequency during school breaks. Read more at ftc.gov.
A decision could come next month on sites for new casinos in Upstate New York. The New York Gaming Facility Location Board met yesterday in closed executive session to talk about the financial and employment history of the applicants. A decision is expected at the next meeting, which has not yet been scheduled. The commission said it expects to decide by mid-December. There are 16 applicants for four licenses. Voters approved new casinos by referendum on the 2013 ballot
The state adopted new regulations for child day-care centers and child-care programs, including new naptime procedures, nutrition rules and a ban on reptiles and amphibians. The regulations by the state Office of Children and Family Services will impose new rules for childcare employees, such as banning cell-phone use while supervising children, prohibitions against firearms and new training requirements. The changes will take effect June 1st. The new regulations come after it found a need to improve health and safety standards. The new state rules are posted at dos.ny.gov
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer proposed reinstating an expired tax break that helps teachers deduct out-of-pocket classroom supply costs from their taxes. The Teacher Expense Deduction will enable over 100,000 teachers in New York, to deduct up to $250 per year from their tax bill. The deduction will help offset the $485 on average that teachers spend each year to provide additional supplies for their students. The tax benefit went into effect in 2002, but expired in 2013. Congress is considering provisions to reinstate and extend various tax benefits and the Teacher Expense Deduction is included in that package.
Members of the public will be able to instantly report poachers & polluters using a new toll-free hotline that will help to ensure strict enforcement of environmental laws, according to State DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. The toll-free hotline number is 1-844-DEC-3267, it will be 24/7 & it connects callers to a DEC police dispatcher.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today announced that his office has obtained a judgment against home improvement contractors who ripped off customers in the Southern Tier and Central New York by going door-to-door seeking to pave and repair driveways. The contractors performed shoddy and incomplete work, intimidated customers into paying more than the negotiated price, and failed to abide by New York’s home improvement contract laws. Schneiderman entered into an agreement to settle his investigation against Joshua Cooper of Ovid and Robert Cooper of Romulus, who were doing business as Finger Lakes Asphalt. the Coopers will be required to pay $8,150 in restitution to 6 consumers
State Senator Jim Seward announced that the DOT rest area along I-88 eastbound between exits 18 and 19 in Worcester is set to reopen by November 21. In 2010, the New York State Department of Transportation closed six rest areas on interstate highways in what was touted as a temporary measure. To date, only the Worcester rest stop is scheduled to reopen. Seward also advocated for budget funds to reopen the I-88 Wells Bridge rest stop; it has not been funded in the state budget. The Worcester rest area will be open for parking only at this time. Renovation work on the restrooms is still being completed with a 2015 opening planned.
This week is College Application Week in New York, coordinated by the State Higher Education Services Program as part of a national effort to encourage students to apply for college. High school guidance counselors and volunteer college admission staff across the state will help thousands of high school seniors at nearly 200 high schools apply for admission to college, more information is available at GoCollegeNY.org.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office conducted an audit of the town of Sidney’s budget. The Audit found that revenue and expenditure projections in the preliminary budget are reasonable, but the Town’s projections for rental income in the Hospital Fund were not based on amounts expected to be received according to current lease agreements. The Town did not budget for an additional $95,000 in nonrecurring rental income, but did include $30,000 of lease payments for which no lease agreement exists. The Town underestimated rental revenue by a total of $65,000 & they are currently reporting accounts payable in the Hospital Fund related to the hospital, which closed in 2005. The Comptroller’s report recommends that if these payables are legitimate liabilities & if not remove them from the balance sheet.
The Bainbridge-Guilford Central School will hold a Special Board of Education Meeting tonight in the District Conference Room at 5:30 PM. The board will move into executive session for personnel interview sessions.
The results are in from yesterday’s elections. In statewide races, Governor Andrew Cuomo, State Attorney General’s Eric Schneiderman & State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli win re-election by healthy margins, and all 3 state propositions pass. In the 19th Congressional District Incumbent Chris Gibson is re-elected, in the 52nd State Senate district, Incumbent Tom Libous is the winner, in 121st Assembly District, incumbent Bill Magee wins again, & Broome County Sheriff David Harder is re-elected.
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In local races, for the Sidney Town Board, Republican Jody Proffitt defeats Loddie Marsh by a small margin, in Oneonta, Patricia Kent wins re-election to the town board by a large margin, in Franklin, Republicans Donald Smith and Lisa Huyck win 2seats on the town council
The Chenango County Sheriff’s Office arrested Ganesh Ramsaran for 2nd degree Bribery; he is accused of offering a Chenango County Corrections Officer of $100,000 to aid in his escape from the Correctional Facility. Ramsaran was arraigned in the Town of Norwich Court and remanded back to the Chenango County Correctional Facility on $1,000,000 Dollars Cash Bail or $2,500,000 Property Bond, he’ll return to the Town of Norwich Court at a later date. The investigation is continuing with additional charges possible.
The State DEC amended its Chronic Wasting Disease regulation, to prohibit people from importing into New York certain parts of white-tailed deer, elk or moose taken in the state of Ohio. In late October, the Ohio Department of Agriculture confirmed a case of Chronic Wasting Disease in a white-tailed deer, 1 has also been confirmed in Pennsylvania. Hunters who plan to hunt white-tailed deer, elk or moose in Ohio or Pennsylvania must remove the brain, eyes, spinal cord, tonsils, intestinal tract, spleen and lymph nodes before returning to New York with a deer, more information is available at dec.ny.gov.
NYSEG will inspect natural gas transmission rights of way in the Oneonta region this week. The inspections will be done by helicopter, enabling company officials to spot & correct vegetation & encroachment issues that could hinder repair crews. The helicopter inspections will occur today & tomorrow.
Peak Fitness on State Route 7 in Bainbridge is open for business today, one day after a shooting took place in the parking lot out front that resulted in 1 death & 1 injury. Peak Fitness Manager Aric McKown comments:
(Aric McKown 10-28-14)
State Police reported that 26 year old Derek Prindle of Afton died, his father 60 year old Derek Prindle of Afton was taken to Wilson Hospital in Johnson City for a gunshot wound, 56 year old John Guzy of Bainbridge has been charged with 2nd degree Murder & is being held without bail pending future court action, the investigation is continuing.
NBT Bancorp reported 3rd quarter net income of $10.9 million, down from $19.3 million for the same period last year. NBT’s core net income for the third quarter, however, was $19.8 million, up more than 2% from 1 year ago. As of September 30th, NBT Bancorp Inc. had total assets of $7.9 billion, 155 banking locations in New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Maine.
A panel created by Governor Cuomo laid out a plan to guide the spending of a $2 billion bond for increasing technology in schools, but voters will have to approve the borrowing next Tuesday. If approved, school districts would submit specific plans on how they would spend their share of the bond, on equipment like whiteboards, laptops and tablets; installing high-speed or wireless Internet; or installing “high-tech security features” in schools.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman introduced a new program titled “Grandkids Against The Grandparent Scam.” The con involves grandparents receiving a phone call from someone purporting to be their grandchild, who is in trouble with the law and in need of money in a hurry, the unsuspecting grandparents wire money to a specific address under false pretenses. More information is available at oag.state.ny.us.
State Police will conduct a special traffic enforcement effort during the Halloween weekend. The effort will begin on Thursday and continue through Sunday, Drivers can expect sobriety checkpoints, additional patrols, underage drinking and sales to minor’s enforcement. Last year, there were more than 1,300 accidents, 6 people were killed, 324 were charged with DWI and more than 21,000 tickets for speeding, distracted driving & other traffic violations were issued.
State tax collections of $34.2 billion through the first half of the fiscal year were nearly $610 million higher than projected and the state collected nearly $3.5 billion from financial settlements through September, according to the state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. A copy of the mid-year report can be accessed at osc.state.ny.us.
New York State of Health has released an instructional video for New Yorkers currently enrolled in the state plan, detailing how they can stay enrolled or update their coverage for 2015. The video can be found at info.nystateofhealth.ny.gov/RenewalVideo