The Village of Owego has a new police chief. Michael Telfer was sworn in this morning as the new part-time chief. He replaces Karen Vinti, who retired as the full-time chief after the Strawberry Festival. The new part-time position calls for a 20-hour workweek with a salary of $30,000 per year. Telfer last worked for the New York State Police before retiring seven months ago, and previously worked in the Tioga County Sheriff’s Office. He lives locally, has two sons that also work in law enforcement, and coached football for several years at Owego Free Academy. His tenure begins immediately as the head of the OPD.
The Owego Village Board will hold a public hearing Thursday to adopt their final budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. The hearing will start at 6pm at 20 Elm Street in Owego. The $2.9 million spending plan will not raise taxes for village residents. Mayor Steve May wrote a letter to residents discussing the board’s budget plans and process (CLICK HERE TO READ IT). A copy of the tentative budget is on file at the village office at 178 Main Street and can be viewed during regular business hours.
Also tomorrow, the board will vote on measures to change the clerk/treasurer position from elected to appointed and to abolish both the village court and village justice position. If approved, the clerk/treasurer change would require a referendum vote since it’s a change to the village charter. The court decision would not require a referendum, but village residents can request one as long as a petition is filed within 30 days of the board’s decision. We will have full coverage of tomorrow’s hearing on WEBO. Again, it begins at 6pm at the Owego Department of Public Works building on Elm Street.
Tioga Hardwoods will expand their operations in Berkshire after receiving an Empire State Development grant. The $1.6 million expansion project includes the addition of new machinery and equipment at their manufacturing facility that will lead to increased production and the retention of 40 employees. Besides the grant, the company will also receive Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits to add at least six new full-time positions. Tioga Hardwoods was founded 17 years ago and specializes in transforming quality hardwood into materials for cabinets and flooring. The grant is part of the region’s “Southern Tier Soaring” revitalization initiative to grow the local economy.
Many local students are taking part in SUNY Broome’s Fast Forward and Early College programs, and will now have the chance to participate in an online academy at the college. The college’s program coordinator Katie Bucci was on the WEBO Morning Show today.
“We have a new initiative starting in the fall, the Early College Online Academy (ECOA),” Katie Bucci told the WEBO Morning Show. “Those are five special classes that are offered completely online by our faculty at SUNY Broome to high school students. Those courses will be offered at a 66% tuition discount.”
The online academy joins Fast Forward and Early College to allow students three different ways to get a head start on their college degree, accumulate transferable credits, and prepare for higher education, all while still enrolled in high school. More information is available on the SUNY Broome website. The full interview with Bucci is available below.
Contractors currently working on the expansion project at Tioga Downs banded together over the last month to collect 70 pounds of food and $1,700 that they donated to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier yesterday. LPCiminelli Project Manager Carl York spearheaded the effort, asking for food or monetary donations from each of the 23 contractors and 21 union groups currently working on the expansion project. Food Bank President and CEO Natasha Thompson says the donations will provide 4,200 meals for people in need across the Southern Tier. Tioga Downs Owner Jeff Gural also personally donated to the cause, saying that Americans should never go hungry. There are about 175 workers on the site of the expansion, which includes a 161-room hotel at Tioga Downs and a new clubhouse at the Tioga Golf Club. Gural says the construction is on schedule and the hotel should open Nov. 1.
The driver of a tractor-trailer hauling garbage was injured when his vehicle rolled over near the Airport Road Exit of Route 17 Westbound yesterday. The Broome County Sheriff’s Office says 38-year-old Donald Gardner of Canastota lost control of the vehicle around 5:30pm, rolling the tractor-trailer into the grass median between Airport Road and the Exit 71N off ramp and spilling the garbage. One lane of the highway in the area was closed for several hours for cleanup and Gardner was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Deputies are still investigating the cause of the crash.
A Good Samaritan rescued a woman from jumping off the Court Street Bridge in Owego Saturday night. The Owego Police Department says a woman crossed the railing in an attempt to jump off the bridge around 10:30pm. A civilian walking nearby saw the woman climb the railing and was able to pull her back onto the bridge and hang on until police reached the scene. The unidentified woman was transported to the hospital for treatment. The person who rescued the woman was not identified in a press release from the OPD.
Fifteen different sites are on the list of locations where children and youths can get free meals for several weeks this summer while their school cafeterias are closed. Each site has different dates and times when the free meals will be served to children and youths 18 years and younger. Breakfast and lunch will be served at each location. Owego-Apalachin, Tioga, Spencer Van-Etten and Waverly school districts are participating in this summer’s program. You find out what site is closest to your house, and what days and hours the meals will be served, call your local school district.
Binghamton Police are warning residents to make sure that their car doors are locked after they arrested a man overnight who was pulling on door handles of parked vehicles. 49-year-old Eric Degroat is accused of grand larceny after he pulled a wallet from an unlocked car. That wallet was recovered by officers after the man was taken into custody. Besides locking your doors, police advise that you don’t leave anything valuable inside your vehicle, and to try and park in a well-lit area if possible.