The Village of Owego Board of Trustees unanimously approved the budget for the next fiscal year as well as local laws to abolish the Village Court and to change the clerk/treasurer position from elected to appointed at a special meeting last night. However, village residents will have the final say, because both changes will have to pass a referendum vote. That vote will be held on Tuesday, August 1 at the Central Fire Station on North Avenue and is open to all registered village voters. If approved by residents, the changes will take effect on April 2, 2018 at the conclusion of the terms for current Justice Dave Boland and Clerk/Treasurer Rod Marchewka. Only the clerk/treasurer change necessitated a mandatory referendum, but trustees elected to let village voters decide on both changes.
In NASCAR, after four weeks together, the Xfinity and Monster Energy Cup Series will split for races this weekend that will be heard live on WEBO. The Xfinity Series will race under the lights of Iowa Speedway Saturday night. Motor Racing Network coverage of the American Ethanol 250 will begin at 8pm. Sunday, the Cup Series will go road racing in the hills of California’s Napa Valley. Tony Stewart won last year’s race by a nose over teammate Denny Hamlin. Performance Racing Network coverage of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 will begin at 2pm Sunday on WEBO.
An Endicott Police Officer was injured in an accident at the intersection of Oak Hill Avenue and Watson Boulevard last night. Police say the officer was driving southbound on Oak Hill in a marked patrol car around 5:45pm when it collided with another car that was traveling on Watson Boulevard. Three people, including the officer, were transported to Wilson Hospital in Johnson City with minor injuries. Police say additional details may be released once they conclude their investigation. They declined to identify anyone involved in the accident.
Another anchor store will close at the Oakdale Mall this year. Sears has announced that both their store and auto center will close. The Sears Auto Center will close in late July, while the store portion will begin a liquidation sale on June 30 and close sometime between the start of the sale and September. Sears is the second large store to close at the Oakdale Mall this year, after Macy’s shut its doors in April.
The National Weather Service in Binghamton says the Village of Owego experienced straight line wind during a severe thunderstorm on Sunday night, and not a tornado. However, they have confirmed that an EF-1 tornado touched down near East Smithfield in Bradford County on Tuesday. The weather service says the tornado touched down on Main Street around 12:20pm, knocked down many trees and tore off part of the roof of a barn while on the ground. It was measured as an EF-1, meaning wind speeds from 65 to 85 miles per hour. The straight line wind Sunday in Owego also brought down many trees, including a large tree at the corner of Main and Paige Street that knocked out power to part of the village for several hours. Straight line wind is defined as winds of 58 miles per hour or greater that can cause damage to houses, businesses, and trees along a path that is usually wider than that of a minor tornado.
The Owego Village Board is expected to adopt their final budget at a meeting tonight and also approve local laws that will abolish the village court and change the clerk/treasurer position from elected to appointed. The meeting will begin at 6pm at the village Department of Public Works Building at 20 Elm Street. Next year’s budget does not call for an increase in taxes. Trustees say they have slashed funding for departments to the absolute minimum levels in the $2.9 million spending plan in order to keep taxes down. A copy of the tentative budget is available for review at the village office. Also part of the board’s cost-saving measures is a plan to abolish both the village court and the village justice position. A review by trustees found that the court has operated at a $110,000 loss over the last three years, and is projected to operate at a $30,000 loss again this year. The village has received a $100,000 grant that will help pay to send all cases to the Town of Owego Court. The other law expected to be approved tonight will change the village charter to make the clerk/treasurer position appointed instead of elected. That change would require the approval of village residents in a referendum vote later this year. The court decision will only require a referendum if residents file a petition within 30 days of adoption of the local law. We will have full coverage of tonight’s meeting tomorrow on WEBO.
An Ithaca plan to provide safer consumption spaces to people addicted to drugs has received support from the American Medical Association and other medical professionals. Safer consumption spaces – also known as supervised injection facilities – are locations where people can legally consume previously-purchased illegal drugs with supervision from healthcare professionals. The AMA and other medical groups say the sites would help reduce overdose deaths and the spread of infectious disease. Besides just being a safe place to take drugs, Ithaca officials point to research that says people who use these safe spaces are more likely to enter treatment programs in the future. The New York Assembly is considering a bill that would authorize safer consumption spaces as an emergency public health tool to combat overdose deaths in the state. The measure is gaining steam across the country after 52,400 people died from opioid and heroin overdoses in the US two years ago, more people than traffic accidents and homicides combined.
Two people were shot in Ithaca early this morning. Police say the men were shot in the area of West State Street and Fulton Street around 1:45am. Both victims are expected to survive their injuries, but police are looking for the shooter. He is described as a light-skinned black male standing 5-foot-10, and was last seen running eastbound on West State Street while wearing a black hoodie and jeans. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Ithaca Police Department.
More than 100 pounds of prescription drugs and 67 bottles of opioids were collected Saturday at a “Shed the Meds” event in Binghamton. 40 people also received free Narcan training at the event co-hosted by State Senator Fred Akshar, Binghamton Mayor Rich David, and city police and fire departments. This was the fourth “Shed the Meds” event held by the Senator to encourage the community to dispose of old prescription drugs in a controlled environment.